Battle of Kurukshetra day 1 (part 4)

Asking permission to fight

9/14/20220 min read

"Beholding Dhananjaya then to take up once again (his) arrows and Gandiva, the mighty car-warriors (of the Pandava party) uttered a tremendous shout. And those heroes, viz., the Pandavas and the Somakas, and those who followed them, filled with joy, blew their sea-born conches. And drums, and Pesis, and Karkachas, and cow-horns were beaten and blown together, and the uproar made was very loud.

There then came the gods, with Gandharvas and the Pitris, and the hosts of Siddhas and Charanas, from desire of witnessing (the sight). And Rishis highly blessed came there in a body with him (Indra) of a hundred sacrifices at their head, for beholding that great slaughter.

Then, Beholding the two armies, that looked like two oceans, ready for the encounter and continuously moving, the heroic king Yudhishthira, the Just, putting off his coat of mail and casting aside his excellent spear and quickly descending from his car, with joined hands, proceeded on foot, eyeing the grandsire, with restrained speech, facing the east, towards the direction where the hostile host was (standing)

Seeing this the Pandava brothers said. “What is this act of yours, O king, that abandoning your brothers, you proceedest on foot ?”

Though thus addressed by his brothers, That son of Kuru's race, Yudhishthira of restrained speech said nothing but continued to proceed.

Unto the pandava brothers, then Bhagavan Vasudeva of great wisdom smilingly said,--His object is known to me. Having paid his respects to all his superiors (such as) Bhishma, Drona, and Kripa, and Salya also, he will fight the foe. It is heard in histories of olden times that he who, having paid his respects according to the laws unto his preceptors, revered in years and his kinsmen, fighting with those that are his superiors, is sure to obtain victory in battle. Even that is my opinion.--

When Krishna was saying this, among the ranks of Dhritarashtra's son, a loud uproar of Alas, and Oh arose, but the other (army) remained perfectly still. Beholding Yudhishthira, the heroic warriors of Dhritarashtra's Son conversed with one another saying,--'This one is an infamous wretch of his race. It is plain that this king is coming in terror towards Bhishma's side. Yudhishthira, with his brothers, has become a seeker after (Bhishma's) shelter. When Dhananjaya, however, is (his) protector, and Pandu's son Vrikodara, and Nakula, and Sahadeva also, why does the (eldest) son of Pandu come (hither) in fear? Though celebrated in the world, this one, however, could never have been born in the Kshatriya order, since he is weak and his bosom is filled with fear at the prospect of battle.' Then those warriors all praised the Kauravas. All of them, becoming rejoiced, with cheerful hearts waved their garments. All the warriors there (then) censured Yudhishthira with all his brothers and along with Kesava too.

Here we can see the inherent demonic nature of the forces which fought for the Kuru army. This war was no petty squabble between kings but battle between two extra dimensional forces. Devas headed by Sri Krsna on the one side and Assuras lead by the personality of Kali or Sin in the form of Duryodhana. Yudhistera is only trying to give respect to his elders and the Materialistic Jaded nature of the demons becomes evident. It is said people are like oranges and they only need to be squeezed to show there true nature. External forces only show what lies below, and do not contribute to ones nature.

Then the Kaurava army, having said Shame to Yudhishthira, soon again, became perfectly still, --What will this king say? What will Bhishma say in reply? What will Bhima boastful of his powers in battle, (say), and what Krishna and Arjuna? What, indeed, has (Yudhishthira) to say?--Great was the curiosity then, of both the armies in respect of Yudhishthira.

The king meanwhile, entering the hostile array bristling with arrows and darts, proceeded quickly towards Bhishma, surrounded by his brothers. Seizing his feet with his two hands, the royal son of Pandu then said unto Santanu's son Bhishma who was there ready for battle, these words. Yudhishthira said, 'I salute you, O invincible one. We will do battle with your illustrious self. Grant (us) your permission in that matter. Give us also your blessing."

