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Chapter 18

Mahabharata English - STRI PARVA

“Gandhari said, Behold, O Madhava, my century of sons, incapable offatigue (from exertion in battle), have all been slain by Bhimasena withhis mace in battle! That which grieves me more today is that these mydaughters-in-law, of tender years, deprived of sons and with dishevelledhair, are wandering on the field today. Alas, they who formerly walkedonly on the terraces of goodly mansions with feet adorned with manyornaments, are now, in great affliction of heart, obliged to touch withthose feet of theirs this hard earth, miry with blood! Reeling in sorrow,they are wandering like inebriated persons, driving away vultures andjackals and crows with difficulty. Behold, that lady of faultless limbsand slender waist, seeing this terrible carnage, falleth down,overwhelmed with grief. Beholding this princess, this mother ofLakshmana, O thou of mighty arms, my heart is torn with grief. Thesebeautiful ladies of fair arms, some seeing their brothers, some theirhusbands, and some their sons, lying down in death on the bare ground,are themselves falling down, seizing the arms of the slain. Listen, Ounvanquished one, to the loud wails of those elderly ladies and thoseothers of middle age at sight of this terrible carnage. Supportingthemselves against broken boxes of cars and the bodies of slain elephantsand steeds, behold, O thou of great might, those ladies, worn out withfatigue, are resting themselves. Behold, O Krishna, some one amongstthem, taking up some kinsmans severed head decked with beautiful nose andearrings, is standing in grief. I think, O sinless one, that both thoseand myself of little understanding must have committed great sins in ourformer lives, since, O Janardana, all our relatives and kinsmen have thusbeen slain by king Yudhishthira the just! Our acts, righteous orunrighteous, cannot go for nothing, O thou of Vrishnis race! Behold, OMadhava, those young ladies of beautiful bosoms and abdomen, well-born,possessed of modesty, having black eye-lashes and tresses of the samecolour on their heads, endued with voice sweet and dear like that ofswans, are falling down, deprived of their senses in great grief anduttering piteous cries like flights of cranes. Behold, O lotus-eyed hero,their beautiful faces resembling full-blown lotuses, are scorched by thesun. Alas, O Vasudeva, the wives of my proud children possessed ofprowess like that of infuriated elephants, are now exposed to the gaze ofcommon people. Behold, O Govinda, the shields decked with hundred moons,the standards of solar effulgence, the golden coats of mail, and thecollars and cuirasses made of gold, and the head-gears, of my sons,scattered on the earth, are blazing with splendour like sacrificial firesover which have been poured libations, of clarified butter. There,Duhshasana sleepeth, felled by Bhima, and the blood of all his limbsquaffed by that heroic slayer of foes. Behold that other son of mine, OMadhava, slain by Bhima with his mace, impelled by Draupadi and therecollection of his woes at the time of the match at dice. Addressing thedice-won princess of Pancala in the midst of the assembly, thisDuhshasana, desirous of doing what was agreeable to his (elder) brotheras also to Karna, O Janardana, had said, “Thou art now the wife of aslave! With Sahadeva and Nakula and Arjuna, O lady, enter our householdnow!” On that occasion, O Krishna, I said unto king Duryodhana, “O son,cast off (from thy side) the wrathful Shakuni. Know that thy maternaluncle is of very wicked soul and exceedingly fond of quarrel. Casting himoff without delay, make peace with the Pandavas, O son! O thou of littleintelligence, thinkest thou not of Bhimasena filled with wrath? Thou artpiercing him with thy wordy shafts like a person striking an elephantwith burning brands.” Alas, disregarding my words, he vomitted his wordypoison at them, like a snake vomitting its poison at a bull,–at them whohad already been pierced with his wordy darts. There, that Duhshasanasleepeth, stretching his two massive arms, slain by Bhimasena like amighty elephant by a lion. The very wrathful Bhimasena perpetrated a mosthorrible act by drinking in battle the blood of his foe!”

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