The Mahabharata Home
"Bhishma said, 'Next morning, O king, when the sun rose brightly, the combat between myself and him of Bhrigu's race, again, commenced. Then Rama, that foremost of smiters, stationed on his quickly-moving car, rained on me a thick downpour of arrows like the clouds on the mountain-breast. My beloved charioteer then, afflicted by that arrowy shower, swerved from his place in the car, filling me with grief on his account. A total unconsciousness then came over him. And thus wounded by that arrowy downpour he fell down upon the earth in a swoon. And afflicted as he had been by Rama's shafts, he soon gave up his life. Then, O great king, fear entered my heart. And when, on the death of
my charioteer, I was still lamenting for him with heart unhinged by sorrow, Rama began to shoot at me many death-dealing shafts. Indeed, even when endangered at the death of my charioteer I was lamenting for him, he of Bhrigu's race, drawing the bow with strength, pierced me deep with an arrow! O king, that blood-drinking shaft, falling upon my breast, pierced me through and fell simultaneously with my person upon the earth! Then, O bull of Bharata's race, thinking I was dead, Rama repeatedly roared aloud like the clouds and rejoiced exceedingly! indeed, O king, when thus I fell down on the earth, Rama, filled with joy, sent forth loud shouts along with his followers, while all the Kauravas who stood beside me and all those who came there to witness the combat were afflicted with great woe on seeing me fall. While lying prostrate, O lion among kings, I beheld eight Brahmanas endued with the effulgence of the sun or the fire. They stood surrounding me on that field of battle and supporting me on their arms. Indeed, borne up by those Brahmanas I had not to touch the ground. Like friends they supported me in mid-air while I was breathing heavily. And they were sprinkling me with drops of water. And bearing me up as they stood, they then, O king, repeatedly said unto me, 'Do not fear! Let prosperity be thine!' Comforted then by those words of theirs, I quickly rose up. I then beheld my mother Ganga--that foremost of the rivers, stationed on my car. Indeed, O king of the Kurus, it was that great river-goddess who had controlled my steeds in the combat (after my charioteer's fall)! Worshipping then the feet of my mother and of the spirits of my ancestors, I ascended my car. My mother then protected my car, steeds, and all the implements of battle. With joined bands I entreated her to go away. Having dismissed her, I myself restrained those steeds endued with the speed of the wind, and fought with Jamadagni's son, O Bharata, till the close of the day! Then, O chief of the Bharatas, in course of that combat, I shot at Rama a powerful and heart-piercing arrow endued with great speed. Afflicted with that shaft, Rama then, his bow loosened from his grasp, fell down upon the earth on his knees, reft of consciousness! And when Rama, that giver of many thousands (of golden coins) fell, masses of clouds covered the firmament, pouring a copious shower of blood! And meteors by hundreds fell, and thunder-rolls were heard, causing everything to tremble! And suddenly Rahu enveloped the blazing sun, and rough winds began to blow! And the earth itself began to tremble. And vultures and crows and cranes began to alight in joy! And the points of the horizon seemed to be ablaze and jackals began repeatedly to yell fiercely! And drums, unstruck (by human hands), began to produce harsh sound! Indeed, when the high-souled Rama embraced the earth, reft of consciousness, all these frightful and alarming omens of evil were seen! Then all on a sudden rising up, Rama approached me once more, O Kaurava, for battle, forgetting everything and deprived of his senses by anger. And that mighty-armed one took up his bow endued with great
strength and also a deadly arrow. I, however, resisted him successfully. The great Rishis then (that stood there) were filled with pity at the sight, while he, however, of Bhrigu's race, was filled with great wrath. I then took up a shaft, resembling the blazing fire that appears at the end of the Yuga, but Rama of immeasurable soul baffled that weapon of mine. Then covered by clouds of dust, the splendour of the solar disc was dimmed, and the sun went to the western mount. And night came with its delicious and cool breezes, and then both of us desisted from the fight. In this way, O king, when evening came the fierce battle ceased, and (next day) with the re-appearance of the sun it commenced again. And it lasted for three and twenty days together.'"
Next: Section CLXXXVI