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Chapter 94

Mahabharata English - KARNA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘The ruler of the Madras then, beholding thy son employedin rallying the troops, with fear depicted on his countenance and withheart stupefied with grief, said these words unto Duryodhana.

“‘Shalya said, “Behold this awful field of battle, O hero, covered withheaps of slain men and steeds and elephants. Some tracts are covered withfallen elephants huge as mountains, exceedingly mangled, their vitallimbs pierced with shafts, lying helplessly, deprived of life, theirarmour displaced and the weapons, the shields and the swords with whichthey were equipped lying scattered about. These fallen animals resemblehuge mountains riven with thunder, with their rocks and lofty trees andherbs loosened from them and lying all around. The bells and iron hooksand lances and standards with which those huge creatures had beenequipped are lying on the ground. Adorned with housings of gold, theirbodies are now bathed in blood. Some tracts, again, are covered withfallen steeds, mangled with shafts, breathing hard in pain and vomittingblood. Some of them are sending forth soft wails of pain, some are bitingthe earth with rolling eyes and some are uttering piteous neighs.Portions of the field are covered with horsemen and elephant-warriorsfallen off from their animals, and with bands of car-warriors forciblythrown down from their cars. Some of them are already dead and some areat the point of death. Covered also with the corpses of men and steedsand elephants as also with crushed cars and other huge elephants withtheir trunks and limbs cut off, the earth has become awful to look atlike the great Vaitarani (skirting the domains of Yama). Indeed, theearth looketh even such, being strewn with other elephants, stretched onthe ground with trembling bodies and broken tusks, vomiting blood,uttering soft cries in pain, deprived of the warriors on their backs,divested of the armour that covered their limbs, and reft of thefoot-soldiers that protected their flank and rear, and with their quiversand banners and standards displaced, their bodies adorned with housingsof gold struck deep with the weapons of the foe. The earth looked likethe cloud-covered welkin in consequence of being strewn with the fallenbodies of elephant-warriors and horse-men and carwarriors, all of greatfame, and of foot-soldiers slain by foes fighting face to face, anddivested of armour and ornaments and attire and weapons. Covered withthousands of fallen combatants mangled with arrows, fully exposed toview, and deprived of consciousness, with some amongst them whose breathswere returning slowly, the earth seemed as if covered with manyextinguished fires. With those foremost of heroes among both the Kurusand the Srinjayas, pierced with arrows and deprived of life by Partha andKarna, the earth seemed as if strewn with blazing planets fallen from thefirmament, or like the nocturnal firmament itself bespangled with blazingplanets of serene light. The shafts sped from the arms of Karna andArjuna, piercing through the bodies of elephants and steeds and men andquickly stilling their lives, entered the earth like mighty snakesentering their holes with heads bent downwards. The earth has becomeimpassable with heaps of slain men and steeds and elephants, and withcars broken with the shafts of Dhananjaya and Adhiratha’s son and withthe numberless shafts themselves shot by them. Strewn with well-equippedcars crushed by means of mighty shafts along with the warriors and theweapons and the standards upon them, cars, that is, with their tracesbroken, their joints separated, their axles and yokes and Trivenusreduced to fragments, their wheels loosened, their Upaskaras destroyed,their Anukarsanas cut in pieces, the fastenings of their quivers cut off,and their niches (for the accommodation of drivers) broken, strewn withthose vehicles adorned with gems and gold, the earth looks like thefirmament overspread with autumnal clouds. In consequence ofwell-equipped royal cars deprived of riders and dragged by fleet steeds,as also of men and elephants and cars and horses that fled very quickly,the army has been broken in diverse ways. Spiked maces with golden bells,battle-axes, sharp lances, heavy clubs, mallets, bright unsheathedswords, and maces covered with cloth of gold, have fallen on the field.Bows decked with ornaments of gold, and shafts equipped with beautifulwings of pure gold, and bright unsheathed rapiers of excellent temper,and lances, and scimitars bright as gold, and umbrellas, and fans, andconchs, and arms decked with excellent flowers and gold, and caparisonsof elephants, and standards, and car fences and diadems, and necklaces,and brilliant crowns, and yak-tails lying about, O king, and garlandsluminous with corals and pearls, and chaplets for the head, and braceletsfor both the wrist and the upper arms, and collars for the neck withstrings of gold, and diverse kinds of costly diamonds and gems andpearls, and bodies brought up in a great luxury, and heads beautiful asthe moon, are lying scattered about. Abandoning their bodies andenjoyments and robes and diverse kinds of agreeable pleasures, andacquiring great merit for the devotion they showed to the virtuous oftheir order, they have speedily gone in a blaze of flame to regions ofbliss. Turn back, O Duryodhana! Let the troops retire! O king, O giver ofhonours, proceed towards thy camp! There, the Sun is hanging low in thewelkin, O lord! Remember, O ruler of men, that thou art the cause of allthis!”

