The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'Beholding Satwata, invincible in battle coming (towards Arjuna), Bhurisravas, in rage, O king, suddenly advanced towards him. He of Kuru's race, then, O king, addressing that bull of Sini's race, said, 'By luck it, is thou that hast today come within the range of my vision. Today in this; battle, I obtain the wish I had always cherished. If thou dost not flee away from battle, thou wilt not escape me with life. Slaying thee today in fight, thou that art ever proud of thy heroism, I will, O thou of Dasarha's race, gladden the Kuru king Suyodhana. Those heroes, viz., Kesava and Arjuna, will today together behold thee lying on the field of battle, scorched with my arrows. Hearing that thou hast been slain by me, the royal son of Dharma, who caused thee to penetrate into this host, will today be covered with shame. Pritha's son, Dhananjaya, will today behold my prowess when he sees thee slain and lying on the earth, covered with gore. This encounter with thee hath always been desired by me, like the encounter of Sakra with Vali in the battle between the gods and the Asuras in days of old. Today I will give thee dreadful battle, O Satwata! Thou shalt thence truly understand (the measure of) my energy, might, and manliness. Slain by me in battle, thou shalt today proceed to the abode of Yama, like Ravana's son (Indrajit) slain by Lakshmana, the younger brother of Rama. Today, Krishna and Partha and king Yudhishthira the Just, O thou of Madhu's race, witnessing thy slaughter will, without doubt, be overcome
with despondency and will give up battle. Causing thy death today, O Madhava, with keen shafts, I will gladden the wives of all those that have been slain by thee in battle. Having come within the scope of my vision, thou shalt not escape, like a small deer from within the range of a lion's vision.' Hearing these words of his, Yuyudhana, O king, answered him with a laugh, saying, 'O thou of Kuru's race, I am never inspired with fear in battle. Thou shalt not succeed in terrifying me with thy words only. He will slay me in battle who will succeed in disarming me. He that will slay me in battle will slay (foes) for all time to come. 1 What is the use of such idle and long-winded boast in words? Accomplish in deed what thou sayest. Thy words seem to be as fruitless as the roar of autumnal clouds. Hearing, O hero, these roars of thine, I cannot restrain my laughter. Let that encounter, O thou of Kuru's race, which has been desired by thee so long, take place today. My heart, O sire, inspired as it is with the desire of an encounter with thee, cannot brook any delay. Before slaying thee, I shall not abstain from the fight, O wretch.' Rebuking each other in such words, those two bulls among men, both excited with great wrath, struck each other in battle, each being desirous of taking the other's life. Those great bowmen both endued with great might, encountered each other in battle, each challenging the other, like two wrathful elephants in rut for the sake of a she-elephant in her season. And those two chastisers of foes, viz., Bhurisravas and Satyaki, poured upon each other dense showers of arrows like two masses of clouds. Then Somadatta's son, having shrouded the grandson of Sini with swift coursing shafts, once more pierced the latter, O chief of the Bharatas, with many keen shafts, from desire of slaying him. Having pierced Satyaki with ten shafts, Somadatta's son sped many other keen shafts at that bull amongst the Sinis, from a desire of compassing his destruction. Satyaki, however, O lord, cut off, with the power of his weapons, all those keen shafts of Bhurisravas, O king, in the welkin, before, in fact, any of them could reach him. Those two heroes, those two warriors that enhanced the fame of the Kurus and the Vrishnis respectively, both of noble lineage, thus poured upon each other their arrowy showers. Like two tigers fighting with their claws or two huge elephants with their tusks they mangled each other with shafts and darts, such as car-warriors may use. Mangling each other's limbs, and with blood issuing out of their wounds, those two warriors engaged in a gambling match in which their lives were at the stake, checked and confounded each other. Those heroes of excellent feats, those enhancers of the fame of the Kurus and the Vrishnis, thus fought with each other, like two leaders of elephantine herds. Indeed, those warriors, both coveting the highest region, both cherishing the desire of very soon attaining the region of Brahman, thus roared at each other. Indeed, Satyaki and Somadatta's son continued to cover each other with their arrowy showers in the sight of the Dhartarashtras filled with joy. And the people there witnessed that encounter between those two
foremost of warriors who were fighting like two leaders of elephantine herds for the sake of a she-elephant in her season. Then each slaying the other's steeds and cutting off the other's bow, those car-less combatants encountered each other with swords in a dreadful fight. Taking up two beautiful and large and bright shields made of bull's hide, and two naked swords, they careered on the field. Stalking in circles and in diverse other kinds of courses duly, those grinders of foes excited with rage, frequently struck each other. Armed with swords, clad in bright armour, decked with cuirass and Angadas, those two famous warriors showed diverse kinds of motion. They wheeled about on high and made side-thrusts, and ran about, and rushed forward and rushed upwards. And those chastisers of foes began to strike each other with their swords. And each of them looked eagerly for the dereliction of the other. And both of those heroes leapt beautifully and both showed their skill in that battle, began also to make skilful passes at each other, and having struck each other, O king, those heroes took rest for a moment in the sight of all the troops. Having with their swords cut in pieces each other's beautiful shield, O king, decked with a hundred moons, those tigers among men, engaged themselves in a wrestling encounter. Both having broad chests, both having long arms, both well-skilled in wrestling, they encountered each other with their arms of iron that resembled spiked maces. And they struck each other with their arms, and seized each other's arms, and each seized with his arms the other's neck. And the skill they had acquired by exercise, contributed to the joy of all the warriors that stood as spectators of the encounter. And as those heroes fought with each other, O king, in that battle, loud and terrible were the sounds produced by them, resembling the fall of the thunder upon the mountain breast. Like two elephants encountering each other with the end of their tusks, or like two bulls with their horns, those two illustrious and foremost warriors of the Kuru and the Satwata races, fought with each other, sometimes binding each other with their arms, sometimes striking each other with their heads, sometimes intertwining each other's legs, sometimes slapping their armpits, sometimes pinching each other with their nails, sometimes clasping each other tightly, sometimes twining their legs round each other's loins, sometimes rolling on the ground, sometimes advancing, sometimes receding, sometimes rising up, and sometimes leaping up. Indeed, those two and thirty kinds of separate manoeuvres that characterise encounters of that kind.
