Chapter 72

Mahabharata English - KARNA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘Having with a cheerful heart gratified king Yudhishthirathe just, Partha, prepared to slay the Suta’s son, addressed Govinda,saying, “Let my car be once more equipped and let my foremost of steedsbe yoked thereto. Let all kinds of weapon be placed upon that greatvehicle. The steeds have rolled on the ground. They have been trained bypersons skilled in horse lore. Along with the other equipment of the car,let them be quickly brought and decked in their trappings. Proceedquickly, O Govinda, for the slaughter of the Suta’s son.” Thus addressed,O monarch, by the high-souled Phalguna, Krishna commanded Daruka, saying,”Do all that Arjuna, that chief of Bharata’s race and that foremost ofall wielders of the bow, hath said.” Thus ordered by Krishna, Daruka, Obest of kings, yoked those steeds unto that car covered with tiger-skinsand ever capable of scorching all foes. He then represented unto thehigh-souled son of Pandu the fact of having equipped his vehicle.Beholding the car equipped by the high-souled Daruka, Phalguna, obtainingYudhishthira’s leave and causing the Brahmanas to perform propitiatoryrites and utter benedictions on him, ascended that excellent vehicle.King Yudhishthira the just, of great wisdom, also blessed him. Afterthis, Phalguna proceeded towards Karna’s car. Beholding that great bowmanthus proceeding, all creatures, O Bharata, regarded Karna as alreadyslain by the high-souled Pandava. All the points of the compass, O king,became serene. King-fishers and parrots and herons, O king, wheeledaround the son of Pandu. A large number of beautiful and auspiciousbirds, O king, called Pung, causing Arjuna (by their timely appearance)to put forth greater speed in battle, cheerfully uttered their criesaround him. Terrible Kankas and vultures, and cranes and hawks andravens, O king, tempted by the prospect of food, proceeded in advance ofhis car, and indicated auspicious omens foreboding the destruction of thehostile host and the slaughter of Karna. And while Partha proceeded, acopious perspiration covered his body. His anxiety also became very greatas to how he would achieve his vow. The slayer of Madhu then, beholdingPartha filled with anxiety as he proceeded, addressed the wielder ofGandiva and said these words.

“‘Vasudeva said, “O wielder of Gandiva, save thee there exists no otherman that could vanquish those whom thou hast vanquished with this bow ofthine. We have seen many heroes, who, endued with prowess like thatSakra, have attained to the highest regions, encountering thy heroic selfin battle! Who else, O puissant one, that is not equal to thee, would besafe and sound after encountering Drona and Bhishma and Bhagadatta, Osire, and Vinda and Anuvinda of Avanti and Sudakshina, the chief of theKambojas and Srutayudha of mighty energy and Acyutayudha as well? Thouhast celestial weapons, and lightness of hand and might, and thou artnever stupefied in battle! Thou hast also that humility which is due toknowledge! Thou canst strike with effect! Thou hast sureness of aim, andpresence of mind as regards the selection of means, O Arjuna! Thou artcompetent to destroy all mobile and immobile creatures including the verygods with the Gandharvas! On earth, O Partha, there is no human warriorwho is equal to thee in battle. Amongst all Kshatriyas, invincible inbattle, that wield the bow, amongst the very gods, I have not seen orheard of even one that is equal to thee. The Creator of all beings, viz.,Brahma himself created the great bow Gandiva with which thou fightest, OPartha! For this reason there is no one that is equal to thee. I must,however, O son of Pandu, say that which is beneficial to thee. Do not. Omighty-armed one, disregard Karna, that ornament of battle! Karna ispossessed of might. He is proud and accomplished in weapons. He is amaharatha. He is accomplished (in the ways of battle) and conversant withall modes of warfare. He is also well-acquainted with all that suitsplace and time. What need is there of saying much? Hear in brief, O sonof Pandu! I regard the mighty car-warrior Karna as thy equal, or perhaps,thy superior! With the greatest care and resolution shouldst thou slayhim in great battle. In energy he is equal to Agni. As regards speed, heis equal to the impetuosity of the wind. In wrath, he resembles theDestroyer himself. Endued with might, he resembles a lion in theformation of his body. He is eight ratnis in stature. His arms are large.His chest is broad. He is invincible. He is sensitive. He is a hero. Heis, again, the foremost of heroes. He is exceedingly handsome. Possessedof every accomplishment of a warrior, he is a dispeller of the fears offriends. Engaged in the good of Dhritarashtra’s son, he always hates thesons of Pandu. No one, not even the gods with Vasava at their head, canslay the son of Radha, save thee, as I think. Slay, therefore, the Suta’sson today. No one possessed of flesh and blood, not even the godsfighting with great care, not all the warriors (of the three worlds)fighting together can vanquish that car-warrior. Towards the Pandavas heis always of wicked soul and sinful behaviour, and cruel, and of wickedintelligence. In his quarrel with the sons of Pandu, he is actuated by noconsideration affecting his own interests. Slaying that Karna, therefore,fulfill thy purpose today. Despatch today unto Yama’s presence thatSuta’s son, that foremost of car-warriors, whose death is near. Indeed,slaying that Suta’s son, that first of car-warriors, show the love forYudhishthira the just. I know thy prowess truly, O Partha, which isincapable of being resisted by the gods and Asuras. The Suta’s son ofwicked soul, from exceeding pride, always disregards the sons of Pandu. ODhananjaya, slay that man today for whose sake the wretched Duryodhanaregardeth himself a hero, that root of all (those) sinful persons, thatson of a Suta. Slay, O Dhananjaya, that tiger among men, that active andproud Karna, who hath a sword for his tongue, a bow for his mouth, andarrows for his teeth. I know thee well as regards the energy and themight that are in thee. Slay the brave Karna in battle, like a lionslaying an elephant. Slay in battle today, O Partha, that Karna,otherwise called Vaikartana, in consequence of whose energyDhritarashtra’s son disregards thine.'”

Chapter 71
Chapter 73
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