Karna Parva

Created by Jijith Nadumuri at 02 Apr 2010 04:31 and updated at 02 Apr 2010 04:31


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Section 87

Sanjaya said, Beholding Vrishasena slain, Karna, filled with grief and rage, shed tears from his eyes for the death of his son. Endued with great energy, with eyes red as copper from rage, Karna proceeded in the face of his foe, having summoned Dhananjaya to battle. Then those two cars, both possessed of solar effulgence and covered with tiger-skins, when they came together, looked like two suns close to each other. Both having white steeds and both crushers of foes, those two great bowmen, those two warriors possessed of solar effulgence, looked resplendent like the sun and the moon in the firmament. Beholding those two warriors that resembled Indra and Virochana's son Vali carefully preparing for battle for the conquest of the three worlds, all creatures were filled with wonder. Seeing those two warriors rushing towards each other with the clatter of car-wheels the twang of bows, the sound of palms, the whizz of arrows, and leonine shouts, and seeing also their standards, viz, that of Karna bearing the elephant's rope and that of Partha bearing the ape, approach each other, all the lords of the earth became filled with wonder. Seeing those two car-warriors engaged with each other, O Bharata, all the kings uttered leonine shouts and cheered them repeatedly with applause. Beholding that single combat between Partha and Karna, thousands of combatants there slapped their armpits and waved their garments on the air.

The Kauravas beat their musical instruments and blew their numerous conchs for gladdening Karna. Similarly, all the Pandavas, for gladdening Dhananjaya, caused every point of the compass to resound with the blasts of their trumpets and conchs. With those leonine shouts and slaps on armpits and other loud cries and roars of brave warriors, tremendous became the noise there on the occasion of that encounter between Karna and Arjuna. People beheld those two tigers among men, those two foremost of car-warriors, stationed on their cars, each armed with his formidable bow, each equipped with arrows and darts, and each owning a lofty standard. Both were clad in mail, both had scimitars tied to their belts, both had white steeds, and both were adorned with excellent conchs. One had Krishna for driver on his car, and the other had Shalya. Both of them were great car-warriors and both looked alike. Both possessed of leonine necks and long arms, the eyes of both were red, and both were adorned with garlands of gold. Both were armed with bows that seemed to flash like lightning, and both were adorned with wealth of weapons. Both had yak-tails for being fanned therewith, and both were decked with white umbrellas held over them.

Both had excellent quivers and both looked exceedingly handsome. The limbs of both were smeared with red sandal-paste and both looked like infuriated bulls. Both were broad-necked like the lion, both were broad-chested, and both endued with great strength. Challenging each other, O king, each desired to slay the other. And they rushed against each other like two mighty bulls in a cow-pen. They were like a couple of infuriated elephants or of angry mountains or of infant snakes of virulent poison or of all-destroying Yamas. Enraged with each other like Indra and Vritra, they looked like the sun and the moon in splendour. Filled with wrath, they resembled two mighty planets risen for the destruction of the world at the end of the Yuga. Both of them born of celestial fathers, and both resembling gods in beauty, they were of godlike energy. Indeed, they looked like the sun and the moon come of their own accord on the field of battle.

Both of them endued with great might, both filled with pride in battle, they were armed with diverse weapons. Beholding those two tigers among men, those two heroes endued with the impetuosity of tigers, thy troops, O monarch, were filled with great joy. Seeing those two tigers amongst men, viz, Karna and Dhananjaya, engaged in battle, a doubt entered the hearts of all as to which of them would be victorious. Both armed with superior weapons, and both well-practised in battle, both made the welkin resound with the slaps on their armpits. Both possessed of great celebrity in consequence of prowess and might, they resembled the Asura Samvara and the chief of the celestials in respect of their skill in battle. Both equal to Kartavirya or Dasaratha's son in battle, both resembled Vishnu himself in energy or Bhava himself in fight. Both had white steeds, O king, and both were borne on foremost of cars. Both of them, again, had foremost of drivers in that great battle. Beholding, O monarch, those two great car-warriors looking resplendent on their cars, the bands of Siddhas and Charanas that came there became filled with wonder. The Dhartarashtras then, O bull of Bharata's race, with their troops, encompassed the high-souled Karna, that ornament of battle, without losing any time.

