The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'Seeing his driver fallen, Shalya, O king, quickly took up his mace made wholly of iron and stood immovable as a bull. Bhima, however, armed with his mighty mace, rushed impetuously towards Shalya who then looked like the blazing Yuga-fire, or the Destroyer armed with the noose, or the Kailasa mountain with its formidable crest, or Vasava with his thunder, or Mahadeva with his trident, or an infuriate elephant in the forest. At that time the blare of thousands of conchs and trumpets and loud leonine roars arose there, enhancing the delight of heroes. The combatants of both armies, looking at those two foremost of warriors from every side, applauded them both, saying, "Excellent, Excellent! Save the ruler of the Madras, or Rama, that delighter of the Yadus, there is none else that can venture to endure the impetuosity of Bhima in battle. Similarly, save Bhima, there is no other warrior that can venture to endure the force of the mace of the illustrious king of the Madras in battle." Those two combatants then, Vrikodara and the ruler of the Madras, roaring like bulls, careered in circles, frequently jumping up in the air. In that encounter between those two lions among men, no difference could be noticed between them either in respect of their careering in circles or of their wielding the mace. The mace of Shalya, wrapped round with a resplendent cloth of gold that looked like a sheet of fire, inspired the spectators with dread. Similarly, the mace of the high-souled Bhima, as the latter careered in circles, looked like lightning in the midst of the clouds. Struck by the ruler of the Madras with his mace, the mace of Bhima, O king, produced sparks of fire in the welkin which thereupon seemed to be ablaze. Similarly, struck by Bhima with his mace, the mace of Shalya produced a shower of blazing coals which seemed exceedingly wonderful. Like two gigantic elephants striking each other with their tusks, or two huge bulls striking each other with their horns, those two heroes began to strike each other with their foremost of maces, like a couple of combatants striking each other with iron bound clubs. Their limbs being struck with each other's mace, they soon became bathed in blood and looked handsomer in consequence like two flowering Kinsukas. Struck by the ruler of the Madras on both his left and right, the mighty-armed Bhimasena stood immovable like a mountain. Similarly, though struck repeatedly with the force of Bhima's mace, Shalya, O king, moved not, like a mountain assailed by an elephant with his tusks. The noise made by the blows of the maces of those two lions among men was heard on all sides like successive peals of thunder. Having ceased for a moment, those two warriors of great energy once more began, with uplifted maces, to career in closer circles. Once more the clash took place between those two warriors of superhuman feats, each having advanced towards the other by eight steps, and each assailing the other with his uplifted iron club. Then, wishing to get at each other, they once more careered in circles. Both accomplished (in the use of the mace) they began to display their superiority of skill. Uplifting their terrible weapons, they then again struck each other like mountains striking each other with their crests at the time of an earthquake. Exceedingly crushed with each other's mace in consequence of each other's strength, both those heroes fell down at the same time like a couple of poles set up for Indra's worship. The brave combatants then of both armies, at that sight, uttered cries of "Oh!" and "Alas!" Struck with great force in their vital limbs, both of them had become exceedingly agitated. Then the mighty Kripa, taking up Shalya, that bull among the Madras, on his own car, quickly bore him away from the field of battle. Within, however, the twinkling of an eye, Bhimasena, rising up, and still reeling as if drunk, challenged, with uplifted mace, the ruler of the Madras. Then the heroic warriors of thy army, armed with diverse weapons, fought with the Pandavas, causing diverse musical instruments to be blown and beat. With uplifted arms and weapons and making a loud noise, O monarch, thy warriors headed by Duryodhana rushed against the Pandavas. Beholding the Kaurava host, the sons of Pandu, with leonine roars, rushed against those warriors headed by Duryodhana. Then thy son, O bull of Bharata's race, singling out Chekitana amongst those rushing heroes, pierced him deeply with a lance in the chest. Thus assailed by thy son, Chekitana fell down on the terrace of his car, covered with blood, and overcome with a deep swoon. Beholding Chekitana slain, the great car-warriors among the Pandavas incessantly poured their arrowy showers (upon the Kauravas). Indeed, the Pandavas, inspired with desire of victory, O monarch, careered beautifully on all sides amongst thy divisions. Kripa, and Kritavarma, and the mighty son of Subala, placing the ruler of the Madras before them, fought with king Yudhishthira the just. Duryodhana, O monarch, fought with Dhrishtadyumna, the slayer of Bharadwaja's son, that hero endued with abundant energy and prowess. 