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Chapter 26

Mahabharata English - STRI PARVA

“The holy one said, Arise, arise, O Gandhari, do not set thy heart ongrief! Through thy fault, this vast carnage has taken place! Thy sonDuryodhana was wicked-souled, envious, and exceedingly arrogant.Applauding his wicked acts, thou regardest them to be good. Exceedinglycruel, he was the embodiment of hostilities, and disobedient to theinjunctions of the old. Why dost thou wish to ascribe thy own faults tome? Dead or lost, the person that grieves for what has already occurred,obtaineth more grief. By indulging in grief, one increases it two-fold. Awoman of the regenerate class bears children for the practice ofausterities; the cow brings forth offspring for bearing burdens; the marebrings forth her young for acquiring speed of motion; the Shudra womanbears a child for adding to the number of servitors; the Vaishya womanfor adding to the number of keepers of cattle. A princess, however, likethee, brings forth sons for being slaughtered!”

Vaishampayana said, “Hearing these words of Vasudeva that weredisagreeable to her, Gandhari, with heart exceedingly agitated by grief,remained silent. The royal sage Dhritarashtra, however, restraining thegrief that arises from folly, enquired of Yudhishthira the just, saying,If, O son of Pandu, thou knowest it, tell me the number of those thathave fallen in this battle, as also of those that have escaped with life!

“Yudhishthira answered, One billion 660 million and 20,000 men havefallen in this battle. Of the heroes that have escaped, the number is240,165.

“Dhritarashtra said, Tell me, O mighty-armed one, for thou art conversantwith everything, what ends have those foremost of men attained.

“Yudhishthira said, Those warriors of true prowess that have cheerfullycast off their bodies in fierce battle have all attained regions likethose of Indra. Knowing death to be inevitable, they that haveencountered it cheerlessly have attained the companionship of thegandharvas. Those warriors that have fallen at the edge of weapons, whileturning away from the field or begging for quarter, have attained theworld of the guhyakas. Those high-souled warriors who, observant of theduties of kshatriya-hood and regarding flight from battle to be shameful,have fallen, mangled with keen weapons, while advancing unarmed againstfighting foes, have all assumed bright forms and attained the regions ofBrahman. The remaining warriors, that have in anyhow met with death onthe precincts of the field of battle, have attained the region of theUttara-Kurus.”

“Dhritarashtra said, By the power of what knowledge, O son, thou seestthese things like one crowned with ascetic success? Tell me this, Omighty-armed one, if thou thinkest that I can listen to it withoutimpropriety!

“Yudhishthira said, While at thy command I wandered in the forest, Iobtained this boon on the occasion of sojourning to the sacred places. Imet with the celestial rishi Lomasa and obtained from him the boon ofspiritual vision. Thus on a former occasion I obtained second sightthrough the power of knowledge!

“Dhritarashtra said, It is necessary that our people should burn, withdue rites, the bodies of both the friendless and the friended slain. Whatshall we do with those that have none to look after them and that have nosacred fires? The duties that await us are many. Who are those whose(last) rites we should perform? O Yudhishthira, will they obtain regionsof blessedness by the merit of their acts, they whose bodies are nowbeing torn and dragged by vultures and other birds?”

Vaishampayana continued, “Thus addressed, Kuntis son Yudhishthira ofgreat wisdom commanded Sudharma (the priest of the Kauravas) and Dhaumya,and Sanjaya of the suta order, and Vidura of great wisdom, and Yuyutsu ofKurus race, and all his servants headed by Indrasena, and all the othersutas that were with him, saying, Cause the funeral rites of the slain,numbering by thousands, to be duly performed, so that nobody may perishfor want of persons to take care of them! At this command of kingYudhishthira the just, Vidura and Sanjaya and Sudharma and Dhaumya andIndrasena and others, procuring sandal, aloe and other kinds of wood usedon such occasions, as also clarified butter and oil and perfumes andcostly silken robes and other kinds of cloth, and large heaps of drywood, and broken cars and diverse kinds of weapons, caused funeral pyresto be duly made and lighted and then without haste burnt, with due ritesthe slain kings in proper order. They properly burned upon those firesthat blazed forth with libations of clarified butter in torrents overthem, the bodies of Duryodhana and his hundred brothers, of Shalya, andking Bhurishrava; of king Jayadratha and Abhimanyu, O Bharata; ofDuhshasanas son and Lakshmana and king Dhrishtaketu; of Vrihanta andSomadatta and the hundreds of Srinjayas; of king Kshemadhanva and Virataand Drupada; of Shikhandi the prince of Pancalas, and Dhrishtadyumna ofPrishatas race; of the valiant Yudhamanyu and Uttamauja; of the ruler ofthe Kosalas, the sons of Draupadi, and Shakuni the son of Subala; ofAcala and Vrishaka, and king Bhagadatta; of Karna and his son of greatwrath; of those great bowmen, the Kekaya princes, and those mightycar-warriors, the Trigartas; of Ghatotkaca the prince of rakshasas, andthe brother of Vaka, of Alambusha, the foremost of rakshasas, and kingJalasandha; and of hundreds and thousands of other kings. The pitri-medharites in honour of some of the illustrious dead were performed there,while some sang Samas, and some uttered lamentations for the dead. Withthe loud noise of Samas and Riks, and the lamentations of the women, allcreatures became stupefied that night. The funeral fires, smokeless andblazing brightly (amid the surrounding darkness), looked like luminousplanets in the firmament enveloped by clouds. Those among the dead thathad come from diverse realms and were utterly friendless were piledtogether in thousands of heaps and, at the command of Yudhishthira, werecaused to be burnt by Vidura through a large number of persons actingcoolly and influenced by good-will and affection, on pyres made of drywood. Having caused their last rites to be performed, the Kuru kingYudhishthira, placing Dhritarashtra at his head, proceeded towards theriver Ganga.”

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