Karna embarks upon a worldwide military campaign to subjugate kings and impose Duryodhana's imperial authority over them. Bringing tribute and allegiance from all the world's kings, Karna helps Duryodhana perform the Vaishnava sacrifice to please Vishnu and crown himself "Emperor of the World", as Yudhisthira did with the Rajasuya. During the Pandava`s exile Karna helped Duryodhana to be established as the World Emperor. Karna led the army in different parts of the country to conquer the kingdoms of other kings. Many kings swear allegiance to Duryodhana or chose to die in the battles. In this military adventure Karna subdued the kingdoms of Kamboja, Shaka, Kekaya, Avantya, Gandhara, Madraka, Trigarta, Tangana, Panchala, Videha, Suhma, Anga, Vanga, Nishada, Kalinga, Vatsa, ashmaka, Rishika and numerous others including Mlecchas and many forest tribes.
Digvijay Of Karna
Dig means the whole earth and Vijay means to Conquer. Thus Digvijay stands for conquering the whole earth. Only one warrior in the entire Mahabharat achieved this excellent feat. That warrior is none other than KARNA. ( Jealous Arjun fans ?)
Karna won the whole world in all 4 directions. He defeated "ALL" kings of aaryavrat in his digvijay.
● Victory over WEST direction :
"Then, O bull among the Bharatas, that mighty bowman, Karna, surrounded by a large army, besieged the beautiful city of Drupada. And he, after a hard conflict, brought the hero under subjection, and, O best of monarchs, made Drupada contribute silver and gold and gems, and also pay tribute. And, O foremost of kings, having subdued him, (Karna) brought under subjection those princes that were under him (Drupada) and made them pay tribute.
a) Drupad was the first warrior defeated by Karna in his digvijay. Point to be noted here: All Pandavas collectively defeated Drupad, while Karna did it single handedly.
b) Karna defeated drupad & all kings of west direction.
●Victory over NORTH direction :
Then going to the north, he subdued the sovereigns (of that quarter) and having effected the defeat of Bhagadatta, Radha's son ascended that mighty mountain Himavat, all along fighting his foes. And ranging all sides, he conquered and brought under subjection all the kings inhabiting the Himavat, and made them pay dues.
→ CONCLUSION :
a) In north, Karna single-handlydefeated Bhagdatta (son of Narkasur)
[ Note- In kurushetra war, when this bhagdatta launched Vaishnavastra then krishna saved Arjuna by enduring the weapon on his own chest. But In digvijay karna easily defeated him without help of anyone. LOL..This again proves Karna > Arjuna ]
b) After that he went to himalaya & gain victory over all kings of himalaya.
● Victory over EAST direction :
Then descending from the mountain and rushing to the east, he reduced the Angas, and the Bangas, and the Kalingas, and the Mandikas, and the Magadhas. the Karkakhandas; and also included with them the Avasiras, Yodhyas, and the Ahikshatras. Having (thus) conquered the eastern quarter Karna then presented himself before Batsa-bhumi. And having taken Batsa-bhumi, he reduced Kevali, and Mrittikavati, and Mohana and Patrana, and Tripura, and Kosala,--and compelled all these to pay tribute.
→ CONCLUSION :
a) In east, Karna defeated all king including Angas, bangas, kalingas, mandikas,magdhas & karkalhandas, avasiras, yodhyas & ahishastras.
b) There was Batsa-bhoomi where Rakshashas (Monsters) were living n people were irritated by them. Karna destroyed all rakshasas giving freedom to people.
c) Then Karna started to destroy all Rakshashas(monster) in east & their kingdom including Kevali, mrittikevali, mohana, patrana, Tripura & konasa.
● Victory over SOUTH direction :
Then going to the south, Karna vanquished the mighty charioteers (of that quarter) and in Dakshinatya, the Suta's son entered into conflict with Rukmi. After having fought dreadfully, Rukmi spake to the Suta's son saying, 'O foremost of monarchs, I have been pleased with thy might and prowess. I shall not do thee wrong: I have only fulfilled the vow of a Kshatriya. Gladly will I give thee as many gold coins as thou desirest.' Having met with Rukmi, Karna, repaired to Pandya and the mountain, Sri. And by fighting, he made Karala, king Nila, Venudari's son, and other best of kings living in the southern direction pay tribute. Then going to Sisupala's son, the son of the Suta defeated him and that highly powerful one also brought under his sway all the neighbouring rulers. And, O bull of the Bharata race, having subjugated the Avantis and concluded peace with them, and having met with the Vrishnis, he conquered the west. And, having come to the quarter of Varuna, he made all the Yavana and Varvara kings pay tribute.
→ CONCLUSION :
a) In south, Karna single-handly defeated Rukhmi(Brother Of Rukhamini), Pandya(enemy of krishna), nila & other all kings of south.
b) Then Karna vanquished Shishupal's son, Yavana & varvara & many other.
● Karna Conquered WHOLE EARTH :
And, having conquered the entire earth--east, west, north and south--that hero without any aid brought under subjection all the nations of the Mlechchhas, the mountaineers, the Bhadras, the Rohitakas, the Agneyas and the Malavas. And, having conquered the mighty charioteers, headed by the Nagnajitas, the Suta's son brought the Sasakasand the Yavanasunder his sway. Having thus conquered and brought under his subjection the world, the mighty charioteer and tiger among men came (back) to Hastinapura.
→ CONCLUSION :
a) After victory in all 4 directions, Karna easily won all remaining regions including Mlechecheas, bhadras, rohitakas, agneyas, malavas, sasakasand, yavanasunder & many others.
● Digvijayi karna back to hastinapur with immortal glory :
That lord of men, Dhritarashtra's son, accompanied by his father and brothers and friends, came to that mighty bowman, who had arrived, and duly paid homage unto Karna crowned with martial
merit. And the king proclaimed his feats, saying, 'What I have not received from either Bhishma, or Drona, or Kripa, or Vahlika, I have received from thee.
When arjuna got to know that Karna was his eldest brother and he knew this all along and died with his own hands, he felt deep remorse and sorrow for this fratricide. His eldest brother whom he should have respected and touched feet daily, he and his brothers always insulted and saw him with enmity. But Karna, knew that Pandavas were his brothers then he vowed to his mother he would only kill Arjuna if he can, and would leave all other brothers alone.
Vrishketu was the only left son of Karna in his 10 sons, who were all killed by Pandavas themselves. Vrishketu's mother committed sati on Karna's pyre and hence Vrishketu was all alone. He was extremely sad and was angry at the man who killed his brave father when he was nishastra(weaponless). But he was a child and couldn't do anything but lament. So, Vrishaketu went to the riverside where his father used to spend hours praying to Surya Narayan .He took a handfull of water, keeping the most admirable figure of his father in mind he did tarpan . Opening eyelids he stared at the round figure of God Sun.There were a lot of questions reflecting in his eyes. Unable to face his innocent gaze, Sun went to hide under the water. Vrishketu saw one figure approaching the riverside..It must be another person who lost everything in the war he thought.The person came near him.. Vrishaketu had never seen the person before .. He couldnt understand why the face seemed familiar to him.The stranger smiled at him. The smile… He had rarely seen his father smiling.He used to be a loving father , but strict at the same time. He recollected the moment once he saw his father at the riverside with a gloomy face, father was literally crying back then. Vrishketu told his father that he would kill all his father’s enemies and will make him smile.Father gave him a wet smile then..He felt that very strange, how this unknown person’s smile did remind him of his father’s!!
