Chapter 158

Mahabharata English - UDYOGA PARAVA

“Janamejaya said, ‘When Yudhishthira heard that Bhishma, the high-souledson of Ganga, the foremost of all wielders of weapons, the grandsire ofthe Bharatas, the head of all the kings, the rival of Vrihaspati inintellect, resembling the ocean in gravity, the mountains of Himavat incalmness, the Creator himself in nobleness, and the sun in energy, andcapable of slaying hostile hosts like great Indra himself by showeringhis arrows, was installed, till his removal by death, in the command ofthe Kuru army on the eve of the great sacrifice of battle, terrific inits mien and capable of making one’s hairs stand on their ends, what didthat mighty-armed son of Pandu, that foremost of wielders of weapons,say? What also did Bhima and Arjuna say? And what too did Krishna say?’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘When news was received of this, Yudhishthira enduedwith great intelligence and well-acquainted with what should be done inview of dangers and calamities summoned all his brothers and also theeternal Vasudeva (to his presence). And that foremost of speakers thensaid in a mild voice, ‘Make your rounds among the soldiers, and remaincarefully, casing yourselves in mail. Our first encounter will be withour grandsire. Look ye for (seven) leaders for the seven Akshauhinis ofmy troops.’

“Krishna said, ‘Those words of grave import, which, O bull of the Bharatarace, it behoveth thee to utter on an occasion like this, have, indeed,been uttered by thee. Even this, O mighty armed one, is what I also like.Let therefore, that be done which should be done next. Let, indeed, sevenleaders be selected for thy army.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Summoning then those warriors eager for battle,viz., Drupada and Virata, and that bull of Sini’s race, andDhrishtadyumna the prince of Panchala, and king Dhrishtaketu, and princeShikhandi of Panchala, and Sahadeva, the ruler of the Magadhas,Yudhishthira duly appointed them in the command of his seven divisions.And above them all was placed in command of all the troops thatDhrishtadyumna who had sprung from the blazing (sacrificial) fire for thedestruction of Drona. And Dhananjaya, of curly hair, was made the leaderof all those high-souled leaders. And handsome Janardana endued withgreat intelligence, he who was the younger brother of Sankarshana, waschosen as the guide of Arjuna and the driver of his steeds.’

“And beholding that a very destructive battle was about to take place,there came, O king, into the Pandava encampment, Halayudha, accompaniedby Akrura, and Gada and Samva, and Uddhava, and Rukmini’s son(Pradyumna), and Ahuka’s sons, and Charudeshna, and others. Andsurrounded and guarded by those foremost warriors of the Vrishni race,resembling a herd of mighty tigers, like Vasava in the midst of theMaruts, the mighty-armed and handsome Rama, attired in garments of bluesilk and resembling the peak of the Kailasa mountain, and endued with thesportive gait of the lion and possessed of eyes having their endsreddened with drink, came there (at such a time). And beholding him, kingYudhishthira the Just, and Kesava of great effulgence, and Pritha’s sonVrikodara of terrible deeds, and (Arjuna) the wielder of Gandiva, and allthe other kings that were, rose from their seats. And they all offeredworship unto Halayudha as he came to that place. And the Pandava kingtouched Rama’s hands with his own. And that chastiser of foes, Halayudha,in return, accosting them all with Vasudeva at their head, and saluting(respectfully) both Virata and Drupada who were senior in years, sat downon the same seat with Yudhishthira. And after all the kings had takentheir seats, Rohini’s son, casting his eyes on Vasudeva, began to speak.And he said, ‘This fierce and terrible slaughter is inevitable. It is,without doubt, a decree of fate, and I think that it cannot be averted.Let me hope, however, to behold all of you, with your friends, comesafely out of this strife, with sound bodies and perfectly hale. Withoutdoubt, all the Kshatriyas of the world that are assembled together havetheir hour come. A fierce melee covering with a mire of flesh and bloodis sure to take place. I said unto Vasudeva repeatedly in private, ‘Oslayer of Madhu, unto those that bear equal relationship to us, observethou an equal behaviour. As are the Pandavas to us, even so is kingDuryodhana. Therefore, give him also the same aid. Indeed, he repeatedlysoliciteth it. For thy sake, however, the slayer of Madhu regarded not mywords. Looking at Dhananjaya, he hath with his whole heart, been devotedto your cause. Even this is what I certainly think, viz., that thevictory of the Pandavas is sure, for Vasudeva’s wish, O Bharata, is evenso. As regards myself, I dare not cast my eyes on the world withoutKrishna (on my side). It is for this that I follow whatever Krishnaseeketh to achieve. Both of these heroes, well-skilled in encounter withthe mace, are my disciples. My affection, therefore, for Bhima is equalto that for king Duryodhana. For these reasons, I shall now repair to thetirtha of the Saraswati for ablutions, for I shall not be able to beholdwith indifference the destruction of the Kauravas.

“Having said this, the mighty-armed Rama, obtaining the leave of thePandavas, and making the slayer of Madhu desist (from following himfarther), set out on his journey for the sacred waters.'”

Chapter 159
Chapter 157
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