Chapter 155

Mahabharata English - DRONA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding that vast host of the Pandavas swelling withrage and regarding it to be incapable of being resisted, thy sonDuryodhana. addressing Karna, said these words, ‘O thou that art devotedto friends, that hour hath now come in respect of thy friends (when thyhelp is most needed). O Karna, save in battle all my warriors. Ourcombatants are now encompassed on all sides by the Panchalas, theKaikeyas, the Matsyas, and the mighty car-warriors of the Pandavas, allfilled, with rage and resembling hissing snakes. Yonder the Pandavas,solicitous of victory, are roaring in joy. The vast car-force of thePanchalas is possessed of the prowess of Sakra himself.’

“Karna replied, ‘If Purandara himself were to come hither for savingPartha, quickly vanquishing even him, I would slay that son or Pandu. Itell thee truly. Be cheered, O Bharata! I will slay the son of Pandu andall the assembled Panchalas, I will give thee victory, like Pavaka’s songiving victory unto Vasava. I shall do what is agreeable to thee in thisbattle that has begun. Amongst all the Parthas, Phalguna is thestrongest. At him I will hurl the fatal dart of Sakra’s workmanship. Uponthe death of that great bowman, his brothers, O giver of honour, willeither surrender themselves unto thee or once more retire into theforest. When I am alive, O Kauravya, never indulge in any grief. I willvanquish in battle all the Pandavas united together and all thePanchalas, the Kaikeyas, and the Vrishnis assembled together. Makingporcupines of them by means of my arrowy showers, I will give thee theearth.’

“Sanjaya continued, ‘While Karna was uttering those words, Kripa, themighty armed son of Saradwat, smiling the while, addressed the Suta’s sonin these words, ‘Thy speech is fair, O Karna! If words alone could leadto success, then with thee, O son of Radha, as his protector, this bullamong the Kurus would be considered to have the amplest measure ofprotection. Thou boastest much, O Karna, in the presence of the Kuruchief, but thy prowess is seldom witnessed, nor, indeed, any result (ofthy boastful speeches). Many a time have we seen thee encounter the sonsof Pandu in battle. On every one of those occasions, O Suta’s son, thouhast been vanquished by the Pandavas. While Dhritarashtra’s son was beingtaken away (as a captive) by the Gandharvas, all the troops fought onthat occasion except thy single self, who was the first to fly away. InVirata’s city also, all the Kauravas, united together, including thyselfand thy younger brother were vanquished by Partha in battle. Thou art nota match for even one of the sons of Pandu, viz., Phalguna, on the fieldof battle. How then canst thou venture to vanquish all the sons of Panduwith Krishna at their head? Thou indulgest in too much brag, O Suta’sson! Engage thyself in battle without saying anything. To Put forthprowess without indulging in brag is the duty of good men. Ever roaringaloud, O Suta’s son like the dry clouds of autumn, thou showest thyself,O Karna to be without substance. The king, however, does not understandit. Thou roarest, O son of Radha, as long as thou seest not the son ofPritha. These thy roars disappear when thou seest Partha near. Indeed,thou roarest as long as thou art out of the range of Phalguna’s shafts.Those roars of thine disappear when thou art pierced with Partha’sshafts. Kshatriyas evince their eminence by means of their arms;Brahmanas, by means of speech; Arjuna evinces his by means of the bow;but Karna, by the castles he builds in the air. Who is there that willresist that Partha who gratified Rudra himself (in battle)?’ Thus railedat by Saradwat’s son, Karna, that foremost of smiters, answered Kripa inthe following strain, ‘Heroes always roar like clouds in the season ofrains, and like steeds put in the soil, quickly yield fruits. I do notsee any fault in heroes that take great burdens on their shoulders,indulging in boastful speeches on the field of battle. When a personmentally resolves to bear a burden, Destiny itself aids him in theexecution. Wishing in my heart bear a great burden, I always summonsufficient resolution. If, slaying the sons of Pandu with Krishna andSatwatas in battle, I indulge in such roars, what is it to thee, OBrahmana? They that are heroes never roar fruitlessly like autumnalclouds. Conscious of their own might, the wise indulge in roars! In myheart I am determined to vanquish in battle today Krishna and Parthaunited together and fighting with resolution! It is for this that I roar,O son of Gotama! Behold the fruit of these my roars, O Brahmana! Slayingthe son of Pandu in battle, with all their followers, Krishna andSatwatas, I will bestow on Duryodhana the whole earth without a thorn init.’

