7.drona parva

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drona parva


The Mahabharata


Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa



Translated into English Prose from the Original Sanskrit Text


Kisari Mohan Ganguli


Scanned at sacred-texts.com, 2004. Proofed by John Bruno Hare, October



(Dronabhisheka Parva)

OM! HAVING BOWED down unto Narayan, and unto that most exalted of male

beings, viz., Nara, and unto the goddess Saraswati also, must the word

Jaya be uttered.

"Janamejaya said, 'Hearing that his sire Devavrata of unrivalled vigour

and sturdiness, and might, energy and prowess, had been slain by

Sikhandin, the prince of the Panchalas, what, indeed, O regenerate Rishi,

did the powerful king Dhritarashtra with eyes bathed in tears do? O

illustrious one, his son (Duryodhana) wished for sovereignty after

vanquishing those mighty bowmen, viz., the sons of Panda, through Bhishma

and Drona and other great car-warriors. Tell me, O thou that hast wealth

of asceticism, all that he, of Kura's race, did after that chief of all

bowmen had been slain.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'Hearing that his sire had been slain, king

Dhritarashtra of Kura's race filled with anxiety and grief, obtained no

peace of mind. And while he, of Kura's race, was thus continually

brooding over that sorrow, Gavalgana's son of pure soul once more came to

him. Then, O monarch, Dhritarashtra, the son of Amvika, addressed

Sanjaya, who had that night come back from the camp to the city called

after the elephant. With a heart rendered exceedingly cheerless in

consequence of his having heard of Bhishma's fall, and desirous of the

victory of his sons, he indulged in these lamentations in great distress.'

"Dhritarashtra said, 'After having wept for the high-souled Bhishma of

terrible prowess, what, O son, did the Kauravas, urged by fate, next do?

Indeed, when that high-souled and invincible hero was slain, what did the

Kauravas do, sunk as they were in an ocean of grief? Indeed, that

swelling and highly efficient host of the high-souled Pandavas, would, O

Sanjaya, excite the keenest fears of even the three worlds. Tell me,

therefore, O Sanjaya, what the (assembled) kings did after Devavrata,

that bull of Kura's race, had fallen.'

"Sanjaya said, 'Listen, O king, with undivided attention, to me as I

recite what thy sons did after Devavrata had been killed in battle. When

Bhishma, O monarch, of prowess incapable of being baffled, was slain, thy

warriors as also the Pandavas both reflected by themselves (on the

situation). Reflecting on the duties of the Kshatriya order, they were

filled with wonder and joy; but acting according to those duties of their

own order, they all bowed to that high-souled warrior. Then those tigers

among men contrived for Bhishma of immeasurable prowess a bed with a

pillow made of straight shafts. And having made arrangements for

Bhishma's protection, they addressed one another (in pleasant converse).

Then bidding Ganga's son their farewell and walking round him, and

looking at one another with eyes red in anger, those Kshatriyas, urged by

fate, once more went out against one another for battle. Then by the

blare of trumpets and the beat of drums, the divisions of thy army as

also those of the foe, marched out. After the fall of Ganga's son, O

king, when the best part of the day had passed away, yielding to the

influence of wrath, with hearts afflicted by fate, and disregarding the

words, worthy of acceptance, of the high-souled Bhishma, those foremost

ones of Bharata's race went out with great speed, armed with weapons. In

consequence of thy folly and of thy son's and of the slaughter of

Santanu's son, the Kauravas with all the kings seemed to be summoned by

Death himself. The Kurus, deprived of Devavrata, were filled with great

anxiety, and resembled a herd of goats and sheep without a herdsman, in a

forest abounding with beasts of prey. Indeed, after the fall of that

foremost one of Bharata's race, the Kuru host looked like the firmament

divested of stars, or like the sky without the atmosphere, or like the

earth with blasted crops, or like an oration disfigured by bad

grammar,[1] or like the Asura host of old after Vali had been smitten

down, or like a beautiful damsel deprived of husband,[2] or like a river

whose waters have been dried up, or like a roe deprived of her mate and

encompassed in the woods by wolves; or like a spacious mountain cave with

its lion killed by a Sarabha.[3] Indeed, O chief of the Bharatas, the

Bharata host, on the fall of Ganga's son, became like a frail boat on the

bosom of the ocean, tossed by a tempest blowing from every side.

