Mahabharata Drona Parva - Translation by KM Ganguly

Mahabharata Adiparva

Section CXI

"Sanjaya said, 'Hearing these words of the king Yudhishthira the just, that bull among the Sinis feared the censure of Arjuna if he left the king. Seeing, however, the certainty of an imputation of cowardice by the people (if he disobeyed Yudhishthira), he said to himself, 'Let not people say that I am afraid of proceeding towards Arjuna.' Reflecting repeatedly on this, Satyaki, that hero invincible in battle, that bull among men, said these words unto king Yudhishthira the just, 'If thou thinkest that these arrangements will suffice for thy protection, O monarch, I will then do thy bidding and follow Vibhatsu. I tell thee truly, O king, that there is none in the three worlds who is dearer to me than Phalguna. I will follow in his track at the command, O giver of honours. There is nothing that I will not do for thy sake. O best of men, the commands of my preceptor are always of weight with me. But thy commands are still weightier with me, O lord! Thy brothers, viz., Krishna and Dhananjaya, are always engaged in doing what is agreeable to thee. Taking thy command on my head for the sake of Arjuna, O lord, I will proceed, O bull among men, piercing through this impenetrable host. Darting wrathfully through this force of Drona, like a fish through the sea, I will go thither, O monarch, where king Jayadratha, depending upon his troops, stayeth, in fear of the son of Pandu, protected by those foremost of car-warriors, viz., Drona's son Karna and Kripa! The distance from here, O king, is three Yojanas. I think, of that spot where Partha stayeth, ready to slay Jayadratha! But though Partha is three Yojanas distant I shall yet follow in his track with a stout heart, and stay with him, O king, till Jayadratha's slaughter. What man is there that goes to battle without the commands of his superiors? And when one is commanded, O king, as I have been by thee, who is there like me that would not fight? I know that place whither I shall have to go, O lord! Teeming as this ocean-like host doth with ploughshare and darts and maces and shields and scimitars and swords and lances and foremost of shafts, I will today agitate this ocean. This elephant division, consisting of a thousand elephants, that thou seest, all belonging to the breed known by the name of Anjana and all endued with great prowess, which are all mounted by a large number of Mlecchas, delighting in battle and accomplished in smiting,--these elephants, O king, that are shedding their juicy secretions like rain-pouring clouds,--these never retreat if urged forward by those upon their backs. They cannot be vanquished, O king, unless they are slaughtered. Then again, those car-warriors numbering thousands., that thou seest, are all of royal lineage and are all Maharathas. They are called Rukmarathas.  They are accomplished in weapons and battling from cars, as also in fighting from the backs of elephants. O monarch! Thorough masters of the science of weapons, they are accomplished in fighting with their fists. Skilled in battling with maces, masters also of the art of close fight, they are equally clever in striking with scimitars and in falling upon the foe with sword and shield. They are brave and learned, and animated by a spirit of rivalry. Every day, O king, they vanquish a vast number of men in battle. They are commanded by Karna and devoted to Duhsasana. Even Vasudeva applauds them as great car-warriors. Always solicitous of Karna's

welfare, they are obedient to him. It is at Karna's command, O king, that returning from their pursuit of Arjuna and, therefore, unfatigued and unworn, those brave warriors, cased in impenetrable armour and armed with strong bows, are certainly waiting for me, ordered by Duryodhana also. Crushing them in battle for thy good, O Katirava, I shall then follow in the track of Savyasachin. Those other elephants, O king, seven hundred in number, that thou seest, all cased in armour and ridden by Kiratas, and decked with ornaments, the king of the Kiratas, desirous of his life, had formerly presented to Savyasachin together with many servants in their train. These, O king, were formerly employed in doing thy business. Behold the vicissitudes that time brings about, for these are now battling against thee. Those elephants are ridden by Kiratas difficult of defeat in battle. They are accomplished in fighting from elephants, and are all sprung from the race of Agni. Formerly, they were all vanquished in battle by Savyasachin. They are now waiting for me carefully, under the orders of Duryodhana. Slaying with my shafts, O king, these Kiratas difficult of defeat in battle, I shall follow in the track of Arjuna who is intent on the slaughter of the ruler of the Sindhus. Those (other) huge elephants, sprung from the race of Arjuna, of impenetrable hides, well-trained, and adorned, and from whose mouths the juicy secretions are trickling down, and which are well-adorned with armour made wholly of gold are very formidable in battle and resemble Airavata himself. They have come from the northern hills, and are ridden by fierce robbers that are of strong limbs, that are all foremost of warriors, and that are cased in steel coats of mail. There, amongst them, are persons born of the cow, or the ape, or of diverse other creatures, including those born of men. That division of the assembled Mlecchas that are all sinful and that come from the fastnesses of Himavat, seem at a distance to be of smoky colour. Obtaining these, and countless Kshatriyas, as also Kripa and that foremost of car-warriors, viz., Drona and the ruler of the Sindhus, and the Karna, he thinks lightly of the Pandavas. Impelled by fate, he regards himself crowned with success. Those I have named will, however, today be within reach of my arrows. They shall not escape me, O son of Kunti, even if they be endued with the speed of the mind. Much regarded always by Duryodhana, that prince who dependeth upon the prowess of others, those warriors, afflicted with my clouds of shafts, will meet with destruction. Those other car-warriors, O king, whom thou seest, and who have golden standards and are difficult of being resisted, are called Kamvojas. They are brave and accomplished, and firmly devoted to the science of weapons. Desiring one another's welfare they are all firmly united. They constitute a full Akshauhini of wrathful warriors, O Bharata, and are staying carefully for my sake, well-protected by the Kuru heroes. They are on the alert, O king, with their eyes on me. I shall certainly destroy them all, like fire destroying a heap of straw. Therefore, O king, let those that equip cars, place quivers and all necessaries on my car in proper places. Indeed, in such a dreadful battle, diverse kinds of weapons ought to be taken. Let the car be equipped (with necessaries) five times more than what professors of military science direct, for I shall have to encounter the Kamvojas who resemble fierce snakes of virulent poison. I shall have also to encounter the Kiratas who are armed with diverse weapons of warfare, who resemble virulent poison, who are accomplished in smiting, who have always been well-treated by Duryodhana, and who on that account are always intent on Duryodhana's welfare. I shall also have to encounter the Sakas endued with prowess equal to that of Sakra himself, who are fierce as tire, and difficult to put out like a blazing conflagration. Indeed, O king, I shall have to encounter in battle many warriors difficult of being resisted. For this let well-known steeds of best breed and graced with auspicious marks be yoked to my car, after causing their thirst to be slaked and after grooming them duly!'

