The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus summoned to battle by the illustrious hero, Dhritarashtra's son turned back stung by those censures, like an infuriate and mighty elephant pricked by a hook. And stung by those reproaches and unable to bear them, that mighty and brave car-warrior endued with great swiftness, turned back on his car, like a snake that is trampled under foot. And beholding Duryodhana turn back with his wounds, Karna, that hero among men, decked with a golden necklace, stopped the king on the way and soothing him, himself proceeded along the north of Duryodhana's car to meet Partha in battle. And the mighty-armed Bhishma also, the son of Santanu, turning back his steeds decked with gold, enormous in size, and of tawny hue, rushed bow in hand, for protecting Duryodhana from Partha's hand. And Drona and Kripa and Vivingsati and Dussasana and others also, quickly turning back, rushed forward with speed with drawn bows and arrows fixed on the bow-strings, for protecting Duryodhana. And beholding those divisions advance towards him like the swelling surges of the ocean, Dhananjaya, the son of Pritha, quickly rushed at them like a crane rushing at a descending cloud. And with celestial weapons in their hands, they completely surrounded the son of Pritha and rained on him from all sides a perfect shower of shafts, like clouds showering on the mountain breast a heavy downpour of rain, And warding off with weapons, all the weapons of those bulls among the Kurus, the wielder of the Gandiva who was capable of enduring all foes, evolved another irresistible weapon obtained from Indra, called Sanmohana. And entirely covering the cardinal and other directions with sharp and keen-edged arrows furnished with beautiful feathers, that mighty hero stupefied their senses with the twang of the Gandiva. And once more, taking up with both his hands that large conch of loud blare, Partha, that slayer of foes, blew it with force and filled the cardinal and other points, the whole earth, and sky, with that noise. And those foremost of the Kuru heroes were all deprived of their senses
by the sound of that conch blown by Partha. And all of them stood still, their bows, from which they were never separated, dropping down from their hands. And when the Kuru army became insensible, Partha calling to mind the words of Uttara, addressed the son of the Matsya king, saying, 'O best of men, go thou among the Kurus, so long as they remain insensible, and bring away the white garments of Drona and Kripa, and the yellow and handsome ones of Karna, as also the blue ones of the king and Drona's son. Methinks, Bhishma is not stupefied, for he knoweth how to counteract this weapon of mine. So, pass thou on, keeping his steeds to thy left; for those that are sensible should thus be avoided,' Hearing these words, the illustrious son of Matsya, giving up the reins of the steeds, jumped down from the car and taking off the garments of the warriors, came back to his place. And the son of Virata then urged the four handsome steeds with flanks adorned with golden armours. And those white steeds, urged on, took Arjuna away from the midst of battle-field and beyond the array of the infantry bearing standards in their hands. And, Bhishma, beholding that best of men thus going away, struck him with arrows. And Partha, too, having slain Bhishma's steeds, pierced him with ten shafts. And abandoning Bhishma on the field of battle, having first slain his car-driver, Arjuna with a good-looking bow in hand came out of that multitude of cars, like the sun emerging from the clouds. And Dhritarashtra's son, that foremost of heroes among the Kurus, recovering his senses, saw the son of Pritha standing like the lord of the celestials, alone on the battle-field. And he said in hurry (unto Bhishma), 'How hath this one escape from thee? Do thou afflict him in such a way that he may not escape.' And at this, Santanu's son, smiling, said unto him, 'Where had been this sense of thine, and where had been thy prowess too, when thou hadst been in a state of unconsciousness renouncing thy arrows and handsome bow? Vibhatsu is not addicted to the commission of atrocious deeds; nor is his soul inclined to sin. He renounceth not his principles even for the sake of the three worlds. It is for this only that all of us have not been slain in this battle. O thou foremost of Kuru heroes, go back to the city of the Kurus, and let Partha also go away, having conquered the kine. Do thou never foolishly throw away thy own good. Indeed, that which leadeth to one's welfare ought to be accomplished.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having listened to the words of the grandsire that tended to his own welfare, the wrathful king Duryodhana no longer eager for battle, drew a deep sigh and became silent. And reflecting that the advice of Bhishma was beneficial and seeing that the Pandavas gaining in strength, the other warriors also, desirous of protecting Duryodhana, resolved to return. And beholding those foremost of Kuru heroes departing for their city, Dhananjaya, the son of Pritha, with a cheerful heart followed them for a while, desirous of addressing and worshipping them. And having worshipped the aged grandsire--the son of Santanu, as also the preceptor Drona, and having saluted with
beautiful arrows Drona's son and Kripa and other venerable ones among the Kurus, the son of Pritha broke into fragments Duryodhana's crown decked with precious gems, with another arrow. And having saluted all the venerable and brave warriors thus, he filled the three worlds with the twang of the Gandiva. And suddenly blowing his conch called Devadatta, the hero pierced the hearts of all his foes. And having humbled the hostile, he looked resplendent on his car decked with a handsome flag. And beholding the Kurus depart, Kiritin cheerfully said unto Matsya's son, 'Turn back thy steeds; thy kine have been recovered; the foe is going away and do thou also return to thy city with a cheerful heart.' And the celestials also, having witnessed that most wonderful encounter between Falguna and the Kurus, were highly delighted, and went to their respective abodes, reflecting upon Partha's feats.'"
Next: Section LXVI