"Sanjaya said, 'Hearing these words of Arjuna, the mighty car-warriors present there said not a single word, O monarch, agreeable or disagreeable, unto Dhananjaya. Then the mighty-armed Bhimasena, filled with wrath, O bull of Bharata's race, reproaching Kunti's son, Arjuna, said these words, 'Thou preachest truths of morality like an anchorite living in the woods or a Brahmana of rigid vows and senses under complete control. A person is called a Kshatriya because he rescues others from wounds and injuries. Being such, he must save himself from wounds and injuries. Showing forgiveness towards the three that are good (viz., the gods, the Brahmanas, and preceptor), a Kshatriya, by doing his duties, soon wins the earth as also piety and fame and prosperity. 1 Thou, O perpetuator of thy race, art endued with every attribute of a Kshatriya. It does not, therefore, look well for thee to speak like an ignorant wight. O son of Kunti, thy prowess is like that of Sakra himself, the lord of Sachi. Thou dost not transgress the bounds of morality like the ocean that never transgresses its continents. Who is there that would not worship thee, seeing that thou seekest virtue, having abandoned the wrath cherished by thee for thirteen years? By good luck, O sire, thy heart today followeth in the wake of virtue. O thou of unfading glory, by good luck, thy understanding inclineth towards compassion. Though, however, thou art inclined to adopt the path of virtue, thy kingdom was snatched from thee most unrighteously. Dragging the wife Draupadi to the assembly, thy foes insulted her. Clad in barks of trees and skins of animals, all of us were exiled to the woods, and though we were undeserving of that plight, our foes nevertheless compelled us to endure it for thirteen years. O sinless one, thou hast forgiven all these circumstances, every one of which demands the exhibition of wrath. Wedded as thou art to duties of a Kshatriya, thou hast quietly borne these. Remembering all those acts of unrighteousness, I came here with thee for avenging myself of them. (When, however, I see that thou art so indifferent, why), I myself will slay those low wretches that despoiled us of our kingdom. Thou hadst formerly said these words, viz., Addressing ourselves to battle, we will exert to the utmost extent of our abilities. Today, however, thou reproachest us. Thou now seekest, virtue. Those words, therefore, that thou saidst formerly were untrue. We are already afflicted with fear. Thou cuttest, however, the very core of our
hearts with these thy words, O crusher of foes, like one pouring acid upon the sores of wounded men. Afflicted with thy wordy darts, my heart is breaking. Thou art virtuous, but thou dost not know in what righteousness truly consists, since thou applaudest neither thyself nor us, though all of us are worthy of applause. When Kesava himself is here, praisest thou the son of Drona, a warrior that does not come up to even a sixteenth part of thyself, O Dhanajaya, confessing thy own faults, why dost thou not feel shame? I can rend asunder this earth in rage, or split the very mountains in whirling that terrible and heavy mace of mine, decked with gold. Like the tempest, I can break down gigantic trees looking like hills. I can, with my arrows, rout the united celestials with Indra at their head, together with all the Rakshasas, O Partha, and the Asuras, the Uragas and human beings. Knowing me, thy brother, to be such, O bull among men, it behoveth thee not, O thou of immeasurable prowess, to entertain any fear about Drona's son. Or, O Vibhatsu, stand thou here, with all these bulls amongst men. Alone and unsupported, I shall, armed with my mace, vanquish this one in great battle.' After Bhima had ended, the son of the Panchala king, addressing Partha, said these words, like Hiranyakasipu (the leader of the Daityas) unto the enraged and roaring Vishnu, 1 'O Vibhatsu, the sages have ordained these to be the duties of Brahmanas, viz., assisting at sacrifices, teaching, giving away, performance of sacrifices, receiving of gifts, and study as the sixth. To which of these six was that Drona devoted who has been stain by me? Fallen off from the duties of his own order and practising those of the Kshatriya order, that achiever of wicked deeds used to stay us by means of superhuman weapons. Professing himself to be a Brahmana, he was in the habit of using irresistible illusion. By an illusion itself hath he been slain today. O Partha, what is there that is improper in this? Drona having been thus punished by me, if his son, from rage, uttereth loud roars, what do you lose by that? I do not think it at all wonderful that Drona's son, urging the Kauravas to battle, will cause them to be slain, unable to protect them himself. Thou art acquainted with morality. Why then dost thou say that I am a slayer of my preceptor? It was for this that I was born as a son to the king of the Panchalas, having sprung from the (sacrificial) fire. How, O Dhananjaya, you call him a Brahmana or Kshatriya, with whom, while engaged in battle, all acts, proper and improper, were the same? O foremost of men, why should not he be slain, by any means in our power, who, deprived of his senses in wrath, used to slay with the Brahma weapons even those that were unacquainted with weapons? He that is unrighteous is said by those that are righteous to be equal to poison. Knowing this,
[paragraph continues] O thou that art well versed with the truths of morality, why dost thou, O Arjuna, reproach me? That cruel car-warrior was seized and slain by me. I have done nothing that is worthy of reproach. Why then, O Vibhatsu, dost thou not congratulate me? O Partha, I have cut off that terrible head, like unto the blazing sun or virulent poison or the all-destroying Yuga fire, of Drona. Why then dost thou not applaud an act that is worthy of applause? He had slain in battle only my kinsmen and not those of any one else. I say that having only cut off his head, the fever of my heart hath not abated. The very core of my heart is being pierced for my not having thrown that head within the dominion of the Nishadas, like that of Jayadratha! 1 It hath been heard, O Arjuna, that one incurreth sin by not slaying his foes. Even this is the duty of a Kshatriya, viz., to slay or be slain. Drona was my foe. He hath been righteously slain by me in battle, O son of Pandu, even as thou hast slain the brave Bhagadatta, thy friend. Having slain thy grandsire in battle, thou regardest that act to be righteous. Why then shouldst thou regard it unrighteous in me for my having slain my wretched foe? In consequence of our relationship, O Partha, I cannot raise my head in thy presence and am like a prostrate elephant with a ladder against his body (for helping puny creatures to get on his back). It, therefore, behoveth thee not to reproach me. I forgive all the faults of thy speech, O Arjuna, for the sake of Draupadi and Draupadi's children and not for any other reason. It is well known that my hostility with the preceptor has descended from sire to son. All persons in this world know it. Ye sons of Pandu, are ye not acquainted with it? The eldest son of Pandu hath not been untruthful in speech. I myself, O Arjuna, am not sinful. The wretched Drona was a hater of his disciples. Fight now. Victory will be thine.'"
463:1 I expand the original to make the sense clear.
464:1 The first line of the 23rd verse in the Bengal editions, is made the second line of that verse in the Bombay text. There seems to be a mistake, however, in both the texts. Vishnu slew Hiranyakasipu without allowing, the latter to say anything unto him. Vide Vishnu Purana, if instead of Hiranyakasipu Harim, the rendering be Hiranyakasipu Haris, the line may then be connected with Bhima's speech, and the comparison would become more apposite.
465:1 The Nishadas were and to this day are the lowest caste in India.