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Chapter 46

Mahabharata English - VIRATA PARVA

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Making Uttara his charioteer, and circumambulatingthe Sami tree, the son of Pandu set out taking all his weapons with him.And that mighty car-warrior set out with Uttara as the driver of his car,having taken down that banner with the lion’s figure and deposited it atthe foot of the Sami tree. And he hoisted on that car his own goldenbanner bearing the figure of an ape with a lion’s tail, which was acelestial illusion contrived by Viswakarman himself. For, as soon,indeed, as he had thought of that gift of Agni, than the latter, knowinghis wish, ordered those superhuman creatures (that usually sat there) totake their place in that banner. And furnished with a beautiful flag ofhandsome make, with quivers attached to it, and adored with gold, thatexcellent flag-staff of celestial beauty than quickly fell from thefirmament on his car. [52] And beholding that banner arrived on his car,the hero circumambulated it (respectively). And then the ape-banneredVibhatsu, the son of Kunti, called also Swetavahana, with fingers casedin leathern fences of the Iguana skin, and taking up his bow and arrowsset out in a northernly direction. And that grinder of foes, possessed ofgreat strength, then forcibly blew his large conch-shell, of thunderingsound, capable of making the bristles of foes to stand on their ends. Andat the sound of that conch, those steeds endued with swiftness droppeddown on the ground on their knees. And Uttara also, greatly affrighted,sat down on the car. And thereupon the son of Kunti took the reinshimself and raising the steeds, placed them in their proper positions.And embracing Uttara, he encouraged him also, saying, ‘Fear not, Oforemost of princes, thou art, O chastiser of foes, a Kshatriya by birth.Why, O tiger among men, dost thou become so dispirited in the midst offoes? Thou must have heard before the blare of many conchs and the noteof many trumpets, and the roar also of many elephants in the midst ofranks arrayed for battled. Why art thou, therefore, so dispirited andagitated and terrified by the blare of this conch, as if thou wert anordinary person?’

“Uttara said, ‘Heard have I the blare of many a conch and many a trumpetand the roar of many an elephant stationed in the battle-array, but neverhave I heard before the blare of such conch. Nor have I ever seen abanner like this. Never before have I heard also the twang of a bow suchas this. Truly, sir, with the blare of this conch, the twang of this bow,the superhuman cries of the creatures stationed on this banner, and thebattle of this car, my mind is greatly bewildered. My perception of thedirections also is confused, and my heart is painfully afflicted. Thewhole firmament seemeth to me to have been covered by this banner, andeverything seemeth to be hidden from my view! My ears also have beendeafened by the twang of the Gandiva![53]

“Arjuna said, ‘Firmly stand thou on the car, pressing thy feet on it, andtightly catch hold of the bridles, for I will blow the conch again.’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Arjuna then blew his conch again, that conch whichfilled foes with grief and enhanced the joy of friends. And the sound wasso loud that it seemed to split hills and mountains, and piercemountain-caves and the cardinal points. And Uttara once again sat down onthe car, clinging to it in fear. And with the blare of the conch and therattle of the car-wheels, and the twang of the Gandiva, the earth itselfseemed to tremble. And beholding Uttara’s fight, Dhananjaya began tocomfort him again.’

“Meanwhile, Drona said, ‘From the rattle of the car, and from the mannerin which the clouds have enveloped the sky and the earth itself trembles,this warrior can be none else than Savyasachin. Our weapons do not shine,our steeds are dispirited, and our fires, though fed with fuel, do notblare up. All this is ominous. All our animals are setting up a frightfulhowl, gazing towards the sun. The crows are perching on our banners. Allthis is ominous. Yon vultures and kites on our right portend a greatdanger. That jackal also, running through our ranks, waileth dismally.Lo, it hath escaped unstruck. All this portends a heavy calamity. Thebristles also of ye all are on their ends. Surely, this forebodes a greatdestruction of Kshatriyas in battle. Things endued with light are allpale; beasts and birds look fierce; and there are to be witnessed manyterrific portents indicative of the destruction of Kshatriyas. And theseomens forebode great havoc among ourselves. O king, thy ranks seem to beconfounded by these blazing meteors, and thy animals look dispirited andseem to be weeping. Vultures and kites are wheeling all around thytroops. Thou shalt have to repent upon beholding thy army afflicted byPartha’s arrows. Indeed, our ranks seem to have been already vanquished,for none is eager to go to fight. All our warriors are of pale face, andalmost deprived of their senses. Sending the kine ahead we should standhere, ready to strike, with all our warriors arrayed in order of battle.”

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