The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'Learning that Nakula had been deprived of his car, afflicted with arrows and mangled with the weapons of Karna's son, and that he had his shafts, bow, and sword cut off, these eleven formidable resisters of all foes, the five heroic sons of Drupada, the grandson of Sini forming the sixth, and the five sons of Draupadi quickly proceeded on their loud-sounding cars drawn by bounding steeds, with banners waving in the air, and guided by accomplished drivers. Those well-armed warriors began to destroy thy elephants and cars and men and steeds with shafts that resembled formidable snakes. Then Hridika's son and Kripa and Drona's son and Duryodhana and Shakuni's son and Vrika and Kratha and Devavridha, those foremost of Kaurava car-warriors, speedily proceeded against them, armed with their bows and mounted upon their cars of rattle deep as the roar of elephants or the clouds. These Kaurava warriors, assailing those foremost of men and first of car-warriors, those eleven heroes (of the Pandava army), O king, with the mightiest of shafts, checked their progress. At this, the Kulindas, riding upon their elephants of impetuous speed that looked like mountain summits and that were of the hue of newly-risen clouds, advanced against those Kaurava heroes. Well-equipped, and covered with gold, those infuriated elephants, born in Himalayan regions and ridden by accomplished warriors longing for battle, looked resplendent like clouds in the welkin, charged with lightning. The prince of the Kulindas then vigorously assailed Kripa and his driver and steeds, with ten shafts made wholly of iron. Struck (in return) with the shafts of Sharadvata's son, the prince fell down with his elephant on the ground. The younger brother of that prince then, assailing Kripa's car with a number of lances made wholly of iron and all bright as the rays of the sun, uttered loud roars. The ruler of the Gandharvas, however, cut off the head of that warrior while still uttering those roars. Upon the fall of those Kulindas, those mighty car-warriors of thy army, filled with joy, blew their sea-born conchs, and, armed with bows, rushed against their enemies. The battle then that once more took place between the Kurus on the one side and the Pandavas and the Srinjayas on the other, with arrows and scimitars and darts and swords and maces and battle-axes, became fierce and awful and exceedingly destructive of men and steeds and elephants. Car-warriors and steeds and elephants and foot-soldiers, striking one another, fell down on the ground, making the field of battle look like the welkin when congregated masses of clouds charged with lightning and producing incessant peals of thunder are assailed by fierce winds from all sides. Then the chief of the Bhojas struck the huge elephants, the car-warriors, the innumerable foot-soldiers, and the horse under Satanika. Struck with Kritavarma's shafts, these soon fell down on the ground. About this time, struck with Ashvatthama's shafts, three huge elephants equipped with all kinds of weapons, ridden by accomplished warriors, and adorned with lofty standards, fell down lifeless on the ground like gigantic cliffs riven by thunder. Then the third brother of the Kulinda chief assailed thy son Duryodhana with some excellent shafts in the centre of the chest. Thy son, however, pierced him as also his elephant with many whetted shafts. That prince of elephants then, with the prince on his back, fell down, with streams of blood issuing from every part of his body, like a mountain of red chalk in the season of rains, with red streams running down its breast, tumbling down when riven by the thunder of Sachi's lord. The Kulinda prince, however, having saved himself in time, rode another elephant. Urged by the prince, that animal assailed Kratha with his driver and steeds and car. Pierced, however, with Kratha's shafts, that elephant, with its rider, fell down like a thunder-riven hill. The ruler of the Krathas, that invincible car-warrior, however, struck with shafts by the prince born on the mountains from the back of another elephant, fell down with his steeds, driver, bow, and standard, like a mighty tree uprooted by the tempest. Then Vrika deeply pierced with a dozen shafts that prince having his abode on the Himavat as he stood on his elephant. The huge beast quickly crushed with his four legs (the Kaurava warrior) Vrika with his steeds and car. That prince of elephants then, with its rider, deeply pierced by the son of Vabhru, advanced impetuously against the latter. Vabhru's son, however, that prince