Similarly the Pandavas headed by Dhrishtadyumna, filled with joy, encompassed that high-souled Partha who was unrivalled in battle. Karna became the stake, O monarch, of thy army in that battle, while Partha became the stake of the Pandavas. The soldiers of both sides were as members of that assembly and became the spectators of that game. Indeed, as regards the parties engaged in that game of battle, either victory or defeat was certain. Those two then, Karna and Arjuna, for victory or the reverse, began the match between ourselves and the Pandavas both standing on the field of battle. Skilled in fight, the two heroes, O monarch, in that encounter, became highly enraged with each other and wished to slay each other. Desiring to take each other's life, like Indra and Vritra, O lord, they faced each other like two mighty comets of terrible form. Then in the sky, differences and disputes, accompanied with revilings, arose among the creatures there, O bull of Bharata's race, on the subject of Karna and Arjuna. All the inhabitants of the world, O sire, were heard to differ amongst themselves. The gods, the Danavas, the Gandharvas, the Pishacas, the Snakes, the Rakshasas, adopted opposite sides in that encounter between Karna and Arjuna.

The welkin, O monarch, with all the stars, became anxious on Karna's account, while the wide earth became so on Partha's account, like the mother for her son. The rivers, the seas, the mountains, O best of men, the trees, the deciduous plants and herbs, took the side of the diadem-decked Arjuna. The Asuras, Yatudhanas, the Guhyakas, O scorcher of foes, and ravens and other rangers of the sky, sided with Karna. All the gems and precious jewels, the four Vedas with the histories as the fifth, the Upavedas, the Upanishads, with all their mysteries, and the compilations, and Vasuki, and Citrasena, and Takshaka, and Upatakshaka, and all the mountains, and all the offspring of Kadru with their children, all the great snakes endued with poison, and the Nagas, took the side of Arjuna. Airavata and his children, the offspring of Surabhi, the offspring of Vaisali, and the Bhogins sided with Arjuna. The smaller snakes all sided with Karna. Wolves and wild stags and all kinds of auspicious animals and birds were, O king, for victory to Partha. The Vasus, the Maruts, the Sadhyas, the Rudras, the Vishvedevas and the Ashvinis, and Agni and Indra and Soma and Pavana, and the ten points of the compass, became the partisans of Dhananjaya, while all the Adityas sided with Karna. The vaishyas, the shudras, the Sutas, and those castes that were of a mixed origin, all, O king, adopted the side of Radha's son. The celestials, however, with the pitris, and with all that were numbered with them as also with their followers, and Yama and Vaishravana and Varuna were on the side of Arjuna.

The brahmanas, the kshatriyas, the sacrifices, and those gifts called dakshinas, were for Arjuna. The pretas, and pishacas, many carnivorous animals and birds, the rakshasas with all the monsters of the sea, the dogs, and the jackals were for Karna. The diverse tribes of celestial and regenerate and royal rishis were for the son of Pandu. The gandharvas headed by Tumvuru, O king, were on the side of Arjuna. With the offspring of Pradha and Mauni, the several classes of gandharvas and apsaras, and many wise sages, having for their vehicles wolves and stags and elephants and steeds and cars and foot, and clouds and the wind, came there for witnessing the encounter between Karna and Arjuna. The gods, the danavas, the gandharvas, the nagas, the yakshas, the birds, the great rishis versed in the Vedas, the pitris that subsist upon the gifts called svadha, and asceticism and the sciences, and the celestial herbs with diverse virtues, came, O monarch, and took up their stations in the welkin, making a great noise. Brahman, with the regenerate rishis and the Lords of creatures, and Bhava himself on his car, came to that part of the welkin. Beholding those two high-souled ones, Karna and Dhananjaya, about to encounter each other, Shakra himself said, Let Arjuna vanquish Karna Surya, however, said, Let Karna vanquish Arjuna. Indeed, let my son Karna, slaying Arjuna, gain the victory in this battle.

