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"Sanjaya said, 'Then Karna, O king, piercing Bhima with three arrows, poured countless beautiful arrows upon him. The mighty-armed Bhimasena, the son of Pandu, though thus struck by the Suta's son, showed no signs of pain but stood immovable like a hill pierced (with arrows). In return, O sire, in that battle, he deeply pierced Karna in the ear with a barbed arrow, rubbed with oil, of great keenness, and of excellent temper. (With that arrow) he felled on the earth the large and beautiful ear-ring of Karna. And it felled down, O monarch, like a blazing luminary of great effulgence from the firmament. Excited with wrath, Vrikodara, then, smiling the while, deeply pierced the Suta's son in the centre of the chest with another broad-headed arrow. And once again, O Bharata, the mighty-armed Bhima quickly shot in that battle ten long shafts that looked like snakes of virulent poison just freed from their sloughs. Shot by Bhima, those shafts, O sire, striking Karna's forehead, entered it like snakes entering an ant-hill. With those shafts sticking to his forehead, the Suta's son looked beautiful, as he did before, while his brow had been encircled with a chaplet of blue lotuses. Deeply pierced by the active son of Pandu, Karna, supporting himself on the Kuxara of his car, closed his eyes. Soon, however, regaining consciousness, Karna, that scorcher of foes, with his body bathed in blood, became mad with rage. 3 Infuriated with rage in consequence of his being thus afflicted by
that firm bowman Karna, endued with great impetuosity, rushed fiercely towards Bhimasena's car. Then, O king, the mighty and wrathful Karna, maddened with rage, shot at Bhimasena, O Bharata, a hundred shafts winged with vulturine feathers. The son of Pandu, however, disregarding his foe and setting at nought his energy, began to shoot showers of fierce arrows at him. Then Karna, O king, excited with rage, O scorcher of foes, struck the son of Pandu, that embodiment of wrath with nine arrows in the chest. Then both those tigers among men (armed with arrows and, therefore), resembling a couple of tigers with fierce teeth, poured upon each other, in that battle, their arrowy showers, like two mighty masses of clouds. They sought to frighten each other in that battle, with sounds of their palms and with showers of arrows of diverse kinds. Excited with rage, each sought in that battle to counteract the other's feat. Then that slayer of hostile heroes, viz., the mighty-armed Bhima, O Bharata, cutting off, with a razor-faced arrow, the bow of the Suta's son, uttered a loud shout. Casting off that broken bow, the Suta's son, that mighty car-warrior, took up another bow that was stronger and tougher. Beholding that slaughter of the Kuru, the Sauvira, and the Sindhu heroes, and marking that the earth was covered with coats of mail and standards and weapons lying about, and also seeing the lifeless forms of elephants, foot-soldiers and horsemen and car-warriors on all sides, the body of the Suta's son, from wrath, blazed up with effulgence. Stretching his formidable bow, decked with gold, Radha's son, O king, eyed Bhima with wrathful glances. Infuriated with rage, the Suta's son, while shooting his arrows, looked resplendent, like the autumnal sun of dazzling rays at mid-day. While employed with his hands in taking up an arrow, fixing it on the bow-string, stretching the string and letting it off, none could notice any interval between those acts. And while Karna was thus engaged in shooting his arrows right and left, his bow incessantly drawn to a circle, like a terrible circle of fire. The keen pointed arrows, equipped with wings of gold, shot from Karna's bow, covered, O king, all the points of the compass, darkening the very light of the sun. Countless flights were seen, in the welkin, of those shafts equipped with wings of gold, shot from Karna's bow. Indeed, the shafts shot from the bow of Adhiratha's son, looked like rows of cranes in the sky. The arrows that Adhiratha's son shot were all equipped with vulturine feathers, whetted on stone, decked with gold, endued with great impetuosity, and furnished with blazing points. Impelled by the force of his bow, those arrows urged by Karna, while coursing in thousands through the welkin looked beautiful like successive flights of locusts. The arrows shot from the bow of Adhiratha's son, as they coursed through the welkin, looked like one long continuously drawn arrow in the sky. Like a cloud covering a mountain with torrents of rain, Karna in rage, covered Bhima with showers of arrows. Then thy sons, O Bharata, with their troops, beheld the might, energy, prowess and perseverance of Bhima, for the latter, disregarding that arrowy downpour, resembling the raging sea, rushed in wrath against Karna, Bhima, O monarch, was armed with a
