Chapter 5

Mahabharata English - DRONA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding that tiger among men, viz., Karna, mounted onhis car, Duryodhana, O king, filled with joy, said these words, ‘Thishost, protected by thee, hath now, I think, got a proper leader. Letthat, however, be settled now which is proper and within our power.’

‘Karna said, ‘Tell us thyself, O tiger among men, for thou art the wisestof kings. Another can never see so well what should be done as one seethit whose concern it is. Those kings are all desirous of listening to whatthou mayst have to say. I am sure that no improper words will be utteredby thee.’

“Duryodhana, said, ‘Bhishma was our commander possessed (as he was) ofyears, prowess, and learning and supported by all our warriors. Thathigh-souled one, O Karna, achieving great glory and slaying large numbersof my enemies protected us by fair fight for ten days. He achieved themost difficult of feats. But now that he is about to ascend to heaven,whom, O Karna, dost thou think fit to our commander after him? Without aleader, an army cannot stay in battle for even a short while. Thou artforemost in battle, like a boat without a helmsman in the waters. Indeed,as a boat without a helmsman, or a car without a driver, would goanywhere, so would the plight be of a host that is without a leader. Likea merchant who falleth into every kind of distress when he isunacquainted with the ways of the country he visits, an army that iswithout a leader is exposed to every kind of distress. Look thou,therefore, among all the high-souled warriors of our army and find out aproper leader who may succeed the son of Santanu. Him whom thou wouldstregard as a fit leader in battle, him, all of us, without doubt, willtogether make our leader.’

“Karna said, ‘All these foremost of men are high-souled persons. Everyone of them deserveth to be our leader. There is no need of any minuteexamination. All of them are conversant with noble genealogies and withthe art of smiting; all of them are endued with prowess and intelligence,all of them are attentive and acquainted with the scriptures, possessedof wisdom, and unretreating from battle.[8] All, however, cannot beleaders at the same time. Only one should be selected as leader, in whomare special merits. All of these regard one another as equals. If oneamongst them, therefore, be honoured, others will be dissatisfied, and,it is evident, will no longer fight for thee from a desire of benefitingthee. This one, however, is the Preceptor (in arms) of all thesewarriors; is venerable in years, and worthy of respect. Therefore, Drona,this foremost of all wielders of weapons, should be made the leader. Whois there worthy of becoming a leader, when the invincible Drona, thatforemost of persons conversant with Brahma, is here, that one who isequal to Sukra or Vrihaspati himself? Amongst all the kings in thy army,O Bharata, there is not a single warrior who will not follow Drona whenthe latter goeth to battle.[9] This Drona is the foremost of all leadersof forces, the foremost of all wielders of weapons, and the foremost ofall intelligent persons. He is, besides, O king, thy preceptor (in arms).Therefore, O Duryodhana, make this one the leader of thy forces withoutdelay, as the celestials made Kartikeya their leader in battle forvanquishing the Asuras.'”

Chapter 6
Chapter 4
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