The Mahabharata Home
Sanjaya said, "When the troops, slaughtered by one another, were thus agitated, when many of the warriors fled away and the elephants began to utter loud cries, when the foot-soldiers in that dreadful battle began to shout and wail aloud, when the steeds, O king, ran in diverse directions, when the carnage became awful, when a terrible destruction set in of all embodied creatures, when weapons of various kinds fell or clashed with one another, when cars and elephants began to be mangled together, when heroes felt great delight and cowards felt their fears enhanced, when combatants encountered one another from desire of slaughter, on that awful occasion of the destruction of life, during the progress of that dreadful sport, that is, of that awful battle that enhanced the population of Yama's kingdom, the Pandavas slaughtered thy troops with keen shafts, and, after the same manner, thy troops slew those of the Pandavas.
During that battle inspiring the timid with terror, indeed, during the progress of the battle as it was fought on that morning about the hour of sunrise, the Pandava heroes of good aim, protected by the high-souled Yudhishthira, fought with thy forces, making death itself their goal. The Kuru army, O thou of the race of Kuru, encountering the proud Pandavas endued with great strength, skilled in smiting, and possessed of sureness of aim, became weakened and agitated like a herd of she-deer frightened at a forest conflagration.
Beholding that army weakened and helpless like a cow sunk in mire, Shalya, desirous of rescuing it, proceeded against the Pandava army. Filled with rage, the ruler of the Madras, taking up an excellent bow, rushed for battle against the Pandava foes. The Pandavas also, O monarch, in that encounter, inspired with desire of victory, proceeded against the ruler of the Madras and pierced him with keen shafts. Then the ruler of the Madras, possessed of great strength, afflicted that host with showers of keen arrows in the very sight of king Yudhishthira the just.
At that time diverse portents appeared to the view. The Earth herself, with her mountains, trembled, making a loud noise. Meteors, with keen points bright as those of lances equipped with handles, piercing the air, fell upon the Earth from the firmament. Deer and buffaloes and birds, O monarch, in large numbers, placed thy army to their right, O king. The planets Venus and Mars, in conjunction with Mercury, appeared at the rear of the Pandavas and to the front of all the (Kaurava) lords of Earth. Blazing flames seemed to issue from the points of weapons, dazzling the eyes (of the warriors). Crows and owls in large numbers perched upon the heads of the combatants and on the tops of their standards. Then a fierce battle took place between the Kaurava and the Pandava combatants, assembled together in large bodies. Then, O king, the Kauravas, mustering all their divisions, rushed against the Pandava army. Of soul incapable of being depressed, Shalya then poured dense showers of arrows on Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti like the thousand-eyed Indra pouring rain in torrents. Possessed of great strength, he pierced Bhimasena, and the five sons of Draupadi and Dhristadyumna, the two sons of Madri by Pandu, and the grandson of Sini, and Shikhandi also, each with ten arrows equipped with wings of gold and whetted on stone. Indeed, he began to pour his arrows like Maghavat (Indra) pouring rain at the close of the summer season. Then the Prabhadrakas, O king, and the Somakas, were seen felled or falling by thousands, in consequence of Shalya's arrows. Multitudinous as swarms of bees or flights of locusts, the shafts of Shalya were seen to fall like thunderbolts from the clouds. Elephants and steeds and foot-soldiers and car-warriors, afflicted with Shalya's arrows, fell down or wandered or uttered loud wails. Infuriate with rage and prowess, the ruler of the Madras shrouded his foes in that battle like Destroyer at the end of the Yuga. The mighty ruler of the Madras began to roar aloud like the clouds. The Pandava army, thus slaughtered by Shalya, ran towards Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti (for protection). Possessed of great lightness of hand, Shalya, having in that battle crushed them with whetted arrows, began to afflict Yudhishthira with a dense shower of shafts. Beholding Shalya impetuously rushing towards him with horsemen and foot-soldiers, king Yudhishthira, filled with wrath, checked him with keen shafts, even as an infuriate elephant is checked with iron-hooks. Then Shalya sped a terrible arrow at Yudhishthira that resembled a snake of virulent poison. Piercing through the high-souled son of Kunti, that arrow quickly fell down upon the Earth. Then Vrikodara, filled with wrath, pierced