The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 2 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 2,393 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 2.
or one that was a woman before or one bearing a feminine name, or one whose form resembleth a woman’s.  I will not, for this reason, slay Sikhandin.  Even this, O sire, is the story that I have ascertained of Sikhandin’s birth.  I will not, therefore, slay him in battle even if he approacheth me weapon in hand.  If Bhishma slayeth a woman the righteous will all speak ill of him.  I will not, therefore, slay him even if I behold him waiting for battle!’

“Sanjaya continued, ’Hearing these words of Bhishma, king Duryodhana of Kuru’s race, reflecting for a moment, thought even that behaviour was proper for Bhishma.’”


“Sanjaya said, ’When the night passed away and morning came, thy sons once more, in the midst of all the troops, asked their grandsire, saying, ’O son of Ganga, this army that is ready for fight, of Pandu’s son, that abounds with men, elephants, and steeds, that is crowded with Maharathas, that is protected by these mighty bowmen endued with great strength, viz., Bhima and Arjuna and others headed by Dhrishtadyumna and all resembling the very regents of the world, that is invincible and incapable of being withstood, that resembles the unbounded sea,—­this sea of warriors incapable of being agitated by the very gods in battle, in how many days, O son of Ganga, O thou of great effulgence, canst thou annihilate it, and in what time can that mighty bowman, our preceptor (Drona), in what time also the mighty Kripa, in what time Karna who taketh a pleasure in battle, and in what time that best of Brahmanas, viz., the son of Drona, can each annihilate it?  Ye that are in my army are all acquainted with celestial weapons!  I desire to know this, for the curiosity I feel in my heart is great!  O thou of mighty arms, it behoveth thee to say this to me!’

“Bhishma said, ’O foremost one of the Kurus, O lord of the earth, thou enquirest about the strength and weakness of the foe.  This, indeed, is worthy of thee.  Listen, O king, as I tell thee the utmost limit of my power in battle, or of the energy of my weapons, or of the might of my arms, O thou of mighty arms!  As regards ordinary combatants, one should fight with them artlessly.  As regards those that are possessed of powers of deception, one should fight with them aided by the ways of deception.  Even this is what hath been laid down in respect of the duties of warriors.  I can annihilate the Pandava army, O blessed monarch, taking every morning ten thousand (ordinary) warriors and one thousand car-warriors as my share from day to day.  Cased in mail and always exerting myself actively, I can, O Bharata, annihilate this large force, according to this arrangement as regards both number and time.  If, however, stationed in battle, I shoot my great weapons that slay hundreds and thousands at a time, then I can, O Bharata, finish the slaughter in a month.’

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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 2 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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