In Naimisaranya, on the occasion of Satra Yaga, Ugrasravasa (Sooti) told Sounaka and other sages and saints, the Story of Mahabharata, as told by Saint Vaisampayana to King Janamejaya.
On hearing from Sanjaya, that Karna left Dharmaja and proceeded towards Suyodhana for his help, King Dhritarashtra grew angry and said:
“Sanjaya! Karna appears to be a fool. Otherwise, how can he leave Dharmaja without killing him. Is my son Suyodhana, a useless fellow, incapable of fighting with Bhimasena? Why should Karna go for his help? It appears Karna is deceiving Suyodhana. Tell me what had happened later.” Dhritarashtra expressed his doubt regarding Karna. Sanjaya continued to say.
Having been left by Karna, Dharmaja proceeded to his place of stay. He laid down on a soft bed and the doctors were removing the arrows pierced into his body. Dharmaja was very much annoyed for the insult meted out by him at the hands of Karna.
Meanwhile, Nakula and Sahadeva arrived there. Dharmaja asked both of them to proceed towards Bhimasena for his help. Nakula and Sahadeva immediately proceeded towards Bhimasena for his help.
At that time, Arjuna was fighting with Asvathama. Asvathama hurled his mace towards Arjuna. Arjuna broke that mace into pieces. Arjuna pierced ten sharp edged arrows into the body of Asvathama. Asvathama, enraged with great wrath, poured arrowy showers on Arjuna and Krishna. Arjuna cut those arrows in the middle and cut the reigns of the horses of Asvathama.The horses dragged the chariot of Asvathama far away from that place. Having seen this, his army fled away. Pandava army acclaimed Arujuna for his prowess.
Beholding the fate of Asvathama, Suyodhana told Karna: “Karna! while you are very much present here, in the battle field, our troops are fleeing away. Is it not a wonder. If you fight with our enemy wholeheartedly, Pandavas are no match to you. Karna! Show your prowess. Launch all your Astras. Destroy the enemy.” Suyodhana instiraged Karna.
On hearing the words of Suyodhana, Karna told Salya thus: “Salya! have you heard the words of Suyodhana. Drive our chariot against Arjuna. I will to day kill Arjuna, Krishna and Bhima. I will show my vigour and valour to the rest of the world. I will enthrone Suyodhana to the entire Kuru Kingdom. Now it is your turn to exhibit all your driving skills.” said karna.
Karna launched Bhargava Astra against Arjuna. From out of that Bhargava Astra, innumerable weapons were coming out and massacring the Pandava troops. Chariots were broken. Horses and elephants were killed. Their dead bodies formed into great heaps. Unable to withold the power of Bhargava Astra, Pandava troops were running away.
Beholding this, Krishna told Arjuna: “Arjuna! See how Karna is enraged with great fury. Now you have to act wisely. Dont be angry.” cautioned Krishna.
“Krishna! what you said is correct. Turn our chariot back. If we are alive, we can enjoy more pleasures.” said Arjuna.
At that time, Bhimasena was fighting with Karna. Dhrishta- dyumna, Sikhandi, Satyaki, Upa Pandavas and others surrounded Karna. Krishna thought that Arjuna was badly in need of rest. Hence Krishna drove the chariot far away from the battle field.
Krishna told Arjuna: “Arjuna, while we were fighting with Asvathama, Dharmaja was fighting with Karna and was caught by him. Later, we do not know what had happened to Dharmaja. As our people are fighting with Karna, let us first go and find out the whereabouts of Dharmaja. We will come later and fight with Karna.” said Krishna.
Arjuna searched for the flag of Dharmaja in the vicinity but could not find him. Arjuna enquired Bhimasena about Dharmaja. Bhimasena replied: “Brother Arjuna! while I was fighting with Kourava troops, I found Dharmaja fighting with Karna. Karna filled the entire body of Dharmaja with sharp arrows. Then Dharmaja left the battle field. As long as Krishna is by our side, nothing will happen to Dharmaja.” said Bhimasena.
“Bhimasena! I will continue to fight with Karna. You go and enquire about the welfare of Dharmaja.” asked Arjuna.
“Arjuna! you may do such things. I will never do like that. If I go away, others will think that I fled away from battle field. Look at that side. Samsaptakas are challenging me. How can I leave them. I will massacre them with my mace. You go and find out the welfare of Dharmaja” replied Bhimasena.
Having found no other alternative, Arjuna told Krishna: “Krishna! drive our chariot towards the abode of Dharmaja. I am very eager to see Dharmaja atonce. Drive fast.”
Krishna drove the chariot towards the abode of Dharmaja. Arjuna got down the chariot and rushed inside. He found Dharmaja lying on a soft bed. Arjuna touched the feet of Dharmaja and sought his blessings. Dharmaja was under the mistaken impression that Arjuna arrived there, after killing Karna, and was seeking his blessings. Dharmaja’s heart was filled with joy.
“O Krishna! O Arjuna! you both have killed Karna who is unconquerable even by divine bodies. I am very happy. Just now, there was a fiercest fight between me and Karna. In the presence of one and all, Karna killed my charioteer and broke my flag. He pierced numerous arrows throughout my body. Meanwhile, Bhimasena disarmed Suyodhana and was about to kill him. Beholding this, Karna left me and proceeded towards Suyodhana to save him. I returned back to my tent.
Arjuna! Karna insulted me. I am very much annoyed. Now you have relieved me from that agony. Arjuna! Karna is not an ordinary warrior. How have you killed him? Karna’s sons, relatives and his friends will always be by his side. It is highly commendable that you have killed Karna without sustaining any injury to your body. You have proved your strength, courage, vigour and valour to the entire world.
