The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'Meanwhile Drona's son, surrounded by a large car-force, O king, suddenly proceeded to that spot where Partha was. Like the continent withstanding the surging ocean, the heroic Partha having Saurin (Krishna) for his help-mate withstood the impetuously rushing Ashvatthama. Then, O monarch, the valiant son of Drona, filled with rage, covered both Arjuna and Vasudeva with his shafts. Beholding the two Krishnas shrouded with arrows, the great car-warriors (of the Pandava army), as also the Kurus that witnessed it, wondered exceedingly. Then Arjuna, as if smiling, invoked into existence a celestial weapon. The brahmana Ashvatthama, however, O Bharata, baffled that weapon in that battle. Indeed, all those weapons that Arjuna sped from desire of slaying the son of Drona were baffled by the latter, that great bowman, in that encounter. During the progress of that awful encounter of weapons, O king, we beheld the son of Drona to resemble the Destroyer himself, with gaping mouth. Having covered all the points of the compass, cardinal and subsidiary, with straight arrows, he pierced Vasudeva with three arrows in the right arm. Then Arjuna, slaying all the steeds of his high-souled assailant, caused the Earth in that battle to be covered with a river of blood that was exceedingly awful that led towards the other world, and that had diverse kinds of creatures floating on it. All the spectators beheld a large number of car-warriors along with their cars, belonging to the division of Ashvatthama, slain and destroyed by means of the arrows sped from Partha's bow. Ashvatthama also, slaying his enemies, caused a terrible river of blood to flow there that led to Yama's domains. During the progress of that fierce and awful battle between Drona's son and Partha, the combatants fought without showing any regard for one another, and rushed hither and thither. In consequence of cars having their steeds and drivers slain, and steeds having their riders slain, and elephants having their riders and guides slain, an awful carnage, O king, was made by Partha in that battle! Car-warriors, deprived of life with shafts sped from Partha's bow, fell down. Steeds freed from their trappings ran hither and thither. Beholding those feats of Partha, that ornament of battle, that valiant son of Drona quickly approached the former, that foremost of victorious men, shook his formidable bow decked with gold, and then pierced him from every side with many sharp arrows. Once more bending the bow, O king, the son of Drona cruelly struck Arjuna, aiming at the chest, with a winged arrow. Deeply pierced by Drona's son, O Bharata, in that encounter, the wielder of gandiva, that hero of great intelligence forcibly covered the son of Drona with showers of arrows, and then cut off his bow. His bow cut off Drona's son then, taking up a spiked mace whose touch resembled that of thunder's, hurled it, in that encounter, at the diadem-decked Arjuna. The son of Pandu, however, O king, as if smiling the while, suddenly cut off that spiked mace decked with gold, as it advanced towards him. Thus cut off with Partha's shafts, it fell down on the Earth, like a mountain, O king, broken into pieces, struck with the thunderbolt. Filled with rage at this, Drona's son, that great car-warrior, began to cover Vibhatsu, aided by the energy of the aindra weapon. Beholding that shower of arrows spread over the welkin through the aindra weapon, Partha, endued with great activity, O king, taking up his bow gandiva, and fixing on his bowstring a mighty weapon created by Indra, destroyed that aindra-shower of arrows. Having baffled that arrowy shower caused by the aindra weapon, Partha soon covered the car of Drona's son (with his own arrows). The son of Drona, however, overwhelmed with Partha's shafts, penetrated through that shower of arrows shot by the son of Pandu, and approaching the latter, invoked a mighty weapon and suddenly pierced Krishna with hundred shafts and Arjuna with three hundred small arrows. Then Arjuna pierced the son of his preceptor with a hundred arrows in all his vital limbs. And then he poured many arrows on the steeds and driver and the bowstring of Drona's son in the very sight of thy warriors. Having pierced Drona's son in every vital part, Pandu's son, that slayer of hostile heroes, then felled his adversary's driver from the car-niche with a broad-headed arrow. Drona's son, however, himself, taking up the reins, covered Krishna with many arrows. The activity of prowess that we then beheld in Drona's son was exceedingly wonderful, since he guided his steeds while he fought with Phalguni. That feat of his in battle, O king, was applauded by all the warriors. Then Vibhatsu, otherwise called Jaya, smiling the while, quickly cut off the traces of Ashvatthama's steeds in that battle, with a razor-faced arrow. Already afflicted by the energy of Arjuna's shafts, the steeds of Drona's son thereupon ran away. Then a loud noise arose from thy troops, O Bharata! Meanwhile the Pandavas, having obtained the victory, and desiring to improve it, rushed against thy troops, shooting from all sides sharp arrows at them. The vast Dhartarashtra