Chapter 47 - Promise Fulfilled
THE chariot of Arjuna thundered on its way, seeming to shake the earth. The hearts of the Kauravas quaked when they heard the twang of the Gandiva bow.
"Our army must be arrayed well and with care. Arjuna, has come," said Drona anxiously. Duryodhana did not at all like the honor Drona did Arjuna by this anxiety.
He said to Karna: "The Pandavas' pledge was that they would spend twelve years in the forest and the following year undiscovered. The thirteenth year has not ended yet. Arjuna has revealed himself before the time. Why then should we give way to fear? The Pandavas will have to go again to the forest for another twelve years. Drona is suffering from the cold feet of the too learned. Let us leave him in the rear and advance to the battle."
Karna assented and said: "Our soldiers' heart is not in the fight and they are trembling with fear. They say that the man, who stands so proudly, bow in hand, on the chariot, speeding towards us, is Arjuna. But why need we fear even if it were Parasurama? I will myself stop the advancing warrior and redeem my word to you, and fight him, aye, even if all the others stand back. They may drive away the cows of the Matsya king while, single handed, I shall give them cover, engaging Arjuna in battle," and Karna, as usual, began to blow his own trumpet.
When Kripa heard these words of Karna, he said: "This is pure tomfoolery. We must all make a combined attack on Arjuna. That would be our one chance of success. Do not therefore, brag about your opposing him alone and unaided."
Karna grew angry. He said: "The acharya ever delights in singing Arjuna's praises and in magnifying his prowess. Whether he does so from fear or excessive fondness for the Pandavas, I do not know. Those, who are afraid, need not fight, but may simply look on, while others, who are true to the salt they have eaten, engage in battle. I, for one, a mere soldier who loves my friends and hates my enemies, will stand here and fight. What business have men learned in the Vedas, who love and praise their enemies, got here?" said he sneeringly.
Aswatthama, Drona's son and Kripa's nephew, could not hear unmoved this sneer at the venerable teachers. He said sternly to Karna: "We have not yet taken the king back to Hastinapura, and the battle is yet to be won. Your brag is idle vainglory. It may be that we are not kshatriyas and that we belong to the class that recites the Vedas and the sastras. But I have not been able to find in any sastra that it is honor able for kings to seize kingdoms by cheating at dice. Even those, who fight and conquer kingdoms, do not crow too loudly about it. And I cannot see what you have done to be proud of. The fire is silent and yet cooks the food. The sun shines but not on him. Likewise, Mother earth sustains all things, movable and immovable, and supports her burden without so much as a whisper. What claim to praise has a kshatriya who has unlawfully seized another's kingdom at a game of dice? To have cheated the Pandavas of their kingdom is no more a matter of glory than to have spread traps for unsuspecting birds. O Duryodhana, O Karna, in what battle did your heroes defeat the Pandavas? You dragged Draupadi to the assembly. Are you proud of it? You have destroyed the Kaurava race like an empty-headed clod that fells a big sandal tree for love of its fragrance. A fight with Arjuna, you will find, is a very different thing from a throw of the dice. The Gandiva will send forth sharp arrows and not fours and twos as in the game of dice. Vain fools, do you think that Sakuni can, by mere cheating, sneak a victory in battle for you?"
The leaders of the Kaurava army lost their patience and began a loud wordy warfare. Seeing this, the grandsire was filled with sorrow and said:
"The wise man does not insult his teachers. One should engage in battle only after a careful calculation of time, place and circumstance. Even wise people often lose their balance and good sense over their own affairs. Ruffled by anger, even the usually so sensible Duryodhana fails to recognise that the warrior who stands braving our army is Arjuna. His intellect has been clouded by anger. O Aswatthama, pray do not mind Karna's offensive remarks. You must take them as intended merely to put the preceptors on their best spirit and sting them into action. This is not the time to nurse enmity or sow dissension. Drona, Kripa and Aswatthama should forget and forgive. Where can the Kauravas find in the whole world, heroes superior to Drona, the preceptor, and his son Aswatthama, who combine in themselves Vedic scholarship and kshatriya heroism? We know of none other than Parasurama who can equal Drona. We can conquer Arjuna only if we all join together and fight him. Let us address ourselves to the task before us. If we quarrel amongst ourselves we cannot fight Arjuna."