Let my son, slaying Karna, win victory Even thus did Surya and Vasava, those two foremost of personages, who were there and had adopted opposite sides, dispute with each other. Beholding those two high-souled ones, Karna and Dhananjaya, about to engage themselves in battle, the gods and the asuras adopted opposite sides. The three worlds with the celestial rishis and all the gods and all other creatures, trembled at the sight. The gods were on the side of Partha, while the asuras were on that of Karna. Thus all creatures were interested in that encounter, siding with this or that leader of car-warriors, the Kuru or the Pandava hero. Beholding the Self-born Lord of Creation viz, Brahman, the gods urged him, saying, Let, O god, the success of these two lions among men be equal. Let not the vast universe be destroyed in consequence of this encounter between Karna and Arjuna. O Selfborn one, say but the word, let the success of these two be equal Hearing these words, Maghavat, bowing down unto the Grandsire, represented this unto that god of gods, that foremost one of all intelligent beings, saying, Formerly it was said by thy holy self that the two Krishnas are always sure to win victory.

Let it be now as thou then saidest. Be gratified with me, O holy one At this, Brahman and Isana replied unto the chief of the celestials, saying, The victory of the high-souled Vijaya is certain, of that Savyasaci who gratified the eater of sacrificial libations in the forest of Khandava and who, coming to heaven, rendered assistance to thee, O Sakra! Karna is on the side of the Danavas. It is proper, therefore, that he should meet with defeat. By this, without doubt, the purposes of the gods will be achieved. One's own business, O chief of the celestials, should always be important. The high-souled Phalguna, again, is devoted to truth and to morality. He must always be victorious, without doubt. He by whom the high-souled and holy god having the bull on his standard was gratified, why should not he, O thou of a hundred eyes, be victorious, he, that is, who hath for the driver of his car that Lord of the universe, Vishnu himself?

Possessed of great energy of mind and great strength, Partha is a hero, accomplished in arms and endued with ascetic merit. Possessed also of great energy of body, he beareth the entire science of weapons. Indeed, Partha hath every accomplishment. He ought to be victorious, since that would accomplish the purposes of the gods. In consequence of his greatness, Partha transgresses destiny itself, whether favourable or unfavourable, and when he does so, a great destruction of creatures takes place. When the two Krishnas are excited with wrath, they show regard for nothing. These two bulls among beings are the Creators of all real and unreal things. These two are Nara and Narayana, the two ancient and best of Rishis. There is none to rule over them. They are rulers over all, perfectly fearless, they are scorchers of all foes.

In heaven or among human beings, there is none equal to either of them. The three worlds with the celestial Rishis and the Charanas are behind these two. All the gods and all creatures walk behind them. The entire universe exists in consequence of the power of these two. Let Karna, that bull among men, obtain these foremost of regions of bliss here. Let him obtain identity with the Vasus or the Maruts. Let him, with Drona and Bhishma, be worshipped in heaven, for Vikartana's son is brave and is a hero. Let the victory, however, belong to the two Krishnas After those two foremost ones among the gods Brahman and Isana, said so, the deity of a eyes, worshipping those words of Brahman and Isana and saluting all creatures himself said, Ye have heard what has been said by the two gods for the benefit of the universe. It will be even so and not otherwise.

