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"Sanjaya said, 'Whilst Duryodhana, O king, was repeatedly roaring in this strain, Vasudeva, filled with wrath, said these words unto Yudhishthira, "What rash words hast thou spoken, O king, to the effect, 'Slaying one amongst us be thou king among the Kurus.' If, indeed, O Yudhishthira, Duryodhana select thee for battle, or Arjuna, or Nakula, or Sahadeva (what will be the consequence)? From desire of slaying Bhimasena, O king, for these thirteen years hath Duryodhana practised with the mace upon a statue of iron! How then, O bull of Bharata's race, will our purpose be achieved? From compassion, O best of kings, thou hast acted with great rashness! I do not at this moment behold a match (for Duryodhana) except Pritha's son Vrikodara! His practice, again, with the mace, is not so great! Thou hast, therefore, once more allowed a wretched game of chance to commence as that one in former days between thyself and Shakuni, O monarch! Bhima is possessed of might and prowess. King Suyodhana, however, is possessed of skill! In a contest between might and skill, he that is possessed of skill, O king, always prevails! Such a foe, O king, thou hast, by thy words, placed in a position of ease and comfort! Thou hast placed thine own self, however, in a position of difficulty. We have, in consequence of this, been placed in great danger! Who is there that would abandon sovereignty within grasp, after having vanquished all his foes and when he hath only one foe to dispose of and that one plunged in difficulties? I do not see that man in the world today, be he a god, who is competent to vanquish the mace-armed Duryodhana in battle! Neither thou nor Bhima, nor Nakula nor Sahadeva, nor Phalguna, is capable of vanquishing Duryodhana in fair fight! King Duryodhana is possessed of great skill! How then, O Bharata, canst thou say unto such a foe words such as these, 'Fight, selecting the mace as thy weapon, and if thou canst slay one amongst us, thou shalt then be king?' If Duryodhana encounters Vrikodara amongst us wishing to fight fairly with him, even then our victory would be doubtful. Duryodhana is possessed of great might and great skill. How couldst thou say unto him, 'Slaying only one amongst us be thou king'? Without a doubt, the offspring of Pandu and Kunti are not destined to enjoy sovereignty! They were born for passing their lives in continued exile in the woods or in mendicancy!"

"'Bhimasena said, "O slayer of Madhu, do not, O delighter of the Yadus, give way to sorrow! However, difficult to reach it, I shall today reach the end of these hostilities! Without doubt, I shall slay Suyodhana in battle! It appears, O Krishna, that the victory of Yudhishthira the just is certain! This mace of mine is heavier than Duryodhana's by one and a half times! Do not, O Madhava, give way to grief! I dare fight him, selecting the mace as the weapon! Let all of you, O Janardana, stand as spectators of the encounter! What do you say of Suyodhana, I would fight with the three worlds including the very gods, even if they be armed with every kind of weapon!"'

