of preceptors. Kripa also, hath taken his birth from the great Rishi Gautama. Born in a clump of heath this illustrious one, I think, is incapable of being slain. Then again, O king, the father, mother and maternal uncle of Aswatthaman,—these three,—are not born of woman’s womb. I have that hero also on my side. All these mighty car-warriors, O king, are like unto celestials, and can, O bull of the Bharata race, inflict pain on Sakra himself in battle. Arjuna is incapable of even looking at any one of these singly. When united together, these tigers among men will certainly slay Dhananjaya. Karna also, I suppose, is equal unto Bhishma and Drona and Kripa. O Bharata, Rama himself had told him,—Thou art equal unto me. Karna had two ear-rings born with him, of great brilliance and beauty; for Sachi’s gratification Indra begged them of that repressor of foes, in exchange, O king, of an infallible and terrible shaft. How would Dhananjaya, therefore, escape with life from Karna who is protected by that arrow? My success, therefore, O king, is as certain as a fruit held fast in my own grasp. The utter defeat also of my foes is already bruited about on earth. This Bhishma, O Bharata, killeth every day ten thousand soldiers. Equal unto him are these bowmen, Drona, Drona’s son and Kripa. Then, O repressor of foes, the ranks of the Samsaptaka warriors have made this resolution,—Either we will slay Arjuna or that Ape-bannered warrior will slay us. There are other kings also, who firm in their resolve of slaying Savyasachin, regard him as unequal to themselves. Why dost thou then apprehend danger from the Pandavas? When Bhimasena will be slain, O Bharata, who else (amongst them) will fight? Tell me this, O repressor of foes, if thou knowest any amongst the foes. The five brothers, with Dhrishtadyumna and Satyaki,—these seven warriors of the enemy, O king, are regarded as their chief strength. Those, however, amongst us, that are our chief warriors, are Bhishma, Drona, Kripa, Drona’s son, Karna, Somadatta, Vahlika, and Salya, the king of Pragjyotisha, the two kings (Vindha and Anuvinda) of Avanti, and Jayadratha; and then, O king, thy sons Dussasana, Durmukha, Dussaha, Srutayu; Chitrasena, Purumitra, Vivingsati, Sala, Bhurisravas, and Vikarna. O king, I have assembled one and ten Akshauhinis. The army of the enemy is less than mine, amounting only to seven Akshauhinis. How then can I be defeated? Vrihaspati hath said that an army which is less by a third ought to be encountered. My army, O king, exceedeth that of the foe by a third. Besides, O Bharata, I know that the enemy hath many defects, while mine, O lord, are endued with many good virtues. Knowing all this, O Bharata, as also the superiority of my force and the inferiority of the Pandavas, it behoveth thee not to lose thy senses.
’Having said this, O Bharata, that conqueror of hostile chiefs, Duryodhana, asked Sanjaya again, anxious to known more about the doings of the Pandavas.’”