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  By Edwin Arnold

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Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa
translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli

Mahabharata of Vyasa (Badarayana, krishna-dwaipayana) translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli is perhaps the most complete translation available in public domain. Mahabharata is the most popular scripture of Hindus and Mahabharata is considered as the fifth veda. We hope this translation is helping you.


"Dhritarashtra said, 'Beholding Duryodhana struck down in battle by Bhimasena, what, O Sanjaya, did the Pandavas and the Srinjayas do?'

"Sanjaya said, 'Beholding Duryodhana slain by Bhimasena in battle, O king, like a wild elephant slain by a lion, the Pandavas with Krishna became filled with delight. The Pancalas and the Srinjayas also, upon the fall of the Kuru king, waved their upper garments (in the air) and uttered leonine roars. The very Earth seemed to be unable to bear those rejoicing warriors. Some stretched their bows; others drew their bowstrings. Some blew their huge conchs; others beat their drums. Some sported and jumped about, while some amongst thy foes laughed aloud. Many heroes repeatedly said these words unto Bhimasena, "Exceedingly difficult and great hath been the fears that thou hast achieved today in battle, by having struck down the Kuru king, himself a great warrior, with thy mace! All these men regard this slaughter of the foe by thee to be like that of Vritra by Indra himself! Who else, save thyself, O Vrikodara, could slay the heroic Duryodhana while careering in diverse kinds of motion and performing all the wheeling manoeuvres (characteristic of such encounters)? Thou hast now reached the other shore of these hostilities, that other shore which none else could reach. This feat that thou hast achieved is incapable of being achieved by any other warriors. By good luck, thou hast, O hero, like an infuriated elephant, crushed with thy foot the head of Duryodhana on the field of battle! Having fought a wonderful battle, by good luck, O sinless one, thou hast quaffed the blood of Duhshasana, like a lion quaffing the blood of a buffalo! By good luck, thou hast, by thy own energy, placed thy foot on the head of all those that had injured the righteous-souled king Yudhishthira! In consequence of having vanquished thy foes and of thy having slain Duryodhana, by good luck, O Bhima, thy fame hath spread over the whole world! Bards and eulogists applauded Shakra after the fall of Vritra, even as we are now applauding thee, O Bharata, after the fall of thy foes! Know, O Bharata, that the joy we felt upon the fall of Duryodhana hath not yet abated in the least!" Even these were the words addressed to Bhimasena by the assembled eulogists on that occasion! Whilst those tigers among men, the Pancalas and the Pandavas, all filled with delight were indulging in such language, the slayer of Madhu addressed them, saying, "You rulers of men, it is not proper to slay a slain foe with such cruel speeches repeatedly uttered. This wight of wicked understanding hath already been slain. This sinful, shameless, and covetous wretch, surrounded by sinful counsellors and ever regardless of the advice of wise friends, met with his death even when he refused, though repeatedly urged to contrary by Vidura and Drona and Kripa and Sanjaya, to give unto the sons of Pandu their paternal share in the kingdom which they had solicited at his hands! This wretch is not now fit to be regarded either as a friend or a foe! What use in spending bitter breath upon one who hath now become a piece of wood! Mount your cars quickly, ye kings, for we should leave this place! By good luck, this sinful wretch hath been slain with his counsellors and kinsmen and friends!" Hearing these rebukes from Krishna, king Duryodhana, O monarch, gave way to wrath and endeavoured to rise. Sitting on his haunches and supporting himself on his two arms, he contracted his eyebrows and cast angry glances at Vasudeva. The form then of Duryodhana whose body was half raised looked like that of a poisonous snake, O Bharata, shorn of its tail. Disregarding his poignant and unbearable pains, Duryodhana began to afflict Vasudeva with keen and bitter words, "O son of Kansa's slave, thou hast, it seems, no shame, for hast thou forgotten that I have been struck down most unfairly, judged by the rules that prevail in encounters with the mace? It was thou who unfairly caused this act by reminding Bhima with a hint about the breaking of my thighs! Dost thou think I did not mark it when Arjuna (acting under thy advice) hinted it to Bhima? Having caused thousands of kings, who always fought fairly, to be slain through diverse kinds of unfair means, feelest thou no shame or no abhorrence for those acts? Day after day having caused a great carnage of heroic warriors, thou causedst the grandsire to be slain by placing Shikhandi to the fore! Having again caused an elephant of the name of Ashvatthama to be slain, O thou of wicked understanding, thou causedst the preceptor to lay aside his weapons. Thinkest thou that this is not known to me! While again that valiant hero was about to be slain this cruel Dhrishtadyumna, thou didst not dissuade the latter! The dart that had been begged (of Shakra as a boon) by Karna for the slaughter of Arjuna was baffled by thee through Ghatotkacha! Who is there that is more sinful than thou? Similarly, the mighty Bhurishrava, with one of his arms lopped off and while observant of the Praya vow, was caused to be slain by thee through the agency of the high-souled Satyaki. Karna had done a great feat for vanquishing Partha. Thou, however, causedst Aswasena, the son of that prince of snakes (Takshaka), to be baffled in achieving his purpose! When again the wheel of Karna's car sank in mire and Karna was afflicted with calamity and almost vanquished on that account, when, indeed, that foremost of men became anxious to liberate his wheel, thou causedst that Karna to be then slain! If ye had fought me and Karna and Bhishma and Drona by fair means, victory then, without doubt, would never have been yours. By adopting the most crooked and unrighteous of means thou hast caused many kings observant of the duties of their order and ourselves also to be slain!'

