54. SANJAYA'S MISSION
THE Pandavas were camping at Upaplavya in Virata's territory. From there, they sent emissaries to all friendly rulers. Contingents arrived from all parts of the country and soon, the Pandavas had a mighty force of seven divisions. The Kauravas did likewise and collected an army of eleven divisions. Then, as now, a division was made up of all arms grouped together in accordance with established military practice. In those days, a division consisted of 21,870 chariots, an equal number of elephants, thrice as many horses and five times as many foot soldiers, and they were provided with weapons of all kinds and other war equipment. Chariots were the "armored cars" of ancient warfare and elephants, specially trained for war, corresponded to the " tanks" of modern times. Drupada's brahmana messenger reached Dhritarashtra's court. After the usual ceremonial introduction and enquiries were over, the messenger addressed the assembled gathering on behalf of the Pandavas: "Law is eternal and of inherent validity. You know this and I need not point it out to you. Dhritarashtra and Pandu are both Vichitravirya's sons and are, according to our usages, equally entitled to their father's property. In spite of this, Dhritarashtra's sons have taken possession of the whole kingdom, while Pandu's sons are without their share of the common inheritance. There can be no justification for this. Scions of the Kuru dynasty, the Pandavas desire peace. They are prepared to forget the sufferings they have undergone and to let bygones be bygones. They are unwilling to resort to war, because they fully know that war never brings any good but only destruction. Render unto them, therefore, the things that are due to them. This would be in accordance both with justice and with the agreement previously reached. Let there be no delay." After this appeal of the messenger, the wise and brave Bhishma spoke. "By the grace of God," he said, "the Pandavas are safe and well. Although they have obtained the support of many princes and are strong enough for battle, they are not bent on war. They still seek peace. To restore to them their property is the only right thing to do." Bhishma had not finished when Karna angrily broke in and, turning to the messenger, exclaimed: "O brahmana, is there anything new in what you have said? What tortures it to tell the same old story?