Arjuna! the words spoken to by Karna , insulting Droupadi in the open assembly, are still ringing in my ears. How can I forget the insult meted out by Droupadi at the hands of Karna. Today you have extinguished that fire of insult. Arjuna! Karna’s head is filled with aggrandizement and pride. How have you cut his head effortlessly? You might have shot numerous arrows targetting his chest and killed him, while he was showering arrows upon you. Is it not?” said Dharmaja, with a joyful heart.
Arjuna told Dharmaja thus: “Brother Dharmaja! while I was fighting with Samsaptakas, Asvathama, along with his troops, surrounded me. I broke 500 chariots belonging to his troops and killed all of them. The entire battle field was filled with their dead bodies. Asvathama showered arrows, shrouding my chariot. We could not come out of that shower. Then Asvathama left that place. I searched for you but could not find you. Bhimasena informed me that you left the battle field. To enquire about your welfare, we have come here. By God’s grace, you are safe. I am returning back to the battle field. I will be back with the severed head of Karna and fill your heart with joy.” said Arjuna.
Having heard that Karna is still alive, Dharmaja’s heart was filled with great wrath.
“Arjuna! I know you are not caring me as I have fled away from the battle field. Arjuna! not only me, you were also defeated by Karna. Bhimasena, Nakula and Sahadeva were already defeated by Karna. For the sin of joining with us, Krishna also was defeated by Karna. Therefore, we need not return back to the battle field and fight with the enemy. Let us once again go back to forests and spend the rest of our life in deep meditation. Otherwise, without boasting ourselves any more, let us go to Suyodhana and spend the rest of our life, serving Suyodhana and his brothers.”
While speaking these words, the eyes of Dharmaja were burning like fire balls. “Arjuna! Had I known about your true nature, I would not have ventured for this war. We would have spent our life in our own way. Had you informed me, even prior to commencement of war, that you are not capable of vanquishing Karna, I would not have thought of this war. We are not fit to be rulers. It is certain.
Arjuna! Remember what you told me prior to war. “I will certainly kill Karna”. Is it not? But you have returned from war field, utterly defeated by Karna, bundling up insinuations to my credit. That means, you told me a lie, a blatant lie. I learnt from our mother that soon after you were born, great sages and saints and invisible voice from the sky acclaimed that you will become a hero of great prowess and you will conquer all your enemies. But you have made all those divine words futile.
Arjuna! I am telling the truth. Trusting you only, I developed enemity with Suyodhana. At that time I do not know you are a coward, and will always be afraid of Karna. Arjuna! Tell me. In which way you are inferior to Karna. Divine bodies have bestowed you with a divine chariot and horses. Kapi Dhwaja will alwasy be flying on your chariot as a symbol of victory. Gaandeeva, a divine gift, is in your hand. Above all, Sri Krishna is your charioteer. Having been endowed with all these divine gifts, how you suffered a defeat at the hands of Karna, I do not understand.
I do not know whether you are aware of it or not, Suyodhana told me once that you are no match to Karna. But, I unnecessarily developed greater hopes and am utterly defeated. I trusted you. Our friends who have come to help us, trusted both of us. Unnecessarily they sacrificed their lives as a stake in this war.” said Dharmaja.
Arjuna did not speak a single word.
Looking at Krishna, Dharmaja said: “Krishna! It is definite that we cannot vanquish Karna. I was insulted by Karna in the presence of our enemies. I was saved by Bhimasena. Otherwise, I would have been killed by Karna. Is it necessary for me to remain in this world any longer? Anyhow, Bhimasena is fighting alone, for my sake. He never fled away like Arjuna.” said Dharmaja.
There was a pause. Again Dharmaja continued to rebuke Arjuna.
“Arjuna! If Abhimanyu or Ghatotkacha are alive now, the situation would have been different. Arjuna! do you know the meaning of a relative. A true relative will always be by our side, in our difficulties and distress. Krishna is our true relative. How you have fled away from battle field when Krishna is alwlays with you.
Arjuna! you better do one thing. You give away your Gandeevam to Krishna and be his charioteer. Krishna will fight and kill Karna with Gaandeevam and get back our kingdom. In my view, you would not have been born to Kunti. Had she been aborted, I would not have felt this distress today, on account of your defeat.” said Dharmaja.
Having swallowed all the rebukes, Arjuna could not digest the last words spoken to by Dharmaja. His eyes were burnt with great wrath. He drew his long sword and jumed on Dharmaja to cut his throat. Krishna caught hold of his hand and averted the blow.
“Arjuna! what is the use of a sword here and now. Here there are no enemies. We have come here to enquire about the welfare of Dharmaja. Dharmaja is safe. It is time to feel joy and not to get anger. Who are the enemies here to be killed?” asked Krishna.
“Krishna! if anybody asks me to give away my Gandeeva to anybody, I will kill him. It is my promise. Is it not just to cut his head who speaks these painful words. Not only me, you also heard those words. Whoever he may be, however high he may be, his head should be cut. I have to discharge my promise. Otherwise,I will be blamed by one and all, for not keeping my promise. You tell me what to do. I will follow.” said Arjuna.
“Arjuna! stop that nonsense. If anybody comes to know about this, they will think that you will never respect elders and you have no regard towards elders.
People who distinguish between Dharma and Adharma, will never act like this. First you you realise yourself what to do and what not to do and then act wisely. Arjuna! Truth and non-violence are great virtues. We have to protect nonviolence with truth. Truth will itself save non-violence from any disaster.
Each and every act done by us will have a suttle meaning.We have to understand it and then act accordingly. Without knowing that sutility, you are going to kill your own brother who is your well wisher and your king. Would it be called as Dharma?
While you were young, knowingly or unknowingly, you
have taken an absurd promise. Now you have become elder and wiser. Is
it not foolish on your part to dishcarge that promise, without realising
what is Dharma and what is Adharma. Elders will never accept it. There
is no wrong to tell a lie while ones wealth, life and modesty are at
stake. I will tell you one story.
