The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'Beholding that army of thine exceedingly broken, the valiant Vrishasena, single-handed, began to protect it, O king, displaying the illusion of his weapons. Shot by Vrishasena in that battle, thousands of arrows coursed in all directions, piercing through men and steeds and cars and elephants. Mighty arrows, of blazing effulgence, shot by him, coursed in thousands, like the rays, O monarch, of the sun, in the summer season. Afflicted and crushed therewith, O king, car-warriors and horse-men, suddenly fell down on the earth, like trees broken by the wind. The mighty car-warrior Vrishasena, O king, felled large bodies of steeds, of cars and of elephants, in that battle, by thousands. Beholding that single warrior coursing fearlessly on the field, all the kings (of the Pandava army) uniting together, surrounded him on all sides. Nakula's son, Satanika, rushed at Vrishasena and pierced him with ten arrows capable of penetrating into the vitals. The son of Karna, however, cutting off his bow, felled then his standard. Thereupon, the other sons of Draupadi, desirous of rescuing that brother of theirs, rushed at him. And soon they made Karna's son invisible by means of their arrowy showers. Against them thus smiting (the son of Karna), many car-warriors headed by Drona's son (Aswatthama) rushed. And those, O monarch, quickly covered those mighty car-warriors, viz., the sons of Draupadi, with diverse kinds of arrows like clouds pouring rain on mountain breasts. Thereupon, the Pandavas, from affection for their sons, quickly encountered those assailants. The battle then that took place between thy troops and those of the Pandavas, was exceedingly fierce and made the hairs stand on their ends, resembling as it did that between the Gods and the Danavas. Even
thus did the heroic Kauravas and the Pandavas, excited with rage, fight, eyeing one another (furiously) and having incurred one another's animosity for past offences. The bodies of those heroes of immeasurable energy then seemed, in consequence of (the) wrath (that inspired them), to resemble those of Garuda and (mighty) Nagas battling in the sky. And with Bhima and Karna and Kripa and Drona and Drona's son and Prishata's son and Satyaki, the field of battle looked resplendent like the all-destructive sun that rises at the end of the Yuga. The battle that took place between those mighty men engaged with mighty antagonists and all smiting one another was fierce in the extreme, resembling that (of yore) between the Danavas and the gods. Then Yudhishthira's host, uttering a shout, loud as that of the surging sea, began to slaughter thy troops, the great car-warriors of thy army having fled away. Beholding the (Kaurava) host broken and excessively mangled by the foe, Drona said, 'Ye heroes, ye need not fly away.' Then he (Drona) owning red steeds, excited with wrath and resembling a (fierce) elephant with four tusks, penetrated into the Pandava host and rushed against Yudhishthira. Then Yudhishthira pierced the preceptor with many whetted arrows equipped with Kanka feathers; Drona, however, cutting off Yudhishthira's bow, rushed impetuously at him. Then the protector of Yudhishthira's car-wheels, Kumara, the renowned prince of the Panchalas, received the advancing Drona, like the continent receiving the surging sea. Beholding Drona, that bull among Brahmanas, held in check by Kumara, loud leonine shouts were heard there with cries of 'Excellent, Excellent!' Kumara then, in that great battle, excited with rage, pierced Drona with an arrow in the chest and uttered many leonine shouts. Having checked Drona in battle, the mighty Kumara, endued with great lightness of hand, and above all fatigue, pierced him with many thousands of arrows. Then that bull among men (Drona) slew that protector of Yudhishthira's car-wheels, Kumara, that hero observant of virtuous vows and accomplished in both mantras and weapons. And then penetrating into the midst of the (Pandava) host and careering in all directions, that bull among men, Bharadwaja's son, became the protector of thy troops. And piercing Sikhandin with twelve arrows, and Uttamaujas with twenty, and Nakula with five, and Sahadeva with seven, and Yudhishthira with twelve, and