The Mahabharata Home
Sanjaya said, "The Pandavas were incapable of even looking at Bhishma excited with rage in battle and scorching every side like the Sun himself shedding scorching heat. Then all the (Pandava) troops, at the command of Dharma's son, rushed at the son of Ganga who was grinding (everything) with his whetted arrows, Bhishma, however, who delighted in battle felled the mightiest of bowmen amongst the Srinjayas and the Panchalas, with his shafts. Though thus slaughtered by Bhishma, the Panchalas along with the Somakas still rushed impetuously at him, forsaking the fear of death. The heroic Bhishma, the son of Santanu, however, in that battle, cut off, O king, the arms and heads of their car-warriors. Thy sire, Devavrata deprived their car-warriors of cars. And the heads of cavalry soldiers on their chargers fell fast. And we beheld, O king, huge elephants looking like hills, deprived of their riders, and paralysed with Bhishma's weapons, lying all around. Amongst the Pandavas, O king, there was no other man save that foremost of car-warriors, the mighty Bhimasena, (who could resist Bhishma). Indeed, Bhima alone, approaching Bhishma, encountered him in battle. Then in that encounter between Bhima and Bhishma, a fierce and terrible uproar arose among all the troops (of the Kauravas). The Pandavas then, filled with joy, uttered leonine shouts. During that destructive carnage, king Duryodhana, surrounded by his uterine brothers, protected Bhishma in that battle. Then that foremost of car-warriors, viz., Bhima, slew Bhishma's charioteer. Thereupon the steeds no longer controlled, ran away from the field with car. Then that slayer of foes, viz., Bhima with a sharp arrow having a horse-shoe head, cut off the head of Sunabha. (Thus) slain, the latter fell down on the
earth. When that son of thine, that mighty car-warrior and great bowman was slain, seven of his heroic brothers, O sire, could not (quietly) bear (that act). These, viz., Adityaketu and Vahvasin, and Kundadhara and Mahodara, and Aparajita, and Panditaka and the invincible Visalaksha, clad in variegated armour and with their beautiful coats of mail and weapons,--these grinders of foes desirous of battle,--rushed against the son of Pandu. And Mahodara, in that battle, pierced Bhimasena with nine winged arrows, each resembling the thunder-bolt in force, like the slayer of Vritra striking (the great Asura) Namuchi. And Adityaketu struck him with seventy shafts, and Vishnu with five. And Kundadhara struck him with ninety shafts, and Visalaksha with seven. And that conqueror of foes, the mighty car-warrior Aparajita, O king, struck Bhimasena of great strength with many arrows. And Panditaka also, in battle, pierced him with three arrows. Bhima, however, did not (quietly) bear these attacks of his foes in battle. Forcibly grasping the bow with his left hand, that grinder of foes cut off, in that battle, the head, with a straight shaft, of thy son Aparajita, graced with a fine nose. Thus vanquished by Bhima, his head then dropped on the ground. Then, in the very sight of all the troops, Bhima despatched, with another broad-headed arrow, the mighty car-warrior Kundadhara to the domain of Death. Then that hero of immeasurable soul, once more aiming an arrow, sped it, O Bharata, at Panditaka in that battle. And the arrow killing Panditaka, entered the earth, like a snake impelled by Death quickly entering the earth after despatching the person (whose hour had come). Of undepressed soul, that hero then, O king, recollecting his former woes, felled Visalaksha's head, cutting it off with three arrows. Then Bhima, in that battle, struck the mighty bowman Mahodara in the centre of the chest with a long shaft. Slain (therewith), O king, the latter fell down on the earth. Then, O Bharata, cutting off with an arrow the umbrella of Adityaketu in that battle, he severed his head with another broad-headed shaft of exceeding sharpness. Then, O monarch, excited with rage, Bhima, with another straight shaft, despatched Vahvasin towards the abode of Yama. Then thy other sons, O king, all fled away regarding the words to be true which Bhima had uttered in the (midst of the Kaurava) assembly. 1 Then king Duryodhana afflicted with sorrow on account of his brothers, addressed all his troops, saying, 'There is Bhima. Let him be slain.' Thus, O king, thy sons, those mighty bowmen, beholding their brothers slain, recollected those words beneficial and peaceful, that Vidura of great wisdom had spoken. Indeed, those words of the truthful Vidura are now being realised,--those beneficial words, O king, which, influenced by covetousness and folly as also by affection for thy sons, thou couldst not then understand. From the way in which that mighty armed hero is slaying the Kauravas, it seemeth that that mighty son of Pandu hath assuredly taken his birth for the destruction of thy sons.
[paragraph continues] Meanwhile, king Duryodhana, O sire, overwhelmed with great grief, went to Bhishma, and there, overcome with sorrow, he began to lament, saying, 'My heroic brothers have been slain in battle by Bhimasena. Although, again, all our troops are fighting bravely, yet they also are failing. Thou seemest to disregard us, behaving (as thou dost) like an indifferent spectator, Alas, what course have I taken. Behold my evil destiny.'"
Sanjaya continued. "Hearing these cruel words of Duryodhana, thy sire Devavrata with eyes filled with tears, said this unto him. 1 'Even this was said by me before, as also by Drona, and Vidura, and the renowned Gandhari. O son, thou didst not then comprehend it. O grinder of foes, it hath also been before settled by me that neither myself, nor Drona, will ever escape with life from this battle. I tell thee truly that those upon whom Bhima will cast his eyes in battle, he will surely slay. Therefore, O king, summoning all thy patience, and firmly resolved on battle, fight with the sons of Pritha, making heaven thy goal. As regards the Pandavas, they are incapable of being vanquished by the very gods with Vasava (at their head). Therefore, setting thy heart firmly on battle, fight, O Bharata.--'"
219:1 Nagas, which may mean both stones and trees. In either case, the comparison would apply.
220:1 His pledge, viz., that in battle he would slay all the sons of Dhritarashtra.
221:1 The Bengal reading is tatas kruddhar. The Bombay reading is vachas kruram. I adopt the latter.
Next: Section XC