of the Magadhas, afflicted with arrows by Sahadeva's son, fell down. The prince of the Kulindas then, with that elephant of his which was capable of slaying the foremost of warriors with its tusks and body, rushed impetuously towards Shakuni for slaying him. The mountaineer succeeded in afflicting Shakuni greatly. Soon, however, the chief of the Gandharas cut off his head. About this time huge elephants and steeds and car-warriors and large bands of foot, struck by Satanika, fell down on the earth, paralysed and crushed like snakes beaten by the tempest caused by Garuda's wings. Then a Kulinda warrior (on the Kaurava side), smiling the while, pierced Satanika, the son of Nakula, with many whetted arrows. Nakula's son, however, with a razor-headed arrow, cut off from his antagonist's trunk his head resembling a lotus. Then Karna's son pierced Satanika with three arrows, made wholly of iron and Arjuna also with as many. And he pierced Bhima with three arrows and Nakula with seven and Janardana with a dozen. Beholding that feat of Vrishasena, that achiever of superhuman feats, the Kauravas became filled with joy and applauded him greatly. They, however, that were conversant with Dhananjaya's prowess, regarded Vrishasena as a libation already poured on the fire. The diadem-decked Arjuna then, that slayer of hostile heroes, seeing Madri's son Nakula, that foremost of men, deprived of his steeds in the midst of all, and beholding Janardana mangled with arrows, rushed in that battle against Vrishasena who was then staying in front of the Suta's son (Karna). Like Namuci rushing against Indra, Karna's son, that great car-warrior, also rushed, in that battle, against that fierce and foremost of men, Arjuna, that warrior possessing thousands of arrows, as the latter advanced towards him. Unsupported by any one, the high-souled son of Karna, quickly piercing Partha with a shaft in that battle, uttered a loud shout, like Namuci in days of old after having pierced Indra. Once more Vrishasena pierced Partha in the left arm-pit with many formidable shafts. Piercing Krishna next with nine arrows, he struck Partha again with ten shafts. The white-steeded Arjuna, having before been pierced by Vrishasena with those formidable arrows, became slightly enraged and set his heart on the slaughter of Karna's son. The high-souled and diadem-decked Arjuna then, his brow furrowed from wrath with three lines, quickly sped from the van of battle a number of shafts for the destruction of Vrishasena in that encounter. With eyes red in wrath, that hero capable of slaying Yama himself if the latter fought with him, then laughed terribly and said unto Karna and all the other Kaurava heroes headed by Duryodhana and Drona's son, these words, "Today, O Karna, in thy very sight in this battle, I will despatch the fierce Vrishasena unto Yama's abode with my keen arrows! People say that all of you, united together, slew my son, endued with great activity, in my absence, and while he was alone and unsupported on his car. I, however, will slay thy son in the very sight of you all. Let all the Kaurava car-warriors protect him. I will slay the fierce Vrishasena. After that, I will slay thee, O fool, even I, Arjuna, in the midst of battle! Today I will, in battle, slay thee that art the root of this quarrel and that hast become so proud in consequence of Duryodhana's patronage. Putting forth my strength, I will certainly slay thee in this battle, and Bhimasena will slay this Duryodhana, this wretch among men, through whose evil policy this quarrel born of dice hath arisen." Having said these words, Arjuna rubbed the string of his bow and took aim at Vrishasena in that battle, and sped, O king, a number of shafts for the slaughter of Karna's son. The diadem-decked Arjuna then, fearlessly and with great force, pierced Vrishasena with ten shafts in all his vital limbs. With four fierce razor-headed arrows he cut off Vrishasena's bow and two arms and head. Struck with Partha's shafts, the son of Karna, deprived of arms and head, fell down on the earth from his car, like a gigantic shala adorned with flowers falling down from a mountain summit. Beholding his son, thus struck with arrows, fall down from his vehicle, the Suta's son Karna, endued with great activity and scorched with grief on account of the death of his son, quickly proceeded on his car, inspired with wrath, against the car of the diadem-decked Partha.
"Indeed, beholding his son slain in his sight by the white-steeded Arjuna in battle, the high-souled Karna, filled with great wrath, rushed against Krishna and Arjuna.'"
Next: Section 86