The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'Then those two vast armies, teeming with rejoicing men and steeds and elephants, resembling in splendour the celestial and the Asura hosts, meeting together, began to strike each other. Men, cars, steeds, elephants, and foot-soldiers of fierce prowess, made sturdy strokes destructive of bodies and sin. Lion-like men strewed the Earth with the heads of lion-like men, each resembling the full moon or the sun in splendour and the lotus in fragrance. Combatants cut off the heads of combatants, with crescent-shaped and broad-headed shafts and razor-faced arrows and axes, and battle-axes. The arms of men of long and massive arms, cut off by men of long and massive arms, falling upon the Earth, shone, decked with weapons and bracelets. With those writhing arms adorned with red fingers and palms, the Earth looked resplendent as if strewn with fierce five-headed snakes slain by Garuda. From elephants and cars and steeds, brave warriors fell down, struck by foes, like the denizens of heaven from their celestial cars on the exhaustion of their merits. Other brave warriors fell down by hundreds, crushed in that battle by brave combatants with heavy maces spiked clubs and short bludgeons. Cars also, in that tumultuous fight, were crushed by cars, and infuriate elephants by infuriate compeers, and horsemen by horsemen. Men destroyed by cars, and cars by elephants, and horsemen by foot-soldiers, and foot-soldiers by horsemen, dropped down on the field, as also cars and steeds and foot-soldiers destroyed by elephants and cars and steeds and elephants by foot-soldiers, and cars and foot-soldiers and elephants by steeds and men and elephants by cars. Great was the carnage made of car-warriors and steeds and elephants and men by men and steeds and elephants and car-warriors, using their hands and feet and weapons and cars. When that host was being thus struck and slain by heroic warriors the Parthas, headed by Vrikodara, advanced against us. They consisted of Dhrishtadyumna and Shikhandi and the five sons of Draupadi and the Prabhadrakas, and Satyaki and Chekitana with the Dravida forces, and the Pandyas, the Cholas, and the Keralas, surrounded by a mighty array, all possessed of broad chests, long arms, tall statures, and large eyes. Decked with ornaments, possessed of red teeth, endued with the prowess of infuriate elephants, attired in robes of diverse colours, smeared with powdered scents, armed with swords and nooses, capable of restraining mighty elephants, companions in death, and never deserting one another, equipped with quivers, bearing bows adorned with long locks, and agreeable in speech were the combatants of the infantry files led by Satyaki, belonging to the Andhra tribe, endued with fierce forms and great energy. Other brave warriors such as the Cedis, the Pancalas, the Kaikayas, the Karushas, the Kosalas, the Kanchis, and the Maghadhas, also rushed forward. Their cars and steeds and elephants, all of the foremost kind, and their fierce foot-soldiers, gladdened by the notes of diverse instruments, seemed to dance and laugh. In the midst of that vast force, came Vrikodara, riding on the neck of an elephant, and surrounded by many foremost of elephant-soldiers, advancing against thy army. That fierce and foremost of elephants, duly equipped, looked resplendent, like the stone-built mansion on the top of the Udaya mountain, crowned with the risen Sun. Its armour of iron, the foremost of its kind, studded with costly gems, was as resplendent as the autumnal firmament bespangled with stars. With a lance in his outstretched arm, his head decked with a beautiful diadem, and possessed of the splendour of the meridian Sun at autumn, Bhima began to burn his foes. Beholding that elephant from a distance, Kshemadhurti, himself on an elephant, challenging, rushed cheerfully towards Bhima who was more cheerful still. An encounter then took place between those two elephants of fierce forms resembling two huge hills topped with trees, each, fighting with the other as it liked. Those two heroes, then, whose elephants thus encountered each other, forcibly struck each other with lances endued with the splendour of solar rays, and uttered loud roars. Separating, they then careered in circles with their elephants, and each taking up a bow began to strike the other. Gladdening the people around with their loud roars and the slaps on their armpits and the whizz of this arrows, they continued to utter leonine shouts. Endued with great strength, both of them, accomplished in weapons, fought, using their elephants with upturned trunks and decked with banners floating on the wind. Then each cutting off the other's bow, they roared at each other, and rained on each other showers of darts and lances like two masses of clouds in the rainy season pouring torrents of rain. Then Kshemadhurti pierced Bhimasena in the centre of the chest with a lance endued with great impetuosity, and then with six others, and uttered a loud shout. With those lances sticking to his body, Bhimasena, whose form then blazed with wrath, looked resplendent like the cloud-covered Sun with his rays issuing through the interstices of that canopy. Then Bhima carefully hurled at his antagonist a lance bright as the rays of the Sun, coursing perfectly straight, and made entirely of iron. The ruler of the Kulutas then, drawing his bow, cut off that lance with ten shafts and then pierced the son of Pandu with sixty shafts. Then Bhima the son of Pandu, taking up a bow whose twang resembled the roar of the clouds, uttered a loud shout and deeply afflicted with his shafts the elephants of his antagonist. Thus afflicted in that battle by Bhimasena with his arrows, that elephant, though sought to be restrained, stayed not on the field like a wind-blown cloud. The fierce prince of elephants owned by Bhima then pursued his (flying) compeer, like a wind-blown mass of clouds pursuing another mass driven by the tempest. Restraining his own elephant valiant Kshemadhurti pierced with his shafts the pursuing elephant of Bhimasena. Then with a well-shot razor-headed arrow that was perfectly straight, Kshemadhurti cut off his antagonist's bow and then afflicted that hostile elephant. Filled with wrath, Kshemadhurti then, in that battle, pierced Bhima and struck his elephant with many long shafts in every vital part. That huge elephant of Bhima then fell down, O Bharata! Bhima, however, who had jumped down from his elephant and stood on the Earth before the fall of the beast, then crushed the elephant of his antagonist with his mace. And Vrikodara then struck Kshemadhurti also, who, jumped down from his crushed elephant, was advancing against him with uplifted weapon. Kshemadhurti, thus struck, fell down lifeless, with the sword in his arm, by the side of his elephant, like a lion struck down by thunder beside a thunder-riven hill. Beholding the celebrated king of the Kulutas slain, thy troops, O bull of Bharata's race exceedingly distressed, fled away.'"
Next: Section 13