The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'Meanwhile Vikartana himself, resisting Bhimasena supported by the Pancalas and the Cedis and the Kaikayas, covered him with many arrows. In the very sight of Bhimasena, Karna, slew in that battle many mighty car-warriors among the Cedis, the Karushas, and the Srinjayas. Then Bhimasena, avoiding Karna, that best of car-warriors, proceeded against the Kaurava troops like a blazing fire towards a heap of dry grass. The Suta's son also in that battle, began to slay the mighty bowmen amongst the Pancalas, the Kaikayas, and the Srinjayas, in thousands. Indeed, the three mighty car-warriors viz., Partha and Vrikodara and Karna, began to exterminate the samsaptakas, the Kauravas, and the Pancalas, respectively. In consequence of thy evil policy, O king, all these Kshatriyas, scorched with excellent shafts by those three great warriors, began to be exterminated in that battle. Then Duryodhana, O chief of the Bharatas, filled with rage, pierced Nakula and his four steeds with nine arrows. Of immeasurable soul, thy son next, O ruler of men, cut off the golden standard of Sahadeva with a razor-faced shaft. Filled with wrath, Nakula then, O king, struck thy son with three and seventy arrows in that battle, and Sahadeva struck him with five. Each of those foremost warriors of Bharata's race and foremost of all bowmen, was struck by Duryodhana in rage with five arrows. With a couple of broad-headed arrows, then, he cut off the bows of both those warriors; and then he suddenly pierced each of the twins with three and seventy arrows. Taking up then two other beautiful and foremost of bows each of which resembled the bow of Indra himself, those two heroes looked beautiful like a pair of celestial youths in that battle. Then those two brothers, both endued with great activity in battle, poured upon their cousin, O king, ceaseless showers of terrible shafts like two masses of clouds, pouring rain upon a mountain breast. Thereupon thy son, that great car-warrior, O king filled with rage, resisted those two great bowmen, viz., the twin sons of Pandu, with showers of winged arrows. The bow of Duryodhana in that battle, O Bharata, seemed to be continuously drawn into a circle, and shafts seemed to issue from it ceaselessly on all sides. Covered with Duryodhana's shafts the two sons of Pandu ceased to shine brightly, like the Sun and the Moon in the firmament, divested of splendour, when shrouded by masses of clouds. Indeed, those arrows, O king, equipped with wings of gold and whetted on stone, covered all the points of the compass like the rays of the Sun, when the welkin was thus shrouded and all that was seen was one uniform expanse of the Destroyer himself, at the end of the Yuga. Beholding on the other hand, the prowess of thy son, the great car-warriors all regarded the twin sons of Madri to be in the presence of Death. The commander then, O king, of the Pandava army, viz., the mighty car-warrior Parshata (Son of Prishata) proceeded to that spot where Duryodhana was. Transgressing those two great car-warriors, viz., the two brave sons of Madri, Dhrishtadyumna began to resist thy son with his shafts. Of immeasurable soul, that bull among men, viz., thy son, filled with the desire to retaliate, and smiling the while, pierced the prince of Pancala with five and twenty arrows. Of immeasurable soul and filled with the desire to retaliate, thy son once more pierced the prince of Pancala with sixty shafts and once again with five, and uttered a loud roar. Then the king, with a sharp razor-faced arrow, cut off, in that battle, O sire, the bow with arrow fixed thereon and the leathern fence of his antagonist. Casting aside that broken bow, the prince of Pancala, that crusher of foes, quickly took up another bow that was new and capable of bearing a great strain. Blazing with impetuosity, and with eyes red as blood from rage, the great bowman Dhrishtadyumna, with many wounds on his person looked resplendent on his car. Desirous of slaying Duryodhana, O chief of the Bharatas, the Pancala hero sped five and ten cloth-yard shafts that resembled hissing snakes. Those shafts, whetted on stone and equipped with the feathers of Kankas and peacocks, cutting through the armour decked with gold of the king passed through his body and entered the Earth in consequence of the force with which they had been shot. Deeply pierced, O monarch, thy son looked exceedingly beautiful like a gigantic Kinsuka in the season of spring