The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'Meanwhile Karna also began, with his arrowy showers, to afflict the mighty car-warriors of the Kaikayas, viz., those great bowmen that stood before him. Indeed, the son of Radha despatched to Yama's abode full five hundred of those warriors that were employed in checking him in that battle. Beholding the son of Radha to be irresistible in that battle, those warriors, afflicted with the arrows of their assailant, repaired to the presence of Bhimasena. Breaking that car-force into many parts by means of his arrows, Karna, singly and riding on that same car of his, pursued Yudhishthira, who then, exceedingly mangled with arrows and almost insensible, was proceeding slowly for reaching the Pandava encampment with Nakula and Sahadeva on his two sides. Having approached the king, the Suta's son, from desire of doing good to Duryodhana, pierced the son of Pandu with three formidable arrows. In return, the king pierced Radha's son in the centre of the chest and then his driver with three shafts. Then those two scorchers of foes, viz., the twin sons of Madri, those two protectors of Yudhishthira's car-wheels, rushed towards Karna so that the latter might not succeed in slaying the king. Then Nakula and Sahadeva, both shooting showers of shafts with great care, covered the son of Radha therewith. The valiant son of the Suta, however, in return, pierced those two high-souled chastisers of foes with two broad-headed arrows of great sharpness. The son of Radha then slew Yudhishthira's excellent steeds, white as ivory and fleet as the mind, and having black hair in their tails. Then, smiling the while, the Suta's son, that great bowman, with another broadheaded shaft, felled the head-gear of Kunti's son. Similarly, the valiant Karna, having slain the steeds of Nakula, cut off the car shafts and bow of that intelligent son of Madri. Those two steedless and carless sons of Pandu,--those two brothers,--thereupon ascended the car of Sahadeva. Beholding those two brothers made carless, that slayer of hostile heroes, viz., their maternal uncle, the ruler of the Madras, moved by compassion, addressed the son of Radha and said, "Thou art to fight today with Pritha's son Phalguna. Why dost thou then, with rage inflamed to such a pitch, battle with Dharma's royal son? Thou art suffering thy weapons to be exhausted. Thy own armour is being weakened. With thy shafts reduced, and without quivers, with thy driver and steeds fatigued, and thyself mangled by foes with weapons, when thou wilt approach Partha, O son of Radha, thou wilt be an object of derision and mirth." Though thus addressed by the ruler of the Madras, Karna still, filled with rage, continued to assail Yudhishthira in battle. And he continued to pierce the two sons of Madri by Pandu with many keen arrows. Smiling the while, by means of his shafts he made Yudhishthira turn his face from the battle. Then Shalya, laughing, once more said unto Karna as the latter, excited with great wrath and resolved upon Yudhishthira's destruction stood on his car, these words, "Him for whose sake Dhritarashtra's son always honours thee, slay that Partha, O son of Radha. What wouldst thou gain by slaying Yudhishthira? The two Krishnas are blowing their conchs, whose loud blare is being heard. The twang also of Arjuna's bow is being heard, like the roar of the clouds in the season of rains. There, Arjuna, striking down the foremost of our car-warriors with his arrowy down-pours, is devouring all our troops. Behold him, O Karna, in this battle. The two that are protecting his rear are Yudhamanyu and Uttamauja. The brave Satyaki is protecting his left wheel, and Dhrishtadyumna is protecting his right wheel. There, Bhimasena is fighting with the royal son of Dhritarashtra. Act in such way, O son of Radha, that Bhima may not be able to slay the king today in the sight of us all,--that the king may, indeed, escape him. Behold, Duryodhana is brought under the power of Bhimasena, that ornament of battle. Approaching if thou canst rescue him, it will, indeed, be a very wonderful feat. Going thither, rescue the king, for a great peril has overtaken him. What wilt thou gain by slaying the sons of Madri or king Yudhishthira?" Hearing these words of Shalya, O lord of Earth, and beholding Duryodhana overpowered by Bhima in that dreadful battle, the valiant son of Radha, thus urged by the words of Shalya and exceedingly desirous of rescuing the king, left Ajatasatru and the twin sons of Madri by Pandu, and rushed for rescuing thy son. He was borne by his steeds that were fleet as birds and that were urged by the ruler of the Madras. After Karna had gone away, Kunti's son Yudhishthira retreated, borne, O sire, by the fleet steeds of Sahadeva. With his twin brothers accompanying him, that ruler of men, quickly repairing in shame to the (Pandava) camp, his body exceedingly mangled with shafts, alighted from the car and hastily sat down on an excellent bed. The, arrows then being extracted from his body, the royal son of Pandu, his heart exceedingly afflicted with sorrow's dart, addressed his two brothers, viz., those two mighty car-warriors, the sons of Madri, saying, "Repair quickly to the division of Bhimasena. Roaring like a cloud, Vrikodara is engaged in battle." Riding another car, Nakula, that bull among car-warriors, and Sahadeva of great energy,--those two brothers, those two crushers of foes,--both endued with great might, then proceeded towards Bhima, borne by steeds of the utmost fleetness. Indeed, the brothers having together repaired to Bhimasena's division, took up their places there.'"
Next: Section 64