"Sanjaya continued, 'After Vrikodara had said these words, Vasudeva, filled with joy, applauded him highly and said unto him, "Relying on thee, O thou of mighty arms, king Yudhishthira the just will, without doubt, get back his own blazing prosperity after the slaughter of all his foes! Thou hast slain all the sons of Dhritarashtra in battle! At thy hands many kings and princes and elephants have met with their fate! The Kalingas, the Magadhas, the Kauravas the Westerners, the Gandharas have all been slain in dreadful battle, O son of Pandu! Slaying Duryodhana then, O son of Kunti, bestow the earth with her oceans upon Yudhishthira the just, like Vishnu (conferring the sovereignty of three worlds) upon the Lord of Sachi! The wretched son of Dhritarashtra, obtaining thee for a foe in battle, will, without doubt, meet with his fate! Thou wilt certainly accomplish thy vow by breaking his bones! Thou shouldst, however, O son of Pritha, always fight with care with the son of Dhritarashtra! He is possessed of both skill and strength and always takes delight in battle!" Then Satyaki, O king, applauded the son of Pandu. The Pancalas and the Pandavas, also, headed by king Yudhishthira the just, all applauded those words of Bhimasena. Then Bhima of terrible might addressed Yudhishthira, who was staying amid the Srinjayas like the blazing sun himself, saying, "Encountering this one in battle, I venture to fight with him! This wretch among men is not competent to vanquish me in fight! Today I shall vomit that wrath which hath been nursed in my bosom upon Suyodhana, the son of Dhritarashtra, like Arjuna throwing fire on the forest of Khandava! I shall today pluck out the dart, O son of Pandu, that lay so long sticking to thy heart! Be happy, O king, after I shall have laid low this wretch with my mace! Today I shall recover, O sinless one, thy wreath of glory! Today Suyodhana shall abandon his life breath, his prosperity, and his kingdom! Today king Dhritarashtra also, hearing of his son's slaughter, will remember all those wrongs (that he did unto us) arising from the suggestions of Shakuni!" Having said these words that prince of Bharata's race, possessed of great energy, stood up for battle, like Shakra summoning Vritra (to an encounter). Unable to endure that summons, thy son, of great energy, proceeded to the encounter, like one infuriated elephant proceeding to assail another. The Pandavas beheld thy son, as he came armed with mace, look like the crested mountain of Kailasa. Indeed, seeing that mighty son of thine standing alone like a prince of elephants separated from the herd, the Pandavas became filled with delight. Standing in battle like a very lion, Duryodhana had no fear, no alarm, no pain, no anxiety. Beholding him stand there with uplifted mace like the crested mountain of Kailasa, Bhimasena, O monarch, addressed him, saying, "Call to thy mind all those wrongs that king Dhritarashtra and thyself have done unto us! Recollect what happened at Varanavata! Recollect how Draupadi, while in her season, was maltreated in the midst of the assembly and how king Yudhishthira was defeated at dice through Shakuni's suggestion! See now, O thou of wicked soul, the terrible consequence of those acts as also of the other wrongs that thou didst unto the innocent Parthas! It is for thee that that illustrious chief of the Bharatas, the son of Ganga, the grandsire of us all, lieth now on a bed of arrows, struck down (by us)! Drona also hath been slain! Karna hath been slain! Shalya of great valour hath been slain! Yonder Shakuni also, the root of these hostilities, hath been slain in battle! Thy heroic brothers, as also thy sons, with all thy troops, have been slain! Other kings also, possessed of heroism, and never retreating from battle, have been slain. These and many other bulls among Kshatriyas, as also the Pratikamin, that wretch who had seized the tresses of Draupadi, have been slain! Thou alone art still alive, thou exterminator of thy race, thou wretch among men! Thee also I shall today slay with my mace! Of this there is no doubt! Today, O king, I shall, in battle, quell all thy pride! I shall destroy also thy hope of sovereignty, O king, and pay off all thy misdeeds unto the sons of Pandu!"

"'Duryodhana said, "What use is there of many words? Fight now with me! Today, O Vrikodara, I shall beat out of thee thy desire for battle! Why dost thou not behold me, O wretch, standing here for an encounter with the mace? Am I not armed with a formidable mace that looks like a cliff of Himavat? What foe is there, O wretch, that would venture to vanquish me armed with this weapon? If it be a fair fight, Purandara himself, amongst the gods, is not competent for that end! For all those wicked deeds of mine to which thou hast referred, thou couldst not (hitherto) do me the slightest injury! By exercising my might, I caused ye to dwell in the woods, to serve in another's dwelling, to conceal yourselves in disguises! Your friends and allies also have been slain. Our loss has been equal! If, then my fall takes place in this battle, that would be highly praiseworthy. Or, perhaps, Time will be the cause! Up to this day I have never been vanquished in fair fight on the field of battle! If you vanquish me by deceit, your infamy will certainly last for ever! That act of yours will, without doubt, be unrighteous and infamous! Do not, O son of Kunti, roar fruitlessly in this way like autumnal clouds uncharged with water! Show all the strength thou hast in battle now!" Hearing these words of his, the Pandavas with the Srinjayas, all inspired with desire of victory, applauded them highly. Like men exciting an infuriated elephant with clapping of hands, all of them then gladdened king Duryodhana (with those praises and cheers). The elephants that were there began to grunt and the steeds to neigh repeatedly. The weapons of the Pandavas, who were inspired with desire of victory blazed forth of their own accord.'"

Next: Section 34