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Chapter 36

Mahabharata English - KARNA PARVA

“‘Duryodhana said, “This one, O Karna, will act as thy driver, this rulerof the Madras, who is superior to Krishna, like Matali the driver of thechief of the celestials. Indeed, as Matali taketh the management of thecar unto which the steeds of Indra are attached, even so will Shalya bethe driver of the steeds of thy car today. With thyself as warrior onthat vehicle and the ruler of the Madras as its driver, that foremost ofcar will certainly vanquish the Parthas in battle.'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘When the morning came, O monarch, Duryodhana oncemore addressed the ruler of the Madras endued with great activity,saying, “O ruler of the Madras, hold the reins in battle of Karna’sforemost of steeds. Protected by thee, the son of Radha will vanquishDhananjaya.” Thus addressed, Shalya, answering, “So be it” ascended thecar, O Bharata. When Shalya approached that car, Karna with a cheerfulheart addressed his driver, saying, “O charioteer, quickly equip the carfor me.” Having duly equipped that triumphal car, the foremost of itskind, which resembled the vapoury mansions in the sky, Shalya presentedit to Karna, saying, “Blessed be thou, victory to thee.” Then Karna, thatforemost of car-warriors, duly worshipping that car which had in days ofold been sanctified by a priest conversant with Brahma, andcircumambulating it and carefully adoring the god Surya addressed theruler of the Madras standing near, saying, “Ascend the vehicle.”Thereupon Shalya of mighty energy ascended that large, invincible, andforemost of cars, belonging to Karna like a lion ascending a mountainsummit. Beholding Shalya stationed, Karna ascended his excellent car likethe Sun riding on a mass of clouds charged with lightning. Mounted on thesame car, those two heroes endued with the splendour or the Sun of firelooked resplendent like Surya and Agni sitting together on a cloud in thefirmament. Eulogised then (by bards and panegyrists), those two heroes ofgreat effulgence looked like Indra and Agni adored with hymns in asacrifice by Ritwiks and Sadasyas. Karna stood on that car, the reins ofwhose steeds were held by Shalya, stretching his formidable bow, like theSun himself within a halo of circular light. Stationed on that foremostof cars, that tiger among men, Karna, with his shafts constituting hisrays, looked beautiful like the Sun on the Mandara mountains. Unto themighty-armed son of Radha that warrior of immeasurable energy, stationedon his car for battle. Duryodhana said these words, “O son of Adhiratha,O hero, do thou achieve that feat difficult of accomplishment which Dronaand Bhishma have not achieved in the very sight of all the bowmen. I hadalways believed that those two mighty car-warriors, viz., Bhishma andDrona, would without doubt slay Arjuna and Bhimasena in battle. Like asecond wielder of the thunderbolt, O son of Radha, do thou in greatbattle achieve that feat worthy of a hero which was not achieved by thosetwo. Either seize king Yudhishthira the just or slay Dhananjaya andBhimasena, O son of Radha, and the twin sons of Madri. Blessed be thou,let victory be thine. Set out for battle, O tiger among men. Reduce toashes all the troops of Pandu’s son.” Then thousands of trumpets and tensof thousands of drums, sounded together, produced a noise like that ofthe clouds in the welkin. Accepting those words (of Duryodhana), theforemost of car-warriors stationed on his car, viz., the son of Radha,addressed Shalya, that warrior accomplished in battle, saying, “Urge thesteeds, O mighty-armed one, so that I may slay Dhananjaya and Bhimasenaand both the twins and king Yudhishthira. O Shalya, let Dhananjaya beholdtoday the might of my arms, when I will be engaged in shooting shaftswinged with Kanka feathers in hundreds and thousands. Today, O Shalya, Iwill shoot shafts with great energy for the destruction of the Pandavasand the victory of Duryodhana.”

“‘”Shalya said, “O Suta’s son, why dost thou think so low of the sons ofPandu, all of whom are endued with great might, all of whom are greatbowmen, and all of whom are acquainted with every weapon? They areunretreating, of great good fortune, invincible, and of prowess incapableof being baffled. They are capable of inspiring fear in the heart ofIndra himself. When, son of Radha thou wilt hear the twang of Gandiva inbattle, resembling the peal of the thunder itself, thou wilt not thenutter such speeches. When thou wilt behold Dharma’s son and the twinscausing a canopy, like that of the clouds in the welkin, with their sharparrows, and the other invincible kings (of the Pandava army), endued withgreat lightness of hands and shooting (showers of shafts) and weakeningtheir foes, then thou wilt not utter such words.'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Disregarding those words spoken by the ruler of theMadras, Karna addressing him endued with great activity, saying,”Proceed.”‘”

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