The Mahabharata Home
"Dhritarashtra said, 'When Bhima and Pandu's son Yudhishthira were engaged in battle, when my troops were being slaughtered by the Pandus and the Srinjayas, when, indeed, my vast army being broken and routed repeatedly became cheerless, tell me, O Sanjaya, what the Kauravas did.'
"Sanjaya said, 'Beholding the mighty-armed Bhima, the Suta's son of great valour, with eyes red in wrath, O king, rushed towards him. Seeing thy army fly away from Bhimasena, the mighty Karna, O king, rallied it with great efforts. The mighty-armed Karna, having rallied thy son's host, proceeded against the Pandavas, those heroes difficult of defeat in battle. The great car-warriors of the Pandavas also, shaking their bows and shooting their shafts, proceeded against the son of Radha. Bhimasena, and the grandson of Sini, and Shikhandi and Janamejaya, and Dhrishtadyumna of great strength, and all the Prabhadrakas, and those tigers among men, the Pancalas, filled with rage and inspired with desire of victory, rushed in that battle from every side against thy army. Similarly, the great car-warriors of thy army, O king, quickly proceeded against the Pandava host, desirous of slaughtering it. Teeming with cars and elephants and horses, and abounding with foot-soldiers and standards, the two armies then, O tiger among men, assumed a wonderful aspect. Shikhandi proceeded against Karna, and Dhrishtadyumna proceeded against thy son Duhshasana, accompanied by a large force. Nakula proceeded against Vrishasena, while Yudhishthira against Citrasena. Sahadeva, O king, in that battle, proceeded against Uluka. Satyaki proceeded against Shakuni, and the sons of Draupadi against the other Kauravas. The mighty car-warrior Ashvatthama proceeded, with great care, against Arjuna. Sharadvata's son Kripa proceeded against the mighty bowman Yudhamanyu, while Kritavarma of great strength proceeded against Uttamauja. The mighty-armed Bhimasena, O sire, alone and unsupported, resisted all the Kurus and thy sons at the head of their division. The slayer of Bhishma, Shikhandi, then, O monarch, with his winged arrows, resisted Karna, careering fearlessly in that battle. Held in check, Karna then, his lips trembling in rage, assailed Shikhandi with three arrows in the midst of his eyebrows. With those three arrows sticking on his forehead, Shikhandi looked highly beautiful like a silver mountain with three elevated crests. Deeply pierced by the Suta's son in that encounter, the mighty bowman Shikhandi pierced Karna, in return, with ninety keen shafts. The mighty car-warrior Karna then, slaying Shikhandi's steeds and next his driver with three arrows, cut off his standard with a razor-faced arrow. That mighty car-warrior then, that scorcher of foes, filled with rage, jumped down from his steedless car and hurled a dart at Karna. Cutting off that dart with three shafts in that encounter, Karna then, O Bharata, pierced Shikhandi with nine keen arrows. Avoiding then the shafts sped from Karna's bow, that best of men, Shikhandi, exceedingly mangled, retreated speedily from that spot. Then Karna, O monarch, began to scatter the troops of the Pandavas, like a mighty wind scattering a heap of cotton. Meanwhile Dhrishtadyumna, O monarch, afflicted by thy son, pierced Duhshasana, in return, with three arrows in the centre of the chest. Then Duhshasana, O sire, pierced his assailant's left arm with a broad-headed shaft, sharp and straight and equipped with wings of gold. Thus pierced, Dhrishtadyumna, filled with wrath and the desire to retaliate, sped a terrible shaft, O Bharata, at Duhshasana. Thy son, however, O king, with three shafts of his, cut off that impetuous arrow sped by Dhrishtadyumna as it coursed towards him. Approaching Dhrishtadyumna then, he struck him in the arms and the chest with seventeen other broad-headed shafts adorned with gold. Thereat Prishata's son, filled with rage, cut off Duhshasana's bow, O sire, with a sharp razor-headed arrow, at which all the troops there uttered a loud shout. Taking up then another bow, thy son, as if smiling, held Dhrishtadyumna in check with showers of arrows from every side. Beholding the prowess of that high-souled son of thine, the combatants, as also the siddhas and the apsaras, became all filled with wonder. We then saw the mighty Dhrishtadyumna thus assailed by Duhshasana to resemble a huge elephant, held in check by a lion. Then many Pancala car-warriors and elephants and horses, O elder brother of Pandu, desirous of rescuing the commander (of the Pandava army) encompassed thy son. The battle that commenced, O scorcher of foes, between thy warriors and the enemy, presented as frightful a sight as that which may be seen at the destruction of all creatures at the end of the Yuga.
