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Chapter 1

Mahabharata English - KARNA PARVA

Om! Having bowed down unto Narayana, and unto that most exalted of malebeings, Nara, and unto the goddess Sarasvati also, must the word Jaya beuttered.

Vaishampayana said, “After Drona had been slain, O monarch, the royalwarriors (of the Kaurava army) headed by Duryodhana, with hearts filledwith great anxiety, all repaired to Drona’s son. Lamenting the loss ofDrona, and deprived of energy in consequence of their cheerlessness, theysat around the son of Sharadvata’s daughter, afflicted with grief.Comforted for a little while by considerations founded upon thescriptures, when night came, those rulers of Earth proceeded to theirrespective tents. Those lords of Earth, however, O thou of Kuru’s race,could feel no happiness in their abodes. Thinking of that immenseslaughter, they could not also sleep. The Suta’s son (Karna), and kingSuyodhana and Duhshasana and Shakuni, in special, could not composethemselves to sleep. Those four passed that night together inDuryodhana’s tent, reflecting upon the woes they had inflicted upon thehigh-souled Pandavas. Formerly they had brought Draupadi, plunged intowoe on account of the match at dice, into the assembly. Recollecting itthey experienced great regret, their hearts being filled with anxiety.Thinking of those sufferings inflicted (upon the Pandavas) in consequenceof the gambling match they passed that night in sorrow, O king, as if itwere really a hundred years. Then when morning came, observing thedictates of the ordinance, all of them duly went through the customaryrites. Having gone through these customary rites, and comforted to someextent, O Bharata, they ordered their troops to be arrayed, and then cameout for battle, having made Karna their generalissimo by tying theauspicious thread round his wrists, and having caused many foremost ofbrahmanas, by presents of vessels of curds, clarified butter, akshatas,coins of gold, kine, jewels and gems, and costly robes, to pray for theirvictory, and having caused heralds and musicians, and panegyrists toadore them with hymns about victory. The Pandavas also, O king, havinggone through their morning rites, issued from their camp, resolved onbattle. Then commenced a fierce battle, making the hair to stand on end,between the Kurus and the Pandavas, each desirous of vanquishing theother. During the commandership of Karna, the battle that took placebetween the Kuru and the Pandava troops was exceedingly fierce and lastedfor two days. Then Vrisha (Karna) having made an immense slaughter of hisenemies in battle, was at last slain in the sight of the Dhartarashtras,by Arjuna. Then Sanjaya, repairing to Hastinapura told Dhritarashtra allthat had happened at Kurujangala.”

Janamejaya said, “Having heard of the fall of Bhishma and that othermighty car-warrior, Drona, the old king Dhritarashtra the son of Ambikahad been afflicted with great grief. How, O foremost of brahmanas, couldhe, plunged into grief, support his life having heard of the death ofKarna, that well-wisher of Duryodhana? How indeed, could that descendantof Kuru support his life when he, upon whom that monarch had rested thehope of his sons’ victory, had fallen? When the king did not lay down hislife even after hearing of Karna’s death, I think that it is verydifficult for men to yield up life even under circumstances of greatgrief! O brahmana, when the king did not yield up his life after hearingof the fall of the venerable son of Shantanu, of Bahlika and Drona andSomadatta and Bhurishrava, as also other friends and his sons andgrandsons, I think, O regenerate one, that the act of yielding up one’slife is exceedingly difficult! Tell me all these in detail and as theyactually happened! I am not satiated with hearing the high achievementsof my ancestors!”

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