The Mahabharata Home
"Vasudeva said, 'When Salwa had left the city of the Anarttas, I returned to it, O king, on the completion of thy great Rajasuya sacrifice! On my arrival I found Dwaraka shorn of its splendour, and, O great monarch, there were not sounds of Vedic recitation or sacrificial offering, And the excellent damsels were all destitute of ornaments, and the gardens were devoid of beauty. And alarmed by the aspect, I asked the son of Hridika saying, 'Why is it that the men and women of the city of the Vrishnis are so woe-begone, O tiger among men?' O thou best of kings thus asked the son of Hridika (Kritavarman) relate to me in detail the invasion of the city by Salwa, and his subsequent departure from it. And, O thou foremost of Bharatas, hearing all, even then I made up my mind to slay Salwa. And encouraging the citizens, O best of Bharatas, I cheerfully addressed king Ahuka, and Anakdundhuvi, and the chief heroes of the Vrishni race, saying, 'Do ye, O bulls among the Yadavas, stay in the city, taking every care, and know that I go to slay Salwa! I return not to the city of Dwaravati without slaying him. I will again come to ye having compassed the destruction of Salwa together with his car of precious metals. Do ye strike up the sharp and middle and flat notes of the Dundhuvi so dreadful to foes!' And O thou bull of the Bharata race, thus adequately encouraged by me, those heroes cheerfully said unto me, 'Go and slay the enemies!' And thus receiving the benedictions of those warriors with glad hearts, and causing the Brahmanas to utter auspicious words and bowing down to the best of the regenerate ones, and to Siva also, I set out on my car unto which were yoked the horses Saivya, and Sugriva, filling all sides with the clatter (of my wheels) and blowing that best of conchs, the Panchajanya! And, O king, O tiger among men, accompanied by my redoubted and victorious army consisting of the four kinds of the forces so persevering in battle, I set out. And leaving many countries, and mountains, crowned with trees, and pieces of water, and streams, I at last arrived at the country of Matrikavarta. It is there, O thou tiger among men, that I heard that Salwa was coursing on his car of precious metals near the ocean, and I followed in his pursuit. And, O thou slayer of thy foes, having reached the main, Salwa on his car of costly metals was in the midst of the deep heaving
with billows! And on seeing me from a distance, O Yudhishthira, that one of wicked soul himself challenged me repeatedly to the fight. And many arrows capable of piercing to the quick, discharged from my bow reached not his car. And at this I was wroth! And, O king, that essentially sinful wretch of a Daitya's son of irrepressible energy, on his part began to shoot thousand upon thousands of arrows in torrents! And, O Bharata, he rained shafts upon my soldiers and upon my charioteer and upon my steeds! But without thinking of the shafts, we continued the conflict. Then the warriors following Salwa poured on me straight arrows by thousands. And the Asuras covered my horses and my car and Daruka with arrows capable of piercing the very vitals. And, O hero, I could not at that time see either my horses, or my car, or my charioteer Daruka! And I with my army was covered with weapons. And, O son of Kunti, superhumanly skilled in weapons, I also let fly from my bow arrows by tens of thousands, inspiring them with mantras! But as that car of costly metals was in the sky, full two miles off, it could not, O Bharata, be seen by my troops. They could therefore only remaining on the field of battle look on like spectators in a place of amusement, cheering me on by shouts loud as the roar of the lion, and also by the sound of their clapping. And the tinted arrows shot by the fore-part of hand penetrated into the bodies of the Danavas like biting insects. And then arose cries in the car of precious metals from those that were dying of wounds by those sharp arrows and falling into the waters of the mighty ocean. And the Danavas deprived of their arms, necks, and wearing the form of Kavandhas,--fell, sending up tremendous roars. And as they fell they were devoured by animals living in the waters of the ocean. And then I powerfully blew the Panchajanya obtained from the waters and graceful as the lotus-stalk and white as milk or the Kunda flower or the moon or silver. And seeing his soldiers fall, Salwa the possessor of the car of precious metals, began to fight with the help of illusion. And then he began to ceaselessly hurl at me maces, and ploughshares, and winged darts and lances, and javelins, and battle-axes, and swords and arrows blazing like javelins and thunderbolts, and nooses, and broad swords, and bullets from barrels, and shafts, and axes, and rockets. And permitting them to come towards me, I soon destroyed them all by counter-illusion. And on this illusion being rendered ineffectual, he began the contest with mountain peaks. And, O Bharata, then there was darkness and light alternately, and the day was now fair, and now gloomy, and now hot, and now cold. And there was a perfect shower of coals, and ashes, and weapons. And creating such illusion the enemy fought with me. And ascertaining it I destroyed his illusion by counter-illusion. And in the due time I showered arrows all round. And then, O mighty king, the dome of heaven blazed as with a hundred suns, and, O son of Kunti with one hundred moons, and thousands and ten thousands of stars! And
then none could ascertain whether it was day or night, or distinguish the points of the horizon. And, becoming bewildered, I fixed on my bowstring the weapon called Pragnastra. And, O son of Kunti, the weapon went like unto flakes of pure cotton blown away by the winds! And a great fight took place, calculated to make the down on one's body stand on end. And O best of monarchs, having regained, light, I again fought with the enemy!'"
Next: Section XXI