Hamro dharma

Mahabht 09 Shalya P.

BOOK 9
Shalya-parva

Section 1

Om! Having bowed down unto Narayana and Nara, the most exalted of male
beings, and the goddess Sarasvati, must the word Jaya be uttered.

Janamejaya said, “After Karna had thus been slain in battle by Savyasaci,
what did the small (unslaughtered) remnant of the Kauravas do, O
regenerate one? Beholding the army of the Pandavas swelling with might
and energy, what behaviour did the Kuru prince Suyodhana adopt towards
the Pandavas, thinking it suitable to the hour? I desire to hear all
this. Tell me, O foremost of regenerate ones, I am never satiated with
listening to the grand feats of my ancestors.”

Vaishampayana said, “After the fall of Karna, O king, Dhritarashtra’s son
Suyodhana was plunged deep into an ocean of grief and saw despair on
every side. Indulging in incessant lamentations, saying, ‘Alas, oh Karna!
Alas, oh Karna!’ he proceeded with great difficulty to his camp,
accompanied by the unslaughtered remnant of the kings on his side.
Thinking of the slaughter of the Suta’s son, he could not obtain peace of
mind, though comforted by those kings with excellent reasons inculcated
by the scriptures. Regarding destiny and necessity to be all-powerful,
the Kuru king firmly resolved on battle. Having duly made Shalya the
generalissimo of his forces, that bull among kings, O monarch, proceeded
for battle, accompanied by that unslaughtered remnant of his forces.
Then, O chief of Bharata’s race, a terrible battle took place between the
troops of the Kurus and those of the Pandavas, resembling that between
the gods and the Asuras. Then Shalya, O monarch, having made a great
carnage in battle at last lost a large number of his troops and was slain
by Yudhishthira at midday. Then king Duryodhana, having lost all his
friends and kinsmen, fled away from the field of battle and penetrated
into the depths of a terrible lake from fear of his enemies. On the
afternoon of that day, Bhimasena, causing the lake to be encompassed by
many mighty car-warriors, summoned Duryodhana and having obliged him to
come out, slew him speedily, putting forth his strength. After
Duryodhana’s slaughter, the three car-warriors (of the Kuru side) that
were still unslain (Ashvatthama and Kripa and Kritavarma), filled with
rage, O monarch, slaughtered the Pancala troops in the night. On the next
morning Sanjaya, having set out from the camp, entered the city (the Kuru
capital), cheerless and filled with grief and sorrow. Having entered the
city, the Suta Sanjaya, raising his arms in grief, and with limbs
trembling, entered the palace of the king. Filled with grief, O tiger
among men, he wept aloud, saying, ‘Alas, O king! Alas, all of us are
ruined by the slaughter of that high-souled monarch. Alas, Time is
all-powerful, and crooked in his course, since all our allies, endued
with might equal to that of Shakra himself, have been slain by the
Pandavas.’ Seeing Sanjaya come back to the city, O king, in that
distressful plight, all the people, O best of kings, filled with great
anxiety, wept loudly, saying, ‘Alas, O king! The whole city, O tiger
among men, including the very children, hearing of Duryodhana’s death,
sent forth notes of lamentation from every side. We then beheld all the
men and women running about, deeply afflicted with grief, their senses
gone, and resembling people that are demented.’ The Suta Sanjaya then,
deeply agitated, entered the abode of the king and beheld that foremost
of monarchs, that lord of men, having wisdom for his eyes. Beholding the
sinless monarch, that chief of Bharata’s race, seated, surrounded by his
daughters-in-law and Gandhari and Vidura and by other friends and kinsmen
that were always his well-wishers, and engaged in thinking on that very
subject–the death of Karna–the Suta Sanjaya, with heart filled with
grief, O Janamejaya, weepingly and in a voice choked with tears, said
unto him, ‘I am Sanjaya, O tiger among men. I bow to thee, O bull of
Bharata’s race. The ruler of the Madras, Shalya, hath been slain.
Similarly, Subala’s son Shakuni, and Uluka, O tiger among men, that
valiant son of the gamester (Shakuni), have been slain. All the
Samsaptakas, the Kambojas together with the Sakas, the Mlecchas, the
Mountaineers, and the Yavanas, have also been slain. The Easterners have
been slain, O monarch, and all the Southerners. The Northerners have all
been slain, as also the Westerners, O ruler of men. All the kings and all
the princes have been slain, O monarch. King Duryodhana also has been
slain by the son of Pandu after the manner he had vowed. With his thighs
broken, O monarch, he lieth now on the dust, covered with blood.
Dhrishtadyumna also hath been slain, O king, as also the vanquished
Shikhandi. Uttamauja and Yudhamanyu, O king, and the Prabhadrakas, and
those tiger among men, the Pancalas, and the Cedis, have been destroyed.
The sons have all been slain as also the (five) sons of Draupadi, O
Bharata. The heroic and mighty son of Karna, Vrishasena, hath been slain.
All the men that had been assembled have been slain. All the elephants
have been destroyed. All the car-warriors, O tiger among men, and all the
steeds, have fallen in battle. Very few are alive on thy side, O lord. In
consequence of the Pandavas and the Kauravas having encountered each
other, the world, stupefied by Time, now consists of only women. On the
side of the Pandavas seven are alive, they are the five Pandava brothers,
and Vasudeva, and Satyaki and amongst the Dhartarashtras three are so,
Kripa, Kritavarma, and Drona’s son, that foremost of victors. These three
car-warriors, O monarch, are all that survive, O best of kings, of all
the akshauhinis mustered on thy side, O ruler of men. These are the
survivors, O monarch, the rest have perished. Making Duryodhana and his
hostility (towards the Pandavas) the cause, the world, it seems, hath
been destroyed, O bull of Bharata’s race, by Time.'”

Vaishampayana continued, “Hearing these cruel words, Dhritarashtra, that
ruler of men, fell down, O monarch, on the earth, deprived of his senses.
As soon as the king fell down, Vidura also, of great fame, O monarch,
afflicted with sorrow on account of the king’s distress, fell down on the
earth. Gandhari also, O best of kings, and all the Kuru ladies, suddenly
fell down on the ground, hearing those cruel words. That entire conclave
of royal persons remained lying on the ground, deprived of their senses
and raving deliriously, like figures painted on a large piece of canvas.
Then king Dhritarashtra, that lord of earth, afflicted with the calamity
represented by the death of his sons, slowly and with difficulty regained
his life-breaths. Having recovered his senses, the king, with trembling
limbs and sorrowful heart, turned his face on every side, and said these
words unto Kshattri (Vidura). ‘O learned Kshattri, O thou of great
wisdom, thou, O bull of Bharata’s race, art now my refuge. I am lordless
and destitute of all my sons.’ Having said this, he once more fell down,
deprived of his senses. Beholding him fallen, all his kinsmen that were
present there sprinkled cold water over him and fanned him with fans.
Comforted after a long while, that lord of earth, afflicted with sorrow
on account of the death of his sons, remained silent, sighing heavily, O
monarch, like a snake put into a jar. Sanjaya also wept aloud, beholding
the king so afflicted. All the ladies too, with Gandhari of great
celebrity, did the same. After a long while, O best of men,
Dhritarashtra, having repeatedly swooned, addressed Vidura, saying, ‘Let
all the ladies retire, as also Gandhari of great fame, and all these
friends. My mind hath become greatly unsettled.’ Thus addressed, Vidura,
repeatedly trembling, slowly dismissed the ladies, O bull of Bharata’s
race. All those ladies retired, O chief of the Bharatas, as also all
those friends, beholding the king deeply afflicted. Then Sanjaya
cheerlessly looked at the king, O scorcher of foes, who, having recovered
his senses, was weeping in great affliction. With joined hands, Vidura
then, in sweet words, comforted that ruler of men who was sighing
incessantly.'”

Section 2

Vaishampayana said, “After the ladies had been dismissed, Dhritarashtra,
the son of Ambika, plunged into grief greater than that which had
afflicted him before, began, O monarch, to indulge in lamentations,
exhaling breaths that resembled smoke, and repeatedly waving his arms,
and reflecting a little, O monarch, he said these words.

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Alas, O Suta, the intelligence is fraught with
great grief that I hear from thee, that the Pandavas are all safe and
have suffered no loss in battle. Without doubt, my hard heart is made of
the essence of thunder, since it breaketh not upon hearing of the fall of
my sons. Thinking of their ages, O Sanjaya, and of their sports in
childhood, and learning today that all of them have perished, my heart
seems to break into pieces. Although in consequence of my blindness I
never saw their forms, still I cherished a great love for them in
consequence of the affection one feels for his children. Hearing that
they had passed out of childhood and entered the period of youth and then
of early manhood, I became exceedingly glad, O sinless one. Hearing today
that have been slain and divested of prosperity and energy, I fail to
obtain peace of mind, being overwhelmed with grief on account of the
distress that has overtaken them. Come, come, O king of kings
(Duryodhana) to me that am without a protector now! Deprived of thee, O
mighty-armed one, what will be my plight? Why, O sire, abandoning all the
assembled kings dost thou lie on the bare ground, deprived of life, like
an ordinary and wretched king? Having been, O monarch, the refuge of
kinsmen and friends, where dost thou go now, O hero, abandoning me that
am blind and old? Where now, O king, is that compassion of thine, that
love, and that respectfulness? Invincible as thou wert in battle, how,
alas, hast thou been slain by the Parthas? Who will now, after I will
have waked from sleep at the proper hour, repeatedly address me in such
endearing and respectful words as, “O father, O father,” “O great king,”
“O Lord of the world” and affectionately clasping my neck with moistened
eyes, will seek my orders, saying, “Command me, O thou of Kuru’s race.”
Address me, O son, in that sweet language once more. O dear child, I
heard even these words from thy lips, “This wide earth is as much ours as
it is of Pritha’s son. Bhagadatta and Kripa and Shalya and the two
princes of Avanti and Jayadratha and Bhurishrava and Sala and Somadatta
and Bahlika and Ashvatthama and the chief of the Bhojas and the mighty
prince of Magadha and Vrihadvala and the ruler of the Kasi and Shakuni
the son of Subala and many thousands of Mlecchas and Sakas and Yavanas,
and Sudakshina the ruler of the Kambojas and the king of the Trigartas
and the grandsire Bhishma and Bharadwaja’s son and Gotama’s son (Kripa)
and Srutayush and Ayutayush and Satayush of great energy, and Jalasandha
and Rishyasringa’s son and the Rakshasa Alayudha, and the mighty-armed
Alambusa and the great car-warrior Subala–these and numerous other
kings, O best of monarchs, have taken up arms for my sake, prepared to
cast away their very lives in great battle, stationed on the field amidst
these, and surrounded by my brothers, I will fight against all the
Parthas and the Pancalas and the Cedis, O tiger among kings, and the sons
of Draupadi and Satyaki and Kunti-Bhoja and the rakshasa Ghatotkaca. Even
one amongst these, O king, excited with rage, is able to resist in battle
the Pandavas rushing towards him. What need I say then of all these
heroes, every one of whom has wrong to avenge on the Pandavas, when
united together? All these, O monarch, will fight with the followers of
the Pandavas and will slay them in battle. Karna alone, with myself, will
slay the Pandavas. All the heroic kings will then live under my sway. He,
who is their leader, the mighty Vasudeva, will not, he has told me, put
on mail for them, O king.” Even in this way, O Suta, did Duryodhana often
use to speak to me. Hearing what he said, I believed that the Pandavas
would be slain in battle. When, however, my sons stationed in the midst
of those heroes and exerting themselves vigorously in battle have all
been slain, what can it be but destiny? When that lord of the world, the
valiant Bhishma, having encountered Shikhandi, met with his death like a
lion meeting with his at the hands of a jackal, what can it be but
destiny? When the Brahmana Drona, that master of all weapons offensive
and defensive, has been slain by the Pandavas in battle, what can it be
but destiny? When Bhurishrava has been slain in battle, as also Somadatta
and king Bahlika, what can it be but destiny? When Bhagadatta, skilled in
fight from the backs of elephants, has been slain, and when Jayadratha
hath been slain, what can it be but destiny? When Sudakshina has been
slain, and Jalasandha of Puru’s race, as also Srutayush, and Ayutayush,
what can it be but destiny? When the mighty Pandya, that foremost of all
wielders of weapons, has been slain in battle by the Pandavas, what can
it be but destiny? When Vrihadvala has been slain and the mighty king of
the Magadhas, and the valiant Ugrayudha, that type of all bowmen; when
the two princes of Avanti (Vinda and Anuvinda) have been slain, and the
ruler also of the Trigartas, as also numerous Samsaptakas, what can it be
but destiny? When king Alambusa, and the Rakshasas Alayudha, and
Rishyasringa’s son, have been slain, what can it be but destiny? When the
Narayanas have been slain, as also the Gopalas, those troops that were
invincible in battle, and many thousands of Mlecchas, what can it be but
destiny? When Shakuni, the son of Subala, and the mighty Uluka, called
the gamester’s son, that hero at the head of his forces, have been slain,
what can it be but destiny? When innumerable high-souled heroes,
accomplished in all kinds of weapons offensive and defensive and endued
with prowess equal to that of Shakra himself, have been slain, O Suta,
when Kshatriyas hailing from diverse realms, O Sanjaya, have all been
slain in battle, what can it be but destiny? Endued with great might, my
sons and grandsons have been slain, as also my friends and brethren, what
can it be but destiny? Without doubt, man takes his birth, subject to
destiny. That man who is possessed of good fortune meets with good. I am
bereft of good fortune, and, therefore, am deprived of my children, O
Sanjaya. Old as I am, how shall I now submit to the sway of enemies? I do
not think anything other than exile into the woods to be good for me, O
lord. Deprived of relatives and kinsmen as I am, I will go into the
woods. Nothing other than an exile into the woods can be better for me
who am fallen into this plight and who am shorn of my wings, O Sanjaya.
When Duryodhana had been slain, when Shalya has been slain, when
Duhshasana and Vivingsati and the mighty Vikarna have been slain, how
shall I be able to bear the roars of that Bhimasena who hath alone slain
a hundred sons of mine in battle? He will frequently speak of the
slaughter of Duryodhana in my hearing. Burning with grief and sorrow, I
shall not be able to bear his cruel words.'”

Vaishampayana continued, “Even thus that king, burning with grief and
deprived of relatives and kinsmen, repeatedly swooned, overwhelmed with
sorrow on account of the death of his sons. Having wept for a long while,
Dhritarashtra, the son of Ambika, breathed heavy and hot sighs at the
thought of his defeat. Overwhelmed with sorrow, and burning with grief,
that bull of Bharata’s race once more enquired of his charioteer Sanjaya,
the son of Gavalgana, the details of what had happened.

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘After Bhishma and Drona had been slain, and the
Suta’s son also overthrown, whom did my warriors make their
generalissimo? The Pandavas are slaying without any delay everyone whom
my warriors are making their generalissimo in battle. Bhishma was slain
at the van of battle by the diadem-decked Arjuna in the very sight of all
of you. Even thus was Drona slain in the sight of all of you. Even thus
was the Suta’s son, that valiant Karna, slain by Arjuna in the sight of
all the kings. Long before, the high-souled Vidura had told me that
through the fault of Duryodhana the population of the Earth would be
exterminated. There are some fools that do not see things even though
they cast their eyes on them. Those words of Vidura have been even so
unto my foolish self. What Vidura of righteous soul, conversant with
attributes of everything, then said, hath turned out exactly, for the
words he uttered were nothing but the truth. Afflicted by fate, I did not
then act according to those words. The fruits of that evil course have
now manifested themselves. Describe them to me, O son of Gavalgana, once
more! Who became the head of our army after Karna’s fall? Who was that
car-warrior who proceeded against Arjuna and Vasudeva? Who were they that
protected the right wheel of the ruler of the Madras in battle? Who
protected the left wheel of that hero when he went to battle? Who also
guarded his rear? How, when all of you were together, could the mighty
king of the Madras, as also my son, be slain, O Sanjaya, by the Pandavas?
Tell me the details of the great destruction of the Bharatas. Tell me how
my son Duryodhana fell in battle. Tell me how all the Pancalas with their
followers, and Dhrishtadyumna and Shikhandi and the five sons of
Draupadi, fell. Tell me how the (five) Pandavas and the two Satwatas
(Krishna and Satyaki), and Kripa and Kritavarma and Drona’s son, have
escaped with life. I desire to hear everything about the manner in which
the battle occurred and the kind of battle it was. Thou art skilled, O
Sanjaya, in narration. Tell me everything.'”

Section 3

“Sanjaya said, ‘Hear, O king, with attention, how that great carnage of
the Kurus and the Pandavas occurred when they encountered each other.
After the Suta’s son had been slain by the illustrious son of Pandu, and
after thy troops had been repeatedly rallied and had repeatedly fled
away, and after a terrible carnage had taken place, O foremost of men, of
human beings in battle subsequent to Karna’s death, Partha began to utter
leonine roars. At that time a great fear entered the hearts of thy sons.
Indeed, after Karna’s death, there was no warrior in thy army who could
set his heart upon rallying the troops or displaying his prowess. They
then looked like ship-wrecked merchants on the fathomless ocean without a
raft to save themselves. When their protector was slain by the
diadem-decked Arjuna, they were like persons on the wide sea desirous of
reaching some shore of safety. Indeed, O king, after the slaughter of the
Suta’s son, thy troops, struck with panic and mangled with arrows, were
like unprotected men desirous of a protector or like a herd of deer
afflicted by a lion. Vanquished by Savyasaci, they retired in the evening
like bulls with broken horns or snakes shorn of their fangs. Their
foremost of heroes slain, themselves thrown into confusion and mangled
with keen arrows, thy sons, O king, upon the slaughter of the Suta’s son,
fled away in fear. Deprived of weapons and coats of mail, all of them
lost their senses and knew not in which direction to fly. Casting their
eyes on all sides in fear, many of them began to slaughter one another.
Many fell down or became pale, thinking, “It is me whom Vibhatsu is
pursuing!” “It is me whom Vrikodara is pursuing!” Some riding on fleet
steeds, some on fleet cars, and some on fleet elephants, many great
car-warriors fled away from fear, abandoning the foot-soldiers. Cars were
broken by elephants, horsemen were crushed by great car-warriors, and
bands of foot-soldiers were smashed and slain by bodies of horses as
these fled away from the field. After the fall of the Suta’s son, thy
troops became like stragglers from a caravan in a forest abounding with
robbers and beasts of prey. Some elephants whose riders had been slain,
and others whose trunks had been cut off, afflicted with fear, beheld the
whole world to be full of Partha. Beholding his troops flying away
afflicted with the fear of Bhimasena Duryodhana then, with cries of “Oh!”
and “Alas!” addressed his driver, saying, “If I take up my post at the
rear of the army, armed with my bow, Partha then will never be able to
transgress me. Urge the steeds, therefore, with speed. When I will put
forth my valour in battle, Dhananjaya the son of Kunti will not venture
to transgress me like the ocean never venturing to transgress its
continents. Today, slaying Arjuna with Govinda, and the proud Vrikodara,
and the rest of my foes, I will free myself from the debt I owe to
Karna.” Hearing these words of the Kuru king, so becoming a hero and an
honourable man, his driver slowly urged those steeds adorned with
trappings of gold. At that time many brave warriors deprived of elephants
and steeds and cars, and 25,000 foot-soldiers, O sire, proceeded slowly
(for battle). Then Bhimasena, filled with wrath, and Dhrishtadyumna the
son of Prishata, encompassing those troops with the assistance of four
kinds of forces, destroyed them with shafts. All of them fought
vigorously with Bhima and Prishata’s son. Many amongst them challenged
the two Pandava heroes, mentioning their names. Surrounded by them in
battle, Bhima became enraged with them. Quickly descending from his car,
he began to fight, armed with his mace. Relying on the might of his own
arms, Vrikodara the son of Kunti, who was on his car, observant of the
rules of fair fight, did not fight with those foes who were on the
ground. Armed then with that heavy mace of his that was made entirely of
iron and adorned with gold and equipped with a sling, and that resembled
the Destroyer himself as he becomes at the end of Yuga, Bhima slew them
all like Yama slaughtering creatures with his club. Those foot-soldiers,
excited with great rage, having lost their friends and kinsmen, were
prepared to throw away their lives, and rushed in that battle towards
Bhima like insects towards a blazing fire. Indeed, those warriors, filled
with rage and invincible in battle, approaching Bhimasena, suddenly
perished like living creatures at the glance of the Destroyer. Armed with
sword and mace, Bhima careered like a hawk and slaughtered those 25,000
warriors of thine. Having slain that brave division, the mighty Bhima, of
prowess incapable of being baffled, once more stood, with Dhrishtadyumna
before him. Meanwhile, Dhananjaya of great energy proceeded towards the
car-division (of the Kurus). The twin sons of Madri and the mighty
car-warrior Satyaki, all endued with great strength, cheerfully rushed
against Shakuni with great speed from desire of slaying him. Having slain
with keen shafts the numerous cavalry of Shakuni, those Pandava heroes
quickly rushed against Shakuni himself, whereupon a fierce battle was
fought there. Then Dhananjaya, O king, penetrated into the midst of the
car-division of the Kauravas, stretching his bow Gandiva celebrated over
the three worlds. Beholding that car having white steeds yoked unto it
and owning Krishna for its driver coming towards them, with Arjuna as the
warrior on it, thy troops fled away in fear. Deprived of cars and steeds
and pierced with shafts from every side, 25,000 foot-soldiers proceeded
towards Partha and surrounded him. Then that mighty car-warrior amongst
the Pancalas (Dhrishtadyumna) with Bhimasena at his head, speedily slew
that brave division and stood triumphant. The son of the Pancala king,
the celebrated Dhrishtadyumna, was a mighty bowman possessed of great
beauty and a crusher of large bands of foes. At sight of Dhrishtadyumna
unto whose car were yoked steeds white as pigeons and whose standard was
made of a lofty Kovidara, the troops fled away in fear. The celebrated
sons of Madri, with Satyaki among them, engaged in the pursuit of the
Gandhara king who was quick in the use of weapons, speedily appeared to
our view. Chekitana and the (five) sons of Draupadi, O sire, having slain
a large number of thy troops, blew their conchs. Beholding all the troops
flying away with their faces from the field, those (Pandava) heroes
pursued and smote them like bulls pursuing vanquished bulls. Then the
mighty Savyasaci, the son of Pandu, beholding a remnant of thy army still
keeping their ground, became filled with rage, O king. Suddenly, O
monarch, he shrouded that remnant of thy forces with arrows. The dust,
however, that was then raised enveloped the scene, in consequence of
which we could not see anything. Darkness also spread over the scene, and
the field of battle was covered with arrows. Thy troops, O monarch, then
fled away in fear on all sides. When his army was thus broken, the Kuru
king, O monarch, rushed against both friends and foes. Then Duryodhana
challenged all the Pandavas to battle, O chief of Bharata’s race, like
the Asura Vali in days of yore challenging all the celestials. The
Pandavas then, uniting together and filled with rage, upbraiding him
repeatedly and shooting diverse weapons, rushed against the roaring
Duryodhana. The latter, however, fearlessly smote his foes with shafts.
The prowess that we then saw of thy son was exceedingly wonderful, since
all the Pandavas together were unable to transgress him. At this time
Duryodhana beheld, staying at a little distance from him, his troops,
exceedingly mangled with shafts, and prepared to fly away. Rallying them
then, O monarch, thy son, resolved on battle and desirous of gladdening
them, addressed those warriors, saying, “I do not see that spot on plain
or mountain whither, if you fly, the Pandavas will not slay you. What is
the use then in flight? The Pandava army hath now been reduced to a small
remnant. The two Krishnas have been exceedingly mangled. If all of us
make a stand here, we are certain to have victory. If, however, you fly
away, breaking your array, the Pandavas, pursuing your sinful selves,
will slay all of you. Death in battle, therefore, is for our good. Death
in the field of battle while engaged in fight according to Kshatriya
practices is pleasant. Such death produces no kind of grief. By
encountering such a death, a person enjoys eternal happiness in the other
world. Let all the Kshatriyas assembled here listen to me. It were better
that they should even submit to the power of the angry Bhimasena than
that they should abandon the duties practised by them from the days of
their ancestors. There is no act more sinful for a Kshatriya than flight
from battle. You Kauravas, there is not a better path to heaven than the
duty of battle. The warrior acquires in a day regions of bliss (in the
other world) that take many long years for others to acquire.” Fulfilling
those words of the king, the great Kshatriya car-warriors once more
rushed against the Pandavas, unable to endure their defeat and firmly
resolved to put forth their prowess. Then commenced a battle once more,
that was exceedingly fierce, between thy troops and the enemy, and that
resembled the one between the gods and the Asuras. Thy son Duryodhana
then, O monarch, with all his troops, rushed against the Pandavas headed
by Yudhishthira.'”

Section 4

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding the fallen boxes of cars, as also the cars of
high-souled warriors, and the elephants and foot-soldiers, O sire, slain
in battle, seeing the field of battle assume an aspect as awful as that
of the sporting ground of Rudra, observing the inglorious end obtained by
hundreds and thousands of kings, witnessing also the prowess of Partha
after the retreat of thy son with grief-stricken heart and when thy
troops, filled with anxiety and fallen into great distress, O Bharata,
were deliberating as to what they should next do, hearing also the loud
wails of the Kaurava warriors that were being crushed, and marking the
displayed and disordered tokens of great kings, the Kuru leader Kripa of
great energy, possessed of years and good conduct and filled with
compassion, and endued with eloquence, approached king Duryodhana, and
angrily said these words unto him, “O Duryodhana, listen, O Bharata, to
these words that I will say unto thee. Having heard them, O monarch, do
thou act according to them, O sinless one, if it pleases thee. There is
no path, O monarch, that is better than the duty of battle. Having
recourse to that path, Kshatriyas, O bull of the Kshatriya order, engage
in battle. He who lives in the observance of Kshatriya practices fights
with son, sire, brother, sister’s son, and maternal uncle, and relatives,
and kinsmen. If he is slaughtered in battle, there is great merit in it.
Similarly, there is great sin in it if he flies from the field. It is for
this that the life of a person desirous of living by the adoption of
Kshatriya duties is exceedingly terrible. Unto thee, as regards this, I
will say a few beneficial words. After the fall of Bhishma and Drona and
the mighty car-warrior Karna, after the slaughter of Jayadratha and thy
brothers, O sinless one, and thy son Lakshmana, what is there now for us
to do? They upon whom we had rested all burdens of sovereignty we had
been enjoying, have all gone to regions of blessedness attainable by
persons conversant with Brahma, casting off their bodies. As regards
ourselves, deprived of those great car-warriors possessed of numerous
accomplishments, we shall have to pass our time in grief, having caused
numerous kings to perish. When all those heroes were alive, even then
Vibhatsu could not be vanquished. Having Krishna, for his eyes, that
mighty-armed hero is incapable of being defeated by the very gods. The
vast (Kaurava) host, approaching his Ape-bearing standard that is lofty
as an Indra’s pole (set up in the season of spring) and that is effulgent
as Indra’s bow, hath always trembled in fear. At the leonine roars of
Bhimasena and the blare of Panchajanya and the twang of Gandiva, our
heart will die away within us. Moving like flashes of lightning, and
blinding our eyes, Arjuna’s Gandiva is seen to resemble a circle of fire.
Decked with pure gold, that formidable bow as it is shaken, looks
lightning’s flash moving about on every side. Steeds white in hue and
possessed of great speed and endued with the splendour of the Moon or the
Kasa grass, and that run devouring the skies, are yoked unto his car.
Urged on by Krishna, like the masses of clouds driven by the wind, and
their limbs decked with gold, they bear Arjuna to battle. That foremost
of all persons conversant with arms, Arjuna, burned that great force of
thine like a swelling conflagration consuming dry grass in the forest in
the season of winter. Possessed of the splendour of Indra himself, while
penetrating into our ranks, we have seen Dhananjaya to look like an
elephant with four tusks. While agitating thy army and inspiring the
kings with fear, we have seen Dhananjaya to resemble an elephant
agitating a lake overgrown with lotuses. While terrifying all the
warriors with the twang of his bow, we have again seen the son of Pandu
to resemble a lion inspiring smaller animals with dread. Those two
foremost of bowmen in all the worlds, those two bulls among all persons
armed with the bow, the two Krishnas, clad in mail, are looking
exceedingly beautiful. Today is the seventeenth day of this awful battle,
O Bharata, of those that are being slaughtered in the midst of this
fight. The diverse divisions of thy army are broken and dispersed like
autumnal clouds dispersed by the wind. Savyasaci, O monarch, caused thy
army to tremble and reel like a tempest-tossed boat exposed on the bosom
of the ocean. Where was the Suta’s son, where was Drona with all his
followers, where was I, where wert thou, where was Hridika’s son, where
thy brother Duhshasana accompanied by his brothers (when Jayadratha was
slain)? Upon beholding Jayadratha and finding him within the range of his
arrows, Arjuna, putting forth his process upon all thy kinsmen and
brothers and allies and maternal uncles, and placing his feet upon their
heads, slew king Jayadratha in the very sight of all. What then is there
for us to do now? Who is there among thy troops now that would vanquish
the son of Pandu? That high-souled warrior possesses diverse kinds of
celestial weapons. The twang, again, of Gandiva robbeth us of our
energies. This army of thine that is now without a leader is like a night
without the Moon, or like a river that is dried up with all the trees on
its banks broken by elephants. The mighty-armed Arjuna of white steeds
will, at his pleasure, career amid this thy masterless host, like a
blazing conflagration amid a heap of grass. The impetuosity of those two,
Satyaki and Bhimasena, would split all the mountains or dry up all the
oceans. The words that Bhima spoke in the midst of the assembly have all
been nearly accomplished by him, O monarch. That which remains
unaccomplished will again be accomplished by him. While Karna was
battling before it, the army of the Pandavas, difficult to be defeated,
was vigorously protected by the wielder of Gandiva. You have done many
foul wrongs, without any cause, unto the righteous Pandavas. The fruits
of those acts have now come. For the sake of thy own objects thou hadst,
with great care, mustered together a large force. That vast force, as
also thyself, O bull of Bharata’s race, have fallen into great danger.
Preserve thy own self now, for self is the refuge of everything. If the
refuge is broken, O sire, everything inhering thereto is scattered on
every side. He that is being weakened should seek peace by conciliation.
He that is growing should make war. This is the policy taught by
Brihaspati. We are now inferior to the sons of Pandu as regards the
strength of our army. Therefore, O lord, I think, peace with the Pandavas
is for our good. He that does not know what is for his good, or (knowing)
disregards what is for his good, is soon divested of his kingdom and
never obtains any good. If, by bowing unto king Yudhishthira sovereignty
may still remain to us, even that would be for our good, and not, O king,
to sustain through folly defeat (at the hands of the Pandavas).
Yudhishthira is compassionate. At the request of Vichitravirya’s son and
of Govinda, he will allow you to continue as king. Whatever Hrishikesa
will say unto the victorious king Yudhishthira and Arjuna and Bhimasena,
all of them will, without doubt, obey. Krishna will not, I think, be able
to transgress the words of Dhritarashtra of Kuru’s race, nor will the son
of Pandu be able to transgress those of Krishna. A cessation of
hostilities with the sons of Pritha is what I consider to be for thy
good. I do not say this unto thee from any mean motives nor for
protecting my life. I say, O king, that which I regard to be beneficial.
Thou wilt recollect these words when thou wilt be on the point of death
(if thou neglectest them now).” Advanced in years, Kripa the son of
Saradwat said these words weepingly. Breathing long and hot breaths, he
then gave way to sorrow and almost lost his senses.'”

Section 5

“Sanjaya said, ‘Thus addressed by the celebrated grandson of Gotama, the
king (Duryodhana), breathing long and hot breaths, remained silent, O
monarch. Having reflected for a little while, the high-souled son of
Dhritarashtra, that scorcher of foes, then said these words unto
Saradwat’s son Kripa, “Whatever a friend should say, thou hast said unto
me. Thou hast also, whilst battling, done everything for me, without
caring for thy very life. The world has seen thee penetrate into the
midst of the Pandava divisions and fight with the mighty car-warriors of
the Pandavas endued with great energy. That which should be said by a
friend hast been said by thee. Thy words, however, do not please me, like
medicine that ill pleases the person that is on the point of death. These
beneficial and excellent words, fraught with reason, that thou, O
mighty-armed one, hast said do not seem acceptable to me, O foremost of
Brahmanas. Deprived by us of his kingdom (on a former occasion), why will
the son of Pandu repose his trust on us? That mighty king was once
defeated by us at dice. Why will he again believe my words? So also,
Krishna, ever engaged in the good of the Parthas, when he came to us as
an envoy, was deceived by us. That act of ours was exceedingly
ill-judged. Why then, O regenerate one, will Hrishikesa trust my words?
The princess Krishna, while standing in the midst of the assembly, wept
piteously. Krishna will never forget that act of ours, nor that act, the
deprivation of Yudhishthira by us of his kingdom. Formerly, it was heard
by us that the two Krishnas have the same heart between them and are
firmly united with each other. Today, O lord, we have seen it with our
eyes. Having heard of the slaughter of his sister’s son, Keshava passeth
his nights in sorrow. We have offended him highly. Why will he forgive us
then? Arjuna also, in consequence of Abhimanyu’s death, hath become very
miserable. Even if solicited, why will he strike for my good? The second
son of Pandu, the mighty Bhimasena, is exceedingly fierce. He has made a
terrible vow. He will break but not bend. The heroic twins, breathing
animosity against us, when clad in mail and armed with their swords,
resemble a pair of Yamas. Dhrishtadyumna and Shikhandi have drawn their
swords against me. Why will those two, O best of Brahmanas, strive for my
good? While clad in a single raiment and in her season, the princess
Krishna was treated cruelly by Duhshasana in the midst of the assembly
and before the eyes of all. Those scorchers of foes, the Pandavas, who
still remember the naked Draupadi plunged into distress, can never be
dissuaded from battle.

“‘”Then again, Krishna, the daughter of Drupada, is in sorrow, undergoing
the austerest of penances for my destruction and the success of the
objects cherished by her husbands, and sleepeth every day on the bare
ground, intending to do so till the end of the hostilities is attained.
Abandoning honour and pride, the uterine sister of Vasudeva (Subhadra) is
always serving Draupadi as veritable waiting woman. Everything,
therefore, hath flamed up. That fire can never be quenched. Peace with
them hath become impossible in consequence of the slaughter of Abhimanyu.
Having also enjoyed the sovereignty of this earth bounded by the ocean,
how shall I be able to enjoy, under favour of the Pandavas, a kingdom in
peace? Having shone like the Sun upon the heads of all the kings, how
shall I walk behind Yudhishthira like a slave? Having enjoyed all
enjoyable articles and shown great compassion, how shall I lead a
miserable life now, with miserable men as my companions? I do not hate
those mild and beneficial words that thou hast spoken. I, however, do not
think that this is the time for peace. To fight righteously is, O
scorcher of foes, what I regard to be good policy. This is not the time
for acting like a eunuch. On the other hand, that is time for the battle.
I have performed many sacrifices. I have given away Dakshinas to
Brahmanas, I have obtained the attainment of all my wishes. I have
listened to Vedic recitations. I have walked upon the heads of my foes.
My servants have all been wellcherished by me. I have relieved people in
distress. I dare not, O foremost of regenerate ones, address such humble
words to the Pandavas. I have conquered foreign kingdoms. I have properly
governed my own kingdom. I have enjoyed diverse kinds of enjoyable
articles. Religion and profit and pleasure I have pursued. I have paid
off my debt to the Pitris and to Kshatriya duty. Certainly, there is no
happiness here. What becomes of kingdom, and what of good name? Fame is
all that one should acquire here. That fame can be obtained by battle,
and by no other means. The death that a Kshatriya meets with at home is
censurable. Death on one’s bed at home is highly sinful. The man who
casts away his body in the woods or in battle after having performed
sacrifices, obtains great glory. He is no man who dies miserably weeping
in pain, afflicted by disease and decay, in the midst of crying kinsmen.
Abandoning diverse objects of enjoyment, I shall now, by righteous
battle, proceed to the regions of Shakra, obtaining the companionship of
those that have attained to the highest end. Without doubt, the
habitation of heroes of righteous behaviour, who never retreat from
battle, who are gifted with intelligence and devoted to truth, who are
performers of sacrifices, and who have been sanctified in the sacrifice
of weapons, is in heaven. The diverse tribes of Apsaras, without doubt,
joyfully gaze at such heroes when engaged in battle. Without doubt, the
Pitris behold them worshipped in the assembly of the gods and rejoicing
in heaven, in the company of Apsaras. We will now ascend the path that is
trod by the celestials and by heroes unreturning from battle, that path
which has been taken by our venerable grandsire, by the preceptor endued
with great intelligence, by Jayadratha, by Karna, and by Duhshasana. Many
brave kings, who had exerted themselves vigorously for my sake in this
battle, have been slain. Mangled with arrows and their limbs bathed in
blood, they lie now on the bare Earth. Possessed of great courage and
conversant with excellent weapons, those kings, who had, again, performed
sacrifices as ordained in the scriptures, having cast off their life
breaths in the discharge of their duties, have now become the denizens of
Indra’s abode. They have paved the way (to that blessed region). That
road will once more be difficult in consequence of the crowds of heroes
that will hurry along it for reaching that blessed goal. Remembering with
gratitude the feats of those heroes that have died for me, I desire to
pay off the debt I owe them, instead of fixing my heart upon kingdom. If,
having caused my friends and brothers and grandsires to be slain, I save
my own life, the world will without doubt, censure me. What kind of
sovereignty will that be which I will enjoy, destitute of kinsmen and
friends and well-wishers, and bowing down unto the son of Pandu? I, who
have lorded it over the universe in that way, will now acquire heaven by
fair fight. It will not be otherwise.” Thus addressed by Duryodhana, all
the Kshatriyas there applauded that speech and cheered the king, saying,
“Excellent, Excellent.” Without at all grieving for their defeat, and
firmly resolved upon displaying their prowess, all of them, being
determined to fight, became filled with enthusiasm. Having groomed their
animals, the Kauravas, delighting at the prospect of battle, took up
their quarters (for the night) at a spot a little less than two Yojanas
distant from the field. Having reached the Sarasvati of red waters on the
sacred and beautiful table-land at the foot of Himavat, they bathed in
that water and quenched their thirst with it. Their spirits raised by thy
son, they continued to wait (on their resting ground). Once more rallying
their own selves as well as one another, all those Kshatriyas, O king,
urged by fate, waited (in their encampment).'”

Section 6

“Sanjaya said, ‘On that table land at the foot of Himavat, those
warriors, O monarch, delighting at the prospect of battle and assembled
together, passed the night. Indeed, Shalya and Chitrasena and the mighty
car-warrior Shakuni and Ashvatthama and Kripa and Kritavarma of the
Satwata race, and Sushena and Arishtasena and Dhritasena of great energy
and Jayatsena and all these kings passed the night there. After the
heroic Karna had been slain in battle, thy sons, inspired with fright by
the Pandavas desirous of victory, failed to obtain peace anywhere else
than on the mountains of Himavat. All of them then, O king, who were
resolved on battle, duly worshipped the king and said unto him, in the
presence of Shalya, these words, “It behoveth thee to fight with the
enemy, after having made some one the generalissimo of thy army,
protected by whom in battle we will vanquish our foes.” Then Duryodhana,
without alighting from his car (proceeded towards) that foremost of
car-warriors, that hero conversant with all the rules of battle
(Ashvatthama), who resembled the Destroyer himself in battle. Possessed
of beautiful limbs, of head well covered, of a neck adorned with three
lines like those in a conch shell, of sweet speech, of eyes resembling
the petals of a full blown lotus, and of a face like that of the dignity
of Meru, resembling the bull of Mahadeva as regards neck, eyes, tread,
and voice, endued with arms that were large, massive, and well-joined,
having a chest that was broad and well-formed, equal unto Garuda or the
wind in speed and might, gifted with a splendour like that of the rays of
the Sun, rivalling Usanas himself in intelligence and the Moon in beauty
and form and charms of face, with a body that seemed to be made of a
number of golden lotuses, with well-made joints, of well-formed thighs
and waist and hips, of beautiful fingers, and beautiful nails, he seemed
to have been made by the Creator with care after collecting one after
another all the beautiful and good attributes of creation. Possessed of
every auspicious mark, and clever in every act, he was an ocean of
learning. Ever vanquishing his foes with great speed, he was incapable of
being forcibly vanquished by foes. He knew, in all its details, the
science of weapons consisting of four padas and ten angas. He knew also
the four Vedas with all their branches, and the Akhyanas as the fifth.
Possessed of great ascetic merit, Drona, himself not born of woman,
having worshipped the Three-eyed deity with great attention and austere
vows, begat him upon a wife not born of woman. Approaching that personage
of unrivalled feats, that one who is unrivalled in beauty on Earth, that
one who has mastered all branches of learning, that ocean of
accomplishments, that faultless Ashvatthama, thy son told him these
words, “Thou, O preceptor’s son, art today our highest refuge. Tell us,
therefore, who is to be the generalissimo of my forces now, placing whom
at our head, all of us, united together, may vanquish the Pandavas?”

“‘(Thus addressed), the son of Drona answered, “Let Shalya become the
leader of our army. In descent, in prowess, in energy, in fame, in beauty
of person, and in every other accomplishment, he is superior. Mindful of
the services rendered to him, he has taken up our side, having abandoned
the sons of his own sister. Owning a large force of his own, that
mighty-armed one is like a second (Kartikeya, the) celestial
generalissimo. Making that king the commander of our forces, O best of
monarchs, we will be able to gain victory, like the gods, after making
the unvanquished Skanda their commander.” After Drona’s son had said
these words, all the kings stood, surrounding Shalya, and cried victory
to him. Having made up their minds for battle, they felt great joy. Then
Duryodhana, alighting from his car, joined his hands and addressing
Shalya, that rival of Drona and Bhishma in battle, who was on his car,
said these words, “O thou that art devoted to friends, that time has now
come for thy friends when intelligent men examine persons in the guise of
friends as to whether they are true friends or otherwise. Brave as thou
art, be thou our generalissimo at the van of our army. When thou wilt
proceed to battle, the Pandavas, with their friends, will become
cheerless, and the Pancalas will be depressed.”

“‘Shalya answered, “I will, O king of the Kurus, accomplish that which
thou askest me to accomplish. Everything I have–my life breath, my
kingdom, my wealth–is at thy service.”

“‘Duryodhana said, “I solicit thee with offer of the leadership of my
army, O maternal uncle. O foremost of warriors, protect us incomparably,
even as Skanda protected the gods in battle. O foremost of kings, thyself
cause thy own self to be installed in the command as Pavaka’s son
Kartikeya in the command of (the forces of) the celestials. O hero, slay
our foes in battle like Indra slaying the Danavas.”‘”

Section 7

“Sanjaya said, ‘Hearing these words of the (Kuru) king, the valiant
monarch (Shalya), O king, said these words unto Duryodhana in reply, “O
mighty-armed Duryodhana, listen to me, O foremost of eloquent men. Thou
regardest the two Krishnas, when on their car, to be the foremost of
car-warriors. They are not, however, together equal to me in might of
arms. What need I say of the Pandavas? When angry, I can fight, at the
van of battle, with the whole world consisting of gods, Asuras, and men,
risen up in arms. I will vanquish the assembled Parthas and the Somakas
in battle. Without doubt, I will become the leader of thy troops. I will
form such an array that our enemies will not be able to overmaster it. I
say this to thee, O Duryodhana. There is no doubt in this.” Thus
addressed (by Shalya), king Duryodhana cheerfully poured sanctified
water, without losing any time, O best of the Bharatas, on the ruler of
the Madras, in the midst of his troops, according to the rites ordained
in the scriptures, O monarch. After Shalya had been invested with the
command, loud leonine roars arose among thy troops and diverse musical
instruments also, O Bharata, were beat and blown. The Kaurava warriors
became very cheerful, as also the mighty car-warriors among the Madrakas.
And all of them praised the royal Shalya, that ornament of battle,
saying, “Victory to thee, O king. Long life to thee! Slay all the
assembled foes! Having obtained the might of thy arms, let the
Dhartarashtras endued with great strength, rule the wide Earth without a
foe. Thou art capable of vanquishing in battle the three worlds
consisting of the gods, the Asuras, what need be said of the Somakas and
the Srinjayas that are mortal?” Thus praised, the mighty king of the
Madrakas obtained great joy that is unattainable by persons of unrefined
souls.

“‘Shalya said, “Today, O king, I will either slay all the Pancalas with
the Pandavas in battle, or, slain by them, proceed to heaven. Let the
world behold me today careering (on the field of battle) fearlessly.
Today let all the sons of Pandu, and Vasudeva, and Satyaki, and the sons
of Draupadi, and Dhrishtadyumna, and Shikhandi, and all the Prabhadrakas,
behold my prowess and the great might of my bow, and my quickness, and
the energy of my weapons, and the strength of my arms, in battle. Let the
Parthas, and all the Siddhas, with the Charanas behold today the strength
that is in my arms and the wealth of weapons I possess. Beholding my
prowess today, let the mighty car-warriors of the Pandavas, desirous of
counteracting it, adopt diverse courses of action. Today I will rout the
troops of the Pandavas on all sides. Surpassing Drona and Bhishma and the
Suta’s son, O lord, in battle, I will career on the field, O Kauravas,
for doing what is agreeable to thee.”‘

“Sanjaya continued, ‘After Shalya had been invested with the command, O
giver of honours, no one among thy troops, O bull of Bharata’s race, any
longer felt any grief on account of Karna. Indeed, the troops became
cheerful and glad. They regarded the Parthas as already slain and brought
under the power of the ruler of the Madras. Having obtained great joy,
thy troops, O bull of Bharata’s race, slept that night happily and became
very cheerful. Hearing those shouts of thy army, king Yudhishthira,
addressing him of Vrishni’s race, said these words, in the hearing of all
the Kshatriyas, “The ruler of the Madras, Shalya, that great bowman who
is highly regarded by all the warriors hath, O Madhava, been made the
leader of his forces by Dhritarashtra’s son. Knowing this that has
happened, do, O Madhava, that which is beneficial. Thou art our leader
and protector. Do that which should next be done.” Then Vasudeva, O
monarch, said unto that king, “I know Artayani, O Bharata, truly. Endued
with prowess and great energy, he is highly illustrious. He is
accomplished, conversant with all the modes of warfare, and possessed of
great lightness of hand. I think that the ruler of the Madras is in
battle equal to Bhishma or Drona or Karna, or perhaps, superior to them.
I do not, O ruler of men, even upon reflection, find the warrior who may
be a match for Shalya while engaged in fight. In battle, he is superior
in might to Shikhandi and Arjuna and Bhima and Satyaki and
Dhrishtadyumna, O Bharata. The king of the Madras, O monarch, endued with
the prowess of a lion or an elephant, will career fearlessly in battle
like the Destroyer himself in wrath amongst creatures at the time of the
universal destruction. I do not behold a match for him in battle save
thee, O tiger among men, that art possessed of prowess equal to that of a
tiger. Save thee there is no other person in either heaven or the whole
of this world, who, O son of Kuru’s race, would be able to slay the ruler
of the Madras while excited with wrath in battle. Day after day engaged
in fight, he agitates thy troops. For this, slay Shalya in battle, like
Maghavat slaying Samvara. Treated with honour by Dhritarashtra’s son,
that hero is invincible in battle. Upon the fall of the ruler of the
Madras in battle, thou art certain to have victory. Upon his slaughter,
the vast Dhartarashtra host will be slain. Hearing, O monarch, these
words of mine now, proceed, O Partha, against that mighty car-warrior,
the ruler of the Madras. Slay that warrior, O thou of mighty arms, like
Vasava slaying the Asura Namuchi. There is no need of showing any
compassion here, thinking that this one is thy maternal uncle. Keeping
the duties of a Kshatriya before thee, slay the ruler of the Madras.
Having crossed the fathomless oceans represented by Bhishma and Drona and
Karna, do not sink, with thy followers, in the print of a cow’s hoof
represented by Shalya. Display in battle the whole of thy ascetic power
and thy Kshatriya energy. Slay that car-warrior.” Having said these
words, Keshava, that slayer of hostile heroes, proceeded to his tent in
the evening, worshipped by the Pandavas. After Keshava had gone, king
Yudhishthira the just, dismissing all his brothers and the Somakas,
happily slept that night, like an elephant from whose body the darts have
been plucked out. All those great bowmen of the Pancalas and Pandavas,
delighted in consequence of the fall of Karna, slept that night happily.
Its fever dispelled, the army of the Pandavas, abounding with great
bowmen and mighty car-warriors having reached the shore as it were,
became very happy that night, in consequence of the victory, O sire, it
had won by the slaughter of Karna.'”

Section 8

“Sanjaya said, ‘After that night had passed away, king Duryodhana then,
addressing all thy soldiers, said, “Arm, you mighty car-warriors!”
Hearing the command of the king, the warriors began to put on their
armour. Some began to yoke their steeds to their cars quickly, others ran
hither and thither. The elephants began to be equipped. The foot-soldiers
began to arm. Others, numbering thousands, began to spread carpets on the
terraces of cars. The noise of musical instruments, O monarch, arose
there, for enhancing the martial enthusiasm of the soldiers. Then all the
troops, placed in their proper posts, were seen, O Bharata, to stand,
clad in mail and resolved to make death their goal. Having made the ruler
of the Madras their leader, the great car-warriors of the Kauravas,
distributing their troops, stood in divisions. Then all thy warriors,
with Kripa and Kritavarma and Drona’s son and Shalya and Subala’s son and
the other kings that were yet alive, met thy son, and arrived at this
understanding, that none of them would individually and alone fight with
the Pandavas. And they said, “He amongst us that will fight, alone and
unsupported, with the Pandavas, or he that will abandon a comrade engaged
in fight, will be stained with the five grave sins and all the minor
sins.” And they said, “All of us, united together, will fight with the
foe.” Those great car-warriors, having made such an understanding with
one another placed the ruler of the Madras at their head and quickly
proceeded against their foes. Similarly, all the Pandavas, having arrayed
their troops in great battle, proceeded against the Kauravas, O king, for
fighting with them on every side. Soon, O chief of the Bharatas, that
host, whose noise resembled that of the agitated ocean, and which seemed
to be wonderful in consequence of its cars and elephants, presented the
aspect of the vast deep swelling with its surges.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘I have heard of the fall of Drona, of Bhishma and
of the son of Radha. Tell me now of the fall of Shalya and of my son.
How, indeed, O Sanjaya, was Shalya slain by king Yudhishthira the just?
And how was my son Duryodhana slain by Bhimasena of great might?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Hear, O king, with patience, of the destruction of human
bodies and the loss of elephants and steeds, as I describe (to thee) the
battle. The hope became strong, O king, in the breasts of thy sons that,
after Drona and Bhishma and the Suta’s son had been overthrown, Shalya, O
sire, would slay all the Parthas in battle. Cherishing that hope in his
heart, and drawing comfort from it, O Bharata, thy son Duryodhana,
relying in battle upon that mighty car-warrior, the ruler of the Madras,
regarded himself as possessed of a protector. When after Karna’s fall the
Parthas had uttered leonine roars, a great fear, O king, had possessed
the hearts of the Dhartarashtras. Assuring him duly, the valiant king of
the Madras, having formed, O monarch, a grand array whose arrangements
were auspicious in every respect, proceeded against the Parthas in
battle. And the valiant king of the Madras proceeded, shaking his
beautiful and exceedingly strong bow capable of imparting a great
velocity to the shafts sped from it. And that mighty car-warrior was
mounted upon the foremost of vehicles, having horses of the Sindhu breed
yoked unto it. Riding upon his car, his driver made the vehicle look
resplendent. Protected by that car, that hero, that brave crusher of foes
(Shalya), stood, O monarch, dispelling the fears of thy sons. The king of
the Madras, clad in mail, proceeded at the head of the array, accompanied
by the brave Madrakas and the invincible sons of Karna. On the left was
Kritavarma, surrounded by the Trigartas. On the right was Gautama (Kripa)
with the Sakas and the Yavanas. In the rear was Ashvatthama surrounded by
the Kambojas. In the centre was Duryodhana, protected by the foremost of
the Kuru warriors. Surrounded by a large force of cavalry and other
troops, Subala’s son Shakuni, as also the mighty car-warrior Uluka,
proceeded with the others. The mighty bowmen amongst the Pandavas, those
chastisers of foes, dividing themselves, O monarch, into three bodies,
rushed against thy troops. Dhrishtadyumna and Shikhandi and the mighty
car-warrior Satyaki proceeded with great speed against the army of
Shalya. Then king Yudhishthira, accompanied by his troops, rushed against
Shalya alone, from desire of slaughtering him, O bull of Bharata’s race.
Arjuna, that slayer of large bands of foes, rushed with great speed
against that great bowman Kritavarma and the Samsaptakas. Bhimasena and
the great car-warriors among the Somakas rushed, O monarch, against
Kripa, desirous of slaughtering their foes in battle. The two sons of
Madri, accompanied by their troops, proceeded against Shakuni and the
great car-warrior Uluka at the head of their forces. Similarly, thousands
upon thousands of warriors of thy army, armed with diverse weapons and
filled with rage, proceeded against the Pandavas in that battle.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘After the fall of the mighty bowmen Bhishma and
Drona and the great car-warrior Karna, and after both the Kurus and the
Pandavas had been reduced in numbers, and when, indeed, the Parthas,
possessed of great prowess, became once more angry in battle, what, O
Sanjaya, was the strength of each of the armies?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Hear, O king, how we and the enemy both stood for battle
on that occasion and what was then the strength of the two armies. 11,000
cars, O bull of Bharata’s race, 10,700 elephants, and full 200,000
horses, and three millions of foot, composed the strength of thy army.
6,000 cars, 6,000 elephants, 10,000 horses, and one million of foot, O
Bharata, were all that composed the remnant of the Pandava force in the
battle. These, O bull of Bharata’s race, encountered each other for
battle. Having distributed their forces in this way, O monarch,
ourselves, excited with wrath and inspired with desire of victory,
proceeded against the Pandavas, having placed ourselves under the command
of the ruler of the Madras. Similar, the brave Pandavas, those tigers
among men, desirous of victory, and the Pancalas possessed of great fame,
came to battle. Even thus, O monarch, all those tigers among men,
desirous of slaughtering their foes, encountered one another at dawn of
day, O lord. Then commenced a fierce and terrible battle between thy
troops and the enemy, the combatants being all engaged in striking and
slaughtering one another.'”

9

“Sanjaya said, ‘Then commenced the battle between the Kurus and the
Srinjayas, O monarch, that was as fierce and awful as the battle between
the gods and the Asuras. Men and crowds of cars and elephants, and
elephant-warriors and horsemen by thousands, and steeds, all possessed of
great prowess, encountered one another. The loud noise of rushing
elephants of fearful forms was then heard there resembling the roars of
the clouds in the welkin, in the season of rains. Some car-warriors,
struck by elephants, were deprived of their cars. Routed by those
infuriate animals other brave combatants ran on the field. Well-trained
car-warriors, O Bharata, with their shafts, despatched large bodies of
cavalry and the footmen that urged and protected the elephants, to the
other world. Well-trained horsemen, O king, surrounding great
car-warriors, careered on the field, striking and slaying the latter with
spears and darts and swords. Some combatants armed with bows,
encompassing great car-warriors, despatched them to Yama’s abode, the
many unitedly battling against individual ones. Other great car-warriors,
encompassing elephants and foremost warriors of their own class, slew
some mighty one amongst that fought on the field, careering all around.
Similarly, O king, elephants, encompassing individual car-warriors
excited with wrath and scattering showers of shafts, despatched them to
the other world. Elephant-warrior rushing against elephant-warrior and
car-warrior against car-warrior in that battle slew each other with darts
and lances and cloth-yard shafts, O Bharata. Cars and elephants and
horses, crushing foot-soldiers in the midst of battle, were seen to make
confusion worse confounded. Adorned with yak-tails, steeds rushed on all
sides, looking like the swans found on the plains at the foot of Himavat.
They rushed with such speed that they seemed ready to devour the very
Earth. The field, O monarch, indented with the hoofs of those steeds,
looked beautiful like a beautiful woman bearing the marks of (her
lover’s) nails on her person. With the noise made by the tread of heroes,
the wheels of cars, the shouts of foot-soldiers, the grunts of elephants,
the peal of drums and other musical instruments, and the blare of conchs,
the Earth began to resound as if with deafening peals of thunder. In
consequence of twanging bows and flashing sabres and the glaring armour
of the combatants, all became so confused there, that nothing could be
distinctly marked. Invulnerable arms, lopped off from human bodies, and
looking like the tusks of elephants, jumped up and writhed and moved
furiously about. The sound made, O monarch, by heads falling on the field
of battle, resembled that made by the falling fruits of palmyra trees.
Strewn with those fallen heads that were crimson with blood, the Earth
looked resplendent as if adorned with gold-coloured lotuses in their
season. Indeed, with those lifeless heads with upturned eyes, that were
exceedingly mangled (with shafts and other weapons), the field of battle,
O king, looked resplendent as if strewn with full blown lotuses. With the
fallen arms of the combatants, smeared with sandal and adorned with
costly Keyuras, the earth looked bright as if strewn with the gorgeous
poles set up in Indra’s honour. The field of battle became covered with
the thighs of kings, cut off in that battle and looking like the tapering
trunks of elephants. Teeming with hundreds of headless trunk and strewn
with umbrellas and yak-tails, that vast army looked beautiful like a
flowering forest. Then, on the field of battle, O monarch, warriors
careered fearlessly, their limbs bathed in blood and therefore looking
like flowering Kinsukas. Elephants also, afflicted with arrows and
lances, fell down here and there like broken clouds dropped from the
skies. Elephant divisions, O monarch, slaughtered by high-souled
warriors, dispersed in all directions like wind-tossed clouds. Those
elephants, looking like clouds, fell down on the Earth, like mountains
riven with thunder, O lord, on the occasion of the dissolution of the
world at the end of the Yuga. Heaps upon heaps, looking like mountains,
were seen, lying on the ground, of fallen steeds with their riders. A
river appeared on the field of battle, flowing towards the other world.
Blood formed its waters and cars its eddies. Standards formed its trees,
and bones its pebbles. The arms (of combatants) were its alligators, bows
its current, elephants its large rocks, and steeds its smaller ones. Fat
and marrow formed its mire, umbrellas its swans, and maces its rafts.
Abounding with armour and head-gears, banners constituted its beautiful
trees. Teeming with wheels that formed its swarms of Chakravakas, it was
covered with Trivenus and Dandas. Inspiring the brave with delight and
enhancing the fears of the timid, that fierce river set in, whose shores
abounded with Kurus and Srinjayas. Those brave warriors, with arms
resembling spiked bludgeons, by the aid of their vehicles and animals
serving the purposes of rafts and boats, crossed that awful river which
ran towards the region of the dead. During the progress of that battle, O
monarch, in which no consideration was shown by anybody for anyone, and
which, fraught with awful destruction of the four kinds of forces,
therefore, resembled the battle between the gods and the Asuras in days
of old, some among the combatants, O scorcher of foes, loudly called upon
their kinsmen and friends. Some, called upon by crying kinsmen, returned,
afflicted with fear. During the progress of that fierce and awful battle,
Arjuna and Bhimasena stupefied their foes. That vast host of thine, O
ruler of men, thus slaughtered, swooned away on the field, like a woman
under the influence of liquor. Having stupefied that army, Bhimasena and
Dhananjaya blew their conchs and uttered leonine roars. As soon as they
heard that loud peal, Dhrishtadyumna and Shikhandi, placing king
Yudhishthira at their head, rushed against the ruler of the Madras.
Exceedingly wonderful and terrible, O monarch, was the manner in which
those heroes, unitedly and as separate bodies, then fought with Shalya.
The two sons of Madri, endued with great activity, accomplished in
weapons, and invincible in battle, proceeded with great speed against thy
host, inspired with desire of victory. Then thy army, O bull of Bharata’s
race, mangled in diverse ways with shafts by the Pandavas eager for
victory, began to fly away from the field. That host, thus struck and
broken by firm bowmen, O monarch, fled away on all sides in the very
sight of thy sons. Loud cries of “Oh!” and “Alas!” O Bharata, arose from
among thy warriors, while some illustrious Kshatriyas among the routed
combatants, desirous of victory, cried out saying, “Stop, stop!” For all
that, those troops of thine, broken by the Pandavas, fled away, deserting
on the field their dear sons and brothers and maternal, uncles and
sister’s sons and relatives by marriage and other kinsmen. Urging their
steeds and elephants to greater speed, thousands of warriors fled away, O
bull of Bharata’s race, bent only upon their own safety.'”

