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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Why War is Essential

Karna to Krishna

'I pray to thee, O bull of the Kshatriya race, let not the Kshatriyas, old in learning and old in years, perish miserably,

O Janardana, for thy sake. Oh, let this swelling host of Kshatriyas perish by means of weapons on that most sacred of all spots in the three worlds, viz. Kurukshetra,

O Kesava. O thou of eyes like lotus-leaves, accomplish on this spot what thou hast in thy mind, so that, O thou of Vrishni's race, the whole Kshatriya order may attain to heaven.

As long, O Janardana, as the hills and the rivers will last, so long will the fame of these achievements last. The Brahmanas will recite this great war of the Bharatas. The fame, O thou of Vrishni's race, that they achieve in battles is the wealth that Kshatriyas own.

O Kesava, bring Kunti's son (Arjuna) before me for battle, keeping for ever this our discourse a secret, O chastiser of foes.'

Duryodana  to Krishna

We shall not in consequence of any fierce deed, or (alarming) word (of theirs), bow down to Pandavas in fear, deprived of our senses. We cannot bow down to Indra himself, let alone the sons of Pandu. I do not, 

O Krishna, see the man, observant of Kshatriya virtues, who can, O slayer of foes, venture to conquer us in battle. Let alone the Pandavas, 

O slayer of Madhu, the very gods are not competent to vanquish Bhishma, Kripa, Drona and Karna, in battle. 

If, O Madhava, we are, in the observance of the practices of our order, cut off with weapons in battle, when our end comes, even that will lead us to heaven. 

Even this, O Janardana, is our highest duty as Kshatriyas, viz., that we should lay ourselves down on the field of battle on a bed of arrows. If, without bowing to our enemies, ours be the bed of arrows in battle, that, 

O Madhava, will never grieve us. Who is there, born in a noble race and conforming to Kshatriya practices, that would from fear bow to an enemy, desirous only of saving his life? Those Kshatriyas that desire their own good, accept regardfully this saying of Matanga, viz., that (as regards a Kshatriya), one should always keep himself erect, and never bow down, for exertion alone is manliness; one should rather break at the knots than bend. A person like me should only bow down to the Brahmanas for the sake of piety, without regarding anybody else. (As regards persons other than Brahmanas), one should, as long as one lives, act according to Matanga's saying. Even this is the duty of Kshatriyas; even this is ever my opinion. That share in the kingdom which was formerly given them by my father shall never again, 

O Kesava, be obtainable by them as long as I live. As long, 

O Janardana, as king Dhritarashtra liveth, both ourselves and they, sheathing our weapons, 

O Madhava, should live in dependence on him. Given away formerly from ignorance or fear, when I was a child and dependent on others, the kingdom, 

O Janardana, incapable of being given away again, shall not, 

O delighter of Vrishni's race, be obtainable by the Pandavas. 

At present, O Kesava of mighty arms, as long as I live, even that much of our land which may be covered by the point of a sharp needle shall not, O Madhava, be given by us unto the Pandavas.'"

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