formidable bow, the back of whose staff was decked with gold. He stretched it so quickly that it seemed, like a second bow of Indra, incessantly drawn to a circle. Shafts issued continuously from it seemed to fill the welkin. With those straight arrows, equipped with wings of gold, shot by Bhima, a continuous line was made in the sky that looked effulgent like a garland of gold. Then those showers of (Karna's) arrows spread in the welkin, struck by Bhimasena with his shafts, were scattered in portions and fell down on the earth. Then the sky was covered with those showers of gold-winged and swiftly-coursing arrows, of both Karna and Bhimasena, that produced sparks of fire as they clashed against each other. The very sun was then shrouded, and the very wind ceased to blow. Indeed, when the welkin was thus covered with those arrowy showers, nothing could be seen. Then the Suta's son, disregarding the energy of the high-souled Bhima, completely shrouded Bhima with other arrows and endeavoured to prevail over him. Then, O sire, those arrowy showers shot by both of them, seemed to clash against each other like two opposite currents of wind. And in consequence of that clash of the arrowy showers of those two lions among men, a conflagration, O chief of the Bharatas, seemed to be generated in the sky. Then Karna, desirous of slaying Bhima, shot at him in rage many whetted arrows equipped with wings of gold and polished by the hands of the smith. Bhima, however, cut off with his own shafts every one of those arrows into three fragments, and prevailing over the Suta's son, he cried out, 'Wait, Wait.' And the wrathful and mighty son of Pandu, like an all-consuming conflagration, once more shot in rage showers of fierce shafts. And then in consequence of their leathern fences striking against their bow-strings, loud sounds were generated. And loud also became the sound of their palms, and terrible their leonine shouts, and fierce the rattle of their car-wheels and the twang of their bow-strings. And all the combatants, O king, ceased to fight, desirous of beholding the prowess of Karna and of the son of Pandu, each of whom was desirous of slaying the other. And the celestial Rishis and Siddhas and Gandharvas, applauded them, saying, "Excellent, Excellent!' And the tribes of Vidyadharas rained flowery showers upon them. Then the wrathful and mighty-armed Bhima of fierce prowess, baffling with his own weapons the weapons of his foe, pierced the Suta's son with many shafts. Karna also, endued with great might, baffling the shafts of Bhimasena, sped at him nine long shafts in that battle. Bhima, however, with as many arrows, cut off those shafts of Suta's son in the welkin and addressed him, saying, 'Wait, Wait!' Then the mighty-armed and heroic Bhima, excited with rage, shot at Adhiratha's son an arrow resembling the rod of Yama or Death himself. Radha's son, however, smiling, cut off that arrow, O king, of Pandu's son, however, of great Prowess, with three arrows of his, as it coursed towards him through the welkin. The son of Pandu then once more shot showers of fierce shafts. Karna, however, fearlessly received all those arrows of Bhima. Then excited with rage, the Suta's son, Karna, by the power of his weapons, with his
straight arrows, cut off in that encounter the couple of quivers and the bow-string of fighting Bhima, as also the traces of his steeds. And then slaying his steeds also, Karna pierced Bhima's charioteer with five shafts. The charioteer, quickly running away, proceeded to Yudhamanyu's car. Excited with rage, the son of Radha then, whose splendour resembled that of the Yuga-fire, smiling the while, cut off the flag-staff of Bhima and felled his banner. Deprived of his bow, the mighty-armed Bhima then seized a dart, such as car-warriors may use. Excited with wrath, he whirled it in his hand and then hurled it with great force at Karna's car. The son of Adhiratha then, with ten shafts, cut off, as it coursed towards him with the effulgence of a large meteor, the gold-decked dart thus hurled (by Bhima). 