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Chapter 45

Mahabharata English - VIRATA PARVA

“Uttara said, ‘O hero, mounting on this large car with myself as driver,which division of the (hostile) army wouldst thou penetrate? Commanded bythee, I would drive thee thither?’

“Arjuna said, ‘I am pleased with thee, O tiger among men. Thou hast nocause of fear. I will rout all thy foes in battle, O great warrior, And,O thou of mighty arms, be at thy ease. Accomplishing great and terriblefeats in the melee, I will fight with thy foes. Tie quickly all thosequivers to my car, and take (from among those) a sword of polished bladeand adorned with gold.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Hearing these words of Arjuna, Uttara cast offall inactivity. And he speedily alighted from the tree, bringing with himArjuna’s weapons. Then Arjuna addressed him, saying, ‘Yes, I will fightwith the Kurus and recover thy kine. Protected by me, the top of this carwill be to thee as a citadel. The passages and alleys and other divisionsof this car will be the streets and edifices of that fortified city.These my arms will be its ramparts and gateways. This treble pole and myquiver will constitute defensive works inaccessible to the foe. This mybanner–single and grand–will it not alone be equal unto those of thycity? This my bow-string will constitute the catapults and cannons forvomiting forth missiles on the besiezing ghost. My excited wrath willmake that fortress formidable, and the clatter of my car-wheels–will itnot resemble the kettle-drums of thy capital? Ridden by myself wieldingthe Gandiva, this car will be incapable of being vanquished by thehostile host, O son of Virata, let thy fear be dispelled.’

“Uttara said, ‘I am no longer afraid of these. I know thy steadiness inbattle, which is even like unto that of Kesava or Indra himself. Butreflecting on this, I am continually bewildered. Foolish as I am, I amincapable of arriving at certain conclusion. By what distressfulcircumstances could a person of such handsome limbs and auspicious signsbecome deprived of manhood! Indeed, thou seemest to me to be Mahadeva, orIndra, or the chief of the Gandharvas, dwelling in the guise only of oneof the third sex.’

“Arjuna said, ‘I tell thee truly that I am only observing this vow for awhole year agreeable to the behest of my elder brother. O thou of mightyarms, I am not truly one of the neuter sex, but I have adopted this vowof eunuchism from subservience to another’s will and from desire ofreligious merit. O prince, know me now to have completed my vow.’

“Uttara said, ‘Thou hast conferred a great favour on me today, for I nowfind that my suspicion was not altogether unfounded. Indeed, such aperson as thou, O best of men, cannot be of the neuter sex. I have now anally in battle. I can now fight with the celestials themselves. My fearshave been dispelled. What shall I do? Command me now. Trained in drivingcars by a learned preceptor I will, O bull among men, hold the reins ofthy horses that are capable of breaking the ranks of hostile cars. Knowme, O bull among men, to be as competent a charioteer as Daruka ofVasudeva, or Matali of Sakra. The horse that is yoked unto the right-handpole (of thy car) and whose hoofs as they light on the ground arescarcely visible when running, is like unto Sugriva of Krishna. Thisother handsome horse, the foremost of his race, that is yoked unto theleft pole, is, I regard, equal in speed to Meghapushpa. This (third)beautiful horse, clad in golden mail, yoked unto the rear-pole on theleft, is, I regard, Sivya equal in speed to but superior in strength. Andthis (fourth) horse, yoked to the rear-pole on the right, is regarded assuperior to Valahaka in speed and strength. This car is worthy of bearingon the field of battle a bowman like thee, and thou also art worthy offighting on this car. This is what I think!’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Then Arjuna, endued with great energy, took offthe bracelets from his arms and wore on his hands a pair of beautifulgloves embroidered with gold. And he then tied his black and curlinglocks with a piece of white cloth. And seated on that excellent car withface turned to the east, the mighty-armed hero, purifying his body andconcentrating his soul, recalled to his mind all his weapons. And all theweapons came, and addressing the royal son of Partha, said, ‘We are here,O illustrious one. We are thy servants, O son of Indra.’ And bowing untothem, Partha received them unto his hands and replied unto them, saying,’Dwell ye all in my memory.’ And obtaining all his weapons, the herolooked cheerful. And quickly stringing his bow, the Gandiva, he twangedit. And the twang of that bow was as loud as the collision of two mightybulls. And dreadful was the sound that filled the earth, and violent wasthe wind that blew on all sides. And thick was the shower of fallenmeteors [50] and all sides were enveloped in gloom. And the birds beganto totter in the skies and large trees began to shake. [51] And loud asthe burst of the thunder, the Kurus knew from that sound that it wasArjuna that drew with his hands the string of his best of bows from hiscar. And Uttara said, ‘Thou, O best of Pandavas, art alone. These mightycar-warriors are many. How wilt thou vanquish in battle all these thatare skilled in every kind of weapon? Thou, O son of Kunti, art without afollower, while the Kauravas have many. It is for this, O thou of mightyarms, that I stay beside thee, stricken with fear.’ Bursting out intoloud laughter, Partha said unto him, ‘Be not afraid, O hero, whatfriendly follower had I while fighting with the mighty Gandharvas on theoccasion of the Ghoshayatra? Who was my ally while engaged in theterrific conflict at Khandava against so many celestials and Danavas? Whowas my ally when I fought, on behalf of the lord of the celestialsagainst the mighty Nivatakavachas and the Paulomas! And who was my ally,O child, while I encountered in battle innumerable kings at theSwayamvara to the princess of Panchala? Trained in arms by the preceptorDrona, by Sakra, and Vaisravana, and Yama, and Varuna, and Agni, andKripa, and Krishna of Madhu’s race, and by the wielder of the Pinaka(Siva), why shall I not fight with these? Drive thou my car speedily, andlet thy heart’s fever be dispelled.'”

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