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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa Bk. 4 by Kisari Mohan Ganguli

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began to press with his feet the body of that wicked wight. And lighting
a torch then and showing Draupadi the body of Kichaka, that hero
addressed her, saying, 'O thou of tresses ending in beautiful curls,
those that solicit thee, endued as thou art with an excellent
disposition and every virtue, will be slain by me even as this Kichaka
hath been, O timid one.' And having accomplished that difficult task so
highly agreeable to Krishna--having indeed slain Kichaka and thereby
pacified his wrath, Bhima bade farewell to Krishna, the daughter of
Drupada, and quickly went back to the kitchen. And Draupadi also, that
best of women, having caused Kichaka to be slain had her grief removed
and experienced the greatest delight. And addressing the keepers of the
dancing-hall, she said, 'Come ye and behold Kichaka who had violated
after other people's wives lieth down here, slain by my Gandharva
husbands.' And hearing these words the guards of the dancing hall soon
came by thousands to that spot, torches in hand. And repairing to that
room, they beheld the lifeless Kichaka thrown on the ground, drenched
with blood. And beholding him without arms and legs, they were filled
with grief. And as they gazed at Kichaka, they were struck with
amazement. And seeing that superhuman act, viz., the overthrow of
Kichaka, they said, 'Where is his neck, and where are his legs?' And
beholding him in this plight they all concluded that he had been killed
by a Gandharva."

[17] _Weri_ means both a kettle-drum and a trumpet. The latter
however conveys a better meaning here.


Vaisampayana said, "Then all the relatives of Kichaka, arriving at that
place, beheld him there and began to wail aloud, surrounding him on all
sides. And beholding Kichaka with every limb mangled, and lying like a
tortoise dragged to dry ground from the water, all of them were overcome
with exceeding fright, and the bristles of their bodies stood on end.
And seeing him crushed all over by Bhima, like a Danava by Indra, they
proceeded to take him outside, for performing his funeral obsequies. And
then those persons of the _Suta_ clan thus assembled together espied
Krishna of faultless limbs hard by, who stood reclining on a pillar. And
all the Kichakas assembled there, exclaimed, 'Let this unchaste woman be
slain for whom Kichaka hath himself lost his life. Or, without slaying
her here, let us cremate her with him that had lusted after her,--for it
behoveth us to accomplish in every way what is agreeable to that
deceased son of _Suta_.' And then they addressed Virata, saying, 'It is
for her sake that Kichaka hath lost his life. Let him, therefore, be
cremated along with her. It behoveth thee to grant this permission.'
Thus addressed by them, king Virata, O monarch, knowing fully well the
prowess of the _Suta_ gave his assent to _Sairindhri_ being burnt along
with the _Suta's_ son. And at this, the Kichakas approaching the
frightened and stupefied Krishna of lotus-like eyes, seized her with
violence. And binding that damsel of slender waist and placing her upon
the bier, they set out with great energy towards the cemetery. And, O
king, while thus forcibly carried towards the cemetery by those sons of
the _Suta_ tribe, the blameless and chaste Krishna living under the
protections of her lords, then wailed aloud for the help of her
husbands, saying, 'Oh, let Jaya, and Jayanta, and Vijaya and Jayatsena,
and Jayadvala listen to my words. The _Sutas_ are taking me away. Let
those illustrious Gandharvas endued with speed of hand, the clatter of
whose cars is loud and the twang of whose bowstrings in the midst of the
mighty conflict are heard like the roar of thunder, listen to my
words,--the _Sutas_ are taking me away!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Hearing those sorrowful words and lamentations
of Krishna, Bhima, without a moment's reflection started up from his bed
and said, 'I have heard, O _Sairindhri_ the words thou hast spoken. Thou
hast, therefore, O timid lady, no more fear at the hands of the

Vaisampayana continued, "Having said this, the mighty-armed Bhima
desirous of slaying the Kichakas, began to swell his body. And carefully
changing his attire, he went out of the palace by a wrong egress. And
climbing over a wall by the aid of a tree, he proceeded towards the
cemetery whither the Kichakas had gone. And having leapt over the wall,
and gone out of the excellent city, Bhima impetuously rushed to where
the _Sutas_ were. And, O monarch, proceeding towards the funeral pyre he
beheld a large tree, tall as palmyra-palm, with gigantic shoulders and
withered top. And that slayer of foes grasping with his arms that tree
measuring ten _Vyamas_, uprooted it, even like an elephant, and placed
it upon his shoulders. And taking up that tree with trunk and branches
and measuring ten _Vyamas_, that mighty hero rushed towards the _Sutas_,
like Yama himself, mace in hand. And by the impetus of his rush[18]
banians and peepals and _Kinsukas_ falling down on the earth lay in
clusters. And beholding that Gandharva approach them like a lion in
fury, all the _Sutas_ trembling with fear and greatly distressed, became
panic-struck. And they addressed each other, saying, 'Lo, the powerful
Gandharva cometh hither, filled with rage, and with an upraised tree in
hand. Let _Sairindhri_, therefore, from whom this danger of ours hath
arisen, be set free.' And beholding the tree that had been uprooted by
Bhimasena, they set Draupadi free and ran breathlessly towards the city.
And seeing them run away, Bhima, that mighty son of the Wind-god,
despatched, O foremost of kings, by means of that tree, a hundred and
five of them unto the abode of Yama, like the wielder of the thunderbolt
slaying the Danavas. And setting Draupadi free from her bonds, he then,
O king, comforted her. And that mighty-armed and irrepressible
Vrikodara, the son of Pandu, then addressed the distressed princess of
Panchala with face bathed in tears, saying, 'Thus, O timid one, are they
slain that wrong thee without cause. Return, O Krishna, to the city.
Thou hast no longer any fear; I myself will go to the Virata's kitchen
by another route.'"

[18] Literature, force of his thighs.

Vaisampayana continued, "It was thus, O Bharata, that a hundred and five
of those Kichakas were slain. And their corpses lay on the ground,
making the place look like a great forest overspread with uprooted trees
after a hurricane. Thus fell those hundred and five Kichakas. And
including Virata's general slain before, the slaughtered Sutas numbered
one hundred and six. And beholding that exceedingly wonderful feat, men
and women that assembled together, were filled with astonishment. And
the power of speech, O Bharata, was suspended in every one."


Vaisampayana said, "And beholding the Sutas slain, the citizens went to
the king, and represented unto him what had happened, saying, 'O king,
those mighty sons of the Sutas have all been slain by the Gandharvas.
Indeed, they lie scattered on the earth like huge peaks of mountains
riven by thunder. _Sairindhri_ also, having been set free, returneth to
thy palace in the city. Alas, O king, if _Sairindhri_ cometh, thy entire
kingdom will be endangered. _Sairindhri_ is endued with great beauty;
the Gandharvas also are exceedingly powerful. Men again, without doubt,
are naturally sexual. Devise, therefore, O king, without delay, such
means that in consequence of wrongs done to _Sairindhri_, thy kingdom
may not meet with destruction.' Hearing those words of theirs, Virata,
that lord of hosts, said unto them, 'Do ye perform the last rites of the
Sutas. Let all the Kichakas be burnt, in one blazing pyre with gems and
fragrant unguents in profusion.' And filled with fear, the king then
addressed his queen Sudeshna, saying, 'When _Sairindhri_ comes back, do
thou tell her these words from me, "Blessed be thou, O fair-faced
_Sairindhri_. Go thou whithersoever thou likest. The king hath been
alarmed, O thou of graceful hips, at the defeat already experienced at
the hands of the Gandharvas. Protected as thou art by the Gandharvas, I
dare not personally say all this to thee. A woman, however, cannot
offend, and it is for this that I tell thee all this through a woman."'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Thus delivered by Bhimasena after the slaughter
of the Sutas, the intelligent and youthful Krishna relieved from all her
fears, washed her limbs and clothes in water, and proceeded towards the
city, like a doe frightened by a tiger. And beholding her, the citizens,
O king, afflicted with the fear of the Gandharvas fled in all
directions. And some of them went so far as to shut their eyes. And
then, O king, at the gate of the kitchen, the princess of Panchala saw
Bhimasena staying, like an infuriate elephant of gigantic proportions.
And looking upon him with wonder-expanded eyes, Draupadi, by means of
words intelligible to them alone, said, 'I bow unto that prince of the
Gandharvas, who hath rescued me.' At these words of her, Bhima said,
'Hearing these words of hers in obedience to whom those persons were
hitherto living in the city, they will henceforth range here, regarding
themselves as freed from the debt.'"[19]

[19] What Bhima says is this.--The Gandharvas, your husbands,
are always obedient to thee! If they have been able to do thee a
service, they have only repaid a debt.

Vaisampayana continued, "Then she beheld the mighty-armed Dhananjaya, in
the dancing-hall instructing king Virata's daughters in dancing. And
issuing with Arjuna from the dancing-hall, all those damsels came to
Krishna who had arrived there, and who had been persecuted so sorely,
all innocent though she was. And they said, 'By good luck also it is, O
_Sairindhri_, that thou hast been delivered from thy dangers. By good
luck it is that thou hast returned safe. And by good luck also it is
that those Sutas have been slain that had wronged thee, innocent though
thou art.' Hearing this, Vrihannala said, 'How hast thou, O
_Sairindhri_, been delivered? And how have those sinful wretches been
slain? I wish to learn all this from thee exactly as it occurred.'
_Sairindhri_ replied, 'O blessed Vrihannala, always passing thy days
happily in the apartments of the girls, what concern hast thou with
_Sairindhri's_ fate to say? Thou hast no grief to bear that _Sairindhri_
hath to bear! It is for this, that thou askest me thus, distressed as I
am in ridicule.' Thereat Vrihannala said, 'O blessed one, Vrihannala
also hath unparalleled sorrows of her own. She hath become as low as a
brute. Thou dost not, O girl, understand this. I have lived with thee,
and thou too hast lived with us. When, therefore, thou art afflicted
with misery, who is it that will not, O thou of beautiful hips, feel it?
But no one can completely read another's heart. Therefore it is, O
amiable one, that thou knowest not my heart!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Then Draupadi, accompanied by those girls
entered the royal abode, desirous of appearing before Sudeshna. And when
she came before the queen, Virata's wife addressed her at the command of
the king, saying, 'Do thou, O _Sairindhri_, speedily go whithersoever
thou likest. The king, good betide thee, hath been filled with fear at
this discomfiture at the hands of the Gandharvas. Thou art, O thou of
graceful eye-brows, young and unparalleled on earth in beauty. Thou art,
besides, an object of desire with men. The Gandharvas again, are
exceedingly wrathful.' Thereat _Sairindhri_ said, 'O beauteous lady, let
the king suffer me to live here for only thirteen days more. Without
doubt, the Gandharvas also will be highly obliged at this. They will
then convey me hence and do what would be agreeable to Virata. Without
doubt, the king, by doing this, with his friends, will reap great


Vaisampayana said, "At the slaughter of Kichaka and brothers, people, O
king, thinking of this terrible feat, were filled with surprise. And in
the city and the provinces it was generally bruited about that for
bravery the king's Vallava and Kichaka were both mighty warriors. The
wicked Kichaka, however, had been an oppressor of men and a dishonourer
of other people's wives. And it was for this that wicked of sinful soul
had been slain by the Gandharvas. And it was thus, O king, that people
began to speak, from province to province of the invincible Kichaka,
that slayer of hostile ranks.

"Meanwhile, the spies employed by Dhritarashtra's son, having searched
various villages and towns and kingdoms and done all that they had been
commanded to do and completed their examination, in the manner directed,
of the countries indicated in their orders, returned to Nagarupa,
gratified with at least one thing that they had learnt.[20] And seeing
Dhritarashtra's son king Duryodhana of the Kuru race seated in his court
with Drona and Karna and Kripa, with the high-souled Bhishma, his own
brothers, and those great warriors--the Trigartas, they addressed him,
saying, 'O lord of men, great hath been the care always bestowed by us
in the search after the sons of Pandu in that mighty forest. Searched
have we through the solitary wilderness abounding with deer and other
animals and overgrown with trees and creepers of diverse kind. Searched
have we also in arbours of matted woods and plants and creepers of every
species, but we have failed in discovering that track by which Pritha's
son of irrepressible energy may have gone. Searched have we in these and
other places for their foot-prints. Searched have we closely, O king, on
mountain tops and in inaccessible fastnesses, in various kingdoms and
provinces teeming with people, in encampments and cities. No trace have
yet been found of the sons of Pandu. Good betide thee, O bull among men,
it seems that they have perished without leaving a mark behind. O
foremost of warriors, although we followed in the track of those
warriors, yet, O best of men, we soon lost their footprints and do not
know their present residence. O lord of men, for some time we followed
in the wake of their charioteers. And making our inquiries duly, we
truly ascertained what we desired to know. O slayer of foes, the
charioteers reached Dwaravati without the sons of Pritha among them. O
king, neither the sons of Pandu, nor the chaste Krishna, are in that
city of Yadavas. O bull of the Bharata race, we have not been able to
discover either their track or their present abode. Salutations to thee,
they are gone for good. We are acquainted with the disposition of the
sons of Pandu and know something of the feats achieved by them. It
behoveth thee, therefore, O lord of men, to give us instructions, O
monarch, as to what we should next do in the search after the sons of
Pandu. O hero, listen also to these agreeable words of ours, promising
great good to thee. King Matsya's commander, Kichaka of wicked soul, by
whom the Trigartas, O monarch, were repeatedly vanquished and slain with
mighty force, now lieth low on the ground with all his brothers, slain,
O monarch, by invisible Gandharvas during the hours of darkness, O thou
of unfading glory. Having heard this delightful news about the
discomfiture of our enemies, we have been exceedingly gratified, O
Kauravya. Do thou now ordain what should next be done.'"

