The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'Meanwhile Krishna, pointing out king Yudhishthira the just, unto Kunti's son Partha, addressed him in these words: "Yonder, O son of Pandu, your brother (Yudhishthira) is being pursued by many mighty and great bowmen amongst the Dhartarashtras, all inspired with the desire of slaughtering him. The mighty Pancalas, difficult of defeat in battle, are proceeding after the high-souled Yudhishthira from desire of rescuing him. Yonder, Duryodhana, O Partha, the king of the whole world, clad in mail and accompanied by a large car force, is pursuing the Pandava king. Impelled by the desire of slaughtering his rival, the mighty Duryodhana, O tiger among men, is pursuing him, accompanied by his brothers, the touch of whose weapons is as fatal as that of poisonous snakes and who are all conversant with every mode of warfare. Those Dhartarashtra elephants and horses and car-warriors and foot-soldiers are advancing to seize Yudhishthira like poor men after a precious gem. Behold, checked by Satyaki and Bhima, they have again been stupefied, like the Daityas, that desired to take away the Amrita, made motionless by Sakra and Agni. The mighty car-warriors (of the Kuru army), however, in consequence of the vastness of their numbers, are again proceeding towards Yudhishthira like a vast quantity of water in the season of rains rushing towards the ocean. Those mighty bowmen are uttering leonine roars, blowing their conchs, and shaking their bows. I regard Kunti's son Yudhishthira, thus brought under the influence of Duryodhana, to be already within the jaws of Death or already poured as a libation on the sacrificial fire. The army of Dhritarashtra's son, O Pandava, is arrayed and equipped duly. Sakra himself, coming within the range of its arrows, can scarcely escape. Who will in battle bear the impetuosity of the heroic Duryodhana who shoots showers of arrows with the greatest celerity and who, when angry, resembles the Destroyer himself? The force of the heroic Duryodhana's shafts, or Drona's son's or Kripa's or Karna's would break down the very mountains. That scorcher of foes, viz., king Yudhishthira, was once compelled by Karna to turn his back upon the field. The son of Radha is endued with great might and great lightness of hand. Possessed of great skill, he is accomplished in battle. He is competent to afflict the eldest son of Pandu in fight, specially when he is united with the mighty and brave son of Dhritarashtra. Of rigid vows, when the son of Pritha (Yudhishthira) had been engaged in battle with all those warriors, other great car-warriors had struck him and contributed to his defeat. The king, O best of the Bharatas, is exceedingly emaciated in consequence of his fasts. He is endued with Brahma-force, but the puissant one is not endued with much of Kshatriya-might. Assailed, however, by Karna, the royal son of Pandu, Yudhishthira, that scorcher of foes, hath been placed in a situation of great peril. I think, O Partha, that king Yudhishthira has fallen. Indeed, since that chastiser of foes, the wrathful Bhimasena, coolly heareth the leonine roars of the frequently shouting Dhartarashtra's longing for victory and blowing their conchs, I think, O bull among men, that Pandu's son Yudhishthira is dead. Yonder Karna urges forward the mighty car-warriors of the Dhartarashtras towards the son of Pritha with the weapons called Sthunakarna, Indrasjaha and Pasupata, and with clubs and other weapons. The king, O Bharata, must be deeply afflicted and exceedingly weakened, because the Pancalas and the Pandavas, those foremost of all wielders of weapons, are seen to proceed with great speed towards him at a time when speed is of the highest moment like strong men rushing to the rescue of a person sinking in a bottomless sea. The king's standard is no longer visible. It has probably been struck down by Karna with his shafts. In the very sight of the twins, O Partha, and of Satyaki and Shikhandi, and Dhrishtadyumna and Bhima and Satanika, O lord, as also of all the Pancalas and the Cedis, O Bharata, yonder Karna is destroying the Pandava division with his arrows, like an elephant destroying an assemblage of lotuses. There, those car-warriors of thy army, O son of Pandu, are flying away. See, see, O Partha, how those great warriors are retreating. Those elephants, O Bharata, assailed by Karna in battle, are flying away in all directions, uttering cries of pain. There those crowds of car-warriors, routed in battle, O