The Mahabharata Home
Vaisampayana said,--'then that foremost of all speakers, Krishna of the Yadava race, addressing king Jarasandha who was resolved upon fighting, said,--'O king, with whom amongst us three dost thou desire to fight? Who amongst us shall prepare himself for battle (with thee)?' Thus addressed, the ruler of Magadha, king Jarasandha of great splendour, expressed his desire for fighting with Bhima. The priest then, bringing with him the yellow pigment obtained from the cow and garlands of flowers and other auspicious articles, as also various excellent medicines for restoring lost consciousness and alleviating pain, approached Jarasandha, panting for battle. The king Jarasandha, on whose behalf propitiatory ceremonies
with benedictions were performed by a renowned Brahmana, remembering the duty of a Kshatriya dressed himself for battle. Taking off his crown and binding his hair properly, Jarasandha stood up like an ocean bursting its continents. Then the monarch possessed of terrible prowess, addressing Bhima. said, 'I will fight with thee. It is better to be vanquished by a superior person.' And saying this, Jarasandha, that represser of all foes endued, rushed with great energy at Bhimasena like the Asura Vala or old who rushed at the chief of the celestials. And the mighty Bhimasena, on whose behalf the gods had been invoked by Krishna, that cousin of his, having consulted with advanced towards Jarasandha, impelled by the desire of fight. Then those tigers among men, those heroes of great prowess, with their bare arms as their only weapons, cheerfully engaged themselves in the encounter, each desirous of vanquishing the other. And seizing each other's arms and twining each other's legs, (at times) they slapped their arm-pits, causing the enclosure to tremble at the sound. And frequently seizing each other's necks with their hands and dragging and pushing it with violence, and each pressing every limb of his body against every limb of the other, they continued, O exalted one, to slap their arm-pits (at time). And sometimes stretching their arms and sometimes drawing them close, and now raising them up and now dropping them down, they began to seize each other. And striking neck against neck and forehead against forehead, they caused fiery sparks to come out like flashes of lightning. And grasping each other in various ways by means of their arms, and kicking each other with such violence as to affect the innermost nerves, they struck at each other's breasts with clenched fists. With bare arms as their only weapons roaring like clouds they grasped and struck each other like two mad elephants encountering each other with their trunks. Incensed at each other's blow, they fought on dragging and pushing each other and fiercely looking at each other like two wrathful lions. And each striking every limb of the other with his own and using his arms also against the other, and catching hold of each other's waist, they hurled each other to a distance. Accomplished in wrestling, the two heroes clasping each other with their arms and each dragging the other unto himself, began to press each other with great violence. The heroes then performed those grandest of all feats in wrestling called Prishtabhanga, which consisted in throwing each other down with face towards the earth and maintaining the one knocked down in that position as long as possible. And employing his arms, each also performed the feats called Sampurna-murchcha and Purna-kumbha. At times they twisted each other's arms and other limbs as if these were vegetable fibres that were to be twisted into chords. And with clenched fists they struck each other at times, pretending to aim at particular limbs while the blows descended upon other parts of the body. It was thus that those heroes fought with each other. The citizens consisting of thousands, of Brahmanas, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas and Sudras, and even women and the
aged, O tiger among men, came out and gathered there to behold the fight. And the crowd became so great that it was one solid mass of humanity with no space between body and body. The sound the wrestlers made by the slapping of their arms, the seizing of each other's necks for bringing each other down, and the grasping of each other's legs for dashing each other to the ground, became so loud that it resembled the roar of thunder or of falling cliffs. Both of them were foremost of mighty men, and both took great delight in such encounter. Desirous of vanquishing the other, each was on the alert for taking advantage of the slightest lapse of the other. And, O monarch, the mighty Bhima and Jarasandha fought terribly on in those lists, driving the crowd at times by the motions of their hands like Vritra and Vasava of old. Thus two heroes, dragging each other forward and pressing each other backward and with sudden jerks throwing each other face downward and sideways, mangled each other dreadfully. And at times they struck each other with their knee-joints. And addressing each other loudly in stinging speeches, they struck each other with clenched fists, the blows descending like a mass of stone upon each other. With broad shoulders and long arms and both well-skilled in wrestling encounters, they struck each other with those long arms of theirs that were like maces of iron. That encounter of the heroes commenced on the first (lunar) day of the month of Kartic (October) and the illustrious heroes fought on without intermission and food, day and night, till the thirteenth lunar day. It was on the night of the fourteenth of the lunar fortnight that the monarch of Magadha desisted from fatigue. And O king, Janardana beholding the monarch tired, addressed Bhima of terrible deeds, and as if to stimulate him said,--'O son of Kunti, a foe that is fatigued cannot be pressed for if pressed at such a time he may even die. Therefore, O son of Kunti, this king should not be oppressed by thee. On the other hand, O bull of the Bharata race, fight with him With thy arms, putting forth as much strength only as thy antagonist hath now left!' Then that slayer of hostile heroes, the son of Pandu, thus addressed by Krishna, understood the plight of Jarasandha and forthwith resolved upon taking his life. And that foremost of all men endued with strength, that prince of the Kuru race, desirous of vanquishing the hitherto unvanquished Jarasandha, mustered all his strength and courage."
Next: Section XXIV