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p. 37



Dhritarâshtra said

What did my (people) and the Pândavas do, O Sañgaya! when they assembled together on the holy field of Kurukshetra, desirous to do battle?

Sañgaya said:

Seeing the army of the Pândavas drawn up in battle-array 1, the prince Duryodhana approached the preceptor, and spoke (these) words: 'O preceptor! observe this grand army of the sons of Pându, drawn up in battle-array by your talented pupil, the son of Drupada. In it are heroes (bearing) large bows, the equals of Bhîma and Arguna in battle--(namely), Yuyudhâna, Virâta, and Drupada, the master of a great car 2, and Dhrishtaketu, Kekitâna, and the valiant king of Kâsî, Purugit and Kuntibhoga, and that eminent man Saibya; the heroic Yudhâmanyu, the valiant Uttamaugas, the son of Subhadrâ, and the sons of Draupadî--all masters of great cars. And now, O best of Brâhmanas!

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learn who are most distinguished among us, and are leaders of my army. I will name them to you, in order that you may know them well. Yourself, and Bhîshma, and Karna, and Kripa the victor of (many) battles; Asvatthâman, and Vikarna, and also the son of Somadatta, and many other brave men, who have given up their lives for me, who fight with various weapons, (and are) all dexterous in battle. Thus our army which is protected by Bhîshma is unlimited; while this army of theirs which is protected by Bhîma is very limited. And therefore do ye all, occupying respectively the positions 1 assigned to you, protect Bhîshma 2 only.'

Then his powerful grandsire, Bhîshma, the oldest of the Kauravas, roaring aloud like a lion, blew his conch, (thereby) affording delight to Duryodhana. And then all at once, conchs, and kettledrums, and tabors, and trumpets were played upon; and there was a tumultuous din. Then, too, Mâdhava and the son of Pându (Arguna), seated in a grand chariot to which white steeds were yoked, blew their heavenly conchs. Hrishîkes3 blew the Pâñkaganya 4, and Dhanañgaya the Devadatta, and Bhîma, (the doer) of fearful deeds, blew the great conch Paundra. King Yudhishthira, the son of Kuntî 5, blew the Anantavigaya, and Nakula and Sahadeva (respectively)

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the Sughosha and Manipushpaka. And the king of Kâsî, too, who has an excellent bow, and Sikhandin, the master of a great car, and Dhrishtadyumna, Virâta, and the unconquered Sâtyaki, and Drupada, and the sons of Draupadî, and the son of Subhadrâ, of mighty arms, blew conchs severally from all sides, O king of the earth! That tumultuous din rent the hearts of all (the people) of Dhritarâshtra's (party), causing reverberations throughout heaven and earth. Then seeing (the people of ) Dhritarâshtra's party regularly marshalled, the son of Pându, whose standard is the ape, raised his bow 1, after the discharge of missiles had commenced, and O king of the earth! spake these words to Hrishîkesa: 'O undegraded one! station my chariot between the two armies, while I observe those, who stand here desirous to engage in battle, and with whom, in the labours of this struggle, I must do battle. I will observe those who are assembled here and who are about to engage in battle, wishing to do service in battle 2 to the evil-minded son of Dhritarâshtra.'

Sañgaya said:

Thus addressed by Gudâkes3, O descendant of Bharata 4! Hrishîkesa stationed that excellent chariot between the two armies, in front of Bhîshma and Drona and of all the kings of the earth, and

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said O son of Prithâ! look at these assembled Kauravas.' There the son of Prithâ saw in both armies, fathers and grandfathers, preceptors, maternal uncles, brothers, sons 1, grandsons, companions, fathers-in-law, as well as friends. And seeing all those kinsmen standing (there), the son of Kuntî was overcome by excessive pity, and spake thus despondingly.