"When Satwata's weapons were exhausted during his engagement with Bhurisravas, Vâsudeva said unto Arjuna, 'Behold that foremost of all bowmen, viz., Satyaki, engaged in battle, deprived of car. He hath entered the Bharata host, having pierced through it, following in thy wake, O son of Pandu! He hath fought with all the Bharata warriors of great energy. The giver of large sacrificial presents, viz., Bhurisravas, hath encountered that foremost of warriors while tired with fatigue. Desirous of battle, Bhurisravas is about to encounter. Then that warrior invincible in battle, viz., Bhurisravas, excited with wrath, vigorously struck Satyaki, O king, like an
infuriated elephant striking an infuriated compeer. Those two foremost of warriors, both upon their cars, and both excited with wrath, fought on, king, Kesava, and Arjuna witnessing their encounter. Then the mighty-armed Krishna, addressing Arjuna, said, 'Behold, that tiger among the Vrishnis and the Andhakas has succumbed to Somadatta's son. Having achieved the most difficult feats, exhausted with exertion, he hath been deprived of his car. O Arjuna, protect Satyaki, thy heroic disciple. See that foremost of men may not, for thy sake, O tiger among men, succumb to Bhurisravas, devoted to sacrifices. O puissant one, speedily do what is needed.' Dhananjaya, with a cheerful heart addressing Vâsudeva, said, 'Behold, that bull amongst the Rurus and that foremost one among the Vrishnis are sporting with each other, like a huge elephant mad with rage sporting with a mighty lion in the forest. While Dhananjaya the son of Pandu was thus speaking, loud cries of oh and alas arose among the troops, O bull of Bharata's race, since the mighty-armed Bhurisravas, exerting vigorously struck Satyaki and brought him down upon the ground. And like a lion dragging an elephant, that foremost one of Kuru's race, viz., Bhurisravas, that giver of profuse presents at sacrifices, dragging that foremost one amongst the Satwatas, looked resplendent in that battle. Then Bhurisravas in that encounter, drawing his sword from the scabbard, seized Satyaki by the hair of his head and struck him at the chest with his feet. Bhurisravas then was about to cut off from Satyaki's trunk his head decked with ear-rings. For sometime, the Satwata hero rapidly whirled his head with the arm of Bhurisravas that held it by the hair, like a potter's wheel whirled round with the staff. Beholding Satwata thus dragged in battle by Bhurisravas. Vâsudeva once more, O king, addressed Arjuna and said, 'Behold, that tiger among the Vrishnis and the Andhakas, that disciple of thine, O mighty-armed one, not inferior to thee in bowmanship, hath succumbed to Somadatta's son. O Partha, since Bhurisravas is thus prevailing over the Vrishni hero, Satyaki, of prowess incapable of being baffled, the very name of the latter is about to be falsified. 1 Thus addressed by Vâsudeva the mighty-armed son of Pandu, mentally worshipped Bhurisravas in that battle, saying, 'I am glad that, Bhurisravas, that enhancer of the fame of the Kurus, is dragging Satyaki in battle, as if in sport. Without slaying Satyaki that foremost one among the heroes of the Vrishni race, the Kuru warrior is only dragging him like a mighty lion in the forest dragging a huge elephant.' Mentally applauding the Kuru warrior thus, O king, the mighty-armed Arjuna, the son of Pritha, replied unto Vasudeva, saying, 'My eyes having rested upon of the Sindhus, I could not, O Madhava, see Satyaki. I shall, however, for the sake of that Yadava warrior, achieve a most difficult feat.' Having said these words, in obedience to Vâsudeva, the son of Pandu, fixed on Gandiva a sharp razor-headed
arrow. That arrow, shot by Partha's hand and resembling a meteor flashing down from the firmament, cut off the Kuru warrior's arm with the sword in the grasp and decked with Angada.'"
305:1 The sense is that he that will slay me will always be victorious in battle, will always slay the warriors with whom he may be engaged in battle. Defeat will never be his.
307:1 do not render 55 literally. Satyaki is called 'Satyavikrama,' i.e., of true prowess' or 'of prowess incapable of being baffled.' If he sustains a defeat today at Bhurisrava's hand, that title of his will be falsified. This is all that Krishna means.
Next: Section CXLII