The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'Taking up another bow that was very strong and much tougher, the ruler of the Madras pierced Yudhishthira and roared like a lion. Then that bull amongst Kshatriyas, of immeasurable soul, poured upon all the Kshatriyas showers of arrows, even like the deity of the clouds pouring rain in torrents. Piercing Satyaki with ten arrows and Bhima with three and Sahadeva with as many, he afflicted Yudhishthira greatly. And he afflicted all the other great bowmen with their steeds and cars and elephants with many shafts like hunters afflicting elephants with blazing brands. Indeed, that foremost of car-warriors destroyed elephants and elephant-riders, horses and horsemen and cars and car-warriors. And he cut off the arms of combatants with weapons in grasp and the standards of vehicles, and caused the Earth to be strewn with (slain) warriors like the sacrificial altar with blades of Kusa grass. Then the Pandus, the Pancalas, and the Somakas, filled with rage, encompassed that hero who was thus slaughtering their troops like all-destroying Death. Bhimasena, and the grandson of Sini, and those two foremost of men, the two sons of Madri, encompassed that warrior while he was fighting with the (Pandava) king of terrible might. And all of them challenged him to battle. Then those heroes, O king, having obtained the ruler of the Madras, that foremost of warriors, in battle, checked that first of men in that encounter and began to strike him with winged arrows of fierce energy. Protected by Bhimasena, and by the two sons of Madri, and by him of Madhu's race, the royal son of Dharma struck the ruler of the Madras in the centre of the chest with winged arrows of fierce energy. Then the car-warriors and other combatants of thy army, clad in mail and equipped with weapons, beholding the ruler of the Madras exceedingly afflicted with arrows in that battle, surrounded him on all sides, at the command of Duryodhana. The ruler of the Madras at this time quickly pierced Yudhishthira with seven arrows in that battle. The high-souled son of Pritha, O king, in return, pierced his foe with nine arrows in that dreadful encounter. Those two great car-warriors, the ruler of the Madras and Yudhishthira, began to cover each other with arrows, washed in oil and shot from their bowstrings stretched to their ears. Those two best of kings, both endued with great strength, both incapable of being defeated by foes, and both foremost of car-warriors, watchful of each other's lapses, quickly and deeply pierced each other with each other's shafts. The loud noise of their bows, bowstrings, and palms resembled that of Indra's thunder as those high-souled warriors, the brave ruler of the Madras and the heroic Pandava, showered upon each other their numberless arrows. They careered on the field of battle like two young tigers in the deep forest fighting for a piece of meat. Swelling with pride of prowess, they mangled each other like a couple of infuriate elephants equipped with powerful tusks. Then the illustrious ruler of the Madras, endued with fierce impetuosity, putting forth his vigour, pierced the heroic Yudhishthira of terrible might in the chest with shaft possessed of the splendour of fire or the sun. Deeply pierced, O king, that bull of Kuru's race, the illustrious Yudhishthira, then struck the ruler of the Madras with a well-shot shaft and became filled with joy. Recovering his senses within a trice, that foremost of kings (Shalya), possessed of prowess equal to that of him of a 1,000 eyes, with eyes red in wrath, quickly struck the son of Pritha with a hundred arrows. At this, the illustrious son of Dharma filled with rage, quickly pierced Shalya's chest and then, without losing a moment, struck his golden mail with six shafts. Filled with joy, the ruler of the Madras then, drawing his bow and having shot many arrows, at last cut off, with a pair of razor-faced shafts, the bow of his royal foe, that bull of Kuru's race. The illustrious Yudhishthira then, taking a new and more formidable bow in that battle, pierced Shalya with many arrows of keen points from every side like Indra piercing the Asura Namuchi. The illustrious Shalya then, cutting off the golden coats of mail of both Bhima and king Yudhishthira with nine arrows, pierced the arms of both of them. With another razor-faced arrow endued with the splendour of fire or the sun, he then cut off the bow of Yudhishthira. At this time Kripa, with six arrows, slew the king's driver who thereupon fell down in front of the car. The ruler of the Madras then slew with four shafts the four steeds of Yudhishthira. Having slain the steeds of the king, the high-souled Shalya then began to slay the troops of the royal son of Dharma. When the (Pandava) king had been brought to that plight, the illustrious Bhimasena, quickly cutting off the bow of the Madra king with an arrow of great impetuosity, deeply pierced the king himself