The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'Upon the fall of that great king and mighty car-warrior, that invincible hero (Shalya) in battle, thy troops as also thy sons almost all turned away from the fight. Indeed, upon the slaughter of that hero by the illustrious Yudhishthira, thy troops were like ship-wrecked merchants on the vast deep without a raft to cross it. After the fall of the Madra king, O monarch, thy troops, struck with fear and mangled with arrows, were like masterless men desirous of a protector or a herd of deer afflicted by a lion. Like bulls deprived of their horns or elephants whose tusks have been broken, thy troops, defeated by Ajatasatru, fled away at midday. After the fall of Shalya, O king, none amongst thy troops set his heart on either rallying the army or displaying his prowess. That fear, O king, and that grief, which had been ours upon the fall of Bhishma, of Drona, and of the Suta's son, O Bharata, now became ours once more, O monarch. Despairing of success upon the fall of the mighty car-warrior Shalya, the Kuru army, with its heroes slain and exceedingly confused, began to be cut down with keen shafts. Upon the slaughter of the Madra king, O monarch, thy warriors all fled away in fear. Some on horse-back, some on elephants, some on cars, great car-warriors with great speed, and foot-soldiers also fled away in fear. 2,000 elephants, looking like hills, and accomplished in smiting fled away, after Shalya's fall, urged on with hooks and toes. Indeed, O chief of the Bharatas, thy soldiers fled on all sides. Afflicted with arrows, they were seen to run, breathing hard. Beholding them defeated and broken and flying away in dejection, the Pancalas and the Pandavas, inspired with desire of victory, pursued then hotly. The whiz of arrows and other noises, the loud leonine roars, and the blare of conchs of heroic warriors, became tremendous. Beholding the Kaurava host agitated with fear and flying away, the Pancalas and the Pandavas addressed one another, saying, "Today king Yudhishthira, firm in truth, hath vanquished his enemies. Today Duryodhana hath been divested of his splendour and kingly prosperity. Today, hearing of his sons' death, let Dhritarashtra, that king of men, stupefied and prostrate on the Earth, feel the most poignant anguish. Let him know today that the son of Kunti is possessed of great might among all bowmen. Today that sinful and wicked-hearted king will censure his own self. Let him recollect today the time and beneficial words of Vidura. Let him from this day wait upon the Parthas as their slave. Let that king today experience the grief that had been felt by the sons of Pandu. Let that king know today the greatness of Krishna. Let him hear today the terrible twang of Arjuna's bow in battle, as also the strength of all his weapons, and the might of his arms in fight. Today he will know the awful might of the high-souled Bhima when Duryodhana will be slain in battle even as the Asura Vali was slain by Indra. Save Bhima of mighty strength, there is none else in this world that can achieve that which was achieved by Bhima himself at the slaughter of Duhshasana. Hearing of the slaughter of the ruler of the Madras who was incapable of defeat by the very gods, that king will know the prowess of the eldest son of Pandu. After the slaughter of the heroic son of Subala and all the Gandharas he will know the strength, in battle, of the two sons of Madri by Pandu. Why will not victory be theirs that have Dhananjaya for their warrior, as also Satyaki, and Bhimasena, and Dhrishtadyumna the son of Prishata, and the five sons of Draupadi, and the two sons of Madri, and the mighty bowman Shikhandi, and king Yudhishthira? Why will not victory be theirs that have for their protector Krishna, otherwise called Janardana, that protector of the universe? Why will not victory be theirs that have righteousness for their refuge? Who else than Yudhishthira the son of Pritha, who hath Hrishikesa, the refuge of righteousness and fame, for his protector, is competent to vanquish in battle Bhishma and Drona and Karna and the ruler of the Madras and the other kings by hundreds and thousands?" Saying these words and filled with joy, the Srinjayas pursued thy troops in that battle who had been exceedingly mangled with shafts. Then Dhananjaya of great valour proceeded against the car-division of the foe. The two sons of Madri and the mighty carwarrior Satyaki proceeded against Shakuni. Beholding them all flying with speed in fear of Bhimasena, Duryodhana as if smiling the while, addressed his driver, saying, "Partha, stationed there with his bow, is transgressing me. Take my steeds to the rear of the whole army. Like the ocean that cannot transgress its continents, Kunti's son Dhananjaya will never venture to transgress me, if I take up my stand in the rear. Behold, O driver, this vast host that is pursued by the Pandavas. Behold