Bhishma said, 'If, O lord of the earth, you had not, come to me thus, I would have, O great king, cursed you, O Bharata, for bringing about your defeat. I am gratified with you, O son. Do battle, and obtain victory, O son of Pandu, What else may be desired Solicit also the boon, O son of Pritha, which you wish to have from us. A man is the slave of wealth, but wealth is no one's slave. This is very true, O king. I have been bound by the Kauravas with (their) wealth. It is for this, O son of Kuru's race, that like a eunuch I am uttering these words, -Bound I am by the Kauravas with wealth. Battle excepted, what dost you desire?

"Yudhishthira said, 'Grandfather of great wisdom, do you, desirous of my welfare, from day to day, consult my interests. Do battle, however for the sake of the Kauravas. Even this is always my prayer to you.'

"Bhishma said, 'O king, O son of Kuru's race, what aid can I render you in this? I shall, of course, fight for your foes. Tell me what you have to say.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'Therefore, O Sire, I ask you, I bow to you, O grandsire, how shall we, in battle, vanquish you who are invincible? Tell me this that is for my benefit, if indeed, you see any good in it."

"Bhishma said, 'I do not, O son of Kunti, see the person who, even if he were the chief of the celestials himself, can defeat me in battle when I fight.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'My salutations to you, O grandsire. Therefore, do I ask you this. Tell us how your own death may be compassed by foes in battle.'

"Bhishma said, 'I do not see the person, O King, who can vanquish me in battle. The time also of my death is not yet come to me once again."

"Then, Yudhishthira, once more saluting him, accepted Bhishma's words with a bend of his head. And that mighty-armed one then proceeded towards the car of the preceptor ( Drona) through the midst of all the soldiers who were eyeing him, accompanied by his brothers. Then saluting Drona and walking round him, the king spoke to that invincible warrior words that were for his own benefit. "Yudhishthira said, 'I ask , O invincible one, how I may fight without incurring sin, and how, with your permission, O regenerate one, I may vanquish all my foes?

"Drona said, 'If, having resolved to fight, you had not come to me , I would have cursed you. O king, for your complete overthrow. I am, however, gratified, O Yudhishthira, and honored by you, O sinless one. You have my blessings, fight and obtain victory. I will also grant you a boon. Say what you have to say. Under these circumstances, battle excepted, what is your wish? I shall fight for the sake of the Kauravas, but will pray for your victory.

"Yudhishthira said, 'Pray for my victory, O regenerate one, and counsel what is for my good. Fight, however, for the Kauravas. This is the boon solicited by me.'

"Drona said, 'Victory, O king, is certain for one who has Hari for this counselor. I (also) grant that you wilt vanquish thy foes in battle. Where righteousness is, there is Krishna, and where Krishna is, there is victory. Go, fight, O son of Kunti! Ask me, what shall I say unto you?'

"Yudhishthira said, 'I ask you, O foremost of regenerate ones, listen to what I have to say. How shall we in battle vanquish you who are invincible?'

"Drona said, 'As long as I will fight, so long victory can never be yours. (Therefore) O king, seek with your brothers, for my speedy slaughter.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'Alas, for this, O you of mighty arms, tell (us) the means of your death. O preceptor, prostrating myself before you with tears in my eyes I ask this."

"Drona said, 'The foe, O sire, I see not who may slay me while standing in battle I am engaged in fight, with wrath excited, and scattering (my) arrowy showers continually. Except when preparing for death O king, having abandoned my arms and withdrawn (in Yoga meditation) from surrounding sights, none will be able to slay me. This that I tell you is true. Know that I will cast off my arms in battle, having heard something very disagreeable from some one of credible speech.--'"

"Hearing these words of the wise son of Bharadwaja, and honouring the preceptor, (Yudhishthira then) proceeded towards the son of Saradwat. And saluting Kripa and walking round him, O king, Yudhishthira, accomplished in speech, said these words unto that warrior of great valour. "Yudhishthira said, 'Obtaining your permission, O preceptor, I will fight without incurring sin, and permitted by you, O sinless one, I will vanquish all (my) foes."

