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Chapter 99

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection is cited the old story of the battlebetween Pratardana and the ruler of Mithila. The ruler of Mithila, viz.,Janaka, after installation in the sacrifice of battle, gladdened all histroops (on the eve of fight). Listen to me, O as I recite the story.Janaka, the high souled king of Mithila, conversant with the truth ofeverything, showed both heaven and hell unto his own warriors. Headdressed them, saying, ‘Behold, these are the regions, endued with greatsplendour, for those that fight fearlessly. Full of Gandharva girls,those regions are eternal and capable of granting every wish. There, onthe other side, are the regions of hell, intended for those that fly awayfrom battle. They would have to rot there for eternity in everlastingingloriousness. Resolved upon casting away your very lives, do ye conqueryour foes. Do not fall into inglorious hell. The laying down of life, (inbattle) constitutes, in respect of heroes, their happy door of heaven.’Thus addressed by their king, O subjugator of hostile towns, the warriorsof Mithila, gladdening their rulers, vanquished their foes in battle.They that are of firm souls should take their stand in the van of battle.The car-warriors should be placed in the midst of elephants. Behind thecar-warriors should stand the horsemen. Behind the last should be placedthe foot-soldiers all accoutred in mail. That king who forms his array inthis manner always succeeds in vanquishing his foes. Therefore, OYudhishthira, the array of battle should always be thus formed. Filledwith rage, heroes desire to will blessedness in heaven by fightingfairly. Like Makaras agitating the ocean, they agitate the ranks of thefoe. Assuring one another, they should gladden those (amongst them) thatare cheerless. The victor should protect the land newly conquered (fromacts of aggression). He should not cause his troops to pursue too muchthe routed foe. The onset is irresistible of persons that rally after therout and that, despairing of safety, assail their pursuers. For thisreason, O king, thou shouldst not cause thy troops to pursue too much therouted roe. Warriors of courage do not wish to strike them that run awaywith speed. That is another reason why the routed foe should not bepursued hotly. Things that are immobile are devoured by those that aremobile; creatures that are toothless are devoured by those that haveteeth; water is drunk by the thirsty; cowards are devoured by heroes.Cowards sustain defeat though they have, like the victors, similar backsand stomachs and arms and legs. They that are afflicted with fear bendtheir heads and joining their hands stay before those that are possessedof courage. This world rests on the arms of heroes like a son on those ofhis sire. He, therefore, that is a hero deserves respect under everycircumstance. There is nothing higher in the three worlds than heroism.The hero protects and cherishes all, and all things depend upon thehero.'”

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