Mahabharata Sauptika Parva Chapter 1:2

Mahabharata Sauptika Parva Chapter 1:2

Alighting from their cars, and letting loose their animals, they cleansed themselves duly and said their evening prayers. The Sun then reached the Asta mountains, and Night, the mother of the universe, came. The firmament, bespangled with planets and stars, shone like an ornamented piece of brocade and presented a highly agreeable spectacle. Those creatures that walk the night began to howl and utter their cries at will, while they that walk the day owned the influence of sleep. Awful became the noise of the night-wandering animals. The carnivorous creatures became full of glee, and the night, as it deepened, became dreadful. "'At that hour, filled with grief and sorrow, Kritavarma and Kripa and Drona's son all sat down together. Seated under that banyan, they began to give expression to their sorrow in respect of that very matter: the destruction that had taken place of both the Kurus and the Pandavas. Heavy with sleep, they laid themselves down on the bare earth. They had been exceedingly tired and greatly mangled with shafts. The two great car-warriors, Kripa and Kritavarma, succumbed to sleep. However deserving of happiness and undeserving of misery, they then lay stretched on the bare ground. Indeed, O monarch, those two who had always slept on costly beds now slept, like helpless persons, on the bare ground, afflicted with toil and grief. "'Drona's son, however, O Bharata, yielding to the influence of wrath and reverence, could not sleep, but continued to breathe like a snake. Burning with rage, he could not get a wink of slumber. That hero of mighty arms cast his eyes on every side of that terrible forest. As he surveyed that forest peopled with diverse kinds of creatures, the great warrior beheld a large banyan covered with crows. On that banyan thousands of crows roosted in the night. Each perching separately from its neighbour, those crows slept at ease, O Kauravya! As, however, those birds were sleeping securely on every side, Ashvatthama beheld an owl of terrible aspect suddenly make its appearance there. Of frightful cries and gigantic body, with green eyes and tawny plumage, its nose was very large and its talons were long. And the speed with which it came resembled that of Garuda. Uttering soft cries that winged creature, O Bharata, secretly approached the branches of that banyan. That ranger of the sky, that slayer of crows, alighting on one of the branches of the banyan, slew a large number of his sleeping enemies. He tore the wings of some and cut off the heads of others with his sharp talons and broke the legs of many. Endued with great strength, he slew many that fell down before his eyes. With the limbs and bodies, O monarch, of the slain crows, the ground covered by the spreading branches of the banyan became thickly strewn on every side. Having slain those crows, the owl became filled with delight like a slayer of foes after having behaved towards his foes according to his pleasure.



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