The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'The ruler of the Madras then, beholding thy son employed in rallying the troops, with fear depicted on his countenance and with heart stupefied with grief, said these words unto Duryodhana.
"'Shalya said, "Behold this awful field of battle, O hero, covered with heaps of slain men and steeds and elephants. Some tracts are covered with fallen elephants huge as mountains, exceedingly mangled, their vital limbs pierced with shafts, lying helplessly, deprived of life, their armour displaced and the weapons, the shields and the swords with which they were equipped lying scattered about. These fallen animals resemble huge mountains riven with thunder, with their rocks and lofty trees and herbs loosened from them and lying all around. The bells and iron hooks and lances and standards with which those huge creatures had been equipped are lying on the ground. Adorned with housings of gold, their bodies are now bathed in blood. Some tracts, again, are covered with fallen steeds, mangled with shafts, breathing hard in pain and vomitting blood. Some of them are sending forth soft wails of pain, some are biting the earth with rolling eyes and some are uttering piteous neighs. Portions of the field are covered with horsemen and elephant-warriors fallen off from their animals, and with bands of car-warriors forcibly thrown down from their cars. Some of them are already dead and some are at the point of death. Covered also with the corpses of men and steeds and elephants as also with crushed cars and other huge elephants with their trunks and limbs cut off, the earth has become awful to look at like the great Vaitarani (skirting the domains of Yama). Indeed, the earth looketh even such, being strewn with other elephants, stretched on the ground with trembling bodies and broken tusks, vomiting blood, uttering soft cries in pain, deprived of the warriors on their backs, divested of the armour that covered their limbs, and reft of the foot-soldiers that protected their flank and rear, and with their quivers and banners and standards displaced, their bodies adorned with housings of gold struck deep with the weapons of the foe. The earth looked like the cloud-covered welkin in consequence of being strewn with the fallen bodies of elephant-warriors and horse-men and carwarriors, all of great fame, and of foot-soldiers slain by foes fighting face to face, and divested of armour and ornaments and attire and weapons. Covered with thousands of fallen combatants mangled with arrows, fully exposed to view, and deprived of consciousness, with some amongst them whose breaths were returning slowly, the earth seemed as if covered with many extinguished fires. With those foremost of heroes among both the Kurus and the Srinjayas, pierced with arrows and deprived of life by Partha and Karna, the earth seemed as if strewn with blazing planets fallen from the firmament, or like the nocturnal firmament itself bespangled with blazing planets of serene light. The shafts sped from the arms of Karna and Arjuna, piercing through the bodies of elephants and steeds and men and quickly stilling their lives, entered the earth like mighty snakes entering their holes with heads bent downwards. The earth has become impassable with heaps of slain men and steeds and elephants, and with cars broken with the shafts of Dhananjaya and Adhiratha's son and with the numberless shafts themselves shot by them. Strewn with well-equipped cars crushed by means of mighty shafts along with the warriors and the weapons and the standards upon them, cars, that is, with their traces broken, their joints separated, their axles and yokes and Trivenus reduced to fragments, their wheels loosened, their Upaskaras destroyed, their Anukarsanas cut in pieces, the fastenings of their quivers cut off, and their niches (for the accommodation of drivers) broken, strewn with those vehicles adorned with gems and gold, the earth looks like the firmament overspread with autumnal clouds. In consequence of well-equipped royal cars deprived of riders and dragged by fleet steeds, as also of men and elephants and cars and horses that fled very quickly, the army has been broken in diverse ways. Spiked maces with golden bells, battle-axes, sharp lances, heavy clubs, mallets, bright unsheathed swords, and maces covered with cloth of gold, have fallen on the field. Bows decked with ornaments of gold, and shafts equipped with beautiful wings of pure gold, and bright unsheathed rapiers of excellent temper, and lances, and scimitars bright as gold, and umbrellas, and fans, and conchs, and arms decked with excellent flowers and gold, and caparisons of elephants, and standards, and car fences and diadems, and necklaces, and brilliant crowns, and yak-tails lying about, O king, and garlands luminous with corals and pearls, and chaplets for the head, and bracelets for both the wrist and the upper arms, and collars for the neck with strings of gold, and diverse kinds of costly diamonds and gems and pearls, and bodies brought up in a great luxury, and heads beautiful as the moon, are lying scattered about. Abandoning their bodies and enjoyments and robes and diverse kinds of agreeable pleasures, and acquiring great merit for the devotion they showed to the virtuous of their order, they have speedily gone in a blaze of flame to regions of bliss. Turn back, O Duryodhana! Let the troops retire! O king, O giver of honours, proceed towards thy camp! There, the Sun is hanging low in the welkin, O lord! Remember, O ruler of men, that thou art the cause of all this!"
