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p. 123


"Dhritarashtra said, 'All these named by thee are, indeed, endued with great courage, but all of them together are equal to Bhima singly. My fear, O child, from the wrathful Bhima is, indeed, very great, like that of fat deer from an enraged tiger. I pass all my nights in sleeplessness, breathing deep and hot sighs afraid of Vrikodara, O child, like an animal of any other species afraid of the lion. Of mighty arms, and in energy equal unto Sakra himself, I see not in this whole army even one that can withstand him in battle. Exceedingly wrathful and determined in animosity, that son of Kunti and Pandu smileth not even in jest, is mad with rage, casteth his glances obliquely, and speaketh in a voice of thunder. Of great impetuosity and great courage, of long arms and great might, he will not, in battle, leave even one of my foolish sons alive. Indeed, Vrikodara, that bull among the Kurus, whirling his mace in battle, will, like a second Yama mace in hand slay all my sons who are afflicted by a heavy calamity. Even now I see that terrible mace of his, with eight sides made of steel, and adorned with gold, uplifted like a Brahmana's curse. As a lion of mighty strength among a flock of deer, Bhima will range among my troops. He only (amongst his brothers) always displayed his strength cruelly towards my sons. Eating voraciously, and endued with great impetuosity, from his very childhood he hath been behaving inimically towards my children. My heart trembleth (to remember) that even in their childhood, Duryodhana and other sons of mine, while fighting with him (sportively) were always ground down by the elephant-like Bhima. Alas, my sons have always been oppressed by his might, and it is that Bhima of terrible prowess that hath been the cause of this rupture. Even now I behold Bhima, mad with rage, fighting in the very van, and devouring the whole of my host consisting of men, elephants, and steeds. Equal unto Drona and Arjuna in weapons, his speed equal unto the velocity of the wind, and in wrath like unto Maheswara himself, who is there, O Sanjaya, that would slay that wrathful and terrible hero in battle? I think it to be a great gain that my sons were not even then slain by that slayer of enemies who is endued with such energy. How can a human being withstand the impetuosity of that warrior in battle who slew Yakshas and Rakshasas of terrible might before? O Sanjaya, even in his childhood he was never completely under my control. Injured by my wicked sons, how can that son of Pandu come under my control now? Cruel and extremely wrathful, he would break but not bend. Of oblique glances and contracted eye-brows, how can he be induced to remain quiet? Endued with heroism, of incomparable might and fair complexion, tall like a palmyra tree, and in height taller than Arjuna by the span of the thumb, the second son of Pandu surpasseth the very steeds in swiftness, and elephants in strength, speaketh in indistinct accents, and possesseth eyes having the hue of honey. As regards form

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and might, even such was he in his very boyhood, as I truly heard long before from the lips of Vyasa! Terrible and possessed of cruel might, when angry he will destroy in battle with his iron-mace cars and elephants and men and horses. By acting against his wishes, that foremost of smiters who is ever wrathful and furious, hath before been, O child, insulted by me. Alas, how will my sons bear that mace of his which is straight, made of steel, thick, of beautiful sides, adorned with gold, capable of slaying a hundred, and producing a terrible sound when hurled at the foe? Alas, O child, my foolish sons are desirous of crossing that inaccessible ocean constituted by Bhima, which is really shoreless, without a raft on it, immeasurable in depth, and full of currents impetuous as the course of arrows. Fools in reality though boasting of their wisdom, alas, my children do not listen to me even though I cry out. Beholding only the honey they do not see the terrible fall that is before them. They that will rush to battle with Death himself in that human shape, are certainly doomed to destruction by the Supreme Ordainer, like animals within the lion's view. Full four cubits in length, endued with six sides and great might, and having also a deadly touch, when he will hurl his mace from' the sting, how shall my sons, O child, bear its impetus? Whirling his mace and breaking therewith the heads of (hostile) elephants, licking with his tongue the corners of his mouth and drawing long breaths, when he will rush with loud roars against mighty elephants, returning the yells of those infuriated beasts that might rush against him, and when entering the close array of cars he will slay, after taking proper aim, the chief warriors before him, what mortal of my party will escape from him looking like a blazing flame? Crushing my forces and cutting a passage through them, that mighty armed hero, dancing with mace in hand, will exhibit the scene, witnessed during the universal Dissolution at the end of a Yuga. Like an infuriated elephant crushing trees adorned with flowers, Vrikodara, in battle will, furiously penetrate the ranks of my sons. Depriving my warriors of their cars, drivers, steeds, and flag-staff, and afflicting all warriors fighting from cars and the backs of elephants, that tiger among men will, O Sanjaya, like the impetuous current of Ganga throwing down diverse trees standing on its banks, crush in battle the troops of my sons. Without doubt, O Sanjaya, afflicted by the fear of Bhimasena, my sons and their dependents and all the allied kings will fly in different directions. It was this Bhima who, having entered of old, with Vasudeva's aid, the innermost apartments of Jarasandha, overthrew that king endued with great energy; that lord of Magadha, the mighty Jarasandha, having fully brought under his subjection the goddess Earth, oppressed her by his energy. That the Kauravas in consequence of Bhishma's prowess, and the Andhakas and the Vrishnis in consequence of their policy, could not be subjugated by him was due only to their good fortune. What could be more wonderful than that the heroic son of Pandu, of mighty arms and without any weapons, having approached that king, slew him in a trice? Like a venomous snake, whose poison