10

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding the army broken, the valiant king of the
Madras, addressed his driver, saying, “Quickly urge these steeds endued
with the fleetness of thought. Yonder stays king Yudhishthira, the son of
Pandu, looking resplendent with the umbrella held over his head. Take me
thither with speed, O driver, and witness my might. The Parthas are
unable to stand before me in battle.” Thus addressed, the driver of the
Madra king proceeded to that spot where stood king Yudhishthira the just
of true aim. Shalya fell suddenly upon the mighty host of the Pandavas.
Alone, he checked it like the continent checking the surging sea. Indeed,
the large force of the Pandavas, coming against Shalya, O sire, stood
still in that battle, like the rushing sea upon encountering a mountain.
Beholding the ruler of the Madras standing for battle on the field, the
Kauravas returned, making death their goal. After they had returned, O
king, and separately taken up their positions in well-formed array, an
awful battle set in, in which blood flowed freely like water.

“‘The invincible Nakula encountered Chitrasena. These two heroes, both of
whom were excellent bowmen, approaching, drenched each other with showers
of arrows in that battle, like two pouring clouds risen in the welkin on
the south and the north. I could not mark any difference between the son
of Pandu and his antagonist. Both of them were accomplished in weapons,
both endued with might, and both conversant with the practices of
car-warriors. Each bent upon slaying the other, they carefully looked for
each other’s lapses. Then Chitrasena, O monarch, with a broad-headed
shaft, well-tempered and sharp, cut off Nakula’s bow at the handle.
Fearlessly then the son of Karna struck the bowless Nakula at the
forehead with three shafts equipped with wings of gold and whetted on
stone. With a few other keen arrows he then despatched Nakula’s steeds to
Yama’s abode. Next, he felled both the standard and the driver of his
antagonist, each with three arrows. With those three arrows sped from the
arms of his foe sticking to his fore-head, Nakula, O king, looked
beautiful like a mountain with three crests. Deprived of his bow and his
cars, the brave Nakula, taking up a sword, jumped down from his vehicle
like a lion from a mountain-summit. As, however, he rushed on foot, his
antagonist poured a shower of arrows upon him. Possessed of active
prowess, Nakula received that arrowy shower on his shield. Getting at the
car then of Chitrasena, the mighty-armed hero, the son of Pandu,
conversant with all modes of warfare and incapable of being tired with
exertion, ascended it in the very sight of all the troops. The son of
Pandu then cut off from Chitrasena’s trunk his diadem-decked head adorned
with ear-rings, and graced with a beautiful nose and a pair of large
eyes. At this, Chitrasena, endued with the splendour of the sun, fell
down on the terrace of his car. Beholding Chitrasena slain, all the great
car-warriors there uttered loud cries of praise and many leonine roars.
Meanwhile, the two sons of Karna, Sushena and Satyasena, both of whom
were great car-warriors, beholding their brother slain, shot showers of
keen shafts. Those foremost of car-warriors rushed with speed against the
son of Pandu like a couple of tigers, O king, in the deep forest rushing
against an elephant from desire of slaying him. Both of them poured their
keen shafts upon the mighty car-warrior Nakula. Indeed, as they poured
those shafts, they resembled two masses of clouds pouring rain in
torrents. Though pierced with arrows all over, the valiant and heroic son
of Pandu cheerfully took up another bow after ascending on another car,
and stood in battle like the Destroyer himself in rage. Then those two
brothers, O monarch, with their straight shafts, cut off Nakula’s car
into fragments. Then Nakula, laughing, smote the four steeds of Satyasena
with four whetted and keen shafts in that encounter. Aiming a long shaft
equipped with wings of gold, the son of Pandu then cut off, O monarch,
the bow of Satyasena. At this, the latter, mounting on another car and
taking up another bow, as also his brother Sushena, rushed against the
son of Pandu. The valiant son of Madri fearlessly pierced each of them, O
monarch, with couple of shafts at the van of battle. Then the mighty
car-warrior Sushena, filled with wrath, cut off in that battle, laughing
the while, the formidable bow of Pandu’s son with a razor-headed arrow.
Then Nakula, insensate with rage, took up another bow and pierced Sushena
with five arrows and struck his standard with one. Without losing a
moment, he then cut off the bow and the leathern fence of Satyasena also,
O sire, at which all the troops there uttered a loud shout. Satyasena,
taking up another foe-slaying bow that was capable of bearing a great
strain, shrouded the son of Pandu with arrows from every side. Baffling
those arrows, Nakula, that slayer of hostile heroes, pierced each of his
antagonists with a couple of shafts. Each of the latter separately
pierced the son of Pandu in return with many straight-coursing shaft.
Next they pierced Nakula’s driver also with many keen shafts. The valiant
Satyasena then, endued with great lightness of hand, cut off without his
brother’s help the shafts of Nakula’s car and his bow with a couple of
arrows. The Atiratha Nakula, however, staying on his car, took up a dart
equipped with a golden handle and a very keen point, and steeped in oil
and exceedingly bright. It resembled, O lord, a she-snake of virulent
poison, frequently darting out her tongue. Raising that weapon he hurled
it at Satyasena in that encounter. That dart, O king, pierced the heart
of Satyasena in that battle and reduced it into a hundred fragments.
Deprived of his senses and life, he fell down upon the Earth from his
car. Beholding his brother slain, Sushena, insensate with rage, suddenly
made Nakula carless in that battle. Without losing a moment, he poured
his arrows over the son of Pandu fighting on foot. Seeing Nakula carless,
the mighty car-warrior Sutasoma, the son of Draupadi, rushed to that spot
for rescuing his sire in battle. Mounting then upon the car of Sutasoma,
Nakula, that hero of Bharata’s race, looked beautiful like a lion upon a
mountain. Then taking up another bow, he fought with Sushena. Those two
great car-warriors, approaching each other, and shooting showers of
arrows, endeavoured to encompass each other’s destruction. Then Sushena,
filled with rage, struck the son of Pandu with three shafts and Sutasoma
with twenty in the arms and the chest. At this, the impetuous Nakula, O
monarch, that slayer of hostile heroes, covered all the points of the
compass with arrows. Then taking up a sharp shaft endued with great
energy and equipped with a semi-circular head, Nakula sped it with great
force at Karna’s son in that battle. With that arrow, O best of kings,
the son of Pandu cut off from Sushena’s trunk the latter’s head in the
very sight of all the troops. That feat seemed exceedingly wonderful.
Thus slain by the illustrious Nakula, Karna’s son fell down like a lofty
tree on the bank of a river thrown down by the current of the stream.
Beholding the slaughter of Karna’s sons and the prowess of Nakula, thy
army, O bull of Bharata’s race, fled away in fear. Their commander,
however, the brave and valiant ruler of the Madras, that chastiser of
foes, then protected, O monarch, those troops in that battle. Rallying
his host, O king, Shalya stood fearlessly in battle, uttering loud
leonine roars and causing his bow to twang fiercely. Then thy troops, O
king, protected in battle by that firm bowman, cheerfully proceeded
against the foe once more from every side. Those high-souled warriors,
surrounding that great bowman, the ruler of the Madras, stood, O king,
desirous of battling on every side. Then Satyaki, and Bhimasena, and
those two Pandavas, the twin sons of Madri, placing that chastiser of
foes and abode of modesty, Yudhishthira, at their head, and surrounding
him on all sides in that battle, uttered leonine roars. And those heroes
also caused a loud whizz with the arrows they shot and frequently
indulged in diverse kinds of shouts. Smilingly, all thy warriors, filled
with rage, speedily encompassed the ruler of the Madras and stood from
desire of battle. Then commenced a battle, inspiring the timid with fear,
between thy soldiers and the enemy, both of whom made death their goal.
That battle between fearless combatants, enhancing the population of
Yama’s kingdom, resembled, O monarch, that between the gods and the
Asuras in days of yore. Then the ape-bannered son of Pandu, O king,
having slaughtered the Samsaptakas in battle, rushed against that portion
of the Kaurava army. Smiling, all the Pandavas, headed by Dhrishtadyumna,
rushed against the same division, shooting showers of keen arrows.
Overwhelmed by the Pandavas, the Kaurava host became stupefied. Indeed,
those divisions then could not discern the cardinal point from the
subsidiary points of the compass. Covered with keen arrows sped by the
Pandavas, the Kaurava army, deprived of its foremost warriors, wavered
and broke on all sides. Indeed, O Kaurava, that host of thine began to be
slaughtered by the mighty car-warriors of the Pandavas. Similarly, the
Pandava host, O king, began to be slaughtered in hundreds and thousands
in that battle by thy sons on every side with their arrows. While the two
armies, exceedingly excited, were thus slaughtering each other, they
became much agitated like two streams in the season of rains. During the
progress of that dreadful battle, O monarch, a great fear entered the
hearts of thy warriors as also those of the Pandavas.'”

11

Sanjaya said, “When the troops, slaughtered by one another, were thus
agitated, when many of the warriors fled away and the elephants began to
utter loud cries, when the foot-soldiers in that dreadful battle began to
shout and wail aloud, when the steeds, O king, ran in diverse directions,
when the carnage became awful, when a terrible destruction set in of all
embodied creatures, when weapons of various kinds fell or clashed with
one another, when cars and elephants began to be mangled together, when
heroes felt great delight and cowards felt their fears enhanced, when
combatants encountered one another from desire of slaughter, on that
awful occasion of the destruction of life, during the progress of that
dreadful sport, that is, of that awful battle that enhanced the
population of Yama’s kingdom, the Pandavas slaughtered thy troops with
keen shafts, and, after the same manner, thy troops slew those of the
Pandavas.

During that battle inspiring the timid with terror, indeed, during the
progress of the battle as it was fought on that morning about the hour of
sunrise, the Pandava heroes of good aim, protected by the high-souled
Yudhishthira, fought with thy forces, making death itself their goal. The
Kuru army, O thou of the race of Kuru, encountering the proud Pandavas
endued with great strength, skilled in smiting, and possessed of sureness
of aim, became weakened and agitated like a herd of she-deer frightened
at a forest conflagration.

Beholding that army weakened and helpless like a cow sunk in mire,
Shalya, desirous of rescuing it, proceeded against the Pandava army.
Filled with rage, the ruler of the Madras, taking up an excellent bow,
rushed for battle against the Pandava foes. The Pandavas also, O monarch,
in that encounter, inspired with desire of victory, proceeded against the
ruler of the Madras and pierced him with keen shafts. Then the ruler of
the Madras, possessed of great strength, afflicted that host with showers
of keen arrows in the very sight of king Yudhishthira the just.

At that time diverse portents appeared to the view. The Earth herself,
with her mountains, trembled, making a loud noise. Meteors, with keen
points bright as those of lances equipped with handles, piercing the air,
fell upon the Earth from the firmament. Deer and buffaloes and birds, O
monarch, in large numbers, placed thy army to their right, O king. The
planets Venus and Mars, in conjunction with Mercury, appeared at the rear
of the Pandavas and to the front of all the (Kaurava) lords of Earth.
Blazing flames seemed to issue from the points of weapons, dazzling the
eyes (of the warriors). Crows and owls in large numbers perched upon the
heads of the combatants and on the tops of their standards. Then a fierce
battle took place between the Kaurava and the Pandava combatants,
assembled together in large bodies. Then, O king, the Kauravas, mustering
all their divisions, rushed against the Pandava army. Of soul incapable
of being depressed, Shalya then poured dense showers of arrows on
Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti like the thousand-eyed Indra pouring rain
in torrents. Possessed of great strength, he pierced Bhimasena, and the
five sons of Draupadi and Dhristadyumna, the two sons of Madri by Pandu,
and the grandson of Sini, and Shikhandi also, each with ten arrows
equipped with wings of gold and whetted on stone. Indeed, he began to
pour his arrows like Maghavat (Indra) pouring rain at the close of the
summer season. Then the Prabhadrakas, O king, and the Somakas, were seen
felled or falling by thousands, in consequence of Shalya’s arrows.
Multitudinous as swarms of bees or flights of locusts, the shafts of
Shalya were seen to fall like thunderbolts from the clouds. Elephants and
steeds and foot-soldiers and car-warriors, afflicted with Shalya’s
arrows, fell down or wandered or uttered loud wails. Infuriate with rage
and prowess, the ruler of the Madras shrouded his foes in that battle
like Destroyer at the end of the Yuga. The mighty ruler of the Madras
began to roar aloud like the clouds. The Pandava army, thus slaughtered
by Shalya, ran towards Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti (for protection).
Possessed of great lightness of hand, Shalya, having in that battle
crushed them with whetted arrows, began to afflict Yudhishthira with a
dense shower of shafts. Beholding Shalya impetuously rushing towards him
with horsemen and foot-soldiers, king Yudhishthira, filled with wrath,
checked him with keen shafts, even as an infuriate elephant is checked
with iron-hooks. Then Shalya sped a terrible arrow at Yudhishthira that
resembled a snake of virulent poison. Piercing through the high-souled
son of Kunti, that arrow quickly fell down upon the Earth. Then
Vrikodara, filled with wrath, pierced Shalya with seven arrows, and
Sahadeva pierced him with five, and Nakula with ten. The (five) sons of
Draupadi poured upon that foe-slaying hero, the impetuous Artayani
(Shalya), showers of arrows like a mass of clouds pouring rain upon a
mountain. Beholding Shalya struck by the Parthas on every side, both
Kritavarma and Kripa rushed in wrath towards that spot. Uluka also of
mighty energy, and Shakuni the son of Subala, and the mighty car-warrior
Ashvatthama with smiles on his lips, and all thy sons protected Shalya by
every means in that battle. Piercing Bhimasena with three arrows,
Kritavarma, shooting a dense shower of shafts, checked that warrior who
then seemed to be the embodiment of wrath. Excited with rage, Kripa
struck Dhrishtadyumna with many arrows. Shakuni proceeded against the
sons of Draupadi, and Ashvatthama against the twins. That foremost of
warriors, Duryodhana, possessed of fierce energy, proceeded, in that
battle, against Keshava and Arjuna, and endued with might, he struck them
both with many arrows. Thus hundreds of combats, O monarch, that were
fierce and beautiful, took place between thy men and the enemy, on
diverse parts of the field. The chief of the Bhojas then slew the brown
steeds of Bhimasena’s car in that encounter. The steedless son of Pandu,
alighting from his car, began to fight with his mace, like the Destroyer
himself with his uplifted bludgeon. The ruler of the Madras then slew the
steeds of Sahadeva before his eyes. Then Sahadeva slew Shalya’s son with
his sword. The preceptor Gautama (Kripa) once more fearlessly fought with
Dhrishtadyumna, both exerting themselves with great care. The preceptor’s
son Ashvatthama, without much wrath and as if smiling in that battle,
pierced each of the five heroic sons of Draupadi with ten arrows. Once
more the steeds of Bhimasena were slain in that battle. The steedless son
of Pandu, quickly alighting from his car, took up his mace like the
Destroyer taking his bludgeon. Excited with wrath, that mighty hero
crushed the steeds and the car of Kritavarma. Jumping down from his
vehicle, Kritavarma then fled away. Shalya also, excited with rage, O
king, slaughtered many Somakas and Pandavas, and once more afflicted
Yudhishthira with many keen shafts. Then the valiant Bhima, biting his
nether lip, and infuriate with rage, took up his mace in that battle, and
aimed it at Shalya for the latter’s destruction. Resembling the very
bludgeon of Yama, impending (upon the head of the foe) like kala-ratri
(Death Night), exceedingly destructive of the lives of elephants and
steeds and human beings, twined round with cloth of gold, looking like a
blazing meteor, equipped with a sling, fierce as a she-snake, hard as
thunder, and made wholly of iron, smeared with sandal-paste and other
unguents like a desirable lady, smutted with marrow and fat and blood,
resembling the very tongue of Yama, producing shrill sounds in
consequence of the bells attached to it, like unto the thunder of Indra,
resembling in shape a snake of virulent poison just freed from its
slough, drenched with the juicy secretions of elephants, inspiring
hostile troops with terror and friendly troops with joy, celebrated in
the world of men, and capable of riving mountain summits, that mace, with
which the mighty son of Kunti had in Kailasa challenged the enraged Lord
of Alaka, the friend of Maheshvara, that weapon with which Bhima, though
resisted by many, had in wrath slain a large number of proud Guhyakas
endued with powers of illusion on the breasts of Gandhamadana for the
sake of procuring Mandara flowers for doing what was agreeable to
Draupadi, uplifting that mace which was rich with diamonds and jewels and
gems and possessed of eight sides and celebrated as Indra’s thunder, the
mighty-armed son of Pandu now rushed against Shalya. With that mace of
awful sound, Bhima, skilled in battle, crushed the four steeds of Shalya
that were possessed of great fleetness. Then the heroic Shalya, excited
with wrath in that battle, hurled a lance at the broad chest of Bhima and
uttered a loud shout. That lance, piercing through the armour of Pandu’s
son, presented into his body. Vrikodara, however, fearlessly plucking out
the weapon, pierced therewith the driver of Shalya in the chest. His
vitals pierced, the driver, vomiting blood, fell down with agitated
heart. At this, the ruler of the Madras came down from his car and
cheerlessly gazed at Bhima. Beholding his own feat thus counteracted,
Shalya became filled with wonder. Of tranquil soul, the ruler of the
Madras took up his mace and began to cast his glances upon his foe.
Beholding that terrible feat of his in battle, the Parthas, with cheerful
hearts, worshipped Bhima who was incapable of being tired with exertion.'”

12

“Sanjaya said, ‘Seeing his driver fallen, Shalya, O king, quickly took up
his mace made wholly of iron and stood immovable as a bull. Bhima,
however, armed with his mighty mace, rushed impetuously towards Shalya
who then looked like the blazing Yuga-fire, or the Destroyer armed with
the noose, or the Kailasa mountain with its formidable crest, or Vasava
with his thunder, or Mahadeva with his trident, or an infuriate elephant
in the forest. At that time the blare of thousands of conchs and trumpets
and loud leonine roars arose there, enhancing the delight of heroes. The
combatants of both armies, looking at those two foremost of warriors from
every side, applauded them both, saying, “Excellent, Excellent! Save the
ruler of the Madras, or Rama, that delighter of the Yadus, there is none
else that can venture to endure the impetuosity of Bhima in battle.
Similarly, save Bhima, there is no other warrior that can venture to
endure the force of the mace of the illustrious king of the Madras in
battle.” Those two combatants then, Vrikodara and the ruler of the
Madras, roaring like bulls, careered in circles, frequently jumping up in
the air. In that encounter between those two lions among men, no
difference could be noticed between them either in respect of their
careering in circles or of their wielding the mace. The mace of Shalya,
wrapped round with a resplendent cloth of gold that looked like a sheet
of fire, inspired the spectators with dread. Similarly, the mace of the
high-souled Bhima, as the latter careered in circles, looked like
lightning in the midst of the clouds. Struck by the ruler of the Madras
with his mace, the mace of Bhima, O king, produced sparks of fire in the
welkin which thereupon seemed to be ablaze. Similarly, struck by Bhima
with his mace, the mace of Shalya produced a shower of blazing coals
which seemed exceedingly wonderful. Like two gigantic elephants striking
each other with their tusks, or two huge bulls striking each other with
their horns, those two heroes began to strike each other with their
foremost of maces, like a couple of combatants striking each other with
iron bound clubs. Their limbs being struck with each other’s mace, they
soon became bathed in blood and looked handsomer in consequence like two
flowering Kinsukas. Struck by the ruler of the Madras on both his left
and right, the mighty-armed Bhimasena stood immovable like a mountain.
Similarly, though struck repeatedly with the force of Bhima’s mace,
Shalya, O king, moved not, like a mountain assailed by an elephant with
his tusks. The noise made by the blows of the maces of those two lions
among men was heard on all sides like successive peals of thunder. Having
ceased for a moment, those two warriors of great energy once more began,
with uplifted maces, to career in closer circles. Once more the clash
took place between those two warriors of superhuman feats, each having
advanced towards the other by eight steps, and each assailing the other
with his uplifted iron club. Then, wishing to get at each other, they
once more careered in circles. Both accomplished (in the use of the mace)
they began to display their superiority of skill. Uplifting their
terrible weapons, they then again struck each other like mountains
striking each other with their crests at the time of an earthquake.
Exceedingly crushed with each other’s mace in consequence of each other’s
strength, both those heroes fell down at the same time like a couple of
poles set up for Indra’s worship. The brave combatants then of both
armies, at that sight, uttered cries of “Oh!” and “Alas!” Struck with
great force in their vital limbs, both of them had become exceedingly
agitated. Then the mighty Kripa, taking up Shalya, that bull among the
Madras, on his own car, quickly bore him away from the field of battle.
Within, however, the twinkling of an eye, Bhimasena, rising up, and still
reeling as if drunk, challenged, with uplifted mace, the ruler of the
Madras. Then the heroic warriors of thy army, armed with diverse weapons,
fought with the Pandavas, causing diverse musical instruments to be blown
and beat. With uplifted arms and weapons and making a loud noise, O
monarch, thy warriors headed by Duryodhana rushed against the Pandavas.
Beholding the Kaurava host, the sons of Pandu, with leonine roars, rushed
against those warriors headed by Duryodhana. Then thy son, O bull of
Bharata’s race, singling out Chekitana amongst those rushing heroes,
pierced him deeply with a lance in the chest. Thus assailed by thy son,
Chekitana fell down on the terrace of his car, covered with blood, and
overcome with a deep swoon. Beholding Chekitana slain, the great
car-warriors among the Pandavas incessantly poured their arrowy showers
(upon the Kauravas). Indeed, the Pandavas, inspired with desire of
victory, O monarch, careered beautifully on all sides amongst thy
divisions. Kripa, and Kritavarma, and the mighty son of Subala, placing
the ruler of the Madras before them, fought with king Yudhishthira the
just. Duryodhana, O monarch, fought with Dhrishtadyumna, the slayer of
Bharadwaja’s son, that hero endued with abundant energy and prowess.
3,000 cars, O king, despatched by thy son and headed by Drona’s son,
battled with Vijaya (Arjuna). All those combatants, O king, had firmly
resolved to win victory and had cast off fear with life itself. Indeed, O
king, thy warriors penetrated into the midst of the Pandava army like
swans into a large lake. A fierce battle then took place between the
Kurus and the Pandavas, the combatants being actuated with the desire of
slaughtering one another and deriving great pleasure from giving and
receiving blows. During the progress, O king, of that battle which was
destructive of great heroes, an earthly dust, terrible to behold, was
raised by the wind. From only the names we heard (of the Pandava
warriors) that were uttered in course of that battle and from those (of
the Kuru warriors) that were uttered by the Pandavas, we knew the
combatants that fought with one another fearlessly. That dust, however, O
tiger among men, was soon dispelled by the blood that was shed, and all
the points of the compass became once more clear when that dusty darkness
was driven away. Indeed, during the progress of that terrible and awful
battle, no one among either thy warriors or those of the foe, turned his
back. Desirous of attaining to the regions of Brahman and longing for
victory by fair fight, the combatants displayed their prowess, inspired
with the hope of heaven. For paying off the debt they owed to their
masters on account of the sustenance granted by the latter, or firmly
resolved to accomplish the objects of their friends and allies, the
warriors, with hearts fixed on heaven, fought with one another on that
occasion. Shooting and hurling weapons of diverse kinds, great
car-warriors roared at or smote one another. “Slay, pierce, seize,
strike, cut off!” These were the words that were heard in that battle,
uttered by the warriors and those of the foe. Then Shalya, O monarch,
desirous of slaying him, pierced king Yudhishthira the just, that mighty
car-warrior with many sharp arrows. Conversant with what are the vital
limbs of the body, the son of Pritha, however, O monarch, with the
greatest ease, struck the ruler of the Madras with four and ten
cloth-yard shafts, aiming at the latter’s vital limbs. Resisting the son
of Pandu with his shafts, Shalya of great fame, filled with rage and
desirous of slaying his adversary, pierced him in that battle with
innumerable arrows equipped with Kanka feathers. Once more, O monarch, he
struck Yudhishthira with a straight shaft in the very sight of all the
troops. King Yudhishthira the just, possessed of great fame and filled
with rage, pierced the ruler of the Madras with many keen arrows equipped
with feathers of Kankas and peacocks. The mighty car-warrior then pierced
Candrasena with seventy arrows and Shalya’s driver with nine, and
Drumasena with four and sixty. When the two protectors of his car-wheels
were (thus) slain by the high-souled son of Pandu, Shalya, O king, slew
five and twenty warriors among the Cedis. And he pierced Satyaki with
five and twenty keen arrows, and Bhimasena with seven, and the two sons
of Madri with a hundred, in that battle. While Shalya was thus careering
in that battle, that best of kings, the son of Pritha, sped at him many
shafts that resembled snakes of virulent poison. With a broad-headed
arrow, Yudhishthira the son of Kunti then cut off from his car the
standard top of his adversary as the latter stood in his front. We saw
the standard of Shalya, which was thus cut off by the son of Pandu in
that great battle, fall down like a riven mountain summit. Seeing his
standard fallen and observing the son of Pandu standing before him, the
ruler of the Madras became filled with rage and shot showers of shafts.
That bull amongst Kshatriyas, Shalya of immeasurable soul, poured over
the Kshatriyas in that battle dense showers of arrows like the deity of
the clouds pouring torrents of rain. Piercing Satyaki and Bhimasena and
the twin sons of Madri by Pandu, each with five arrows, he afflicted
Yudhishthira greatly. We then, O monarch, beheld a net of arrows spread
before the chest of Pandu’s son like a mass of risen clouds. The mighty
car-warrior Shalya, in that battle, filled with rage, shrouded
Yudhishthira with straight shafts. At this, king Yudhishthira afflicted
with those showers of shafts, felt himself deprived of his prowess, even
as the Asura Jambha had become before the slayer of Vritra.'”

13

“Sanjaya said, ‘When king Yudhishthira the just was thus afflicted by the
ruler of Madras, Satyaki and Bhimasena and the two sons of Madri by
Pandu, encompassing Shalya with their cars, began to afflict him in that
battle. Beholding the unsupported Shalya thus afflicted by those great
car-warriors (and seeing him successfully repel those attacks), loud
sounds of applause were heard, and the Siddhas (who witnessed the
encounter) became filled with delight. The ascetics, assembled together
(for witnessing the battle), declared it to be wonderful. Then Bhimasena
in that encounter, having pierced Shalya who had become (as his name
implied) an irresistible dart in prowess, with one arrow, next pierced
him with seven. Satyaki, desirous of rescuing the son of Dharma, pierced
Shalya with a hundred arrows and uttered a loud leonine roar. Nakula
pierced him with five arrows, and Sahadeva with seven; the latter then
once more pierced him with as many. The heroic ruler of the Madras,
struggling carefully in that battle, thus afflicted by those mighty
car-warriors, drew a formidable bow capable of bearing a great strain and
of imparting great force to the shafts sped from it, and pierced Satyaki,
O sire, with five and twenty shafts and Bhima with three and seventy and
Nakula with seven. Then cutting off with a broad-headed arrow the bow,
with shaft fixed on the string of Sahadeva, he pierced Sahadeva himself,
in that battle, with three and seventy shafts. Sahadeva then, stringing
another bow, pierced his maternal uncle of great splendour with five
shafts that resembled snakes of virulent poison or blazing fire. Filled
with great rage, he then struck his adversary’s driver with a straight
shaft in that battle and then Shalya himself once more with three. Then
Bhimasena pierced the ruler of the Madras with seventy arrows, and
Satyaki pierced him with nine, and king Yudhishthira with sixty. Thus
pierced, O monarch, by those mighty car-warriors, blood began to flow
from Shalya’s body, like crimson streams, running down the breast of a
mountain of red chalk. Shalya, however, quickly pierced in return each of
those great bowmen with five arrows, O king, which feat seemed
exceedingly wonderful. With another broad-headed arrow, that mighty
car-warrior then, O sire, cut off the stringed bow of Dharma’s son in
that encounter. Taking up another bow, that great car-warrior, the son of
Dharma, covered Shalya, his steeds, and driver, and standard, and car,
with many arrows. Thus shrouded in that battle by the son of Dharma with
his shafts, Shalya struck the former with ten keen arrows. Then Satyaki,
filled with rage upon beholding the son of Dharma thus afflicted with
shafts, checked the heroic ruler of the Madras with clouds of arrows. At
this, Shalya cut off with a razor-faced arrow the formidable bow of
Satyaki, and pierced each of the other Pandava warriors with three
arrows. Filled with rage, O monarch, Satyaki of unbaffled prowess then
hurled at Shalya a lance equipped with a golden staff and decked with
many jewels and gems. Bhimasena sped at him a cloth-yard shaft that
looked like a blazing snake; Nakula hurled at him a dart, Sahadeva an
excellent mace, and the son of Dharma a Sataghni impelled by the desire
of despatching him. The ruler of the Madras, however, quickly baffled in
that battle all those weapons, hurled from the arms of those five
warriors at him, as these coursed towards his car. With a number of
broad-headed arrows Shalya cut off the lance hurled by Satyaki. Possessed
of valour and great lightness of hand, he cut off into two fragments the
gold-decked shaft sped at him by Bhima. He then resisted with clouds of
shafts the terrible dart, equipped with a golden handle, that Nakula had
sped at him and the mace also that Sahadeva had thrown. With a couple of
other arrows, O Bharata, he cut off the Sataghni sped at him by the king,
in the very sight of the sons of Pandu, and uttered a loud leonine roar.
The grandson of Sini, however, could not endure the defeat of his weapon
in that battle. Insensate with rage, Satyaki took up another bow and
pierced the ruler of the Madras with two shafts and his driver with
three. At this, Shalya, O monarch, excited with rage, deeply pierced all
of them with ten arrows, like persons piercing mighty elephants with
sharp-pointed lances. Thus checked in that battle by the ruler of the
Madras, O Bharata, those slayers of foes became unable to stay in front
of Shalya. King Duryodhana, beholding the prowess of Shalya, regarded the
Pandavas, the Pancalas, and the Srinjayas as already slain. Then, O king,
the mighty-armed Bhimasena, possessed of great prowess and mentally
resolved to cast off his life-breaths, encountered the ruler of the
Madras. Nakula and Sahadeva and Satyaki of great might, encompassing
Shalya, shot their arrows at him from every side. Though encompassed by
those four great bowmen and mighty car-warriors among the Pandavas, the
valiant ruler of the Madras still fought with them. Then, O king, the
royal son of Dharma, in that dreadful battle, quickly cut off with a
razor-headed arrow one of the protectors of Shalya’s car-wheels. When
that brave and mighty car-warrior, that protector of Shalya’s car-wheel,
was thus slain, Shalya of great strength covered the Pandava troops with
showers of arrows. Beholding his troops shrouded with arrows, O monarch,
in that battle, king Yudhishthira the just began to reflect in this
strain, “Verily, how shall those grave words of Madhava become true? I
hope, the rider of the Madras, excited with rage, will not annihilate my
army in battle.’ Then the Pandavas, O elder brother of Pandu
(Dhritarashtra), with cars and elephants and steeds, approached the ruler
of the Madras and began to afflict him from every side. Like the wind
dispersing mighty masses of clouds, the king of the Madras, in that
battle, dispersed that risen shower of arrows and diverse other kinds of
weapons in profusion. We then beheld the downpour of gold-winged arrows
shot by Shalya coursing through the welkin like a flight of locusts.
Indeed, those arrows shot by the ruler of the Madras from the van of
battle were seen to fall like swarms of birds. With the gold-decked
shafts that issued from the bow of the Madra king, the welkin, O monarch,
became so filled that there was not an inch of empty space. When a thick
gloom appeared, caused by the arrows shot by the mighty ruler of the
Madras owing to his extreme lightness of hands in that dreadful battle,
and when they beheld the vast host of the Pandavas thus agitated by that
hero, the gods and the Gandharvas became filled with great wonder.
Afflicting with vigour all the Pandava warriors with his shafts from
every side, O sire, Shalya shrouded king Yudhishthira the just and roared
repeatedly like a lion. The mighty car-warriors of the Pandavas, thus
shrouded by Shalya in that battle, became unable to proceed against that
great hero for fighting with him. Those, however, amongst the Pandavas,
that had Bhimasena at their head and that were led by king Yudhishthira
the just, did not fly away from that ornament of battle, the brave
Shalya.'”

14

“Sanjaya said, ‘Meanwhile Arjuna, in that battle, pierced with many
arrows by the son of Drona as also by the latter’s followers, the heroic
and mighty car-warriors among the Trigartas, pierced Drona’s son in
return with three shafts, and each of the other warriors with two. Once
again, the mighty-armed Dhananjaya covered his enemies with showers of
shafts. Though struck with keen arrows and though they looked like
porcupines in consequence of those arrows sticking to their limbs, still
thy troops, O bull of Bharata’s race, fled not from Partha in that
battle. With Drona’s son at their head, they encompassed that mighty
car-warrior and fought with him, shooting showers of shafts. The
gold-decked arrows, O king, shot by them, speedily filled the terrace of
Arjuna’s car. Beholding those two great bowmen, those two foremost of all
warriors, the two Krishnas, covered with arrows, those invincible
(Kaurava) combatants became filled with delight. Indeed, at that time,
the Kuvara, the wheels, the shaft, the traces, the yoke, and the
Anukarsha, O lord, of Arjuna’s car, became entirely enveloped with
arrows. The like of what thy warriors then did unto Partha had never
before, O king, been either seen or heard. That car looked resplendent
with those keen arrows of beautiful wings like a celestial vehicle
blazing with hundreds of torches dropped on the Earth. Then Arjuna, O
monarch, covered that hostile division with showers of straight shafts
like a cloud pouring torrents of rain on a mountain. Struck in that
battle with arrows inscribed with Partha’s name, those warriors,
beholding that state of things, regarded the field of battle to be full
of Parthas. Then the Partha-fire, having for its wonderful flames and the
loud twang of Gandiva for the wind that fanned it, began to consume the
fuel constituted by thy troops. Then, O Bharata, heaps of fallen wheels
and yokes, of quivers, of banners and standards, with the vehicles
themselves that bore them, of shafts and Anukarshas and Trivenus, of
axles and traces and goads, of heads of warriors decked with earrings and
headgears, of arms, O monarch, and thighs in thousands of umbrellas along
with fans, and of diadems and crowns, were seen along the tracks of
Partha’s car. Indeed, along the track of the angry Partha’s car, O
monarch, the ground, miry with blood, became impassable, O chief of the
Bharatas, like the sporting ground of Rudra. The scene inspired the timid
with fear and the brave with delight. Having destroyed 2,000 cars with
their fences, that scorcher of foes, Partha, looked like a smokeless fire
with blazing flames. Indeed, even as the illustrious Agni when he blazes
forth (at the end of the Yuga) for destroying the mobile and the immobile
universe, even so looked, O king, the mighty car-warrior Partha.
Beholding the prowess of Pandu’s son in that battle, the son of Drona, on
his car equipped with many banners, endeavoured to check him. Those two
tigers among men, both having white steeds yoked unto their vehicles and
both regarded as the foremost of car-warriors, quickly encountered each
other, each desirous of slaying the other. The arrowy showers shot by
both became exceedingly terrible and were as dense, O bull of Bharata’s
race, as the torrents of rain poured by two masses of clouds at the close
of summer. Each challenging the other, those two warriors mangled each
other with straight shafts in that battle, like a couple of bulls tearing
each other with their horns. The battle between them, O king, was fought
equally for a long while. The clash of weapons became terrific. The son
of Drona then, O Bharata, pierced Arjuna with a dozen gold-winged arrows
of great energy and Vasudeva with ten. Having shown for a short while
some regard for the preceptor’s son in that great battle, Vibhatsu then,
smiling the while, stretched his bow Gandiva with force. Soon, however,
the mighty car-warrior Savyasaci (Arjuna) made his adversary steedless
and driverless and carless, and without putting forth much strength
pierced him with three arrows. Staying on that steedless car, Drona’s
son, smiling the while, hurled at the son of Pandu a heavy mallet that
looked like a dreadful mace with iron-spikes. Beholding that weapon,
which was decked with cloth of gold, coursing towards him, the heroic
Partha, that slayer of foes, cut it off into seven fragments. Seeing his
mallet cut off, Drona’s son of great wrath took up a terrible mace
equipped with iron spikes and looking like a mountain summit.
Accomplished in battle, the son of Drona hurled it then at Partha.
Beholding that spiked mace coursing towards him like the Destroyer
himself in rage, Pandu’s son Arjuna quickly cut it off with five
excellent shafts. Cut off with Partha’s shafts in that great battle, that
weapon fell down on the Earth, riving the hearts, as it were, O Bharata,
of the (hostile) kings. The son of Pandu then pierced Drona’s son with
three other shafts. Though deeply pierced by the mighty Partha, Drona’s
son, however, of great might, relying upon his own manliness, showed no
sign of fear or agitation. That great car-warrior, the son of Drona,
then, O king, shrouded Suratha (the Pancala) with showers of shafts
before the eyes of all the Kshatriyas. At this, Suratha, that great
car-warrior among the Pancalas, in that battle, riding upon his car whose
rattle was as deep as the roar of the clouds rushed against the son of
Drona. Drawing his foremost of bows, firm and capable of bearing a great
strain, the Pancala hero covered Ashvatthama with arrows that resembled
flames of fire or snakes of virulent poison. Seeing the great car-warrior
Suratha rushing towards him in wrath, the son of Drona became filled with
rage like a snake struck with a stick. Furrowing his brow into three
lines, and licking the corners of his mouth with his tongue, he looked at
Suratha in rage and then rubbed his bow-string and sped a keen cloth-yard
shaft that resembled the fatal rod of Death. Endued with great speed,
that shaft pierced the heart of Suratha and passing out entered the
Earth, riving her through, like the thunderbolt of Shakra hurled from the
sky. Struck with that shaft, Suratha fell down on the Earth like a
mountain summit riven with thunder. After the fall of that hero, the
valiant son of Drona, that foremost of car-warriors speedily mounted upon
the vehicle of his slain foe. Then, O monarch, that warrior, invincible
in battle, the son of Drona, well-equipped with armour and weapons, and
supported by the Samsaptakas, fought with Arjuna. That battle, at the
hour of noon, between one and the many, enhancing the population of
Yama’s domains, became exceedingly fierce. Wonderful was the sight that
we then beheld, for, noticing the prowess of all those combatants,
Arjuna, alone and unsupported, fought with his foes at the same time. The
encounter was exceedingly fierce that thus took place between Arjuna and
his enemies, resembling that between Indra, in days of yore, and the vast
host of the Asuras.'”

15

“Sanjaya said, ‘Duryodhana, O king, and Dhrishtadyumna, the son of
Prishata, fought a fierce battle, using arrows and darts in profusion.
Both of them, O monarch, shot showers of arrows like showers of rain
poured by the clouds in the rainy season. The (Kuru) king, having pierced
with five arrows the slayer of Drona, Prishata’s son of fierce shafts,
once more pierced him with seven arrows. Endued with great might and
steady prowess, Dhrishtadyumna, in that battle, afflicted Duryodhana with
seventy arrows. Beholding the king thus afflicted, O bull of Bharata’s
race, his uterine brothers, accompanied by a large force, encompassed the
son of Prishata. Surrounded by those Atirathas on every side, the Pancala
hero, O king, careered in that battle, displaying his quickness in the
use of weapons. Shikhandi, supported by the Prabhadrakas, fought with two
Kuru bowmen, Kritavarma and the great car-warrior Kripa. Then also, O
monarch, that battle became fierce and awful since the warriors were all
resolved to lay down their lives and since all of them fought, making
life the stake. Shalya, shooting showers of shafts on all sides,
afflicted the Pandavas with Satyaki and Vrikodara amongst them. With
patience and great strength, O monarch, the king of the Madras at the
same time fought with the twins (Nakula and Sahadeva), each of whom
resembled the Destroyer himself in prowess. The great car-warriors among
the Pandavas who were mangled in that great battle with the shafts of
Shalya, failed to find a protector. Then the heroic Nakula, the son of
Madri, seeing king Yudhishthira the just greatly afflicted, rushed with
speed against his maternal uncle. Shrouding Shalya in that battle (with
many arrows), Nakula, that slayer of hostile heroes, smiling the while,
pierced him in the centre of the chest with ten arrows, made entirely of
iron, polished by the hands of the smith, equipped with wings of gold,
whetted on stone, and propelled from his bow with great force. Afflicted
by his illustrious nephew, Shalya afflicted his nephew in return with
many straight arrows. Then king Yudhishthira, and Bhimasena, and Satyaki,
and Sahadeva, the son of Madri, all rushed against the ruler of the
Madras. The vanquisher of foes, the generalissimo of the Kuru army,
received in that battle all those heroes that rushed towards him quickly,
filling the cardinal and the subsidiary points of the compass with the
rattle of their cars and causing the Earth to tremble therewith. Piercing
Yudhishthira with three arrows and Bhima with seven, Shalya pierced
Satyaki with a hundred arrows in that battle and Sahadeva with three.
Then the ruler of the Madras, O sire, cut off, with a razor-headed arrow,
the bow with arrow fixed on it of the high-souled Nakula. Struck with
Shalya’s shafts, that bow broke into pieces. Taking up another bow,
Madri’s son, that great car-warrior quickly covered the ruler of the
Madras with winged arrows. Then Yudhishthira and Sahadeva, O sire, each
pierced the ruler of the Madras with ten arrows in the chest. Bhimasena
and Satyaki, rushing at the ruler of the Madras, both struck him with
arrows winged with Kanka feathers, the former with sixty, and the latter
with nine. Filled with rage at this, the ruler of the Madras pierced
Satyaki with nine arrows and once again with seventy straight shafts.
Then, O sire, he cut off at the handle the bow, with arrow fixed on it,
of Satyaki and then despatched the four steeds of the latter to Yama’s
abode. Having made Satyaki carless, that mighty car-warrior, the ruler of
the Madras, struck him with a hundred arrows from every side. He next
pierced two angry sons of Madri, and Bhimasena the son of Pandu, and
Yudhishthira, O thou of Kuru’s race, with ten arrows each. The prowess
that we then beheld of the ruler of the Madras was exceedingly wonderful,
since the Parthas, even unitedly, could not approach him in that battle.
Riding then upon another car, the mighty Satyaki, of prowess incapable of
being baffled, beholding the Pandavas afflicted and succumbing to the
ruler of the Madras, rushed with speed against him. That ornament of
assemblies, Shalya, on his car, rushed against the car of Satyaki, like
one infuriate elephant against another. The collision that then took
place between Satyaki and the heroic ruler of the Madras, became fierce
and wonderful to behold, even like that which had taken place in days of
yore between the Asura Samvara and the chief of the celestials. Beholding
the ruler of the Madras staying before him in that battle, Satyaki
pierced him with ten arrows and said, “Wait, Wait!” Deeply pierced by
that high-souled warrior, the ruler of the Madras pierced Satyaki in
return with sharp shafts equipped with beautiful feathers. Those great
bowmen then, the Parthas, beholding the king of the Madras assailed by
Satyaki, quickly rushed towards him from desire of slaying that maternal
uncle of theirs. The encounter then that took place between those
struggling heroes, marked by a great flow of blood, became exceedingly
awful, like that which takes place between a number of roaring lions. The
struggle, O monarch, that took between them resembled that which takes
place between a number of roaring lions fighting with each other for
meat. With the dense showers of shafts shot by them, the Earth became
entirely enveloped, and the welkin also suddenly became one mass of
arrows. All around the field a darkness was caused by those arrows.
Indeed, with the shafts shot by those illustrious warriors, a shadow as
that of the clouds was caused there. Then, O king, with those blazing
shafts sped by the warriors, that were equipped with wings of gold and
that looked like snakes just freed from their sloughs, the points of the
compass seemed to be ablaze. That slayer of foes, Shalya, then achieved
the most wonderful feat, since that hero alone, and unsupported,
contended with many heroes in that battle. The Earth became shrouded with
the fierce shafts, equipped with feathers of Kankas and peacocks, that
fell, sped from the arms of the ruler of the Madras. Then, O king, we
beheld the car of Shalya careering in that dreadful battle like the car
of Shakra in days of yore on the occasion of the destruction of the
Asuras.'”

16

“Sanjaya said, ‘Then, O lord, thy troops, with Shalya at their head, once
more rushed against the Parthas in that battle with great impetuosity.
Although afflicted, still these troops of thine, who were fierce in
battle, rushing against the Parthas, very soon agitated them in
consequence of their superior numbers. Struck by the Kurus, the Pandava
troops, in the very sight of the two Krishnas, stayed not on the field,
though sought to be checked by Bhimasena. Filled with rage at this,
Dhananjaya covered Kripa and his followers, as also Kritavarma, with
showers of shafts. Sahadeva checked Shakuni with all his forces. Nakula
cast his glances on the ruler of the Madras from one of his flanks. The
(five) sons of Draupadi checked numerous kings (of the Kuru army). The
Pancala prince Shikhandi resisted the son of Drona. Armed with his mace,
Bhimasena held the king in check, and Kunti’s son Yudhishthira resisted
Shalya at the head of his forces. The battle then commenced once more
between those pairs as they stood, among thy warriors and those of the
enemy, none of whom had ever retreated from fight. We then beheld the
highly wonderful feat that Shalya achieved, since, alone, he fought with
the whole Pandava army. Shalya then, as he stayed in the vicinity of
Yudhishthira in that battle, looked like the planet Saturn in the
vicinity of the Moon. Afflicting the king with shafts that resembled
snakes of virulent poison, Shalya rushed against Bhima, covering him with
showers of arrows. Beholding that lightness of hand and that mastery over
weapons displayed by Shalya the troops of both the armies applauded him
highly. Afflicted by Shalya the Pandavas, exceedingly mangled, fled away,
leaving the battle, and disregarding the cries of Yudhishthira commanding
them to stop. While his troops were thus being slaughtered by the ruler
of the Madras, Pandu’s son, king Yudhishthira the just, became filled
with rage. Relying upon his prowess, that mighty car-warrior began to
afflict the ruler of the Madras, resolved to either win the battle or
meet with death. Summoning all his brothers and also Krishna of Madhu’s
race, he said unto them, “Bhishma, and Drona, and Karna, and the other
kings, that put forth their prowess for the sake of the Kauravas, have
all perished in battle. You all have exerted your valour according to
your courage and in respect of the shares allotted to you. Only one
share–mine–that is constituted by the mighty car-warrior Shalya,
remains. I desire to vanquish that ruler of the Madras today in battle.
Whatever wishes I have regarding the accomplishment of that task I will
now tell you. These two heroes, the two sons of Madravati, will become
the protectors of my wheels. They are counted as heroes incapable of
being vanquished by Vasava himself. Keeping the duties of a Kshatriya
before them, these two that are deserving of every honour and are firm in
their vows, will fight with their maternal uncle. Either Shalya will slay
me in battle or I will slay him. Blessed be ye. Listen to these true
words, you foremost of heroes in the world. Observant of Kshatriya
duties, I will fight with my maternal uncle, you lords of Earth, firmly
resolved to either obtain victory or be slain. Let them that furnish cars
quickly supply my vehicle, according to the rules of science, with
weapons and all kinds of implements in a larger measure than Shalya’s.
The grandson of Sini will protect my right wheel, and Dhrishtadyumna my
left. Let Pritha’s son Dhananjaya guard my rear today. And let Bhima,
that foremost of all wielders of weapons, fight in my front. I shall thus
be superior to Shalya in the great battle that will occur.” Thus
addressed by the king, all his well-wishers did as they were requested.
Then the Pandava troops once more became filled with joy, especially the
Pancalas, the Somakas and the Matsyas. Having made that vow, the king
proceeded against the ruler of the Madras. The Pancalas then blew and
beat innumerable conchs and drums and uttered leonine roars. Endued with
great activity and filled with rage, they rushed, with loud shouts of
joy, against the ruler of the Madras, that bull among the Kurus. And they
caused the Earth to resound with the noise of the elephants’ bells, and
the loud blare of conchs and trumpets. Then thy son and the valiant ruler
of the Madras, like the Udaya and the Asta hills, received those
assailants. Boasting of his prowess in battle, Shalya poured a shower of
arrows on that chastiser of foes, king Yudhishthira the just, like
Maghavat pouring rain. The high-souled king of the Kurus also having
taken up his beautiful bow displayed those diverse kinds of lessons that
Drona had taught him. And he poured successive showers of arrows
beautifully, quickly, and with great skill. As he careered in battle,
none could mark any lapses in him. Shalya and Yudhishthira, both endued
with great prowess in battle, mangled each other, like a couple of tigers
fighting for a piece of meat. Bhima was engaged with thy son, that
delighter in battle. The Pancala prince (Dhrishtadyumna), Satyaki, and
the two sons of Madri by Pandu, received Shakuni and the other Kuru
heroes around. In consequence of thy evil policy, O king, there again
occurred in that spot an awful battle between thy warriors and those of
the foe, all of whom were inspired with the desire of victory. Duryodhana
then, with a straight shaft, aiming at the gold-decked standard of Bhima,
cut off in that battle. The beautiful standard of Bhimasena, adorned with
many bells, fell down, O giver of honours. Once more the king, with a
sharp razor-faced arrow, cut off the beautiful bow of Bhima that looked
like the trunk of an elephant. Endued with great energy, the bowless
Bhima then, putting forth his prowess pierced the chest of thy son with a
dart. At this, thy son sat down on the terrace of his car. When
Duryodhana swooned away, Vrikodara once more, with razor-faced shaft, cut
off the head of his driver from his trunk. The steeds of Duryodhana’s
car, deprived of their driver, ran wildly on all sides, O Bharata,
dragging the car after them, at which loud wails arose (in the Kuru
army). Then the mighty car-warrior Ashvatthama, and Kripa and Kritavarma,
followed that car, desirous of rescuing thy son. The (Kaurava) troops (at
sight of this) became exceedingly agitated. The followers of Duryodhana
became terrified. At that time, the wielder of Gandiva, drawing his bow,
began to slay them with his arrows. Then Yudhishthira, excited with rage,
rushed against the ruler of the Madras, himself urging his steeds white
as ivory and fleet as thought. We then saw something that was wonderful
in Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, for though very mild and soft, he then
became exceedingly fierce. With eyes opened wide and body trembling in
rage, the son of Kunti cut off hostile warriors in hundreds and thousands
by means of his sharp shafts. Those amongst the soldiers against whom the
eldest Pandava proceeded, were overthrown by him, O king, like mountain
summits riven with thunder. Felling cars with steeds and drivers and
standards and throwing down car-warriors in large numbers, Yudhishthira,
without any assistance, began to sport there like a mighty wind
destroying masses of clouds. Filled with rage, he destroyed steeds with
riders and steeds without riders and foot-soldiers by thousands in that
battle, like Rudra destroying living creatures (at the time of the
universal dissolution). Having made the field empty by shooting his
shafts on all sides, Yudhishthira rushed against the ruler of the Madras
and said, “Wait, Wait!” Beholding the feats then of that hero of terrible
deeds, all thy warriors became inspired with fear. Shalya, however,
proceeded against him. Both of them filled with rage, blew their conchs.
Returning and challenging each other, each then encountered the other.
Then Shalya covered Yudhishthira with showers of arrows. Similarly, the
son of Kunti covered the ruler of the Madras with showers of arrows. Then
those two heroes, the ruler of the Madras and Yudhishthira, mangled in
that battle with each other’s arrows and bathed in blood, looked like a
Salmali and a Kinsuka tree decked with flowers. Both possessed of
splendour and both invincible in battle, those two illustrious warriors
uttered loud roars. Beholding them both, the soldiers could not conclude
which of them would be victorious. Whether the son of Pritha would enjoy
the Earth, having slain Shalya, or whether Shalya having slain the son of
Pandu would bestow the Earth on Duryodhana, could not be ascertained, O
Bharata, by the warriors present there. King Yudhishthira, in course of
that battle, placed his foes to his right. Then Shalya shot a hundred
foremost of arrows at Yudhishthira. With another arrow of great
sharpness, he cut off the latter’s bow. Taking up another bow,
Yudhishthira pierced Shalya with three hundred shafts and cut off the
latter’s bow with a razor-faced arrow. The son of Pandu then slew the
four steeds of his antagonist with some straight arrows. With two other
very sharp shafts, he then cut off the two Parshni drivers of Shalya.
Then with another blazing, well-tempered and sharp shaft, he cut off the
standard of Shalya staying in his front. Then, O chastiser of foes, the
army of Duryodhana broke. The son of Drona, at this time, speedily
proceeded towards the ruler of the Madras who had been reduced to that
plight, and quickly taking him up on his own car, fled away quickly.
After the two had proceeded for a moment, they heard Yudhishthira roar
aloud. Stopping, the ruler of the Madras then ascended another car that
had been equipped duly. That best of cars had a rattle deep as the roar
of the clouds. Well furnished with weapons and instruments and all kinds
of utensils, that vehicle made the hair of foes stand on end.'”

17

“Sanjaya said, ‘Taking up another bow that was very strong and much
tougher, the ruler of the Madras pierced Yudhishthira and roared like a
lion. Then that bull amongst Kshatriyas, of immeasurable soul, poured
upon all the Kshatriyas showers of arrows, even like the deity of the
clouds pouring rain in torrents. Piercing Satyaki with ten arrows and
Bhima with three and Sahadeva with as many, he afflicted Yudhishthira
greatly. And he afflicted all the other great bowmen with their steeds
and cars and elephants with many shafts like hunters afflicting elephants
with blazing brands. Indeed, that foremost of car-warriors destroyed
elephants and elephant-riders, horses and horsemen and cars and
car-warriors. And he cut off the arms of combatants with weapons in grasp
and the standards of vehicles, and caused the Earth to be strewn with
(slain) warriors like the sacrificial altar with blades of Kusa grass.
Then the Pandus, the Pancalas, and the Somakas, filled with rage,
encompassed that hero who was thus slaughtering their troops like
all-destroying Death. Bhimasena, and the grandson of Sini, and those two
foremost of men, the two sons of Madri, encompassed that warrior while he
was fighting with the (Pandava) king of terrible might. And all of them
challenged him to battle. Then those heroes, O king, having obtained the
ruler of the Madras, that foremost of warriors, in battle, checked that
first of men in that encounter and began to strike him with winged arrows
of fierce energy. Protected by Bhimasena, and by the two sons of Madri,
and by him of Madhu’s race, the royal son of Dharma struck the ruler of
the Madras in the centre of the chest with winged arrows of fierce
energy. Then the car-warriors and other combatants of thy army, clad in
mail and equipped with weapons, beholding the ruler of the Madras
exceedingly afflicted with arrows in that battle, surrounded him on all
sides, at the command of Duryodhana. The ruler of the Madras at this time
quickly pierced Yudhishthira with seven arrows in that battle. The
high-souled son of Pritha, O king, in return, pierced his foe with nine
arrows in that dreadful encounter. Those two great car-warriors, the
ruler of the Madras and Yudhishthira, began to cover each other with
arrows, washed in oil and shot from their bowstrings stretched to their
ears. Those two best of kings, both endued with great strength, both
incapable of being defeated by foes, and both foremost of car-warriors,
watchful of each other’s lapses, quickly and deeply pierced each other
with each other’s shafts. The loud noise of their bows, bowstrings, and
palms resembled that of Indra’s thunder as those high-souled warriors,
the brave ruler of the Madras and the heroic Pandava, showered upon each
other their numberless arrows. They careered on the field of battle like
two young tigers in the deep forest fighting for a piece of meat.
Swelling with pride of prowess, they mangled each other like a couple of
infuriate elephants equipped with powerful tusks. Then the illustrious
ruler of the Madras, endued with fierce impetuosity, putting forth his
vigour, pierced the heroic Yudhishthira of terrible might in the chest
with shaft possessed of the splendour of fire or the sun. Deeply pierced,
O king, that bull of Kuru’s race, the illustrious Yudhishthira, then
struck the ruler of the Madras with a well-shot shaft and became filled
with joy. Recovering his senses within a trice, that foremost of kings
(Shalya), possessed of prowess equal to that of him of a 1,000 eyes, with
eyes red in wrath, quickly struck the son of Pritha with a hundred
arrows. At this, the illustrious son of Dharma filled with rage, quickly
pierced Shalya’s chest and then, without losing a moment, struck his
golden mail with six shafts. Filled with joy, the ruler of the Madras
then, drawing his bow and having shot many arrows, at last cut off, with
a pair of razor-faced shafts, the bow of his royal foe, that bull of
Kuru’s race. The illustrious Yudhishthira then, taking a new and more
formidable bow in that battle, pierced Shalya with many arrows of keen
points from every side like Indra piercing the Asura Namuchi. The
illustrious Shalya then, cutting off the golden coats of mail of both
Bhima and king Yudhishthira with nine arrows, pierced the arms of both of
them. With another razor-faced arrow endued with the splendour of fire or
the sun, he then cut off the bow of Yudhishthira. At this time Kripa,
with six arrows, slew the king’s driver who thereupon fell down in front
of the car. The ruler of the Madras then slew with four shafts the four
steeds of Yudhishthira. Having slain the steeds of the king, the
high-souled Shalya then began to slay the troops of the royal son of
Dharma. When the (Pandava) king had been brought to that plight, the
illustrious Bhimasena, quickly cutting off the bow of the Madra king with
an arrow of great impetuosity, deeply pierced the king himself with a
couple of arrows. With another arrow he severed the head of Shalya’s
driver from his trunk, the middle of which was encased in mail.
Exceedingly excited with rage, Bhimasena next slew, without a moment’s
delay, the four steeds also of his foe. That foremost of all bowmen,
Bhima, then covered with a hundred arrows that hero (Shalya), who, endued
with great impetuosity, was careering alone in that battle. Sahadeva, the
son of Madri, also did the same. Beholding Shalya stupefied with those
arrows, Bhima cut off his armour with other shafts. His armour having
been cut off by Bhimasena, the high-souled ruler of the Madras, taking up
a sword and a shield decked with a 1,000 stars, jumped down from his car
and rushed towards the son of Kunti. Cutting off the shaft of Nakula’s
car, Shalya of terrible strength rushed towards Yudhishthira. Beholding
Shalya rushing impetuously towards the king, even like the Destroyer
himself rushing in rage, Dhristadyumna and Shikhandi and the (five) sons
of Draupadi and the grandson of Sini suddenly advanced towards him. Then
the illustrious Bhima cut off with ten arrows the unrivalled shield of
the advancing hero. With another broad-headed arrow he cut off the sword
also of that warrior at the hilt. Filled with joy at this, he roared
aloud in the midst of the troops. Beholding that feat of Bhima, all the
foremost car-warriors among the Pandavas became filled with joy. Laughing
aloud, they uttered fierce roars and blew their conchs white as the moon.
At that terrible noise the army protected by thy heroes became cheerless,
covered with sweat, bathed in blood, exceedingly melancholy and almost
lifeless. The ruler of the Madras assailed by those foremost of Pandava
warriors headed by Bhimasena, proceeded (regardless of them) towards
Yudhishthira, like a lion proceeding for seizing a deer. King
Yudhishthira the just, steedless and driverless, looked like a blazing
fire in consequence of the wrath with which he was then excited.
Beholding the ruler of the Madras before him, he rushed towards that foe
with great impetuosity. Recollecting the words of Govinda, he quickly set
his heart on the destruction of Shalya. Indeed, king Yudhishthira the
just, staying on his steedless and driverless car, desired to take up a
dart. Beholding that feat of Shalya and reflecting upon the fact that the
hero who had been allotted to him as his share still remained unslain,
the son of Pandu firmly set his heart upon accomplishing that which
Indra’s younger brother had counselled him to achieve. King Yudhishthira
the just, took up a dart whose handle was adorned with gold and gems and
whose effulgence was as bright as that of gold. Rolling his eyes that
were wide open, he cast his glances on the ruler of the Madras, his heart
filled with rage. Thus looked at, O god among men, by that king of
cleansed soul and sins all washed away, the ruler of the Madras was not
reduced to ashes. This appeared to us to be exceedingly wonderful, O
monarch. The illustrious chief of the Kurus then hurled with great force
at the king of the Madras that blazing dart of beautiful and fierce
handle and effulgent with gems and corals. All the Kauravas beheld that
blazing dart emitting sparks of fire as it coursed through the welkin
after having been hurled with great force, even like a large meteor
falling from the skies at the end of the Yuga. King Yudhishthira the
just, in that battle, carefully hurled that dart which resembled
kala-ratri (the Death Night) armed with the fatal noose or the
foster-mother of fearful aspect of Yama himself, and which like the
Brahmana’s curse, was incapable of being baffled. Carefully the sons of
Pandu had always worshipped that weapon with perfumes and garlands and
foremost of seats and the best kinds of viands and drinks. That weapon
seemed to blaze like Samvartaka-fire and was as fierce as a rite
performed according to the Atharvan of Agnirasa. Created by Tvashtri (the
celestial artificer) for the use of Ishana, it was a consumer of the
life-breaths and the bodies of all foes. It was capable of destroying by
its force the Earth and the welkin and all the receptacles of water and
creatures of every kind. Adorned with bells and banners and gems and
diamonds and decked with stones of lapis lazuli and equipped with a
golden handle, Tvashtri himself had forged it with great care after
having observed many vows. Unerringly fatal, it was destructive of all
haters of Brahma. Having carefully inspired it with many fierce mantras,
and endued it with terrible velocity by the exercise of great might and
great care, king Yudhishthira hurled it along the best of tracks for the
destruction of the ruler of the Madras. Saying in a loud voice the words,
“Thou art slain, O wretch!” the king hurled it, even as Rudra had, in
days of yore, shot his shaft for the destruction of the asura Andhaka,
stretching forth his strong (right) arm graced with a beautiful hand, and
apparently dancing in wrath.