each of the (five) sons of Draupadi with three, and Satyaki with five, and the ruler of Matsyas with ten arrows, and agitating the entire host in that battle, he rushed against one after another of the foremost warriors (of the Pandavas). And then he advanced against Kunti's son, Yudhisthira, from a desire of seizing him. Then Yugandhara, O king, checked Bharadwaja's son, that mighty car-warrior, filled with rage and resembling the very ocean lashed into fury by the tempest. Bharadwaja's son, however, having pierced Yudhishthira with many straight arrows, felled Yugandhara with a broad-headed shaft from his niche in the car. Then, Virata and Drupada, and the Kaikeya princes, and Satyaki, and Sivi, and Vyaghradatta, the prince n the Panchalas, and the valiant Singhasena, these, and many others,
desirous of rescuing Yudhishthira, surrounded Drona on all sides and impeded his way, scattering countless arrows. Vyaghradatta, the prince of the Panchalas, pierced Drona with fifty keen-pointed arrows, at which, O king, the troops uttered loud shouts. Then Singhasena also, quickly piercing that mighty car-warrior, Drona, roared aloud in joy, striking terror into the hearts of mighty car-warriors; Drona then expanding his eyes and rubbing his bowstring and producing loud sound of slaps by his palms, rushed against the latter. Then the mighty son of Bharadwaja, putting forth his prowess, cut off with a couple of broad-headed arrows the heads decked with earrings from the trunks of both Singhasena and Vyaghradatta. And afflicting also, with his arrowy showers, the other mighty car-warriors of the Pandavas, he stood in front of Yudhishthira's car, like all-destroying Death himself. Then, O king, loud cries were heard among the warriors of Yudhishthira's army to the effect, 'The king is slain,' when Bharadwaja's son, of regulated vows, thus, stood in his vicinity. And the warriors there all exclaimed, beholding Drona's prowess, 'Today the royal son of Dhritarashtra will be crowned with success. This very moment Drona having seized Yudhishthira, will, filled, with joy, assuredly come to us and Duryodhana's presence. While thy soldiers were indulging in such talks, Kunti's son (Arjuna) quickly came there, filling (the welkin) with the rattle of his car, and creating, as he came, owing to the carnage he caused, a river whose waters were blood, and whose eddies were cars, and which abounded with the bones and bodies of brave warriors and which bore creatures away to where the spirits of the departed dwell. And the son of Pandu came there, routing the Kurus, and quickly crossing that river whose froth was constituted by showers of arrows and which abounded with fish in the form of lances and other weapons. And the diadem-decked (Arjuna) suddenly came upon Drona's divisions, covering it with a thick net-work of arrows and confounding the very sense (of those that followed Drona). Incessantly placing his arrows on the bow-string and quickly shooting them, none could notice any lapse of time between these two acts of the renowned son of Kunti. Neither (four cardinal) directions, nor the firmament above, nor the earth, O king, could any longer be distinguished, for everything then became one dense mass of arrows. Indeed, O king, when the wielder of Gandiva caused that thick darkness by means of his arrows, nothing could be seen in that battle. Just then the sun also set, enveloped with a dusty cloud. Neither friend nor foe could any longer be distinguished. Then Drona and Duryodhana and others caused the withdrawal of their troops. And ascertaining the foe to be inspired with fear and unwilling to continue the fight, Vibhatsu also slowly caused his troops to be withdrawn. Then the Pandavas and the Srinjayas and the Panchalas, filled with joy, praised Partha with delightful speeches like the Rishis praising the Sun. Having vanquished his foes thus, Dhananjaya then, filled with joy, retired to his tent, proceeding in the rear of the whole army, with Kesava as his companion. And stationed on his beautiful car decked with the costliest
specimens of sapphires and rubies and gold and silver and diamonds and corals and crystals, the son of Pandu looked resplendent like the moon in the firmament bespangled with stars.'"
Next: Section XVII