Chapter 188

Mahabharata English - DRONA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘Then Drona caused a great carnage among the Panchalas,like the slaughter caused by Sakra himself in rage amongst the Danavas inthe days of yore. The great car-warriors of the Pandava army, endued withmight and energy, though slaughtered, O king, by Drona’s weapons, werenot yet afraid of Drona in that battle. Indeed, O monarch, those mightycar-warriors, viz., the Panchalas and the Srinjayas, all rushed againstDrona himself, for fighting with him. Loud and fierce were the yells theyuttered as they rushed towards Drona for encompassing him on all sidesand were slaughtered by him with shafts and darts. Beholding theslaughter of the Panchalas in that battle by the illustrious Drona, andseeing his, weapons overwhelm all sides, fear entered the hearts of thePandavas. Beholding that dreadful carnage of steeds and human beings inthat battle, the Pandavas, O monarch, became hopeless of victory. (Theybegan to say unto each other) ‘Is it not evident that Drona, that warriorconversant with the mightiest of weapons, will consume us all like araging conflagration consuming a heap of straw in the season of spring?There is none competent to even look at him in battle. Conversant withthe ways of morality, Arjuna (who alone is a match for him) will notfight with him.’ Beholding the sons of Kunti afflicted with the shafts ofDrona and inspired with fear, Kesava, endued with great intelligence and,devoted to their welfare, addressed Arjuna and said, ‘This foremost ofall bowmen is incapable of being ever vanquished by force in battle, bythe very gods with Vasava at their head. When, however, he lays aside hisweapons, he becomes capable of being slain on the field even by humanbeings. Casting aside virtue, ye sons of Pandu, adopt now somecontrivance for gaining the victory, so that Drona of the golden car maynot slay us all in battle. Upon the full of (his son) Aswatthaman he willcease to fight, I think. Let sonic man, therefore, tell him thatAswatthaman, hath been slain in battle.’ This advice, however, O kin wasnot approved by Kunti’s son, Dhananjaya. Others approved of it. ButYudhishthira accepted it with great difficulty. Then the mighty-armedBhima, O king, slew with a mace a foe-crushing, terrible and hugeelephant named Aswatthaman, of his own army, belonging to Indravarman,the chief of the Malavas. Approaching Drona then in that battle with somebashfulness Bhimasena began to exclaim aloud, ‘Aswatthaman hath beenslain.’ That elephant named Aswatthaman having been thus slain, Bhimaspoke of Aswatthaman’s slaughter. Keeping the true fact within his mind,he said what was untrue, Hearing those highly disagreeable words of Bhimaand reflecting upon them, Drona’s limbs seemed to dissolve like sands inwater. Recollecting however, the prowess of his son, he soon came toregard that intelligence as false. Hearing, therefore, of his slaughter,Drona did not become unmanned. Indeed, soon recovering his senses, hebecame comforted, remembering that his son was incapable of beingresisted by foes. Rushing towards the son of Prishata and desirous ofslaying that hero who had been ordained as his slayer, he covered himwith a thousand keen shafts, equipped with kanka feathers. Then twentythousand Panchala car-warriors of great energy covered him, while he wasthus careering in battle, with their shafts. Completely shrouded withthose shafts, we could not any longer see that great car-warrior who thenresembled, O monarch, the sun, covered with clouds in the season ofrains. Filled with wrath and desirous of compassing the destruction ofthose brave Panchalas, that mighty car-warrior, that scorcher of foes,viz., Drona, dispelling all those shafts of the Panchalas, then invokedinto existence the Brahma weapon. At that time, Drona looked resplendentlike a smokeless, blazing fire. Once more filled with rage the valiantson of Bharadwaja slaughtering all the Somakas, seemed to be investedwith great splendour. In that dreadful battle, he felled the heads of thePanchalas and cut off their massive arms, looking like spiked maces anddecked with golden ornaments. Indeed, those Kshatriyas, slaughtered inbattle by Bharadwaja’s son fell down on the earth and lay scattered liketrees uprooted by the tempest. In consequence of fallen elephants andsteeds, O Bharata, the earth, miry with flesh and blood, becameimpassable. Having slain twenty thousand Panchala car-warriors, Drona, inthat battle, shone resplendent like a smokeless, blazing fire. Once morefilled with rage, the valiant son of Bharadwaja cut off, with abroad-headed arrow, the head of Vasudana from his trunk. Once moreslaying five hundred Matsyas, and six thousand elephants, he slew tenthousand steeds. Beholding Drona stationed on the field for theextermination of the Kshatriya race, the Rishis Viswamitra, andJamadagni, and Bharadwaja, and Gautama, and Vasishtha, and Kasyapa, andAtri, and the Srikatas, the Prisnis, Garga, the Valkhilyas, the Marichis,the descendants of Bhrigu and Angiras, and diverse other sages of subtleforms quickly came thither, with the Bearer of sacrificial libations attheir head, and, desirous of taking Drona unto the region of Brahman,addressed Drona, that ornament of battle, and said, ‘Thou art fightingunrighteously. The hour of thy death is come. Laying aside thy weapons inbattle, O Drona, behold us stationed here. After this, it behoveth theenot to perpetrate such exceedingly cruel deeds. Thou art versed in theVedas and their branches. Thou art devoted to the duties enjoined bytruth, especially, thou art a Brahmana. Such acts do not become thee. Layaside thy weapons. Drive away the film of error that shrouds thee. Adherenow to the eternal path. The period for which thou art to dwell in theworld of men is now full. Thou hast, with the Brahma weapon, burnt men onearth that are unacquainted with weapons. This act that thou hastperpetrated, O regenerate one, is not righteous. Lay aside thy weapons inbattle without delay, O Drona, do not wait longer on earth. Do not, Oregenerate one, perpetrate such a sinful act.’ Hearing these words oftheir as also those spoken by Bhimasena, and beholding Dhrishtadyumnabefore him, Drona became exceedingly cheerless in battle. Burning withgrief and exceedingly afflicted, he enquired of Kunti’s son Yudhishthiraas to whether his son (Aswatthaman) had been slain or not. Drona firmlybelieved that Yudhishthira would never speak an untruth even for the sakeof the sovereignty of the three worlds. For this reason, that bull amongBrahmanas asked Yudhishthira and not any body else. He had hoped fortruth from Yudhishthira from the latter’s infancy.

