08. KARNA PARVA (96)

Om! Having bowed down unto Narayana, and unto that most exalted of malebeings, Nara, and unto the goddess Sarasvati also, must the word Jaya beuttered.

“Sanjaya said, ‘After the fall of the mighty bowman Drona on that day, OBharata, and after the purpose had been baffled of that mightycar-warriors, viz., the son of Drona, and after the vasty army,

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘After having obtained the command of the army, andafter he had been addressed by the king himself in those sweet andbrotherly words, and after he had ordered the troops to be arrayed at thehour of sunrise, tell me, O Sanjaya, what did Vikartana’s son Karna do?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Then those two vast armies, teeming with rejoicing menand steeds and elephants, resembling in splendour the celestial and theAsura hosts, meeting together,

“Sanjaya said, ‘Then the mighty and heroic bowman Karna began to smitethe Pandava army in that battle, with his straight shafts.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Srutakarman then, O king, filled with wrath, struck thatlord of Earth, viz., Citrasena, in that battle, with fifty shafts.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Endued with the greatest activity, Drona’s son, O king,displaying the lightness of his arms, pierced Bhima with an arrow.

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Describe to me the battle of Arjuna with thesamsaptakas, and of the other kings with the Pandavas. Narrate to mealso, O Sanjaya, the battle of Arjuna with Ashvatthama, and of the otherlords of the Earth with Partha.’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Then occurred that battle between Arjuna and Ashvatthamaresembling the planets Shukra and Brihaspati in splendour, like thebattle between Shukra and Brihaspati in the firmament for entering thesame constellation.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Meanwhile towards the northern part of the Pandava army,a loud uproar arose of cars and elephants and steeds and foot-soldiers asthose were being massacred by Dandadhara.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Wheeling round, like the planet Mercury in the curvatureof its orbit, Jishnu (Arjuna) once more slew large number of thesamsaptakas.

Vaishampayana said, “Upon the fall of Karna, O monarch, the son ofGavalgana, with a cheerless heart, set out that night for Nagapura, onsteeds that rivalled the wind in speed.

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Thou didst mention to me before the name of Pandya,that hero of world-wide celebrity, but his feats, O Sanjaya, in battlehave never been narrated by thee. Tell me today in detail of the prowessof that great hero, his skill, spirit, and energy, the measure of hismight, and his pride.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘When Pandya had been slain and when that foremostof heroes, viz., Karna was employed in routing and destroying the foe,what, O Sanjaya, did Arjuna do in battle?

“Sanjaya said, ‘Many elephant-warriors riding on their beasts, urged bythy son, proceeded against Dhrishtadyumna, filled with rage and desirousof compassing his destruction.

“Sanjaya said, ‘While Sahadeva, filled with rage, was thus blasting thyhost, Duhshasana, O great king, proceeded against him, the brotheragainst the brother.

“Sanjaya said, ‘While Nakula was employed in destroying and routing theKaurava divisions in battle with great force, Vikartana’s son Karna,filled with rage, checked him, O king.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Against Yuyutsu who was employed in routing the vast armyof thy son, Uluka proceeded with speed saying “Wait, Wait.”

“Sanjaya said, ‘Kripa, O king, resisted Dhrishtadyumna in battle, like aSarabha in the forest resisting a proud lion.

“Sanjaya said, ‘The white steeded (Arjuna) also, O monarch, routed thyforce even as the winds, approaching a heap of cotton, scatters it on allsides.

“Sanjaya said, ‘King Duryodhana, O monarch, himself fearlessly receivedYudhishthira, as the latter was engaged in shooting large numbers ofshafts.

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘I have heard from thee, O Sanjaya, of many poignantand unbearable griefs as also of the losses sustained by my sons.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Upon the fall of the great bowman Drona, thy sons, thosemighty car-warriors, became pale and deprived of their senses.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Placing Karna at their van, thy warriors, difficult ofdefeat in fight, returned and fought (with the foe) a battle thatresembled that between the gods and the Asuras.

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘It seems that Arjuna slew all of you at his will.Indeed, the Destroyer himself could not escape him in battle, if Arjunatook up arms against Him.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Thy son then, O monarch, humbly approaching that mightycar-warrior, viz., the ruler of the Madras, addressed him, fromaffection, in these words, “O thou of true vows, O thou of great goodfortune,

“‘Duryodhana said, “Listen, once more, O ruler of the Madras, to what Iwill say unto thee, about what happened, O lord, in the battle betweenthe gods and the Asuras in days of yore.

