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Chapter 47

Mahabharata English - VIRATA PARVA

“Vaisampayana said, ‘King Duryodhana then, on the field of battle saidunto Bhishma, and unto Drona–that tiger among warriors, and untoKripa–that mighty car-warrior, these words, ‘Both myself and Kama hadsaid this unto the preceptors[54] I refer to the subject again, for I amnot satisfied with having said it once. Even this was the pledge of thesons of Pandu that if defeated (at dice) they would reside to ourknowledge in countries and woods for twelve years, and one more yearunknown to us. That thirteenth year, instead of being over, is yetrunning. Vibhatsu, therefore, who is still to live undiscovered hathappeared before us. And if Vibhatsu hath come before the term of exile isat end, the Pandavas shall have to pass another twelve years in thewoods. Whether it is due to forgetfulness (on their part) induced bydesire of dominion, or whether it is a mistake of ours, it behovethBhishma to calculate the shortness or excess (of the promised period).When an object of desire may or may not be attained, a doubt necessarilyattaches to one of the alternatives, and what is decided in one way oftenends differently. [55] Even moralists are puzzled in judging of their ownacts. [56] As regards ourselves, we have come hither to fight with theMatsyas and to seize their kine stationed towards the north. If,meanwhile, it is Arjuna that hath come, what fault can attach to us? Wehave come hither to fight against the Matsyas on behalf of the Trigartas;and as numerous were the acts represented unto us of the oppressionscommitted by the Matsyas. it was for this that we promised aid to theTrigartas who were overcome with fear. And it was agreed between us thatthey should first seize, on the afternoon of the seventh lunar day, theenormous wealth of kine that the Matsyas have, and that we should, atsunrise of the eighteen day of the moon, seize these kine when the kingof the Matsyas would be pursuing those first seized. It may be that theTrigartas are now bringing a way the kine, or being defeated, are comingtowards us for negotiating with the king of the Matsyas. Or, it may be,that having driven the Trigartas off, the king of the Matsyas, at thehead of this people and his whole army of fierce warriors, appeareth onthe scene and advanceth to make night-attacks upon us. It may be thatsome one leader among them, endued with mighty energy, is advancing forvanquishing us, or, it may be that the king himself of the Matsyas iscome. But be it the king of the Matsyas or Vibhatsu, we must all fighthim. Even this hath been our pledge. Why are all these of foremostcar-warriors,–Bhishma and Drona and Kripa and Vikarna and Drona’sson,–now sitting on their cars, panic-stricken? At present there isnothing better than fighting. Therefore, make up your minds. If, for thecattle we have seized, an encounter takes place with the divine wielderhimself of the thunderbolt or even with Yama, who is there that will beliable to reach Hastinapura? Pierced by the shafts (of the foe), how willthe foot-soldiers, in flying through the deep forest with their backs onthe field, escape with life, when escape for the cavalry is doubtful?Hearing these words of Duryodhana, Karna said, ‘Disregarding thepreceptor, make all arrangements. He knoweth well the intentions of thePandavas and striketh terror in our hearts. I see that his affection forArjuna is very great. Seeing him only coming, he chanteth his praises.Make ye such arrangements that our troops may not break. Everything is inconfusion for Drona’s having only heard the neigh of (Arjuna’s) steeds.Make ye such arrangements that these troops, come to a distant land inthis hot season and in the midst of this mighty forest, may not fall intoconfusion and be subjugated by the foe. The Pandavas are always thespecial favourites of the preceptor. The selfish Pandavas have stationedDrona amongst us. Indeed, he betrayeth himself by his speech. Who wouldever extol a person upon hearing the neigh only of his steeds? Horsesalways neigh, whether walking or standing, the winds blow at all times;and Indra also always showereth rain. The roar of the clouds mayfrequently be heard. What hath Partha to do with these, and why is he tobe praised for these? All this (on Drona’s part), therefore, is due onlyto either the desire of doing good to Arjuna or to his wrath and hatredtowards us. Preceptors are wise, and sinless, and very kind to allcreatures. They, however, should never be consulted at times of peril. Itis in luxurious palaces, and assemblies and pleasure-gardens, thatlearned men, capable of making speeches, seem to be in their place.Performing many wonderful things, in the assembly, it is there thatlearned men find their place, or even there where sacrificial utensilsand their proper placing and washing are needed. In a knowledge of thelapses of others, in studying the characters of men, in the science ofhorses and elephants and cars, in treating the diseases of asses andcamels and goats and sheeps and kine, in planning buildings and gateways,and in pointing out the defects of food and drink, the learned are trulyin their own sphere. Disregarding learned men that extol the heroism ofthe foe, make ye such arrangements that the foe may be destroyed. Placingthe kine securely, array the troops in order of battle. Place guards inproper places so that we may fight the foe.'”

Chapter 48
Chapter 46
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