Dhritarashtra said, 'Hearing of those feats of the sons of Pandu which are incapable of being achieved by the gods themselves, my heart, O Sanjaya, is filled with fear and wonder. Hearing also of the humiliation of my sons in every way, great hath been my anxiety as to the consequence that will ensue. The words uttered by Vidura will, no doubt, consume my heart. Everything that hath happened seemeth to be due to Destiny, O Sanjaya. The combatants of the Pandava army are encountering and smiting those best of warriors having Bhishma for their head, those heroes conversant with every weapon. What ascetic penances have been performed by the high-souled and mighty sons of Pandu, what boon hath they
obtained, O son, or what science is known to them, in consequence of which, like the stars in the firmament, they are undergoing no diminution? I cannot bear it that my army should be repeatedly slaughtered by the Pandavas. The divine chastisement, highly severe, both fallen on me alone. Tell me everything truly, O Sanjaya, about that for which the sons of Pandu have become unslayable and mine slayable. I do not see the other shore of this (sea of) distress. 1 I am like a man desirous of crossing the vastly deep ocean with my two arms alone. I certainly think that a great calamity hath overtaken my sons. Without doubt, Bhima will slay all my sons. I do not see that hero who is able to protect my sons in battle. The death of my sons in this battle, O Sanjaya, is certain. It behoveth thee, therefore, O Suta, to tell me, who asketh thee, everything about the true cause of all these. Beholding his own troops retreating from battle, what did Duryodhana do? And what old Bhishma and Drona, and Kripa, and Suvala's son, and Jayadratha, and that mighty bowman, viz., Drona's son and Vikarna of great strength do? When also, O thou of great wisdom, my sons turned back from the fight, what O Sanjaya, became the resolve of those high-souled warriors?"
Sanjaya said, "Listen, O king, with attention, and having listened, let it go to thy heart. Nothing (in this) is the result of incantation, nothing the result of illusion of any king. Nor have the sons of Pandu created any new terrors. They are endued with might; and they are fighting by fair means in this battle. Desirous of high fame, the sons of Pritha always do every act, including even the support of their lives, agreeably to the way of morality. Endued with every kind of prosperity, and possessed of great strength, they never desist from battle, keeping their eyes on righteousness. And victory is there where righteousness is. It is for this, O king, that the sons of Pritha are unslayable in battle and always victorious. Thy sons are of wicked souls and are addicted to sinfulness. They are cruel and wedded to mean acts. It is for this that they are being weakened in battle. Thy sons, O king, like despicable men, did many cruel and deceitful acts to the sons of Pandu. Disregarding, however, all those offences of thy sons, the sons of Pandu always concealed those acts, O elder brother of Pandu. Thy sons also, O king, on numerous occasions humiliated the Pandavas. Let them now reap the terrible fruit, like poison, of that persistent course of sinfulness. 2 That fruit should be enjoyed by thee also, O king, with thy sons and kinsmen, since thou, O king, could not be awakened even though counselled by thy well-wishers. Repeatedly forbidden by Vidura, by Bhishma, by the high-souled Drona, and by myself also thou didst not understand, rejecting our words intended for thy good and worthy of thy acceptance, like a sick man rejecting the medicine prescribed. Accepting the views of thy sons thou hadst regarded the Pandavas as already vanquished. Listen again, O king, to what thou
hast asked me, viz., the true cause, O chief of the Bharatas, of the victory of the Pandavas. I will tell thee whit I have heard, O chastiser of foes. Duryodhana had asked the grandsire this very question. Beholding his brothers, all mighty car-warriors, vanquished in battle, thy son Duryodhana, O Kaurava, with heart confounded with grief, repairing with humility during the night to the grandsire possessed of great wisdom, asked him this question. Listen to me, O monarch, about it all.