“‘Duryodhana said, “After the fears of those throngs of the pitris, thegods, and the Rishis had thus been dispelled by that high-souled Deity,Brahman then offered his adorations, unto Sankara, and said these wordsfor the benefit of the universe,

“‘Duryodhana said, “Even thus did that illustrious Deity, that Grandsireof all the worlds, viz., Brahman, act as driver on that occasion and eventhus did Rudra become the warrior.

“‘Duryodhana said, “This one, O Karna, will act as thy driver, this rulerof the Madras, who is superior to Krishna, like Matali the driver of thechief of the celestials.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding the mighty Karna take up his station fromdesire of battle, the Kauravas, filled with delight, uttered loud shoutsfrom every side.

“Sanjaya said ‘After Karna, gladdening thy army, had set out for battle,he spoke unto every Pandava soldier that he met with, even these words:”

“‘Shalya said, “Do not, O Suta’s son, give away to any man a golden carwith six bulls of elephantine proportions. Thou wilt obtain a sight ofDhananjaya today.

Vaishampayana said, “Hearing this intelligence, O monarch, Dhritarashtrathe son of Ambika, feeling the acme of grief, regarded Suyodhana to bealready dead. Exceedingly agitated, the king fell down on the Earth likean elephant deprived of its senses.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Thus rebuked by Shalya of immeasurable energy, the son ofRadha, feeling the propriety of his rebuker’s name in consequence of hiswordy darts, and becoming filled with rage, answered him thus:

“Sanjaya said, ‘Hearing, O sire, these words of Radha’s son who delightedin battle, Shalya once more addressed Karna, citing an example, “I amborn in the race of men who performed great sacrifices, who neverretreated from battle, who were kings whose coronal locks underwent thesacred bath.

“Sanjaya said, ‘The high-souled son of Adhiratha, having listenedunconvinced to these words of the ruler of the Madras, addressed Shalya,saying, “That which Vasudeva and Arjuna are is well-known to me.

“Sanjaya said, ‘That chastiser of foes, viz., the son of Radha, thussilencing the ruler of the Madras, once more addressed him, O monarch,saying these words, “In answer to that which,

“‘Shalya said, “These, O Karna, are ravings that thou utterest regardingthe foe. As regards myself without a 1,000 Karnas I am able to vanquishthe foe in battle.'”

“‘Karna continued, “Thou shouldst know all this, O Shalya. I shallhowever, again speak unto thee. Listen with close attention to what Isay. Once on a time a brahmana came to our house as a guest.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding then that unrivalled array of the Parthas madeby Dhrishtadyumna which was capable of resisting all hostile armies,Karna proceeded, uttering leonine shouts and causing his car to produce aloud rattle.

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘When the two armies, duly arrayed, thus mingledwith each other for battle, O Sanjaya, how did Partha assail thesamsaptakas, and how Karna assail the Pandavas?

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Tell me, O Sanjaya, how Karna, having caused agreat slaughter penetrated into the midst of the Pandava troops, andstruck and afflicted king Yudhishthira.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Piercing through the Pandava host, Karna, surrounded bythousands of cars and elephants and steeds and foot-soldiers, rushedtowards king Yudhishthira the just.

Vaishampayana said, “Hearing these words, O monarch, Ambika’s sonDhritarashtra, with heart agitated by grief, addressed his driverSanjaya, saying, ‘Though the evil policy, O sire, of my son of littleforesight, Vikartana’s son hath been slain!

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding the Pandava heroes rushing impetuously towardsthy host, Duryodhana, O monarch, endeavoured to check the warriors of hisarmy on all sides, O bull of Bharata race.

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Exceedingly difficult of accomplishment was thatfeat, O Sanjaya, which was achieved by Bhima who caused the mighty-armedKarna himself to measure his length on the terrace of his car.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Those Kshatriyas, O monarch, harbouring feelings ofanimosity against one another and longing to take one another’s life,began to slay one another in that battle.

