Open main menu

Page:Mahabharata - the epic of ancient India.djvu/16

This page has been validated.
2
THE EPIC OF ANCIENT INDIA

It is only necessary to add that the sons of Pandu as well as Karna were, like the heroes of Homer, god-born chiefs. Some god inspired the birth of each. Yudhishthir was the son of Dharma or Virtue, Bhima of Vayu or Wind, Arjun of Indra or Rain-god, the twin youngest were the sons of the Aswin twins, and Karna was the son of Surya the Sun, but was believed by himself and by all others to be the son of a simple chariot-driver.

The portion translated in this Book forms Sections cxxxiv. to cxxxvii. of Book i. of the original Epic in Sanscrit (Calcutta edition of 1834).

I

The Gathering

Wrathful sons of Dhrita-rashtra, born of Kuru's royal race!
Righteous sons of noble Pandu, god-born men of godlike grace!

Skill in arms attained these princes from a Brahman warrior bold,
Drona, priest and proud preceptor, peerless chief of days of old!

Out spake Drona to the monarch in Hastina's royal hall.
Spake to Bhishma and to Kripa, spake to lords and courtiers all:

"Mark the gallant princes, monarch, trained in arms and warlike art,
Let them prove their skill and valour, rein the steed and throw the dart!"

Answered then the ancient monarch, joyful was his royal heart,
"Best of Brahmans and of warriors, nobly hast thou done thy part!

Name the place and fix the moment, hold a royal tournament.
Publish wide the laws of combat, and command thy king's consent.

Sightless roll these orbs of vision, dark to me is noonday light,
Happier men will mark the tourney and the peerless princes' fight.

Let the good and wise Vidura serve thy mandate and behest.
Let a father's pride and gladness fill this old and cheerless breast."