with its flowery weight. His armour pierced with those shafts, and all his limbs rendered exceedingly infirm with wounds, he became filled with rage and cut off Dhrishtadyumna's bow, with a broad-headed arrow. Having cut off his assailant's bow the king then, O monarch, with great speed, struck him with ten shafts on the forehead between the two eyebrows. Those shafts, polished by the hands of the smith, adorned Dhrishtadyumna's face like a number of bees, desirous of honey, adorning a full-blown lotus. Throwing aside that broken bow, the high-souled Dhrishtadyumna quickly took up another, and with it, sixteen broad-headed arrows. With five he slew the four steeds and the driver of Duryodhana, and he cut off with another his bow decked with gold. With the remaining ten shafts, the son of Prishata cut off the car with the upashkara, the umbrella, the dart, the sword, the mace, and the standard of thy son. Indeed, all the kings beheld the beautiful standard of the Kuru king, decked with golden Angadas and bearing the device of an elephant worked in jewels, cut off by the prince of the Pancalas. Then the uterine brothers of Duryodhana, O bull of Bharata's race, rescued the carless Duryodhana who had all his weapons, besides, cut off in that battle. In the very sight of Dhrishtadyumna, Durdhara, O monarch, causing that ruler of men to ride upon his car quickly bore him away from the battle.
"'Meanwhile the mighty Karna, having vanquished Satyaki and desirous of rescuing the (Kuru) king, proceeded straight against the face of Drona's slayer, that warrior of fierce shafts. The grandson of Sini, however, quickly pursued him from behind, striking him with his arrows, like an elephant pursuing a rival and striking him at the hinder limbs with his tusks. Then, O Bharata, fierce became the battle that raged between the high-souled warriors of the two armies, in the space that intervened between Karna and the son of Prishata. Not a single combatant of either the Pandavas nor ourselves turned his face from the battle. Then Karna proceeded against the Pancalas with great speed. At that hour when the Sun had ascended the meridian, great slaughter, O best of men, of elephants and steeds and men, took place on both sides. The Pancalas, O king, inspired with the desire of victory, all rushed with speed against Karna like birds towards a tree. The son of Adhiratha, of great energy, filled with rage, began from their front to strike those Pancalas, with the keen points of his shafts, singling out their leaders, viz., Vyaghraketu and Susharma and Citra and Ugrayudha and Jaya and Sukla and Rochamana and the invincible Singhasena. Those heroes, speedily advancing with their cars, encompassed that foremost of men, and poured their shafts upon that angry warrior, viz., Karna, that ornament of battle. That foremost of men endued with great valour, viz., the son of Radha, afflicted those eight heroes engaged in battle with eight keen shafts. The Suta's son possessed of great prowess, O king, then slew many thousands of other warriors skilled in fight. Filled with rage, the son of Radha then slew Jishnu, and Jishnukarman, and Devapi, O king, in that battle, and Citra, and Citrayudha, and Hari, and Singhaketu and Rochamana and the great car-warrior Salabha, and many car-warriors among the Cedis bathed the form of Adhiratha's son in blood, while he himself was engaged in taking the lives of those heroes. There, O Bharata, elephants, assailed with arrows by Karna, fled away on all sides in fear and caused a great agitation on the field of battle. Others assailed with the shafts of Karna, uttered diverse cries, and fell down like mountains riven with thunder. With the fallen bodies of elephants and steeds and men and with fallen cars, the Earth became strewn along the track of Karna's car. Indeed, neither Bhishma, nor Drona, nor any other warrior of thy army had ever achieved such feats as were then achieved by Karna in that battle. Amongst elephants, amongst steeds, amongst cars and amongst men, the Suta's son caused a very great carnage, O tiger among men. As a lion is seen to career fearlessly among a herd of deer, even so Karna careered fearlessly among the Pancalas. As a lion routeth a herd of terrified deer to all points of the compass, even so Karna routed those throngs of Pancala cars to all sides. As a herd of deer that have approached the jaws of a lion can never escape with life, even so those great car-warriors that approached Karna could not escape with their lives. As people are certainly burnt if they come in contact with a blazing fire, even so the Srinjayas, O Bharata, were burnt by the Karna-fire when they came in contact with it. Many warriors among the Cedis and the Pancalas, O Bharata, that were regarded as heroes, were slain by the single-handed Karna in that battle who fought with them, proclaiming his name, in every instance. Beholding the prowess of Karna, O king, I thought that a single Pancala even would not, in that battle, escape from the son of Adhiratha. Indeed, the Suta's son in that battle repeatedly routed the Pancalas.
