The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'Kripa, O king, resisted Dhrishtadyumna in battle, like a Sarabha in the forest resisting a proud lion. Checked by the mighty son of Gautama, Prishata's son, O Bharata, could not advance even one step. Beholding Gautama's car in front of Dhrishtadyumna's, all creatures were inspired with fright and regarded the latter's destruction to be at hand. Car-warriors and horsemen, becoming very cheerless, said, "Without doubt, this foremost of men, Sharadvata's son of mighty energy and great intelligence and versed in celestial weapon, is filled with rage at the death of Drona. Will Dhrishtadyumna today escape from the hands of Gautama? Will this vast army escape today this great danger? Will not this brahmana slay all of us together? The form that he has assumed today, even like that of the Destroyer himself, shows that he will today act after the manner of Drona himself. The preceptor Gautama, endued with great lightness of hands, is ever victorious in battle. Possessing a knowledge of weapons, he is endued with great energy and filled with rage." Diverse speeches like these, uttered by the warriors of both the armies were, O monarch, heard there as those two heroes encountered each other. Drawing deep breath in rage, Sharadvata's son Kripa, O king, began to afflict the son of Prishata in all his vital limbs while the latter stood inactive. Struck in that battle by the illustrious Gautama, Dhrishtadyumna, greatly stupefied, knew not what to do. His driver then, addressing him said, "It is not all right with thee, O son of Prishata. Never before have I seen such a calamity overtake thee in battle. It is a lucky chance, it seems, that these shafts, capable of penetrating the very vitals, sped by that foremost of brahmanas aiming at thy vital limbs, are not striking thee. I will presently cause the car to turn back, like the current of a river dashed back by the sea. I think that brahmana, by whom thy prowess hath been annihilated, is incapable of being slain by thee." Thus addressed, Dhrishtadyumna, O king, slowly said, "My mind becometh stupefied, O sire, and perspiration covereth my limbs. My body trembles and my hair stands on end. Avoiding that brahmana in battle, proceed slowly to where Arjuna is, O charioteer; arrived at the presence of either Arjuna or Bhimasena, prosperity may be mine. Even this is my certain conviction." Then, O monarch, the charioteer, urging the steeds, proceeded to the spot where the mighty bowman Bhimasena was battling with thy troops. Beholding the car, O sire, of Dhrishtadyumna speedily moving away from that spot, Gautama followed it, shooting hundreds of shafts. And that chastiser of foes also repeatedly blew his conch. Indeed, he routed the son of Prishata like Indra routing the Danava Namuci.
"'The invincible Shikhandi, the cause of Bhishma's death, was in that battle, resisted by Hridika's son who smiled repeatedly as he fought with the former. Shikhandi, however, encountering the mighty car-warrior of the Hridikas, struck him with five keen and broad-headed shafts at the shoulder-joint. Then the mighty car-warrior Kritavarma filled with rage, pierced his foe with sixty winged arrows. With a single arrow then, he cut off his bow, laughing the while. The mighty son of Drupada, filled with wrath, took up another bow, and addressing the son of Hridika, said, "Wait, Wait." Then, O monarch, Shikhandi sped at his foe ninety shafts of great impetuosity, all equipped with golden wings. Those shafts, however, all recoiled from Kritavarma's armour. Seeing those shafts recoil and scattered on the surface of the Earth, Shikhandi cut off Kritavarma's bow with a keen razor-headed arrow. Filled with wrath he struck the bowless son of Hridika, who then resembled a hornless bull, in the arms and the chest, with eighty arrows. Filled with rage but torn and mangled with shafts, Kritavarma vomited blood through his limbs like a jar disgorging the water with which it is filled. Bathed in blood, the Bhoja king looked beautiful like a mountain, O king, streaked with streams of liquefied red chalk after a shower. The puissant Kritavarma then, taking up another bow with a string and an arrow fixed thereon, struck Shikhandi in his shoulder-joint. With those shafts sticking to his shoulder-joint, Shikhandi looked resplendent like a lordly tree with its spreading branches and twigs. Having pierced each other, the two combatants were bathed in blood, and resembled a couple of bulls that have gored each other with their horns Carefully exerting themselves to slay each other, those two mighty car-warriors moved in a 1,000 circles with their respective cars on that arena. Then Kritavarma, O king, in that encounter, pierced the son of Prishata with seventy shafts all of which were equipped with wings of gold and whetted on stone. The ruler of the Bhojas then, that foremost of smiters, sped with great activity a terrible and fatal shaft at his foe. Struck therewith, Shikhandi quickly swooned away. Overcome with stupefaction, he supported himself by seizing his flag-staff. The driver then of that foremost of car-warriors speedily bore him away from the fight. Scorched with the shaft of Hridika's son he drew breath upon breath repeatedly. After the defeat of the heroic son of Drupada, O lord, the Pandava army, slaughtered on all sides, fled away from the field."
Next: Section 27