"'Vrishasena, staying by the side of his father, having pierced Nakula with five arrows made wholly of iron, pierced him once again with three other arrows. The heroic Nakula then, as if smiling, deeply pierced Vrishasena in the chest with a cloth-yard shaft of great keenness. Thus pierced by his mighty foe, that scorcher of foes, viz., Vrishasena, pierced his assailant with twenty arrows and was himself pierced by him with five. Then those two bulls among men shrouded each other with thousands of arrows, at which the divisions that supported them broke. Beholding the troops of Dhritarashtra's son flying away, the Suta's son, following them, O king, began to forcibly stop them. After Karna had gone away, Nakula proceeded against the Kauravas. Karna's son also, avoiding Nakula, proceeded quickly, O sire, to where his father, the son of Radha, was for protecting his car-wheel.
"'The angry Uluka was held in check by Sahadeva. Having slain his four steeds, the valiant Sahadeva then despatched his foe's driver to the abode of Yama. Uluka then, that delighter of his father, jumping down from his car, O king, quickly proceeded and entered the division of the Trigartas. Satyaki, having pierced Shakuni with twenty keen arrows, easily cut off the standard of Subala's son with a broad-headed arrow. The valiant son of Subala, filled with rage, O king, in that encounter, pierced Satyaki's armour and then cut off his golden standard. Then Satyaki pierced him in return with many keen arrows, and struck his driver, O monarch, with three arrows. With great speed then, he despatched with other shafts the steeds of Shakuni to Yama's abode. Speedily alighting then, O bull among men, from his car, Shakuni, that mighty car-warrior, quickly ascended the car of Uluka. The latter then bore away with great speed his father from Sini's grandson, that warrior skilled in battle. Then Satyaki, O king, rushed in that battle against thy army with great impetuosity, at which that army broke. Shrouded with the arrows of Sini's grandson, thy army, O monarch, fled away on all sides with great speed, and fell down deprived of life.
"'Thy son resisted Bhimasena in that battle, in a trice Bhima made that ruler of men steedless and driverless and carless and standardless, at which the (Pandava) troops became highly glad. Then thy son, O king, went away from Bhimasena's presence. The whole Kuru army, at this, rushed against Bhimasena. Tremendous became the din made by those combatants inspired with the desire of slaying Bhimasena. Yudhamanyu, piercing Kripa, quickly cut off his bow. Then Kripa, that foremost of all wielders of weapons, taking up another bow, felled Yudhamanyu's standard and driver and umbrella on the Earth. At this, the mighty car-warrior Yudhamanyu retreated on his car, driving it himself. Uttamauja covered the terrible son of Hridika, endued with terrible prowess, with a thick shower of arrows like a cloud pouring torrents of rain on a mountain. The battle between them, O scorcher of foes, became so awful that its like, O monarch, I had never seen before. Then Kritavarma, O king, in that encounter, suddenly pierced Uttamauja in the chest, at which the latter sat down on the terrace of his car. His driver then bore away that foremost of car-warriors. Then the whole Kuru army rushed at Bhimasena. Duhshasana and Subala's son, encompassing the son of Pandu with a large elephant force, began to strike him with small arrows. Then Bhima, causing the wrathful Duryodhana to turn his back on the field by means of hundreds of arrows, quickly rushed towards that elephant force. Beholding that elephant-force advance impetuously against him, Vrikodara became filled with great rage and invoked his celestial weapons. And he began to strike elephants with elephants like Indra striking the Asuras. While engaged in slaughtering those elephants, Vrikodara, in that battle, covered the welkin with his shafts like myriads of insects covering a fire. Like the wind scattering masses of clouds, Bhima quickly scattered and destroyed crowds of elephants united together in thousands. Covered all over with networks of gold, as also with many gems, the elephants looked exceedingly beautiful in that battle like clouds charged with lightning. Slaughtered by Bhima, those elephants, O king, began to fly away. Some amongst them, with their hearts pierced, fell down on the Earth. With those fallen and failing elephants adorned with gold, the Earth looked beautiful there, as if strewn with broken mountains. With the fallen elephant-warriors of blazing resplendence and adorned with gems, the Earth looked beautiful as if strewn with planets of exhausted merit. Then elephants, with their temples, frontal globes, and trunks deeply pierced, fled in hundreds in that battle, afflicted with the shafts of Bhimasena. Some amongst them, huge as hills, afflicted with fear and vomiting blood, ran away, their limbs mangled with arrows, and looked on that account, like mountains with liquid metals running down their sides. People then beheld the two arms of Bhima, resembling two mighty snakes, smeared with sandal-paste and other pounded unguents, continually employed in drawing the bow. Hearing the sound of his bow-string and palms that resembled the peal of thunder, those elephants, ejecting urine and excreta, ran away in fear. The feats of the single-handed Bhima of great intelligence, on that occasion, shone like those of Rudra, himself, while engaged in destroying all creatures.'"
Next: Section 62