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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa

SECTION XXX
“Vaisampayana said, ‘Discomfited before, O monarch, many a time and oft by Matsya’s Suta Kichaka aided by the Matsyas and the Salyas, the mighty king of the Trigartas, Susarman, who owned innumerable cars, regarding the opportunity to be a favourable one, then spoke the following words without losing a moment. And, O monarch, forcibly vanquished along with his relatives by the mighty Kichaka, king Susarman, eyeing Karna in askance, spoke these words unto Duryodhana, ‘My kingdom hath many a time been forcibly invaded by the king of the Matsyas. The mighty Kichaka was that king’s generalissimo. Crooked and wrathful and of wicked soul, of prowess famed over all the world, sinful in deeds and highly cruel, that wretch, however, hath been slain by the Gandharvas, Kichaka being dead, king Virata, shorn of pride and his refuge gone, will, I imagine, lose all courage I think, we ought now to invade that kingdom, if it pleases thee, O sinless one, as also the illustrious Karna and all the Kauravas.


The accident that hath happened is, I imagine, a favourable one for us. Let us, therefore, repair to Virata’s kingdom abounding in corn. We will appropriate his gems and other wealth of diverse kinds, and let us go to share with each other as regards his villages and kingdom. Or, invading his city by force, let us carry off by thousands his excellent kine of various species. Uniting, O king, the forces of the Kauravas and the Trigartas, let us lift his cattle in droves. Or, uniting our forces well, we will check his power by forcing him to sue for peace.

Or, destroying his entire host, we will bring Matsya under subjection. Having brought him under subjection by just means, we will live in our kingdom happily, while thy power also will, without doubt, be enhanced.’ Hearing these words of Susarman, Karna addressed the king, saying, ‘Susarman hath spoken well; the opportunity is favourable and promises to be profitable to us. Therefore, if it pleases thee, O sinless one, let us, drawing up our forces in battle array and marshalling them in divisions, speedily set out. Or, let the expedition be managed as Saradwata’s son Kripa, the preceptor Drona, and the wise and aged grandsire of the Kurus may think. Consulting with each other, let us, O lord of earth, speedily set out to attain our end. What business have we with the sons of Pandu, destitute as they are of wealth, might, and prowess? They have either disappeared for good or have gone to the abode of Yama? We will, O king, repair without anxiety to Virata’s city, and plunder his cattle and other wealth of diverse kinds.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Accepting these words of Karna, the son of Surya, king Duryodhana speedily commanded his brother Dussasana, born immediately after him and always obedient to his wishes, saying, ‘Consulting with the elders, array without delay, our forces. We will, with all the Kauravas go to the appointed place. Let also the mighty warrior, king Susarman, accompanied by a sufficient force with vehicles and animals, set out with the Trigartas for the dominions of Matsyas. And let Susarman proceed first, carefully concealing his intention. Following in their wake, we will set out the day after in close array, for the prosperous dominions of king Matsya. Let the Trigartas, however, suddenly repair to the city of Virata, and coming upon the cowherds, seize that immense wealth (of kine). We also marching in two divisions, will seize thousands of excellent kine furnished with auspicious marks.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Then, O Lord of earth, those warriors, the Trigartas, accompanied by their infantry of terrible prowess, marched towards the south-eastern direction, intending to wage hostilities with Virata from the desire of seizing his kine. And Susarman set out on the seventh day of the dark fortnight for seizing the kine. And then, O king, on the eighth day following of the dark fortnight, the Kauravas also accompanied by all their troops, began to seize the kine by thousands.”

SECTION XXXI
“Vaisampayana said, ‘O mighty king, entering into king Virata’s service, and dwelling in disguise in his excellent city, the high-souled Pandavas of immeasurable prowess, completed the promised period of non-discovery. And after Kichaka had been slain, that slayer of hostile heroes, the mighty king Virata began to rest his hopes on the sons of Kunti. And it was on the expiry of the thirteenth year of their exile, O Bharata, that Susarman seized Virata’s cattle by thousands. And when the cattle had been seized, the herdsman of Virata came with great speed to the city, and saw his sovereign, the king of Matsyas, seated on the throne in the midst of wise councillors, and those bulls among men, the sons of Pandu, and surrounded by brave warriors decked with ear-rings and bracelets. And appearing before that enhancer of his dominion–King Virata seated in court–the herdsman bowed down unto him, and addressed him, saying, ‘O foremost of kings, defeating and humiliating us in battle along with our friends the Trigartas are seizing thy cattle by hundreds and by thousands. Do thou, therefore, speedily rescue them.

Oh, see that they are not lost to thee.’ Hearing these words, the king arrayed for battle the Matsya force abounding in cars and elephants and horses and infantry and standards. And kings and princes speedily put on, each in its proper place,[26] their shining and beautiful armour worthy of being worn by heroes. And Virata’s beloved brother, Satanika, put on a coat of mail made of adamantine steel, adorned with burnished gold. And Madirakshya, next in birth to Satanika, put on a strong coat of mail plated with gold[27] and capable of resisting every weapon. And the coat of mail that the king himself of the Matsyas put on was invulnerable and decked with a hundred suns, a hundred circles, a hundred spots, and a hundred eyes. And the coat of mail that Suryadatta[28] put on was bright as the sun, plated with gold, and broad as a hundred lotuses of the fragrant (Kahlara) species. And the coat of mail that Virata’s eldest son, the heroic Sanksha, put on was impenetrable and made of burnished steel, and decked with a hundred eyes of gold. And it was thus that those god-like and mighty warriors by hundreds, furnished with weapons, and eager for battle, each donned his corselet. And then they yoked unto their excellent cars of white-hue steeds equipped in mail.

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