The Mahabharata Home
Sanjaya said, "Abhimanyu, O king, displaying his prowess for the sake of Bhishma, fought with thy son who was supported by a large force. Then Duryodhana, excited with wrath, struck Abhimanyu in the chest with rune straight arrows, and once more with three. Then in that battle, Arjuna's son, inflamed with wrath, hurled at Duryodhana's car a terrible dart resembling the rod of Death himself. Thy son, however, that mighty car-warrior, O king, with a broad-headed arrow of great sharpness, cut off in twain that dart of terrible force coursing towards him with great speed. Beholding that dart of his drop down on the earth, Arjuna's wrathful son pierced Duryodhana with three shafts in his arms and chest. And once more, O Chief of the Bharatas, that mighty car-warrior of Bharata's race struck the Kuru king with ten fierce shafts in the centre of his chest. And the battle, O Bharata, that took place between those two heroes, viz., Subhadra's son, and that bull of Kuru's race, the former fighting for compassing Bhishma's death and the latter for Arjuna's defeat, was fierce and interesting to behold, and gratifying to the senses, and was applauded by all the kings. That bull among Brahmanas and chastiser of foes, viz., the son of Drona, excited with wrath in that battle, forcibly struck Satyaki in the chest with fierce arrow. The grandson of Sini also, that hero of immeasurable soul, struck the preceptor's son in every vital limbs with nine shafts winged with the feathers of the Kanka bird. Aswatthaman then, in that battle, struck Satyaki (in return) with nine shafts, and once more, quickly, with thirty, in his arms and chest. Then that great bowman Of the Satwata race, possessed of great fame, deeply pierced by Drona's son, pierced the latter (in return) with arrows. The mighty car-warrior Paurava, covering Dhrishtaketu in that battle with his shafts, mangled that great bowman exceedingly. The mighty car-warrior Dhrishtaketu, endued with great strength, quickly pierced the former with thirty arrows. Then the mighty car-warrior Paurava cut off Dhrishtaketu's bow, and uttering a loud shout, pierced him with whetted shafts. Dhrishtaketu then taking up another bow, pierced Paurava, O king, with three and seventy shafts of great sharpness. Those two great bowmen and mighty car-warriors, both of gigantic stature, pierced each other with showers of arrows. Each succeeded in cutting off the other's bow, and each slew the other's steeds. And both of them, thus deprived of their cars, then
encountered each other in a battle with swords. And each took up a beautiful shield made of bull's hide and docked with a hundred moons and graced with a hundred stars. And each of them also took up a polished sword of brilliant lustre. And thus equipt, they rushed, O king at each other, like two lions in the deep forest, both seeking the companionship of the same lioness in her season. They wheeled in beautiful circles, advanced and retreated, and displayed other movements, seeking to strike each other. Then Paurava, excited with wrath, addressed Dhrishtaketu, saying--Wait, Wait,--and struck him on the frontal bone with that large scimitar of his. The king of the Chedis also, in that battle, struck Paurava, that bull among men, on his shoulder-joint, with his large scimitar of sharp edge. Those two repressors of foes thus encountering each other in dreadful battle and thus striking each other, O king, both fell down on the field. Then thy son Jayatsena, taking Paurava up on his car, removed him from the field of battle on that vehicle. And as regards Dhrishtaketu, the valiant and heroic Sahadeva, the son of Madri, possessed of great prowess, bore him away from the field.
"Chitrasena, having pierced Susarman with many arrows made wholly of iron, once more pierced him with sixty arrows and once more with nine. Susarman, however, excited with wrath in battle, pierced thy son, O king, with hundreds of arrows. Chitrasena then, O monarch, excited with rage, pierced his adversary with thirty straight shafts. Susarman, however, pierced Chitrasena again in return. 1
"In that battle for the destruction of Bhishma, Subhadra's son, enhancing his fame and honour, fought with prince Vrihadvala, putting forth his prowess for aiding (his sire) Partha and then proceeded towards Bhishma's front. The ruler of the Kosalas, having pierced the son of Arjuna with five shafts made of iron, once more pierced him with twenty straight shafts. Then the son of Subhadra pierced the ruler of Kosalas with eight shafts made wholly of iron. He succeeded not, however, in making the ruler of the Kosalas to tremble, and, therefore, he once more pierced him with many arrows. And Phalguni's son then cut off Vrihadvala's bow, and struck him again with thirty arrows winged with feathers of the Kanka bird. Prince Vrihadvala then, taking up another bow, angrily pierced the son of Phalguni in that battle with many arrows. Verily, O scorcher of foes, the battle, for Bhishma's sake, that took place between them, both excited with rage and both conversant with every mode of fight, was like the encounter of Vali and Vasava in days of old on the occasion of the battle between the gods and the Asuras.
"Bhimasena, fighting against the elephant-division, looked highly resplendent like Sakra armed with the thunder after splitting large
mountains. 1 Indeed, elephants, huge as hills, slaughtered by Bhimasena in battle, fell down in numbers on the field, filling the earth with their shrieks. Resembling massive heaps of antimony, and of mountain-like proportions, those elephants with frontal globes split open, lying prostrate on the earth, seemed like mountains strewn over the earth's surface. The mighty bowman Yudhishthira, protected by a large force, afflicted the ruler of the Madras, encountering him in that dreadful battle. The ruler of the Madras, in return, displaying his prowess for the sake of Bhishma, afflicted the son of Dharma, that mighty car-warrior, in battle. The king of Sindhus, having pierced Virata with nine straight arrows of keen points, once more struck him with thirty. Virata, however, O king, that commander of a large division, struck Jayadratha in the centre of his chest with thirty shafts of keen points. The ruler of the Matsyas and the ruler of the Sindhus, both armed with beautiful bows and beautiful scimitars, both decked with handsome coats of mail and weapons and standards, and both of beautiful forms looked resplendent in that battle.