“Kripa said, ‘Little do I reckon, O Suta’s son, these delirious saying ofthine discovering thy thoughts, not deeds. Thou always speakest indepreciation of the two Krishnas and king Yudhishthira the just. He, OKarna, is certain, to have the victory who hath on his side those twoheroes skilled in battle. Indeed, Krishna and Arjuna are incapable ofbeing defeated by the celestials, the Gandharvas, the Yakshas, humanbeings, the Nagas, and the birds, all clad in mail. Yudhishthira, the sonof Dharma is devoted to the Brahmanas. He is truthful in speech andself-restrained. He reverences the Pitris and the deities. He is devotedto the practice of truth and righteousness. He is, again, skilled inweapons. Possessed of great intelligence, he is also grateful. Hisbrothers are all endued with great might and well-practised in allweapons. They are devoted to the service of their seniors. Possessed ofwisdom and fame, they are also righteous in their practices. Theirkinsmen and relatives are all endued with the prowess of Indra. Effectualsmiters, they are all exceedingly devoted to the Pandavas.Dhrishtadyumna, and Sikhandin and Janamejaya, the son of Durmuksha andChandrasen, and Madrasen, and Kritavarman, Dhruva, and Dhara andVasuchandra, and Sutejana, the sons of Drupada, and Drupada himself,conversant with high and mighty weapons, and the king of the Matsyasalso, with his younger brothers, all resolutely struggling for theirsake, and Gajanika, and Virabhadra, and Sudarsana, and Srutadhwaja, andValanika, and Jayanika, and Jayaprya, and Vijaya and Labhalaksha, andJayaswa, and Kamaratha, and the handsome brothers of Virata, and thetwins (Nakula and Sahadeva), and the (five) sons of Draupadi, and theRakshasa Ghatotkacha, are all fighting for the Pandavas. The sons ofPandu, therefore, will not meet with destruction. These and many otherhosts (of heroes) are for the sons of Pandu. Without doubt, the entireuniverse, with the celestials, Asuras, and human beings, with all thetribes of Yaksha and Rakshas and with all the elephants and snakes andother creatures, can be annihilated by Bhima and Phalguna by the prowessof their weapons. As regards Yudhishthira also, he can, with angry eyesonly, consume the whole world. How, O Karna, canst thou venture tovanquish those foes in battle for whom Sauri of immeasurable might hathclad himself in mail? This, O Suta’s son, is a great folly on thy part,since thou always venturest to contend with Sauri himself in battle.’

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Thus addressed (by Kripa), Karna the son of Radha, Obull of Bharata’s race, smiling the while, said these words unto thepreceptor Kripa, the son of Saradwat, ‘The words thou hast spoken aboutthe Pandavas, O Brahmana, are all true. These and many other virtues areto be seen in the sons of Pandu. It is true also that the Parthas areincapable of being vanquished by the very gods with Vasava at their head,and the Daityas, the Yakshas, and the Rakshasas. For all that I willvanquish the Parthas with the help of the dart given me by Vasava. Thouknowest, O Brahmana, that the dart given by Sakra is incapable of beingbaffled. With that I will slay Savyasachin in battle. Upon Arjuna’s fall,Krishna and the uterine brothers of Arjuna will never be able to enjoythe (sovereignty of the) earth without Arjuna (to aid them). All of them,therefore, will perish. This earth then, with her seas, will remainsubject to the chief of the Kurus, O Gautama, without costing him anyefforts. In this world everything, without doubt, becomes attainable bypolicy. Knowing this, I indulge in these roars, O Gautama! As regardsthyself, thou art old, a Brahmana by birth, and unskilled in battle. Thoubearest much love for the Pandavas. It is for this thou insultest methus. If, O Brahmana, thou tellest me again such words as these, I shall,then, drawing out my scimitar, cut off thy tongue, O wretch! Thoudesirest, O Brahmana, to applaud the Pandavas, for frightening all thetroops and the Kauravas, O thou of wretched understanding! As regardsthis also, O Gautama, listen to what I say. Duryodhana, and Drona, andSakuni, and Durmukha, and Jaya, and Duhsasana, and Vrishasena, and theruler of the Madras, and thyself too and Somadatta and Drona’s son, andVivinsati,–all these heroes skilled in battle,–are here, clad in mail.What foe is there, endued with even the prowess of Sakra, that wouldvanquish these in battle? All those I have named a-e heroes, skilled inweapons, endued with great might, solicitous of admission into heaven,conversant with morality, and skilled in battle. They would stay the verygods in fight. These will take their places on the field for slaying thePandavas, clad in mail on behalf of Duryodhana desirous of victory. Iregard victory to be dependent on destiny, even in the case of theforemost of mighty men. When the mighty-armed Bhishma himself liethpierced with a hundred arrows, as also Vikarna, and Jayadratha, andBhurisravas, and Jaya, and Jalasandha, and Sudakshina, and Sala; thatforemost of car-warriors, and Bhagadatta of great energy, I say, whenthese and many others, incapable of being easily vanquished by the verygods, heroes all and mightier (than the Pandavas), lie on the field ofbattle, slain by the Pandavas, what dost thou think, O wretch among men,but that all this is the result of destiny? As regards them also, viz.,the foes of Duryodhana, whom thou adorest, O Brahmana, brave warriors oftheirs, in hundreds and thousands, have been slain. The armies of boththe Kurus and the Pandavas are diminishing in numbers; I do not, in this,behold the prowess of the Pandavas! With them, O lowest of men, whom thoualways regardest to be so mighty, I shall strive, to the utmost extent ofmy might, to contend in battle, for Duryodhana’s good. As regardsvictory, that depends on destiny.'”

Chapter 156
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