The lament of Dhritarastra
(At the end of the battle) Dhritarastra, hearing the news of the Pandavas’ success and recollecting the vows that Duryodhana, Karna and Shakuni had taken. – 169 (p.10)
Thought for a while and addressed Sanjaya thus:
“Listen to me, O Sanjaya, listen to all I am now about to say. You will then find it is not fit to treat me with contempt. – 170
You are learned in the Shastras, you are intelligent and you are possessed of wisdom. (Hear), my inclinations were never for war, nor did I feel pleasure in the destruction of my race. – 171
I felt no difference between my sons and the sons of Pandu. My own sons were wayward and they hated me, because I was old and blind. I bore all on account of my miserable state of being blind and for paternal affection. I was foolish and thoughtless and Duryodhana grew in folly.
Dhritarastra was born blind and for this reason he could not carry out the duties of a King. Thus Pandu, his younger brother, acted as king. Yudhisthira was born before Duryodhana and thus he lost his right to the throne. So Duryodhana had some kind resentment towards his father.
My own son was a spectator of the great wealth of the powerful sons of Pandu and was sneered at for his awkwardness in entering into the hall.
Being unwilling to bear all this at the same time being incapable of vanquishing the Pandavas in the field of bettle, he planned a most unjust game at dice, instead of being willing to obtain fortune by his own exertion and with the help of the king of Gandhara.
The king of Gandhara
A stretch of land of ancient Bharata. It is believed that this land stretched from the shores of river Sindhu to Kabul. Subala was a mighty ruler of this country. His daughter Gandhari was the wife of Dhrtardstra. (Sloka 11, Chapter 111, Adi Parva) . Agni Purana points out a relationship between the Gandharas and the Dravidas. Descending in order from Visnu were Candra, Budha, Pururava, Ayus, Nahusa, Yayati, Turvasu. In order from Turvasu were Varga, Gobhanu, Traisani, Karandhama, Marutta, Dusyanta, Varutha, Gandira, Gandhara. From Gandhara arose the five different provincialists: Gandharas, Keralas, Colas, Pandyas and Kolas. (Agni Purana, Chapter 277)
Hear, O Sanjaya all that happened afterwards and all that came to my knowledge. When you hear all that I say, recollecting everything you will then know me to be a man having prophetic eyes.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Arjuna, having bent the bow, had pierced the mark and brought it to the ground and had carried away the princes Krishna in the presence of the assembled chiefs and potentates.
Krishna feminine refers to Draupadi. You will find this and all the other stories while reading the Maha-bharata
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Subhadra of the Madhu race had been forcibly carried away by Arjuna and had been subsequently married by him in the city of Dvaraka and the two heroes of the Vrishni race, instead of being angry, had come to Indraprastha as friends.
Subhadra is the sister of Krishna and Balarama
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Arjuna had satisfied Agni by giving him the forest of Khandava preventing at the same time by his celestial arrows the downpour made by Indra, the king of the celestials.
The full story of the Khandava forest burning is at the end of Adi Parva
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that the five Pandavas with their mother Kunti had escaped from the house of lac and that Vidura had helped them in their escape.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Arjuna had obtained the hands of Draupadi by piercing the mark and the brave Pancalas had joined the Pandavas.
All the stories mentioned in this chapter will be told later in this book.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that the foremost king of the Magadha dynasty, the shining star of all the Kshatriyas Jarasandha had been killed by Bhima alone with his bare arms.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that the sons of Pandu had conquered all chiefs and potentates in a general campaign and had celebrated the victory by the performance of the grand sacrifice of Rajasuya.
I had no hope of success, 0 Sanjaya, when I heard that weeping and sorrowing, Draupadi in the season of her impurity, had been dragged into court with but one cloth on and treated as if she had none in this, though she had her protectors.
The insult to Draupadi has been a pivotal moment in the Maha-bharata
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that the wicked wretch Dushasana had been able to drag out only a heap of clothes without finding its end when he had attempted to strip her of her single cloth.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Yudhisthira had been defeated by Saubala at dice and had been deprived of his kingdom as its result but still he was attended by his powerful brothers.
Saubala is Sakuni, the son of Subala.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that the four Pandava brothers, weeping in sorrow, had followed their eldest brother and had tried every means to mitigate his discomfort.
When Yudhisthira was exiled, his four brothers wanted to follow him, along with Draupadi
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Yudhisthira had been followed into wilderness by Snatakas and by holy Brahmanas.
(1) An initiated householder, a man of the three first classes, who having completed the term prescribed for his studies becomes a housekeeper: if at the end of this period, he has not acquired a knowledge of the Veda, he is called Vrata-snataka; if he has acquired that knowledge earlier, he is termed Vidyasnataka, and if he finishes his regular studies at the same time that the period of study expires, he is named Ubhaya-snataka.
