“Karna said, ‘Without doubt, O Kesava, thou hast said these words fromthy love, affection, and friendship for me, as also in consequence of thydesire of doing me good, O thou of Vrishni’s race. I know all that thouhast said unto me. Morally, I am the son of Pandu, as also in consequenceof the injunctions of the scriptures, as thou, O Krishna, thinkest. Mymother, while a maiden, bore me in her womb, O Janardana, through herconnection with Surya. And at the command of Surya himself, she abandonedme as soon as I was born. Even thus, O Krishna, I came into the world.Morally, therefore, I am the son of Pandu. Kunti, however, abandoned mewithout thinking of my welfare. The Suta, Adhiratha, as soon as he beheldme, took me to his home, and from her affection for me, Radha’s breastswere filled with milk that very day, and she, O Madhava, cleansed myurine and evacuations. How can one like us, conversant with duties andever engaged in listening to scriptures deprive her of her Pinda? So alsoAdhiratha of the Suta class regardeth me as a son, and I too, fromaffection, always regard him as (my) father. O Madhava, that Adhiratha, OJanardana, from paternal affection caused all the rites of infancy to beperformed on my person, according to the rules prescribed in thescriptures. It is that Adhiratha, again, who caused the name Vasusena tobe bestowed upon me by the Brahmanas. When also I attained to youth, Imarried wives according to his selections. Through them have been born mysons and grandsons, O Janardana. My heart also, O Krishna, and all thebonds of affection and love, are fixed on them. From joy or fear. OGovinda. I cannot venture to destroy those bonds even for the sake of thewhole earth or heaps of gold. In consequence also of my connection withDuryodhana of Dhritarashtra’s race, I have, O Krishna, enjoyedsovereignty for thirteen years, without a thorn on my side. I haveperformed many sacrifices, always however in connection with persons ofthe Suta tribe. All my family rites and marriage rites have beenperformed with the Sutas. Obtaining me, O Krishna, Duryodhana hath, Othou of Vrishni’s race, made this preparations for an armed encounter andprovoked hostilities with the sons of Pandu. And it is for this, OAchyuta, that in the battle (that will ensue), I, O Krishna, have beenchosen as the great antagonist of Arjuna to advance against him in asingle combat. For the sake of death, or the ties of blood, or fear, ortemptation, I cannot venture, O Janardana, to behave falsely towards theintelligent son of Dhritarashtra. If I do not now engage in a singlecombat with Arjuna, this will, O Hrishikesa, be inglorious for bothmyself and Partha. Without doubt, O slayer of Madhu, thou hast told meall this for doing me good. The Pandavas also, obedient as they are tothee, will, without doubt, do all that thou hast said. Thou must,however, conceal this our discourse for the present, O slayer of Madhu.Therein lies our benefit, I think, O delighter of all the Yadavas. Ifking Yudhishthira, of virtuous soul and well-controlled senses, cometh toknow me as the firstborn son of Kunti, he will never accept the kingdom.If, again, O slayer of Madhu, this mighty and swelling empire becomethmine. I shall, O repressor of foes, certainly make it over to Duryodhanaonly. Let Yudhishthira of virtuous soul become king for ever. He thathath Hrishikesa for his guide, and Dhananjaya and that mighty car-warriorBhima for his combatants, as also Nakula and Sahadeva, and the sons ofDraupadi, is fit, O Madhava, to rule over the whole earth.Dhrishtadyumna, the prince of the Panchalas, that mighty car-warriorSatyaki, Uttamaujas, Yudhamanyu, the prince of Somakas who is devoted totruth, the ruler of the Chedis, Chekitana, the invincible Sikhandin, theKekaya brothers, all of the hue of Indragopaka insects, Bhimasena’s uncleKuntibhoja of high soul and possessed of steeds endued with the coloursof the rainbow, the mighty car-warrior Syenajit, Sanka the son of Virata,and thyself, O Janardana, like an ocean,–great is this assemblage, OKrishna, of Kshatriyas (that hath been made by Yudhishthira). Thisblazing kingdom, celebrated among all the kings of the earth, is alreadywon (by Yudhishthira). O thou of Vrishni’s race, a great sacrifice ofarms is about to be celebrated by Dhritarashtra’s son. Thou, O Janardana,wilt be the Upadrashtri of that sacrifice. The office of Adhyaryu