Looking deeply into his eyes the person spoke to him..” Son ,I came here searching for you..”he paused there as if struggling to get proper words to continue..”Do I know you?Your face seems very familiar to me.I thought you also came here to do tarpan for your lost relatives … Oh ,I am Sorry…why do I think that everyone are like me!!” Vrishketu looked at him eager to hear why did the person came looking for him.. ” Son ,I am also like you..I lost my relatives in the war.Including MyJyeshth Bhrata…But the only difference between us is that I had to kill him with these cursed hands and now I am doing tarpan with the same hands..It is absolutely meaningless..” The person broke down into tears..Vrishketu felt the situation very similar to that when he met his crying father at the riverside..Why this person is reminding of his father again and again.The thought was really disturbing.. “Why did you have to kill your brother ,If you were in such a situation you could have sacrificed your life for him!!I would have done that if I were there in your place..”Vrishketu felt confused.. “I would have happily sacrificed my life for him ,but I didnt knew that my son..I didnt knew that he was my brother.I am not defending myself..I have always seen him with my enemies from my childhood.. I counted him as the most dangerous enemy and spent a hell lot of time thinking only about his death..”The person fell down on his knees,tears falling down from his eyes.. Vrishketu saw the repentance in his eyes..He felt extremely sorry for the person.He put one palm on his shoulder. “Don't worry ,I don't know you or your brother..But iam pretty sure about one thing that he would forgive you..You didnt do it on purpose.”Saying that he turned away from the person and about to walk in the direction of his house..Suddenly the thought occured to him.He felt an urge to know the identity of the person.. “May I know your name?”The person stood up and placed one hand gently on Vrishketu and hugged him closely..”Forgive me my son, Your father Maharathi Karn is my Jyeshth Bhrata.” Vrishketu was shocked.His whole body was shaking.The person whom he wanted to kill ,is standing there asking for his forgiveness..He seperated himself from Arjun’s hug in a haste.He couldnt utter a single word..Giving a dark look to Arjun the child ran back to his house. There he found all Pandavas and Draupadi who came to take him to Hastinapur to live with them. Though he never wanted to come with them, but being alone he didn't had any choice. He was very estranged in the palace and only opened up to Krishna and Subhadra(whose son was killed by his father too). But avoided arjuna's gaze other than the practice sessions where arjuna taught him archery and warfare. Later on Krishna's and Subhadra's insistence and Subhadra's telling of Vrishketu that Arjuna is his father's brother and Karna lives through him and Arjuna too sees his Abhimanyu inside Vrishketu. So hearing that, he forgot all anger and after that became closest to Arjuna as his own son. He was taught the knowledge of Brahmastra too and was the last person on earth to know its use. This was the way by which Arjuna repented killing his brother by making his son a great warrior and his son. https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Vrishaketu http://www.speakingtree.in/slideshow/karna-the-unsung-hero-of-mahabharta-and-his-secrets-about-his-only-surviving-son The son of Kama's gleaming darts completely overthrew the foe's united force by
Karna matched Arjuna during the first arms competition in Hastinapura because no chariot involved.
There are many examples of this. When Duryodhana visits the forest to mock the Pandavas, both he and Karna are defeated by a Gandharva - who Arjuna has no problems with. Again, when Arjuna faces Bhishma, Drona, Karna, Kripa, Asswatthama, and Duryodhana singlehandedly, dressed as Brihannala, he defeats Karna comprehensively. http://charitybrave.blogspot.com/search/label/Daruka And finally, in the last battle between the two, Arjuna kills Karna while unarmed again because chariot immerses into earth Other Popular Charioteers
"The Danavas said, 'O Suyodhana, O great king? O perpetuator of the race of Bharata, thou art ever surrounded by heroes and illustrious men. Why hast thou, then, undertaken to do such a rash act as the vow of starvation? The suicide ever sinketh into hell and becometh the subject of calumnious speech. Nor do intelligent persons like thee ever set their hands to acts that are sinful and opposed to their best interests and striking at the very root of their purposes. Restrain this resolve of thine, therefore, O king, which is destructive of morality, profit, and happiness, of fame, prowess, and energy, and which enhanceth the joy of foes O exalted king, know the truth, the celestial origin of thy soul, and the maker of thy body, and then summon thou patience to thy aid. In days of old. O king, we have obtained thee, by ascetic austerities from Maheswara. The upper part of thy body is wholly made of an assemblage of Vajras, and is, therefore, invulnerable to weapons of every description, O sinless one. The lower part of thy body, capable of captivating the female heart by its comeliness was made of flowers by the goddess herself--the wife of Mahadeva. Thy body is thus, O best of kings, the creation of Maheswara himself and his goddess. Therefore, O tiger among kings, thou art of celestial origin, not human. Other brave Kshatriyas of mighty energy headed by Bhagadatta, and all acquainted with celestial weapons, will slay thy foes. Therefore, let this grief of thine cease. Thou hast no cause for fear. For aiding thee, many heroic Danavas have been born on the earth. Other Asuras will also possess Bhishma and Drona and Kama and others. Possessed by those Asuras, these heroes will cast away their kindness and fight with thy foes. Indeed, when the Danavas will enter their heart and possess them completely, flinging all affections to a distance, becoming hard-hearted, these warriors will strike every body opposed to them in battle without sparing sons, brothers, fathers, friends, disciples, relatives, even children and old men. Blinded by ignorance and wrath, and impelled by that destiny which hath been ordained by the Creator, these tigers among men, with hearts steeped in sin, will, O thou foremost of the Kurus, depopulate the earth by hurling and shooting all kinds of weapons, with great manliness and strength and always addressing one another boastfully with words such as these, 'Thou shall not escape from me today with life.' And these illustrious sons of Pandu also, five in number, will fight with these. And, endued with mighty strength and favoured by Fate, they will compass the destruction of these. And, O king, many Daityas and Rakshasas also that have been born in the Kshatriya order, will fight with great prowess in the battle with thy foes, using maces and clubs and lances and various weapons of a superior kind. And, O hero, with respect to the fear that is in thy heart rising from Arjuna, we have already settled the means for slaying Arjuna. The soul of the slain Naraka hath assumed the form of Karna. Recollecting his former hostility he will encounter both Kesava and Arjuna. And that mighty warrior and foremost of smiters, proud of his prowess will vanquish Arjuna in battle as also all thy enemies. The wielder of the thunder-bolt, knowing all this, and desirous of saving Arjuna, will in disguise take away from Karna his ear-rings and coat of mail. We also have for that reason appointed hundreds upon hundreds and thousands upon thousands of Daityas and Rakshasas, viz., those that are known by the name of Samsaptakas. 1 These celebrated warriors will slay the heroic Arjuna. Therefore, grieve not, O king. Thou wilt rule the whole earth, O monarch, without a rival. Do not yield to despondency. Conduct such as this does not suit thee. O thou of the Kuru race, if thou diest, our party becometh weak. Go thou, O hero, and let not thy mind be directed to any other course of action. Thou art ever our refuge as, indeed, the Pandavas are the refuge of the gods.'
Vaisampayana continued, "Having addressed him thus, those Daityas embraced that elephant among kings, and those bulls among the Danavas cheered that irrepressible one like a son. And, O Bharata, pacifying his mind by soft speech, they permitted him to depart, saying, 'Go and attain victory!' And when they had given leave to the mighty-armed one, that very goddess carried him back to the spot where he had sat down, intent upon putting an end to his life. And having set that hero down and paid him homage, the goddess vanished, taking the king's permission. O Bharata, when she had gone, king Duryodhana considered all (that had happened) as a dream. He then thought within himself, 'I shall defeat the Pandavas in battle.' And Suyodhana thought that Karna and the Samsaptaka army were both able (to destroy) and intent upon destroying that slayer of foes, Partha. Thus, O bull of the Bharata race, the hope was strengthened of the wicked minded son of Dhritarashtra, of conquering the Pandavas. And Karna also, his soul and faculties possessed by the inmost soul of Naraka, had at that time cruelly determined to slay Arjuna. And those heroes--the Samsaptakas also--having their sense possessed by the Rakshasas, and influenced by the qualities of emotion and darkness, were desirous of slaying Phalguna. And, O king, others with Bhishma, Drona, and Kripa at their head, having their faculties influenced by the Danavas, were not so affectionate towards the sons of Pandu as they had been. But king Suyodhana did not tell any one of this. "When the night passed away, Karna, that offspring of the Sun, with joined hands, smilingly addressed these wise words to king Duryodhana, 'No dead man conquereth his foes: it is when he is alive that he can see his good. Where is the good of the dead person; and, O Kauraveya, where is his victory? Therefore, this is no time for grief, or fear or death.' And having, with his arms embraced that mighty-armed one, he further said, 'Rise up, O king! Why dost thou lie down? Why dost thou grieve, O slayer of foes? Having afflicted thy enemies by thy prowess, why dost thou wish for death? Or (perhaps) fear hath possessed thee at the sight of Arjuna's prowess. I truly promise unto thee that I will slay Arjuna in battle. O lord of men, I swear by my weapon that when the three and ten years shall have passed away, I will bring the sons of Pritha under thy subjection.' Thus addressed by Karna, and remembering the words of the Daityas and supplications made by them (his brothers), Suyodhana rose up. And having heard those words of the Daityas that tiger among men, with a firm resolve in his heart arrayed his army, abounding in horses and elephants and cars and infantry. And, O monarch, immensely swarming with white umbrellas, and pennons, and white Chamaras, and cars, and elephants, and foot-soldiers, that mighty army, as it moved like the waters of the Ganga, looked graceful like the firmament, at a season when the clouds have dispersed and the signs of autumn have been but partially developed. And, O foremost of kings, eulogised like a monarch by the best of the Brahmanas blessing with victory, that lord of men Suyodhana, Dhritarashtra's son, receiving honours paid with innumerable joined palms, and flaming in exceeding splendour, went in the front, accompanied by Karna, and that gambler, the son of Suvala. And all his brothers with Dussasana at their head, and Bhurisrava, and Somadatta, and the mighty king Vahlika, followed that lion among kings on his way, with cars of various forms, and horses, and the best of elephants. And, O prime among monarchs, in a short time, those perpetuators of the Kuru race entered their own city."