"'Having said these words unto Duryodhana, Shalya, with heart filled with grief, stopped. Duryodhana, however, at that time, deeply afflicted and deprived of his senses, and with eyes bathed in tears, wept for the Suta's son, saying, "Karna! Oh Karna!" Then all the kings headed by Drona's son, repeatedly comforting Duryodhana, proceeded towards the camp, frequently looking back at the lofty standard of Arjuna that seemed to be ablaze with his fame. At that terrible hour when everything around looked so resplendent, the Kauravas, all of whom had resolved to repair to the other world, their features incapable of recognition owing to the blood that covered them, beholding the earth, that was drenched with the blood flowing from the bodies of men and steeds and elephants, looking like a courtesan attired in crimson robes and floral garlands and ornaments of gold, were unable, O king, to stand there! Filled with grief at the slaughter of Karna, they indulged in loud lamentations, saying, "Alas, Karna! Alas Karna!" Beholding the Sun assume a crimson hue, all of them speedily proceeded towards their camp. As regards Karna, though slain and pierced with gold-winged shafts whetted on stone and equipped with feathers and dyed in blood and sped from gandiva, yet that hero, lying on the ground, looked resplendent like the Sun himself of bright rays. It seemed that illustrious Surya, ever kind to his worshippers, having touched with his rays the gore-drenched body of Karna, proceeded, with aspect crimson in grief, to the other ocean from desire of a bath. Thinking so, the throngs of celestials and rishis (that had come there for witnessing the battle) left the scene for proceeding to their respective abodes. The large crowd of other beings also, entertaining the same thought, went away, repairing as they chose to heaven or the earth. The foremost of Kuru heroes also, having beheld that wonderful battle between Dhananjaya and Adhiratha's son, which had inspired all living creatures with dread, proceeded (to their nightly quarters), filled with wonder and applauding (the encounter). Though his armour had been cut off with arrows, and though he had been slain in course of that dreadful fight, still that beauty of features which the son of Radha possessed did not abandon him when dead. Indeed, everyone beheld the body of the hero to resemble heated gold. It seemed to be endued with life and possessed of the effulgence of fire or the sun. All the warriors, O king, were inspired with fright at sight of the Suta's son lying dead on the field, like other animals at sight of the lion. Indeed, though dead, that tiger among men seemed ready to utter his commands. Nothing, in that illustrious dead, seemed changed. Clad in beautiful attire, and possessed of a neck that was very beautiful, the Suta's son owned a face which resembled the full moon in splendour. Adorned with diverse ornaments and decked with Angadas made of bright gold, Vaikartana, though slain, lay stretched like a gigantic tree adorned with branches and twigs. Indeed, that tiger among men lay like a heap of pure gold, or like a blazing fire extinguished with the water of Partha's shafts. Even as a blazing conflagration is extinguished when it comes in contact with water, the Karna-conflagration was extinguished by the Partha-cloud in the battle. Having shot showers of arrows and scorched the ten points of the compass, that tiger among men, viz., Karna, along with his sons, was quieted by Partha's energy. He left the world, taking away with him that blazing glory of his own which he had earned on earth by fair fight. Having scorched the Pandavas and the Pancalas with the energy of his weapons, having poured showers of arrows and burnt the hostile divisions, having, indeed, heated the universe like the thousand-rayed Surya of great beauty, Karna, otherwise called Vaikartana, left the world, with his sons and followers. Thus fell that hero who was a Kalpa tree unto those swarms of birds represented by suitors. Solicited by suitors he always said, "I give" but never the words "I have not!" The righteous always regarded him as a righteous person. Even such was Vrisha who fell in single combat. All the wealth of that high-souled person had been dedicated to the Brahmanas. There was nothing, not even his life, that he could not give away unto the Brahmanas. He was ever the favourite of ladies, exceedingly liberal, and a mighty car-warrior. Burnt by the weapons of Partha, he attained to the highest end. He, relying upon whom