The Mahabharata Home
Sanjaya said,--"When the night passed away, O Bharata, the high-souled Bhishma, with wrath engendered, supported by a large force, and stationed at the head of the Bharata army, proceeded against the foe. And Drona and Duryodhana and Valhika, and also Durmarshana and Chitrasena, the mighty Jayadratha, and other royal warriors, supported by large divisions accompanied, surrounding him all sides. And surrounded by those great and mighty car-warriors endued with great prowess and energy, O king, he shone, O best of monarchs, in the midst of those foremost of royal warriors, like the chief of the celestials in the midst of the gods. And the magnificent standards on the backs of the elephants stationed in front of those ranks, of diverse colours, viz., red, yellow, black and brown, waving in the air, looked exceedingly beautiful. And that army with the royal son of Santanu and other mighty car-warriors and with elephants and steeds, looked resplendent like a mass of clouds charged with lightning, or like the firmament, in the season of rains, with gathering clouds. 1 And then the fierce army of the Kurus, bent on battle and protected by Santanu's son, rushed impetuously towards Arjuna like the fierce current of the ocean-going Ganga. 2 Pervaded by diverse kinds of forces possessed of great strength, and having in its wings elephants, steeds, infantry, and cars in profusion, that array the high-souled (Arjuna) having the prince of apes on his banner beheld from a distance to resemble a mighty mass of clouds. 3 That high-souled hero, that bull among men, upon his car furnished with tall standard and unto which were yoked white steeds, at the head of his (own) division and surrounded by a mighty force, proceeded against the whole hostile army. And all the Kauravas with thy sons, beholding that ape-bannered (warrior) with his excellent standard and handsome car-shaft wrapped (in costly cover), accompanied by that bull
of Yadu's race, his charioteer in battle, were filled with dismay. And thy army beheld that best of arrays, which was protected by that mighty car-warrior of the world, viz., Kiritin, with weapons upraised to have at each of its corners four thousand elephants. Like the array which was formed on the day before by that best of Kurus viz., king Yudhishthira the just, and like of which had never been seen or heard before by human beings, was this one of today (that the Pandavas formed). Then on the field of battle thousand of drums were loudly beaten, and there arose from all the divisions the loud blare of conches and the notes of trumpets and many leonine shouts. Then (innumerable) bows of loud twang, stretched by heroic warriors with shaft fixed on the bowstrings, and the blare of conches, silenced that uproar of drums and cymbals. And the entire welkin filled with that blare of conches was diffused with an earthly dust that made it wonderful to behold. And with that dust the sky looked as if a vast canopy were spread overhead. And beholding that canopy the brave warriors all rushed impetuously (to battle). And car-warriors, struck by car-warriors, were overthrown with charioteers, steeds, cars, and standards. And elephants, struck by elephants, fell down, and foot-soldiers struck by foot-soldiers. And rushing horsemen, struck down by rushing horsemen with lances and swords, fell down with frightful countenances. And all this seemed exceedingly wonderful. And excellent shields decked with golden stars and possessed of solar effulgence, broken by (strokes of) battle-axes, lances and swords dropped on the field. 1 And many car-warriors mangled and bruised by the tusks and the strong trunks of elephants, fell down with their charioteers. And many bulls among car-warriors struck by bulls among car-warriors with their shafts, fell down on the ground. And many persons hearing the wails of horsemen and foot-soldiers struck with the tusks and other limbs of elephants or crushed by the impetus of those huge creatures rushing in close ranks, fell down on the field of battle. 2
"Then when cavalry and foot-soldiers were falling fast, and elephants and steeds and cars were flying away in fear, Bhishma, surrounded by many mighty car-warriors, obtained sight of him who had the prince of apes on his standard. And the palmyra-bannered warrior, viz. the son of Santanu, having five palmyras on his standard, then rushed against the diadem-decked (Arjuna) whose car, in consequence of the fleetness of the excellent steeds attached to it was endued with wonderful energy and which blazed like the very lightning in consequence of the energy of his mighty weapons. And so against that son of Indra who was like unto Indra himself, rushed many (other) warriors headed by Drona and Kripa and Salya and Vivinsati and Duryodhana and also Somadatta's son, O king. Then the heroic Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna, conversant with all weapons
and cased in a handsome and golden coat of mail, rushing out of the ranks, quickly proceeded against all those warriors. And that son of Krishna of feats incapable of being borne, baffling the mighty weapons of all those warriors of great strength, looked resplendent like the adorable Agni himself, on the sacrificial altar, of blazing flames, invoked with high mantras. Then Bhishma of mighty energy, creating in that battle a very river whose waters were the blood of foes, and quickly avoiding Subhadra's son, encountered that mighty car-warrior, viz., Partha himself. Then Arjuna decked with diadem and garlands with his Gandiva of wonderful mien and twang loud as the roar of the thunder, shooting showers of arrows, baffled that shower of mighty weapons (shot by Bhishma). And that high-souled warrior having the prince of apes on his banner, of feats incapable of being borne, then poured in return upon Bhishma, that best of all wielders of bows a shower of sharp-edged arrows and polished shafts of broad heads. And so thy troops also beheld that shower of mighty weapons shot by him who had the prince of apes on his banner, opposed and dispersed by Bhishma like the maker of day dispelling (the gloom of night). And the Kurus and the Srinjayas, and all the people there, beheld that single combat between those two foremost of men, viz., Bhishma and Dhananjaya, proceeding thus steadily and thus distinguished by the terrible twang of the bows of both."
155:1 In the first line of the 5th, for 'rajna' of the Bengal texts the Bombay text reads 'gupta'. I follow the Bengal reading which is better.
155:2 In the second line of the 6th, for sasars sena the Bombay reading is sena mahogra which is better, I adopt it.
155:3 I adopt the Bengal reading Vyapta and not Vyala.
156:1 The word Saravarani in the text is rendered by K. P. Singha as quivers. Nilakantha explains it as coats of mail. There can be no doubt, however, that the Burdwan Pundits render it correctly as shields.
156:2 In the first line of 19th, the Bengal reading Saykanam is a mistake. The true reading is Saditanam.
Next: Section LXI