Once Duryodhana's wife Bhanumathi and Karna were playing a game of dice. As the game progressed, it was evident that Karna was winning and Bhanumathi was losing. Just then Duryodhana entered his queen's chamber. Karna had his back to the door while Bhanumathi was facing it. Seeing her husband coming, she was about to stand up. As she was just rising, Karna, thinking that she was trying to get away, snatched at her drape, studded with pearls.
The thread snapped
Tugged at by Karna's powerful hands, the thread snapped and all the pearls rolled on the floor. Queen Bhanumathi was stunned and did not know what to say or do. She was afraid that, for no fault of hers, she would be misunderstood by her husband because of Karna's offensive and insensitive behavior. Seeing her shocked state and sensing that something was wrong, Karna turned round and saw his friend Duryodhana. He was also deeply shocked and distressed beyond words.
A strong bond
Here he was, in the royal chamber, playing a game of dice with his friend's wife and, as if this was not enough, he had the audacity to catch her clothes, thus embarrassing and endangering her chaste reputation. He stood dumbfounded and transfixed. As both Bhanumathi and Karna look down sheepishly, unable to meet Duryodhana's eyes, the Kaurava scion only asks, "Should I just collect the beads, or string them as well."
Karna was lying on the battlefield gasping for breath in his last moments. Krishna assumed the form of an indigent Brahmin and approached him wanting to test his generosity. Krishna exclaimed: "Karna! Karna!" Karna asked him: "Who are you, Sir?" Krishna (as the poor Brahmin) replied: "For a long time I have been hearing about your reputation as a charitable person. Today I came to ask you for a gift." "Certainly, I shall give you whatever you want", replied Karna.
Krishna asks for gold
"I want a small quantity of gold", said Krishna. Karna opened his mouth, showed the gold fillings for his teeth and said: "I shall give this to you. You can take them". Assuming a tone of revulsion, Krishna said: “Do you expect me to break your teeth and take the gold from them? How can I do such a wicked deed?” Karna picked up a stone, knocked out his teeth and offered them to the "Brahmin".
A step further
Krishna in his guise as Brahmin wanted to test Karna further. "What? Are you giving me as gift teeth dripping with blood? I cannot accept this. I am leaving", he said. Karna pleaded: "Swami, please wait." Even while he was unable to move, Karna took out his arrow and aimed it at the sky. Immediately rain dropped from the clouds. Cleaning the teeth with the rainwater, Karna offered the teeth with both his hands.
Krishna reveals himself
Karna asked: "Who are you, Sir"? Krishna said: "I am Krishna. I admire your spirit of sacrifice. In any circumstance you have never given up your spirit of sacrifice. Ask me what you want." Beholding Krishna's beauteous form, Karna said with folded hands: "Krishna! To have the vision of the Lord before one's passing is the goal of human existence. You came to me and blessed me with your form. This is enough for me. I offer my salutations to you."
king Yudhishthira, with tearful eyes and heart agitated by grief,
said these words,
'In consequence of thyself having concealed thy
counsels, this great affliction has overtaken me!' Possessed of great
energy, the righteous king, then, in sorrow, cursed all the women of the world, saying,
'Henceforth no woman shall succeed in
keeping a secret.'
The king, then, recollecting his sons and grandsons
and kinsmen and friends, became filled with anxiety and grief. Afflicted
with sorrow, the intelligent king, resembling a fire covered with
smoke, became overwhelmed with despair."
O Karna, how our army, exceedingly afflicted by the Pandavas, though thou art here, is flying away from battle! Knowing this, O thou of mighty arms, do that which is suited to the hour,
O chastiser of foes! Thousands of (our) warriors, routed by the Pandavas, are O hero, calling after thee only,
O best of men!"
Hearing these grave words of Duryodhana, the son of Radha, as if smiling, said these words unto the ruler of the Madras,
"Behold the prowess of my arms and the energy of my weapons, O ruler of men! Today I will slay all the Pancalas and the Pandavas in battle! Cause the steeds to proceed with my car, O tiger among men! Without doubt, everything will be as I have said!"
Having said these words, the Suta's son of great valour, that hero, taking up his ancient and foremost of bows called Vijaya, stringed it and rubbed the string repeatedly. Bidding the troops stay on the field after having assured them upon his truth and by an oath, the mighty Karna of immeasurable soul fixed on his bow-string the weapon known by the name of Bhargava.
From that weapon flowed, O king, millions and millions of keen arrows in that great battle. Entirely shrouded with those blazing and terrible arrows winged with feathers of Kankas and peacocks, the Pandava army could not see anything. Loud wails of woe arose from among the Pancalas, O king, afflicted, in that battle, with the mighty Bhargava weapon. In consequence then of elephants, O king, and steeds, by thousands, and cars, O monarch, and men, falling on all sides, deprived of life, the Earth began to tremble. The vast force of the Pandavas became agitated from one extremity to another. Meanwhile Karna, that scorcher of foes, that foremost of warriors, that tiger among men, while consuming his foes, looked resplendent like a smokeless fire.
Thus slaughtered by Karna, the Pancalas and the Cedis began to lose their senses all over the field like elephants during the conflagration in a forest. Those foremost of men, O tiger among men, uttered loud roars like those of the tiger. Loud became the wails of woe, like those of living creatures at the universal dissolution that were uttered by those crying combatants struck with panic and running wildly on all sides, O king, of the field of battle and trembling with fear.
Beholding them thus slaughtered, O sire, by the Suta's son, all creatures, even beasts and birds, were filled with fear. The Srinjayas then, thus slaughtered in battle by the Suta's son, repeatedly called upon Arjuna and Vasudeva like the spirits of the dead within Yama's dominions calling upon Yama to rescue them. Hearing those wails of the troops slaughtered with Karna's shafts, and beholding the terrible bhargava weapon invoked into existence
Kunti's son Dhananjaya said unto Vasudeva these words,
"Behold, O Krishna of mighty arms, the prowess of the bhargavaweapon! It cannot, by any means, be baffled! Behold the Suta's son also, O Krishna, filled with rage in this great battle and resembling the Destroyer himself, in prowess and employed in achieving such a fierce feat! Urging his steeds incessantly, he is repeatedly casting angry glances upon me! I will never be able to fly away from Karna in battle! The person that is living, may, in battle, meet with either victory or defeat. To the man, however, that is dead, O Hrishikesha, even death is victory. How can defeat be his that is dead?"
Karna was a suitor for Draupadi at her Swayamvara, attempting to win her for Duryodhana. Unlike most other contenders, he was easily able to wield and string the bow, but Draupadi refused to allow him to take part, rejecting him for being a "suta-putra".The entire kings and the assembled people insulted Karna for his low birth; only Duryodhana supported and argued for Karna, saying
Warriors have no source.
They are made great, not born great. Having escaped Varnavat, the Pandavas were also present in the swayamvara, disguised as Brahmins. Following the failure of the other princes, Arjuna stepped into the ring and successfully hit the target, winning Draupadi's hand. The assembled kings in the Swayamvara argued that a Brahmin was ineligible and they took their weapons and attacked the disguised Arjuna. Arjuna fought with all the assembled kings and defeated them with ease.
