The Mahabharata Home
Sanjaya said, "Beholding his own troops slain, king Duryodhana then excited with wrath, rushed towards Bhimasena, that chastiser of foes. Taking up a large bow whose effulgence resembled that of Indra's bolt, he covered the son of Pandu with a thick shower of arrows. And filled with rage, and aiming a sharp crescent-shaped shaft winged with feathers, he cut off Bhimasena's bow. And that mighty car-warrior, noticing an opportunity, quickly aimed at his adversary a whetted shaft capable of riving the very hills. With that (shaft), that mighty-armed (warrior) struck Bhimasena in the chest. Deeply pierced with that arrow, and exceedingly pained, and licking the corners of his mouth, Bhimasena of great energy caught hold of his flag-staff decked with gold. Beholding Bhimasena in that cheerless state, Ghatotkacha blazed up with wrath like an all-consuming conflagration. Then many mighty car-warriors of the Pandava army, headed by Abhimanyu and with wrath generated (in their bosoms), rushed at the king shouting loudly. Beholding them (thus) advancing (to the fight) filled with wrath and in great fury, Bharadwaja's son addressing the mighty car-warriors (of thy side), said these words,--'Go quickly, blessed be ye, and protect the king. Sinking in an ocean of distress, he is placed in a situation of great danger. These mighty car-warriors of the Pandava army, these great bowmen, placing Bhimasena at their head, are rushing towards Duryodhana, shooting and hurling diverse kinds of weapons, resolved upon winning success, uttering terrible shouts, and frightening the kings (on your side)'. Hearing these words of the preceptor, many warriors of thy side headed by Somadatta rushed
upon the Pandava ranks. Kripa and Bhurisravas and Salya, and Drona's son and Vivingsati, and Chitrasena and Vikarna, and the ruler of the Sindhus, and Vrihadvala, and those two mighty bowmen, viz., the two princes of Avanti, surrounded the Kuru king. Advancing only twenty steps, the Pandavas and the Dhartarashtras began to strike, desirous of slaughtering each other. The mighty-armed son of Bharadwaja also, having said those words (unto the Dhartarashtra warriors), stretched his own large bow and pierced Bhima with six and twenty arrows. And once again that mighty car-warrior speedily covered Bhimasena with a shower of arrows like a mass of clouds dropping torrents of rain on the mountain-breasts in the rainy season. That mighty bowman Bhimasena, however, of great strength, speedily pierced him in return with ten shafts on the left side. Deeply pierced with those arrows and exceedingly pained, O Bharata, the preceptor, enfeebled as he is with age, suddenly sat down on the terrace of his car, deprived of consciousness. Beholding him thus pained, king Duryodhana himself, and Aswatthaman also, excited with wrath, both rushed towards Bhimasena. Beholding those two warriors advance, each like Yama as he shows himself at the end of the Yuga, the mighty-armed Bhimasena, quickly taking up a mace, and jumping down from his car without loss of time, stood immovable like a hill, with that heavy mace resembling the very club of Yama, upraised in battle. Beholding him with mace (thus) upraised and looking (on that account) like the crested Kailasa, both the Kuru king and Drona's son rushed towards him. Then the mighty Bhimasena himself rushed impetuously at those two foremost of men thus rushing together towards him with great speed. Beholding him thus rushing in fury and with terrible expression of face, many mighty car-warriors of the Kaurava army speedily proceeded towards him. Those car-warriors headed by Bharadwaja's son, impelled by the desire of slaughtering Bhimasena, hurled at his breast diverse kinds of weapons, and thus all of them together afflicted Bhima from all sides. Beholding that mighty car-warrior thus afflicted and placed in a situation of great peril, many mighty car-warriors of the Pandava army, headed by Abhimanyu, and prepared to lay down dear life itself, rushed to the spot, desirous of rescuing him. The heroic ruler of the low country, the dear friend of Bhima, viz., Nila, looking like a mass of blue clouds, rushed at Drona's son, filled with wrath. A great bowman, Nila always desired an encounter with Drona's son. Drawing his large bow, he pierced the son of Drona with many winged arrows, like Sakra in days of old, O king, piercing the invincible Danava Viprachitti, that terror of the celestials, who, moved by anger frightened the three worlds by his energy. Pierced after the same way by Nila with his well-shot arrows winged with feathers, Drona's son, covered with blood and exceedingly pained, was filled with wrath. Drawing then his large bow, of twang loud as the roar of Indra's thunder, that foremost of intelligent persons set his heart upon the destruction of Nila. Aiming then a few bright shafts of broad heads and sharpened by the hands of their forger, he slew the four steeds of his adversary and overthrew also
his standard. And with the seventh shaft he pierced Nila himself in the chest. Deeply pierced and exceedingly pained, he sat down on the terrace of his car. Beholding king Nila, who looked like a mass of blue clouds, in a swoon, Ghatotkacha, filled with wrath and surrounded by his kinsmen, rushed impetuously towards Drona's son, that ornament of battle. Similarly many other Rakshasas, incapable of being easily defeated in battle, rushed at Aswatthaman. Beholding then that Rakshasa of terrible mien coming towards him, the valiant son of Bharadwaja impetuously rushed towards him. Filled with wrath he slew many Rakshasas of formidable visage, that is, those wrathful ones amongst them who were in Ghatotkacha's van. Beholding them repulsed from the encounter by means of the shafts shot from the bow of Drona's son, Bhimasena's son Ghatotkacha of gigantic size was filled with rage. He then exhibited a fierce and awful illusion. Therewith that prince of the Rakshasas, endued with extraordinary powers of illusion, confounded the son of Drona in that battle. Then all thy troops, in consequence of that illusion, turned their backs upon the field. They beheld one another cut down and lying prostrate on the surface of the earth, writhing convulsively, perfectly helpless, and bathed in blood. Drona and Duryodhana and Salya and Aswatthaman, and other great bowmen that were regarded as foremost among the Kauravas, also seemed to fly away. All the car-warriors seemed to be crushed, and all the kings seemed to be slain. And horses and horse-riders seemed to be cut down in thousands. Beholding all this, thy troops fled away towards their tents. And although, O king, both myself and Devavrata cried out at the top of our voices, saying, 'Fight, do not fly away, all this is Rakshasa illusion in battle, applied by Ghatotkacha.' Yet they stopped not, their senses having been confounded. Although both of us said so, still struck with panic, they gave no credit to our words. Beholding them fly away the Pandavas regarded the victory to be theirs. With Ghatotkacha (among them) they uttered many leonine shouts. And all around they filled the air with their shouts mingled with the blare of their conches and the beat of their drums. It was thus that thy whole army, routed by the wicked Ghatotkacha, towards the hour of sunset, fled away in all directions.'"
Next: Section XCVI