this cloud of dust that has arisen on all sides in consequence of the motion of the troops. Hear those diverse leonine roars that are so awful and loud! Therefore, O driver, proceed slowly and take up thy position in the rear. If I stay in battle and fight the Pandavas, my army, O driver, will rally and come back with vigour to battle." Hearing these words of thy son that were just those of a hero and man of honour, the driver slowly urged those steeds in trappings of gold. 21,000 foot-soldiers, deprived of elephants and steeds and car-warriors, and who were ready to lay down their lives, still stood for battle. Born in diverse countries and hailing from diverse towns, those warriors maintained their ground, desirous of winning great fame. The clash of those rushing warriors filled with joy became loud and exceedingly terrible. Then Bhimasena, O king, and Dhrishtadyumna the son of Prishata resisted them with four kinds of forces. Other foot-soldiers proceeded against Bhima, uttering loud shouts and slapping their armpits, all actuated by the desire of going to heaven. Those Dhartarashtra combatants, filled with rage and invincible in battle, having approached Bhimasena, uttered furious shouts. They then spoke not to one another. Encompassing Bhima in that battle, they began to strike him from all sides. Surrounded by that large body of warriors on foot and struck by them in that battle, Bhima did not stir from where he stood fixed like Mainaka mountain. His assailants, meanwhile, filled with rage, O monarch, endeavoured to afflict that mighty car-warrior of the Pandavas and checked other combatants (that tried to rescue him). Encountered by those warriors, Bhima became filled with fury. Quickly alighting from his car, he proceeded on foot against them. Taking up his massive mace adorned with gold, he began to slay thy troops like the Destroyer himself armed with his club. The mighty Bhima, with his mace, crushed those 21,000 foot-soldiers who were without cars and steeds and elephants. Having slain that strong division, Bhima, of prowess incapable of being baffled, showed himself with Dhrishtadyumna in his front. The Dhartarashtra foot-soldiers, thus slain, lay down on the ground, bathed in blood, like Karnikaras with their flowery burthens laid low by a tempest. Adorned with garlands made of diverse kinds of flowers, and decked with diverse kinds of earrings, those combatants of diverse races, who had hailed from diverse realms, lay down on the field, deprived of life. Covered with banners and standards, that large host of foot-soldiers, thus cut down, looked fierce and terrible and awful as they lay down on the field. The mighty car-warriors, with their followers, that fought under Yudhishthira's lead, all pursued thy illustrious son Duryodhana. Those great bowmen, beholding thy troops turn away from the battle, proceeded against Duryodhana, but they could not transgress him even as the ocean cannot transgress its continents. The prowess that we then beheld of thy son was exceedingly wonderful, since all the Parthas, united together, could not transgress his single self. Then Duryodhana, addressing his own army which had not fled far but which, mangled with arrows, had set its heart on flight, said these words, "I do not see the spot on plain or mountain, whither, if ye fly, the Pandavas will not pursue and slay ye! What is the use then of flight? The army of the Pandavas hath been reduced in numbers. The two Krishnas are exceedingly mangled. If all of us make a stand, victory will be certainly ours! If you fly away, losing all order, the sinful Pandavas, pursuing you will slay you all! If, on the other hand, we make a stand, good will result to us! Listen, all you Kshatriyas that are assailed here! When the Destroyer always slays heroes and cowards, what man is there so stupid that, calling himself a Kshatriya, will not fight? Good will result to us if we stay in the front of the angry Bhimasena! Death in battle, while struggling according to Kshatriya practices, is fraught with happiness! Winning victory, one obtains happiness here. If slain, one obtains great fruits in the other world! You Kauravas, there is no better path to heaven than that offered by battle! Slain in battle, you may, without delay, obtain all those regions of blessedness." Hearing these words of his, and applauding them highly, the (Kuru) kings once more rushed against the Pandavas for battling with them. Seeing them advancing with speed, the Parthas, arrayed in order of battle, skilled in smiting, excited with rage, and inspired with desire of victory, rushed against them. The valiant Dhananjaya, stretching his bow Gandiva celebrated over the three worlds, proceeded on his car against the foe. The two sons of Madri, and Satyaki, rushed against Shakuni, and the other (Pandava) heroes, smiling, rushed impetuously against thy forces.'"
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