Karna entered the battle to protect his friend Duryodhana; a terrible battle was fought between Karna and Arjuna, but Arjuna recognized Karna and the two Maharathis fought each other. The battle was so intense that sky was filled with arrows and visibility was lost in the cloud of arrows. With both archers not gaining upper hand, they turned to use celestial weapons. With the battle deadlocked,
News came to Karna that his nine-year-old son Sudama (not to be confused with the more well-known Sudama, Krishna's childhood friend) was dying. Karna praised the skill of the Brahmin and compared it with the skill of Drona or Bhishma. Not being interested in committing Brahmahatya, Karna withdrew from the fight and rushed to his son. It was then revealed that Sudama was hit by an arrow sent by the Brahmin warrior when fighting earlier with the other kings. The bystander Sudama died.
When Arjuna's identity was later revealed, Karna's feelings of hostile rivalry with him further intensified and he swore to kill Arjuna and his family.
Later Karna avenges this by making abimanyu the child of arjuna unarmed from behind
'Hear, O king, with attention, how that great carnage of the Kurus and the Pandavas occurred when they encountered each other.
After the Suta's son had been slain by the illustrious son of Pandu, and after thy troops had been repeatedly rallied and had repeatedly fled away, and after a terrible carnage had taken place, O foremost of men, of human beings in battle subsequent to Karna's death, Partha began to utter leonine roars. At that time a great fear entered the hearts of thy sons. Indeed, after Karna's death, there was no warrior in thy army who could set his heart upon rallying the troops or displaying his prowess. They then looked like ship-wrecked merchants on the fathomless ocean without a raft to save themselves. When their protector was slain by the diadem-decked Arjuna, they were like persons on the wide sea desirous of reaching some shore of safety. Indeed, O king, after the slaughter of the Suta's son, thy troops, struck with panic and mangled with arrows, were like unprotected men desirous of a protector or like a herd of deer afflicted by a lion. Vanquished by Savyasaci, they retired in the evening like bulls with broken horns or snakes shorn of their fangs. Their foremost of heroes slain, themselves thrown into confusion and mangled with keen arrows, thy sons, O king, upon the slaughter of the Suta's son, fled away in fear. Deprived of weapons and coats of mail, all of them lost their senses and knew not in which direction to fly. Casting their eyes on all sides in fear, many of them began to slaughter one another. Many fell down or became pale, thinking, "It is me whom Vibhatsu is pursuing!" "It is me whom Vrikodara is pursuing!" Some riding on fleet steeds, some on fleet cars, and some on fleet elephants, many great car-warriors fled away from fear, abandoning the foot-soldiers. Cars were broken by elephants, horsemen were crushed by great car-warriors, and bands of foot-soldiers were smashed and slain by bodies of horses as these fled away from the field. After the fall of the Suta's son, thy troops became like stragglers from a caravan in a forest abounding with robbers and beasts of prey. Some elephants whose riders had been slain, and others whose trunks had been cut off, afflicted with fear, beheld the whole world to be full of Partha. Beholding his troops flying away afflicted with the fear of Bhimasena Duryodhana then, with cries of "Oh!" and "Alas!" addressed his driver, saying, "If I take up my post at the rear of the army, armed with my bow, Partha then will never be able to transgress me. Urge the steeds, therefore, with speed. When I will put forth my valour in battle, Dhananjaya the son of Kunti will not venture to transgress me like the ocean never venturing to transgress its continents. Today, slaying Arjuna with Govinda, and the proud Vrikodara, and the rest of my foes, I will free myself from the debt I owe to Karna."
"Sanjaya said, 'I will describe to thee all that happened in that dreadful battle. Listen patiently to (the consequences of) thy own evil conduct. Before even the encounter, Krishna knew it in his heart that the heroic Satyaki would be vanquished by the stake-bannered (Bhurisravas). Janardana, O king, knoweth both
the past and
For this, summoning his charioteer, Daruka, he had commanded him, saying, 'Let my car be kept equipped tomorrow.' Even this had been the command of that mighty one. Neither the gods, nor the Gandharvas, nor the Yakshas, nor the Uragas, nor the Rakshasas, nor human beings, are capable of conquering the two Krishnas. The gods with the Grandsire at their head, as also the Siddhas, know the incomparable prowess of those two. Listen, however, now to the battle as it happened. Beholding Satyaki carless and Karna ready for battle Madhava blew his conch of loud blare in the Rishabha note. 1 Daruka, hearing the blare of (Kesava's) conch, understood the meaning, and soon took that car, equipped with a lofty standard of gold, to where Kesava was. With Kesava's permission, upon that car guided by Daruka, and which resembled the blazing fire or the sun in effulgence, ascended the grandson of Sini. Ascending upon the car which resembled a celestial vehicle and unto which were yoked those foremost of steeds, capable of going everywhere at will, viz., Saivya and Sugriva and Meghapushya and Valahaka, and which were adorned with trappings of gold, Satyaki rushed against the son of Radha, scattering countless shafts. The two protectors of (Arjuna's) car-wheels, viz., Yudhamanyu and Uttamaujas, abandoning Dhananjaya's car, proceeded against the son of Radha. Radha's son also, O king, shooting showers of shafts, angrily rushed, in that battle, against the invincible grandson of Sini. The battle that took place between them was such that its like had never been heard to have taken place on earth or in heaven between gods, Gandharvas, Asuras, Uragas, or Rakshasas. The entire host consisting of cars, steeds, men, and elephants, abstained from the fight, Beholding, O monarch, the stunning feats of two warriors. All became silent spectators of that superhuman battle between those two human heroes, O king, and of the skill of Daruka in guiding the car. Indeed, beholding the skill of the charioteer Daruka standing on the car, as he guided the vehicle forwards, backwards, sidelong, now wheeling in circles and now stopping outright, all were amazed. The gods, the Gandharvas, and the Danavas, in the welkin, intently watched that battle between Karna and the grandson of Sini. Both of them endued with great might, each challenging the other, those two warriors put forth their prowess for the sake of their friends. Karna who looked like a celestial, and Yuyudhana, O king, rained upon each other showers of shafts. Indeed, Karna ground the grandson of Sini with his arrowy downpours, unable to put up with the slaughter (by Satyaki) of the Kuru hero, Jalasandha. Filled with grief and sighing like a mighty snake, Karna, casting angry glances on the grandson of Sini in that battle, and as if burning him therewith, rushed at him furiously again and again, O Chastiser of foes! Beholding him filled with rage, Satyaki pierced him in return, shooting dense showers of arrows, like an elephant piercing (with his tusks) a rival elephant. Those two tigers among men, endued with the activity of tigers and possessed of incomparable prowess, mangled each other furiously in that battle. The grandson of Sini, then, with shafts made entirely of iron, repeatedly pierced Karna, that chastiser of foes, in all his limbs. And he also felled, with a broad-headed arrow, the charioteer of Karna from his niche in the car. And with his keen shafts, he slew the four steeds, white in hue, of Adhiratha's son. And then cutting into a hundred fragments the standard of Karna with a hundred arrows, that bull among men made Karna carless in the very sight of thy son. Then all thy warriors, O king, became cheerless. Then Vrishasena, the son of Karna, and Salya, the ruler of the Madras, and Drona's son, encompassed the grandson of Sini from all sides. Then a confusion set in, and nothing could be seen. Indeed, when the heroic Karna was made carless by Satyaki, cries of Oh and Alas arose, among all thy troops. Karna also, O king, pierced by Satwata with his arrows and exceedingly weakened ascended the car of Duryodhana, sighing deeply, remembering his friendship for thy son from his childhood and having striven to realise the promise he had made about the bestowal of sovereignty on Duryodhana. After Karna hath been made carless, thy brave sons, headed by Duhsasana, O king, were not slain by the self-restrained Satyaki because the latter wished not to falsify the vow made by Bhimasena. Desirous also of not falsifying the vow formerly made by Partha (about the slaughter of Karna), Satyaki simply made those warriors carless and weakened them exceedingly, but did not deprive them of life. It is Bhima that hath vowed the slaughter of thy sons, and it is Partha that, at the time of the second match at dice, vowed the slaughter of Karna. Although all those warriors headed by Karna made strong efforts for slaying Satyaki, yet those foremost of car-warriors, failed to slay him. Drona's son and Kritavarman and other mighty car-warriors, as also hundreds of foremost Kshatriyas, were all vanquished by Satyaki with only one bow. That hero fought, desirous of benefiting king Yudhishthira the Just, and of attaining to heaven. Indeed, Satyaki, that crusher of foes, is equal to either of the two Krishnas in energy. Smiling the while, he vanquished all thy troops, O best of men! In this world, there are only three mighty bowmen, viz., Krishna, Partha, and Satyaki. There is no fourth to be seen.'
