The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said, 'Beholding the army of the Kurus arrayed in order of battle, that descendant of the Kuru race, Partha, addressing Virata's son, said, 'Do thou proceed to the spot where Kripa, the son of Saradwat, is going by the southern side of that car whose flag is seen to bear the device of a golden altar.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of Dhananjaya, the son of Virata urged, without a moment's delay, those steeds of silvery hue decked in golden armour. And making them adopt, one after another, every kind of the swifter paces, he urged those fiery steeds resembling the moon in colour. And versed in horse-lore, Uttara, having approached the Kuru host, turned back those steeds endued with the speed of the wind. And skilled in guiding vehicles, the prince of Matsya, sometimes wheeling about, and sometimes proceeding in circular mazes, and sometimes turning to the left, began to be wilder the Kurus. And wheeling round, the intrepid and mighty son of Virata at last approached the car of Kripa, and stood confronting him. Then announcing his own name, Arjuna powerfully blew that best of conchs called Devadatta, of loud blare. And blown on the field of battle by the mighty Jishnu, the blare of that conch was heard like the splitting of a mountain. And seeing that the conch did not break into a hundred fragments when blown by Arjuna, the Kurus with all their warriors began to applaud it highly. And having reached the very heavens, that sound coming back was heard even like the crash of the thunderbolt hurled by Maghavat on the mountain breast. Thereupon that heroic and intrepid and mighty
car-warrior, Saradwat's son Kripa, endued with strength and prowess, waxing wroth at Arjuna, and unable to bear that sound and eager for fight, took up his own sea-begotten conch and blew it vehemently. And filling the three worlds with that sound, that foremost of car-warriors took up a large bow and twanged the bow-string powerfully. And those mighty car-warriors, equal unto two suns, standing opposed to each other, shone like two masses of autumnal clouds. Then Saradwat's son quickly pierced Partha, that slayer of hostile heroes, with ten swift and whetted arrows capable of entering into the very vitals. And Pritha's son also, on his part, drawing that foremost of weapons, the Gandiva, celebrated over the world, shot innumerable iron-arrows, all capable of penetrating into the very core of the body. Thereupon Kripa, by means of whetted shafts, cut into hundreds and thousands of fragments, those blood-drinking arrows of Partha before they could come up. Then that mighty car-warrior, Partha also, in wrath displaying various manoeuvres, covered all sides with a shower of arrows. And covering the entire welkin with his shafts, that mighty warrior of immeasurable soul, the son of Pritha, enveloped Kripa with hundred of shafts. And sorely afflicted by those whetted arrows resembling flames of fire, Kripa waxed wroth and quickly afflicting the high-souled Partha of immeasurable prowess with ten thousand shafts, set up on the field of battle a loud roar. Then the heroic Arjuna quickly pierced the four steeds of his adversary with four fatal arrows shot from the Gandiva, sharp and straight, and furnished with golden wings. And pierced by means of those whetted arrows resembling flames of fire those steeds suddenly reared themselves, and in consequence Kripa reeled off his place. And seeing Gautama thrown off his place, the slayer of hostile heroes, the descendant of the Kuru race, out of regard for his opponent's dignity, ceased to discharge his shafts at him. Then regaining his proper place, Gautama quickly pierced Savyasachin with ten arrows furnished with feathers of the Kanka bird. Then with a crescent-shaped arrow of keen edge, Partha cut off Kripa's bow and leathern fences. And soon Partha cut off Kripa's coat of mail also by means of arrows capable of penetrating the very vitals, but he did not wound his person. And divested of his coat of mail, his body resembled that of a serpent which hath in season cast off its slough. And as soon as his bow had been cut off by Partha, Gautama took up another and stringed it in a trice. And strange to say, that bow of him was also cut off by Kunti's son, by means of straight shafts. And in this way that slayer of hostile heroes, the son of Pandu, cut off other bows as soon as they were taken up, one after another, by Saradwat's son. And when all his bows were thus cut off, that mighty hero hurled, from his car, at Pandu's son, a javelin like unto the blazing thunderbolt. Thereupon, as the gold-decked javelin came whizzing through the air with the flash of a meteor, Arjuna cut it off by means of ten arrows. And beholding his dart thus cut off by the intelligent Arjuna, Kripa quickly took up another bow and almost
simultaneously shot a number of crescent-shaped arrows. Partha, however, quickly cut them into fragments by means of ten keen-edged shafts, and endued with great energy, the son of Pritha then, inflamed with wrath on the field of battle, discharged three and ten arrows whetted on stone and resembling flames of fire. And with one of these he cut off the yoke of his adversary's car, and with four pierced his four steeds, and with the sixth he severed the head of his antagonist's car-driver from off his body. And with three that mighty car-warrior pierced, in that encounter, the triple bamboo-pole of Kripa's car and with two, its wheels. And with the twelfth arrow he cut off Kripa's flagstaff. And with the thirteenth Falguni, who was like Indra himself as if smiling in derision, pierced Kripa in the breast. Then with his bow cut off, his car broken, his steeds slain, his car-driver killed, Kripa leapt down and taking up a mace quickly hurled it at Arjuna. But that heavy and polished mace hurled by Kripa was sent back along its course, struck by means of Arjuna's arrows. And then the warriors (of Kripa's division), desirous of rescuing wrathful son of Saradwat encountered Partha from all sides and covered him with their arrows. Then the son of Virata, turning the steed to the left began to perform circuitous evolution called Yamaka and thus withstood all those warriors. And those illustrious bulls among men, taking Kripa with them who had been deprived of his car, led him away from the vicinity of Dhananiaya, the son of Kunti.'"
Next: Section LVIII