Chapter 56

Mahabharata English - SHALYA PARVA

Vaishampayana said, “At the outset, O Janamejaya a fierce wordy encountertook place between the two heroes. With respect to that, kingDhritarashtra, filled with grief, said this, ‘Oh, fie on man, who hathsuch an end! My son, O sinless one, had been the lord of eleven chamus oftroops He had all the kings under his command and had enjoyed thesovereignty of the whole earth! Alas, he that had been so, now a warriorproceeding to battle, on foot, shouldering his mace! My poor son, who hadbefore been the protector of the universe, was now himself withoutprotection! Alas, he had, on that occasion, to proceed on foot,shouldering his mace! What can it be but Destiny? Alas, O Sanjaya, greatwas the grief that was felt by my son now!’ Having uttered these words,that ruler of men, afflicted with great woe, became silent.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Deep-voiced like a cloud, Duryodhana then roared from joylike a bull. Possessed of great energy, he challenged the son of Prithato battle. When the high-souled king of the Kurus thus summoned Bhima tothe encounter, diverse portents of an awful kind became noticeable.Fierce winds began to blow with loud noises at intervals, and a shower ofdust fell. All the points of the compass became enveloped in a thickgloom. Thunderbolts of loud peal fell on all sides, causing a greatconfusion and making the very hair to stand on end. Hundreds of meteorsfell, bursting with a loud noise from the welkin. Rahu swallowed the Sunmost untimely, O monarch! The Earth with her forests and trees shookgreatly. Hot winds blew, bearing showers of hard pebbles along theground. The summits of mountains fell down on the earth’s surface.Animals of diverse forms were seen to run in all directions. Terrible andfierce jackals, with blazing mouths, howled everywhere. Loud and terrificreports were heard on every side, making the hair stand on end. The fourquarters seemed to be ablaze and many were the animals of ill omen thatbecame visible. The water in the wells on every side swelled up of theirown accord. Loud sounds came from every side, without, O king, visiblecreatures to utter them. Beholding these and other portents, Vrikodarasaid unto his eldest brother, king Yudhishthira the just, “This Suyodhanaof wicked soul is not competent to vanquish me in battle! I shall todayvomit that wrath which I have been cherishing for a long while in thesecret recesses of my heart, upon this ruler of the Kurus like Arjunathrowing fire upon the forest of Khandava! Today, O son of Pandu, I shallextract the dart that lies sticking to thy heart! Slaying with my macethis sinful wretch of Kuru’s race, I shall today place around thy neckthe garland of Fame! Slaying this wight of sinful deeds with my mace onthe field of battle, I shall today, with this very mace of mine, breakhis body into a hundred fragments! He shall not have again to enter thecity called after the elephant. The setting of snakes at us while we wereasleep, the giving of poison to us while we ate, the casting of our bodyinto the water at Pramanakoti, the attempt to burn us at the house oflac, the insult offered us at the assembly, the robbing us of all ourpossessions, the whole year of our living in concealment, our exile intothe woods, O sinless one, of all these woes, O best of Bharata’s race, Ishall today reach the end, O bull of Bharata’s line! Slaying this wretch,I shall, in one single day, pay off all the debts I owe him! Today, theperiod of life of this wicked son of Dhritarashtra, of uncleansed soul,hath reached its close, O chief of the Bharatas! After this day he shallnot again look at his father and mother! Today, O monarch, the happinessof this wicked king of the Kurus hath come to an end! After this day, Omonarch, he shall not again cast his eyes on female beauty! Today thisdisgrace of Santanu’s line shall sleep on the bare Earth, abandoning hislife-breath, his prosperity, and his kingdom! Today king Dhritarashtraalso, hearing of the fall of his son, shall recollect all those evil actsthat were born of Shakuni’s brain!” With these words, O tiger amongkings, Vrikodara of great energy, armed with mace, stood for fight, likeShakra challenging the asura Vritra. Beholding Duryodhana also standingwith uplifted mace like mount Kailasa graced with its summit, Bhimasena,filled with wrath, once more addressed him, saying, “Recall to thy mindthat evil act of thyself and king Dhritarashtra that occurred atVaranavata! Remember Draupadi who was ill-treated, while in her season,in the midst of the assembly! Remember the deprivation of the kingthrough dice by thyself and Subala’s son! Remember that great woesuffered by us, in consequence of thee, in the forest, as also inVirata’s city as if we had once more entered the womb! I shall avengemyself of them all today! By good luck, O thou of wicked soul, I see theetoday! It is for thy sake that that foremost of car-warriors, the son ofGanga, of great prowess, struck down by Yajnasena’s son, sleepeth on abed of arrows! Drona also hath been slain, and Karna, and Shalya of greatprowess! Subala’s son Shakuni, too, that root of these hostilities, hathbeen slain! The wretched Pratikamin, who had seized Draupadi’s tresses,hath been slain! All thy brave brothers also, who fought with greatvalour, have been slain! These and many other kings have been slainthrough thy fault! Thee too I shall slay today with my mace! There is notthe slightest doubt in this.” While Vrikodara, O monarch, was utteringthese words in a loud voice, thy fearless son of true prowess answeredhim, saying, “What use of such elaborate bragging? Fight me, O Vrikodara!O wretch of thy race, today I shall destroy thy desire of battle! Meanvermin as thou art, know that Duryodhana is not capab le, like anordinary person, of being terrified by a person like thee! For a longtime have I cherished this desire! For a long time hath this wish been inmy heart! By good luck the gods have at last brought it about, a maceencounter with thee! What use of long speeches and empty bragging, Owicked-souled one! Accomplish these words of thine in acts. Do not tarryat all!” Hearing these words of his, the Somakas and the other kings thatwere present there all applauded them highly. Applauded by all,Duryodhana’s hair stood erect with joy and he firmly set his heart onbattle. The kings present once again cheered thy wrathful son withclapping, like persons exciting an infuriated elephant to an encounter.The high-souled Vrikodara, the son of Pandu, then, uplifting his mace,rushed furiously at thy high-souled son. The elephants present theretrumpeted aloud and the steeds neighed repeatedly. The weapons of thePandavas who longed for victory blazed forth of their own accord.'”

Chapter 57
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