"Dhritarashtra said, 'Ascending on the invincible car of Vasudeva that had Daruka for its driver, Satyaki, proud of the might of his arms and equal in battle unto Vasudeva himself, made Karna carless. Did Satyaki ride any other car (after his encounter with Karna was over)? I am desirous of hearing this, O Sanjaya! Thou art skilled in narration. I regard Satyaki to be endued with unbearable prowess. Tell me all, O Sanjaya!'
"Sanjaya said, 'Hear, O king, how it had happened. The intelligent younger brother of Daruka soon brought unto Satyaki another car, duly equipped with all necessaries. With shafts attached to it by chains of iron and gold and bands of silk, decked with a thousand stars, decked with banners and with the figure of a lion on his standard, with horses, fleet as the wind and adorned with trappings of gold, yoked unto it, and with rattle deep as the roar of the clouds, that car was brought unto him. Ascending upon it, the grandson of Sini rushed against thy troops. Daruka, meanwhile, went as he listed to Kesava's side. A new cat was brought for Karna also, O king, unto which were yoked four steeds of the best breed that were decked in trappings of gold and white as conchs or milk. Its kaksha and standard were made of gold. Furnished with banners and machines, that foremost of cars had an excellent driver. And it was furnished with a profusion of weapons of every kind. Mounting on that car, Karna also rushed against his foes. I have now told thee all that thou hadst asked me. Once more, however, O king, learn the (extent of the) destruction caused by the evil policy. Thirty one of thy sons have been slain by Bhimasena. Having Durmukha for their foremost, they were conversant with all modes of warfare. Satyaki and Arjuna also have slain hundreds of heroes with Bhimasena as their foremost, and Bhagadatta also, O sire! Even thus, O king, hath the destruction commenced, caused by thy evil counsels.'
'In this connection is cited an old history, viz.,
the discourse that Vrihaspati, asked by Indra, delivered unto him.
'Contentment is the highest heaven, contentment is the
highest bliss. There is nothing higher than contentment. Contentment
stands as the highest.
When one draws away all his desires like a
tortoise drawing in all it limbs, then the natural resplendence of his
soul soon manifests itself. When one does not fear any creature, nor any
creature is frightened at one, when one conquers one's desire and
aversion, then is one said to behold one's soul. When one, indeed, in
word and thought, seeks to injure nobody and cherishes no desire, one is
said to attain to Brahma. Thus, O son of Kunti, whatever
religion is followed by creatures, they obtain corresponding fruits.
Awaken thyself by this consideration, O Bharata!
Some praise Peacefulness,
some praise Exertion;
some there are that
praise Contemplation; and
some praise both Peacefulness and Exertion.
Some praise sacrifice; others, renunciation.
Some praise gifts; others,
Some, abandoning everything, live in silent meditation.
Some praise sovereignty and the cherishing, of subjects, after slaving,
cutting and piercing (foes).
Some are for passing their days in
Observing all this, the conclusion of the learned is that
that religion which consists in not injuring any creature is worthy of
the approbation of the righteous.
Abstention from injury,
offspring) upon one's own wives,
practice of these is the best of a religions as said by the self-create
Therefore, O son of Kunti, do thou observe this religion
with care. That Kshatriya,
who, conversant with the truths or royal
takes sovereignty upon himself,
restraining his soul at all
equally regarding that which is dear and
that which is not, and
subsisting upon the remains of sacrificial feasts,
who is engaged in
restraining the wicked and
cherishing the righteous,
who obliges his
subjects to tread in the path of virtue and
who himself treads in that
who at last transmits his crown to his son and
betakes himself to
there to live on the products of the wilderness and
according to the ordinances or the Vedas after having cast off all
that Kshatriya who conducts himself thus, conforming in
everything to the well-known duties of kings, is sure to obtain
excellent fruits in both
this world and
emancipation, of which thou speakest, is exceedingly difficult to
obtain, and its pursuit is attended with many impediments. They that
adopt such duties and practise charity and ascetic penances, that are possessed of the quality of
compassion and are freed from desire and wrath, that are engaged in
ruling their subjects with righteousness and fighting for the sake of
kine and Brahmanas, attain hereafter to a high end. For the Rudras with
the Vasus and the Adityas, O scorcher of foes, and the Sadhyas and hosts
of kings adopt this religion. Practising without heedlessness the
duties inculcated by that religion, they attain to heaven through those
acts of theirs.'"
'I am conversant with both the Vedas and the scriptures that lead to the attainment of Brahma. In the Vedas there are precepts of both kinds, viz.,
those that inculcate action and
those that inculcate renouncement of
are confounding and
their conclusions are based
The truth, however, that is in the Mantras, is duly
known to me.
Thou art conversant only
with weapons and
observant of the
practices of heroes.
Thou art unable to understand truly the sense of
If thou wert really acquainted with duty, then thou
couldst have understood that words such as these ought not to have been
addressed to me by even one possessed of the clearest insight into the
meaning of the scriptures and
acquainted with the truths of religion.
That, however, which thou hast said unto me, induced by fraternal
affection, has been
O son of Kunti! I am, for that,
pleased with thee, O Arjuna! There is no one equal to thee in the three
all duties connected with battle and
in skill in respect of
diverse kinds of acts.
Thou mayst, therefore, speak of the subtleties
connected with those subjects,--subtleties, that is, that are
impenetrable by others.
It behoveth thee not, however, O Dhananjaya, to
doubt my intelligence. Thou art conversant with the science of battle,
thou hast never waited upon the aged.
Thou knowest not the
conclusions arrived at by those that have studied the subject in
Even this is the conclusion of intelligent men whose
understanding are bent on achieving salvation, viz., that amongst
knowledge of Brahma,
the second is superior to the first, and the third is superior to the second. This, however, that thou thinkest, viz.,
that there is nothing superior to wealth, is an error. I will convince
thee of it, so that wealth may not again appear to thee in that light.
All men that are righteous are seen to be devoted to ascetic penances
and the study of the Vedas. The Rishis also, that have many
eternal regions for them, have the merit of penances. Others possessed
of tranquillity of soul, having no enemies, and dwelling in the woods,
have, through penances and study of the Vedas, proceeded to heaven.
Pious men, by restraining desire for worldly possessions, and casting
off that darkness which is born of folly, proceed northward (i.e.,
by luminous paths) to the regions reserved for practisers of
renunciation. The path that lies to the south and that leads to regions
of light (i.e., lunar regions), are reserved for men devoted to
action. These are attained by persons subject to birth and death. That
end, however, which persons desirous of salvation have before their
eyes, is indescribable. Yoga is the best means for attaining to
it. It is not easy to explain it (to thee). Those that are learned live,
reflecting on the scriptures from desire of finding what is unreal.
They are, however, often led away to this and to that in the belief that
the object of their search exists in this and that. Having mastered,
however, the Vedas, the Aranyakas, and the other scriptures, they
miss the real, like men failing to find solid timber in an uprooted
banana plant. Some there are who., disbelieving in its unity, regard the
Soul, that dwells in this physical frame consisting of the five elements, to be possessed of the attributes of desire and aversion (and others).
Incapable of being seen by the eye, exceedingly subtle, and
inexpressible by words, it revolves in a round (of re-births) among the
creatures of the earth, keeping before it that which is the root of
action. Having made the Soul advance towards itself which is the spring of
every kind of blessedness, having restrained all desires of the mind,
and having cast off all kinds of action, one may become perfectly
independent and happy. When there is such a path that is trod by the
righteous and that is attainable by Knowledge, why,
O Arjuna, dost thou
applaud wealth which is full of every kind of calamity? Men of olden
times that were conversant with the scriptures,
O Bharata,--men that
were always engaged in gifts and sacrifice and action, were of this
O Bharata! There are some fools who, accomplished in the
science of argumentation, deny the existence of the Soul, in consequence
of the strength of their convictions of a previous life. It is very
difficult to make them accept this truth about final emancipation. Those wicked men, though possessed of great learning, travel all over
the earth, making speeches in assemblies, and deprecating the true
doctrine about emancipation. O Partha, who else will succeed in
understanding that which we do not understand?' Indeed, (as those men
cannot understand the true meaning of the scriptures), similarly they
cannot succeed in knowing those wise and pious persons that are truly
great and that have deep acquaintance with the scriptures. O son of
Kunti, men acquainted with truth obtain Brahma by asceticism and intelligence, and great happiness by renunciation.'
