The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'Meanwhile Arjuna, in that battle, pierced with many arrows by the son of Drona as also by the latter's followers, the heroic and mighty car-warriors among the Trigartas, pierced Drona's son in return with three shafts, and each of the other warriors with two. Once again, the mighty-armed Dhananjaya covered his enemies with showers of shafts. Though struck with keen arrows and though they looked like porcupines in consequence of those arrows sticking to their limbs, still thy troops, O bull of Bharata's race, fled not from Partha in that battle. With Drona's son at their head, they encompassed that mighty car-warrior and fought with him, shooting showers of shafts. The gold-decked arrows, O king, shot by them, speedily filled the terrace of Arjuna's car. Beholding those two great bowmen, those two foremost of all warriors, the two Krishnas, covered with arrows, those invincible (Kaurava) combatants became filled with delight. Indeed, at that time, the Kuvara, the wheels, the shaft, the traces, the yoke, and the Anukarsha, O lord, of Arjuna's car, became entirely enveloped with arrows. The like of what thy warriors then did unto Partha had never before, O king, been either seen or heard. That car looked resplendent with those keen arrows of beautiful wings like a celestial vehicle blazing with hundreds of torches dropped on the Earth. Then Arjuna, O monarch, covered that hostile division with showers of straight shafts like a cloud pouring torrents of rain on a mountain. Struck in that battle with arrows inscribed with Partha's name, those warriors, beholding that state of things, regarded the field of battle to be full of Parthas. Then the Partha-fire, having for its wonderful flames and the loud twang of Gandiva for the wind that fanned it, began to consume the fuel constituted by thy troops. Then, O Bharata, heaps of fallen wheels and yokes, of quivers, of banners and standards, with the vehicles themselves that bore them, of shafts and Anukarshas and Trivenus, of axles and traces and goads, of heads of warriors decked with earrings and headgears, of arms, O monarch, and thighs in thousands of umbrellas along with fans, and of diadems and crowns, were seen along the tracks of Partha's car. Indeed, along the track of the angry Partha's car, O monarch, the ground, miry with blood, became impassable, O chief of the Bharatas, like the sporting ground of Rudra. The scene inspired the timid with fear and the brave with delight. Having destroyed 2,000 cars with their fences, that scorcher of foes, Partha, looked like a smokeless fire with blazing flames. Indeed, even as the illustrious Agni when he blazes forth (at the end of the Yuga) for destroying the mobile and the immobile universe, even so looked, O king, the mighty car-warrior Partha. Beholding the prowess of Pandu's son in that battle, the son of Drona, on his car equipped with many banners, endeavoured to check him. Those two tigers among men, both having white steeds yoked unto their vehicles and both regarded as the foremost of car-warriors, quickly encountered each other, each desirous of slaying the other. The arrowy showers shot by both became exceedingly terrible and were as dense, O bull of Bharata's race, as the torrents of rain poured by two masses of clouds at the close of summer. Each challenging the other, those two warriors mangled each other with straight shafts in that battle, like a couple of bulls tearing each other with their horns. The battle between them, O king, was fought equally for a long while. The clash of weapons became terrific. The son of Drona then, O Bharata, pierced Arjuna with a dozen gold-winged arrows of great energy and Vasudeva with ten. Having shown for a short while some regard for the preceptor's son in that great battle, Vibhatsu then, smiling the while, stretched his bow Gandiva with force. Soon, however, the mighty car-warrior Savyasaci (Arjuna) made his adversary steedless and driverless and carless, and without putting forth much strength pierced him with three arrows. Staying on that steedless car, Drona's son, smiling the while, hurled at the son of Pandu a heavy mallet that looked like a dreadful mace with iron-spikes. Beholding that weapon, which was decked with cloth of gold, coursing towards him, the heroic Partha, that slayer of foes, cut it off into seven fragments. Seeing his mallet cut off, Drona's son of great wrath took up a terrible mace equipped with iron spikes and looking like a mountain summit. Accomplished in battle, the son of Drona hurled it then at Partha. Beholding that spiked mace coursing towards him like the Destroyer himself in rage, Pandu's son Arjuna quickly cut it off with five excellent shafts. Cut off with Partha's shafts in that great battle, that weapon fell down on the Earth, riving the hearts, as it were, O Bharata, of the (hostile) kings. The son of Pandu then pierced Drona's son with three other shafts. Though deeply pierced by the mighty Partha, Drona's son, however, of great might, relying upon his own manliness, showed no sign of fear or agitation. That great car-warrior, the son of Drona, then, O king, shrouded Suratha (the Pancala) with showers of shafts before the eyes of all the Kshatriyas. At this, Suratha, that great car-warrior among the Pancalas, in that battle, riding upon his car whose rattle was as deep as the roar of the clouds rushed against the son of Drona. Drawing his foremost of bows, firm and capable of bearing a great strain, the Pancala hero covered Ashvatthama with arrows that resembled flames of fire or snakes of virulent poison. Seeing the great car-warrior Suratha rushing towards him in wrath, the son of Drona became filled with rage like a snake struck with a stick. Furrowing his brow into three lines, and licking the corners of his mouth with his tongue, he looked at Suratha in rage and then rubbed his bow-string and sped a keen cloth-yard shaft that resembled the fatal rod of Death. Endued with great speed, that shaft pierced the heart of Suratha and passing out entered the Earth, riving her through, like the thunderbolt of Shakra hurled from the sky. Struck with that shaft, Suratha fell down on the Earth like a mountain summit riven with thunder. After the fall of that hero, the valiant son of Drona, that foremost of car-warriors speedily mounted upon the vehicle of his slain foe. Then, O monarch, that warrior, invincible in battle, the son of Drona, well-equipped with armour and weapons, and supported by the Samsaptakas, fought with Arjuna. That battle, at the hour of noon, between one and the many, enhancing the population of Yama's domains, became exceedingly fierce. Wonderful was the sight that we then beheld, for, noticing the prowess of all those combatants, Arjuna, alone and unsupported, fought with his foes at the same time. The encounter was exceedingly fierce that thus took place between Arjuna and his enemies, resembling that between Indra, in days of yore, and the vast host of the Asuras.'"
Next: Section 15