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Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa
translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli

Mahabharata of Vyasa (Badarayana, krishna-dwaipayana) translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli is perhaps the most complete translation available in public domain. Mahabharata is the most popular scripture of Hindus and Mahabharata is considered as the fifth veda. We hope this translation is helping you.

31

"Dhritarashtra said, 'It seems that Arjuna slew all of you at his will. Indeed, the Destroyer himself could not escape him in battle, if Arjuna took up arms against Him. Single-handed, Partha ravished Bhadra, and single-handed, he gratified Agni. Single-handed, he subjugated the whole Earth, and made all the kings pay tribute. Single-handed, with his celestial bow he slew the Nivatakavachas. Single-handed, he contended in battle with Mahadeva who stood before him in the guise of a hunter. Single-handed, he protected the Bharatas, and single-handed, he gratified Bhava. Single-handed, were vanquished by him all the kings of the Earth endued with fierce prowess. The Kurus cannot be blamed. On the other hand, they deserve praise (for having fought with such a warrior). Tell me now what they did. Tell me also, O Suta, what Duryodhana did after that.'

"Sanjaya said, 'Struck and wounded and overthrown from their vehicles and divested of armour and deprived of weapons and their beasts slain, with plaintive voices and burning with grief and vanquished by their foes, the vain Kauravas, entering their tents once more took counsel of one another. They then looked like snakes deprived of fangs and poison trod upon by others. Unto them, Karna, sighing like an angry snake, squeezing his hands, and eyeing thy son, said, "Arjuna is always careful, firm, possessed of skill, and endued with intelligence. Again, when the time comes, Vasudeva awakes him (to what should be done). Today, by that sudden shower of weapons we were deceived by him. Tomorrow, however, O lord of Earth, I will frustrate all his purposes." Thus addressed by Karna, Duryodhana said, "So be it," and then granted permission to those foremost of kings to retire. Bidden by the king, all those rulers proceeded to their respective tents. Having passed the night happily, they cheerfully went out for battle (the next day). They then beheld an invincible array formed by king Yudhishthira the just, that foremost one of Kuru race, with great care, and according to the sanction of Brihaspati and Usanas. Then that slayer of foes, Duryodhana, called to mind the heroic Karna, that counteractor of foes, that warrior with neck like that of a bull, equal to Purandara himself in battle, the Maruts in might, and Kartavirya in energy. Indeed, the heart of the king turned towards Karna. And the hearts of all the troops also turned to that hero, that Suta's son, that mighty bowman, as one's heart turns to a friend in a situation of great danger.'

"Dhritarashtra said, 'What did Duryodhana next do, O Suta, when the hearts of all of you turned towards Vikarna's son Karna? Did my troops cast their eyes on Radha's son like persons afflicted with cold turning their gaze towards the Sun? Upon the recommencement of the battle after the withdrawal of the troops, how, O Sanjaya, did Vikarna's son Karna fight? How also did all the Pandavas fight with the Suta's son? The mighty-armed Karna would, single-handed, slay the Parthas with the Srinjayas. The might of Karna's arms in battle equals that of Sakra or Vishnu. His weapons are fierce, and the prowess also of that high-souled one is fierce. Relying upon Karna, king Duryodhana had set his heart on battle. Beholding Duryodhana deeply afflicted by the son of Pandu, and seeing also the sons of Pandu displaying great prowess, what did that mighty car-warrior, viz., Karna, do? Alas, the foolish Duryodhana, relying on Karna, hopeth to vanquish the Parthas with their sons and Keshava in battle! Alas, it is a matter of great grief that Karna could not, with his strength, overcome the sons of Pandu in fight! Without doubt, Destiny is supreme. Alas, the terrible end of that gambling match hath now come! Alas, these heartrending sorrows, due to Duryodhana's acts, many in number and like unto terrible darts, are now being borne by, me, O Sanjaya! O sire, Subala's son used to be then regarded as a politic person. Karna also is always exceedingly attached to king Duryodhana. Alas, when such is the case, O Sanjaya, why have I then to hear of the frequent defeats and deaths of my sons? There is no one that can resist the Pandavas in battle. They penetrate into my army like a man into the midst of helpless women. Destiny, indeed, is supreme.'

"Sanjaya said, 'O king, think now of all those wrongful acts of thine like that match at dice and the others--acts that have passed away from the subjects of thought with man. One should not, however, reflect on bygone acts. One may be ruined by such reflection. That result (which thou hadst expected) is now much removed from the point of fruition, since, although possessed of knowledge, thou didst not reflect on the propriety or impropriety of thy acts then. Many a time wert thou, O king, counselled against warring with the Pandavas. Thou didst not, however, O monarch, accept those counsels, from folly. Diverse sinful acts of a grave nature were perpetrated by thee against the sons of Pandu. For those acts this awful slaughter of kings hath now come. All that, however, is now past. Do not grieve, O bull of Bharata's race. O thou of unfading glory, listen now to the details of the awful carnage that has occurred.

