Chapter 52

Mahabharata English - VIRATA PARVA

“Bhishma said, ‘The wheel of time revolves with its divisions, viz., withKalas and Kasthas and Muhurtas and days and fortnights and months andconstellations and planets and seasons and years. In consequence of theirfractional excesses and the deviations of also of the heavenly bodies,there is an increase of two months in every five years. It seems to methat calculating this wise, there would be an excess of five months andtwelve nights in thirteen years. Everything, therefore, that the sons ofPandu had promised, hath been exactly fulfilled by them. Knowing this tobe certain, Vibhatsu hath made his appearance. All of them arehigh-souled and fully conversant with the meanings of the scriptures. Howwould they deviate from virtue that have Yudhishthira for their guide?The sons of Kunti do not yield to temptation. They have achieved adifficult feat. If they had coveted the possession of their kingdom byunfair means, then those descendants of the Kuru race would have soughtto display their prowess at the time of the match at dice. Bound in bondsof virtue, they did not deviate from the duties of the Kshatriya order.He that will regard them to have behaved falsely will surely meet withdefeat. The sons of Pritha would prefer death to falsehood. When thetime, however, comes, those bulls among men–the Pandava’s–endued withenergy like that of Sikra, would not give up what is theirs even if it isdefended by the wielder himself of the thunderbolt. We shall have tooppose in battle the foremost of all wielders of weapons. Therefore, letsuch advantageous arrangements as have the sanction of the good and thehonest be now made without loss of time so that our possessions may notbe appropriated by the foe. O king of kings, O Kaurava, I have never seena battle in which one of the parties could say,–we are sure to win. Whena battle occurs, there must be victory or defeat, prosperity oradversity. Without doubt, a party to a battle must have either of thetwo. Therefore, O king of kings, whether a battle be now proper or notconsistent with virtue or not, make thy arrangements soon, for Dhananjayais at hand.’

“Duryodhana said, ‘I will not, O grandsire, give back the Pandavas theirkingdom. Let every preparation, therefore, for battle be made withoutdelay.’

“Bhishma said, ‘Listen to what I regard as proper, if it pleases thee. Ishould always say what is for thy good, O Kaurava. Proceed thou towardsthe capital, without loss of time, taking with thee a fourth part of thearmy. And let another fourth march, escorting the kine. With half thetroops we will fight the Pandava. Myself and Drona, and Karna andAswatthaman and Kripa will resolutely withstand Vibhatsu, or the king ofthe Matsyas, or Indra himself, if he approaches. Indeed, we willwithstand any of these like the bank withstanding the surging sea.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘These words spoken by the high-souled Bhishmawere acceptable to them, and the king of the Kauravas acted accordinglywithout delay. And having sent away the king and then the kine, Bhishmabegan to array the soldiers in order of battle. And addressing thepreceptor, he said, ‘O preceptor, stand thou in the centre, and letAswatthaman stand on the left, and let the wise Kripa, son of Saradwata,defend the right wing, and let Karna of the Suta caste, clad in mail,stand in the van. I will stand in the rear of the whole army, protectingit from that point.'”

Chapter 53
Chapter 51
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