Partha, by Karna, that crusher of foes, are flying away in all directions. Behold, O Partha, that foremost of standards, of the Suta's son, on his car, bearing the device of the elephant's rope, is seen to move all over the field. There, the son of Radha is now rushing against Bhimasena, scattering hundreds of shafts as he proceeds and slaughtering thy army therewith. There, those mighty car-warriors of the Pancalas are being routed (by Karna) even as the Daityas had been routed by Sakra in dreadful battle. There, Karna, having vanquished the Pancalas, the Pandus, and the Srinjayas, is casting his eyes on all sides, I think, for seeking thee. Behold, O Partha, Karna, as he beautifully draws his foremost of bows, looketh exceedingly beautiful even as Sakra in the midst of the celestials, after vanquishing his foes. There the Kauravas, beholding the prowess of Karna, are roaring and inspiring the Pandus and the Srinjayas with fear on every side. There, Karna himself, terrifying the Pandus with his whole soul, in dreadful battle, is addressing all the troops, O giver of honours, saying, 'Blessed be ye, advance, ye Kauravas and rush with such speed that no Srinjaya may, in this battle escape with life. United together, do this all of you. As regards ourselves, we will follow behind you.' Saying these words, he is advancing behind (his troops), scattering his shafts. Behold Karna, adorned with his white umbrella in this battle and looking like the Udaya hills adorned by the moon. With his beautiful umbrella of a hundred ribs, resembling the moon in full, held over his head, O Bharata, in this battle, Karna, O prince, is casting his glances after thee. Without doubt, he will, in this battle, come hither, with great speed. Behold him, O mighty-armed one, as he shaketh his formidable bow and shooteth, in this dreadful battle, his shafts resembling snakes of virulent poison. There, the son of Radha turneth towards this direction, beholding thy banner bearing the ape, and desiring, O Partha, an encounter with thee, O scorcher of foes. Indeed, he cometh for his own destruction, even like an insect into the mouth of a lamp. Wrathful and brave, he is ever engaged in the good of Dhritarashtra's son. Of wicked understanding, he is always unable to put up with thee. Beholding Karna alone and unsupported, Dhritarashtra's son, O Bharata, turneth towards him with great resolution, accompanied by his car-force, for protecting him. Let that wicked-souled one, along with all those allies of his, be slain by thee, putting forth thy vigour, from desire of winning fame, kingdom and happiness. Both of you are endued with great strength. Both of you are possessed of great celebrity. When encountering each other in battle, O Partha, like a celestial and a Danava in the great battle between the gods and the Asuras, let all the Kauravas behold thy prowess. Beholding thee filled with great rage and Karna also excited to fury, O bull of Bharata's race, Duryodhana in wrath will not be able to do anything. Remembering thyself to be of purified soul, O bull of Bharata's race, and remembering also that the son of Radha harboureth a great animosity for the virtuous Yudhishthira, achieve that, O son of Kunti, which should now be achieved. Righteously setting thy heart on battle, advance against that leader of car-warriors. There, five hundred foremost of car-warriors, O thou best of car-warriors, that are endued with great might and fierce energy, and 5,000 elephants, and twice as many horses, and innumerable foot-soldiers, all united together, O son of Kunti, and protecting one another, O hero, are advancing against thee. Show thyself, of thy own will, unto that great bowman, viz., the Suta's son. Advance, O bull of Bharata's race, towards him with great speed. There, Karna, filled with great wrath is rushing against the Pancalas. I see his standard approaching towards the car of Dhrishtadyumna. I think he will exterminate the Pancalas. I will tell thee, O bull of Bharata's race, some good news, O Partha. King Yudhishthira the just is living. There, the mighty-armed Bhima, having returned, is stationed at the head of the army, supported by the Srinjayas and by Satyaki, O Bharata. There, the Kauravas are being slaughtered with keen shafts by Bhimasena, O son of Kunti, and the high-souled Pancalas. The troops of Dhritarashtra's son, with their faces turned from the field, and with blood streaming down from their wounds, are speedily flying away from battle, struck by Bhima with his