"'Vasudeva said, "Thou, O son of Gandhari, hast been slain with thy brothers, sons, kinsmen, friends, and followers, only in consequence of the sinful path in which thou hast trod! Through thy evil acts those two heroes, Bhishma and Drona, have been slain! Karna too hath been slain for having imitated thy behaviour! Solicited by me, O fool, thou didst not, from avarice, give the Pandavas their paternal share, acting according to the counsels of Shakuni! Thou gavest poison to Bhimasena! Thou hadst, also, O thou of wicked understanding, endeavoured to burn all the Pandavas with their mother at the palace of lac! On the occasion also of the gambling, thou hadst persecuted the daughter of Yajnasena, while in her season, in the midst of the assembly! Shameless as thou art, even then thou becamest worthy of being slain! Thou hadst, through Subala's son well-versed in dice, unfairly vanquished the virtuous Yudhishthira who was unskilled in gambling! For that art thou slain! Through the sinful Jayadratha again, Krishna was on another occasion persecuted when the Pandavas, her lords, had gone out hunting towards the hermitage of Trinavindu! Causing Abhimanyu, who was a child and alone, to be surrounded by many, thou didst slay that hero. It is in consequence of that fault, O sinful wretch, that thou art slain! All those unrighteous acts that thou sayest have been perpetrated by us, have in reality been perpetrated by thee in consequence of thy sinful nature! Thou didst never listen to the counsels of Brihaspati and Usanas! Thou didst never wait upon the old! Thou didst never hear beneficial words! Enslaved by ungovernable covetousness and thirst of gain, thou didst perpetrate many unrighteous acts! Bear now the consequences of those acts of thine!"

"'Duryodhana said, "I have studied, made presents according to the ordinance, governed the wide Earth with her seas, and stood over the heads of my foes! Who is there so fortunate as myself! That end again which is courted by Kshatriyas observant of the duties of their own order, death in battle, hath become mine. Who, therefore, is so fortunate as myself? Human enjoyments such as were worthy of the very gods and such as could with difficulty be obtained by other kings, had been mine. Prosperity of the very highest kind had been attained by me! Who then is so fortunate as myself? With all my well-wishers, and my younger brothers, I am going to heaven, O thou of unfading glory! As regards yourselves, with your purposes unachieved and torn by grief, live ye in this unhappy world!"'

"Sanjaya continued, 'Upon the conclusion of these words of the intelligent king of the Kurus, a thick shower of fragrant flowers fell from the sky. The Gandharvas played upon many charming musical instruments. The Apsaras in a chorus sang the glory of king Duryodhana. The Siddhas uttered loud sound to the effect, "Praise be to king Duryodhana!" Fragrant and delicious breezes mildly blew on every side. All the quarters became clear and the firmament looked blue as the lapis lazuli. Beholding these exceedingly wonderful things and this worship offered to Duryodhana, the Pandavas headed by Vasudeva became ashamed. Hearing (invisible beings cry out) that Bhishma and Drona and Karna and Bhurishrava were slain unrighteously, they became afflicted with grief and wept in sorrow. Beholding the Pandavas filled with anxiety and grief, Krishna addressed them in a voice deep as that of the clouds or the drum, saying, "All of them were great car-warriors and exceedingly quick in the use of weapons! If ye had put forth all your prowess, even then ye could never have slain them in battle by fighting fairly! King Duryodhana also could never be slain in a fair encounter! The same is the case with all those mighty car-warriors headed by Bhishma! From desire of doing good to you, I repeatedly applied my powers of illusion and caused them to be slain by diverse means in battle. If I had not adopted such deceitful ways in battle, victory would never have been yours, nor kingdom, nor wealth! Those four were very high-souled warriors and regarded as Atirathas in the world. The very Regents of the Earth could not slay them in fair fight! Similarly, the son of Dhritarashtra, though fatigued when armed with the mace, could not be slain in fair fight by Yama himself armed with his bludgeon! You should not take it to heart that this foe of yours hath been slain deceitfully. When the number of one's foes becomes great, then destruction should be effected by contrivances and means. The gods themselves, in slaying the Asuras, have trod the same way. That way, therefore, that hath been trod by the gods, may be trod by all. We have been crowned with success. It is evening. We had better depart to our tents. Let us all, ye kings, take rest with our steeds and elephants and cars." Hearing these words of Vasudeva, the Pandavas and the Pancalas, filled with delight, roared like a multitude of lions. All of them blew their conchs and Jadava himself blew Panchajanya, filled with joy, O bull among men, at the sight of Duryodhana struck down in battle.'"

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