The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'During the progress of that battle in which so many Kshatriyas sank down, the loud twang of Gandiva, O sire, was heard above the din on that spot, O king, where the son of Pandu was engaged in slaughtering the samsaptakas, the Kosalas, and the Narayana forces. Filled with rage and longing for victory, the samsaptakas, in that battle, began to pour showers of arrows on Arjuna's head. The puissant Partha, however, quickly checking those arrowy showers, O king, plunged into that battle, and began to slay many foremost of car-warriors. Plunging into the midst of that division of cars with the aid of his whetted shafts equipped with Kanka feathers, Partha came upon Susharma of excellent weapons. That foremost of car-warriors poured on Arjuna thick showers of arrows. Meanwhile the samsaptakas also covered Partha with their shafts. Then Susharma, piercing Partha with ten shafts, struck Janardana with three in the right arm. With a broad-headed arrow then, O sire, he pierced the standard of Arjuna. Thereupon that foremost of apes, of huge dimensions, the handiwork of the celestial artificer himself, began to utter loud sounds and roared very fiercely, affrighting thy troops. Hearing the roars of the ape, thy army became inspired with fear. Indeed, under the influence of a great fear, that army became perfectly inactive. That army then, as it stood inactive, O king, looked beautiful like the Citraratha forest with its flowery burthen of diverse kinds. Then those warriors, recovering their senses, O chief of the Kurus, began to drench Arjuna with their arrowy downpours like the clouds drenching the mountains. Then all of them encompassed the great car of the Pandava. Assailing him, they uttered loud roars although all the while they were being struck and slaughtered with sharp shafts. Assailing his steeds, his car-wheels, his car-shaft, and every other limb of his vehicle, with great force, O sire, they uttered many leonine roars. Some among them seized the massive arms of Keshava, and some among them, O king, seized Partha himself with great joy as he stood on his car. Then Keshava, shaking his arms on the field of battle, threw down all those that had seized them, like a wicked elephant shaking down all the riders from his back. Then Partha, encompassed by those great car-warriors, and beholding his car assailed and Keshava attacked in that manner became filled with rage, and overthrew a large number of car-warriors and foot-soldiers. And he covered all the combatants that were close to him with many arrows, that were fit for close encounters. Addressing Keshava then, he said, "Behold, O Krishna, O thou of mighty arms, these countless samsaptakas engaged in accomplishing a fearful task although slaughtered in thousands. O bull amongst the Yadus, there is none on Earth, save myself, that would be able to bear such a close attack on his car." Having said these words, Vibhatsu blew his conch. Then Krishna also blew his conch filling the welkin with its blare. Hearing that blare the army of the samsaptakas began to waver, O king, and became inspired with great fright. Then that slayer of hostile heroes, viz., the son of Pandu, paralysed the legs of the samsaptakas by repeatedly invoking, O monarch, the weapon called Naga. Thus tied with those foot-tying bands by the high-souled son of Pandu, all of them stood motionless, O king, as if they had been petrified. The son of Pandu then began to slay those motionless warriors like Indra in days of yore slaying the Daityas in the battle with Taraka. Thus slaughtered in that battle, they set the car free, and commenced to throw down all their weapons. Their legs being paralysed, they could not, O king, move a step. Then Partha slew them with his straight arrows. Indeed, all these warriors in that battle, aiming at whom Partha had invoked that foot-tying weapon, had their lower limbs encircled with snakes. Then the mighty car-warrior Susharma, O monarch, beholding his army thus paralysed, quickly invoked the weapon called Sauparna. Thereupon numerous birds began to come down and devour those snakes. The latter again, at the sight of rangers of the sky, began, O king, to fly away. Freed from that foot-tying weapon, the Samsaptaka force, O monarch, looked like the Sun himself giving light unto all creatures, when freed from clouds. Thus liberated, those warriors once more shot their arrows, O sire, and hurled their weapons at Arjuna's car. And all of them pierced Partha with numerous weapons. Cutting off with his own arrowy downpour that shower of mighty weapons Vasava's son, that slayer of hostile heroes, began to slaughter those warriors. Then Susharma, O king, with a straight arrow, pierced Arjuna in the chest, and then he pierced him with three other shafts. Deeply pierced therewith, and feeling great pain, Arjuna sat down on the terrace of his car. Then all the troops loudly cried out, saying, "Partha is slain." At this the blare of conchs, and the peal of drums, and the sound of diverse musical instruments, and loud leonine shouts, arose there. Recovering his senses, Partha of immeasurable soul, owning white steeds and having Krishna for his driver, speedily invoked the Aindra weapon. Then thousands of arrows, O sire, issuing from that weapon, were seen on all sides to slay kings and elephants. And steeds and warriors, in hundreds and thousands, were also seen to be slaughtered in that battle, with these weapons. Then while the troops were thus being slaughtered, a great fear entered the hearts of all the samsaptakas and Gopalas, O Bharata. There was no man amongst them that could fight with Arjuna. There in the very sight of all the heroes, Arjuna began to destroy thy troops. Beholding that slaughter, all of them remained perfectly inactive, without putting forth their prowess. Then the son of Pandu having slain full 10,000 combatants in that battle, looked resplendent, O monarch, like a blazing fire without smoke. And then he slew full 14,000 warriors, and 3,000 warriors, and 3,000 elephants. Then the samsaptakas once more encompassed Dhananjaya, making death or victory their goal. The battle then that took place there between thy warriors and that mighty hero, viz., the diadem-decked son of Pandu became awful.'"
Next: Section 54