Therefore, Arjuna, truth, resulting in violence, is not Dharma. We have to distinguish between Dharma and Adharma by following elders. Hence, it is not desirable now to kill your brother, Dharmaja, to discharge your promise.” said Krishna.
Arjuna realised his mistake. “Krishna! Kindly excuse me and my ignorance. You advised me at right time and averted a great disaster. But People should not think that I am a useless fellow who makes falsle promises. At the same time, nothing should happen to my brother. Please find a way out.” asked Arjuna.
“Arjuna! Unable to bear the pain caused by the arrows of Karna, pierced into his body, your brother, Dharmaja, rebuked you. That does not mean that he has no love and affection towards you. Arjuna! Dharmaja is your eldler brother. He can chastise you and you have to bear it. Yourself, Bhimasena, Nakula and Sahadeva are always at his feet.
Why should he be angry against you. But you raised your sword upon him to kill him. Keep that intention in your mind, and rebuke your brother, pointing out all his loop holes and faults commited by him. Then pray him, with folded hands, not to keep those words in mind. With this act, you will not be afflicted with any sin, for not keeping your promise. Your mind will remain peaceful. Then we will proceed to kill Karna” said Krishna, suggesting a way out.
Arjuna rebuked Dharmaja thus: “O Dharmaja! I am answerable to Bhimasena, who is still fighting with great prowess but not to you who have fled away from the battle field, being afraid of Karna. You know much about my vigour and valour. Still you censured me. Is it just on your part to speak like this? Your tongue should have been cut into thousand pieces for censuring me like this. You have criticised my prowess. What do you know about war? Have you ever fought with any warrior and vanquished him? Atleast, Nakula and Sahadeva will fight to their might but never speak such waste words like you.
Are you not responsible for this great massacre? Had you not played dice game foolishly, we would not have suffered such a great distress. On account of you only we suffered 12 years in forests and one year in disguise. Still, you are censuring me shamelessly. You are covering your faults and cowardness under the guise of patience. It is better if you shut your mouth and keep quiet We will never tolerate your censuring words any more .” said Arjuna, with great anguish in mind.
Again, Arjuna drew his sword. Krishna worriedly asked Arjuna: “Why you are again drawing your sword?”.
“I have to cut my head and place it before the feet of Dharmaja for speaking such censuring words against him. That is the only punishment for me. ” said Arjuna.
Krishna smiled and said: “Dont worry Arjuna. For this also there is a way out. If you praise or boast yourself, it is equivalent to self immolation. Hence you begin to boast yourself.” said Krishna.
Arjuna withdrew his sword and told Dharmaja: “Dharmaja! Do you know about me and my prowess! I destroyed Samsaptakas. Look at the heaps of dead bodies killed by me and the chariots broken by me. I am not an ordinary warrior. Ther is no match to me in the entire world.”
Immediately, Arjuna fell on the feet of Dharmaja and said: “Brother Dharmaja! please pardon me for all my faults.Dont keep them in mind. Please show your affection towards me as usual. Brother Dharmaja! Listen. I am telling the truth. My body, my breath, my life, are all at your command. Bhimasens is fighting alone. Kindly give permission to proceed to battle field for his help. I will kill Karna today. It is my promise. Today, either Radha, mother of Karna, should lament for his son or Kunti, my mother, should lament for my sake. It is certain.” said Arjuna.
Dharmaja told Arjuna: “No Arjuna. You spoke the truth. Being an elder in the family, instead of safeguarding your interests, I caused all kinds of woes and hard ship to all of you. Even if you dont kill me, it is my duty to punish myself. I will go back to forests, leaving all these royal plealsures. Enthrone Bhimasena, as an emperor to this entire Kourava Kingdom, because, a coward, a weak-heart, war-fearing, like me, is not fit to rule.” so saying, Dharmaja rose to his feet and was about to leave that place.
Krishna fell on the feet of Dharmaja and said: “Dharmaja! I am not aware of the Arjuna’s promise. Arjuna took a promise that if anybody asks him to give away Gandeeva to others, he will kill him. Involuntarily, you spoke that word. If Arjuna does not kill you, he fails in discharing his promise. If he kills you, there will be a great disastour and calamity. Hence I suggested him to abuse you which is eqivalent to killing. You are now feeling mental agony. I am touching your feet and pray to excuse both of us. I am telling the truth. Today, Arjuna will kill Karna. Karna’s death is imminent” said Krishna.
Dharmaja hurriedly held the arms of Krishna and bowed before him. “Krishna! You have to excuse me. Without any tolerance, I indulged in an unnecessary foolish talk. Kindly excuse me for my intolerance. You are our well wisher. We cannot forget your help for ever.” said Dharmaja.
Krishna told Arjuna: “Arjuna! Take the bleslsings of your Brother, Dharmaja. We will proceed to battle field. Today, show your prowess, kill Karna and fill your brother’s heart with full of joy. Dharmaja, without knowing the true facts, misunderstood us and indulgled in an unnecessary talk which finally culminated into this awkward situation. You also lost your temper and was about to kill your brother. Had you killed your brother , what would be our fate. By God’s grace, greatest disaster was averted.” said Krishna.
Arjuna’s eyes were showering tears. He fell on the feet of Dharmaja, washing his feet with tears. Dharmaja’s eyes also were filled with tears. He hugged Arjuna and said: “Arjuna! Karna broke my bow and chariot and shot numerous shafts piercing into my body. If you dont kill that wretch, there is no use of my remaining on this earth any longer.”
“O King Dharmaja! Today, I will Karna. Without killing Karna, I wont see your face. I will never fail in my word.” said Arjuna.
“Dharmaja! bless your brother, Arjuna, to return with victory.” asked Krishna.
Dharmaja hugged Arjuna and said: “Arjuna! forgive me for my unnecessary talk. I also wont feel for the words spoken by you with the permission of Krishna. Vijaya! be victorious. Triumph is yours.” Dharmaja blessed Arjuna.