(2) A Brahmana who has performed the ceremony of ablution, required to be performed on his finishing his first Ashrama.
(3) A Brahman who is a Bhikshu or beggar for any religious object. E. kan added to the last.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that, Arjuna, after pleasing in combat the god of gods, Tryambaka, who appeared before him in the guise of a Kirata, had obtained the great weapon Pasupata.
Tryambaka, the three-eyed Siva. Kirata, a hunter
The Pashupatastra, the weapon of Pasupati or Siva is an irresistible and most destructive personal weapon of Shiva, Kali and Adi Para Sakti, which can be discharged by the mind, the eyes, words, or a bow.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that the just and famous Arjuna had gone to the land of the celestials and had there obtained celestial weapons from Indra, the king of the gods.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Arjuna had then defeated the Kalakeyas and the Paulomas who were proud of the boon they had received from Shiva and through which they had been unconquerable even by celestials.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that the chastiser of foes, Arjuna, had gone to the land of Indra to kill the Asuras and had come back successfully.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Bhima and other sons of Kunti, had gone to that country which was inaccessible to men and met Vaisravana.
Vaisravana, the son of Visrava, Kuvera
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that my sons were taken prisoners by the Gandharvas on their journey to Ghoshayatra, but were rescued by Arjuna.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Dharma had come in the guise of a Yaksha and asked some questions of Yudhisthira, who answered them well.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that my sons had failed to discover the Pandavas when they lived in disguise with Draupadi in the kingdom of Virata.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that all the chief warriors of my side had been defeated by Arjuna on a single chariot while he was in the kingdom of Virata.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that king of Matsya had offered his virtuous daughter Uttara to Arjuna and Arjuna had accepted her for his son Abhimanyu.
King of Matsya Virata
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Yudhisthira, who was defeated at dice and deprived of his wealth, who was exiled and separated from his relatives and friends, had collected an army of seven Akshauhinis.
An aksauhini is a whole army consisting of
109,350 foot soldiers,
(Maha-bharata Adi Parva, Sangraha)
Larger answer from Suta Gosvami
“The Rishis said,
‘We have a desire to know, O son of Suta, what is implied by the term Akshauhini that hath been used by thee. Tell us in full what is the number of horse and foot, chariots and elephants, which compose an Akshauhini for thou art fully informed.’
‘One chariot, one elephant, five foot-soldiers, and three horses form one Patti; three pattis make one Sena-mukha; three sena-mukhas are called a Gulma; three gulmas, a Gana; three ganas, a Vahini; three vahinis together are called a Pritana; three pritanas form a Chamu; three chamus, one Anikini; and an anikini taken ten times forms, as it is styled by those who know, an Akshauhini. O ye best of Brahmanas, arithmeticians have calculated that the number of chariots in an Akshauhini is twenty-one thousand eight hundred and seventy. The measure of elephants must be fixed at the same number. O ye pure, you must know that the number of foot-soldiers is one hundred and nine thousand, three hundred and fifty, the number of horse is sixty-five thousand, six hundred and ten.
These, O Brahmanas, as fully explained by me, are the numbers of an Akshauhini as said by those acquainted with the principles of numbers. O best of Brahmanas, according to this calculation were composed the eighteen Akshauhinis of the Kaurava and the Pandava army.
(Maha-bharata Adi Parva, Sangraha)
From the Srimad-Bhagavatam
A solid phalanx of 21,870 chariots, 21,870 elephants, 109,650 infantry and 65,600 cavalry is called an aksauhini.
I had no hope of success, 0 Sanjaya, when I heard that Vasudeva of the Madhu race, who covered the whole universe with his but one foot, had been heartily engaged to do good to the Pandavas.
I had no hope of success, 0 Sanjaya, when I heard that Narada declared that Krishna and Arjuna are Nara and Narayana and they had been seen together in the region of Brahma.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that being anxious to bring about peace for the welfare of mankind, Krishna had come to the Kurus, but had gone away being unsuccessful in his mission.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Karna and Duryodhana had determined to make Krishna a prisoner, but he had shown the whole universe in himself.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Kunti had received consolation from him when she stood near his car, weeping in sorrow.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Vasudeva was their adviser and Shantanu’s son Bhishma and Bharadvaja’s son Drona had pronounced blessings on them.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Karna had said to Bhishma,”! will not fight when you fight,” and so saying had gone away.
I had no hope of success, 0 Sanjaya, when I heard that Vasudeva, Arjuna and powerful Gandiva, these three of fearful energy, had come together.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Krishna had shown Arjuna all the worlds within himself when he full of pity sank down upon his chariot.