“Sanjaya said, ‘During the progress of that battle in which so manyKshatriyas sank down, the loud twang of Gandiva, O sire, was heard abovethe din on that spot, O king, where the son of Pandu was engaged inslaughtering the samsaptakas, the Kosalas, and the Narayana forces.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Then Kritavarma, and Kripa, and the son of Drona and theSuta’s son, O sire, and Uluka, and Subala’s son (Shakuni), and the kinghimself, with his uterine brothers, beholding the (Kuru) army afflictedwith the fear of

“Sanjaya said, ‘Meanwhile the son of Drona (Ashvatthama), beholdingYudhishthira protected by the grandson of Sini (Satyaki) and by theheroic sons of

“Sanjaya said, ‘Meanwhile Vikartana himself, resisting Bhimasenasupported by the Pancalas and the Cedis and the Kaikayas, covered himwith many arrows.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Then Duryodhana, O chief of Bharatas, repairing to Karna,said unto him as also unto the ruler of the Madras and the other lords ofEarth present there, these words, “Without seeking hath this occasionarrived, when the gates of heaven have become wide open.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Thus raged that great battle between those lords of Earthwhen Arjuna and Karna and Bhimasena, the son of Pandu became angry.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Then the Kurus and the Srinjayas once more fearlesslyencountered each other in battle, the Parthas being headed byYudhishthira, and ourselves headed by the Suta’s son.

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Thou hast, O son, mentioned the names of those ofmy side that have been slain in battle by the Pandavas. Tell me now, OSanjaya, the names of those amongst the Pandavas that have been slain bythe people of my side!’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Meanwhile Krishna, pointing out king Yudhishthira thejust, unto Kunti’s son Partha, addressed him in these words:

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘When Bhima and Pandu’s son Yudhishthira wereengaged in battle, when my troops were being slaughtered by the Pandusand the Srinjayas, when, indeed, my vast army being broken and routedrepeatedly became cheerless, tell me, O Sanjaya, what the Kauravas did.’

“Sanjaya said, ‘The handsome Arjuna then, on that foremost car of his,unto which were yoked white steeds, and which was urged by Narayanahimself, appeared on the scene.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Meanwhile Karna also began, with his arrowy showers, toafflict the mighty car-warriors of the Kaikayas, viz., those great bowmenthat stood before him.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Meanwhile Drona’s son, surrounded by a large car-force, Oking, suddenly proceeded to that spot where Partha was.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Having vanquished the son of Drona and achieved a mightyand heroic feat that is exceedingly difficult of accomplishment,Dhananjaya, irresistible by foes,

“‘Yudhishthira said, “Welcome, O thou that hast Devaki for thy mother,and welcome to thee, O Dhananjaya! The sight of both of you, O Acyuta andArjuna, is exceedingly agreeable!

“Sanjaya said, ‘Hearing these words of the righteous king who had beenfilled with anger, that high-souled atiratha, Jishnu of infinite energy,replied unto the invincible Yudhishthira of great might, saying, “Whilebattling with the samsaptakas today,

“Sanjaya said, ‘Hearing that Karna of mighty energy was still alive,Pritha’s son Yudhishthira of immeasurable energy, exceedingly angry withPhalguna and burning with the shafts of

“Sanjaya said, ‘Thus addressed by Yudhishthira, Kunti’s son owning whitesteeds, filled with rage, drew his sword for slaying that bull ofBharata’s race.

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘When all the foremost of my warriors, O Sanjayahave perished, I do not think that the remnant of my army will notperish!

“Sanjaya said, ‘Thus addressed by Janardana, Pritha’s son Arjuna,applauding those counsels of his friend, then vehemently addressed kingYudhishthira the just, in language that was harsh and the like of whichhe had never used before.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Having heard these joyful words of king Yudhishthira,Govinda of virtuous soul, that delighter of the Yadus, then addressedPartha.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Having with a cheerful heart gratified king Yudhishthirathe just, Partha, prepared to slay the Suta’s son, addressed Govinda,saying, “Let my car be once more equipped and let my foremost of steedsbe yoked thereto.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Once more Keshava of immeasurable soul said these wordsunto Arjuna, who, O Bharata, was advancing (to battle), firmly resolvedupon slaying Karna, ‘Today is the seventeenth day, O Bharata, of thisterrible massacre of men and elephants and steeds.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Hearing these words of Keshava, O Bharata, Vibhatsu sooncast off his anxiety and became cheerful.

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘In that awful and fathomless encounter of thePandavas and the Srinjayas with the warriors of my army, when Dhananjaya,O sire, proceeded for battle, how, indeed, did the fight occur?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘During the progress of the fierce engagement, Bhima,while fighting along, being encompassed by innumerable foes, addressedhis driver, saying, “Bear me into the midst of the Dhartarashtra host.Proceed, O charioteer, with speed, borne by these steeds.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Hearing the roars of cars and the leonine shouts (of thewarriors) in battle, Arjuna addressed Govinda, saying, “Urge the steedsto greater speed.”