Stay ye then, with cheerful hearts Hearing these words of Indra, all creatures, O sire, became filled with wonder and applauded, O king, that deity. The celestials then showered diverse kinds of fragrant flowers and blew their trumpets. Indeed, the gods, the Danavas and the Gandharvas all waited there for witnessing that matchless single combat between those two lions among men. The two cars, O king, upon which Karna and Arjuna were stationed, had white steeds yoked unto them both. And both had excellent standards, and both produced a loud rattle. Many foremost of heroes, approaching the brave Vasudeva and Arjuna as also Shalya and Karna, began each to blow his conch. The battle then commenced between the two warriors, overwhelming all timid persons with fear. Fiercely they challenged each other like Sakra and Samvara. The standards of the two heroes, perfectly bright, looked exceedingly beautiful on their cars, like the planets Rahu and Ketu risen in the firmament at the time of the universal dissolution.

The elephant's rope on Karna's banner, looking like a snake of virulent poison and made of jewels and gems and exceedingly strong and resembling the bow of Indra, looked resplendent as it waved in the air. That foremost of apes, again, belonging to Partha, with jaws wide open and terrible, and difficult of being gazed at, like the sun himself, inspired fear by his formidable teeth. The impetuous Ape on the standard of the wielder of Gandiva, becoming desirous of battle, rushed from his station and fell upon Karna's standard. Endued with great impetuosity, the Ape, darting forward, struck the elephant's rope with his nails and teeth, like Garuda falling upon a snake. Decked with rows of little bells, hard as iron, and resembling the fatal noose in the hands of Yama or Varuna, the elephant's rope, filled with wrath, closed with the Ape. Thus in that fierce single combat between those two heroes, which was the result of what had been settled at the time of the match at dice, their standards first battled with each other. Meanwhile the steeds of the one neighed at the steeds of the other. The lotus-eyed Keshava pierced Shalya with his keen glances. The latter also cast similar glances at the former. Vasudeva, however, vanquished Shalya with those glances of his, while Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, vanquished Karna with his glances.

Then the Suta's son, smilingly addressing Shalya, said, If Partha by any means slays me in battle today, tell me truly, O friend, what thou wilt do after that Shalya answered, saying, If thou art slain, I myself will slay both Krishna and Dhananjaya Once more the ruler of the Madras said, If, O Karna, the white steeded Arjuna slays thee in battle today, I myself, on a single car, will slay both Madhava and Phalguna Sanjaya continued, Arjuna also asked Govinda a similar question. Krishna, however, smiling, said unto Partha these words of grave import, The Sun himself may fall down from his place, the Earth herself may split into a fragments; fire itself may become cold. Still Karna will not be able to slay thee, O Dhananjaya! If, however, any such occurrence takes place, know then that the destruction of the universe will be at hand. As regards myself, I will, using my bare arms, slay both Karna and Shalya in battle Hearing these words of Krishna, the ape-bannered Arjuna, smiling, replied unto Krishna who was never fatigued with exertion, saying, Shalya and Karna, united together, are not a match for myself alone, O Janardana! Thou shalt today, O Krishna, behold Karna with his standard and banners with Shalya and his car and steeds, with his umbrella and armour and darts and shafts and bow, cut in pieces with my shafts in battle.

Thou shalt today behold him with his car and steeds and darts and armour and weapons, reduced to dust like a tree in the forest crushed by a tusker. Today the widowhood of the wives of Radha's son is at hand. Verily, they must have in their last night's dreams seen signs of approaching evil, O Mahadeva! Verily, thou shalt today see the wives of Karna become widows. I cannot restrain my wrath at what was done before now by this fool of little foresight when he beheld Krishna dragged to the assembly and when laughing at us he abused us repeatedly in vile words. Today, O Govinda, thou shalt behold Karna crushed by me like a tree with its load of flowers crushed by an infuriated elephant. Today, O slayer of Madhu, thou shalt, after Karna's fall, hear those sweet words, By good luck, O thou of Vrishni's race, victory hath been thine' Thou shalt today comfort the mother of Abhimanyu with a lighter heart for having paid thy debt to the foe. Today thou shalt, filled with joy, comfort thy paternal aunt Kunti. Today thou shalt, O Madhava, comfort Krishna of tearful face and king Yudhishthira the just with words sweet as nectar

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