“‘Having said these words unto Duryodhana, Shalya, with heart filled withgrief, stopped. Duryodhana, however, at that time, deeply afflicted anddeprived of his senses, and with eyes bathed in tears, wept for theSuta’s son, saying, “Karna! Oh Karna!” Then all the kings headed byDrona’s son, repeatedly comforting Duryodhana, proceeded towards thecamp, frequently looking back at the lofty standard of Arjuna that seemedto be ablaze with his fame. At that terrible hour when everything aroundlooked so resplendent, the Kauravas, all of whom had resolved to repairto the other world, their features incapable of recognition owing to theblood that covered them, beholding the earth, that was drenched with theblood flowing from the bodies of men and steeds and elephants, lookinglike a courtesan attired in crimson robes and floral garlands andornaments of gold, were unable, O king, to stand there! Filled with griefat the slaughter of Karna, they indulged in loud lamentations, saying,”Alas, Karna! Alas Karna!” Beholding the Sun assume a crimson hue, all ofthem speedily proceeded towards their camp. As regards Karna, thoughslain and pierced with gold-winged shafts whetted on stone and equippedwith feathers and dyed in blood and sped from gandiva, yet that hero,lying on the ground, looked resplendent like the Sun himself of brightrays. It seemed that illustrious Surya, ever kind to his worshippers,having touched with his rays the gore-drenched body of Karna, proceeded,with aspect crimson in grief, to the other ocean from desire of a bath.Thinking so, the throngs of celestials and rishis (that had come therefor witnessing the battle) left the scene for proceeding to theirrespective abodes. The large crowd of other beings also, entertaining thesame thought, went away, repairing as they chose to heaven or the earth.The foremost of Kuru heroes also, having beheld that wonderful battlebetween Dhananjaya and Adhiratha’s son, which had inspired all livingcreatures with dread, proceeded (to their nightly quarters), filled withwonder and applauding (the encounter). Though his armour had been cut offwith arrows, and though he had been slain in course of that dreadfulfight, still that beauty of features which the son of Radha possessed didnot abandon him when dead. Indeed, everyone beheld the body of the heroto resemble heated gold. It seemed to be endued with life and possessedof the effulgence of fire or the sun. All the warriors, O king, wereinspired with fright at sight of the Suta’s son lying dead on the field,like other animals at sight of the lion. Indeed, though dead, that tigeramong men seemed ready to utter his commands. Nothing, in thatillustrious dead, seemed changed. Clad in beautiful attire, and possessedof a neck that was very beautiful, the Suta’s son owned a face whichresembled the full moon in splendour. Adorned with diverse ornaments anddecked with Angadas made of bright gold, Vaikartana, though slain, laystretched like a gigantic tree adorned with branches and twigs. Indeed,that tiger among men lay like a heap of pure gold, or like a blazing fireextinguished with the water of Partha’s shafts. Even as a blazingconflagration is extinguished when it comes in contact with water, theKarna-conflagration was extinguished by the Partha-cloud in the battle.Having shot showers of arrows and scorched the ten points of the compass,that tiger among men, viz., Karna, along with his sons, was quieted byPartha’s energy. He left the world, taking away with him that blazingglory of his own which he had earned on earth by fair fight. Havingscorched the Pandavas and the Pancalas with the energy of his weapons,having poured showers of arrows and burnt the hostile divisions, having,indeed, heated the universe like the thousand-rayed Surya of greatbeauty, Karna, otherwise called Vaikartana, left the world, with his sonsand followers. Thus fell that hero who was a Kalpa tree unto those swarmsof birds represented by suitors. Solicited by suitors he always said, “Igive” but never the words “I have not!” The righteous always regarded himas a righteous person. Even such was Vrisha who fell in single combat.All the wealth of that high-souled person had been dedicated to theBrahmanas. There was nothing, not even his life, that he could not giveaway unto the Brahmanas. He was ever the favourite of ladies, exceedinglyliberal, and a mighty car-warrior. Burnt by the weapons of Partha, heattained to the highest end. He, relying upon whom thy son had provokedhostilities, thus went to heaven, taking away with him the hope ofvictory, the happiness, and the armour of the Kauravas. When Karna fell,the rivers stood still. The Sun set with a pale hue. The planet Mercury,the son of Soma, assuming the hue of fire or the Sun, appeared to coursethrough the firmament in a slanting direction. The firmament seemed to berent in twain; the earth uttered loud roars; violent and awful windsbegan to blow. All the points of the horizon, covered with smoke, seemedto be ablaze. The great oceans were agitated and uttered awful sounds.The mountains with their forests began to tremble, and all creatures, Osire, felt pain. The planet Jupiter, afflicting the constellation Rohiniassumed the hue of the moon or the sun. Upon the fall of Karna, thesubsidiary points also of the compass became ablaze. The sky becameenveloped in darkness. The earth trembled. Meteors of blazing splendourfell. Rakshasas and other wanderers of the night became filled with joy.When Arjuna, with that razor-faced shaft, struck off Karna’s head adornedwith a face beautiful as the moon, then, O king, loud cries of “Oh!” and”Alas!” were heard of creatures in heaven, in the welkin, and on theearth. Having in battle slain his foe Karna who was worshipped by thegods, the gandharvas, and human beings, Pritha’s son Arjuna lookedresplendent in his energy like the deity of a 1,000 eyes after theslaughter of Vritra. Then riding on that car of theirs whose rattleresembled the roar of the clouds and whose splendour was like that of themeridian sun of the autumnal sky, which was adorned with banners andequipped with a standard incessantly producing an awful noise, whoseeffulgence resembled that of the snow or the Moon or the conch or thecrystal, and whose steeds were like those of Indra himself, those twoforemost of men, viz., the son of Pandu and the crusher of Keshi, whoseenergy resembled that of the great Indra, and who were adorned with goldand pearls and gems and diamonds and corals, and who were like fire orthe sun in splendour, fearlessly careered over the field of battle withgreat speed, like Vishnu and Vasava mounted on the same chariot. Forciblydivesting the enemy of his splendour by means of the twang of gandiva andthe slaps of their palms, and slaying the Kurus with showers of shafts,the Ape-bannered Arjuna, the Garuda-bannered Krishna, both of whom werepossessed of immeasurable prowess, those two foremost of men, filled withjoy, took up with their hands their loud-sounding conchs adorned withgold and white as snow, and placing them against their lips, blewsimultaneously with those beautiful mouths of theirs, piercing the heartsof their foes with the sound. The blare of pancajanya and that ofdevadatta filled the earth, the sky, and heaven.

