Wrathful sons of Dhrita-rashtra, born of Kuru's royal race,
Righteous sons of noble Pandu, god-born men of godlike grace,
Skill in arms attained these princes from a Brahman warrior bold,
Drona, priest and proud preceptor, peerless chief of days of old!
Out spake Drona to the monarch in Hastina's royal hall,
Spake to Bhishma and to Kripa, spake to lords and courtiers all:
'Mark the gallant princes, monarch, trained in arms and warlike art,
Let them prove their skill and valour, rein the steed and throw the dart.'
Answered then the ancient monarch, joyful was his royal heart.
'Best of Brahmans and of warriors, nobly hast thou done thy part,
Name the place and fix the moment, hold a royal tournament,
Publish wide the laws of combat, publish far thy king's consent.
Sightless roll these orbs of vision, dark to me is noonday light,
Happier men will mark the tourney and the peerless princes' fight,
Let the good and wise Vidura serve thy mandate and behest,
Let a father's pride and gladness fill this old and cheerless breast.'
Forthwith went the wise Vidura to his sacred duties bound,
Drona, blessed with skill and wisdom, measured out the tourney ground,
Clear of jungle was the meadow, by a crystal fountain graced,
Drona on the lighted altar holy gifts and offerings placed,
Holy was the star auspicious, and the hour was calm and bright,
Men from distant town and hamlet came to view the sacred rite.
Then arose white stately mansions, built by architects of fame,
Decked with arms for Kuru's monarch and for every royal dame,
And the people built their stages circling round the listed green,
And the nobles with their white tents graced the fair and festive scene.
Brightly dawned the festal morning, and the monarch left his hall,
Bhishma and the pious Kripa with the lords and courtiers all,
And they came unto the mansions, gay and glittering, gold-encased,
Decked with gems and rich baidurya, and with strings of pearls be-laced.
Fair Gandhari, queen of Kuru, Pritha, Pandu's widowed dame,
Ladies in their gorgeous garments, maids of beauty and of fame,
Mounted on their glittering mansions where the tints harmonious blend,
As, on Meru's golden mountain, queens of heavenly gods ascend!
And the people of the city, Brahmans, Vaisvas, Kshatras bold,
Men from stall and loom and anvil gathered thick, the young and old,
And arose the sound of trumpet and the surging people's cry.
Like the voice of angry ocean, tempest-lashed, sublime and high!
Came the saintly white-robed Drona, white his sacrificial thread,
White his sandal-mark and garlands, white the locks that crowned his head,
With his son renowned for valour walked forth Drona, radiant, high,
So the Moon with Mars conjoinéd walks upon the cloudless sky!
Offerings to the gods immortal then the priestly warrior made,
Brahmans with their chanted mantra worship and obeisance paid,
And the festive note of sankha mingled with the trumpet's sound,
Throngs of warriors, various-arméd, came unto the listed ground.