The Mahabharata Home
"Dhritarashtra said, 'When the two armies, duly arrayed, thus mingled with each other for battle, O Sanjaya, how did Partha assail the samsaptakas, and how Karna assail the Pandavas? Tell me the incidents of the battle in detail, for thou art skilled in narration. Listening to the accounts of the prowess of heroes in battle, I am never satiated.'
"Sanjaya said, 'Observing the vast hostile force stationed in that manner, Arjuna arrayed his troops in proper form, in consequence of the evil policy of thy son. The vast Pandava force then, teeming with horsemen and elephants and foot-soldiers and cars, and headed by Dhrishtadyumna, looked exceedingly magnificent. With his steeds white as pigeons, the son of Prishata, equal in splendour to the Sun or the Moon, armed with bow, looked resplendent like Death himself in embodied form. The sons of Draupadi, desirous of battle, stood by the side of the son of Prishata. They were clad in excellent coats of mail, and armed with excellent weapons, and all of them were endued with the prowess of tigers. Possessed of effulgent bodies, they followed their maternal uncle like the stars appearing with the Moon. Beholding the samsaptakas standing in array, Arjuna, with wrath excited, rushed against them, drawing his bow Gandiva. The samsaptakas then, desirous of slaying Arjuna, rushed against Partha, firmly resolved on victory, and making death their goal. That brave host of heroes, teeming with men, steeds, infuriate elephants, and cars, began very quickly to afflict Arjuna. Their encounter with Kiritin (Arjuna) became exceedingly furious. That encounter resembled the one that took place between Arjuna and the Nivatakavachas, as we have heard. Partha cut off cars and steeds and standards and elephants and foot-soldiers engaged in fight, with shafts and bows and swords and discs and battle axes, and uplifted arms with weapons in grasp, and the heads also of foes, by thousands upon thousands. The samsaptakas, regarding the car of Partha sunk in that deep vortex of warriors, uttered loud roars. Partha, however, slaying all his foes in front, slew those that stood further off, and then those that were on his right and his back, like Rudra himself in rage slaughtering all created things endued with life. The encounter that took place when the Pancalas, the Cedis, and the Srinjayas faced thy troops was exceedingly fierce. Kripa and Kritavarma, and Shakuni the son of Subala, those heroes difficult of defeat in battle, accompanied by troops that were all cheerful, themselves filled with rage, and capable of smiting down thick ranks of cars, fought with the Koshalas, the Kasis, the Matsyas, the Karusas, the Kaikayas, and the Surasenas, all of whom were possessed of great courage. That battle fraught with great slaughter and destructive of body, life and sins, became conducive to fame, heaven, and virtue, in respect of the Kshatriya, the Vaishya, and the Shudra heroes that were engaged in it. Meanwhile the Kuru king Duryodhana with his brothers, O bull of Bharata's race, and supported by many Kuru heroes and many mighty Madraka car-warriors, protected Karna while the latter was engaged in battle with the Pandavas, the Pancalas, the Cedis, and Satyaki. Destroying that vast division with his sharp arrows, and crushing many foremost of car-warriors Karna succeeded in afflicting Yudhishthira. Cutting off the armour, the weapons, and the bodies of thousands of foes and slaying his foes by thousands and sending them to heaven and making them earn great fame, Karna caused his friends great joy. Thus, O sire, that battle destructive of men, steeds, and cars, between the Kurus and the Srinjayas, resembled the battle between the gods and the Asuras of old.'"
Next: Section 48