Shalya, however, roared aloud and endeavoured to catch that excellent
dart of irresistible energy hurled by Yudhishthira with all his might,
even as a fire leaps forth for catching a jet of clarified butter poured
over it. Piercing through his very vitals and his fair and broad chest,
that dart entered the Earth as easily as it would enter any water without
the slightest resistance and bearing away (with it) the world-wide fame
of the king (of the Madras). Covered with the blood that issued from his
nostrils and eyes and ears and mouth, and that which flowed from his
wound, he then looked like the Krauncha mountain of gigantic size when it
was pierced by Skanda. His armour having been cut off by that descendant
of Kuru’s race, the illustrious Shalya, strong as Indra’s elephant,
stretching his arms, fell down on the Earth, like a mountain summit riven
by thunder. Stretching his arms, the ruler of the Madras fell down on the
Earth, with face directed towards king Yudhishthira the just, like a tall
banner erected to the honour of Indra falling down on the ground. Like a
dear wife advancing to receive her dear lord about to fall on her breast,
the Earth then seemed, from affection, to rise a little for receiving
that bull among men as he fell down with mangled limbs bathed in blood.
The puissant Shalya, having long enjoyed the Earth like a dear wife, now
seemed to sleep on the Earth’s breast, embracing her with all his limbs.
Slain by Dharma’s son of righteous soul in fair fight, Shalya seemed to
assume the aspect of a goodly fire lying extinguished on the sacrificial
platform. Though deprived of weapons and standard, and though his heart
had been pierced, beauty did not yet seem to abandon the lifeless ruler
of the Madras. Then Yudhishthira, taking up his bow whose splendour
resembled that of Indra’s bow, began to destroy his foes in that battle
like the prince of birds destroying snakes. With the greatest speed he
began to cut off the bodies of his enemies with his keen shafts. With the
showers of shafts that the son of Pritha then shot, thy troops became
entirely shrouded. Overcome with fear and with eyes shut, they began to
strike one another (so stupefied were they then). With blood issuing from
their bodies, they became deprived of their weapons of attack and defence
and divested of their life-breaths. Upon the fall of Shalya, the youthful
younger brother of the king of the Madras, who was equal to his
(deceased) brother in every accomplishment, and who was regarded as a
mighty car-warrior, proceeded against Yudhishthira. Invincible in battle
desirous of paying the last dues of his brother, that foremost of men
quickly pierced the Pandava with very many shafts. With great speed king
Yudhishthira the just pierced him with six arrows. With a couple of
razor-faced arrows, he then cut off the bow and the standard of his
antagonist. Then with a blazing and keen arrow of great force and broad
head, he struck off the head of his foe staying before him. I saw that
head adorned with earrings fall down from the car like a denizen of
heaven falling down on the exhaustion of his merits. Beholding his
headless trunk, bathed all over with blood, fallen down from the car, the
Kaurava troops broke. Indeed, upon the slaughter of the younger brother
of the Madras clad in beautiful armour, the Kurus, uttering cries of
“Oh!” and “Alas!” fled away with speed. Beholding Shalya’s younger
brother slain, thy troops, hopeless of their lives, were inspired with
the fear of the Pandavas and fled, covered with dust. The grandson of
Sini then, Satyaki, O bull of Bharata’s race, shooting his shafts,
proceeded against the frightened Kauravas while the latter were flying
away. Then Hridika’s son, O king, quickly and fearlessly received that
invincible warrior, that irresistible and mighty bowman, as he advanced
(against the beaten army). Those two illustrious and invincible heroes of
Vrishni’s race, Hridika’s son and Satyaki, encountered each other like
two furious lions. Both resembling the sun in effulgence, they covered
each other with arrows of blazing splendour that resembled the rays of
the sun. The arrows of those two lions of Vrishni’s race, shot forcibly
from their bows, we saw, looked like swiftly coursing insects in the
welkin. Piercing Satyaki with ten arrows and his steeds with three, the
son of Hridika cut off his bow with a straight shaft. Laying aside his
best of bows which was thus cut off, that bull of Sini’s race, quickly
took up another that was tougher than the first. Having taken up that
foremost of bows, that first of bowmen pierced the son of Hridika with
ten arrows in the centre of the chest. Then cutting off his car and the
shaft also of that car with many well-shot arrows, Satyaki quickly slew
the steeds of his antagonist as also his two Parshni drivers. The valiant
Kripa then, the son of Saradwat, O lord, beholding Hridika’s son made
carless, quickly bore him away, taking him up on his car. Upon the
slaughter of the king of the Madras and upon Kritavarma having been made
carless, the entire army of Duryodhana once more turned its face from the
battle. At this time the army was shrouded with a dusty cloud. We could
not see anything. The greater portion, however, of thy army fell. They
who remained alive had turned away their faces from battle. Soon it was
seen that that cloud of earthy dust which had arisen became allayed, O
bull among men, in consequence of the diverse streams of blood that
drenched it on every side. Then Duryodhana, seeing from a near point his
army broken, alone resisted all the Parthas advancing furiously.
Beholding the Pandavas on their cars as also Dhrishtadyumna the son of
Prishata and the invincible chief of the Anartas (Satyaki), the Kuru king
covered all of them with sharp arrows. The enemy (at that time)
approached him not, like mortal creatures fearing to approach the
Destroyer standing before them. Meanwhile the son of Hridika, riding upon
another car, advanced to that spot. The mighty car-warrior Yudhishthira
then quickly slew the four steeds of Kritavarma with four shafts, and
pierced the son of Gotama with six broad-headed arrows of great force.
Then Ashvatthama, taking up on his car the son of Hridika who had been
made steedless and carless by the (Pandava) king, bore him away from
Yudhishthira’s presence. The son of Saradwat pierced Yudhishthira in
return with eight arrows and his steeds also with eight keen shafts.
Thus, O monarch, the embers of that battle began to glow here and there,
in consequence, O king, of the evil policy of thyself and thy son, O
Bharata. After the slaughter of that foremost of bowmen on the field of
battle by that bull of Kuru’s race, the Parthas, beholding Shalya slain,
united together, and filled with great joy, blew their conchs. And all of
them applauded Yudhishthira in that battle, even as the celestials in
days of yore, had applauded Indra after the slaughter of Vritra. And they
beat and blew diverse kinds of musical instruments, making the Earth
resound on every side with that noise.'”

18

“Sanjaya said, ‘After the slaughter of Shalya, O king, the followers of
the Madra king, numbering seventeen hundred heroic car-warriors,
proceeded for battle with great energy. Duryodhana riding upon an
elephant gigantic as a hill, with an umbrella held over his head, and
fanned the while with yak-tails, forbade the Madraka warriors, saying,
“Do not proceed, Do not proceed!” Though repeatedly forbidden by
Duryodhana, those heroes, desirous of slaying Yudhishthira, penetrated
into the Pandava host. Those brave combatants, O monarch, loyal to
Duryodhana, twanging their bows loudly, fought with the Pandavas.
Meanwhile, hearing that Shalya had been slain and that Yudhishthira was
afflicted by the mighty car-warriors of the Madrakas devoted to the
welfare of the Madraka king, the great car-warrior Partha came there,
stretching his bow Gandiva, and filling the Earth with the rattle of his
car. Then Arjuna, and Bhima, and the two sons of Madri by Pandu, and that
tiger among men, Satyaki, and the (five) sons of Draupadi, and
Dhrishtadyumna, and Shikhandi, and the Pancalas and the Somakas, desirous
of rescuing Yudhishthira, surrounded him on all sides. Having taken their
places around the king, the Pandavas, those bulls among men, began to
agitate the hostile force like Makaras agitating the ocean. Indeed, they
caused thy army to tremble like a mighty tempest shaking the trees. Like
the great river Ganges agitated by a hostile wind, the Pandava host, O
king, once more became exceedingly agitated. Causing that mighty host to
tremble, the illustrious and mighty car-warriors (the Madrakas), all
shouted loudly, saying, “Where is that king Yudhishthira? Why are not his
brave brothers, the Pandavas, to be seen here? What has become of the
Pancalas of great energy as also of the mighty car-warrior Shikhandi?
Where are Dhrishtadyumna and the grandson of Sini and those great
car-warriors, the (five) sons of Draupadi?” At this, those mighty
warriors, the sons of Draupadi, began to slaughter the followers of the
Madra king who were uttering those words and battling vigorously. In that
battle, some amongst thy troops were seen slain by means of their lofty
standards. Beholding, however, the heroic Pandavas, the brave warriors of
thy army, O Bharata, though forbidden by thy son, still rushed against
them. Duryodhana, speaking softly, sought to prevent those warriors from
fighting with the foe. No great car-warrior, however, amongst them obeyed
his behest. Then Shakuni, the son of the Gandhara king, possessed of
eloquence, O monarch, said unto Duryodhana these words, “How is this that
we are standing here, while the Madraka host is being slaughtered before
our eyes? When thou, O Bharata, art here, this does not look well! The
understanding made was that all of us should fight unitedly! Why then, O
king, dost thou tolerate our foes when they are thus slaying our troops?”

“‘Duryodhana said, “Though forbidden by me before, they did not obey my
behest. Unitedly have these men penetrated in the Pandava host!”

“‘Shakuni said, “Brave warriors, when excited with rage in battle, do not
obey the command of their leaders. It does not behove thee to be angry
with those men. This is not the time to stand indifferently. We shall,
therefore, all of us, united together with our cars and horses and
elephants, proceed, for rescuing those great bowmen, the followers of the
Madra king! With great care, O king, we shall protect one another.”
Thinking after the manner of Shakuni, all the Kauravas then proceeded to
that place where the Madras were. Duryodhana also, thus addressed (by his
maternal uncle) proceeded, encompassed by a large force, against the foe,
uttering leonine shouts and causing the Earth to resound with that noise.
“Slay, pierce, seize, strike, cut off!” These were the loud sounds that
were heard then, O Bharata, among those troops. Meanwhile the Pandavas,
beholding in that battle the followers of the Madra king assailing them
unitedly, proceeded against them, arraying themselves in the form called
Madhyama. Fighting hand to hand, O monarch, for a short while those
heroic warriors, the followers of the Madra king, were seen to perish.
Then, whilst we were proceeding, the Pandavas, united together and endued
with great activity, completed the slaughter of the Madrakas, and, filled
with delight, uttered joyous shouts. Then headless forms were seen to
arise all around. Large meteors seemed to fall down from the sun’s disc.
The Earth became covered with cars and broken yokes and axles and slain
car-warriors and lifeless steeds. Steeds fleet as the wind, still
attached to yokes of cars (but without drivers to guide them) were seen
to drag car-warriors, O monarch, hither and thither on the field of
battle. Some horses were seen to drag cars with broken wheels, while some
ran on all sides, bearing after them portions of broken cars. Here and
there also were seen steeds that were hampered in their motions by their
traces. Car-warriors, while falling down from their cars, were seen to
drop down like denizens of heaven on the exhaustion of their merits. When
the brave followers of the Madra king were slain, the mighty car-warriors
of the Parthas, those great smiters, beholding a body of horse advancing
towards them, rushed towards it with speed from desire of victory.
Causing their arrows to whiz loudly and making diverse other kinds of
noise mingled with the blare of their conchs, those effectual smiters
possessed of sureness of aim, shaking their bows, uttered leonine roars.
Beholding then that large force of the Madra king exterminated and seeing
also their heroic king slain in battle, the entire army of Duryodhana
once more turned away from the field. Struck, O monarch, by those firm
bowmen, the Pandavas, the Kuru army fled away on all sides, inspired with
fear.’

19

“Sanjaya said, ‘Upon the fall of that great king and mighty car-warrior,
that invincible hero (Shalya) in battle, thy troops as also thy sons
almost all turned away from the fight. Indeed, upon the slaughter of that
hero by the illustrious Yudhishthira, thy troops were like ship-wrecked
merchants on the vast deep without a raft to cross it. After the fall of
the Madra king, O monarch, thy troops, struck with fear and mangled with
arrows, were like masterless men desirous of a protector or a herd of
deer afflicted by a lion. Like bulls deprived of their horns or elephants
whose tusks have been broken, thy troops, defeated by Ajatasatru, fled
away at midday. After the fall of Shalya, O king, none amongst thy troops
set his heart on either rallying the army or displaying his prowess. That
fear, O king, and that grief, which had been ours upon the fall of
Bhishma, of Drona, and of the Suta’s son, O Bharata, now became ours once
more, O monarch. Despairing of success upon the fall of the mighty
car-warrior Shalya, the Kuru army, with its heroes slain and exceedingly
confused, began to be cut down with keen shafts. Upon the slaughter of
the Madra king, O monarch, thy warriors all fled away in fear. Some on
horse-back, some on elephants, some on cars, great car-warriors with
great speed, and foot-soldiers also fled away in fear. 2,000 elephants,
looking like hills, and accomplished in smiting fled away, after Shalya’s
fall, urged on with hooks and toes. Indeed, O chief of the Bharatas, thy
soldiers fled on all sides. Afflicted with arrows, they were seen to run,
breathing hard. Beholding them defeated and broken and flying away in
dejection, the Pancalas and the Pandavas, inspired with desire of
victory, pursued then hotly. The whiz of arrows and other noises, the
loud leonine roars, and the blare of conchs of heroic warriors, became
tremendous. Beholding the Kaurava host agitated with fear and flying
away, the Pancalas and the Pandavas addressed one another, saying, “Today
king Yudhishthira, firm in truth, hath vanquished his enemies. Today
Duryodhana hath been divested of his splendour and kingly prosperity.
Today, hearing of his sons’ death, let Dhritarashtra, that king of men,
stupefied and prostrate on the Earth, feel the most poignant anguish. Let
him know today that the son of Kunti is possessed of great might among
all bowmen. Today that sinful and wicked-hearted king will censure his
own self. Let him recollect today the time and beneficial words of
Vidura. Let him from this day wait upon the Parthas as their slave. Let
that king today experience the grief that had been felt by the sons of
Pandu. Let that king know today the greatness of Krishna. Let him hear
today the terrible twang of Arjuna’s bow in battle, as also the strength
of all his weapons, and the might of his arms in fight. Today he will
know the awful might of the high-souled Bhima when Duryodhana will be
slain in battle even as the Asura Vali was slain by Indra. Save Bhima of
mighty strength, there is none else in this world that can achieve that
which was achieved by Bhima himself at the slaughter of Duhshasana.
Hearing of the slaughter of the ruler of the Madras who was incapable of
defeat by the very gods, that king will know the prowess of the eldest
son of Pandu. After the slaughter of the heroic son of Subala and all the
Gandharas he will know the strength, in battle, of the two sons of Madri
by Pandu. Why will not victory be theirs that have Dhananjaya for their
warrior, as also Satyaki, and Bhimasena, and Dhrishtadyumna the son of
Prishata, and the five sons of Draupadi, and the two sons of Madri, and
the mighty bowman Shikhandi, and king Yudhishthira? Why will not victory
be theirs that have for their protector Krishna, otherwise called
Janardana, that protector of the universe? Why will not victory be theirs
that have righteousness for their refuge? Who else than Yudhishthira the
son of Pritha, who hath Hrishikesa, the refuge of righteousness and fame,
for his protector, is competent to vanquish in battle Bhishma and Drona
and Karna and the ruler of the Madras and the other kings by hundreds and
thousands?” Saying these words and filled with joy, the Srinjayas pursued
thy troops in that battle who had been exceedingly mangled with shafts.
Then Dhananjaya of great valour proceeded against the car-division of the
foe. The two sons of Madri and the mighty carwarrior Satyaki proceeded
against Shakuni. Beholding them all flying with speed in fear of
Bhimasena, Duryodhana as if smiling the while, addressed his driver,
saying, “Partha, stationed there with his bow, is transgressing me. Take
my steeds to the rear of the whole army. Like the ocean that cannot
transgress its continents, Kunti’s son Dhananjaya will never venture to
transgress me, if I take up my stand in the rear. Behold, O driver, this
vast host that is pursued by the Pandavas. Behold this cloud of dust that
has arisen on all sides in consequence of the motion of the troops. Hear
those diverse leonine roars that are so awful and loud! Therefore, O
driver, proceed slowly and take up thy position in the rear. If I stay in
battle and fight the Pandavas, my army, O driver, will rally and come
back with vigour to battle.” Hearing these words of thy son that were
just those of a hero and man of honour, the driver slowly urged those
steeds in trappings of gold. 21,000 foot-soldiers, deprived of elephants
and steeds and car-warriors, and who were ready to lay down their lives,
still stood for battle. Born in diverse countries and hailing from
diverse towns, those warriors maintained their ground, desirous of
winning great fame. The clash of those rushing warriors filled with joy
became loud and exceedingly terrible. Then Bhimasena, O king, and
Dhrishtadyumna the son of Prishata resisted them with four kinds of
forces. Other foot-soldiers proceeded against Bhima, uttering loud shouts
and slapping their armpits, all actuated by the desire of going to
heaven. Those Dhartarashtra combatants, filled with rage and invincible
in battle, having approached Bhimasena, uttered furious shouts. They then
spoke not to one another. Encompassing Bhima in that battle, they began
to strike him from all sides. Surrounded by that large body of warriors
on foot and struck by them in that battle, Bhima did not stir from where
he stood fixed like Mainaka mountain. His assailants, meanwhile, filled
with rage, O monarch, endeavoured to afflict that mighty car-warrior of
the Pandavas and checked other combatants (that tried to rescue him).
Encountered by those warriors, Bhima became filled with fury. Quickly
alighting from his car, he proceeded on foot against them. Taking up his
massive mace adorned with gold, he began to slay thy troops like the
Destroyer himself armed with his club. The mighty Bhima, with his mace,
crushed those 21,000 foot-soldiers who were without cars and steeds and
elephants. Having slain that strong division, Bhima, of prowess incapable
of being baffled, showed himself with Dhrishtadyumna in his front. The
Dhartarashtra foot-soldiers, thus slain, lay down on the ground, bathed
in blood, like Karnikaras with their flowery burthens laid low by a
tempest. Adorned with garlands made of diverse kinds of flowers, and
decked with diverse kinds of earrings, those combatants of diverse races,
who had hailed from diverse realms, lay down on the field, deprived of
life. Covered with banners and standards, that large host of
foot-soldiers, thus cut down, looked fierce and terrible and awful as
they lay down on the field. The mighty car-warriors, with their
followers, that fought under Yudhishthira’s lead, all pursued thy
illustrious son Duryodhana. Those great bowmen, beholding thy troops turn
away from the battle, proceeded against Duryodhana, but they could not
transgress him even as the ocean cannot transgress its continents. The
prowess that we then beheld of thy son was exceedingly wonderful, since
all the Parthas, united together, could not transgress his single self.
Then Duryodhana, addressing his own army which had not fled far but
which, mangled with arrows, had set its heart on flight, said these
words, “I do not see the spot on plain or mountain, whither, if ye fly,
the Pandavas will not pursue and slay ye! What is the use then of flight?
The army of the Pandavas hath been reduced in numbers. The two Krishnas
are exceedingly mangled. If all of us make a stand, victory will be
certainly ours! If you fly away, losing all order, the sinful Pandavas,
pursuing you will slay you all! If, on the other hand, we make a stand,
good will result to us! Listen, all you Kshatriyas that are assailed
here! When the Destroyer always slays heroes and cowards, what man is
there so stupid that, calling himself a Kshatriya, will not fight? Good
will result to us if we stay in the front of the angry Bhimasena! Death
in battle, while struggling according to Kshatriya practices, is fraught
with happiness! Winning victory, one obtains happiness here. If slain,
one obtains great fruits in the other world! You Kauravas, there is no
better path to heaven than that offered by battle! Slain in battle, you
may, without delay, obtain all those regions of blessedness.” Hearing
these words of his, and applauding them highly, the (Kuru) kings once
more rushed against the Pandavas for battling with them. Seeing them
advancing with speed, the Parthas, arrayed in order of battle, skilled in
smiting, excited with rage, and inspired with desire of victory, rushed
against them. The valiant Dhananjaya, stretching his bow Gandiva
celebrated over the three worlds, proceeded on his car against the foe.
The two sons of Madri, and Satyaki, rushed against Shakuni, and the other
(Pandava) heroes, smiling, rushed impetuously against thy forces.'”

20

“Sanjaya said, ‘After the (Kuru) army had been rallied, Shalva, the ruler
of the Mlecchas, filled with rage, rushed against the large force of the
Pandavas, riding on a gigantic elephant, with secretions issuing from the
usual limbs, looking like a hill, swelling with pride, resembling
Airavata himself, and capable of crushing large bands of foes. Shalva’s
animal sprung from a high and noble breed. It was always worshipped by
Dhritarashtra’s son. It was properly equipped and properly trained for
battle, O king, by persons well-conversant with elephant-lore. Riding on
that elephant, that foremost of kings looked like the morning sun at the
close of summer. Mounting on that foremost of elephants, O monarch, he
proceeded against the Pandavas and began to pierce them on all sides with
keen and terrible shafts that resembled Indra’s thunder in force. While
he shot his arrows in that battle and despatched hostile warriors to
Yama’s abode, neither the Kauravas nor the Pandavas could notice any
lapses in him, even as the Daityas, O king, could not notice any in
Vasava, the wielder of the thunder, in days of yore, while the latter was
employed in crushing their divisions. The Pandavas, the Somakas, and the
Srinjayas, beheld that elephant looking like a 1,000 elephants careering
around them, even as the foes of the gods had in days of yore beheld the
elephant of Indra in battle. Agitated (by that animal), the hostile army
looked on every side as if deprived of life. Unable to stand in battle,
they then fled away in great fear, crushing one another as they ran. Then
the vast host of the Pandavas, broken by king Salwa, suddenly fled on all
sides, unable to endure the impetuosity of that elephant. Beholding the
Pandava host broken and flying away in speed, all the foremost of
warriors of thy army worshipped king Salwa and blew their conchs white as
the moon. Hearing the shouts of the Kauravas uttered in joy and the blare
of their conchs, the commander of the Pandava and the Srinjaya forces,
the Pancala prince (Dhrishtadyumna) could not, from wrath, endure it. The
illustrious Dhrishtadyumna then, with great speed, proceeded for
vanquishing the elephant, even as the Asura Jambha had proceeded against
Airavata, the prince of elephants that Indra rode in the course of his
encounter with Indra. Beholding the ruler of the Pandavas impetuously
rushing against him, Salwa, that lion among kings, quickly urged his
elephants, O king, for the destruction of Drupada’s son. The latter,
seeing the animal approaching with precipitancy, pierced it with three
foremost of shafts, polished by the hands of the smith, keen, blazing,
endued with fierce energy, and resembling fire itself in splendour and
force. Then that illustrious hero struck the animal at the frontal globes
with five other whetted and foremost of shafts. Pierced therewith, that
prince of elephants, turning away from the battle, ran with great speed.
Salwa, however, suddenly checking that foremost of elephants which had
been exceedingly mangled and forced to retreat, caused it to turn back,
and with hooks and keen lances urged it forward against the car of the
Pancala king, pointing it out to the infuriate animal. Beholding the
animal rushing impetuously at him, the heroic Dhrishtadyumna, taking up a
mace, quickly jumped down on the Earth from his car, his limbs stupefied
with fear. That gigantic elephant, meanwhile, suddenly crushing that
gold-decked car with its steeds and driver, raised it up in the air with
his trunk and then dashed it down on the Earth. Beholding the driver of
the Pancala king thus crushed by that foremost of elephants, Bhima and
Shikhandi and the grandson of Sini rushed with great speed against that
animal. With their shafts they speedily checked the impetuosity of the
advancing beast. Thus received by those car-warriors and checked by them
in battle, the elephant began to waver. Meanwhile, king Salwa began to
shoot his shafts like the sun shedding his rays on all sides. Struck with
those shafts, the (Pandava) car-warriors began to fly away. Beholding
that feat of Salwa, the Pancalas, the Srinjayas, and the Matsyas, O king,
uttered loud cries of “Oh!” and “Alas!” in that battle, all those
foremost of men, however, encompassed the animal on all sides. The brave
Pancala king then, taking up his mace which resembled the lofty crest of
a mountain, appeared there. Fearlessly, O king, that hero, that smiter of
foes, rushed with speed against the elephant. Endued with great activity,
the prince of the Pancalas approached and began to strike with his mace
that animal which was huge as a hill and which shed its secretions like a
mighty mass of pouring clouds. Its frontal globes suddenly split open,
and it uttered a loud cry; and vomiting a profuse quantity of blood, the
animal, huge as a hill, suddenly fell down, even as a mountain falling
down during an earthquake. While that prince of elephants was falling
down, and while the troops of thy son were uttering wails of woe at the
sight, that foremost of warriors among the Sinis cut off the head of king
Salwa with a sharp and broad-headed arrow. His head having been cut off
by the Satwata hero, Salwa fell down on the Earth along with his prince
of elephants, even like a mountain summit suddenly riven by the
thunderbolt hurled by the chief of the celestials.'”

21

“Sanjaya said, ‘After the heroic Salwa, that ornament of assemblies, had
been slain, thy army speedily broke like a mighty tree broken by the
force of the tempest. Beholding the army broken, the mighty car-warrior
Kritavarma, possessed by heroism and great strength, resisted the hostile
force in that battle. Seeing the Satwata hero, O king, standing in battle
like a hill pierced with arrows (by the foes), the Kuru heroes, who had
fled away, rallied and came back. Then, O monarch, a battle took place
between the Pandavas and the returned Kurus who made death itself their
goal. Wonderful was that fierce encounter which occurred between the
Satwata hero and his foes, since he resisted the invincible army of the
Pandavas. When friends were seen to accomplish the most difficult feats,
friends, filled with delight, uttered leonine shouts that seemed to reach
the very heavens. At those sounds the Pancalas, O bull of Bharata’s race,
became inspired with fear. Then Satyaki, the grandson of Sini, approached
that spot. Approaching king Kshemakirti of great strength, Satyaki
despatched him to Yama’s abode, with seven keen shafts. Then the son of
Hridika, of great intelligence, rushed with speed against that bull of
Sini’s race, that mighty armed warrior, as the latter came, shooting his
whetted shafts. Those two bowmen, those two foremost of car-warriors,
roared like lions and encountered each other with great force, both being
armed with foremost of weapons. The Pandavas, the Pancalas, and the other
warriors, became spectators of that terrible encounter between the two
heroes. Those two heroes of the Vrishni-Andhaka race, like two elephants
filled with delight, struck each other with long arrows and shafts
equipped with calf-toothed heads. Careering in diverse kinds of tracks,
the son of Hridika and that bull of Sini’s race soon afflicted each other
with showers of arrows. The shafts sped with great force from the bows of
the two Vrishni lions were seen by us in the welkin to resemble flights
of swiftly coursing insects. Then the son of Hridika, approaching Satyaki
of true prowess, pierced the four steeds of the latter with four keen
shafts. The long-armed Satyaki, enraged at this, like an elephant struck
with a lance, pierced Kritavarma with eight foremost of arrows. Then
Kritavarma pierced Satyaki with three arrows whetted on stone and sped
from his bow drawn to its fullest and then cut off his bow with another
arrow. Laying aside his broken bow, that bull of Sini’s race quickly took
up another with arrow fixed on it. Having taken up that foremost of bows
and stringed it, that foremost of all bowmen, that Atiratha of mighty
energy and great intelligence and great strength, unable to endure the
cutting of his bow by Kritavarma, and filled with fury, quickly rushed
against the latter. With ten keen shafts that bull of Sini’s race then
struck the driver, the steeds, and the standard of Kritavarma. At this, O
king, the great bowman and mighty car-warrior Kritavarma, beholding his
gold-decked car made driverless and steedless, became filled with rage.
Uplifting a pointed lance, O sire, he hurled it with all the force of his
arm at that bull of Sini’s race, desirous of slaying him. Satyaki,
however, of the Satwata race, striking that lance with many keen arrows,
cut it off into fragments and caused it to fall down, stupefying
Kritavarma of Madhu’s race (with his activity and prowess). With another
broad-headed arrow he then struck Kritavarma in the chest. Made steedless
and driverless in that battle by Yuyudhana, skilled in weapons,
Kritavarma came down on the Earth. The heroic Kritavarma having been
deprived of his car by Satyaki in that single combat, all the (Kaurava)
troops became filled with great fear. A great sorrow afflicted the heart
of thy sons, when Kritavarma was thus made steedless and driverless and
carless. Beholding that chastiser of foes made steedless and driverless,
Kripa, O king, rushed at that bull of Sini’s race, desirous of
despatching him to Yama’s abode. Taking Kritavarma upon his car in the
very sight of all the bowmen, the mighty-armed Kripa bore him away from
the press of battle. After Kritavarma had been made carless and the
grandson of Sini had become powerful on the field, the whole army of
Duryodhana once more turned away from the fight. The enemy, however, did
not see it, for the (Kuru) army was then shrouded with a dusty cloud. All
thy warriors fled, O monarch, except king Duryodhana. The latter,
beholding from a near point that his own army was routed, quickly
rushing, assailed the victorious enemy, alone resisting them all.
Fearlessly that invincible warrior, filled with rage, assailed with keen
arrows all the Pandus, and Dhrishtadyumna the son of Prishta, and
Shikhandi, and the sons of Draupadi, and the large bands of the Pancalas,
and the Kaikeyas, O sire, and the Somakas! With firm determination thy
mighty son stood in battle, even as a blazing and mighty fire on the
sacrificial platform, sanctified with mantras. Even thus, king Duryodhana
careered all over the field, in that battle. His foes could not approach
him then, like living creatures unable to approach the Destroyer. Then
the son of Hridika came there, riding on another car.'”

22

“Sanjaya said, ‘That foremost of car-warriors, O monarch, thy son, riding
on his car and filled with the courage of despair, looked resplendent in
that battle like Rudra himself of great valour. With the thousands of
shafts shot by him, the Earth became completely covered. Indeed, he
drenched his enemies with showers of arrows like the clouds pouring rain
on mountain breasts. There was then not a man amongst the Pandavas in
that great battle, or a steed, or an elephant, or a car, that was not
struck with Duryodhana’s arrows. Upon whomsoever amongst the warriors I
then cast my eyes, O monarch, I beheld that every one, O Bharata, was
struck by thy son with his arrows. The Pandava army was then covered with
the shafts of that illustrious warrior, even as a host is covered with
the dust it raises while marching or rushing to battle. The Earth then, O
lord of Earth, seemed to me to be made one entire expanse of arrows by
thy son Duryodhana, that bowman possessed of great lightness of hands.
Amongst those thousands upon thousands of warriors on the field,
belonging to thy side or that of the enemy, it seemed to me that
Duryodhana was then the only man. The prowess that we then beheld of thy
son seemed to be exceedingly wonderful, since the Parthas, even uniting
together, could not approach his single self. He pierced Yudhishthira, O
bull of Bharata’s race, with a hundred arrows, and Bhimasena with
seventy, and Sahadeva with seven. And he pierced Nakula with four and
sixty, and Dhrishtadyumna with five, and the sons of Draupadi with seven,
and Satyaki with three arrows. With a broad-headed arrow, he then, O
sire, cut off the bow of Sahadeva. Laying aside that broken bow, the
valiant son of Madri, took up another formidable bow, and rushing against
king Duryodhana, pierced him with ten shafts in that battle. The great
bowman Nakula, possessed of courage, then pierced the king with nine
terrible arrows and uttered a loud roar. Satyaki struck the king with a
single straight shaft; the sons of Draupadi struck him with three and
seventy and king Yudhishthira struck him with five. And Bhimasena
afflicted the king with eighty shafts. Though pierced thus from every
side with numerous arrows by these illustrious warriors, Duryodhana
still, O monarch, did not waver, in the presence of all the troops who
stood there as spectators. The quickness, the skill, and the prowess of
that illustrious warrior were seen by all the men there to exceed those
of every creature. Meanwhile the Dhartarashtras, O monarch, who had not
fled far from that spot, beholding the king, rallied and returned there,
clad in mail. The noise made by them when they came back became
exceedingly awful, like the roar of the surging ocean in the season of
rains. Approaching their unvanquished king in that battle, those great
bowmen proceeded against the Pandavas for fight. The son of Drona
resisted in that battle the angry Bhimasena. With the arrows, O monarch,
that were shot in that battle, all the points of the compass became
completely shrouded, so that the brave combatants could not distinguish
the cardinal from the subsidiary points of the compass. As regards
Ashvatthama and Bhimasena, O Bharata, both of them were achievers of
cruel feats. Both of them were irresistible in battle. The arms of both
contained many cicatrices in consequence of both having repeatedly drawn
the bow-string. Counteracting each other’s feats, they continued to fight
with each other, frightening the whole Universe. The heroic Shakuni
assailed Yudhishthira in that battle. The mighty son of Subala, having
slain the four steeds of the king, uttered a loud roar, causing all the
troops to tremble with fear. Meanwhile, the valiant Sahadeva bore away
the heroic and vanquished king on his car from that battle. Then king
Yudhishthira the just, riding upon another car (came back to battle), and
having pierced Shakuni at first with nine arrows, once more pierced him
with five. And that foremost of all bowmen then uttered a loud roar. That
battle, O sire, awful as it was, became wonderful to behold. It filled
the spectators with delight and was applauded by the Siddhas and the
Charanas. Uluka of immeasurable soul rushed against the mighty bowman
Nakula, in that battle, shooting showers of arrows from every side. The
heroic Nakula, however, in that battle, resisted the son of Shakuni with
a thick shower of arrows from every side. Both those heroes were
well-born and both were mighty car-warriors. They were seen to fight with
each other, each highly enraged with the other. Similarly Kritavarma, O
king, fighting with the grandson of Sini, that scorcher of foes, looked
resplendent, like Shakra battling with the Asura Vala. Duryodhana, having
cut off Dhrishtadyumna’s bow in that battle, pierced his bowless
antagonist with keen shafts. Dhrishtadyumna then, in that encounter,
having taken up a formidable bow, fought with the king in the sight of
all the bowmen. The battle between those two heroes became exceedingly
fierce, O bull of Bharata’s race, like the encounter between two wild and
infuriate elephants with juicy secretions trickling down their limbs. The
heroic Gautama, excited with rage in that battle, pierced the mighty sons
of Draupadi with many straight shafts. The battle that took place between
him and those five, resembled that which takes place between an embodied
being and his (five) senses. It was awful and exceedingly fierce, and
neither side showed any consideration for the other. The (five) sons of
Draupadi afflicted Kripa like the (five) senses afflicting a foolish man.
He, on the other hand, fighting with them, controlled them with vigour.
Even such and so wonderful, O Bharata, was that battle between him and
them. It resembled the repeated combats, O lord, between embodied
creatures and their senses. Men fought with men, elephants with
elephants, steeds with steeds and car-warriors with car-warriors. Once
more, O monarch, that battle became general and awful. Here an encounter
was beautiful, there another was awful, and there another was exceedingly
fierce, O lord! Many and awful, O monarch, were the encounters that took
place in course of that battle. Those chastisers of foes (belonging to
both armies), encountering one another, pierced and slew one another in
that dreadful engagement. A dense cloud of dust was then seen there,
raised by the vehicles and the animals of the warriors. Thick also, O
king, was the dust raised by the running steeds, a dust that was carried
from one place to another by the wind. Raised by the wheels of cars and
the breaths of the elephants, the dust, thick as an evening cloud, rose
into the welkin. That dust having been raised and the sun himself having
been dimmed therewith, the Earth became shrouded, and the heroic and
mighty car-warriors could not be seen. Anon that disappeared and
everything became clear when the Earth, O best of the Bharatas, became
drenched with the blood of heroes. Indeed, that dense and awful cloud of
dust was allayed. Then, O Bharata, I could once more see the diverse
single combats that the combatants fought at noon of day, each according
to his strength and his rank, all of which were exceedingly fierce. The
blazing splendour of those feats, O monarch, appeared full in view. Loud
became the noise of falling shafts in that battle, resembling that made
by a vast forest of bamboo while burning on every side.'”

23

“Sanjaya said, ‘During the progress of that terrible and awful battle,
the army of thy son was broken by the Pandavas. Rallying their great
car-warriors, however, with vigorous efforts, thy sons continued to fight
with the Pandava army. The (Kuru) warriors, desirous of thy son’s
welfare, suddenly returned. Upon their return, the battle once more
became exceedingly fierce between thy warriors and those of the foe,
resembling that between the gods and the Asuras in days of old. Neither
amongst the enemies nor amongst thine was there a single combatant that
turned away from that battle. The warriors fought, aided by guess and by
the names they uttered. Great was the destruction that occurred as they
thus fought with one another. Then king Yudhishthira, filled with great
wrath and becoming desirous of vanquishing the Dhartarashtras and their
king in that battle, pierced the son of Saradwat with three arrows winged
with gold and whetted on stone, and next slew with four others the four
steeds of Kritavarma. Then Ashvatthama bore away the celebrated son of
Hridika. Saradwat’s son pierced Yudhishthira in return with eight arrows.
Then king Duryodhana despatched seven hundred cars to the spot where king
Yudhishthira was battling. Those cars ridden by excellent warriors and
endued with speed of the wind or thought, rushed in that battle against
the car of Kunti’s son. Encompassing Yudhishthira on every side, they
made him invisible with their shafts like clouds hiding the sun from the
view. Then the Pandava heroes headed by Shikhandi, beholding king
Yudhishthira the just assailed in that way by the Kauravas, became filled
with rage and were unable to put up with it. Desirous of rescuing
Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, they came to that spot upon their cars
possessed of great speed and adorned with rows of bells. Then commenced
an awful battle, in which blood flowed as water, between the Pandavas and
the Kurus, that increased the population of Yama’s domains. Slaying those
seven hundred hostile car-warriors of the Kuru army, the Pandavas and the
Pancalas once more resisted (the whole Kuru army). There a fierce battle
was fought between thy son and the Pandavas. We had never before seen or
heard of its like. During the progress of that battle in which no
consideration was showed by anybody for anybody, and while the warriors
of thy army and those of the foe were falling fast, and the combatants
were all shouting and blowing their conchs, and the bowmen were roaring
and uttering loud noises of diverse kinds, while, indeed, the battle was
raging fiercely and the very vitals of the combatants were being struck,
and the troops, O sire, desirous of victory, were rushing with speed,
while, verily, everything on Earth seemed to be undergoing a woeful
destruction, during that time when innumerable ladies of birth and beauty
were being made widows, during, indeed, the progress of that fierce
engagement in which the warriors behaved without any consideration for
friends and foes, awful portents appeared, presaging the destruction of
everything. The Earth, with her mountains and forests, trembled, making a
loud noise. Meteors like blazing brands equipped with handles dropped
from the sky, O king, on every side on the Earth as if from the solar
disc. A hurricane arose, blowing on all sides, and bearing away hard
pebbles along its lower course. The elephants shed copious tears and
trembled exceedingly. Disregarding all these fierce and awful portents,
the Kshatriyas, taking counsel with one another, cheerfully stood on the
field for battle again, on the beautiful and sacred field called after
Kuru, desirous of obtaining heaven. Then Shakuni, the son of the Gandhara
king, said, “Fight all of ye in front! I, however, will slay the Pandavas
from behind.” Then the Madraka warriors, endued with great activity,
amongst those on our side that were advancing, became filled with joy and
uttered diverse sounds of delight. Others too did the same. The
invincible Pandavas, however, possessed of sureness of aim, once more
coming against us, shook their bows and covered us with showers of
arrows. The forces of the Madrakas then were slain by the foe. Beholding
this, the troops of Duryodhana once more turned away from the battle. The
mighty king of the Gandharvas, however, once more said these words,
“Stop, ye sinful ones! Fight (with the foe)! What use is there of
flight?” At that time, O bull of Bharata’s race, the king of the
Gandharas had full 10,000 horse-men capable of fighting with bright
lances. During the progress of that great carnage, Shakuni, aided by that
force, put forth his valour and assailed the Pandava army at the rear,
slaughtering it with his keen shafts. The vast force of the Pandus then,
O monarch, broke even as a mass of clouds is dispersed on all sides by a
mighty wind. Then Yudhishthira, beholding from a near point his own army
routed, coolly urged the mighty Sahadeva, saying, “Yonder the son of
Subala, afflicting our rear, stayeth, clad in mail! He slaughtereth our
forces! Behold that wicked wight, O son of Pandu! Aided by the son of
Draupadi, proceed towards him and slay Shakuni, the son of Subala!
Supported by the Pancalas, O sinless one, I will meanwhile destroy the
car force of the enemy! Let all the elephants and all the horse and 3,000
foot, proceed with thee! Supported by these, slay Shakuni!” At this, 700
elephants ridden by combatants armed with the bow, and 5,000 horses, and
the valiant Sahadeva, and 3,000 foot-soldiers, and the sons of Draupadi
all rushed against Shakuni difficult of defeat in battle. Subala’s son,
however, of great valour, O king, prevailing over the Pandavas and
longing for victory, began to slay their forces from the rear. The
horsemen, infuriate with rage, belonging to the Pandavas endued with
great activity, penetrated the division of Subala’s son, prevailing over
the latter’s car-warriors. Those heroic horsemen, staying in the midst of
their own elephants, covered the large host of Subala’s son with showers
of shafts. In consequence of thy evil counsels, O king, dreadful was the
battle that then ensued in which maces and lances were used and in which
heroes only took part. The twang of bow-string was no longer heard there,
for all the car-warriors stood as spectators of that fight. At that time
no difference could be seen between the contending parties. Both the
Kurus and the Pandavas, O bull of Bharata’s race, beheld the darts hurled
from heroic arms course like meteors through the welkin. The entire
welkin, O monarch, shrouded with falling swords of great brightness,
seemed to become exceedingly beautiful. The aspect presented, O chief of
the Bharatas, by the lances hurled all around, became like that of swarms
of locusts in the welkin. Steeds, with limbs bathed in blood in
consequence of wounds inflicted by horsemen themselves wounded with
arrows, dropped down on all sides in hundreds and thousands. Encountering
one another and huddled together, many of them were seen to be mangled
and many to vomit blood from their mouths. A thick darkness came there
when the troops were covered with a dusty cloud. When that darkness
shrouded everything, O king, we beheld those brave combatants, steeds and
men, move away from that spot. Others were seen to fall down on the
Earth, vomiting blood in profusion. Many combatants, entangled with one
another by their locks, could not stir. Many, endued with great strength,
dragged one another from the backs of their horses, and encountering one
another thus, slew one another like combatants in a wrestling match. Many
deprived of life, were borne away on the backs of the steeds. Many men,
proud of their valour and inspired with desire of victory, were seen to
fall down on the Earth. The Earth became strewn over with hundreds and
thousands of combatants bathed in blood, deprived of limbs, and divested
of hair. In consequence of the surface of the Earth being covered with
elephant-riders and horsemen and slain steeds and combatants with
blood-stained armour and others armed with weapons and others who had
sought to slay one another with diverse kinds of terrible weapons, all
lying closely huddled together in that battle fraught with fearful
carnage, no warrior could proceed far on his horse. Having fought for a
little while, Shakuni, the son of Subala, O monarch, went away from that
spot with the remnant of his cavalry numbering 6,000. Similarly, the
Pandava force, covered with blood, and its animals fatigued, moved away
from that spot with its remnant consisting of 6,000 horses. The
blood-stained horsemen of the Pandava army then, with hearts intent on
battle and prepared to lay down their lives, said, “It is no longer
possible to fight here on cars; how much more difficult then to fight
here on elephants! Let cars proceed against cars, and elephants against
elephants! Having retreated, Shakuni is now within his own division. The
royal son of Subala will not again come to battle.” Then the sons of
Draupadi and those infuriate elephants proceeded to the place where the
Pancala prince Dhrishtadyumna, that great car-warrior, was. Sahadeva
also, when that dusty cloud arose, proceeded alone to where king
Yudhishthira was. After all those had gone away, Shakuni, the son of
Subala, excited with wrath, once more fell upon Dhrishtadyumna’s division
and began to strike it. Once more a dreadful battle took place, in which
the combatants were all regardless of their lives, between thy soldiers
and those of the foe, all of whom were desirous of slaying one another.
In that encounter of heroes, the combatants first eyed one another
steadfastly, and then rushed, O king, and fell upon one another in
hundreds and thousands. In that destructive carnage, heads severed with
swords fell down with a noise like that of falling palmyra fruits. Loud
also became the noise, making the very hair to stand on end, of bodies
falling down on the ground, divested of armour and mangled with weapons
and of falling weapons also, O king, and of arms and thighs severed from
the trunk. Striking brothers and sons and even sires with keen weapons,
the combatants were seen to fight like birds, for pieces of meat. Excited
with rage, thousands of warriors, falling upon one another, impatiently
struck one another in that battle. Hundreds and thousands of combatants,
killed by the weight of slain horsemen while falling down from their
steeds, fell down on the field. Loud became the noise of neighing steeds
of great fleetness, and of shouting men clad in mail, and of the falling
darts and swords, O king, of combatants desirous of piercing the vitals
of one another in consequence, O monarch, of thy evil policy. At that
time, thy soldiers, overcome with toil, spent with rage, their animals
fatigued, themselves parched with thirst mangled with keen weapons, began
to turn away from the battle. Maddened with the scent of blood, many
became so insensate that they slew friends and foes alike, in fact, every
one they got at. Large numbers of Kshatriyas, inspired with desire of
victory, were struck down with arrows, O king, and fell prostrate on the
Earth. Wolves and vultures and jackals began to howl and scream in glee
and make a loud noise. In the very sight of thy son, thy army suffered a
great loss. The Earth, O monarch, became strewn with the bodies of men
and steeds, and covered with streams of blood that inspired the timid
with terror. Struck and mangled repeatedly with swords and battle axes
and lances, thy warriors, as also the Pandavas, O Bharata, ceased to
approach one another. Striking one another according to the measure of
their strength, and fighting to the last drop of their blood, the
combatants fell down vomiting blood from their wounds. Headless forms
were seen, seizing the hair of their heads (with one hand) and with
uplifted swords dyed with blood (in the other). When many headless forms,
O king, had thus risen up, when the scent of blood had made the
combatants nearly senseless, and when the loud noise had somewhat
subsided, Subala’s son (once more) approached the large host of the
Pandavas, with the small remnant of his horse. At this, the Pandavas,
inspired with desires of victory and endued with foot-soldiers and
elephants and cavalry, all with uplifted weapons, desirous of reaching
the end of the hostilities, the Pandavas, forming a wall, encompassed
Shakuni on all sides, and began to strike him with diverse kinds of
weapons. Beholding those troops of thine assailed from every side, the
Kauravas, with horsemen, foot-soldiers, elephants, and cars, rushed
towards the Pandavas. Some foot-soldiers of great courage, destitute of
weapons, attacked their foes in that battle, with feet and fists, and
brought them down. Car-warriors fell down from cars, and elephant-men
from elephants, like meritorious persons falling down from their
celestial vehicles upon the exhaustion of their merits. Thus the
combatants, engaged with one another in that great battle, slew sires and
friends and sons. Thus occurred that battle, O best of the Bharatas, in
which no consideration was shown by anybody for anyone, and in which
lances and swords and arrows fell fast, on every side and made the scene
exceedingly terrible to behold.'”

24

“Sanjaya said, ‘When the loud noise of battle had somewhat subsided and
the Pandavas had slain large numbers of their foes, Subala’s son (once
more) came for fight with the remnant of his horsemen numbering seven
hundred. Quickly approaching his own soldiers and urging them to battle,
he repeatedly said, “You chastisers of foes, fight cheerfully!” And he
asked the Kshatriyas present there, saying, “Where is the king, that
great car-warrior?” Hearing these words of Shakuni, O bull of Bharata’s
race, they answered saying, “Yonder stayeth that great car-warrior, the
Kuru king, there where that large umbrella of splendour equal to that of
the full moon, is visible–there where those car-warriors, clad in mail,
are staying–there where that loud noise, deep as the roar of clouds, is
being heard! Proceed quickly thither, O king, and thou wilt then see the
Kuru monarch!” Thus addressed by those brave warriors, Subala’s son
Shakuni, O king, proceeded to that spot where thy son was staying,
surrounded on all sides by unretreating heroes. Beholding Duryodhana
stationed in the midst of that car-force, Shakuni, gladdening all those
car-warriors of thine, O king cheerfully said these words unto
Duryodhana. Indeed, he said the following words in a manner which showed
that he regarded all his purposes to have been already achieved. “Slay, O
king, the car-divisions (of the Pandavas)! All their horses have been
vanquished by me! Yudhishthira is incapable of being conquered in battle
unless one is prepared to lay down his life! When that car-force,
protected by the son of Pandu, will have been destroyed, we shall then
slay all those elephants and foot-soldiers and others!” Hearing these
words of his, thy warriors, inspired with desire of victory, cheerfully
rushed towards the Pandava army. With quivers on their backs and bows in
their hands, all of them shook their bows and uttered leonine roars. Once
more, O king, the fierce twang of bows and the slapping of palms and the
whiz of arrows shot with force was heard. Beholding those Kuru combatants
approach the Pandava army with uplifted bows, Kunti’s son Dhananjaya said
unto the son of Devaki these words, “Urge the steeds fearlessly and
penetrate this sea of troops! With my keen shafts I shall today reach the
end of these hostilities! Today is the eighteenth day, O Janardana, of
this great battle that is raging between the two sides! The army of those
high-souled heroes, which was literally numberless, hath been nearly
destroyed! Behold the course of Destiny! The army of Dhritarashtra’s son,
O Madhava, which was vast as the ocean, hath, O Achyuta, become, after
encountering ourselves, even like the indent caused by a cow’s hoof! If
peace had been made after Bhishma’s fall, O Madhava, everything would
have been well! The foolish Duryodhana of weak understanding, however,
did not make peace! The words that were uttered by Bhishma, O Madhava,
were beneficial and worthy of adoption. Suyodhana, however, who had lost
his understanding, did not act according to them. After Bhishma had been
struck and thrown down on the Earth, I do not know the reason why the
battle proceeded! I regard the Dhartarashtras to be foolish and of weak
understanding in every way, since they continued the battle even after
the fall of Santanu’s son! After that when Drona, that foremost of all
utterers of Brahma, fell, as also the son of Radha, and Vikarna, the
carnage did not still cease! Alas, when a small remnant only of the
(Kaurava) army remained after the fall of that tiger among men, Karna,
with his sons, the carnage did not still cease! After the fall of even
the heroic Srutayush, of also Jalasandha of Puru’s race, and of king
Srutayudha, the carnage did not still cease! After the fall of
Bhurishrava, of Shalya, O Janardana, and of the Avanti heroes, the
carnage did not still cease! After the fall of Jayadratha, of the
Rakshasa Alayudha, of Bahlika, and of Somadatta, the carnage did not
still cease! After the fall of heroic Bhagadatta, of the Kamboja chief
Sadakshina, and of Duhshasana, the carnage did not still cease! Beholding
even diverse heroic and mighty kings, each owning extensive territories,
slain in battle, the carnage, O Krishna, did not still cease! Beholding
even a full Akshauhini of troops slain by Bhimasena in battle, the
carnage did not still cease, in consequence of either the folly or the
covetousness of the Dhartarashtras! What king born in a noble race, a
race especially like that of Kuru, save of course the foolish Duryodhana,
would thus fruitlessly wage such fierce hostilities? Who is there,
possessed of reason and wisdom and capable of discriminating good from
evil, that would thus wage war, knowing his foes to be superior to him in
merit, strength, and courage? How could he listen to the counsels of
another, when, indeed, he could not make up his mind to make peace with
the Pandavas in obedience to the words uttered by thee? What medicine can
be acceptable to that person today who disregarded Bhishma the son of
Santanu, and Drona, and Vidura, while they urged him to make peace? How
can he accept good counsels, who from folly, O Janardana, insolently
disregarded his own aged sire as also his own well-meaning mother while
speaking beneficial words unto him? It is evident, O Janardana, that
Duryodhana took his birth for exterminating his race! His conduct and his
policy, it is seen, point to that line, O lord! He will not give us our
kingdom yet! This is my opinion, O Achyuta! The high-souled Vidura, O
sire, told me many a time that as long as life remained in
Dhritarashtra’s son, he would never give us our share of the kingdom!
Vidura further told me, ‘As long also as Dhritarashtra will live, O giver
of honours, even that sinful wight will act sinfully towards you! Ye will
never succeed in vanquishing Duryodhana without battle!’ Even thus, O
Madhava, did Vidura of true foresight often speak to me! All the acts of
that wicked-souled wight, I now find to be exactly as the high-souled
Vidura had said! That person of wicked understanding who, having listened
to the beneficial and proper words of Jamadagni’s son, disregarded them,
should certainly be held as standing in the face of destruction. Many
persons crowned with ascetic success said as soon as Duryodhana was born,
that the entire Kshatriya order would be exterminated in consequence of
that wretch. Those words of the sages, O Janardana, are now being
realised, since the Kshatriyas are undergoing almost entire extermination
in consequence of Duryodhana’s acts! I shall, O Madhava, slay all the
warriors today! After all the Kshatriyas will have been slain and the
(Kaurava) camp made empty, Duryodhana will then desire battle with us for
his own destruction. That will end these hostilities! Exercising my
reason, O Madhava, and reflected in my own mind, O thou of Vrishni’s
race, thinking of Vidura’s words, and taking into account the acts of the
wicked-souled Duryodhana himself, I have come to this conclusion!
Penetrate the Bharata army, O hero, for I shall slay the wicked-souled
Duryodhana and his army today with my keen shafts! Slaying this weak army
in the very sight of Dhritarashtra’s son, I shall today do what is for
Yudhishthira’s good!”‘

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Thus addressed by Savyasaci, he of Dasarha’s race,
reins in hand, fearlessly penetrated that vast hostile force for battle.
That was a terrible forest of bows (which the two heroes entered). Darts
constituted its prickles. Maces and spiked bludgeons were its paths. Cars
and elephants were its mighty trees. Cavalry and infantry were its
creepers. And the illustrious Keshava, as he entered that forest on that
car decked with many banners and pennons, looked exceedingly resplendent.
Those white steeds, O king, bearing Arjuna in battle, were seen careering
everywhere, urged by him of Dasarha’s race! Then that scorcher of foes,
Savyasaci, proceeded on his car, shooting hundreds of keen shafts like a
cloud pouring showers of rain. Loud was the noise produced by those
straight arrows, as also by those combatants that were covered with them
in that battle by Savyasaci. Showers of shafts, piercing through the
armour of the combatants, fell down on the Earth. Impelled from Gandiva,
arrows, whose touch resembled that of Indra’s thunder, striking men and
elephants and horses, O king, fell in that battle with a noise like that
of winged insects. Everything was shrouded with those shafts shot from
Gandiva. In that battle, the points of the compass, cardinal and
subsidiary, could not be distinguished. The whole world seemed to be
filled with gold-winged shafts, steeped in oil, polished by the hands of
the smith, and marked with Partha’s name. Struck with those keen shafts,
and burnt therewith by Partha even as a herd of elephants is burnt with
burning brands, the Kauravas became languid and lost their strength.
Armed with bow and arrows, Partha, resembling the blazing sun, burnt the
hostile combatants in that battle like a blazing fire consuming a heap of
dry grass. As a roaring fire of blazing flames and great energy (arising
from embers) cast away on the confines of a forest by its denizens, fire
consumes those woods abounding with trees and heaps of dry creepers, even
so that hero possessed of great activity and fierce energy and endued
with prowess of weapons, and having shafts for his flames, quickly burnt
all the troops of thy son from wrath. His gold-winged arrows, endued with
fatal force and shot with care, could not be baffled by any armour. He
had not to shoot a second arrow at man, steed, or elephant of gigantic
size. Like the thunder-wielding Indra striking down the Daityas, Arjuna,
alone, entering that division of mighty car-warriors, destroyed it with
shafts of diverse forms.'”

