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Chapter 191

Mahabharata English - DRONA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘Upon the fall of Drona, O king, the Kurus, afflicted withweapons, deprived of their leader, broken and routed, became filled withexertion, and deprived of energy through grief. Uttering loud wails, theygrief, Seeing their foes (the Pandavas) prevailing over them, theyrepeatedly trembled. Their eyes filled with tears, and hearts inspiredwith fear, they became, O king, melancholy an cheerless, and destitute ofgathered round thy son. Covered with dust, trembling (with fear), castingvacant looks on all sides, and their voice choked with fear, theyresembled the Daityas after the fall of Hiranyaksha in the days of yore.Surrounded by them all, as if by small animals struck with fear, thy son,unable to stay in their midst, moved away. Afflicted with hunger andthirst, and scorched by the sun, thy warriors, then, O Bharata, becameexceedingly cheerless. Beholding the fall of Bharadwaja’s son, which waslike unto the dropping of the sun down upon the earth, or the drying upof the ocean, or the transplantation of Meru, or the defeat of Vasava,beholding that act, incapable of being quietly witnessed, the Kauravas, Oking, fled away in fear,–terror lending them greater speed. The ruler ofthe Gandharas Sakuni, beholding Drona of the golden car slain, fled withthe car-warriors of his division, with speed that was much greater. Eventhe Suta’s son fled away in fear, taking with him his own vast division,that was retreating with great speed with all its standards. The ruler ofthe Madras, viz., Salya, also, casting vacant looks around, fled away infear, taking with him his division, teeming with cars and elephants andsteeds. Saradwat’s son, Kripa, too, fled away, saying, ‘Alas. Alas,’taking with him his division of elephants and foot-soldiers, the greaterpart thereof having been slain. Kritavarman, O king, also fled away,borne by his swift steeds, and surrounded by the remnant of his Bhoja,Kalinga, Aratta, and Valhika troops. Uluka, O king, beholding Dronaslain, fled away with speed, afflicted with fear and accompanied by alarge body of foot-soldiers. Handsome and endued with youth, and reputedfor his bravery, Duhsasana, also, in great anxiety, fled away surroundedby his elephant division. Taking with him ten thousand cars and threethousand elephants, Vrishasena also fled with speed at the sight ofDrona’s fall. Accompanied by his elephants and horses and cars, andsurrounded also by foot-soldiers, thy son, the mighty car-warrior,Duryodhana, too, fled away, O king, taking with him the remnant of theSamsaptakas whom Arjuna had not yet slaughtered. Susarman, O king, fledaway, beholding Drona slain. Riding on elephants and cars and steeds, allthe warriors of the Kaurava army fled away from the field, seeing Drona,of golden car, slain. Some urging their sires on, some their brothers,some their maternal uncles, some their sons, some their friends, theKauravas fled away. Others urging on their brethren in arms or, theirsisters’ sons, their kinsmen, fled away on all sides. With dishevelledhair, and accoutrements loosened, all fled away in such a manner thateven two persons could not be seen running together.–The Kuru army hasbeen totally destroyed,–even this was the belief of every body. Othersamongst thy troops, fled away, O king, throwing off their coats of mail.The soldiers loudly called upon one another, O bull of Bharata’s race,saying,–‘Wait, Wait, do not fly,’ but none of them that said sothemselves stood on the field. Abandoning their vehicles and cars deckedwith ornaments, the warriors, riding on steeds or using their legs, fledaway with great speed.

“While the troops, deprived of energy, were thus flying away with speed,only Drona’s son, Aswatthaman, like a huge alligator coming up againstthe current of a stream, rushed against his foes. A fierce battle tookplace between him and many warriors headed by Sikhandin and thePrabhadrakas, the Panchalas, the Chedis, and the Kaikeyas. Slaying manywarriors of the Pandava army that were incapable of being defeated withease, and escaping with difficulty from the press of battle, that hero,possessed of the tread of an infuriated elephant, saw the (Kaurava) hostrunning away, resolved on flight. Proceeding towards Duryodhana, Drona’sson, approaching the Kuru king, said, ‘Why, O Bharata, are the troopsflying away as if in fear? Although flying away, thus, O monarch, whydost thou not yet rally them in battle? Thyself, too, O king, dost notseem to be in thy usual frame of mind. Upon the slaughter of that lionamong car-warriors, O monarch, hath thy force fallen into this plight. OKaurava, O king, all these that are headed (even) by Karna, wait not onthe field. In no battle fought before did the army fly away thus. Hathany evil befallen thy troops, O Bharata?’ Hearing these words of Drona’sson on that occasion, Duryodhana, that bull among kings, felt himselfunable to impart the bitter intelligence. Indeed, thy son seemed to sinkinto an ocean of grief, like a foundered boat. Beholding Drona’s son onhis car, the king became bathed in tears. Suffused with shame, O monarch,the king then addressed Saradwat’s son, saying, ‘Blessed be thou, saythou, before others, why the army is thus flying away’. Then Saradwat’sson, O king, repeatedly feeling great anguish, told Drona’s son how hissire had been slain.’