[20] _Krita-krita_--Nilakantha explains this to mean 'imagining
themselves to have achieved success in their mission' for having
learnt of Kichaka's death, they could readily guess the presence
of the Pandavas there. This is too far-fetched and does not at
all agree with the spirit of their report to Duryodhana below.
And then the same word occurs in the very last line of the
Section. I take it that in both places the word has been used in
the same sense.


(_Go-harana Parva_)

Vaisampayana said, "Having listened to these words of his spies, king
Duryodhana reflected inwardly for some time and then addressed his
courtiers, saying, 'It is difficult to ascertain the course of events
definitely. Discern ye all, therefore, whither the sons of Pandu have
gone, of this thirteenth year which they are to pass undiscovered by us
all, the greater part hath already expired. What remains is by much the
smaller. If, indeed, the sons of Pandu can pass undiscovered what
remains of this year, devoted to the vow of truth as they are, they will
then have fulfilled their pledge. They will then return like mighty
elephants with temporal juice trickling down, or like snakes of virulent
poison. Filled with wrath, they will, without doubt, be inflicters of
terrible chastisement on the Kurus. It behoveth ye, therefore, to make
such efforts without loss of time as may induce the sons of Pandu,
acquainted as they are with the proprieties of time, and staying as they
now are in painful disguise, to re-enter the woods suppressing their
rage. Indeed, adopt ye such means as may remove all causes of quarrel
and anxiety from the kingdom, making it tranquil and foeless and
incapable of sustaining a diminution of territory.' Hearing these words
of Duryodhana, Karna said, 'Let other spies, abler and more cunning, and
capable of accomplishing their object, quickly go hence, O Bharata. Let
them, well-disguised, wander through swelling kingdoms and populous
provinces, prying into assemblies of the learned and delightful retreats
of provinces. In the inner apartments of palaces, in shrines and holy
spots, in mines and diverse other regions, the sons of Pandu should be
searched after with well-directed eagerness. Let the sons of Pandu who
are living in disguise be searched after by well-skilled spies in large
numbers, devoted to their work, themselves well-disguised, and all
well-acquainted with the objects of their search. Let the search be made
on the banks of rivers, in holy regions, in villages and towns, in
retreats of ascetics, in delightful mountains and mountain-caves.' When
Karna ceased, Duryodhana's second brother Duhsasana, wedded to a sinful
disposition, then addressed his eldest brother and said, 'O monarch, O
lord of men, let those spies only in whom we have confidence, receiving
their rewards in advance, once more go after the search. This and what
else hath been said by Karna have our fullest approval. Let all the
spies engage themselves in the search according to the directions
already given. Let these and others engage in the search from province
to province according to approved rules. It is my belief, however, that
the track the Pandavas have followed or their present abode or
occupation will not be discovered. Perhaps, they are closely concealed;
perhaps, they have gone to the other side of the ocean. Or, perhaps,
proud as they are of their strength and courage, they have been devoured
by wild beasts; or perhaps, having been overtaken by some unusual
danger, they have perished for eternity. Therefore, O prince of the Kuru
race, dispelling all anxieties from thy heart, achieve what thou wilt,
always acting according to thy energy.'"


Vaisampayana said, "Endued with mighty energy and possessed of great
discernment, Drona then said, 'Persons like the sons of Pandu never
perish nor undergo discomfiture. Brave and skilled in every science,
intelligent and with senses under control, virtuous and grateful and
obedient to the virtuous Yudhishthira, ever following in the wake of
their eldest brother who is conversant with the conclusions of policy
and virtue and profit, who is attached to them as a father, and who
strictly adhereth to virtue and is firm in truth,--persons like them
that are thus devoted to their illustrious and royal brother, who gifted
with great intelligence, never injureth any body and who in his turn
himself obeyeth his younger brothers, never perish in this way. Why,
then, should not (Yudhishthira) the son of Pritha possessing a knowledge
of policy, be able to restore the prosperity of his brothers who are so
obedient and devoted and high-souled? It is for this that they are
carefully waiting for the arrival of their opportunity. Men such as
these never perish. This is what I see by my intellect. Do, therefore,
quickly and without loss of time, what should now be done, after proper
reflection. And let also the abode which the sons of Pandu with souls
under control as regards every purpose of life, are to occupy, be now
settled. Heroic and sinless and possessed of ascetic merit, the Pandavas
are difficult to be discovered (within the period of non-discovery).
Intelligent and possessed of every virtue, devoted to truth and versed
in the principles of policy, endued with purity and holiness, and the
embodiment of immeasurable energy, the son of Pritha is capable of
consuming (his foes) by a glance alone of his eyes. Knowing all this, do
what is proper. Let us, therefore, once more search after them, sending
Brahmanas and _Charanas_, ascetics crowned with success, and others of
this kind who may have a knowledge of those heroes!'"


Vaisampayana said, "Then that grandsire of the Bharatas, Bhishma the son
of Santanu, conversant with the _Vedas_, acquainted with the
proprieties of time and place, and possessing a knowledge of every duty
of morality, after the conclusion of Drona's speech, applauded the words
of the preceptor and spake unto the Bharatas for their benefit these
words consistent with virtue, expressive of his attachment to the
virtuous Yudhishthira, rarely spoken by men that are dishonest, and
always meeting with the approbation of the honest. And the words that
Bhishma spake were thoroughly impartial and worshipped by the wise. And
the grandsire of the Kurus said, 'The words that the regenerate Drona
acquainted with the truth of every affair hath uttered, are approved by
me. I have no hesitation in saying so. Endued with every auspicious
mark, observant of virtuous vows, possessed of Vedic lore, devoted to
religious observances, conversant with various sciences, obedient to the
counsels of the aged, adhering to the vow of truth, acquainted with the
proprieties of time, observant of the pledge they have given (in respect
of their exile), pure in their behaviour, ever adhering to the duties of
the Kshatriya order, always obedient to Kesava, high-souled, possessed
of great strength, and ever-bearing the burthens of the wise, those
heroic ones can never wither under misfortune. Aided by their own
energy, sons of Pandu who are now leading a life of concealment in
obedience to virtue, will surely never perish. It is even this that my
mind surmiseth. Therefore, O Bharata, I am for employing the aid of
honest counsel in our behaviour towards the sons of Pandu. It would not
be the policy of any wise man to cause them to be discovered now by
means of spies,[21] what we should do unto the sons of Pandu, I shall
say, reflecting with the aid of the intellect. Know that I shall say
nothing from ill will to thee. People like me should never give such
counsels to him that is dishonest, for only counsels (like those I would
give) should be offered unto them that are honest. Counsels, however,
that are evil, should under no circumstances be offered. He, O child,
that is devoted to truth and obedient to the aged, he, indeed, that is
wise, while speaking in the midst of an assembly, should under all
circumstances speak the truth, if the acquisition of virtue be an object
with him. I should, therefore, say that I think differently from all
those people here, in respect of the abode of Yudhishthira the just in
this the thirteenth year of his exile. The ruler, O child, of the city
or the province where king Yudhishthira resides cannot have any
misfortune. Charitable and liberal and humble and modest must the people
be of the country where king Yudhishthira resides. Agreeable in speech,
with passions under control, observant of truth, cheerful, healthy, pure
in conduct, and skilful in work must the people be of the country where
king Yudhishthira resides. The people of the place, where Yudhishthira
is, cannot be envious or malicious, or vain, or proud, but must all
adhere to their respective duties. Indeed, in the place where
Yudhishthira resides, Vedic hymns will be chanted all around, sacrifices
will be performed, the last full libations will always be poured,[22]
and gifts to Brahmanas will always be in profusion. There the clouds,
without doubt, pour abundant rain, and furnished with good harvest the
country will ever be without fear. There the paddy will not be without
grain, fruits will not be bereft of juice, floral garlands will not be
without fragrance, and the conversation of men will always be full of
agreeable words. There where king Yudhishthira resides, the breezes will
be delicious, the meetings of men will always be friendly, and cause of
fear there will be none. There kine will be plentiful, without any of
them being lean-fleshed or weak, and milk and curds and butter will all
be savoury and nutritious. There where king Yudhishthira resides, every
kind of corn will be full of nutrition and every edible full of flavour.
There where king Yudhishthira resides, the objects of all the senses,
viz.,--taste, touch, smell, and hearing, will be endued with excellent
attributes. There where king Yudhishthira resides, the sights and scenes
will be gladdening. And the regenerate ones of that place will be
virtuous and steady in observing their respective duties. Indeed, in the
country where the sons of Pandu may have taken up their abode during
this thirteenth year of their exile, the people will be contented and
cheerful, pure in conduct and without misery of any kind. Devoted to
gods and guests and the worship of these with their whole soul, they
will be fond of giving away, and filled with great energy, they will all
be observant of eternal virtue. There where king Yudhishthira resides,
the people, eschewing all that is evil, will be desirous of achieving
only what is good. Always observant of sacrifices and pure vows, and
hating untruth in speech, the people of the place where king
Yudhishthira may reside will always be desirous of obtaining what is
good, auspicious and beneficial. There where Yudhishthira resides, the
people will certainly be desirous of achieving what is good, and their
hearts will always incline towards virtue, and their vows being
agreeable they themselves are ever-engaged in the acquisition of
religious merit. O child, that son of Pritha in whom are intelligence
and charity, the highest tranquillity and undoubted forgiveness, modesty
and prosperity, and fame and great energy and a love for all creatures,
is incapable of being found out (now that he hath concealed himself)
even by Brahmanas, let alone ordinary persons. The wise Yudhishthira is
living in close disguise in regions whose characteristics I have
described. Regarding his excellent mode of life, I dare not say anything
more. Reflecting well upon all this, do without loss of time what thou
mayst think to be beneficial, O prince of the Kuru race, if indeed, thou
hast any faith in me.'"

[21] This is a very difficult sloka. I am not sure that I have
understood it alright. Both Nilakantha and Arjuna Misra are
silent. Instead of depending, however, on my own intelligence, I
have consulted several friends who have read the _Mahabharata_
thoroughly. The grammatical structure is easy. The only
difficulty consists in the second half of the sloka. The
meaning, however, I have given is consistent with the tenor of
Bhishma's advice.

[22] Indicating the unobstructed completion of the sacrifice.


Vaisampayana said, "Then Saradwata's son, Kripa said, 'What the aged
Bhishma hath said concerning the Pandavas is reasonable, suited to the
occasion, consistent with virtue and profit, agreeable to the ear,
fraught with sound reason, and worthy of him. Listen also to what I
would say on this subject. It behoveth thee to ascertain the track they
have followed and their abode also by means of spies,[23] and to adopt
that policy which may bring about thy welfare. O child, he that is
solicitous of his welfare should not disregard even an ordinary foe.
What shall I say, then, O child, of the Pandavas who are thorough
masters of all weapons in battle. When, therefore, the time cometh for
the reappearance of the high-souled Pandavas, who, having entered the
forest,[24] are now passing their days in close disguise, thou shouldst
ascertain thy strength both in thy own kingdom and in those of other
kings. Without doubt, the return of the Pandavas is at hand. When their
promised term of exile is over, the illustrious and mighty sons of
Pritha, endued with immeasurable prowess, will come hither bursting with
energy. Do thou, therefore, in order to conclude an advantageous treaty
with them, have recourse to sound policy and address thyself to increase
thy forces and improve thy treasury. O child, ascertaining all these,
reckon thou thy own strength in respect of all thy allies weak and
strong.[25] Ascertaining the efficiency, and weakness, and indifference
of thy forces, as also who amongst them are well-affected and who are
disaffected, we should either fight the foe or make treaty with him.
Having recourse to the arts of conciliation, disunion, chastisement,
bribery, presents and fair behaviour, attack thy foes and subdue the
weak by might, and win over thy allies and troops and by soft speeches.
When thou hast (by these means) strengthened thy army and filled thy
treasury, entire success will be thine. When thou hast done all this,
thou wilt be able to fight with powerful enemies that may present
themselves, let alone the sons of Pandu deficient in troops and animals
of their own. By adopting all these expedients according to the customs
of thy order, thou wilt, O foremost of men, attain enduring happiness in
due time!'"

[23] The word _tirtha_ here means, as Nilakantha rightly
explains spies and not holy spots.

[24] _Satram_ is explained by Nilakantha to mean here 'false
disguise.' I think, however, such an interpretation to be
far-fetched. It evidently means 'forest',--the use of
'pravisteshu' in connection with it almost settles the point.

