The Mahabharata Home
Sanjaya said, "Beholding his brothers and the other kings engaged in battle with Bhishma, Dhananjaya, with weapons upraised, rushed against the son of Ganga. Hearing the blare of Panchajanya and the twang of the bow Gandiva, and seeing also the standard of Pritha's son, a great fear entered our hearts. And the standard that we behold, O king, of the wielder of Gandiva bore the device of lion's tail and looked like a blazing mountain in the welkin. Beautiful and of celestial workmanship, it was variegated with diverse hues, and looking like a risen comet it could not be obstructed
by trees. And in that great battle, the warriors beheld Gandiva, the back of whose staff was decked with pure gold, and which looked beautiful like a flash of lightning in the midst of a mass of clouds in the firmament. And while slaying the combatants of thy army, the shouts we heard uttered by Arjuna seemed to resemble the loud roars of Indra himself, and the slaps also of his palms were frightfully loud. Like a roaring mass of clouds charged with lightning and aided by a raging tempest, Arjuna incessantly poured his arrowy showers on all sides, completely shrouding the ten points of the compass. Dhananjaya then possessed of terrible weapons, quickly proceeded towards the son of Ganga. Deprived of four senses in consequence of his weapons, we could not then distinguish the East from the West. And thy warriors, then, O bull of Bharata's race,--their animals tired, steeds slain, and hearts depressed,--thoroughly confounded 1 and huddling close to one another, sought Bhishma's protection along with all thy sons. And in that battle Bhishma the son of Santanu became their protector. Struck with fear, car-warriors jumping down from their cars, cavalry soldiers jumping down from the backs of their steeds, and the foot-soldiers where they stood, all began to fall down on the earth. Hearing the twang of Gandiva that resembled the roar of the thunder, all thy warriors were struck with fear and seemed, O Bharata, to melt away. Then, O king, with many huge and fleet steeds of the Kamvoja breed, and surrounded by many thousand of Gopas with a large Gopayana force and supported by the Madras, the Sauviras, the Gandharas and the Trigartas, and surrounded by all the principal Kalingas, the king of the Kalingas, and king Jayadratha accompanied by all the kings and supported by a large force of diverse races with Dussasana at their head, and fourteen thousand principal horsemen, urged by thy son, surrounded the son of Suvala (for supporting him). Then in that battle, all the Pandavas, united together, and riding on separate cars and animals, began, O bull of Bharata's race, to slaughter thy troops. 2 And the dust raised by car-warriors and steeds and foot-soldiers, looking like a mass of clouds, made the field of battle exceedingly awful. And with a large force consisting of elephants, steeds and cars, and armed with lances and bearded darts and broad-headed shafts, Bhishma engaged in battle with the diadem decked (Arjuna). And the king of Avanti engaged with the ruler of Kasi, and the ruler of the Sindhus engaged with Bhimasena. And king Yudhishthira with his sons and counsellors engaged with Salya, the famous chief of the Madras. And Vikarna engaged with Sahadeva, and Chitrasena with Sikhandin. And the Matsyas, O king, engaged with Duryodhana, and Sakuni; and Drupada and Chekitana, and that mighty car-warrior Satyaki engaged in battle with the high-souled Drona aided by his son. And Kripa and Kritavarman both rushed against Dhrishtadyumna. And thus, all over the field, rushing bodies of horses, of elephants and cars, engaged with one another in battle. And although there
were no clouds in the sky, yet flashes of lightning were seen. And all the points of the compass were covered with dust. And, O king, fierce meteors were seen failing with thundering noise. And violent winds blew and a shower of dust fell from above. And the sun, covered by the dust raised by the troops, disappeared in the firmament. And all the warriors, covered by that dust and battling with weapons, were deprived of their senses. And the sound made by weapons, all capable of penetrating through every armour and hurled from heroic arms, became a tremendous uproar. And, O bull of Bharata's race, weapons hurled from excellent arms and possessed of stellar brightness, illumined the whole welkin. And variegated shields made of bull's hides and embossed with gold were strewn, O bull of Bharata's race, all over the field. And heads and limbs were seen falling on all sides, cut off with swords and scimitars possessed of solar effulgence. And great car-warriors, the wheels, axles, and boxes of whose cars were broken, fell down on the ground, their steeds slain and their tall standards tumbling down. 1 And many car-warriors having been slain, their steeds, mangled with weapons, fell down as they ran dragging the cars (to which they were yoked). And, in many places over the field, excellent steeds, afflicted with arrows, with limbs mangled, and with their traces on, ran, dragging the car-yokes after them. And many car-warriors, with their charioteers and steeds, were seen, O king, to be crushed by single elephants endued with great strength. 2 And in that battle, in the midst of large forces, many elephants, scenting the odour of the temporal juice of their compeers, began to snuff the breeze repeatedly. And the whole field was strewn with slain elephants, deprived of life by means of broad-headed shafts and falling down with the wooden edifices and the guides on their backs. And many elephants, in, the midst of large forces crushed, with the standards and warriors on their backs, by huge compeers urged by their guides, fell down on the field. And many car-shafts, O king, were seen to be broken in that battle by huge elephants using their trunks, each of which resembled the trunk of the prince of elephants (called Airavata). And many car-warriors also, in that conflict, the Jalas of whose cars had been broken, were like branches of trees dragged down by tuskers, seized by the hair of their heads and, thrashed violently on the ground, were crushed into shapeless masses. And other huge elephants, dragging cars that were entangled with other cars, ran in all directions shrieking loudly. And those elephants, thus dragging those cars, looked like others of their species dragging lotus-stalks growing in lakes. And thus was that vast field of battle strewn over with cavalry soldiers and foot-soldiers and great car-warriors and standards."
180:1 Kandigbhutas lit. "not knowing which point of the compass was which."
180:2 In the second line of 17, the Bombay text incorrectly reads Arjunam for Pandavas.
181:1 In the first line of 32 the Bengal reading is Mahabhujas. The correct reading seems to be (as in the Bombay text) Mahadhvajas.
181:2 The last half of the second line of 35 in the Bengal text is vicious, I adopt the Bombay reading.
Next: Section LXXII