Mahabharata Udyoga Parva - Translation by KM Ganguly

Mahabharata Adiparva

Section CLXX

"Bhishma said, 'I have now, O king, indicated who thy Rathas are and who thy Atirathas and half Rathas. Listen now to the tale of Rathas and Atirathas among the Pandavas. If thou feelest any curiosity, listen then, O king, with these monarchs, to the tale of Rathas in the army of the Pandavas. The king himself, son of Pandu and Kunti, is a mighty Ratha. Without doubt, O sire, be will glide along the field of battle like a blazing fire; Bhimasena, O king, is regarded equal to eight Rathas. In an encounter with the mace or even with arrows, there is none equal to him. Endued with the strength of ten thousand elephants, and filled with pride, in energy he is superhuman. Those two bulls among men, the sons of Madri, are both Rathas. In beauty, they are equal to the twin Aswinis, and they are endued with great energy. Stationed at the head of their divisions, all of them, remembering their great sufferings, without doubt, wander along the field like so many Indras! All of them are endued with high souls, and are tall in stature like the trunks of Sala trees. Taller than other men by half-a-cubit in stature, all the sons of Pandu are brave as lions and endued with great strength. All of them, O sire, have practised Brahmacharya vows and other ascetic austerities. Endued with modesty, those tigers among men are possessed of fierce strength like the veritable tigers. In speed, in smiting, and in crushing (foes), all of them are more than human. All of them, on the occasion of the campaign of universal conquest, vanquished great kings, O bull of Bharata's race! No other men can wield their weapons, maces, and shafts. Indeed, O Kaurava, there are no men that can even string their bows, or uplift their maces, or shoot their arrows in battle. In speed, in hitting the aim, in eating, and in sports on the dust, they used to beat all of you even when they were children. Possessed of fierce might they will, when they encounter this force, exterminate it in battle. A collision, therefore, with them is not desirable. Each of them can alone slay all the kings of the earth! That which happened, O great king, on the occasion of the Rajasuya sacrifice, had occurred before thy very eyes! Remembering the sufferings of Draupadi and the harsh speeches uttered after their defeat at dice, they will wander in battle like so many Rudras. As regards Gudakesha, of reddish eyes, having Narayana for his ally, there is not among both the armies any brave car-warrior that can be regarded as his equal. Let men alone, it hath not been heard by us that even among gods, Asuras, Uragas, Rakshasas and Yakshas, there ever was born before, or there ever will be born hereafter, any car-warrior like unto him! O great king, intelligent Partha owneth that car which is furnished with the banner bearing the device of the ape; the driver of that car is Vasudeva! Dhananjaya himself is the warrior who fighteth from it; his, again, is that celestial bow called Gandiva; he owneth again those steeds fleet as the wind; his coat of mail is impenetrable and of celestial make; his two large quivers are inexhaustible; his arms have been obtained from the great Indra, Rudra, Kuvera, Yama and Varuna; and upon his car, again, are those maces of frightful mien, and diverse other great weapons having the thunderbolt amongst them! What car-warrior can be regarded as his equal, who, stationed on a single car' slew in battle a thousand Danavas, having their abode in Hiranyapura? Inflamed with wrath, possessed of great might and prowess, incapable of being baffled, that mighty-armed warrior, while protecting his own army, will certainly exterminate thy troops! Myself and preceptor (Drona) among the two armies, and no third car-warrior, O great king, can advance against Dhananjaya, that scatterer of arrowy showers! Pouring his shafts, like the very clouds during the rainy season when propelled by mighty winds, that son of Kunti when Vasudeva as his second, steppeth for battle! He is skilful and young, while both of us are old and worn out!'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of Bhishma, and recollecting with trembling heart, the well-known valour of the sons of Pandu and thinking of it, as if it were present before their eyes, the massive arms of kings, decked with bracelets and smeared with sandal-paste, seemed to hang down divested of might.'"