1 Thereupon, that dart fell down, cut off into ten fragments by those sharp shafts of the Suta's son, Karna, that warrior conversant with every mode of warfare, then battling for the sake of his friends. Then, the son of Kunti took up a shield decked with gold and a sword, desirous of obtaining either death or victory, Karna, however, O Bharata, smiling the while, cut off that bright shield of Bhima with many fierce shafts. Then, car-less, Bhima, O king, deprived of his shield, became mad with rage. Quickly, then, he hurled his formidable sword at Karna's car. That large sword, cutting off the stringed bow of the Suta's son, fell down on the earth, O king, like an angry snake from the sky. Then Adhiratha's son, excited with rage in that battle, smilingly took up another bow destructive of foes, having a stronger string, and tougher than the one he had lost. Desirous of slaying the son of Kunti, Karna then began to shoot thousands of arrows, O king, equipped with wings of gold and endued with great energy. Struck by those shafts shot from Karna's bow, the mighty Bhima leaped into the sky, filling Karna's heart with anguish. Beholding the conduct of Bhima, in battle desirous of victory, the son of Radha beguiled him by concealing himself in his car. Seeing Karna concealing himself with an agitated heart on the terrace of his car, Bhima catching hold of Karna's flagstaff, waited on the earth. All the Kurus and the Charanas highly applauded that attempt of Bhima of snatching Karna away from his car, like Garuda snatching away a snake. His bow cut off, himself deprived of his car, Bhima, observant of the duties of his order, stood still for battle, keeping his (broken) car behind him. The son of Radha, then, from rage, in that encounter, proceeded against the son of Pandu who was waiting for battle. Then those two mighty warriors, O king, challenging as they approached each other, those two bulls among men, roared at each other, like clouds at the close of summer. And the passage-at-arms that then took place between those two engaged lions among men that could not brook each other in battle resembled that of old between the gods and the Danavas. The son of Kunti, however, whose stock of weapons was exhausted, was (obliged to turn back) pursued by Karna. Beholding the elephants, huge as hills that had been slain by
[paragraph continues] Arjuna, lying (near), unarmed Bhimasena entered into their midst, for impeding the progress of Karna's car. Approaching that multitude of elephants and getting into the midst of that fastness which was inaccessible to a car, the son of Pandu, desirous of saving his life, refrained from striking the son of Radha. Desirous of shelter, that subjugator of hostile cities viz., the son of Pritha, uplifting an elephant that had been slain by Dhananjaya with his shafts, waited there, like Hanumat uplifting the peak of Gandhamadana. 1 Karna, however, with his shafts, cut off that elephant held by Bhima. The son of Pandu, thereupon, hurled at Karna the fragments of that elephant's body as also car-wheels and steeds. In fact, all objects that he saw lying there on the field, the son of Pandu, excited with rage, took up and hurled at Karna. Karna, however, with his sharp arrows, cut off every one of those objects thus thrown at him. Bhima also, raising his fierce fists that were endued with the force of the thunder, desired to slay the Suta's son. Soon, however, he recollected Arjuna's vow. The son of Pandu, therefore, though competent, spared the life of Karna, from desire of not falsifying the vow that Savyasachin had made. The Suta's son, however, with his sharp shafts, repeatedly caused the distressed Bhima, to lose the sense. But Karna, recollecting the words of Kunti, took not the life of the unarmed Bhima. Approaching quickly Karna touched him with the horn of his bow. As soon, however, as Bhimasena was touched with the bow, excited with rage and sighing like a snake, he snatched the bow from Karna and struck him with it on the head. Struck by Bhimasena, the son of Radha, with eyes red in wrath, smiling the while, said unto him repeatedly these words, viz., 'Beardless eunuch, ignorant fool and glutton.' And Karna said, 'Without skin in weapons, do not fight with me. Thou art but a child, a laggard in battle! There, son of Pandu, where occurs a profusion of eatables and drink, there, O wretch, shouldst thou be but never in battle. Subsisting on roots, flowers, and observant of vows and austerities, thou, O Bhima, shouldst pass thy days in the