3,000 cars, O king, despatched by thy son and headed by Drona's son, battled with Vijaya (Arjuna). All those combatants, O king, had firmly resolved to win victory and had cast off fear with life itself. Indeed, O king, thy warriors penetrated into the midst of the Pandava army like swans into a large lake. A fierce battle then took place between the Kurus and the Pandavas, the combatants being actuated with the desire of slaughtering one another and deriving great pleasure from giving and receiving blows. During the progress, O king, of that battle which was destructive of great heroes, an earthly dust, terrible to behold, was raised by the wind. From only the names we heard (of the Pandava warriors) that were uttered in course of that battle and from those (of the Kuru warriors) that were uttered by the Pandavas, we knew the combatants that fought with one another fearlessly. That dust, however, O tiger among men, was soon dispelled by the blood that was shed, and all the points of the compass became once more clear when that dusty darkness was driven away. Indeed, during the progress of that terrible and awful battle, no one among either thy warriors or those of the foe, turned his back. Desirous of attaining to the regions of Brahman and longing for victory by fair fight, the combatants displayed their prowess, inspired with the hope of heaven. For paying off the debt they owed to their masters on account of the sustenance granted by the latter, or firmly resolved to accomplish the objects of their friends and allies, the warriors, with hearts fixed on heaven, fought with one another on that occasion. Shooting and hurling weapons of diverse kinds, great car-warriors roared at or smote one another. "Slay, pierce, seize, strike, cut off!" These were the words that were heard in that battle, uttered by the warriors and those of the foe. Then Shalya, O monarch, desirous of slaying him, pierced king Yudhishthira the just, that mighty car-warrior with many sharp arrows. Conversant with what are the vital limbs of the body, the son of Pritha, however, O monarch, with the greatest ease, struck the ruler of the Madras with four and ten cloth-yard shafts, aiming at the latter's vital limbs. Resisting the son of Pandu with his shafts, Shalya of great fame, filled with rage and desirous of slaying his adversary, pierced him in that battle with innumerable arrows equipped with Kanka feathers. Once more, O monarch, he struck Yudhishthira with a straight shaft in the very sight of all the troops. King Yudhishthira the just, possessed of great fame and filled with rage, pierced the ruler of the Madras with many keen arrows equipped with feathers of Kankas and peacocks. The mighty car-warrior then pierced Candrasena with seventy arrows and Shalya's driver with nine, and Drumasena with four and sixty. When the two protectors of his car-wheels were (thus) slain by the high-souled son of Pandu, Shalya, O king, slew five and twenty warriors among the Cedis. And he pierced Satyaki with five and twenty keen arrows, and Bhimasena with seven, and the two sons of Madri with a hundred, in that battle. While Shalya was thus careering in that battle, that best of kings, the son of Pritha, sped at him many shafts that resembled snakes of virulent poison. With a broad-headed arrow, Yudhishthira the son of Kunti then cut off from his car the standard top of his adversary as the latter stood in his front. We saw the standard of Shalya, which was thus cut off by the son of Pandu in that great battle, fall down like a riven mountain summit. Seeing his standard fallen and observing the son of Pandu standing before him, the ruler of the Madras became filled with rage and shot showers of shafts. That bull amongst Kshatriyas, Shalya of immeasurable soul, poured over the Kshatriyas in that battle dense showers of arrows like the deity of the clouds pouring torrents of rain. Piercing Satyaki and Bhimasena and the twin sons of Madri by Pandu, each with five arrows, he afflicted Yudhishthira greatly. We then, O monarch, beheld a net of arrows spread before the chest of Pandu's son like a mass of risen clouds. The mighty car-warrior Shalya, in that battle, filled with rage, shrouded Yudhishthira with straight shafts. At this, king Yudhishthira afflicted with those showers of shafts, felt himself deprived of his prowess, even as the Asura Jambha had become before the slayer of Vritra.'"
Next: Section 13