The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'After the slaughter of Duhshasana, O king, ten of thy sons, heroes that never retreated from battle, all of whom were great car-warriors, endued with mighty energy, and filled with the poison of wrath, shrouded Bhima with their shafts. Nishangin, and Kavachin, and Pasin and Dundadhara and Dhanurgraha, and Alolupa, and Saha, and Shanda, and Vatavega and Suvarchasas, these ten, afflicted at the slaughter of their brother, united together and checked the mighty-armed Bhimasena with their shafts. Resisted on all sides with their shafts by those great car-warriors, Bhima, with eyes red as fire with fury, looked resplendent like the Destroyer himself in rage. Partha, however, with ten broad-headed shafts of great impetuosity, equipped with golden wings, despatched to Yama's abode those ten Bharata princes decked with golden bracelets. Upon the fall of those ten heroes, thy army fled away in the very sight of the Suta's son, overwhelmed with the fear of the Pandavas. Then, O king, great fear entered the heart of Karna at sight of Bhima's prowess which resembled that of the Destroyer himself unto living creatures. Then Shalya, that ornament of assemblies, understanding the state of Karna's mind from a survey of his features, addressed that chastiser of foes in words suited to the hour, "Do not be grieved, O son of Radha! This deed does not become thee. Afflicted with the fear of Bhimasena, these kings are all flying away. Exceedingly pained by the calamity that has befallen his brother Duhshasana in consequence of his blood having been quaffed by the high-souled Bhima, Duryodhana is stupefied! Kripa and others, and those of the king's brothers that are still alive, with afflicted hearts, their rage quelled by sorrow, are tending Duryodhana, sitting around him. Those heroes, the Pandavas of sure aim, headed by Dhananjaya, are advancing against thee for battle. For these reasons, O tiger among men, mustering all thy prowess and keeping the duties of a Kshatriya before thy eyes, proceed against Dhananjaya. The entire burthen (of this battle) has been placed upon thee by the son of Dhritarashtra. O thou of mighty arms, bear that burthen to the best of thy power and might. In victory there will be great fame. In defeat, heaven is certain. There, O son of Radha, thy son, Vrishasena, filled with wrath at sight of the stupefaction that has overwhelmed thee, is rushing towards the Pandavas." Hearing these words of Shalya of immeasurable energy, Karna, reflecting, concluded unalterably that fighting had become unavoidable. Then Vrishasena, filled with wrath, and riding upon his own car, rushed towards that son of Pandu, viz., Vrikodara, who, armed with his mace, resembled the Destroyer himself with his fatal rod and was employed in slaughtering thy troops. That foremost of heroes, Nakula, filled with wrath, rushed at that enemy of theirs, Karna's son, striking him with arrows, like the victorious Maghavat with joyous heart rushing against (the Asura) Jambha. Then the brave Nakula, with a razor-headed shaft, cut off his enemy's standard decked with gems. With a broad-headed arrow, he next cut off the bow also of Karna's son, with a golden belt attached to it. Possessed of mighty weapons, Karna's son then, desirous of showing his regard for Duhshasana, quickly took up another bow, and pierced Nakula, the son of Pandu with many mighty celestial weapons. The high-souled Nakula, then, filled with rage, pierced his antagonist with shafts that resembled large blazing brands. At this Karna's son also, accomplished in weapons, showered celestial weapon upon Nakula. From rage engendered by the strokes of his enemy's weapon, as also from his own resplendence and the energy of his weapons, the son of Karna blazed up like a fire with libations of clarified butter. Indeed, O king, Karna's son then slew with his excellent weapons the beautiful steeds of the delicate Nakula, that were of the Vanayu breed, white in hue, and decked with trappings of gold. Alighting then from his steedless vehicle, and taking up a bright shield decked with golden moons, and armed also with a sword that was blue as the sky, Nakula, frequently jumping up, careered there like a bird. Performing diverse beautiful evolutions in the air, the son of Pandu cut off many foremost of men and steeds and elephants. Cut off with that sword, they fell down on the earth like animals cut off in a horse-sacrifice by the person appointed to that duty. 2,000 well-trained heroes, delighting in battle, hailing from diverse realms, well-paid, of sure aim, and their limbs smeared with excellent sandal-paste, were quickly cut off by the single-handed Nakula inspired with desire of victory. Then Karna's son, suddenly advancing with great speed against the rushing Nakula in that battle pierced him from every side with many keen arrows from desire of slaying him. Thus struck with shafts (by Vrishasena), Nakula struck his brave antagonist in return. Pierced by the son of Pandu, Vrishasena became filled with wrath. Protected, however, in that dreadful battle, by his brother Bhima, the high-souled Nakula achieved such terrible feats on that occasion. Filled with rage, the son of Karna then pierced with eighteen shafts the heroic Nakula who seemed to sport in that battle, while employed, unaided, in destroying the foremost of men and steeds and elephants. Deeply pierced by Vrishasena in that battle, O king, Pandu's son Nakula, that foremost of men, endued with great activity, became filled with rage and rushed in that encounter against the son of Karna from desire of slaying him. Then Vrishasena poured showers of keen shafts upon Nakula of great energy as the latter precipitately advanced against him in that battle like a hawk with outstretched wings from desire of meat. Baffling, however, his antagonist's showers of shafts, Nakula careered in diverse beautiful motions. Then Karna's son, O king, in that dreadful battle, cut off, with his mighty shafts, the shield, decked with a 1,000 stars, of Nakula, while he was careering with great activity in those beautiful motions. Without losing a moment, that resister of foes, (Vrishasena), with half a dozen sharp razor-headed shafts, then cut off that naked sword of Nakula, polished and keen-edged, made of steel, capable of bearing a great strain and of destroying the bodies of all foes, and terrible and fierce as the poison of the snake, while he was whirling it rapidly. After this, Vrishasena deeply pierced his antagonist in the centre of his chest with some well-tempered and keen shafts. Having achieved those feats in battle that were applauded by all noble persons and that could not be achieved by other men, the high-souled Nakula of great activity, afflicted with those shafts, proceeded to the car, O king, of Bhimasena. The steedless son of Madri, thus afflicted by Karna's son, sprang upon Bhima's car like a lion springing upon a mountain summit, in the sight of Dhananjaya. The high-souled and heroic Vrishasena then, filled with wrath, poured his arrowy showers upon those two mighty car-warriors for piercing those two sons of Pandu. After the destruction of that car belonging to the son of Pandu (Nakula), and after his sword also had been speedily cut off with (Vrishasena's) shafts; many other foremost of Kuru heroes, uniting together, approached the Pandava brothers, and began to strike them with showers of shafts. Then those two sons of Pandu, Bhima and Arjuna, filled with wrath, and resembling two fires fed with libations of clarified butter, poured terrible showers of arrows upon Vrishasena and the other assembled warriors around him. The son of the Wind-god then, addressing Phalguna, said, "Behold, Nakula here is being afflicted. The son of Karna is resisting us. Proceed, therefore, against Karna's son." Hearing these words, the diadem-decked (Arjuna) approached the car of his brother Vrikodara. Beholding that hero arrived near, Nakula addressed him, saying, "Do thou speedily slay this one." Thus addressed in that battle by his brother, Nakula, standing before him, the diadem-decked Arjuna, that formidable hero, precipitately caused his ape-bannered vehicle, guided by Keshava himself, to be driven towards Vrishasena.'"
Next: Section 85