The Mahabharata Home
"Bhishma said, 'After the battle had ceased, my charioteer, well-skilled in such operations, drew out from his own body, from the bodies of my steeds, and from my body as well, the arrows that struck there. Next morning, when the sun rose, the battle commenced again, my horses having (a little while before) been bathed and allowed to roll on the ground and having had their thirst slaked and thereby re-invigorated. And beholding me coming quickly to the encounter attired in a coat of mail and stationed on my car, the mighty Rama equipped his car with great care. And I myself also, beholding Rama coming towards me from desire of battle, placed aside my bow and quickly descended from my car. Saluting Rama I re-ascended it, O Bharata, and desirous of giving battle, stood fearlessly before that son of Jamadagni. I then overwhelmed him with a thick shower of arrows, and he too covered me with an arrowy shower in return. And filled with wrath. Jamadagni's son once more shot at me a number of fierce shafts of great force and blazing mouths looking like veritable snakes! And I too, O king, shooting sharp shafts by hundreds and thousands, repeatedly cut: off Rama's arrows in mid-air before they could come at me. Then the mighty son of Jamadagni began to hurl celestial weapons at me, all of which I repelled, desirous of achieving mightier feats, O thou of strong arms, with-my weapons. And loud was the din that then arose in the welkin all around. At that time, I hurled at Rama the weapon named Vayavya
which Rama neutralised, O Bharata, by the weapon called Guhyaka. Then I applied, with proper mantras, the weapon called Agneya but the lord Rama neutralised that weapon of mine by one (of his) called Varuna. And it was in this way that I neutralised the celestial weapons of Rama, and that chastiser of foes, Rama also, endued with great energy and acquainted with celestial weapons, neutralised the weapons shot by me. Then, O monarch, that best of Brahmanas, the mighty son of Jamadagni, filled with wrath, suddenly wheeling to my right, pierced me in the breast. At this, O best of the Bharatas, I swooned on my best of cars. And beholding me, reft of consciousness, my charioteer quickly bore me away from the field. And seeing me afflicted and pierced with Rama's weapons and borne away drooping and in a swoon, all the followers of Rama, including Akritavrana and others and the princess of Kasi, filled with joy, O Bharata, began to shout aloud! Regaining consciousness then, I addressed my charioteer, saying,--Go where Rama stayeth! My pains have left me, and I am ready for battle!--Thus instructed, my charioteer soon took me where Rama was, with the aid of those exceedingly handsome steeds of mine that seemed to dance as they coursed (through the plain) and that were endued with the speed of the wind. And approaching Rama then, O thou of Kuru's race, and filled with wrath, from desire of vanquishing his angry self, I overwhelmed him with an arrowy shower! But Rama, shooting three for every single of mine, cut into fragments every one of my straight-going arrows in mid air before any of them could reach him! And beholding those well-furnished arrows of mine by hundreds and thousands, each cut off in twain by Rama's arrows, all the followers of Rama were filled with joy. Impelled then by the desire of slaying him, I shot at Rama, the son of Jamadagni, a good-looking arrow of blazing effulgence with Death's self sitting at its head. Struck very forcibly therewith and succumbing to its impetus, Rama fell into a swoon and dropped down on the ground. And when Rama thus dropped on the ground, exclamations of Oh and Alas arose on all sides, and the whole universe, O Bharata, was filled with confusion and alarm, such as may be witnessed if the sun himself were ever to fall down from the firmament! Then all those ascetics together with the princess of Kasi, quietly proceeded, O son of Kuru's race, with great anxiety towards Rama. And embracing him, O Kaurava, they began to comfort him softly with the touch of their hands, rendered cold by contact with water, and with assurances of victory. Thus comforted, Rama rose up and fixing an arrow to his bow he addressed me in an agitated voice, saying, 'Stay, O Bhishma! Thou art already slain! And let off by him, that arrow quickly pierced my left side in that fierce encounter. And struck therewith, I began to tremble like a tree shaken by the tempest. Slaying my horses then in terrific combat, Rama, fighting with great coolness, covered me with swarms of winged arrows, shot with remarkable lightness of hand. At this, O mighty-armed one, I also began to shoot arrows with great
lightness of hand for obstructing Rama's arrowy shower. Then those arrows shot by myself and Rama covering the welkin all around, stayed even there (without failing down). And, thereupon, enveloped by clouds of arrows the very sun could not shed its rays through them. And the very wind, obstructed by those clouds, seemed to be unable to pass through them. Then, in consequence of the obstructed motion of the wind, the rays of the sun, and the clash of the arrows against one another, a conflagration was caused in the welkin. And then those arrows blazed forth in consequence of the fire generated by themselves, and fell on the earth, consumed into ashes! Then Rama, O Kaurava, filled with rage, covered me with hundreds and thousands and hundreds of thousands and hundreds of millions arrows! And I also, O king, with my arrows resembling snakes of virulent poison, cut into fragments all those arrows of Rama and caused them to fall down on the earth like snakes cut into pieces. And it was thus, O best of the Bharatas, that combat took place. When, however, the shades of evening approached, my preceptor withdrew from the fight.'"
Next: Section CLXXXIV