The Mahabharata Home
Sanjaya said, "And when the battle was thus raging and after Susarman had ceased fighting, and the (other) heroic warriors (of the Kuru army) had been routed by the high-souled son of Pandu; after, indeed, thy army, resembling the very ocean, had become quickly agitated and the son of Ganga had speedily proceeded against the car of Vijaya, king Duryodhana, beholding the prowess of Partha in battle, quickly proceeded towards those kings, and addressing them as also the heroic and mighty Susarman stationed in their van, said in their midst these words, gladdening them all, 'This Bhishma, the son of Santanu, this foremost one among the Kurus, reckless of his very life, is desirous of fighting with his whole soul against Dhananjaya. Exerting your best, ye all, united together, and accompanied by your troops, protect in battle the grandsire, of Bharata's race, who is proceeding against the hostile army.' Saying, 'Yes,' all those divisions, belonging to those kings, O monarch, proceeded, following the grandsire. Then the mighty Bhishma, the son of Santanu, (thus rushing to battle), speedily came upon Arjuna of Bharata's race who also had been coming towards him, on his exceedingly resplendent and large car unto which were yoked white steeds and upon which was set up his standard bearing the fierce ape, and whose rattle resembled the deep roll of the clouds. And thy entire army, beholding the diadem-decked Dhananjaya, thus coming to battle, uttered, from fear, many loud exclamations. And beholding Krishna, reins in hand, and looking like the mid-day sun in splendour, thy troops could not gaze at him. And so also the Pandavas were incapable of looking at Santanu's son Bhishma of white steeds and white bow and resembling the planet Sukra risen in the firmament. And the latter was surrounded on all sides by the high-souled warriors of the Trigartas headed by their king with his brothers and sons, and by many other mighty car-warriors.
"Meanwhile, Bharadwaja's son pierced with his winged arrows the king of the Matsyas in battle. And in that combat he cut off the latter's standard with one shaft, and his bow also with another. Then Virata,
the commander of a large division, leaving aside that bow thus cut off, quickly took up another that was strong and capable of bearing a great strain. And he also took up a number of blazing arrows that resembled snakes of virulent poison. And he pierced Drona in return with three (of these) and his (four) steeds with four. And then he pierced Drona's standard with one arrow, and his charioteer with five. And he also pierced Drona's bow with one arrow, and (at all this) that bull among Brahmanas became highly angry. Then Drona slew Virata's steeds with eight straight shafts, and then his charioteer, O chief of the Bharatas, with one shaft. His charioteer having been slain, Virata jumped down from his car whose steeds also had been killed. And then that foremost of car-warriors speedily mounted upon the car of (his son) Sankha. Then sire and son, staying on the same car, began with great might to resist the son of Bharadwaja with a thick shower of arrows. Then the mighty son of Bharadwaja, excited with wrath, quickly shot at Sankha in that encounter, an arrow resembling a snake of virulent poison. And that arrow, piercing through Sankha's breast and drinking his blood, fell upon the earth, wet and smeared with gore. Struck with that arrow of Bharadwaja's son, Sankha speedily fell down from his car, his bow and arrows loosened from his grasp in the very presence of his sire. And beholding his son slain, Virata fled from fear, avoiding Drona in battle, who resembled Death's self with gasping mouth. The son of Bharadwaja then, without losing a moment, checked the mighty host of the Pandavas resisting combatants by hundreds and thousands.
