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"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed by Vasudeva, the ever-wrathful Bhima, incapable of bearing insults, was immediately awakened like a steed of high metal, and replied, without losing a moment, saying, 'O Achyuta, I wish to act in a particular way; thou, however, takest me in quite a different light. That I take great delight in war and that my prowess is incapable of being baffled, must, O Krishna. be well-known to

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thee in consequence of our having lived together for a long time. Or it may be, thou knowest me not, like one swimming in a lake ignorant of its depth. It is for this that thou chidest me in such unbecoming words. Who else, O Madhava, knowing me to be Bhimasena, could address me with such unbecoming words as thou dost? Therefore, I shall tell thee, O delighter of the Vrishnis, about my own prowess and unrivalled might. Although to speak of one's own prowess is always an ignoble act, yet, pierced as I am by thy unfriendly strictures, I will speak of my own might. Behold, O Krishna, these--the firmament and the earth--which are immovable, immense, and infinite, and which are the refuge of, and in which are born these countless creatures. If through anger these suddenly collide like two hills, just I, with my arms, can keep them asunder with all their mobile and immobile objects. Behold the joints of these my mace-like arms. I find not the person who can extricate himself having once come within their grasp. The Himavat, the ocean, the mighty wielder of the thunderbolt himself, viz., the slayer of Vala,--even these three cannot, with all their power extricate the person attacked by me. I will easily trample on the ground under my feet all the Kshatriyas, who will come to battle against the Pandavas. It is not known to thee, O Achyuta, with what prowess I vanquished the kings of the earth and brought them under subjection. If, indeed, thou really knowest not my prowess which is like the fierce energy of the midday sun thou wilt then know it, O Janardana, in the fierce melee of battle. Thou woundest me with thy cruel words, paining me with the pain of opening a foetid tumour. But know me to be mightier than what I have said of myself of my own accord. On that day, when the fierce and destructive havoc of battle will begin, thou will then see me felling elephants and car-warriors combatants on steeds and those on elephants, and slaying in rage the foremost of Kshatriya warriors. Thou, as well as others, wilt see me doing all this and grinding down the foremost of combatants. The marrow of my bones hath not yet decayed, nor doth my heart tremble. If the whole world rusheth against me in wrath, I do not yet feel the influence of fear. It is only for the sake of compassion, O slayer of Madhu, that I am for displaying goodwill to the foe. I am far quietly bearing all our injuries, lest the Bharata race be extirpated.'"

Next: Section LXXVII