[25] This sloka is not correctly printed in any of the texts
that I have seen. The reading that I adopt is that the second
word is the participle of the root _budh_ and not the
instrumental of _budhi_; the last word again of the second line
is a compound of _valavatsu_ and _avaleshu_ instead of (as
printed in many books) _valavatswavaleshu_. Any other reading
would certainly be incorrect. I have not consulted the Bombay


Vaisampayana said, "Discomfited before, O monarch, many a time and oft
by Matsya's _Suta_ Kichaka aided by the Matsyas and the Salyas, the
mighty king of the Trigartas, Susarman, who owned innumerable cars,
regarding the opportunity to be a favourable one, then spoke the
following words without losing a moment. And, O monarch, forcibly
vanquished along with his relatives by the mighty Kichaka, king
Susarman, eyeing Karna in askance, spoke these words unto Duryodhana,
'My kingdom hath many a time been forcibly invaded by the king of the
Matsyas. The mighty Kichaka was that king's generalissimo. Crooked and
wrathful and of wicked soul, of prowess famed over all the world, sinful
in deeds and highly cruel, that wretch, however, hath been slain by the
Gandharvas. Kichaka being dead, king Virata, shorn of pride and his
refuge gone, will, I imagine, lose all courage. I think we ought now to
invade that kingdom, if it pleases thee, O sinless one, as also the
illustrious Karna and all the Kauravas. The accident that hath happened
is, I imagine, a favourable one for us. Let us, therefore, repair to
Virata's kingdom abounding in corn. We will appropriate his gems and
other wealth of diverse kinds, and let us go to share with each other as
regards his villages and kingdom. Or, invading his city by force, let us
carry off by thousands his excellent kine of various species. Uniting, O
king, the forces of the Kauravas and the Trigartas, let us lift his
cattle in droves. Or, uniting our forces well, we will check his power
by forcing him to sue for peace. Or, destroying his entire host, we will
bring Matsya under subjection. Having brought him under subjection by
just means, we will live in our kingdom happily, while thy power also
will, without doubt, be enhanced.' Hearing these words of Susarman,
Karna addressed the king, saying, 'Susarman hath spoken well; the
opportunity is favourable and promises to be profitable to us.
Therefore, if it pleases thee, O sinless one, let us, drawing up our
forces in battle array and marshalling them in divisions, speedily set
out. Or, let the expedition be managed as Saradwata's son Kripa, the
preceptor Drona, and the wise and aged grandsire of the Kurus may think.
Consulting with each other, let us, O lord of earth, speedily set out to
attain our end. What business have we with the sons of Pandu, destitute
as they are of wealth, might, and prowess? They have either disappeared
for good or have gone to the abode of _Yama_. We will, O king, repair
without anxiety to Virata's city, and plunder his cattle and other
wealth of diverse kinds.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Accepting these words of Karna, the son of
Surya, king Duryodhana speedily commanded his brother Duhsasana, born
immediately after him and always obedient to his wishes, saying,
'Consulting with the elders, array without delay, our forces. We will
with all the Kauravas go to the appointed place. Let also the mighty
warrior, king Susarman, accompanied by a sufficient force with vehicles
and animals, set out with the Trigartas for the dominions of Matsyas.
And let Susarman proceed first, carefully concealing his intention.
Following in their wake, we will set out the day after in close array,
for the prosperous dominions of king Matsya. Let the Trigartas, however,
suddenly repair to the city of Virata, and coming upon the cowherds,
seize that immense wealth (of kine). We also marching in two divisions,
will seize thousands of excellent kine furnished with auspicious

Vaisampayana continued, "Then, O Lord of earth, those warriors, the
Trigartas, accompanied by their infantry of terrible prowess, marched
towards the south-eastern direction, intending to wage hostilities with
Virata from the desire of seizing his kine. And Susarman set out on the
seventh day of the dark fortnight for seizing the kine. And then, O
king, on the eighth day following of the dark fortnight, the Kauravas
also accompanied by all their troops, began to seize the kine by


Vaisampayana said, "O mighty king, entering into king Virata's service,
and dwelling in disguise in his excellent city, the high-souled Pandavas
of immeasurable prowess, completed the promised period of non-discovery.
And after Kichaka had been slain, that slayer of hostile heroes, the
mighty king Virata began to rest his hopes on the sons of Kunti. And it
was on the expiry of the thirteenth year of their exile, O Bharata, that
Susarman seized Virata's cattle by thousands. And when the cattle had
been seized, the herdsman of Virata came with great speed to the city,
and saw his sovereign, the king of Matsyas, seated on the throne in the
midst of wise councillors, and those bulls among men, the sons of Pandu,
and surrounded by brave warriors decked with ear-rings and bracelets.
And appearing before that enhancer of his dominion--King Virata seated
in court--the herdsman bowed down unto him, and addressed him, saying,
'O foremost of kings, defeating and humiliating us in battle along with
our friends the Trigartas are seizing thy cattle by hundreds and by
thousands. Do thou, therefore, speedily rescue them. Oh, see that they
are not lost to thee.' Hearing these words, the king arrayed for battle
the Matsya force abounding in cars and elephants and horses and infantry
and standards. And kings and princes speedily put on, each in its proper
place,[26] their shining and beautiful armour worthy of being worn by
heroes. And Virata's beloved brother, Satanika, put on a coat of mail
made of adamantine steel, adorned with burnished gold. And Madiraksha,
next in birth to Satanika, put on a strong coat of mail plated with
gold[27] and capable of resisting every weapon. And the coat of mail
that the king himself of the Matsyas put on was invulnerable and decked
with a hundred suns, a hundred circles, a hundred spots, and a hundred
eyes. And the coat of mail that Suryadatta[28] put on was bright as the
sun, plated with gold, and broad as a hundred lotuses of the fragrant
(_Kahlara_) species. And the coat of mail that Virata's eldest son, the
heroic Sanksha, put on was impenetrable and made of burnished steel, and
decked with a hundred eyes of gold. And it was thus that those god-like
and mighty warriors by hundreds, furnished with weapons, and eager for
battle, each donned his corselet. And then they yoked unto their
excellent cars of white-hue steeds equipped in mail. And then was
hoisted--Matsya's glorious standard on his excellent car decked with
gold and resembling the sun or the moon in its effulgence. And other
Kshatriya warriors also raised on their respective cars gold-decked
standards of various shapes and devices. And king Matsya then addressed
his brother Satanika born immediately after him, saying, 'Kanka and
Vallava and Tantripala and Damagranthi of great energy will, as it
appears to me fight, without doubt. Give thou unto them cars furnished
with banners and let them case their persons in beautiful coats of mail
that should be both invulnerable and easy to wear. And let them also
have weapons. Bearing such martial forms and possessed of arms
resembling the trunk of mighty elephants, I can never persuade myself
that they cannot fight.' Hearing these words of the king, Satanika, O
monarch, immediately ordered cars for those sons of Pritha, viz., the
royal Yudhishthira, and Bhima, and Nakula, and Sahadeva, and commanded
by the king, the charioteers, with cheerful hearts and keeping loyalty
in view, very soon got cars ready (for the Pandavas). And those
repressers of foes then donned those beautiful coats of mail,
invulnerable and easy to wear, that Virata had ordered for those heroes
of spotless fame. And mounted on cars yoked with good steeds, those
smiters of hostile ranks, those foremost of men, the sons of Pritha, set
out with cheerful hearts. Indeed, those mighty warriors skilled in
fight, those bulls of the Kuru race and sons of Pandu, those four heroic
brothers possessed of prowess incapable of being baffled, mounting on
cars decked with gold, together set out, following Virata's wake. And
infuriate elephants of terrible mien, full sixty years of age, with
shapely tusks and rent temples and juice trickling down and looking (on
that account) like cloud pouring rain and mounted by trained warriors
skilled in fight, followed the king like unto moving hills. And the
principal warriors of Matsya who cheerfully followed the king had eight
thousand cars, a thousand elephants and sixty thousand horses. And, O
bull among the Bharatas, that force of Virata, O king, as it marched
forth marking the footprints of the cattle looked exceedingly beautiful.
And on its march that foremost of armies owned by Virata, crowded with
soldiers armed with strong weapons, and abounding in elephants, horses
and cars, looked really splendid."

[26] _Bhagasas_ lit., each in its proper place. It may also
mean, 'according to their respective division.'

[27] _Kalyana-patalam_ is explained by Nilakantha to mean
_suvarna pattachchaditam_.

[28] One of the generals of Virata.


Vaisampayana said, "Marching out of the city, those heroic smiters the
Matsyas, arrayed in order of battle, overtook the Trigartas when the sun
had passed the meridian. And both excited to fury and both desirous of
having the king, the mighty Trigartas and the Matsyas, irrepressible in
battle, sent up loud roars. And then the terrible and infuriate
elephants ridden over by the skilful combatants of both sides were urged
on with spiked clubs and hooks. And the encounter, O king, that took
place when the sun was low in the horizon, between the infantry and
cavalry and chariots and elephants of both parties, was like unto that
of old between the gods and the _Asuras_, terrible and fierce and
sufficient for making one's hair stand on end and calculated to increase
the population of Yama's kingdom. And as the combatants rushed against
one another, smiting and slashing, thick clouds of dust began to rise,
so that nothing could be discovered. And covered with the dust raised by
the contending armies, birds began to drop down on the earth. And the
sun himself disappeared behind the thick cloud of arrows shot, and the
firmament looked bright as if with myriads of the fireflies. And
shifting their bows, the staves of which were decked with gold, from one
hand to another, those heroes began to strike each other down,
discharging their arrows right and left. And cars encountered cars, and
foot-soldiers fought with foot-soldiers, and horse-men with horsemen,
and elephants with mighty elephants. And they furiously encountered one
another with swords and axes, bearded darts and javelins, and iron
clubs. And although, O king, those mighty-armed warriors furiously
assailed one another in that conflict, yet neither party succeeded in
prevailing over the other. And severed heads, some with beautiful noses,
some with upper lips deeply gashed, some decked with ear-rings, and some
divided with wounds about the well-trimmed hair were seen rolling on the
ground covered with dust. And soon the field of battle was overspread
with the limbs of Kshatriya warriors, cut off by means of arrows and
lying like trunks of _Sala_ trees. And scattered over with heads decked
in ear-rings, and sandal-besmeared arms looking like the bodies of
snakes, the field of battle became exceedingly beautiful. And as cars
encountered cars, and horsemen encountered horsemen, and foot-soldiers
fought with foot-soldiers, and elephants met with elephants, the
frightful dust soon became drenched with torrents of blood. And some
amongst the combatants began to swoon away, and the warriors began to
fight reckless of consideration of humanity, friendship and
relationship. And both their course and sight obstructed by the arrowy
shower, vultures began to alight on the ground. But although those
strong-armed combatants furiously fought with one another, yet the
heroes of neither party succeeded in routing their antagonists. And
Satanika having slain a full hundred of the enemy and Visalaksha full
four hundred, both those mighty warriors penetrated into the heart of
the great Trigarta host. And having entered into the thick of the
Trigarta host, those famous and mighty heroes began to deprive their
antagonists of their senses by causing a closer conflict to set in--a
conflict, in which the combatants seized one another by the hair and
tore one another with their nails.[29] And eyeing the point where the
cars of the Trigartas had been mustered in strong numbers, those heroes
at last directed their attack towards it. And that foremost of
car-warriors, king Virata also, with Suryadatta in his van and
Madiraksha in his rear, having destroyed in that conflict five hundred
cars, eight hundred horses, and five warriors on great cars, displayed
various skilful manoeuvres on his car on that field of battle. And at
last the king came upon the ruler of the Trigartas mounted on a golden
chariot. And those high-souled and powerful warriors, desirous of
fighting, rushed roaring against each like two bulls in a cow-pen. Then
that bull among men, irrepressible in battle, Susarman, the king of the
Trigartas, challenged Matsya to a single combat on car. Then those
warriors excited to fury rushed against each other on their cars and
began to shower their arrows upon each other like clouds pouring
torrents of rain.[30] And enraged with each other, those fierce
warriors, both skilled in weapons, both wielding swords and darts and
maces, then moved about (on the field of battle) assailing each other
with whetted arrows. Then king Virata pierced Susarman with ten shafts
and each of his four horses also with five shafts. And Susarman also,
irresistible in battle and conversant with fatal weapons, pierced king
of Matsya with fifty whetted shafts. And then, O mighty monarch, in
consequence of the dust on the field of battle, the soldiers of both
Susarman and Matsya's king could not distinguish one another."

[29] Some differences of reading are noticeable here, for
_Yasaswinau_ some texts read _Manaswinau_, and for
Vahusamravdhau-Vahusanrambhat; and for Nakha-naki--Ratha-rathi.

[30] Some texts read Ghanabiva for Ghanarva. The latter is
unquestionably better in form.


Vaisampayana said, "Then, O Bharata, when the world was enveloped in
dust and the gloom of night, the warriors of both sides, without
breaking the order of battle, desisted for a while.[31] And then,
dispelling the darkness the moon arose illumining the night and
gladdening the hearts of the Kshatriya warriors. And when everything
became visible, the battle once more began. And it raged on so furiously
that the combatants could not distinguish one another. And then
Trigarta's lord, Susarman with his younger brother, and accompanied by
all his cars, rushed towards the king of Matsya. And descending from
their cars, those bulls among Kshatriyas, the (royal) brothers, mace in
hand, rushed furiously towards the cars of the foe. And the hostile
hosts fiercely assailed each other with maces and swords and scimitars,
battle-axes and bearded darts with keen edges and points of excellent
temper. And king Susarman, the lord of the Trigartas having by his
energy oppressed and defeated the whole army of the Matsyas, impetuously
rushed towards Virata himself endued with great energy. And the two
brothers having severally slain Virata's two steeds and his charioteer,
as also those soldiers that protected his rear, took him captive alive,
when deprived of his car. Then afflicting him sorely, like a lustful man
afflicting a defenceless damsel, Susarman placed Virata on his own car,
and speedily rushed out of the field. And when the powerful Virata,
deprived of his car, was taken captive, the Matsyas, harrassed solely by
the Trigartas, began to flee in fear in all directions. And beholding
them panic-stricken, Kunti's son, Yudhishthira, addressed that subduer
of foes, the mighty-armed Bhima, saying, 'The king of the Matsyas hath
been taken by the Trigartas. Do thou, O mighty-armed one, rescue him, so
that he may not fall under the power of the enemy. As we have lived
happily in Virata's city, having every desire of ours gratified, it
behoveth thee, O Bhimasena, to discharge that debt (by liberating the
king).' Thereat Bhimasena replied, 'I will liberate him, O king, at thy
command. Mark the feat I achieve (today) in battling with the foe,
relying solely on the might of my arms. Do thou, O king, stay aside,
along with our brothers and witness my prowess today. Uprooting this
mighty tree of huge trunk looking like a mace, I will rout the enemy.'"

