Chapter 170

Mahabharata English - UDYOGA PARAVA

“Bhishma said, ‘I have now, O king, indicated who thy Rathas are and whothy Atirathas and half Rathas. Listen now to the tale of Rathas andAtirathas among the Pandavas. If thou feelest any curiosity, listen then,O king, with these monarchs, to the tale of Rathas in the army of thePandavas. The king himself, son of Pandu and Kunti, is a mighty Ratha.Without doubt, O sire, be will glide along the field of battle like ablazing fire; Bhimasena, O king, is regarded equal to eight Rathas. In anencounter with the mace or even with arrows, there is none equal to him.Endued with the strength of ten thousand elephants, and filled withpride, in energy he is superhuman. Those two bulls among men, the sons ofMadri, are both Rathas. In beauty, they are equal to the twin Aswinis,and they are endued with great energy. Stationed at the head of theirdivisions, all of them, remembering their great sufferings, withoutdoubt, wander along the field like so many Indras! All of them are enduedwith high souls, and are tall in stature like the trunks of Sala trees.Taller than other men by half-a-cubit in stature, all the sons of Panduare brave as lions and endued with great strength. All of them, O sire,have practised Brahmacharya vows and other ascetic austerities. Enduedwith modesty, those tigers among men are possessed of fierce strengthlike the veritable tigers. In speed, in smiting, and in crushing (foes),all of them are more than human. All of them, on the occasion of thecampaign of universal conquest, vanquished great kings, O bull ofBharata’s race! No other men can wield their weapons, maces, and shafts.Indeed, O Kaurava, there are no men that can even string their bows, oruplift their maces, or shoot their arrows in battle. In speed, in hittingthe aim, in eating, and in sports on the dust, they used to beat all ofyou even when they were children. Possessed of fierce might they will,when they encounter this force, exterminate it in battle. A collision,therefore, with them is not desirable. Each of them can alone slay allthe kings of the earth! That which happened, O great king, on theoccasion of the Rajasuya sacrifice, had occurred before thy very eyes!Remembering the sufferings of Draupadi and the harsh speeches utteredafter their defeat at dice, they will wander in battle like so manyRudras. As regards Gudakesha, of reddish eyes, having Narayana for hisally, there is not among both the armies any brave car-warrior that canbe regarded as his equal. Let men alone, it hath not been heard by usthat even among gods, Asuras, Uragas, Rakshasas and Yakshas, there everwas born before, or there ever will be born hereafter, any car-warriorlike unto him! O great king, intelligent Partha owneth that car which isfurnished with the banner bearing the device of the ape; the driver ofthat car is Vasudeva! Dhananjaya himself is the warrior who fighteth fromit; his, again, is that celestial bow called Gandiva; he owneth againthose steeds fleet as the wind; his coat of mail is impenetrable and ofcelestial make; his two large quivers are inexhaustible; his arms havebeen obtained from the great Indra, Rudra, Kuvera, Yama and Varuna; andupon his car, again, are those maces of frightful mien, and diverse othergreat weapons having the thunderbolt amongst them! What car-warrior canbe regarded as his equal, who, stationed on a single car’ slew in battlea thousand Danavas, having their abode in Hiranyapura? Inflamed withwrath, possessed of great might and prowess, incapable of being baffled,that mighty-armed warrior, while protecting his own army, will certainlyexterminate thy troops! Myself and preceptor (Drona) among the twoarmies, and no third car-warrior, O great king, can advance againstDhananjaya, that scatterer of arrowy showers! Pouring his shafts, likethe very clouds during the rainy season when propelled by mighty winds,that son of Kunti when Vasudeva as his second, steppeth for battle! He isskilful and young, while both of us are old and worn out!’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Hearing these words of Bhishma, andrecollecting with trembling heart, the well-known valour of the sons ofPandu and thinking of it, as if it were present before their eyes, themassive arms of kings, decked with bracelets and smeared withsandal-paste, seemed to hang down divested of might.'”

Chapter 171
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