Janaka who was freed from the pairs of opposites, liberated from desire and enjoyments, and observant of the religion of Moksha. That verse runs thus: 'My treasures are immense, yet I have nothing! If again the whole of Mithila were burnt and reduced to ashes, nothing of mine will be burnt!' As a person on the hill-top looketh down upon men on the plain below, so he that has got up on the top of the mansion of knowledge, seeth people grieving for things that do not call for grief. He, however, that is of foolish understanding, does not see this. He who, casting his eyes on visible things, really seeth them, is said to have eyes and understanding. The faculty called understanding is so called because of the knowledge and comprehension it gives of unknown and incomprehensible things. He who is acquainted with the words of persons that are learned, that are of cleansed souls, and that have attained to a state of Brahma, succeeds in obtaining great honours. When one seeth creatures of infinite diversity to be all one and the same and to be but diversified emanations from the same essence, one is then said to have attained Brahma. 5 Those who reach this high state of culture attain to that supreme and blissful end, and not they who are without knowledge, or they who are of little and narrow souls, or they who are bereft of understanding, or they who are without penances. Indeed, everything rests on the (cultivated) understanding!'"
"When Yudhishthira, after saying these words, became silent, Arjuna,
afflicted by that speech of the king, and burning with sorrow and grief,
once more addressed his eldest brother, saying, 'People recite this old
history, O Bharata, about the discourse between the ruler of the
Videhas and his queen. That history has reference to the words which the
grief-stricken spouse of the ruler of the Videhas had said to her lord
when the latter, abandoning his kingdom, had resolved to lead a life of
mendicancy. Casting off wealth and children and wives and precious
possessions of various kinds and the established path for acquiring
religious merit and fire itself. 1
King Janaka shaved his head (and assumed the garb of a mendicant). His
dear spouse beheld him deprived of wealth, installed in the observance
of the vow of mendicancy, resolved to abstain from inflicting any kind
of injury on others, free from vanity of every kind, and prepared to
subsist upon a handful of barley fallen off from the stalk and to be got
by picking the grains from crevices in the field. Approaching her lord
at a time when no one was with him, the queen, endued with great
strength of mind, fearlessly and in wrath, told him these words fraught
with reason: 'Why hast thou adopted a life of mendicancy, abandoning thy
kingdom full of wealth and corn? A handful of fallen off barley cannot
be proper for thee. Thy resolution tallies not with thy acts, since abandoning thy large kingdom thou covetest, O king, a handful of
grain! With this handful of barley, O king, wilt thou succeed in
gratifying thy guests, gods. Rishis and Pitris? This thy labour, therefore, is bootless. Alas, abandoned by all these, viz., gods, guest and Pitris,
thou leadest a life, of wandering mendicancy, O king, having cast off
all action. Thou wert, before this, the supporter of thousands of
Brahmanas versed in the three Vedas and of many more besides. How canst
thou desire to beg of them thy own food today? Abandoning thy blazing
prosperity, thou castest thy eyes around like a dog (for his food). Thy
mother hath today been made sonless by thee, and thy spouse, the
princess of Kosala, a widow. These helpless Kshatriyas, expectant of
fruit and religious merit, wait upon thee,placing all their hopes on thee. By killing those hopes of theirs, to
what regions shalt thou go, O king, especially when salvation is
doubtful and creatures are dependent on actions? 1 Sinful as thou art, thou hast neither this world nor the other, since thou wishest to live, having cast off thy wedded wife? Why, indeed, dost thou lead a life of wandering mendicancy, abstaining
from all actions, after having abandoned garlands and perfumes and
ornaments and robes of diverse kinds? Having been, as it were, a large
and sacred take unto all creatures, having been a mighty tree worthy of
adoration and granting its shelter unto all, alas, how canst thou wait
upon and worship others? If even an elephant desists from all work,
carnivorous creatures coming in packs and innumerable worms would eat it
up. What need be said of thyself that art so powerless? 3
How couldst thy heart be set on that mode of life which recommends an
earthen pot, and a triple-headed stick, and which forces one to abandon
his very clothes and which permits the acceptance of only a handful of
barley after abandonment of everything? If, again, thou sayest that
kingdom and a handful of barley are the same to thee, then why dost thou
abandon the former! If, again, a handful of barley becomes an object of
attachment with thee, then, thy original resolution (of abandoning
everything) falls to the ground, If, again, thou canst act up to thy
resolution of abandoning everything! then who am I to thee, who art thou
to me, and what can be thy grace to me?
If thou beest inclined to grace, rule then this Earth! They that are
desirous of happiness but are very poor and indigent and abandoned by
friends may adopt renunciation. But he who imitates those men by
abandoning palatial mansions and beds and vehicles and robes and
ornaments, acts improperly, indeed. One always accepts gifts made by
others; another always makes gifts. Thou knowest the difference between
the two. Who, indeed, of these two shouldst be regarded the superior? If
a gift be made to one who always accepts gifts, or to one that is
possessed of pride, that gift becomes bootless like the clarified butter
that is poured upon a forest-conflagration. As a fire, O king, never dies till it has consumed all that has been
thrown into it, even so a beggar can never be silenced tilt he receives a
donative. In this world, the food that is given by a charitable person
is the sure support of the pious. If, therefore, the king does not give
(food) where will the pious that are desirous of salvation go? They that have food (in their houses) are house-holders. Mendicants are
supported by them. Life flows from food. Therefore, the giver of food
is the giver of life. Coming out from among those that lead a domestic
mode of life, mendicants depend upon those very persons from whom they
come. Those self-restrained men, by doing this, acquire and enjoy fame
and power. One is not to be called a mendicant for his having only
renounced his possessions, or for his having only adopted a life of
dependence on eleemosynary charity. He who renounces the possessions and
pleasures of the world in a sincere frame of mind is to be regarded a
true mendicant. Unattached at heart, though attached in outward show, standing aloof
from the world, having broken all his bonds, and regarding friend and
foe equally, such a man, O king, is regarded to be emancipated! Having
shaved their heads clean and adopted the brown robe, men may be seen to
betake themselves to a life of wandering mendicancy, though bound by
various ties and though ever on the lookout for bootless wealth. They
who, casting off the three Vedas, their usual occupations, and children,
adopt a life or mendicancy by taking up the triple-headed crutch and
the brown robe, are really persons of little understanding. Without
having cast off anger and other faults, the adoption of only the brown
robe, know, O king, is due to the desire of earning the means of
sustenance. Those persons of clean-shaven heads that have set up the
banner of virtue, have this only (viz., the acquisition of
sustenance) for their object in life. Therefore, O king, keeping thy
passions under control, do thou win regions of bliss hereafter by
supporting them that are truly pious amongst men of matted locks or
clean-shaven heads, naked or clad in rags, or skins or brown robes. Who
is there that is more virtuous than he who maintains his sacred fire,
who performs sacrifices with presents of animals and Dakshina, and who practises charity day and night?'
"Arjuna continued, 'King Janaka is regarded to have been a truth-knowing person in this world. Even he, in this matter (viz.,
the ascertainment of duty) had become stupefied. Do not yield to
stupefaction! Even thus the duties of Domesticity are observed by
persons practising charity. By abstaining from injuries of all kinds, by
casting off desire and wrath, by being engaged in protecting all
creatures, by observing the excellent duty of charity, and lastly by
cherishing superiors and persons of age, we shall succeed in attaining
such regions of bliss as we like. By duly gratifying gods, guests, and
all creatures, by worshipping Brahmanas, and by truthfulness of speech,
we shall certainly attain to desirable regions of bliss.'"
"Arjuna said, 'The man armed with the rod of chastisement governs all
subjects and protects them. The rod of chastisement is awake when all
else is sleep. For this, the wise have characterised the rod of
chastisement to be Righteousness itself. The rod of chastisement
protects Righteousness and Profit. It protects also, O king! For this,
the rod of chastisement is identified with the triple objects of life.
