The Mahabharata Home
Sanjaya said, "When the forenoon of that day had passed away, O Bharata, and when the destruction of cars, elephants, steeds, foot-soldiers and horse-soldiers, proceeded on, the prince of Panchala engaged himself in battle with these three mighty car-warriors, viz., Drona's son, Salya, and the high-souled Kripa. And the mighty heir of Panchala's king with many sharp shafts, slew the steeds of Drona's son that were celebrated over all the world. Deprived then of his animals, Drona's son quickly getting up on Salya's car, showered his shafts on the hair of the Panchala king. And beholding Dhrishtadyumna engaged in battle with Drona's son, the son of Subhadra, O Bharata, quickly came up scattering his sharp arrows. And, O bull of Bharata's race, he pierced Salya with five and twenty, and Kripa with nine arrows, and Aswatthaman with eight. Drona's son, however, quickly pierced Arjuna's son with many winged arrows, and Salya pierced him with twelve, and Kripa with three sharp arrows. Thy grandson Lakshmana then, beholding Subhadra's son engaged in battle, rushed at him, excited with rage. And the battle commenced between them. And the son of Duryodhana, excited with rage, pierced Subhadra's son with sharp shafts in that combat. And that (feat), O king, seemed highly wonderful. The light-handed Abhimanyu then, O bull of Bharata's race, excited with rage, quickly pierced his cousin with five hundred arrows. Lakshmana also, with his shafts, then cut off his (cousin's) bow-staff at the middle, at which, O monarch, all the people sent forth a loud shout. Then that slayer of hostile heroes, the son of Subhadra, leaving aside that broken bow, took up another that was beautiful and tougher. 1 And thereupon those two bulls among men, thus engaged in combat and desirous of counteracting each other's feats, pierced each other with sharp shafts. King Duryodhana then, O monarch, beholding his mighty son thus afflicted
by thy grandson (Abhimanyu), proceeded to that spot. And when thy son turned (towards that spot), all the kings surrounded the son of Arjuna on every side with crowds of cars. Incapable of being defeated in battle and equal in prowess unto Krishna himself, that hero, O king, thus surrounded by those heroes, was not agitated in the least. Then Dhananjaya, beholding Subhadra's son engaged in battle, rushed to that spot, excited with wrath, desirous of rescuing his own son. Thereupon the kings (on the Kuru side), headed by Bhishma and Drona and with cars, elephants and steeds, rushed impetuously at Savyasachin. Then a thick earthly dust, suddenly raised by foot-soldiers and steeds and cars and cavalry troopers, covering the sky appeared on the view. And those thousands of elephants and hundreds of kings, when they came within reach of Arjuna's arrows, were all unable to make any further advance. And all creatures there set up loud wails, and the points of the compass became dark. And then the transgression of the Kurus assumed a fierce and dreadful aspect as regards its consequences. Neither the welkin, nor the cardinal points of the compass nor the earth, nor the sun, could be distinguished, O best of men, in consequence of the arrows shot by Kiritin. 1 And many were the elephants there deprived of the standards (on their backs), and many car-warriors also, deprived of their steeds. And some leaders of car divisions were seen wandering, having abandoned their cars. And other car-warriors, deprived of their cars, were seen to wander hither and thither, weapon in hand and their arms graced with Angadas. And riders of steeds abandoning their steeds and of elephants abandoning their elephants from fear of Arjuna, O king, fled away in all directions. And kings were seen felled or falling from cars and elephants and steeds in consequence of Arjuna's shafts. And Arjuna, assuming a fierce countenance, cut off with his terrible shafts, the upraised arms of warriors, mace in grasp, and arms bearing swords, O king, or darts, or quivers, or shafts, or bows, or hooks, or standards, all over the field. And spiked maces broken in fragments, and mallets, O sire, and bearded darts, and short arrows, and swords also, in that battle, and sharp-edged battle-axes, and lances, O Bharata, and shields broken into pieces, and coats of mail also, O king, 2 and standards, and weapons of all kinds thrown away and umbrellas furnished with golden staves, and iron hooks also, O Bharata, and goads and whips, and traces also, O sire, were seen strewn over the field of battle in heaps. There was no man in thy army, O sire, who could advance against the heroic Arjuna in battle. Whoever, O king, advanced against Pritha's son in battle, pierced by sharp shafts was despatched to the other world. When all these combatants of thine broke had fled away, Arjuna and Vasudeva blew their excellent conches. Thy sire Devavrata then, beholding the (Kuru) host routed, smilingly addressed the heroic son of Bharadwaja in the battle and said, "This mighty and heroic son of Pandu, viz., Dhananjaya, accompanied by Krishna, is dealing
with (our) troops as he alone is competent to deal with them. He is incapable of being vanquished in battle today by any means, judging by his form that we see now so like unto that of the Destroyer himself at the end of the Yuga. This vast host again (of ours) is incapable of being rallied. Behold, looking at one another, our troops are flying away. Yon Sun, robbing in every way the vision of the whole world, is about to reach that best of mountains called Asta. 1 For this, O bull among men, I think that the hour is come for the withdrawal (of the army). The warriors, who have all been tired and struck with panic, will never fight. Having said this unto Drona that best of preceptors, Bhishma, that mighty car-warrior, caused thy army to be withdrawn. And then when the sun set, the withdrawal of both thy army and theirs took place, O sire, and twilight set in."
140:1 The Bombay reading 'Vegavattaram' is better. Literally, it means, 'capable of imparting a greater impetus.' To avoid such periphrasis I render it 'tougher'.
141:1 The sense is that all these were entirely shrouded by Arjuna's arrows.
141:2 The true reading is Charmanam and not Varmanam: also bhumipa and bhutale.
142:1 i.e., is about to set.
Next: Section LVI