I had no hope of success, 0 Sanjaya, when I heard that the great destroyer of foes, Bhishma killing ten thousand car-warriors every day, had not killed any Pandava hero of note.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that the virtuous son of Ganga, great Bhishma, had himself told the enemies of the means of his own death and it had been joyfully adopted by the Pandavas.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Arjuna, having placed Shikhandin before him on his chariot, had wounded the infinitely courageous and the unconquerable Bhishma.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that, after reducing the Somakas to a few, the old hero Bhishma had been overcome with innumerable wounds and was lying on the bed of arrows.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that having been requested, Arjuna, piercing the ground, had allayed the thirst of Bhishma when he very much longed for water.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Vayu, with Indra and Surya had united in alliance for the success of the Pandavas and even the beasts of prey were putting us to fear.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Drona though he displayed many modes of fight, had not killed any of the chief Pandavas.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when
I heard that the mighty car-warriors Sansaptakas, appointed to defeat Arjuna, had been all killed by him.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Subhadra’s brave son had singly penetrated into our Vyuha, which was impenetrable by others and defended by well- armed Drona himself.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that our great car-warriors, being unable to defeat Arjuna, had enjoyed joy after jointly surrounded and slain the boy Abhimanyu.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that the blind Kauravas were shouting with joy for killing Abhimanyu and that Arjuna had taken his celebrated vow about Saindhava.
Another name for Jayadratha, responsible for Abhimanyu’s unfair death.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Aijuna had taken the vow of killing Saindhava and he had fulfilled his vow in the presence of his enemies.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Vasudeva, finding the horses of Arjuna fatigued, unyoked them in the field of battle, gave them water to drink and re-yoking them, drove the chariot as before.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Arjuna had kept back all is assailants when his horses were taken away for drink.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Yuyudhana of the Vrishni race went back to the place where Krishna and Arjuna were, after having thrown the army of Drona into disorder, having none to withstand the attack on account of powerful elephant.
Another name for Satyaki
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Karna, having got Bhima in his power, had allowed him to escape only with some contemptuous terms and having dragged him with the end of his bow.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I hear that Drona, Kritavarma, Kripa, Karna, Asvatthama and Shalya had allowed Saindhava to be killed before their presence.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that through the machinations of Krishna, the celestial weapon Sakti, given to Karna by Indra, had been hurdled against Ghatotkacha of a dreadful form.
I had no hope of success, 0 Sanjaya, when I heard that in the fight between Karna and Ghatotkacha, the Sakti, had been hurled against Ghatotkacha by Karna, the weapon which should have certainly killed Arjuna.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Dhristadyumna, violating all the rules of war, had killed Drona while insensible on his chariot and bent on death.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Nakula, the son of Madri, had driven the chariot of the son of Drona all around the place, having engaged with him in single combat before the whole army and proving himself fully equal to him.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Drona’s son had misused the weapon named Narayana and had failed to kill the Pandavas.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Bhima had drunk the blood of his cousin Dushasana and none was able to prevent him.
I had no hope of success, 0 Sanjaya, when I heard that the exceedingly brave and unconquerable in war, Karna had been killed by Arjuna in the war of brothers, which was mysterious even to celestial.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Yudhisthira had defeated the son of Drona, Dushasana and fearful Kritavarma.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when
I heard that Yudhisthira had killed the King of Madra, who always challenged Krishna.
The King of Madra:
Salya, who was Yudhisthira’s uncle
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Saubala, the man of magic power and the root of the gaming and the feud, had been killed by Sahadeva.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when
I heard that Duryodhana, having been spent with fatigue, his strength being gone out and without even a chariot, had gone to a lake and had taken refuge in its waters.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that the Pandavas accompanied by Krishna had gone to the lake and had begun to address my son contemptuously, who was never able to put up with any affront.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that while displaying various modes of attack and defence in a club-fight, he had been unjustly slain through the counsels of Krishna.
I had no hope of success, 0 Sanjaya, when I heard that the sons of Drona and others had committed a horrible and infamous deed by killing the Pancalas and the sons of Draupadi in their sleep.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that Asvatthama, having been pursued by Bhima, had discharged the greatest of weapons, named Aisika, by which the son in the womb of Uttara was destroyed.
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that the weapon Brahmashira, discharged by Asvatthama, had been repelled by Arjuna with another weapon, on which he had uttered the word Svasti and that Asvatthama had to surrender the jewel that was on his head.
Aisika and Brahmasira:
Other names for the Brahmastra
I had no hope of success, O Sanjaya, when I heard that for wounding the son in the womb of Uttara both Krishna and Dvaipayana had cursed him.
Alas! Gandhari is to be pitied! She has lost all her children, grand children, parents, brothers and kindred. A most difficult work has been performed by the Pandavas. A kingdom has been gained by them without a rival.