Corn and wealth are both protected by the rod of chastisement. Knowing
this, O thou that art possessed of learning, take up the rod of
chastisement and observe the course of the world. One class of sinful
men desist from sin through fear of the rod of chastisement in the
king's bands. Another class desist from similar acts through fear of
Yama's rod, and yet another from fear of the next world. Another class
of persons desist from sinful acts through fear of society. Thus, O
king, in this world, whose course is such, everything is, dependent on
the rod of chastisement. There is a class of persons who are restrained
by only the rod of chastisement from devouring one another. If the rod
of chastisement did not protect people, they would have sunk in the
darkness of hell. The rod of chastisement (danda) has been so
named by the wise because it restrains the ungovernable and punishes the
wicked, The chastisement of Brahmanas should be by word of mouth; of
Kshatriyas, by giving them only that much of food as would suffice for
the support of life; of Vaisyas, by the imposition of fines and
forfeitures of property, while for Sudras there is no punishment. 1
For keeping men awake (to their duties) and for the protection of
property, ordinances, O king, have been established in the world, under
the name of chastisement (or punitive legislation). Thither where
chastisement, of dark complexion and red eyes, stands in an attitude of
readiness (to grapple with every offender) and the king is of righteous
vision, the subjects never forget themselves. The Brahmacharin
and the house-holder, the recluse in the forest and the religious
mendicant, all these walk in their respective ways through fear of
chastisement alone. He that is without any fear, O king, never performs a sacrifice. He that
is without fear never giveth away. The man that is without any fear
never desires to adhere to any engagement or compact. Without piercing
the vitals of others, without achieving the most difficult feats and
without staying creatures like a fisherman (slaying fish), no person can
obtain great prosperity. 1
Without slaughter, no man has been able to achieve fame in this world
or acquire wealth or subjects. Indra himself, by the slaughter of
Vritra, became the great Indra. Those amongst the gods that are
given to slaughtering others are adored much more by men. Rudra, Skanda,
Sakra, Agni, Varuna, are all slaughterers. Kala and Mrityu and Vayu and
Kuvera and Surya, the Vasus, the Maruts, the Sadhyas, and the
Viswadevas, O Bharata, are all slaughterers. Humbled by their prowess,
all people bend to those gods, but not to Brahman or Dhatri or Pushan at
any time. Only a few men that are noble of disposition adore in all
their acts those among the gods that are equally disposed towards all
creatures and that are self-restrained and peaceful. I do not behold the
creature in this world that supports life without doing any act of
injury to others. Animals live upon animals, the stronger upon the
weaker. The mongoose devours mice; the cat devours the mongoose; the dog
devours the cat; the dog again is devoured by the spotted leopard.
Behold all things again are devoured by the Destroyer when he comes!
This mobile and immobile universe is food for living creatures. This
has, been ordained by the gods. The man of knowledge, therefore, is
never stupefied at it. It behoveth thee, O great king, to become that
which thou art by birth. Foolish (Kshatriyas) alone, restraining wrath
and joy take refuge in the woods. The very ascetics cannot support their
lives without killing creatures. In water, on earth, and fruits, there
are innumerable creatures. It is not true that one does not slaughter
them. What higher duty is there than supporting one's life? 2
There are many creatures that are so minute that their existence can
only be inferred. With the failing of the eyelids alone, they are
destroyed. There are men who subduing wrath and pride betake themselves
to ascetic courses of life and leaving village and towns repair to the
woods. Arrived there, those men may be seen to be so stupefied as to
adopt the domestic mode of life once more. Others may be seen, who (in
the observance of domesticity) tilling the soil, uprooting herbs,
cutting off trees and killing birds and animals, perform sacrifices and
at last attain to heaven. O son of Kunti, I have no doubt in this that
the acts of all creatures become crowned with success only when the
policy of chastisement is properly applied. If chastisement were
abolished from the world, creatures wood soon be destroyed. Like fishes
in the water, stronger animals prey on the weaker. This truth was
formerly spoken by Brahmana himself, viz., that chastisement,
properly applied upholds creatures. Behold, the very fires, when
extinguished, blaze up again, in fright, when blown. This is due to the
fear of force or chastisement. If there were no chastisement in the
world distinguishing the good from the bad, then the whole world would
have been enveloped in utter darkness and all things would have been
confounded. Even they that are breakers of rules, that are atheists and
scoffers of the Vedas, afflicted by chastisement, soon become disposed to observe rules and restrictions. 1
Everyone in this world is kept straight by chastisement. A person
naturally pure and righteous is scarce. Yielding to the fear of
chastisement, man becomes disposed to observe rules and restraints.
Chastisement was ordained by the Creator himself for protecting religion
and profit, for the happiness of all the four orders, and for making
them righteous and modest. If chastisement could not inspire fear, then
ravens and beasts of prey would have eaten up all other animals and men
and the clarified butter intended for sacrifice. If chastisement did not
uphold and protect, then nobody would have studied the Vedas, nobody
would have milked a milch cow, and no maiden would have married. 2
If chastisement did not uphold and protect, then ravage and confusion
would have set in on every side, and all barriers would have been swept
away, and the idea of property would have disappeared. If chastisement
did not uphold and protect, people could never duly perform annual
sacrifices with large presents. If chastisement did not uphold and
protect, no one, to whatever mode of life he might belong, would observe
the duties of that mode as declared (in the scriptures), and no one
would have succeeded in acquiring knowledge. 3
Neither camels, nor oxen, nor horses, nor mules, nor asses, would, even
if yoked thereto, drag cars and carriages, if chastisement did not
uphold and protect. Upon chastisement depend all creatures. The learned,
therefore, say that chastisement is the root of everything. Upon
chastisement rests the heaven that men desire, and upon it rests this
world also. Thither where foe-destroying chastisement is well applied,
no sin, no deception, and no wickedness, is to be seen. If the rod of
'chastisement be not uplifted, the dog will lick the sacrificial butter.
The crow also would take away the first (sacrificial) offering, if that
rod were not kept uplifted. Righteously or unrighteously, this kingdom
hath now become ours. Our duty now is to abandon grief. Do thou,
therefore, enjoy it and perform sacrifices. Men that are fortunate,
living with their dear wives (and children), eat good food, wear
excellent clothes, and cheerfully acquire virtue. All our acts, without
doubt, are dependent on wealth; that wealth again is dependent on
chastisement. Behold, therefore, the importance of chastisement. Duties
have been declared for only the maintenance of the relations of the
world. There are two things here, viz., abstention from injury
and injury prompted by righteous motives. Of these, two, that is
superior by which righteousness may be acquired. 4 There is no act that is wholly meritorious, nor any that is wholly wicked. Right or wrong, in all acts, something of both is seen.
Subjecting animals to castration, their horns again are cut off. They
are then made to bear weights, are tethered, and chastised. In this
world that is unsubstantial and rotten with abuses and rendered painful,
O monarch, do thou practise the ancient customs of men, following the
rules and analogies cited above. Perform sacrifices, give alms, protect
thy subjects, and practise righteousness. Slay thy foes, O son of Kunti,
and protect thy friends. Let no cheerlessness be thine. O king, while
slaying foes. He that does it, O Bharata, does not incur the slightest
sin. He that takes up a weapon and slays an armed foe advancing against
him, does not incur the sin of killing a foetus, for it is the wrath of
the advancing foe that provokes the wrath of the slayer. The inner soul
of every creature is incapable
of being slain. When the soul is incapable of being slain, how then can
one be slain by another? As a person enters a new house, even so a
creature enters successive bodies. Abandoning forms that are worn out, a
creature acquires new forms. People capable of seeing the truth regard
this transformation to be death.'"
Without slaughter, no man has been able to achieve
fame in this world or
acquire wealth or subjects.
Indra himself, by the slaughter of Vritra,
became the great Indra. Those amongst the gods that are given to
slaughtering others are adored much more by men.
are all slaughterers.
the Sadhyas, and
Bharata, are all slaughterers. Humbled by their prowess, all people bend
to those gods, but not to Brahman or Dhatri or Pushan at any time. Only
a few men that are noble of disposition adore in all their acts those
among the gods that are equally disposed towards all creatures and that
are self-restrained and peaceful. I do not behold the creature in this
world that supports life without doing any act of injury to others.
Animals live upon animals,
the stronger upon the weaker.
the cat devours the mongoose;
the dog devours the cat;
dog again is devoured by the spotted leopard.
Behold all things again
are devoured by the Destroyer when he comes! This mobile and immobile
universe is food for living creatures. This has, been ordained by the
gods. The man of knowledge, therefore, is never stupefied at it. It
behoveth thee, O great king, to become that which thou art by birth.
Foolish (Kshatriyas) alone, restraining wrath and joy take refuge in the
woods. The very ascetics cannot support their lives without killing
creatures. In water, on earth, and fruits, there are innumerable
creatures. It is not true that one does not slaughter them.
