Mahabharata Stri Prva Chapter 16

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Mahabharata Stri Parva (Vilapa Parva) Chapter 16

Vaishampayana said, "Having said these words, Gandhari, though staying on that spot which was distant from the field of battle, beheld, with her spiritual eye, the slaughter of the Kurus. Devoted to her lord, that highly blessed lady had always practised high vows. Undergoing the severest penances, she was always truthful in her speech. In consequence of the gift of the boon by the great rishi Vyasa of sanctified deeds, she became possessed of spiritual knowledge and power. Piteous were the lamentations in which that dame then indulged. Endued with great intelligence, the Kuru dame saw, from a distance, but as if from a near point, that field of battle, terrible to behold and full of wonderful sights, of those foremost of fighters. Scattered all over with bones and hair, and covered with streams of blood, that field was strewn with thousands upon thousands of dead bodies on every side. Covered with the blood of elephants and horses and car-warriors and combatants of other kinds, it teemed with headless trunks and trunkless heads. And it resounded with the cries of elephants and steeds and men and women and abounded with jackals and cranes and ravens and kankas and crows. And it was the sporting ground of Rakshasas subsisting on human flesh. And it swarmed with ospreys and vultures and resounded with the inauspicious howls of jackals. Then king Dhritarashtra, at the command of Vyasa, and all the sons of Pandu with Yudhishthira at their head, with Vasudeva and all the Kuru ladies, proceeded to the field of battle. Those ladies, bereaved of their lords, having reached Kurukshetra, beheld their slain brothers and sons and sires and husbands lying on the ground, and in course of being devoured by beasts of prey and wolves and ravens and crows and ghosts and Pishacas and Rakshasas and diverse other wanderers of the night. Beholding that carnage which resembled the sights seen on the sporting ground of Rudra, the ladies uttered loud shrieks and quickly alighted from their costly vehicles. Witnessing sights the like of which they had never before witnessed, the Bharata ladies felt their limbs to be deprived of strength and fell down on the ground. Others became so stupefied that they lost all their senses. Indeed, the Pancala and the Kuru ladies were plunged into unutterable distress. Beholding that dreadful field of battle resounding on every direction with the cries of those grief-stricken ladies, the daughter of Subala, acquainted with every duty, addressed the lotus-eyed Keshava, that foremost of all men. Witnessing that universal slaughter of the Kurus and filled with grief at the sight, she said these words: 'Behold, O lotus-eyed Madhava, these daughters-in-law of mine! Deprived of their lords, they are uttering, with dishevelled hair, piteous cries of woe like a flight of she-ospreys. Meeting with those dead bodies, they are calling back to their memories the great Bharata chiefs. They are running hither and thither in large bands towards their sons and brothers and sires and husbands. Behold, O mighty-armed one, the field is covered with mothers of heroes, all of whom, however, have been bereaved of children.

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