"Sikhandin also, O king, getting at Drona's son in that battle, struck the latter between his brows with three swiftly coursing shafts. And that tiger among men, viz., Aswatthaman, pierced with those shafts looked beautiful like the mountain Meru with its three tall golden crests. Then, O king, Aswatthaman excited with rage, and within half the time taken up by a wink of the eye, overthrew in that battle Sikhandin's charioteer and standard and steeds and weapons, covering them with myriads of shafts. Then that foremost of car-warriors, viz., Sikhandin, that scorcher of foes, jumping down from that car whose steeds had been slain, and taking up a sharp and polished scimitar and a shield, excited with rage, moved on the field with great activity like a hawk. And while moving with great activity, O king, on the field sword in hand, the son of Drona failed to find an opportunity (for striking him). And all this seemed highly wonderful. And then, O bull of Bharata's race, the highly wrathful son of Drona sent after Sikhandin in that battle many thousands of shafts. But Sikhandin, that foremost of mighty men, with his sharp sword cut that fierce shower of arrows coming towards him. Then the son of Drona cut into pieces that resplendent and beautiful shield decked with a hundred moons and then that sword also of Sikhandin. And he pierced the latter's person also, O king, with a large number of winged arrows. Then Sikhandin, whirling the fragment (in his hand) of that sword of his which had been cut off by Aswatthaman with his arrows and which resembled a blazing
snake, quickly hurled it at him. The son of Drona however, displaying in that battle the lightness of his arms, cut off that (broken blade) coming impetuously towards him and resembling in splendour the fire that blazeth forth at the end of the Yuga. And he pierced Sikhandin himself with innumerable arrows made of iron. Then Sikhandin, O King, exceedingly afflicted with those whetted arrows, speedily mounted on the car of (Satyaki) that high-souled scion of Madhu's race. Then Satyaki, excited with rage, pierced in that battle, with his terrible shafts the cruel Rakshasa Alamvusha on all sides. That prince of Rakshasas then, O Bharata, cut off in that combat Satyaki's bow with a crescent-shaped arrow and pierced Satyaki also with many shafts. And creating by his Rakshasa powers an illusion, he covered Satyaki with showers of arrows. But wonderful was the prowess that we then beheld of the grandson of Sini, inasmuch as struck with those whetted shafts he betrayed no fear. On the other hand, O Bharata, that son of Vrishni's race applied (with Mantras) the Aindra weapon, which that illustrious hero of Madhu's race had obtained from Vijaya. 1 That weapon, consuming into ashes that Demoniac illusion, covered Alamvusha all over with terrible shafts, like a mass of clouds covering the mountain-breast with torrents of rain in the rainy season. Thereupon the Rakshasa, thus afflicted by that hero of Madhu's race, fled away in fear, avoiding Satyaki in battle. Then the grandson of Sini, having vanquished that prince of Rakshasas who was incapable of being vanquished by Maghavat himself, uttered a loud roar in the very sight of all thy troops. And Satyaki, of prowess incapable of being baffled, then began to slay thy troops with innumerable shafts whereupon the latter fled away in fear.
"Meanwhile, O monarch, Dhrishtadyumna, the mighty son of Drupada, covered thy royal son in battle with innumerable straight shafts. While, however, O Bharata, Dhrishtadyumna was thus shrouding him with his shafts, thy royal son was neither agitated nor struck with fear. On the other hand, he speedily pierced Dhrishtadyumna in that battle (first) with sixty and (then) with thirty shafts. And all these seemed highly wonderful. Then the commander of the Pandava army, O Bharata, excited with wrath cut off his bow. And that mighty car-warrior then slew in that combat the four steeds of thy son, and also pierced him with seven shafts of the keenest points. Thereupon (thy son), that mighty-armed warrior endued with great strength, jumping down from that car whose steeds had been slain, ran on foot, with an upraised sabre, towards the son of Prishata. Then the mighty Sakuni, devoted to the king, quickly coming to that spot, caused thy royal son to mount on his own car in the very sight of all. Then that slayer of foes, the son of Prishata, having vanquished the king, began to slaughter thy troops like the wielder of the thunder-bolt slaughtering the Asuras.
"Kritavarman, in that battle, covered with his arrows that mighty
car-warrior Bhima. Indeed, he overwhelmed the latter entirely, like a mighty mass of clouds shrouding the sun. Then that chastiser of foes viz., Bhimasena, excited with wrath, and laughing the while, sped some shafts at Kritavarman. Struck therewith, that Atiratha of the Satwata race, excelling all in might, trembled not, O king, but (instead) pierced Bhima (in return) with many sharp arrows. Then the mighty Bhimasena, slaying the four steeds of Kritavarman, felled the latter's charioteer, and then his beautiful standard. And that slayer of hostile heroes (viz., Bhima) then pierced Kritavarman himself with many shafts of diverse kinds. And Kritavarman, pierced all over, seemed to be excessively mangled in every limb. Then from that car whose steeds had been slain, Kritavarman quickly went to the car of Vrishaka, in the very sight, O king, of both Salya and thy son. And Bhimasena. excited with rage, began to afflict thy troops. Goaded to fury, he began to slay them, like the destroyer himself armed with his club."
205:1 Satyaki was Arjuna's disciple in arms. Vijaya was another name of Arjuna.
Next: Section LXXXIV