Sanjaya said, “The son of Drona, O monarch, having reflected thus,descended from the terrace of his car and stood, bending his head untothat supreme god. And he said, “I seek the protection of Him called Ugra,Sthanu, Shiva, Rudra, Sharva, Ishana, Ishvara, Girisha; and of thatboon-giving god who is the Creator and Lord of the universe; of Him whosethroat is blue, who is without birth, who is called Shakra, who destroyedthe sacrifice of Daksha, and who is called Hara; of Him whose form is theuniverse, who hath three eyes, who is possessed of multifarious forms,and who is the lord of Uma; of Him who resides in crematoriums, whoswells with energy, who is the lord of diverse tribes of ghostly beings,and who is the possessor of undecaying prosperity and power; of Him whowields the skull-topped club, who is called Rudra, who bears matted lockson his head, and who is a brahmacari. Purifying my soul that is sodifficult to purify, and possessed as I am of small energy, I adore theDestroyer of the triple city, and offer myself as the victim. Hymned thouhast been, deserving art thou of hymns, and I hymn to thy glory!
Thy purposes are never baffled. Thou art robed in skins; thou hast redhair on thy head; thou art blue-throated; thou art unbearable; thou artirresistible! Thou art pure; thou art the Creator of Brahman; thou artBrahma; thou art a brahmacari; thou art an observer of vows; thou artdevoted to ascetic austerities; thou art infinite; thou art the refuge ofall ascetics; thou art multiform; thou art the leader of diverse tribesof ghostly beings; thou art three-eyed; thou art fond of those beingscalled companions; thou art always seen by the Lord of treasures; thouart dear to Gauri’s heart; thou art the sire of Kumara; thou art tawny;thou hast for thy excellent bearer a bovine bull; thou art robed in asubtle attire; thou art most fierce; thou art eager to adorn Uma; thouart higher than all that is high; thou art higher than everything; thereis nothing higher than thou; thou art the wielder of weapons; thou artimmeasurable, and thou art the protector of all quarters; thou art casedin golden armour; thou art divine; thou hast the moon as an ornament onthy brow! With concentrated attention, I seek thy protection, O god! Forsuccess in getting over this dreadful distress that is so difficult toget over, I sacrifice unto thee, the purest of the pure, offering for thyacceptance the (five) elements of which my body is composed!”
Knowing this to be his resolution in consequence of his desire toaccomplish his object, a golden altar appeared before the high-souled sonof Drona. Upon the altar, O king, appeared a blazing fire, filling allthe points of the compass, cardinal and subsidiary, with its splendour.Many mighty beings also, of blazing mouths and eyes, of many feet, heads,and arms, adorned with angadas set with gems, and with uplifted arms, andlooking like elephants and mountains, appeared there. Their facesresembled those of hares and boars and camels and horses and jackals andcows and bears and cats and tigers and pards and crows and apes andparrots. And the faces of some were like those of mighty snakes, andothers had faces like those of ducks. And all of them were endued withgreat effulgence. And the faces of some were like those of woodpeckersand jays, O Bharata, and of tortoises and alligators and porpoises andhuge sharks and whales, and of lions and cranes and pigeons and elephantsand stags. Some had faces like those of ravens and hawks, some had earson their hands; some had a 1,000 eyes, some had very large stomachs, andsome had no flesh, O Bharata! And some, O king, had no heads, and some, OBharata, had faces like those of bears. The eyes of some were like fire,and some had fiery complexions. The hair on the heads and bodies of somewere blazing and some had four arms, and some, O king, had faces likethose of sheep and goats. The colour of some was like that of conchs, andsome had faces that resembled conchs, and the ears of some were likeconchs, some wore garlands made of conchs, and the voices of someresembled the blare of conchs. Some had matted locks on their heads, andsome had five tufts of hair, and some had heads that were bald. Some hadlean stomachs; some had four teeth, some had four tongues, some had earsstraight as arrows and some had diadems on their brows. Some had stringsof grass on their bodies, O monarch, and some had curly hair. Some hadhead-gears made of cloth, some had coronets, some had beautiful faces,and some were adorned with ornaments. Some had ornaments made of lotuses,and some were decked with flowers. They numbered in hundreds andthousands.