with a couple of arrows. With another arrow he severed the head of Shalya's driver from his trunk, the middle of which was encased in mail. Exceedingly excited with rage, Bhimasena next slew, without a moment's delay, the four steeds also of his foe. That foremost of all bowmen, Bhima, then covered with a hundred arrows that hero (Shalya), who, endued with great impetuosity, was careering alone in that battle. Sahadeva, the son of Madri, also did the same. Beholding Shalya stupefied with those arrows, Bhima cut off his armour with other shafts. His armour having been cut off by Bhimasena, the high-souled ruler of the Madras, taking up a sword and a shield decked with a 1,000 stars, jumped down from his car and rushed towards the son of Kunti. Cutting off the shaft of Nakula's car, Shalya of terrible strength rushed towards Yudhishthira. Beholding Shalya rushing impetuously towards the king, even like the Destroyer himself rushing in rage, Dhristadyumna and Shikhandi and the (five) sons of Draupadi and the grandson of Sini suddenly advanced towards him. Then the illustrious Bhima cut off with ten arrows the unrivalled shield of the advancing hero. With another broad-headed arrow he cut off the sword also of that warrior at the hilt. Filled with joy at this, he roared aloud in the midst of the troops. Beholding that feat of Bhima, all the foremost car-warriors among the Pandavas became filled with joy. Laughing aloud, they uttered fierce roars and blew their conchs white as the moon. At that terrible noise the army protected by thy heroes became cheerless, covered with sweat, bathed in blood, exceedingly melancholy and almost lifeless. The ruler of the Madras assailed by those foremost of Pandava warriors headed by Bhimasena, proceeded (regardless of them) towards Yudhishthira, like a lion proceeding for seizing a deer. King Yudhishthira the just, steedless and driverless, looked like a blazing fire in consequence of the wrath with which he was then excited. Beholding the ruler of the Madras before him, he rushed towards that foe with great impetuosity. Recollecting the words of Govinda, he quickly set his heart on the destruction of Shalya. Indeed, king Yudhishthira the just, staying on his steedless and driverless car, desired to take up a dart. Beholding that feat of Shalya and reflecting upon the fact that the hero who had been allotted to him as his share still remained unslain, the son of Pandu firmly set his heart upon accomplishing that which Indra's younger brother had counselled him to achieve. King Yudhishthira the just, took up a dart whose handle was adorned with gold and gems and whose effulgence was as bright as that of gold. Rolling his eyes that were wide open, he cast his glances on the ruler of the Madras, his heart filled with rage. Thus looked at, O god among men, by that king of cleansed soul and sins all washed away, the ruler of the Madras was not reduced to ashes. This appeared to us to be exceedingly wonderful, O monarch. The illustrious chief of the Kurus then hurled with great force at the king of the Madras that blazing dart of beautiful and fierce handle and effulgent with gems and corals. All the Kauravas beheld that blazing dart emitting sparks of fire as it coursed through the welkin after having been hurled with great force, even like a large meteor falling from the skies at the end of the Yuga. King Yudhishthira the just, in that battle, carefully hurled that dart which resembled kala-ratri (the Death Night) armed with the fatal noose or the foster-mother of fearful aspect of Yama himself, and which like the Brahmana's curse, was incapable of being baffled. Carefully the sons of Pandu had always worshipped that weapon with perfumes and garlands and foremost of seats and the best kinds of viands and drinks. That weapon seemed to blaze like Samvartaka-fire and was as fierce as a rite performed according to the Atharvan of Agnirasa. Created by Tvashtri (the celestial artificer) for the use of Ishana, it was a consumer of the life-breaths and the bodies of all foes. It was capable of destroying by its force the Earth and the welkin and all the receptacles of water and creatures of every kind. Adorned with bells and banners and gems and diamonds and decked with stones of lapis lazuli and equipped with a golden handle, Tvashtri himself had forged it with great care after having observed many vows. Unerringly fatal, it was destructive of all haters of Brahma. Having carefully inspired it with many fierce mantras, and endued it with terrible velocity by the exercise of great might and great care, king Yudhishthira hurled it along the best of tracks for the destruction of the ruler of the Madras. Saying in a loud voice the words, "Thou art slain, O wretch!" the king hurled it, even as Rudra had, in days of yore, shot his shaft for the destruction of the asura Andhaka, stretching forth his strong (right) arm graced with a beautiful hand, and apparently dancing in wrath.