They whose eldest brother becomes mad, have all to follow him in
madness. Through thy madness, O king, all the Pandavas are about to
become mad. If, O monarch, these thy brothers were in their senses, they
would then have immured thee with all unbelievers (in a prison) and
taken upon themselves the government of the earth. That person who from
dullness of intellect acts in this way never succeeds in winning
prosperity. The man that treads along the path of madness should be
subjected to medical treatment by the aid of incense and collyrium, of
drugs applied through the nose, and of other medicines. O best of the
Bharatas, I am the worst of all my sex, since I desire to live on even
though I am bereaved of my children. Thou shouldst not disregard the
words spoken by me and by these brothers of thine that are endeavouring
thus (to dissuade thee from thy purpose). Indeed, abandoning the whole
earth, thou art inviting adversity and danger to come upon thee.
'By casting off all external objects only, O Bharata,(Yudhistira)
one does not attain to success. By casting off even mental attachments,
the attainment of success is doubtful. Let that religious merit and that happiness which are his who has cast
off external objects but whose mind still internally covets them, be the
portion of our foes! On the other hand, let that religious merit and
that happiness which are his who governs the earth, having cast off all
internal attachments also, be the portion of our friends. The word mama (mine), consisting of two letters, is Death's self; white the opposite word na-mama (not mine), consisting of three letters, is eternal Brahma. Brahma
and death, O king, entering invisibly into every soul, without doubt,
cause all creatures to act. If this being, O Bharata, that is called
Soul, be not ever subject to destruction, then by destroying the bodies
of creatures one cannot be guilty of slaughter. If, on the other hand,
the soul and the body of a being are born or destroyed together, so that
when the body is destroyed the soul also is destroyed, then the way
(prescribed in the scriptures) of rites and acts would be futile.
Therefore, driving away all doubts about the immortality of the soul,
the man of intelligence should adopt that path which has been trodden by
the righteous of old and older times. The life of that king is
certainly fruitless who having acquired the entire earth with her mobile
and immobile creatures, does not enjoy her. As regards the man again
who lives in the forest upon wild fruits and roots, but whose attachment
to things of the earth has not ceased, such a one, O king, lives within
the jaws of Death. Behold, O Bharata, the hearts and the outward forms
of all creatures to be but manifestations of thy own. They that look
upon all creatures as their own selves escape from the great fear (of
Thou art my sire, thou art my protector, thou art my brother, and thou
art my senior and preceptor. It behoveth thee, therefore, to forgive
these incoherent utterances in sorrow of a woe-stricken person. True or
false, this that has been uttered by are, O lord of earth, has been
uttered from a due regard for thee, O best of Bharatas, that I
with face whose colour then resembled that of
looked at the king(Yudhistira), that foremost of all righteous persons, and
spoke these words, besieging his brother's heart (with reason).'
'The very gods had established their fires in the region called Visakha-yupa. Know, therefore, O king, that the gods themselves depend upon the fruits of action. 1 The Pitris, that support (by rain) the lives of even all disbelievers, observing the ordinances (of the Creator as declared in the Vedas), are, O king, engaged in action. Know them for downright atheists that reject the declaration of the Vedas (which inculcate action). The person that is learned in the Vedas,
by following their declarations in all his acts, attains, O Bharata, to
the highest region of heaven by the way of the deities.
This (domestic mode of life again) has been said by all persons
acquainted with Vedic truths to be superior to all the (other) modes of
life. Knowing this, O king, that the person who in sacrifices gives away
his righteously acquired wealth unto those Brahmanas that are well
conversant with the Vedas, and restrains his soul, is,
regarded as the true renouncer. He, however, who, disregarding (a life
of domesticity, that is) the source of much happiness, jumps to the next
mode of life,--that renouncer of his own self,
O monarch, is a renouncer labouring under the quality of darkness. That
man who is homeless, who roves over the world (in his mendicant
rounds), who has the foot of a tree for his shelter, who observes the
vow of taciturnity, never cooks for himself, and seeks to restrain all
the functions of his senses, is, O Partha, a renouncer in the observance
of the vow of mendicancy. That Brahmana who, disregarding
always employs his time in the study of the Vedas, is a renouncer in the observance of the vow of mendicancy.
The four different modes of life were at one time weighed in the
balance. The wise have said, O king, that when domesticity was placed on
one scale, it required the three others to be placed on the other for
balancing it. Beholding the result of this examination by scales,
Partha, and seeing further, O Bharata, that domesticity alone contained
both heaven and pleasure, that became the way of the great Rishis
and the refuge of all persons conversant with the ways of the world.
He, therefore, O bull of Bharata's race, who betakes himself to this
mode of life, thinking it to be his duty and abandoning all desire for
fruit, is a real renouncer, and not that man of clouded understanding
who goes to the woods, abandoning home and its surroundings. A person,
again, who under the hypocritical garb of righteousness, fails to forget
his desires (even while living in the woods), is bound by the grim King
of death with his deadly fetters round the neck. Those acts that are
done from vanity, are said to be unproductive of fruit.
Those acts, on
the other hand, O monarch I that are done from a spirit of renunciation,
always bear abundant fruits. Tranquillity, self-restraint, fortitude, truth, purity, simplicity,
sacrifices, perseverance, and righteousness,--these are always regarded
as virtues recommended by the Rishis. In domesticity, it is said, are acts intended for Pitris, gods, guests. In this mode of life alone, O monarch, are the threefold aims to be attained. The renouncer that rigidly adheres to this mode of life, in which one
is free to do all acts, has not to encounter ruin either here or
hereafter. The sinless Lord of all creatures, of righteous soul, created
creatures,with the intention that they would adore him by sacrifices with
profuse presents. Creepers and trees and deciduous herbs, and animals
that are clean, and clarified butter, were created as ingredients of
sacrifice. For one in the observance of domesticity the performance of
sacrifice is fraught with impediments. For this, that mode of life has
been said to be exceedingly difficult and unattainable. Those persons,
therefore, in the observance of the domestic mode of life, who,
possessed of wealth and corn and animals, do not perform sacrifices,
O monarch, eternal sin. Amongst Rishis, there are some that regard the study of the Vedas
to be a sacrifice: and some that regard contemplation to be a great
sacrifice which they perform in their minds. The very gods, O monarch,
covet the companionship of a regenerate person like this, who in
consequence of his treading along such a way which consists in the
concentration of the mind, has become equal to Brahma. By
refusing to spend in sacrifice the diverse kinds of wealth that thou
hast taken from thy foes, thou art only displaying thy want of faith.
have never seen, O monarch, a king in the observance of a life of
domesticity renouncing his wealth in any other way except in the Rajasuya, the Astwamedha,
and other kinds of sacrifice. Like Sakra, the chief of the celestial, O
sire, perform those other sacrifices that are praised by the Brahmanas.
That king, through whose heedlessness the subjects are plunged by
robbers, and who does not offer protection to those whom he is called
upon to govern, is said to be the very embodiment of Kati. If, without
giving away steeds, and kine, and female slaves, and elephants adorned
with trappings, and villages, and populous regions, and fields, and
houses, unto Brahmanas, we retire into the woods with hearts not
harbouring friendly feeling towards kinsmen, even we shall be, O
monarch, such Kalis of the kingly order. Those members of the kingly
order that do not practise charity and give protection (to others),
incur sin. Woe is their portion hereafter and not bliss. If, O lord,
without performing great sacrifices and the rites in honour of thy
deceased ancestors, and it, without bathing in sacred waters, thou
betakest thyself to a wandering life, thou shalt then meet with
destruction like a small cloud separated from a mass and dashed by the
winds. Thou shalt then fall off from both worlds and have to take thy
birth in the Pisacha order. A person becomes a true renouncer by casting off every internal and
external attachment, and not simply by abandoning home for dwelling in
the woods. A Brahmana that lives in the observance of these ordinances
in which there are no impediments, does not fall off from this or the
other world. Observant of the duties of one's own order,--duties
respected by the ancients and practised by the best of men, who is
there, O Partha, that would grieve, O king, for having in a trice stain
in battle his foes that swelled with prosperity, like Sakra slaying the
forces of the Daityas? Having in the observance of Kshatriya
duties subjugated the world by the aid of thy prowess, and having made
presents unto persons conversant with the Vedas, thou canst, O monarch, go to regions higher than heaven. It behoves thee not, O Partha, to indulge in grief."