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Chapter 4

Mahabharata English - SHALYA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding the fallen boxes of cars, as also the cars ofhigh-souled warriors, and the elephants and foot-soldiers, O sire, slainin battle, seeing the field of battle assume an aspect as awful as thatof the sporting ground of Rudra, observing the inglorious end obtained byhundreds and thousands of kings, witnessing also the prowess of Parthaafter the retreat of thy son with grief-stricken heart and when thytroops, filled with anxiety and fallen into great distress, O Bharata,were deliberating as to what they should next do, hearing also the loudwails of the Kaurava warriors that were being crushed, and marking thedisplayed and disordered tokens of great kings, the Kuru leader Kripa ofgreat energy, possessed of years and good conduct and filled withcompassion, and endued with eloquence, approached king Duryodhana, andangrily said these words unto him, “O Duryodhana, listen, O Bharata, tothese words that I will say unto thee. Having heard them, O monarch, dothou act according to them, O sinless one, if it pleases thee. There isno path, O monarch, that is better than the duty of battle. Havingrecourse to that path, Kshatriyas, O bull of the Kshatriya order, engagein battle. He who lives in the observance of Kshatriya practices fightswith son, sire, brother, sister’s son, and maternal uncle, and relatives,and kinsmen. If he is slaughtered in battle, there is great merit in it.Similarly, there is great sin in it if he flies from the field. It is forthis that the life of a person desirous of living by the adoption ofKshatriya duties is exceedingly terrible. Unto thee, as regards this, Iwill say a few beneficial words. After the fall of Bhishma and Drona andthe mighty car-warrior Karna, after the slaughter of Jayadratha and thybrothers, O sinless one, and thy son Lakshmana, what is there now for usto do? They upon whom we had rested all burdens of sovereignty we hadbeen enjoying, have all gone to regions of blessedness attainable bypersons conversant with Brahma, casting off their bodies. As regardsourselves, deprived of those great car-warriors possessed of numerousaccomplishments, we shall have to pass our time in grief, having causednumerous kings to perish. When all those heroes were alive, even thenVibhatsu could not be vanquished. Having Krishna, for his eyes, thatmighty-armed hero is incapable of being defeated by the very gods. Thevast (Kaurava) host, approaching his Ape-bearing standard that is loftyas an Indra’s pole (set up in the season of spring) and that is effulgentas Indra’s bow, hath always trembled in fear. At the leonine roars ofBhimasena and the blare of Panchajanya and the twang of Gandiva, ourheart will die away within us. Moving like flashes of lightning, andblinding our eyes, Arjuna’s Gandiva is seen to resemble a circle of fire.Decked with pure gold, that formidable bow as it is shaken, lookslightning’s flash moving about on every side. Steeds white in hue andpossessed of great speed and endued with the splendour of the Moon or theKasa grass, and that run devouring the skies, are yoked unto his car.Urged on by Krishna, like the masses of clouds driven by the wind, andtheir limbs decked with gold, they bear Arjuna to battle. That foremostof all persons conversant with arms, Arjuna, burned that great force ofthine like a swelling conflagration consuming dry grass in the forest inthe season of winter. Possessed of the splendour of Indra himself, whilepenetrating into our ranks, we have seen Dhananjaya to look like anelephant with four tusks. While agitating thy army and inspiring thekings with fear, we have seen Dhananjaya to resemble an elephantagitating a lake overgrown with lotuses. While terrifying all thewarriors with the twang of his bow, we have again seen the son of Panduto resemble a lion inspiring smaller animals with dread. Those twoforemost of bowmen in all the worlds, those two bulls among all personsarmed with the bow, the two Krishnas, clad in mail, are lookingexceedingly beautiful. Today is the seventeenth day of this awful battle,O Bharata, of those that are being slaughtered in the midst of thisfight. The diverse divisions of thy army are broken and dispersed likeautumnal clouds dispersed by the wind. Savyasaci, O monarch, caused thyarmy to tremble and reel like a tempest-tossed boat exposed on the bosomof the ocean. Where was the Suta’s son, where was Drona with all hisfollowers, where was I, where wert thou, where was Hridika’s son, wherethy brother Duhshasana accompanied by his brothers (when Jayadratha wasslain)? Upon beholding Jayadratha and finding him within the range of hisarrows, Arjuna, putting forth his process upon all thy kinsmen andbrothers and allies and maternal uncles, and placing his feet upon theirheads, slew king Jayadratha in the very sight of all. What then is therefor us to do now? Who is there among thy troops now that would vanquishthe son of Pandu? That high-souled warrior possesses diverse kinds ofcelestial weapons. The twang, again, of Gandiva robbeth us of ourenergies. This army of thine that is now without a leader is like a nightwithout the Moon, or like a river that is dried up with all the trees onits banks broken by elephants. The mighty-armed Arjuna of white steedswill, at his pleasure, career amid this thy masterless host, like ablazing conflagration amid a heap of grass. The impetuosity of those two,Satyaki and Bhimasena, would split all the mountains or dry up all theoceans. The words that Bhima spoke in the midst of the assembly have allbeen nearly accomplished by him, O monarch. That which remainsunaccomplished will again be accomplished by him. While Karna wasbattling before it, the army of the Pandavas, difficult to be defeated,was vigorously protected by the wielder of Gandiva. You have done manyfoul wrongs, without any cause, unto the righteous Pandavas. The fruitsof those acts have now come. For the sake of thy own objects thou hadst,with great care, mustered together a large force. That vast force, asalso thyself, O bull of Bharata’s race, have fallen into great danger.Preserve thy own self now, for self is the refuge of everything. If therefuge is broken, O sire, everything inhering thereto is scattered onevery side. He that is being weakened should seek peace by conciliation.He that is growing should make war. This is the policy taught byBrihaspati. We are now inferior to the sons of Pandu as regards thestrength of our army. Therefore, O lord, I think, peace with the Pandavasis for our good. He that does not know what is for his good, or (knowing)disregards what is for his good, is soon divested of his kingdom andnever obtains any good. If, by bowing unto king Yudhishthira sovereigntymay still remain to us, even that would be for our good, and not, O king,to sustain through folly defeat (at the hands of the Pandavas).Yudhishthira is compassionate. At the request of Vichitravirya’s son andof Govinda, he will allow you to continue as king. Whatever Hrishikesawill say unto the victorious king Yudhishthira and Arjuna and Bhimasena,all of them will, without doubt, obey. Krishna will not, I think, be ableto transgress the words of Dhritarashtra of Kuru’s race, nor will the sonof Pandu be able to transgress those of Krishna. A cessation ofhostilities with the sons of Pritha is what I consider to be for thygood. I do not say this unto thee from any mean motives nor forprotecting my life. I say, O king, that which I regard to be beneficial.Thou wilt recollect these words when thou wilt be on the point of death(if thou neglectest them now).” Advanced in years, Kripa the son ofSaradwat said these words weepingly. Breathing long and hot breaths, hethen gave way to sorrow and almost lost his senses.'”

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