thy son had provoked hostilities, thus went to heaven, taking away with him the hope of victory, the happiness, and the armour of the Kauravas. When Karna fell, the rivers stood still. The Sun set with a pale hue. The planet Mercury, the son of Soma, assuming the hue of fire or the Sun, appeared to course through the firmament in a slanting direction. The firmament seemed to be rent in twain; the earth uttered loud roars; violent and awful winds began to blow. All the points of the horizon, covered with smoke, seemed to be ablaze. The great oceans were agitated and uttered awful sounds. The mountains with their forests began to tremble, and all creatures, O sire, felt pain. The planet Jupiter, afflicting the constellation Rohini assumed the hue of the moon or the sun. Upon the fall of Karna, the subsidiary points also of the compass became ablaze. The sky became enveloped in darkness. The earth trembled. Meteors of blazing splendour fell. Rakshasas and other wanderers of the night became filled with joy. When Arjuna, with that razor-faced shaft, struck off Karna's head adorned with a face beautiful as the moon, then, O king, loud cries of "Oh!" and "Alas!" were heard of creatures in heaven, in the welkin, and on the earth. Having in battle slain his foe Karna who was worshipped by the gods, the gandharvas, and human beings, Pritha's son Arjuna looked resplendent in his energy like the deity of a 1,000 eyes after the slaughter of Vritra. Then riding on that car of theirs whose rattle resembled the roar of the clouds and whose splendour was like that of the meridian sun of the autumnal sky, which was adorned with banners and equipped with a standard incessantly producing an awful noise, whose effulgence resembled that of the snow or the Moon or the conch or the crystal, and whose steeds were like those of Indra himself, those two foremost of men, viz., the son of Pandu and the crusher of Keshi, whose energy resembled that of the great Indra, and who were adorned with gold and pearls and gems and diamonds and corals, and who were like fire or the sun in splendour, fearlessly careered over the field of battle with great speed, like Vishnu and Vasava mounted on the same chariot. Forcibly divesting the enemy of his splendour by means of the twang of gandiva and the slaps of their palms, and slaying the Kurus with showers of shafts, the Ape-bannered Arjuna, the Garuda-bannered Krishna, both of whom were possessed of immeasurable prowess, those two foremost of men, filled with joy, took up with their hands their loud-sounding conchs adorned with gold and white as snow, and placing them against their lips, blew simultaneously with those beautiful mouths of theirs, piercing the hearts of their foes with the sound. The blare of pancajanya and that of devadatta filled the earth, the sky, and heaven.
At the sound of the heroic Madhava's conch as also at that of Arjuna's, all the Kauravas, O best of kings, became filled with fright. Those foremost of men, causing the forests, the mountains, the rivers and the points of the compass to resound with the blare of their conchs, and filling the army of thy son with fright, gladdened Yudhishthira therewith. As soon as the Kauravas heard the blare of those conchs that were thus being blown, all of them left the field with great speed, deserting the ruler of the Madras and the chief of the Bharatas, O Bharata, viz., Duryodhana. Then diverse creatures, uniting together, congratulated Dhananjaya, that hero shining resplendent on the field of battle, as also Janardana, those two foremost of men who then looked like a couple of risen suns. Pierced with Karna's arrows, those two chastisers of foes, Acyuta and Arjuna, looked resplendent like the bright and many-rayed moon and the sun risen after dispelling a gloom. Casting off those arrows, those two mighty warriors, both endued with unrivalled prowess, surrounded by well-wishers and friends, happily entered their own encampment, like the lords Vasava and Vishnu duly invoked by sacrificial priests. Upon the slaughter of Karna in that dreadful battle, the gods, gandharvas, human beings, caranas, great rishis, yakshas, and great nagas, worshipped Krishna and Arjuna with great respect and wished them victory (in all things). Having received all their friends then, each according to his age, and applauded by those friends in return for their incomparable feats, the two heroes rejoiced with their friends, like the chief of the celestials and Vishnu after the overthrow of Vali.'"
Next: Section 95