[31] The word in the original is Muhurta equal to 48 minutes.
Nilakantha points out very ingeniously that the night being the
seventh of the dark fortnight, the moon would not rise till
after 14 Dandas from the hour of sunset, a Danda being equal to
24 minutes. A Muhurta, therefore implies not 48 minutes exactly,
but some time.

Vaisampayana continued, "Beholding Bhima casting his eyes on that tree
like a mad elephant, the heroic king Yudhishthira the just spake unto
his brother, saying, 'Do not, O Bhima, commit such a rash act. Let the
tree stand there. Thou must not achieve such feats in a super-human
manner by means of that tree, for if thou dost, the people, O Bharata,
will recognise thee and say, _This is Bhima_. Take thou, therefore, some
human weapon such as a bow (and arrows), or a dart, or a sword, or a
battle-axe. And taking therefore, O Bhima, some weapon that is human,
liberate thou the king without giving anybody the means of knowing thee
truly. The twins endued with great strength will defend thy wheels.
Fighting together, O child, liberate the king of the Matsyas!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Thus addressed, the mighty Bhimasena endued
with great speed, quickly took up an excellent bow and impetuously shot
from it a shower of arrows, thick as the downpour of a rain-charged
cloud. And Bhima then rushed furiously towards Susarman of terrible
deeds, and assuring Virata with the words--_O good king!_[32] said unto
the lord of the Trigartas,--_Stay! Stay!_ Seeing Bhima like unto Yama
himself in his rear, saying, _Stay! Stay! Do thou witness this mighty
feat,--this combat that is at hand!_--the bull among warriors, Susarman,
seriously considered (the situation), and taking up his bow turned back,
along with his brothers. Within the twinkling of an eye, Bhima destroyed
those cars that sought to oppose him. And soon again hundreds of
thousands of cars and elephants and horses and horsemen and brave and
fierce bowmen were overthrown by Bhima in the very sight of Virata. And
the hostile infantry also began to be slaughtered by the illustrious
Bhima, mace in hand. And beholding that terrible onslaught, Susarman,
irrepressible in fight, thought within himself, 'My brother seems to
have already succumbed in the midst of his mighty host. Is my army going
to be annihilated?' And drawing his bow-string to his ear Susarman then
turned back and began to shoot keen-edged shafts incessantly. And seeing
the Pandavas return to the charge on their car, the Matsya warriors of
mighty host, urging on their steeds, shot excellent weapons for grinding
the Trigarta soldiers. And Virata's son also, exceedingly exasperated
began to perform prodigious fears of valour. And Kunti's son
Yudhishthira slew a thousand (of the foe), and Bhima showed the abode of
Yama unto seven thousand. And Nakula sent seven hundred (to their last
account) by means of his shafts. And powerful Sahadeva also, commanded
by Yudhishthira, slew three hundred brave warriors. And having slain
such numbers, that fierce and mighty warrior, Yudhishthira, with weapons
upraised, rushed against Susarman. And rushing impetuously at Susarman,
that foremost of car-warriors, king Yudhishthira, assailed him with
vollies of shafts. And Susarman also, in great rage, quickly pierced
Yudhishthira with nine arrows, and each of his four steeds with four
arrows. Then, O king, Kunti's son Bhima of quick movements, approaching
Susarman crushed his steeds. And having slain also those soldiers that
protected his rear, he dragged from the car his antagonist's charioteer
to the ground. And seeing the king of Trigarta's car without a driver,
the defender of his car-wheels, the famous and brave Madiraksha speedily
came to his aid. And thereat, leaping down from Susarman's car, and
securing the latter's mace the powerful Virata ran in pursuit of him.
And though old, he moved on the field, mace in hand, even like a lusty
youth. And beholding Susarman flee Bhima addressed him, saying, 'Desist,
O Prince! This flight of thine is not proper! With this prowess of
thine, how couldst thou wish to carry off the cattle by force? How also,
forsaking thy follower, dost thou droop so amidst foes?' Thus addressed
by Pritha's son, the mighty Susarman, that lord of countless cars saying
unto Bhima, _Stay! Stay!_--suddenly turned round and rushed at him. Then
Bhima, the son of Pandu, leaping down from his car, as he alone could
do,[33] rushed forward with great coolness, desirous of taking
Susarman's life. And desirous of seizing Trigarta's king advancing
towards him, the mighty Bhimasena rushed impetuously towards him, even
like a lion rushing at a small deer. And advancing impetuously, the
mighty-armed Bhima seized Susarman by the hair, and lifting him up in
wrath, dashed him down on the ground. And as he lay crying in agony, the
mighty-armed Bhima kicked him at the head, and placing his knee on his
breast dealt him severe blows. And sorely afflicted with that kicking,
the king of Trigartas became senseless. And when the king of the
Trigartas deprived of his car, had been seized thus, the whole Trigarta
army stricken with panic, broke and fled in all directions, and the
mighty sons of Pandu, endued with modesty and observant of vows and
relying on the might of their own arms, after having vanquished
Susarman, and rescued the kine as well as other kinds of wealth and
having thus dispelled Virata's anxiety, stood together before that
monarch. And Bhimasena then said, 'This wretch given to wicked deeds
doth not deserve to escape me with life. But what can I do? The king is
so lenient!' And then taking Susarman by the neck as he was lying on the
ground insensible and covered with dust, and binding him fast, Pritha's
son Vrikodara placed him on his car, and went to where Yudhishthira was
staying in the midst of the field. And Bhima then showed Susarman unto
the monarch. And beholding Susarman in that plight, that tiger among men
king Yudhishthira smilingly addressed Bhima--that ornament of
battle,--saying, 'Let this worst of men be set free.' Thus addressed,
Bhima spoke unto the mighty Susarman, saying, 'If, O wretch, thou
wishest to live, listen to those words of mine. Thou must say in every
court and assembly of men,--_I am a slave._ On this condition only I
will grant thee thy life. Verily, this is the law about the vanquished.'
Thereupon his elder brother affectionately addressed Bhima, saying, 'If
thou regardest us as an authority, liberate this wicked wight. He hath
already become king Virata's slave.' And turning then to Susarman, he
said, 'Thou art freed. Go thou a free man, and never act again in this

[32] Some Vikshyainam, Nilakantha explains Sama as a word spoken
by Bhima for assuring the captive Virata, and Vikshya as
'assuring' or 'consoling by a glance.' Perhaps this is right.

[33] The adjective Bhima-sankasas as explained by Nilakantha is
in this sense, quoting the celebrated simile of Valmiki.


Vaisampayana said, "Thus addressed by Yudhishthira Susarman was
overwhelmed with shame and hung down his head. And liberated (from
slavery), he went to king Virata, and having saluted the monarch, took
his departure. And the Pandavas also relying on the might of their own
arms, and endued with modesty and observant of vows, having slain their
enemies and liberated Susarman, passed that night happily on the field
of battle. And Virata gratified those mighty warriors, the sons of
Kunti, possessed of super-human prowess with wealth and honour. And
Virata said, 'All these gems of mine are now as much mine as yours. Do
ye according to your pleasure live here happily. And ye smiter of foes
in battle, I will bestow on you damsels decked with ornaments, wealth in
plenty, and other things that ye may like. Delivered from perils today
by your prowess, I am now crowned with victory. Do ye all become the
lords of the Matsyas.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "And when the king of the Matsyas had addressed
them thus, those descendants of the Kurus with Yudhishthira at their
head, joining their hands, severally replied unto him saying, 'We are
well-pleased with all that thou sayest, O monarch. We, however, have
been much gratified that thou hast today been freed from thy foes.' Thus
answered, that foremost of kings, Virata the lord of the Matsyas, again
addressed Yudhishthira, saying, 'Come, we will install thee in
sovereignty of the Matsyas. And we will also bestow on thee things that
are rare on earth and are objects of desire, for thou deservest
everything at our hands. O foremost of Brahmanas of the _Vaiyaghra_
order I will bestow on thee gems and kine and gold and rubies and
pearls. I bow unto thee. It is owing to thee that I once more behold
today my sons and kingdom. Afflicted and threatened as I had been with
disaster and danger, it is through thy prowess that I have not succumbed
to the foe.' Then Yudhishthira again addressed the Matsyas, saying,
'Well-pleased are we with the delightful words that thou hast spoken.
Mayst thou be ever happy, always practising humanity towards all
creatures. Let messengers now, at thy command, speedily repair into the
city, in order to communicate the glad tidings to our friends, and
proclaim thy victory.' Hearing these words of him, king Matsya ordered
the messengers, saying, 'Do ye repair to the city and proclaim my
victory in battle. And let damsels and courtesans, decked in ornaments,
come out of the city with every kind of musical instruments.' Hearing
this command uttered by the king of the Matsyas, the men, laying the
mandate on their head, all departed with cheerful hearts. And having
repaired to the city that very night, they proclaimed at the hour of
sunrise the victory of the king about the city-gates."


Vaisampayana said, "When the king of the Matsyas, anxious of recovering
the kine, had set out in pursuit of the Trigartas, Duryodhana with his
counsellors invaded the dominions of Virata. And Bhishma and Drona, and
Karna, and Kripa acquainted with the best of weapons, Aswatthaman, and
Suvala's son, and Duhsasana, O lord of men, and Vivingsati and Vikarna
and Chitrasena endued with great energy, and Durmukha and
Dussaha,--these and many other great warriors, coming upon the Matsya
dominion speedily drove off the cowherds of king Virata and forcibly
took away the kine. And the Kauravas, surrounding all sides with a
multitude of cars, seized sixty thousands of kine. And loud was the yell
of woe set up by the cowherds smitten by those warriors in that terrible
conflict. And the chief of the cowherds, greatly affrighted speedily
mounted on a chariot and set out for the city, bewailing in affliction.
And entering the city of the king, he proceeded to the place, and
speedily alighting from the chariot, got in for relating (what had
happened). And beholding the proud son of Matsya, named Bhuminjaya, he
told him everything about the seizure of the royal kine. And he said,
'the Kauravas are taking away sixty thousand kine. Rise, therefore, O
enhancer of the kingdom's glory, for bringing back thy cattle. O prince,
if thou art desirous of achieving (the kingdom's) good set out thyself
without loss of time. Indeed, the king of the Matsyas left thee in the
empty city. The king (thy father) boasteth of thee in court, saying, "My
son, equal unto me, is a hero and is the supporter of (the glory of) my
race. My son is a warrior skilled in arrows and weapons and is always
possessed of great courage."--Oh, let the words of that lord of men be
true! O chief of herd-owners, bring thou back the kine after vanquishing
the Kurus, and consume thou their troops with the terrific energy of thy
arrows. Do thou like a leader of elephants rushing at a herd, pierce the
ranks of the foe with straight arrows of golden wings, discharged from
thy bow. Thy bow is even like a _Vina_. Its two ends represent the ivory
pillows; its string, the main chord; its staff, the finger-board; and
the arrows shot from it musical notes. Do thou strike in the midst of
the foe that _Vina_ of musical sound.[34] Let thy steeds, O lord, of
silvery hue, be yoked unto thy car, and let thy standard be hoisted,
bearing the emblem of the golden lion. Let thy keen-edged arrows endued
with wings of gold, shot by thy strong arms, obstruct the path of those
kings and eclipse the very sun. Vanquishing all the Kurus in battle like
unto the wielder of the thunderbolt defeating the _Asuras_, return thou
again to the city having achieved great renown. Son of Matsya's king,
thou art the sole refuge of this kingdom, as that foremost of virtuous
warriors, Arjuna is of the sons of Pandu. Even like Arjuna of his
brothers, thou art, without doubt, the refuge of those dwelling within
these dominions. Indeed, we, the subject of this realm, have our
protector in thee.'"

[34] To understand the comparison would require in the reader a
knowledge of the mechanism of the Indian Vina. Briefly, the Vina
consists of a bamboo of about two cubits attached to two gourds
towards its ends. Along the bamboo which serves the purpose of a
finger-board, is the main chord and several thinner wires. All
these pass over a number of frets, two and a half heptachords,
representing the total compass of the instrument. The wires rest
towards their ends on two pieces of ivory called Upadhanas in
Sanskrit or Swaris in Urdu.

Vaisampayana continued, "Thus addressed by the cowherd in the presence
of the females, in words breathing courage, the prince indulging in
self-commendation within the female apartments, spoke these words."