Both Arjuna and Krishna, boarded their chariot and proceeded to the battle field. But Arjuna’s face was gloomy, filled with timidity. Krishna observed it and said thus:
“Arjuna! You are unconquerable even by divine forces. You got mighty physicial, mental and divine power. You made Bhishma fell on an arrowy bed and killed Drona and Jayadhradha. The remainder is Karna. With the fond hope that Karna will be his saviour, Suyodhana ventured this battle. Kill Karna and make Suyodhana’s hopes futile. It will enhance your name and fame. Not only Karna, Kripacharya, Asvathama, Kritavarma, Salya are destined to be killed by you. You may leave Kripacharya and Asvathama being Brahmins, but dont leave Kritavarma, being my relative. Salya is no other than your maternal uncle. But he is fighting for your enemy. Hence, he has to be killed.
Karna is the root cause for all your woes. Burning in Lac House, dice game, insult caused to Droupadi, are all the creations of Karna. Not only that, he is responsible for all the misdeeds of Suyodhana. Have you forgotten the words uttered by Karna, in open assembly, addressing Droupadi. “Your husbands lost you in dice game and remained as cowards. There are several heroes in this assembly. Choose one with manliness, unlike your husbands.” Are these not the words spoken to by Karna,addressing Droupadi.
When I visited Kuru Assembly to effect mediation between you and Suyodhana, this Karna unnecessarily interfered, fomented hatredness in Suyodhana and instigated him to bind me with rope.
While your son Abhimanyu was fighting with the enemies fiercely, this wretch, Karna, broke his bow from behind and provoked others to kill him. Are you hesitating to kill this Karna, inspite of all his mis deeds. If you kill Karna, the remaining sons of Dhritarashtra cannot even stand before you. The entire universe will be under your control.”said Krishna, encouraging Arjuna.
Arjuna came out of his distressed mood. “Krishna! if you are by my side, Karna’s death is imminent. He will remember today all his mis deeds, including the mischievous disce game. Beholding the death of Karna, Suyodhana should repent for not heeding the words of Vidura. Sons of Dhritarashtra should lose hopes on Kuru kingdom. My brother, Dharmaja’s heart should be filled with joy on hearing the death of Karna.” said Arjuna firmly.
Bythat time, they reached the battle field. At that time, both sides were fighting, without caring for their lives. One of the Karna’s son was killed by Uttamouja. Beholding the death of his son, Karna cut the flag of Uttamouja and killed his horses. Uttamouja took his sword, jumped down and killed the horses of the Kripacharya’s chariot. Then he jumped into the chariot of Sikhandi. Meanwhile, Asvathama arrived there and picked up Kripacharya and left that place.
Unable to bear the prowess of Bhimasena, Kourava army was fleeing away. Bhimasena told his charioteer Visoka: “Visoka! My brother, Dharmaja, left the battle field. Arjuna who went to enquire about his welfare, has not yet returned. I do not know what had happened. If any untoward thing happens, there is no use of continuing the war. Any how, nothing is left to me except massacring the enemy troops. Visoka! look at those flags. Can you identify the chariots of Arjuna and Dharmaja. What about our arms and arrows. Are they sufficiently available. Please find out.” asked Bhimasena.
“O Bhimasena! You need not worry about the arms and arrows. They are more than sufficient. The mighty mace in your hand is more than sufficient to massacre the enemy troops.” said Visoka.
Bhimasena’s heart was filled with joy with the words of Visoka. Suddenly Visoka cried aloud: “Bhimasena! look at that side. That is Kapidhwaja. Arjuna is there. He is chasing the elephant troops”
On hearing the words of Visoka, Bhimasena was over-joyous. “Visoka! Drive our chariot nearer to the chariot of Arjuna” asked Bhimasena. Immediately, Visoka drove the chariot nearer to Arjuna.
Arjuna was massacring the kourava troops. Unable to bear the vigour of Arjuna, Kourava army was fleeing away. From other side, Bhimasena was moving with wind speed and killing the enemy troops mercilessly.
Suyodhana observed this situation. He addressed his troops: “Proceed against Bhimasena. Surround him. Kill him.” shouted Suyodhana. Accordingly, Kourava troops surrounded Bhimasena.
The battle was fierce. Bhimasena was massacring the kourava troops indiscriminately. Sakuni shot one most powerful arrow aiming at the chest of Bhimasena. Bhimasena broke the bow of Sakuni. Sakuni picked up another bow and shot 16 arrows hitting the charioteer and horses of Bhimasena. Bhimasena launched Saktri against Sakuni. Sakuni caught hold of that Sakti with his hand and hurled it back against Bhimasena. Bhimasena’s hand was injured. Kourava troops acclaimed the act of Sakuni. Bhimasena took his bow and broke the bow of Sakuni and shot numerous arrows throughout the body of Sakuni. Sakuni fell down on his chariot and fainted. Suyodhana rushed to that spot and carried away Sakuni on his chariot.
With the help of Sikhandi, Dhrishtadyumna and Upa Pandavas, Bhima sena attacked karna. Later Nakula and Sahadeva joined Bhimasena. All of them surrounded Karna. Karna alone was fighting with all those Pandava heroes. Unable to bear the prowess of Karna, Pandava troops fled away.
Chedi, Matsya and Panchala troops surrounded Karna. Karna was massacring them. Suyodhana, Kripacharya, Dussaasana, Asvathama, Sakuni, Kritavarma joined Karna. All of them attacked Pandava troops and were destroying them.
At another front, Bhima, Nakula, Sahadeva, Dhrishtadyumna, Sikhandi and others were killing the Kourava troops mercilessly. Heavy casualities were there on both both sides. Krishna was driving the chariot of Arjuna towards Karna with great speed. Observing this Salya told Karna:
“Karna! look at that side. Arjuna is rushing towards you. Attack Arjuna and kill him. Discharge the debt of Suyodhana.” Salya provoked Karna. Salya drove the chariot towards Arjuna.
