The Mahabharata Home
Sanjaya said,--"O king, I will now describe to thee the combats of hundreds and thousands of foot-soldiers. O Bharata, in utter forgetfulness of all consideration due to others. There the son recognised not the sire, the sire (recognised not) the son of his loins, the brother (recognised not) the brother, the sister's son (recognised not) the maternal uncle. The maternal uncle (recognised not) the sister's son, the friend not the friend. The Pandavas and the Kurus fought as if they were possessed by demons. Some tigers among men, fell with cars into pieces. And the shafts of cars broke clashing against shafts, and the spikes of car-yokes against spikes of car-yokes. And some (warriors) united together encountered others that were united together, all desirous of taking one another's life-And some cars, obstructed by cars, were unable to move. And huge-bodied elephants with rent temples, falling upon huge elephants, angrily tore one another in many places with their tusks. Others, O king, encountering impetuous and huge ones of their species with arched edifices and standards (on their backs) and trained to the fight struck with their tusks, shrieked in great agony. 3 Disciplined by training and urged on by pikes and hooks, elephants not in rut rushed straight against those that were in rut. 4 And some huge elephants, encountering compeers in rut, ran, uttering cries
like those of cranes, in all directions. And many huge elephants, well-trained, and with juice trickling down from rent temples and mouth, mangle with swords, lances, and arrows, and pierced in their vital parts, shrieked aloud and falling down expired. And some, uttering frightful cries, ran in all directions. The foot-soldiers that protected the elephants, endued with broad chests, and capable of smiting effectually, with wrath excited, and armed with pikes and bows, and bright battle-axes, and with maces and clubs, and short arrows, and lances, and with shafts, and stout bludgeons mounted with iron spikes and swords, well-grasped of the brightest polish, ran hither and thither, O king, and seemed resolved to take one another's life. And the sabres of brave combatants rushing against one another steeped in human blood, seemed to shine brightly. And the whiz of swords whirled and made to descend by heroic arms and falling upon the vital parts (of the bodies) of foes, became very loud. And the heart-ending wails of combatants in multitudinous hosts, crushed with maces and clubs, and cut off with well-tempered swords, and pierced with the tusks of elephants, and grained by tuskers, calling upon one another, were heard, O Bharata, to resemble the wails of those that are doomed to hell. And horsemen, on chargers of exceeding speed and furnished with outstretched tails resembling (the Plumes of) swans, rushed against one another. And hurled by them, long-bearded darts adorned with pure gold, fleet, and polished, and sharp-pointed, fell like snakes. 1 And some heroic horsemen, on coursers of speed, leaping high, cut off the heads of car-warriors from their cars. 2 And (here and there) a car-warrior, getting bodies of cavalry within shooting distance, slew many with straight shafts furnished with heads. And many infuriate elephants adorned with trapping of gold, and looking like newly-risen clouds, throwing down steed, crushed them with their own legs. And some elephants struck on their frontal globes and flanks, and mangled by means of lances, shrieked aloud in great agony. And many huge elephants, in the bewildering of the melee, crushing steeds with their riders, threw them down. And some elephants, overthrowing with the points of their tusks, steeds with their riders, wandered, crushing cars with their standards. And some huge male elephants, from excess of energy and with the temporal juice gushing down in large quantities, slew steeds along with their riders by means of their trunks and legs. Fleet arrows polished and sharp-pointed and resembling snakes fell upon the heads, the temples, the flanks, and the limbs of elephants. And polished javelins of terrible mien, and looking like large meteoric flashes, hurled by heroic arms, felt hither and thither, O king, piercing through the bodies of men and horses, and cutting through coats of mail. And many taking out their polished sabres from sheaths made of the skins of leopards and tigers, slew the combatants opposed to them in battle. And many warriors, though themselves attacked and had the flanks of their bodies cut open, yet angrily
fell upon (their foes) with swords, shields and battle-axes. And some elephants dragging down and overthrowing cars with their steeds by means of their trunks, began to wander in all directions, guided by the cries of those behind them. And hither and thither some pierced by javelins, and some cut asunder by battle-axes, and some crushed by elephants and others trod down by horses, and some cut by car-wheels, and some by axes, loudly called upon their kinsmen, O king. And some called upon their sons, and some upon their sires, and some upon brother and kinsmen. And some called upon their maternal uncles, and some upon their sister's sons. And some called upon others, on the field of battle. And a very large number of combatants, O Bharata, lost their weapons, or had their thighs broken. And other with arms torn off or sides pierced or cut open, were seen to wail aloud, from desire of life. And some, endued with little strength, tortured by thirst, O king, and lying on the field of battle on the bare ground, asked for water. And some, weltering in pools of blood and excessively weakened, O Bharata, greatly censured themselves and thy sons assembled together for battle. And there were brave Kshatriyas, who having injured one another, did not abandon their weapons or set up any wails, O sire, On the other hand, lying in those places where they lay, roared with joyful hearts, and biting from wrath with their teeth their own lips, looked at one another with faces rendered fierce in consequence of the contraction of their eyebrows. And others endued with great strength and tenacity in great pain, afflicted by arrows and smarting under their wounds, remained perfectly silent. And other heroic car-warriors, deprived, in the encounter, of their own cars and thrown down and wounded by huge elephants, asked to be taken up on the cars of others. And many, O king, looked beautiful in their wounds like blossoming Kinsukas. And in all the divisions were heard terrific cries, countless in number. And in that awful combat destructive of heroes, the sire slew the son, the son slew the sire, the sister's son slew the maternal uncle, the maternal uncle slew the sister's son, friend slew friend, and relatives slew kinsmen. Even thus the slaughter took place in that encounter of the Kurus with the Pandavas. And in that frightful and terrible battle in which no consideration was shown (by anybody for anybody), the divisions of the Pandavas, approaching Bhishma, began to waver. And, O bull of Bharata's race, the mighty-armed Bhishma, O king, with his standard which was made of silver and graced with the device of the palmyra with five stars, setting upon his great car, shone like the lunar orb under the peak of Meru."
110:1 The word used in the original is Viparitam lit. contrary. The sense seems to be that car men fought on foot, cavalry soldiers on elephants, warriors on elephants from horseback, &c. The very character of the forces was altered.
110:2 i.e., though repulsed, these frequently rallied, and occupied the same ground as before.
110:3 The last half of the 7th with the 8th forms one sentence. It is certainly pleonastic. Ranavaranais of the Bengal texts is preferable to the Bombay reading Varavaranais. Toranas are the wooden edifices placed on the backs of elephants for the protection and comfort of the riders. These are called in India Hawdas.
110:4 Many of the Bengal texts read Avinitas. The correct reading, as in the Bombay text, is Abhinitas. Aprabhinna is literally "unrent," i.e. with the temporal juice not trickling down. This juice emanates from several parts of the elephant's body when the season of rut comes. To avoid a cumbrous periphrasis, which again would be unintelligible to the European reader, I have given the sense only.
111:1 For the Bengal reading 'Mahaprajna' the Bombay text reads 'Mahaprasas.'
111:2 Rathat and not Rathan is the reading that I adopt.
Next: Section XLVII