Janamejaya said, "Having heard of Karna's fall and the slaughter of his sons, what, O foremost of regenerate ones, did the king say, after he had been a little comforted? Indeed, poignant was the grief that he experienced, arising from the calamity that befell his sons! Tell me, I ask thee, all that the king said on that occasion!"
Vaishampayana said, "Hearing of the slaughter of Karna that was incredible and astounding, that was dreadful and capable of paralysing the senses of all creatures, that looked like the downfall of Meru, or a never-to-be-believed clouding of the intellect of the wise Shukra, or the defeat of Indra of terrible feats at the hands of his foes, or the falling down on the Earth of the resplendent Sun from the firmament, or a scarcely-to-be-comprehended drying up of the ocean, that receptacle of inexhaustible waters, or the annihilation, perfectly astounding, of the earth, the firmament, the points of the compass, and the waters, or the fruitlessness of acts both virtuous and sinful, king Dhritarashtra, having earnestly reflected for some time on it, thought that his army had been annihilated. Thinking that other creatures also, as unslayable as Karna, would meet with a similar fate, king Dhritarashtra the son of Ambika, scorched with grief and sighing like a snake, with limbs almost palsied, long breaths, highly cheerless, and filled with melancholy, began to lament, saying, 'Oh!' and 'Alas!' And the king said, 'O Sanjaya, the heroic son of Adhiratha was endued with the prowess of the lion or the elephant! His neck was as thick as that of a bull, and his eyes, gait, and voice were like the bull's! Of limbs as hard as the thunderbolt, that young man, like a bull never flying away from a bull, never desisted from battle even if his foe happened to be the great Indra himself! At the sound of his bow-string and palms and at the whizz of his arrowy showers men and steeds and cars and elephants fled away from battle. Relying upon that mighty-armed one, that slayer of large bands of foes, that warrior of unfading glory, Duryodhana had provoked hostilities with those mighty car-warriors, the sons of Pandu! How then could Karna, that foremost of car-warriors, that tiger among men, that hero of irresistible onset, be forcibly slain by Partha in battle? Relying on the might of his own arms, he always disregarded Keshava of unfading glory, and Dhananjaya, and the Vrishnis, and all other foes! Often did he use to say unto the foolish, avaricious crestfallen, kingdom-coveting, and afflicted Duryodhana even such words as these, "Alone, I shall, in battle, throw down from their foremost of cars, those two invincible warriors united together, the wielder of sarnga and the wielder of gandiva!" He had subjugated many invincible and mighty foes--the Gandharas, the Madrakas, the Matsyas, the Trigartas, the Tanganas, the Khasas, the Pancalas, the Videhas, the Kulindas, the Kasi-kosalas, the Suhmas, the Angas, the Nishadhas, the Pundras, the Kichakas, the Vatsas, the Kalingas, the Taralas, the Asmakas, and the Rishikas. Subjugating all these brave races, by means of his keen and whetted arrows equipped with kanka feathers, that foremost of car-warriors, Radha's son, had caused all of them to pay tribute to us for the aggrandisement of Duryodhana. Alas, how could that warrior acquainted with celestial weapons, that protector of armies, Karna the son of Vikartana, called also Vrisha, of mighty energy, be slain in battle by his foes, the heroic and mighty sons of Pandu? As Indra is the foremost of gods, Karna was the foremost of men. In the three worlds no third person has been heard of by us to be like them. Amongst steeds, Uccaisravas is the foremost; amongst Yakshas, Vaishravana is the foremost; amongst celestials, Indra is the foremost; amongst smiters, Karna was the foremost. Unvanquished by even the most heroic and the mightiest of monarchs, he had, Duryodhana's aggrandisement, subjugated the whole earth. The ruler of Magadha, having by conciliation and honours obtained Karna for a friend, had challenged all the Kshatriyas of the world, except the Kauravas and the Yadavas, to battle. Hearing that Karna hath been slain by Savyasaci in single combat, I am plunged in an ocean of woe like a wrecked vessel in the vast deep! Indeed, hearing that that foremost of men, that best of car-warriors, hath been slain in single combat, I am sinking in an ocean of grief like a person without a raft in the sea! When, O Sanjaya, I do not die of such grief, I think my heart is impenetrable and made of something harder than the thunderbolt. Hearing of the defeat and humiliation of kinsmen and relatives and allies, who else in the world, O Suta, save my wretched self, would not yield up his life? I desire to have poison or fire or a fall from the summit of a mountain, I am unable, O Sanjaya, to bear this heavy load of grief!'"