The Mahabharata Home
Sanjaya said, "Then Bhishma, the son of Santanu, went out with the troops. And he disposed his own troops in mighty array called Sarvatobhadra. 1 Kripa, and Kritavarman, and that mighty car-warrior Saivya, and Sakuni, and the ruler of the Sindhus, and Sudakshina the ruler of the Kamvojas, these all, together with Bhishma and thy sons, O Bharata, took up their stations in the van of the whole army and in the very front of the (Kaurava) array. Drona and Bhurisravas and Salya and Bhagadatta, O sire, clad in mail, took up their position in the right wing of that array. And Aswatthaman, and Somadatta, and those great car-warriors, viz., the two princes of Avanti, accompanied by a large force, protected the left wing. Duryodhana, O monarch, surrounded on all sides by the Trigartas, took up, for encountering the Pandavas, a position in the midst of that array. That foremost of car-warriors, viz., Alamvusha, and that mighty car-warrior, viz., Srutayush, clad in mail, took up their position in the rear of that array, and therefore, of the whole army. Having, O Bharata, on that occasion formed their array thus, thy warriors, clad in mail, looked like scorching fires.
"Then king Yudhishthira, and that son of Pandu, viz., Bhimasena, and the twin sons of Madri, viz., Nakula and Sahadeva, clad in mail, took up their position in the van of that array and therefore, at the very head of all their troops. And Dhrishtadyumna, and Virata, and that mighty car-warrior, viz., Satyaki,--these destroyers of hostile ranks,--stood, supported by a large force. And Sikhandin, and Vijaya (Arjuna), and the Rakshasa Ghatotkacha, and Chekitana of mighty arms, and the valiant Kuntibhoja, stood for battle, surrounded by a large force. And that great bowman Abhimanyu, and the mighty Drupada, and the (five) Kaikeya brothers, stood for battle, clad in mail. Having formed their mighty and invincible array thus, the Pandavas, endued with great courage in battle, stood for the fight, clad in mail.
"Then the kings of thy array, O monarch, exerting themselves at their best, accompanied by their forces, and placing Bhishma at their van, rushed against the Parthas in battle. Similarly the Pandavas also, O king,
headed by Bhimasena, and desirous of victory in battle proceeded, for battling with Bhishma. With leonine roars and confused cries, blowing their conches Krakachas, and cow-horns, beating their drums and cymbals and Pandavas in thousands. 1 And uttering terrible shouts, the Pandavas advanced to battle. With the din of our drums and cymbals and conches and smaller drums, with loud leonine roars, and other kinds of shouts, ourselves also, replying to the cries of the foe, rushed against him with great impetuosity, inflamed with rage. Those sounds mingling with one another, produced a tremendous uproar. The warriors then, of the two armies, rushing at one another, began to strike. And in consequence of the din produced by that encounter, the earth seemed to tremble. And birds, uttering fierce cries, hovered in the air. The Sun, radiant as he was when he had risen, became dimmed. And fierce winds blew, indicating great terrors. Frightful jackals wandered, yelling terribly, O king, and foreboding an awful carnage at hand. The quarters seemed, O king, to be ablaze, and showers of dust fell from the blue. And a shower fell there, of pieces of bones mixed with blood. And tears fell from the eyes of the animals which were all weeping. And filled with anxiety, O king, these began to urinate and eject the contents of their stomachs. And the loud shouts of battle, O bull of Bharata's race, were rendered inaudible by the louder cries of Rakshasas and cannibals. And jackals and vultures and crows and dogs, uttering diverse kinds of cries, began, O sire, to fall and swoop down on the field. And blazing meteors, striking against the Sun's disc, fell with great celerity on the earth, foreboding great terrors. Then those two vast hosts belonging to the Pandavas and the Dhartarashtras, in course of that awful encounter, shook in consequence of that tremendous uproar of conches and drums like forests shaken by the tempest. And the noise made by the two armies, both of which abounded with kings, elephants, and steeds, and which encountered each other in an evil hour, resembled the noise made by oceans tossed by the tempest."
249:1 The Bengal reading atmana, the last word of the verse, seems to be a mistake. The Bombay text gives the right word, which is aimanas (genitive). Sarvatobhadra seems to have been a kind of square array in which the troops faced all the points of the compass.
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