Meanwhile, Bhimasena arrived there. Arjuna informed Bhimasena about the welfare of Dharmaja. Suddenly, Ten of your sons (sons of Dhritarashtra) surrounded Arjuna. Within a moment, Arjuna effortlessly consigned all of them to the abode of Yama. Then, 90 Kourava warriors surrounded Arjuna. Arjuna killed all of them, each with one arrow. Arjuna began to chase the rest of Kourava army.
Meanwhile, 1300 strong elephant troop attacked Arjuna. With the help of Bhimasena, Arjuna could destroy that might elephant force. Bhimasena got down from the chariot, with his mace on his shoulder, and began to break the heads of the elephants. The arrowy showers of Arjuna from one side, and the mighty blows of Bhimasena’s mace on the other side, are shattering the kourava forces.
Beholding this, Karna grew angry. Karna broke the bows of the sons of Bhima and Nakula. Karna killed the horses of Satyaki and killed the son of Kekaya King. In retaliation, King of Kekaya killed Prasena, son of Karna. With that grief, Karna killed the King of Kekaya. Satyaki boarded another chariot and attacked Sushena, grand son of Karna. Satyaki killed the horses of Sushena. Beholding this, Karna shouted “O Satyaki! you are dead”. So saying, Karna shot one powerful astra upon Satyaki. But Sikhandi broke that Astra in the middle.
Karna cut the flag of Sikhandi and killed Sudeva son of Drupada. Beholding this, Panchala warriors surrounded Karna. Arjuna and Bhimasena came nearer to the chariot of Karna. Meanwhile Uttamouja, Janamejaya, Yudhamanyu, Sikhandi and Dhrishtadyumna had overtaken Arjuna and attacked Karna. Karna also effectively attacked all of them. Karna broke their umbrellas, flags and bows into pieces and killed their charioteers and horses.
Meanwhile, Upa Pandavas surrounded Karna. Satyaki was protecting all of them by cutting each and every arrow shot by Karna. Satyaki also pierced number of arrows into the body of Suyodhana who came to the help of Karna. Arjuna also was chasing all the warriors who are coming there to help Karna.
Dussaasana came before Bhimasena. Beholding Dussaasana, Bhimasena said: “O brother, Dussaasana! I am here to discharge your debt for what all you have done in the open assembly. I will fulfull my promise by drinking your blood. By God’s grace, you are before me.” Bhimasena shouted aloud.
“O Bhimasena! You might have forgotten the past so quickly. Have you forgotten that we tried to burnt all of you alive in Varanavata. Have you forgotten about the wicked dice game played by us to grab all your wealth. Have you forgotten those years spent by you in forests like animals.Having suffered so many woes at our hands, you have come to fight with us. Even if you forgot, I will never forget.” heckled Dussaasana.
Without saying a single word, Bhimasena cut his flag, broke his bow and killed his charioteer. Bhimasena planted one sharp shaft on the forehead of Dussaasana. Dussaasana, while driving his chariot, picked up another bow and cut the bow of Bhimasena and hit the charioteer of Bhimasena. Bhimasena took another bow and planted 50 sharp edged arrows into the body of Dussaasana. Dussaasana, in return, killed the horses of Bhimasena. Bhimasena took his mighty mace, got down from the chariot, came near the chariot of Dussaasana.
First, Bhimasena killed the horses and broke the chariot. Dussaasana took his mace and jumped down the chariot. Dussaasana hurled a Tomara upon Bhimasena which was cut by Bhimasena into pieces. While looking into the eyes of Dussaasana in a close range, Bhimasena remembered the woes sufferedby them for 13 longs years on account of Dussaasana. He could not control himself. His heart was burning with great anger. He remembered his promise made by him in the open assembly.
Bhimasena raised his huge mace. Collected all his strength and power in his hands and delivered a huge mighty blow on the head of Dussaasana. With that blow, Dussaasana fell down. Bhimasena fell upon him. Bhimasena pressed his neck with his leg. “O Dussaasana! Inspite of insulting us in the open assembly, you have come here insearch of your death in my form. You are killed. You wicked wretch. you are killed.” Bhimasena shouted and was throttling the neck of Dussaasana with his leg.
Beholding Bhimasena in such a fiercest form, the troops on both sides taken aback and ran away. Bhimasena did not observe whether Dussaasana was alive or dead. Bhimasena lifted the body of Dussaasana with his hands into air, whirled it speedily in the air, and threw it down on the ground forcefully. Bhimasena sat on his knees before the body of Dussaasana. He was laughing wickedly and loudly.Looking into the face of Dussaasana:
“You Dussaasana! now I will break your chest and drink your blood like honey. Call your people for help. I will see who will save you.” so shouting Bhimasena, tore the chest of Dussaasana by piercing his long nails into his chest. The blood gushed out of his chest. Bhimasena drank that blood. He rubbed the rest of the blood to his body. With a mad look, Bhimasena laughed at Dussaasana. He was jumping on the body of Dussaasana.
“Oh Dussaasana! your blood is to tasty. It has
extinguished my thrist. I discharged my vow.” Bhimasena was shouting,
clapping, dancing wildly.
“Dussaasana! why are you lying like this. Cry. You beast --- Cry aloud. Call anybody to come to your rescue. Whoever will come, I will see.”.
Bhimasena sat near the dead body of Dussaasana.
“O Dussaasana! why you bore grudge against me. Had I done anyting either to you or your brother, Suyodhana. But you tried to kill me by administering poison, by throwing into water, by snake bites. You insulted me in the open assembly. Why? Why? What was the reason? So, you have to reap the consequences today for playing wicked dice game with us.”
