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Chapter 181

Mahabharata English - DRONA PARVA

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘I see, O sire, that this act of Karna andDuryodhana and Suvala’s son, Sakuni, and of thyself, in especial, hathbeen very much against the dictates of policy. Indeed, when you knew thatdart could always slay one person in battle, and that it was incapable ofbeing either borne or baffled by the very gods with Vasava at their head,why then, O Sanjaya, was it not hurled by Karna at Devaki’s son, orPhalguna, while he was engaged with this in battle before?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Returning from battle every day, O monarch, all of us, Oforemost one of Kuru’s race, used to debate in the night and say untoKarna. Tomorrow morning, O Karna, this dart should be hurled at eitherKesava or Arjuna.’ When, however, the morning came, O king, throughdestiny, both Karna and the other warriors forgot that resolution. Ithink destiny to be supreme, since Karna, with that dart in his hands,did not slay in battle either Partha or Devaki’s son, Krishna. Indeed,because his understanding was afflicted by destiny itself, it is for thisthat he did not, stupefied by the illusion of the gods, hurl that fataldart of Vasava, though he had it in his hand, at Devaki’s son, Krishnafor his destruction or at Partha endued with prowess like Indra’s, Olord!’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Ye are destroyed by destiny, by your ownunderstanding, and by Kesava. Vasava’s dart is lost, having effected theslaughter of Ghatotkacha who was as insignificant as straw. Karna, and mysons, as all the other kings, through his highly impolitic act, havealready entered the abode of Yama. Tell me now how the battle once moreraged between the Kurus and the Pandavas after the fall of Hidimva’s son.How did they that rushed against Drona, arrayed in order of battle andwell-skilled in smiting, viz., the Srinjaya and the Panchalas, fight?How, indeed, did the Pandus and Srinjaya withstand the smiting Drona,when the latter proceeding against them, penetrated into their host,excited with wrath at the slaughter of Bhurisravas and Jayadratha,reckless of his very life, and resembling a yawning tiger or theDestroyer himself with wide open mouth? What also did they do in battle,O sire, viz., Drona’s son and Karna and Kripa and others headed byDuryodhana that protected the preceptor? Tell me, O Sanjaya, how mywarriors in that battle covered with their shafts Dhananjaya andVrikodara who were solicitous of slaying Bharadwaja’s son. How, indeed,did these excited with wrath at the death of the ruler of the Sindhus,and those at the death of Ghatotkacha, each side unable to brook theirloss, fight that nocturnal battle?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Upon the slaughter, that night, O king, of the Rakshasa,Ghatotkacha, by Karna, thy troops, filled with joy, uttered loud shouts.In that dark hour of the night, they fell impetuously upon the Pandavatroops and began to slay them. Seeing all this, king Yudhishthira becameexceedingly cheerless, O chastiser of foes. The mighty-armed son ofPandu, then addressed Bhimasena and said, ‘O thou of mighty arms, resistDhritarashtra host. In consequence of the slaughter of Hidimva’s son, agreat stupefaction overwhelms me.’ Having ordered Bhimasena thus, he satdown on his car. With tearful face and sighing repeatedly, the kingbecame exceedingly cheerless at the sight of Karna’s prowess. Beholdinghim so afflicted, Krishna said these words, ‘O son of Kunti, let not suchgrief be thine. Such cheerlessness does not become thee, O chief of theBharatas, as it does an ordinary person. Rise, O king, and fight. Bearthe heavy burden, O lord! If cheerlessness overtakes thee, our victorybecomes uncertain.’ Hearing these words of Krishna, Dharma’s son,Yudhishthira, wiping his eyes with his hands, replied unto Krishna,saying, ‘O thou of mighty arms, the excellent path of duty is not unknownto me. The dire consequences of a Brahmana’s slaughter are his thatforgets the services he receives at other’s hands. Whilst we were livingin the woods the high-souled son of Hidimva, although then a mere childdid us many services, O Janardana! Learning that Partha, having whitesteeds, had departed for the acquisition of weapons, that great bowman(viz., Ghatotkacha), O Krishna, came to me at Kamyaka. He dwelt with ustill Dhananjaya’s reappearance. Whilst proceeding over many inaccessiblefastnesses, he himself carried on his back the tired princess ofPanchala. The feats he achieved, O lord, show that he was skilled in allmodes of warfare. Indeed, that high-souled one accomplished manydifficult feats for my benefit. My affection for Ghatotkacha, that princeof the Rakshasas is twice that, O Janardana, which I naturally beartowards Sahadeva. That mighty-armed one was devoted to me. I was dear tohim and he was dear to me. It is for this that, scorched by grief, O thouof Vrishni’s race, I have become so cheerless. Behold, O thou ofVrishni’s race, our troops afflicted and routed by the Kauravas. Behold,those mighty car-warriors, viz., Drona and Karna, are contendingearnestly in battle. Behold, the Pandava host crushed at dead of night,like an extensive forest of heath by a couple of infuriated elephants.Disregarding the might of Bhimasena’s son, as also the variety of weaponthat Partha bears, the Kauravas are putting forth their prowess, Yonder,Drona and Karna and king Suyodhana, having slain the Rakshasa in battle,are uttering loud roars. How, O Janardana, when we are alive and thyselftoo, could Hidimva’s son be slain while engaged with the Suta’s son?Having caused a great slaughter amongst us, and in the very sight ofSavyasachin, Karna, O Krishna, hath slain Bhimasena’s son of greatstrength, the Rakshasa, Ghatotkacha. When Abhimanyu was slain by thewicked Dhartarashtras, the mighty car-warrior Savyasachin, O Krishna, wasnot present in that battle. We also were all held in check by theillustrious ruler of the Sindhus. Drona, with his son (Aswatthaman),became the cause of that act. The preceptor himself told Karna the meansof Abhimanyu’s slaughter. While Abhimanyu was battling with the sword itwas the preceptor himself that cut off that weapon. And while fallen intosuch distress, Kritavarman most cruelly slew the steeds and the twoParshni drivers (of the boy). Other great bowmen then despatched the sonof Subhadra. For a little offence, O Krishna, was the ruler of theSindhus slain by the wielder of Gandiva. O foremost one among theYadavas, that act did not give me great joy. If the slaughter of foes isjust and should be achieved by the Pandavas, then Drona and Karna shouldhave been slain before this. This is what I think. O bull among men,those two are the root of our woes. Obtaining those two (as his allies)in battle, Suyodhana has become confident. Indeed, when it was Drona thatshould have been slain or the Suta’s son with his followers, themighty-armed Dhananjaya slew the Sindhu king whose connection with theaffair was very remote. The punishment of the Suta’s son should certainlyby undertaken by me. I shall, therefore, O hero, now fight for slayingthe Suta’s son. The mighty-armed Bhimasena is now engaged with Drona’sdivision.’ Having said these words, Yudhishthira quickly proceededagainst Karna, holding his formidable bow and blowing his conch fiercely.Then, surrounded by a Panchala and Prabhadraka force of a thousand cars,three hundred elephants and five thousand horses,