25

“Sanjaya said, ‘Dhananjaya, with his Gandiva, frustrated the purpose of
those unreturning heroes struggling in battle and striking their foes.
The shafts shot by Arjuna, irresistible and endued with great force and
whose touch was like that of the thunder, were seen to resemble torrents
of rain poured by a cloud. That army, O chief of the Bharatas, thus
struck by Kiritin, fled away in the very sight of thy son. Some deserted
their sires and brothers, others deserted their comrades. Some
car-warriors were deprived of their animals. Others lost their drivers.
Some had their poles or yokes or wheels broken, O king! The arrows of
some were exhausted. Some were seen afflicted with arrows. Some, though
unwounded, fled in a body, afflicted with fear. Some endeavoured to
rescue their sons, having lost all their kinsmen and animals. Some loudly
called upon their sires, some upon their comrades and followers. Some
fled, deserting their kinsmen, O tiger among men, and brothers and other
relatives, O monarch! Many mighty car-warriors, struck with Partha’s
shafts and deeply pierced therewith, were seen to breathe hard, deprived
of their senses. Others, taking them upon their own cars, and soothing
them for a while, and resting them and dispelling their thirst by
offering them drink, once more proceeded to battle. Some, incapable of
being easily defeated in battle, deserting the wounded, once more
advanced to battle, desirous of obeying the behests of thy son. Some,
having slaked their thirst or groomed their animals, and some, wearing
(fresh) armour, O chief of the Bharatas, and some, having comforted their
brothers and sons and sires, and placed them in camp, once more came to
battle. Some, arraying their cars in the order, O king, of superiors and
inferiors, advanced against the Pandavas once more for battle. Those
heroes (on their cars) covered with rows of bells, looked resplendent
like Daityas and Danavas intent on the conquest of the three worlds.
Some, advancing with precipitancy on their vehicles decked with gold,
fought with Dhrishtadyumna amid the Pandava divisions. The Pancala prince
Dhrishtadyumna, and the great car-warrior Shikhandi, and Satanika, the
son of Nakula, fought with the car-force of the enemy. The Pancala
prince, then, filled with rage and supported by a large army, rushed
against thy angry troops from desire of slaying them. Then thy son, O
ruler of men, sped many showers of arrows, O Bharata, at the Pancala
prince thus rushing at him. Then, O king, Dhrishtadyumna was quickly
pierced with many arrows in his arms and chest by thy son fighting with
his bow. Deeply pierced therewith like an elephant with pointed lances,
that great bowman then despatched with his shafts the four steeds of
Duryodhana to the regions of death. With another broad-headed arrow he
next cut off from his trunk the head of his enemy’s driver. Then that
chastiser of foes, king Duryodhana, having thus lost his car, rode on
horse-back and retreated to a spot not remote. Beholding his own army
destitute of prowess, thy son, the mighty Duryodhana, O king, proceeded
to the place where Subala’s son was. When the Kaurava cars were broken,
3,000 gigantic elephants encompassed those car-warriors, the five
Pandavas. Encompassed by that elephant force, O Bharata, the five
brothers looked beautiful, O tiger among men, like the planets surrounded
by the clouds. Then the mighty-armed and white-steeded Arjuna, O king, of
sureness of aim and having Krishna for his charioteer, advanced on his
car. Surrounded by those elephants huge as hills, he began to destroy
those animals with his keen and polished arrows. Each slain with a single
arrow, we beheld those huge elephants fallen or falling down, mangled by
Savyasaci. The mighty Bhimasena, himself like an infuriated elephant,
beholding those elephants, took up his formidable mace and rushed at
them, quickly jumping down from his car, like the Destroyer armed with
his club. Seeing that great car-warrior of the Pandavas with uplifted
mace, thy soldiers became filled with fright and passed urine and
excreta. The whole army became agitated upon beholding Bhimasena armed
with mace. We then beheld those elephants, huge as hills, running hither
and thither, with their frontal globes split open by Bhima with his mace
and all their limbs bathed in blood. Struck with Bhima’s mace, those
elephants, running off from him, fell down with cries of pain, like
wingless mountains. Beholding those elephants, many in number, with their
frontal globes split open, running hither and thither or falling down,
thy soldiers were inspired with fear. Then Yudhishthira also, filled with
wrath, and the two sons of Madri, began to slay those elephant-warriors
with arrows equipped with vulturine wings. Dhrishtadyumna, after the
defeat of the (Kuru) king in battle, and after the flight of the latter
from that spot on horse-back, saw that the Pandavas had all been
surrounded by the (Kaurava) elephants. Beholding this, O monarch,
Dhrishtadyumna, the son of the Pancala king, proceeded towards those
elephants, from desire of slaughtering them. Meanwhile, not seeing
Duryodhana in the midst of the car-force. Ashvatthama and Kripa, and
Kritavarma of the Satwata race, asked all the Kshatriyas there, saying,
‘Where has Duryodhana gone?’ Not seeing the king in that carnage, those
great car-warriors all thought thy son to have been slain. Hence, with
sorrowful faces, they enquired after him. Some persons told them that
after the fall of his driver, he had gone to Subala’s son. Other
Kshatriyas, present there, who had been exceedingly mangled with wounds,
said, “What need is there with Duryodhana? See if he is yet alive! Do you
all fight unitedly? What will the king do to you?” Other Kshatriyas, who
were exceedingly mangled, who had lost many of their kinsmen, and who
were still being afflicted with the arrows of the enemy, said these words
in indistinct tones, “Let us slay these forces by whom we are
encompassed! Behold, the Pandavas are coming hither, after having slain
the elephants!” Hearing these words of theirs, the mighty Ashvatthama,
piercing through that irresistible force of the Pancala king, proceeded
with Kripa and Kritavarma to the spot where Subala’s son was. Indeed,
those heroes, those firm bowmen, leaving the car-force, repaired (in
search of Duryodhana). After they had gone away, the Pandavas, headed by
Dhrishtadyumna, advanced, O king, and began to slay their enemies.
Beholding those valiant and heroic and mighty car-warriors cheerfully
rushing towards them, thy troops, amongst whom the faces of many had
turned pale, became hopeless of their lives. Seeing those soldiers of
ours almost deprived of weapons and surrounded (by the foe). I myself, O
king, having only two kinds of forces, and becoming reckless of life,
joined the five leaders of our army, and fought with the forces of the
Pancala prince, posting our men on that spot where Saradwat’s son was
stationed. We had been afflicted with the shafts of Kiritin.
Nevertheless, a fierce battle took place between us and the division of
Dhrishtadyumna. At last, vanquished by the latter, all of us retreated
from that encounter. I then beheld the mighty car-warrior Satyaki rushing
against us. With four hundred cars that hero pursued me in battle. Having
escaped with difficulty from Dhrishtadyumna whose steeds had been tired,
I fell among the forces of Madhava even as a sinner falleth into hell.
There a fierce and terrible battle took place for a short while. The
mighty-armed Satyaki, having cut off my armour, became desirous of taking
me alive. He seized me while I lay down on the ground insensible. Then
within a short while that elephant-force was destroyed by Bhimasena with
his mace and Arjuna with his arrows. In consequence of those mighty
elephants, huge as hills, falling down on every side with crushed limbs,
the Pandava warriors found their way almost entirely blocked up. Then the
mighty Bhimasena, O monarch, dragging away those huge elephants, made a
way for the Pandavas to come out. Meanwhile, Ashvatthama and Kripa and
Kritavarma of the Satwata race, not seeing that chastiser of foes,
Duryodhana, amid the car-division, sought for thy royal son, Abandoning
the prince of the Pancalas, they proceeded to the spot where Subala’s son
was anxious to have a sight of the king during that terrible carnage.'”

26

“Sanjaya said, ‘After that elephant-division had been destroyed, O
Bharata, by the son of Pandu, and while thy army was being thus
slaughtered by Bhimasena in battle, beholding the latter, that chastiser
of foes, careering like the all-killing Destroyer himself in rage armed
with his club, the remnant of thy unslaughtered sons, those uterine
brothers, O king, united together at that time when he of Kuru’s race,
thy son Duryodhana, could not be seen, and rushed against Bhimasena. They
were Durmarshana and Srutanta and Jaitra and Bhurivala and Ravi, and
Jayatsena and Sujata and that slayer of foes, Durvishaha, and he called
Durvimochana, and Dushpradharsha and the mighty-armed Srutarvan. All of
them were accomplished in battle. Those sons of thine, uniting together,
rushed against Bhimasena and shut him up on all sides. Then Bhima, O
monarch, once more mounting on his own car, began to shoot keen shafts at
the vital limbs of thy sons. Those sons of thine, covered with arrows by
Bhimasena in that dreadful battle, began to drag that warrior like men
dragging an elephant from off a cross-way. Excited with rage, Bhimasena,
quickly cutting off the head of Durmarshana with a razor-headed arrow,
felled it on the Earth. With another broad-headed arrow capable of
penetrating every armour, Bhima next slew that mighty car-warrior, thy
son Srutanta. Then with the greatest ease, piercing Jayatsena with a
cloth-yard shaft, that chastiser of foes, the son of Pandu, felled that
scion of Kuru’s race from his car. The prince, O king, fell down and
immediately expired. At this, thy son Srutarvan, excited with rage,
pierced Bhima with a hundred straight arrows winged with vulturine
feathers. Then Bhima, inflamed with rage, pierced Jaitra and Ravi and
Bhurivala, those three, with three shafts resembling poison or fire.
Those mighty car-warriors, thus struck, fell down from their cars, like
Kinsukas variegated with flowers in the season of spring cut down (by the
axe-man). Then that scorcher of foes, with another broad-headed arrow of
great keenness, struck Durvimochana and despatched him to Yama’s abode.
Thus struck, that foremost of carwarriors fell down on the ground from
his car, like a tree growing on the summit of a mountain when broken by
the wind. The son of Pandu next struck thy other two sons at the head of
their forces, Dushpradharsha and Sujata, each with a couple of arrows in
that battle. Those two foremost of car-warriors, pierced with those
shafts, fell down. Beholding next another son of thine, Durvishaha,
rushing at him, Bhima pierced him with a broad-headed arrow in that
battle. That prince fell down from his car in the very sight of all the
bowmen. Beholding so many of his brothers slain by the singlehanded Bhima
in that battle, Srutarvan, under the influence of rage, rushed at Bhima,
stretching his formidable bow decked with gold and shooting a large
number of arrows that resembled poison or fire in energy. Cutting off the
bow of Pandu’s son in that dreadful battle, the Kuru prince pierced the
bowless Bhima with twenty arrows. Then Bhimasena, that mighty
car-warrior, taking up another bow, shrouded thy son with arrows and
addressing him, said, “Wait, Wait!’ The battle that took place between
the two was beautiful and fierce, like that which had occurred in days of
yore between Vasava and the Asura Jambha, O lord! With the keen shafts,
resembling the fatal rods of Yama, sped by those two warriors, the Earth,
the sky, and all the points of the compass, became shrouded. Then
Srutarvan, filled with rage, took up his bow and struck Bhimasena in that
battle, O king, with many arrows on his arms and chest. Deeply pierced, O
monarch, by thy son armed with the bow, Bhima became exceedingly agitated
like the ocean at the full or the new moon. Filled with wrath, Bhima
then, O sire, despatched with his arrows the driver and the four steeds
of thy son to Yama’s abode. Beholding him carless, Pandu’s son of
immeasurable soul, displaying the lightness of his hands, covered him
with winged arrows. The carless Srutarvan then, O king, took up a sword
and shield. As the prince, however, careered with his sword and bright
shield decked with a hundred moons, the son of Pandu struck off his head
from his trunk with a razor-headed arrow and felled it on the Earth. The
trunk of that illustrious warrior, rendered headless by means of that
razor-headed arrow, fell down from his car, filling the Earth with a loud
noise. Upon the fall of that hero, thy troops, though terrified, rushed
in that battle against Bhimasena from desire of fighting with him. The
valiant Bhimasena, clad in mail, received those warriors rushing quickly
at him from among the unslain remnant of that ocean of troops.
Approaching him, those warriors encompassed that hero on all sides. Thus
surrounded by those warriors of thine, Bhima began to afflict them all
with keen shafts like him of a 1,000 eyes afflicting the Asuras. Having
destroyed five hundred great cars with their fences, he once more slew
seven hundred elephants in that battle. Slaying next 10,000 foot-soldiers
with his mighty shafts, as also 800 steeds, the son of Pandu looked
resplendent. Indeed, Bhimasena, the son of Kunti, having slain thy sons
in battle, regarded his object achieved, O lord, and the purpose of his
birth accomplished. Thy troops, at that time, O Bharata, ventured to even
gaze at that warrior who was battling in that fashion and slaying thy men
in that way. Routing all the Kurus and slaying those followers of theirs,
Bhima then slapped his armpits, terrifying the huge elephants with the
noise he produced. Then thy army, O monarch, which had lost a very large
number of men, and which then consisted of a very few soldiers, became
exceedingly cheerless, O king!'”

27

“Sanjaya said, ‘Duryodhana, O king, and thy son Sudarsa, the only two of
thy children yet unslain, were at that time in the midst of the (Kaurava)
cavalry. Beholding Duryodhana staying in the midst of the cavalry,
Devaki’s son (Krishna) said unto Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, “A large
number of our foes, kinsmen that had received our protection, have been
slain. There, that bull of Sini’s race is returning, having taken Sanjaya
captive! Both Nakula and Sahadeva, O Bharata, are fatigued, having fought
with the wretched Dhartarashtras and their followers! Those three, Kripa
and Kritavarma and the mighty car-warrior Ashvatthama, have left
Duryodhana’s side and taken up their position elsewhere! Having slain
Duryodhana’s troops, the Pancala prince stayeth yonder, endued with great
beauty, in the midst of the Prabhadrakas. There, O Partha, Duryodhana
stayeth in the midst of his cavalry, with the umbrella held over his head
and himself flinging his glances all around! Having rearrayed the
(remnant of his) army, he stayeth in the midst of his forces. Slaying
this one with thy keen shafts, thou mayst achieve all thy objects! As
long as these troops do not fly away beholding thee, in their midst and
witnessing also the destruction of their elephant-force, do thou, O
chastiser of foes, endeavour to slay Duryodhana! Let somebody go to the
Pancala prince and ask him to come hither. The (Kaurava) troops are all
tired, O sire! The sinful Duryodhana will never succeed in escaping!
Having slain a large number of thy troops in battle, the son of
Dhritarashtra wears a proud aspect as if he believes that the Pandavas
have been vanquished! Beholding his own troops afflicted and slain by the
Pandavas, the Kuru king will certainly come to battle for his own
destruction!” Thus addressed by Krishna, Phalguna replied unto him,
saying. “Almost all the sons of Dhritarashtra, O giver of honours, have
been slain by Bhima! Only these two are yet alive! They, however, O
Krishna, shall also meet with destruction today! Bhishma hath been slain,
Drona hath been slain, Karna, otherwise called Vaikartana, hath been
slain! Shalya, the king of the Madras, hath been slain, and Jayadratha
also, O Krishna, hath been slain! Only five hundred horses from the
remnant of the troops of Shakuni, the son of Subala, and of cars, only
two hundred still remain, O Janardana! Of elephants there remain only a
hundred that are formidable, and of foot only 3,000! There remain also
Ashvatthama and Kripa and the ruler of the Trigartas and Uluka and
Kritavarma of the Satwata race. These, O Madhava, form the remnant of
Duryodhana’s force! Truly, there is no escape from death for anybody on
Earth! Although such a tremendous carnage hast taken place, behold,
Duryodhana is still alive! Today king Yudhishthira, however, will be
freed from all his foes! None amongst the enemy will escape me, I ween!
Even if they be more than men, O Krishna, I shall yet slay all those
warriors today, however, furious in battle, if only they do not fly away
from the field! Filled with wrath in today’s battle, I shall, by slaying
the prince of Gandhara with my keen shafts, dispel that sleeplessness
which the king has suffered from for a long time! I shall win back all
those valuable possessions which Subala’s son, of wicked conduct, won
from us at the gambling match in the assembly! Hearing of the slaughter
of their husbands and sons at the hands of the Pandavas in battle, all
the ladies of the city called after the elephant will utter loud wails!
Today, O Krishna, our task will be ended! Today Duryodhana shall abandon
all his blazing prosperity, as also his life-breath. Thou mayest take the
foolish son of Dhritarashtra to be dead, O thou of Vrishni’s race, if, O
Krishna, he does not today fly away from the battle to be waged by me!
Those steeds are incapable of enduring the twang of my bow and the slaps
of my palms! Proceed thither, O Krishna, for I will slay them!” Thus
addressed by Pandu’s son of great force of mind, he of Dasarha’s race
urged his steeds, O king, towards the division of Duryodhana. Beholding
that force (within which Duryodhana was), three mighty car-warriors
prepared themselves for assailing it, for Bhimasena and Arjuna and
Sahadeva, O sire, together proceeded against it with loud leonine roars
from desire of slaying Duryodhana. Beholding those three warriors rushing
quickly together with uplifted bows, Subala’s son proceeded towards that
spot against those Pandava foes. Thy son Sudarsana rushed against
Bhimasena. Susarman and Shakuni encountered Kiritin. Thy son Duryodhana
on horse-back proceeded against Sahadeva. Then thy son, O ruler of men,
with great speed and care, forcibly struck Sahadeva’s head with a lance.
Thus assailed by thy son, Sahadeva sat down on the terrace of his car,
all his limbs bathed in blood and himself sighing like a snake. Regaining
his senses then, O king, Sahadeva, filled with rage, covered Duryodhana
with keen arrows. Kunti’s son, Dhananjaya, otherwise called Partha,
putting forth his prowess, cut off the heads of many brave combatants on
horse-back. Indeed, Partha, with many arrows, destroyed that (cavalry)
division. Having felled all the steeds, he then proceeded against the
cars of the Trigartas. At this, the great car-warriors of the Trigartas,
uniting together, covered Arjuna and Vasudeva with showers of shafts.
Assailing Satyakarman with a razor-headed arrow, the son of Pandu,
possessed of great fame, cut off his adversary’s car-shafts. With another
razor-headed arrow, O lord, whetted on stone, that celebrated hero,
smiling the while, cut off his antagonist’s head adorned with bright
gold. He next attacked Satyeshu in the sight of all the warriors, like a
hungry lion, O king, in the forest, attacking a deer. Having slain him,
Partha pierced Susarman with three arrows and then slew all those
car-warriors adorned with ornaments of gold. He then proceeded against
Susarman the ruler of Prashthala with great speed, vomiting the virulent
poison of his wrath cherished for many long years. Covering him first, O
bull of Bharata’s race, with a hundred arrows, Arjuna then slew all the
steeds of that bowman. Fixing then on his bowstring a mighty arrow that
resembled the rod of Yama, Partha, smiling the while, quickly sped it at
Susarman, aiming it at him. Sped by that bowman blazing with wrath, that
arrow, reaching Susarman, pierced through his heart in that battle.
Deprived of life, O monarch, Susarman fell down on the Earth, gladdening
all the Pandavas and paining all thy warriors. Having slain Susarman in
that battle, Partha then, with his shafts, despatched the five and thirty
sons of that king, all of whom were great car-warriors, to Yama’s abode.
Slaying next all the followers of Susarman with his keen arrows, the
mighty car-warrior, Arjuna, proceeded against the remnant of the Bharata
host. Bhima, in that battle, filled with rage, O ruler of men, made thy
son Sudarsana invisible with his arrows, and smiling the while, cut off
from his antagonist’s trunk his head with a razor-headed arrow of great
sharpness. Deprived of life, the prince fell down on the Earth. Upon the
fall of that (Kuru) hero, his followers encompassed Bhima in that battle,
shooting showers of whetted arrows at him. Vrikodara, however, with his
keen arrows, whose touch resembled that of Indra’s thunder, covered that
force around him. Within a very short time, Bhima slew them all, O bull
of Bharata’s race! Whilst they were being thus exterminated, many Kaurava
leaders of great might, O Bharata, approached Bhima and began to fight
with him. The son of Pandu, O king, covered all of them with his arrows.
Similarly, thy warriors, O monarch, covered the great car-warriors of the
Pandavas with dense showers of arrows from every side. All the warriors
then, of both sides, thus engaged in battle with one another, became
exceedingly agitated. Struck by one another, the combatants of both
armies, O king, began to fall down, wailing aloud for their (deceased)
kinsmen.'”

28

“Sanjaya said, ‘During the progress of that battle which was so
destructive of men and steeds and elephants, Subala’s son, Shakuni, O
king, rushed against Sahadeva. The valiant Sahadeva, as Shakuni rushed
quickly towards him, sped showers of swift arrows at that warrior as
numerous as a flight of insects. At that time, Uluka also encountered
Bhima and pierced him with ten arrows, Shakuni, meanwhile, O monarch,
having pierced Bhima with three arrows, covered Sahadeva with ninety.
Indeed, those heroes, O king, encountering one another in that battle,
pierced one another with many keen arrows equipped with Kanka and peacock
feathers, winged with gold, whetted on stone, and sped from bow-strings
drawn to their ears. Those showers of arrows sped from their bows and
arms, O monarch, shrouded all the points of the compass like a thick
shower of rain poured from the clouds. Then Bhima, filled with rage, and
Sahadeva of great valour, both endued with great might, careered in that
battle, making an immense carnage. That army, O Bharata, was covered with
hundreds of arrows by those two warriors. In consequence thereof, the
welkin on many parts of the field became shrouded with darkness. In
consequence, O monarch, of steeds, covered with arrows, dragging after
them, as they ran, a large number of slain combatants, the tracks on many
parts of the field became entirely blocked up. Covered with steeds slain
with their riders, with broken shields and lances, O monarch, and with
swords and darts and spears all around, the Earth looked variegated as if
strewn with flowers. The combatants, O king, encountering one another,
careered in battle, filled with wrath and taking one another’s life. Soon
the field became strewn with heads, beautiful as the filaments of the
lotus, adorned with earrings and graced with faces set with eyes upturned
in wrath and lips bit in rage. Covered also, O monarch, with the severed
arms of warriors that resembled the trunks of huge elephants, that were
adorned with Angadas and cased in leathern fences, and that still held
swords and lances and battle-axes, and with headless bodies risen on
their feet and bleeding and dancing on the field, and swarming with
carnivorous creatures of diverse kinds, the Earth, O lord, presented a
frightful aspect! After the Bharata army had been reduced to a small
remnant, the Pandavas, filled with delight in that dreadful battle began
to despatch the Kauravas to Yama’s abode. Meanwhile, the heroic and
valiant son of Subala’s son very forcibly struck Sahadeva on the head
with a lance. Exceedingly agitated, O monarch, in consequence of the
blow, Sahadeva sat down on the terrace of his car. Beholding Sahadeva in
that plight, the valiant Bhima, filled with rage, O Bharata, held the
whole Kuru army in check. With his cloth-yard shaft he pierced hundreds
and thousands of hostile warriors, and having pierced them so, that
chastier of foes uttered a leonine roar. Frightened at that roar, all the
followers of Shakuni, with their steeds and elephants, precipitately fled
away in fear. Beholding them broken, king Duryodhana said unto them,
“Stop, ye Kshatriyas, unacquainted with morality! Fight! What is the use
of flight? That hero, who, without showing his back casteth away his life
breath in battle, achieveth fame here and enjoyeth regions of bliss
hereafter!” Thus exhorted by the king, the followers of Subala’s son once
more advanced against the Pandavas, making death their goal. Awful, O
monarch, was the noise made by those rushing warriors, resembling that of
the agitated ocean. At this, the field of battle became agitated all
around. Beholding those followers of Subala’s son thus advancing in
battle, the victorious Pandavas, O monarch, proceeded against them.
Comforted a little, the invincible Sahadeva, O monarch, pierced Shakuni
with ten arrows and his steeds with three. With the greatest ease he then
cut off the bow of Subala’s son with a number of other arrows. Invincible
in battle, Shakuni, however, took up another bow and pierced Nakula with
sixty arrows and then Bhimasena with seven. Uluka also, O king, desirous
of rescuing his sire in that engagement, pierced Bhima with seven arrows
and Sahadeva with seventy. Bhimasena in that encounter pierced Uluka with
many keen arrows and Shakuni with four and sixty, and each of the other
warriors who fought around them, with three arrows. Struck by Bhimasena
with shafts steeped in oil, the Kauravas, filled with rage in that
battle, covered Sahadeva with showers of arrows like lightning-charged
clouds pouring rain on a mountain-breast. The heroic and valiant Sahadeva
then, O monarch, cut off, with a broad-headed arrow, the head of Uluka as
the latter advanced against him. Slain by Sahadeva, Uluka, gladdening the
Pandavas in that battle, fell down on the earth from his car, all his
limbs bathed in blood. Beholding his son slain, Shakuni, O Bharata, with
voice choked with tears and drawing deep breaths, recollected the words
of Vidura. Having reflected for a moment with tearful eyes, Shakuni,
breathing heavily, approached Sahadeva and pierced him with three arrows.
Baffling those arrows sped by Subala’s son with showers of shafts, the
valiant Sahadeva, O monarch, cut off his antagonist’s bow in that battle.
Seeing his bow cut off, O king, Shakuni, the son of Subala, took up a
formidable scimitar and hurled it at Sahadeva. The latter, however, with
the greatest ease, O monarch, cut off in twain that terrible scimitar of
Subala’s son as it coursed towards him in that encounter. Beholding his
sword cut in twain, Shakuni took up a formidable mace and hurled it at
Sahadeva. That mace also, unable to achieve its object, fell down on the
Earth. After this, Subala’s son, filled with rage, hurled at the son of
Pandu an awful dart that resembled an impending death night. With the
greatest ease Sahadeva, in that encounter, cut off, with his gold-decked
shafts, into three fragments, that dart as it coursed swiftly towards
him. Cut off into fragments, that dart adorned with gold fell down on the
earth like a blazing thunderbolt from the firmament, diverging into many
flashes. Beholding that dart baffled and Subala’s son afflicted with
fear, all thy troops fled away in fright. Subala’s son himself joined
them. The Pandavas then, eager for victory, uttered loud shouts. As
regards the Dhartarashtras, almost all of them turned away from the
fight. Seeing them so cheerless, the valiant son of Madri, with many
1,000 shafts, checked them in that battle. Then Sahadeva came upon
Subala’s son as the latter, who was still expectant of victory, was
flying away, protected by the excellent cavalry of the Gandharas.
Recollecting, O king, that Shakuni, who had fallen to his share, was
still alive, Sahadeva, on his car adorned with gold, pursued that
warrior. Stringing his formidable bow and drawing it with great force,
Sahadeva, filled with rage, pursued the son of Subala and vigorously
struck him with many shafts equipped with vulturine feathers and whetted
on stone, even like a person striking a mighty elephant with pointed
lances. Endued with great energy of mind, Sahadeva, having afflicted his
foe thus, addressed him, as if for calling back to mind (his past
misdeeds), in these words, ‘Adhering to the duties of a Kshatriya, fight
(with me) and be a man! Thou hadst, O fool, rejoiced greatly in the midst
of the assembly, while gambling with dice! Receive now, O thou of wicked
understanding, the fruit of that act! All those wicked-souled ones that
had ridiculed us then have perished! Only that wretch of his race,
Duryodhana, is still alive, and thyself, his maternal uncle! Today I
shall slay thee, striking off thy head with a razor-headed arrow like a
person plucking a fruit from a tree with a stick!” Saying these words, O
monarch, Sahadeva of great strength, that tiger among men, filled with
rage, rushed impetuously against Shakuni. Approaching his enemy, the
invincible Sahadeva, that foremost of warriors, forcibly drawing his bow
and as if burning his foe with wrath, pierced Shakuni with ten arrows and
his steeds with four. Then cutting off his umbrella and standard and bow,
he roared like a lion. His standard and bow and umbrella thus cut off by
Sahadeva, Subala’s son was pierced with many arrows in all his vital
limbs. Once again, O monarch, the valiant Sahadeva sped at Shakuni an
irresistible shower of arrows. Filled with rage, the son of Subala then,
single-handed, rushed with speed against Sahadeva in that encounter,
desirous of slaying the latter with a lance adorned with gold. The son of
Madri, however, with three broad-headed arrows, simultaneously cut off,
without losing a moment, that uplifted lance as also the two well-rounded
arms of his enemy at the van of battle, and then uttered a loud roar.
Endued with great activity, the heroic Sahadeva then, with a broad-headed
arrow, made of hard iron, equipped with wings of gold, capable of
penetrating every armour, and sped with great force and care, cut off
from his trunk his enemy’s head. Deprived of his head by the son of Pandu
with that gold-decked arrow of great sharpness and splendour like the
sun’s, Subala’s son fell down on the earth in that battle. Indeed, the
son of Pandu, filled with rage, struck off that head which was the root
of the evil policy of the Kurus, with that impetuous shaft winged with
gold and whetted on stone. Beholding Shakuni lying headless on the ground
and all his limbs drenched with gore, thy warriors, rendered powerless
with fear, fled away on all sides with weapons in their hands. At that
time, thy sons, with cars, elephants, horse and foot entirely broken,
heard the twang of Gandiva and fled away with colourless faces, afflicted
with fear and deprived of their senses. Having thrown down Shakuni from
his car, the Pandavas, O Bharata, became filled with delight. Rejoicing
with Keshava among them, they blew their conchs in that battle,
gladdening their troops. All of them, with glad hearts, worshipped
Sahadeva, and said, “By good luck, O hero, Shakuni of wicked soul, that
man of evil course, hath, with his son, been slain by thee!'”

29

(Hrada-pravesa Parva)

“Sanjaya said, ‘After this, the followers of Subala’s son, O monarch,
became filled with rage. Prepared to lay down their lives in that
dreadful battle, they began to resist the Pandavas. Resolved to aid
Sahadeva in his victory, Arjuna, as also Bhimasena possessed of great
energy and resembling an angry snake of virulent poison in aspect,
received those warriors. With his Gandiva, Dhananjaya baffled the purpose
of those warriors, who, armed with darts and swords and lances, desired
to slay Sahadeva. Vibhatsu, with his broad-headed arrows, cut off the
steeds, the heads, and the arms, with weapons in grasp of those rushing
combatants. The steeds of those foremost of heroes endued with activity,
struck by Savyasaci, fell down on the earth, deprived of their lives.
King Duryodhana, beholding that carnage of his own troops, O lord, became
filled with rage. Assembling together the remnant of his cars which still
numbered many hundreds, as also his elephants and horse and foot, O
scorcher of foes, thy son said these words unto those warriors,
“Encountering all the Pandavas with their friends and allies, in this
battle, and the prince of Pancala also with his own troops, and slaying
them quickly, turn back from the fight!” Respectfully accepting that
command of his, those warriors, difficult of defeat in battle, proceeded
once more against the Parthas in that battle, at the behest of thy son.
The Pandavas, however, covered with their arrows resembling snakes of
virulent poison, all those warriors, forming the remnant of the Kaurava
army, that thus rushed quickly against them in that dreadful battle. That
army, O chief of the Bharatas, as it came to battle, was in a moment
exterminated by those high-souled warriors, for it failed to obtain a
protector. In consequence of the (Kaurava) steeds running hither and
thither that were all covered with the dust raised by the army, the
cardinal and the subsidiary points of the compass could not be
distinguished. Many warriors, issuing out of the Pandava array, O
Bharata, slew thy troops in a moment in that battle. Eleven Akshauhinis,
O Bharata, of troops had been assembled for thy son! All those, O lord,
were slain by the Pandus and the Srinjayas! Amongst those thousands upon
thousands of high-souled kings on thy side, only Duryodhana now, O
monarch, exceedingly wounded, was seen to be alive, casting his eyes on
all sides, and seeing the earth empty, himself destitute of all his
troops while the Pandavas, filled with joy in that battle, were roaring
aloud in consequence of the accomplishment of all their objects.
Duryodhana, O monarch, unable to endure the whiz of the shafts shot by
those high-souled heroes, became stupefied! Destitute of troops and
animals, he set his heart on retreat from the field.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘When my troops were slain and our camp made
entirely empty, what was the strength, O Suta, of the troops that still
remained to the Pandavas? I desire to know this. Therefore, tell me, O
Sanjaya, for thou art skilled (in narration). Tell me also, O Sanjaya,
that which was done by my son, the wicked Duryodhana, that lord of the
earth, the sole survivor of so many men, when he saw his army
exterminated.’

“Sanjaya continued, ‘2,000 cars, 700 elephants, 5,000 horse, and 10,000
foot, this was the remnant, O monarch, of the mighty host of the
Pandavas. Taking care of this force, Dhrishtadyumna waited in that
battle. Meanwhile, O chief of the Bharatas, king Duryodhana, that
foremost of car-warriors, saw not in that battle a single warrior on his
side. Beholding his enemies roaring aloud and witnessing the
extermination of his own army, that lord of the earth, Duryodhana,
without a companion, abandoned his slain steed, and fled from the field
with face turned eastwards. That lord of eleven Akshauhinis, thy son
Duryodhana, of great energy, taking up his mace, fled on foot towards a
lake. Before he had proceeded far on foot, the king recalled the words of
the intelligent and virtuous Vidura. Without doubt, this had been
foreseen by Vidura of great wisdom, this great carnage of Kshatriyas and
of ourselves in battle. Reflecting on this, the king, with heart burning
in grief at having witnessed the extermination of his army, desired to
penetrate into the depths of that lake. The Pandavas, O monarch, with
Dhrishtadyumna at their head, filled with rage, rushed against (the small
remnant of) thy army. With his Gandiva, Dhananjaya baffled the purpose of
the (Kaurava) troops, who, armed with darts and swords and lances, were
uttering loud roars. Having with his sharp shafts slain those troops with
their allies and kinsmen, Arjuna, as he stood on his car having white
steeds yoked unto it, looked exceedingly beautiful. Upon the fall of
Subala’s son along with horse, cars and elephants, thy army looked like a
large forest laid low (by the wind). In Duryodhana’s army then, O
monarch, which had numbered many hundred thousands of warriors, not
another great car-warrior was seen to be alive, save the heroic son of
Drona, and Kritavarma, and Kripa the son of Gotama, O monarch, and that
lord of the earth, thy son! Dhrishtadyumna, seeing me, laughingly
addressed Satyaki, saying, ‘What is the use of seizing this one? Nothing
will be gained by keeping him alive.’ Hearing these words of
Dhrishtadyumna, the grandson of Sini, that great car-warrior, uplifting
his sharp sword, prepared to slay me. Just at that juncture, the
Island-born Krishna of great wisdom (Vyasa), coming there, said, “Let
Sanjaya be dismissed alive! By no means should he be slain!” Hearing
these words of the Island-born, the grandson of Sini, joined his hands,
and then, setting me free said unto me, “Peace to thee, O Sanjaya, thou
mayest go hence!” Permitted by him, I myself then, putting off my armour
and making over my weapons, set out on the evening on the road leading to
the city, my limbs bathed in blood. After I had come about two miles, O
monarch, I beheld Duryodhana, standing alone, mace in hand, and
exceedingly mangled. His eyes were full of tears and therefore he could
not see me. I stood cheerlessly before him. He looked accordingly at me
without recognising me. Beholding him standing alone on the field and
indulging in grief, I also, overwhelmed with sorrow, succeeded not for a
little while to speak a single word. Then I said unto him everything
about my own capture and my release through the grace of the Island-born.
Having reflected for a moment, and regained his senses, he enquired of me
about his brothers and his troops. I had seen everything with my eyes and
therefore told him everything, that his brothers had all been slain and
that all his troops had been exterminated. I told the king that we had at
that time only three car-warriors left alive, for the Island-born had
said so unto me when I set out (from the place where the Pandavas were).
Drawing deep breaths and looking repeatedly at me, thy son touched me
with his hand and said, “Except thee, O Sanjaya, there is none else that
liveth, amongst those engaged in this battle! I do not see another (on my
side), while the Pandavas have their allies living! Say, O Sanjaya, unto
that lord, the blind king Dhritarashtra, that his son Duryodhana hath
entered the depths of a lake! Destitute of friends such as those (I
lately had), deprived of sons and brothers, and seeing his kingdom taken
by the Pandavas, who is there like me that would desire to live? Say all
this unto the king and tell him further that I have escaped with life
from that dreadful battle, and that, alive, though exceedingly wounded, I
shall rest within the depths of this lake.” Having said these words unto
me, O monarch, the king entered that lake. That ruler of men, by his
power of illusion, then charmed the waters of that lake, making a space
for him within them. After he had entered that lake, I myself, without
anybody on my side, saw those three car-warriors (of our army) coming
together to that spot with their tired animals. They were Kripa, the son
of Saradwat, and the heroic Ashvatthama, that foremost of car-warriors,
and Kritavarma of Bhoja’s race. Mangled with shafts, all of them came
together to that spot. Beholding me, they all urged their steeds to
greater speed and coming up to me, said, “By good luck, O Sanjaya, thou
livest yet!” All of them then enquired after thy son, that ruler of men,
saying, ‘Is our king Duryodhana still alive, O Sanjaya?’ I then told them
that the king was well in body. I also told them everything that
Duryodhana had said unto me. I also pointed out to them the lake that the
king had entered. Then Ashvatthama, O king, having heard those words from
me, cast his eyes on that extensive lake and began to wail in grief,
saying, “Alas, alas, the king knows not that we are still alive! With him
amongst us, we are still quite able to fight with our foes!” Those mighty
car-warriors, having wept there for a long time, fled away at sight of
the sons of Pandu. Those three car-warriors that formed the remnant of
our army took me up on the well-adorned car of Kripa, and then proceeded
to the Kuru camp. The sun had set a little before. The troops forming the
outposts of the camp, learning that all thy sons had been slain, wept
aloud. Then, O monarch, the old men that had been appointed to look after
the ladies of the royal household proceeded towards the city, taking the
princesses after them. Loud were the wails uttered by those weeping
ladies when they heard of the destruction of the whole army. The women, O
king, crying ceaselessly, caused the earth to resound with their voices
like a flight of she-ospreys. They tore their bodies with nails and
struck their heads with their hands, and untied their braids, indulging
all the while in loud cries. Filling the air with sounds such as “Oh!”
and “Alas!” and beating their breasts, they cried aloud and wept and
uttered loud shrieks, O monarch! Then the friends of Duryodhana, deeply
afflicted and made voiceless by their tears, set out for the city, taking
the ladies of the royal household with them. The camp-guards quickly fled
towards the city, taking with them many white beds overlaid with costly
coverlets. Others, placing their wives on cars drawn by mules, proceeded
towards the city. Those ladies, O monarch, who, while in their houses
could not be seen by the very sun, were now, as they proceeded towards
the city, exposed to the gaze of the common people. Those women, O chief
of the Bharata’s race, who were very delicate, now proceeded with speed
towards the city, having lost their near ones and kinsmen. The very
cow-herds and shepherds and common men, filled with panic and afflicted
with the fear of Bhimasena, fled towards the city. Even these were filled
with a great fear of the Parthas. Looking at one another, all of them
fled towards the city. During the progress of that general flight
attended with such circumstances of fear, Yuyutsu, deprived of his senses
by grief, thought upon what he should do in view of the emergency that
had come. “Duryodhana hath been vanquished in battle by the Pandavas of
terrible prowess! He had eleven Akshauhinis of troops under him! All his
brothers have been slain! All the Kauravas, headed by Bhishma and Drona,
have perished! Through the influence of Destiny, only I have been saved!
All those that were in the Kuru camp have fled! Alas, they are flying on
all sides, deprived of energy and destitute of protectors! Such a sight
had never been seen before! Afflicted with sorrow, with eyes anxious in
fear, they are flying away on all sides like a herd of deer, looking at
one another! Those amongst the counsellors of Duryodhana that are yet
alive have fled towards the city, taking with them the ladies of the
royal household! I think, O lord, that the time hath come when I also
should enter the city with them, after taking the permission of
Yudhishthira and Vasudeva!” For this purpose that mighty-armed prince
presented himself before both those heroes. King Yudhishthira, who is
always compassionate, became highly pleased with him. The mighty-armed
Pandava embraced that child of a Vaisya mother and dismissed him
affectionately. Riding upon his own car, he urged his steeds to great
speed. He then supervised the removal of the ladies of the royal
household to the city. The sun was setting. With those ladies, Yuyutsu
entered the city of Hastinapura, with tearful eyes and with voice choked
in grief. He then saw Vidura of great wisdom, sitting with tearful eyes.
He had come away from Dhritarashtra, his heart having been afflicted with
great sorrow. Bowing down unto Vidura, he stood before him. Devoted to
truth, Vidura addressed him, saying, “By good luck, O son, thou livest
amid this general destruction of the Kurus! Why, however, hast thou come
without king Duryodhana in thy company? Tell me in detail the cause of
this!” Yuyutsu then said, “After the fall of Shakuni, O sire, with all
his kinsmen and friends, king Duryodhana abandoning the steed he rode,
fled away, in fear towards the east. After the king had fled away, all
the people in the (Kaurava) encampment, agitated with fear, fled towards
the city. Then the protectors of the ladies, placing the wives of the
king, as also those of his brothers, on vehicles, fled away in fear.
Obtaining the permission of king Yudhishthira and Keshava, I set out for
Hastinapura, for protecting the people thus flying away!’ Hearing these
words spoken by the son of Dhritarashtra’s Vaisya wife, Vidura of
immeasurable soul, conversant with every usage and feeling that was
proper at that hour, applauded the eloquent Yuyutsu. And he said, ‘Thou
hast acted properly, having regard for what has come, in view of this
destruction of all the Bharatas of which thou art speaking! Thou hast
also, from compassion, maintained the honour of thy race! By good luck,
we behold thee come back with life from this terrible battle that is so
destructive of heroes, like creatures beholding the sun possessed of
blazing glory! Thou, O son, are now in every way the sole staff of the
blind monarch, bereft of foresight, afflicted with calamity, struck by
Destiny, and who, though repeatedly dissuaded, could not abstain from
pursuing his evil policy. Take rest here for this day! Tomorrow thou
mayst return to Yudhishthira!” Having said these words, Vidura, with
tearful eyes, took leave of Yuyutsu and entered the abode of the king,
which resounded with cries of “Oh!” and “Alas!” uttered by citizens and
villagers afflicted with woe. The cheerless mansion seemed to have lost
all its beauty; comfort and happiness seemed to have deserted it. It was
all empty and pervaded by disorder. Already filled with sorrow, Vidura’s
grief increased at that sight. Conversant with every duty, Vidura, with a
sorrowful heart, entered the palace, drawing deep breaths. As regards
Yuyutsu, he passed that night in his own abode. Afflicted with woe, he
failed to obtain any joy at the panegyrics with which he was greeted. He
passed the time, thinking of the terrible destruction of the Bharatas at
one another’s hands.'”

30

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘After all the Kaurava troops had been slain by the
sons of Pandu on the field of battle, what did those survivors of my
army, Kritavarma and Kripa and the valiant son of Drona do? What also did
the wicked-souled king Duryodhana then do?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘After the flight of the ladies of those high-souled
Kshatriyas, and after the (Kaurava) camp had become entirely empty, the
three car-warriors (thou hast mentioned) became filled with anxiety.
Hearing the shouts of the victorious sons of Pandu, and beholding the
camp deserted towards the evening, those three warriors of our side,
desirous of rescuing the king, and unable to stay on the field, proceeded
towards the lake. Yudhishthira, of virtuous soul, with his brothers in
that battle, felt great joy and wandered over the field from desire of
staying Duryodhana. Filled with wrath, the Pandavas, desirous of victory,
searched for thy son. Though, however, they looked very carefully for
him, they failed to discover the (Kuru) king. Mace in hand, he had fled
with great speed from the field of battle and penetrated into that lake,
having by the aid of his powers of illusion, solidified its waters. When
at last the animals of the Pandavas became very much tired, the latter
proceeded to their camp and rested there with their soldiers. After the
Parthas had retired to their camp, Kripa and Drona’s son and Kritavarma
of the Satwata race, slowly proceeded towards that lake. Approaching the
lake within which lay the king, they addressed that invincible ruler of
men asleep within the water, saying, “Arise, O king, and fight with us
against Yudhishthira! Either obtaining victory enjoy the earth, or,
slain, proceed to heaven! The forces of the Pandavas also, O Duryodhana,
have all been slain by thee! Those amongst them that are yet alive have
been exceedingly mangled! They will not be able, O monarch, to bear thy
impetuosity, especially when thou shalt be protected by us! Arise,
therefore, O Bharata!”

“‘Duryodhana said, “By good luck, I see you, ye bulls among men, come
back with life from this destructive battle between the Pandavas and the
Kauravas! After we have rested a while and dispelled our fatigue, we
shall encounter the enemy and conquer him! Ye also are tired and I myself
am exceedingly mangled! The army of the Pandavas is swelling with might!
For these reasons, I do not like to fight now! These exhortations on your
part, ye heroes, are not at all wonderful, for your hearts are noble!
Your devotion also to me is great! This, however, is not the time for
prowess! Resting for this one night, I shall, on the morrow, join you and
fight with the foe! In this there is no doubt!”‘

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Thus addressed, the son of Drona replied unto the
king, who was invincible in battle, saying, “Arise, O king, blessed be
thou, we shall yet vanquish the foe! I swear by all my religious acts, by
all the gifts I have made, by truth itself, and my silent meditations, O
king, that I shall today slay the Somakas! Let me not obtain the delight
resulting from the performance of sacrifices, that delight which is felt
by all pious men, if this night passes away without my slaying the
Pandavas in battle! Without slaying all the Pancalas, I will not, O lord,
put off my armour! I tell thee this truly. Believe me, O ruler of men!”
While they were thus conversing, a number of hunters came there. Fatigued
with the weight of meat they carried, they came there, not of any set
purpose, for slaking their thirst. Those huntsmen, O lord, used every
day, to procure, with great regard, a basketful of meat for Bhimasena, O
king! As they sat concealed on the banks of that lake, those men heard
every word of that conversation between Duryodhana and those warriors.
Finding the Kuru king unwilling to fight, those great bowmen, themselves
desirous of battle, began to urge him greatly to adopt their counsels.
Seeing those car-warriors of the Kaurava army, and understanding that the
king, unwilling to fight, was staying within the waters, and hearing that
conversation between those heroes and their master staying within the
depths of the lake, indeed, O monarch, the huntsmen, clearly perceiving
that it was Duryodhana who was staying within the lake, formed a
resolution. A little while before, the son of Pandu, while searching for
the king, had met those men and asked them about the whereabouts of
Duryodhana. Recollecting the words that the son of Pandu had said, those
hunters, O king, whisperingly said unto one another, “We will discover
Duryodhana (unto the Pandavas). The son of Pandu will then give us
wealth! It is evident to us that the celebrated king Duryodhana is here!
Let us then, all of us, proceed to the spot where king Yudhishthira is,
for telling him that the vindictive Duryodhana is concealed within the
waters of this lake! Let us also, all of us, inform that great bowman,
the intelligent Bhimasena, that the son of Dhritarashtra is concealed
here within the waters of this lake! Gratified with us, he will give us
much wealth! What need of fatiguing ourselves, day after day, with
procuring meat and weakening ourselves with such toil?” Having said these
words, those huntsmen, filled with joy and longing for wealth, took up
their baskets of meat and proceeded towards the (Pandava) camp. Possessed
of sure aim and skilled in smiting, the Pandavas, O monarch, not seeing
in battle Duryodhana, who was then concealed, (were resting in their
camp). Desirous of reaching the end of that sinful wight’s evil policy,
they had despatched spies in all directions on the field of battle. All
the soldiers, however, that had been despatched on that mission returned
to the camp together and informed king Yudhishthira the just that no
trace could be found of king Duryodhana. Hearing these words of the
returned messengers, O bull of Bharata’s race, king Yudhishthira became
filled with great anxiety and began to breathe heavily. While the
Pandavas, O bull of Bharata’s race, were staying in such cheerlessness,
those huntsmen, O lord, having come with great speed from the banks of
that lake, arrived at the camp, filled with joy at having discovered
Duryodhana. Though forbidden, they still entered the camp, in the very
sight of Bhimasena. Having approached that mighty son of Pandu,
Bhimasena, they represented everything unto him about what they had seen
and heard. Then Vrikodara, that scorcher of foes, O king, giving them
much wealth, represented everything unto king Yudhishthira the just,
saying, “Duryodhana, O king, hath been discovered by the huntsmen that
supply me with meat! He, O king, for whom thou grievest now lies within a
lake whose waters have been solidified by him!’ Hearing these agreeable
words of Bhimasena, O monarch, Kunti’s son, Ajatasatru, became, with all
his brothers, filled with joy. Having learnt that the mighty bowman
Duryodhana had penetrated into the waters of a lake, the king proceeded
thither with great speed, with Janardana at his head. Then a tumultuous
noise arose, O monarch, from among the Pandavas and the Pancalas all of
whom were filled with joy. The warriors uttered leonine roars, O bull of
Bharata’s race, and shouted loudly. All the Kshatriyas, O king, proceeded
with great speed towards that lake called Dvaipayana. The rejoicing
Somakas all around loudly and repeatedly exclaimed, “The sinful son of
Dhritarashtra has been found!” The noise made by the cars of those
impetuous warriors who proceeded with great speed, became very loud, O
monarch, and touched the heavens. Although their animals were tired, all
of them still proceeded with speed behind king Yudhishthira who was bent
upon finding out Duryodhana. Arjuna, and Bhimasena, and the two sons of
Madri by Pandu, and the Pancala prince Dhrishtadyumna, and the
unvanquished Shikhandi, and Uttamaujas, and Yudhamanyu, and the mighty
car-warrior Satyaki, and the (five) sons of Draupadi, and those amongst
the Pancalas, O king, that were yet alive, and all the Pandavas, and all
their elephants, and foot-soldiers by hundreds upon hundreds, all
proceeded with Yudhishthira. Possessed of great valour, king Yudhishthira
the just, O monarch, arrived at the lake known by the name of Dvaipayana
within which Duryodhana then was. Wide as the ocean itself, its aspect
was agreeable and its waters were cool and transparent. Solidifying the
waters by means of his power of illusion, by, indeed, a wonderful method,
thy son Duryodhana, O Bharata, happened to be within that lake. Indeed,
within those waters lay, O lord, that king, armed with his mace, who, O
ruler of men, could not be vanquished by any man! Staying within the
waters of that lake, king Duryodhana heard that tumultuous noise (of the
Pandava army) which resembled the very roar of the clouds. Yudhishthira
then, O king, with his brothers repaired to that lake from desire of
slaying Duryodhana. Raising a thick dust, the son of Pandu caused the
earth to tremble with the sound of his car-wheels and the loud blare of
his conch. Hearing the noise made by the army of Yudhishthira, those
great car-warriors, Kritavarma and Kripa and the son of Drona, said these
words unto the Kuru king, “Filled with joy and longing for victory, the
Pandavas are coming hither! We will, therefore, leave this place. Let it
be known to thee!” Hearing those words of these heroes endued with great
activity, he answered them, saying, “So be it,” and remained (as before)
within the waters, having, O lord, solidified them by his powers of
illusion. Those car-warriors headed by Kripa, filled with grief, took
leave of the king, O monarch, and went away to a place far removed from
that spot. Having proceeded far, they beheld a banyan, O sire, under
whose shade they stopped, greatly tired, and exceedingly anxious about
the king and indulging in such thoughts as these, “The mighty son of
Dhritarashtra, having solidified the waters of the lake, lay stretched at
the bottom. The Pandavas have reached that spot, from desire of battle.
How will the battle take place? What will become of the king?’ Thinking
of these things, O king, those heroes, Kripa and the others, liberated
their horses from their cars and prepared to rest there for some time.'”

31

“Sanjaya said, ‘After those three car-warriors had left that spot, the
Pandavas arrived at that lake within which Duryodhana was resting
himself. Having reached the banks of the Dvaipayana lake, O chief of
Kuru’s race, they beheld that receptacle of waters enchanted by thy son.
Then Yudhishthira, addressing Vasudeva, said, “Behold, the son of
Dhritarashtra hath applied his power of illusion to these waters! Having
enchanted the waters, he lieth within them. He can have now no fear (of
injury) from man! Having invoked a celestial illusion, he is now within
the waters! By an act of deception, that wight conversant with every
deception hath sought this refuge! He shall not, however, escape me with
life! Even if the wielder of the thunderbolt himself aid him in battle,
people, O Madhava, shall yet behold him slain today!’

“‘Vasudeva said, “With thy own powers of illusion, O Bharata, destroy
this illusion of Duryodhana who is an adept in it! One conversant with
illusion should be slain with illusion! This is the truth, O
Yudhishthira! With acts and means and applying thy power of illusion to
these waters, slay, O chief of the Bharatas, this Suyodhana, who is the
very soul of illusion! With acts and means Indra himself slew the Daityas
and the Danavas! Vali himself was bound by that high-souled one
(Upendra), with the aid of many acts and means! The great Asura
Hiranyaksha, as also that other one, Hiranyakasipu, was slain by the aid
of many acts and means. Without doubt, O king, Vritra also was slain by
the aid of acts! Similarly was the Rakshasa Ravana of Pulastya’s race,
with his relatives and followers, slain by Rama! Relying upon acts and
contrivances, do thou also display thy powers! Those two ancient Daityas,
Taraka and Viprachitti of great energy, were in ancient times, O king,
slain by the aid of acts and means! Similarly, Vatapi and Ilwala, and
Trisiras, O lord, and the Asuras Sunda and Upasunda, were all slain by
the aid of means! Indra himself enjoys heaven by the aid of acts and
means! Acts are very efficacious, O king, and nothing else so, O
Yudhishthira! Daityas and Danavas and Rakshasas and kings had been slain
by the aid of acts and means. Do thou take therefore, the help of act!”‘

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Thus addressed by Vasudeva, Pandu’s son of rigid
vows, smiling the while, addressed, O monarch, thy son of great might,
who, O Bharata, was then within the waters of that lake, saying, “Why, O
Suyodhana, hast thou entered these waters, after having caused all the
Kshatriyas to perish and after having, O king, caused thy own race to be
annihilated? Why hast thou entered into this lake today, wishing to save
thy own life? Arise, O king, and fight us, O Suyodhana! Where, O foremost
of men, hath that pride and that sense of honour which thou hadst now
gone, since, O king, thou hast enchanted these waters and art now lying
within them? All men speak of thee in assemblies as a hero. All that,
however, is entirely untrue, I think, since thou art now concealed within
these waters! Arise, O king, and fight, for thou art a Kshatriya born of
a noble race! Thou art Kauraveya in particular! Remember thy birth! How
canst thou boast of thy birth in Kuru’s race when thou concealest thyself
within the depths of this lake, having fled away from battle in fear?
This is not the eternal duty of a Kshatriya, staying away from battle!
Flight from battle, O king, is not the practice of those that are
honourable, nor does it lead to heaven! How is it that without having
attained to the end of this war, inspired though thou wert with the
desire of victory, thou stayest now within this lake, after having caused
and witnessed the slaughter of thy sons and brothers and sires and
relatives and friends and maternal uncles and kinsmen? Ever boastful of
thy courage, thou art, however, not a hero! Falsely dost thou describe
thyself, O Bharata, when thou sayst in the hearing of all men that thou
art a hero, O thou of wicked understanding! They that are heroes never
fly away at sight of foes! Or, tell us, O hero, about (the nature of)
that courage in consequence of which thou hast fled from battle! Arise, O
prince, and fight, casting off thy fears! Having caused all thy troops
and thy brothers to be slain, O Suyodhana, thou shouldst not, if thou art
inspired with righteous motives, think now of saving thy life! One like
thee, O Suyodhana, that has adopted Kshatriya duties, should not act in
this way! Relying upon Karna, as also upon Shakuni the son of Subala,
thou hadst regarded thyself immortal and hadst, from folly, failed to
understand thy own self! Having perpetrated such grievous sin, fight now,
O Bharata! How dost that flight from battle recommend itself to one like
thee? Surely, thou forgettest thyself! Where is that manliness of thine,
O sire, and where, O Suyodhana, is that pride cherished by thee! Where
hath that prowess of thine now gone, and where also that swelling and
great energy which thou hadst? Where is that accomplishment of thine in
weapons? Why dost thou lie within this lake now? Arise, O Bharata, and
fight, observing the duties of a Kshatriya! Either rule the wide earth
after vanquishing us, or sleep, O Bharata, on the bare ground, slain by
us! Even this is thy highest duty, as laid down by the illustrious
Creator himself! Act as it has been laid down truly in the scriptures,
and be a king, O great car-warrior!”‘

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Thus addressed, O monarch, by the intelligent son of
Dharma, thy son answered him from within the waters in these words.

“‘Duryodhana said, “It is not at all a matter of surprise, O king, that
fear should enter the hearts of living creatures. As regards myself,
however, O Bharata, I have not fled from the field of battle actuated by
the fear of life! My car was destroyed, my quivers were gone, and my
Parshni drivers were killed! I was alone, without a single follower to
stand by me in battle! It was for this that I desired a little rest! It
was not for the sake of saving my life, it was not from fear, it was not
from grief, O king, that I entered these waters! It was only in
consequence of fatigue that I did so! Do thou, O son of Kunti, rest a
while with those that follow thee! Rising from this lake I will certainly
fight all of you in battle!”

“‘Yudhishthira said, ‘All of us have rested sufficiently. For a long
while we were engaged in a search after thee! Rise then, even now, O
Suyodhana, and give us battle! Either slaying the Parthas in battle make
this kingdom that swelleth with prosperity thy own, or slain by us in
battle, proceed to those regions that are reserved for heroes!”

“‘Duryodhana said, “They amongst the Kurus, O son of Kurus’ race, for
whose sake I desired sovereignty, that is, those brothers of mine, O
king, all lie dead on the field! I do not, again, like to enjoy any
longer the earth that is now shorn of wealth and reft of superior
Kshatriyas, and that hath, therefore, become like a widowed lady! I,
however, still hope to vanquish thee, O Yudhishthira, after curbing the
pride, O bull of Bharata’s race, of the Pancalas and the Pandus! There
is, however, no longer any need for battle when Drona and Karna have been
quieted and when our grandsire Bhishma hath been slain! This shorn earth,
O king, now exists for thee! What king is there that would like to rule a
kingdom divested of friends and allies? Having caused friends such as I
had to be slain and even sons and brothers and sires, and seeing my
kingdom wrested by you, who is there like myself that would like to live?
Clad in deer-skins I would retire into the woods! I have no desire for
kingdom, deprived as I am of friends and allies, O Bharata! Reft almost
entirely of friends and allies, of heroes and elephants, this earth
exists for thee, O king! Do thou enjoy her now cheerfully! As for myself,
clad in deerskins, I shall go to the woods! Friendless as I am, I have no
desire, O lord, for even life! Go, O monarch, and rule the earth
destitute of lords, without warriors, reft of wealth, and without
citadels, as thou choosest!”‘

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Hearing these words of poignant grief the
illustrious Yudhishthira addressed thy son Duryodhana who was still
within those waters, saying, “Do not utter such ravings of sorrow, O
sire, from within the waters! I do not, like Shakuni, feel any compassion
for thee, O king, for such words as these! Thou mayest now, O Suyodhana,
be willing to make a gift of the earth to me. I, however, do not wish to
rule the earth thus given by thee! I cannot sinfully accept this earth
from thee! Acceptance of a gift, O king, is not the duty laid down for a
Kshatriya! I do not, therefore, wish to have the wide earth thus given
away by thee! I shall, on the other hand, enjoy the earth after
vanquishing thee in battle! Thou art now the lord of the earth! Why then
dost thou desire to make a gift of that over which thou hast no dominion?
Why, O king, didst thou not then give us the earth when we, observant of
the rules of righteousness and desirous of the welfare of our race, had
begged thee for our portion? Having first refused the request of the
mighty Krishna, why dost thou now desire to give away the earth? What is
this folly of thine? What king is there, who, assailed by foes, would
wish to give away his kingdom? O son of Kuru’s race, today thou art not
competent to give away the earth! Why then dost thou wish to make a gift
of that over which thou hast no power? Vanquishing me in battle, rule
thou this earth! Thou didst not formerly agree to give me even that much
of the earth which would be covered by the point of a needle! How then, O
monarch, dost thou make me a gift of the whole earth? How is it that
thou, who couldst not formerly abandon even that much of land which the
point of a needle would cover, now wishest to abandon the whole earth?
What fool is there that would, after having obtained such prosperity and
ruled the entire earth, think of making a gift of that earth to his
enemies? Stupefied by folly, thou seest not the impropriety of this!
Although thou desirest to give away the earth, thou shalt not yet escape
me with life! Either rule the earth after having vanquished us, or go to
regions of blessedness after being slain by us! If both of us, that is,
thyself and myself, be alive, then all creatures will remain in doubt
about to whom the victory belongs. Thy life, O thou of limited foresight,
now depends upon me! If I like, I can suffer thee to live, but thou art
not capable of protecting thy own life! Thou hadst at one time especially
endeavoured to burn us to death and to take our lives by means of snakes
and other kinds of poison and by drowning us! We were also wronged by
thee, O king, by the deprivation of our kingdom, by the cruel words
spoken by thee, and by thy maltreatment of Draupadi! For these reasons, O
wretch, thy life must be taken! Rise, rise, and fight us! That will
benefit thee!”‘

“Sanjaya continued, ‘In this strain, O king, those heroes, the Pandavas,
flushed with victory, repeatedly spoke there (rebuking and mocking
Duryodhana).'”

32

(Gada-yuddha Parva)

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Thus admonished (by his foes), how, indeed, did
that scorcher of enemies, my heroic and royal son, who was wrathful by
nature, then behave? He had never before listened to admonitions such as
these! He had, again, been treated by all with the respect due to a king!
He, who had formerly grieved to stand in the shade of an umbrella,
thinking he had taken another’s shelter, he, who could not endure the
very effulgence of the sun in consequence of his sensitive pride, how
could he endure these words of his foes? Thou hast, with thy own eyes, O
Sanjaya, seen the whole earth, with even her Mlecchas and nomad tribes,
depend upon his grace! Rebuked thus at that spot by the sons of Pandu in
particular, while lying concealed in such a solitary place after having
been deprived of his followers and attendants, alas, what answer did he
make unto the Pandavas upon hearing such bitter and repeated taunts from
his victorious enemies? Tell me everything, O Sanjaya, about it!’

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Thus rebuked, O monarch, by Yudhishthira and his
brothers, thy royal son, lying within those waters, O king of kings,
heard those bitter words and became very miserable. Breathing hot and
long sighs repeatedly, the king waved his arms again and again, and
setting his heart on battle, thus answered, from within the waters, the
royal son of Pandu.

“‘Duryodhana said, “Ye Parthas, all of you are possessed of friends, of
cars, and of animals! I, however, am alone, cheerless, without a car, and
without an animal! Being alone and destitute of weapons, how can I
venture to fight on foot, against numerous foes all well-armed and
possessed of cars? Do you, however, O Yudhishthira, fight me one at a
time! It is not proper that one should in battle fight many endued with
courage, especially when that one is without armour, fatigued, afflicted
with calamity, exceedingly mangled in his limbs, and destitute of both
animals and troops! I do not entertain the least fear, O monarch, of
either thee, or Vrikodara, the son of Pritha, or Phalguna, or Vasudeva,
or all the Pancalas, or the twins, or Yuyudhana, or all the other troops
thou hast! Standing in battle, alone as I am, I shall resist all of you!
The fame, O king, of all righteous men hath righteousness for its basis!
I say all this to you, observant of both righteousness and fame! Rising
(from this lake), I shall fight all of you in battle! Like the year that
gradually meets all the seasons, I shall meet all of you in fight! Wait,
ye Pandavas! Like the sun destroying by his energy the light of all stars
at dawn, I shall today, though weaponless and carless, destroy all of you
possessed of cars and steeds! Today I shall free myself from the debt I
owe to the many illustrious Kshatriyas (that have fallen for me), to
Bahlika and Drona and Bhishma and the high-souled Karna, to the heroic
Jayadratha and Bhagadatta, to Shalya the ruler of the Madras and
Bhurishrava, to my sons, O chief of Bharata’s race, and Shakuni the son
of Subala, to all my friends and well-wishers and kinsmen! Today I shall
free myself from that debt by slaying thee with thy brothers!” With these
words, the (Kuru) king ceased speaking.

