Friday, 13 April 2012

Krishna returns from Hastinapura. Mahabharata 129

 Krishna returns to the pandava camp and relates the events that transpired at Hastinapura and the various strategies he employed. 'But my efforts at truce or to divide them or scare them with miracles, did not succeed! Duryodhana refused to  give you even five villages. He was rude and walked out from the sabha in anger. It is only the fourth ploy दाण्ड punishment that will now work.. The time of their death is near!'

'They all have moved to Kurukhsetra, an eleven अक्षौहिणी akshohini  sized army (consisting of  240570 elephants, 240570 chariots, 721710 horses and 1202850 foot soldiers) is assembled  and Bheeshma is their commander. It is now time for you to do what is required.'

As war is inevitable, preparations begin. Pandavas appoint seven commanders for their 'seven akshohini' army and Dhristadhyumna is the supreme commander. There is excitement all round. The sound of marching soldiers, neighing  horses and the trumpeting  elephants, the screech of the chariot wheels and the sound of conchs all rent the air. Soon the army moves with the force of river Ganga. Included in the army are vehicles with supplies, shops, weapons and equipment, doctors, physicians and attendants.

As pandava army  reaches  Kurukhsetra, the sky is filled with war-cries, the sound of conchs and the beating of the drums reverberates all across. A level place, dry and soft is chosen for the army to camp. Then the chiefs survey and locate their royal tents near the river Hiranvati and trenches are dug around the tents. The doctors and skilled men are stationed there and it is well stocked with food and drink. Elephants covered with metal armours surround the royal camp and it appears as if the hills are protecting them.

On the other side, Bheeshma, the supreme commander selects eleven commanders, one each for the eleven akshohinis. The army occupies the west side of Kurukhsetra. Bheeshma as senapathi offers prayers to Lord Kumaraswamy, the Senapathi of the Gods.

Bheeshma then speaks encouragingly to Duryodhana, 'Maharaja, I have accepted the position of senapathi. I will use both the soldiers who are paid, as also the volunteers very effectively. I  will create formations which will amaze the enemies and I will protect your army and fight with total committment, hence do not worry!'

Duryodhana responds, 'Grandfather, it is in my nature not to be afraid of anyone, even devas and asuras. Now with you as the commander and guru Drona on my side I have nothing to fear. With such great men on my side, our victory is assured. I am interested to know according to you who are all the great warriors on both sides! You know them all very  well and it is my desire to know about them!'

Bheeshma lists them out and surprisingly Karna is not amongst them!

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