"'Beholding Karna thus slaughtering the Pancalas in that dreadful battle, King Yudhishthira the just rushed in wrath towards him; Dhrishtadyumna and the sons of Draupadi also, O sire, and hundreds of warriors, encompassed that slayer of foes viz., the son of Radha. And Shikhandi, and Sahadeva, and Nakula, and Nakula's son, and Janamejaya, and the grandson of Sini, and innumerable Prabhadrakas, all endued with immeasurable energy, advancing with Dhrishtadyumna in their van, looked magnificent as they struck Karna with shafts and diverse weapons. Like Garuda falling upon a large number of snakes, the son of Adhiratha, singlehanded, fell upon all those Cedis and Pancalas and Pandavas in that encounter. The battle that took place between them and Karna, O monarch, became exceedingly fierce like that which had occurred in days of old between the gods and the Danavas. Like the Sun dispelling the surrounding darkness, Karna fearlessly and alone encountered all those great bowmen united together and pouring upon him repeated showers of arrows. While the son of Radha was thus engaged with the Pandavas, Bhimasena, filled with rage, began to slaughter the Kurus with shafts, every one of which resembled the lord of Yama. That great bowman, fighting single-handed with the Bahlikas, and the Kaikayas, the Matsyas, the Vasatas, the Madras, and Saindhavas, looked exceedingly resplendent. There, elephants, assailed in their vital limbs by Bhima with his cloth-yard shafts fell down, with their riders slain, making the Earth tremble with the violence of their fall. Steeds also, with their riders slain, and foot-soldiers deprived of life, lay down, pierced with arrows and vomiting blood in large quantities. Car-warriors in thousands fell down, their weapons loosened from their hands. Inspired with the fear of Bhima, they lay deprived of life, their bodies mangled with sounds. The Earth became strewn with car-warriors and horsemen and elephant-men and drivers and foot-soldiers and steeds and elephants all mangled with the shafts of Bhimasena. The army of Duryodhana, O king, cheerless and mangled and afflicted with the fear of Bhimasena, stood as if stupefied. Indeed that melancholy host stood motionless in that dreadful battle like the Ocean, O king, during a calm in autumn. Stupefied, that host stood even like the Ocean in calm. However endued with wrath and energy and might, the army of thy son then, divested of its pride, lost all its splendour. Indeed, the host, whilst thus being slaughtered became drenched with gore and seemed to bathe in blood. The combatants, O chief of the Bharatas, drenched with blood, were seen to approach and slaughter one another. The Suta's son, filled with rage, routed the Pandava division, while Bhimasena in rage routed the Kurus. And both of them, while thus employed, looked exceedingly resplendent. During the progress of that fierce battle filling the spectators with wonder, Arjuna, that foremost of various persons, having slain a large number of samsaptakas in the midst of their array, addressed Vasudeva, saying, "This struggling force of samsaptakas, O Janardana, is broken. Those great car-warriors amongst the samsaptakas are flying away with their followers, unable to bear my shafts, like deer unable to bear the roar of the lion. The vast force of the Srinjayas also seems to break in this great battle. There that banner of the intelligent Karna, bearing the device of the elephant's rope, O Krishna, is seen in the midst of Yudhishthira's division, where he is careering with activity. The other great car-warriors (of our army) are incapable of vanquishing Karna. Thou knowest that Karna is possessed of great energy as regards prowess in battle. Proceed thither where Karna is routing our force. Avoiding (other warriors) in battle, proceed against the Suta's son, that mighty car-warrior. This is what I wish, O Krishna. Do, however, that