“‘Yudhishthira said, “By good luck, O Suyodhana, thou knowest the duties
of a Kshatriya! By good luck, O thou of mighty arms, thy heart inclineth
to battle! By good luck, thou art a hero, O thou of Kuru’s race, and, by
good luck, thou art conversant with battle, since, single-handed, thou
wishest to meet all of us in battle! Fight any one of us, taking whatever
weapon thou likest! All of us will stand as spectators here! I grant thee
also, O hero, this (other) wish of thy heart, that if thou slayest any of
us, thou shalt then become king! Otherwise, slain by us, go to heaven!”

“‘Duryodhana said, “A brave man as thou art, if thou grantest me the
option of fighting only one of you, this mace that I hold in my hand is
the weapon that I select! Let any one amongst you who thinks that he will
be my match come forward and fight with me on foot, armed with mace! Many
wonderful single combats have occurred on cars! Let this one great and
wonderful combat with the mace happen today! Men (while fighting) desire
to change weapons. Let the manner of the fight be changed today, with thy
permission! O thou of mighty arms, I shall, with my mace, vanquish thee
today with all thy younger brothers, as also all the Pancalas and the
Srinjayas and all the other troops thou still hast! I do not cherish the
least fear, O Yudhishthira, of even Shakra himself!’

“‘Yudhishthira said, “Rise, rise, O son of Gandhari, and fight me,
Suyodhana! Alone as thou art, fight us, encountering one at a time, thou
of great might, armed with thy mace! Be a man, O son of Gandhari, and
fight with good care! Today thou shalt have to lay down thy life even if
Indra becomes thy ally!”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘That tiger among men, thy son, could not bear these
words of Yudhishthira. He breathed long and heavy sighs from within the
water like a mighty snake from within its hole. Struck repeatedly with
such wordy goads, he could not endure it at all, like a horse of high
breed that cannot endure the whip. Agitating the waters with great force,
that valiant warrior rose like a prince of elephants from within the
lake, breathing heavily in rage, and armed with his heavy mace that was
endued with the strength of adamant and decked with gold. Piercing the
solidified waters, thy son rose, shouldering his mace of iron, like the
sun himself scorching everything with his rays. Endued with great
strength, thy son, possessed of great intelligence, began to handle his
heavy mace made of iron and equipped with a sling. Beholding him armed
with mace and resembling a crested mountain or the trident-wielding Rudra
himself casting angry glances on living creatures, they observed that
Bharata chief shedding an effulgence around like the scorching sun
himself in the sky. Indeed, all creatures then regarded that mighty-armed
chastiser of foes, as he stood shouldering his mace after rising from the
waters, looking like the Destroyer himself armed with his bludgeon.
Indeed, all the Pancalas then saw thy royal son to look like the
thunder-wielding Shakra or the trident-bearing Hara. Seeing him, however,
rise from within the waters, all the Pancalas and the Pandavas began to
rejoice and seize each other’s hands. Thy son Duryodhana regarded that
action of the spectators to be an insult directed towards him. Rolling
his eyes in wrath, and as if burning the Pandavas with his glances, and
contracting his brow into three furrows, and repeatedly biting his nether
lip, he addressed the Pandavas with Keshava in their midst, saying, “You
Pandavas, you shall have to bear the fruit of these taunts! Slain by me
today, you shall, with the Pancalas, have to repair to the abode of
Yama!”‘

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Rising from the water, thy son Duryodhana stood
there, armed with mace, and with limbs bathed in blood. Covered with
blood and drenched with water, his body then looked like a mountain
shedding water from within. As he stood armed with mace, the Pandavas
regarded him to be the angry son of Surya himself armed with the bludgeon
called Kinkara. With voice deep as that of the clouds or of a bull
roaring in joy, Duryodhana then, of great prowess, armed with his mace,
summoned the Parthas to battle.’

“‘Duryodhana said, “You will have, O Yudhishthira, to encounter me one at
a time! It is not proper, that one hero should fight with many at the
same time, especially when that single warrior is divested of armour,
fatigued with exertion, covered with water, exceedingly mangled in limbs,
and without cars, animals and troops! Let the gods in heaven behold me
fight single-handed destitute of all equipment and deprived of even
armour and weapons! I shall certainly fight all of you! Thou shalt be
judge, as thou hast the necessary qualifications, of the propriety and
impropriety of everything!”

“‘Yudhishthira said, “How is it, O Duryodhana, that thou hadst not this
knowledge when many great car-warriors, uniting together, slew Abhimanyu
in battle? Kshatriya duties are exceedingly cruel, unmindful of all
considerations, and without the least compassion! Otherwise, how could
you slay Abhimanyu under those circumstances? All of you were acquainted
with righteousness! All of you were heroes! All of you were prepared to
lay down your lives in battle! The high end declared for those that fight
righteously is the attainment of the regions of Shakra! If this be your
duty, that one should never be slain by many, why is it then that
Abhimanyu was slain by many, acting in accord with thy counsels? All
creatures, when in difficulty forget considerations of virtue. They then
view the gates of the other world to be closed. Put on armour, O hero,
and bind thy locks! Take everything else, O Bharata, of which thou
standest in need! This another wish of thine, O hero, I grant thee in
addition, that if thou canst slay him amongst the five Pandavas with whom
thou wishest an encounter, thou shalt then be king! Otherwise, slain (by
him), thou shalt proceed to heaven! Except thy life, O hero, tell us what
boon we may grant thee.”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Then thy son, O king, cased his body with armour
made of gold, and put on a beautiful head-gear adorned with pure gold.
Clad in bright armour of gold, he put on that head-gear. Indeed, O king,
thy son then looked resplendent like a golden cliff. Clad in mail, armed
with mace, and accoutred with other equipments, thy son Duryodhana then,
O king, standing on the field of battle, addressed all the Pandavas,
saying, ‘Amongst you (five) brothers, let any one fight me, armed with
mace! As regards myself, I am willing to fight either Sahadeva, or Bhima,
or Nakula, or Phalguna, or thee today, O bull of Bharata’s race! Accorded
an encounter, I will fight any one amongst you and will certainly gain
the victory on the field! Today I will reach the end of these hostilities
that is difficult to reach, with the aid, O tiger among men, of my mace
wrapped with cloth of gold. I think, there is none to be my match in an
encounter with the mace! With my mace I shall slay all of you one after
another! Amongst all of you there is no one who is competent to fight
fairly with me! It is not proper for me to speak such words of pride with
respect to my own self! I shall, however, make these words of mine true
in your presence! Within this very hour, these words will become either
true or false! Let him amongst you take up the mace that will fight with
me!'”

33

“Sanjaya said, ‘Whilst Duryodhana, O king, was repeatedly roaring in this
strain, Vasudeva, filled with wrath, said these words unto Yudhishthira,
“What rash words hast thou spoken, O king, to the effect, ‘Slaying one
amongst us be thou king among the Kurus.’ If, indeed, O Yudhishthira,
Duryodhana select thee for battle, or Arjuna, or Nakula, or Sahadeva
(what will be the consequence)? From desire of slaying Bhimasena, O king,
for these thirteen years hath Duryodhana practised with the mace upon a
statue of iron! How then, O bull of Bharata’s race, will our purpose be
achieved? From compassion, O best of kings, thou hast acted with great
rashness! I do not at this moment behold a match (for Duryodhana) except
Pritha’s son Vrikodara! His practice, again, with the mace, is not so
great! Thou hast, therefore, once more allowed a wretched game of chance
to commence as that one in former days between thyself and Shakuni, O
monarch! Bhima is possessed of might and prowess. King Suyodhana,
however, is possessed of skill! In a contest between might and skill, he
that is possessed of skill, O king, always prevails! Such a foe, O king,
thou hast, by thy words, placed in a position of ease and comfort! Thou
hast placed thine own self, however, in a position of difficulty. We
have, in consequence of this, been placed in great danger! Who is there
that would abandon sovereignty within grasp, after having vanquished all
his foes and when he hath only one foe to dispose of and that one plunged
in difficulties? I do not see that man in the world today, be he a god,
who is competent to vanquish the mace-armed Duryodhana in battle! Neither
thou nor Bhima, nor Nakula nor Sahadeva, nor Phalguna, is capable of
vanquishing Duryodhana in fair fight! King Duryodhana is possessed of
great skill! How then, O Bharata, canst thou say unto such a foe words
such as these, ‘Fight, selecting the mace as thy weapon, and if thou
canst slay one amongst us, thou shalt then be king?’ If Duryodhana
encounters Vrikodara amongst us wishing to fight fairly with him, even
then our victory would be doubtful. Duryodhana is possessed of great
might and great skill. How couldst thou say unto him, ‘Slaying only one
amongst us be thou king’? Without a doubt, the offspring of Pandu and
Kunti are not destined to enjoy sovereignty! They were born for passing
their lives in continued exile in the woods or in mendicancy!”

“‘Bhimasena said, “O slayer of Madhu, do not, O delighter of the Yadus,
give way to sorrow! However, difficult to reach it, I shall today reach
the end of these hostilities! Without doubt, I shall slay Suyodhana in
battle! It appears, O Krishna, that the victory of Yudhishthira the just
is certain! This mace of mine is heavier than Duryodhana’s by one and a
half times! Do not, O Madhava, give way to grief! I dare fight him,
selecting the mace as the weapon! Let all of you, O Janardana, stand as
spectators of the encounter! What do you say of Suyodhana, I would fight
with the three worlds including the very gods, even if they be armed with
every kind of weapon!”‘

“Sanjaya continued, ‘After Vrikodara had said these words, Vasudeva,
filled with joy, applauded him highly and said unto him, “Relying on
thee, O thou of mighty arms, king Yudhishthira the just will, without
doubt, get back his own blazing prosperity after the slaughter of all his
foes! Thou hast slain all the sons of Dhritarashtra in battle! At thy
hands many kings and princes and elephants have met with their fate! The
Kalingas, the Magadhas, the Kauravas the Westerners, the Gandharas have
all been slain in dreadful battle, O son of Pandu! Slaying Duryodhana
then, O son of Kunti, bestow the earth with her oceans upon Yudhishthira
the just, like Vishnu (conferring the sovereignty of three worlds) upon
the Lord of Sachi! The wretched son of Dhritarashtra, obtaining thee for
a foe in battle, will, without doubt, meet with his fate! Thou wilt
certainly accomplish thy vow by breaking his bones! Thou shouldst,
however, O son of Pritha, always fight with care with the son of
Dhritarashtra! He is possessed of both skill and strength and always
takes delight in battle!” Then Satyaki, O king, applauded the son of
Pandu. The Pancalas and the Pandavas, also, headed by king Yudhishthira
the just, all applauded those words of Bhimasena. Then Bhima of terrible
might addressed Yudhishthira, who was staying amid the Srinjayas like the
blazing sun himself, saying, “Encountering this one in battle, I venture
to fight with him! This wretch among men is not competent to vanquish me
in fight! Today I shall vomit that wrath which hath been nursed in my
bosom upon Suyodhana, the son of Dhritarashtra, like Arjuna throwing fire
on the forest of Khandava! I shall today pluck out the dart, O son of
Pandu, that lay so long sticking to thy heart! Be happy, O king, after I
shall have laid low this wretch with my mace! Today I shall recover, O
sinless one, thy wreath of glory! Today Suyodhana shall abandon his life
breath, his prosperity, and his kingdom! Today king Dhritarashtra also,
hearing of his son’s slaughter, will remember all those wrongs (that he
did unto us) arising from the suggestions of Shakuni!” Having said these
words that prince of Bharata’s race, possessed of great energy, stood up
for battle, like Shakra summoning Vritra (to an encounter). Unable to
endure that summons, thy son, of great energy, proceeded to the
encounter, like one infuriated elephant proceeding to assail another. The
Pandavas beheld thy son, as he came armed with mace, look like the
crested mountain of Kailasa. Indeed, seeing that mighty son of thine
standing alone like a prince of elephants separated from the herd, the
Pandavas became filled with delight. Standing in battle like a very lion,
Duryodhana had no fear, no alarm, no pain, no anxiety. Beholding him
stand there with uplifted mace like the crested mountain of Kailasa,
Bhimasena, O monarch, addressed him, saying, “Call to thy mind all those
wrongs that king Dhritarashtra and thyself have done unto us! Recollect
what happened at Varanavata! Recollect how Draupadi, while in her season,
was maltreated in the midst of the assembly and how king Yudhishthira was
defeated at dice through Shakuni’s suggestion! See now, O thou of wicked
soul, the terrible consequence of those acts as also of the other wrongs
that thou didst unto the innocent Parthas! It is for thee that that
illustrious chief of the Bharatas, the son of Ganga, the grandsire of us
all, lieth now on a bed of arrows, struck down (by us)! Drona also hath
been slain! Karna hath been slain! Shalya of great valour hath been
slain! Yonder Shakuni also, the root of these hostilities, hath been
slain in battle! Thy heroic brothers, as also thy sons, with all thy
troops, have been slain! Other kings also, possessed of heroism, and
never retreating from battle, have been slain. These and many other bulls
among Kshatriyas, as also the Pratikamin, that wretch who had seized the
tresses of Draupadi, have been slain! Thou alone art still alive, thou
exterminator of thy race, thou wretch among men! Thee also I shall today
slay with my mace! Of this there is no doubt! Today, O king, I shall, in
battle, quell all thy pride! I shall destroy also thy hope of
sovereignty, O king, and pay off all thy misdeeds unto the sons of Pandu!”

“‘Duryodhana said, “What use is there of many words? Fight now with me!
Today, O Vrikodara, I shall beat out of thee thy desire for battle! Why
dost thou not behold me, O wretch, standing here for an encounter with
the mace? Am I not armed with a formidable mace that looks like a cliff
of Himavat? What foe is there, O wretch, that would venture to vanquish
me armed with this weapon? If it be a fair fight, Purandara himself,
amongst the gods, is not competent for that end! For all those wicked
deeds of mine to which thou hast referred, thou couldst not (hitherto) do
me the slightest injury! By exercising my might, I caused ye to dwell in
the woods, to serve in another’s dwelling, to conceal yourselves in
disguises! Your friends and allies also have been slain. Our loss has
been equal! If, then my fall takes place in this battle, that would be
highly praiseworthy. Or, perhaps, Time will be the cause! Up to this day
I have never been vanquished in fair fight on the field of battle! If you
vanquish me by deceit, your infamy will certainly last for ever! That act
of yours will, without doubt, be unrighteous and infamous! Do not, O son
of Kunti, roar fruitlessly in this way like autumnal clouds uncharged
with water! Show all the strength thou hast in battle now!” Hearing these
words of his, the Pandavas with the Srinjayas, all inspired with desire
of victory, applauded them highly. Like men exciting an infuriated
elephant with clapping of hands, all of them then gladdened king
Duryodhana (with those praises and cheers). The elephants that were there
began to grunt and the steeds to neigh repeatedly. The weapons of the
Pandavas, who were inspired with desire of victory blazed forth of their
own accord.'”

34

“Sanjaya said, ‘When that fierce battle, O monarch, was about to
commence, and when all the high-souled Pandavas had taken their seats,
indeed, having heard that battle between those two heroes, both of whom
were his disciples, was about to begin, Rama, whose banner bore the
device of the palmyra palm, and who owns the plough for his weapon, came
to that spot. Beholding him, the Pandavas, with Keshava, filled with joy
advanced towards him, and receiving him, worshipped him with due rites.
Their worship over, they then, O king, said unto him these words,
“Witness, O Rama, the skill, in battle, of thy two disciples!” Rama then
casting his eyes on Krishna and the Pandavas, and looking at Duryodhana
also of Kuru’s race who was standing there armed with mace, said, “Two
and forty days have passed since I left home. I had set out under the
constellation Pushya and have come back under Sravana. I am desirous, O
Madhava, of beholding this encounter with the mace between these two
disciples of mine!” At that time the two heroes, Duryodhana and
Vrikodara, looked resplendent as they stood on the field, both armed with
maces. King Yudhishthira, embracing him owning the plough for his weapon,
duly enquired about his welfare and bade him welcome. Those two great
bowmen, the two illustrious Krishnas, filled with joy, cheerfully saluted
the hero having the plough for his weapon and embraced him. Similarly,
the two sons of Madri and the five sons of Draupadi saluted Rohini’s son
of great strength and stood (at a respectful distance). Bhimasena of
great strength and thy son, O monarch, both with uplifted maces (in their
arms), worshipped Valadeva. The other kings honoured him by bidding him
welcome, and then all of them said unto Rama, “Witness this encounter, O
thou of mighty arms!” Even thus those mighty car-warriors said unto the
high-souled son of Rohini. Endued with immeasurable energy, Rama, having
embraced the Pandavas and the Srinjayas, enquired after the welfare of
all the (other) kings. Similarly, all of them, approaching, enquired
after his welfare. The hero of the plough, having in return saluted all
the high-souled Kshatriyas, and having made courteous enquiries about
each according to their years, affectionately embraced Janardana and
Satyaki. Smelling their heads, he enquired after their welfare. Those
two, in return, O king, duly worshipped him, their superior, joyfully,
like Indra and Upendra worshipping Brahman, the lord of the celestials.
Then Dharma’s son, O Bharata, said these words unto that chastiser of
foes, the son of Rohini, “Behold, O Rama, this formidable encounter
between the two brothers!” Thus worshipped by those great car-warriors,
the elder brother of Keshava, of mighty arms and great beauty, took his
seat amongst them. Clad in blue robes and possessed of a fair complexion,
Rama, as he sat amidst those kings, looked resplendent like the moon in
the firmament, encompassed by multitudes of stars. Then that dreadful
encounter, making the very hair stand on end, took place between those
two sons of thine, O king, for terminating the quarrel (that had raged
for many years).'”

35

Janamejaya said, “On the eve of the great battle (between the Kurus and
the Pandus), the lord Rama, with Keshava’s leave, had gone away (from
Dwaraka) accompanied by many of the Vrishnis. He had said unto Keshava,
‘I will render aid neither unto the son of Dhritarashtra nor unto the
sons of Pandu, but will go whithersoever I like!’ Having said these
words, Rama, that resister of foes, had gone away. It behoveth thee, O
Brahmana, to tell me everything about his return! Tell me in detail how
Rama came to that spot, how he witnessed the battle. In my opinion thou
art well-skilled in narration!”

Vaishampayana said, “After the high-souled Pandavas had taken up their
post at Upaplavya, they despatched the slayer of Madhu to Dhritarashtra’s
presence, for the object of peace, O mighty-armed one, and for the good
of all creatures. Having gone to Hastinapura and met Dhritarashtra,
Keshava spoke words of true and especially beneficial import. The king,
however, as I have told thee before, listened not to those counsels.
Unable to obtain peace, the mighty-armed Krishna, that foremost of men,
came back, O monarch, to Upaplavya. Dismissed by Dhritarashtra’s son,
Krishna returned (to the Pandava camp), and upon the failure of his
mission, O tiger among kings, said these words unto the Pandavas, ‘Urged
by Fate, the Kauravas are for disregarding my words! Come, ye sons of
Pandu, with me (to the field of battle), setting out under the
constellation Pushya!’ After this, while the troops (of both sides) were
being mustered and arrayed, the high-souled son of Rohini, that foremost
of all persons endued with might, addressed his brother Krishna, saying,
‘O mighty-armed one, O slayer of Madhu, let us render assistance to the
Kurus!’ Krishna, however, did not listen to those words of his. With
heart filled with rage (at this), that illustrious son of Yadu’s race,
the wielder of the plough then set out on a pilgrimage to the Sarasvati.
Accompanied by all the Yadavas, he set out under the conjunction of the
asterism called Maitra. The Bhoja chief (Kritavarma), however, adopted
the side of Duryodhana. Accompanied by Yuyudhana, Vasudeva adopted that
of the Pandavas. After the heroic son of Rohini had set out under the
constellation Pushya, the slayer of Madhu, placing the Pandavas in his
van, proceeded against the Kurus. While proceeding, Rama ordered his
servants on the way, saying, ‘Bring all things that are necessary for a
pilgrimage, that is, every article of use! Bring the (sacred) fire that
is at Dwaraka, and our priests. Bring gold, silver, kine, robes, steeds,
elephants, cars, mules, camels, and other draft cattle! Bring all these
necessaries for a trip to the sacred waters, and proceed with great speed
towards the Sarasvati! Bring also some priests to be especially employed,
and hundreds of foremost of Brahmanas!’ Having given these orders to the
servants, the mighty Valadeva set out on a pilgrimage at that time of
great calamity to the Kurus. Setting out towards the Sarasvati, he
visited all the sacred places along her course, accompanied by priests,
friends, and many foremost of Brahmanas, as also with cars and elephants
and steeds and servants, O bull of Bharata’s race, and with many vehicles
drawn by kine and mules and camels. Diverse kinds of necessaries of life
were given away in large measure and in diverse countries unto the weary
and worn, children and the old, in response, O king, to solicitations.
Everywhere, O king, Brahmanas were promptly gratified with whatever
viands they desired. At the command of Rohini’s son, men at different
stages of the journey stored food and drink in large quantities. Costly
garments and bedsteads and coverlets were given for the gratification of
Brahmanas, desirous of ease and comfort. Whatever Brahmana or Kshatriya
solicited whatever thing, that O Bharata, it was seen to be ungrudgingly
given to him. All who formed the party proceeded with great happiness and
lived happily. The people (of Valarama’s train) gave away vehicles to
persons desirous of making journeys, drinks to them that were thirsty,
and savoury viands to them that were hungry, as also robes and ornaments,
O bull of Bharata’s race, to many! The road, O king, along which the
party proceeded, looked resplendent, O hero, and was highly comfortable
for all, and resembled heaven itself. There were rejoicings everywhere
upon it, and savoury viands were procurable everywhere. There were shops
and stalls and diverse objects exposed for sale. The whole way was,
besides, crowded with human beings. And it was adorned with various kinds
of trees and creatures, and various kinds of gems. The high-souled
Valadeva, observant of rigid vows, gave away unto the Brahmanas much
wealth and plentiful sacrificial presents, O king, in diverse sacred
spots. That chief of Yadu’s race also gave away thousands of milch kine
covered with excellent cloths and having their horns cased in gold, many
steeds belonging to different countries, many vehicles, and many
beautiful slaves. Even thus did the high-souled Rama give away wealth in
diverse excellent tirthas on the Sarasvati. In course of his wanderings,
that hero of unrivalled power and magnanimous conduct at last came to
Kurukshetra.”

Janamejaya said, “Tell me, O foremost of men, the features, the origin,
and the merits of the several tirthas on the Sarasvati and the ordinances
to be observed while sojourning there! Tell me these, in their order, O
illustrious one! My curiosity is irrepressible, O foremost of all persons
acquainted with Brahma!”

Vaishampayana said, “The subject of the features and origin of all these
tirthas, O king, is very large. I shall, however, describe them to thee.
Listen to that sacred account in its entirety, O king! Accompanied by his
priests and friends, Valadeva first proceeded to the tirtha called
Prabhasa. There, the Lord of the constellations (Soma), who had been
affected with phthisis, became freed from his curse. Regaining energy
there, O king, he now illuminates the universe. And because that foremost
of tirthas on earth had formerly contributed to invest Soma with
splendour (after he had lost it), it is, therefore, called Prabhasa.”

Janamejaya said, “For what reason was the adorable Soma afflicted with
phthisis? How also did he bathe in that tirtha? How did he, having bathed
in that sacred water, regain his energy? Tell me all this in detail, O
great Muni!”

Vaishampayana said, “Daksha had seven and twenty daughters, O king! These
he bestowed (in marriage) upon Soma. Connected with the several
constellations, those wives, O king, of Soma of auspicious deeds, served
to help men in calculating time. Possessed of large eyes, all of them
were unrivalled in beauty in the world. In wealth of beauty, however,
Rohini was the foremost of them all. The adorable Soma took great delight
in her. She became very agreeable to him, and therefore, he enjoyed the
pleasures of her company (exclusively). In those days of yore, O monarch,
Soma lived long with Rohini (exclusively). For this, those other wives of
his, they that were called the constellations, became displeased with
that high-souled one. Repairing speedily to their sire (Daksha), that
Lord of creation, they said unto him, ‘Soma doth not live with us! He
always payeth court to Rohini only! All of us, therefore, O Lord of
creatures, shall dwell by thy side, on regulated diet and observant of
austere penances!’ Hearing these words of theirs, Daksha (saw Soma and)
said unto him, ‘Behave equally towards all thy wives! Let not a great sin
stain thee!’ And Daksha then said unto those daughters of his, ‘Go, all
of you, to the presence of Sasin. At my command, he, (otherwise called)
Candramas, will behave equally towards all of you!’ Dismissed by him,
they then proceeded to the abode of him having cool rays. Still the
adorable Soma, O lord of earth, continued to act as before, for pleased
with Rohini alone, he continued to live with her exclusively. His other
wives then once more came together to their sire and said unto him,
‘Employed in serving thee, we will dwell in thy asylum! Soma does not
live with us and is unmindful of thy commands!’ Hearing these words of
theirs, Daksha once more said unto Soma, ‘Behave equally towards all thy
wives! Let me not, O Virochana, curse thee!’ Disregarding, however, these
words of Daksha, the adorable Soma continued to live with Rohini alone.
At this, his other wives became once more angry. Repairing to their sire,
they bowed unto him by lowering their heads, and said, ‘Soma doth not
live with us! Give us thy protection! The adorable Candramas always lives
with Rohini exclusively! He sets no importance to thy words, and does not
wish to show us any affection! Therefore, save us so that Soma may accept
us all!’ Hearing these words, the adorable Daksha, O king, became angry
and in consequence thereof hurled the curse of phthisis upon Soma. Thus
did that disease overtake the Lord of the stars. Afflicted with phthisis,
Sasin began to waste away day by day. He made many endeavours for freeing
himself from that disease by performing diverse sacrifices, O monarch!
The maker of night, however, could not free himself from that curse. On
the other hand, he continued to endure waste and emaciation. In
consequence, however, of the wasting of Soma, the deciduous herbs failed
to grow. Their juices dried up and they became tasteless, and all of them
became deprived of their virtues. And, in consequence of this decadence
of the deciduous herbs, living creatures also began to decay. Indeed,
owing to the wasting of Soma, all creatures began to be emaciated. Then
all the celestials, coming to Soma, O king, asked him, saying, ‘Why is it
that thy form is not so beautiful and resplendent (as before)? Tell us
the reason whence hath proceeded this great calamity! Hearing thy answer,
we shall do what is needed for dispelling thy fear!’ Thus addressed, the
god having the hare for his mark, replied unto them and informed them of
the cause of the curse and the phthisis with which he was afflicted. The
gods then, having heard those words, repaired to Daksha and said, ‘Be
gratified, O adorable one, with Soma! Let this curse of thine be
withdrawn! Candramas is very emaciated! Only a small portion of him may
be seen! In consequence of his wasting, O Lord of the celestials, all
creatures also are wasting! Creepers and herbs of diverse kinds are also
wasting! In their waste we ourselves also are suffering emaciation!
Without us, what will this universe be? Knowing this, O master of the
universe, it behoveth thee to be gratified (with Soma)!’ Thus addressed
(Daksha), that Lord of creatures, said these words unto the celestials,
‘It is impossible to make my words become otherwise! By some contrivance,
however, ye blessed ones, my words may be withdrawn! Let Sasin always
behave equally towards all his wives! Having bathed also in that foremost
of tirthas on the Sarasvati, the god having the hare for his mark shall,
ye gods, grow once more! These words of mine are true! For half the month
Soma shall wane every day, and for half the month (following) he will wax
every day! These words of mine are true! Proceeding to the western Ocean
at the spot where the Sarasvati mingles with the Ocean, that vast
receptacle of waters, let him adore that God of gods (Mahadeva) there! He
will then regain his form and beauty!’ At this command of the (celestial)
Rishi (Daksha), Soma then proceeded to the Sarasvati. He arrived at that
foremost of tirthas called Prabhasa belonging to the Sarasvati. Bathing
there on the day of the new moon, that god of great energy and great
effulgence got back his cool rays and continued once more to illumine the
worlds. All the creatures also, O monarch, having repaired to Prabhasa,
returned with Soma amongst them to the place where Daksha was. (Receiving
them duly) that Lord of creatures then dismissed them. Pleased with Soma,
the adorable Daksha once more addressed him, saying, ‘Do not, O son,
disregard women, and never disregard Brahmanas! Go and attentively obey
my commands!’ Dismissed by him, Soma came back to his own abode. All
creatures, filled with joy, continued to live as before. I have thus told
thee everything about how the maker of the night had been cursed, and,
how also Prabhasa became the foremost of all tirthas. On every recurring
day of the new moon, O monarch, the god having the hare for his mark
bathes in the excellent tirtha of Prabhasa and regains his form and
beauty. It is for this reason, O lord of earth, that that tirtha is known
by the name of Prabhasa, since bathing there, Candramas regained his
great (Prabha) effulgence. After this, the mighty Baladeva of undecaying
glory proceeded to Chamasodbheda, that is, to that tirtha which is called
by that name. Giving away many costly gifts at that place, the hero
having the plough for his weapon passed one night there and performed his
ablutions duly. The elder brother of Keshava then proceeded quickly to
Udapana. Although the Sarasvati seems to be lost there, yet persons
crowned with ascetic success, in consequence of their obtaining great
merits and great blessedness at that spot, and owing also to the coolness
of the herbs and of the land there, know that the river has an invisible
current, O monarch, through the bowels of the earth there.”

36

Vaishampayana said, “Baladeva (as already said), proceeded next to the
tirtha called Udapana in the Sarasvati, that had formerly been the
residence, O king, of the illustrious (ascetic) Trita. Having given away
much wealth and worshipped the Brahmanas, the hero having the plough for
his weapon bathed there and became filled with joy. Devoted to
righteousness, the great ascetic Trita had lived there. While in a hole,
that high-souled one had drunk the Soma juice. His two brothers, dashing
him down into that pit, had returned to their home. That foremost of
Brahmanas, Trita, had thereupon cursed them both.”

Janamejaya said, “What is the origin of Udapana? How did the great
ascetic (Trita) fall into a pit, there? Why was that foremost of
Brahmanas thrown into that pit by his brothers? How did his brothers,
after throwing him into that hole, return home? How did Trita perform his
sacrifice and how did he drink Soma? Tell me all this, O Brahmana, if
thou thinkest that I may listen to it without impropriety!”

Vaishampayana continued, “In a former Yuga, O king, there were three
brothers that were ascetics. They were called Ekata, Dwita, and Trita,
and all three were endued with effulgence like that of the sun. They were
like Lords of the creation and were blessed with children. Utterers of
Brahma, they had by their penances, acquired the privilege of attaining
to the regions of Brahman (after death). With their penances, vows, and
self-restraint, their sire Gautama, who was ever devoted to virtue,
became highly and always pleased with them. Having obtained great joy in
consequence of his sons, the adorable Gautama, after passing a long life
here, went at last to the region (in the other world) that was fit for
him. Those kings, however, O monarch, that had been the Yajamanas of
Gautama, continued to worship Gautama’s sons after the sire had proceeded
to heaven. Amongst them, however, Trita, by his acts and study (of the
Vedas), O king, became the foremost, even like his sire Gautama. Then all
the highly blessed ascetics, characterised by righteousness, began to
worship Trita as they had worshipped his sire Gautama before him. Once
upon a time, the two brothers Ekata and Dwita thought of performing a
sacrifice and became anxious for wealth. The plan they formed, O scorcher
of foes, was to take Trita with them, and calling upon all their
Yajamanas and collecting the needful number of animals, they would
joyfully drink the Soma juice and acquire the great merits of sacrifice.
The three brothers then, O monarch, did as settled. Calling upon all
their Yajamanas for (obtaining) animals, and assisting them in their
sacrifices and receiving a large number of animals from them, and having
duly accepted them in gift in consequence of those priestly services
which they rendered, those high-souled and great Rishis came towards the
east. Trita, O king, with a cheerful heart was walking before them. Ekata
and Dwita were in his rear, bringing up the animals. Beholding that large
herd of animals, they began to reflect as to how they two could
appropriate that property without giving a share unto Trita. Hear, O
king, what those two sinful wretches, Ekata and Dwita, said while
conversing with each other! They said, ‘Trita is skilled in assisting at
sacrifices. Trita is devoted to the Vedas. Trita is capable of earning
many other kine. Let us two, therefore, go away, taking the kine with us!
Let Trita go whithersoever he chooses, without being in our company!’ As
they proceeded, night came upon them on the way. They then saw a wolf
before them. Not far from that spot was a deep hole on the bank of the
Sarasvati. Trita, who was in advance of his brothers, seeing the wolf,
ran in fright and fell into that hole. That hole was fathomless and
terrible and capable of inspiring all creatures with fear. Then Trita, O
king, that best of ascetics, from within that hole, began to utter wails
of woe. His two brothers heard his cries. Understanding that he had
fallen into a pit, his brothers Ekata and Dwita, moved by fear of the
wolf as also by temptation, went on, deserting their brother. Thus
deserted by his two brothers, who were moved by the temptation of
appropriating those animals, the great ascetic Trita, O king, while
within that lonely well covered with dust and herbs and creepers, thought
himself plunged, O chief of the Bharatas, into hell itself like a sinful
wretch. He feared to die inasmuch as he had not earned the merit of
drinking Soma juice. Possessed of great wisdom, he began to reflect with
the aid of his intelligence as to how he could succeed in drinking Soma
even there. While thinking on that subject, the great ascetic, standing
in that pit, beheld a creeper hanging down into it in course of its
growth. Although the pit was dry, the sage imagined the existence of
water and of sacrificial fires there. Constituting himself the Hotri (in
imagination), the great ascetic imagined the creeper he saw to be the
Soma plant. He then mentally uttered the Richs, the Yayushes and the
Samans (that were necessary for the performance of a sacrifice). The
pebbles (lying at the bottom of the well) Trita converted into grains of
sugar (in imagination). He then, O king, (mentally) performed his
ablutions. He conceived the water (he had imagined) to be clarified
butter. He allotted to the celestials their respective shares (of those
sacrificial offerings). Having next (mentally) drunk Soma, he began to
utter a loud noise. Those sounds, O king, first uttered by the
sacrificing Rishi, penetrated into heaven, and Trita completed that
sacrifice after the manner laid down by utterers of Brahma. During the
progress of that sacrifice of the high-souled Trita, the whole region of
the celestials became agitated. None knew, however, the cause. Brihaspati
(the preceptor of the gods) heard that loud noise (made by Trita). The
priests of the celestials said unto the latter, ‘Trita is performing a
sacrifice. We must go there, ye gods! Endued with great ascetic merit, if
angry, he is competent to create other gods!’ Hearing these words of
Brihaspati, all the gods, united together, repaired to that spot where
the sacrifice of Trita was going on. Having proceeded to that spot, the
gods beheld the high-souled Trita installed in the performance of his
sacrifice. Beholding that high-souled one resplendent with beauty, the
gods addressed him, saying, ‘We have come hither for our shares (in thy
offerings)!’ The Rishi said unto them, ‘Behold me, ye denizens of heaven,
fallen into this terrible well, almost deprived of my senses!’ Then,
Trita, O monarch, duly gave unto them their shares with proper mantras.
The gods took them and became very glad. Having duly obtained their
allotted shares, the denizens of heaven, gratified with him, gave him
such boons as he desired. The boon, however, that he solicited was that
the gods should relieve him from his distressful situation (in the well).
He also said, ‘Let him that bathes in this well, have the end that is
attained by persons that have drunk Soma!’ At these words, O king, the
Sarasvati with her waves appeared within that well. Raised aloft by her,
Trita came up and worshipped the denizens of heaven. The gods then said
unto him ‘Be it as thou wishest!’ All of them, then, O king, went to the
place whence they had come, and Trita, filled with joy, proceeded to his
own abode. Meeting with those two Rishis, his brothers, he became enraged
with them. Possessed of great ascetic merit, he said certain harsh words
unto them and cursed them, saying, ‘Since, moved by covetousness, you ran
away, deserting me, therefore, you shall become fierce wolves with sharp
teeth and range the forest, cursed by me in consequence of that sinful
act of yours! The offspring also that you shall have will consist of
leopards, and bears and apes!’ After Trita had said these words, O
monarch, his two brothers were seen to be very soon transformed into
these shapes in consequence of the words of that truthful sage. Of
immeasurable prowess, Valadeva touched the waters of Udapana. And he gave
away diverse kinds of wealth there and worshipped many Brahmanas.
Beholding Udapana and applauding it repeatedly, Valadeva next proceeded
to Vinasana which also was on the Sarasvati.”

37

Vaishampayana said, “Then Valadeva, O king, proceeded to Vinasana where
the Sarasvati hath become invisible in consequence of her contempt for
Sudras and Abhiras. And since the Sarasvati, in consequence of such
contempt, is lost at that spot, the Rishis, for that reason, O chief of
the Bharatas, always name the place as Vinasana. Having bathed in that
tirtha of the Sarasvati, the mighty Baladeva then proceeded to Subhumika,
situated on the excellent bank of the same river. There many
fair-complexioned Apsaras, of beautiful faces, are always engaged in
sports of a pure character without any intermission. The gods and the
Gandharvas, every month, O ruler of men, repair to that sacred tirtha
which is the resort of Brahman himself. The Gandharvas and diverse tribes
of Apsaras are to be seen there, O king, assembled together and passing
the time as happily as they like. There the gods and the Pitris sport in
joy, with sacred and auspicious flowers repeatedly rained over them, and
all the creepers also were adorned with flowery loads. And because, O
king, that spot is the beautiful sporting ground of those Apsaras,
therefore is that tirtha on the excellent bank of the Sarasvati called
Subhumika. Baladeva of Madhu’s race, having bathed in that tirtha and
given away much wealth unto the Brahmanas, heard the sound of those
celestial songs and musical instruments. He also saw there many shadows
of gods, Gandharvas, and Rakshasas. The son of Rohini then proceeded to
the tirtha of the Gandharvas. There many Gandharvas headed by Viswavasu
and possessed of ascetic merit, pass their time in dance and song of the
most charming kind. Giving away diverse kinds of wealth unto the
Brahmanas, as also goats and sheep and kine and mules and camels and gold
and silver, and feeding many Brahmanas and gratifying them with many
costly gifts that were desired by them. Baladeva of Madhu’s race
proceeded thence, accompanied by many Brahmanas and eulogised by them.
Leaving that tirtha resorted to by Gandharvas, that mighty-armed
chastiser of foes, having but one earring, then proceeded to the famous
tirtha called Gargasrota. There, in that sacred tirtha of the Sarasvati,
the illustrious Garga of venerable years and soul cleansed by ascetic
penances, O Janamejaya, had acquired a knowledge of Time and its course,
of the deviations of luminous bodies (in the firmament), and of all
auspicious and inauspicious portents. That tirtha, for this reason, came
to be called after his name as Gargasrota. There, O king, highly blessed
Rishis of excellent vows always waited upon Garga, O lord, for obtaining
a knowledge of Time. Smeared with white sandal-paste, O king, Baladeva,
repairing to that tirtha, duly gave away wealth unto many ascetics of
cleansed souls. Having given also many kinds of costly viands unto the
Brahmanas, that illustrious one attired in blue robes then proceeded to
the tirtha called Sankha. There, on the bank of the Sarasvati, that
mighty hero having the palmyra on his banner beheld a gigantic tree,
called Mohasankha, tall as Meru, looking like the White-mountain, and
resorted to by Rishis. There dwell Yakshas, and Vidyadharas, and
Rakshasas of immeasurable energy and Pisachas of immeasurable might, and
Siddhas, numbering thousands. All of them, abandoning other kinds of
food, observe vows and regulations, and take at due seasons the fruits of
that lord of the forest for their sustenance and wander in separate
bands, unseen by men, O foremost of human beings! That monarch of the
forest, O king, is known for this throughout the world! That tree is the
cause of this celebrated and sacred tirtha on the Sarasvati. Having given
away in that tirtha many milch cows, and vessels of copper and iron, and
diverse kinds of other vessels, that tiger of Yadu’s race, Baladeva,
having the plough for his weapon, worshipped the Brahmanas and was
worshipped by them in return. He then, O king, proceeded to the Dwaita
lake. Arrived there, Vala saw diverse kinds of ascetics in diverse kinds
of attire. Bathing in its waters, he worshipped the Brahmanas. Having
given away unto the Brahmanas diverse articles of enjoyment in profusion,
Baladeva then, O king, proceeded along the southern bank of the
Sarasvati. The mighty-armed and illustrious Rama of virtuous soul and
unfading glory then proceeded to the tirtha called Nagadhanwana. Swarming
with numerous snakes, O monarch, it was the abode of Vasuki of great
splendour, the king of the snakes. There 14,000 Rishis also had their
permanent home. The celestials, having come there (in days of yore), had
according to due rites, installed the excellent snake Vasuki as king of
all the snakes. There is no fear of snakes in that place, O thou of
Kuru’s race! Duly giving away many valuables there unto the Brahmanas,
Baladeva then set out with face towards the east and reached, one after
another, hundreds and thousands of famous tirthas that occurred at every
step. Bathing in all those tirthas, and observing fasts and other vows as
directed by the Rishis, and giving away wealth in profusion, and saluting
all the ascetics who had taken up their residence there, Baladeva once
more set out, along the way that those ascetics pointed out to him, for
reaching that spot where the Sarasvati turns in an eastward direction,
like torrents of rain bent by the action of the wind. The river took that
course for beholding the high-souled Rishis dwelling in the forest of
Naimisha. Always smeared with white sandalpaste, Vala, having the plough
for his weapon, beholding that foremost of rivers change her course,
became, O king, filled with wonder.”

Janamejaya said, “Why, O Brahmana, did the Sarasvati bend her course
there in an easternly direction? O best of Adharyus, it behoveth thee to
tell me everything relating to this! For what reason was that daughter of
the Yadus filled with wonder? Why, indeed, did that foremost of rivers
thus alter her course?”

Vaishampayana said, “Formerly, in the Krita age, O king, the ascetics
dwelling in Naimisha were engaged in a grand sacrifice extending for
twelve years. Many were the Rishis, O king, that came to that sacrifice.
Passing their days, according to due rites, in the performance of that
sacrifice, those highly blessed ones, after the completion of that twelve
years’ sacrifice at Naimisha, set out in large number for visiting the
tirthas. In consequence of the number of the Rishis, O king, the tirthas
on the southern banks of the Sarasvati all looked like towns and cities.
Those foremost of Brahmanas, O tiger among men, in consequence of their
eagerness for enjoying the merits of tirthas, took up their abodes on the
bank of the river up to the site of Samantapanchaka. The whole region
seemed to resound with the loud Vedic recitations of those Rishis of
cleansed souls, all employed in pouring libations on sacrificial fires.
That foremost of rivers looked exceedingly beautiful with those blazing
homa fires all around, over which those high-souled ascetics poured
libations of clarified butter. Valkhilyas and Asmakuttas,
Dantolakhalinas, Samprakshanas and other ascetics, as also those that
subsisted on air, and those that lived on water, and those that lived on
dry leaves of trees, and diverse others that were observant of diverse
kinds of vows, and those that forswore beds for the bare and hard earth,
all came to that spot in the vicinity of the Sarasvati. And they made
that foremost of rivers exceedingly beautiful, like the celestials
beautifying (with their presence) the heavenly stream called Mandakini.
Hundreds upon hundreds of Rishis, all given to the observance of
sacrifices, came thither. Those practisers of high vows, however, failed
to find sufficient room on the banks of the Sarasvati. Measuring small
plots of land with their sacred threads, they performed their Agnihotras
and diverse other rites. The river Sarasvati beheld, O monarch, that
large body of Rishis penetrated with despair and plunged into anxiety for
want of a broad tirtha wherein to perform their rites. For their sake,
that foremost of streams came there, having made many abodes for herself
in that spot, through kindness for those Rishis of sacred penances, O
Janamejaya! Having thus, O monarch, turned her course for their sake, the
Sarasvati, that foremost of rivers, once more flowed in a westerly
direction, as if she said, ‘I must go hence, having prevented the arrival
of these Rishis from becoming futile!’ This wonderful feat, O king, was
accomplished there by that great river. Even thus those receptacles of
water, O king, were formed in Naimisha. There, at Kurukshetra, O foremost
of Kuru’s care, do thou perform grand sacrifices and rites! As he beheld
those many receptacles of water and seeing that foremost of rivers turn
her course, wonder filled the heart of the high-souled Rama. Bathing in
those tirthas duly and giving away wealth and diverse articles of
enjoyment unto the Brahmanas, that delighter of Yadu’s race also gave
away diverse kinds of food and diverse desirable articles unto them.
Worshipped by those regenerate ones, Vala, O king, then set out from that
foremost of all tirthas on the Sarasvati (Sapta-Saraswat). Numerous
feathery creatures have their home there. And it abounded with Vadari,
Inguda, Ksamarya, Plaksha, Aswattha, Vibhitaka, Kakkola, Palasa, Karira,
Pilu, and diverse other kinds of trees that grow on the banks of the
Sarasvati. And it was adorned with forest of Karushakas, Vilwas, and
Amratakas, and Atimuktas and Kashandas and Parijatas. Agreeable to the
sight and most charming, it abounded with forests of plantains. And it
was resorted to by diverse tribes of ascetics, some living on air, some
on water, some on fruit, some on leaves, some on raw grain which they
husked with the aid only of stones, and some that were called Vaneyas.
And it resounded with the chanting of the Vedas, and teemed with diverse
kinds of animals. And it was the favourite abode of men without malice
and devoted to righteousness. Valadeva, having the plough for his weapon,
arrived at that tirtha called Sapta-Saraswat, where the great ascetic
Mankanaka had performed his penances and became crowned with success.”

38

Janamejaya said, “Why was that tirtha called Sapta-Saraswat? Who was the
ascetic Mankanaka? How did that adorable one become crowned with success?
What were his vows and observances? In whose race was he born? What books
did that best of regenerate ones study? I desire to hear all this, O
foremost of regenerate ones!”

Vaishampayana said, “O king, the seven Sarasvatis cover this universe!
Whithersoever the Sarasvati was summoned by persons of great energy,
thither she made her appearance. These are the seven forms of the
Sarasvati: Suprava, Kanchanakshi, Visala, Manorama, Oghavati, Surenu, and
Vimalodaka. The Supreme Grandsire had at one time performed a great
sacrifice. While that sacrifice was in course of performance on the
ground selected, many regenerate ones crowned with ascetic success came
there. The spot resounded with the recitation of sacred hymns and the
chanting of the Vedas. In the matter of those sacrificial rites, the very
gods lost their coolness (so grand were the preparations). There, O
monarch, while the Grandsire was installed in the sacrifice and was
performing the grand ceremony capable of bestowing prosperity and every
wish, many notable ones conversant with righteousness and profit were
present. As soon as they thought of the articles of which they stood in
need, these, O monarch, immediately appeared before the regenerate ones
(among the guests) that came there. The Gandharvas sang and the diverse
tribes of Apsaras danced. And they played upon many celestial instruments
all the time. The wealth of provisions procured in that sacrifice
satisfied the very gods. What shall I say then of human beings? The very
celestials became filled with wonder! During the continuance of that
sacrifice at Pushkara and in the presence of the Grandsire, the Rishis, O
king, said, ‘This sacrifice cannot be said to possess high attributes,
since that foremost of rivers, Sarasvati, is not to be seen here!’
Hearing these words, the divine Brahman cheerfully thought of Sarasvati.
Summoned at Pushkara by the Grandsire engaged in the performance of a
sacrifice, Sarasvati, O king, appeared there, under the name of Suprava.
Beholding Sarasvati quickly pay that regard to the Grandsire, the Munis
esteemed that sacrifice highly. Even thus that foremost of rivers, the
Sarasvati, made her appearance at Pushkara for the sake of the Grandsire
and for gratifying the Munis. (At another time), O king, many Munis,
mustering together at Naimisha, took up their residence there. Delightful
disquisition occurred among them, O king, about the Vedas. There where
those Munis, conversant with diverse scriptures, took up their abode,
there they thought of the Sarasvati. Thus thought of, O monarch, by those
Rishis performing a sacrifice, the highly blessed and sacred Sarasvati,
for rendering assistance, O king, to those high-souled Munis assembled
together, made her appearance at Naimisha and came to be called
Kanchanakshi. That foremost of rivers, worshipped by all, thus came
there, O Bharata! While (king) Gaya was engaged in the performance of a
great sacrifice at Gaya, the foremost of rivers, Sarasvati, summoned at
Gaya’s sacrifice (made her appearance there). The Rishis of rigid vows
that were there, named this form of hers at Gaya as Visala. That river of
swift current flows from the sides of the Himavat. Auddalaka had also, O
Bharata, performed a sacrifice. A large concourse of Munis had been
gathered there. It was on that sacred region, the northern part of
Kosala, O king, that the sacrifice of high-souled Auddalaka was
performed. Before Auddalaka began his sacrifice, he had thought of the
Sarasvati. That foremost of rivers came to that region for the sake of
those Rishis. Worshipped by all those Munis clad in barks and deer-skins
she became known by the name of Manorama, as those Rishis mentally called
her. While, again, the high-souled Kuru was engaged in a sacrifice at
Kurukshetra, that foremost of rivers, the highly blessed Sarasvati, made
her appearance there. Summoned, O monarch, by the high-souled Vasishtha
(who assisted Kuru in his sacrifice), the Sarasvati, full of celestial
water appeared at Kurukshetra under the name of Oghavati. Daksha at one
time performed a sacrifice at the source of Ganga. The Sarasvati appeared
there under the name of the fast-flowing Surenu. Once again, while
Brahman was engaged in a sacrifice on the sacred forest of the Himavat
mountains, the adorable Sarasvati, summoned (by him), appeared there. All
these seven forms then came and joined together in that tirtha where
Baladeva came. And because the seven mingled together at that spot,
therefore is that tirtha known on Earth by the name of Sapta Sarasvati.
Thus have I told thee of the seven Sarasvatis, according to their names.
I have also told thee of the sacred tirtha called Sapta Saraswat. Listen
now to a great feat of Mankanaka, who had from his youth led the life of
a brahmacari. While employed in performing his ablutions in the river, he
beheld (one day), O Bharata, a woman of faultless limbs and fair brows,
bathing in the river at will, her person uncovered. At this sight, O
monarch, the vital seed of the Rishi fell unto the Sarasvati. The great
ascetic took it up and placed it within his earthen pot. Kept within that
vessel, the fluid became divided into seven parts. From those seven
portions were born seven Rishis from whom sprang the (nine and forty)
Maruts. The seven Rishis were named Vayuvega, Vayuhan, Vayumandala,
Vayujata, Vayuretas, and Vayuchakra of great energy. Thus were born these
progenitors of the diverse Maruts. Hear now a more wonderful thing, O
king, a fact exceedingly marvellous on Earth, about the conduct of the
great Rishi, which is well known in the three worlds. In days of yore,
after Mankanaka had become crowned with success, O king, his hand, on one
occasion, became pierced with a Kusa blade. Thereupon, a vegetable juice
came out of the wound (and not red blood). Seeing that vegetable juice,
the Rishi became filled with joy and danced about on the spot. Seeing him
dance, all mobile and immobile creatures, O hero, stupefied by his
energy, began to dance. Then the gods with Brahman at their head, and the
Rishis possessed of wealth of asceticism, O king, all went to Mahadeva
and informed him of the act of the Rishi (Mankanaka). And they said unto
him, ‘It behoveth thee, O god, to do that which may prevent the Rishi
from dancing!’ Then Mahadeva, seeing the Rishi filled with great joy, and
moved by the desire of doing good unto the gods, addressed him, saying,
‘Why, O Brahmana, dost thou dance in this way, acquainted as thou art
with thy duties? What grave cause is there for such joy of thine, O sage,
that, an ascetic as thou art, O best of Brahmanas, and walking as thou
dost along the path of virtue, thou shouldst act in this way?’

“The Rishi said, ‘Why, seest thou not, O Brahmana, that a vegetable juice
is flowing from this wound of mine? Seeing this, O lord, I am dancing in
great joy!’ Laughing at the Rishi who was stupefied by passion, the god
said, ‘I do not, O Brahmana, at all wonder at this! Behold me!’ Having
said this unto that foremost of Rishis, Mahadeva of great intelligence
struck his thumb with the end of one of his fingers. Thereupon, O king,
ashes, white as snow, came out of that wound. Seeing this, the Rishi
became ashamed, O monarch, and fell at the feet of the god. He understood
the god to be none else than Mahadeva. Filled with wonder, he said, ‘I do
not think that thou art any one else than Rudra, that great and Supreme
being! O wielder of the trident, thou art the refuge of this universe
consisting of gods and Asuras! The wise say that this universe hath been
created by thee! At the universal destruction, everything once more
enters thee! Thou art incapable of being known by the gods, how then
canst thou be known by me? All forms of being that are in the universe
are seen in thee! The gods with Brahman at their head worship thy boon
giving self, O sinless one! Thou art everything! Thou art the creator of
the gods and it was thou who hadst caused them to be created! Through thy
grace, the gods pass their time in joy and perfect fearlessness!’ Having
praised Mahadeva in this manner, the Rishi bowed to him, ‘Let not this
absence of gravity, ridiculous in the extreme, that I displayed, O god,
destroy my ascetic merit! I pray to thee for this!’ The god, with a
cheerful heart, once more said unto him ‘Let thy asceticism increase a
thousandfold, O Brahmana, through my grace! I shall also always dwell
with thee in this asylum! For the man that will worship me in the tirtha
Sapta-Saraswat there will be nothing unattainable here or hereafter.
Without doubt, such a one shall go to the region called Saraswat (in
heaven) after death!’ Even this is the history of Mankanaka of abundant
energy. He was a son begotten by the god of wind upon (the lady) Sukanya.”

39

Vaishampayana said, “Having passed one night more, Rama, having the
plough for his weapon, worshipped the dwellers of that tirtha and showed
his regard for Mankanaka. Having given wealth unto the Brahmanas, and
passed the night there, the hero having the plough for his weapon was
worshipped by the Munis. Rising up in the morning, he took leave of all
the ascetics, and having touched the sacred water, O Bharata, set out
quickly for other tirthas. Baladeva then went to the tirtha known by the
name of Usanas. It is also called Kapalamochana. Formerly, Rama (the son
of Dasaratha) slew a Rakshasa and hurled his head to a great distance.
That head, O king, fell upon the thigh of a great sage named Mahodara and
struck to it. Bathing in this tirtha, the great Rishi became freed from
the burthen. The high-souled Kavi (Sukra) had performed his ascetic
penances there. It was there that the whole science of politics and
morals (that goes by Sukra’s name) appeared to him by inward light. While
residing there, Sukra meditated upon the war of the Daityas and the
Danavas (with the gods). Arrived at that foremost of tirthas, Baladeva, O
king, duly made presents unto the high-souled Brahmanas.’

Janamejaya said, “Why is it called Kapalamochana, where the great Muni
became freed (from the Rakshasa’s head)? For what reason and how did that
head stick unto him?”

Vaishampayana said, “Formerly, O tiger among kings, the high-souled Rama
(the son of Dasaratha) lived (for some time) in the forest of Dandaka,
from desire of slaying the Rakshasas. At Janasthana he cut off the head
of a wicked-souled Rakshasa with a razor-headed shaft of great sharpness.
That head fell in the deep forest. That head, coursing at will (through
the welkin) fell upon the thigh of Mahodara while the latter was
wandering through the woods. Piercing his thigh, O king, it struck to it
and remained there. In consequence of that head thus sticking to his
thigh, the Brahmana (Mahodara) of great wisdom could not (with ease)
proceed to tirthas and other sacred spots. Afflicted with great pain and
with putrid matter flowing from his thigh, he went to all the tirthas of
the Earth (one after another), as heard by us. He went to all the rivers
and to the ocean also. (Not finding any relief) the great ascetic spoke
of his sufferings to many Rishis of cleansed souls about his having
bathed in all the tirthas without having found the relief he sought. That
foremost of Brahmanas then heard from those sages words of high import
about this foremost of tirthas situate on the Sarasvati, and known by the
name of Usanasa, which was represented as competent to cleanse from every
sin and as an excellent spot for attaining to (ascetic) success. That
Brahmana, then, repairing to that Usanasa tirtha, bathed in its waters.
Upon this, the Rakshasa’s head, leaving the thigh, fell into the water.
Freed from that (dead) head, the Rishi felt great happiness. As regards
the head itself, it was lost in the waters. Mahodara then, O king, freed
from the Rakshasa’s head, cheerfully returned, with cleansed soul and all
his sins washed away, to his asylum after achieving success. The great
ascetic thus freed, after returning to his sacred asylum, spoke of what
had happened to those Rishis of cleansed souls. The assembled Rishis,
having heard his words, bestowed the name of Kapalamochana on the tirtha.
The great Rishi Mahodara, repairing once more to that foremost of
tirthas, drank its water and attained to great ascetic success. He of
Madhu’s race, having given away much wealth unto the Brahmanas and
worshipped them, then proceeded to the asylum of Rushangu. There, O
Bharata, Arshtishena had in former days undergone the austerest of
penances. There the great Muni Vishvamitra (who had before been a
Kshatriya) became a Brahmana. That great asylum is capable of granting
the fruition of every wish. It is always, O lord, the abode of Munis and
Brahmanas. Baladeva of great beauty, surrounded by Brahmanas, then went
to that spot, O monarch, where Rushangu had, in former days, cast off his
body. Rushangu, O Bharata, was an old Brahmana, who was always devoted to
ascetic penances. Resolved to cast off his body, he reflected for a long
while. Endued with great ascetic merit, he then summoned all his sons and
told them to take him to a spot where water was abundant. Those ascetics,
knowing their sire had become very old, took that ascetic to a tirtha on
the Sarasvati. Brought by his sons to the sacred Sarasvati containing
hundreds of tirthas and on whose banks dwelt Rishis unconnected with the
world, that intelligent ascetic of austere penance bathed in that tirtha
according to due rites, and that foremost of Rishis conversant with the
merits of tirthas, then cheerfully said, O tiger among men, unto all his
sons, who were dutifully waiting upon him, these words, ‘He that would
cast off his body on the northern bank of the Sarasvati containing much
water, while employed in mentally reciting sacred mantras, would never
again be afflicted with death!’ The righteoussouled Baladeva, touching
the water of that tirtha and bathing in it, gave considerable wealth unto
the Brahmanas, being devoted to them. Possessed of great might and great
prowess Baladeva then proceeded to that tirtha where the adorable
Grandsire had created the mountains called Lokaloka, where that foremost
of Rishis, Arshtishena of rigid vows, O thou of Kuru’s race, had by
austere penances acquired the status of Brahmanhood, where the royal sage
Sindhudwipa, and the great ascetic Devapi, and the adorable and
illustrious Muni Vishvamitra of austere penances and fierce energy, had
all acquired a similar status.”

40

Janamejaya said, “Why did the adorable Arshtishena undergo the austerest
of penances? How also did Sindhudwipa acquire the status of a Brahmana?
How also did Devapi, O Brahmana, and how Vishvamitra, O best of men,
acquire the same status? Tell me all this, O adorable one! Great is my
curiosity to listen to all these.”