"Duryodhana said, 'Drona and thou, and Salya, and Kripa, and Drona's son, and Kritavarman the son of Hridika, and Sudakshina the ruler of the Kamvojas, and Bhurisravas, and Vikarna, and Bhagadatta of exceeding prowess, are all regarded as mighty car-warriors. All of these, again, are high-born, and prepared to throw away their lives in battle. It is my opinion that these are a match for even the three worlds (united together). Even all the warriors of the Pandava army (united together) cannot bear your prowess. A doubt has arisen in my mind. Explain it to me who enquireth of thee. Who it is, relying on whom the Pandavas are vanquishing us repeatedly.'
"Bhishma said, 'Listen, O king, to the words that I will speak unto thee, O thou of Kuru's race. Frequently wert thou addressed by me to the same effect but thou didst not do what I said. Let peace be made with the Pandavas, O best of the Bharatas. I regard this to be beneficial both to the world and thee, O lord. Enjoy this earth, O king, with thy brothers and be happy, gratifying all thy well-wishers and delighting thy kinsfolk. Although I cried myself hoarse before this, thou didst not yet listen to me, O sire. Thou hadst always disregarded the sons of Pandu. The effect of all that hath now overtaken thee. Listen also, O king, from me as I speak of it, O Lord, to the reason why the Pandavas, whose achievements tire them not, are unslayable. 1 There is not, was not, will not be, the being in all the worlds who would or will be able to vanquish the sons of Pandu who are all protected by the wielder of Saranga. Listen truly, O thou that art conversant with morality, to that ancient history which was recited to me by sages of souls under control. In days of yore, all the celestials and the Rishis, united together, waited reverentially on the Grandsire upon the mountains of Gandhamadana. And the Lord of all creatures, seated at his case in their midst, beheld an excellent car stationed in the firmament, blazing with effulgence. Having ascertained (everything about it) by meditation, joining his hands with restrained heart, Brahman, with delighted soul, made his salutations to the highest Divine Being. And the Rishis and the celestials, beholding in the firmament (the form thus) displayed, all stood up with joined hands, their eyes fixed on that wonder of wonders. Worshipping him duly, Brahma, the foremost of all conversant with Brahman, the Creator of the universe,
acquainted with the highest morality, uttered these high words: Thou art the Glory of the Universe for thy form. Thou art the Lord of the Universe. O thou whose protection extendeth through the whole Universe, O thou that hath the Universe for thy work, O thou that hath thy soul under control, Thou art the Supreme Master of the Universe. Thou art Vasudeva. Therefore, I seek refuge in Thee that art the soul of Yoga and the highest Divinity. Victory to Thee that art the Supreme God of the Universe. Victory to Thee that art ever employed in the good of the worlds. Victory to Thee that art the Lord of Yoga. Thee that art all-powerful. Victory to Thee that art prior, and subsequent to Yoga. Having the lotus springing from thy navel, and having large expansive eyes, victory to Thee that art Lord of Lords of the Universe. O Lord of the Past, the Present, and the Future, victory to Thee that art the embodiment of gentleness. Thee that art the sun of suns. O thou that art the receptacle of untold attributes, victory to Thee that art the refuge of all things. Thou art Narayana, thou art incapable of being understood, victory to Thee that art the wielder of the bow called Saranga. Victory to Thee that art endued with every attribute, O thou that hast the Universe for thy form, O thou that art ever hale. O Lord of the Universe, O thou of mighty arms, victory to Thee that art always ready for benefitting the worlds. O great Snake, O huge Boar, O first Cause, O thou of tawny locks, victory to Thee that art Almighty. O thou of yellow robes, O Lord of the cardinal and the subsidiary points of the compass, O thou that hast the Universe for thy abode, O thou that art Infinite, O thou that hast no decay, O thou that art the Manifest, O thou that art the Unmanifest, O thou that art the immeasurable Space, O thou that hast all thy senses under control, O thou that always achievest what is good, O thou that art immeasurable, O thou that alone knowest thy own nature, victory to Thee that art deep, O thou that art the giver of all wishes, O thou that art without