WHEN Duryodhana beheld Karna's death,
his grief knew no bounds. Kripacharya
was deeply moved by Duryodhana's
anguish of heart and said: "Moved by
ambition and greed we placed too great a
burden on friends. They have
uncomplainingly borne it and laid down
their lives on the battlefield and attained
the happy regions above. There is but one
course left to you to make peace with the
Pandavas. Do not, O King, any longer
continue this ruinous fight."
Even at that moment of deep despair,
Duryodhana did not relish this counsel.
"Perhaps, there was a time for that, but it
is long past. What talk can there be of
peace between the Pandavas and us with
all this inexpiable blood between us, the
blood of our dearest and theirs? If I
surrender in order to escape death, how
can I escape the contempt of the world?
What happiness can I hope to have in a
life so ignobly saved? And what joy can I
hope to find in sovereignty, secured by a
peace after my brothers and relatives have
all been slain?"
These words of Duryodhana were lustily
cheered by the others. They supported his
stand and they chose Salya and gave him
the supreme command from then on.
Salya was mighty of limb and as brave as
any of the warriors who had been killed.
The army was arrayed under his
leadership and the battle raged fiercely.
On the side of the Pandavas, Yudhishthira
now led the attack personally against
Salya. It astonished everyone to see how
the man, who was till then the very
incarnation of gentle ness, fought so
The battle was equal for a long while,
when Yudhishthira hurled at Salya, his
spear that went straight and struck him.
Like the great flagstaff at the end of a
festive function, Salya's body lay lifeless
on the field, crimson with blood.
When Salya, the last of the great generals,
fell dead, the Kaurava army lost all hope.
The surviving sons of Dhritarashtra,
however, joined together and attacked
Bhima from all sides. He slew them all.
The son of Vayu had nourished his
burning anger for thirteen years from the
time Draupadi was insulted in the Hall of
Assembly. He said to himself now: "I
have not lived in vain, but Duryodhana
still lives," and smiled grimly.