The Mahabharata Home
Sanjaya said,--Sikhandin, O bull among men, approaching Bhishma in battle, struck him in the centre of the chest with ten broad-headed arrows The son of Ganga, however, O Bharata, only looked at Sikhandin with wrath and as if consuming the Panchala prince with that look. Remembering his femininity, O king, Bhishma, in the very sight of all, struck him not. Sikhandin, however, understood it not. Then Arjuna, O monarch, addressed Sikhandin, saying,--'Rush quickly and slay the grandsire. What needst thou say, O hero? Slay the mighty car-warrior Bhishma. I do not see any other warrior in Yudhishthira's army who is competent to fight with Bhishma in battle, save thee, O tiger among men. I say this truly.' Thus addressed by Partha, Sikhandin, O bull of Bharata's race, quickly covered the grandsire with diverse kinds of weapons. Disregarding those shafts, thy sire Devavrata began, with his shafts, to check the angry Arjuna only in that battle. And that mighty car-warrior, O sire, began also to despatch, with his shafts of keen points, the whole army of the Pandavas to the other world. The Pandavas also, O king, after the same manner, supported by their vast host, began to overwhelm Bhishma like the clouds covering the maker of day. O bull of Bharata's race, surrounded on all sides, that Bharata hero consumed many brave warriors in that battle like a raging conflagration in the forest (consuming numberless trees). The prowess that we then beheld there of thy son (Dussasana) was wonderful, inasmuch as he battled with Partha and protected the grandsire at the same time. With that feat of thy son Dussasana, that illustrious bowman, all the people there were highly gratified. Alone he battled with all the Pandavas having Arjuna amongst them; and he fought with such vigour that the Pandavas were unable to resist him. Many car-warriors were in that battle deprived of their cars by Dussasana. And many mighty bowmen on horseback and many mighty-warriors, elephants, pierced with Dussasana's keen shafts, fell down on the earth. And many elephants, afflicted with his shafts, ran away in all directions. As a fire fiercely blazeth forth with bright flames when fed with fuel, so did thy son blaze forth, consuming the Pandava host. And no car-warrior, O Bharata, of the Pandava host ventured to vanquish or even proceed against that warrior of gigantic proportions, save Indra's son (Arjuna) owning white steeds and having Krishna for his charioteer. Then Arjuna also called Vijaya, vanquishing Dussasana in battle, O king, in the very sight of all the troops, proceeded against Bhishma. Though vanquished, thy son, however, relying upon the might of Bhishma's arms, repeatedly comforted his own side and battled with the Pandavas with great fierceness. Arjuna, O king, fighting with his foes in that battle, looked exceedingly resplendent. 1 Then Sikhandin, in that battle, O king, pierced
the grandsire with many arrows whose touch resembled that of the bolts of heaven and which were as fatal as the poison of the snake. These arrows, however, O monarch, caused thy sire little pain, for the son of Ganga received them laughingly. Indeed, as a person afflicted with heat cheerfully receives torrents of rain, even so did the son of Ganga received those arrows of Sikhandin. And the Kshatriyas there, O king, beheld Bhishma in that great battle as a being of fierce visage who was incessantly consuming the troops of the high-souled Pandavas.