"Uttara said, 'Firm as I am in the use of the bow, I would set out this
very day in the track of the kine if only some one skilled in the
management of horses becomes my charioteer. I do not, however, know the
man who may be my charioteer. Look ye, therefore, without delay, for a
charioteer for me that am prepared for starting. My own charioteer was
slain in the great battle that was fought from day to day for a whole
month or at least for eight and twenty nights. As soon as I get another
person conversant with the management of the steeds, I will immediately
set out, hoisting high my own standard. Penetrating into the midst of
the hostile army abounding with elephants and horses and chariots, I
will bring back the kine, having vanquished the Kurus who are feeble in
strength and weak in weapons. Like a second wielder of the thunderbolt
terrifying the Danavas, I will bring back the kine this very moment,
affrighting in battle Duryodhana and Bhishma and Karna and Kripa and
Drona with his son, and other mighty bowmen assembled for fight. Finding
none (to oppose), the Kurus are taking away the kine. What can I do when
I am not there? The assembled Kurus shall witness my prowess today. And
they shall say unto one another, "Is it Arjuna himself who is opposing

Vaisampayana continued, "Having heard these words spoken by the prince,
Arjuna fully acquainted with the import of everything, after a little
while cheerfully spake in private unto his dear wife of faultless
beauty, Krishna, the princess of Panchala, Drupada's daughter of slender
make, sprung from the (sacrificial) fire and endued with the virtues of
truthfulness and honesty and ever attentive to the good of her husbands.
And the hero said, 'Do thou, O beauteous one, at my request say unto
Uttara without delay, "This Vrihannala was formerly the accomplished
resolute charioteer of Pandu's son (Arjuna). Tried in many a great
battle, even he will be thy charioteer."'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Hearing these words uttered by the prince over
and over again in the midst of the women, Panchali could not quietly
bear those allusions to Vibhatsu. And bashfully stepping out from among
the women, the poor princess of Panchala gently spake unto him these
words, 'The handsome youth, looking like a mighty elephant and known by
the name of Vrihannala, was formerly the charioteer of Arjuna. A
disciple of that illustrious warrior, and inferior to none in use of the
bow, he was known to me while I was living with the Pandavas. It was by
him that the reins were held of Arjuna's excellent steeds when Agni
consumed the forest of Khandava. It was with him as charioteer that
Partha conquered all creatures at Khandava-prastha. In fact, there is no
charioteer equal unto him.'

"Uttara said, 'Thou knowest, O _Sairindhri_, this youth. Thou knowest,
what this one of the neuter sex may or may not be. I cannot, however, O
blessed one, myself request Vrihannala to hold the reins of my horses.'

"Draupadi said, 'Vrihannala, O hero, will without doubt, obey the words
of thy younger sister[35]--that damsel of graceful hips. If he consents
to be thy charioteer, thou wilt, without doubt, return, having
vanquished the Kurus and rescued thy kine.'

[35] Some read _kaniasi_ for _vaviasi_. Both words are the same,
and mean the same thing.

"Thus addressed by the _Sairindhri_, Uttara spake unto his sister, 'Go
thyself, O thou of faultless beauty, and bring Vrihannala hither.' And
despatched by her brother, she hastily repaired to the dancing-hall
where that strong-armed son of Pandu was staying in disguise."


Vaisampayana said, "Thus despatched by her elder brother, the far-famed
daughter of king Matsya, adorned with a golden necklace, ever obedient
to her brother and possessed of a waist slender as that of the wasp,[36]
endued with the splendour of Lakshmi herself,[37] decked with the plumes
of the peacock of slender make and graceful limbs, her hips encircled by
a zone of pearls, her eye-lashes slightly curved, and her form endued
with every grace, hastily repaired to the dancing-hall like a flash of
lightning rushing towards a mass of dark clouds.[38] And the faultless
and auspicious daughter of Virata, of fine teeth and slender-waist, of
thighs close unto each other and each like the trunk of an elephant, her
person embellished with an excellent garland, sought the son of Pritha
like a she-elephant seeking her mate. And like unto a precious gem or
the very embodiment of prosperity of Indra, of exceeding beauty and
large eyes, that charming and adored and celebrated damsel saluted
Arjuna. And saluted by her, Partha asked that maiden of close thighs and
golden complexion, saying 'What brings thee hither, a damsel decked in a
necklace of gold? Why art thou in such a hurry, O gazelle-eyed maiden?
Why is thy face, O beauteous lady, so cheerless? Tell me all this
without delay!'"

[36] _Vedi-Vilagnamadhya_--Vedi in this connection means a wasp
and not, as explained by Mallinatha in his commentary of the
_Kumarasambhava_, a sacrificial platform. I would remark in
passing that many of the most poetic and striking adjectives in
both the Raghu and the _Kumarasambhava_ of Kalidasa are borrowed
unblushingly from the _Ramayana_ and the _Mahabharata_.

[37] _Padma patrabha-nibha_ may also mean 'of the splendour of
the gem called Marakata.' Nilakantha, however, shows that this
would militate against the adjective _Kankojwalatwacham_ below.

[38] The princess being of the complexion of burnished gold and
Arjuna dark as a mass of clouds, the comparison is exceedingly
appropriate. The Vaishnava poets of Bengal never tire of this
simile in speaking of Radha and Krishna in the groves of

Vaisampayana continued, "Beholding, O king, his friend, the princess of
large-eyes (in that plight), her friend (Arjuna) cheerfully enquired of
her (in these words) the cause of her arrival there and then. And having
approached that bull among men, the princess, standing in the midst of
her female attendants, the displaying proper modesty[39], addressed him,
saying, 'The kine of this realm, O Vrihannala, are being driven away by
the Kurus, and it is to conquer them that my brother will set out bow in
hand. Not long ago his own charioteer was slain in battle, and there is
none equal unto the one slain that can act as my brother's charioteer.
And unto him striving to obtain a charioteer, _Sairindhri_, O
Vrihannala, hath spoken about thy skill in the management of steeds.
Thou wert formerly the favourite charioteer of Arjuna, and it was with
thee that that bull among the sons of Pandu had alone subjugated the
whole earth. Do thou, therefore, O Vrihannala, act as the charioteer of
my brother. (By this time) our kine have surely been driven away by the
Kurus to a great distance. Requested by me if thou dost not act up to my
words, I who am asking this service of thee out of affection, will give
up my life!' Thus addressed by this friend of graceful hips, that
oppressor of foes, endued with immeasurable prowess, went into the
prince's presence. And like unto a she-elephant running after her young
one, the princess possessed of large eyes followed that hero advancing
with hasty steps like unto an elephant with rent temples. And beholding
him from a distance, the prince himself said, 'With thee as his
charioteer, Dhananjaya the son of Kunti had gratified _Agni_ at the
Khandava forest and subjugated the whole world! The _Sairindhri_ hath
spoken of thee to me. She knoweth the Pandavas. Do thou, therefore, O
Vrihannala, hold, as thou didst, the reins of my steeds, desirous as I
am of righting with the Kurus and rescuing my bovine wealth. Thou wert
formerly the beloved charioteer of Arjuna and it was with thee that that
bull among the sons of Pandu had alone subjugated the whole earth!' Thus
addressed, Vrihannala replied unto the prince, saying, 'What ability
have I to act as a charioteer in the field of battle? If it is song or
dance or musical instruments or such other things, I can entertain thee
therewith, but where is my skill for becoming a charioteer?'

[39] The words in the original is _pranayam_, lit., love.
Nilakantha, however, explains it as meaning modesty, humility. I
think, Nilakantha is right. The relations between Arjuna and the
princess were like those between father and daughter.

"Uttara said, 'O Vrihannala, be thou a singer or a dancer, hold thou
(for the present), without loss of time, the reins of my excellent
steeds, mounting upon my car!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Although that oppressor of foes, the son of
Pandu, was acquainted with everything, yet in the presence of Uttara, he
began to make many mistakes for the sake of fun. And when he sought to
put the coat of mail on his body by raising it upwards, the large-eyed
maidens, beholding it, burst out into a loud laughter. And seeing him
quite ignorant of putting on armour, Uttara himself equipped Vrihannala
with a costly coat of mail. And casing his own person in an excellent
armour of solar effulgence, and hoisting his standard bearing the figure
of a lion, the prince caused Vrihannala to become his charioteer. And
with Vrihannala to hold his reins, the hero set out, taking with him
many costly bows and a large number of beautiful arrows. And his friend,
Uttara and her maidens then said unto Vrihannala, 'Do thou, O
Vrihannala, bring for our dolls (when thou comest back) various kinds of
good and fine cloths after vanquishing the Kurus assembled for battle of
whom Bhishma and Drona are foremost!' Thus addressed, Partha the son of
Pandu, in a voice deep as the roar of the clouds, smilingly said unto
that bevy of fair maidens. 'If thus Uttara can vanquish those mighty
warriors in battle, I will certainly bring excellent and beautiful

Vaisampayana continued, "Having said these words, the heroic Arjuna
urged the steeds towards the Kuru army over which floated innumerable
flags. Just, however, as they were starting, elderly dames and maidens,
and Brahmanas of rigid vows, beholding Uttara seated on his excellent
car with Vrihannala as charioteer and under that great banner hoisted on
high, walked round the car to bless the hero. And the women said, 'Let
the victory that Arjuna treading like a bull had achieved of old on the
occasion of burning the forest of Khandava, be thine, O Vrihannala, when
thou encounterest the Kurus today with prince Uttara.'"


Vaisampayana said, "Having issued forth from the city, the dauntless son
of Virata addressed his charioteer, saying, 'Proceed whither the Kurus
are. Defeating the assembled Kurus who have come hither from desire of
victory, and quickly rescuing my kine from them, I will return to the
capital.' At these words of the prince, the son of Pandu urged those
excellent steeds. And endued with the speed of the wind and decked with
necklaces of gold, those steeds, urged by that lion among men, seemed to
fly through the air. And they had not proceeded far when those smiters
of foes, Dhananjaya and the son of Matsya, sighted the army of the
powerful Kurus. And proceeding towards the cemetery, they came upon the
Kurus and beheld their army arrayed in order of battle.[40] And that
large army of theirs looked like the vast sea or a forest of innumerable
trees moving through the sky. And then was seen, O best among the Kurus,
the dust raised by that moving army which reached the sky and obstructed
the sight of all creatures. And beholding that mighty host abounding in
elephants, horses and chariots, and protected by Karna and Duryodhana
and Kripa and Santanu's son, and that intelligent and great bowman
Drona, with his son (Aswatthaman), the son of Virata, agitated with fear
and the bristles on his body standing on their ends, thus spake unto
Partha, 'I dare not fight with the Kurus. See, the bristles on my body
have stood on their ends. I am incapable of battling with this countless
host of the Kurus, abounding in the heroic warriors, that are extremely
fierce and difficult of being vanquished even by the celestials. I do
not venture to penetrate into the army of the Bharatas consisting of
terrible bowmen and abounding in horses and elephants and cars and
footsoldiers and banners. My mind is too much perturbed by the very
sight of the foe on the field of battle on which stand Drona and
Bhishma, and Kripa, and Karna, and Vivingsati, and Aswatthaman and
Vikarna, and Saumadatti, and Vahlika, and the heroic king Duryodhana
also--that foremost of car-warriors, and many other splendid bowmen, all
skilled in battle. My hairs have stood on their ends, and I am fainting
with fear at the very sight of these smiters, the Kurus arrayed in order
of battle.'"

[40] This sloka is not correctly printed in any of the texts
that I have seen. The Burdwan Pandits read _tat-samim_. This I
think, is correct, but then _asasada_ in the singular when the
other verbs are all dual seems to be correct. The poet must have
used some other verb in the dual for _asasada_.

Vaisampayana continued, "And the low-minded and foolish Uttara out of
folly alone, began to bewail (his fate) in the presence of the
high-spirited (Arjuna) disguised (as his charioteer) in these words, 'My
father hath gone out to meet the Trigartas taking with him his whole
army, leaving me in the empty city. There are no troops to assist me.
Alone and a mere boy who has not undergone much exercise in arms, I am
unable to encounter these innumerable warriors and all skilled in
weapons. Do thou, therefore, O Vrihannala, cease to advance!'

"Vrihannala said, 'Why dost thou look so pale through fear and enhance
the joy of thy foes? As yet thou hast done nothing on the field of
battle with the enemy. It was thou that hadst ordered me, saying, _Take
me towards the Kauravas_. I will, therefore, take thee, thither where
those innumerable flags are. I will certainly take thee, O mighty-armed
one, into the midst of the hostile Kurus, prepared to fight as they are
for the kine like hawks for meat. I would do this, even if I regarded
them to have come hither for battling for a much higher stake such as
the sovereignty of the earth. Having, at the time of setting out, talked
before both men and women so highly of thy manliness, why wouldst thou
desist from the fight? If thou shouldst return home without recapturing
the kine, brave men and even women, when they meet together, will laugh
at thee (in derision). As regards myself, I cannot return to the city
without having rescued the kine, applauded as I have been so highly by
the _Sairindhri_ in respect of my skill in driving cars. It is for those
praises by the _Sairindhri_ and for those words of thine also (that I
have come). Why should I not, therefore, give battle to the Kurus? (As
regards thyself), be thou still.'