also, OKrishna, in that sacrifice, will be thine. The ape-bannered Vibhatsuaccoutred in mail will be the Hotri (his bow), Gandiva will be thesacrificial ladle, and the prowess of the warriors will be the clarifiedbutter (that is to be consumed). The weapons called Aindra, Pasupata,Brahma, and Sthunakarna, applied by Arjuna, will, O Madhava, be themantras (of that sacrifice). Resembling his father, or perhaps, excellinghim in prowess, Subhadra’s son (Abhimanyu) will be the chief Vedic hymnto be chanted. That destroyer of elephant ranks that utterer of fierceroars in battle, that tiger among men, the exceedingly mighty Bhima, willbe Udgatri and Prastotri in this sacrifice. King Yudhishthira of virtuousSoul, ever engaged in Yapa and Homa, will himself be the Brahma of thatsacrifice. The sounds of conchs, tabors, and drums, and the leonineroaring rising high in the welkin, will be the calls upon the invited toeat. The two sons of Madri, Nakula and Sahadeva, of great fame andprowess, will be the slayers of the sacrificial animals; rows of brightcars furnished with standards of variegated hue, will, O Govinda, bestakes (for tying the animals), O Janardana, in this sacrifice. Barbedarrows and Nalikas, and long shafts, and arrows with heads like calf’stooth, will play the part of spoons (wherewith to distribute the Somajuice) while Tomaras will be the vessels of Soma, and bows will bepavitras. The swords will be Kapalas, the heads (of slain warriors) thePurodasas and the blood of warriors the clarified butter. O Krishna, inthis sacrifice. The lances and bright maces (of the warriors) will bepokers (for stirring the sacrificial fire) and the corner stakes (forkeeping the fire-wood from falling down). The disciples of Drona andKripa, the son of Saradwat, will be the Sadasyas (assisting priests). Thearrows shot by the wielder of Gandiva and by (other) mighty car-warriors,and by Drona and Drona’s son, will play the part of ladles fordistributing the Soma. Satyaki will discharge the duties of the chiefassistant of the Adhyaryu. Of this sacrifice, Dhritarashtra’s son will beinstalled as the performer, while this vast army will be his wife. O thouof mighty arms, when the nocturnal rites of sacrifice will begin, themighty Ghatotkacha will play the part of the slayer of (devoted) victims.The mighty Dhrishtadyumna, who sprang into life from the sacrificialfire, having for its mouth the rites celebrated with mantras, will, OKrishna, be the Dakshina of that sacrifice. For those harsh words, OKrishna, that I said before unto the sons of Pandu for the gratificationof Dhritarashtra’s son,–for that wicked conduct of mine,–I am consumedwith repentance. When O Krishna, thou wilt behold me slain by Arjuna,then will the Punachiti of this sacrifice commence. When the (second) sonof Pandu will drink the blood of the loudly roaring Dussasana, then willthe Soma-drinking of this sacrifice have taken place! When the twoprinces of Panchala (Dhrishtadyumna and Sikhandin) will overthrow Dronaand Bhishma, then, O Janardana, will this sacrifice be suspended for aninterval. When mighty Bhimasena will slay Duryodhana, then, O Madhava,will this sacrifice of Dhritarashtra’s son be concluded. When the wivesof Dhritarashtra’s sons and grandsons assembled together, deprived, OKesava, of their husbands and sons and without protectors, will indulgein lamentations with Gandhari in their midst, on the field of battlehaunted by dogs and vultures and other carnivorous birds, then, OJanardana, will the final bath of this sacrifice take place.
‘I pray to thee, O bull of the Kshatriya race, let not the Kshatriyas,old in learning and old in years, perish miserably, O Janardana, for thysake. Oh, let this swelling host of Kshatriyas perish by means of weaponson that most sacred of all spots in the three worlds, viz. Kurukshetra, OKesava. O thou of eyes like lotus-leaves, accomplish on this spot whatthou hast in thy mind, so that, O thou of Vrishni’s race, the wholeKshatriya order may attain to heaven. As long, O Janardana, as the hillsand the rivers will last, so long will the fame of these achievementslast. The Brahmanas will recite this great war of the Bharatas. The fame,O thou of Vrishni’s race, that they achieve in battles is the wealth thatKshatriyas own. O Kesava, bring Kunti’s son (Arjuna) before me forbattle, keeping for ever this our discourse a secret, O chastiser offoes.'”