“Meanwhile, O monarch, Govinda, knowing that Drona, that foremost ofwarriors, was capable of sweeping all the Pandavas off the face of theearth, became much distressed. Addressing Yudhishthira he said, ‘If Dronafighteth, filled with rage, for even half-a-day, I tell thee truly, thyarmy will then be annihilated. Save us, then, from Drona. under suchcircumstances, falsehood is better than truth. By telling an untruth forsaving a life, one is not touched by sin. There is no sin in untruthspoken unto women, or in marriages, or for saving king, or for rescuing aBrahmana.'[252] While Govinda and Yudhishthira were thus talking witheach other, Bhimasena (addressing the king) said, ‘As soon, O monarch, asI heard of the means by which the high-souled Drona might be slain,putting forth my prowess in battle, I immediately slew a mighty elephant,like unto the elephant of Sakra himself, belonging to Indravarman, thechief of the Malavas, who was standing within thy army. I then went toDrona and told him, ‘Aswatthaman has been slain, O Brahmana! Cease, then,to fight. Verily, O bull among men, the preceptor did not believe in thetruth of words. Desirous of victory as thou art, accept the advice ofGovinda. Tell Drona, O King, that the son of Saradwat’s daughter is nomore. Told by thee, that bull among Brahmanas will never fight. Thou, Oruler of men, art reputed to be truthful in the three worlds.’ Hearingthose words of Bhima and induced by the counsels of Krishna, and owingalso to the inevitability of destiny, O monarch, Yudhishthira made up hismind to say what he desired. Fearing to utter an untruth, but earnestlydesirous of victory, Yudhishthira distinctly said that Aswatthaman wasdead, adding indistinctly the world elephant (after the name), Beforethis, Yudhishthira’s car had stayed at a height of four fingers’ breadthfrom the surface of the earth; after, however, he had said that untruth,his (vehicle and) animals touched the earth. Hearing those words fromYudhishthira, the mighty car-warrior Drona, afflicted with grief, for the(supposed) death of his son, yielded to the influence of despair. By thewords, again, of the Rishis, he regarded himself a great offender againstthe high-souled Pandavas. Hearing now about the death of his son, hebecame perfectly cheerless and filled with anxiety; upon beholdingDhrishtadyumna, O king, that chastiser of foes could not fight asbefore.'”

Chapter 189
Chapter 187
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