IT was the day before the commencement of the great battle. The grandsire,
now the Kaurava Generalissimo, was with Duryo- dhana seeking to inspire him with his own
heroic spirit and cheerfulness.
Bhishma spoke of the strength, skill and prowess of the warriors ranged
on the Kauravas' side. Duryodhana was cheered up. Presently, Karna became the subject of
"Karna has earned your affection," said Bhishma, "but I
do not think much of him. I do not like his great hatred of the Panda- vas, and he is too
boastful. There is no limit to his arrogance and he is much given to disparaging others.
I would not place him in the highest rank among the warriors of the
land. Besides, he has given away the divine armour with which he was born. He is not
therefore likely to be of great help to me in this battle.
The curse of Parasurama is on him too: his command of supernatural
weapons will fail him in his hour of need, for he will not be able to remember the
mantras. And the battle that will ensue between him and Arjuna will prove fatal for