The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'Wheeling round, like the planet Mercury in the curvature of its orbit, Jishnu (Arjuna) once more slew large number of the samsaptakas. Afflicted with the shafts of Partha, O king, men, steeds, and elephants, O Bharata, wavered and wondered and lost colour and fell down and died. Many foremost of animals tied to yokes and drivers and standards, and bows, and shafts and hands and weapons in grasp, and arms, and heads, of heroic foes fighting with him, the son of Pandu cut off in that battle, with arrows, some of which were broad-headed, some equipped with heads like razors, some crescent-shaped, and some furnished with heads like the calf's tooth. Like bulls fighting with a bull for the sake of a cow in season, brave warriors by hundreds and thousands closed upon Arjuna. The battle that took place between them and him made the hair to stand on end like the encounter between the Daityas and Indra, the wielder of the thunderbolt on the occasion of the conquest of the three worlds. Then the son of Ugrayudha pierced Partha with three shafts resembling three venomous snakes. Partha, however, cut off from his enemy's trunk the latter's head. Then those warriors, filled with rage, covered Arjuna from every side with diverse kinds of weapons like the clouds urged by the Maruts shrouding Himavat at the close of summer. Checking with his own weapons those of his foes on every side, Arjuna slew a large number of his enemies with well-shot shafts. With his arrows Arjuna then cut off the Trivenus, the steeds, the drivers, and the parshni drivers of many cars, and displaced the weapons and quivers of many, and deprived many of their wheels and standards, and broke the cords, the traces and the axles of many, and destroyed the bottoms and yokes of others, and caused all the equipment of many to fall from their places. Those cars, thus smashed and injured by Arjuna in large numbers, looked like the luxurious mansions of the rich destroyed by fire, wind, and rain. Elephants, their vitals pierced with shafts resembling thunderbolts in impetuosity, fell down like mansions on mountain-tops overthrown by blasts of lightning. Large numbers of steeds with their riders, struck by Arjuna, fell down on the Earth, their tongues and entrails pressed out, themselves deprived of strength and bathed in blood, and presenting an awful sight. Men and steeds and elephants, pierced by Savyasaci (Arjuna) with his shafts, wondered and tottered and fell down and uttered cries of pain and looked pale, O sire. Like Mahendra smiting down the danavas, Partha smote down large numbers of his foes, by means of shafts whetted on stone and resembling the thunder of poison in deadliness. Brave warriors, cased in costly coats of mail and decked with ornaments and armed with diverse kinds of weapons, lay on the field, with their cars and standards, slain by Partha. Vanquished (and deprived of life) persons of righteous deeds, possessed of noble birth and great knowledge, proceeded to heaven in consequence of those glorious deeds of theirs while their bodies only lay on Earth. Then the chief, belonging to thy army, of various realms, filled with wrath and accompanied by their followers, rushed against Arjuna, that foremost of car-warriors. Warriors borne on their cars and steeds and elephants, and foot-soldiers also, all desirous of slaying (Arjuna), rushed towards him, shooting diverse weapons with great speed. Then Arjuna like wind, by means of keen shafts, destroyed that thick shower of weapons dropped by those warriors constituting a mass of congregated clouds. People then beheld Arjuna crossing that raftless ocean constituted by steeds and foot-soldiers and elephants and cars, and having mighty weapons for its waves, on a bridge constituted by his own mighty weapons of offence and defence. Then Vasudeva, addressing Partha, said, "Why, O sinless one, dost thou sport in this way? Grinding these samsaptakas, haste thyself for Karna's slaughter." Saying, "So be it" unto Krishna, Arjuna then, forcibly smiting the remnant of the samsaptakas with his weapons, began to destroy them like Indra destroying the Daityas. At that time, with even the closest attention, men could not mark when Arjuna took out his shafts, when he aimed them and when he let them off quickly. Govinda himself, O Bharata, regarded it wonderful. Like swans diving into a lake the shafts of Arjuna, white and active as swans, penetrated into the hostile force. Then Govinda, beholding the field of battle during the progress of that carnage, said these words to Savyasaci, "Here, O Partha, for the sake of Duryodhana alone, occurreth this great and terrible destruction of the Bharatas and other kings of Earth. Behold, O son of Bharata, these bows, with golden backs, of many mighty bowmen, and these girdles and quivers loosened