The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'After the (Kuru) army had been rallied, Shalva, the ruler of the Mlecchas, filled with rage, rushed against the large force of the Pandavas, riding on a gigantic elephant, with secretions issuing from the usual limbs, looking like a hill, swelling with pride, resembling Airavata himself, and capable of crushing large bands of foes. Shalva's animal sprung from a high and noble breed. It was always worshipped by Dhritarashtra's son. It was properly equipped and properly trained for battle, O king, by persons well-conversant with elephant-lore. Riding on that elephant, that foremost of kings looked like the morning sun at the close of summer. Mounting on that foremost of elephants, O monarch, he proceeded against the Pandavas and began to pierce them on all sides with keen and terrible shafts that resembled Indra's thunder in force. While he shot his arrows in that battle and despatched hostile warriors to Yama's abode, neither the Kauravas nor the Pandavas could notice any lapses in him, even as the Daityas, O king, could not notice any in Vasava, the wielder of the thunder, in days of yore, while the latter was employed in crushing their divisions. The Pandavas, the Somakas, and the Srinjayas, beheld that elephant looking like a 1,000 elephants careering around them, even as the foes of the gods had in days of yore beheld the elephant of Indra in battle. Agitated (by that animal), the hostile army looked on every side as if deprived of life. Unable to stand in battle, they then fled away in great fear, crushing one another as they ran. Then the vast host of the Pandavas, broken by king Salwa, suddenly fled on all sides, unable to endure the impetuosity of that elephant. Beholding the Pandava host broken and flying away in speed, all the foremost of warriors of thy army worshipped king Salwa and blew their conchs white as the moon. Hearing the shouts of the Kauravas uttered in joy and the blare of their conchs, the commander of the Pandava and the Srinjaya forces, the Pancala prince (Dhrishtadyumna) could not, from wrath, endure it. The illustrious Dhrishtadyumna then, with great speed, proceeded for vanquishing the elephant, even as the Asura Jambha had proceeded against Airavata, the prince of elephants that Indra rode in the course of his encounter with Indra. Beholding the ruler of the Pandavas impetuously rushing against him, Salwa, that lion among kings, quickly urged his elephants, O king, for the destruction of Drupada's son. The latter, seeing the animal approaching with precipitancy, pierced it with three foremost of shafts, polished by the hands of the smith, keen, blazing, endued with fierce energy, and resembling fire itself in splendour and force. Then that illustrious hero struck the animal at the frontal globes with five other whetted and foremost of shafts. Pierced therewith, that prince of elephants, turning away from the battle, ran with great speed. Salwa, however, suddenly checking that foremost of elephants which had been exceedingly mangled and forced to retreat, caused it to turn back, and with hooks and keen lances urged it forward against the car of the Pancala king, pointing it out to the infuriate animal. Beholding the animal rushing impetuously at him, the heroic Dhrishtadyumna, taking up a mace, quickly jumped down on the Earth from his car, his limbs stupefied with fear. That gigantic elephant, meanwhile, suddenly crushing that gold-decked car with its steeds and driver, raised it up in the air with his trunk and then dashed it down on the Earth. Beholding the driver of the Pancala king thus crushed by that foremost of elephants, Bhima and Shikhandi and the grandson of Sini rushed with great speed against that animal. With their shafts they speedily checked the impetuosity of the advancing beast. Thus received by those car-warriors and checked by them in battle, the elephant began to waver. Meanwhile, king Salwa began to shoot his shafts like the sun shedding his rays on all sides. Struck with those shafts, the (Pandava) car-warriors began to fly away. Beholding that feat of Salwa, the Pancalas, the Srinjayas, and the Matsyas, O king, uttered loud cries of "Oh!" and "Alas!" in that battle, all those foremost of men, however, encompassed the animal on all sides. The brave Pancala king then, taking up his mace which resembled the lofty crest of a mountain, appeared there. Fearlessly, O king, that hero, that smiter of foes, rushed with speed against the elephant. Endued with great activity, the prince of the Pancalas approached and began to strike with his mace that animal which was huge as a hill and which shed its secretions like a mighty mass of pouring clouds. Its frontal globes suddenly split open, and it uttered a loud cry; and vomiting a profuse quantity of blood, the animal, huge as a hill, suddenly fell down, even as a mountain falling down during an earthquake. While that prince of elephants was falling down, and while the troops of thy son were uttering wails of woe at the sight, that foremost of warriors among the Sinis cut off the head of king Salwa with a sharp and broad-headed arrow. His head having been cut off by the Satwata hero, Salwa fell down on the Earth along with his prince of elephants, even like a mountain summit suddenly riven by the thunderbolt hurled by the chief of the celestials.'"
Next: Section 21