Vaishampayana said, “Formerly, in the Krita age, O king, there was a
foremost of regenerate persons called Arshtishena. Residing in his
preceptor’s house, he attended to his lessons every day. Although, O
king, he resided long in the abode of his preceptor, he could not still
acquire the mastery of any branch of knowledge or of the Vedas. O
monarch! In great disappointment, O king, the great ascetic performed
very austere penances. By his penances he then acquired the mastery of
the Vedas, to which there is nothing superior. Acquiring great learning
and a mastery of the Vedas, that foremost of Rishis became crowned with
success in that tirtha. He then bestowed three boons on that place. (He
said), ‘From this day, a person, by bathing in this tirtha of the great
river (Sarasvati), shall obtain the great fruit of a horse sacrifice!
From this day there will be no fear in this tirtha from snakes and wild
beasts! By small exertions, again, one shall attain to great result
here!’ Having said these words, that Muni of great energy proceeded to
heaven. Even thus the adorable Arshtishena of great energy became crowned
with success. In that very tirtha in the Krita age, Sindhudwipa of great
energy, and Devapi also, O monarch, had acquired the high status of
Brahmanhood. Similarly Kusika’s son, devoted to ascetic penances and with
his senses under control, acquired the status of Brahmanhood by
practising well-directed austerities. There was a great Kshatriya,
celebrated over the world, known by the name of Gadhi. He had a son born
to him, of the name of Vishvamitra of great prowess. King Kausika became
a great ascetic. Possessed of great ascetic merit, he wished to install
his son Vishvamitra on his throne, himself having resolved to cast off
his body. His subjects, bowing unto him, said, ‘Thou shouldst not go
away, O thou of great wisdom, but do thou protect us from a great fear!’
Thus addressed, Gadhi replied unto his subjects, saying, ‘My son will
become the protector of the wide universe!’ Having said these words, and
placed Vishvamitra (on the throne), Gadhi, O king, went to heaven, and
Vishvamitra became king. He could not, however, protect the earth with
even his best exertions. The king then heard of the existence of a great
fear of Rakshasas (in his kingdom). With his four kinds of forces, he
went out of his capital. Having proceeded far on his way, he reached the
asylum of Vasishtha. His troops, O king, caused much mischief there. The
adorable Brahmana Vasishtha, when he came to his asylum, saw the
extensive woods in course of destruction. That best of Rishis, Vasishtha,
O king, became angry, O monarch, with Vishvamitra. He commanded his own
(homa) cow, saying, ‘Create a number of terrible Savaras!’ Thus
addressed, the cow created a swarm of men of frightful visages. These
encountered the army of Vishvamitra and began to cause a great carnage
everywhere. Seeing this, his troops fled away. Vishvamitra, the son of
Gadhi, however, regarding ascetic austerities highly efficacious, set his
heart upon them. In this foremost of tirthas of the Sarasvati, O king, he
began to emaciate his own body by means of vows and fasts with fixed
resolve. He made water and air and (the fallen) leaves of trees his food.
He slept on the bare ground, and observed other vows (enjoined for
ascetics). The gods made repeated attempts for impeding him in the
observance of his vows. His heart, however, never swerved from the vows
(he had proposed to himself). Then, having practised diverse kinds of
austerities with great devotion, the son of Gadhi became like the Sun
himself in effulgence. The boon-giving Grandsire, of great energy,
resolved to grant Vishvamitra, when he had become endued with ascetic
merit, the boon the latter desired. The boon that Vishvamitra solicited
was that he should be permitted to become a Brahmana. Brahma the
Grandsire of all the worlds, said unto him, ‘So be it.’ Having by his
austere penances acquired the status of Brahmanhood, the illustrious
Vishvamitra, after the attainment of his wish, wandered over the whole
Earth like a celestial. Giving away diverse kinds of wealth in that
foremost of tirthas, Rama also cheerfully gave away milch cows and
vehicles and beds, ornaments, and food and drink of the best kinds, O
king, unto many foremost of Brahmanas, after having worshipped them duly.
Then, O king, Rama proceeded to the asylum of Vaka which was not very
distant from where he was, that asylum in which, as heard by us, Dalvya
Vaka had practised the austerest of penances.”

41

Vaishampayana said, “The delighter of the Yadus then proceeded to the
asylum (of Vaka) which resounded with the chanting of the Vedas. There
the great ascetic, O king, named Dalvyavaka poured the kingdom of
Dhritarashtra, the son of Vichitravirya, as a libation (on the
sacrificial fire). By practising very austere penances he emaciated his
own body. Endued with great energy, the virtuous Rishi, filled with great
wrath, (did that act). In former times, the Rishis residing in the
Naimisha forest had performed a sacrifice extending for twelve years. In
course of that sacrifice, after a particular one called Viswajit had been
completed, the Rishis set out for the country of the Pancalas. Arrived
there, they solicited the king for giving them one and twenty strong and
healthy calves to be given away as Dakshina (in the sacrifice they have
completed). Dalvya Vaka, however, (calling those Rishis), said unto them,
‘Do you divide those animals (of mine) among you! Giving away these (unto
you), I shall solicit a great king (for some).’ Having said so unto all
those Rishis, Vaka of great energy, that best of Brahmanas, then
proceeded to the abode of Dhritarashtra. Arrived at the presence of king
Dhritarashtra, Dalvya begged some animals of him. That best of kings,
however, seeing that some of his kine died without any cause, angrily
said unto him. ‘Wretch of a Brahmana, take, if thou likest, these animals
that (are dead)!’ Hearing these words, the Rishi, conversant with duties,
thought, ‘Alas, cruel are the words that have been addressed to me in the
assembly!’ Having reflected in this strain, that best of Brahmanas,
filled with wrath, set his heart upon the destruction of king
Dhritarashtra. Cutting the flesh from off the dead animals, that best of
sages, having ignited a (sacrificial) fire on the tirtha of the
Sarasvati, poured those pieces as libations for the destruction of king
Dhritarashtra’s kingdom. Observant of rigid vows, the great Dalvya Vaka,
O monarch, poured Dhritarashtra’s kingdom as a libation on the fire, with
the aid of those pieces of meat. Upon the commencement of that fierce
sacrifice according to due rites, the kingdom of Dhritarashtra, O
monarch, began to waste away. Indeed, O lord, the kingdom of that monarch
began to waste away, even as a large forest begins to disappear when men
proceed to cut it down with the axe. Overtaken by calamities, the kingdom
began to lose its prosperity and life. Seeing his kingdom thus afflicted,
the puissant monarch, O king, became very cheerless and thoughtful.
Consulting with the Brahmanas, he began to make great endeavours for
freeing his territories (from affliction). No good, however, came of his
efforts, for the kingdom continued to waste away. The king became very
cheerless. The Brahmanas also, O sinless one, became filled with grief.
When at last the king failed to save his kingdom, he asked his
counsellors. O Janamejaya, (about the remedy). The counsellors reminded
him of the evil he had done in connection with the dead kine. And they
said, ‘The sage Vaka is pouring thy kingdom as a libation on the fire
with the aid of the flesh (of those animals). Thence is this great waste
of thy kingdom! This is the consequence of ascetic rites. Thence is this
great calamity! Go, O king, and gratify that Rishi by the side of a
receptacle of water on the bank of the Sarasvati!’ Repairing to the bank
of the Sarasvati, the king falling at his feet and touching them with his
head, joined his hands and said, O thou of Bharata’s race, these words,
‘I gratify thee, O adorable one, forgive my offence. I am a senseless
fool, a wretch inspired with avarice. Thou art my refuge, thou art my
protector, it behoveth thee to show me thy grace!’ Beholding him thus
overwhelmed with grief and indulging in lamentations like these, Vaka
felt compassion for him and freed his kingdom. The Rishi became gratified
with him, having dismissed his angry feelings. For freeing his kingdom,
the sage again poured libations on the fire. Having freed the kingdom
(from calamities) and taken many animals in grief, he became pleased at
heart and once more proceeded to the Naimisha woods. The liberal-minded
king Dhritarashtra also, of righteous soul, with a cheerful heart,
returned to his own capital full of prosperity.

“In that tirtha, Brihaspati also, of great intelligence, for the
destruction of the Asuras and the prosperity of the denizens of heaven,
poured libations on the sacrificial fire, with the aid of flesh. Upon
this, the Asuras began to waste away and were destroyed by the gods,
inspired by desire of victory in battle. Having with due rites given unto
the Brahmanas steeds and elephants and vehicles with mules yoked unto
them and jewels of great value and much wealth, and much corn, the
illustrious and mighty-armed Rama then proceeded, O king, to the tirtha
called Yayata. There, O monarch, at the sacrifice of the high-souled
Yayati, the son of Nahusha, the Sarasvati produced milk and clarified
butter. That tiger among men, king Yayati, having performed a sacrifice
there, went cheerfully to heaven and obtained many regions of
blessedness. Once again, O lord, king Yayati performed a sacrifice there.
Beholding his great magnanimity of soul and his immutable devotion to
herself, the river Sarasvati gave unto the Brahamanas (invited to that
sacrifice) everything for which each of them cherished only a wish in his
heart. That foremost of rivers gave unto each where he was, amongst those
that were invited to the sacrifice, houses and beds and food of the six
different kinds of taste, and diverse other kinds of things. The
Brahmanas regarded those valuable gifts as made to them by the king.
Cheerfully they praised the monarch and bestowed their auspicious
blessings upon him. The gods and the Gandharvas were all pleased with the
profusion of articles in that sacrifice. As regards human beings, they
were filled with wonder at sight of that profusion. The illustrious
Baladeva, of soul subdued and restrained and cleansed, having the palmyra
on his banner, distinguished by great righteousness, and ever giving away
the most valuable things, then proceeded to that tirtha of fierce current
called Vasishthapavaha.”

42

Janamejaya said, “Why is the current of (the tirtha known by the name of)
Vasishthapavaha so rapid? For what reason did the foremost of rivers bear
away Vasishtha? What, O lord, was the cause of the dispute between
Vasishtha and Vishvamitra? Questioned by me, O thou of great wisdom, tell
me all this! I am never satiated with hearing thee!”

Vaishampayana said, “A great enmity arose between Vishvamitra and
Vasishtha, O Bharata, due to their rivalry in respect of ascetic
austerities. The high abode of Vasishtha was in the tirtha called Sthanu
on the eastern bank of the Sarasvati. On the opposite bank was the asylum
of the intelligent Vishvamitra. There, in that tirtha, O monarch, Sthanu
(Mahadeva) had practised the austerest penances. Sages still speak of
those fierce feats. Having performed a sacrifice there and worshipped the
river Sarasvati, Sthanu established that tirtha there. Hence it is known
by the name Sthanu-tirtha, O lord. In that tirtha, the celestials had, in
days of yore, O king, installed Skanda, that slayer of the enemies of the
gods, in the supreme command of their army. Unto that tirtha of the
Sarasvati, the great Rishi Vishvamitra, by the aid of his austere
penances, brought Vasishtha. Listen to that history. The two ascetics
Vishvamitra and Vasishtha, O Bharata, every day challenged each other
very earnestly in respect of the superiority of their penances. The great
Muni Vishvamitra, burning (with jealousy) at sight of the energy of
Vasishtha, began to reflect on the matter. Though devoted to the
performance of his duties, this, however, is the resolution, O Bharata,
that he formed: ‘This Sarasvati shall quickly bring, by force of her
current, that foremost of ascetics, Vasishtha, to my presence. After he
shall have been brought hither, I shall, without doubt, slay that
foremost of regenerate ones.’ Having settled this, the illustrious and
great Rishi Vishvamitra with eyes red in wrath, thought of that foremost
of rivers. Thus remembered by the ascetic, she became exceedingly
agitated. The fair lady, however, repaired to that Rishi of great energy
and great wrath. Pale and trembling, Sarasvati, with joined hands
appeared before that foremost of sages. Indeed, the lady was much
afflicted with grief, even like a woman who has lost her mighty lord. And
she said unto that best of sages, ‘Tell me what is there that I shall do
for thee.’ Filled with rage, the ascetic said unto her, ‘Bring hither
Vasishtha without delay, so that I may slay him.’ Hearing these words the
river became agitated. With joined hands the lotus-eyed lady began to
tremble exceedingly in fear like a creeper shaken by the wind. Beholding
the great river in that plight, the ascetic said unto her, ‘Without any
scruple, bring Vasishtha unto my presence!’ Hearing these words of his,
and knowing the evil he intended to do, and acquainted also with the
prowess of Vasishtha that was unrivalled on earth, she repaired to
Vasishtha and informed him of what the intelligent Vishvamitra had said
unto her. Fearing the curse of both, she trembled repeatedly. Indeed, her
heart was on the grievous curse (that either of them might pronounce on
her). She stood in terror of both. Seeing her pale and plunged in
anxiety, the righteous-souled Vasishtha, that foremost of men, O king,
said these words unto her.

“Vasishtha said, ‘O foremost of rivers, save thyself! O thou of rapid
current, bear me away, otherwise Vishvamitra will curse thee. Do not feel
any scruple.’ Hearing these words of that compassionate Rishi, the river
began to think, O Kauravya, as to what course would be best for her to
follow. Even these were the thoughts that arose in her mind: ‘Vasishtha
showeth great compassion for me. It is proper for me that I should serve
him.’ Beholding then that best of Rishis, (Vasishtha) engaged in silent
recitation (of mantras) on her bank, and seeing Kusika’s son
(Vishvamitra) also engaged in homa, Sarasvati thought, ‘Even this is my
opportunity.’ Then that foremost of rivers, by her current, washed away
one of her banks. In washing away that bank, she bore Vasishtha away.
While being borne away, O king, Vasishtha praised the river in these
words: ‘From the Grandsire’s (manasa) lake thou hast taken thy rise, O
Sarasvati! This whole universe is filled with thy excellent waters!
Wending through the firmament, O goddess, thou impartest thy waters to
the clouds! All the waters are thee! Through thee we exercise our
thinking faculties! Thou art Pushti and Dyuti, Kirti, and Siddhi and Uma!
Thou art Speech, and thou art Svaha! This whole universe is dependent on
thee! It is thou that dwellest in all creatures, in four forms!’ Thus
praised by that great Rishi, Sarasvati, O king, speedily bore that
Brahmana towards the asylum of Vishvamitra and repeatedly represented
unto the latter the arrival of the former. Beholding Vasishtha thus
brought before him by Sarasvati, Vishvamitra, filled with rage, began to
look for a weapon wherewith to slay that brahmana. Seeing him filled with
wrath, the river from fear of (witnessing and aiding in) a brahmana’s
slaughter, quickly bore Vasishtha away to her eastern bank once more. She
thus obeyed the words of both, although she deceived the son of Gadhi by
her act. Seeing that best of Rishis, Vasishtha, borne away, the
vindictive Vishvamitra, filled with wrath, addressed Sarasvati. saying,
‘Since, O foremost of rivers, thou hast gone away, having deceived me,
let thy current be changed into blood that is acceptable to Rakshasas.’
Then, cursed by the intelligent Vishvamitra, Sarasvati flowed for a whole
year, bearing blood mixed with water. The gods, the Gandharvas, and the
Apsaras, beholding the Sarasvati reduced to that plight, became filled
with great sorrow. For this reason, O king, the tirtha came to be called
Vasishthapravaha on earth. The foremost of rivers, however, once more got
back her own proper condition.”

43

Vaishampayana said, “Cursed by the intelligent Vishvamitra in anger,
Sarasvati, in that auspicious and best of tirthas, flowed, bearing blood
in her current. Then, O king, many Rakshasas came, O Bharata, and lived
happily there, drinking the blood that flowed. Exceedingly gratified with
that blood, cheerfully and without anxiety of any kind, they danced and
laughed there like persons that have (by merit) attained to heaven. After
some time had passed away, some Rishis, possessed of wealth of
asceticism, came to the Sarasvati, O king, on a sojourn to her tirthas.
Those foremost of Munis, having bathed in all the tirthas and obtained
great happiness, became desirous of acquiring more merit. Those learned
persons at last came, O king, to that tirtha where the Sarasvati ran a
bloody current. Those highly blessed ones, arriving at that frightful
tirtha, saw the water of the Sarasvati mixed with blood and that
innumerable Rakshasas, O monarch, were drinking it. Beholding those
Rakshasas, O king, those ascetics of rigid vows made great endeavours for
rescuing the Sarasvati from that plight. Those blessed ones of high vows,
arrived there, invoked that foremost of rivers and said these words unto
her, ‘Tell us the reason, O auspicious lady, why this lake in thee hath
been afflicted with such distress Hearing it, we shall endeavour (to
restore it to its proper condition).’ Thus questioned, Sarasvati,
trembling as she spoke, informed them of everything that had occurred.
Seeing her afflicted with woe, those ascetics said, ‘We have heard the
reason. We have heard of thy curse, O sinless lady! All of us shall exert
ourselves!’ Having said these words unto that foremost of rivers, they
then consulted with one another thus, ‘All of us shall emancipate
Sarasvati from her curse.’ Then all those Brahmanas, O king, worshipping
Mahadeva, that lord of the universe and protector of all creatures, with
penance and vows and fasts and diverse kinds of abstinences and painful
observances, emancipated that foremost of rivers, the divine Sarasvati.
Beholding the water of Sarasvati purified by those Munis, the Rakshasas
(that had taken up their abode there), afflicted with hunger, sought the
protection of those Munis themselves. Afflicted with hunger, the
Rakshasas, with joined hands, repeatedly said unto those ascetics filled
with compassion, these words, ‘All of us are hungry! We have swerved from
eternal virtue! That we are sinful in behaviour is not of our free will!
Through the absence of your, grace and through our own evil acts, as also
through the sexual sins of our women, our demerits increase and we have
become Brahma-Rakshasas! So amongst Vaisyas and Sudras, and Kshatriyas,
those that hate and injure Brahmanas became Rakshasas. Ye best of
Brahmanas, make arrangements then for our relief! Ye are competent to
relieve all the worlds!’ Hearing these words of theirs, those ascetics
praised the great river. For the rescue of those Rakshasas, with rapt
minds those ascetics said, ‘The food over which one sneezed, that in
which there are worms and insects, that which may be mixed with any
leavings of dishes, that which is mixed with hair, that which is mixed
with tears, that which is trodden upon shall form the portion of these
Rakshasas! The learned man, knowing all this, shall carefully avoid these
kinds of food. He that shall take such food shall be regarded as eating
the food of Rakshasas!’ Having purified the tirtha in this way, those
ascetics thus solicited that river for the relief of those Rakshasas.
Understanding the views of those great Rishis, that foremost of rivers
caused her body, O bull among men, to assume a new shape called Aruna.
Bathing in that new river (a branch of the Sarasvati) the Rakshasas cast
off their bodies and went to heaven. Ascertaining all this, the chief of
the celestials, (Indra of a hundred sacrifices), bathed in that foremost
of tirthas and became cleansed of a grievous sin.”

Janamejaya said, “For what reason was Indra tainted with the sin of
Brahmanicide? How also did he become cleansed by bathing in that tirtha?”

Vaishampayana said, “Listen to that history, O ruler of men! Hear of
those occurrences as they happened! Hear how Vasava, in days of yore,
broke his treaty with Namuchi! The Asura Namuchi, from fear of Vasava,
had entered a ray of the Sun. Indra then made friends with Namuchi and
entered into a covenant with him, saying, ‘O foremost of Asuras, I shall
not slay thee, O friend, with anything that is wet or with anything that
is dry! I shall not slay thee in the night or in the day! I swear this to
thee by truth. Having made this covenant, the lord Indra one day beheld a
fog. He then, O king, cut off Namuchi’s head, using the foam of water (as
his weapon). The severed head of Namuchi thereupon pursued Indra from
behind, saying unto him from a near point these words, ‘O slayer of a
friend, O wretch!’ Urged on incessantly by that head, Indra repaired to
the Grandsire and informed him, in grief, of what had occurred. The
Supreme Lord of the universe said unto him, ‘Performing a sacrifice,
bathe with due rites, O chief of the celestials, in Aruna, that tirtha
which saveth from the fear of sin! The water of that river, O Shakra,
hath been made sacred by the Munis! Formerly the presence of that river
at its site was concealed. The divine Sarasvati repaired to the Aruna,
and flooded it with her waters. This confluence of Sarasvati and Aruna is
highly sacred! Thither, O chief of the celestials, perform a sacrifice!
Give away gifts in profusion! Performing thy ablutions there, thou shall
be freed from thy sin.’ Thus addressed, Shakra, at these words of Brahma,
O Janamejaya, performed in that abode of Sarasvati diverse sacrifices.
Giving away many gifts and bathing in that tirtha, he of a hundred
sacrifices, the piercer of Vala, duly performed certain sacrifices and
then plunged in the Aruna. He became freed from the sin arising out of
the slaughter of a Brahmana. The lord of heaven then returned to heaven
with a joyful heart. The head of Namuchi also fell into that stream, O
Bharata, and the Asura obtained many eternal regions, O best of kings,
that granted every wish.”

Vaishampayana continued, “The high-souled Baladeva having bathed in that
tirtha and given away many kinds of gifts, obtained great merit. Of
righteous deeds, he then proceeded to the great tirtha of Soma. There, in
days of yore, Soma himself, O king of kings, had performed the Rajasuya
sacrifice. The high-souled Atri, that foremost of Brahmanas, gifted with
great intelligence became the Hotri in that grand sacrifice. Upon the
conclusion of that sacrifice, a great battle took place between the gods
(on the one side) and the Danavas, the Daityas, and the Rakshasas (on the
other). That fierce battle is known after the name of (the Asura) Taraka.
In that battle Skanda slew Taraka. There, on that occasion, Mahasena
(Skanda), that destroyer of Daityas, obtained the command of the
celestial forces. In that tirtha is a gigantic Aswattha tree. Under its
shade, Kartikeya, otherwise called Kumara, always resides in person.”

44

Janamejaya said, “Thou hast described the merits of the Sarasvati, O best
of Brahmanas! It behoveth thee, O regenerate one, to describe to me the
investiture of Kumara (by the gods). Great is the curiosity I feel. Tell
me everything, therefore, about the time when and the place where and the
manner in which the adorable and puissant lord Skanda was invested (with
the command of the celestial forces). Tell me also, O foremost of
speakers, who they were that invested him and who performed the actual
rites, and how the celestial generalissimo made a great carnage of the
Daityas!”

Vaishampayana said, “This curiosity that thou feelest is worthy of thy
birth in Kuru’s race. The words that I shall speak, will, O Janamejaya,
be conducive to thy pleasure. I shall narrate to thee the story of the
investiture of Kumara and the prowess of that high-souled one, since, O
ruler of men thou wishest to hear it! In days of yore the vital seed of
Maheshvara coming out, fell into a blazing fire. The consumer of
everything, the adorable Agni, could not burn that indestructible seed.
On the other hand, the bearer of sacrificial libations, in consequence of
that seed, became possessed of great energy and splendour. He could not
bear within himself that, seed of mighty energy. At the command of
Brahman, the lord Agni, approaching (the river) Ganga, threw into her
that divine seed possessed of the effulgence of the Sun. Ganga also,
unable to hold it, cast it on the beautiful breast of Himavat that is
worshipped by the celestials. Thereupon Agni’s son began to grow there,
overwhelming all the worlds by his energy. Meanwhile (the six) Krittikas
beheld that child of fiery splendour. Seeing that puissant lord, that
high-souled son of Agni, lying on a clump of heath, all the six
Krittikas, who were desirous of a son, cried aloud, saying, “This child
is mine, this child is mine!” Understanding the state of mind of those
six mothers, the adorable lord Skanda sucked the breasts of all having
assumed six mouths. Beholding that puissance of the child, the Krittikas,
those goddesses of beautiful forms, became filled with wonder. And since
the adorable child had been cast by the river Ganga upon the summit of
Himavat, that mountain looked beautiful, having, O delighter of the
Kurus, been transformed into gold! With that growing child the whole
Earth became beautiful, and it was for this reason that mountains (from
that time) came to be producers of gold. Possessed of great energy, the
child came to be called by the name of Kartikeya. At first he had been
called by the name of Gangeya. He became possessed of high ascetic
powers. Endued with self-restraint and asceticism and great energy, the
child grew up, O monarch, into a person of highly agreeable features like
Soma himself. Possessed of great beauty, the child lay on that excellent
and golden clump of heath, adored and praised by Gandharvas and ascetics.
Celestial girls, by thousands, conversant with celestial music and dance,
and of very beautiful features, praised him and danced before him. The
foremost of all rivers, Ganga, waited upon that god. The Earth also,
assuming great beauty, held the child (on her lap). The celestial priest
Brihaspati performed the usual rites after birth, in respect of that
child. The Vedas assuming a four-fold form, approached the child with
joined hands. The Science of arms, with its four divisions, and all the
weapons as also all kinds of arrows, came to him. One day, the child, of
great energy, saw that god of gods, the lord of Uma, seated with the
daughter of Himavat, amid a swarm of ghostly creatures. Those ghostly
creatures, of emaciated bodies, were of wonderful features. They were
ugly and of ugly features, and wore awkward ornaments and marks. Their
faces were like those of tigers and lions and bears and cats and makaras.
Others were of faces like those of scorpions; others of faces like those
of elephants and camels and owls. And some had faces like those of
vultures and jackals. And some there were that had faces like those of
cranes and pigeons and Kurus. And many amongst them had bodies like those
of dogs and porcupines and iguanas and goats and sheep and cows. And some
resembled mountains and some oceans, and some stood with uplifted discs
and maces for their weapons. And some looked like masses of antimony and
some like white mountains. The seven Matris also were present there, O
monarch, and the Sadhyas, the Viswedevas, the Maruts, the Vasus, the
Rudras, the Adityas, the Siddhas, the Danavas, the birds, the self-born
and adorable Brahman with his sons, and Vishnu, and Shakra, all went
thither for beholding that child of unfading glory. And many of the
foremost of celestials and Gandharvas, headed by Narada and many
celestial Rishis and Siddhas headed by Brihaspati, and the fathers of the
universe, those foremost ones, they that are regarded as gods of the
gods, and the Yamas and the Dharmas, all went there. Endued with great
strength, the child possessed of great ascetic power, proceeded to the
presence of that Lord of the gods, (Mahadeva), armed with trident and
Pinaka. Seeing the child coming, the thought entered the mind of Siva, as
it did that of Himavat’s daughter and that of Ganga and of Agni, as to
whom amongst the four the child would first approach for honouring him or
her. Each of them thought, ‘He will come to me!’ Understanding that this
was the expectation cherished by each of those four, he had recourse to
his Yoga powers and assumed at the same time four different forms. Indeed
the adorable and puissant lord assumed those four forms in an instant.
The three forms that stood behind were Sakha and Visakha and Naigameya.
The adorable and puissant one, having divided his self into four forms,
(proceeded towards the four that sat expecting him). The form called
Skanda of wonderful appearance proceeded to the spot where Rudra was
sitting. Visakha went to the spot where the divine daughter of Himavat
was. The adorable Sakha, which is Kartikeya’s Vayu form proceeded towards
Agni. Naigameya, that child of fiery splendour, proceeded to the presence
of Ganga. All those forms, of similar appearance, were endued with great
effulgence. The four forms proceeded calmly to the four gods and
goddesses (already mentioned). All this seemed exceedingly wonderful. The
gods, the Danavas, and the Rakshasas, made a loud noise at sight of that
exceedingly wonderful incident making the very hair to stand on end. Then
Rudra and the goddess Uma and Agni, and Ganga, all bowed unto the
Grandsire, that Lord of the Universe. Having duly bowed unto him, O bull
among kings, they said these words, O monarch, from desire of doing good
unto Kartikeya. ‘It behoveth thee, O Lord of the gods, to grant to this
youth, for the sake of our happiness, some kind of sovereignty that may
be suitable to him and that he may desire. At this, the adorable
Grandsire of all the worlds, possessed of great intelligence, began to
think within his mind as to what he should bestow upon that youth. He had
formerly given away unto the formless ones (gods) all kinds of wealth
over which the high-souled celestials, the Gandharvas, the Rakshasas,
ghosts, Yakshas, birds, and snakes have dominion. Brahma, therefore,
regarded that youth to be fully entitled to that dominion (which had been
bestowed upon the gods). Having reflected for a moment, the Grandsire,
ever mindful of the welfare of the gods, bestowed upon him the status of
a generalissimo among all creatures, O Bharata! And the Grandsire further
ordered all those gods that were regarded as the chief of the celestials
and other formless beings to wait upon him. Then the gods headed by
Brahman, taking that youth with them, together came to Himavat. The spot
they selected was the bank of the sacred and divine Sarasvati, that
foremost of rivers, taking her rise from Himavat, that Sarasvati which,
at Samanta-panchaka, is celebrated over the three worlds. There, on the
sacred bank, possessing every merit, of the Sarasvati, the gods and the
Gandharvas took their seats with hearts well-pleased in consequence of
the gratification of all their desires.”

45

Vaishampayana said, “Collecting all articles as laid down in the
scriptures for the ceremony of investiture, Brihaspati duly poured
libations on the blazing fire. Himavat gave a seat which was adorned with
many costly gems. Kartikeya was made to sit on that auspicious and best
of seats decked with excellent gems. The gods brought thither all kinds
of auspicious articles, with due rites and mantras, that were necessary
for a ceremony of the kind. The diverse gods–Indra and Vishnu, both of
great energy, and Surya and Candramas, and Dhatri, and Vidhatri, and
Vayu, and Agni, and Pushan, and Bhaga, and Aryaman, and Ansa, and
Vivaswat, and Rudra of great intelligence, and Mitra, and the (eleven)
Rudras, the (eight) Vasus, the (twelve) Adityas, the (twin) Ashvinis, the
Viswedevas, the Maruts, the Saddhyas, the Pitris, the Gandharvas, the
Apsaras, the Yakshas, the Rakshasas, the Pannagas, innumerable celestial
Rishis, the Vaikhanasas, the Valakhilyas, those others (among Rishis)
that subsist only on air and those that subsist on the rays of the Sun,
the descendants of Bhrigu and Angiras, many high-souled Yatis, all the
Vidyadharas, all those that were crowned with ascetic success, the
Grandsire, Pulastya, Pulaha of great ascetic merits, Angiras, Kasyapa,
Atri, Marichi, Bhrigu, Kratu, Hara, Prachetas, Manu, Daksha, the Seasons,
the Planets, and all the luminaries; O monarch, all the rivers in their
embodied forms, the eternal Vedas, the Seas, the diverse tirthas, the
Earth, the Sky, the Cardinal and Subsidiary points of the compass, and
all the Trees, O king, Aditi the mother of the gods, Hri, Sri, Swaha,
Sarasvati, Uma, Sachi, Sinivali, Anumati, Kuhu, the Day of the new moon,
the Day of the full Moon, the wives of the denizens of heaven, Himavat,
Vindhya, Meru of many summits, Airavat with all his followers, the
Divisions of time called Kala, Kashtha, Fortnight, the Seasons, Night,
and Day, O king, the prince of steeds, Ucchaisravas, Vasuki the king of
the Snakes, Aruna, Garuda, the Trees, the deciduous herbs, and the
adorable god Dharma–all came there together. And there came also Kala,
Yama, Mrityu, and the followers of Yama. From fear of swelling the list I
do not mention the diverse other gods that came there. All of them came
to that ceremony for investing Kartikeya with the status of
generalissimo. All the denizens of heaven, O king, brought there
everything necessary for the ceremony and every auspicious article.
Filled with joy, the denizens of heaven made that high-souled youth, that
terror of the Asuras, the generalissimo of the celestial forces, after
pouring upon his head the sacred and excellent water of the Sarasvati
from golden jars that contained other sacred articles needed for the
purpose. The Grandsire of the worlds, Brahman, and Kasyapa of great
energy, and the others (mentioned and) not mentioned, all poured water
upon Skanda even as, O monarch, the gods had poured water on the head of
Varuna, the lord of waters, for investing him with dominion. The lord
Brahman then, with a gratified heart, gave unto Skanda four companions,
possessed of great might, endued with speed like that of the wind,
crowned with ascetic success, and gifted with energy which they could
increase at will. They were named Nandisena and Lohitaksha and
Ghantakarna and Kumudamalin. The lord Sthanu, O monarch, gave unto Skanda
a companion possessed of great impetuosity, capable of producing a
hundred illusions, and endued with might and energy that he could enhance
at will. And he was the great destroyer of Asuras. In the great battle
between the gods and the Asuras, this companion that Sthanu gave, filled
with wrath, slew, with his hands alone, fourteen millions of Daityas of
fierce deeds. The gods then made over to Skanda the celestial host,
invincible, abounding with celestial troops, capable of destroying the
enemies of the gods, and of forms like that of Vishnu. The gods then,
with Vasava at their head, and the Gandharvas, the Yakshas, the
Rakshasas, the Munis, and the Pitris, all shouted, ‘Victory (to Skanda)!’
Then Yama gave him two companions, both of whom resembled Death, Unmatha
and Pramatha, possessed of great energy and great splendour. Endued with
great prowess, Surya, with a gratified heart, gave unto Kartikeya two of
his followers named Subhraja and Bhaswara. Soma also gave him two
companions, Mani and Sumani, both of whom looked like summits of the
Kailasa mountain and always used white garlands and white unguents. Agni
gave unto him two heroic companions, grinders of hostile armies, who were
named Jwalajihbha and Jyoti. Ansa gave unto Skanda of great intelligence
five companions, Parigha, and Vata, and Bhima of terrible strength, and
Dahati and Dahana, both of whom were exceedingly fierce and possessed of
great energy. Vasava that slayer of hostile heroes, gave unto Agni’s son
two companions, Utkrosa and Panchaka, who were armed respectively with
thunder-bolt and club. These had in battle slain innumerable enemies of
Shakra. The illustrious Vishnu gave unto Skanda three companions, Chakra
and Vikrama and Sankrama of great might. The Ashvinis, O bull of
Bharata’s race, with gratified hearts, gave unto Skanda two companions
Vardhana and Nandana, who had mastered all the sciences. The illustrious
Dhatri gave unto that high-souled one five companions, Kunda, Kusuma,
Kumuda, Damvara and Adamvara. Tvashtri gave unto Skanda two companions
named Chakra and Anuchakra, both of whom were endued with great strength.
The lord Mitra gave unto the high-souled Kumara two illustrious
companions named Suvrata and Satyasandha, both of whom were endued with
great learning and ascetic merit, possessed of agreeable features,
capable of granting boons and celebrated over the three worlds. Vidhatri
gave unto Kartikeya two companions of great celebrity, the high-souled
Suprabha and Subhakarman. Pushan gave him, O Bharata, two companions,
Panitraka and Kalika, both endued with great powers of illusion. Vayu
gave him, O best of the Bharatas, two companions, Vala and Ativala,
endued with great might and very large mouths. Varuna, firmly adhering to
truth, gave him Ghasa and Atighasa of great might and possessed of mouths
like those of whales. Himavat gave unto Agni’s son two companions, O
King, Suvarchas and Ativarchas. Meru, O Bharata, gave him two companions
named Kanchana and Meghamalin. Manu also gave unto Agni’s son two others
endued with great strength and prowess, Sthira and Atisthira. Vindhya
gave unto Agni’s son two companions named Uschrita and Agnisringa both of
whom fought with large stones. Ocean gave him two mighty companions named
Sangraha and Vigraha, both armed with maces. Parvati of beautiful
features gave unto Agni’s son Unmada and Pushpadanta and Sankukarna.
Vasuki, the king of the snakes, O tiger among men, gave unto the son of
Agni two snakes named Jaya and Mahajaya. Similarly the Saddhyas, the
Rudras, the Vasus, the Pitris, the Seas, the Rivers, and the Mountains,
all endued with great might, gave commanders of forces, armed with lances
and battle-axes and decked with diverse kinds of ornaments. Listen now to
the names of those other combatants armed with diverse weapons and clad
in diverse kinds of robes and ornaments, that Skanda procured. They were
Sankukarna, Nilkumbha, Padmai, Kumud, Ananta, Dwadasabhuja, Krishna,
Upakrishnaka, Ghranasravas, Kapiskandha, Kanchanaksha, Jalandhama,
Akshasantarjana, Kunadika, Tamobhrakrit, Ekaksha, Dwadasaksha, Ekajata,
Sahasravahu, Vikata, Vyaghraksha, Kshitikampana, Punyanaman, Sunaman,
Suvaktra, Priyadarsana, Parisruta, Kokonada, Priyamalyanulepana, Ajodara,
Gajasiras, Skandhaksha, Satalochana, Jwalajibha, Karala, Sitakesa, Jati,
Hari, Krishnakesa, Jatadhara, Chaturdanshtra, Ashtajihva, Meghananda,
Prithusravas, Vidyutaksha, Dhanurvaktra, Jathara, Marutasana, Udaraksha,
Rathaksha, Vajranabha, Vasurprabha, Samudravega, Sailakampin, Vrisha,
Meshapravaha, Nanda, Upadanka, Dhumra, Sweta, Kalinga, Siddhartha,
Varada, Priyaka, Nanda, Gonanda, Ananda, Pramoda, Swastika, Dhruvaka,
Kshemavaha, Subala, Siddhapatra, Govraja, Kanakapida, Gayana, Hasana,
Vana, Khadga, Vaitali, Atitali, Kathaka, Vatika, Hansaja,
Pakshadigdhanga, Samudronmadana, Ranotkata, Prashasa, Swetasiddha,
Nandaka, Kalakantha, Prabhasa, Kumbhandaka, Kalakaksha, Sita,
Bhutalonmathana, Yajnavaha, Pravaha, Devajali, Somapa, Majjala, Kratha
Tuhara Chitradeva, Madhura, Suprasada, Kiritin, Vatsala, Madhuvarna,
Kalasodara, Dharmada, Manma, Thakara, Suchivaktra, Swetavaktra, Suvaktra,
Charuvaktra, Pandura, Dandavahu, Suvahu, Rajas, Kokilaka, Achala,
Kanakaksha, Valakarakshaka, Sancharaka, Kokanada, Gridhrapatra, Jamvuka,
Lohajvaktra, Javana, Kumbhavaktra, Kumbhaka, Mundagriva, Krishnaujas,
Hansavaktra, Candrabha, Panikurchas, Samvuka, Panchavaktra, Sikshaka,
Chasavaktra, Jamvuka, Kharvaktra, and Kunchaka. Besides these, many other
high-souled and mighty companions, devoted to ascetic austerities and
regardful of Brahmanas, were given unto him by the Grandsire. Some of
them were in youth; some were old and some, O Janamejaya, were very young
in years. Thousands upon thousands of such came to Kartikeya. They were
possessed of diverse kinds of faces. Listen to me, O Janamejaya, as I
describe them! Some had faces like those of tortoises, and some like
those of cocks. The faces of some were very long, O Bharata. Some, again,
had faces like those of dogs, and wolves, and hares, and owls, and asses,
and camels, and hogs. Some had human faces and some had faces like those
of sheep, and jackals. Some were terrible and had faces like those of
makaras and porpoises. Some had faces like those of cats and some like
those of biting flies; and the faces of some were very long. Some had
faces like those of the mongoose, the owl, and the crow. Some had faces
like those of mice and peacocks and fishes and goats and sheep and
buffaloes. The faces of some resembled those of bears and tigers and
leopards and lions. Some had faces like those of elephants and
crocodiles. The faces of some resembled those of Garuda and the
rhinoceros and the wolf. Some had faces like those of cows and mules and
camels and cats. Possessed of large stomachs and large legs and limbs,
some had eyes like stars. The faces of some resembled those of pigeons
and bulls. Other had faces like those of kokilas and hawks and tittiras
and lizards. Some were clad in white robes. Some had faces like those of
snakes. The faces of some resembled those of porcupines. Indeed, some had
frightful and some very agreeable faces; some had snakes for their
clothes. The faces as also the noses of some resembled those of cows.
Some had large limbs protruding stomachs but other limbs very lean; some
had large limbs but lean stomachs. The necks of some were very short and
the ears of some were very large. Some had diverse kinds of snakes for
their ornaments. Some were clad in skins of large elephants, and some in
black deer-skins. The mouths of some were on their shoulders. Some had
mouths on their stomachs, some on their backs, some on their cheeks, some
on their calves, and some on their flanks, and the mouths of many were
placed on other parts of their bodies. The faces of many amongst those
leaders of troops were like those of insects and worms. The mouths of
many amongst them were like those of diverse beasts of prey. Some had
many arms and some many heads. The arms of some resembled trees, and the
heads of some were on their loins. The faces of some were tapering like
the bodies of snakes. Many amongst them had their abodes on diverse kinds
of plants and herbs. Some were clad in rags, some in diverse kinds of
bones, some were diversely clad, and some were adorned in diverse kinds
of garlands and diverse kinds of unguents. Dressed diversely, some had
skins for their robes. Some had head-gears; the brows of some were
furrowed into lines; the necks of some bore marks like those on
conchshells, some were possessed of great effulgence. Some had diadems,
some had five tufts of hair on their heads, and the hair of some was very
hard. Some had two tufts, some three, and some seven. Some had feathers
on their heads, some had crowns, some had heads that were perfectly bald,
and some had matted locks. Some were adorned with beautiful garlands, and
the faces of some were very hairy. Battle was the one thing in which they
took great delight, and all of them were invincible by even the foremost
ones amongst the gods. Many amongst them were clad in diverse kinds of
celestial robes. All were fond of battle. Some were of dark complexion,
and the faces of some had no flesh on them. Some had very long backs, and
some had no stomachs. The backs of some were very large while those of
some were very short. Some had long stomachs and the limbs of some were
long. The arms of some were long while those of some were short. Some
were dwarfs of short limbs. Some were hunch-backed. Some had short hips.
The cars and heads of some were like those of elephants. Some had noses
like those of tortoises, some like those of wolves. Some had long lips,
some had long hips, and some were frightful, having their faces
downwards. Some had very large teeth, some had very short teeth, and some
had only four teeth. Thousands among them, O king, were exceedingly
terrible, looking like infuriated elephants of gigantic size. Some were
of symmetrical limbs, possessed of great splendour, and adorned with
ornaments. Some had yellow eyes, some had ears like arrows, some had
noses like gavials. O Bharata! Some had broad teeth, some had broad lips,
and some had green hair. Possessed of diverse kinds of feet and lips and
teeth, they had diverse kinds of arms and heads. Clad in diverse kinds of
skins, they spoke diverse kinds of languages, O Bharata! Skilled in all
provincial dialects, those puissant ones conversed with one another.
Those mighty companions, filled with joy, gambolled there, cutting capers
(around Kartikeya). Some were long-necked, some longnailed, some
long-legged. Some amongst them were large-headed and some large-armed.
The eyes of some were yellow. The throats of some were blue, and the ears
of some were long, O Bharata. The stomachs of some were like masses of
antimony. The eyes of some were white, the necks of some were red, and
some had eyes of a tawny hue. Many were dark in colour and many, O king,
were of diverse colours, O Bharata. Many had ornaments on their persons
that looked like yak-tails. Some bore white streaks on their bodies, and
some bore red streaks. Some were of diversified colours and some had
golden complexions, and some were endued with splendours like those of
the peacock. I shall describe to thee the weapons that were taken by
those that came last to Kartikeya. Listen to me. Some had noses on their
uplifted arms. Their faces were like those of tigers and asses. Their
eyes were on their backs, their throats were blue, and their arms
resembled spiked clubs. Some were armed with Sataghnis and discs, and
some had heavy and short clubs. Some had swords and mallets and some were
armed with bludgeons, O Bharata. Some, possessed of gigantic sizes and
great strength, were armed with lances and scimitars. Some were armed
with maces and Bhusundis and some had spears on their hands. Possessed of
high souls and great strength and endued with great speed and great
impetuosity, those mighty companions had diverse kinds of terrible
weapons in their arms. Beholding the installation of Kartikeya, those
beings of mighty energy, delighting in battle and wearing on their
persons rows of tinkling bells, danced around him in joy. These and many
other mighty companions, O king, came to the high-souled and illustrious
Kartikeya. Some belonged to the celestial regions, some to the aerial,
and some to the regions of the Earth. All of them were endued with speed
like that of the wind. Commanded by the gods, those brave and mighty ones
became the companions of Kartikeya. Thousands upon thousands, millions
upon millions, of such beings came there at the installation of the
high-souled Kartikeya and stood surrounding him.”

46

Vaishampayana said, “Listen now to the large bands of the mothers, those
slayers of foes, O hero, that became the companions of Kumara, as I
mention their names. Listen, O Bharata, to the names of those illustrious
mothers. The mobile and immobile universe is pervaded by those auspicious
ones. They are Prabhavati, Vishalakshi, Palita, Gonasi, Shrimati, Bahula,
Bahuputrika, Apsujata, Gopali, Brihadambalika, Jayavati, Malatika,
Dhruvaratna, Bhayankari, Vasudama, Sudama, Vishoka, Nandini, Ekacuda,
Mahacuda, Cakranemi, Uttejani, Jayatsena, Kamalakshi, Shobhana,
Shatrunjaya, Shalabhi, Khari, Madhavi, Shubhavaktra, Tirthanemi,
Gitapriya, Kalyani, Kadrula, Amitashana, Meghasvana, Bhogavati, Subhru,
Kanakavati, Alatakshi, Viryavati, Vidyujjihva, Padmavati, Sunakshatra,
Kandara, Bahuyojana, Santanika, Kamala, Mahabala, Sudama, Bahudama,
Suprabha, Yashasvini, Nrityapriya, Shatolukhalamekhala, Shataghanta,
Shatananda, Bhagananda, Bhamini, Vapushmati, Candrashita, Bhadrakali,
Samkarika, Nishkutika, Bhrama, Catvaravasini, Sumangala, Svastimati,
Vriddhikama, Jayapriya, Dhanada, Suprasada, Bhavada, Jaleshvari, Edi,
Bhedi, Samedi, Vetalajanani, Kanduti, Kalika, Devamitra, Lambasi, Ketaki,
Citrasena, Bala, Kukkutika, Shankhanika, Jarjarika, Kundarika, Kokalika,
Kandara, Shatodari, Utkrathini, Jarena, Mahavega, Kankana, Manojava,
Kantakini, Praghasa, Putana, Khashaya, Curvyuti, Vama, Kroshanatha,
Taditprabha, Mandodari, Tunda, Kotara, Meghavasini, Subhaga, Lambini,
Lamba, Vasucuda, Vikatthani, Urdhvavenidhara, Pingakshi, Lohamekhala,
Prithuvaktra, Madhurika, Madhukumbha, Pakshalika, Manthanika, Jarayu,
Jarjaranana, Khyata, Dahadaha, Dhamadhama, Khandakhanda, Pushana,
Manikundala, Amogha, Lambapayodhara, Venuvinadhara, Pingakshi,
Lohamekhala, Shasholukamukhi, Krishna, Kharajangha, Mahajava,
Shishumaramukhi, Shveta, Lohitakshi, Vibhishana, Jatalika, Kamacari,
Dirghajihva, Balotkata, Kaledika, Vamanika, Mukuta, Lohitakshi, Mahakaya,
Haripindi, Ekakshara, Sukusuma, Krishnakarni, Kshurakarni, Catushkarni,
Karnapravarana, Catushpathaniketa, Gokarni, Mahishanana, Kharakarni,
Mahakarni, Bherisvanamahasvana, Shankhakumbhasvana, Bhangada, Gana,
Sugana, Bhiti, Kamada, Catushpatharata, Bhutirtha, Anyagocara, Pashuda,
Vittada, Sukhada, Mahayasha, Payoda, Gomahishada, Suvishana, Pratishtha,
Supratishtha, Rocamana, Surocana, Naukarni, Mukhakarni, Sasira, Stherika,
Ekacakra, Megharava, Meghamala, and Virocana.

These and many other mothers, O bull of Bharata’s race, numbering by
thousands, of diverse forms, became the followers of Kartikeya. Their
nails were long, their teeth were large and their lips also, O Bharata,
were protruding. Of straight forms and sweet features, all of them,
endowed with youth, were decked with ornaments. Possessed of ascetic
merit, they were capable of assuming any form at will. Having not much
flesh on their limbs, they were of fair complexions and endued with
splendour like that of gold. Some amongst them were dark and looked like
clouds in hue and some were of the colour of smoke, O bull of Bharata’s
race. And some were endued with the splendour of the morning sun and were
highly blessed. Possessed of long tresses, they were clad in robes of
white. The braids of some were tied upwards, and the eyes of some were
tawny, and some had girdles that were very long. Some had long stomachs,
some had long ears, and some had long breasts. Some had coppery eyes and
coppery complexion, and the eyes of some were green.

Capable of granting boons and of travelling at will, they were always
cheerful. Possessed of great strength, some amongst them partook of the
nature of Yama, some of Rudra, some of Soma, some of Kuvera, some of
Varuna, some of Indra, and some of Agni, O scorcher of foes. And some
partook of the nature of Vayu, some of Kumara, some of Brahma, O bull of
Bharata’s race, and some of Vishnu and some of Surya, and some of Varaha.

Of charming and delightful features, they were beautiful like the asuras.
In voice they resembled the kokila and in prosperity they resembled the
Lord of Treasures. In battle, their energy resembled that of Shakra. In
splendour they resembled fire. In battle they always inspired their foes
with terror. Capable of assuming any form at will, in fleetness they
resembled the very wind. Of inconceivable might and energy, their prowess
also was inconceivable.

They have their abodes on trees and open spots and crossings of four
roads. They live also in caves and crematoriums, mountains and springs.
Adorned with diverse kinds of ornaments, they wear diverse kinds of
attire, and speak diverse languages. These and many other tribes (of the
mothers), all capable of inspiring foes with dread, followed the
high-souled Kartikeya at the command of the chief of the celestials.

The adorable chastiser of Paka, O tiger among kings, gave unto Guha
(Kartikeya) a dart for the destruction of the enemies of the gods. That
dart produces a loud whiz and is adorned with many large bells. Possessed
of great splendour, it seemed to blaze with light. And Indra also gave
him a banner effulgent as the morning sun. Shiva gave him a large army,
exceedingly fierce and armed with diverse kinds of weapons, and endued
with great energy begotten of ascetic penances. Invincible and possessing
all the qualities of a good army, that force was known by the name of
dhananjaya. It was protected by thirty 30,000 warriors each of whom was
possessed of might equal to that of Rudra himself. That force knew not
how to fly from battle. Vishnu gave him a triumphal garland that enhances
the might of the wearer. Uma gave him two pieces of cloth of effulgence
like that of the Sun. With great pleasure Ganga gave unto Kumara a
celestial water-pot, begotten of amrita, and Brihaspati gave him a sacred
stick. Garuda gave him his favourite son, a peacock of beautiful
feathers. Aruna gave him a cock of sharp talons. The royal Varuna gave
him a snake of great energy and might. The lord Brahma gave unto that god
devoted to Brahman a black deer-skin. And the Creator of all the worlds
also gave him victory in all battles.

Having obtained the command of the celestial forces, Skanda looked
resplendent like a blazing fire of bright flames. Accompanied by those
companions and the mothers, he proceeded for the destruction of the
daityas, gladdening all the foremost of the gods. The terrible host of
celestials, furnished with standards adorned with bells, and equipped
with drums and conchs and cymbals, and armed with weapons, and decked
with many banners, looked beautiful like the autumnal firmament
bespangled with planets and stars.

Then that vast assemblage of celestials and diverse kinds of creatures
began cheerfully to beat their drums and blow their conchs numbering
thousands. And they also played on their patahas and jharjharas and
krikacas and cow-horns and adambaras and gomukhas and dindimas of loud
sound. All the gods, with Vasava at their head, praised Kumara. The
celestials and the gandharvas sang and the apsaras danced.

Well-pleased (with these attentions) Skanda granted a boon unto all the
gods, saying, ‘I shall slay all your foes,’ then, that is, that desire to
slay you. Having obtained this boon from that best of gods, the
illustrious celestials regarded their foes to be already slain. After
Skanda had granted that boon, a loud sound arose from all those creatures
inspired with joy, filling the three worlds.

Accompanied by that vast host, Skanda then set out for the destruction of
the daityas and the protection of the denizens of heaven. Exertion, and
Victory, and Righteousness, and Success, and Prosperity, and Courage, and
the Scriptures (in their embodied forms) proceeded in the van of
Kartikeya’s army, O king! With that terrible force, which was armed with
lances, mallets, blazing brands, maces, heavy clubs, arrows, darts and
spears, and which was decked with beautiful ornaments and armour, and
which uttered roars like those of a proud lion, the divine Guha set out.

Beholding him, all the daityas, rakshasas and danavas, anxious with fear,
fled away on all sides. Armed with diverse weapons, the celestials
pursued them. Seeing (the foe flying away), Skanda, endued with energy
and might, became inflamed with wrath. He repeatedly hurled his terrible
weapon, the dart (he had received from Agni). The energy that he then
displayed resembled a fire fed with libations of clarified butter. While
the dart was repeatedly hurled by Skanda of immeasurable energy, meteoric
flashes, O king, fell upon the Earth. Thunderbolts also, with tremendous
noise, fell upon the earth. Everything became as frightful O king, as it
becomes on the day of universal destruction. When that terrible dart was
once hurled by the son of Agni, millions of darts issued from it, O bull
of Bharata’s race.

The puissant and adorable Skanda, filled with joy, at last slew Taraka,
the chief of the daityas, endued with great might and prowess, and
surrounded (in that battle) by a 100,000 heroic and mighty daityas. He
then, in that battle, slew Mahisha who was surrounded by eight padmas of
daityas. He next slew Tripada who was surrounded by a 1,000 ajutas of
daityas. The puissant Skanda then slew Hradodara, who was surrounded by
ten nikharvas of daityas, with all his followers armed with diverse
weapons. Filling the ten points of the compass, the followers of Kumara,
O king, made a loud noise while those daityas were being slain, and
danced and jumped and laughed in joy.

Thousands of daityas, O king, were burnt with the flames that issued from
Skanda’s dart, while others breathed their last, terrified by the roars
of Skanda. The three worlds were frightened at the yawns of Skanda’s
soldiers. The foes were consumed with flames produced by Skanda. Many
were slain by his roars alone. Some amongst the foes of the gods, struck
with banners, were slain. Some, frightened by the sounds of bells, fell
down on the surface of the Earth. Some, mangled with weapons, fell down,
deprived of life. In this way the heroic and mighty Kartikeya slew
innumerable foes of the gods possessed of great strength that came to
fight with him.

Then Bali’s son Vana of great might, getting upon the Kraunca mountain,
battled with the celestial host. Possessed of great intelligence, the
great generalissimo Skanda rushed against that foe of the gods. From fear
of Kartikeya, he took shelter within the Kraunca mountain. Inflamed with
rage, the adorable Kartikeya then pierced that mountain with that dart
given him by Agni. The mountain was called Kraunca (crane) because of the
sound it always produced resembled the cry of a crane. That mountain was
variegated with shala trees. The apes and elephants on it were
affrighted. The birds that had their abode on it rose up and wheeled
around in the welkin. The snakes began to dart down its sides. It
resounded also with the cries of leopards and bears in large numbers that
ran hither and thither in fear. Other forests on it rang with the cries
of hundreds upon hundreds of animals. Sharabhas and lions suddenly ran
out. In consequence of all this that mountain, though it was reduced to a
very pitiable plight, still assumed a very beautiful aspect. The
vidyadharas dwelling on its summits soared into the air. The kinnaras
also became very anxious, distracted by the fear caused by the fall of
Skanda’s dart. The daityas then, by hundreds and thousands, came out of
that blazing mountain, all clad in beautiful ornaments and garlands.

The followers of Kumara, prevailing over them in battle, slew them all.
The adorable Skanda, inflamed with rage, quickly slew the son of daitya
chief (Bali) along with his younger brother, even as Indra had slain
Vritra (in days before). The slayer of hostile heroes, Agni’s son,
pierced with his dart the Kraunca mountain, dividing his own self
sometimes into many and sometimes uniting all his portions into one.
Repeatedly hurled from his hand, the dart repeatedly came back to him.
Even such was the might and glory of the adorable son of Agni. With
redoubled heroism, and energy and fame and success, the god pierced the
mountain and slew hundreds of daityas. The adorable god, having thus
slain the enemies of the celestials, was worshipped and honoured by the
latter and obtained great joy.

After the Kraunca mountain had been pierced and after the son of Canda
had been slain, drums were beaten, O king, and conchs were blown. The
celestial ladies rained floral showers in succession upon that divine
lord of yogis. Auspicious breezes began to blow, bearing celestial
perfumes. The gandharvas hymned his praises, as also great rishis always
engaged in the performance of sacrifices. Some speak of him as the
puissant son of the Grandsire, Sanat-kumara, the eldest of all the sons
of Brahma. Some speak of him as the son of Maheshvara, and some as that
of Agni. Some again describe him as the son of Uma or of the Krittikas or
of Ganga. Hundreds and thousands of people speak of that Lord of yogis of
blazing form and great might, as the son of one of those, or of either of
two of those, or of any one of four of those.

I have thus told thee, O king, everything about the installation of
Kartikeya. Listen now to the history of the sacredness of that foremost
of tirthas on the Sarasvati. That foremost of tirthas, O monarch, after
the enemies of the gods had been slain, became a second heaven. The
puissant son of Agni gave unto each of the foremost ones among the
celestials diverse kinds of dominion and affluence and at last the
sovereignty of the three worlds. Even thus, O monarch, was that adorable
exterminator of the daityas installed by the gods as their generalissimo.
That other tirtha, O bull of Bharata’s race, where in days of yore Varuna
the lord of waters had been installed by the celestials, is known by the
name of Taijasa. Having bathed in that tirtha and adored Skanda, Rama
gave unto the brahmanas gold and clothes and ornaments and other things.
Passing one night there, that slayer of hostile heroes, Madhava, praising
that foremost of tirthas and touching its water, became cheerful and
happy. I have now told thee everything about which thou hadst enquired,
how the divine Skanda was installed by the assembled gods!”

47

Janamejaya said, “This history, O regenerate one, that I have heard from
thee is exceedingly wonderful, this narration, in detail, of the
installation, according to due rites, of Skanda. O thou possessed of
wealth of asceticism, I deem myself cleansed by having listened to this
account. My hair stands on end and my mind hath become cheerful. Having
heard the history of the installation of Kumara and the destruction of
the Daityas, great hath been my joy. I feel a curiosity, however, in
respect of another matter. How was the Lord of the waters installed by
the celestials in that tirtha in days of yore? O best of men, tell me
that, for thou art possessed of great wisdom and art skilled in
narration!”

Vaishampayana said, “Listen, O king, to this wonderful history of what
transpired truly in a former Kalpa! In days of yore, in the Krita age, O
king, all celestials, duly approaching Varuna, said unto him these words,
‘As Shakra, the Lord of the celestials, always protects us from every
fear, similarly be thou the Lord of all the rivers! Thou always residest,
O god, in the Ocean, that home of makaras! This Ocean, the lord of
rivers, will then be under thy dominion! Thou shalt then wax and wane
with Soma!’ (Thus addressed) Varuna answered them, saying, ‘Let it be
so!’ All the celestials then, assembling together, made Varuna having his
abode in the ocean the Lord of all the waters, according to the rites
laid down in the scriptures. Having installed Varuna as the Lord of all
aquatic creatures and worshipping him duly, the celestials returned to
their respective abodes. Installed by the celestials, the illustrious
Varuna began to duly protect seas and lakes and rivers and other
reservoirs of water as Shakra protects the gods. Bathing in that tirtha
also and giving away diverse kinds of gifts, Baladeva, the slayer of
Pralamva, possessed of great wisdom, then proceeded to Agnitirtha, that
spot where the eater of clarified butter, disappearing from the view,
became concealed within the entrails of the Sami wood. When the light of
all the worlds thus disappeared, O sinless one, the gods then repaired to
the Grandsire of the universe. And they said, ‘The adorable Agni has
disappeared. We do not know the reason. Let not all creatures be
destroyed. Create fire, O puissant Lord!'”

Janamejaya said, “For what reason did Agni, the Creator of all the
worlds, disappear? How also was he discovered by the gods? Tell me all
this in detail.”

