The Mahabharata Home
Sanjaya said, "At mid-day, O king, happened a fierce battle, fraught with great carnage, between Bhishma and the Somakas. That foremost of car-warriors, viz., Ganga's son began to consume the ranks of the Pandavas with keen shafts by hundreds and thousands. Thy sire Devavrata began to grind those troops like a herd of bulls grinding (with their tread) a heap of paddy sheaves. Then Dhrishtadyumna and Sikhandin and Virata and Drupada, falling upon Bhishma in that battle, struck that mighty car-warrior with numerous arrows. Bhishma then, having pierced Dhrishtadyumna and Virata each with three arrows, sped a long shaft, O Bharata, at Drupada. Thus pierced in battle by Bhishma, that grinder of foes, those great bowmen became filled with wrath O king, like snakes trod upon (by human feet). Then Sikhandin pierced the grandsire of the Bharatas (with many shafts). Of unfading glory, Bhishma, however, regarding his foe as a female struck him not. Dhrishtadyumna then, in that battle, blazing up with wrath like fire, struck the grandsire with three shafts in his arms and chest. And Drupada pierced Bhishma with five and twenty shafts, and Virata pierced him with ten, and Sikhandin with five and twenty. Deeply pierced (with those shafts) he became covered with blood, and looked beautiful like a red Asoka variegated with flowers. Then the son of Ganga pierced, in return, each of them with three straight shafts. And then, O sire, he cut off Drupada's bow with a broad-headed arrow. The latter then, taking up another bow, pierced Bhishma with five shafts. And he pierced Bhishma's charioteer also with three sharp shafts on the field of battle. Then the five sons of Draupadi, and the five Kaikeya brothers and Satyaki also of the Satwata race, headed by Yudhishthira, all rushed towards Ganga's son, desirous of protecting the Panchalas headed by Dhrishtadyumna. And so all the warriors of thy army also, O king, prepared to protect Bhishma, rushed at the head of their troops against the Pandava host. And then happened there a fierce general engagement between thy army of men and steeds and theirs, that increased the population of Yama's kingdom. And car-warriors falling upon car-warriors despatched one another to Yama's abode. And so men and elephant-riders and horse-riders, falling upon others (of their class), despatched them to the other world with straight shafts And here and there on the field, O monarch, cars, deprived of riders and charioteers by means of diverse kinds of fierce shafts, were in that battle dragged on all sides over the field. And those cars, O king, crushing large numbers of men and steeds in battle, were seen to resemble the wind itself (in speed) and vapoury edifices in the firmament (for their picturesque forms). And many car-warriors cased in mail and endued with great energy, decked with ear-rings and head-gears and adorned with garlands and bracelets, resembling the children of the celestials, equal to Sakra himself for prowess in battle, surpassing Vaisravana in wealth and Vrishaspati in intelligence, ruling over extensive territories, and possessed
of great heroism, O monarch, deprived of their cars, were seen to run hither and thither like ordinary men. Huge tuskers also, O chief of men, deprived of their skilled riders, ran, crushing friendly ranks, and fell down with loud shrieks. Prodigious elephants looking like newly-risen clouds and roaring also like the clouds, were seen to run in all directions, deprived of their coats of mail. And, O sire, their Chamaras and variegated standards, their umbrellas with golden staves, and the bright lances (of their riders), lay scattered about. 1 And elephant-riders, O king, deprived of their elephants, belonging both of thy army and theirs, were seen to run (on foot) amid that awful press. And steeds from diverse countries, decked with ornaments of gold, were seen, by hundreds and thousands, to run with the speed of the wind. And horse-riders, deprived of their horses, and armed with swords were in that battle seen to run, or made to run (by others assailing them). Elephant, meeting with a flying elephant in that dreadful battle, proceeded, quickly crushing foot-soldiers and steeds. And, similarly, O king those prodigious creatures crushed many cars in that battle, and cars also, coming upon fallen steeds crushed them (in their course). And steeds too, in the press of battle, crushed many foot-soldiers, O king (with their hoofs). And thus, O monarch, they crushed one another in diverse ways. 2 And in that fierce and awful battle there flowed a terrible river of bloody current. And heaps of bows obstructed its straight course, and the hair (of slain warriors) formed its moss. And (broken) cars formed its lakes, and arrows its eddies. And steeds formed its fishes. And heads (severed from trunks) formed its blocks of stone. And it abounded with elephants that formed its crocodiles. And coats of mail and head-gears formed its froth. And bows (in the hands of the warriors) constituted the speed of its current, and swords its tortoises. And banners and standards in profusion formed the trees on its banks. And mortals constituted its banks which that river continually ate away. And it abounded with cannibals that formed its swans. And that stream (instead of swelling the ocean with its discharge) swelled the population of Yama's kingdom. And brave Kshatriyas,--mighty car-warriors,--casting off all fear, O king, sought to cross that river with the aid of cars, elephants, and steeds that played the part of rafts and boats. And as the river Vaitarani beareth all departed spirits towards the domains of the King of the Dead, so that river of bloody current bore away all timid men deprived of their senses in a swoon. And the Kshatriyas, beholding that awful carnage, all exclaimed, saying, 'Alas, through Duryodhana's fault the Kshatriyas are being exterminated. Why, Oh, Dhritarashtra of sinful soul, deluded by avarice, harboured envy for the sons of Pandu, who are graced with numerous virtues.' Diverse exclamations of this kind were heard there, made by one another, fraught with the praises of the Pandavas and censure of thy sons. Hearing then these
words uttered by all the combatants, thy son Duryodhana, that offender against all, addressed Bhishma and Drona and Kripa and Salya, O Bharata, saying, 'Fight ye without boastfulness. Why tarry ye at all?' Then the battle was resumed between the Kurus and the Pandavas, that fierce battle, O king, caused by the match at dice and marked by an awful slaughter. Thou beholdest now, O son of Vichitravirya, the dreadful fruit of that rejection by thee (of the counsels of thy friends) though warned against it by many illustrious persons. Neither the sons of Pandu, O king, nor their troops, nor they that follow them, nor the Kauravas, show the least regard for their lives in battle. For this reason, O tiger among men, a dreadful destruction of kinsmen is taking place, caused either by Destiny or by thy evil policy, O king."
259:1 Both the Bombay and the Bengal texts repeat Chamarais in the second line of 24th. This is certainly erroneous. The Burdwan Pundits read it tomarais. This is correct.
259:2 In the second line of 30th, the correct reading is Rathas (nom. plural) and not Rathan. So in the first line of 31st, the word is turangas (nom. plural) and not turangan.
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