Exceedingly afflicted by the mighty and heroic Pandavas of sure aim, the

Kaurava host, with its steeds, car-warriors and elephants much troubled,

became exceedingly distressed, helpless, and panic-stricken. And the

frightened kings and the common soldiers, no longer relying upon one

another, of that army, deprived of Devavrata, seemed to sink into the

nethermost region of the world. Then the Kauravas remembered Karna, who

indeed, was equal to Devavrata himself. All hearts turned to that

foremost of all wielders of arms, that one resembling a guest resplendent

(with learning and ascetic austerities). And all hearts turned to him, as

the heart of a man in distress turneth to a friend capable of relieving

that distress. And, O Bharata, the kings then cried out saying, Karna!

Karna! The son of Radha, our friend, the son of a Suta, that one who is

ever prepared to lay down his life in battle! Endued with great fame,

Karna, with his followers and friends, did not fight for these ten days.

O, summon him soon!' The mighty-armed hero, in the presence of all the

Kshatriyas, during the mention of valiant and mighty car-warriors, was by

Bhishma classed as an Ardha-ratha, although that bull among men is equal

to two Maharathas! Even thus was he classed during the counting of Rathas

and Atirathas, he that is the foremost (of all Rathas and Atirathas), he

that is respected by all heroes, he that would venture to fight even with

Yama, Kuvera, Varuna, and Indra. Through anger caused by this, O king, he

had said unto Ganga's son these words: 'As long as thou livest, O thou of

Kuru's race, I will never fight! if thou, however, succeedest in slaying

the sons of Pandu in great battle, I shall, O Kaurava, with Duryodhana's

permission, retire into the woods. If, on the other hand, thou, O

Bhishma, slain by the Pandavas, attainest to heaven, I shall then, on a

single car, slay all of them, whom thou regardest as great car-warriors.'

Having said this, mighty-armed Karna of great fame, with thy son's

approval, did not fight for the first ten days. Bhishma, of great prowess

in battle and of immeasurable might, slew, O Bharata, a very large number

of warriors belonging to Yudhishthira's army. When, however, that hero of

sure aim and great energy was slain, thy sons thought of Karna, like

persons desirous of crossing a river thinking, of a boat. Thy warriors

and thy sons, together with all the kings, cried out, saying, Karna! And

they all said, 'Even this is the time for the display of his prowess.'

Our hearts are turned to that Karna who derived his knowledge of weapons

from Jamadagni's son, and whose prowess is incapable of being resisted!

He, indeed, O king, is competent to save us from great dangers, like

Govinda always saving the celestials from great dangers.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Unto Sanjaya who was thus repeatedly applauding

Karna, Dhritarashtra sighing like a snake, said those words.'

"Dhritarashtra said, '[I understand] that the hearts of all of you are

turned towards Vikartana's son Karna, and that all of you, saw that son

of Radha, that hero of the Suta caste, ever prepared to lay down his life

in battle. I hope that hero of prowess incapable of being baffled, did

not falsify the expectations of Duryodhana and his brothers, all of whom

were then afflicted with grief and fear, and desirous of being relieved

from their danger. When Bhishma, that refuge of Kauravas, was slain,

could Karna, that foremost of bowmen, succeed in filling up the gap

caused? Filling up that gap, could Karna fill the foe with fear? Could he

also crown with fruit the hopes, entertained by my sons, of victory?'"


"Sanjaya said, 'Then Adhiratha's son of the Suta caste, knowing that

Bhishma had been slain, became desirous of rescuing, like a brother, thy

son's army from the distress into which it had fallen, and which then

resembled a boat sunk in the fathomless ocean. [Indeed], O king, having

heard that that mighty car-warrior and foremost of men, that hero of

unfading glory, viz., Santanu's son, had been thrown down (from his car),

that grinder of foes, that foremost of all wielders of bows, viz., Karna,

soon came (to the field of battle). When the best of car-warriors, viz.,

Bhishma, was slain by the foe, Karna speedily came there, desirous of

rescuing the Kuru host which