72.THE NINTH DAY
ON the morning of the ninth day, before
the battle began, Duryodhana was
closeted with the grandsire. He gave vent
to his bitter feelings of disappointment
over the way the battle was going. He
uttered words that were like the sharp
spears and pained the grandsire greatly
but the latter was patient and said sadly:
"Like ghee on the sacrificial fire I am
pouring my life out for you. Why do you
seek to mortify me, who have been doing
my very utmost for you? You speak like a
man of no understanding, not knowing
what is right and what is wrong. They say
that, when a man is nearing his death, the
tree appears to him to be made of gold.
You see things now, not as they are. Your
vision is clouded. You are now reaping
the harvest of the hatred you deliberately
sowed. The best course for you are to go
on fighting, as well as you can. This is
also the plain path of duty. It is not
possible for me to fight Sikhandin, for I
can never raise my hand against a woman.
Nor can I with my hands kill the
Pandavas, for my mind revolts against it. I
will do everything barring these two and
fight all the warriors opposed to you.
Nothing is gained by losing heart. Fight as
a kshatriya should and honor will be yours
whatever the events."
Saying thus to Duryodhana and cheering
him up with wise and affectionate words,
Bhishma proceeded to issue instructions
for arraying the forces for the day's battle.
Duryodhana was heartened. He sent for
Duhsasana and said to him: "Brother, put
forth all our strength in today's battle. I am
convinced, the grandsire is fighting on our
side with his whole heart. It is only
against Sikhandin, he says, he cannot use
his weapons. We should see that he is not
exposed to Sikhandin's attacks, for you
know, even a wild dog can kill a lion if
the latter scorns to fight back."
There was a great fight between
Abhimanyu and Alambasa. Abhimanyu
demonstrated that his valor was no less
than his illustrious father's. Alambasa had
to flee on foot to save himself.
There were fierce combats between
Satyaki and Aswatthama and between
Drona and Arjuna. Thereafter, all the
Pandavas attacked the grandsire and
Duryodhana sent Duhsasana to support
the old warrior.