Alas! I have heard that only ten persons are alive in this war three on our side and seven on the side of the Pandavas. Eighteen Akshauhinis of Kshatriyas have been slain in this fearful battle.
Utter darkness is all around me, a faintness comes over me. 0 Suta, consciousness is leaving me, my mind is distracted.
Bewailing his fate thus, Dhritarastra was overcome with the greatest sorrow and lost his senses for a time. But being revived, he addressed Sanjaya in these words.
Dhritarastra said :
After what has happened, O Sanjaya, I desire to abandon this life without any further delay. I do not see any good by keeping it alive any longer.
While thus talking and bewailing sighing like a serpent and fainting every moment, the wise son of Gavalgana addressed the pitiable king of the earth in words instilled with deep meaning.
A charioteer, he was the father of Sanjaya.
Sanjaya said :
From wise Narada and Vyasa you have heard, O king, of immensely powerful men, men of great exertions, men bom of great royal dynasties, men full of great qualities, men well-versed in the art of using celestial weapons, men who, having conquered the world by righteous war and performing sacrifices with proper offerings, obtained fame in this world and finally succumbed to death. – 220, 221, 222
Such men were Shaivya, the brave car-warrior Srinjaya, the great amongst all conquerors Suhotra, Rantideva, Kakshivanta, greatly glorious, Damana, Balhika, Sharyati, Ajita, Nala, Visvamitra, the killer of enemies, the greatly strong Ambarisha, Maruta, Manu, Ikshvaku, Gaya, Bharata, Parshurama, the son of Dasharatha Rama, Sashabindu, Bhagiratha, Kritavirya, Janamejaya and Yayati of good deeds, who performed sacrifices, assisted by the celestials themselves and by whose sacrificial altars and stakes the habitable and inhabitable regions of this earth were all over marked. When Shaitya was much afflicted for the loss of his children, (the histories of) these twenty four Rajas were told to him in the olden time by the celestial sage, Narada. – 223-228
But besides these, other kings, who were great car-warriors, who were more powerful than the above, who were noble in mind and full of every good quality, had also fallen into the grasp of Death. – 229
They were Puru, Kuru, Yadu, Shura, Vishagashva, Mahadyuti, Anuha, Yuvanashva, Kakutstha, Vikrami, Raghu, Vijaya, Vitihotra, Anga, Bhava, Shveta, Brihadguru, Ushinara, Shataratha, Kanka, Duliduha, Druma, Dambhodbhava, Para, Vena, Sagara, Sankriti, Nimi, Ajeya, Parashu, Pundra, Shambhu, Devavridha, Anagha, Devahavya, Supratima, Supratika, Brihadratha, Mahotsaha, Vinitatma, Sukratu, the King of Nishadha Nala, Satyavrata, Shantabhaya, Sumitra, Subala, Janujangha, Anaranya, Arka, Priyabhritya, Shuchivrata, Balabandhu, Niramarda, Ketushringa, Brihadbala, Dhrishtaketu, Brihatketu, Diptaketu, Niramaya, Avikshita, Chapala, Dhurta, Kritabandhu, Drindheshudhi, Mahapuranasambhava, Pratyanga, Paraha and Shruti. These kings and hundreds and thousands others. – 230-237
Who were greatly powerfill and wise, had met death like your sons, quitting immense wealth and pleasure. – 238
Even those men, who possessed all the noble virtues and whose heavenly valour, generosity, magnanimity, faith, truth, purity, simplicity and mercy, are published in the Puranas by the sacred bards of great learning, gave up their lives. – 240
Your sons were wicked, envious, avaricious, of passionate temperament and vicious disposition; you are well-versed in the Shastras, you are intelligent and wise; those men whose understanding follows the dictates of the Shastras, never succumb to grief or misfortune. – 241, 242
You know, O king, the severity and levity of fate. You know what anxiety you showed for the safety of your sons. Therefore, this grief is unbecoming of you. It is not fit for you to grieve for that which must happen.
Who can avert by his cleverness the decrees of fate? None can go beyond the path marked for him by Providence. Existence and non-existence, pleasure and pain, come by Time.
Time creates all things and Time destroys them all. Time bums all creatures and Time again extinguishes that fire.
All things, good and bad, in the three worlds, are created by Time. Time destroys them and Time creates them again.
Time alone is awake when all are asleep. Time cannot be overcome by any one. Time walks in everything without being retarded.
Knowing that all things, past, present and future, are the outcome of Time it is not fit for you to be overcome with grief.
And, having thus comforted the royal Dhritarastra, who was overwhelmed with grief for the death of his sons, restored peace to his mind. – 250.
Sanjaya succeeded to bring some peace in Dhritarastra’s mind.