The Mahabharata Home
Sanjaya said, "Then the noble Abhimanyu of great energy, borne by his steeds of a tawny hue, rushed at the mighty host of Duryodhana, scattering his arrowy showers like the clouds pouring torrents of rain. O son of Kuru's race, thy warriors, in that battle, were unable to resist that slayer of foes, viz., Subhadra's son, who, excited with wrath and
possessed of wealth of arms, was then immersed in that inexhaustible ocean of (Kaurava) forces. Death-dealing shafts, O king, shot by him in that battle, despatched many heroic Kshatriyas to the regions of the king of the departed spirits. Indeed, excited with wrath Subhadra's son in that battle shot fierce and blazing arrows in profusion that resembled snakes of virulent poison or rods of death himself. And Phalguni's son speedily split into fragments car-warriors with their cars, steeds with their riders, and elephant-warriors along with the huge animals they rode. And the rulers of the earth, filled with joy, applauded those mighty feats in battle and praised him also that achieved them. And the son of Subhadra, O Bharata, tossed those divisions (of the Kaurava army) like the tempest tossing a heap of cotton on all sides in the welkin. Routed by him, O Bharata, the troops failed to find a protector, like elephants sunk in a slough. Then, O best of men, having routed all troops, Abhimanyu stood, O king, like a blazing fire without a curl of smoke. Indeed, O king, thy warriors were incapable of bearing that slayer of foes, like insects impelled by fate unable to bear a blazing fire. That mighty car-warrior and great bowman, having struck all the foes of the Pandavas, looked at that moment like Vasava himself armed with the thunder. And his bow, the back of whose staff was decked with gold, as it moved on every side, seemed, O king, like the lightning's flash as it spotted amid the clouds. And well-tempered and sharp shafts came from his bow-string in that battle like flights of bees, O king, from blossoming trees in the forest. And as the high-souled son of Subhadra careered on the field on his car whose limbs were decked with gold, people were incapable of finding an opportunity (for striking him). Confounding Kripa and Drona and mighty son of Drona, as also the ruler of the Sindhus, the great bowman moved on the field of battle with great activity and skill. As he consumed thy troops, O Bharata, I beheld his bow incessantly drawn to a circle and resembling on that account the circular halo of light that is sometimes seen around the Sun. Brave Kshatriyas, beholding him endued with such activity and scorching the foe thus, thought, in consequence of those feats, that the world contained two Phalgunis. Indeed, O king, the vast host of the Bharatas, afflicted by him, reeled hither and thither like a woman drunk with wine. Routing that large army and causing many mighty car-warriors to tremble, he gladdened his friends (like Vasava gladdening the celestials) after vanquishing Maya. And while being routed by him in that battle, thy troops uttered loud exclamations of woe that resembled the roar of the clouds. Hearing that awful wail thy troops, O Bharata, that resembled the roar of the very sea at full tide when agitated by the winds, Duryodhana then, O king, addressed the son of Rishyasringa and said, 'This Abhimanyu singly, O thou of mighty arms, like a second Phalguni, routeth from rage (my) army like Vritra routing the celestial host. I do not see any other efficacious medicine for him in battle than thyself, O best of Rakshasas, that art well-skilled in every science. Therefore, go speedily and slay the heroic son of Subhadra in battle. As regards ourselves, headed by Bhishma and Drona,
we will slay Partha himself.' Thus addressed, the mighty and valiant Rakshasa speedily went to battle at the command of thy son, uttering loud roars like the clouds themselves in the season of rains. And in consequence of that loud noise, O king, the vast host of the Pandavas trembled throughout like the ocean when agitated by the wind. And many combatants, O king, terrified by those roars, giving up dear life, fell prostrate on the earth. Filled with joy and taking up his bow with arrow fixed on the string, and apparently dancing on the terrace of his car, that Rakshasa proceeded against Abhimanyu himself. Then the angry Rakshasa, having in that battle got Arjuna's son within reach, began to rout his ranks,--even those that stood not far from him. Indeed, the Rakshasa rushed in battle against that mighty Pandava host which he began to slaughter, like Vala rushing against the celestial host. Attacked in battle by that Rakshasa of terrible mien, the slaughter was very great, O sire, that took place amongst those troops. Exhibiting his prowess, the Rakshasa began to rout that vast force of the Pandavas, with thousands of arrows. Thus slaughtered by that Rakshasa of terrible visage, the Pandava army fled away from excess of fear. Grinding that army like an elephant grinding lotus-stalks, the mighty Rakshasa then rushed in battle against the sons of Draupadi. Then those great bowmen, accomplished in fighting, viz., the sons of Draupadi, rushed towards the Rakshasa in battle like five planets rushing against the Sun. That best of Rakshasa then was afflicted by those brothers endued with great energy, like the Moon afflicted by the five planets of the awful occasion of the dissolution of the world. Then the mighty Prativindhya quickly pierced the Rakshasa with whetted shafts, sharp as battle-axes and furnished with points capable of penetrating every armour. Thereupon that foremost of Rakshasas, with his armour pierced through, looked like a mass of clouds penetrated by the rays of the Sun. Pierced with these shafts furnished with golden wings, Rishyasringa's son, O king, looked resplendent like a mountain with blazing crests. Then those five brothers in that great battle, pierced that foremost of Rakshasas with many whetted shafts of golden wings. Pierced with those terrible shafts resembling angry snakes, Alamvusha, O king, became inflamed with rage like the king of the serpents himself. Deeply pierced, O king, within only a few moments, O sire, by those great car-warriors, the Rakshasa, much afflicted, remained senseless for a long while. Regaining his consciousness then, and swelling through rage to twice his dimensions, he cut off their arrows and standards and bows. And as if smiling the while he struck each of them with five arrows. Then that mighty Rakshasa and great car-warrior, Alamvusha, excited with wrath, and as if dancing on the terrace of his car, quickly slew the steeds, and then the charioteers, of those five illustrious adversaries of his. And burning with rage he once more pierced them with sharp arrows of diverse shades by hundreds and thousands. Then that wanderer of the night, viz., the Rakshasa Alamvusha, having deprived those great bowmen of their cars, rushed impetuously at them, wishing to despatch them to Yama's abode. Beholding them (thus) afflicted in battle by that wicked-souled
[paragraph continues] Rakshasa, the son of Arjuna rushed at him. Then the battle that took place between him and the cannibal resembled that between Vritra and Vasava. And the mighty car-warriors of thy army, as also of the Pandavas, all became spectators of that engagement. Encountering each other in fierce battle, blazing with wrath, endued with great might, and with eyes red in rage, each beheld the other in that battle to resemble the Yuga fire. And that engagement between them became fierce and awful like that between Sakra and Samvara in days of old in the battle between the gods and Asuras."
250:1 In the Bengal texts, savdas in the first line is vicious. The true reading seems to be sahkhan, as in the Bombay edition. Then again in Kunjaran (Bengal), the Bombay text reads Pushkaran which is unquestionably correct.
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