The Mahabharata Home
Vaisampayana said, "Hearing the words of Yudhishthira, those bulls among men, headed by Bhimasena, rose up with faces beaming in joy. And those mighty warriors, O Bharata, then began to case themselves in impenetrable mail that were besides variegated with pure gold, and armed themselves with celestial weapons of various kinds. And the Pandavas thus cased in mail, and mounted on those chariots furnished with flagstaffs and armed with bows and arrows, looked like blazing fires. And those tigers among warriors, riding upon those well furnished cars drawn by fleet horses, proceeded to that spot without losing a moment. And beholding those mighty warriors--the sons of Pandu--thus proceeding together (for the liberation of Duryodhana), the Kuru army sent forth a loud shout. And soon did those rangers of the sky flushed with victory, and those impetuous warriors, the sons of Pandu, fearlessly encounter each other in that forest. The Gandharvas were flushed with success, and beholding the four brave sons of Pandu coming to battle seated on their cars, they all turned back towards the advancing combatants. And, the dwellers of the Gandhamadana, beholding the Pandavas looking like blazing guardians of the world provoked to ire, stood arrayed
in order of battle. And, O Bharata, in accordance with words of king Yudhishthira of great wisdom, the encounter that took place was a skirmish. But when Arjuna--that persecutor of foes--saw that the foolish soldiers of the king of Gandharvas could not be made to understand what was good for them by means of a light skirmish, he addressed those invincible rangers of the skies in a conciliatory tone and said, 'Leave ye my brother king Suyodhana.' Thus addressed by the illustrious son of Pandu, the Gandharvas, laughing aloud, replied unto him saying, 'O child, there is but one in the world whose behests we obey and living under whose rule we pass our days in happiness: O Bharata, we always act as that one only person commandeth us! Besides that celestial chief there is none that can command us!' Thus addressed by the Gandharvas, Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, replied unto them, saying, 'This contact with other people's wives and this hostile encounter with human beings are acts that are both censurable in the king of the Gandharvas and not proper for him. Therefore, leave ye these sons of Dhritarashtra all endued with mighty energy. And liberate ye also these ladies, at the command of king Yudhishthira the just. If, ye Gandharvas, ye do not set the sons of Dhritarashtra free peacefully, I shall certainly rescue Suyodhana (and his party) by exerting my prowess.' And speaking unto them thus, Pritha's son, Dhananjaya, capable of wielding the bow with his left hand also, then rained a shower of sharp pointed sky-ranging shafts upon those rangers of the firmament. Thus attacked, the mighty Gandharvas then encountered the sons of Pandu with a shower of arrows equally thick, and the Pandavas also replied by attacking those dwellers of heaven. And the battle then, O Bharata, that ranged between the active and agile Gandharvas and the impetuous son of Pandu was fierce in the extreme."
Next: Section CCXLIII