The Mahabharata Home
Sanjaya said, "Then those kings, excited with rage, beholding Phalguni in battle, surrounded him on all sides with many thousands of cars. And having, O Bharata surrounded him with multitudinous division of cars, they shrouded him from all sides with many thousands of shafts. And bright lances of sharp points, and maces, and clubs endued with spikes, and bearded darts and battle-axes, and mallets and bludgeons they hurled at Phalguni's car, excited with rage. And that shower of weapons approaching (towards him) like a flight of locusts, Pritha's son checked on all sides with his gold-decked arrows. And beholding there on that occasion the superhuman lightness of hand that Vibhatsu possessed, the gods, the Danavas, the Gandharvas, the Pisachas, the Uragas and the Rakshasas eulogised Phalguni, O king, saying,--'Excellent, Excellent.' And the heroic Gandharvas along with Suvala's son with a large force surrounded Satyaki and Abhimanyu. Then the brave warriors led by Suvala's son from anger, cut into pieces the excellent car of the Vrishni hero, with weapons of diverse kinds. And in course of that fierce conflict, Satyaki, abandoning that car of his, speedily mounted on Abhimanyu's car, O chastiser of foes. And those two, mounted on the same car, then began to speedily slaughter the army of Suvala's son with straight arrows of sharp points. And Drona and Bhishma, steadily struggling in battle, began to slaughter the division of king Yudhishthira the just, with sharp shafts furnished with the feathers of the Kanka bird. Then the son of Dharma and two other sons of Pandu by Madri, in the very sight of the whole army, began to grind the division of Drona. And the battle that took place there was fierce and awful, making the hair stand on end, like the terrible battle that took place between the gods and the Asuras in days of yore. And Bhimasena and Ghatotkacha, both achieved mighty feats. Then Duryodhana, approaching, checked them both. And the prowess we then beheld of Hidimva's son was exceedingly wonderful, insomuch that he fought in battle, O Bharata, transcending his very father. And Bhimasena, the son of Pandu, excited with
wrath, pierced the vindictive Duryodhana in the breast, with an arrow, smiling the while. Then king Duryodhana, afflicted by the violence of that blow, sat down on the terrace of his car and swooned away. And his charioteer then, beholding him senseless, speedily bore him away, O king, from battle. And then the troops that supported Duryodhana broke and fled. And thereupon Bhima, smiting that Kuru army thus flying away in all directions, with sharp-pointed shafts, pursued it behind. And Prishata's son (Dhrishtadyumna), that foremost of warriors, and Pandu's son king Yudhishthira, the just, in the very sight, O Bharata, of both Drona and Ganga's son, slew their army with sharp shafts capable of slaying hostile forces. That host of thy son, thus flying away in battle, those mighty car-warriors. Bhishma and Drona were incapable of checking. For though attempted to be checked by Bhishma and the high-souled Drona, that host fled away in the very sight of Drona and Bhishma. And then when (those) thousand of car-warriors fled away in all directions, Subhadra's son and that bull of Sini's race, both stationed on the same car, began, O chastiser of foes, to slaughter the army of Suvala's son of battle. And Sini's grandson and that bull of Kuru's race looked resplendent like the sun and the moon when together in the firmament after the last lunation of the dark fortnight has passed away. And then Arjuna also, O king, excited with rage, showered arrows on thy army like the clouds pouring rain in torrents. And the Kaurava army, thus slaughtered in battle with the shafts of Partha, fled away, trembling in grief and fear. And beholding the army flying away, the mighty Bhishma and Drona, excited with rage and both desirous of Duryodhana's welfare sought to cheek it. Then king Duryodhana himself, comforting the combatants, checked that army, then flying away in all directions. And thereupon all the mighty Kshatriya car-warriors stopped, each at the spot where he saw thy son. And then others among the common soldiers, beholding them stop, stopped of their own accord, O king, from shame and desire of displaying their courage unto one another. And the impetuosity, O king, of that army thus rallied to the fight resembled that of the surging sea at the moment of the moon's rise. And king Duryodhana, beholding that army of his rallied for the fight, quickly repaired to Santanu's son Bhishma and said these words. 'O grandsire, listen to what I say, O Bharata. When, O son of Kuru, thou art alive, and Drona, that foremost of persons conversant with weapons, along with his son and with all our other friends (is alive), and then that mighty bowman Kripa also is alive, I do not regard it as at all creditable that my army should thus fly away. I do not regard the Pandavas to be, by any means, a match for thee or for Drona, in battle, or for Drona's son, or for Kripa. Without doubt, O grandsire, the sons of Pandu are being favoured by thee, inasmuch as thou forgivest, O hero, this slaughter of my army. Thou shouldst have told me, O king, before this battle took place, that thou wouldst not fight with the Pandavas. Hearing such words from thee, as also from the preceptor, O Bharata, I would then have, with Karna, reflected upon what course I should pursue. If I do not deserve to be abandoned by you two in battle, then,
[paragraph continues] O bulls among men, do ye fight according to the measure of your prowess. Hearing these words, Bhishma, laughing repeatedly, and turning up his eyes in wrath, said to thy son, 'Many a time, O king, have I said unto thee words worthy of thy acceptance and fraught with thy good. The Pandavas are incapable of being vanquished in battle by the very gods with Vasava amongst them. That, however, which my aged self is capable of doing, I will do to the extent of my power, O best of kings, in this battle. Witness it now with thy kinsmen. Today, in the very sight of all, alone I shall check the sons of Pandu at the head of their troops and with all their kinsfolk.' Thus addressed by Bhishma, thy son, O king, filled with delight, caused conches to be blown and drums to be beaten. And the Pandavas also, O king, hearing that loud uproar, blew their conches, and caused their drums and cymbals to be played upon."
Next: Section LIX