Arguna said:

Seeing these kinsmen, O Krishna! standing (here) desirous to engage in battle, my limbs droop down; my mouth is quite dried up; a tremor comes on my body; and my hairs stand on end; the Gândîva (bow) slips from my hand; my skin burns intensely. I am unable, too, to stand up; my mind whirls round, as it were; O Kesava! I see adverse omens 2; and I do not perceive any good (to accrue) after killing (my) kinsmen in the battle. I do not wish for victory, O Krishna! nor sovereignty, nor pleasures: what is sovereignty to us, O Govinda! what enjoyments, and even life? Even those, for whose sake we desire sovereignty, enjoyments, and pleasures, are standing here for battle, abandoning life and wealth-preceptors, fathers, sons as well as grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law, as also (other) relatives. These I do not wish to kill, though they kill (me), O destroyer of Madhu 3! even for the sake of sovereignty over the three worlds, how much less then for this earth

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(alone)? What joy shall be ours, O Ganârdana! after killing Dhritarâshtra's sons? Killing these felons 1 we shall only incur sin. Therefore it is not proper for us to kill our own kinsmen, the sons of Dhritarâshtra. For how, O Mâdhava! shall we be happy after killing our own relatives? Although having their consciences corrupted by avarice, they do not see the evils flowing from the extinction of a family, and the sin in treachery to friends, still, O Ganârdana! should not we, who do see the evils flowing from the extinction of a family, learn to refrain from that sin? On the extinction of a family, the eternal rites of families are destroyed 2. Those rites being destroyed, impiety predominates over the whole family 3. In consequence of the predominance of impiety, O Krishna! the women of the family become corrupt 4; and the women becoming corrupt, O descendant of Vrishni! intermingling of castes results; that intermingling necessarily leads the family and the destroyers of the family to hell; for when the ceremonies of (offering) the balls of food and water (to them) fail 5, their ancestors fall down (to hell). By these transgressions of the destroyers of families, which occasion interminglings of castes, the eternal rites of castes and rites, of families are

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subverted. And O Ganârdana! we have heard that men whose family-rites are subverted, must necessarily live in hell. Alas! we are engaged in committing a heinous sin, seeing that we are making efforts for killing our own kinsmen out of greed of the pleasures of sovereignty. If the sons of Dhritarâshtra, weapon in hand, should kill me in battle, me weaponless and not defending (myself), that would be better for me.

Sañgaya said:

Having spoken thus, Arguna cast aside his bow together with the arrows, on the battle-field, and sat down in (his) chariot, with a mind agitated by grief.


37:1 Several of these modes of array are described in Manu VII, 187, like a staff, like a wain, like a boar, &c. That of the Pândavas, here referred to, appears to have been like the thunderbolt, as to which see Manu VII, 191.

37:2 This is a literal rendering; the technical meaning is 'a warrior proficient in military science, who can fight single-handed a thousand archers.'

38:1 The original word means, according to Srîdhara, 'the ways of entrance into a Vyûha or phalanx.'

38:2 Who, as generalissimo, remained in the centre of the army.

38:3 Literally, according to the commentators, 'lord of the senses of perception.'

38:4 Schlegel renders the names of these conchs by Gigantea, Theodotes, Arundinea, Triumphatrix, Dulcisona, and Gemmiflorea respectively.

38:5 So called, par excellence, apparently.

39:1 I. e. to join in the fight.

39:2 In the original, several derivatives from the root yudh, meaning 'to fight,' occur with the same frequency as 'battle' here.

39:3 Generally interpreted 'lord of sleep,' i. e. not indolent. Nîlakantha also suggests, that it may mean 'of thick hair.'

39:4 The son of Dushyanta and Sakuntalâ, after whom India is called 'Bhâratavarsha,' and from whom both Pândavas and Kauravas were descended.

40:1 The words in this list include all standing in similar relationships to those directly signified.

40:2 Such as the appearance of vultures, cars moving without horses, &c., mentioned in the Bhîshma Parvan II, 17. Cf. Sutta Nipâta, p. 100.

40:3 A demon of this name.

41:1 Six classes are mentioned: an incendiary; one who administers poison; one who assaults another--weapon in hand; one who destroys property; one who robs another of his wife; or his fields.

41:2 I. e. there being none to attend to the 'rites,' women being ineligible.

41:3 I. e. the surviving members.

41:4 I. e. either by the mere fact of relationship to such men, or by following their bad example.

41:5 There being no qualified person to perform them; 'their ancestors'--that is to say, of the 'destroyers of families.'

Next: Chapter II