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hath accumulated for years, Bhima will, O Sanjaya, vomit in battle the poison of his wrath upon my sons! Like the foremost of the celestials, the great Indra, smiting the Danavas with his thunderbolt, Bhimasena will, mace in hand, slay all my sons! Incapable of being withstood or resisted, of fierce impetus and powers, and with eyes of a coppery hue, I behold even now that Vrikodara failing upon my sons. Without mace or bow, without car or coat of mail, fighting with his bare arms only, what man is there that can stand before him? Bhishma, that regenerate Drona, and Kripa the son of Saradwat,--these are as much acquainted as I myself with the energy of the intelligent Bhima. Acquainted with the practice of those that are noble, and desirous of death in battle, these bulls among men will take their stand in the van of our army. Destiny is everywhere powerful, especially in the case of a male person, for beholding the victory of the Pandavas in battle, I do not yet restrain my sons. These mighty bowmen of mine, desirous of treading in that ancient track leading up to heaven, will lay down their lives in battle, taking care, however, of earthly fame. O child, my sons are the same to these mighty bowmen as the Pandavas are to them, for all of them are grandsons of Bhishma and disciples of Drona and Kripa. O Sanjaya, the little acceptable services that we have been able to do unto these three venerable ones, will certainly be repaid by them owing to their own noble dispositions. It is said that death in battle of a Kshatriya, who hath taken up arms and desireth to observe Kshatriya practices is, indeed, both good and meritorious. I weep, however, for all those that will fight against the Pandavas. That very danger hath now come which was foreseen by Vidura at the outset. It seems, O Sanjaya, that wisdom is incapable of dispelling woe; on the other hand, it is overwhelming woe that dispelleth wisdom. When the very sages, that are emancipated from all worldly concerns and that behold, standing aloof, all the affairs of the universe, are affected by prosperity and adversity, what wonder is there that I should grieve, I who have my affections fixed on a thousand things such as sons, kingdom, wives, grandsons, and relatives? What good can possibly be in store for me on the accession of such a frightful danger? Reflecting on every circumstance, I see the certain destruction of the Kurus. That match at dice seems to be the cause of this great danger of the Kurus. Alas, this sin was committed from temptation by foolish Duryodhana, desirous of wealth; I believe all this to be the untoward effect of ever-fleeting Time that bringeth on everything. Tied to the wheel of Time, like its periphery, I am not capable of flying away from it. Tell me, O Sanjaya, where shall I go? What shall I do, and, how shall I do it? These foolish Kauravas will all be destroyed, their Time having come. Helplessly I shall have to hear the wailing of women when my hundred sons will all be slain. Oh, how may death come upon me? As a blazing fire in the summer season., when urged by the wind, consumeth dry grass, so will Bhima, mace in hand, and united with Arjuna, slay all on my side!'"

Next: Section LII