The Mahabharata Home
Sanjaya said, "Then the mighty Dhananjaya, struck with those shafts and drawing long breaths like a trodden snake, cut off, with great force, by means of his successive shafts, the bows of those mighty car-warriors. Cutting off in a moment, O king, the bows of those powerful monarchs in that battle, the high-souled Arjuna, desiring to exterminate them pierced all of them simultaneously with his shafts. Struck (thus) by Indra's son, O king, some of them fell down on the field, covered with blood. And some had their limbs mangled, and some had their heads struck off. And some perished with bodies mangled and coats of mail cut through. And afflicted by the arrows of Partha, many of them, falling down on the earth, perished together. Beholding then those princes slain in battle, the ruler of the Trigartas advanced on his car. And two and thirty others amongst those car-warriors, they who had been protecting the rear of the slain combatants also fell upon Partha. These all, surrounding Partha, and drawing their bows of loud twang, poured on him a thick shower of arrows like the clouds pouring torrents of water on the mountain breast. Then Dhananjaya afflicted with that arrowy down-pour in that battle, became excited with wrath, and with sixty arrows steeped in oil he despatched all those protectors of the rear. Having vanquished in battle those sixty car-warriors, the illustrious Dhananjaya became cheerful at heart. And having slain also the forces of those kings, Jishnu sped for Bhishma's slaughter. Then the ruler of the Trigartas, beholding his friends those mighty car-warriors slain, speedily advanced upon Partha, with a number of (other) kings in his van, for slaying him. Then the Pandava warrior headed by Sikhandin, beholding those combatants advancing upon Dhananjaya that foremost of all conversant with arms, proceeded with whetted weapons in hand, desirous of protecting the car of Arjuna. Partha also beholding those brave men advanced towards him with the ruler of the Trigartas, mangled them in battle with arrows shot from Gandiva. Then that distinguished bowman, desirous of approaching Bhishma beheld Duryodhana and other kings headed by the ruler of the Sindhus. Fighting with great energy for a moment and checking those warriors that were desirous of protecting Bhishma, the heroic Arjuna of great valour and infinite prowess avoiding Duryodhana and Jayadratha and others,--that warrior of mighty strength and great mental vigour,--at last proceeded, bow and arrow in hand, towards the son of Ganga in battle. The high-souled Yudhishthira also, of fierce prowess and infinite renown, avoiding in battle the ruler of the Madras who had been assigned to his share, quickly proceeded, with excited wrath and accompanied by Bhima and the sons of Madri towards Bhishma, the son of Santanu, for battle. Conversant with all modes of warfare the high-souled son of Ganga and Santanu, though attacked in battle by all the sons of Pandu united together, wavered not at all. Of fierce might and great energy king Jayadratha of sure aim, advancing
in battle, forcibly cut off with his own excellent bow the bows of all those mighty car-warriors. And the illustrious Duryodhana also with excited wrath and having wrath for his position, struck Yudhishthira and Bhimasena and the twins and Partha, with arrows resembling flames of fire. Pierced with arrows by Kripa and Sala and Chitrasena, O lord, the Pandavas, inflamed with rage, resembled the gods pierced with arrows by the united Daityas (in days of old). King Yudhishthira then, beholding Sikhandin flying away, having had his weapon cut off by Santanu's son became filled with anger. The high-souled Ajatasatru, angrily addressing Sikhandin in that battle, said these words, 'Thou saidst at that time, in the presence of thy sire, unto me--Even I shall slay Bhishma of high vows with my shafts of the hue of the effulgent sun. Truly do I say this.--Even this was thy oath. That oath of thine thou dost not fulfil inasmuch as thou dost not slay Devavrata in battle. O hero, be not a person of unfulfilled vow. Take care of thy virtue, race, and fame. Behold Bhishma of terrible impetuosity scorching all my troops with his innumerable arrows of fierce energy and destroying everything in a moment like Death himself. With thy bow cut off avoiding the battle, and vanquished by the royal son of Santanu, whither dost thou go, forsaking thy kinsmen and brothers? This doth not become thee. Beholding Bhishma of infinite prowess, and our army routed and flying away, thou art assuredly, O son of Drupada, frightened, since the colour of thy face is pale. Unknown to thee, O hero, Dhananjaya hath engaged in the dreadful battle. Celebrated over the whole world, why O hero, art thou afraid today of Bhishma. 1'--Hearing these words of king, Yudhishthira the just, that were harsh, though fraught with sound reason, the high-souled Sikhandin, regarding them as good counsel, speedily set himself about slaying Bhishma. 2 And while Sikhandin was proceeding to battle with great impetuosity for falling upon Bhishma, Salya began to resist him with terrible weapons that were difficult of being baffled. The son of Drupada, however, O king, of prowess equal to that of Indra himself, beholding those weapons effulgent as the fire that blazeth forth at the hour of universal dissolution (thus) displayed, was not confounded in the least. Checking those weapons by means of his own shafts, that mighty bowman, viz., Sikhandin, stayed there without moving. And then he took up another weapon, viz., the fierce Varuna weapon for baffling (those fiery weapons of Salya). Then the celestials staying in the firmament, and the kings of the earth also, all beheld Salya's weapons baffled by that Varuna weapon of Sikhandin. Meanwhile, the high-souled and heroic Bhishma, O king, in that battle, cut off the bow and the variegated standard also of Pandu's son, king Yudhishthira of the Ajamida race. Thereupon casting aside his bow and arrows upon beholding Yudhishthira overwhelmed with fear, and taking up a mace in that battle, Bhimasena rushed, on foot, at
[paragraph continues] Jayadratha. Then Jayadratha, with five hundred terrible arrows of keen points and each resembling the rod of Death, pierced Bhimasena from every side who was thus rushing impetuously at him, mace in hand. Disregarding those arrows, the impetuous Vrikodara, with heart filled with rage, slew in that battle all the steeds, born in Aratta, of the king of the Sindhus. Then beholding Bhimasena on foot, thy son (Chitrasena) of unrivalled prowess and resembling the chief of the celestials himself, quickly rushed at him on his car, with upraised weapons, for giving him his quietus. Bhima also, roaring and uttering a loud shout, rushed at him impetuously, mace in hand. Thereupon the Kauravas all around beholding that upraised mace resembling the rod of Death, forsaking thy brave son, fled away, desirous of avoiding its fall (amongst them). In that fierce and awful crush (of men), O Bharata, confounding the senses, Chitrasena, however, beholding that mace coursing towards him, was not deprived of his senses. Taking up a bright scimitar and a shield, he forsook his car and became a warrior on foot in the field, for jumping down (from his vehicle) like a lion from the top of a cliff he came down upon the level ground. Meanwhile that mace, failing upon that beautiful car and destroying the vehicle itself with its steeds and charioteer in that battle, dropped on the ground like a blazing meteor, loosened from the firmament, failing upon the earth. Then thy troops, O Bharata, beholding that highly wonderful feat became filled with joy, and all of them together set up a loud shout over the field of battle. And the warriors all applauded thy son (for what they witnessed)."
213:1 The Bombay reading which I adopt is ajnayamanas cha. The Bengal reading seems to be incorrect.
213:2 Vipralapapavidham is literally "force from unreasoning declamation." The Bombay reading is vicious.
Next: Section LXXXVII