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Chapter 149

Mahabharata English - DRONA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘Thus urged by Drona, king Duryodhana, filled with rageset his heart on battle. And thy son, Duryodhana, then said unto Karna,’Behold, the diadem-decked son of Pandu, with Krishna alone for helpmate,penetrated into the array formed by the preceptor, an array that the godsthemselves could not pierce, and in the very sight of the illustriousDrona struggling in battle and of many other foremost of warriors, slewthe ruler of the Sindhus. Behold, O son of Radha, many foremost of kingslying on the earth, slain in battle. Partha unaided by any one, in thevery sight of the illustrious Drona and myself, vigorously exertingourselves like a host of inferior animals-slain by a lion. The son ofSakra hath reduced my host to a small remnant of what it was. How,indeed, could Phalguna, in spite of the resistance offered by Drona inbattle, accomplish his vow by slaying the ruler of the Sindhus? If Dronahad not himself willed it, O hero, how could the son of Pandu, in battle,have pierced that impenetrable array, overcoming his strugglingpreceptor? Truly, Phalguna is exceedingly dear to the illustriouspreceptor! For this, the latter gave him admittance, without havingfought with him. Behold my misfortune! Having in the first instancepromised protection unto the ruler of the Sindhus, Drona, that scorcherof foes, gave unto the diadem-decked Arjuna admittance into the array! Ifhe had in the beginning granted permission to the ruler of the Sindhusfor his return home, without doubt, such an awful carnage would then havenever occurred. Alas! Jayadratha, in hopes of saving his life, haddesired to return home. Having obtained from Drona a promise ofprotection in battle, it was I, a fool that I was, who prevented him fromgoing. Alas, today my brothers having Chitrasena for their head, have allperished in the very sight of our wretched selves.'[187]

“Karna said, ‘Do not blame the preceptor. That Brahmana is fightingaccording to the measure of his power and courage and regardless of hisvery life. If Arjuna, of white steeds, having transgressed him,penetrated into our array, the slightest fault does not, for that, attachto the preceptor. Phalguna is accomplished in weapons, possessed of greatactivity, endued with youth; he is a hero who has mastered all arms; heis distinguished for the celerity of his movements. Armed with celestialweapons and mounted on his ape-bannered car, the reins of whose steedsagain were in the hands of Krishna, cased in impenetrable armour, andtaking his celestial bow Gandiva of unfading might, the valiant Arjuna,scattering keen arrows, and proud of the strength of his arms,transgressed Drona. There is nothing to wonder at this. The preceptor, onthe other hand is, O king, old and incapable of proceeding quickly. He isalso, O king, incapable of exercising his arms long. It was for this thatPhalguna, of white steeds and having Krishna for his charioteer,succeeded in transgressing the preceptor. For this reason also, I do notsee any fault in Drona. For all that, when Arjuna, of white steeds,penetrated into our array, having transgressed the preceptor it seemsthat the latter, however skilled in weapons, is incapable of vanquishingthe Pandavas in battle. I think that which is ordained by Fate neveroccurs otherwise. And since, O Suyodhana, in spite of ourselves fightingto the utmost extent of our powers, the ruler of the Sindhus has beenslain in battle, it seems that Fate is all-powerful. With thyself we hadall been exerting to the utmost of our might on the field of battle.Fate, however, baffling our exertions, did not smile on us. We havealways exerted to injure the Pandavas, relying both on deceit andprowess. Whatever act, O king, a person afflicted by Fate does, isfrustrated by Fate, however, much the person himself may strive toachieve it. Whatever, indeed, a man endued with perseverance should do,ought to be done fearlessly. Success depends on Fate! By deceit the sonsof Pritha were beguiled as also by the administration of poison, OBharata! Burnt they were in the palace of lac, vanquished they were atdice. In accordance with the dictates of statecraft, they were exitedinto the woods. All these, though done by us with care, have been baffledby Fate. Fight with resolution, O king, setting Fate at nought. Betweenthee and them, both striving to the best of your prowess even Fate mayprove auspicious to that party which excels the other.[188] No wisemeasures have been adopted by the Pandavas with the aid of superiorintelligence. Nor, O hero, do we see, O perpetuator of Kuru’s race, thatthou hast done anything unwise from want of intelligence! It is Fate thatdecides the result of acts, wise or unwise; Fate, ever intent on its ownpurposes is awake when all else sleeps. Vast was thy host, and thywarriors are many. Even thus the battle began. With their small force,much greater and consisting of men capable of smiting effectually, hathbeen much reduced. I fear, it is the work of Fate, that has frustratedour exertions.’

“Sanjaya continued, ‘While they were discoursing thus, O king, thePandava divisions appeared for battle. Then occurred a fierce battlebetween thy warriors and theirs, in which cars and elephants encounteredone another. All this, however, O king, was due to thy evil policy!'”

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