Chapter 174

Mahabharata English - UDYOGA PARAVA

“Duryodhana said, ‘For what reason, O chief of the Bharatas, wilt thounot slay Sikhandin even if thou beholdest him approach thee as a foe witharms upraised? Thou hadst, O mighty-armed one, formerly told me,–I willslay the Panchalas with the Somakas’–O son of Ganga, tell me, Ograndsire (the reason of the present reservation),’

“Bhishma said, ‘Listen, O Duryodhana, to this history, with all theselords of earth, as to why I will not slay Sikhandin even if I behold himin battle! My father, Santanu, O king, was celebrated over all the world.O bull of the Bharata race, that king of virtuous soul paid his debt tonature in time, Observing my pledge, O chief of the Bharatas, I theninstalled my brother, Chitrangada, on the throne of the extensive kingdomof the Kurus. After Chitrangada’s demise, obedient to the counsels ofSatyavati, I installed, according to the ordinance, Vichitravirya asking. Although young in age, yet being installed duly by me, O monarch,the virtuous Vichitravirya looked up to me in everything. Desirous ofmarrying him, I set my heart upon procuring daughters from a suitablefamily. (At that time) I heard, O thou of mighty arms, that threemaidens, all unrivalled for beauty, daughters of the ruler of Kasi, byname Amva, Amvika, and Amvalika would select husbands for themselves, andthat all the kings of the earth, O bull of the Bharata’s race, had beeninvited. Amongst those maidens Amva was the eldest, Amvika the second,while the princess Amvalika, O monarch, was the youngest. Myselfrepairing on a single car to the city of the ruler of Kasi, I beheld, Othou of mighty arms, the three maidens adorned with ornaments and alsoall the kings of the earth invited thither on the occasion. Then, O bullof Bharata’s race, challenging to battle all those kings who were readyfor the encounter, I took up those maidens on my car and repeatedly saidunto all the kings assembled there these words–Bhishma, the son ofSantanu, is carrying away by force these maidens. Ye kings, strive ye allto the best of your power for rescuing them! By force do I take themaway, ye bulls among men, making you spectators of my act!–At thesewords of mine those rulers of the earth sprang up with weaponsunsheathed. And they angrily urged the drivers of their cars, saying,’Make ready the cars,–Make ready the cars.’ And those monarchs sprang upto the rescue, with weapons unsheathed; car-warriors on their carsresembling masses of clouds, those fighting from elephants, on theirelephants, and others on their stout and plump steeds. Then all thosekings, O monarch, surrounded me on all sides with a multitudinous numberof cars. With a shower of arrows, I stopped their onrush on all sides andvanquished them like the chief of celestials vanquishing hordes ofDanavas. Laughingly, with easiness I cut down the variegated standards,decked with gold, of the advancing kings, with blazing shafts, O bull ofBharata’s race! In that combat I overthrew their steeds and elephants andcar-drivers, each with a single arrow. Beholding that lightness (of hand)of mine, they desisted (from the fight) and broke. And having vanquishedall those rulers of the earth, I came back to Hastinapura, I then, O thouof mighty arms, made over those maidens, intending them for my brothersto Satyavati and represented unto her everything I had done.'”

Chapter 175
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