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Dhritarashtra said, "Many and wonderful, O Sanjaya, were the single combats I hear thee speak of between the Pandavas and my warriors. Thou speakest not, however, O Sanjaya, of any one of my side having been cheerful (on such occasions). Thou always speakest of the sons of Pandu as cheerful and never routed, O Suta and thou speakest of mine as cheerless, deprived of energy, and constantly vanquished in battle. All this, without doubt, is Destiny."
Sanjaya said, "Thy men, O bull of Bharata's race, exert themselves according to the measure of their might and courage, and display their valour to the utmost extent of their strength. As contact with the properties of the ocean make the sweet waters of the celestial stream Ganga brakish, so the valour, O king, of the illustrious warriors of thy army coming in contact with the heroic sons of Pandu in battle, becometh futile. Exerting themselves according to their might, and achieving the most difficult feats, thou shouldst not, O chief of the Kurus, find fault with thy troops. O monarch, this great and awful destruction of the world, swelling the (population of the) domains of Yama, hath arisen from thy misconduct and that of thy sons. It behoveth thee not, O king, to grieve for what hath arisen from thy own fault. Kings do not always in this world protect their lives. These rulers of Earth, desirous of winning by battle the regions of the righteous, daily fight, penetrating into (hostile) divisions, with heaven only for their aim.
"On the forenoon of that day, O king, great was the carnage that ensued, resembling what occurred in the battle between the gods and
the Asuras (of old). Listen to it, O monarch, with undivided attention. The two princes of Avanti, those great bowmen endued with exceeding might, those excellent warriors fierce in battle, beholding Iravat, advanced against him. The battle that took place between them was fierce, making the hair stand on end. Then Iravat, excited with rage, quickly pierced those two brothers of celestial forms with many sharp and straight shafts. Those two, however, conversant with all modes of warfare, pierced him in return in that battle. Struggling their best to slaughter the foe, and desirous of counteracting each other's feats, no distinction, O king, could be observed between them as they fought. Iravat then, O monarch, with four shafts, despatched the four steeds of Anuvinda to the abode of Yama. And with a couple of sharp, broad-headed shafts, O sire, he cut off the bow and standard also of Anuvinda. And this feat, O king, seemed highly wonderful. Then Anuvinda, leaving his own car, mounted on the car of Vinda. Taking up an excellent and strong bow capable of bearing a great strain, Anuvinda, as also his brother Vinda, those foremost of car-warriors hailing from Avanti, both stationed on the same car, quickly shot many shafts at the high-souled Iravat. Shot by them, those shafts of great impetuosity decked with gold, while coursing through the air, covered the welkin. 1 Then Iravat, excited with rage, showered on those mighty car-warriors, those two brothers (of Avanti) his arrowy down-pours, and felled their charioteer. When the charioteer, deprived of life, fell down on the ground, the horses, no longer restrained, ran away with car. Having vanquished those two warriors, that daughter's son of the king of the Nagas, displaying his prowess, then began to consume with great activity thy ranks. Then that mighty Dhartarashtra host, while thus slaughtered in battle, began to reel in many directions like a person who hath drunk poison.
