The Mahabharata Home
"Bhishma said, 'After the night had passed away, I awoke, O Bharata, and thinking of my dream I was filled with great joy. Then, O Bharata, the combat began between him and me--a combat that was fierce and unrivalled and that made the hairs of all creatures stand on their ends. And Bhargava poured on me an arrowy shower which I baffled with an arrowy shower of mine. Then filled with wrath at what he had seen the day before and what he saw that day, Rama hurled at me a dart, hard as Indra's thunderbolt and possessed of effulgence, resembling the Yama's mace! It came towards me like a blazing flame of fire and drinking up, as it were, all the quarters of that field of battle! Then, O tiger among the Kurus, it fell, O perpetuator of Kuru's line, upon my shoulder, like the lightning's flame that ranges the sky. Wounded thus by Rama, O thou of red eyes, my blood, O mighty-armed one, began to flow copiously like streams of red earth from a mountain (after a shower)! Filled with great wrath, I then shot at Jamadagni's son a deadly shaft, fatal as the poison of a snake. That heroic and best of Brahmanas, struck therewith at the forehead, O monarch, then appeared as beautiful as a crested hill! Extremely angry, that hero then, changing his position and drawing the bow-string with great strength, aimed at me a terrible shaft resembling all-destructive Death himself, and capable of grinding all foes! That fierce arrow fell upon my breast, hissing (through the air) like a snake. Covered with blood, I fell down on the earth, O king, thus struck. Regaining consciousness, I hurled at Jamadagni's son a frightful dart, effulgent as the thunderbolt. That dart fell upon the bosom of that foremost of Brahmanas. Deprived of his senses at this, Rama began to tremble all over. That great ascetic then, viz., his friend, the regenerate Akritavrana, embraced him and with diverse words of comfort soothed him. Reassured thus, Rama of high vows was then filled with wrath and vindictiveness. He invoked the great Brahma weapon. For baffling it
[paragraph continues] I also used the same excellent weapon. Clashing against each other, the two weapons began to blaze forth brightly, showing what happens at the end of the Yuga! Without being able to reach either myself or Rama, those two weapons, O best of the Bharatas, met each other in the mid-air. Then the whole welkin seemed to be ablaze, and all creatures, O monarch, became highly distressed. Afflicted by the energy of those weapons, the Rishis, the Gandharvas, and the gods were all greatly pained. Then earth, with her mountains and seas and trees began to tremble, and all creatures, heated with the energy of the weapons, were greatly afflicted. The firmament, O king, became ablaze and the ten points of the horizon became filled with smoke. Creatures, therefore, that range the welkin were unable to stay in their element. When, at all this, the whole world with the gods, the Asuras and the Rakshasas began to utter exclamations of woe.--This is the time--thought I and became desirous, O Bharata, of speedily shooting the Praswapa weapon at the command of those utterers of Brahma (that had appeared to me in my dream)! The Mantras also for invoking excellent weapon suddenly came to my mind!'"
Next: section CLXXXVIII