which thou likest." Hearing these words of his, Govinda smiled, and addressing Arjuna, said, "Slay the Kauravas, O son of Pandu, without delay." Then those steeds, white as swans, urged by Govinda, and bearing Krishna and the son of Pandu penetrated thy vast force. Indeed, thy host broke on all sides as those white steeds in trappings of gold, urged by Keshava, penetrated into its midst. That ape-bannered car, the clatter of whose wheels resembled the deep roar of the clouds and whose flags waved in the air, penetrated into the host like a celestial car passing through the welkin. Keshava and Arjuna, filled with rage, and with eyes red as blood, as they penetrated, piercing through thy vast host, looked exceedingly resplendent in their splendour. Both delighting in battle, as those two heroes, challenged by the Kurus, came to the field, they looked like the twin Ashvinis invoked with proper rites in a sacrifice by the officiating priests. Filled with rage, the impetuosity of those two tigers among men increased like that of two elephants in a large forest, enraged at the claps of hunters. Having penetrated into the midst of that car-force and those bodies of horse, Phalguna careered within those divisions like the Destroyer himself, armed with the fatal noose. Beholding him put forth such prowess within his army, thy son, O Bharata, once more urged the samsaptakas against him. Thereupon, with a 1,000 cars, and 300 elephants, and 14,000 horses, and 200,00 of foot-soldiers armed with the bow, endued with great courage, of sureness of aim and conversant with all the ways of battle, the leaders of the samsaptakas rushed (from every side) towards the son of Kunti (in the great battle) covering the Pandava, O monarch, with showers of arrows from all sides. Thus covered with shafts in that battle, Partha, that grinder of hostile forces, exhibited himself in a fierce form like the Destroyer himself, armed with the noose. While engaged in slaughtering the samsaptakas, Partha became a worthy object of sight to all. Then the welkin became filled with shafts decked with gold and possessed of the effulgence of lightning that were ceaselessly short by the diadem-decked Arjuna. Indeed, everything completely shrouded with mighty shafts sped from Arjuna's arms and falling ceaselessly all around, looked resplendent, O lord, as if covered with snakes. The son of Pandu, of immeasurable soul, shot on all sides his straight shafts equipped with wings of gold and furnished with keen points. In consequence of the sound of Partha's palms, people thought that the Earth, or the vault of the welkin, or all the points of the compass, or the several oceans, or the mountains seemed to split. Having slain 10,000 kshatriyas, Kunti's son, that mighty car-warrior, then quickly proceeded to the further wing of the samsaptakas. Repairing to that further wing which was protected by the Kambojas, Partha began to grind it forcibly with his arrows like Vasava grinding the Danavas. With broad-headed arrows he began to quickly cut off the arms, with weapons in grasp, and also the heads of foes longing to slay him. Deprived of diverse limbs, and of weapons, they began to fall down on the Earth, like trees of many boughs broken by a hurricane. While he was engaged in thus slaughtering elephants and steeds and car-warriors and foot-soldiers, the younger brother of Sudakshina (the chief of the Kambojas) began to pour showers of arrows on him. With a couple of crescent-shaped arrows, Arjuna cut off the two arms, looking like spiked maces, of his striking assailant, and then his head graced with a face as beautiful as the full moon, with a razor-headed arrow. Deprived of life, he fell down from his vehicle, his body bathed in blood, like the thunder-riven summit of a mountain of red arsenic. Indeed, people saw the tall and exceedingly handsome younger brother of Sudakshina, the chief of the Kambojas, of eyes resembling lotus petals, slain and fall down like a column of gold or like a summit of the golden Sumeru. Then commenced a battle there once more that was fierce and exceedingly wonderful. The condition of the struggling combatants varied repeatedly. Each slain with a single arrow, and combatants of the Kamboja, the Yavana, and the Saka races, fell down bathed in blood, upon which the whole field of battle became one expanse of red, O monarch. In consequence of car-warriors deprived of steeds and drivers, and steeds deprived of riders, and elephants deprived of riders, and riders