The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'After the Kurus, O king, had been put to flight by the mighty car-warrior Arjuna of white steeds, the Suta's son Karna began to destroy the sons of the Pancalas with his mighty shafts, like the tempest destroying congregated masses of clouds. Felling Janamejaya's driver with broad-faced shafts called Anjalikas, he next slew the steeds of that Pancala warrior. With a number of broad-headed arrows he then pierced both Satanika and Sutasoma and then cut off the bows of both those heroes. Next he pierced Dhrishtadyumna with six arrows, and then, without the loss of a moment, he slew in that encounter the steeds of that prince. Having slain next the steeds of Satyaki, the Suta's son then slew Visoka, the son of the ruler of the Kaikayas. Upon the slaughter of the Kaikaya prince, the commander of the Kaikaya division, Ugrakarman, rushed with speed and striking Prasena, the son of Karna, with many shafts of fierce impetuosity caused him to tremble. Then Karna, with three crescent-shaped arrows, cut off the arms and the head of his son's assailant, whereupon the latter, deprived of life, fell down upon the ground from his car, like a Sala tree with its branches lopped off with an axe. Then Prasena, with many keen arrows of straight course, covered the steedless grandson of Sini, and seemed to dance upon his car. Soon, however, the son of Karna, struck by the grandson of Sini, fell down. Upon the slaughter of his son, Karna, with heart filled with rage, addressed that bull among the Sinis from desire of slaying him, saying, "Thou art slain, O grandson of Sini!' and sped at him an arrow capable of slaying all foes. Then Shikhandi cut off that arrow with three shafts of his, and struck Karna himself with three other shafts. The fierce son of the Suta then, cutting off with a couple of razor-faced arrows the bow and the standard of Shikhandi, struck and pierced Shikhandi himself with six shafts, and then cut off the head of Dhrishtadyumna's son. The high-souled son of Adhiratha then pierced Sutasoma with a very keen shaft. During the progress of that fierce battle, and after Dhrishtadyumna's son had been slain, Krishna, O lion among kings, addressed Partha, saying, "The Pancalas are being exterminated. Go, O Partha, and slay Karna." Thus addressed the mighty-armed Arjuna, that foremost of men, smiled and then proceeded on his car towards the car of Adhiratha's son desirous, on that occasion of terror, of rescuing the Pancalas slaughtered by Karna, that leader of car-warriors. Stretching his Gandiva of loud twang and fiercely striking his palms with her bow-string, he suddenly created a darkness by means of his arrows and destroyed large numbers of men and steeds and cars and standards. The echoes (of that twang) travelled through the welkin. The birds, (no longer finding room in their own element), took shelter in the caverns of mountains. With his full-drawn bow, Arjuna looked resplendent. Indeed, as the diadem-decked Partha, at that terrible moment, fell upon the foe, Bhimasena, that foremost of heroes, proceeded on his car behind that son of Pandu, protecting his rear. Those two princes then, on their cars, proceeded with great speed towards Karna, encountering their foes along the way. During that interval, the Suta's son fought fiercely, grinding the Somakas. He slew a large number of car-warriors and steeds and elephants, and covered the ten points of the compass with his shafts. Then Uttamauja and Janamejaya, and the enraged Yudhamanyu and Shikhandi, uniting with Prishata's son (Dhrishtadyumna) and uttering loud roars, pierced Karna with many shafts. Those five foremost of Pancala car-warriors rushed against Karna otherwise called Vaikartana, but they could not shake him off his car like the objects of the senses failing to shake off the person of purified soul from abstinence. Quickly cutting off their bows, standards, steeds, drivers and banners, with his shafts, Karna struck each of them with five arrows and then uttered a loud roar like a lion, People then became exceedingly cheerless, thinking that the very earth, with her mountains and trees, might split at the twang of Karna's bow while that hero, with shafts in hand touching the bow-string, was employed in shooting at his assailants and slaying his foes. Shooting his shafts with that large and extended bow of his that resembled the bow of Sakra himself, the son of Adhiratha looked resplendent like the sun, with his multitude of blazing rays, within his corona. The Suta's son then pierced Shikhandi with a dozen keen shafts, and Uttamauja with half a dozen, and Yudhamanyu with three, and then each of the other two, viz., Somaka (Janamejaya) and Prishata's son (Dhrishtadyumna) with three shafts. Vanquished in dreadful battle by the Suta's son, O sire, those five mighty car-warriors then stood inactive, gladdening their foes, even as the objects of the senses are vanquished by a person of purified soul. The five sons of Draupadi then, with other well-equipped cars, rescued those maternal uncles of theirs that were sinking in the Karna ocean, like persons rescuing from the depths of the ocean ship-wrecked merchants in the sea by means of other vessels. Then that bull among the Sinis, cutting off with his own keen shafts the innumerable arrows sped by Karna, and piercing Karna himself with many keen arrows made entirely of iron, pierced thy eldest son with eight shafts. Then Kripa, and the Bhoja chief (Kritavarma), and thy son, and Karna himself, assailed Satyaki in return with keen shafts. That foremost one, however, of Yadu's race fought with those four warriors like the chief of the Daityas fighting with the Regents of the (four) quarters. With his twanging bow stretched to its fullest limits, and from which shafts flowed incessantly, Satyaki became exceedingly irresistible like the meridian Sun in the autumnal sky. Those scorchers of foes then, viz., the mighty car-warriors among the Pancalas, once more riding on their cars and clad in mail and united together, protected that foremost one among the Sinis, like the Maruts protecting Sakra while engaged in afflicting his foes in battle. The battle fraught with the slaughter of men and steeds and elephants that then ensued between thy foes and the warriors of thy army, became so fierce that it resembled the encounter in days of old between the gods and the Asuras. Car-warriors and elephants and steeds and foot-soldiers, covered with showers of diverse weapons, began to move from one point to another. Struck by one another, they reeled or uttered wails of woe in affliction or fell down deprived of life. When such was the state of affairs, thy son Duhshasana, the younger brother of the king, fearlessly advanced against Bhima, shooting showers of shafts. Vrikodara also rushed impetuously against him, like a lion springing towards a large Ruru deer. The encounter then that took place between those two heroes incensed with each other and who engaged in battle's sport making life itself the stake, became exceedingly fierce, resembled that between Samvara and Sakra in days of old. They struck each other deeply with shafts possessed of great energy and capable of piercing each other's body, like two mighty elephants excited with lust and with juicy secretions incessantly trickling down their bodies, fighting with each other in the vicinity of a she-elephant in her season. Vrikodara, with great speed, cut off, with a couple of razor-headed arrows, the bow and the standard of thy son. With another winged arrow he pierced his antagonist's forehead and then (with a fourth) cut off from his trunk the head of the latter's driver. Prince Duhshasana, taking up another bow, pierced Vrikodara with a dozen shafts. Himself holding the reins of his steeds, he once more poured over Bhima a shower of straight arrows. Then Duhshasana sped a shaft bright as the rays of the sun, decked with gold, diamonds, and other precious gems, capable of piercing the body of his assailant, and irresistible as the stroke of Indra's thunder. His body pierced therewith, Vrikodara fell, with languid limbs and like one deprived of life and with outstretched arms, upon his own excellent car. Recovering his senses, however, he began to roar like a lion.'"
Next: Section 83