from their bodies. Behold these straight shafts equipped with wings of gold, and these long arrows washed with oil and looking like snakes freed from their sloughs. Behold these beautiful lances decked with gold lying scattered about, and these coats of mail, O Bharata, adorned with gold and fallen off from the bodies of the warriors. Behold these spears embellished with gold, these darts adorned with the same metal, and these huge maces twined round with threads of gold, and cords of hemp. Behold these swords decked with bright gold and these axes adorned with the same, and these battle-axes equipped with gold-decked handles. Behold also these spiked clubs, these short arrows, these Bhusundis, and these Kanapas; these iron Kuntas lying around, and these heavy Mushalas. These victory-longing warriors endued with great activity and armed with diverse weapons, though dead, still seem to be quick with life. Behold those thousands of warriors, their limbs crushed with maces, and heads split with Mushalas or smashed and trod by elephants and steeds and cars. O slayer of foes, the field of battle is strewn with the bodies of men and elephants and steeds, deprived of life, dreadfully mangled with shafts and darts and swords and lances and scimitars and axes and spears and Nakharas and bludgeons, and bathed in streams of blood. Strewn with arms smeared with sandal-paste and decked with Angadas and graced with auspicious indications and cased in leathern fences and adorned with Keyuras, the Earth looks resplendent, O Bharata. Strewn also with hands having fingers cased in fences, decked with ornaments, and lopped off from arms, and with severed thighs looking like the trunks of elephants, of heroes endued with great activity and with heads adorned with earrings and headgears set with gems, (the Earth looks exceedingly beautiful). Behold those beautiful cars, decked with golden bells, broken in diverse ways. Behold those numerous steeds bathed in blood, those bottoms of cars and long quivers, and diverse kinds of standards and banners and those huge conchs, of the combatants, and those yak-tails perfectly white, and those elephants with tongues lolling out and lying on the field like hills, and those beautiful with triumphal banners, and those slain elephant-warriors, and those rich coverlets, each consisting of one piece of blanket, for the backs of those huge beasts, and those beautiful and variegated and torn blankets, and those numerous bells loosened from the bodies of elephants and broken into fragments by those falling creatures, and those hooks with handles set with stones of lapis lazuli fallen upon the Earth, and those ornamental yokes of steeds, and those armours set with diamonds for their breasts and those rich cloths, adorned with gold and tied to the ends of the standards borne by horsemen, and those variegated coverlets and housings and Ranku skins, set with brilliant gems and inlaid with gold, for the backs of steeds and fallen on the ground, and those large diamonds adorning the head-gears of kings, and those beautiful necklaces of gold, and those umbrellas displaced from their positions, and those yak-tails and fans. Behold the earth strewn with faces adorned with earrings bright as the moon or stars, and embellished with well-cut beards, and each looking like the full moon. The earth, strewn with those faces looking like lilies and lotuses, resembles a lake adorned with a dense assemblage of lilies and lotuses. Behold, the earth possessing the effulgence of the bright moon and diversified as if with myriads of stars, looks like the autumnal firmament bespangled with stellar lights. O Arjuna, these feats that have been achieved by thee in great battle today are, indeed, worthy of thee or of the chief of the celestials himself in heaven." Even thus did Krishna show the field of battle unto Arjuna. And while returning (from the field to their camp), they heard a loud noise in the army of Duryodhana. Indeed the uproar that was heard consisted of the blare of conchs and the beat of cymbals and drums and Patahas and the clatter of car wheels, the neighing of steeds, the grunt of elephants, and the fierce clash of weapons. Penetrating into that force by the aid of his steeds possessing the fleetness of the wind, Krishna became filled with wonder upon beholding the army grinded by Pandya. Like Yama himself slaying creatures whose lives have run out, Pandya, that foremost of warriors skilled in shafts and weapons, was destroying crowds of foes by means of diverse kinds of shafts. Piercing the bodies of the elephants and steeds and men with sharp shafts, that foremost of smiters overthrew and deprived them of life. Cutting off with his own shafts the diverse weapons hurled at him by many foremost of foes, Pandya slew his enemies like Sakra (Indra) destroying the Danavas.'"
Next: Section 20