woods for thou art unskilled in battle. Great is the difference between battle and the austere mode of a Muni's life. Therefore, O Vrikodara, retire into the woods. O child, thou art not fit for being engaged in battle. Thou hast an aptitude for a life in the woods. Urging cooks and servants and slaves in the house to speed, thou art fit only for reproving them in wrath for the sake of thy dinner, O Vrikodara! O Bhima, O thou of a foolish understanding, betaking thyself to a Muni's mode of life, gather thou fruits (for thy food). Go to the woods, O son of Kunti, for thou art not skilled in battle. Employed in cutting fruits and roots or in waiting upon guests, thou art unfit, I think, to take a part, O Vrikodara, in any passage-at-arms.' And, O monarch, all the wrongs done to him in his younger years, were also reminded by Karna in harsh words. And as he stood there in weakness, Karna once more touched him with
the bow. And laughing loudly, Vrisha once more told Bhima those words, 'Thou shouldst fight with others, O sire, but never with one like me. They that fight with persons like us have to undergo this and else! Go thither where the two Krishnas are! They will protect thee in battle. Or, O son of Kunti, go home, for, a child as thou art, what business hast thou with battle?' Hearing those harsh words of Karna, Bhimasena laughed aloud and addressing Karna said unto him these words in the hearing of all, 'O wicked wight, repeatedly hast thou been vanquished by me. How canst thou indulge, then, in such idle boast? In this world the ancients witnessed the victory and defeat of the great Indra himself. O thou of ignoble parentage, engage thyself with me in an athletic encounter with bare arms. Even as I slew the mighty Kichaka of gigantic frame, I would then slay thee in the very sight of all kings.' Understanding the motives of Bhima, Karna, that foremost of intelligent men, abstained from that combat in the very sight of all the bowmen. Indeed, having made Bhima carless, Karna, O king, reproved him in such boastful language in the sight of that lion among the Vrishnis (viz., Krishna) and of the high-souled Partha. Then the ape-bannered (Arjuna), urged by Kesava, shot at the Suta's son, O king, many shafts whetted on stone. Those arrows adorned with gold, shot by Partha's arms and issuing out of Gandiva, entered Karna's body, like cranes into the Krauncha mountains. With those arrows shot from Gandiva which entered Karna's body like so many snakes, Dhananjaya drove the Suta's son from Bhimasena's vicinity. His bow cut off by Bhima, and himself afflicted with the arrows of Dhananjaya, Karna quickly fled away from Bhima on his great car. Bhimasena also, O bull among men, mounting upon Satyaki's car, proceeded in that battle in the wake of his brother Savyasachin, the son of Pandu. Then Dhananjaya, with eyes red in wrath, aiming at Karna, quickly sped a shaft like the Destroyer urging forward Death's self. That shaft shot from Gandiva, like Garuda in the welkin in quest of a mighty snake, quickly coursed towards Karna. The son of Drona, however, that mighty car-warrior, with a winged arrow of his, cut it off in mid-air, desirous of rescuing Karna from fear of Dhananjaya. Then Arjuna, excited with wrath, pierced the son of Drona with four and sixty arrows, O king, and addressing him, said, 'Do not fly away, O Aswathaman, but wait a moment.' Drona's son, however, afflicted with the shafts of Dhananjaya, quickly entered a division of the Kaurava army that abounded with infuriated elephants and teemed with cars. The mighty son of Kunti, then, with the twang of Gandiva, drowned the noise made in that battle by all other twangings of bows, of shafts decked with gold. Then, the mighty Dhananjaya followed from behind the son of Drona who had not retreated to a great distance, frightening him all the way with his shafts. Piercing with his shafts, winged with the feathers of Kankas and peacocks, the bodies of men and elephants and steeds, Arjuna began to grind that force. Indeed, O chief of the Bharatas, Partha, the son of Indra, began to exterminate that host teeming with steeds and elephants and men.'"
295:3 Literally, mustered all his rage.
298:1 In the first line of the 62 the Bengal reading Ayastam is better than the Bombay reading Ayastas.
299:1 Literally, 'a mountain overgrown with medicinal herbs of great efficacy.' Of course, the allusion is to Hanumat's removal of Gandhamadana for the cure of Lakshmana.
Next: Section CXXXIX