The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'Then Duryodhana, O chief of Bharatas, repairing to Karna, said unto him as also unto the ruler of the Madras and the other lords of Earth present there, these words, "Without seeking hath this occasion arrived, when the gates of heaven have become wide open. Happy are those Kshatriyas, O Karna, that obtain such a battle. Brave heroes fighting in battle with brave Kshatriyas equal to them in might and prowess, obtain great good, O son of Radha. The occasion that hath come is even such. Either let these brave Kshatriyas, slaying the Pandavas in battle, obtain the broad Earth, or let them, slain in battle by the foe, win the blessed region reserved for heroes." Hearing these words of Duryodhana, those bulls among Kshatriyas cheerfully uttered loud shouts and beat and blew their musical instruments. When Duryodhana's force became thus filled with joy, the son of Drona, gladdening all thy warriors further said, "In the very sight of all the troops, and before the eyes of you all, my father after he had laid aside his weapons, was slain by Dhrishtadyumna. By that wrath which such an act might kindle, and for the sake also of my friend, ye kings, I swear truly before you all. Listen then to that oath of mine. Without slaying Dhrishtadyumna I shall not doff my armour. If this vow of mine be not fulfilled, let me not go to heaven. Be it Arjuna, be it Bhimasena, or be it anybody else, whoever will come against me I will crush him or all of them. There is no doubt in this." After Ashvatthama had uttered these words, the entire Bharata army, united together, rushed against the Pandavas, and the latter also rushed against the former. The collision of brave leaders of car-divisions, O Bharata, became exceedingly awful. A destruction of life then set in at the van of the Kurus and the Srinjayas, that resembled what takes place at the last great universal dissolution. Upon the commencement of that passage-at-arms, various (superior) beings, with the gods, came there accompanied by the Apsaras, for beholding those foremost of men. Filled with joy, the Apsaras began to cover those foremost of men devoted to the duties of their order, with celestial garlands, with diverse kinds of celestial perfumes, and with diverse species of gems. Soft winds bore those excellent odours to the nostrils of all the foremost of warriors. Having smelt those perfumes in consequence of the action of the wind, the warriors once more engaged in battle, and striking one another began to fall down on the Earth. Strewn with celestial flowers, with beautiful shafts equipped with wings of gold, and with many foremost of warriors, the Earth looked beautiful like the firmament bespangled with myriads of stars. Then in consequence of cheers coming from the welkin and the noise of musical instruments, the furious passage-at-arms distinguished by twang of bows and clatter of car-wheels and shouts of warriors became exceedingly fierce.'"
Next: Section 58