The Mahabharata Home
Sanjaya said, "Arjuna then, O king, beholding the prowess of Bhishma in battle, addressed Sikhandin saying, 'Proceed towards the grandsire. Thou shouldst not entertain the slightest fear of Bhishma today. Even I will throw him down from his excellent car by means of my sharp shafts'. Thus addressed by Partha, Sikhandin, O bull of Bharata's race, having heard those words, rushed at the son of Ganga. And so Dhrishtadyumna also, O king, and the mighty car-warrior Abhimanyu, having heard those words of Partha, joyfully rushed at
[paragraph continues] Bhishma. And old Virata and Drupada, and Kuntibhoja also, clad in mail, rushed at Bhishma in the very sight of thy son. And Nakula, Sahadeva, and the valiant king Yudhishthira also, and all the rest of the warriors, O monarch, rushed against Bhishma. As regards thy warriors O king, that rushed, according to the measure of their might and courage, against those mighty car-warriors (of the Pandava army) united together, listen to me as I speak (of them) unto thee. Like a young tiger attacking a bull, Chitrasena, O king, rushed against Chekitana who in that battle was proceeding for getting at Bhishma. Kritavarman, O king, resisted Dhrishtadyumna who had reached the presence of Bhishma and who was exerting himself with great activity and vigour in that battle. Somadatta's son, O monarch, with great activity, resisted Bhimasena excited with fury and desirous of slaying Bhishma. Similarly Vikarna, desirous of (protecting) Bhishma's life, resisted the brave Nakula who was scattering innumerable arrows around. And so, O king, Kripa the son of Saradwat, excited with rage, resisted Sahadeva proceeding towards Bhishma's car. And the mighty Durmukha rushed at that Rakshasa of cruel deeds, viz., the mighty son of Bhishmasena, desirous of Bhishma's slaughter. Thy son Duryodhana himself resisted Satyaki proceeding to battle. Sudakshina the ruler of the Kamavojas, O king, resisted Abhimanyu, O monarch, who was proceeding towards Bhishma's car. And Aswatthaman, O king, excited with rage, resisted old Virata and Drupada, those two chastisers of foes united together. And Bharadwaja's son, exerting himself with vigour in battle, resisted the eldest Pandava, that is to say, king Yudhishthira the just, who was desirous of Bhishma's death. And that great bowman, viz., Dussasana, in that battle, resisted Arjuna who was rushing with great speed, with Sikhandin before him, desirous of coming upon Bhishma, O monarch, and illuminating the ten quarters (with his bright weapons). And other warriors of thy army resisted in that great battle other mighty car-warriors of the Pandavas proceeding against Bhishma. Dhrishtadyumna, that mighty car-warrior, excited with rage, rushed against Bhishma alone and addressing the troops, repeatedly said in a loud voice, 'There, Arjuna, that delighter of Kuru's race, is proceeding against Bhishma in battle. Rush ye against Ganga's son. Be not afraid. Bhishma will not be able to attack you in battle. 1 Vasava himself cannot venture to fight with Arjuna in battle. What therefore, need be said of Bhishma who, though possessed of bravery in battle, is feeble and old." Hearing these words of their commander, the mighty car-warriors of the Pandava army, filled with joy, rushed towards the car of Ganga's son. Many foremost of men, however, of thy army cheerfully received and resisted those heroes coming towards Bhishma like impetuous mass of living energy. That mighty car-warrior, Dussasana, abandoning all fears, rushed against Dhananjaya, desirous of protecting the life of Bhishma. And so the heroic Pandavas also, O king, rushed in. battle against thy sons, those mighty car-warriors, stationed
about Bhishma's car. And then, O king we beheld a highly wonderful incident, viz., that Partha, having proceeded as far as Dussasana's car, could not advance further. As the continent resists the surging sea, even so did thy son (Dussasana) resist the angry son of Pandu. Both of them were foremost of car-warriors. Both of them, O Bharata, were invincible. Both of them, in beauty and splendour, O Bharata, resembled the Sun or the Moon. Both of them were excited with wrath. And each of them desired to slay the other. And they encountered each other in dreadful battle like Maya and Sakra in days of old. And Dussasana, O king, in that battle pierced the son of Pandu with three shafts and Vasudeva with twenty. Then Arjuna, excited with rage upon beholding him of Vrishni's race thus afflicted, pierced Dussasana with a hundred shafts. These, penetrating through the latter's armour, drank his blood in that battle. Then Dussasana, excited with wrath, pierced Partha with five shafts. And once more, O chief of the Bharatas, he pierced Arjuna in the forehead with three sharp shafts. And with those shafts sticking to his forehead, the son of Pandu looked beautiful in that battle, like Meru, O king with its tall crests. That great bowman, viz., Partha, then thus deeply pierced by thy son wielding the bow, looked resplendent in that battle like a flowering Kinsuka. The son of Pandu then, excited with rage, afflicted Dussasana, like Rahu inflamed with rage on the fifteenth day of the lighted fortnight afflicting the Moon at full. Thus afflicted by that mighty warrior, thy son, O king, pierced Partha in that battle with many shafts whetted on stone and winged with the features of the Kanka bird. Then Partha, cutting off Dussasana's bow and splitting his car with three shafts, sped at him many fierce arrows resembling the darts of Death. Thy son, however, cut off all those shafts of Partha exerting himself with vigour before they could reach him. All this seemed highly wonderful. Then thy son pierced Partha with many shafts of great sharpness. Then Partha, excited with rage in that battle, placed on his bowstring a number of shafts whetted on stone and furnished with wings of gold and aiming them, sped them all at his foe. These, O king, penetrated the body of that high-souled warrior, like swans, O monarch, diving into a lake. Thus afflicted by the high-souled son of Pandu, thy son avoiding Partha, quickly proceeded to the car of Bhishma. Indeed, Bhishma then became an island unto him who was thus sinking into fathomless waters. Regaining consciousness then, thy son, O monarch, endued with heroism and prowess, once more began to resist Partha with sharp arrows like Purandara resisting (the Asura) Vritra. Of huge form, thy son began to pierce Arjuna, but the latter was scarcely pained (at all this)."
278:1 Literally, "will not get or obtain you."
Next: Section CXII