Some were armed with shataghnis, some with thunder, and some had mushalasin their hands. Some had bhushundis, some had nooses, and some had macesin their hands, O Bharata! On the backs of some were slung quiverscontaining excellent shafts, and all were fierce in battle. Some hadstandards with banners and bells, and some were armed with battle-axes.Some had large nooses in their uplifted arms, and some had clubs andbludgeons. Some had stout posts in their hands, some had scimitars, andsome had snakes with erect heads for their diadems. Some had large snakes(wound round their upper arms) for angadas, and some had beautifulornaments on their persons. Some were begrimed with dust, some smuttedwith mire, and all were attired in white robes and white garments. Thelimbs of some were blue, while others had limbs that were tawny. And somethere were that were beardless. Those beings, called companions,possessed of golden complexions, and filled with joy, played upon drumsand horns and cymbals and jharjharas and anakas and gomukhas. And somesang and some danced about uttering loud sounds, and some leapt forwardand cut capers and jumped sideways. Endued with great fleetness, they ranabout most fiercely, the hair on their heads waving in the air, like hugeelephants infuriated with passion and frequently uttering loud roars.Terrible, and of frightful mien and armed with lances and battle-axes,they were attired in robes of diverse hues and decked with beautifulgarlands and unguents. Adorned with angadas decked with gems, and withuplifted arms, they were endued with great courage. Capable of forciblyslaying all foes, they were irresistible in prowess. Drinkers of bloodand fat and other animal matter, they subsisted on the flesh and entrailsof animals. Some had their locks tied in tall tufts above their heads.Some had single tufts on their heads; some had rings on their ears; andsome had stomachs resembling earthen vessels used for cooking. Some wereof very short statures, and some were very high in stature. Some weretall and very fierce. Some had grim features, some had long lips, and thegenital limbs of some were very long. Some had costly and diverse kindsof crowns upon their heads; and some had bald heads, and the heads ofothers were covered with matted locks.
They were capable of bringing down the firmament with the sun, moon, andstars, on earth, and exterminating the four orders of created things.They know not what it is to fear, and are capable of enduring the frownsof Hara. They always act as they like, and are the lords of the lords ofthe three worlds. Always engaged in merry sports, they are thoroughmasters of speech and are perfectly free from pride. Having obtained theeight kinds of divine attributes, they are never elated with pride. Thedivine Hara is always filled with wonder at their feats. They are devoutworshippers of Mahadeva. Adored by them in thought, word, and deed, thegreat god protects those worshippers of his, looking upon them, inthought, word, and deed as children of his own loins. Filled with rage,they always drink the blood and fat of all haters of Brahma. They alwaysdrink also the soma juice endued with four kinds of taste. Having adoredthe trident-bearing god with Vedic recitations, with brahmacarya, withausterities, and with self-restraint, they have obtained thecompanionship of Bhava. The divine Maheshvara, that lord of the past, thepresent, and the future as also Parvati, eat with those diverse tribes ofmighty beings that partake of their own nature.
Causing the universe to resound with the peal of diverse kinds ofinstruments, with noise of laughter, with loud sounds and shrieks andleonine roar, they approached Ashvatthama. Uttering the praises ofMahadeva and spreading an effulgent light all around, desirous ofenhancing the honour of Ashvatthama and the glory of the high-souledHara, and wishing to ascertain the extent of Ashvatthama’s energy, anddesirous also of beholding the slaughter during the hour of sleep, armedwith terrible and fierce bludgeons and fiery wheels and battle-axes, thatcrowd of strange beings, endued with terrible forms, came from everyside. They were capable of inspiring the three worlds with dread at theirsight. The mighty Ashvatthama, however, beholding them, felt no fear.Drona’s son, armed with bow, and with fingers cased in fences made ofiguana skins, himself offered up his own self as a victim unto Mahadeva.Bows were the fuel, and sharp shafts were the ladles, and his own soulpossessed of great might was the libation, O Bharata, in that act ofsacrifice. The valiant and wrathful son of Drona then, with propitiatingmantras, offered up his own soul as the victim. Having with fierce ritesadored Rudra of fierce deeds, Ashvatthama with joined hands, said thesewords unto that high-souled god.
Ashvatthama said, “Sprung from Angirasa’s line, I am about to pour mysoul, O god, as a libation on this fire! Accept, O lord, this victim! Inthis hour of distress, O Soul of the universe, I offer up my own self asthe sacrificial victim, from devotion to thee and with heart concentratedin meditation! All creatures are in thee and thou art in all creatures!Assemblage of all high attributes occur in thee! O lord, O thou art therefuge of all creatures. I wait as a libation for thee, since I am unableto vanquish my foes. Accept me, O god.” Having said these words, Drona’sson, ascending that sacrificial altar on which a fire blazed brightly,offered himself up as the victim and entered that blazing fire.
Beholding him stand immovable and with uplifted hands and as an offeringup to himself, the divine Mahadeva appeared in person and smilingly said,”With truth, purity, sincerity, resignation, ascetic austerities, vows,forgiveness, devotion, patience, thought, and word, I have been dulyadored by Krishna of pure deeds. For this there is none dearer to me thanKrishna. For honouring him and at his word I have protected the Pancalasand displayed diverse kinds of illusion. By protecting the Pancalas Ihave honoured him. They have, however, been afflicted by time. The periodof their lives hath run out.”
Having said these words unto the high-souled Ashvatthama, the divineMahadeva entered Ashvatthama’s body after giving him an excellent andpolished sword. Filled by that divine being, Drona’s son blazed up withenergy. In consequence of that energy derived from godhead, he becameall-powerful in battle. Many invisible beings and rakshasas proceededalong his right and his left as he set out, like the lord Mahadevahimself, for entering the camp of his foes.”