Thus spoke the grandsire. Soothed by his noble words, angry feelings subsided. Bhishma turned to Duryodhana and continued:
"Best of kings, Arjuna has come. The stipulated period of thirteen years terminated yesterday. Your calculation is wrong, as men learned in the science of planetary movements will tell you. I knew that the period had ended when Arjuna blew his conch. Reflect a little before deciding on war. If you wish to make peace with the Pandavas, now is the time for it. What do you seek, a just and honorable peace or a mutually destructive war? Ponder well and make your choice."
Duryodhana replied: "Revered sire, I have no wish for peace. I shall not give even a village to the Pandavas. Let us get ready for war."
Then Drona said: "Let prince Duryodhana take away a fourth of the army to guard him and return to Hastinapura. Let another surround the cows and seize them. If we return without seizing the cows it would amount to an acknowledgment of defeat. With the rest of the army, the five of us will give battle to Arjuna."
The Kaurava forces ranged themselves accordingly in battle array. Arjuna said: "O Uttara, I do not see Duryodhana's chariot or Duryodhana. I see Bhishma standing, clad in armor. I think Duryodhana is driving away the cows to Hastinapura. Let us pursue him and recover the cows." With these words Arjuna moved away from the Kaurava army and went after Duryodhana and the cows.
And as he was going, he respect fully greeted his teachers and the old grandsire, by drawing his Gandiva bow and sending arrows so as to fall near their feet.
Reverently saluting them in this heroic fashion, he left them and pursued Duryodhana. Arjuna reached the place where the cows were gathered and put to rout the marauding forces.
He then turned to the cowherds and asked them to take the cows to the barns, which they did with great rejoicing. Arjuna then pursued Duryodhana. Seeing this, Bhishma and the other Kaurava warriors rushed to the rescue and, surrounding Arjuna, sent forth arrows against him.
Arjuna carried on a wonderful fight. First, he made at Karna and drove him from the battlefield. After that, he attacked and defeated Drona. Seeing Drona standing spent with fatigue, Aswatthama joined in the fight and attacked Arjuna, which gave Arjuna an opportunity of letting Drona withdraw from the field.
Then, there ensued a bitter struggle between Aswatthama and Arjuna. When Aswatthama grew weary, Kripa relieved him and maintained the attack against Arjuna.
But Kripa also sustained defeat and the whole army was routed and fled in fear. Though rallied and brought back to the attack by Bhishma, Drona and others, there was no fight left in them. Finally, they left the field, after a glorious fight between Bhishma and Arjuna, which, it is said, the gods themselves came to see.
The attempt to head off Arjuna�s pursuit of Duryodhana thus failed and soon Arjuna came up with Duryodhana and strongly attacked him. Duryodhana was defeated and fled from the battlefield, but not far, because, when Arjuna taunted him with cowardice, he turned round like a serpent and resumed the fight.
Bhishma and others surrounded and protected him. Arjuna fought and finally, he employed a magic weapon that made them all fall down unconscious on the battlefield. While they were in that condition he snatched away their garments. The seizure of the clothes of the enemy was the sign of decisive victory in those days.
When Duryodhana came, Bhishma sent him back to the city. The whole army returned to Hastinapura after this humiliating defeat.
Arjuna said: "O Uttara, turn back the horses. Our cows have been regained. Our enemies have fled. O prince, return to your kingdom, adorning your person with sandal paste and decked with flowers."
On the way back, Arjuna deposited the weapons as before on the tree and dressed himself once more as Brihannala. He sent messengers in advance to proclaim in the city that Uttara had won a glorious victory.
