The Mahabharata Home
Sanjaya said, "Arjuna covered with his straight shafts the mighty car-warrior Salya who was struggling vigorously in battle. And he pierced Susarman and Kripa with three arrows each. And in that battle the Atiratha Arjuna, afflicting thy host, struck the ruler of the Pragjyotishas, and Jayadratha the king of the Sindhus, and Chitrasena, and Vikarna, and Kritavarman, and Durmarshana, O monarch, and those two mighty car-warriors, viz., the princes of Avanti, each with three arrows winged with the feathers of the Kanka and the peacock. Jayadratha, staying on the car of Chitrasena, pierced Partha (in return), O Bharata, and then, without loss of time, Bhima also, with his shafts. And Salya, and that foremost of car-warriors, viz., Kripa, both pierced Jishnu, O monarch, with diverse arrows capable of penetrating into the very vitals. Thy sons headed by Chitrasena, O king, each quickly pierced Arjuna and Bhimasena in that battle, O sire, with five sharp shafts. Those two foremost of car-warriors however, viz., those sons of Kunti, those bulls of Bharata's race, began in that battle to afflict the mighty host of the Trigartas. Susarman (in return) pierced Partha with nine swift arrows, and uttered a loud shout frightening the vast host (of the Pandavas). And other heroic car-warriors pierced Bhimasena and Dhananjaya with many straight-going arrows of keen points and golden wings. Amid these car-warriors, however, those two bulls of Bharata's race, viz., the two sons of Kunti, those great car-warriors, looked exceedingly beautiful. And they seemed to sport amid them like two furious lions amid a herd of kine. Cutting off in various ways the bows and arrows of many brave warriors in that battle, those two heroes felled the heads of combatants by hundreds upon hundreds. Innumerable cars were broken, and steeds by hundreds were slain, and many elephants, along with their riders, were laid low on the field in that dreadful battle. And car-warriors and horsemen and elephant-riders in large numbers, O king, deprived of life were seen moving in convulsions all over the field. And the earth was covered with slain elephants and foot-soldiers in large bands, and steeds deprived of life, and cars broken in diverse ways. And the prowess we beheld there of Partha was highly wonderful, in as much as holding in check all those heroes, that mighty warrior caused a great slaughter. Kripa, and Kritavarman, and Jayadratha, the ruler of the Sindhus, and Vinda and Anuvinda of Avanti,--these did not forsake the battle. Then that great bowman Bhima, and that mighty car-warrior Arjuna, began in that battle to rout the fierce host of the Kauravas. The kings (in that army) quickly sped at Dhananjaya's car myriads upon myriads and millions upon millions of arrows furnished with peacock feathers. Partha, however, checking those arrows by means of his own arrowy showers, began to send those mighty car-warriors to Yama's abode. The great car-warrior Salya then, excited with wrath and as if sporting in that battle, struck Partha
in the chest with some straight shafts of broad heads. Partha then, cutting off by means of five shafts Salya's bow and leathern fence, pierced the latter deeply in the very vitals with many arrows of keen points. Taking up another bow capable of bearing a great strain, the ruler of the Madras then furiously attacked Jishnu with three arrows, O king, and Vasudeva with five. And he struck Bhimasena in the arms and the chest with nine arrows. Then Drona, O king, and that mighty car-warrior, viz., the ruler of the Magadhas, commanded by Duryodhana, both came to that spot where those two mighty car-warriors, viz., Partha and Bhimasena, were slaughtering the mighty host of the Kuru king. Jayatsena (the king of the Magadhas) then, O bull of Bharata's race pierced Bhima, that wielder of awful weapons in battle, with eight sharp arrows. Bhima, however, pierced him (in return) with ten arrows, and once more with five. And with another broad-headed shaft he felled Jayatsena's charioteer from his niche in the car. The steeds (of his car), no longer restrained, ran wildly in all directions and thus carried away the ruler of the Magadhas (from battle) in the sight of all the troops. Meanwhile Drona, noticing an opening, pierced Bhimasena, O bull of Bharata's race, with eight keen shafts furnished with heads shaped after the frog's mouth. Bhima, however, ever delighting in battle, pierced the preceptor, who was worthy of paternal reverence, with five broad-headed arrows, and then, O Bharata, with sixty. Arjuna, again piercing Susarman with a large number of arrows made (wholly) of iron, destroyed his troops like the tempest destroying mighty masses of clouds. Then Bhishma, and the king (viz., Duryodhana), and Vrihadvala, the ruler of the Kosalas, excited with rage, advanced upon Bhimasena and Dhananjaya. At this, the heroic warriors of the Pandava army, and Dhrishtadyumna the son of Prishata, rushed in battle against Bhishma who was advancing like Death himself with wide-open mouth. Sikhandin also, sighting the grandsire of the Bharatas, was filled with joy and rushed at him, abandoning all fear of the mighty car-warrior. Then all the Parthas with Yudhishthira at their head, placing Sikhandin in the van, and uniting with the Srinjayas, fought with Bhishma in battle. And similarly all the warriors of thy army, placing Bhishma of regulated vows in their van, fought in battle with all the Parthas headed by Sikhandin. The battle then that commenced there between the Kauravas and the sons of Pandu for the sake of Bhishma's victory or victory over Bhishma, was exceedingly terrible. Indeed, in that game of battle, played for the sake of victory or the reverse, Bhishma, O monarch, became the stake on which the victory of thy army depended. Then Dhrishtadyumna, O king, commanded all the troops, saying, 'Rush against the son of Ganga. Do not fear, ye best of car-warriors. Hearing those words of their generalissimo, the army of the Pandavas quickly advanced against Bhishma, ready to lay down their lives in that dreadful battle. Bhishma then, that foremost of car-warriors, received that large host rushing towards him, like the continent receiving the surging sea."
Next: Section CXVI