"'When the night dawned, Karna repaired to king Duryodhana. Approaching the king, the mighty-armed hero said, "I shall, O king, engage in battle today the illustrious son of Pandu. Either I will slay that hero today, or he will slay me. In consequence of the diverse things both myself and Partha had to do, O Bharata, an encounter, O king, could not hitherto take place between myself and Arjuna! Listen now, O monarch, to these words of mine, spoken according to my wisdom. Without slaying Partha in battle I will not come back, O Bharata. Since this army of ours hath been deprived of its foremost warriors, and since I will stand in battle, Partha will advance against me, especially because I am destitute of the dart Sakra gave me. Therefore, O ruler of men, listen now to what is beneficial. The energy of my celestial weapons is equal to the energy of Arjuna's weapons. In counteracting the feats of powerful foes, in lightness of hands, in range of the arrows shot, in skill, and in hitting the mark, Savyasaci is never my equal. In physical strength, in courage, in knowledge of (weapons), in prowess, O Bharata, in aiming, Savyasaci is never my equal. My bow, called Vijaya, is the foremost of all weapons (of its kind). Desirous of doing what was agreeable (to Indra), it was made by Vishakarman (the celestial artificer) for Indra. With that bow, O king, Indra had vanquished the Daityas. At its twang the Daityas beheld the ten points to be empty. That bow, respected by all, Sakra gave to Bhrigu's son (Rama). That celestial and foremost of bows Bhrigu's son gave to me. With that bow I will contend in battle with the mighty-armed Arjuna, that foremost of victorious warriors, like Indra fighting with the assembled Daityas. That formidable bow, the gift of Rama, is superior to Gandiva. It was with that bow that the Earth was subjugated thrice seven times (by Bhrigu's son). With that bow given to me by Rama I will contend in battle with the son of Pandu. I will, O Duryodhana, gladden thee today with thy friends, by slaying in battle that hero, viz., Arjuna, that foremost of conquerors. The whole Earth with her mountains and forest and islands, without a heroic warrior (to oppose thy wish), will, O king, become thine today, over which thyself with thy sons and grandsons will reign supreme. Today there is nothing that is incapable of being achieved by me, especially when the object is to do what is agreeable to thee, even as success is incapable of being missed by an ascetic zealously devoted to virtue and having his soul under control. Arjuna will not be able to bear me in battle, even as a tree in contact with fire is incapable of bearing that element. I must, however, declare in what respect I am inferior to Arjuna. The string of his bow is celestial, and the two large quivers of his are inexhaustible. His driver is Govinda. I have none like him. His is that celestial and foremost of bows, called Gandiva, which is irrefragible in battle. I also have that excellent, celestial, and formidable bow called Vijaya. In respect of our bows, therefore, O king, I am superior to Arjuna. Listen now to those matters in which the heroic son of Pandu is superior to me. The holder of the reins (of his steeds) is he of Dasharha's race who is adored by all the worlds. His celestial car decked with gold, given unto him by Agni, is impenetrable in every part, and his steeds also, O hero, are endued with the speed of the mind. His celestial standard, bearing the blazing Ape, is exceedingly wonderful. Again, Krishna, who is Creator of the universe, protects that car. Though inferior to Arjuna in respect of these things, I still desire to fight with him. This Shalya, however, the ornament of assemblies, is equal to Saurin. If he becomes my driver, victory will certainly be thine. Let Shalya, therefore, who is incapable of being resisted by foes be the driver of my car. Let a large number of carts bear my long shafts and those that are winged with vulturine feathers. Let a number of foremost cars, O monarch, with excellent steeds yoked unto them, always follow me, O bull of Bharata's race. By these arrangements I will, as regards the qualities mentioned, be superior to Arjuna. Shalya is superior to Krishna, and I am superior to Arjuna. As that slayer of foes, viz., he of Dasharha's race, is acquainted with horselore, even so is that mighty car-warrior, viz., Shalya acquainted with horselore. There is none equal to the chief of the Madras in might of arms. As there is none equal to myself in weapons, so there is none equal to Shalya in knowledge of steeds. So circumstanced, I will become superior to Partha. Against my car, the very gods with Vasava at their head will not dare advance. All these being attended to, when I take my stand on my car, I will become superior to Arjuna in the attributes of warrior and will then, O best of the Kurus, vanquish Phalguna. I desire, O monarch, all this to be done by thee, O scorcher of foes. Let these wishes of mine be accomplished. Let no time be suffered to elapse. If all this be accomplished, the most effectual aid will be rendered to me on every desirable point. Thou wilt then see, O Bharata, what I will achieve in battle. I will by every means vanquish the sons of Pandu in battle when they will approach me. The very gods and Asuras are not able to advance against me in battle. What need be said then of the sons of Pandu that are of human origin?'"

"Sanjaya continued, 'Thus addressed by that ornament of battle, viz., Karna, thy son, worshipping the son of Radha, answered him, with a glad heart, saying, "Accomplish that, O Karna, which thou thinkest. Equipped with goodly quivers and steeds, such cars shall follow thee in battle. Let as many cars as thou wishest bear thy long shafts and arrows equipped with vulturine feathers. Ourselves, as also all the kings, O Karna will, follow thee in battle.'"

"Sanjaya continued, 'Having said these words, thy royal son, endued with great prowess, approached the ruler of the Madras and addressed him in the following words.'"





 
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