"Sanjaya continued, 'After this, Yudhishthira caused quivers full of shafts, and diverse kinds o weapons, and, indeed, all necessaries, to be placed on Satyaki's car. Then, people caused his four well-harnessed and excellent steeds to drink and walk, bathe and eat, and having adorned them with golden chains and plucked out their arrows, those animals, that had (for these operations) been freed from the yoke, and that were of the hue of gold and well-trained and endued with great speed and cheerful and exceedingly docile, were duly yoked again unto his car. And upon that car was set up a tall standard bearing a lion of golden maces. And that standard had attached round it banners of the hue of white clouds and decked with gold was also placed upon that vehicle bearing a heavy weight of weapons. After those steeds, adorned with trappings of gold, had been yoked to that car, the younger brother of Daruka, who was the charioteer and the dear friend of Satyaki, came and represented unto the latter that the car had been duly equipped, like Matali representing the equipment of the car unto Vasava himself. Satyaki then, having taken a bath and purified himself and undergone every auspicious ceremony, gave nishkas of gold unto a thousand Snataka Brahmanas who uttered benedictions upon him. Blessed with those benedictions Satyaki that foremost of handsome men, that hero worthy of worship, having drunk kairata, honey, shone resplendent, with reddened eyes rolling in intoxication. Having touched a brazen mirror and filled with great joy, his energy became doubled, and himself looked like a blazing fire. Taking upon his shoulders his bow with arrows, that foremost of car-warriors, eased in armour and decked in ornaments, had the regenerate ones perform for him the rites of propitiation. And fair maidens honoured him by showering upon him fried paddy and perfumes and floral garlands. And the hero then, with joined hands, worshipped the feet of Yudhishthira, and the latter smelt his head. And having undergone all these rites, he then mounted his foremost of cars. Then those steeds, cheerful and strong and fleet as the wind, and invincible, and belonging to the Sindhu breed, bore him on that triumphant car. Similarly, Bhimasena also, honoured by king Yudhishthira the just, and reverentially saluting the monarch, set out with Satyaki. Beholding those two chastisers of foes on the point of penetrating thy host, their enemies, viz., thy troops, all stood still with Drona at their head. Then Satyaki, seeing Bhima cased in mail and following him, saluted that hero and spoke unto him these delightful words. Indeed, heroic Satyaki, with every limb filled with joy, said unto Bhima, 'Do thou, O Bhima, protect the king. Even this is thy duty above all things. Piercing through this host whose hour hath come. I will proceed. Whether now or hence, the protection of the king is thy highest duty. Thou knowest my prowess, thou desirest my good, return, O Bhima!' Thus addressed by Satyaki, Bhima replied, Go then, for the success of thy object. O best of men, I will protect the king.' Thus addressed, he of Madhu's race answered Bhima, saying, 'Go back, O son of Pritha! My success is certain, since won over by my merits, thus, O Bhima, art today obedient to my wishes. Indeed, O Bhima, as these auspicious omens tell me, my victory is assured. After the sinful ruler of the Sindhus has been slain by the high-souled son of Pandu, I shall embrace king Yudhishthira of virtuous soul.' Having said these words unto Bhima and dismissing him with an embrace that illustrious warrior eyed thy troops, like a tiger eyeing a herd of deer. Beholding him thus looking at thy army, O king, thy troops become once more stupefied and began to tremble violently. Then, O king, Satyaki desirous of seeing Arjuna at the command of king Yudhishthira the just, suddenly dashed against thy troops.'"