deprived of elephants, battling with one another, O king, a great carnage took place. When the wing and the further wing of the samsaptakas had thus been exterminated by Savyasaci, the son of Drona quickly proceeded against Arjuna, that foremost of victorious warriors. Indeed, Drona's son rushed, shaking his formidable bow, and taking with him many terrible arrows like the Sun himself appearing with his own rays. With mouth wide open from rage and with the desire to retaliate, and with red eyes, the mighty Ashvatthama looked formidable like death himself, armed with his mace and filled with wrath as at the end of the Yuga. He then shot showers of fierce shafts. With those shafts sped by him, he began to rout the Pandava army. As soon as he beheld him of Dasharha's race (Keshava) on the car, O king, he once more sped at him, and repeated showers of fierce shafts. With those falling shafts, O monarch, sped by Drona's son, both Krishna and Dhananjaya were completely shrouded on the car. Then the valiant Ashvatthama, with hundreds of keen arrows, stupefied both Madhava and the son of Pandu in that battle. Beholding those two protectors of all mobile and immobile creatures thus covered with arrows, the universe of mobile and immobile beings uttered cries of "Oh!" and "Alas!" Crowds of Siddhas and Charanas began to repair to that spot from every side, mentally uttering this prayer, viz., "Let good be to all the worlds." Never before, O king, did I see prowess like that of Drona's son in that battle while he was engaged in shrouding the two Krishnas with shafts. The sound of Ashvatthama's bow, inspiring foes with terror, was repeatedly heard by us in that battle, O king, to resemble that of a roaring lion. While careering in that battle and striking right and left the string of his bow looked beautiful like flashes of lightning in the midst of a mass of clouds. Though endued with great firmness and lightness of hand the son of Pandu, for all that, beholding the son of Drona then, became greatly stupefied. Indeed, Arjuna then regarded his own prowess to be destroyed by his high-souled assailant. The form of Ashvatthama became such in that battle that men could with difficulty gaze at it. During the progress of that dreadful battle between Drona's son and the Pandava, during that time when the mighty son of Drona, O monarch, thus prevailed over his antagonist and the son of Kunti lost his energy, Krishna became filled with rage. Inspired with wrath he drew deep breaths, O king, and seemed to burn with his eyes both Ashvatthama and Phalguna as he looked at them repeatedly. Filled with rage, Krishna addressed Partha in an affectionate tone, saying, "This, O Partha, that I behold in battle regarding thee, is exceedingly strange, since Drona's son, O Partha, surpasseth thee today! Hast thou not now the energy and the might of thy arms thou hadst before? Hast thou not that Gandiva still in thy hands, and dost thou not stay on thy car now? Are not thy two arms sound? Hath thy fist suffered any hurt? Why is it then that I see the son of Drona prevail over thee in battle? Do not, O Partha, spare thy assailant, regarding him as the son of thy preceptor, O bull of Bharata's race. This is not the time for sparing him." Thus addressed by Krishna, Partha speedily took up four and ten broad-headed arrows at a time, when speed was of the highest moment, and with them he cut off Ashvatthama's bow and standard and umbrella and banners and car and dart and mace. With a few calf-toothed arrows he then deeply struck the son of Drona in the latter's shoulder. Thereupon overcome with a deep swoon, Ashvatthama sat down, supporting himself on his flagstaff. The latter's driver then, O monarch, desirous of protecting him from Dhananjaya, bore him away insensible and thus deeply afflicted by the foe. Meanwhile that scorcher of foes, viz., Vijaya, slaughtered thy troops by hundreds and thousands, in the very sight of that hero, viz., thy son, O sire. Thus, O king, in consequence of thy evil counsels, a cruel and awful destruction and carnage commenced as thy warriors were engaged with the enemy. Within a short time Vibhatsu routed the samsaptakas: Vrikodara, the Kurus, and Vasusena, the Pancalas. During the progress of the battle destructive of great heroes, there rose many headless trunks all around. Meanwhile Yudhishthira, O chief of the Bharatas, in great pain owing to his wounds, retreating about two miles from the battle, rested himself for some time.'"
Next: Section 57