Karna Parva 2 - Shalya Agrees toDrive Karna’s Chariot
Karna then massacred the Panchalas. They ran helter-skelter in fear, unable to counter his attack. Yuyutsu fought with Uluka but had to face defeat. The sons of Draupadi attacked Shakuni but could not defeat him and were forced to retreat. Kripa launched such a terrible attack on Dhrishtadyumna that he fled, searching for Arjuna to protect him.
Shikhandi took on Kritavarma and fought valiantly, but was defeated. The Trigartas relentlessly attacked Arjuna. When they injured Krishna, a furious Arjuna killed their kings Satyasena, Mitradeva, and Chitravarma. When the Trigartas launched a mass attack on him, Arjuna invoked the Aindrastra and produced a shower of burning iron missiles, cutting down hundreds of them.
Yudhishtira then defeated Duryodhana and destroyed his chariot. Fearing that their king was in danger, Karna and Kripa came to his help. Karna and Arjuna then fought such a terrible war that it seemed darkness descended on the battlefield. When the sunset, the two sides retired to their camps.
The next day, Karna told Duryodhana that he would use the bow Vijaya that belonged to Indra. He had received the bow from Parashurama and it was as powerful as Gandiva. Karna expressed an apprehension that, though his bow was equal, he did not have a charioteer like Krishna. He asked that King Shalya be the charioteer for him that day.
Duryodhana then requested Shalya to be the charioteer and protect Karna, just as Krishna protected Arjuna. Shalya was angry and said he could defeat the Pandavas alone. He refused to be the charioteer of a Suta and decided to leave the battlefield.
With great difficulty, Duryodhana consoled him. He praised his skills in horse riding and said it was superior to Krishna. Finally, Shalya agreed. Duryodhana then narrated to him the story of Tripura.
When the asura Maya built three cities of gold for the Asuras, the Gods were worried and went to Shiva and asked him to fight the Asuras. When he said that his power alone was not enough, they all gave him half of their power and from then on, he was known as Mahadeva.
Mahadeva then asked for Brahma to be his charioteer. Mounting the chariot, he went to Tripura. Under the skilled guidance of Brahma, he released the Pashupata weapon and burnt the cities of Tripura, destroying the rakshasas.
Shalya accepted Duryodhana’s request. He then got into the chariot and held the reins while Karna mounted it. The two then proceeded towards the battlefield. When Karna announced his intention to kill Arjuna, Shalya told him he won’t be able to speak when he heard the Gandiva’s twang. Shalya continued to mock Karna while praising Arjuna.
Shalya reminded Karna how Arjuna defeated the Gods to help Agni burn the Khandava forest. He reminded him of how Arjuna freed Duryodhana by defeating the Gandharvas and mocked Karna for running away from that battle. Shalya asked Karna not to challenge Arjuna and lose his life. Karna then mocked the people of Madra, including the women, and said that Shalya, who was from Madra, had no right to speak about dharma.
…. to be continued