Vaishampayana said, “Agni of great energy became very much frightened at
the curse of Bhrigu. Concealing himself within the entrails of the Sami
wood, that adorable god disappeared from the view. Upon the disappearance
of Agni, all the gods, with Vasava at their head, in great affliction,
searched for the missing god. Finding Agni then, they saw that god lying
within the entrails of the Sami wood. The celestials, O tiger among king,
with Brihaspati at their head, having succeeded in finding out the god,
became very glad with Vasava amongst them. They then returned to the
places they had come from. Agni also, from Bhrigu’s curse, became an
eater of everything, as Bhrigu, that utterer of Brahma, had said. The
intelligent Balarama, having bathed there, then proceeded to Brahmayoni
where the adorable Grandsire of all the worlds had exercised his
functions of creations. In days of yore, the Lord Brahman, along with all
the gods, bathed in that tirtha, according to due rites for the
celestials. Bathing there and giving away diverse kinds of gifts,
Valadeva then proceeded to the tirtha called Kauvera where the puissant
Ailavila, having practised severe austerities, obtained, O king, the
Lordship over all treasures. While he dwelt there (engaged in
austerities), all kinds of wealth, and all the precious gems came to him
of their own accord. Baladeva having repaired to that tirtha and bathed
in its waters duly gave much wealth unto the Brahamanas. Rama beheld at
that spot the excellent woods of Kuvera. In days of yore, the high-souled
Kuvera, the chief of the Yakshas, having practised the severest
austerities there, obtained many boons. There were the lordship of all
treasures, the friendship of Rudra possessed of immeasurable energy, the
status of a god, the regency over a particular point of the compass (the
north), and a son named Nakakuvera. These the chief of the Yakshas
speedily obtained there, O thou of mighty arms! The Maruts, coming there,
installed him duly (in his sovereignty). He also obtained for a vehicle a
well-equipped and celestial car, fleet as thought, as also all the
affluence of a god. Bathing in that tirtha and giving away much wealth,
Vala using white unguents thence proceeded quickly to another tirtha.
Populous with all kinds of creatures, that tirtha is known by the name
Vadarapachana. There the fruits of every season are always to be found
and flowers and fruits of every kind are always abundant.”

48

Vaishampayana said, “Rama (as already said) then proceeded to the tirtha
called Vadarapachana where dwelt many ascetics and Siddhas. There the
daughter of Bharadwaja, unrivalled on earth for beauty, named Sruvavati,
practised severe austerities. She was a maiden who led the life of a
Brahmacharini. That beautiful damsel, observing diverse kinds of vows,
practised the austerest of penances, moved by the desire of obtaining the
Lord of the celestials for her husband. Many years passed away, O
perpetuator of Kuru’s race, during which that damsel continually observed
those diverse vows exceedingly difficult of being practised by women. The
adorable chastiser of Paka at last became gratified with her in
consequence of that conduct and those penances of hers and that high
regard she showed for him. The puissant Lord of the celestials then came
to that hermitage, having assumed the form of the high-souled and
regenerate Rishi Vasishtha. Beholding that foremost of ascetics,
Vasishtha, of the austerest penances, she worshipped him, O Bharata
according to the rites observed by ascetics. Conversant with vows, the
auspicious and sweet-speeched damsel addressed him, saying, ‘O adorable
one, O tiger among ascetics, tell me thy commands, O lord! O thou of
excellent vows, I shall serve thee according to the measure of my might!
I will not, however, give thee my hand, in consequence of my regard for
Shakra! I am seeking to please Shakra, the lord of the three worlds, with
vows and rigid observances and ascetic penances!’ Thus addressed by her,
the illustrious god, smiling as he cast his eyes on her, and knowing her
observances, addressed her sweetly, O Bharata, saying, ‘Thou practisest
penances of the austerest kind! This is known to me, O thou of excellent
vows! That object also, cherished in thy heart, for the attainment of
which thou strivest, O auspicious one, shall, O thou of beautiful face,
be accomplished for thee! Everything is attainable by penances.
Everything rests on penances. All those regions of blessedness, O thou of
beautiful face, that belong to the gods can be obtained by penances.
Penances are the root of great happiness. Those men that cast off their
bodies after having practised austere penances, obtain the status of
gods, O auspicious one! Bear in mind these words of mine! Do thou now, O
blessed damsel, boil these five jujubes, O thou of excellent vows!’
Having said these words, the adorable slayer of Vala went away, taking
leave, to mentally recite certain mantras at an excellent tirtha not far
from that hermitage. That tirtha came to be known in the three worlds
after the name of Indra, O giver of honours! Indeed, it was for the
purpose of testing the damsel’s devotion that the Lord of the celestials
acted in that way for obstructing the boiling of the jujubes. The damsel,
O king, having cleansed herself, began her task; restraining speech and
with attention fixed on it, she sat to her task without feeling any
fatigue. Even thus that damsel of high vows, O tiger among kings, began
to boil those jujubes. As she sat employed in her task, O bull among men,
day was about to wane, but yet those jujubes showed no signs of having
been softened. The fuel she had there was all consumed. Seeing the fire
about to die away owing to want of fuel, she began to burn her own limbs.
The beautiful maiden first thrust her feet into the fire. The sinless
damsel sat still while her feet began to be consumed. The faultless girl
did not at all mind her burning feet. Difficult of accomplishment, she
did it from desire of doing good to the Rishi (that had been her guest).
Her face did not at all change under that painful process, nor did she
feel any cheerlessness on that account. Having thrust her limbs into the
fire, she felt as much joy as if she had dipped them into cool water. The
words of the Rishi, ‘Cook these jujubes well’ were borne in her mind, O
Bharata! The auspicious damsel, bearing those words of the great Rishi in
her mind, began to cook those jujubes although the latter, O king, showed
no signs of softening. The adorable Agni himself consumed her feet. For
this, however, the maiden did not feel the slightest pain. Beholding this
act of hers, the Lord of the three worlds became highly satisfied. He
then showed himself in his own proper form to the damsel. The chief of
the celestials then addressed that maiden of very austere vows saying, ‘I
am pleased at thy devotion, thy penances, and thy vows! The wish,
therefore, O auspicious one, that thou cherishest shall be accomplished!
Casting off thy body, O blessed one, thou shalt in heaven live with me!
This hermitage, again, shall become the foremost of tirthas in the world,
capable of cleansing from every sin, O thou of fair eye-brows, and shall
be known by the name of Vadarapachana. It shall be celebrated in the
three worlds and shall be praised by great Rishis. In this very tirtha, O
auspicious, sinless, and highly blessed one, the seven Rishis had, on one
occasion, left Arundhati, (the wife of one of them), when they went to
Himavat. Those highly blessed ones of very rigid vows, had gone there for
gathering fruits and roots for their sustenance. While they thus lived in
a forest of Himavat for procuring their sustenance, a drought occurred
extending for twelve years. Those ascetics, having made an asylum for
themselves, continued to live there. Meanwhile Arundhati devoted herself
to ascetic penances (at the spot where she had been left). Beholding
Arundhati devoted to the austerest of vows, the boon-giving and
three-eyed deity (Mahadeva) highly pleased, came there. The great
Mahadeva, assuming the form of a Brahmana, came to her and said, ‘I
desire alms, O auspicious one!’ The beautiful Arundhati said unto him,
‘Our store of food hath been exhausted, O Brahmana! Do thou eat jujubes!’
Mahadeva replied, ‘Cook these jujubes, O thou of excellent vows!’ After
these words, she began to cook those jujubes for doing what was agreeable
to that Brahmana. Placing those jujubes on the fire, the celebrated
Arundhati listened to diverse excellent and charming and sacred
discourses (from the lips of Mahadeva). That twelve years’ drought then
passed away (as if it were a single day). Without food, and employed in
cooking and listening to those auspicious discourses, that terrible
period passed away, as if it were a single day to her. Then the seven
Rishis, having procured fruits from the mountain, returned to that spot.
The adorable Mahadeva, highly pleased with Arundhati, said unto her,
‘Approach, as formerly, these Rishis, O righteous one! I have been
gratified with thy penances and vows!’ The adorable Hara then stood
confessed in his own form. Gratified, he spoke unto them about the noble
conduct of Arundhati (in these words) ‘The ascetic merit, ye regenerate
ones, that this lady hath earned, is, I think, much greater than what ye
have earned on the breast of Himavat! The penances practised by this lady
have been exceedingly austere, for she passed twelve years in cooking,
herself fasting all the while!’ The divine Mahadeva then, addressing
Arundhati, said unto her, ‘Solicit thou the boon, O auspicious dame,
which is in thy heart!’ Then that lady of large eyes that were of a
reddish hue addressed that god in the midst of the seven Rishis, saying,
‘If, O divine one thou art gratified with me, then let this spot be an
excellent tirtha! Let it be known by the name of Vadarapachana and let it
be the favourite resort of Siddhas and celestial Rishis. So also, O god
of gods, let him who observes a fast here and resides for three nights
after having cleansed himself, obtain the fruit of a twelve years’ fast!’
The god answered her, saying, ‘Let it be so!’ Praised by the seven
Rishis, the god then repaired to heaven. Indeed the Rishis had been
filled with wonder at the sight of the god and upon beholding the chaste
Arundhati herself unspent and still possessed of the hue of health and so
capable of bearing hunger and thirst. Even thus the pure-souled
Arundhati, in days of old, obtained the highest success, like thee, O
highly blessed lady, for my sake, O damsel of rigid vows! Thou, however,
O amiable maiden, hast practised severer penances! Gratified with thy
vows, I shall also grant thee this special boon, O auspicious one, a boon
that is superior to what was granted to Arundhati. Through the power of
the high-souled god who had granted that boon to Arundhati and through
the energy of thyself, O amiable one, I shall duly grant thee another
boon now, that the person who will reside in this tirtha for only one
night and bathe here with soul fixed (on meditation), will, after casting
off his body obtain many regions of blessedness that are difficult of
acquisition (by other means)! Having said these words unto the cleansed
Sruvavati, the thousand-eyed Shakra of great energy then went back to
heaven. After the wielder of the thunderbolt, O king, had departed, a
shower of celestial flowers of sweet fragrance fell there, O chief of
Bharata’s race! Celestial kettle-drums also, of loud sound, were beaten
there. Auspicious and perfumed breezes also blew there, O monarch! The
auspicious Sruvavati then, casting off her body, became the spouse of
Indra. Obtaining the status through austere penances, she began to pass
her time, sporting with him for ever and ever.”

Janamejaya said, “Who was the mother of Sruvavati, and how was that fair
damsel reared? I desire to hear this, O Brahmana, for the curiosity I
feel is great.”

Vaishampayana said, “The vital seed of the regenerate and high-souled
Rishi Bharadwaja fell, upon beholding the large-eyed Apsara Ghritachi as
the latter was passing at one time. That foremost of ascetics thereupon
held it in his hand. It was then kept in a cup made of the leaves of a
tree. In that cup was born the girl Sruvavati. Having performed the usual
post-genital rites, the great ascetic Bharadwaja, endued with wealth of
penances, gave her a name. The name the righteous-souled Rishi gave her
in the presence of the gods and Rishis was Sruvavati. Keeping the girl in
his hermitage, Bharadwaja repaired to the forests of Himavat. That
foremost one among the Yadus, Baladeva of great dignity, having bathed in
that tirtha and given away much wealth unto many foremost of Brahmanas,
then proceeded, with soul well-fixed on meditation, to the tirtha of
Sakta.”

49

Vaishampayana said, “The mighty chief of the Yadus, having proceeded to
Indra’s tirtha, bathed there according to due rites and gave away wealth
and gems unto the Brahmanas. There the chief of the celestials had
performed a hundred horse sacrifices and given away enormous wealth unto
Brihaspati. Indeed, through the assistance of Brahmanas conversant with
the Vedas, Shakra performed all those sacrifices there, according to
rites ordained (in the scriptures). Those sacrifices were such that
everything in them was unstinted. Steeds of all kinds were brought there.
The gifts to Brahmanas were profuse. Having duly completed those hundred
sacrifices, O chief of the Bharatas, Shakra of great splendour came to be
called by the name of Satakratu. That auspicious and sacred tirtha,
capable of cleansing from every sin, thereupon came to be called after
his name as Indra-tirtha. Having duly bathed there, Baladeva worshipped
the Brahmanas with presents of excellent food and robes. He then
proceeded to that auspicious and foremost of tirthas called after the
name of Rama. The highly blessed Rama of Bhrigu’s race, endued with great
ascetic merit, repeatedly subjugated the Earth and slew all the foremost
of Kshatriyas. (After achieving such feats) Rama performed in that tirtha
a Vajapeya sacrifice and a hundred horse sacrifices through the
assistance of his preceptor Kasyapa, that best of Munis. There, as
sacrificial fee, Rama gave unto his preceptor the whole earth with her
oceans. The great Rama, having duly bathed there, made presents unto the
Brahmanas, O Janamejaya, and worshipped them thus. Having made diverse
present consisting of diverse kinds of gems as also kine and elephants
and female slaves and sheep and goats, he then retired into the woods.
Having bathed in that sacred and foremost of tirthas that was the resort
of gods and regenerate Rishis, Baladeva duly worshipped the ascetics
there, and then proceeded to the tirtha called Yamuna. Endued with great
effulgence, Varuna, the highly blessed son of Aditi, had in days of yore
performed in that tirtha the Rajasuya sacrifice, O lord of Earth! Having
in battle subjugated both men and celestials and Gandharvas and
Rakshasas, Varuna, O king, that slayer of hostile heroes, performed his
grand sacrifice in that tirtha. Upon the commencement of that foremost of
sacrifices, a battle ensued between the gods and the Danavas inspiring
the three worlds with terror. After the completion of that foremost of
sacrifices, the Rajasuya (of Varuna), a terrible battle, O Janamejaya,
ensued amongst the Kshatriyas. The ever-liberal and puissant Baladeva
having worshipped the Rishis there, made many presents unto those that
desired them. Filled with joy and praised by the great Rishis, Baladeva,
that hero ever decked with garlands of wild flowers and possessed of eyes
like lotus leaves, then proceeded to the tirtha called Aditya. There, O
best of kings, the adorable Surya of great splendour, having performed a
sacrifice, obtained the sovereignty of all luminous bodies (in the
universe) and acquired also his great energy. There, in that tirtha
situated on the bank of that river, all the gods with Vasava at their
head, the Viswedevas, the Maruts, the Gandharvas, the Apsaras, the
Island-born (Vyasa), Suka, Krishna the slayer of Madhu, the Yakshas, the
Rakshasas, and the Pisachas, O king, and diverse others, numbering by
thousands, all crowned with ascetic success, always reside. Indeed in
that auspicious and sacred tirtha of the Sarasvati, Vishnu himself,
having in days of yore slain the Asuras, Madhu and Kaitabha, had, O chief
of the Bharatas, performed his ablutions. The island-born (Vyasa) also,
of virtuous soul, O Bharata, having bathed in that tirtha, obtained great
Yoga powers and attained to high success. Endued with great ascetic
merit, the Rishi Asita-Devala also, having bathed in that very tirtha
with soul rapt in high Yoga meditation, obtained great Yoga powers.”

50

Vaishampayana said, “In that tirtha lived in days of yore a Rishi of
virtuous soul, named Asita-Devala, observant of the duties of
Domesticity. Devoted to virtue, he led a life of purity and
self-restraint. Possessed of great ascetic merit, he was compassionate
unto all creatures and never injured anyone. In word, deed, and thought,
he maintained an equal behaviour towards all creatures. Without wrath, O
monarch, censure and praise were equal to him. Of equal attitude towards
the agreeable and the disagreeable, he was, like Yama himself, thoroughly
impartial. The great ascetic looked with an equal eye upon gold and a
heap of pebbles. He daily worshipped the gods and guests, and Brahmanas
(that came to him). Ever devoted to righteousness, he always practised
the vow of brahmacarya. Once upon a time, an intelligent ascetic, O
monarch, of the name of Jaigishavya, devoted to Yoga and rapt in
meditation and leading the life of a mendicant, came to Devala’s asylum.
Possessed of great splendour, that great ascetic, ever devoted to Yoga, O
monarch, while residing in Devala’s asylum, became crowned with ascetic
success. Indeed, while the great Muni Jaigishavya resided there, Devala
kept his eyes on him, never neglecting him at any time. Thus, O monarch,
a long time was passed by the two in days of yore. On one occasion,
Devala lost sight of Jaigishavya, that foremost of ascetics. At the hour,
however, of dinner, O Janamejaya, the intelligent and righteous ascetic,
leading a life of mendicancy, approached Devala for soliciting alms.
Beholding that great ascetic re-appear in the guise of a mendicant,
Devala showed him great honour and expressed much gratification. And
Devala worshipped his guest, O Bharata, according to the measure of his
abilities, after the rites laid down by the Rishis and with great
attention for many years. One day, however, O king, in the sight of that
great Muni, a deep anxiety perturbed the heart of the highsouled Devala.
The latter thought within himself, ‘Many years have I passed in
worshipping this ascetic. This idle mendicant, however, hath not yet
spoken to me a single word!’ Having thought of this, the blessed Devala
proceeded to the shores of the ocean, journeying through the welkin and
bearing his earthen jug with him. Arrived at the coast of the Ocean, that
lord of rivers, O Bharata, the righteous-souled Devala saw Jaigishavya
arrived there before him. The lord Asita, at this sight, became filled
with wonder and thought within himself, ‘How could the mendicant come to
the ocean and perform his ablutions even before my arrival?’ Thus thought
the great Rishi Asita. Duly performing his ablutions there and purifying
himself thereby, he then began to silently recite the sacred mantras.
Having finished his ablutions and silent prayers, the blessed Devala
returned to his asylum, O Janamejaya, bearing with him his earthen vessel
filled with water. As the ascetic, however, entered his own asylum, he
saw Jaigishavya seated there. The great ascetic Jaigishavya never spoke a
word to Devala, but lived in the latter’s asylum as if he were a piece of
wood. Having beheld that ascetic, who was an ocean of austerities,
plunged in the waters of the sea (before his own arrival there), Asita
now saw him returned to his hermitage before his own return. Witnessing
this power, derived through Yoga, of Jaigishavya’s penances, Asita
Devala, O king, endued with great intelligence, began to reflect upon the
matter. Indeed that best of ascetics, O monarch, wondered much, saying,
‘How could this one be seen in the ocean and again in my hermitage?’
While absorbed in such thoughts, the ascetic Devala, conversant with
mantras, then soared aloft, O monarch, from his hermitage into the sky,
for ascertaining who Jaigishavya, wedded to a life of mendicancy, really
was. Devala saw crowds of sky-ranging Siddhas rapt in meditation, and he
saw Jaigishavya reverentially worshipped by those Siddhas. Firm in the
observance of his vows and persevering (in his efforts), Devala became
filled with wrath at the sight. He then saw Jaigishavya set out for
heaven. He next beheld him proceed to the region of the Pitris. Devala
saw him then proceed to the region of Yama. From Yama’s region the great
ascetic Jaigishavya was then seen to soar aloft and proceed to the abode
of Soma. He was then seen to proceed to the blessed regions (one after
another) of the performers of certain rigid sacrifices. Thence he
proceeded to the regions of the Agnihotris and thence to the region of
those ascetics that perform the Darsa and the Paurnamasa sacrifices. The
intelligent Devala then saw him proceed from those regions of persons
performing sacrifices by killing animals to that pure region which is
worshipped by the very gods. Devala next saw the mendicant proceed to the
place of those ascetics that perform the sacrifice called Chaturmasya and
diverse others of the same kind. Thence he proceeded to the region
belonging to the performers of the Agnishtoma sacrifice. Devala then saw
his guest repair to the place of those ascetics that perform the
sacrifice called Agnishutta. Indeed, Devala next saw him in the regions
of those highly wise men that perform the foremost of sacrifices,
Vajapeya, and that other sacrifice in which a profusion of gold is
necessary. Then he saw Jaigishavya in the region of those that perform
the Rajasuya and the Pundarika. He then saw him in the regions of those
foremost of men that perform the horse-sacrifice and the sacrifice in
which human beings are slaughtered. Indeed, Devala saw Jaigishavya in the
regions also of those that perform the sacrifice called Sautramani and
that other in which the flesh, so difficult to procure, of all living
animals, is required. Jaigishavya was then seen in the regions of those
that perform the sacrifice called Dadasaha and diverse others of similar
character. Asita next saw his guest sojourning in the region of
Mitravaruna and then in that of the Adityas. Asita then saw his guest
pass through the regions of the Rudras, the Vasus and Brihaspati. Having
soared next into the blessed region called Goloka, Jaigishavya was next
seen to pass into these of the Brahmasatris. Having by his energy passed
through three other regions, he was seen to proceed to those regions that
are reserved for women that are chaste and devoted to their husbands.
Asita, however, at this point, O chastiser of foes, lost sight of
Jaigishavya, that foremost of ascetics, who, rapt in yoga, vanished from
his sight. The highly blessed Devala then reflected upon the power of
Jaigishavya and the excellence of his vows as also upon the unrivalled
success of his yoga. Then the self-restrained Asita, with joined hands
and in a reverential spirit, enquired of those foremost of Siddhas in the
regions of the Brahmasatris, saying, ‘I do not see Jaigishavya! Tell me
where that ascetic of great energy is. I desire to hear this, for great
is my curiosity.’

“The Siddhis said, ‘Listen, O Devala of rigid vows, as we speak to thee
the truth. Jaigishavya hath gone to the eternal region of Brahman.'”

Vaishampayana continued, “Hearing these words of those Siddhas residing
in the regions of the Brahmasatris, Asita endeavoured to soar aloft but
he soon fell down. The Siddhas then, once more addressing Devala, said
unto him, ‘Thou, O Devala, art not competent to proceed thither, to the
abode of Brahman, whither Jaigishavya hath gone!'”

Vaishampayana continued, “Hearing those words of the Siddhas, Devala came
down, descending from one region to another in due order. Indeed, he
repaired to his own sacred asylum very quickly, like a winged insect. As
soon as he entered his abode he beheld Jaigishavya seated there. Then
Devala, beholding the power derived through Yoga of Jaigishavya’s
penances, reflected upon it with his righteous understanding and
approaching that great ascetic, O king, with humility, addressed the
high-souled Jaigishavya, saying, ‘I desire, O adorable one, to adopt the
religion of Moksha (Emancipation)! Hearing these words of his,
Jaigishavya gave him lessons. And he also taught him the ordinances of
Yoga and the supreme and eternal duties and their reverse. The great
ascetic, seeing him firmly resolved, performed all the acts (for his
admission into that religion) according to the rites ordained for that
end. Then all creatures, with the Pitris, beholding Devala resolved to
adopt the religion of Moksha, began to weep, saying, ‘Alas, who will
henceforth give us food!’ Hearing these lamentations of all creatures
that resounded through the ten points, Devala set his heart upon
renouncing the religion of Moksha. Then all kinds of sacred fruits and
roots, O Bharata, and flowers and deciduous herbs, in thousands, began to
weep, saying, ‘The wicked-hearted and mean Devala will, without doubt,
once more pluck and cut us! Alas, having once assured all creatures of
his perfect harmlessness, he sees not the wrong that he meditates to do!’
At this, that best of ascetics began to reflect with the aid of his
understanding, saying, ‘Which amongst these two, the religion of Moksha
or that of Domesticity, will be the better for me? Reflecting upon this,
Devala, O best of kings, abandoned the religion of Domesticity and
adopted that of Moksha. Having indulged in those reflections, Devala, in
consequence of that resolve obtained the highest success, O Bharata, and
the highest Yoga. The celestials then, headed by Brihaspati, applauded
Jaigishavya and the penances of that ascetic. Then that foremost of
ascetics, Narada, addressing the gods, said, ‘There is no ascetic penance
in Jaigishavya since he filled Asita with wonder!’ The denizens of heaven
then, addressing Narada who said such frightful words, said, ‘Do not say
so about the great ascetic Jaigishavya! There is no one superior or even
equal to this high-souled one in force of energy and penance and Yoga!’
Even such was the power of Jaigishavya as also of Asita. This is the
place of those two, and this the tirtha of those two high-souled persons.
Bathing there and giving away wealth unto the Brahmanas, the high-souled
wielder of the plough, of noble deeds, earned great merit and then
proceeded to the tirtha of Soma.”

51

Vaishampayana said, “There, in that tirtha, O Bharata, where the Lord of
stars had in former days performed the rajasuya sacrifice, a great battle
was fought in which Taraka was the root of the evil. Bathing in that
tirtha and making many presents, the virtuous Bala of cleansed soul
proceeded to the tirtha of the muni named Sarasvata. There, during a
drought extending for twelve years, the sage Sarasvata, in former days,
taught the Vedas unto many foremost of brahmanas.”

Janamejaya said, “Why did the sage Sarasvata, O thou of ascetic merit,
teach the Vedas unto the rishis during a twelve years’ drought?”

Vaishampayana continued, “In days of yore, O monarch, there was an
intelligent sage of great ascetic merit. He was celebrated by the name of
Dadhica. Possessing a complete control over his senses, he led the life
of a brahmacari. In consequence of his excessive ascetic austerities
Shakra was afflicted with a great fear. The sage could not be turned
(away from his penance) by the offer of even diverse kinds of rewards. At
last the chastiser of Paka, for tempting the sage, despatched unto him
the exceedingly beautiful and celestial apsara, by name Alambusa. Thither
where on the banks of the Sarasvati the high-souled sage was engaged in
the act of gratifying the gods, the celestial damsel named above, O
monarch, made her appearance. Beholding that damsel of beautiful limbs,
the vital seed of that ascetic of cleansed soul came out. It fell into
the Sarasvati, and the latter held it with care. Indeed, O bull among
men, the River, beholding that seed, held it in her womb. In time the
seed developed into a foetus and the great river held it so that it might
be inspired with life as a child. When the time came, the foremost of
rivers brought forth that child and then went, O lord, taking it with
her, to that rishi.

Beholding that best of rishis in a conclave, Sarasvati, O monarch, while
making over the child, said these words, ‘O regenerate rishi, this is thy
son whom I held through devotion for thee! That seed of thine which fell
at sight of the apsara Alambusa, had been held by me in my womb, O
regenerate rishi, through devotion for thee, well knowing that that
energy of thine would never suffer destruction! Given by me, accept this
faultless child of thy own!’ Thus addressed by her, the rishi accepted
the child and felt great joy. Through affection, that foremost of
brahmanas then smelt the head of his son and held him in a close embrace,
O foremost one of Bharata’s race, for some time. Gratified with the
River, the great ascetic Dadhica then gave a boon to her, saying, ‘The
vishvadevas, the rishis, and all the tribes of the gandharvas and the
apsaras, will henceforth, O blessed one, derive great happiness when
oblations of thy water are presented unto them!’

Having said so unto that great river, the sage, gratified and filled with
joy, then praised her in these words. Listen to them duly, O king! ‘Thou
hast taken thy rise, O highly blessed one, from the lake of Brahman in
days of old. All ascetics of rigid vows know thee, O foremost of rivers!
Always of agreeable features, thou hast done me great good! This thy
great child, O thou of the fairest complexion, will be known by the name
of Sarasvata! This thy son, capable of creating new worlds, will become
known after thy name! Indeed, that great ascetic will be known by the
name of Sarasvata! During a drought extending for twelve years, this
Sarasvata, O blessed one, will teach the Vedas unto many foremost of
brahmanas! O blessed Sarasvati, through my grace, thou shalt, O beautiful
one, always become the foremost of all sacred rivers!’ Even thus was the
great River praised by the sage after the latter had granted her boons.
The River then, in great joy, went away, O bull of Bharata’s race, taking
with her that child.

Meanwhile, on the occasion of a war between the gods and the danavas,
Shakra wandered through the three worlds in search of weapons. The great
god, however, failed to find such weapons as were fit to slay the foes of
the celestials. Shakra then said unto the gods. ‘The great asuras are
incapable of being dealt with by me! Indeed, without the bones of
Dadhica, our foes could not be slain! Ye best of celestials, repair,
therefore, to that foremost of rishis and solicit him, saying, “Grant us,
O Dadhica, thy bones! With them we will slay our foes!”

Besought by them for his bones, that foremost of rishis, O chief of
Kuru’s race, unhesitatingly gave up his life. Having done what was
agreeable to the gods, the sage obtained many regions of inexhaustible
merit. With his bones, meanwhile, Shakra joyfully caused to be made many
kinds of weapons, such as thunderbolts, discs, heavy maces, and many
kinds of clubs and bludgeons. Equal unto the Creator himself, Dadhica,
had been begotten by the great rishi Bhrigu, the son of the Lord of all
creatures, with the aid of his austere penances. Of stout limbs and
possessed of great energy, Dadhica had been made the strongest of
creatures in the world. The puissant Dadhica, celebrated for his glory,
became tall like the king of mountains. The chastiser of Paka had always
been anxious on account of his energy. With the thunderbolt born of
brahma energy, and inspired with mantras, O Bharata, Indra made a loud
noise when he hurled it, and slew nine and ninety heroes among the
daityas. After a long and dreadful time had elapsed since then, a
drought, O king, occurred that extended for twelve years. During that
drought extending for twelve years, the great rishis, for the sake of
sustenance, fled away, O monarch, on all sides.

Beholding them scattered in all directions, the sage Sarasvata also set
his heart on flight. The river Sarasvati then said unto him, ‘Thou needst
not, O son, depart hence, for I will always supply thee with food even
here by giving thee large fishes! Stay thou, therefore, even here!’ Thus
addressed (by the river), the sage continued to live there and offer
oblations of food unto the rishis and the gods. He got also his daily
food and thus continued to support both himself and the gods.

After that twelve year’s drought had passed away, the great rishis
solicited one another for lectures on the Vedas. While wandering with
famished stomachs, the rishis had lost the knowledge of the Vedas. There
was, indeed, not one amongst them that could understand the scriptures.
It chanced that someone amongst them encountered Sarasvata, that foremost
of rishis, while the latter was reading the Vedas with concentrated
attention. Coming back to the conclave of rishis, he spoke to them of
Sarasvata of unrivalled splendour and god-like mien engaged in reading
the Vedas in a solitary forest. Then all the great rishis came to that
spot, and jointly spoke unto Sarasvata, that best of ascetics, these
words, ‘Teach us, O sage!’ Unto them the ascetic replied, saying, ‘Become
ye my disciples duly!’ The conclave of ascetics answered, ‘O son, thou
art too young in years!’ Thereupon he answered the ascetics, ‘I must act
in such a way that my religious merit may not suffer a diminution! He
that teaches improperly, and he that learns improperly, are both lost in
no time and come to hate each other! It is not upon years, or
decrepitude, or wealth, or the number of kinsmen, that rishis found their
claim to merit! He amongst us is great who is capable of reading and
understanding the Vedas!’

Hearing these words of his, those munis duly became his disciples and
obtaining from him their Vedas, once more began to praise their rites.
60,000 munis became disciples of the regenerate rishi Sarasvata for the
sake of acquiring their Vedas from him. Owning obedience to that
agreeable rishi, though a boy, the munis each brought a handful of grass
and offered it to him for his seat. The mighty son of Rohini, and elder
brother of Keshava, having given away wealth in that tirtha, then
joyfully proceeded to another place where lived (in days of yore) an old
lady without having passed through the ceremony of marriage.”

52

Janamejaya said, “Why, O regenerate one, did that maiden betake herself
to ascetic penances, in days of old? For what reason did she practise
penances, and what was her vow? Unrivalled and fraught with mystery is
the discourse that I have already heard from thee! Tell me (now) all the
particulars in detail regarding how that maid engaged herself in
penances.”

Vaishampayana said, “There was a rishi of abundant energy and great fame,
named Kuni-Garga. That foremost of ascetics, having practised the
austerest of penances, O king, created a fair-browed daughter by a fiat
of his will. Beholding her, the celebrated ascetic Kuni-Garga became
filled with joy. He abandoned his body, O king, and then went to heaven.
That faultless and amiable and fair-browed maiden, meanwhile, of eyes
like lotus petals continued to practise severe and very rigid penances.
She worshipped the pitris and the gods with fasts. In the practice of
such severe penances a long period elapsed. Though her sire had been for
giving her away to a husband, she yet did not wish for marriage, for she
did not see a husband that could be worthy of her.

Continuing to emaciate her body with austere penances, she devoted
herself to the worship of the pitris and the gods in that solitary
forest. Although engaged in such toil, O monarch, and although she
emaciated herself by age and austerities, yet she regarded herself happy.
At last when she (became very old so that she) could no longer move even
a single step without being aided by somebody, she set her heart upon
departing for the other world.

Beholding her about to cast off her body, Narada said unto her, ‘O
sinless one, thou hast no regions of blessedness to obtain in consequence
of thy not having cleansed thyself by rite of marriage! O thou of great
vows, we have heard this in heaven! Great hath been thy ascetic
austerities, but thou hast no claim to regions of blessedness!’

Hearing these words of Narada, the old lady went to a concourse of rishis
and said, ‘I shall give him half my penances who will accept my hand in
marriage!’ After she had said those words, Galava’s son, a rishi, known
by the name of Sringavat, accepted her hand, having proposed this compact
to her, ‘With this compact, O beautiful lady, I shall accept thy hand,
that thou shalt live with me for only one night!’ Having agreed to that
compact, she gave him her hand.

Indeed, Galava’s son, according to the ordinances laid down and having
duly poured libations on the fire, accepted her hand and married her. On
that night, she became a young lady of the fairest complexion, robed in
celestial attire and decked in celestial ornaments and garlands and
smeared with celestial unguents and perfumes. Beholding her blazing with
beauty, Galava’s son became very happy and passed one night in her
company.

At morn she said unto him, ‘The compact, O brahmana, I had made with
thee, hath been fulfilled, O foremost of ascetics! Blessed be thou, I
shall now leave thee!’ After obtaining his permission, she once more
said, ‘He that will, with rapt attention, pass one night in this tirtha
after having gratified the denizens of heaven with oblations of water,
shall obtain that merit which is his who observes the vow of brahmacarya
for eight and fifty years!’ Having said these words, that chaste lady
departed for heaven.

The Rishi, her lord, became very cheerless, by dwelling upon the memory
of her beauty. In consequence of the compact he had made, he accepted
with difficulty half her penances. Casting off his body he soon followed
her, moved by sorrow, O chief of Bharata’s race, and forced to it by her
beauty.

Even this is the glorious history of the old maid that I have told thee!
Even this is the account of her brahmacarya and her auspicious departure
for heaven. While there Baladeva heard of the slaughter of Shalya. Having
made presents unto the brahmanas there, he gave way to grief, O scorcher
of his foes, for Shalya who had been slain by the Pandavas in battle.
Then he of Madhu’s race, having come out of the environs of
Samantapanchaka, enquired of the rishis about the results of the battle
at Kurukshetra. Asked by that lion of Yadu’s race about the results of
the battle at Kurukshetra, those high-souled ones told him everything as
it had happened.”

53

“The Rishis said, ‘O Rama, this Samantapanchaka is said to be the eternal
northern altar of Brahman, the Lord of all creatures. There the denizens
of heaven, those givers of great boons, performed in days of yore a great
sacrifice. That foremost of royal sages, the high-souled Kuru, of great
intelligence and immeasurable energy, had cultivated this field for many
years. Hence it came to be Kurukshetra (the field of Kuru)!’

“Rama said, ‘For what reason did the high-souled Kuru cultivate this
field? I desire to have this narrated by you, ye Rishis possessed of
wealth of penances!’

“The Rishis said, ‘In days of yore, O Rama, Kuru was engaged in
perseveringly tilling the soil of this field. Shakra, coming down from
heaven, asked him the reason, saying, “Why O king, art thou employed (in
this task) with such perseverance? What is thy purpose, O royal sage, for
the accomplishment of which thou art tilling the soil?” Kuru thereupon
replied, saying, “O thou of a hundred sacrifices, they that will die upon
this plain shall proceed to regions of blessedness after being cleansed
of their sins!” The lord Shakra, ridiculing this, went back to heaven.
The royal sage Kuru, however, without being at all depressed, continued
to till the soil. Shakra repeatedly came to him and repeatedly receiving
the same reply went away ridiculing him. Kuru, however, did not, on that
account, feel depressed. Seeing the king till the soil with unflagging
perseverance. Shakra summoned the celestials and informed them of the
monarch’s occupation. Hearing Indra’s words, the celestials said unto
their chief of a 1,000 eyes, “Stop the royal sage, O Shakra by granting
him a boon, if thou canst! If men, by only dying there were to come to
heaven, without having performed sacrifices to us, our very existence
will be endangered!” Thus exhorted, Shakra then came back to that royal
sage and said, “Do not toil any more! Act according to my words! Those
men that will die here, having abstained from food with all their senses
awake, and those that will perish here in battle, shall, O king, come to
heaven! They, O thou of great soul, shall enjoy the blessings of heaven,
O monarch!” Thus addressed, king Kuru answered Shakra, saying, “So be
it!” Taking Kuru’s leave, the slayer of Vala, Shakra, then, with a joyful
heart, quickly went back to heaven. Even thus, O foremost one of Yadu’s
race, that royal sage had, in days of yore, tilled this plain and Shakra
had promised great merit unto those that would cast off their bodies
here. Indeed, it was sanctioned by all the foremost ones, headed by
Brahman, among the gods, and by the sacred Rishis, that on earth there
should be no more sacred spot than this! Those men that perform austere
penances here would all after casting off their bodies go to Brahman’s
abode. Those meritorious men, again, that would give away their wealth
here would soon have their wealth doubled. They, again, that will, in
expectation of good, reside constantly here, will never have to visit the
region of Yama. Those kings that will perform great sacrifices here will
reside as long in heaven as Earth herself will last. The chief of the
celestials, Shakra, himself composed a verse here and sang it. Listen to
it, O Baladeva! “The very dust of Kurukshetra, borne away by the wind,
shall cleanse persons of wicked acts and bear them to heaven!” The
foremost ones amongst the gods, as also those amongst the Brahmanas, and
many foremost ones among the kings of the Earth such as Nriga and others,
having performed costly sacrifices here, after abandoning their bodies,
proceeded to heaven. The space between the Tarantuka and the Arantuka and
the lakes of Rama and Shamachakra, is known as Kurukshetra.
Samantapanchaka is called the northern (sacrificial) altar of Brahman,
the Lord of all creatures. Auspicious and highly sacred and much regarded
by the denizens of heaven is this spot that possesses all attributes. It
is for this that Kshatriyas slain in battle here obtain sacred regions of
eternal blessedness. Even this was said by Shakra himself about the high
blessedness of Kurukshetra. All that Shakra said was again approved and
sanctioned by Brahman, by Vishnu, and by Maheshvara.'”

54

Vaishampayana said, “Having visited Kurukshetra and given away wealth
there, he of the Satwata race then proceeded, O Janamejaya, to a large
and exceedingly beautiful hermitage. That hermitage was overgrown with
Madhuka and mango trees, and abounded with Plakshas and Nyagrodhas. And
it contained many Vilwas and many excellent jack and Arjuna trees.
Beholding that goodly asylum with many marks of sacredness, Baladeva
asked the Rishis as to whose it was. Those high-souled ones, O king, said
unto Baladeva, ‘Listen in detail, O Rama, as to whose asylum this was in
days of yore! Here the god Vishnu in days of yore performed austere
penances. Here he performed duly all the eternal sacrifices. Here a
Brahmani maiden, leading from youth the vow of Brahmacharya, became
crowned with ascetic success. Ultimately, in the possession of Yoga
powers, that lady of ascetic penances proceeded to heaven. The
high-souled Sandilya, O king, got a beautiful daughter who was chaste,
wedded to severe vows, self-restrained, and observant of Brahmacharya.
Having performed the severest of penances such as are incapable of being
performed by women, the blessed lady at last went to heaven, worshipped
by the gods and Brahmanas!’ Having heard these words of the Rishis,
Baladeva entered that asylum. Bidding farewell to the Rishis, Baladeva of
unfading glory went through the performance of all the rites and
ceremonies of the evening twilight on the side of Himavat and then began
his ascent of the mountain. The mighty Balarama having the device of the
palmyra on his banner had not proceeded far in his ascent when he beheld
a sacred and goodly tirtha and wondered at the sight. Beholding the glory
of the Sarasvati, as also the tirtha called Plakshaprasravana, Vala next
reached another excellent and foremost of tirthas called Karavapana. The
hero of the plough, of great strength, having made many presents there,
bathed in the cool, clear, sacred, and sin-cleansing water (of that
tirtha). Passing one night there with the ascetics and the Brahmanas,
Rama then proceeded to the sacred asylum of the Mitra-Varunas. From
Karavapana he proceeded to that spot on the Yamuna where in days of yore
Indra and Agni and Aryaman had obtained great happiness. Bathing there,
that bull of Yadu’s race, of righteous soul, obtained great happiness.
The hero then sat himself down with the Rishis and the Siddhas there for
listening to their excellent talk. There where Rama sat in the midst of
that conclave, the adorable Rishi Narada came (in course of his
wandering). Covered with matted locks and attired in golden rays, he bore
in his hands, O king, a staff made of gold and a waterpot made of the
same precious metal. Accomplished in song and dance and adored by gods
and Brahmanas, he had with him a beautiful Vina of melodious notes, made
of the tortoise-shell. A provoker of quarrels and ever fond of quarrels,
the celestial Rishi came to that spot where the handsome Rama was
resting. Standing up and sufficiently honouring the celestial Rishi of
regulated vows, Rama asked him about all that had happened to the Kurus.
Conversant with every duty and usage, Narada then, O king, told him
everything, as it had happened, about the awful extermination of the
Kurus. The son of Rohini then, in sorrowful words, enquired of the Rishi,
saying, ‘What is the state of the field? How are those kings now that had
assembled there? I have heard everything before, O thou that art
possessed of the wealth of penances, but my curiosity is great for
hearing it in detail!’

“Narada said, ‘Already Bhishma and Drona and the lord of the Sindhus have
fallen! Vikartana’s son Karna also hath fallen, with his sons, those
great car-warriors! Bhurishrava too, O son of Rohini, and the valiant
chief of the Madras have fallen! Those and many other mighty heroes that
had assembled there, ready to lay down their lives for the victory of
Duryodhana, those kings and princes unreturning from battle, have all
fallen! Listen now to me, O Madhava, about those that are yet alive! In
the army of Dhritarashtra’s son, only three grinders of hosts are yet
alive! They are Kripa and Kritavarma and the valiant son of Drona! These
also, O Rama, have from fear fled away to the ten points of the compass!
After Shalya’s fall and the flight of Kripa and the others, Duryodhana,
in great grief, had entered the depths of the Dvaipayana lake. While
lying stretched for rest at the bottom of the lake after stupefying its
waters, Duryodhana was approached by the Pandavas with Krishna and
pierced by them with their cruel words. Pierced with wordy darts, O Rama,
from every side, the mighty and heroic Duryodhana hath risen from the
lake armed with his heavy mace. He hath come forward for fighting Bhima
for the present. Their terrible encounter, O Rama, will take place today!
If thou feelest any curiosity, then hasten, O Madhava, without tarrying
here! Go, if thou wishest, and witness that terrible battle between thy
two disciples!'”

Vaishampayana continued, “Hearing these words of Narada, Rama bade a
respectful farewell to those foremost of Brahmanas and dismissed all
those that had accompanied him (in his pilgrimage). Indeed, he ordered
his attendants, saying, ‘Return ye to Dwaraka!’ He then descended from
that prince of mountains and that fair hermitage called
Plakshaprasravana. Having listened to the discourse of the sages about
the great merits of tirthas, Rama of unfading glory sang this verse in
the midst of the Brahmanas, ‘Where else is such happiness as that in a
residence by the Sarasvati? Where also such merits as those in a
residence by the Sarasvati? Men have departed for heaven, having
approached the Sarasvati! All should ever remember the Sarasvati!
Sarasvati is the most sacred of rivers! Sarasvati always bestows the
greatest happiness on men! Men, after approaching the Sarasvati, will not
have to grieve for their sins either here or hereafter!’ Repeatedly
casting his eyes with joy on the Sarasvati, that scorcher of foes then
ascended an excellent car unto which were yoked goodly steeds. Journeying
then on that car of great fleetness, Baladeva, that bull of Yadu’s race,
desirous of beholding the approaching encounter of his two disciples
arrived on the field.”

55

Vaishampayana said, “Even thus, O Janamejaya, did that terrible battle
take place. King Dhritarashtra, in great sorrow, said these words with
reference to it:

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Beholding Rama approach that spot when the
mace-fight was about to happen, how, O Sanjaya, did my son fight Bhima?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding the presence of Rama, thy valiant son,
Duryodhana of mighty arms, desirous of battle, became full of joy. Seeing
the hero of the plough, king Yudhishthira, O Bharata, stood up and duly
honoured him, feeling great joy the while. He gave him a seat and
enquired about his welfare. Rama then answered Yudhishthira in these
sweet and righteous words that were highly beneficial to heroes, “I have
heard it said by the Rishis, O best of kings, that Kurukshetra is a
highly sacred and sin-cleansing spot, equal to heaven itself, adored by
gods and Rishis and high-souled Brahmanas! Those men that cast off their
bodies while engaged in battle on this field, are sure to reside, O sire,
in heaven with Shakra himself! I shall, for this, O king, speedily
proceed to Samantapanchaka. In the world of gods that spot is known as
the northern (sacrificial) altar of Brahman, the Lord of all creatures!
He that dies in battle on that eternal and most sacred of spots in the
three worlds, is sure to obtain heaven!” Saying, “So be it,” O monarch,
Kunti’s brave son, the lord Yudhishthira, proceeded towards
Samantapanchaka. King Duryodhana also, taking up his gigantic mace,
wrathfully proceeded on foot with the Pandavas. While proceeding thus,
armed with mace and clad in armour, the celestials in the welkin
applauded him, saying, “Excellent, Excellent!” The Charanas fleet as air,
seeing the Kuru king, became filled with delight. Surrounded by the
Pandavas, thy son, the Kuru king, proceeded, assuming the tread of an
infuriated elephant. All the points of the compass were filled with the
blare of conchs and the loud peals of drums and the leonine roars of
heroes. Proceeding with face westwards to the appointed spot, with thy
son (in their midst), they scattered themselves on every side when they
reached it. That was an excellent tirtha on the southern side of the
Sarasvati. The ground there was not sandy and was, therefore, selected
for the encounter. Clad in armour, and armed with his mace of gigantic
thickness, Bhima, O monarch, assumed the form of the mighty Garuda. With
head-gear fastened on his head, and wearing an armour made of gold,
licking the corners of his mouth, O monarch, with eyes red in wrath, and
breathing hard, thy son, on that field, O king, looked resplendent like
the golden Sumeru. Taking up his mace, king Duryodhana of great energy,
casting his glances on Bhimasena, challenged him to the encounter like an
elephant challenging a rival elephant. Similarly, the valiant Bhima,
taking up his adamantine mace, challenged the king like a lion
challenging a lion. Duryodhana and Bhima, with uplifted maces, looked in
that bottle like two mountains with tall summits. Both of them were
exceedingly angry; both were possessed of awful prowess; in encounters
with the mace both were disciples of Rohini’s intelligent son, both
resembled each other in their feats and looked like Maya and Vasava. Both
were endued with great strength, both resembled Varuna in achievements.
Each resembling Vasudeva, or Rama, or Visravana’s son (Ravana), they
looked, O monarch, like Madhu and Kaitabha. Each like the other in feats,
they looked like Sunda and Upasunda, or Rama and Ravana, or Vali and
Sugriva. Those two scorchers of foes looked like Kala and Mrityu. They
then ran towards each other like two infuriated elephants, swelling with
pride and mad with passion in the season of autumn and longing for the
companionship of a she-elephant in her time. Each seemed to vomit upon
the other the poison of his wrath like two fiery snakes. Those two
chastisers of foes cast the angriest of glances upon each other. Both
were tigers of Bharata’s race, and each was possessed of great prowess.
In encounters with the mace, those two scorchers of foes were invincible
like lions. Indeed, O bull of Bharata’s race, inspired with desire of
victory, they looked like two infuriated elephants. Those heroes were
unbearable, like two tigers accoutred with teeth and claws. They were
like two uncrossable oceans lashed into fury and bent upon the
destruction of creatures, or like two angry Suns risen for consuming
everything. Those two mighty car-warriors looked like an Eastern and a
Western cloud agitated by the wind, roaring awfully and pouring torrents
of rain in the rainy season. Those two high-souled and mighty heroes,
both possessed of great splendour and effulgence, looked like two Suns
risen at the hour of the universal dissolution. Looking like two enraged
tigers or like two roaring masses of clouds, they became as glad as two
maned lions. Like two angry elephants or two blazing fires, those two
high-souled ones appeared like two mountains with tall summits. With lips
swelling with rage and casting keen glances upon each other, those two
high-souled and best of men, armed with maces, encountered each other.
Both were filled with joy, and each regarded the other as a worthy
opponent, and Vrikodara then resembled two goodly steeds neighing at each
other, or two elephants trumpeting at each other. Those two foremost of
men then looked resplendent like a couple of Daityas swelling with might.
Then Duryodhana, O monarch, said these proud words unto Yudhishthira in
the midst of his brothers and of the high-souled Krishna and Rama of
immeasurable energy, ‘Protected by the Kaikeyas and the Srinjayas and the
high-souled Pancalas, behold ye with all those foremost of kings, seated
together, this battle that is about to take place between me and Bhima!’
Hearing these words of Duryodhana, they did as requested. Then that large
concourse of kings sat down and was seen to look resplendent like a
conclave of celestials in heaven. In the midst of that concourse the
mighty-armed and handsome elder brother of Keshava, O monarch, as he sat
down, was worshipped by all around him. In the midst of those kings,
Valadeva clad in blue robes and possessed of a fair complexion, looked
beautiful like the moon at full surrounded in the night by thousands of
stars. Meanwhile those two heroes, O monarch, both armed with maces and
both unbearable by foes, stood there, goading each other with fierce
speeches. Having addressed each other in disagreeable and bitter words,
those two foremost of heroes of Kuru’s race stood, casting angry glances
upon each other, like Shakra and Vritra in fight.”

56

Vaishampayana said, “At the outset, O Janamejaya a fierce wordy encounter
took place between the two heroes. With respect to that, king
Dhritarashtra, filled with grief, said this, ‘Oh, fie on man, who hath
such an end! My son, O sinless one, had been the lord of eleven chamus of
troops He had all the kings under his command and had enjoyed the
sovereignty of the whole earth! Alas, he that had been so, now a warrior
proceeding to battle, on foot, shouldering his mace! My poor son, who had
before been the protector of the universe, was now himself without
protection! Alas, he had, on that occasion, to proceed on foot,
shouldering his mace! What can it be but Destiny? Alas, O Sanjaya, great
was the grief that was felt by my son now!’ Having uttered these words,
that ruler of men, afflicted with great woe, became silent.

“Sanjaya said, ‘Deep-voiced like a cloud, Duryodhana then roared from joy
like a bull. Possessed of great energy, he challenged the son of Pritha
to battle. When the high-souled king of the Kurus thus summoned Bhima to
the encounter, diverse portents of an awful kind became noticeable.
Fierce winds began to blow with loud noises at intervals, and a shower of
dust fell. All the points of the compass became enveloped in a thick
gloom. Thunderbolts of loud peal fell on all sides, causing a great
confusion and making the very hair to stand on end. Hundreds of meteors
fell, bursting with a loud noise from the welkin. Rahu swallowed the Sun
most untimely, O monarch! The Earth with her forests and trees shook
greatly. Hot winds blew, bearing showers of hard pebbles along the
ground. The summits of mountains fell down on the earth’s surface.
Animals of diverse forms were seen to run in all directions. Terrible and
fierce jackals, with blazing mouths, howled everywhere. Loud and terrific
reports were heard on every side, making the hair stand on end. The four
quarters seemed to be ablaze and many were the animals of ill omen that
became visible. The water in the wells on every side swelled up of their
own accord. Loud sounds came from every side, without, O king, visible
creatures to utter them. Beholding these and other portents, Vrikodara
said unto his eldest brother, king Yudhishthira the just, “This Suyodhana
of wicked soul is not competent to vanquish me in battle! I shall today
vomit that wrath which I have been cherishing for a long while in the
secret recesses of my heart, upon this ruler of the Kurus like Arjuna
throwing fire upon the forest of Khandava! Today, O son of Pandu, I shall
extract the dart that lies sticking to thy heart! Slaying with my mace
this sinful wretch of Kuru’s race, I shall today place around thy neck
the garland of Fame! Slaying this wight of sinful deeds with my mace on
the field of battle, I shall today, with this very mace of mine, break
his body into a hundred fragments! He shall not have again to enter the
city called after the elephant. The setting of snakes at us while we were
asleep, the giving of poison to us while we ate, the casting of our body
into the water at Pramanakoti, the attempt to burn us at the house of
lac, the insult offered us at the assembly, the robbing us of all our
possessions, the whole year of our living in concealment, our exile into
the woods, O sinless one, of all these woes, O best of Bharata’s race, I
shall today reach the end, O bull of Bharata’s line! Slaying this wretch,
I shall, in one single day, pay off all the debts I owe him! Today, the
period of life of this wicked son of Dhritarashtra, of uncleansed soul,
hath reached its close, O chief of the Bharatas! After this day he shall
not again look at his father and mother! Today, O monarch, the happiness
of this wicked king of the Kurus hath come to an end! After this day, O
monarch, he shall not again cast his eyes on female beauty! Today this
disgrace of Santanu’s line shall sleep on the bare Earth, abandoning his
life-breath, his prosperity, and his kingdom! Today king Dhritarashtra
also, hearing of the fall of his son, shall recollect all those evil acts
that were born of Shakuni’s brain!” With these words, O tiger among
kings, Vrikodara of great energy, armed with mace, stood for fight, like
Shakra challenging the asura Vritra. Beholding Duryodhana also standing
with uplifted mace like mount Kailasa graced with its summit, Bhimasena,
filled with wrath, once more addressed him, saying, “Recall to thy mind
that evil act of thyself and king Dhritarashtra that occurred at
Varanavata! Remember Draupadi who was ill-treated, while in her season,
in the midst of the assembly! Remember the deprivation of the king
through dice by thyself and Subala’s son! Remember that great woe
suffered by us, in consequence of thee, in the forest, as also in
Virata’s city as if we had once more entered the womb! I shall avenge
myself of them all today! By good luck, O thou of wicked soul, I see thee
today! It is for thy sake that that foremost of car-warriors, the son of
Ganga, of great prowess, struck down by Yajnasena’s son, sleepeth on a
bed of arrows! Drona also hath been slain, and Karna, and Shalya of great
prowess! Subala’s son Shakuni, too, that root of these hostilities, hath
been slain! The wretched Pratikamin, who had seized Draupadi’s tresses,
hath been slain! All thy brave brothers also, who fought with great
valour, have been slain! These and many other kings have been slain
through thy fault! Thee too I shall slay today with my mace! There is not
the slightest doubt in this.” While Vrikodara, O monarch, was uttering
these words in a loud voice, thy fearless son of true prowess answered
him, saying, “What use of such elaborate bragging? Fight me, O Vrikodara!
O wretch of thy race, today I shall destroy thy desire of battle! Mean
vermin as thou art, know that Duryodhana is not capab le, like an
ordinary person, of being terrified by a person like thee! For a long
time have I cherished this desire! For a long time hath this wish been in
my heart! By good luck the gods have at last brought it about, a mace
encounter with thee! What use of long speeches and empty bragging, O
wicked-souled one! Accomplish these words of thine in acts. Do not tarry
at all!” Hearing these words of his, the Somakas and the other kings that
were present there all applauded them highly. Applauded by all,
Duryodhana’s hair stood erect with joy and he firmly set his heart on
battle. The kings present once again cheered thy wrathful son with
clapping, like persons exciting an infuriated elephant to an encounter.
The high-souled Vrikodara, the son of Pandu, then, uplifting his mace,
rushed furiously at thy high-souled son. The elephants present there
trumpeted aloud and the steeds neighed repeatedly. The weapons of the
Pandavas who longed for victory blazed forth of their own accord.'”

57

“Sanjaya said, ‘Duryodhana, with heart undepressed, beholding Bhimasena
in that state, rushed furiously against him, uttering a loud roar. They
encountered each other like two bulls encountering each other with their
horns. The strokes of their maces produced loud sounds like those of
thunderbolts. Each longing for victory, the battle that took place
between them was terrible, making the very hair stand on end, like that
between Indra and Prahlada. All their limbs bathed in blood, the two
high-souled warriors of great energy, both armed with maces, looked like
two Kinsukas decked with flowers. During the progress of that great and
awful encounter, the welkin looked beautiful as if it swarmed with
fire-flies. After that fierce and terrible battle had lasted for some
time, both those chastisers of foes became fatigued. Having rested for a
little while, those two scorchers of foes, taking up their handsome
maces, once again began to ward off each others’ attacks. Indeed, when
those two warriors of great energy, those two foremost of men, both
possessed of great might, encountered each other after having taken a
little rest, they looked like two elephants infuriated with passion and
attacking each other for obtaining the companionship of a cow elephant in
season. Beholding those two heroes, both armed with maces and each equal
to the other in energy, the gods and Gandharvas and men became filled
with wonder. Beholding Duryodhana and Vrikodara both armed with maces,
all creatures became doubtful as to who amongst them would be victorious.
Those two cousins, those two foremost of mighty men, once again rushing
at each other and desiring to take advantage of each other’s lapses,
waited each watching the other. The spectators, O king, beheld each armed
with his uplifted mace, that was heavy, fierce, and murderous, and that
resembled the bludgeon of Yama or the thunder-bolt of Indra. While
Bhimasena whirled his weapon, loud and awful was the sound that it
produced. Beholding his foe, the son of Pandu, thus whirling his mace
endued with unrivalled impetuosity, Duryodhana became filled with
amazement. Indeed, the heroic Vrikodara, O Bharata, as he careered in
diverse courses, presented a highly beautiful spectacle. Both bent upon
carefully protecting themselves, as they approached, they repeatedly
mangled each other like two cats fighting for a piece of meat. Bhimasena
performed diverse kinds of evolutions. He coursed in beautiful circles,
advanced, and receded. He dealt blows and warded off those of his
adversary, with wonderful activity. He took up various kinds of position
(for attack and defence). He delivered attacks and avoided those of his
antagonist. He ran at his foe, now turning to the right and now to the
left. He advanced straight against the enemy. He made ruses for drawing
his foe. He stood immovable, prepared for attacking his foe as soon as
the latter would expose himself to attack. He circumambulated his foe,
and prevented his foe from circumambulating him. He avoided the blows of
his foe by moving away in bent postures or jumping aloft. He struck,
coming up to his foe face to face, or dealt back-thrusts while moving
away from him. Both accomplished in encounters with the mace, Bhima and
Duryodhana thus careered and fought, and struck each other. Those two
foremost ones of Kuru’s race careered thus, each avoiding the other’s
blows. Indeed, those two mighty warriors thus coursed in circles and
seemed to sport with each other. Displaying in that encounter their skill
in battle, those two chastisers of foes sometimes suddenly attacked each
other with their weapons, like two elephants approaching and attacking
each other with their tusks. Covered with blood, they looked very
beautiful, O monarch, on the field. Even thus occurred that battle,
awfully and before the gaze of a large multitude, towards the close of
the day, like the battle between Vritra and Vasava. Armed with maces,
both began to career in circles. Duryodhana, O monarch, adopted the right
mandala, while Bhimasena adopted the left mandala. While Bhima was thus
careering in circles on the field of battle, Duryodhana, O monarch,
suddenly struck him a fierce blow on one of his flanks. Struck by thy
son, O sire, Bhima began to whirl his heavy mace for returning that blow.
The spectators, O monarch, beheld that mace of Bhimasena look as terrible
as Indra’s thunder-bolt or Yama’s uplifted bludgeon. Seeing Bhima whirl
his mace, thy son, uplifting his own terrible weapon, struck him again.
Loud was the sound, O Bharata, produced by the descent of thy son’s mace.
So quick was that descent that it generated a flame of fire in the
welkin. Coursing in diverse kinds of circles, adopting each motion at the
proper time, Suyodhana, possessed of great energy, once more seemed to
prevail over Bhima. The massive mace of Bhimasena meanwhile, whirled with
his whole force, produced a loud sound as also smoke and sparks and
flames of fire. Beholding Bhimasena whirling his mace, Suyodhana also
whirled his heavy and adamantine weapon and presented a highly beautiful
aspect. Marking the violence of the wind produced by the whirl of
Duryodhana’s mace, a great fear entered the hearts of all the Pandus and
the Somakas. Meanwhile those two chastisers of foes, displaying on every
side their skill in battle, continued to strike each other with their
maces, like two elephants approaching and striking each other with their
tusks. Both of them, O monarch, covered with blood, looked highly
beautiful. Even thus progressed that awful combat before the gaze of
thousands of spectators at the close of day, like the fierce battle that
took place between Vritra and Vasava. Beholding Bhima firmly stationed on
the field, thy mighty son, careering in more beautiful motions, rushed
towards that son of Kunti. Filled with wrath, Bhima struck the mace,
endued with great impetuosity and adorned with gold, of the angry
Duryodhana. A loud sound with sparks of fire was produced by that clash
of the two maces which resembled the clash of two thunder-bolts from
opposite directions. Hurled by Bhimasena, his impetuous mace, as it fell
down, caused the very earth to tremble. The Kuru prince could not brook
to see his own mace thus baffled in that attack. Indeed, he became filled
with rage like an infuriated elephant at the sight of a rival elephant.
Adopting the left mandala, O monarch, and whirling his mace, Suyodhana
then, firmly resolved, struck the son of Kunti on the head with his
weapon of terrible force. Thus struck by thy son, Bhima, the son of
Pandu, trembled not, O monarch, at which all the spectators wondered
exceedingly. That amazing patience, O king, of Bhimasena, who stirred not
an inch though struck so violently, was applauded by all the warriors
present there. Then Bhima of terrible prowess hurled at Duryodhana his
own heavy and blazing mace adorned with gold. That blow the mighty and
fearless Duryodhana warded off by his agility. Beholding this, great was
the wonder that the spectators felt. That mace, hurled by Bhima, O king,
as it fell baffled of effect, produced a loud sound like that of the
thunderbolt and caused the very earth to tremble. Adopting the manoeuvre
called Kausika, and repeatedly jumping up, Duryodhana, properly marking
the descent of Bhima’s mace, baffled the latter. Baffling Bhimasena thus,
the Kuru king, endued with great strength, at last in rage struck the
former on the chest. Struck very forcibly by thy son in that dreadful
battle, Bhimasena became stupefied and for a time knew not what to do. At
that time, O king, the Somakas and the Pandavas became greatly
disappointed and very cheerless. Filled with rage at that blow, Bhima
then rushed at thy son like an elephant rushing against an elephant.
Indeed, with uplifted mace, Bhima rushed furiously at Duryodhana like a
lion rushing against a wild elephant. Approaching the Kuru king, the son
of Pandu, O monarch, accomplished in the use of the mace, began to whirl
his weapon, taking aim at thy son. Bhimasena then struck Duryodhana on
one of his flanks. Stupefied at that blow, the latter fell down on the
earth, supporting himself on his knees. When that foremost one of Kuru’s
race fell upon his knees, a loud cry arose from among the Srinjayas, O
ruler of the world! Hearing that loud uproar of the Srinjayas, O bull
among men, thy son became filled with rage. The mighty-armed hero, rising
up, began to breathe like a mighty snake, and seemed to burn Bhimasena by
casting his glances upon him. That foremost one of Bharata’s race then
rushed at Bhimasena, as if he would that time crush the head of his
antagonist in that battle. The high-souled Duryodhana of terrible prowess
then struck the high-souled Bhimasena on the forehead. The latter,
however, moved not an inch but stood immovable like a mountain. Thus
struck in that battle, the son of Pritha, O monarch, looked beautiful, as
he bled profusely, like an elephant of rent temples with juicy secretions
trickling adown. The elder brother of Dhananjaya, then, that crusher of
foes, taking up his hero-slaying mace made of iron and producing a sound
loud as that of the thunder-bolt, struck his adversary with great force.
Struck by Bhimasena, thy son fell down, his frame trembling all over,
like a gigantic Sala in the forest, decked with flowers, uprooted by the
violence of the tempest. Beholding thy son prostrated on the earth, the
Pandavas became exceedingly glad and uttered loud cries. Recovering his
consciousness, thy son then rose, like an elephant from a lake. That ever
wrathful monarch and great car-warrior then careering with great skill,
struck Bhimasena who was standing before him. At this, the son of Pandu,
with weakened limbs, fell down on the earth.

