The Mahabharata Home
Sanjaya said, "After the ranks of thy army and theirs had been disposed in battle-array, that mighty car-warrior, Dhananjaya, felling in that conflict leaders of car-divisions with his arrows, caused a great carnage, O Bharata, among the car-ranks. The Dhartarashtras, (thus) slaughtered in battle by Pritha's son, like the Destroyer himself at the end of the Yuga, still fought perseveringly with the Pandavas. Desirous. of (winning) blazing glory and (bent upon) making death (the only ground for) a cessation of the fight, with minds undirected to anything else, they broke the Pandava ranks in many places and were also themselves broken. Then both the Pandava and the Kaurava troops broke, changed positions, and fled away. Nothing could be distinguished. An earthly dust arose, shrouding the very sun. And nobody there could distinguish, either the cardinal or the subsidiary directions. And everywhere the battle raged, O king, the combatants being guided by the indications afforded by colours, by watch-words, names and tribal distinctions. And the array of the Kauravas, O king, could not be broken, duly protected as it was by Bharadwaja's son, O sire. 1 And
so the formidable array of the Pandava also, protected by Savyasachin, and well-guarded by Bhima, could not be broken. And the cars and elephants in close ranks, O king, of both the armies, and other combatants, coming out of their respective arrays, engaged in conflict. And in that fierce battle cavalry soldiers felled cavalry soldiers, with polished swords of sharp edges and long lances. And car-warriors, getting car-warriors (within reach) in that fierce conflict, felled them with shafts decked with golden wings. And elephant-riders, of thy side and theirs, felled large numbers of elephant-riders in close ranks, with broad-headed shafts and arrows and lances. And large bodies of infantry, inspired with wrath towards one another, cheerfully felled combatants of their own class with short arrows and battle-axes. And car-warriors, O king, getting elephant-riders (within reach) in that conflict, felled them along with their elephants. And elephant-riders similarly felled car-warriors. And, O bull of Bharata's race, the cavalry soldier with his lance felled the car-warrior in that conflict, and the car-warrior also felled the cavalry soldier. And both the armies the foot-soldier, felled the car-warrior in the combat, and the car-warrior felled the foot-soldiers, with sharp weapons. And elephant-riders felled horse-riders, and horse-riders felled warriors on the backs of elephants. And all this appeared exceedingly wonderful. And here and there foot-soldiers, were felled by foremost of elephant-riders, and elephant-riders were seen to be felled by the former. And bands of foot-soldiers, by hundreds and thousands, were seen to be felled by horse-riders and horse-riders by foot-soldiers. And strewn with broken standards and bows and lances and housings of elephants, and costly blankets and bearded darts, and maces, and clubs furnished with spikes, and Kampanas, and darts, and variegated coats of mail and Kunapas, and iron hooks, and polished scimitars, and shafts furnished with golden wings, the field, O best of Bharata's race, shone as if with floral wreaths. And the earth, miry with flesh and blood, became impassable with the bodies of men and steeds and elephants slain in that dreadful battle. And drenched with human blood, the earthy dust disappeared. And the cardinal points, all around, became perfectly clear, O Bharata. And innumerable headless trunks rose up all around indicating, O Bharata, of the destruction of the world. And in that terrible and awful battle, car-warriors were seen to run away in all directions. Then Bhishma and Drona, and Jayadratha, the ruler of the Sindhus and Purumitra, and Vikarna, and Sakuni the son of Suvala-these warriors invincible in battle and possessed of leonine prowess-staying in battle broke the ranks of the Pandavas. And so Bhimasena and the Rakshasa Ghatotkacha, and Satyaki, and Chekitana, and the sons of Draupadi, O Bharata, supported by all the kings (on their side), began to grind thy troops and thy sons stationed in battle, like the gods grinding the Danavas. And those bulls among Kshatriyas, striking one another in battle, became terrible to behold and covered with blood shone like Kinsukas. And the foremost warriors of both armies, vanquishing their opponents, looked, O king, like the planetary luminaries in the firmament. Then thy
son Duryodhana, supported by a thousand cars, rushed to battle with the Pandavas and the Rakshasa. And so all the Pandavas, with a large body of combatants rushed in battle against those chastisers of foes, the heroic Bhishma and Drona. And the diadem-decked (Arjuna) also, excited with rage rushed against the foremost of kings. And Arjuna's son (Abhimanyu), and Satyaki, both advanced against the forces of Suvala's son. And then commenced once more a fearful battle, making the hair to stand on end, between thine and the enemy's troops both desirous of vanquishing each other."
143:1 For 'Satyatha tena' the Bombay text reads 'Satyasandhena'. I follow the Bengal reading.
Next: Section LVIII