"Then thy son (Duryodhana), addressing all his warriors, said unto them, 'Rush ye against Phalguni from all sides. Bhishma, acquainted with the duties of a commander, will protect you'. Thus addressed, the Kaurava troops casting off all fear, fought with the Pandavas. (And once more, Duryodhana said unto them). 'With his tall standard bearing the device of the golden palmyra, Bhishma stayeth, protecting the honour and the armour of all the Dhartarashtra warriors. The very gods, striving vigorously, cannot vanquish the illustrious and mighty Bhishma. What need be said, therefore, of the Parthas who are mortals? Therefore, ye warriors, fly not away from the field, getting Phalguni for a foe. I myself, striving vigorously, will today fight with the Pandavas.. uniting with all of you, ye lords of earth, exerting yourselves actively.' Hearing these words, O monarch, of thy son with bow in hand, many mighty combatants, excited with rage, belonging to the Videhas, the Kalingas, and the diverse tribes of the Daserkas, fell upon Phalguni. And many combatants also, belonging to the Nishadas, the Sauviras, the Valhikas, the Daradas, the Westerners, the Northerners, the Malavas, the Abhighatas, the Surasenas, the Sivis, the Vasatis, the Salwas, the Sakas, the Trigartas, the Amvashthas, and the Kekayas, similarly fell upon Partha, like flights of insects upon a fire. The mighty Dhananjaya, otherwise called Vibhatsu, then, O monarch, calling to mind diverse celestial weapons and aiming them at those great car-warriors at the heads of their respective divisions, 1 quickly consumed them all, by means of those weapons of great force, like fire consuming a flight of insects. And while that firm bowman was (by means of his celestial weapons) creating thousands upon thousands of arrows, his Gandiva looked highly resplendent in the welkin. Then those Kshatriyas, O monarch, afflicted with those arrows with their tall standards torn and overthrown, could not even together, approach the ape-bannered (Partha). Car-warriors fell down with their standards, and horsemen with their horses, and elephant-riders with their elephants, attacked by Kiritin with his shafts. And the earth was soon covered all on all sides with the retreating troops of those kings, routed in consequence of the shafts shot from Arjuna's arms. Partha then, O monarch, having routed the Kaurava army, sped many arrows at Dussasana. Those arrows with iron heads, piercing thy son Dussasana through, all entered the earth like snakes
through ant-hills. Arjuna then slew Dussasana's steeds and then felled his charioteer. And the lord Arjuna, with twenty shafts, deprived Vivingsati of his car, and struck him five straight shafts. And piercing Kripa and Vikarna and Salya with many arrows made wholly of iron, Kunti's son owning white steeds deprived all of them of their cars. Thus deprived of their cars and vanquished in battle by Savyasachin, Kripa and Salya, O sire, and Dussasana, and Vikarna and Vivingsati, all fled away. Having vanquished those mighty car-warriors, O chief of the Bharatas, in the forenoon, Partha blazed up in that battle like a smokeless conflagration. Scattering his shafts all around like the Sun shedding rays of light, Partha felled many other kings, O monarch. Making those mighty car-warriors turn their backs upon the field by means of his arrowy showers, Arjuna caused a large river of bloody current to flow in that battle between the hosts of the Kurus and the Pandavas, O Bharata. Large numbers of elephants and steeds and car-warriors were slain by car-warriors. And many were the car-warriors slain by elephants, and many also were the steeds slain by foot-soldiers. And the bodies of many elephant-riders and horsemen and car-warriors, cut off in the middle, as also their heads, fell down on every part of the field. And the field of battle, O king, was strewn with (slain) princes,--mighty car-warriors,--falling or fallen, decked with ear-rings and bracelets. And it was also strewn with the bodies of many warriors cut off by car-wheels, or trodden down by elephants. And foot-soldiers ran away, and horsemen also with their horses. And many elephants and car-warriors fell down on all sides. And many cars, with wheels and yokes and standards broken, lay scattered all about on the field. And the field of battle, dyed with the gore of large numbers of elephants, steeds, and car-warriors, looked beautiful like a red cloud, in the autumnal sky. Dogs, and crows, and vultures, and wolves, and jackals, and many other frightful beasts and birds, set up loud howls, at the sight of the food that lay before them. Diverse kinds of winds blew along all directions. And Rakshasas and evil spirits were seen there, uttering loud roars. And strings, embroidered with gold, and costly banners, were seen to wave, moved by the wind. And thousands of umbrellas and great cars with standards attached to them, were seen lying scattered about on the field. Then Bhishma, O king, invoking a celestial weapon, rushed at the son of Kunti, in the very sight of all the bowmen. Thereupon Sikhandin, clad in mail, rushed at Bhishma who was dashing towards Arjuna. At this, Bhishma withdrew that weapon resembling fire (in effulgence and energy). Meanwhile Kunti's son owning white steeds slaughtered thy troops, confounding the grandsire. 1"
295:1 Both the Bengal and the Bombay texts read Arjunas in the second line of 21. The Burdwan Pundits are for correcting it as Arjunam. I do not think the correction happy.
296:1 In the second line of 35 for Satanika, the true reading, is Sahanikan.
297:1 After the 60th verse, three lines occur in the Bombay edition as follows,--"And many elephants, with standards on their backs, were seen to fly away in all directions. And many Kshatriyas, O monarch, armed with maces and darts and bows, were seen lying Prostrate on the field."
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