The Mahabharata Home
Sanjaya said,--"Approaching then thy son Chitrasena of great energy who had thus been deprived of his car, thy son Vikarna caused him to mount on his car. And during the progress of that general engagement, so fierce and dreadful, Bhishma, the son of Santanu, impetuously rushed at Yudhishthira. Then the Srinjayas with their cars, elephants, and horses, trembled. And they regarded Yudhishthira to be already within the jaws of Death. The lord Yudhishthira, however, of Kuru's race, accompanied by the twins, proceeded towards that mighty bowman, that tiger among men viz., Bhishma. Then the son of Pandu, shooting in that battle thousands of arrows, shrouded Bhishma like the clouds shrouding the sun. And those numberless arrows, well shot by Yudhishthira, were received by the son of Ganga in distinct sets by hundreds and thousands. 1
[paragraph continues] And so also, O sire, innumerable were the arrows shot by Bhishma (in return), which looked like flights of insects coursing through the air. In half the time taken up by a wink of the eye, Bhishma, the son of Santanu, in that battle, made Kunti's son invisible by means of his numberless shafts shot in sets. Then king Yudhishthira, excited with rage, sped at the high-souled Kaurava a long arrow resembling a snake of virulent poison. That mighty car-warrior, Bhishma, however, O king, cut off in that combat, with a horse-shoe (headed) arrow, that shaft shot from Yudhishthira's bow before it could reach him. Having cut off that long arrow resembling Death himself, Bhishma then slew in that battle the steeds, decked with gold, of that prince of Kuru's line. Then Yudhishthira the son of Pandu, abandoning that car whose steeds had been slain, quickly mounted upon the car of the high-souled Nakula. Then Bhishma that subjugator of hostile cities, excited with rage, and coming upon the twins in that battle, covered them with arrows. Beholding those two (brothers), O king, thus afflicted, with the arrows of Bhishma, Yudhishthira began to reflect earnestly desirous, O monarch, of (compassing) Bhishma's destruction. Then Yudhishthira, O king, urged his friends and the rulers (on his side), saying,--'Slay Bhishma the son of Santanu, uniting together.' Then all those rulers, hearing these words of Pritha's son, surrounded the grandsire with a large number of cars. Thy sire Devavrata then, thus surrounded on all sides, began to sport, O king, with his bow, felling (all the while) many mighty car-warriors. Him of Kuru's race, thus careering over the field of battle, the Pandavas beheld resembling a young lion in the forest amid a herd of deer. Uttering a loud roar in that battle and striking fear into the hearts of brave warriors by means of his shafts, the Kshatriyas beholding him, O king, were all struck with fear, like inferior animals upon seeing a lion. Indeed the Kshatriyas beheld the movements of that lion of Bharata's race in battle to resemble those of a conflagration aided by the wind while consuming a heap of dry grass. And Bhishma in that battle felled the heads of car-warriors like a skilful man felling (with stones) ripe (palmyra) fruits from trees that bear them. And the heads of warriors, O king, falling upon the surface of the earth produced a loud noise resembling that of a stony shower. During the progress of that fierce and dreadful battle a great confusion set in among all the troops. And in consequence of that confusion the arrays (of both armies) were broken. And the Kshatriyas summoning one another individually, approached one another for fight. Then Sikhandin, sighting the grandsire of the Bharatas, rushed at him impetuously, saying,--Wait, Wait--Remembering, however, the femininity of Sikhandin, and disregarding him on that account, Bhishma proceeded against the Srinjayas. Thereupon the Srinjayas, beholding Bhishma in that great battle, were filled with joy. And they set forth diverse kinds of loud shouts, mingled with the blare of their conches. Then commenced a fierce battle in course of which cars and elephants got entangled with one another. And it was that hour of the day, O lord, when the sun was on the other side (of the meridian). Then Dhrishtadyumna, the prince
of the Panchalas, and that mighty car-warrior Satyaki, greatly afflicted the (Bharata) host with showers of arrows and lances. And with innumerable shafts, O king, these two began to smite down thy warriors in that battle. Thy combatants, however, O bull among men, though slaughtered in battle (thus) retreated not from the fight, having formed an honourable resolution in that engagement. Indeed, thy troops began to smite according to the measure of their courage. While, however, O king, thy high-souled combatants were being slaughtered by the illustrious son of Prishata, loud cries of woe were heard among them. Hearing those loud cries, that couple of mighty car-warriors of thy army, viz., Vinda and Anuvinda of Avanti, quickly proceeded against Prishata's son. And those mighty car-warriors, speedily slaying his steeds, together covered Prishata's son with showers of arrows. Thereupon that mighty car-warrior, viz., the prince of the Panchalas, quickly jumping down from that car of his, mounted without loss of time the car of the high-souled Satyaki. Then king Yudhishthira, supported by a large force, proceeded against those chastisers of foes, viz., the two princes of Avanti excited with rage. Similarly thy son, O sire, with every preparation, stood, surrounding Vinda and Anuvinda in that battle (for supporting them). Arjuna also in that battle, excited with rage, fought against many bulls of the Kshatriya race, like the wielder of the thunder-bolt against the Asuras. Drona also, who always does what is agreeable to thy son, inflamed with wrath in that battle, began to consume the Panchalas like fire consuming a heap of cotton. Thy other sons, O king, owning Duryodhana as their chief, surrounding Bhishma in that battle, fought against the Pandavas. Then when the sun assumed a red hue, 1 king Duryodhana, O Bharata, addressing thy troops, said,--Lose no time--And while they were thus battling and achieving feats difficult of accomplishment, the sun having become invisible in consequence of his retirement behind the western hill, there soon flowed, towards dusk, an awful river whose current and billows were of blood, and which was infested by innumerable jackals. And the field of battle became dreadful, abounding as it did with spirits and with those jackals howling hideously, forboding evil. Rakshasas and Pisachas and other cannibals were seen all round, in hundreds and thousands. Then Arjuna, having vanquished those kings headed by Susarman along with all their followers, in the midst of their division, proceeded towards his tent. And the lord Yudhishthira also of Kuru's race, accompanied by his brothers, and followed by his troops, proceeded, O king, when night set in, towards his tent. And Bhimasena, too, having vanquished those kings, viz., those warriors headed by Duryodhana, proceeded towards his tent. And king Duryodhana (with his troops), surrounding Bhishma, the son of Santanu, in that great battle proceeded towards his tent. And Drona, and Drona's son, and Kripa, and Salya, and Kritavarman of the Satwata race, surrounding the whole (Dhartarashtra) army, proceeded towards their tents. And
similarly Satyaki also, O king, and Dhrishtadyumna, the son of Prishata, surrounding their army, proceeded towards their tents. It was thus, O king, that those chastisers of foes, viz., thy troops and the Pandavas, ceased to fight when darkness came. Then the Pandavas, and the Kauravas, retiring to their tents, entered the same, applauding one another. And making arrangements for the protection of their brave warriors and disposing outposts according to rule, they plucked out the arrows (from their bodies) and bathed in diverse kinds of water. And Brahmanas performed propitiatory rites for them, and bards sang their praises. And those renowned men sported for a while in accompaniment with music both vocal and instrumental. And for a while the whole scene resembled heaven itself. And those bulls among men for a while spoke not of battle. And when both armies abounding with tired men and elephants and steeds slept there, they became, O monarch, beautiful to behold."
214:1 The meaning seems to be that the arrows shot by Yudhishthira were cut off by Bhishma, in numberless distinct sets, taking each set at a time.
216:1 i.e., just before setting.
Next: Section LXXXVIII