Chapter1 - Ganapati
Chapter2 - Devavrata
Chapter3 - Bhishma's Vow
Chapter4 - Amba And Bhishma
Chapter5 - Devayani And Kacha
Chapter6 - The Marriage Of Devayani
Chapter7 - Yayati
Chapter8 - Vidura
Chapter9 - Kunti Devi
Chapter10 - Death Of Pandu
Chapter11 - Bhima
Chapter12 - Karna
Chapter13 - Drona
Chapter14 - The Wax Palace
Chapter15 - The Escape Of The Pandavas
Chapter16 - The Slaying Of Bakasura
Chapter17 - Draupadi's Swayamvaram
Chapter18 - Indraprastha
Chapter19 - The Saranga Birds
Chapter20 - Jarasandha
Chapter21 - The Slaying Of Jarasandha
Chapter22 - The First Honor
Chapter23 - Sakuni Comes In
Chapter24 - The Invitation
Chapter25 - The Wager
Chapter26 - Draupadi's Grief
Chapter27 - Dhritarashtra's Anxiety
Chapter28 - Krishna's Vow
Chapter29 - Pasupata
Chapter30 - Affliction Is Nothing New
Chapter31 - Agastya
Chapter32 - Rishyasringa
Chapter33 - Fruitless Penance
Chapter34 - Yavakrida's End
Chapter35 - Mere Learning Is Not Enough
Chapter36 - Ashtavakra
Chapter37 - Bhima And Hanuman
Chapter38 - I am No Crane
Chapter39 - Wicked Are Never Satisfied
Chapter40 - Duryodhana Disgraced
Chapter41 - Sri Krishna's Hunger
Chapter42 - The Enchanted Pool
Chapter43 - Domestic Service
Chapter44 - Virtue Vindicated
Chapter45 - Matsya Defended
Chapter46 - Prince Uttara
Chapter47 - Promise Fulfilled
Chapter48 - Virata's Delusion
Chapter49 - Taking Counsel
Chapter50 - Arjuna's Charioteer
Chapter51 - Salya Against His Nephews
Chapter52 - Vritra
Chapter53 - Nahusha
Chapter54 - Sanjaya's Mission
Chapter55 - Not a Needle-Point Of Territory
Chapter56 - Krishna's Mission
Chapter57 - Attachment and Duty
Chapter58 - The Pandava Generalissimo
Chapter59 - Balarama
Chapter60 - Rukmini
Chapter61 - Non-Cooperation
Chapter62 - Krishna Teaches
Chapter63 - Yudhishthira Seeks Benediction
Chapter64 - The First Day's Battle
Chapter65 - The Second Day
Chapter66 - The Third Day's Battle
Chapter67 - The Fourth Day
Chapter68 - The Fifth Day
Chapter69 - The Sixth Day
Chapter70 - The Seventh Day
Chapter71 - The Eighth Day
Chapter72 - The Ninth Day
Chapter73 - The Passing Of Bhishma
Chapter74 - Karna and the Grandsire
Chapter75 - Drona in Command
Chapter76 - To Seize Yudhishthira Alive
Chapter77 - The Twelfth Day
Chapter78 - Brave Bhagadatta
Chapter79 - Abhimanyu
Chapter80 - The Death Of Abhimanyu
Chapter81 - A Father's Grief
Chapter82 - The Sindhu King
Chapter83 - Borrowed Armor
Chapter84 - Yudhishthira's Misgivings
Chapter85 - Yudhishthira's Fond Hope
Chapter86 - Karna And Bhima
Chapter87 - Pledge Respected
Chapter88 - Somadatta's End
Chapter89 - Jayadratha Slain
Chapter90 - Drona Passes Away
Chapter91 - The Death Of Karna
Chapter92 - Duryodhana
Chapter93 - The Pandavas Reproached
Chapter94 - Aswatthama
Chapter95 - Avenged
Chapter96 - Who Can Give Solace?
Chapter97 - Yudhishthira's Anguish
Chapter98 - Yudhishthira Comforted
Chapter99 - Envy
Chapter100 - Utanga
Chapter101 - A Pound Of Flour
Chapter102 - Yudhishthira Rules
Chapter103 - Dhritarashtra
Chapter104 - The Passing Away Of The Three
Chapter105 - Krishna Passes Away
Chapter106 - Yudhishthira's Final Trial