“Duryodhana said, ‘Fear not, O king. Nor shouldest thou grieve for us. Omonarch, O lord, we are quite able to vanquish the foe in battle. Whenthe Parthas had been exiled to the woods, there came unto them the slayerof Madhu with a vast army in battle array and capable of crushing hostilekingdoms; and there also came unto them the Kekayas, and Dhrishtaketu,and Dhrishtadyumna of Pritha’s race and numerous other kings in theirtrain; and all those great car-warriors were assembled in a place not farfrom Indraprastha; and having assembled together they censured thee andall the Kurus. And O Bharata, all those warriors with Krishna at theirhead paid their homage unto Yudhishthira clad in deerskin and seated intheir midst. And all those kings then suggested to Yudhishthira that heshould take back the kingdom. And all of them desired to slay thee withall the followers. And hearing of all this, O bull of the Bharata race, Iaddressed Bhishma and Drona and Kripa, struck with fear, O king, at theprospect of the ruin that threatened our kindred. And I said unto them,’I think the Pandavas will not abide by the agreement made by them;Vasudeva desireth our utter extinction. I think also that with theexception of Vidura all of you will be slain, although the chief of theKurus, Dhritarashtra, conversant with morality, will not be included inthe slaughter, O sire, effecting our complete destruction, Janardanawisheth to bestow upon Yudhishthira the entire kingdom of the Kurus. Whatshould be done? Shall we surrender, or fly, or shall we fight the foegiving up every hope of life? If, indeed, we stand up against them, ourdefeat is certain, for all the kings of the earth are underYudhishthira’s command. The people of the realm are all annoyed with us,and all our friends also are angry with us. All the kings of the earthare speaking ill of us, and especially all our friends and relatives.There can be no fault in our surrender, for from time immemorial, theweaker party is known to conclude peace. I grieve, however, for that lordof men, my, blind father, who may, on my account, be overtaken by woe andmisery that is endless. [It is known to thee, O king, even before this,that thy other sons were all opposed to the foe for pleasing me only].Those mighty car-warriors, the sons of Pandu, will, indeed, avenge theirwrongs by destroying the whole race of king Dhritarashtra with all hiscounsellors.–(It was thus that I addressed them, and) seeing meafflicted by great anxiety and my senses tortured, Drona and Bhishma andKripa and Drona’s son then addressed me, saying, ‘Fear not, O represserof foes, for if the foe wage hostilities with us, they will not be ableto vanquish us when we take the field. Every one of us is singly capableof vanquishing all the kings of the earth. Let them come. With keen-edgedarrows we will curb their pride. Inflamed with anger upon the death ofhis father, this Bhishma (amongst us) in days of old had conquered allthe kings of the earth, on a single car. O Bharata, his wrath excited,that best of the Kurus smote numberless ones amongst them, whereupon fromfear, they are surrendered to this Devavrata seeking his protection. ThatBhishma, united with us, is still capable of vanquishing the foe inbattle. Let thy fears, therefore, O bull of the Bharata race, be alldispelled.’
“Duryodhana continued, ‘Even this was the resolve then formed by theseheroes of immeasurable energy. The whole earth was formerly under thefoe’s command. Now, however, they are incapable of vanquishing us inbattle, for our enemies, the sons of Pandu, are now without allies anddestitute of energy. O bull of the Bharata race, the sovereignty of theearth now resteth in me, and the kings also, assembled by me, are of thesame mind with me in weal or woe. Know thou, O best of the Kuru race,that all these kings, O slayer of foes, can, for my sake, enter into thefire or the sea. They are all laughing at thee, beholding thee filledwith grief and including in these lamentations like one out of his wits,and affrighted at the praises of the foe. Every one amongst these kingsis able to withstand the Pandavas. Indeed, sire, every one regardethhimself; let thy fears, therefore, be dispelled. Even Vasava himself isnot capable of vanquishing my vast host. The Self-create Brahma himself,if desirous of slaying it, cannot annihilate it. Having given up allhopes of a city, Yudhishthira craveth only five villages, affrighted, Olord, at the army I have assembled and at my power. The belief thouentertainest in the prowess of Vrikodara, the son of Kunti, is unfounded.O Bharata, thou knowest not the extent of my prowess. There is none onearth equal to me in an encounter with the mace. None have ever surpassedme in such an encounter, nor will any surpass me. With devotedapplication and undergoing many privations, I have lived in mypreceptor’s abode. I have completed my knowledge and exercises there. Itis for this that I have no fear either of Bhima or of others. When Ihumbly waited upon Sankarshana (my preceptor), blessed be thou, it washis firm