Chapter 24

Mahabharata English - STRI PARVA

“Gandhari said, Behold the son of Somadatta, who was slain by Yuyudhana,pecked at and torn by a large number of birds! Burning with grief at thedeath of his son, Somadatta, O Janardana, (as he lies there) seems tocensure the great bowman Yuyudhana. There the mother of Bhurishrava, thatfaultless lady, overcome with grief, is addressing her lord Somadatta,saying, “By good luck, O king, thou seest not this terrible carnage ofthe Bharatas, this extermination of the Kurus, this sight that resemblesthe scenes occurring at the end of the yuga. By good luck, thou seest notthy heroic son, who bore the device of the sacrificial stake on hisbanner and who performed numerous sacrifices with profuse presents toall, slain on the field of battle. By good luck, thou hearest not thosefrightful wails of woe uttered amidst this carnage by thydaughters-in-law like the screams of a flight of cranes on the bosom ofthe sea. Thy daughters-in-law, bereaved of both husbands and sons, arerunning hither and thither, each clad in a single piece of raiment andeach with her black tresses all dishevelled. By good luck, thou seest notthy son, that tiger among men, deprived of one of his arms, overthrown byArjuna, and even now in course of being devoured by beasts of prey. Bygood luck, thou seest not today thy son slain in battle, and Bhurishravadeprived of life, and thy widowed daughters-in-law plunged into grief. Bygood luck, thou seest not the golden umbrella of that illustrious warriorwho had the sacrificial stake for the device on his banner, torn andbroken on the terrace of his car. There the black-eyed wives ofBhurishrava are indulging in piteous lamentations, surrounding their lordslain by Satyaki. Afflicted with grief on account of the slaughter oftheir lords, those ladies, indulging in copious lamentations, are fallingdown on the earth with their faces towards the ground, and slowlyapproaching thee, O Keshava! Alas, why did Arjuna of pure deedsperpetrate such a censurable act, since he struck off the arm of aheedless warrior who was brave and devoted to the performance ofsacrifices. Alas, Satyaki did an act that was still more sinful, for hetook the life of a person of restrained soul while sitting in theobservance of the praya vow. Alas, O righteous one, thou liest on theground, slain unfairly by two foes.” Even thus, O Madhava, those wives ofBhurishrava are crying aloud in woe. There, those wives of that warrior,all possessed of slender waists, are placing upon their laps the loppedoff arm of their lord and weeping bitterly!

“Here is that arm which used to invade the girdles, grind the deepbosoms, and touch the navel, the thighs, and the hips, of fair women, andloosen the ties of the drawers worn by them! Here is that arm which slewfoes and dispelled the fears of friends, which gave thousands of kine andexterminated Kshatriyas in battle! In the presence of Vasudeva himself,Arjuna of unstained deeds, lopped it off thy heedless self while thouwert engaged with another in battle. What, indeed, wilt thou, OJanardana, say of this great feat of Arjuna while speaking of it in themidst of assemblies. What also will the diadem-decked Arjuna himself sayof it?” Censuring thee in this way, that foremost of ladies hath stoppedat last. The co-wives of that lady are piteously lamenting with her as ifshe were their daughter-in-law!

“There the mighty Shakuni, the chief of gandharvas, of prowess incapableof being baffled, hath been slain by Sahadeva, the maternal uncle by thesisters son! Formerly, he used to be fanned with a couple of gold-handedfans! Alas, now, his prostrate form is being fanned by birds with theirwings! He used to assume hundreds and thousands of forms. All theillusions, however, of that individual possessed of great deceptivepowers, have been burnt by the energy of the son of Pandu. An expert inguile, he had vanquished Yudhishthira in the assembly by his powers ofdeception and won from him his vast kingdom. The son of Pandu, however,hath now won Shakunis life-breaths. Behold, O Krishna, a large number ofbirds is now sitting around Shakuni. An expert in dice, alas, he hadacquired that skill for the destruction of my sons. This fire ofhostility with the Pandavas had been ignited by Shakuni for thedestruction of my children as also of himself and his followers andkinsmen. Like those acquired by my sons, O puissant one, by the use ofweapons, this one too, however wicked-souled, has acquired many regionsof bliss by the use of weapons. My fear, O slayer of Madhu, is that thatcrooked person may not succeed in fomenting dissensions even (there, theregion attained by them) between my children, all of whom are confidingand possessed of candour!”

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Chapter 23
Chapter 25
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