The Mahabharata Home
Vaisampayana said, "Then those Gandharvas decked in golden garlands and accomplished in celestial weapons, showing their blazing shafts, encountered the Pandavas from every side. And as the sons of Pandu were only four in number and the Gandharvas counted by thousands, the battle that ensued appeared to be extraordinary. And as the cars of Karna and Duryodhana had formerly been broken into a hundred fragments by the Gandharvas, so were the cars of the four heroes attempted to be broken. But those tigers among men began to encounter with their showers of arrows thousands upon thousands of Gandharvas rushing towards them. Those rangers of skies endued with great energy, thus checked on all sides by that arrowy down-pour, succeeded not in even coming near to the sons of Pandu. Then Arjuna whose ire had been provoked, aiming at the angry Gandharvas, prepared to hurl against them his celestial weapons. And in that encounter, the mighty Arjuna, by means of his Agneya weapon, sent ten hundreds of thousands of Gandharvas to the abode of Yama. And that mighty bowman, Bhima, also, that foremost of all warriors in battle, slew, by means of his
sharp arrows, Gandharvas by hundreds. And the mighty sons of Madri also, battling with vigour, encountered hundreds of Gandharvas, O king, and slaughtered them all. And as Gandharvas were being thus slaughtered by the mighty warriors with their celestial weapons, they rose up to the skies, taking with them the sons of Dhritarashtra. But Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, beholding them rise up to the skies, surrounded them on every side by a wide net of arrows. And confined within that arrowy net like birds within a cage, they showered in wrath upon Arjuna maces and darts and broad-swords. But Arjuna who was conversant with the most efficacious weapons, soon checked that shower of maces and darts and broad-swords, and in return began to mangle the limbs of the Gandharvas with his crescent-shaped arrows. And heads and legs and arms began to drop down from above resembling a shower of stones. And at that sight, the foe was struck with panic. And as the Gandharvas were being slaughtered by the illustrious son of Pandu, they began to shower from the skies a heavy downpour of shafts upon Arjuna, who was on the surface of the earth. But that chastiser of foes, Arjuna, endued with mighty energy checked that shower of arrows by means of his own weapons and began, in return, to wound them. Then Arjuna of the Kuru race shot his well-known weapons called Sthunakarna, Indrajala, Saura, Agneya and Saumya. And the Gandharvas consumed by the fiery weapons of Kunti's son, began to suffer heavily, like the sons of Diti, while being scorched by Sakra's thunder-bolt. And when they attacked Arjuna from above, they were checked by his net of arrows. And while they attacked him from all sides on the surface of the earth, they were checked by his crescent-shaped arrows. And beholding the Gandharvas put in fear by Kunti's son, Chitrasena rushed, O Bharata, at Dhananjaya, armed with a mace. And as the king of the Gandharvas was rushing at Arjuna from above with that mace in hand, the latter cut with his arrows that mace wholly made of iron into seven pieces. And beholding that mace of his cut into many pieces by Arjuna of great activity, with his arrows, Chitrasena, by means of his science, concealed himself from the view of the Pandava and began to fight with him. The heroic Arjuna, however, by means of his own celestial weapons checked all the celestial weapons that were aimed at him by the Gandharvas. And when the chief of the Gandharvas saw that he was checked by the illustrious Arjuna with those weapons of his he entirely disappeared from sight by help of his powers of illusion. And Arjuna, observing that the chief of the Gandharvas was striking at him concealed from sight, attacked his assailant with celestial weapon inspired with proper Mantras. And the multiform Dhananjaya filled with wrath, prevented the disappearance of his foe by means of his weapon known by the name of Sabda-veda. And assailed with those weapons by the illustrious Arjuna, his dear friend, the king of the Gandharvas, showed himself unto him. And Chitrasena said, 'Behold in me thy friend battling with thee!' And beholding his friend Chitrasena exhausted in the battle, that bull among the sons of Pandu withdrew the weapons he had shot. And the other sons of Pandu beholding Arjuna withdraw his weapons, checked their flying steeds and the
impetus of their weapons and withdrew their bows. And Chitrasena and Bhima and Arjuna and the twins enquiring about one another's welfare, sat awhile on their respective cars."
Next: Section CCXLIV