Bhimasena rose to his feet. He was restless. He could not control his anger. Kourava warriors were staring at him with great fear.
Beholding them, Bhimasena shouted: “Look at the fate of this wretch, Dussaasana. Due to his misdeeds, his father, Dhritarashtra, lost his name and fame. Had his father reprimanded him, situation would not have been this worse. O Dussaasana! Remember what you told Droupadi in open assembly.
“O Droupadi, you have no husband. Choose some capable person.”. Is it not?
Dussaasana! Droupadi has a husband. I am the husband of Droupadi. I am here. Today, I will deprive all your wives of their respective husbands. They have to weep for their husbands. O Dussaasana! By killing you, I discharged one of my vows. Another vow remains. Breaking the thighs of Suyodhana and kicking his head with my left leg, remained. I am proceeding on that job.”
Bhimasena was shaking with great wrath. He has become uncontrollable. Bhimasena again was striking the dead body of Dussaasana with his mighty mace. Dussaasana is dead.
Beholding the ghastly incident, Karna and other warriors were frightened. Looking at the death of their brother, Dussaasana, his brothers, Kavachi, Nishangi, Pasi, Dandadhara, Dhanurdhraha, Alopa, Saha, Shanda, Vatavega, Suvarchasa rushed against Bhimasena. With ten Bhalla arrows, Bhimasena cut their heads.
Looking at Karna Salya said: “Karna! what happened.
Are you afraid of Bhimasena. Have you become coward. Your friend, Suyodhana,
is waiting for his turn to be killed by Bhimasena. You are commander
of the entire forces. Kripacharya, Asvathama and others are waiting
for your commands and future course of action. Rally your troops and
be ready for war. Look at that side. Your son, Vrishasena, is rushing
against Pandavas. You also attack Arjuna. Suyodhana put the entire burden
of war upon your shoulders. You should not remain as a coward like this.”
Meanwhile, Vrishasena, son of Karna, attacked Bhimasena.
But Nakula intervened and cut the flag , umbrella and bow of Vrishasena.Vrishasena
picked up another bow and broke the chariot of Nakula and killed the
horses. Nakula took his sword , jumped down the chariot and rushed against
Vrishasena.. Vrishasena shot numerous arrows throughout the body of
Beholding this, Arjuna rushed against Vrishasena. Vrishasena showered numerous arrows upon Arjuna, Sataaneeka and Bhimasena. Vrishasena planted 7 arrows in the body of Nakula and 12 arrows in the body of Krishna. Arjuna shot numerous arrows against Vrishasena which were cut by him in the middle. Vrishasena shot 10 arrows piercing into the body of Arjuna and 9 arrows against Krishna.
Arjuna, enraged with great wrath, cut the bow of Vrishasena and cut his arms. With another arrow, Arjuna cut the head of Vrishasena.
Karna was enraged with great wrath beholding the death of his own son, in his presence. Karna drove his chariot against Arjuna. Karna and Arjuna were standing one against the other.
Karna asked Salya: “O king of Madra, if Arjuna vanquishes me, what will you do?
“I will fight with Krishna and Arjuna” said Salya.
The same question was put by Arjuna to Krishna.
“Krishna! If I were to be vanquished by Karna, what will you do?”
“Arjuna! even if sun rises on west, you will never be conquered by Karna. Therefore, that question does not arise. I cannot bear that situation even forthe sake of fun. If it so happens, I will kill Karna and Salya with single hand. I will destroy the Kourava clan for ever and enthrone Dharmaja for this Kuru Dynasty. It is certain” said Krishna emotionally.
“Krishna! For fun sake I asked you that question. I will take revenge upon Karna for his mis-deeds in Kuru assembly. Even if all the three Gods come together, Karna’s death is imminent today. You will see me cutting the head of Karna, making his wife, widow.” said Arjuna.
The troops on both sides were standing one against the to her. Even the divine bodies gathered in the sky to witness the magnificent and splendid war between Karna and Arjuna.
At that juncture, Asvathama approached Suyodhana and said thus:
“Suyodhana! A great warrior, Bhishma, was defeated by Arjuna. Is Karna greater than Bhishma? Can he ever stand before Arjuna? I will convince Arjuna. You convince Karna. Let all of us go to Dharmaja and settle the matter amicably. We will have an amicable settlement. Bhima, Nakula and Sahadeva will never say ‘no’ to the words of Dharmaja. If you accept my proposal, it will be in favour of you, your remaining brothers, all your friendly kings and also the common man. Think about it. You reposed confidence upon me and Kripacharya that we will vanquish Arjuna and we will never be killed by him. It is wrong. We are also mortals, destined to die. Ofcourse, Arjuna may leave me and Kripacharya because we are Brahmins.
You thought that Bhishma and Drona will never be defeated by anybody. But they were defeated and killed. We are in no way greater than those eminent warriors. Therefore, an amicable settlement with Dharmaja is the best solution at this juncture.
You need not apprehend that Krishna may not agree for settlement as we spoke bad against him when he tried to settle the matter. Krishna and Dharmaja will accept your father, Dhritarashtra, as the King and Emperor of this Kuru Kingdom. Under his rule, we will spend the rest of our life peacefully. Karna also will accept this proposal.
We are all your well wishers. We wish you long life and prosperity. If we are alive, we may enjoy the royal pleasures. What you derive after death. Hence, Shed animosity and hatredness. Agree for the amicable settlement. It will be favoured by one and all. If you dont agree for this proposal, you will be sliding down into greater depths.” said Asvathama.
Suyodhana heard those words of Asvathama carefully and with great attention.
“Asvathama! How mad you are! Bhimasena discharged his first promise made by him in the open assembly, by killing Dussaasana. Will he keep quiet without killing me and discharing his second promise? At this crucial time, how can I crave for settlement with my enemy. How Karna will give up war at this juncture. It is impossible. What should happen, let it happen. For the present, Arjuna is tired but Karna is shining with renewed vigour. Karna may kill Arjuna today.” said Suyodhana.