Shalya with seven arrows, and Sahadeva pierced him with five, and Nakula with ten. The (five) sons of Draupadi poured upon that foe-slaying hero, the impetuous Artayani (Shalya), showers of arrows like a mass of clouds pouring rain upon a mountain. Beholding Shalya struck by the Parthas on every side, both Kritavarma and Kripa rushed in wrath towards that spot. Uluka also of mighty energy, and Shakuni the son of Subala, and the mighty car-warrior Ashvatthama with smiles on his lips, and all thy sons protected Shalya by every means in that battle. Piercing Bhimasena with three arrows, Kritavarma, shooting a dense shower of shafts, checked that warrior who then seemed to be the embodiment of wrath. Excited with rage, Kripa struck Dhrishtadyumna with many arrows. Shakuni proceeded against the sons of Draupadi, and Ashvatthama against the twins. That foremost of warriors, Duryodhana, possessed of fierce energy, proceeded, in that battle, against Keshava and Arjuna, and endued with might, he struck them both with many arrows. Thus hundreds of combats, O monarch, that were fierce and beautiful, took place between thy men and the enemy, on diverse parts of the field. The chief of the Bhojas then slew the brown steeds of Bhimasena's car in that encounter. The steedless son of Pandu, alighting from his car, began to fight with his mace, like the Destroyer himself with his uplifted bludgeon. The ruler of the Madras then slew the steeds of Sahadeva before his eyes. Then Sahadeva slew Shalya's son with his sword. The preceptor Gautama (Kripa) once more fearlessly fought with Dhrishtadyumna, both exerting themselves with great care. The preceptor's son Ashvatthama, without much wrath and as if smiling in that battle, pierced each of the five heroic sons of Draupadi with ten arrows. Once more the steeds of Bhimasena were slain in that battle. The steedless son of Pandu, quickly alighting from his car, took up his mace like the Destroyer taking his bludgeon. Excited with wrath, that mighty hero crushed the steeds and the car of Kritavarma. Jumping down from his vehicle, Kritavarma then fled away. Shalya also, excited with rage, O king, slaughtered many Somakas and Pandavas, and once more afflicted Yudhishthira with many keen shafts. Then the valiant Bhima, biting his nether lip, and infuriate with rage, took up his mace in that battle, and aimed it at Shalya for the latter's destruction. Resembling the very bludgeon of Yama, impending (upon the head of the foe) like kala-ratri (Death Night), exceedingly destructive of the lives of elephants and steeds and human beings, twined round with cloth of gold, looking like a blazing meteor, equipped with a sling, fierce as a she-snake, hard as thunder, and made wholly of iron, smeared with sandal-paste and other unguents like a desirable lady, smutted with marrow and fat and blood, resembling the very tongue of Yama, producing shrill sounds in consequence of the bells attached to it, like unto the thunder of Indra, resembling in shape a snake of virulent poison just freed from its slough, drenched with the juicy secretions of elephants, inspiring hostile troops with terror and friendly troops with joy, celebrated in the world of men, and capable of riving mountain summits, that mace, with which the mighty son of Kunti had in Kailasa challenged the enraged Lord of Alaka, the friend of Maheshvara, that weapon with which Bhima, though resisted by many, had in wrath slain a large number of proud Guhyakas endued with powers of illusion on the breasts of Gandhamadana for the sake of procuring Mandara flowers for doing what was agreeable to Draupadi, uplifting that mace which was rich with diamonds and jewels and gems and possessed of eight sides and celebrated as Indra's thunder, the mighty-armed son of Pandu now rushed against Shalya. With that mace of awful sound, Bhima, skilled in battle, crushed the four steeds of Shalya that were possessed of great fleetness. Then the heroic Shalya, excited with wrath in that battle, hurled a lance at the broad chest of Bhima and uttered a loud shout. That lance, piercing through the armour of Pandu's son, presented into his body. Vrikodara, however, fearlessly plucking out the weapon, pierced therewith the driver of Shalya in the chest. His vitals pierced, the driver, vomiting blood, fell down with agitated heart. At this, the ruler of the Madras came down from his car and cheerlessly gazed at Bhima. Beholding his own feat thus counteracted, Shalya became filled with wonder. Of tranquil soul, the ruler of the Madras took up his mace and began to cast his glances upon his foe. Beholding that terrible feat of his in battle, the Parthas, with cheerful hearts, worshipped Bhima who was incapable of being tired with exertion.'"
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