"Drona, encountering Dhrishtadyumna the prince of the Panchalas in dreadful battle, fought fiercely with his straight shafts. Then Drona, O king, having cut off the large bow of Prishata's son, pierced him deeply with fifty arrows. Then that slayer of hostile heroes, viz., the son of Prishata, taking up another bow, sped at Drona who was contending with him, many arrows. The mighty car-warrior Drona however, cut off all those arrows, striking them with his own. And then Drona sped at Drupada's son five fierce shafts. Then that slayer of hostile heroes, viz., the son of Prishata, excited with rage, hurled at Drona in that battle a mace resembling the rod of Death himself. Drona however, with fifty arrows checked that mace decked with gold as it coursed impetuously towards him. Thereupon that mace, cut into fragments, O king, by those shafts shot from Drona's bow, fell down on the earth. Then that scorcher of foes, viz., the son of Prishata, beholding his mace baffled, hurled at Drona an excellent dart made wholly of iron. Drona, however, O Bharata, cut that dart with nine shafts in that battle and then afflicted that great bowman, viz., the son of Prishata. Thus took place, O king, that fierce and awful battle between Drona and the son of Prishata, for the sake of Bhishma.
"Arjuna, getting at the son of Ganga, afflicted him with many arrows of keen points, and rushed at him like an infuriate elephant in the forest upon another. King Bhagadatta, however, of great prowess then rushed at Arjuna, and checked his course in battle with showers of arrows. Arjuna then, in that dreadful battle, pierced Bhagadatta's elephant coming towards him, with many polished arrows of iron, that were all bright as silver and furnished with keen points. The son of Kunti, meanwhile, O king, urged Sikhandin, saying,--Proceed, proceed, towards Bhishma, and slay him!--Then, O elder brother of Pandu, the ruler of Pragjyotishas,
abandoning that son of Pandu, quickly proceeded, O king, against the car of Drupada. Then Arjuna, O monarch, speedily proceeded towards Bhishma, placing Sikhandin ahead. And then there took place a fierce battle, for all the brave combatants of thy army rushed with great vigour against Arjuna, uttering loud shouts. And all this seemed extremely wonderful. Like the wind dispersing in the summer masses of clouds in the welkin, Arjuna dispersed, O king, all those diverse divisions of thy sons. Sikhandin, however, without any anxiety, coming up at the grandsire of the Bharatas, quickly pierced him with great many arrows. As regards Bhishma, his car was then his fire-chamber. His bow was the flame of that fire. And swords I and darts and maces constituted the fuel of that fire. And the showers of arrows he shot were the blazing sparks of that fire with which he was then consuming Kshatriyas in that battle. As a raging conflagration with constant supply of fuel, wandereth amid masses of dry grass when aided by the wind, so did Bhishma blaze up with his flames, scattering his celestial weapons. And the Kuru hero slew the Somakas that followed Partha in that battle. Indeed that mighty car-warrior checked also the other forces of Arjuna, by means of his straight and whetted shafts furnished with wings of gold. Filling in that dreadful battle all the points of the compass, cardinal and subsidiary, with his leonine shouts, Bhishma felled many car-warriors, O king, (from their cars) and many steeds along with their riders. And he caused large bodies of cars to look like forests of palmyras shorn of their leafy heads. That foremost of all wielders of weapons, in that battle, deprived cars and steeds and elephants, of their riders. Hearing the twang of his bow and the slap of his palms, both resembling the roll of the thunder, the troops, O king, trembled all over the field. The shafts, O chief of men, of thy sire were never bootless as they fell. Indeed, shot from Bhishma's bow they never fell only touching the bodies of the foe (but pierced them through in every case). We saw crowds of cars, O king, deprived of riders, but unto which were yoked fleet steeds, dragged on all sides with the speed of the wind. Full fourteen thousand great car-warriors of noble parentage, prepared to lay down their lives, unretreating and brave, and possessed of standards decked with gold, belonging to the Chedis, the Kasis, and the Karushas, approaching Bhishma, that hero who resembled the Destroyer himself with wide-open mouth, were despatched to the other world, with their steeds, cars and elephants. There was not, O king, a single great car-warrior among the Somakas, who, having approached Bhishma in that battle, returned with life from that engagement. Beholding Bhishma's prowess, people regarded all those warriors (who approached him) as already despatched to the abode of the king of the Dead. Indeed, no car-warrior ventured to approach Bhishma in battle, except the heroic Arjuna having white steeds (yoked unto his car) and owning Krishna for his charioteer, and Sikhandin, the prince of Panchala, of immeasurable energy."
292:1 This Susarman was not the king of the Trigartas but another person who was on the Pandava side.
293:1 Both the Bengal and the Bombay texts have Rathanika. The correct reading as settled by the Burdwan Pundits, is Gajanika.
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