shafts. Bathed in blood, the Bharata army, O chief of Bharata's race, presents an exceedingly cheerless aspect like that of the Earth when divested of crops. Behold, O son of Kunti, Bhimasena, that foremost of combatants, filled with rage like a snake of virulent poison, and engaged in routing the (Kaurava) host. Yellow and red and black and white banners, adorned with stars and moons and suns as also many umbrellas, O Arjuna, lie scattered about. Made of gold or silver or brass and other metals, standards are lying about, and elephants and steeds also, scattered all over the field. There, those car-warriors are falling from their cars, deprived of life by the unreturning Pancalas with shafts of diverse kinds. There the Pancalas of great speed, O Dhananjaya, are rushing against the riderless Dhartarashtra elephants and steeds and cars. Reckless of their very lives, O chastiser of foes, those warriors, difficult of defeat in battle aided by the might of Bhimasena are crushing, O tiger among men, the hostile force. There, the Pancalas are uttering loud roars and blowing their conchs as they are rushing against their foes and crushing them with their shafts in battle. Behold their great energy and power. Through sheer valour, the Pancalas are slaughtering the Dhartarashtras like angry lions slaying elephants. Unarmed they are snatching the weapons of their armed foes and with those weapons thus snatched, they are slaying their foes that are effectual smiters, and uttering loud roars. The heads and arms of their foes are being struck off and felled on the field. The Pancala cars and elephants and horses are all worthy of the highest praise. Like swans of great speed leaving the Manasa lake and rushing into the Ganga, the Pancalas are rushing against the Kauravas, and every part of the vast Dhartarashtra force is assailed by them. Like bulls resisting bulls, the heroic Kripa and Karna and other leaders are putting forth all their valour for resisting the Pancalas. The Pancala heroes headed by Dhrishtadyumna are slaying thousands of their foes, viz., the great car-warriors of the Dhartarashtra army already sinking in the ocean of Bhima's weapons. Beholding the Pancalas overwhelmed by their foes, the fearless son of the Wind-god, assailing the hostile force, is shooting his shafts and uttering loud roars. The greater portion of the vast Dhartarashtra army has become exceedingly frightened. Behold those elephants, pierced by Bhima with his cloth-yard shafts, are falling down like mountain summits riven by the thunderbolt of Indra. There, those huge elephants, deeply pierced with the straight shafts of Bhimasena are flying away, crushing their own ranks. Dost thou not recognise the unbearable leonine shouts, O Arjuna, of the terribly-roaring Bhimasena inspired with desire of victory in battle? There, the prince of the Nishadas, filled with rage, is coming against the son of Pandu, on his foremost of elephants, from desire of slaying him with his lances, even like Destroyer himself armed with his bludgeon. Struck by Bhima with ten keen cloth-yard shafts endued with the splendour of the fire or the Sun, the two arms of the roaring prince, with lances in grasp, are lopped off. Staying the prince, Bhima proceedeth against other elephants looking like masses of blue clouds and ridden by riders guiding them with skill. Behold those riders striking Vrikodara with darts and lances in profusion. Slaying with his keen shafts those elephants, seven at a time, their triumphal standards also, O Partha, are cut down by thy elder brother. As regards those other elephants, each of them is being slain with ten shafts by him. The shouts of the Dhartarashtras are no longer heard, now that Bhima, O bull of Bharata's race, who is equal to Purandara himself, is engaged in battle. Full three akshauhinis of Duryodhana's soldiers had been assembled together (in front of Bhima). They have all been checked by that lion among men, Bhimasena, in wrath.'"
"Sanjaya continued, 'Behold that feat, difficult of accomplishment, achieved by Bhimasena. Arjuna, with his keen shafts, destroyed the remnant of his foes. The mighty samsaptakas, O lord, slaughtered in battle and routed (by Arjuna), fled away in all directions, overcome with fear. Many amongst them (that fell) became the guests of Shakra and attained to great happiness. As regards Partha, that tiger among men, he continued, with his straight shafts, to slaughter the Dhartarashtra host consisting of four kinds of forces.'"
Next: Section 61