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Chapter 96

Mahabharata English - KARNA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘After Karna had thus been slain and the Kaurava troopshad fled away, he of Dasharha’s race, embracing Partha from joy, saidunto him these words: “Vritra was slain by thee. Men will talk (in thesame breath) of the slaughter of Vritra and Karna in awful battle. Vritrawas slain in battle by the deity of great energy with his thunder. Karnahath been slain by thee with bow and sharp arrows. Go, O son of Kunti,and represent, O Bharata, unto king Yudhishthira the just, this prowessof thine that is capable of procuring thee great fame and that hathbecome well-known in the world. Having represented unto king Yudhishthirathe just, this slaughter of Karna in battle for compassing which thouhadst been endeavouring for a long course of years, thou wilt be freedfrom the debt thou owest to the king. During the progress of the battlebetween thyself and Karna, the son of Dharma once came for beholding thefield. Having, however, been deeply and exceedingly pierced (witharrows), he could not stay in battle. The king, that bull among men, thenwent back to his tent.” Partha answered Keshava, that bull of Yadu’srace, saying, “So be it!’ The latter then cheerfully caused the car ofthat foremost of car-warriors to turn back. Having said these words untoArjuna, Krishna addressed the soldiers, saying, “Blessed be ye, stand allof you carefully, facing the foe!” Unto Dhrishtadyumna and Yudhamanyu andthe twin sons of Madri and Vrikodara and Yuyudhana, Govinda said, “Yekings, until we come back having informed the king of Karna’s slaughterby Arjuna, stand ye here with care.” Having received the permission ofthese heroes, he then set out for the quarters of the king. With Parthain his company, Govinda beheld Yudhishthira, that tiger among kings,lying on an excellent bed of gold. Both of them then, with great joy,touched the feet of the king. Beholding their joy and the extraordinarywounds on their bodies, Yudhishthira regarded the son of Radha to be deadand rose quickly from his bed. That chastiser of foes, the mighty-armedmonarch, having risen from his bed, repeatedly embraced Vasudeva andArjuna with affection. That descendant of Kuru’s race then asked Vasudeva(the particulars of Karna’s death). Then the sweet-speeched Vasudeva thatdescendant of the Yadu race, spoke to him of Karna’s death exactly as ithad happened. Smiling then, Krishna, otherwise called Acyuta, joined hispalms and addressed king Yudhishthira whose foes had been killed saying,”By good luck, the wielder of Gandiva, and Vrikodara, the son of Pandu,and thyself, and the two sons of Madri, are all safe, having been freedfrom this battle that has been so destructive of heroes and that made thevery hair of the body to stand on end. Do thou those acts, O son ofPandu, which should next be done. The Suta’s son Karna, possessed ofgreat might and otherwise called Vaikartana, hath been slain. By goodluck, victory hath become thine, O king of kings. By good luck, thougrowest, O son of Pandu! The Earth drinketh today the blood of thatSuta’s son, that wretch among men, who had laughed at the dice-wonKrishna. That foe of thine, O bull of Kuru’s race, lieth today on thebare ground, pierced all over with arrows. Behold that tiger among men,pierced and mangled with shafts. O thou of mighty arms, rule now, withcare, this earth that is divested of all thy foes, and enjoy with us, allkinds of enjoyable articles!'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Having heard these words of the high-souled Keshava,Yudhishthira, with great joy, worshipped in return that hero ofDasharha’s race. “Good luck, Good luck!” were the words, O monarch, thathe said. And he added, “It is not wonderful, O mighty-armed one, in thee,O son of Devaki, that Partha, having obtained thee for his charioteer,should achieve feats that are even super-human.” Then that chief ofKuru’s race, that righteous son of Pritha, taking hold of Keshava’s rightarm adorned with Angadas, and addressing both Keshava and Arjuna, said,”Narada told me that ye two are the gods Nara and Narayana, those ancientand best of Rishis, that are ever employed in the preservation ofrighteousness. Gifted with great intelligence, the master KrishnaDvaipayana, the highly blessed Vyasa, also hath repeatedly told me thiscelestial history. Through thy influence, O Krishna, this Dhananjaya theson of Pandu, facing his foes, hath vanquished them, without ever turningback from any of them. Victory, and not defeat, we are certain to have,since thou hast accepted the drivership of Partha in battle.” Having saidthese words, king Yudhishthira the just, that tiger among men, mountinghis car, adorned with gold and having steeds of ivory white and blacktails and fleet as thought harnessed unto it, and surrounded by manyPandava troops, set out, conversing pleasantly with Krishna and Arjunaalong the way, for beholding the field of battle on which thousands ofincidents had taken place. Conversing with those two heroes, viz.,Madhava and Phalguna, the king beheld Karna, that bull among men, lyingon the field of battle. Indeed, king Yudhishthira beheld Karna piercedall over with arrows like a Kadamva flower with straight filaments allaround its body. Yudhishthira beheld Karna illuminated by thousands ofgolden lamps filled with perfumed oil. Having beheld Karna with his sonslain and mangled with shafts sped from Gandiva, king Yudhishthirarepeatedly looked at him before he could believe his eyes. He thenapplauded those tigers among men, Madhava and Phalguna, saying, “OGovinda, today I have become king of the earth, with my brothers, inconsequence of thyself of great wisdom having become my protector andlord. Hearing of the slaughter of that tiger among men, the proud son ofRadha, the wicked-souled son of Dhritarashtra will be filled withdespair, as regards both life and kingdom. Through thy grace, O bullamong men, we have acquired our objects. By good luck, victory hath beenthine, O Govinda! By good luck, the enemy hath been slain. By good luck,the wielder of Gandiva, the son of Pandu, hath been crowned with victory.Thirteen years we have passed in wakefulness and great sorrow. O thou ofmighty arms, through thy grace, we will sleep happily this night.” Inthis way, O ruler of men, king Yudhishthira the just, praised Janardanagreatly as also Arjuna, O monarch!’