Suyodhana rallied his forces and drove them against Pandava forces. Karna and Arjuna began to fight. There was a fiercest battle between Karna and Arjuna.
Krishna told Arjuna: “Arjuna! show your prowess. Plant numerous arrows in the body of Karna. He is no match to you in any respect. Kill Karna. That is only your aim.” encouraged Krishna.
The eminent warriors in Kourava Troops also encouraged Karna: “Karna! After wandering and spending wayward life in forests for 12 long years, Pandavas have come for fight. Kill Arjuna. Rest of the Pandavas will go back to forests. Suyodhana will be our King and Emperor. Gather your courage and vigour. Fight against Arjuna” said Salya.
Karna shot ten most powerful arrows against Arjuna. Arjuna, in return, shot 19 arrows against Karna. Karna shot 9 sharp edged arrows against Arjuna. Karna also shot numeros arrows against Krishna. Beholding this, Arjuna poured arrowy showers on Karna. Karna, in return, shot most powerful arrows against Arjuna and Krishna.
Arjuna hit the charioteer of Karna and his horses and launched Agneyastra against karna. Karna launched Varunastra, to nullify Agneyastra. Again, Arjuna launched Meghastra upon Karna. Under the influence of Meghastra, the entire sky was filled with dark clouds and darkness plunged in. To neutralize that, Arjuna launched Anilastra (Vavyastra). The terrible wind emanated by Vavaystra shattered the clouds and the Sun was visible. Arjuna launched Indra Sakti upon Karna which was nullified by Karna.
At this juncture Bhimasena told Arjuna: “Brother Arjuna! Karna decided to settle the matters today itself. Tell me, whether you will kill Karna or will you allow me to kill Karna. With one heavy blow of my mace, I will break the head of Karna into pieces.” said Bhimasena with great wrath.
Krishna told Arjuna: “Arjuna! Karna is attacking effectively each and every Astra launched by you. Besides that, he is pouring arrowy showers upon you. Kourava troops are jubilant and our forces are in great distress. I do not know the reason. You take my Chakra and cut the head of Karna.” said Krishna.
“Krishna! there is no need to launch Chakrayudha. I am launching Brahma Astra upon Karna. He cannot escape it.” So saying, Arjuna launched Brahma Astra against Karna. Brahma astra was darting towards Karna with great speed. But Karna remained unshaken. With his divine power, Brahma Astra returned back.
Karna shot numerous arrows against Arjuna and Krishna. Arjuna also shot each 9 arrows against Karna and Salya. Karna cut the thread tied to Gandeeva. Arjuna tied the thread and cut the thread tied to the bow of Karna. In this manner, Karna and Arjuna were combatting with each other. Unable to bear the wrath of Arjuna, Chakra Rakshakas of Karna fled away.
Beholding this, Suyodhana instigated Kourava warriors to kill Arjuna. Suyodhana’s troops suddenly surrounded Arjuna. Arjuna scattered the Kourava forces. The forces on both sides stopped fighting and were viewing at the dual fight between Karna and Arjuna. Looking at this development, Suyodhana addressed his troops:
“O great warriors! while Karna is fighting with
Arjuna with great prowess, how you are keeping quiet. Is it proper on
your part to be silent with foldeld hands. Go and help karna and fight
with Arjuna” Suyodhana instigated his troops.
Karna was having Sarpamukha Astra. Its main deity was Takshaka’s son Ashvasena. Karna preseved it only to kill Arjuna. Now Karna intended to launch Sarpa Mukha Astra against Arjuna. Karna worshipped that Astra and was about to launch it. Karna aimed that Astra directly to the neck of Arjuna.
Salya observed that the target is not correct. “Karna!your target is wrong. Aim it directly to the neck of Arjuna.” said Salya.
Karna grew angry. “Salya! I am a great warrior. How dare you say that my target is wrong. With this Astra, Arjuna’s head will roll on the ground” so saying Karna launched Sarpa Mukha Astra without correcting the target.
Sarpa Mukha Astra was darting towards Arjuna, like
wild fire. Beholding this, Krishna, using his whole strength, kicked
down the chariot with his leg, six inches down into the ground. The
target of Karna failed. The sarpa mukha astra hit against the divine
crown of Arjuna and the crown fell down and broke into pieces.
Beholding this Arjuna asked Krishna: “Krishna! Why this serpant is chasing me like this.”
“Arjuna! At the time of burning Khandava forest, one naga lady, called Asvasena, tried to escape from the fire along with her mother. You chased that Naga Lady and killed her. Since then, that Naga Lady, Asvasena, bore grudge against you. She was born as the son of Takshaka.. That Asvasena is the main deity of this Sarpa Mukha Astra. Now Asvasena is chasing you to take revenge upon you. Hitherto, Karna was worshipping Naga Mukha Astra and preserved it only to kill you. Now you can destroy Naga Mukha Astra with another divine Astra.” said Krishna.
Arjuna, launched another Divine Astra, and broke SarpaMukha Astra into pieces. Arjunt planted 12 sharp arrows into the body of Karna. Karna shot 13 sharp arrows against Krishna and 100 arrows against Arjuna.
Arjuna with one arrow broke the natural ear rings of Karna.(The natural armour (sahaja kavacha) has alrleady been taken away as charity by Devendra). The unshaken Karna was pouring arrowy showers on Arjuna. But Arjuna was cutting those arrows in the middle.
The entire body of Karna was shedding blood. It was time for the Sun to set indicating that his son also was going to die in the battle field. Lord Yama arrived there invisibly to invite Karna. Yama’s voice is heard everywhere.
“Now the chariot wheels will sunk in earth indicating Karna’s departure.”
