Chapter 25

Mahabharata English - STRI PARVA

“Gandhari said, Behold that irresistible ruler of the Kambojas, thatbull-necked hero, lying amid the dust, O Madhava, though deserving ofbeing stretched at his ease on Kamboja blankets. Stricken with greatgrief, his wife is weeping bitterly at sight of his blood-stained arms,which, however, formerly used to be smeared with sandal-paste. Indeed,the beauteous one exclaims, “Even now adorned with beautiful palms andgraceful fingers, these two arms of thine resemble a couple of spikedmaces, getting within whose clasp, joy never left me for a moment! Whatwill be my end, O ruler of men, when I am deprived of thee?” Endued witha melodious voice, the Kamboja queen is weeping helplessly and quiveringwith emotion. Behold that bevy of fair ladies there. Although tired withexertion and worn out with heat, yet beauty leaves not their forms, likethe sightliness of the wreaths worn by the celestials although exposed tothe Sun. Behold, O slayer of Madhu, the heroic ruler of the Kalingaslying there on the ground with his mighty arms adorned with a couple ofangadas. Behold, O Janardana, those Magadha ladies crying and standingaround Jayatsena, the ruler of the Magadhas. The charming and melodiouswails of those long-eyed and sweet-voiced girls, O Krishna, arestupefying my heart exceedingly. With all their ornaments displaced,crying, and afflicted with grief, alas, those ladies of Magadha, worthyof resting on costly beds, are now lying down on the bare ground! There,again, those other ladies, surrounding their lord, the ruler of theKosalas, prince Brihadbala, are indulging in loud wails. Engaged inplucking from his body the shafts with which it was pierced by Abhimanyuwith the full might of his arms, those ladies are repeatedly losing theirsenses. The faces of those beautiful ladies, O Madhava, through toil andthe rays of the Sun, are looking like faded lotuses. There, the bravesons of Dhrishtadyumna, of tender years and all adorned with garlands ofgold and beautiful angadas, are lying, slain by Drona. Like insects on ablazing fire, they have all been burnt by falling upon Drona, whose carwas the chamber of fire, having the bow for its flame and shafts anddarts and maces for its fuel. Similarly, the five Kekaya brothers,possessed of great courage, and adorned with beautiful angadas, are lyingon the ground, slain by Drona and with their faces turned towards thathero. Their coats of mail, of the splendour of heated gold, and theirtall standards and cars and garlands, all made of the same metal, areshedding a bright light on the earth like so many blazing fires. Behold,O Madhava, king Drupada overthrown in battle by Drona, like a mightyelephant in the forest slain by a huge lion. The bright umbrella, whitein hue of the king of the Pancalas, shines, O lotus-eyed one, like themoon in the autumnal firmament. The daughters-in-law and the wives of theold king, afflicted with grief, having burnt his body on the funeralpyre, are proceeding, keeping the pyre to their right. There thoseladies, deprived of their senses, are removing the brave and great bowmanDhrishtaketu, that bull among the Cedis, slain by Drona. This crusher offoes, O slayer of Madhu, this great bowman, having baffled many weaponsof Drona, lieth there, deprived of life, like a tree uprooted by thewind. Alas, that brave ruler of the Cedis, that mighty car-warriorDhrishtaketu, after having slain thousands of foes, lies himself deprivedof life! There, O Hrishikesha, the wives of the ruler of the Cedis aresitting around his body still decked with fair locks and beautifulearrings, though torn by carnivorous birds. Those foremost of ladiesplacing upon their laps the prostrate form of the heroic Dhrishtaketuborn of the Dasharha race, are crying in sorrow. Behold, O Hrishikesha,the son, possessed of fair locks and excellent earrings, of thatDhrishtaketu, hacked in battle by Drona with his shafts. He neverdeserted his sire while the latter battled with his foes. Mark, O slayerof Madhu, he does not, even in death, desert that heroic parent. Eventhus, my sons son, that slayer of hostile heroes, the mighty-armedLakshmana, hath followed his sire Duryodhana! Behold, O Keshava, the twobrothers of Avanti, Vinda and Anuvinda, lying there on the field, liketwo blossoming shala trees in the spring overthrown by the tempest. Cladin golden armour and adorned with Angadas of gold, they are still armedwith swords and bows. Possessed of eyes like those of a bull, and deckedwith bright garlands, both of them are stretched on the field. ThePandavas, O Krishna, with thyself, are surely unslayable, since they andthou have escaped from Drona, from Bhishma, from Karna the son ofVikartana, from Kripa, from Duryodhana, from the son of Drona, from themighty car-warrior Jayadratha, from Somadatta, from Vikarna, and from thebrave Kritavarma. Behold the reverses brought about by Time! Those bullsamong men that were capable of slaying the very celestials by force oftheir weapons have themselves been slain. Without doubt, O Madhava, thereis nothing difficult for destiny to bring about, since even these bullsamong men, these heroes, have been slain by Kshatriya warriors. My sonsendued with great activity were (regarded by me as) slain even then, OKrishna, when thou returnedst unsuccessfully to Upaplavya. Shantanus sonand the wise Vidura told me then, “Cease to bear affection for thychildren!” The interviews of those persons could not go for nothing.Soon, O Janardana, have my sons been consumed into ashes!”

Vaishampayana continued, “Having said these words, Gandhari, deprived ofher senses by grief, fell down on the earth! Casting off her fortitude,she suffered her senses to be stupefied by grief. Filled with wrath andwith sorrow at the death of her sons, Gandhari, with agitated heart,ascribed every fault to Keshava.

“Gandhari said, The Pandavas and the Dhartarashtras, O Krishna, have bothbeen burnt. Whilst they were thus being exterminated, O Janardana, whywert thou indifferent to them? Thou wert competent to prevent theslaughter, for thou hast a large number of followers and a vast force.Thou hadst eloquence, and thou hadst the power (for bringing aboutpeace). Since deliberately, O slayer of Madhu, thou wert indifferent tothis universal carnage, therefore, O mighty-armed one, thou shouldst reapthe fruit of this act. By the little merit I have acquired throughwaiting dutifully on my husband, by that merit so difficult to attain, Ishall curse thee, O wielder of the discus and the mace! Since thou wertindifferent to the Kurus and the Pandavas whilst they slew each other,therefore, O Govinda, thou shalt be the slayer of thy own kinsmen! In thethirty-sixth year from this, O slayer of Madhu, thou shalt, after causingthe slaughter of thy kinsmen and friends and sons, perish by disgustingmeans in the wilderness. The ladies of thy race, deprived of sons,kinsmen, and friends, shall weep and cry even as these ladies of theBharata race!”

Vaishampayana continued, “Hearing these words, the high-souled Vasudeva,addressing the venerable Gandhari, said unto her these words, with afaint smile, There is none in the world, save myself, that is capable ofexterminating the Vrishnis. I know this well. I am endeavouring to bringit about. In uttering this curse, O thou of excellent vows, thou hastaided me in the accomplishment of that task. The Vrishnis are incapableof being slain by others, be they human beings or gods or Danavas. TheYadavas, therefore shall fall by one anothers hand. After he of Dasharhasrace had said these words, the Pandavas became stupefied. Filled withanxiety all of them became hopeless of life!”

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Chapter 24
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