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Beholding Karna with his son slain with Partha’sshafts, that perpetuator of Kuru’s race, Yudhishthira, regarded himselfas reborn. The kings (in the Pandava army), great car-warriors–allfilled with joy, approached Kunti’s son Yudhishthira and gladdened himgreatly. Nakula, and Sahadeva, and Vrikodara the son of Pandu, andSatyaki, O king, that foremost of car-warriors among the Vrishnis, andDhrishtadyumna, and Shikhandi, and others among the Pandus, the Pancalas,and the Srinjayas, worshipped the son of Kunti at the slaughter of theSuta’s son. Extolling king Yudhishthira, the son of Pandu, thosedelighters in battle, those effectual smiters, those heroes possessed ofsureness of aim and longing for victory, also praised those scorchers offoes, viz., the two Krishnas, with speeches fraught with panegyrics. Thenthose great car-warriors, filled with delight, proceeded towards theirown camp. Thus occurred that great carnage, making the hair stand on end,in consequence, O king, of thy evil policy! Why dost thou grieve for itnow?'”

Vaishampayana continued, “Hearing those evil tidings, the Kuru kingDhritarashtra suddenly fell down on the ground from his excellent seat.Similarly, the royal lady Gandhari of great foresight fell down. Sheindulged in diverse lamentations, for the slaughter of Karna in battle.Then Vidura and Sanjaya both raised the fallen monarch and began toconsole him. Similarly the Kuru ladies raised Gandhari. Thinking destinyand necessity to be all powerful, that royal ascetic, under that greatgrief, seemed to lose his senses. His heart filled with anxiety andsorrow, the king, however, did not again swoon away. Comforted by them,he remained silent, indulging in melancholy musing. He that reads of thisgreat battle, which is like unto a sacrifice, between the high-souledDhananjaya and Adhiratha’s son, so also he that hears the account of thisbattle read, both obtain, O Bharata, the fruit of a great sacrifice dulyperformed. The learned say that the holy and the eternal Vishnu isSacrifice, and each of those other gods, viz., Agni, Wind, Soma, andSurya, is so. Therefore, he that will, without malice, hear or recitethis Parvan, will be happy and capable of attaining to every region ofbliss. Filled with devotion, men always read this sacred and first ofSamhitas. They that do, rejoice, obtaining wealth, and grain, and fame. Aman must, therefore, ever hear it without malice. He that does so willobtain all kinds of happiness. With that foremost of persons, Vishnu, andthe illustrious Self-born, and Bhava also, become pleased. A Brahmana, byreading it, would obtain the fruit of having studied the Vedas; aKshatriya obtains strength and victory in battle; Vaishyas would obtainimmense wealth, and Shudras would obtain health and freedom from disease.Then again the illustrious Vishnu is eternal. And since it is that godwho hath been glorified in this Parvan, it is for this that the manreading or hearing it becometh happy and acquireth all the objects of hisheart. These words of the great Rishi (Vyasa) can never the untrue! Themerit that may be attained by listening to the recitation of the KarnaParvan is equal to his who giveth away unceasingly for a whole year goodcows with calves.”

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