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Chapter 180

Mahabharata English - DRONA PARVA

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘When the Suta’s son had such a dart as was sure toslay one person, why did he not hurt it at Partha, to the exclusion ofall others? Upon Partha’s slaughter by means of that dart, all theSrinjayas and the Pandavas would have been slain. Indeed, upon Phalguna’sdeath, why should not the victory have been ours? Arjuna has made a vowto the effect that summoned to battle he would never refuse to accept thechallenge. The Suta’s son should have, therefore, summoned Phalguna tobattle. Tell me, O Sanjaya, why did not Vrisha then engaging Phalguna insingle combat, slay the latter with that dart given him by Sakra? Withoutdoubt, my son is destitute of both intelligence and counsellors? Thatsinful wretch is constantly baffled by the foe. How should he thensucceed in vanquishing his enemies? Indeed, that dart which was such amighty weapon and upon which rested his victory, alas, that dart, hath,by Vasudeva, been made fruitless through Ghatotkacha. Indeed, it hathbeen snatched from Karna, like a fruit from the hand of a cripple, with awithered arm, by a strong person. Even so hath that fatal dart beenrendered fruitless through Ghatotkacha. As in a fight between a boar anda dog, upon the death of either, the hunter is the party profited, Ithink, O learned one, that even so was Vasudeva the party to profit bythe battle between Karna and Hidimva’s son. If Ghatotkacha had slainKarna in battle, that would have been a great gain for the Pandavas. If,on the other hand, Karna had slain Ghatotkacha, that too would have beena great gain to them in consequence of the loss of Karna’s dart. Enduedwith great wisdom, that lion among men, viz., Vasudeva, reflecting inthis way, and for doing what was agreeable to and good for the Pandavas,caused Ghatotkacha to be slain by Karna in battle.’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Knowing the feat that Karna desired to achieve, theslayer of Madhu, the mighty-armed Janardana, O king, commanded the princeof the Rakshasas, Ghatotkacha of mighty energy, to engage in singlecombat with Karna for rendering, O monarch, the latter’s fatal dartfruitless. All this, O king, is the result of thy evil policy! We wouldcertainly have achieved success, O perpetuator of Kuru’s race, if Krishnahad not (thus) rescued the mighty car-warrior Partha from Karna’s hands.Indeed, Partha would have been destroyed with his steeds, standard, andcar, in battle, Oh Dhritarashtra, if that master, that lord of Yogins,viz., Janardana had not saved him. Protected by diverse means, O king,and well-aided by Krishna, Partha approaching his foes, vanquished thatfatal dart, otherwise that weapon would have quickly destroyed the son ofKunti like the lightning destroying a tree.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘My son is fond of quarrel. His advisers arefoolish. He is vain of his wisdom. It is for that, that this certainmeans of Arjuna’s death hath been baffled. Why, O Suta, did notDuryodhana, or that foremost of all wielders, viz., Karna, possessed ofgreat intelligence, hurl that fatal dart at Dhananjaya? Why, O son ofGavalgana, didst thou too forget this great object, possessed as thou artof great wisdom, or why didst not thou remind Karna of it?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Indeed, O king, every night this formed the subject ofdeliberation with Duryodhana and Sakuni and myself and Duhsasana. And wesaid unto Karna, ‘Excluding all other warriors, O Karna, slay Dhananjaya.We would then lord it over the Pandu’s and the Panchalas as if these wereour slaves. Or, if upon Partha’s fall, he of Vrishni’s race appointsanother amongst the sons of Pandu (in this place for carrying on thefight), let Krishna himself be slain. Krishna is the root of thePandavas, and Partha is like their risen trunk. The other sons of Prithaare like their branches, while the Panchalas may be called their leaves.The Pandavas have Krishna for their refuge, Krishna for their might,Krishna for their leader. Indeed, Krishna is their central support evenas the moon is of the constellations. Therefore, O Suta’s son, avoidingthe leaves and branches and trunk, slay that Krishna who is everywhereand always the root of the Pandavas. Indeed, if Karna had slain him ofDasarha’s race, viz., that delighter of the Yadavas, the whole earth, Oking, would, without doubt, have come under thy control. Truly, Omonarch, if that illustrious one, that delighter of both the Yadavas andthe Pandavas, could be made to lie down on the earth, deprived of life,then certainly, O monarch, the entire earth with the mountains andforests would have owned thy supremacy. We rose every morning, havingformed such a resolution in respect of that Lord of the very gods, viz.,Hrishikesa of immeasurable energy. At the time of battle, however, weforget our resolution. Kesava always protected Arjuna, the son of Kunti.He never placed Arjuna before the Suta’s son in battle. Indeed, Achyutaalways placed other foremost of car-warriors before Karna, thinking howthat fatal dart of ours might be made fruitless by ourselves. O lord!When, again, the high-souled Krishna protected Partha in this manner fromKarna, why, O monarch, would not that foremost of beings protect his ownself? Reflecting well, I see that there is no person in the three worldswho is able to vanquish that chastiser of foes, viz., Janardana, thathero bearing the discus in hand.’

“Sanjaya continued, ‘That tiger among car-warriors, viz., Satyaki ofprowess incapable of being baffled, asked the mighty-armed Krishna aboutthe great car-warrior, Karna, saving, ‘O Janardana, even this had beenKarna’s firm resolution, viz., that he would hurl that dart ofimmeasurable energy at Phalguna. Why, however, did not the Suta’s sonactually hurt it then at him?’

“Vasudeva said, ‘Duhsasana and Karna and Sakuni and the ruler of theSindhus, with Duryodhana at their head, had frequently debated on thissubject. Addressing Karna, they used to say, ‘O Karna. O great bowman, Othou of immeasurable prowess in battle, O foremost of all victors, thisdart should not be hurled at any one else than that great car-warrior,viz., Kunti’s son, Partha or Dhananjaya. He is the most celebratedamongst them, like Vasava amongst the gods. He being slain, all the otherPandavas with the Srinjayas will be heartless like firelesscelestials![239]’ Karna having assented to this, saying ‘So be it’ (thedesire of) slaughtering the wielder of Gandiva, O bull amongst the Sinis,was ever present in Karna’s heart. I, however, O foremost of warriors,always used to stupefy the son of Radha. It was for this that he did nothurl the dart at Pandu’s son, owning white steeds. As long as I could notbaffle that means of Phalguna’s death, I had neither sleep, nor joy in myheart, O foremost of warriors! Beholding that dart, therefore, renderedfutile through Ghatotkacha, O bull amongst the Sinis, I regardedDhananjaya today to have been rescued from within the jaws of Death. I donot regard my sire, my mother, yourselves, my brothers, ay, my very life,so worthy of protection as Vibhatsu in battle. If there be anything moreprecious than the sovereignty of the three worlds, I do not, O Satwata,desire (to enjoy) it without Pritha’s son, Dhananjaya (to share it withme). Beholding Dhananjaya, therefore, like one returned from the dead,these transports of delight, O Yuyudhana, have been mine. It was for thisthat I had despatched the Rakshasa unto Karna for battle. None else wascapable of withstanding, in the night, Karna in battle.’

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Even thus did Devaki’s son who is ever devoted toDhananjaya’s good and to what is agreeable to him, speak unto Satyaki onthat occasion.'”

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