The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'After the slaughter of Shalya, O king, the followers of the Madra king, numbering seventeen hundred heroic car-warriors, proceeded for battle with great energy. Duryodhana riding upon an elephant gigantic as a hill, with an umbrella held over his head, and fanned the while with yak-tails, forbade the Madraka warriors, saying, "Do not proceed, Do not proceed!" Though repeatedly forbidden by Duryodhana, those heroes, desirous of slaying Yudhishthira, penetrated into the Pandava host. Those brave combatants, O monarch, loyal to Duryodhana, twanging their bows loudly, fought with the Pandavas. Meanwhile, hearing that Shalya had been slain and that Yudhishthira was afflicted by the mighty car-warriors of the Madrakas devoted to the welfare of the Madraka king, the great car-warrior Partha came there, stretching his bow Gandiva, and filling the Earth with the rattle of his car. Then Arjuna, and Bhima, and the two sons of Madri by Pandu, and that tiger among men, Satyaki, and the (five) sons of Draupadi, and Dhrishtadyumna, and Shikhandi, and the Pancalas and the Somakas, desirous of rescuing Yudhishthira, surrounded him on all sides. Having taken their places around the king, the Pandavas, those bulls among men, began to agitate the hostile force like Makaras agitating the ocean. Indeed, they caused thy army to tremble like a mighty tempest shaking the trees. Like the great river Ganges agitated by a hostile wind, the Pandava host, O king, once more became exceedingly agitated. Causing that mighty host to tremble, the illustrious and mighty car-warriors (the Madrakas), all shouted loudly, saying, "Where is that king Yudhishthira? Why are not his brave brothers, the Pandavas, to be seen here? What has become of the Pancalas of great energy as also of the mighty car-warrior Shikhandi? Where are Dhrishtadyumna and the grandson of Sini and those great car-warriors, the (five) sons of Draupadi?" At this, those mighty warriors, the sons of Draupadi, began to slaughter the followers of the Madra king who were uttering those words and battling vigorously. In that battle, some amongst thy troops were seen slain by means of their lofty standards. Beholding, however, the heroic Pandavas, the brave warriors of thy army, O Bharata, though forbidden by thy son, still rushed against them. Duryodhana, speaking softly, sought to prevent those warriors from fighting with the foe. No great car-warrior, however, amongst them obeyed his behest. Then Shakuni, the son of the Gandhara king, possessed of eloquence, O monarch, said unto Duryodhana these words, "How is this that we are standing here, while the Madraka host is being slaughtered before our eyes? When thou, O Bharata, art here, this does not look well! The understanding made was that all of us should fight unitedly! Why then, O king, dost thou tolerate our foes when they are thus slaying our troops?"
"'Duryodhana said, "Though forbidden by me before, they did not obey my behest. Unitedly have these men penetrated in the Pandava host!"
"'Shakuni said, "Brave warriors, when excited with rage in battle, do not obey the command of their leaders. It does not behove thee to be angry with those men. This is not the time to stand indifferently. We shall, therefore, all of us, united together with our cars and horses and elephants, proceed, for rescuing those great bowmen, the followers of the Madra king! With great care, O king, we shall protect one another." Thinking after the manner of Shakuni, all the Kauravas then proceeded to that place where the Madras were. Duryodhana also, thus addressed (by his maternal uncle) proceeded, encompassed by a large force, against the foe, uttering leonine shouts and causing the Earth to resound with that noise. "Slay, pierce, seize, strike, cut off!" These were the loud sounds that were heard then, O Bharata, among those troops. Meanwhile the Pandavas, beholding in that battle the followers of the Madra king assailing them unitedly, proceeded against them, arraying themselves in the form called Madhyama. Fighting hand to hand, O monarch, for a short while those heroic warriors, the followers of the Madra king, were seen to perish. Then, whilst we were proceeding, the Pandavas, united together and endued with great activity, completed the slaughter of the Madrakas, and, filled with delight, uttered joyous shouts. Then headless forms were seen to arise all around. Large meteors seemed to fall down from the sun's disc. The Earth became covered with cars and broken yokes and axles and slain car-warriors and lifeless steeds. Steeds fleet as the wind, still attached to yokes of cars (but without drivers to guide them) were seen to drag car-warriors, O monarch, hither and thither on the field of battle. Some horses were seen to drag cars with broken wheels, while some ran on all sides, bearing after them portions of broken cars. Here and there also were seen steeds that were hampered in their motions by their traces. Car-warriors, while falling down from their cars, were seen to drop down like denizens of heaven on the exhaustion of their merits. When the brave followers of the Madra king were slain, the mighty car-warriors of the Parthas, those great smiters, beholding a body of horse advancing towards them, rushed towards it with speed from desire of victory. Causing their arrows to whiz loudly and making diverse other kinds of noise mingled with the blare of their conchs, those effectual smiters possessed of sureness of aim, shaking their bows, uttered leonine roars. Beholding then that large force of the Madra king exterminated and seeing also their heroic king slain in battle, the entire army of Duryodhana once more turned away from the field. Struck, O monarch, by those firm bowmen, the Pandavas, the Kuru army fled away on all sides, inspired with fear.'
Next: Section 19