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘When our troops were broken in battle by Bhimasena,what, O Sanjaya, did Duryodhana and Subala’s son say?

“Sanjaya said, ‘Meanwhile Arjuna, O monarch, having slain the four kindsof forces (of the enemy), and having obtained a sight of the angry son ofthe Suta in that dreadful battle, caused a river of blood to flow therethat was tawny with flesh and marrow and bones.

Janamejaya said, “Having heard of Karna’s fall and the slaughter of hissons, what, O foremost of regenerate ones, did the king say, after he hadbeen a little comforted? Indeed, poignant was the grief that heexperienced, arising from the calamity that befell his sons! Tell me, Iask thee, all that the king said on that occasion!”

“Sanjaya said, ‘Then, O king, Dhananjaya, desirous of rescuing Kunti’sson Bhima who, assailed by many, foremost of warriors of the Kuru army,seemed to sink (under that attack), avoided,

“Sanjaya said, ‘Meanwhile ninety Kaurava car-warriors rushed for battleagainst the ape-bannered Arjuna who was advancing, borne by his steeds ofexceeding fleetness.

“Sanjaya said, ‘After the Kurus, O king, had been put to flight by themighty car-warrior Arjuna of white steeds, the Suta’s son Karna began todestroy the sons of the Pancalas with his mighty shafts, like the tempestdestroying congregated masses of clouds.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Fighting fiercely, prince Duhshasana achieved the mostdifficult feats in that encounter.

“Sanjaya said, ‘After the slaughter of Duhshasana, O king, ten of thysons, heroes that never retreated from battle, all of whom were greatcar-warriors, endued with mighty energy, and filled with the poison ofwrath, shrouded Bhima with their shafts.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Learning that Nakula had been deprived of his car,afflicted with arrows and mangled with the weapons of Karna’s son, andthat he had his shafts, bow, and sword cut off, these eleven formidableresisters of all foes, the five heroic sons of

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding the gigantic and roaring Karna, incapable ofbeing resisted by the very gods, advancing like the surging sea, thatbull amongst men, viz., he of Dasharha’s race, addressed Arjuna, saying,

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding Vrishasena slain, Karna, filled with grief andrage, shed tears from his eyes for the death of his son. Endued withgreat energy, with eyes red as copper from rage, Karna proceeded in theface of his foe, having summoned Dhananjaya to battle.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Meanwhile the welkin, filled with gods and Nagas andAsuras and Siddhas and Yakshas and with large bands of Gandharvas andRakshasas, and Asuras and regenerate Rishis and royal sages and birds ofexcellent feathers, assumed a wonderful aspect.

Sanjaya said, “Then when the blare of conchs and the peal of drums becamevery loud, those two foremost of men, both owning white steeds, thesuta’s son Vikartana and Arjuna, encountered each other in consequence, Oking, of thy son’s evil policy.

“Sanjaya said, ‘The world regards thee to be equal to Yayati the son ofNahusha, in beauty, birth, fame, asceticism, and learning! Indeed, inlearning, thou art, O king, like a great rishi, highly accomplished andcrowned with success! Summon thy fortitude! Do not yield to grief!’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Flying away in consequence of the falling of Arjuna’sarrows, the broken divisions of the Kauravas, staying at a distance,continued to gaze at Arjuna’s weapon swelling with energy and careeringaround with the effulgence of lightning.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Then Vasudeva, stationed on the car, addressed Karna,saying, “By good luck it is, O son of Radha, that thou rememberestvirtue! It is generally seen that they that are mean, when they sink intodistress, rail at Providence but never at their own misdeeds.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding the troops crushed with arrows in thatencounter between Karna and Arjuna, Shalya proceeded, filled with wrath,on that car divested of equipment.

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘What was the aspect of the Kuru and the Srinjayahost on that awful day while it was crushed with arrows and scorched(with weapons) in that encounter between Karna and Arjuna and while itwas flying away from the field?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘The ruler of the Madras then, beholding thy son employedin rallying the troops, with fear depicted on his countenance and withheart stupefied with grief, said these words unto Duryodhana.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Upon the fall of Karna otherwise called Vaikartana, theKauravas, afflicted with fear, fled away on all sides, casting their eyeson empty space.

“Sanjaya said, ‘After Karna had thus been slain and the Kaurava troopshad fled away, he of Dasharha’s race, embracing Partha from joy, saidunto him these words: “Vritra was slain by thee.