conviction that Duryodhana hath no equal in the mace. In battleI am Sankarshana’s equal, and in might there is none superior to me onearth. Bhima will never be able to bear the blow of my mace in battle. Asingle blow, O king, that I may wrathfully deal unto Bhima willcertainly, O hero, carry him without delay to the abode of Yama. O king,I wish to see Vrikodara mace in hand. This hath been my long-cherisheddesire. Struck in battle with my mace, Vrikodara, the son of Pritha, willfall dead on the ground, his limbs shattered. Smitten with a blow of mymace, the mountains of Himavat may split into a hundred thousandsfragments. Vrikodra himself knoweth this truth, as also Vasudeva andArjuna, that there is no one equal to Duryodhana in the use of mace. Letthy fears, therefore, caused by Vrikodara. be dispelled, for I willcertainly slay him in fierce conflict. Do not, O king, give way tomelancholy. And after I have slain him, numerous car-warriors of equal orsuperior energy, will, O bull among the Bharatas, speedily throw Arjunadown. Bhishma, Drona Kripa and Drona’s son, Karna and, Bhurisravas,Salya, the king of Pragjyotish, and Jayadratha, the king of theSindhus,–every one of these, O Bharata, is singly capable of slaying thePandavas. When united together, they will, within a moment, send Arjunato the abode of Yama. There, indeed, is no reason why the united army ofall the kings will be incapable of vanquishing Dhananjaya singly. Ahundred times shrouded by immeasurable arrows shot by Bhishma and Dronaand Drona’s son and Kripa, and deprived of strength, Partha will have togo unto Yama’s abode. Our grandsire born of Ganga is, O Bharata, superiorto Santanu himself. Like unto a regenerate saint, and incapable of beingwithstood by the very celestials, he took his birth amongst men. There isno slayer of Bhishma, O king, on earth, for his father, being gratified,gave him the boon,–Thou shalt not die except when it is thy own wish.And Drona took his birth in a water-pot from the regenerate saintBharadwaja. And from Drona hath taken birth his son, having a knowledgeof the highest weapons. And this the foremost of preceptors. Kripa also,hath taken his birth from the great Rishi Gautama. Born in a clump ofheath this illustrious one, I think, is incapable of being slain. Thenagain, O king, the father, mother and maternal uncle ofAswatthaman,–these three,–are not born of woman’s womb. I have thathero also on my side. All these mighty car-warriors, O king, are likeunto celestials, and can, O bull of the Bharata race, inflict pain onSakra himself in battle. Arjuna is incapable of even looking at any oneof these singly. When united together, these tigers among men willcertainly slay Dhananjaya. Karna also, I suppose, is equal unto Bhishmaand Drona and Kripa. O Bharata, Rama himself had told him,–Thou artequal unto me. Karna had two ear-rings born with him, of great brillianceand beauty; for Sachi’s gratification Indra begged them of that repressorof foes, in exchange, O king, of an infallible and terrible shaft. Howwould Dhananjaya, therefore, escape with life from Karna who is protectedby that arrow? My success, therefore, O king, is as certain as a fruitheld fast in my own grasp. The utter defeat also of my foes is alreadybruited about on earth. This Bhishma, O Bharata, killeth every day tenthousand soldiers. Equal unto him are these bowmen, Drona, Drona’s sonand Kripa. Then, O repressor of foes, the ranks of the Samsaptakawarriors have made this resolution,–Either we will slay Arjuna or thatApe-bannered warrior will slay us. There are other kings also, who firmin their resolve of slaying Savyasachin, regard him as unequal tothemselves. Why dost thou then apprehend danger from the Pandavas? WhenBhimasena will be slain, O Bharata, who else (amongst them) will fight?Tell me this, O repressor of foes, if thou knowest any amongst the foes.The five brothers, with Dhrishtadyumna and Satyaki,–these seven warriorsof the enemy, O king, are regarded as their chief strength. Those,however, amongst us, that are our chief warriors, are Bhishma, Drona,Kripa, Drona’s son, Karna, Somadatta, Vahlika, and Salya, the king ofPragjyotisha, the two kings (Vindha and Anuvinda) of Avanti, andJayadratha; and then, O king, thy sons Dussasana, Durmukha, Dussaha,Srutayu; Chitrasena, Purumitra, Vivingsati, Sala, Bhurisravas, andVikarna. O king, I have assembled one and ten Akshauhinis. The army ofthe enemy is less than mine, amounting only to seven Akshauhinis. Howthen can I be defeated? Vrihaspati hath said that an army which is lessby a third ought to be encountered. My army, O king, exceedeth that ofthe foe by a third. Besides, O Bharata, I know that the enemy hath manydefects, while mine, O lord, are endued with many good virtues. Knowingall this, O Bharata, as also the superiority of my force and theinferiority of the Pandavas, it behoveth thee not to lose thy senses.
‘Having said this, O Bharata, that conqueror of hostile chiefs,Duryodhana, asked Sanjaya again, anxious to known more about the doingsof the Pandavas.'”