The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'Beholding Bhishma excited with wrath in battle, surrounded on all sides by the Pandavas like the Sun in the firmament. O king, by the clouds at the end of summer, Duryodhana, O monarch, addressed Dussasana, saying, 'This heroic and great bowman Bhishma, this slayer of heroes, hath, O bull of Bharata's race, been surrounded on all sides by the brave Pandavas. It is thy duty, O hero, to protect that illustrious one. Protected by us in battle, our grandsire Bhishma will slay all the Panchalas along with the Pandavas. The protection of Bhishma. therefore, I think, is our highest duty, for this great bowman of his vows, viz., Bhishma, is our protector in return. Therefore, surrounding the grandsire with all our troops, do thou protect him, who always achieveth the most difficult feats in battle. Thus addressed by Duryodhana, thy son Dussasana, surrounding Bhishma with a large force on all sides took up his position. Then Suvala's son Sakuni, with hundreds and thousands of horsemen having bright spears and swords and lances in hand, and who formed a proud, well-dressed, and strong body bearing standards, and who were mingled with excellent foot-soldiers that were all well-trained and skilled in battle began to cheek Nakula, and Sahadeva, and Yudhishthira the son of Pandu, surrounding those foremost of men on all sides. Then king Duryodhana despatched ten thousand (other) brave horsemen for resisting the Pandavas. When these rushed like so many Garudas towards the enemy with great impetuosity, the earth, O king, struck with their horse-hoofs, trembled and uttered a loud noise. And the loud clatter of their hoofs was heard resembling the noise made by a large forest of bamboos, in conflagration on a mountain. And as these dashed over the field, there rose a cloud of dust, which rising to the welkin shrouded the very Sun. And in consequence of those impetuous steeds, the Pandava army was agitated like a large lake with a flight of swans suddenly alighting on its bosom. And in consequence of their neighing, nothing else could be heard there. Then king Yudhishthira, and the two sons of Pandu by Madri, quickly checked the charge of those horsemen in battle, like the continent,
[paragraph continues] O king, bearing the force, at full tide, of the surging sea swollen with the waters of the rainy season. Then those (three) car-warriors, O monarch, with their straight shafts, cut off the heads of those horse-riders. Slain by those strong bowmen, they fell down, O king, (on the earth), like mighty elephants tumbling into mountain caves, slain by huge compeers. Indeed, coursing all over the field, those warriors (of the Pandavas army) cut off the heads of those cavalry soldiers with sharp-bearded darts and straight shafts. Struck with swords, those horsemen, O bull of Bharata's race, suffered their heads to drop like tall trees, dropping their fruits. All over the field, O king, steeds along with their riders were seen fallen or falling, deprived of life. And while being (thus) slaughtered, the steeds, affected with panic, fled away like smaller animals desirous of saving their lives at sight of the lion. And the Pandavas, O king, having vanquished their foes in that great battle, blew their conches and beat their drums. Then Duryodhana, filled with grief on seeing his troops vanquished, addressed the ruler of the Madras, O chief of the Bharatas, and said, 'There, the eldest son of Pandu, accompanied by the twins in battle, in thy very sight, O thou of mighty arms, routeth our troops, O lord. O mighty-armed one, resist him like the continent resisting the ocean. Thou art exceedingly well-known as possessed of might and prowess that are irresistible.' Hearing these words of thy son, the valiant Salya proceeded with a large body of cars to the spot where Yudhishthira was. Thereupon, the son of Pandu began to resist in battle that large host of Salya rushing impetuously towards him with the force of a mighty wave. And that mighty car-warrior, viz., king Yudhishthira the just, in that battle quickly pierced the ruler of the Madras in the centre of the chest with ten shafts. And Nakula and Sahadeva struck him with seven straight shafts. The ruler of the Madras then struck each of them with three arrows. And once more he pierced Yudhishthira with sixty sharp-pointed arrows. And excited with wrath he struck each of the sons of Madri also with two shafts. Then that vanquisher of foes, the mighty-armed Bhima, beholding the king, in that great battle, staying within reach of Salya's car as if within the very jaws of Death, quickly proceeded to Yudhishthira's side. Then when the Sun, having passed the meridian, was sinking, there commenced a fierce and terrible battle (on that part of the field).
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