"Kripa said, 'If having resolved on fight, you had not come to me (thus), I would have cursed you, O king, for your complete overthrow. Battle excepted, what Boon do you desire?' "Yudhishthira said, 'Alas, I ask you, therefore., O preceptor, listen to my words.--Saying this, the king, greatly agitated and overcome with emotion, stood silent." Understanding, however, what he intended to say, Gautama (Kripa) replied to him, saying,--I am incapable of being slain, O king. Fight, and obtain victory. I am gratified with your coming. Rising every day [from bed] I will pray for thy victory, O monarch. I say this truthfully--

Hearing these words of Gautama, and paying him due honours, the king proceeded where the ruler of the Madra was. Saluting Salya and walking round him the king said unto that invincible warrior those words that were for his own benefit. 'Yudhishthira said,--'Obtaining thy permission, O invincible one, I will fight without incurring sin, and permitted by you, O king, I will vanquish (my) valourous foes.'

-- "Salya said, 'If, having resolved on fight, you had not come to me (thus), I would have, O king, cursed you. I am gratified and honoured . Let it be as you desire. I grant permission, fight and obtain victory. Speak, O hero, for what have you any need? What shalt I give you? Under these circumstances, O king, battle excepted, what do you desire? "

Yudhishthira said, 'Even that is my boon, O Salya, which was solicited by me during the preparations (for the fight). The energy of the Suta's son (Karna) should be weakened by you in battle.' "Salya said, 'This wish, O Yudhishthira, shall be accomplished, O son of Kunti. Go, fight according to your pleasure. I shall look after your victory."

'Sanjaya continued, "Having obtained the permission of his maternal uncle, the ruler of the Madra, the son of Kunti, surrounded by his brothers, came out of that vast army. Vasudeva then went to Radha's son on the field of battle.

The elder brother of Gada, for the sake of Kunti, then said to Karna,--It has been heard by me, O Karna, that from hatred of Bhishma you will not fight. Come to our side, O son of Radha, and (stay with us) as long as Bhishma is not slain. After Bhishma is slain, O son of Radha, you may then again engage in battle on Duryodhana's side,

"Karna said, 'I will not do anything that is disagreeable to Dhritarashtra's son, O Kesava. Devoted to Duryodhana's good, know that I have cast off my life (for him).--Hearing these words (of Karna), Krishna ceased and reunited himself with the sons of Pandu headed by Yudhishthira.

Then amid all the warriors the eldest son of Pandu, loudly exclaimed,--If now before battle any warrior feels they are fighting for the wrong side they have my permission to join the opposing party!--

Casting his eyes then upon them, Yuyutsu said these words, with a cheerful heart, unto Kunti's son king Yudhishthira the Just,--I will fight under you in battle, with the sons of Dhritarashtra, if, O king, you will accept me, sinless one.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'Come, come, all of us will fight with your foolish brothers. O Yuyutsu, O mighty armed one, fight for my cause. On you rests, it seems, the thread of Dhritarashtra's line as also his funeral cake. '

Yuvutsu then, abandoning the Kurus thy sons, went over to the army of the Pandavas, with beat of drums and cymbals. Then king Yudhishthira of mighty arms, filled with joy, again put on his shining coat of mail of golden effulgence. And those bulls among men then mounted their respective cars. And they counter-arrayed their troops in battle-array as before. And they caused drums and cymbals in many hundreds to be sounded. And those bulls among men also set up diverse leonine roars. Beholding those tigers among men, viz., the sons of Pandu, on their cars, the kings (on their side) with Dhrishtadyumna and others, once more set up shouts of joy. And beholding the nobility of the sons of Pandu who had paid due honour to those that were deserving of honour, all the kings there present applauded them highly. The monarchs, talked with one another about the friendship, the compassion, and the kindness to kinsmen, displayed at the proper season by those high-souled personages. Excellent,--Excellent,--were the delightful words everywhere bruited about, coupled with eulogistic hymns about those famous men. And in consequence of this the minds and hearts of every one there were attracted towards them. And the Mlechchhas and the Aryas there who witnessed or heard of that behaviour of the sons of Pandu, all wept with choked voices. And those warriors then, endued with great energy, caused large drums and Pushkaras by hundreds upon hundreds to be sounded and also blew their conches all white as the milk of cows.'"