"THE decisive hour has come, Karna," said Duryodhana, "If
before nightfall this day Jayadratha is not slain, Arjuna will be disgraced and he will
kill himself, for not having redeemed his oath.
With Arjuna's death, the destruction of the Pandavas is certain and
this kingdom will be ours in unquestioned and absolute sovereignty.
Dhananjaya swore this impossible oath in a moment of thoughtlessness,
because the gods had willed it that he should be thus destroyed by his own hand. It seems
my stars are now in the ascendant.
We should not let this opportunity slip. We must see somehow that his
challengefails. The whole thing depends on you. Your great skill in battle is on trial
today. Prove yourself this day. See the sun has sloped down in the west. Within the little
time left before nightfall, I do not think it possible for Partha to reach Jayadratha.
You, Aswatthama, Salya, Kripa, and I must guard Jayadratha and do all
we can to see that he does not fall into Arjuna's hands during the next few hours before