"Uttara said, 'Let the Kurus rob the Matsyas of all their wealth. Let
men and women, O Vrihannala, laugh at me. Let my kine perish, let the
city be a desert. Let me stand exposed before my father. Still there is
no need of battle.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Saying this, that much affrighted prince decked
in ear-ring jumped down from his car, and throwing down his bow and
arrows began to flee, sacrificing honour and pride. Vrihannala, however,
exclaimed, 'This is not the practice of the brave, this flight of a
Kshatriya from the field of battle. Even death in battle is better than
flight from fear.' Having said this, Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti,
coming down from that excellent car ran after that prince thus running
away, his own long braid and pure red garments fluttering in the air.
And some soldiers, not knowing that it was Arjuna who was thus running
with his braid fluttering in the air, burst out into laughter at the
sight. And beholding him thus running, the Kurus began to argue, 'Who is
this person, thus disguised like fire concealed in ashes? He is partly a
man and partly a woman. Although bearing a neuter form, he yet
resembleth Arjuna. His are the same head and neck, and his the same arms
like unto a couple of maces. And this one's gait also is like unto his.
He can be none else than Dhananjaya. As _Indra_ is among the celestials,
so Dhananjaya is among men. Who else in this world than Dhananjaya,
would alone come against us? Virata left a single son of his in the
empty city. He hath come out from childishness and not from true
heroism. It is Uttara who must have come out of the city, having,
without doubt, made as a charioteer Arjuna, the son of Pritha, now
living in disguise. It seems that he is now flying away in panic at
sight of our army. And without doubt Dhananjaya runneth after him to
bring him back.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Beholding the disguised son of Pandu, the
Kauravas, O Bharata, began to indulge in these surmises, but they could
not come to any definite conclusion. Meanwhile, Dhananjaya, hastily
pursuing the retreating Uttara, seized him by the hair within a hundred
steps. And seized by Arjuna, the son of Virata began to lament most
woefully like one in great affliction, and said, 'Listen, O good
Vrihannala, O thou of handsome waist. Turn thou quickly the course of
the car. He that liveth meeteth with prosperity. I will give thee a
hundred coins of pure gold and eight _lapis lazuli_ of great brightness
set with gold, and one chariot furnished with a golden flag-staff and
drawn by excellent steeds, and also ten elephants of infuriate prowess.
Do thou, O Vrihannala, set me free.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Thus addressed, that tiger among men laughingly
dragged Uttara who was almost deprived of his senses and who was
uttering these words of lamentation towards the car. And the son of
Pritha then addressed the affrighted prince who had nearly lost his
senses, saying, 'If, O chastiser of foes, thou dost not venture to fight
with enemy, come thou and hold the reins of the steeds as I fight with
the foe. Protected by the might of my arms, penetrate thou yon
formidable and invincible array of cars guarded by heroic and mighty
warriors. Fear not, O chastiser of foes, thou art a _Kshatriya_ and the
foremost of royal princes. Why dost thou, O tiger among men, succumb in
the midst of the foe? I shall surely fight with the Kurus and recover
the kine, penetrating into this formidable and inaccessible array of
cars. Be thou my charioteer, O best of men, I will fight with the
Kurus.' Thus speaking unto Uttara, the son of Virata, Vibhatsu,
heretofore unconquered in battle, for a while comforted him. And then
the son of Pritha, that foremost of smiters, raised on the car that
fainting and reluctant prince stricken with fear!"


Vaisampayana said, "Beholding that bull among men seated on the car in
the habit of a person of the third sex, driving toward the _Sami_ tree,
having taken (the flying) Uttara up, all the great car-warriors of the
Kurus with Bhishma and Drona at their head, became affrighted at heart,
suspecting the comer to be Dhananjaya. And seeing them so dispirited and
marking also the many wonderful portents, that foremost of all wielders
of arms, the preceptor Drona, son of Bharadwaja, said, 'Violent and hot
are the winds that below, showering gravels in profusion. The sky also
is overcast with a gloom of ashy hue. The clouds present the strange
sight of being dry and waterless. Our weapons also of various kinds are
coming out of their cases. The jackals are yelling hideously affrighted
at the conflagrations on all sides.[41] The horses too are shedding
tears, and our banners are trembling though moved by none. Such being
the inauspicious indications seen, a great danger is at hand. Stay ye
with vigilance. Protect ye your own selves and array the troops in order
of battle. Stand ye, expecting a terrible slaughter, and guard ye well
the kine. This mighty bowman, this foremost of all wielders of weapons,
this hero that hath come in the habit of a person of the third sex, is
the son of Pritha. There is no doubt of this.' Then addressing Bhishma,
the preceptor continued, 'O offspring of the Ganges, apparelled as a
woman, this is _Kiriti_ called after a tree, the son of the enemy of the
mountains, and having on his banner the sign of devastator of the
gardens of Lanka's lord. Vanquishing us he will surely take away the
kine today![42] This chastiser of foes is the valiant son of Pritha
surnamed _Savyasachin_. He doth not desist from conflict even with the
gods and demons combined. Put to great hardship in the forest he cometh
in wrath. Taught by even Indra himself, he is like unto Indra in battle.
Therefore, ye Kauravas, I do not see any hero who can withstand him. It
is said that the lord _Mahadeva_ himself, disguised in the attire of a
hunter, was gratified by this son of Pritha in battle on the mountains
of Himavat.' Hearing these words, Karna said, 'You always censure us by
speaking on the virtues of _Phalguna_. Arjuna, however, is not equal to
even a full sixteenth part of myself or Duryodhana!' And Duryodhana
said, 'If this be Partha, O Radheya, then my purpose hath already been
fulfilled, for then, O king, if traced out, the Pandavas shall have to
wander for twelve years again. Or, if this one be any other person in a
eunuch's garb, I will soon prostrate him on the earth with keen-edged

[41] Some texts read _Diptasya_ for _Diptayam_.

[42] This sloka does not occur in every text. This is a typical
illustration of the round about way, frequently adopted by
Sanskrit writers, of expressing a simple truth. The excuse in
the present instance consists in Drona's unwillingness to
identify the solitary hero with Arjuna, in the midst of all his
hearers. Nadiji is an exclamation referring to Bhishma, the son
of the river Ganga. _Lankesa-vanari-ketu_ is simply
'ape-bannered,' or as rendered in the text, having the
devastator of the gardens of Lanka's lord for the sign of his
banner. Nagahvaya is 'named after tree' for Arjuna is the name
of an Indian tree. Nagri-sunu is 'Indra's son',--Indra being the
foe of mountain, for formerly it was he who cut off the wings of
all mountains and compelled them to be stationary. He failed
only in the case of Mainaka, the son of Himavat.

Vaisampayana continued, "The son of Dhritarashtra, O chastiser of foes,
having said this, Bhishma and Drona and Kripa and Drona's son all
applauded his manliness!"


Vaisampayana said, "Having reached that _Sami_ tree, and having
ascertained Virata's son to be exceedingly delicate and inexperienced in
battle, Partha addressed him, saying, 'Enjoined by me, O Uttara, quickly
take down (from this tree) some bows that are there. For these bows of
thine are unable to bear my strength, my heavy weight when I shall grind
down horses and elephants, and the stretch of my arms when I seek to
vanquish the foe. Therefore, O Bhuminjaya, climb thou up this tree of
thick foliage, for in this tree are tied the bows and arrows and banners
and excellent coats of mail of the heroic sons of Pandu, viz.,
Yudhishthira and Bhima and Vibhatsu and the twins. There also is that
bow of great energy, the _Gandiva_ of Arjuna, which singly is equal to
many thousands of other bows and which is capable of extending the
limits of a kingdom. Large like a palmyra tree, able to bear the
greatest stress, the largest of all weapons, capable of obstructing the
foe, handsome, and smooth, and broad, without a knot, and adorned with
gold, it is stiff and beautiful in make and beareth the heaviest weight.
And the other bows also that are there, of Yudhishthira and Bhima and
Vibhatsu and the twins, are equally mighty and tough.'"


"Uttara said, 'It hath been heard by us that a corpse is tied in this
tree. How can I, therefore, being a prince by birth, touch it with my
hands? Born in the _Kshatriya_ order, and the son of a great king, and
always observant of _mantras_ and vows, it is not becoming of me to
touch it. Why shouldst thou, O Vrihannala, make me a polluted and
unclean bearer of corpses, by compelling me to come in contact with a

"Vrihannala said, 'Thou shalt, O king of kings, remain clean and
unpolluted. Do not fear, there are only bows in this tree and not
corpses. Heir to the king of the Matsyas, and born in a noble family,
why should I, O prince, make thee do such a reproachable deed?'"

Vaisampayana said, "Thus addressed by Partha, Virata's son, decked in
ear-rings, alighted from the car, and climbed up that _Sami_ tree
reluctantly. And staying on the car, Dhananjaya, that slayer of enemies,
said unto him, 'Speedily bring thou down those bows from the top of the
tree.' And cutting off their wrappings first and then the ropes with
which they were tied, the prince beheld the _Gandiva_ there along with
four other bows. And as they were untied, the splendour of those bows
radiant as the sun, began to shine with great effulgence like unto that
of the planets about the time of their rising. And beholding the forms
of those bows, so like unto sighing snakes, he become afflicted with
fear and in a moment the bristles of his body stood on their ends. And
touching those large bows of great splendour, Virata's son, O king, thus
spake unto Arjuna!"


"Uttara said, 'To what warrior of fame doth this excellent bow belong,
on which are a hundred golden bosses and which hath such radiant ends?
Whose is this excellent bow of good sides and easy hold, on the staff of
which shine golden elephants of such brightness? Whose is this excellent
bow, adorned with three scores of _Indragopakas_[43] of pure gold,
placed on the back of the staff at proper intervals? Whose is this
excellent bow, furnished with three golden suns of great effulgence,
blazing forth with such brilliancy? Whose is this beautiful bow which is
variegated with gold and gems, and on which are golden insects set with
beautiful stones? Whose are these arrows furnished with wing around,
numbering a thousand, having golden heads, and cased in golden quivers?
Who owneth these large shafts, so thick, furnished with vulturine wings
whetted on stone, yellowish in hue, sharp-pointed, well-tempered, and
entirely made of iron? Whose is this sable quiver,[44] bearing five
images of tigers, which holdeth shafts intermined with boar-eared arrows
altogether numbering ten? Whose are these seven hundred arrows, long and
thick, capable of drinking (the enemy's) blood, and looking like the
crescent-shaped moon?[45] Whose are these gold-crested arrows whetted on
stones, the lower halves of which are well-furnished with wings of the
hue of parrots' feather and the upper halves, of well-tempered
steels?[46] Whose is this excellent sword irresistible, and terrible to
adversaries, with the mark of a toad on it, and pointed like a toad's
head?[47] Cased in variegated sheath of tiger-skin, whose is this large
sword of excellent blade and variegated with gold and furnished with
tinkling bells? Whose is this handsome scimitar of polished blade and
golden hilt? Manufactured in the country of the _Nishadas_,
irresistible, incapable of being broken, whose is this sword of polished
blade in a scabbard of cow-skin? Whose is this beautiful and long sword,
sable in hue as the sky, mounted with gold, well-tempered, and cased in
a sheath of goat-skin? Who owneth this heavy, well-tempered, and broad
sword, just longer than the breadth of thirty fingers, polished by
constant clash with other's weapons and kept in a case of gold, bright
as fire? Whose is this beautiful scimitar of sable blade covered with
golden bosses, capable of cutting through the bodies of adversaries,
whose touch is as fatal as that of a venomous snake which is
irresistible and exciteth the terror of foes? Asked by me, O Vrihannala,
do thou answer me truly. Great is my wonder at the sight of all these
excellent objects.'"

[43] Indian insects of a particular kind.

[44] Most editions read _chapas_ which is evidently wrong. The
correct reading is _avapas_, meaning quiver. The Burdwan Pandits
give this latter reading.

[45] Some read _chandrargha-darsanas_. The correct reading is

[46] Most editions read _hema-punkha_ and _silasita_ in the
instrumental plural; the correct reading is their nominative
plural forms.

[47] _Sayaka_ means here, as explained by Nilakantha, a sword,
and not a shaft.


"Vrihannala said, 'That about which thou hath first enquired is Arjuna's
bow, of world-wide fame, called _Gandiva_, capable of devastating
hostile hosts. Embellished with gold, this _Gandiva_, the highest and
largest of all weapons belonged to Arjuna. Alone equal unto a hundred
thousand weapons, and always capable of extending the confines of
kingdoms, it is with this that Partha vanquisheth in battle both men and
celestials. Worshipped ever by the gods, the _Danavas_ and the
_Gandharvas_ and variegated with excellent colours, this large and
smooth bow is without a knot or stain anywhere. Shiva held it first for
a thousand years. Afterwards Prajapati held it for five hundred and
three years. After that Sakra, for five and eighty years. And then Soma
held it for five hundred years. And after that _Varuna_ held it for a
hundred years. And finally Partha, surnamed _Swetavahana,_[48] hath held
it for five and sixty years.[49] Endued with great energy and of high
celestial origin, this is the best of all bows. Adored among gods and
men, it hath a handsome form. Partha obtained this beautiful bow from
Varuna. This other bow of handsome sides and golden handle is Bhima's
with which that son of Pritha, that chastiser of foes, had conquered the
whole of the eastern regions. This other excellent bow of beautiful
shape, adorned with images of _Indragopakas_, belongeth, O Virata's son,
to king Yudhishthira. This other weapon with golden suns of blazing
splendour shedding a dazzling effulgence around, belongeth to Nakula.
And this bow adorned with golden images of insects and set also with
gems and stones, belongeth to that son of Madri who is called Sahadeva.
These winged arrows, thousand in number, sharp as razors and destructive
as the poison of snakes, belong, O Virata's son, to Arjuna. When
shooting them in battle against foes, these swift arrows blaze forth
more brilliantly and become inexhaustible. And these long and thick
shafts resembling the lunar crescent in shape, keen-edged and capable of
thinning the enemy's ranks, belong to Bhima. And this quiver bearing
five images of tigers, full of yellowish shafts whetted on stone and
furnished with golden wings belong to Nakula. This is the quiver of the
intelligent son of Madri, with which he had conquered in battle the
whole of the western regions. And these arrows, all effulgent as the
sun, painted all over with various colours, and capable of destroying
enemies by thousands are those of Sahadeva. And these short and
well-tempered and thick shafts, furnished with long feathers and golden
heads, and consisting of three knots, belong to king Yudhishthira. And
this sword with blade long and carved with the image of a toad and head
shaped as a toad's mouth, strong and irresistible belongeth to Arjuna.
Cased in a sheath of tiger-skin, of long blade, handsome and
irresistible, and terrible to adversaries, this sword belongeth to
Bhimasena. Of excellent blade and cased in a well-painted sheath, and
furnished with a golden hilt, this handsome sword belongeth to the wise
Kaurava--Yudhishthira the just. And this sword of strong blade,
irresistible and intended for various excellent modes of fight and cased
in a sheath of goat-skin, belongeth to Nakula. And this huge scimitar,
cased in a sheath of cow-skin, strong and irresistible belongeth to

[48] From the colour of his steeds.