Karna heard this. He tried to remember Bhargava Astra, but failed. Karna realised that the curse of Parasurama has begun to work out. Still he did not loose his courage.
“I am virtuous. I follow Dharma. Dharma will save me. But those words have become futile now .” thought Karna.
Arjuna was showering arrows incessantly upon Karna. Karna lost hopes on divine powers. He took up his bow and shot most powerful sharp arrows upon Arjuna. Arjuna launched Brahma Astra upon Karna which was successfully neutrilized by Karna, by launching Indra Astra.
Krishna told Arjuna: “Arjuna! Do you know the reason for the failure of your Brahma Astra. You are tactless in killing Karna. Without much effort, try to kill Karna with tact.” suggested Krishna.
Meanwhile, Karna tried to launch Rudra Astra. With great devotion, Karna was chanting Rudra Astra. The chariot wheels are sinking down into earth.The chariot was leaning to one side. Hence, Karna could not concentrate on launching of Rudra Astra.
Karna got down the chariot. Looking at Arjuna, Karna said: “Arjuna! I am deprived of my chariot. My chariot wheels have sunk into earth. I have to lift my chariot wheels. You are on chariot I am on earth. It is against Dharma to shower arrows upon me. Kindly stop shooting arrows till I lift my chariot wheels.
Arjuna! I am only letting you know about War Principles, not that I am afraid of you and Krishna.” .
Krishna thought that it was proper time to teach a lesson to Karna.
“What Karna. Are you preaching sermons about Dharma. Are you speaking about What is Dharma and What is Adharma? When you have started preaching sermons about Dharma? Because you are in troubles, you remember Dharma now. While you were in highest peak of power and aggrandisement, you never remember about Dharma!
Karna! Pandavas are virtuous.They are following virtuous path always. They are always victorious. Have you forgotten the misdeeds done by you with the support of Suyodhana.
Are you not the wretch who suggested Suyodhana to kill Pandavas by burning them in lac house.
Are you not the brain behind back to arrange the wicked dice game.
Are you not the root cause for the nasty idea of dragging Droupadi to open assembly and remove her clothes.
Did you not foment the hatredness of Suyodhana by proceeding to Ghosha Yatra into forests without allowing Pandavas to spend their time peacefully, even in forests.
Are you not the wretch who commenced the nasty wretched operation to kill Abhimanyu by surrounding him on all sides.
Are you not responsible either directly or indirectly for all the above mis deeds.
At that time, did you not remember what is Dharma and what is Adharma?”
While Krishna was uttering word by word, Arjuna was moving with great wrath. Mercilessly, Arjuna showered numerous powerful arrows upon Karna. Karna was fighting with Arjuna, standing on the ground.
Arjuna cut the flag of Karna. Karna, infuriated with wrath, shot most sharp edged arrows against Arjuna. Now and then, Karna was trying to lift his chariot wheels.
“Why you are hesitating. Kill Karna.” said Krishna.
Arjuna took out a most powerful divine astra and intended in his mind:
“If I am successful in doing great penance, in serving my preceptors and brahmins, making charities to Brahmins, preceptors, this Divine Astra will cut the head of Karna.”
Intending strongly in mind to kill Karna, Arjuna launched that Divine Astra. Arjuna drew the thread of Gandeeva upto his ear and released that Divine Astra with great speed.
That Divine Astra darted with great speed, sparkling flames, towards Karna and cut his head. Karna’s body fell on the ground. The Sun was set. Then to the sight of one and all, a light came out of the body of Karna and moved towards Sun and joined the evening Sun. As if its power is over, the chariot wheels have raised to the normal position. Unable to look at the dead body of his own son, the Sun God disappeared in the western ghats, to have a holy bath.
Pursuant to the death of Karna, Pandava Army was jubilant. They were blowing trumpets, horns, conches etc. Salya, drove the empty chariot without Karna, towards Suyodhana. Kourava Armies fled away.
Having seen the fall of Karna, Bhiamsena was shouting, laughing aloud, and dancing.
Salya approached Suyodhana and said: “Suyodhana! I have witnessed many battles so far, but I have not seen such a fiercest battle between Karna and Arjuna. It is Amazing. Marvellous. Remarkable. Indescribable. At one point of time, Krishna and Arjuna lost hopes upon their lives. But fate decided the destiny. Such a mighty warrior, Karna, laid down his life. It is already sunset. Let us close the war for today.” said Salya.
On hearing that Karna is dead, Suyodhana remained silent. Suddenly, he became mad and was crying. He left that place lamenting for the death of Karna.
Krishna and Arjuna ordered their troops to stop war for the day. Both of them went to the abode of Dharmaja. Dharmaja praised Arjuna for killing Karna.
“Dharmaja! Today Karna became very furious. None was able to kill him. It appears he was not killed due to the prowess of Arjuna but he was destroyed in the great wrath suppressed by you all these days. With the death of Karna, you are relieved of all the woes. You remain worryless. You will be the King and Emperor for Kuru Kingdom” said Krishna.
With folded hands Dharmaja said: “Krishna! we are always victorious as long as your kind looks are spreading on us.” said Dharmaja.
“Dharmaja! I am only a silent spectator. Yours brothers, your brothers in law are endowed with great vigour and valour. With their combined efforts only, you achieved this victory.” said Krishna.
“Krishna! I desire to see the dead body of Karna once.” said Dharmaja.
Accompanied by his brothers, relatives, friends, troops, Dharmaja proceeded to the battle field. Dharmaja saw the dead bodies of Karna, his sons and grand sons. With the death of Karna, Dharmaja thought that he got a rebirth.” said Sanjaya to Dhritarashtra, about the death of Dussaasana and karna.
In the above manner, Sooti told Saint Sounaka and other sages and saints, the story of Mahabharata, as told by Saint Vaisampayana to Janamejaya.