Sikhandin speedily followed in the wake of the king. Then the mail-cladPanchalas and the Pandavas headed by Yudhishthira beat their drums andblew their conchs. At this time Vasudeva of mighty arms, addressingDhananjaya said, ‘Filled with wrath, yonder proceedeth Yudhishthira withgreat speed from desire of slaying the Suta’s son. It is not proper thatthou shouldst rely upon him in this.’ Having said these words, Hrishikesaquickly urged the steeds. Indeed, Janardana followed in the wake of theking who was now at a distance. At that time, seeing Dharma’s son,Yudhishthira, whose mind was afflicted by grief and who seemed to bescorched as if by fire, rush with speed from desire of slaying the Suta’sson, Vyasa approached him and said these words.'[240]

“Vyasa said, By good luck, Phalguna liveth still although he hadencountered Karna in battle. Indeed, Karna had kept his dart, desirous ofslaying Savyasachin, O bull of Bharata’s race, by good luck Jishnu didnot engage in single combat with Karna. Each of them in that casechallenging the other, would have shot his celestial weapons on allsides. The weapons of the Suta’s son would have been destroyed by Arjuna.The former then afflicted by the latter, would certainly have hurledIndra’s dart in that battle. O Yudhishthira! O foremost one of Bharata’srace, (if this had come to pass), then great would have been thy grief. Ogiver of honours, by good luck the Rakshasa hath been slain in battle bythe Suta’s son. Indeed, Ghatotkacha hath been slain by death himselfmaking the dart of Vasava an instrument only. For thy good it is, O sire,that the Rakshasa hath been slain in battle. Do not yield to anger, Oforemost one of Bharata’s race, and do not set thy heart on grief. OYudhishthira, this is the end of all creatures in this world. Unitingwith thy brothers and all the illustrious kings (of the host), fight withthe Kauravas in battle, O Bharata! On the fifth day from this, the earthwill be thine. O tiger among men, always think of virtue. With a cheerfulheart, O son of Pandu, practise kindness (to all creatures), penances,charity, forgiveness, and truth. Victory is there where righteousness is.Having said these words unto the son of Pandu, Vyasa made himselfinvisible there and then.'”[241]

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