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Chapter 5

Mahabharata English - SHALYA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘Thus addressed by the celebrated grandson of Gotama, theking (Duryodhana), breathing long and hot breaths, remained silent, Omonarch. Having reflected for a little while, the high-souled son ofDhritarashtra, that scorcher of foes, then said these words untoSaradwat’s son Kripa, “Whatever a friend should say, thou hast said untome. Thou hast also, whilst battling, done everything for me, withoutcaring for thy very life. The world has seen thee penetrate into themidst of the Pandava divisions and fight with the mighty car-warriors ofthe Pandavas endued with great energy. That which should be said by afriend hast been said by thee. Thy words, however, do not please me, likemedicine that ill pleases the person that is on the point of death. Thesebeneficial and excellent words, fraught with reason, that thou, Omighty-armed one, hast said do not seem acceptable to me, O foremost ofBrahmanas. Deprived by us of his kingdom (on a former occasion), why willthe son of Pandu repose his trust on us? That mighty king was oncedefeated by us at dice. Why will he again believe my words? So also,Krishna, ever engaged in the good of the Parthas, when he came to us asan envoy, was deceived by us. That act of ours was exceedinglyill-judged. Why then, O regenerate one, will Hrishikesa trust my words?The princess Krishna, while standing in the midst of the assembly, weptpiteously. Krishna will never forget that act of ours, nor that act, thedeprivation of Yudhishthira by us of his kingdom. Formerly, it was heardby us that the two Krishnas have the same heart between them and arefirmly united with each other. Today, O lord, we have seen it with oureyes. Having heard of the slaughter of his sister’s son, Keshava passethhis nights in sorrow. We have offended him highly. Why will he forgive usthen? Arjuna also, in consequence of Abhimanyu’s death, hath become verymiserable. Even if solicited, why will he strike for my good? The secondson of Pandu, the mighty Bhimasena, is exceedingly fierce. He has made aterrible vow. He will break but not bend. The heroic twins, breathinganimosity against us, when clad in mail and armed with their swords,resemble a pair of Yamas. Dhrishtadyumna and Shikhandi have drawn theirswords against me. Why will those two, O best of Brahmanas, strive for mygood? While clad in a single raiment and in her season, the princessKrishna was treated cruelly by Duhshasana in the midst of the assemblyand before the eyes of all. Those scorchers of foes, the Pandavas, whostill remember the naked Draupadi plunged into distress, can never bedissuaded from battle.

“‘”Then again, Krishna, the daughter of Drupada, is in sorrow, undergoingthe austerest of penances for my destruction and the success of theobjects cherished by her husbands, and sleepeth every day on the bareground, intending to do so till the end of the hostilities is attained.Abandoning honour and pride, the uterine sister of Vasudeva (Subhadra) isalways serving Draupadi as veritable waiting woman. Everything,therefore, hath flamed up. That fire can never be quenched. Peace withthem hath become impossible in consequence of the slaughter of Abhimanyu.Having also enjoyed the sovereignty of this earth bounded by the ocean,how shall I be able to enjoy, under favour of the Pandavas, a kingdom inpeace? Having shone like the Sun upon the heads of all the kings, howshall I walk behind Yudhishthira like a slave? Having enjoyed allenjoyable articles and shown great compassion, how shall I lead amiserable life now, with miserable men as my companions? I do not hatethose mild and beneficial words that thou hast spoken. I, however, do notthink that this is the time for peace. To fight righteously is, Oscorcher of foes, what I regard to be good policy. This is not the timefor acting like a eunuch. On the other hand, that is time for the battle.I have performed many sacrifices. I have given away Dakshinas toBrahmanas, I have obtained the attainment of all my wishes. I havelistened to Vedic recitations. I have walked upon the heads of my foes.My servants have all been wellcherished by me. I have relieved people indistress. I dare not, O foremost of regenerate ones, address such humblewords to the Pandavas. I have conquered foreign kingdoms. I have properlygoverned my own kingdom. I have enjoyed diverse kinds of enjoyablearticles. Religion and profit and pleasure I have pursued. I have paidoff my debt to the Pitris and to Kshatriya duty. Certainly, there is nohappiness here. What becomes of kingdom, and what of good name? Fame isall that one should acquire here. That fame can be obtained by battle,and by no other means. The death that a Kshatriya meets with at home iscensurable. Death on one’s bed at home is highly sinful. The man whocasts away his body in the woods or in battle after having performedsacrifices, obtains great glory. He is no man who dies miserably weepingin pain, afflicted by disease and decay, in the midst of crying kinsmen.Abandoning diverse objects of enjoyment, I shall now, by righteousbattle, proceed to the regions of Shakra, obtaining the companionship ofthose that have attained to the highest end. Without doubt, thehabitation of heroes of righteous behaviour, who never retreat frombattle, who are gifted with intelligence and devoted to truth, who areperformers of sacrifices, and who have been sanctified in the sacrificeof weapons, is in heaven. The diverse tribes of Apsaras, without doubt,joyfully gaze at such heroes when engaged in battle. Without doubt, thePitris behold them worshipped in the assembly of the gods and rejoicingin heaven, in the company of Apsaras. We will now ascend the path that istrod by the celestials and by heroes unreturning from battle, that pathwhich has been taken by our venerable grandsire, by the preceptor enduedwith great intelligence, by Jayadratha, by Karna, and by Duhshasana. Manybrave kings, who had exerted themselves vigorously for my sake in thisbattle, have been slain. Mangled with arrows and their limbs bathed inblood, they lie now on the bare Earth. Possessed of great courage andconversant with excellent weapons, those kings, who had, again, performedsacrifices as ordained in the scriptures, having cast off their lifebreaths in the discharge of their duties, have now become the denizens ofIndra’s abode. They have paved the way (to that blessed region). Thatroad will once more be difficult in consequence of the crowds of heroesthat will hurry along it for reaching that blessed goal. Remembering withgratitude the feats of those heroes that have died for me, I desire topay off the debt I owe them, instead of fixing my heart upon kingdom. If,having caused my friends and brothers and grandsires to be slain, I savemy own life, the world will without doubt, censure me. What kind ofsovereignty will that be which I will enjoy, destitute of kinsmen andfriends and well-wishers, and bowing down unto the son of Pandu? I, whohave lorded it over the universe in that way, will now acquire heaven byfair fight. It will not be otherwise.” Thus addressed by Duryodhana, allthe Kshatriyas there applauded that speech and cheered the king, saying,”Excellent, Excellent.” Without at all grieving for their defeat, andfirmly resolved upon displaying their prowess, all of them, beingdetermined to fight, became filled with enthusiasm. Having groomed theiranimals, the Kauravas, delighting at the prospect of battle, took uptheir quarters (for the night) at a spot a little less than two Yojanasdistant from the field. Having reached the Sarasvati of red waters on thesacred and beautiful table-land at the foot of Himavat, they bathed inthat water and quenched their thirst with it. Their spirits raised by thyson, they continued to wait (on their resting ground). Once more rallyingtheir own selves as well as one another, all those Kshatriyas, O king,urged by fate, waited (in their encampment).'”

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