The Mahabharata Home
"Vasudeva continued, 'Then O thou foremost of the Bharata race, taking up my beautiful bow, I began to cut off with my arrows the heads of the enemies of the celestials, from off that car of costly metals! And I began to discharge from the Sharanga many well-looking arrows of the forms of snakes, capable of going at a great height and possessing intense energy. And, O perpetuator of the Kuru race, I could not then see the car of costly metals, for it had vanished, through illusion! I was then
filled with wonder! That host of Danvas then, O Bharata, of frightful visages and hair, set up a loud howl while I was waiting for it. In that fierce battle. I then, with the object of destroying them, fixed on my bow-string the weapon capable of piercing the foes if but his sound was inaudible. Upon this, their shouts ceased. But those Danavas that had sent up that shout were all slain by those shafts of mine blazing as the Sun himself, and capable of striking at the perception of sound alone. And after the shout had ceased at one place, O mighty king, another yell proceeded from another quarter. Thitherto also I sent my shafts. In this way, O Bharata, the Asuras began to send up yells in all the ten quarters above and across. These were all slain by me, viz., those that were in the skies and that were invisible, with arrows of diverse forms, and celestial weapons inspired with mantras. Then, O hero, that car of precious metals capable of going anywhere at will, bewildering my eyes, reappeared at Pragjyotisha! And then the destroying Danavas of fierce forms suddenly drowned me with a mighty shower of rocks. And, O thou foremost of monarchs, torrents of rocks falling upon me covered me up, and I began to grow like an ant-hill (with its summits and peaks)! And covered along with my horses and charioteer and flagstaffs, with crags on all sides, I disappeared from sight altogether. Then those foremost of heroes of the Vrishni race who were of my army were, struck with panic, and all on a sudden began to fly in all directions. And beholding me in that plight, O king, the heaven, the firmament, and the earth were filled with exclamation of Oh! and Alas! And then, O monarch, my friends filled with sorrow and grief began to weep and wail with heavy hearts! And delight filled the hearts of the enemies. And O thou who never waverest, I heard of this after I had defeated the foe! And then wielding the thunderbolt, that favourite (weapon) of Indra, capable of riving stones, I destroyed that entire mass of crags! But my steeds, afflicted with the weight of the stones and almost on the point of death began to tremble. And beholding me, all my friends rejoiced again even as men rejoice on seeing the sun rise in the sky, dispersing the clouds. And seeing my horses almost in their last gasp for breath, afflicted with that load of stones, my charioteer said unto me in words suitable to the occasion, 'O thou of the Vrishni race, behold Salwa the owner of the car of precious metals sitting (yonder). Do not disregard him! Do thou exert thyself! Do thou abandon thy mildness and consideration for Salwa. Slay Salwa, O thou of mighty arms! O Kesava, do not let him live! O hero, O thou destroyer of those that are not thy friends (enemies), an enemy should be slain with every exertion! Even a weak enemy who is under the feet of a man endued with strength, should not be disregarded by the latter: that (shall I say) of one that dareth us to the fight? Therefore, O thou tiger among men, putting forth every exertion, slay him, O lord, O thou foremost of the Vrishni race! Do thou not delay again! This one is not capable of
being vanquished by milder measures. And he cannot in my opinion be thy friend who is fighting thee and who devastated Dwaraka!' O Kaunteya, hearing such words of my charioteer, and knowing that what he said was true, I directed my attention to the fight (afresh), with the view of slaying Salwa and destroying the car of costly metals! And, O hero, saying unto Daruka, 'Stay a moment' I fixed on my bow-string my favourite weapon of fire, blazing and of celestial origin, of irresistible force, and incapable of being baffled, bursting with energy, capable of penetrating into everything, and of great splendour! And saying, 'Destroy the car of precious metals together with all those enemies that are in it.' I launched with the might of my arms and in wrath with mantras, the great powerful discus Sudarsana which reduceth to ashes in battle Yakshas and Rakshasas and Danavas and kings born in impure tribes, sharp-edged like the razor, and without stain, like unto Yama the destroyer, and incomparable, and which killeth enemies. And rising into the sky, it seemed like a second sun of exceeding effulgence at the end of the Yuga. And approaching the town of Saubha whose splendour had disappeared, the discus went right through it, even as a saw divideth a tall tree. And cut in twain by the energy of the Sudarsana it fell like the city of Tripura shaken by the shafts of Maheswara. And after the town of Saubha had fallen, the discus came back into my hands, And taking it up I once more hurled it with force saying, 'Go thou unto Salwa.' The discus then cleft Salwa in twain who in that fierce conflict was at the point of hurling a heavy mace. And with its energy it set the foe ablaze. And after that brave warrior was slain, the disheartened Danava women fled in all directions, exclaiming Oh! and Alas! And taking my chariot in front of the town of Saubha I cheerfully blew my conch and gladdened the hearts of my friends. And beholding their town, high as the peak of the Meru, with its palaces and gate-ways utterly destroyed, and all ablaze, the Danavas fled in fear. And having thus destroyed the town of Saubha and slain Salwa, I returned to the Anarttas and delighted my friends. And, O king, it is for this reason that I could not come to the city named after the elephant (Hastinapura), O destroyer of hostile heroes! O warrior, if I had come, Suyodhana would not have been alive or the match at dice would not have taken place. What can I do now? It is difficult to confine the waters after the dam is broken!'"
Vaisampayana continued, "Having addressed the Kaurava thus, that foremost of male persons, of mighty arms, the slayer of Madhu, possessed of every grace, saluting the Pandavas, prepared for departure. And the mighty-armed hero reverentially saluted Yudhishthira the just, and the king in return and Bhima also smelt the crown of his head. And he was embraced by Arjuna, and the twins saluted him with reverence. And he was duly honoured by Dhaumya, and worshipped with tears by Draupadi. And causing Subhadra and Abhimanyu to ascend his golden car,
[paragraph continues] Krishna, mounted it himself, worshipped by the Pandavas. And consoling Yudhishthira, Krishna set out for Dwaraka on his car resplendent as the sun and unto which were yoked the horses Saivya and Sugriva. And after he of the Dasharha race had departed, Dhristadyumna, the son of Prishata, also set out for his own city, taking with him the sons of Draupadi. And the king of Chedi, Dhrishtaketu also, taking his sister with him set out for his beautiful city of Suktimati, after bidding farewell to the Pandavas. And, O Bharata, the Kaikeyas also, with the permission of Kunti's son possessed of immeasurable energy, having reverentially saluted all the Pandavas, went away. But Brahmanas and the Vaisyas and the dwellers of Yudhishthira's kingdom though repeatedly requested to go, did not leave the Pandavas. O foremost of king, O bull of the Bharata race, the multitude that surrounded those high-souled ones in the forest of Kamyaka looked extraordinary. And Yudhishthira, honouring those high-minded Brahmanas, in due time ordered his men, saying 'Make ready the car.'"
Next: Section XXIII