The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said 'Beholding Somadatta shaking his large bow, Satyaki, addressing his driver, said, 'Bear me towards Somadatta. I tell thee truely, O Suta, that I shall not return from battle today without having slain that foe, viz., that worst of the Kurus, the son of Valhika'. Thus addressed, the charioteer then urged to battle those fleet steeds of the Sindhu breed, white as conch and capable of bearing every weapon. Those steeds endued with the speed of the wind or the mind, bore Yuyudhana to battle like the steeds of Indra, O king, bearing the latter in days of yore when he proceeded to quell the Danavas. Beholding the Satwata hero thus advancing quickly in battle Somadatta, O king, fearlessly turned towards him. Scattering showers of shafts like the clouds pouring torrents of rain, he covered the grandson of Sini like the clouds covering the sun. Satyaki also, O bull of Bharata's race, in that encounter fearlessly covered that bull amongst the Kurus with showers of shafts. Then Somadatta pierced that hero of Madhu's race with sixty shafts in the chest. Satyaki, in turn, O king, pierced Somadatta with many whetted arrows. Mangled by each other with each-other's shafts, those two warriors looked resplendent like a couple of flowering Kinsukas in the season of spring. Dyed all over with blood, those illustrious warriors of the Kuru and the Vrishni races looked at each other with their glances. Riding on their cars that coursed in circles, those grinders of foes, of terrible countenances, resembled two clouds pouring torrents of rain. Their bodies mangled and pierced all over with arrows, they looked, O king, like two porcupines. Pierced with countless shafts, equipped with wings of gold, the two warriors looked resplendent, O monarch, like a couple of tall trees covered with fire-flies. Their bodies looking bright with the blazing arrows sticking to them, those two mighty car-warriors looked in that battle like two angry elephants decked with burning torches. Then, O monarch, the mighty car-warrior, Somadatta, in that battle, cut off with a crescent-shaped arrow the large bow of Madhava. With great speed also, at a time when speed was of the utmost consequence, the Kuru hero then pierced Satyaki with five and twenty shafts, and once again with ten. Then Satyaki, taking up a tougher bow, quickly pierced Somadatta with five shafts. With another broad-headed arrow, Satyaki also, O king, smiling the while, cut off the golden standard of Valhika's son. Somadatta, however, beholding his standard cut down, fearlessly pierced the grandson of Sini with five and twenty arrows. Satwata also, excited with rage, cut off with a razor-faced arrow the bow of Somadatta, in that encounter. And he also pierced Somadatta who then resembled a snake without fangs, with a hundred straight arrows, equipped with wings of gold. The mighty car-warrior Somadatta, then, who was endued with great strength taking up another bow, began to cover Satyaki (with showers of shafts). Satyaki too, inflamed with rage, pierced Somadatta
with many shafts. Somadatta, in return, afflicted Satyaki with his arrowy showers. Then Bhima coming to the encounter, and fighting on behalf of Satyaki, struck Valhika's son with ten shafts. Somadatta, however, fearlessly struck Bhimasena with many whetted arrows. Then Satyaki, inflamed with rage, aiming at Somadatta's chest, shot a new and terrible Parigha equipped with a golden staff and hard as the thunder. The Kuru warrior, however, smiling the while, cut off that terrible Parigha advancing with speed against him in two parts. That formidable Parigha of iron, then, thus cut off into two fragments, fell down like so many crests of a mountain riven by thunder. Then Satyaki, O king, with a broad-headed arrow, cut off in that encounter Somadatta's bow, and then with five arrows, the leathern fence that cased his fingers. Then, O Bharata, with four other shafts he speedily despatched the four excellent steeds of the Kuru warrior to Yama's presence. And then that tiger among car-warriors with another straight shaft, smiling the while, cut off from his trunk the head of Somadatta's driver. Then he sought at Somadatta himself a terrible shaft of fiery effulgence, whetted on stone, steeped in oil, and equipped with wings of gold. That excellent and fierce shaft, shot by the mighty grandson of Sini, quickly fell like a hawk, O Lord, upon the chest of Somadatta. Deeply pierced by the mighty Satwata, the great car-warrior Somadatta, O monarch, fell down (from his car) and expired. Beholding the great car-warrior Somadatta slain there, thy warriors with a large throng of cars rushed against Yuyudhana. Meanwhile, the Pandava also, O king, with all the Prabhadrakas and accompanied by a large force, rushed against Drona's army. Then Yudhishthira, excited with wrath, began, with his shafts, to strike and rout the troops of Bharadwaja's son at the very sight of the latter. Beholding Yudhishthira thus agitating his troops, Drona, with eyes red in wrath, furiously rushed against him. The preceptor, then pierced the son of Pritha with seven keen arrows. Yudhishthira, in return, excited with wrath, pierced the preceptor with five arrows. Deeply pierced by the son of Pandu, the mighty bowman (Drona), licking the corners of his mouth for a moment, cut off both the standard and the bow of Yudhishthira. With great speed, at a time when speed was of the utmost consequence, that best of kings, whose bow had been cut off, took up another bow that was sufficiently tough and hard. The son of Pandu then pierced Drona with his steeds, driver, standard, and car, with a thousand arrows. All this seemed exceedingly wonderful. Afflicted with the strokes of those arrows and feeling great pain, Drona, that bull among Brahmanas, sat down for a while on the terrace of his car. Recovering his senses, sighing like a snake, and filled with great rage, the preceptor invoked into existence the Vayavya weapon. The valiant son of Pritha, bow in hand, fearlessly baffled that weapon with a similar weapon of his in that encounter. And the son of Pandu also cut in two fragments the large bow of the Brahmana. Then Drona, that grinder of Kshatriyas, took up another bow. That bull of Kuru's race, Yudhishthira, cut off that bow also, with many keen shafts. Then
[paragraph continues] Vasudeva, addressing Yudhishthira. the son of Kunti, said, 'Listen, O mighty-armed Yudhishthira, to what I say. Cease, O best of the Bharatas, to fight with Drona. Drona always striveth to seize thee in battle. I do not think it fit that thou shouldst fight with him. He who hath been created for Drona's destruction will, without doubt, slay him. Leaving the preceptor, go where king Suyodhana is. Kings should fight with kings, they should not desire to fight with such as are not kings. Surrounded, therefore, by elephants and steeds and cars, repair thou thither, O son of Kunti, where Dhananjaya with myself, aided by a small force, and Bhima also, that tiger among men, are fighting with the Kurus'. Hearing these words of Vasudeva, king Yudhishthira the just, reflecting for a moment, proceeded to that part of the field where that slayer of foes, viz., Bhima, engaged in fierce battle, was slaughtering thy troops like the Destroyer himself with wide-open mouth. Making the earth resound with the loud rattle of his car, which resembled the roar of the clouds at the end of summer, king Yudhishthira the just, the (eldest) son of Pandu, took up the flank of Bhima, engaged in the slaughter of the foe. Drona also on that night, began to consume his foes, the Panchalas'"
Next: Section CLXII