Chapter 5

Mahabharata English - SAUPTIKA PARVA

Kripa said, “A person who is bereft of intelligence and who hath not hispassions under control, cannot, even if he waits dutifully upon hissuperiors, understand all the considerations of morality. This is myopinion. Similarly, an intelligent person who does not practise humilityfails to understand the settled conclusions of morality. A brave man, ifbereft of understanding, by waiting all his life upon a learned personfails to know his duties, like a wooden ladle unable to taste the juicysoup (in which it may lie immersed). The wise man, however, by waitingupon a learned person for even a moment, succeeds in knowing his duties,like the tongue tasting the juicy soup (as soon as it comes into contactwith the latter). That person who is endued with intelligence, who waitsupon his superiors, and who has his passions under control succeeds inknowing all the rules of morality and never disputes with what isaccepted by all. An ungovernable, irreverent, and sinful person of wickedsoul perpetrates sin in seeking his well-being by disregarding destiny.

Well-wishers seek to restrain a friend from sin. He who suffers himselfto be dissuaded, succeeds in winning prosperity. He that does otherwisereaps misery. As a person of disordered brains is restrained by soothingwords, even so should a friend be restrained by well-wishers. He thatsuffers himself to be so restrained never becomes a prey to misery. Whena wise friend is about to perpetrate a wicked act, well-wishers possessedof wisdom repeatedly and according to the extent of their power endeavourto restrain him. Setting thy heart on what is truly beneficial, andrestraining thyself by thy own self, do my bidding, O son, so that thoumayst not have to repent afterwards.

In this world, the slaughter of sleeping persons is not applauded,agreeably to the dictates of religion. The same is the case with personsthat have laid down their arms and come down from cars and steeds. Theyalso are unslayable who say We are thine!’ and they that surrenderthemselves, and they whose locks are dishevelled, and they whose animalshave been killed under them or whose cars have been broken. All thePancalas will sleep tonight. O lord, divesting themselves of armour.Trustfully sunk in sleep, they will be like dead men. That crooked-mindedman who would wage hostility with them then, it is evident, would sink indeep and limitless hell without a raft save himself. In this world thouart celebrated as the foremost of all persons conversant with weapons.Thou hast not as yet committed even a minute trespass. When the sun risesnext morning and light shall discover all things, thyself, like a secondsun in effulgence wilt conquer the foe in battle. This censurable deed,so impossible in one like thee, will look like a red spot on a whitesheet. Even this is my opinion.”

Ashvatthama said, “Without doubt, it is even so, O maternal uncle, asthou sayest. The Pandavas, however, have before this broken the bridge ofrighteousness into a hundred fragments. In the very sight of all thekings, before thy eyes also, my sire, after he had laid down his weapons,was slain by Dhrishtadyumna. Karna also, that foremost of car-warriors,after the wheel of his car had sunk and he had been plunged into greatdistress, was slain by the wielder of gandiva. Similarly, Shantanu’s sonBhishma, after he had laid aside his weapons and become disarmed, wasslain by Arjuna with Shikhandi placed in his van. So also, the mightybowman Bhurishrava, while observant of the praya vow on the field ofbattle, was slain by Yuyudhana in total disregard of the cries of all thekings! Duryodhana too, having encountered Bhima in battle with the mace,hath been slain unrighteously by the former in the very sight of all thelords of earth. The king was all alone in the midst of a large number ofmighty car-warriors standing around him. Under such circumstances wasthat tiger among men slain by Bhimasena. Those lamentations that I haveheard, of the king lying prostrate on the earth with his thighs broken,from the messengers circulating the news, are cutting the very core of myheart. The unrighteous and sinful Pancalas, who have broken down thebarrier of virtue, are even such. Why do you not censure them who havetransgressed all considerations? Having slain the Pancalas, those slayersof my sire, in the night when they are buried in sleep, I care not if Iam born a worm or a winged insect in my next life. That which I haveresolved is hurrying me towards its accomplishment. Hurried as I am byit, how can I have sleep and happiness? That man is not yet born in theworld, nor will be, who will succeed in baffling this resolution that Ihave formed for their destruction.”

Sanjaya continued, “Having said these words, O monarch, the valiant sonof Drona yoked his steeds to his car at a corner and set out towards thedirection of his enemies. Then Bhoja and Sharadvata’s son, thosehigh-souled persons, addressed him, saying, “Why dost thou yoke thesteeds to thy car? Upon what business art thou bent? We are determined toaccompany thee tomorrow, O bull among men! We sympathise with thee inweal and woe. It behoveth thee not to mistrust us. Remembering theslaughter of his sire, Ashvatthama in rage told them truly about the featthat he had resolved to accomplish. When my sire, having slain hundredsand thousands of warriors with keen shafts, had laid aside his weapons,he was then slain by Dhrishtadyumna. I shall slay that slayer today in asimilar condition that is, when he will have laid aside his armour. Thesinful son of the king of the Pancalas I shall today slay by a sinfulact. It is my resolve to slay like an animal that sinful prince of thePancalas in such a way that he may not attain to regions earned bypersons slain with weapons! Put on your coats of mail without delay andtake your bows and swords, and wait for me here, ye foremost ofcar-warrior and scorchers of foes.”

Having said these words, Ashvatthama got upon his car and set out towardsthe direction of the enemy. Then Kripa, O king, and Kritavarma of theSatvata race, both followed him. While the three proceeded against theenemy, they shone like three blazing fires in a sacrifice, fed withlibations of clarified butter. They proceeded, O lord, towards the campof the Pancalas within which everybody was asleep. Having approached thegate, Drona’s son, that mighty car-warrior, stopped.”

Chapter 4
Chapter 6
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