“Having by his energy prostrated Bhimasena on the ground, the Kuru prince
uttered a leonine roar. By the descent of his mace, whose violence
resembled that of the thunder, he had fractured Bhima’s coat of mail. A
loud uproar was then heard in the welkin, made by the denizens of heaven
and the Apsaras. A floral shower, emitting great fragrance, fell, rained
by the celestials. Beholding Bhima prostrated on the earth and weakened
in strength, and seeing his coat of mail laid open, a great fear entered
the hearts of our foes. Recovering his senses in a moment, and wiping his
face which had been dyed with blood, and mustering great patience,
Vrikodara stood up, with rolling eyes steadying himself with great
effort.”

58

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding that fight thus raging between those two
foremost heroes of Kuru’s race, Arjuna said unto Vasudeva, “Between these
two, who, in thy opinion, is superior? Who amongst them hath what merit?
Tell me this, O Janardana.”

“‘Vasudeva said, “The instruction received by them hath been equal.
Bhima, however, is possessed of greater might, while the son of
Dhritarashtra is possessed of greater skill and hath laboured more. If he
were to fight fairly, Bhimasena will never succeed in winning the
victory. If, however, he fights unfairly he will be surely able to slay
Duryodhana. The Asuras were vanquished by the gods with the aid of
deception. We have heard this. Virochana was vanquished by Shakra with
the aid of deception. The slayer of Vala deprived Vritra of his energy by
an act of deception. Therefore, let Bhimasena put forth his prowess,
aided by deception! At the time of the gambling, O Dhananjaya, Bhima
vowed to break the thighs of Suyodhana with his mace in battle. Let this
crusher of foes, therefore, accomplish that vow of his. Let him with
deception, slay the Kuru king who is full of deception. If Bhima,
depending upon his might alone, were to fight fairly, king Yudhishthira
will have to incur great danger. I tell thee again, O son of Pandu,
listen to me. It is through the fault of king Yudhishthira alone that
danger hath once more overtaken us! Having achieved great feats by the
slaughter of Bhishma and the other Kurus, the king had won victory and
fame and had almost attained the end of the hostilities. Having thus
obtained the victory, he placed himself once more in a situation of doubt
and peril. This has been an act of great folly on the part of
Yudhishthira, O Pandava, since he hath made the result of the battle
depend upon the victory or the defeat of only one warrior! Suyodhana is
accomplished, he is a hero; he is again firmly resolved. This old verse
uttered by Usanas hath been heard by us. Listen to me as I recite it to
thee with its true sense and meaning! ‘Those amongst the remnant of a
hostile force broken flying away for life, that rally and come back to
the fight, should always be feared, for they are firmly resolved and have
but one purpose! Shakra himself, O Dhananjaya, cannot stand before them
that rush in fury, having abandoned all hope of life. This Suyodhana had
broken and fled. All his troops had been killed. He had entered the
depths of a lake. He had been defeated and, therefore, he had desired to
retire into the woods, having become hopeless of retaining his kingdom.
What man is there, possessed of any wisdom, that would challenge such a
person to a single combat? I do not know whether Duryodhana may not
succeed in snatching the kingdom that had already become ours! For full
thirteen years he practised with the mace with great resolution. Even
now, for slaying Bhimasena, he jumpeth up and leapeth transversely! If
the mighty-armed Bhima does not slay him unfairly, the son of
Dhritarashtra will surely remain king!” Having heard those words of the
high-souled Keshava, Dhananjaya struck his own left thigh before the eyes
of Bhimasena. Understanding that sign, Bhima began to career with his
uplifted mace, making many a beautiful circle and many a Yomaka and other
kinds of manoeuvres. Sometimes adopting the right mandala, sometimes the
left mandala, and sometimes the motion called Gomutraka, the son of Pandu
began to career, O king, stupefying his foe. Similarly, thy son, O
monarch, who was well conversant with encounters with the mace, careered
beautifully and with great activity, for slaying Bhimasena. Whirling
their terrible maces which were smeared with sandal paste and other
perfumed unguents, the two heroes, desirous of reaching the end of their
hostilities, careered in that battle like two angry Yamas. Desirous of
slaying each other, those two foremost of men, possessed of great
heroism, fought like two Garudas desirous of catching the same snake.
While the king and Bhima careered in beautiful circles, their maces
clashed, and sparks of fire were generated by those repeated clashes.
Those two heroic and mighty warriors struck each other equally in that
battle. They then resembled, O monarch, two oceans agitated by the
tempest. Striking each other equally like two infuriated elephants, their
clashing maces produced peals of thunder. During the progress of that
dreadful and fierce battle at close quarters, both those chastisers of
foes, while battling, became fatigued. Having rested for a while, those
two scorchers of foes, filled with rage and uplifting their maces, once
more began to battle with each other. When by the repeated descents of
their maces, O monarch, they mangled each other, the battle they fought
became exceedingly dreadful and perfectly unrestrained. Rushing at each
other in that encounter, those two heroes, possessed of eyes like those
of bulls and endued with great activity, struck each other fiercely like
two buffaloes in the mire. All their limbs mangled and bruised, and
covered with blood from head to foot, they looked like a couple of
Kinsukas on the breast of Himavat. During the progress of the encounter,
when, Vrikodara (as a ruse) seemed to give Duryodhana an opportunity, the
latter, smiling a little, advanced forward. Well-skilled in battle, the
mighty Vrikodara, beholding his adversary come up, suddenly hurled his
mace at him. Seeing the mace hurled at him, thy son, O monarch, moved
away from that spot at which the weapon fell down baffled on the earth.
Having warded off that blow, thy son, that foremost one of Kuru’s race,
quickly struck Bhimasena with his weapon. In consequence of the large
quantity of blood drawn by that blow, as also owing to the violence
itself of the blow, Bhimasena of immeasurable energy seemed to be
stupefied. Duryodhana, however, knew not that the son of Pandu was so
afflicted at that moment. Though deeply afflicted, Bhima sustained
himself, summoning all his patience. Duryodhana, therefore, regarded him
to be unmoved and ready to return the blow. It was for this that thy son
did not then strike him again. Having rested for a little while, the
valiant Bhimasena rushed furiously, O king, at Duryodhana who was
standing near. Beholding Bhimasena of immeasurable energy filled with
rage and rushing towards him, thy high-souled son, O bull of Bharata’s
race, desiring to baffle his blow, set his heart on the manoeuvre called
Avasthana. He, therefore, desired to jump upwards, O monarch, for
beguiling Vrikodara. Bhimasena fully understood the intentions of his
adversary. Rushing, therefore, at him, with a loud leonine roar, he
fiercely hurled his mace at the thighs of the Kuru king as the latter had
jumped up for baffling the first aim. That mace, endued with the force of
the thunder and hurled by Bhima of terrible feats, fractured the two
handsome thighs of Duryodhana. That tiger among men, thy son, after his
thighs had been broken by Bhimasena, fell down, causing the earth to echo
with his fall. Fierce winds began to blow, with loud sounds at repeated
intervals. Showers of dust fell. The earth, with her trees and plants and
mountains, began to tremble. Upon the fall of that hero who was the head
of all monarchs on earth, fierce and fiery winds blew with a loud noise
and with thunder falling frequently. Indeed, when that lord of earth
fell, large meteors were seen to flash down from the sky. Bloody showers,
as also showers of dust, fell, O Bharata! These were poured by Maghavat,
upon the fall of thy son! A loud noise was heard, O bull of Bharata’s
race, in the welkin, made by the Yakshas, and the Rakshasas and the
Pisachas. At that terrible sound, animals and birds, numbering in
thousands, began to utter more frightful noise on every side. Those
steeds and elephants and human beings that formed the (unslain) remnant
of the (Pandava) host uttered loud cries when thy son fell. Loud also
became the blare of conchs and the peal of drums and cymbals. A terrific
noise seemed to come from within the bowels of the earth. Upon the fall
of thy son, O monarch, headless beings of frightful forms, possessed of
many legs and many arms, and inspiring all creatures with dread, began to
dance and cover the earth on all sides. Warriors, O king, that stood with
standards or weapons in their arms, began to tremble, O king, when thy
son fell. Lakes and wells, O best of kings, vomited forth blood. Rivers
of rapid currents flowed in opposite directions. Women seemed to look
like men, and men to look like women at that hour, O king, when thy son
Duryodhana fell! Beholding those wonderful portents, the Pancalas and the
Pandavas, O bull of Bharata’s race, became filled with anxiety. The gods
and the Gandharvas went away to the regions they desired, talking, as
they proceeded, of that wonderful battle between thy sons. Similarly the
Siddhas, and the Charanas of the fleetest course, went to those places
from which they had come, applauding those two lions among men.”

59

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding Duryodhana felled upon the earth like a
gigantic Sala uprooted (by the tempest) the Pandavas became filled with
joy. The Somakas also beheld, with hair standing on end, the Kuru king
felled upon the earth like an infuriated elephant felled by a lion.
Having struck Duryodhana down, the valiant Bhimasena, approaching the
Kuru chief, addressed him, saying, “O wretch, formerly laughing at the
disrobed Draupadi in the midst of the assembly, thou hadst, O fool,
addressed us as ‘Cow, Cow!’ Bear now the fruit of that insult!” Having
said these words, he touched the head of his fallen foe with his left
foot. Indeed, he struck the head of that lion among kings with his foot.
With eyes red in wrath, Bhimasena, that grinder of hostile armies, once
more said these words. Listen to them, O monarch! “They that danced at us
insultingly, saying, ‘Cow, Cow!’ we shall now dance at them, uttering the
same words, ‘Cow, Cow!’ We have no guile, no fire, no match, at dice, no
deception! Depending upon the might of our own arms we resist and check
our foes!” Having attained to the other shores of those fierce
hostilities, Vrikodara once more laughingly said these words slowly unto
Yudhishthira and Keshava and Srinjaya and Dhananjaya and the two sons of
Madri, “They that had dragged Draupadi, while ill, into the assembly and
had disrobed her there, behold those Dhartarashtras slain in battle by
the Pandavas through the ascetic penances of Yajnasena’s daughter! Those
wicked-hearted sons of king Dhritarashtra who had called us ‘Sesame seeds
without kernel,’ have all been slain by us with their relatives and
followers! It matters little whether (as a consequence of those deeds) we
go to heaven or fall into hell!” Once more, uplifting the mace that lay
on his shoulders, he struck with his left foot the head of the monarch
who was prostrate on the earth, and addressing the deceitful Duryodhana,
said these words. Many of the foremost warriors among the Somakas, who
were all of righteous souls, beholding the foot of the rejoicing
Bhimasena of narrow heart placed upon the head of that foremost one of
Kuru’s race, did not at all approve of it. While Vrikodara, after having
struck down thy son, was thus bragging and dancing madly, king
Yudhishthira addressed him, saying, “Thou hast paid off thy hostility
(towards Duryodhana) and accomplished thy vow by a fair or an unfair act!
Cease now, O Bhima! Do not crush his head with thy foot! Do not act
sinfully! Duryodhana is a king! He is, again, thy kinsman! He is fallen!
This conduct of thine, O sinless one, is not proper. Duryodhana was the
lord of eleven Akshauhinis of troops. He was the king of the Kurus. Do
not, O Bhima, touch a king and a kinsman with thy foot. His kinsmen are
slain. His friends and counsellors are gone. His troops have been
exterminated. He has been struck down in battle. He is to be pitied in
every respect. He deserves not to be insulted, for remember that he is a
king. He is ruined. His friends and kinsmen have been slain. His brothers
have been killed. His sons too have been slain. His funeral cake hath
been taken away. He is our brother. This that thou doest unto him is not
proper. ‘Bhimasena is a man of righteous behaviour’: people used to say
this before of thee! Why then, O Bhimasena, dost thou insult the king in
this way?” Having said these words unto Bhimasena, Yudhishthira, with
voice choked in tears, and afflicted with grief, approached Duryodhana,
that chastiser of foes, and said unto him, “O sire, thou shouldst not
give way to anger nor grieve for thyself. Without doubt thou bearest the
dreadful consequences of thy own former acts. Without doubt this sad and
woeful result had been ordained by the Creator himself, that we should
injure thee and thou shouldst injure us, O foremost one of Kuru’s race!
Through thy own fault this great calamity has come upon thee, due to
avarice and pride and folly, O Bharata! Having caused thy companions and
brothers and sires and sons and grandsons and others to be all slain,
thou comest now by thy own death. In consequence of thy fault, thy
brothers, mighty car-warriors all, and thy kinsmen have been slain by us.
I think all this to be the work of irresistible Destiny. Thou art not to
be pitied. On the other hand, thy death, O sinless one, is enviable. It
is we that deserve to be pitied in every respect, O Kaurava! We shall
have to drag on a miserable existence, reft of all our dear friends and
kinsmen. Alas, how shall I behold the widows, overwhelmed with grief and
deprived of their senses by sorrow, of my brothers and sons and
grandsons! Thou, O king, departest from this world! Thou art sure to have
thy residence in heaven! We, on the other hand, shall be reckoned as
creatures of hell, and shall continue to suffer the most poignant grief!
The grief-afflicted wives of Dhritarashtra’s sons and grandsons, those
widows crushed with sorrow, will without doubt, curse us all!” Having
said these words, Dharma’s royal son, Yudhishthira, deeply afflicted with
grief, began to breathe hard and indulge in lamentations.'”

60

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Beholding the (Kuru) king struck down unfairly,
what O Suta, did the mighty Baladeva, that foremost one of Yadu’s race,
say? Tell me, O Sanjaya, what Rohini’s son, well-skilled in encounters
with the mace and well acquainted with all its rules, did on that
occasion!’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding thy son struck at the thighs, the mighty Rama,
that foremost of smiters, became exceedingly angry. Raising his arms
aloft the hero having the plough for his weapon, in a voice of deep
sorrow, said in the midst of those kings, “Oh, fie on Bhima, fie on
Bhima! Oh, fie, that in such a fair fight a blow hath been struck below
the navel! Never before hath such an act as Vrikodara hath done been
witnessed in an encounter with the mace! No limb below the navel should
be struck. This is the precept laid down in treatises! This Bhima,
however, is an ignorant wretch, unacquainted with the truths of
treatises! He, therefore, acteth as he likes!” While uttering these
words, Rama gave way to great wrath. The mighty Baladeva then, uplifting
his plough, rushed towards Bhimasena! The form of that high-souled
warrior of uplifted arms then became like that of the gigantic mountains
of Kailasa variegated with diverse kinds of metals. The mighty Keshava,
however, ever bending with humanity, seized the rushing Rama encircling
him with his massive and well-rounded arms. Those two foremost heroes of
Yadu’s race, the one dark in complexion and the other fair, looked
exceedingly beautiful at that moment, like the Sun and the Moon, O king,
on the evening sky! For pacifying the angry Rama, Keshava addressed him,
saying, “There are six kinds of advancement that a person may have: one’s
own advancement, the advancement of one’s friends, the advancement of
one’s friends’, the decay of one’s enemy, the decay of one’s enemy’s
friends, and the decay of one’s enemy’s friends’ friends. When reverses
happen to one’s own self or to one’s friends, one should then understand
that one’s fall is at hand and, therefore, one should at such times look
for the means of applying a remedy. The Pandavas of unsullied prowess are
our natural friends. They are the children of our own sire’s sister! They
had been greatly afflicted by their foes! The accomplishment of one’s vow
is one’s duty. Formerly Bhima had vowed in the midst of the assembly that
he would in great battle break with his mace the thighs of Duryodhana.
The great Rishi Maitreya also, O scorcher of foes, had formerly cursed
Duryodhana, saying, ‘Bhima will, with his mace, break thy thighs!’ In
consequence of all this, I do not see any fault in Bhima! Do not give way
to wrath, O slayer of Pralamva! Our relationship with the Pandavas is
founded upon birth and blood, as also upon an attraction of hearts. In
their growth is our growth. Do not, therefore, give way to wrath, O bull
among men!” Hearing these words of Vasudeva the wielder of the plough,
who was conversant with rules of morality, said, “Morality is well
practised by the good. Morality, however, is always afflicted by two
things, the desire of Profit entertained by those that covet it, and the
desire for Pleasure cherished by those that are wedded to it. Whoever
without afflicting Morality and Profit, or Morality and Pleasure, or
Pleasure and Profit, followeth all three–Morality, Profit and
Pleasure–always succeeds in obtaining great happiness. In consequence,
however, of morality being afflicted by Bhimasena, this harmony of which
I have spoken hath been disturbed, whatever, O Govinda, thou mayst tell
me!” Krishna replied, saying, “Thou art always described as bereft of
wrath, and righteous-souled and devoted to righteousness! Calm thyself,
therefore, and do not give way to wrath! Know that the Kali age is at
hand. Remember also the vow made by the son of Pandu! Let, therefore, the
son of Pandu be regarded to have paid off the debt he owed to his
hostility and to have fulfilled his vow!”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Hearing this fallacious discourse from Keshava, O
king, Rama failed to dispel his wrath and became cheerful. He then said
in that assembly, “Having unfairly slain king Suyodhana of righteous
soul, the son of Pandu shall be reputed in the world as a crooked
warrior! The righteous-souled Duryodhana, on the other hand, shall obtain
eternal blessedness! Dhritarashtra’s royal son, that ruler of men, who
hath been struck down, is a fair warrior. Having made every arrangement
for the Sacrifice of battle and having undergone the initiatory
ceremonies on the field, and, lastly, having poured his life as a
libation upon the fire represented by his foes, Duryodhana has fairly
completed his sacrifice by the final ablutions represented by the
attainment of glory!” Having said these words, the valiant son of Rohini,
looking like the crest of a white cloud, ascended his car and proceeded
towards Dwaraka. The Pancalas with the Vrishnis, as also the Pandavas, O
monarch, became rather cheerless after Rama had set out for Dwaravati.
Then Vasudeva, approaching Yudhishthira who was exceedingly melancholy
and filled with anxiety, and who hung down his head and knew not what to
do in consequence of his deep affliction, said unto him these words:

“‘Vasudeva said, “O Yudhishthira the just, why dost thou sanction this
unrighteous act, since thou permittest the head of the insensible and
fallen Duryodhana whose kinsmen and friends have all been slain to be
thus struck by Bhima with his foot. Conversant with the ways of morality,
why dost thou, O king, witness this act with indifference?”

“‘Yudhishthira answered, “This act, O Krishna, done from wrath, of
Vrikodara’s touching the head of the king with his foot, is not agreeable
to me, nor am I glad at this extermination of my race! By guile were we
always deceived by the sons of Dhritarashtra! Many were the cruel words
they spoke to us. We were again exiled into the woods by them. Great is
the grief on account of all those acts that is in Bhimasena’s heart!
Reflecting on all this, O thou of Vrishni’s race, I looked on with
indifference! Having slain the covetous Duryodhana bereft of wisdom and
enslaved by his passions, let the son of Pandu gratify his desire, be it
righteousness or unrighteousness!”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘After Yudhishthira had said this, Vasudeva, that
perpetuator of Yadu’s race, said with difficulty, “Let it be so!” Indeed,
after Vasudeva had been addressed in those words by Yudhishthira, the
former, who, always wished what was agreeable to and beneficial for
Bhima, approved all those acts that Bhima had done in battle. Having
struck down thy son in battle, the wrathful Bhimasena, his heart filled
with joy, stood with joined hands before Yudhishthira and saluted him in
proper form. With eyes expanded in delight and proud of the victory he
had won, Vrikodara of great energy, O king, addressed his eldest brother,
saying, “The Earth is today thine, O king, without brawls to disturb her
and with all her thorns removed! Rule over her, O monarch, and observe
the duties of thy order! He who was the cause of these hostilities and
who fomented them by means of his guile, that wretched wight fond of
deception, lieth, struck down, on the bare ground, O lord of earth! All
these wretches headed by Duhshasana, who used to utter cruel words, as
also those other foes of thine, the son of Radha, and Shakuni, have been
slain! Teeming with all kinds of gems, the Earth, with her forests and
mountains, O monarch, once more cometh to thee that hast no foes alive!”

“‘Yudhishthira said, “Hostilities have come to an end! King Suyodhana
hath been struck down! The earth hath been conquered (by us), ourselves
having acted according to the counsels of Krishna! By good luck, thou
hast paid off thy debt to thy mother and to thy wrath! By good luck, thou
hast been victorious, O invincible hero, and by good luck, thy foe hath
been slain!”‘”

61

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Beholding Duryodhana struck down in battle by
Bhimasena, what, O Sanjaya, did the Pandavas and the Srinjayas do?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding Duryodhana slain by Bhimasena in battle, O
king, like a wild elephant slain by a lion, the Pandavas with Krishna
became filled with delight. The Pancalas and the Srinjayas also, upon the
fall of the Kuru king, waved their upper garments (in the air) and
uttered leonine roars. The very Earth seemed to be unable to bear those
rejoicing warriors. Some stretched their bows; others drew their
bowstrings. Some blew their huge conchs; others beat their drums. Some
sported and jumped about, while some amongst thy foes laughed aloud. Many
heroes repeatedly said these words unto Bhimasena, “Exceedingly difficult
and great hath been the fears that thou hast achieved today in battle, by
having struck down the Kuru king, himself a great warrior, with thy mace!
All these men regard this slaughter of the foe by thee to be like that of
Vritra by Indra himself! Who else, save thyself, O Vrikodara, could slay
the heroic Duryodhana while careering in diverse kinds of motion and
performing all the wheeling manoeuvres (characteristic of such
encounters)? Thou hast now reached the other shore of these hostilities,
that other shore which none else could reach. This feat that thou hast
achieved is incapable of being achieved by any other warriors. By good
luck, thou hast, O hero, like an infuriated elephant, crushed with thy
foot the head of Duryodhana on the field of battle! Having fought a
wonderful battle, by good luck, O sinless one, thou hast quaffed the
blood of Duhshasana, like a lion quaffing the blood of a buffalo! By good
luck, thou hast, by thy own energy, placed thy foot on the head of all
those that had injured the righteous-souled king Yudhishthira! In
consequence of having vanquished thy foes and of thy having slain
Duryodhana, by good luck, O Bhima, thy fame hath spread over the whole
world! Bards and eulogists applauded Shakra after the fall of Vritra,
even as we are now applauding thee, O Bharata, after the fall of thy
foes! Know, O Bharata, that the joy we felt upon the fall of Duryodhana
hath not yet abated in the least!” Even these were the words addressed to
Bhimasena by the assembled eulogists on that occasion! Whilst those
tigers among men, the Pancalas and the Pandavas, all filled with delight
were indulging in such language, the slayer of Madhu addressed them,
saying, “You rulers of men, it is not proper to slay a slain foe with
such cruel speeches repeatedly uttered. This wight of wicked
understanding hath already been slain. This sinful, shameless, and
covetous wretch, surrounded by sinful counsellors and ever regardless of
the advice of wise friends, met with his death even when he refused,
though repeatedly urged to contrary by Vidura and Drona and Kripa and
Sanjaya, to give unto the sons of Pandu their paternal share in the
kingdom which they had solicited at his hands! This wretch is not now fit
to be regarded either as a friend or a foe! What use in spending bitter
breath upon one who hath now become a piece of wood! Mount your cars
quickly, ye kings, for we should leave this place! By good luck, this
sinful wretch hath been slain with his counsellors and kinsmen and
friends!” Hearing these rebukes from Krishna, king Duryodhana, O monarch,
gave way to wrath and endeavoured to rise. Sitting on his haunches and
supporting himself on his two arms, he contracted his eyebrows and cast
angry glances at Vasudeva. The form then of Duryodhana whose body was
half raised looked like that of a poisonous snake, O Bharata, shorn of
its tail. Disregarding his poignant and unbearable pains, Duryodhana
began to afflict Vasudeva with keen and bitter words, “O son of Kansa’s
slave, thou hast, it seems, no shame, for hast thou forgotten that I have
been struck down most unfairly, judged by the rules that prevail in
encounters with the mace? It was thou who unfairly caused this act by
reminding Bhima with a hint about the breaking of my thighs! Dost thou
think I did not mark it when Arjuna (acting under thy advice) hinted it
to Bhima? Having caused thousands of kings, who always fought fairly, to
be slain through diverse kinds of unfair means, feelest thou no shame or
no abhorrence for those acts? Day after day having caused a great carnage
of heroic warriors, thou causedst the grandsire to be slain by placing
Shikhandi to the fore! Having again caused an elephant of the name of
Ashvatthama to be slain, O thou of wicked understanding, thou causedst
the preceptor to lay aside his weapons. Thinkest thou that this is not
known to me! While again that valiant hero was about to be slain this
cruel Dhrishtadyumna, thou didst not dissuade the latter! The dart that
had been begged (of Shakra as a boon) by Karna for the slaughter of
Arjuna was baffled by thee through Ghatotkacha! Who is there that is more
sinful than thou? Similarly, the mighty Bhurishrava, with one of his arms
lopped off and while observant of the Praya vow, was caused to be slain
by thee through the agency of the high-souled Satyaki. Karna had done a
great feat for vanquishing Partha. Thou, however, causedst Aswasena, the
son of that prince of snakes (Takshaka), to be baffled in achieving his
purpose! When again the wheel of Karna’s car sank in mire and Karna was
afflicted with calamity and almost vanquished on that account, when,
indeed, that foremost of men became anxious to liberate his wheel, thou
causedst that Karna to be then slain! If ye had fought me and Karna and
Bhishma and Drona by fair means, victory then, without doubt, would never
have been yours. By adopting the most crooked and unrighteous of means
thou hast caused many kings observant of the duties of their order and
ourselves also to be slain!’

“‘Vasudeva said, “Thou, O son of Gandhari, hast been slain with thy
brothers, sons, kinsmen, friends, and followers, only in consequence of
the sinful path in which thou hast trod! Through thy evil acts those two
heroes, Bhishma and Drona, have been slain! Karna too hath been slain for
having imitated thy behaviour! Solicited by me, O fool, thou didst not,
from avarice, give the Pandavas their paternal share, acting according to
the counsels of Shakuni! Thou gavest poison to Bhimasena! Thou hadst,
also, O thou of wicked understanding, endeavoured to burn all the
Pandavas with their mother at the palace of lac! On the occasion also of
the gambling, thou hadst persecuted the daughter of Yajnasena, while in
her season, in the midst of the assembly! Shameless as thou art, even
then thou becamest worthy of being slain! Thou hadst, through Subala’s
son well-versed in dice, unfairly vanquished the virtuous Yudhishthira
who was unskilled in gambling! For that art thou slain! Through the
sinful Jayadratha again, Krishna was on another occasion persecuted when
the Pandavas, her lords, had gone out hunting towards the hermitage of
Trinavindu! Causing Abhimanyu, who was a child and alone, to be
surrounded by many, thou didst slay that hero. It is in consequence of
that fault, O sinful wretch, that thou art slain! All those unrighteous
acts that thou sayest have been perpetrated by us, have in reality been
perpetrated by thee in consequence of thy sinful nature! Thou didst never
listen to the counsels of Brihaspati and Usanas! Thou didst never wait
upon the old! Thou didst never hear beneficial words! Enslaved by
ungovernable covetousness and thirst of gain, thou didst perpetrate many
unrighteous acts! Bear now the consequences of those acts of thine!”

“‘Duryodhana said, “I have studied, made presents according to the
ordinance, governed the wide Earth with her seas, and stood over the
heads of my foes! Who is there so fortunate as myself! That end again
which is courted by Kshatriyas observant of the duties of their own
order, death in battle, hath become mine. Who, therefore, is so fortunate
as myself? Human enjoyments such as were worthy of the very gods and such
as could with difficulty be obtained by other kings, had been mine.
Prosperity of the very highest kind had been attained by me! Who then is
so fortunate as myself? With all my well-wishers, and my younger
brothers, I am going to heaven, O thou of unfading glory! As regards
yourselves, with your purposes unachieved and torn by grief, live ye in
this unhappy world!”‘

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Upon the conclusion of these words of the
intelligent king of the Kurus, a thick shower of fragrant flowers fell
from the sky. The Gandharvas played upon many charming musical
instruments. The Apsaras in a chorus sang the glory of king Duryodhana.
The Siddhas uttered loud sound to the effect, “Praise be to king
Duryodhana!” Fragrant and delicious breezes mildly blew on every side.
All the quarters became clear and the firmament looked blue as the lapis
lazuli. Beholding these exceedingly wonderful things and this worship
offered to Duryodhana, the Pandavas headed by Vasudeva became ashamed.
Hearing (invisible beings cry out) that Bhishma and Drona and Karna and
Bhurishrava were slain unrighteously, they became afflicted with grief
and wept in sorrow. Beholding the Pandavas filled with anxiety and grief,
Krishna addressed them in a voice deep as that of the clouds or the drum,
saying, “All of them were great car-warriors and exceedingly quick in the
use of weapons! If ye had put forth all your prowess, even then ye could
never have slain them in battle by fighting fairly! King Duryodhana also
could never be slain in a fair encounter! The same is the case with all
those mighty car-warriors headed by Bhishma! From desire of doing good to
you, I repeatedly applied my powers of illusion and caused them to be
slain by diverse means in battle. If I had not adopted such deceitful
ways in battle, victory would never have been yours, nor kingdom, nor
wealth! Those four were very high-souled warriors and regarded as
Atirathas in the world. The very Regents of the Earth could not slay them
in fair fight! Similarly, the son of Dhritarashtra, though fatigued when
armed with the mace, could not be slain in fair fight by Yama himself
armed with his bludgeon! You should not take it to heart that this foe of
yours hath been slain deceitfully. When the number of one’s foes becomes
great, then destruction should be effected by contrivances and means. The
gods themselves, in slaying the Asuras, have trod the same way. That way,
therefore, that hath been trod by the gods, may be trod by all. We have
been crowned with success. It is evening. We had better depart to our
tents. Let us all, ye kings, take rest with our steeds and elephants and
cars.” Hearing these words of Vasudeva, the Pandavas and the Pancalas,
filled with delight, roared like a multitude of lions. All of them blew
their conchs and Jadava himself blew Panchajanya, filled with joy, O bull
among men, at the sight of Duryodhana struck down in battle.'”

62

Sanjaya said, “All those kings, possessed of arms that resembled spiked
bludgeons, then proceeded towards their tents, filled with joy and
blowing their conchs on their way. The Pandavas also, O monarch,
proceeded towards our encampment. The great bowman Yuyutsu followed them,
as also Satyaki, and Dhrishtadyumna, and Shikhandi, and the five sons of
Draupadi. The other great bowmen also proceeded towards our tents. The
Parthas then entered the tent of Duryodhana, shorn of its splendours and
reft of its lord and looking like an arena of amusement after it has been
deserted by spectators. Indeed, that pavilion looked like a city reft of
festivities, or a lake without its elephant. It then swarmed with women
and eunuchs and certain aged counsellors. Duryodhana and other heroes,
attired in robes dyed in yellow, formerly used, O king, to wait
reverentially, with joined hands, on those old counsellors.

Arrived at the pavilion of the Kuru king, the Pandavas, those foremost of
car-warriors, O monarch, dismounted from their cars. At that time, always
engaged, O bull of Bharata’s race, in the good of his friend, Keshava,
addressed the wielder of gandiva, saying, “Take down thy gandiva as also
the two inexhaustible quivers. I shall dismount after thee, O best of the
Bharatas! Get thee down, for this is for thy good, O sinless one!”

Pandu’s brave son Dhananjaya did as he was directed. The intelligent
Krishna, abandoning the reins of the steeds, then dismounted from the car
of Dhananjaya. After the high-souled Lord of all creatures had dismounted
from that car, the celestial Ape that topped the mantle of Arjuna’s
vehicle, disappeared there and then. The top of the vehicle, which had
before been burnt by Drona and Karna with their celestial weapons,
quickly blazed forth to ashes, O king, without any visible fire having
been in sight. Indeed, the car of Dhananjaya, with its quick pairs of
steeds, yoke, and shaft, fell down, reduced to ashes.

Beholding the vehicle thus reduced to ashes, O lord, the sons of Pandu
became filled with wonder, and Arjuna, O king, having saluted Krishna and
bowed unto him, said these words, with joined hands and in an
affectionate voice, ‘O Govinda, O divine one, for what reason hath this
car been consumed by fire? What is this highly wonderful incident that
has happened before our eyes! O thou of mighty arms, if thou thinkest
that I can listen to it without harm, then tell me everything.’

Vasudeva said, ‘That car, O Arjuna, had before been consumed by diverse
kinds of weapons. It was because I had sat upon it during battle that it
did not fall into pieces, O scorcher of foes! Previously consumed by the
energy of brahmastra, it has been reduced to ashes upon my abandoning it
after attainment by thee of thy objects!’

Then, with a little pride, that slayer of foes, the divine Keshava,
embracing king Yudhishthira, said unto him, ‘By good luck, thou hast won
the victory, O son of Kunti! By good luck, thy foes have been vanquished!
By good luck, the wielder of gandiva, Bhimasena the son of Pandu,
thyself, O king, and the two sons of Madri have escaped with life from
this battle so destructive of heroes, and have escaped after having slain
all your foes! Quickly do that, O Bharata, which should now be done by
thee!

After I had arrived at Upaplavya, thyself, approaching me, with the
wielder of gandiva in thy company, gavest me honey and the customary
ingredients, and saidst these words, O Lord: ‘This Dhananjaya, O Krishna,
is thy brother and friend! He should, therefore, be protected by thee in
all dangers!’ After thou didst say these words, I answered thee, saying,
‘So be it!’

That Savyasaci hath been protected by me. Victory also hath been thine, O
king! With his brothers, O king of kings, that hero of true prowess hath
come out of this dreadful battle, so destructive of heroes, with life!’
Thus addressed by Krishna, King Yudhishthira the just, with hair standing
on end, O monarch, said these words unto Janardana:

Yudhishthira said, “Who else save thee, O grinder of foes, not excepting
the thunder-wielding Purandara himself, could have withstood the
brahmastras hurled by Drona and Karna! It was through thy grace that the
samsaptakas were vanquished! It was through thy grace that Partha had
never to turn back from even the fiercest of encounters! Similarly, it
was through thy grace, O mighty-armed one, that I myself, with my
posterity, have, by accomplishing diverse acts one after another,
obtained the auspicious end of prowess and energy! At Upaplavya, the
great rishi Krishna-Dvaipayana told me that thither is Krishna where
righteousness is, and thither is victory where Krishna is!'”

Sanjaya continued, “After this conversation, those heroes entered thy
encampment and obtained the military chest, many jewels, and much wealth.
And they also obtained silver and gold and gems and pearls and many
costly ornaments and blankets and skins, and innumerable slaves male and
female, and many other things necessary for sovereignty. Having obtained
that inexhaustible wealth belonging to thee, O bull of Bharata’s race,
those highly blessed ones, whose foe had been slain, uttered loud cries
of exultation. Having unyoked their animals, the Pandavas and Satyaki
remained there awhile for resting themselves.

Then Vasudeva of great renown said, ‘We should, as an initiatory act of
blessedness, remain out of the camp for this night.’ Answering, ‘So be
it!’ the Pandavas and Satyaki, accompanied by Vasudeva, went out of the
camp for the sake of doing that which was regarded as an auspicious act.
Arrived on the banks of the sacred stream Oghavati, O king, the Pandavas,
reft of foes, took up their quarters there for that night!

They despatched Keshava of Yadu’s race to Hastinapura. Vasudeva of great
prowess, causing Daruka to get upon his car, proceeded very quickly to
that place where the royal son of Ambika was. While about to start on his
car having Shaibya and Sugriva (and the others) yoked unto it, (the
Pandavas) said unto him, ‘Comfort the helpless Gandhari who hath lost all
her sons!’ Thus addressed by the Pandavas, that chief of the Satvatas
then proceeded towards Hastinapura and arrived at the presence of
Gandhari who had lost all her sons in the war.'”

63

Janamejaya said, “For what reason did that tiger among kings,
Yudhishthira the just, despatch that scorcher of foes, Vasudeva, unto
Gandhari? Krishna had at first gone to the Kauravas for the sake of
bringing about peace. He did not obtain the fruition of his wishes. In
consequence of this the battle took place. When all the warriors were
slain and Duryodhana was struck down, when in consequence of the battle
the empire of Pandu’s son became perfectly foeless, when all the (Kuru)
camp became empty, all its inmates having fled, when great renown was won
by the son of Pandu, what, O regenerate one, was the cause for which
Krishna had once again to go to Hastinapura? It seems to me, O Brahmana,
that the cause could not be a light one, for it was Janardana of
immeasurable soul who had himself to make the journey! O foremost of all
Adhyaryus, tell me in detail what the cause was for undertaking such a
mission!”

Vaishampayana said, “The question thou askest me, O king, is, indeed,
worthy of thee! I will tell thee everything truly as it occurred, O bull
of Bharata’s race! Beholding Duryodhana, the mighty son of Dhritarashtra,
struck down by Bhimasena in contravention of the rules of fair fight, in
fact, beholding the Kuru king slain unfairly, O Bharata, Yudhishthira, O
monarch, became filled with great fear, at the thought of the highly
blessed Gandhari possessed of ascetic merit. “She hath undergone severe
ascetic austerities and can, therefore, consume the three worlds,” even
thus thought the son of Pandu. By sending Krishna, Gandhari, blazing with
wrath, would be comforted before Yudhishthira’s own arrival. “Hearing of
the death of her son brought to such a plight by ourselves, she will, in
wrath, with the fire of her mind, reduce us to ashes! How will Gandhari
endure such poignant grief, after she hears her son, who always fought
fairly, slain unfairly by us?” Having reflected in this strain for a long
while, king Yudhishthira the just, filled with fear and grief, said these
words unto Vasudeva: “Through thy grace, O Govinda, my kingdom hath been
reft of thorns! That which we could not in imagination even aspire to
obtain hath now become ours, O thou of unfading glory! Before my eyes, O
mighty-armed one, making the very hair stand on end, violent were the
blows that thou hadst to bear, O delighter of the Yadavas! In the battle
between the gods and the Asuras, thou hadst, in days of old, lent thy aid
for the destruction of the foes of the gods and those foes were slain! In
the same way, O mighty-armed one, thou hast given us aid, O thou of
unfading glory! By agreeing to act as our charioteer, O thou of Vrishni’s
race, thou hast all along protected us! If thou hadst not been the
protector of Phalguna in dreadful battle, how could then this sea of
troops have been capable of being vanquished? Many were the blows of the
mace, and many were the strokes of spiked bludgeons and darts and sharp
arrows and lances and battle axes, that have been endured by thee! For
our sake, O Krishna, thou hadst also to hear many harsh words and endure
the fall, violent as the thunder, of weapons in battle! In consequence of
Duryodhana’s slaughter, all this has not been fruitless, O thou of
unfading glory! Act thou again in such a way that the fruit of all those
acts may not be destroyed! Although victory hath been ours, O Krishna,
our heart, however, is yet trembling in doubt! Know, O Madhava, that
Gandhari’s wrath, O mighty-armed one, hath been provoked! That
highly-blessed lady is always emaciating herself with the austerest of
penances! Hearing of the slaughter of her sons and grandsons, she will,
without doubt, consume us to ashes! It is time, O hero, I think, for
pacifying her! Except thee, O foremost of men, what other person is there
that is able to even behold that lady of eyes red like copper in wrath
and exceedingly afflicted with the ills that have befallen her children?
That thou shouldst go there, O Madhava, is what I think to be proper, for
pacifying Gandhari, O chastiser of foes, who is blazing with wrath! Thou
art the Creator and the Destroyer. Thou art the first cause of all the
worlds thyself being eternal! By words fraught with reasons, visible and
invisible that are all the result of time, thou wilt quickly, O thou of
great wisdom, be able to pacify Gandhari! Our grandsire, thy holy
Krishna-Dvaipayana, will be there. O mighty-armed one, it is thy duty to
dispel, by all means in thy power, the wrath of Gandhari!” Hearing these
words of king Yudhishthira the just, the perpetuator of Yadu’s race,
summoning Daruka, said, “Let my car be equipped!” Having received
Keshava’s command, Daruka in great haste, returned and represented unto
his high-souled master that the car was ready. That scorcher of foes and
chief of Yadu’s race, the lord Keshava, having mounted the car, proceeded
with great haste to the city of the Kurus. The adorable Madhava then,
riding on his vehicle, proceeded, and arriving at the city called after
the elephant entered it. Causing the city to resound with the rattle of
his car-wheels as he entered it, he sent word to Dhritarashtra and then
alighted from his vehicle and entered the palace of the old king. He
there beheld that best of Rishis, (Dvaipayana) arrived before him.
Janardana, embracing the feet of both Vyasa and Dhritarashtra, quietly
saluted Gandhari also. Then the foremost of the Yadavas, Vishnu seizing
Dhritarashtra by the hand, O monarch, began to weep melodiously. Having
shed tears for a while from sorrow, he washed his eyes and his face with
water according to rules. That chastiser of foes then said these softly
flowing words unto Dhritarashtra, “Nothing is unknown to thee, O Bharata,
about the past and the future! Thou art well-acquainted, O lord, with the
course of time! From a regard for thee, the Pandavas had endeavoured to
prevent the destruction of their race and the extermination of
Kshatriyas, O Bharata! Having made an understanding with his brothers,
the virtuous Yudhishthira had lived peacefully. He even went to exile
after defeat at unfair dice! With his brothers he led a life of
concealment, attired in various disguises. They also every day got into
diverse other woes as if they were quite helpless! On the eve of battle I
myself came and in the presence of all men begged of thee only five
villages. Afflicted by Time, and moved by covetousness, thou didst not
grant my request. Through thy fault, O king, all the Kshatriya race hath
been exterminated! Bhishma, and Somadatta, and Valhika, and Kripa, and
Drona and his son, and the wise Vidura, always solicited thee for peace.
Thou didst not, however, follow their counsels! Everyone, it seems, when
afflicted by Time, is stupefied, O Bharata, since even thou, O king, as
regards this matter, did act so foolishly! What else can it be but the
effect of Time? Indeed, Destiny is supreme! Do not, O thou of great
wisdom, impute any fault to the Pandavas! The smallest transgression is
not discernible in the high-souled Pandavas, judged by the rules of
morality or reason or affection, O scorcher of foes! Knowing all this to
be the fruit of thy own fault, it behoveth thee not to cherish any
ill-feeling towards the Pandavas! Race, line, funeral cake, and what else
depends upon offspring, now depend on the Pandavas as regards both
thyself and Gandhari! Thyself, O tiger among the Kurus, and the renowned
Gandhari also, should not harbour malice towards the Pandavas. Reflecting
upon all this, and thinking also of thy own transgressions, cherish good
feeling towards the Pandavas, I bow to thee, O bull of Bharata’s race!
Thou knowest, O mighty-armed one, what the devotion is of king
Yudhishthira and what his affection is towards thee, O tiger among kings!
Having caused this slaughter of even foes that wronged him so, he is
burning day and night, and hath not succeeded in obtaining peace of mind!
That tiger among men, grieving for thee and for Gandhari, faileth to
obtain any happiness. Overwhelmed with shame he cometh not before thee
that art burning with grief on account of thy children and whose
understanding and senses have been agitated by that grief!” Having said
these words unto Dhritarashtra, that foremost one of Yadu’s race, O
monarch, addressed the grief-stricken Gandhari in these words of high
import: “O daughter of Subala, thou of excellent vows, listen to what I
say! O auspicious dame, there is now no lady like thee in the world! Thou
rememberest, O queen, those words that thou spokest in the assembly in my
presence, those words fraught with righteousness and that were beneficial
to both parties, which thy sons, O auspicious lady, did not obey!
Duryodhana who coveted victory was addressed by thee in bitter words!
Thou toldst him then. ‘Listen, O fool, to these words of mine: “thither
is victory where righteousness is.”‘ Those words of thine, O princess,
have now been accomplished! Knowing all this, O auspicious lady, do not
set thy heart on sorrow. Let not thy heart incline towards the
destruction of the Pandavas! In consequence of the strength of thy
penances, thou art able, O highly blessed one, to burn, with thy eyes
kindled with rage, the whole Earth with her mobile and immobile
creatures!” Hearing these words of Vasudeva, Gandhari said, “It is even
so, O Keshava, as thou sayest! My heart, burning in grief, has been
unsteadied! After hearing thy words, however, that heart, O Janardana,
hath again become steady. As regards the blind old king, now become
child, thou, O foremost of men, with those heroes, the sons of Pandu,
hast become his refuge!” Having said so much, Gandhari, burning in grief
on account of the death of her sons, covered her face with her cloth and
began to weep aloud. The mighty-armed lord Keshava then comforted the
grief-stricken princess with words that were fraught with reasons drawn
from visible instances. Having comforted Gandhari and Dhritarashtra,
Keshava of Madhu’s race came to know (by intuition) the evil that was
meditated by Drona’s son. Rising up in haste after worshipping the feet
of Vyasa bending his head, Keshava, O monarch, addressed Dhritarashtra,
saying, “I take my leave, O foremost one of Kuru’s race! Do not set thy
heart on grief! The son of Drona bears an evil purpose. It is for this
that I rise so suddenly! It seems that he has formed a plan of destroying
the Pandavas during the night!” Hearing these words, both Gandhari and
Dhritarashtra said unto Keshava that slayer of Keshi, these words: “Go,
quickly, O mighty-armed one, protect the Pandavas! Let me soon meet thee
again, O Janardana!” Then Keshava of unfading glory proceeded with
Daruka. After Vasudeva had departed, O king, Vyasa, that adored of the
whole world, of inconceivable soul, began to comfort king Dhritarashtra.
The righteous-souled Vasudeva departed, having achieved his mission
successfully, from Hastinapura, for seeing the camp and the Pandavas.
Arrived at the camp, he proceeded to the presence of the Pandavas.
Telling them everything (about his mission to the city), he took his seat
with them.”

64

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Kicked at the head, his thighs broken, prostrated
on the ground, exceedingly proud, what, O Sanjaya, did my son then say?
King Duryodhana was exceedingly wrathful and his hostility to the sons of
Pandu was deep-rooted. When therefore this great calamity overtook him,
what did he next say on the field?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Listen to me, O monarch, as I describe to thee what
happened. Listen, O king, to what Duryodhana said when overtaken by
calamity. With his thighs broken, the king, O monarch, covered with dust,
gathered his flowing locks, casting his eyes on all sides. Having with
difficulty gathered his locks, he began to sigh like a snake. Filled with
rage and with tears flowing fast from his eyes, he looked at me. He
struck his arms against the Earth for a while like an infuriated
elephant. Shaking his loose locks, and gnashing his teeth, he began to
censure the eldest son of Pandu. Breathing heavily, he then addressed me,
saying, “Alas, I who had Santanu’s son Bhishma for my protector, and
Karna, that foremost of all wielders of weapons and Gotama’s son,
Shakuni, and Drona, that first of all wielders of arms, and Ashvatthama,
and the heroic Shalya, and Kritavarma, alas, even I have come to this
plight! It seems that Time is irresistible! I was the lord of eleven
Chamus of troops and yet I have come to this plight! O mighty-armed one,
no one can rise superior to Time! Those of my side that have escaped with
life from this battle should be informed, how I have been struck down by
Bhimasena in contravention of the rules of fair fight! Many have been the
very unfair and sinful acts that have been perpetrated towards
Bhurishrava, and Bhishma, and Drona of great prosperity! This is another
very infamous act that the cruel Pandavas have perpetrated, for which, I
am certain, they will incur the condemnation of all righteous men! What
pleasure can a righteously disposed person enjoy at having gained a
victory by unfair acts? What wise man, again, is there that would accord
his approbation to a person contravening the rules of fairness? What
learned man is there that would rejoice after having won victory by
unrighteousness as that sinful wretch, Vrikodara the son of Pandu,
rejoices? What can be more amazing than this, that Bhimasena in wrath
should with his foot touch the head of one like me while lying with my
thighs broken? Is that person, O Sanjaya, worthy of honour who behaveth
thus towards a man possessed of glory endued with prosperity, living in
the midst of friends? My parents are not ignorant of the duties of
battle. Instructed by me, O Sanjaya, tell them that are afflicted with
grief these words: I have performed sacrifices, supported a large number
of servants properly, governed the whole earth with her seas! I stayed on
the heads of my living foes! I gave wealth to my kinsmen to the extent of
my abilities, and I did what was agreeable to friends. I withstood all my
foes. Who is there that is more fortunate than myself? I have made
progresses through hostile kingdoms and commanded kings as slaves. I have
acted handsomely towards all I loved and liked. Who is there more
fortunate than myself? I honoured all my kinsmen and attended to the
welfare of all my dependants. I have attended to the three ends of human
existence, Religion, Profit, and Pleasure! Who is there more fortunate
than myself? I laid my commands on great kings, and honour, unattainable
by others, was mine, I always made my journeys on the very best of
steeds. Who is there more fortunate than myself? I studied the Vedas and
made gifts according to the ordinance. My life has passed in happiness.
By observance of the duties of my own order, I have earned many regions
of blessedness hereafter. Who is there more fortunate than myself? By
good luck, I have not been vanquished in battle and subjected to the
necessity of serving my foes as masters. By good luck, O lord, it is only
after my death that my swelling prosperity abandons me for waiting upon
another! That which is desired by good Kshatriyas observant of the duties
of their order, that death, is obtained by me! Who is there so fortunate
as myself? By good luck, I did not suffer myself to be turned away from
the path of hostility and to be vanquished like an ordinary person! By
good luck, I have not been vanquished after I had done some base act!
Like the slaughter of a person that is asleep or that is heedless, like
the slaughter of one by the administration of poison, my slaughter hath
taken place, for I have been slain as unrighteously, in contravention of
the rules of fair fight! The highly blessed Ashvatthama, and Kritavarma
of the Satwata race, and Saradwat’s son Kripa, should be told these words
of mine, ‘You should never repose any confidence upon the Pandavas, those
violators of rules, who have perpetrated many unrighteous acts!’ After
this, thy royal son of true prowess addressed our message-bearers in
these words, “I have, in battle, been slain by Bhimasena most
unrighteously! I am now like a moneyless wayfarer and shall follow in the
wake of Drona who has already gone to heaven, of Karna and Shalya, of
Vrishasena of great energy, of Shakuni the son of Subala, of Jalasandha
of great valour, of king Bhagadatta, of Somadatta’s son, that mighty
bowman, of Jayadratha, the king of the Sindhus, of all my brothers headed
by Duhshasana and equal unto myself, of Duhshasana’s son of great
prowess, and of Lakshmana, my son, and thousands of others that fought
for me. Alas how shall my sister, stricken with woe, live sorrowfully,
after hearing of the slaughter of her brothers and her husband! Alas,
what shall be the plight of the old king, my sire, with Gandhari, and his
daughters-in-law and grand-daughters-in-law! Without doubt, the beautiful
and large-eyed mother of Lakshmana, made sonless and husbandless, will
soon meet with her death! If Charvaka, the mendicant devotee who is a
master of speech, learns everything, that blessed man will certainly
avenge himself of my death! By dying upon the sacred field of
Samantapanchaka, celebrated over the three worlds, I shall certainly
obtain many eternal regions!” Then, O sire, thousands of men, with eyes
full of tears, fled away in all directions, having heard these
lamentations of the king. The whole Earth, with her forests and seas,
with all her mobile and immobile creatures, began to tremble violently,
and produce a loud noise. All the points of the compass became murky. The
messengers, repairing to Drona’s son, represented to him all that had
happened regarding the conduct of the mace-encounter and the fall of the
king. Having represented everything unto Drona’s son, O Bharata, all of
them remained in a thoughtful mood for a long while and then went away,
grief-stricken, to the place they came from.'”

65

“Sanjaya said, ‘Having heard of Duryodhana’s fall from the messengers,
those mighty car-warriors, the unslain remnant of the Kaurava army,
exceedingly wounded with keen shafts, and maces and lances and darts,
those three, Ashvatthama and Kripa and Kritavarma of the Satwata race,
came quickly on their fleet steeds to the field of battle. They beheld
there the high-souled son of Dhritarashtra prostrate on the ground like a
gigantic Sala tree laid low in the forest by a tempest. They beheld him
writhing on the bare ground and covered with blood even like a mighty
elephant in the forest laid low by a hunter. They saw him weltering in
agony and bathed in profuse streams of blood. Indeed, they saw him lying
on the ground like the sun dropped on the earth or like the ocean dried
by a mighty wind, or like the full Moon in the firmament with his disc
shrouded by a fog. Equal to an elephant in prowess and possessed of long
arms, the king lay on the earth, covered with dust. Around him were many
terrible creatures and carnivorous animals like wealth-coveting
dependants around a monarch in state. His forehead was contracted into
furrows of rage and his eyes were rolling in wrath. They beheld the king,
that tiger among men, full of rage, like a tiger struck down (by
hunters). Those great archers Kripa and others, beholding the monarch
laid low on the Earth, became stupefied. Alighting from their cars, they
ran towards the king. Seeing Duryodhana, all of them sat on the earth
around him. Then Drona’s son, O monarch, with tearful eyes and breathing
like a snake, said these words unto that chief of Bharata’s race, that
foremost of all the kings on earth, “Truly, there is nothing stable in
the world of men, since thou, O tiger among men, liest on the bare earth,
stained with dust! Thou wert a king who had laid thy commands on the
whole Earth! Why then, O foremost of monarchs, dost thou lie alone on the
bare ground in such a lonely wilderness? I do not see Duhshasana beside
thee, nor the great car-warrior Karna, nor those friends of thine
numbering in hundreds! What is this, O bull among men? Without doubt, it
is difficult to learn the ways of Yama, since thou, O lord of all the
worlds, thus liest on the bare ground, stained with dust! Alas, this
scorcher of foes used to walk at the head of all Kshatriyas that had
their locks sprinkled with holy water at ceremonies of coronation! Alas,
he now eateth the dust! Behold the reverses that Time bringeth on its
course! Where is that pure white umbrella of thine? Where is that fanning
yak-tail also, O king? Where hath that vast army of thine now gone, O
best of monarchs? The course of events is certainly a mystery when causes
other than those relied upon are at book, since even thou that wert the
master of the world hast been reduced to this plight! Without doubt, the
prosperity of all mortals is very unstable, since thou that wert equal
unto Shakra himself hast now been reduced to such a sorry plight!”
Hearing these words of the sorrowing Ashvatthama, thy son answered him in
these words that were suited to the occasion. He wiped his eyes with his
hands and shed tears of grief anew. The king then addressed all those
heroes headed by Kripa and said, “This liability to death (of all living
creatures) is said to have been ordained by the Creator himself. Death
comes to all beings in course of time. That death hath now come to me,
before the eyes of you all! I who reigned over the whole earth have now
been reduced to this plight! By good luck, I never turned back from
battle whatever calamities overtook me. By good luck, I have been slain
by those sinful men, by the aid particularly of deception. By good luck,
while engaged in hostilities, I always displayed courage and
perseverance. By good luck, I am slain in battle, along with all my
kinsmen and friends. By good luck, I behold you escaped with life from
this great slaughter, and safe and sound. This is highly agreeable to me.
Do not, from affection, grieve for my death. If the Vedas are any
authority, I have certainly acquired many eternal regions! I am not
ignorant of the glory of Krishna of immeasurable energy. He hath not
caused me to fall off from the proper observance of Kshatriya duties. I
have obtained him. On no account should anybody grieve from me. Ye have
done what persons like ye should do. Ye have always striven for my
success. Destiny, however, is incapable of being frustrated.” Having said
this much, the king, with eyes laved with tears, became silent, O
monarch, agitated as he was with agony. Beholding the king in tears and
grief, Drona’s son flamed up in anger like the fire that is seen at the
universal destruction. Overwhelmed with rage, he squeezed his hand and
addressing the king in a voice hoarse with tears, he said these words,
“My sire was slain by those wretches with a cruel contrivance. That act,
however, doth not burn me so keenly as this plight to which thou hast
been reduced, O king! Listen to these words of mine that I utter,
swearing by Truth itself, O lord, and by all my acts of piety, all my
gifts, my religion, and the religious merits I have won. I shall today,
in the very presence of Vasudeva, despatch all the Pancalas, by all means
in my power, to the abode of Yama? It behoveth thee, O monarch, to grant
me permission!” Hearing these words of Drona’s son, that were highly
agreeable to his heart, the Kuru king addressing Kripa, said, “O
preceptor, bring me without delay a pot full of water!” At these words of
the king, that foremost of Brahmanas soon brought a vessel full of water
and approached the king. Thy son then, O monarch, said unto Kripa, “Let
the son of Drona, O foremost of Brahmanas, (blessed be thou), be at my
command installed as generalissimo, if thou wishest to do me the good! At
the command of the king, even a Brahmana may fight, specially one that
has adopted Kshatriya practices! Those learned in the scriptures say this!” Hearing these words of the king, Kripa, the son of Saradwat, installed Drona’s son as generalissimo, at the king’s command! The installation over, O monarch, Ashvatthama embraced that best of kings and left the spot, having caused the ten points to resound with his leonine roars. That foremost of kings, Duryodhana, profusely covered with blood, began to pass there that night so frightful to all creatures. Wending away quickly from the field of battle, O king, those heroes, with hearts agitated by grief, began to reflect anxiously and earnestly.'”

The End of Shalya-parv

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