Vaisampayana said, “Dismissed by the king Yudhishthira the just, Dhritarashtra’s son Suyodhana, bending his head down in shame and afflicted with grief and melancholy, set out slowly. And the king, accompanied by his four kinds of forces, proceeded towards his city, his heart rent in grief and filled with thoughts of his defeat along the way in a region that abounded in grass and water. The king encamped on a delightful piece of ground as pleased him best, with his elephants and cars and cavalry and infantry stationed all around. And as the king Duryodhana was seated on an elevated bedstead endued with the effulgence of fire, himself looking like the moon under an eclipse, towards the small hours of the morning Karna, approaching him, said, ’Fortunate it is, O son of Gandhari, that thou art alive! Fortunate it is, that we have once more met! By good luck it is that thou hast vanquished the Gandharvas capable of assuming any form at will. And, O son of the Kuru race, it is by good luck alone, that I am enabled to see thy brothers— mighty warriors all—come off victorious from that encounter, having subjugated their foes! As regards myself, assailed by all the Gandharvas, I fled before thy eyes, unable to rally our flying host. Assailed by the foe with all his might, my body mangled with their arrows, I sought safety in flight. This however, O Bharata, seemed to me to be a great marvel that I behold you all come safe and sound in body, with your wives, troops, and vehicles, out of that super-human encounter. O Bharata, there is another man in this world who can achieve what thou, O king, hast achieved in battle to-day with thy brothers.”
Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed by Karna, king Duryodhana replied unto the ruler of the Angas in a voice choked with tears.”
“Duryodhana said, ’O Radheya, thou knowest not what hath happened. Therefore, I do not resent thy words. Thou thinkest the hostile Gandharvas to have been vanquished by me with my own energy. O thou of mighty arms, my brothers, indeed had for a long time, aided by me fought with the Gandharvas. The slaughtered, indeed, on both sides were great. But when those brave Gandharvas, resorting to their many powers of illusion, ascended the skies and began to fight with us thence, our encounter with them ceased to be an equal one. Defeat then was ours and even captivity. And afflicted with sorrow, we along with our attendants and counsellors and children and wives and troops and vehicles were being taken by them through the skies. It was then that some soldiers of ours and some brave officers repaired in grief unto the sons of Pandu—those heroes that never refuse succour to those that ask for it. And having gone to them they said, ’Here is king Duryodhana, the son of Dhritarashtra, who with his younger brothers and friends and wives is being led away a captive by the Gandharvas along the sky.