end, O thou that art known as Brahma, O thou that art Eternal, O thou that art the Creator of all creatures, O thou that art ever successful, O thou whose acts always display wisdom, O thou that art conversant with morality, O thou that givest victory, O thou of mysterious Self, O thou that art the Soul of all Yoga, O thou that art the Cause of everything that hath sprung into existence, O thou that art the knowledge of the selves of all beings, O Lord of the worlds, victory to thee that art the Creator of all beings. O thou that hath thyself for thy origin, O thou that art highly blessed, O thou that art the Destroyer of everything, O thou that art the inspirer of all mental thoughts, victory to Thee that art dear to all conversant with Brahma. O thou that art busy in creation and destruction, O controller of all wishes, O Supreme Lord, O thou that art the Cause of Amrita, O thou that art All-existent, O thou that art the first that appears at the end of the Yuga, O thou that art the giver of victory, O Divine Lord of the Lord of all creatures, O thou that hast the lotus springing from thy navel, O thou of mighty strength, O thou that art sprung from Thyself, O thou that art the great elements in their primeval state, O thou that art the soul
of all (religious) rites, victory to Thee that givest all. The goddess Earth represents thy two feet, the cardinal and the subsidiary directions thy arms, and the heavens thy head. I am thy form, the celestials constitute thy limbs, and the Sun, the moon are thy two eyes. Ascetic austerities and Truth born of morality and (religious) rites, constitute thy strength. Fire is thy energy, the wind is thy breath, and the waters have sprung from thy sweat. The twins Aswins constitute thy ears, and the goddess Saraswati is thy tongue. The Vedas are thy Knowledge, and upon thee resteth this Universe. O Lord of Yoga and Yogins, we do not know thy extent, thy measure, thy energy, thy prowess, thy might, thy origin. O God, O Vishnu, filled with devotion in thee, and depending upon thee with vows and observances, we ever worship Thee as the highest Lord, the God of gods. The Rishis, the gods, Gandharvas, the Yakshas, the Rakshasas, the Pannagas, the Pisachas, human beings, beasts, birds, reptiles,--all these were created by me on Earth through Thy grace. O thou having the lotus springing from thy navel, O thou of large expansive eyes, O Krishna, O Dispeller of all woe, Thou art the Refuge of all creatures, and Thou art their Guide. Thou hast the Universe for thy mouth. Through thy grace, O Lord of the gods, the gods are ever happy. Through thy grace the Earth hath always been freed from terrors. Therefore, O thou of large eyes, take birth in the race of Yadu. 1 For the sake of establishing righteousness, for slaying the sons of Diti, and for upholding the Universe, do what I have said, O Lord. O Vasudeva, that which is thy supreme mystery, that, O Lord hath been sung by me through Thy grace. Having created the divine Sankarshana out of thy own Self by Thyself, thou didst then, O Krishna, create Thyself as Pradyumna born of thyself. From Pradyumna thou didst then create Aniruddha who is known as the eternal Vishnu. And it was Aniruddha who created me as Brahma, the upholder of the Universe. Created out of Vasudeva's essence I have, therefore, been created by thee. Dividing Thyself into portions, take birth, O Lord, among human beings. And slaughtering the Asuras there for happiness of all the worlds, and establishing righteousness, and winning renown, Thou wilt again truly attain to Yoga. The regenerate Rishis on Earth and the gods, O thou of infinite prowess, devoted to thee, sing of thy wonderous Self under those names that belong to thee. O thou of excellent arms, all classes of creatures rest on thee, having taken refuge in Thee, thou giver of boons. The regenerate ones sing Thee as the world's bridge, having no beginning, middle and end, and as possessed of unlimited Yoga.'"
168:1 The Bengal reading parantapa is a mistake for kathanchana.
168:2 'Kimpaca' is a species of cucurbitaceous plant. To avoid periphrasis I render it poison.
169:1 Aklishtakarman literally means one who is not tired with what he does; hence, one who easily achieves the highest feats. When applied to Krishna or any divine personage it means one who does everything by a fiat of his will, without being dependent on means like ordinary persons. It may also mean one of pure or white deeds.
171:1 Literally "be a perpetuator (son) of Yadu's race!"