Shalya, however, roared aloud and endeavoured to catch that excellent dart of irresistible energy hurled by Yudhishthira with all his might, even as a fire leaps forth for catching a jet of clarified butter poured over it. Piercing through his very vitals and his fair and broad chest, that dart entered the Earth as easily as it would enter any water without the slightest resistance and bearing away (with it) the world-wide fame of the king (of the Madras). Covered with the blood that issued from his nostrils and eyes and ears and mouth, and that which flowed from his wound, he then looked like the Krauncha mountain of gigantic size when it was pierced by Skanda. His armour having been cut off by that descendant of Kuru's race, the illustrious Shalya, strong as Indra's elephant, stretching his arms, fell down on the Earth, like a mountain summit riven by thunder. Stretching his arms, the ruler of the Madras fell down on the Earth, with face directed towards king Yudhishthira the just, like a tall banner erected to the honour of Indra falling down on the ground. Like a dear wife advancing to receive her dear lord about to fall on her breast, the Earth then seemed, from affection, to rise a little for receiving that bull among men as he fell down with mangled limbs bathed in blood. The puissant Shalya, having long enjoyed the Earth like a dear wife, now seemed to sleep on the Earth's breast, embracing her with all his limbs. Slain by Dharma's son of righteous soul in fair fight, Shalya seemed to assume the aspect of a goodly fire lying extinguished on the sacrificial platform. Though deprived of weapons and standard, and though his heart had been pierced, beauty did not yet seem to abandon the lifeless ruler of the Madras. Then Yudhishthira, taking up his bow whose splendour resembled that of Indra's bow, began to destroy his foes in that battle like the prince of birds destroying snakes. With the greatest speed he began to cut off the bodies of his enemies with his keen shafts. With the showers of shafts that the son of Pritha then shot, thy troops became entirely shrouded. Overcome with fear and with eyes shut, they began to strike one another (so stupefied were they then). With blood issuing from their bodies, they became deprived of their weapons of attack and defence and divested of their life-breaths. Upon the fall of Shalya, the youthful younger brother of the king of the Madras, who was equal to his (deceased) brother in every accomplishment, and who was regarded as a mighty car-warrior, proceeded against Yudhishthira. Invincible in battle desirous of paying the last dues of his brother, that foremost of men quickly pierced the Pandava with very many shafts. With great speed king Yudhishthira the just pierced him with six arrows. With a couple of razor-faced arrows, he then cut off the bow and the standard of his antagonist. Then with a blazing and keen arrow of great force and broad head, he struck off the head of his foe staying before him. I saw that head adorned with earrings fall down from the car like a denizen of heaven falling down on the exhaustion of his merits. Beholding his headless trunk, bathed all over with blood, fallen down from the car, the Kaurava troops broke. Indeed, upon the slaughter of the younger brother of the Madras clad in beautiful armour, the Kurus, uttering cries of "Oh!" and "Alas!" fled away with speed. Beholding Shalya's younger brother slain, thy troops, hopeless of their lives, were inspired with the fear of the Pandavas and fled, covered with dust. The grandson of Sini then, Satyaki, O bull of Bharata's race, shooting his shafts, proceeded against the frightened Kauravas while the latter were flying away. Then Hridika's son, O king, quickly and fearlessly received that invincible warrior, that irresistible and mighty bowman, as he advanced (against the beaten army). Those two illustrious and invincible heroes of Vrishni's race, Hridika's son and Satyaki, encountered each other like two furious lions. Both resembling the sun in effulgence, they covered each other with arrows of blazing splendour that resembled the rays of the sun. The arrows of those two lions of Vrishni's race, shot forcibly from their bows, we saw, looked like swiftly coursing insects in the welkin. Piercing Satyaki with ten arrows and his steeds with three, the son of Hridika cut off his bow with a straight shaft. Laying aside his best of bows which was thus cut off, that bull of Sini's race, quickly took up another that was tougher than the first. Having taken up that foremost of bows, that first of bowmen pierced the son of Hridika with ten arrows in the centre of the chest. Then cutting off his car and the shaft also of that car with many well-shot arrows, Satyaki quickly slew the steeds of his antagonist as also his two Parshni drivers. The valiant Kripa then, the son of Saradwat, O lord, beholding Hridika's son made carless, quickly bore him away, taking him up on his car. Upon the slaughter of the king of the Madras and upon Kritavarma having been made carless, the entire army of Duryodhana once more turned its face from the battle. At this time the army was shrouded with a dusty cloud. We could not see anything. The greater portion, however, of thy army fell. They who remained alive had turned away their faces from battle. Soon it was seen that that cloud of earthy dust which had arisen became allayed, O bull among men, in consequence of the diverse streams of blood that drenched it on every side. Then Duryodhana, seeing from a near point his army broken, alone resisted all the Parthas advancing furiously. Beholding the Pandavas on their cars as also Dhrishtadyumna the son of Prishata and the invincible chief of the Anartas (Satyaki), the Kuru king covered all of them with sharp arrows. The enemy (at that time) approached him not, like mortal creatures fearing to approach the Destroyer standing before them. Meanwhile the son of Hridika, riding upon another car, advanced to that spot. The mighty car-warrior Yudhishthira then quickly slew the four steeds of Kritavarma with four shafts, and pierced the son of Gotama with six broad-headed arrows of great force. Then Ashvatthama, taking up on his car the son of Hridika who had been made steedless and carless by the (Pandava) king, bore him away from Yudhishthira's presence. The son of Saradwat pierced Yudhishthira in return with eight arrows and his steeds also with eight keen shafts. Thus, O monarch, the embers of that battle began to glow here and there, in consequence, O king, of the evil policy of thyself and thy son, O Bharata. After the slaughter of that foremost of bowmen on the field of battle by that bull of Kuru's race, the Parthas, beholding Shalya slain, united together, and filled with great joy, blew their conchs. And all of them applauded Yudhishthira in that battle, even as the celestials in days of yore, had applauded Indra after the slaughter of Vritra. And they beat and blew diverse kinds of musical instruments, making the Earth resound on every side with that noise.'"
Next: Section 18