[49] Nilakantha spends much learning and ingenuity in making out
that sixty-five years in this connection means thirty-two years
of ordinary human computation.


"Uttara said, 'Indeed, these weapons adorned with gold, belonging to the
light-handed and high-souled Partha, look exceedingly beautiful. But
where are that Arjuna, the son of Pritha, and Yudhishthira of the Kuru
race, and Nakula, and Sahadeva, and Bhimasena, the sons of Pandu? Having
lost their kingdom at dice, the high-souled Pandavas, capable of
destroying all foes, are no longer heard of. Where also is Draupadi, the
princess of _Panchala_, famed as the gem among women, who followed the
sons of Pandu after their defeat at dice to the forest?'

"Arjuna said, 'I am Arjuna, called also Partha. Thy father's courtier is
Yudhishthira and thy father's cook Vallava is Bhimasena, the groom of
horses is Nakula, and Sahadeva is in the cow-pen. And know thou that the
_Sairindhri_ is Draupadi, for whose sake the Kichakas have been slain.'

"Uttara said, 'I would believe all this if thou canst enumerate the ten
names of Partha, previously heard by me!'

"Arjuna said, 'I will, O son of Virata, tell thee my ten names. Listen
thou and compare them with what thou hadst heard before. Listen to them
with close attention and concentrated mind. They are _Arjuna, Phalguna,
Jishnu, Kiritin, Swetavahana, Vibhatsu, Vijaya, Krishna, Savyasachin_
and _Dhananjaya_.'

"Uttara said, 'Tell me truly why art thou called Vijaya, and why
Swetavahana. Why art thou named Krishna and why Arjuna and Phalguna and
Jishnu and Kiritin and Vibhatsu, and for what art thou Dhananjaya and
Savyasachin? I have heard before about the origin of the several names
of that hero, and can put faith in thy words if thou canst tell me all
about them.'

"Arjuna said, 'They called me Dhananjaya because I lived in the midst of
wealth, having subjugated all the countries and taking away their
treasures. They called me Vijaya because when I go out to battle with
invincible kings, I never return (from the field) without vanquishing
them. I am called Swetavahana because when battling with the foe, white
horses decked in golden armour are always yoked unto my car. They call
me Phalguna because I was born on the breast of the Himavat on a day
when the constellation _Uttara Phalguna_ was on the ascendent. I am
named Kiritin from a diadem, resplendent like the sun, having been
placed of old on my head by Indra during my encounter with the powerful
_Danavas_. I am known as Vibhatsu among gods and men, for my never
having committed a detestable deed on the battle-field. And since both
of my hands are capable of drawing the _Gandiva_, I am known as
Savyasachin among gods and men. They call me Arjuna because my
complexion is very rare within the four boundaries of the earth and
because also my acts are always stainless. I am known among human beings
and celestials by the name of Jishnu, because I am unapproachable and
incapable of being kept down, and a tamer of adversaries and son of the
slayer of Paka. And Krishna, my tenth appellation, was given to me by my
father out of affection towards his black-skinned boy of great purity.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "The son of Virata then, approaching nearer
saluted Partha and said, 'My name is Bhuminjaya, and I am also called
Uttara. It is by good luck, O Partha, that I behold thee. Thou art
welcome, O Dhananjaya. O thou with red eyes, and arms that are mighty
and each like unto the trunk of an elephant, it behoveth thee to pardon
what I said unto thee from ignorance. And as wonderful and difficult
have been the feats achieved by thee before, my fears have been
dispelled, and indeed the love I bear to thee is great.'"


"Uttara said, 'O hero, mounting on this large car with myself as driver,
which division of the (hostile) army wouldst thou penetrate? Commanded
by thee, I would drive thee thither.'

"Arjuna said, 'I am pleased with thee, O tiger among men. Thou hast no
cause of fear. I will rout all thy foes in battle, O great warrior, And,
O thou of mighty arms, be at thy ease. Accomplishing great and terrible
feats in the melee, I will fight with thy foes. Tie quickly all those
quivers to my car, and take (from among those) a sword of polished blade
and adorned with gold.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Hearing these words of Arjuna, Uttara cast off
all inactivity. And he speedily alighted from the tree, bringing with
him Arjuna's weapons. Then Arjuna addressed him, saying, 'Yes, I will
fight with the Kurus and recover thy kine. Protected by me, the top of
this car will be to thee as a citadel. The passages and alleys and other
divisions of this car will be the streets and edifices of that fortified
city. These my arms will be its ramparts and gateways. This treble pole
and my quiver will constitute defensive works inaccessible to the foe.
This my banner--single and grand--will it not alone be equal unto those
of thy city? This my bow-string will constitute the catapults and
cannons for vomiting forth missiles on the besieging host. My excited
wrath will make that fortress formidable, and the clatter of my
car-wheels--will it not resemble the kettle-drums of thy capital? Ridden
by myself wielding the _Gandiva_, this car will be incapable of being
vanquished by the hostile host, O son of Virata, let thy fear be

"Uttara said, 'I am no longer afraid of these. I know thy steadiness in
battle, which is even like unto that of Kesava or Indra himself. But
reflecting on this, I am continually bewildered. Foolish as I am, I am
incapable of arriving at certain conclusion. By what distressful
circumstances could _a person of such handsome limbs and auspicious
signs become deprived of manhood_! Indeed, thou seemest to me to be
Mahadeva, or Indra, or the chief of the Gandharvas, dwelling in the
guise only of one of the third sex.'

"Arjuna said, 'I tell thee truly that I am only observing this vow for a
whole year agreeable to the behest of my elder brother. O thou of mighty
arms, I am not truly one of the neuter sex, but I have adopted this vow
of eunuchism from subservience to another's will and from desire of
religious merit. O prince, know me now to have completed my vow.'

"Uttara said, 'Thou hast conferred a great favour on me today, for I now
find that my suspicion was not altogether unfounded. Indeed, such a
person as thou, O best of men, cannot be of the neuter sex. I have now
an ally in battle. I can now fight with the celestials themselves. My
fears have been dispelled. What shall I do? Command me now. Trained in
driving cars by a learned preceptor I will, O bull among men, hold the
reins of thy horses that are capable of breaking the ranks of hostile
cars. Know me, O bull among men, to be as competent a charioteer as
Daruka of Vasudeva, or Matali of Sakra. The horse that is yoked unto the
right-hand pole (of thy car) and whose hoofs as they light on the ground
are scarcely visible when running, is like unto _Sugriva_ of Krishna.
This other handsome horse, the foremost of his race, that is yoked unto
the left pole, is, I regard, equal in speed to _Meghapushpa_. This
(third) beautiful horse, clad in golden mail, yoked unto the rear-pole
on the left, is, I regard, _Sivya_ equal in speed to but superior in
strength. And this (fourth) horse, yoked to the rear-pole on the right,
is regarded as superior to _Valahaka_ in speed and strength. This car is
worthy of bearing on the field of battle a bowman like thee, and thou
also art worthy of fighting on this car. This is what I think!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Then Arjuna, endued with great energy, took off
the bracelets from his arms and wore on his hands a pair of beautiful
gloves embroidered with gold. And he then tied his black and curling
locks with a piece of white cloth. And seated on that excellent car with
face turned to the east, the mighty-armed hero, purifying his body and
concentrating his soul, recalled to his mind all his weapons. And all
the weapons came, and addressing the royal son of Partha, said, 'We are
here, O illustrious one. We are thy servants, O son of Indra.' And
bowing unto them, Partha received them unto his hands and replied unto
them, saying, 'Dwell ye all in my memory.' And obtaining all his
weapons, the hero looked cheerful. And quickly stringing his bow, the
_Gandiva_, he twanged it. And the twang of that bow was as loud as the
collision of two mighty bulls. And dreadful was the sound that filled
the earth, and violent was the wind that blew on all sides. And thick
was the shower of fallen meteors[50] and all sides were enveloped in
gloom. And the birds began to totter in the skies and large trees began
to shake.[51] And loud as the burst of the thunder, the Kurus knew from
that sound that it was Arjuna that drew with his hands the string of his
best of bows from his car. And Uttara said, 'Thou, O best of Pandavas,
art alone. These mighty car-warriors are many. How wilt thou vanquish in
battle all these that are skilled in every kind of weapon? Thou, O son
of Kunti, art without a follower, while the Kauravas have many. It is
for this, O thou of mighty arms, that I stay beside thee, stricken with
fear.' Bursting out into loud laughter, Partha said unto him, 'Be not
afraid, O hero, what friendly follower had I while fighting with the
mighty _Gandharvas_ on the occasion of the _Ghoshayatra_? Who was my
ally while engaged in the terrific conflict at _Khandava_ against so
many celestials and _Danavas_? Who was my ally when I fought, on behalf
of the lord of the celestials against the mighty _Nivatakavachas_ and
the _Paulomas_! And who was my ally, O child, while I encountered in
battle innumerable kings at the _Swayamvara_ to the princess of
Panchala? Trained in arms by the preceptor Drona, by Sakra, and
Vaisravana, and Yama, and Varuna, and Agni, and Kripa, and Krishna of
Madhu's race, and by the wielder of the _Pinaka_ (Siva), why shall I not
fight with these? Drive thou my car speedily, and let thy heart's fever
be dispelled.'"

[50] Some texts read,--'One large meteor fell.'

[51] In some editions read,--_Bharata dwijam_, and _Maha-hardam_
for _maha-drumam_. The meaning would then be,--'The banners (of
the hostile army) began to tremble in the sky, and large lakes
were agitated.'


Vaisampayana said, "Making Uttara his charioteer, and circumambulating
the _Sami_ tree, the son of Pandu set out taking all his weapons with
him. And that mighty car-warrior set out with Uttara as the driver of
his car, having taken down that banner with the lion's figure and
deposited it at the foot of the _Sami_ tree. And he hoisted on that car
his own golden banner bearing the figure of an ape with a lion's tail,
which was a celestial illusion contrived by Viswakarman himself. For, as
soon, indeed, as he had thought of that gift of Agni, than the latter,
knowing his wish, ordered those superhuman creatures (that usually sat
there) to take their place in that banner. And furnished with a
beautiful flag of handsome make, with quivers attached to it, and
adorned with gold, that excellent flag-staff of celestial beauty then
quickly fell from the firmament on his car.[52] And beholding that
banner arrived on his car, the hero circumambulated it (respectively).
And then the ape-bannered Vibhatsu, the son of Kunti, called also
Swetavahana, with fingers cased in leathern fences of the _Iguana_ skin,
and taking up his bow and arrows set out in a northernly direction. And
that grinder of foes, possessed of great strength, then forcibly blew
his large conch-shell, of thundering sound, capable of making the
bristles of foes to stand on their ends. And at the sound of that conch,
those steeds endued with swiftness dropped down on the ground on their
knees. And Uttara also, greatly affrighted, sat down on the car. And
thereupon the son of Kunti took the reins himself and raising the
steeds, placed them in their proper positions. And embracing Uttara, he
encouraged him also, saying, 'Fear not, O foremost of princes, thou art,
O chastiser of foes, a _Kshatriya_ by birth. Why, O tiger among men,
dost thou become so dispirited in the midst of foes? Thou must have
heard before the blare of many conchs and the note of many trumpets, and
the roar also of many elephants in the midst of ranks arrayed for
battled. Why art thou, therefore, so dispirited and agitated and
terrified by the blare of this conch, as if thou wert an ordinary

[52] Some texts read _Maharatham_ (incorrectly) for
_hiranmayan_. Indeed, _Maharatham_ would give no meaning in this
connection. The incomplete edition of the Roy Press under the
auspices of the Principal of the Calcutta Sanskrit College
abounds with such incorrect readings and misprints.

"Uttara said, 'Heard have I the blare of many a conch and many a trumpet
and the roar of many an elephant stationed in the battle-array, but
never have I heard before the blare of such conch. Nor have I ever seen
a banner like this. Never before have I heard also the twang of a bow
such as this. Truly, sir, with the blare of this conch, the twang of
this bow, the superhuman cries of the creatures stationed on this
banner, and the battle of this car, my mind is greatly bewildered. My
perception of the directions also is confused, and my heart is painfully
afflicted. The whole firmament seemeth to me to have been covered by
this banner, and everything seemeth to be hidden from my view! My ears
also have been deafened by the twang of the _Gandiva_!'[53]

[53] The Roy Press edition adds here a line which looks very
much like an interpolation.

