The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'Then the younger brother of Karna, uttering loud roars, bow in hand, and repeatedly stretching the bow-string, quickly placed himself between those two illustrious warriors. And Karna's brother, with ten shafts, pierced invincible Abhimanyu and his umbrella and standard and charioteer and steeds, smiling the while. Beholding Abhimanyu thus afflicted with those arrows, although he had achieved those superhuman feats in the manner of his sire and grandsire, the warriors of thy army were filled with delight. Then Abhimanyu, forcibly bending the bow and smiling the while, with one winged arrow cut off his antagonist's head. That head, severed from the trunk, fell down on the earth. Beholding his brother slain and overthrown, like a Karnikara tree shaken and thrown down by the wind from the mountain top, Karna, O monarch, was filled with pain. Meanwhile, the son of Subhadra, causing Karna by means of his arrows to turn away from the field, quickly rushed against the other great bowmen. Then Abhimanyu of fierce energy and great fame, filled with wrath, broke that host of diverse forces abounding with elephants and steeds and cars and infantry. As regards Karna, afflicted by Abhimanyu with countless shafts, he fled away from the field borne by swift steeds. The Kaurava array then broke. When the welkin was covered with Abhimanyu's shafts, like flights of locusts or thick showers of rain, nothing, O monarch, could be distinguished. Amongst thy warriors thus slaughtered by Abhimanyu with sharp shafts, none, O monarch, stayed any longer on the field of battle except the ruler of the Sindhus. Then that bull among men, viz., the son of Subhadra, blowing his conch, speedily, fell upon the Bharata host, O bull of Bharata's race! Like a burning brand thrown into the midst of dry grass, Arjuna's son began to consume his foes, quickly careering through the Kaurava army. Having pierced through their array, he mangled cars and elephants and steeds and human beings by means of his sharp shafts and caused the field of battle teem with headless trunks. Cut off by means of excellent arrows shot from the bow of Subhadra's son, the Kaurava warriors fled away, slaying, as they fled, their own comrades before them. Those fierce arrows, of terrible effect whetted on stone and, countless in number, slaying car-warriors and elephants, steeds, fell fast on the field. Arms, decked with Angadas and other ornaments of gold, cut off and hands cased in leathern covers, and arrows, and bows, and bodies and heads decked with car-rings and floral wreaths, lay in thousands on the field. Obstructed with Upashkaras and Adhishthanas and long poles also with crushed Akshas and broken wheels and yokes, numbering thousands, With darts and bows and swords and fallen standards, and with shields and bows lying all about, with the bodies, O monarch, of slain Kshatriyas and steeds and elephants, the field of battle, looking exceedingly fierce, soon became impassable. The noise made by the princes, as they called upon One another while slaughtered by Abhimanyu, became deafening and
enhanced the fears of the timid. That noise, O chief of the Bharatas, filled all the points of the compass. The son of Subhadra, rushed against the (Kaurava) troops, slaying foremost of car-warriors and steeds and elephants, Quickly consuming his foes, like a fire playing in the midst of a heap of dry grass, the son of Arjuna was seen careering through the midst of the Bharata army. Encompassed as he was by our troops and covered with dust, none of us could obtain a sight of that warrior when, O Bharata, he was careening over the field in all directions, cardinal and subsidiary. And he took the lives of steeds and elephants and human warriors, O Bharata, almost incessantly. And soon after we saw him (come out of the press). Indeed, O monarch, we beheld him then scorching his foes like the meridian sun (scorching everything with his rays). Equal to Vasava himself in battle, that son of Vasava's son viz., Abhimanyu, looked resplendent in the midst of the (hostile) army.'"
Next: Section XL