host, then, O king, was repeatedly broken by the heroic Pandavas inspired with desire of victory, in the very sight, O monarch, of thy sons, conversant with all modes of warfare, and of, Shakuni the son of Subala, and of Karna, O king! Though sought to be stopped, O king, by thy sons, that great army, afflicted on all sides, stayed not on the field. Indeed, a confusion set in among the vast terrified host of thy son in consequence of many warriors flying away on all sides. The Suta's son loudly cried out, saying "Stay, Stay!" but thy army, slaughtered by many high-souled warriors, did not stay on the field. Loud shouts were uttered then, O monarch, by the Pandavas, inspired with this desire of victory, on beholding the Dhartarashtra host flying away on all sides. Then Duryodhana addressing Karna from affection, "Behold, O Karna, how our army, exceedingly afflicted by the Pandavas, though thou art here, is flying away from battle! Knowing this, O thou of mighty arms, do that which is suited to the hour, O chastiser of foes! Thousands of (our) warriors, routed by the Pandavas, are O hero, calling after thee only, O best of men!" Hearing these grave words of Duryodhana, the son of Radha, as if smiling, said these words unto the ruler of the Madras, "Behold the prowess of my arms and the energy of my weapons, O ruler of men! Today I will slay all the Pancalas and the Pandavas in battle! Cause the steeds to proceed with my car, O tiger among men! Without doubt, everything will be as I have said!" Having said these words, the Suta's son of great valour, that hero, taking up his ancient and foremost of bows called Vijaya, stringed it and rubbed the string repeatedly. Bidding the troops stay on the field after having assured them upon his truth and by an oath, the mighty Karna of immeasurable soul fixed on his bow-string the weapon known by the name of Bhargava. From that weapon flowed, O king, millions and millions of keen arrows in that great battle. Entirely shrouded with those blazing and terrible arrows winged with feathers of Kankas and peacocks, the Pandava army could not see anything. Loud wails of woe arose from among the Pancalas, O king, afflicted, in that battle, with the mighty Bhargava weapon. In consequence then of elephants, O king, and steeds, by thousands, and cars, O monarch, and men, falling on all sides, deprived of life, the Earth began to tremble. The vast force of the Pandavas became agitated from one extremity to another. Meanwhile Karna, that scorcher of foes, that foremost of warriors, that tiger among men, while consuming his foes, looked resplendent like a smokeless fire. Thus slaughtered by Karna, the Pancalas and the Cedis began to lose their senses all over the field like elephants during the conflagration in a forest. Those foremost of men, O tiger among men, uttered loud roars like those of the tiger. Loud became the wails of woe, like those of living creatures at the universal dissolution that were uttered by those crying combatants struck with panic and running wildly on all sides, O king, of the field of battle and trembling with fear. Beholding them thus slaughtered, O sire, by the Suta's son, all creatures, even beasts and birds, were filled with fear. The Srinjayas then, thus slaughtered in battle by the Suta's son, repeatedly called upon Arjuna and Vasudeva like the spirits of the dead within Yama's dominions calling upon Yama to rescue them. Hearing those wails of the troops slaughtered with Karna's shafts, and beholding the terrible bhargava weapon invoked into existence Kunti's son Dhananjaya said unto Vasudeva these words, "Behold, O Krishna of mighty arms, the prowess of the bhargava weapon! It cannot, by any means, be baffled! Behold the Suta's son also, O Krishna, filled with rage in this great battle and resembling the Destroyer himself, in prowess and employed in achieving such a fierce feat! Urging his steeds incessantly, he is repeatedly casting angry glances upon me! I will never be able to fly away from Karna in battle! The person that is living, may, in battle, meet with either victory or defeat. To the man, however, that is dead, O Hrishikesha, even death is victory. How can defeat be his that is dead?" Thus addressed by Partha, Krishna replied unto that foremost of intelligent men and chastiser of foes, these words that were suitable to the occasion, "The royal son of Kunti hath been deeply wounded and mangled by Karna. Having seen him first and comforted him, thou wilt then, O Partha, slay Karna?" Then Keshava proceeded, desirous of beholding Yudhishthira, thinking that Karna meanwhile, O monarch, would be overwhelmed with fatigue! Then Dhananjaya, himself desirous of beholding the king afflicted with arrows, quickly proceeded on that car, avoiding the battle, at Keshava's command. While the son of Kunti was thus proceeding from desire of seeing king Yudhishthira the just, he cast his eyes on every part of the army but failed to find his eldest brother anywhere on the field. The son of Kunti proceeded, O Bharata, having fought with the son of his preceptor Drona, and having vanquished that hero incapable of being resisted by the wielder of the thunderbolt himself.'"
Next: Section 65