“Kripa said, ‘Placing Drona, that foremost of car-warriors, at our head,we commenced to fight with only the Panchalas. When the battle commenced,the Kurus and the Somakas, mingled together, roared at one another andbegan to strike down one another with their weapons. During the progressof that battle the Dhartarashtras began to be thinned. Seeing this, thysire, filled with rage, invoked into existence a celestial weapon.Indeed, Drona, that bull among men, having invoked the Brahma weapon,slew his enemies with broad-headed arrows, by hundreds, andthousands.[256] Urged by fate, the Pandavas, the Kaikeyas, the Matsyas,and the Panchalas, O foremast of regenerate ones, approaching Drona’scar, began to perish. With his Brahma weapon, Drona despatched untoYama’s abode a thousand brave warriors and two thousand elephants. Of adark complexion, with his gray locks hanging down to his ears, and fullfive and eighty years old, the aged Drona used to careen in battle like ayouth of sixteen, When the enemy’s troops were thus afflicted and thekings were being slain, the Panchalas, though filled with desire ofrevenge, turned back from the fight. When the enemy, turning back,partially lost their order, that vanquisher of foes, (viz., Drona),invoking celestial weapons into the existence, shone resplendent like therisen sun. Indeed, thy valiant sire, getting into the midst of thePandavas, and having arrows for the rays that emanated from him,resembled the midday sun at whom none could gaze. Scorched by Drona, asif by the blazing sun, they became cheerless and deprived of their energyand senses. Beholding them thus afflicted by Drona with his shafts, theslayer of Madhu, desirous of victory to the son of Pandu, said thesewords: ‘Truly, this foremost of all wielders of arms, this leader of theleaders is incapable of being vanquished in battle by the slayer ofVritra himself. Ye sons of Pandu, laying aside righteousness, take careof victory, so that Drona of the golden car may not slay all of you inbattle. I think he will not fight after the fall of Aswatthaman. Let someman falsely tell him that Aswatthaman has been slain in battle.’ Hearingthese words Kunti’s son, Dhananjaya, approved them not. The advice,however, met with the approval of all others, and even of Yudhishthirawith some difficulty. Then, Bhimasena, with a tinge of bashfulness, saidunto thy sire, ‘Aswatthaman hath been slain.’ Thy sire, however, did notbelieve him. Suspecting the intelligence to be false, thy father, soaffectionate towards thee, enquired of Yudhishthira as to whether thouwert really dead or not. Afflicted with the fear of a lie, solicitous atthe same time of victory, Yudhishthira, beholding a mighty elephant, hugeas a hill and called Aswatthaman, belonging to the Malava chief,Indravarman, slain on the field by Bhima, approached Drona and answeredhim, saying, ‘He for whom thou wieldest weapons, he, looking upon whomthou livest that ever dear son of thine, viz., Aswatthaman, hath beenslain, Deprived of life he lieth on the bare ground like a young lion.’Aware fully of the evil consequences of falsehood, the king spoke thosewords unto that best of Brahmans, indistinctly adding elephant (afterAswatthaman). Hearing of the fall of his son, he began to wail aloud,afflicted with grief, Restraining (the force of) his celestial weapons,he fought not as before. Beholding him filled with anxiety, and almostdeprived of his senses by grief, the son of the Panchala king, of crueldeeds, rushed towards him. Seeing the prince who had been ordained as hisslayer, Drona, verse in all truths about men and things, abandoned allhis celestial weapons and sat in Praya on the field of battle. ThenPrishata’s son, seizing Drona’s head with his left hand and disregardingthe loud admonitions of all the heroes, cut off that head.’ Drona shouldnot be slain, even these were the words uttered from every side.Similarly, Arjuna also, jumping down from his car, quickly ran towardsPrishata’s son, with arms upraised and repeatedly saying, ‘O thou thatart acquainted with the ways of morality, do not slay the preceptor butbring him alive.’ Though thus forbidden by the Kauravas as also byArjuna, Dhrishtadyumna killed thy father. For this, afflicted with fear,the troops are all flying away. Ourselves also, for the same reason, ingreat cheerlessness, O sinless one, are doing the same.’

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Hearing of the slaughter of his sire in battle,Drona’s son, like a snake struck with the foot, became filled with fiercewrath. And filled with rage, O sire, Aswatthaman blazed up in that battlelike a fire fed with a large quantity of fuel. As he squeezed his handsand ground his teeth, and breathed like a snake, his eyes became red asblood.'”

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