The Mahabharata Home
Sanjaya said, "King Virata then pierced that mighty car-warrior, viz., Bhishma, with three shafts. And that great car-warrior pierced his (antagonist's) steeds also with three shafts furnished with golden wings. And that terrible bowman and mighty car-warrior of firm hand, viz., Drona's son, pierced with six shafts the wielder of Gandiva between his two breasts. Thereupon that grinder of foes, viz., Phalguni, that slayer of hostile heroes, cut off Aswatthaman's bow and deeply pierced him in return with five shafts. Deprived of his senses by anger, and unable to bear the cutting off of his bow in that battle, Drona's son, taking up another bow that was tougher, pierced Phalguni, O king, with ninety sharp-shafts, and Vasudeva also with seventy fierce arrows. Then, with eyes red in wrath, Phalguni, with Krishna, breathing long and hot breaths, reflected for a moment. Firmly grasping the bow with his left hand, that grinder of foes, viz., the wielder of
gandiva excited with rage, fixed on his bowstring a number of fierce shafts, sharp and perfectly straight, and capable of taking (the foe's) life. And that foremost of mighty men speedily pierced Drona's son, in that battle, with those arrows. And those arrows, penetrating through his armour, drank his life-blood. But though thus pierced by the wielder of Gandiva, Drona's son wavered not. Shooting in return similar arrows at Partha, he stayed unperturbed, in that battle, desirous, O king, of protecting Bhishma of high vows. And that feat of his was applauded by the foremost warriors of the Kuru army, consisting, as it did, of his having encountered the two Krishnas united together. Indeed, Aswatthaman daily battled fearlessly amid the forces, having obtained from Drona all weapons with the methods also of their withdrawal. This one is the son of my preceptor. He is again the dear son of Drona. He is especially a Brahmana, and, therefore, worthy of my regard. Thinking so, that scorcher of foes, the heroic Vibhatsu, that foremost of car-warriors, showed mercy to the son of Bharadwaja. Avoiding the son of Drona, Kunti's son endued with great prowess and having white steeds (yoked unto his car), began to fight, displaying great quickness of arms and causing a great carnage of thy troops. Duryodhana then pierced that great bowman Bhima with ten shafts winged with vulturine feathers, adorned with gold, and whetted on stone. Thereupon Bhimasena, excited with wrath, took up a tough and well-adorned bow capable of taking the life of the foe, and also ten sharp shafts. And steadily aiming those sharp-pointed shafts of fierce energy and impetuous velocity, and drawing the bow-string to his ear, he deeply pierced the king of the Kurus in his wide chest. Thereupon the gem hanging on his breast on threads of gold, surrounded by those shafts, looked beautiful like the Sun in the firmament surrounded by the planets. Thy son, however, endued with great energy, thus struck by Bhimasena, could not bear it (coolly), like a snake unable to bear the sounds of a man's slap. Excited with wrath and desirous of protecting his army, he then pierced Bhima in return, O king, with many shafts whetted on stone and endued with golden wings. Thus struggling in battle and mangling each other fiercely, those two mighty sons of thine looked like a pair of celestials.
"That tiger among men and slayer of hostile heroes, viz., the son of Subhadra, pierced Chitrasena with many sharp shafts and Purumitra also with seven shafts. And piercing Satyavrata too with seventy shafts, that hero resembling Indra himself in battle, began as it were to dance on the field, and caused us much pain. Chitrasena then pierced him in return with ten shafts, and Satyavrata with nine, and Purumitra with seven. Then the son of Arjuna, thus pierced, while yet covered with blood, cut off the large and beautiful bow of Chitrasena that was capable of checking foes. And cutting through his coat of mail he pierced his antagonist's breast with a shaft. Then the princes of thy army, all heroic and mighty car-warriors, excited with wrath and united together in that conflict, pierced him with sharp arrows. And Abhimanyu, acquainted with the mightiest weapons, smote them all with keen shafts. Beholding that feat of his, thy
sons then surrounded the son of Arjuna, who was consuming thy army in that conflict like a swelling fire of blazing flames consuming a heap of dry grass in summer. And the son of Subhadra, while smiting thy troops (thus), seemed to glow in splendour. Seeing that conduct of his, thy grandson Lakshmana then, O monarch, quickly fell upon the son of Subhadra. Thereupon that mighty car-warrior Abhimanyu, excited with wrath, pierced Lakshmana graced with auspicious marks, as also his charioteer, with six sharp arrows. But Lakshmana also, O king, pierced Subhadra's son with many keen shafts. And that feat, O king, seemed to be highly wonderful. Then that mighty car-warrior, viz., Abhimanyu, slaying the four steeds as also the charioteer of Lakshmana with sharp shafts, rushed towards the latter. Thereupon Lakshmana, that slayer of hostile heroes, staying on that car of his whose steeds had been slain, and excited with wrath, hurled a dart towards the car of Subhadra's son. Abhimanyu, however, with his sharp arrows, cut off that irresistible dart of fierce mien, resembling a snake, and coming impetuously towards him. Then Kripa, taking Lakshmana up on his own car, bore him away from the conflict, in the very sight of all the troops. Then when that awful conflict became general, the combatants rushed against one another, desirous of taking another's life. And the mighty bowmen of thy army and the great car-warriors of the Pandava host, prepared to lay down their lives in battle, slew one another. With hair dishevelled, divested of their coats of mail, deprived of their cars, and their bows broken, the Srinjayas fought with the Kurus with their bare arms. Then the mighty-armed Bhishma, endued with great strength, and excited with wrath, slew with his celestial weapons the troops of the high-souled Pandavas. And the earth became covered with the fallen bodies of elephants deprived of their guides of men and steeds and car-warriors and cavalry-soldiers."
Next: Section LXXIV