"Arjuna said, 'Firmly stand thou on the car, pressing thy feet on it,
and tightly catch hold of the bridles, for I will blow the conch

Vaisampayana said, "Arjuna then blew his conch again, that conch which
filled foes with grief and enhanced the joy of friends. And the sound
was so loud that it seemed to split hills and mountains, and pierce
mountain-caves and the cardinal points. And Uttara once again sat down
on the car, clinging to it in fear. And with the blare of the conch and
the rattle of the car-wheels, and the twang of the Gandiva, the earth
itself seemed to tremble. And beholding Uttara's fight, Dhananjaya began
to comfort him again.'

"Meanwhile, Drona said, 'From the rattle of the car, and from the manner
in which the clouds have enveloped the sky and the earth itself
trembles, this warrior can be none else than _Savyasachin_. Our weapons
do not shine, our steeds are dispirited, and our fires, though fed with
fuel, do not blare up. All this is ominous. All our animals are setting
up a frightful howl, gazing towards the sun. The crows are perching on
our banners. All this is ominous. Yon vultures and kites on our right
portend a great danger. That jackal also, running through our ranks,
waileth dismally. Lo, it hath escaped unstruck. All this portends a
heavy calamity. The bristles also of ye all are on their ends. Surely,
this forebodes a great destruction of Kshatriyas in battle. Things
endued with light are all pale; beasts and birds look fierce; and there
are to be witnessed many terrific portents indicative of the destruction
of Kshatriyas. And these omens forebode great havoc among ourselves. O
king, thy ranks seem to be confounded by these blazing meteors, and thy
animals look dispirited and seem to be weeping. Vultures and kites are
wheeling all around thy troops. Thou shalt have to repent upon beholding
thy army afflicted by Partha's arrows. Indeed, our ranks seem to have
been already vanquished, for none is eager to go to fight. All our
warriors are of pale face, and almost deprived of their senses. Sending
the kine ahead we should stand here, ready to strike, with all our
warriors arrayed in order of battle.'"


Vaisampayana said, "King Duryodhana then, on the field of battle said
unto Bhishma, and unto Drona--that tiger among warriors, and unto
Kripa--that mighty car-warrior, these words, 'Both myself and Karna had
said this unto the preceptors.[54] I refer to the subject again, for I
am not satisfied with having said it once. Even this was the pledge of
the sons of Pandu that if defeated (at dice) they would reside to our
knowledge in countries and woods for twelve years, and one more year
unknown to us. That thirteenth year, instead of being over, is yet
running. Vibhatsu, therefore, who is still to live undiscovered hath
appeared before us. And if Vibhatsu hath come before the term of exile
is at end, the Pandavas shall have to pass another twelve years in the
woods. Whether it is due to forgetfulness (on their part) induced by
desire of dominion, or whether it is a mistake of ours, it behoveth
Bhishma to calculate the shortness or excess (of the promised period).
When an object of desire may or may not be attained, a doubt necessarily
attaches to one of the alternatives, and what is decided in one way
often ends differently.[55] Even moralists are puzzled in judging of
their own acts.[56] As regards ourselves, we have come hither to fight
with the Matsyas and to seize their kine stationed towards the north.
If, meanwhile, it is Arjuna that hath come, what fault can attach to us?
We have come hither to fight against the Matsyas on behalf of the
Trigartas; and as numerous were the acts represented unto us of the
oppressions committed by the Matsyas, it was for this that we promised
aid to the Trigartas who were overcome with fear. And it was agreed
between us that they should first seize, on the afternoon of the seventh
lunar day, the enormous wealth of kine that the Matsyas have, and that
we should, at sunrise of the eighteen day of the moon, seize these kine
when the king of the Matsyas would be pursuing those first seized. It
may be that the Trigartas are now bringing away the kine, or being
defeated, are coming towards us for negotiating with the king of the
Matsyas. Or, it may be, that having driven the Trigartas off, the king
of the Matsyas, at the head of this people and his whole army of fierce
warriors, appeareth on the scene and advanceth to make night-attacks
upon us. It may be that some one leader among them, endued with mighty
energy, is advancing for vanquishing us, or, it may be that the king
himself of the Matsyas is come. But be it the king of the Matsyas or
Vibhatsu, we must all fight him. Even this hath been our pledge. Why are
all these of foremost car-warriors,--Bhishma and Drona and Kripa and
Vikarna and Drona's son,--now sitting on their cars, panic-stricken? At
present there is nothing better than fighting. Therefore, make up your
minds. If, for the cattle we have seized, an encounter takes place with
the divine wielder himself of the thunderbolt or even with Yama, who is
there that will be liable to reach Hastinapura? Pierced by the shafts
(of the foe), how will the foot-soldiers, in flying through the deep
forest with their backs on the field, escape with life, when escape for
the cavalry is doubtful?' Hearing these words of Duryodhana, Karna said,
'Disregarding the preceptor, make all arrangements. He knoweth well the
intentions of the Pandavas and striketh terror in our hearts. I see that
his affection for Arjuna is very great. Seeing him only coming, he
chanteth his praises. Make ye such arrangements that our troops may not
break. Everything is in confusion for Drona's having only heard the
neigh of (Arjuna's) steeds. Make ye such arrangements that these troops,
come to a distant land in this hot season and in the midst of this
mighty forest, may not fall into confusion and be subjugated by the foe.
The Pandavas are always the special favourites of the preceptor. The
selfish Pandavas have stationed Drona amongst us. Indeed, he betrayeth
himself by his speech. Who would ever extol a person upon hearing the
neigh only of his steeds? Horses always neigh, whether walking or
standing, the winds blow at all times; and Indra also always showereth
rain. The roar of the clouds may frequently be heard. What hath Partha
to do with these, and why is he to be praised for these? All this (on
Drona's part), therefore, is due only to either the desire of doing good
to Arjuna or to his wrath and hatred towards us. Preceptors are wise,
and sinless, and very kind to all creatures. They, however, should never
be consulted at times of peril. It is in luxurious palaces, and
assemblies and pleasure-gardens, that learned men, capable of making
speeches, seem to be in their place. Performing many wonderful things,
in the assembly, it is there that learned men find their place, or even
there where sacrificial utensils and their proper placing and washing
are needed. In a knowledge of the lapses of others, in studying the
characters of men, in the science of horses and elephants and cars, in
treating the diseases of asses and camels and goats and sheeps and kine,
in planning buildings and gateways, and in pointing out the defects of
food and drink, the learned are truly in their own sphere. Disregarding
learned men that extol the heroism of the foe, make ye such arrangements
that the foe may be destroyed. Placing the kine securely, array the
troops in order of battle. Place guards in proper places so that we may
fight the foe.'"

[54] The true reading is _Acharya_ in the dual number, meaning
Drona and Kripa. Some texts read the word in the singular form.
Nilakantha notices both these reading, but prefers the dual to
the singular.

[55] The meaning is rather doubtful. Duryodhana seems to say
that 'the hostile appearance of Arjuna has been an act of
imprudence on his part. The Pandavas, after the expiry of the
thirteenth year, would claim their kingdom. I, Duryodhana, may
or may not accede to their demand. When, therefore, it was not
certain that Arjuna would be refused by me, his hostile
appearance is unwise. He has come sure of victory, but he may
yet be defeated.'

[56] The sense seems to be that when moralists even are puzzled
in judging of the propriety or otherwise of their acts, it can
easily be imagined that the Pandavas, however virtuous, have, in
the matter of this their appearance, acted wrongly, for, after
all, the thirteenth year may not have really been over as
believed by them. Or, it may mean, that as regards our presence
here, we have not acted imprudently when even moralists cannot
always arrive at right conclusion. It seems that for this
Duryodhana proceeds to justify that presence in the following


"Karna said, 'I behold all these blessed ones, looking as if alarmed and
panic-struck and unresolved and unwilling to fight. If he that is come
is the king of the Matsyas or Vibhatsu, even I will resist him as the
banks resist the swelling sea. Shot from my bow these straight and
flying arrows, like gliding snakes, are all sure of aim. Discharged by
my light hands, these keen-edged arrows furnished with golden wings
shall cover Partha all over, like locusts shrouding a tree. Strongly
pressed by these winged arrows, the bow-string will cause these my
leathern fences to produce sounds that will be heard to resemble those
of a couple of kettle-drums. Having been engaged in ascetic austerities
for the (last) eight and five years, Vibhatsu will strike me but mildly
in this conflict, and the son of Kunti having become a Brahmana endued
with good qualities, hath thus become a fit person to quietly receive
shafts by thousands shot by me. This mighty bowman is indeed, celebrated
over the three worlds. I, too, am, by no means, inferior to Arjuna, that
foremost of human beings. With golden arrows furnished with vulturine
wings shot on all sides, let the firmament seem today to swarm with
fire-flies. Slaying Arjuna in battle, I will discharge today that debt,
difficult of repayments, but promised of old by me unto Dhritarashtra's
son. When man is there, even amongst all the gods and the _Asuras_, that
will endure to stand in the teeth of the straight arrows shot from my
bow? Let my flying arrows, winged and depressed at the middle, present
the spectacle of the coursing of the fire-flies through the welkin. Hard
though he be as Indra's thunderbolt and possessed of the energy of the
chief of the celestials, I will surely grind Partha, even as one
afflicts an elephant by means of burning brands. A heroic and mighty
car-warrior as he is, and the foremost of all wielders of weapons I
shall seize the unresisting Partha, even like Garuda seizing a snake.
Irresistible like fire, and fed by the fuel of swords, darts, and
arrows, the blazing Pandava-fire that consumeth foes, will be
extinguished even by myself who am like unto a mighty cloud incessantly
dropping an arrowy shower,--the multitude of cars (I will lead)
constituting its thunder, and the speed of my horses, the wind in
advance. Discharged from my bow, my arrows like venomous snakes will
pierce Partha's body, like serpent penetrating through an ant-hill.
Pierced with well-tempered and straight shafts endued with golden wings
and great energy, behold ye today the son of Kunti decked like a hill
covered with _Karnikara_ flowers. Having obtained weapons from that best
of ascetics--the son of Jamadagni, I would, relying on their energy,
fight with even the celestials. Struck with my javelin, the ape
stationed on his banner-top shall fall down today on the ground,
uttering terrible cries. The firmament will today be filled with the
cries of the (super-human) creatures stationed in the flagstaff of the
foe, and afflicted by me, they will fly away in all directions. I shall
today pluck up by the roots the long-existing dart in Duryodhana's heart
by throwing Arjuna down from his car. The Kauravas will today behold
Partha with his car broken, his horses killed, his valour gone, and
himself sighing like a snake. Let the Kauravas, following their own will
go away taking this wealth of kine, or, if they wish, let them stay on
their cars and witness my combat.'"


"Kripa said, 'O Radheya, thy crooked heart always inclineth to war. Thou
knowest not the true nature of things; nor dost thou take into account
their after-consequences. There are various kinds of expedients
inferrable from the scriptures. Of these, a battle hath been regarded by
those acquainted with the past, as the most sinful. It is only when time
and place are favourable that military operations can lead to success.
In the present instance, however, the time being unfavourable, no good
results will be deprived. A display of prowess in proper time and place
becometh beneficial. It is by the favourableness or otherwise (of time
and place) that the opportuneness of an act is determined. Learned men
can never act according to the ideas of a car-maker. Considering all
this, an encounter with Partha is not advisible for us. Alone he saved
the Kurus (from the _Gandharvas_), and alone he satiated Agni. Alone he
led the life of a _Brahmacharin_ for five years (on the breast of
Himavat). Taking up Subhadra on his car, alone he challenged Krishna to
single combat. Alone he fought with Rudra who stood before him as a
forester. It was in this very forest that Partha rescued Krishna while
she was being taken away (by Jayadratha). It is he alone that hath, for
five years, studied the science of weapons under Indra. Alone
vanquishing all foes he hath spread the fame of the Kurus. Alone that
chastiser of foes vanquished in battle Chitrasena, the king of the
_Gandharvas_ and in a moment his invincible troops also. Alone he
overthrew in battle the fierce _Nivatakavachas_ and the _Kalakhanchas_,
that were both incapable of being slain by the gods themselves. What,
however, O Karna, hath been achieved by thee single-handed like any of
the sons of Pandu, each of whom had alone subjugated many lords of
earth? Even Indra himself is unfit to encounter Partha in battle. He,
therefore, that desireth to fight with Arjuna should take a sedative. As
to thyself, thou desirest to take out the fangs of an angry snake of
virulent poison by stretching forth thy right hand and extending thy
forefinger. Or, wandering alone in the forest thou desirest to ride an
infuriate elephant and go to a boar without a hook in hand. Or, rubbed
over with clarified butter and dressed in silken robes, thou desirest to
pass through the midst of a blazing fire fed with fat and tallow and
clarified butter. Who is there that would, binding his own hands and
feet and tying a huge stone unto his neck, cross the ocean swimming with
his bare arms? What manliness is there in such an act? O Karna, he is a
fool that would, without skill in weapons and without strength, desire
to fight with Partha who is so mighty and skilled in weapons.
Dishonestly deceived by us and liberated from thirteen years' exile,
will not the illustrious hero annihilate us? Having ignorantly come to a
place where Partha lay concealed like fire hidden in a well, we have,
indeed, exposed to a great danger. But irresistible though he be in
battle, we should fight against him. Let, therefore, our troops, clad in
mail, stand here arrayed in ranks and ready to strike. Let Drona and
Duryodhana and Bhishma and thyself and Drona's son and ourselves, all
fight with the son of Pritha. Do not, O Karna, act so rashly as to fight
alone. If we six car-warriors be united, we can then be a match for and
fight with that son of Pritha who is resolved to fight and who is as
fierce as the wielder of the thunderbolt. Aided by our troops arrayed in

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