"That prince of Rakshasa, the mighty son of Hidimva, on his car of solar effulgence furnished with a standard, rushed against Bhagadatta. The ruler of the Pragjyotishas was stationed on his prince of elephants like the wielder of the thunder-bolt in days of old in the battle occasioned by the ravishment of Taraka. The gods, the Gandharvas, and the Rishis had all come there. They could not, however, notice any distinction between Hidimva's son and Bhagadatta. As the chief of the celestials, excited with wrath, had inspired the Danavas with fear, so did Bhagadatta, O king, frightened the Pandava warriors. And the warriors of the Pandava army, frightened by him on all sides, failed, O Bharata, to find among their ranks any protector. We beheld however, O Bharata, the son of Bhimasena there, on his car. The other mighty car-warriors fled away with cheerless hearts. When, however, O Bharata, he troops of the Pandavas rallied, in the battle that then ensued an awful uproar arose among thy troops. Then Ghatotkatcha, O king, in that dreadful battle, covered Bhagadatta with his arrows like the clouds pouring rain on the breast of Meru. Baffling all
those arrows shot from the Rakshasa's bow, the king quickly struck the son of Bhimasena in all his vital limbs. That prince of the Rakshasa, however, though struck with innumerable straight shafts, wavered not at all (but stood still) like a mountain pierced (with shafts). Then the ruler of the Pragjyotishas, excited with wrath, hurled in that combat fourteen lances, all of which, however, were cut off by the Rakshasa. Cutting off by means of his sharp shafts those lances, the mighty-armed Rakshasa pierced Bhagadatta with seventy shafts, each resembling the thunder-bolt in force. Then the ruler of the Pragjyotishas, laughing the while, O Bharata, despatched in that combat the four steeds of the Rakshasa to Death's domain. The prince of the Rakshasas, however, of great valour, staying on that car whose steeds had been slain, hurled with great force a dart at the elephant of the ruler of the Pragjyotishas. King Bhagadatta then cut off that swift dart furnished with a staff of gold and coursing impetuously towards him into three fragments, and thereupon it fell down on the ground. Beholding his dart cut off, the son of Hidimva fled from fear like Namuchi, that foremost of the Daityas, in days of old, from battle with Indra. Having vanquished in battle that hero of great valour and renowned prowess, who, O king, cannot be vanquished in battle by Yama himself or Varuna, king Bhagadatta with his elephant began to crush down the troops of the Pandavas like a wild elephant. O king, crushing as he treads the lotus-stalks (in a lake).
"The ruler of the Madras engaged in battle with his sister's sons, the twins. And the overwhelmed those sons of Pandu with clouds of arrows. Then Sahadeva, beholding his maternal uncle, engaged in battle (with him), covered him with arrows like the clouds covering the maker of day. Covered with those clouds of arrows, the ruler of the Madras wore a delighted expression, and the twins also felt great delight for the sake of their mother. 1 Then Salya, that mighty car-warrior, smiting effectively in that battle, despatched with four excellent shafts, O king, the four steeds of Nakula to the abode of Yama. Nakula then, that mighty car-warrior, quickly jumping down from that car whose steeds had been slain, mounted upon the vehicle of his renowned brother. Stationed then on the same car, those two heroes, both fierce in battle, and both excited with rage, began to shroud the car of the ruler of Madras, (with heir arrows), drawing their bows with great strength. But that tiger among men, though thus covered by his sister's sons with innumerable straight arrows shook not in the least (but stood immovable) like a hill. Laughing the while, he smote them (in return) with showers of arrows. Then Sahadeva of great prowess, O Bharata, excited with wrath, took up a (powerful) shaft, and rushing at the ruler of the Madras, shot it at him 2. That shaft endued with the
impetuosity of Garuda himself, shot by him, pierced the ruler of the Madras through, and fell on the earth. Thereupon that mighty car-warrior, deeply pierced and greatly pained, sat down. O king, on the terrace of his car, and went into a swoon. Beholding him (thus) afflicted by the twins, deprived of consciousness, and prostrated (on his car), his charioteer bore him away on his vehicle over the field. Seeing the car of the ruler of the Madras retreating (from battle) the Dhartarashtras all became cheerless and thought it was all over with him. 1 Then those mighty car-warriors, viz., the two sons of Madri, having vanquished in battle their maternal uncle, cheerfully blew their conches and uttered leonine roars. And then they rushed joyfully, O king, towards thy forces like the gods Indra and Upendra, O monarch, towards the Daitya host."
207:1 Divakaram prapya, lit, 'reaching the path of the sun,' i.e., while coursing through the sky.
208:1 The meaning seems to be that Salya was pleased in witnessing the skill of his sister's sons, while the twins themselves were pleased in displaying that skill before one who was related to them through their mother.
208:2 The Burdwan Pundits render this verse by carelessly taking, Viryavat as an adjective of saram. It qualifies Sahadeva. The reading Viryavat occurs in no text.
Next: Section LXXXV