At the sound of the heroic Madhava’s conch as also at that of Arjuna’s,all the Kauravas, O best of kings, became filled with fright. Thoseforemost of men, causing the forests, the mountains, the rivers and thepoints of the compass to resound with the blare of their conchs, andfilling the army of thy son with fright, gladdened Yudhishthiratherewith. As soon as the Kauravas heard the blare of those conchs thatwere thus being blown, all of them left the field with great speed,deserting the ruler of the Madras and the chief of the Bharatas, OBharata, viz., Duryodhana. Then diverse creatures, uniting together,congratulated Dhananjaya, that hero shining resplendent on the field ofbattle, as also Janardana, those two foremost of men who then looked likea couple of risen suns. Pierced with Karna’s arrows, those two chastisersof foes, Acyuta and Arjuna, looked resplendent like the bright andmany-rayed moon and the sun risen after dispelling a gloom. Casting offthose arrows, those two mighty warriors, both endued with unrivalledprowess, surrounded by well-wishers and friends, happily entered theirown encampment, like the lords Vasava and Vishnu duly invoked bysacrificial priests. Upon the slaughter of Karna in that dreadful battle,the gods, gandharvas, human beings, caranas, great rishis, yakshas, andgreat nagas, worshipped Krishna and Arjuna with great respect and wishedthem victory (in all things). Having received all their friends then,each according to his age, and applauded by those friends in return fortheir incomparable feats, the two heroes rejoiced with their friends,like the chief of the celestials and Vishnu after the overthrow of Vali.'”

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