The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'Dhananjaya, with his Gandiva, frustrated the purpose of those unreturning heroes struggling in battle and striking their foes. The shafts shot by Arjuna, irresistible and endued with great force and whose touch was like that of the thunder, were seen to resemble torrents of rain poured by a cloud. That army, O chief of the Bharatas, thus struck by Kiritin, fled away in the very sight of thy son. Some deserted their sires and brothers, others deserted their comrades. Some car-warriors were deprived of their animals. Others lost their drivers. Some had their poles or yokes or wheels broken, O king! The arrows of some were exhausted. Some were seen afflicted with arrows. Some, though unwounded, fled in a body, afflicted with fear. Some endeavoured to rescue their sons, having lost all their kinsmen and animals. Some loudly called upon their sires, some upon their comrades and followers. Some fled, deserting their kinsmen, O tiger among men, and brothers and other relatives, O monarch! Many mighty car-warriors, struck with Partha's shafts and deeply pierced therewith, were seen to breathe hard, deprived of their senses. Others, taking them upon their own cars, and soothing them for a while, and resting them and dispelling their thirst by offering them drink, once more proceeded to battle. Some, incapable of being easily defeated in battle, deserting the wounded, once more advanced to battle, desirous of obeying the behests of thy son. Some, having slaked their thirst or groomed their animals, and some, wearing (fresh) armour, O chief of the Bharatas, and some, having comforted their brothers and sons and sires, and placed them in camp, once more came to battle. Some, arraying their cars in the order, O king, of superiors and inferiors, advanced against the Pandavas once more for battle. Those heroes (on their cars) covered with rows of bells, looked resplendent like Daityas and Danavas intent on the conquest of the three worlds. Some, advancing with precipitancy on their vehicles decked with gold, fought with Dhrishtadyumna amid the Pandava divisions. The Pancala prince Dhrishtadyumna, and the great car-warrior Shikhandi, and Satanika, the son of Nakula, fought with the car-force of the enemy. The Pancala prince, then, filled with rage and supported by a large army, rushed against thy angry troops from desire of slaying them. Then thy son, O ruler of men, sped many showers of arrows, O Bharata, at the Pancala prince thus rushing at him. Then, O king, Dhrishtadyumna was quickly pierced with many arrows in his arms and chest by thy son fighting with his bow. Deeply pierced therewith like an elephant with pointed lances, that great bowman then despatched with his shafts the four steeds of Duryodhana to the regions of death. With another broad-headed arrow he next cut off from his trunk the head of his enemy's driver. Then that chastiser of foes, king Duryodhana, having thus lost his car, rode on horse-back and retreated to a spot not remote. Beholding his own army destitute of prowess, thy son, the mighty Duryodhana, O king, proceeded to the place where Subala's son was. When the Kaurava cars were broken, 3,000 gigantic elephants encompassed those car-warriors, the five Pandavas. Encompassed by that elephant force, O Bharata, the five brothers looked beautiful, O tiger among men, like the planets surrounded by the clouds. Then the mighty-armed and white-steeded Arjuna, O king, of sureness of aim and having Krishna for his charioteer, advanced on his car. Surrounded by those elephants huge as hills, he began to destroy those animals with his keen and polished arrows. Each slain with a single arrow, we beheld those huge elephants fallen or falling down, mangled by Savyasaci. The mighty Bhimasena, himself like an infuriated elephant, beholding those elephants, took up his formidable mace and rushed at them, quickly jumping down from his car, like the Destroyer armed with his club. Seeing that great car-warrior of the Pandavas with uplifted mace, thy soldiers became filled with fright and passed urine and excreta. The whole army became agitated upon beholding Bhimasena armed with mace. We then beheld those elephants, huge as hills, running hither and thither, with their frontal globes split open by Bhima with his mace and all their limbs bathed in blood. Struck with Bhima's mace, those elephants, running off from him, fell down with cries of pain, like wingless mountains. Beholding those elephants, many in number, with their frontal globes split open, running hither and thither or falling down, thy soldiers were inspired with fear. Then Yudhishthira also, filled with wrath, and the two sons of Madri, began to slay those elephant-warriors with arrows equipped with vulturine wings. Dhrishtadyumna, after the defeat of the (Kuru) king in battle, and after the flight of the latter from that spot on horse-back, saw that the Pandavas had all been surrounded by the (Kaurava) elephants. Beholding this, O monarch, Dhrishtadyumna, the son of the Pancala king, proceeded towards those elephants, from desire of slaughtering them. Meanwhile, not seeing Duryodhana in the midst of the car-force. Ashvatthama and Kripa, and Kritavarma of the Satwata race, asked all the Kshatriyas there, saying, 'Where has Duryodhana gone?' Not seeing the king in that carnage, those great car-warriors all thought thy son to have been slain. Hence, with sorrowful faces, they enquired after him. Some persons told them that after the fall of his driver, he had gone to Subala's son. Other Kshatriyas, present there, who had been exceedingly mangled with wounds, said, "What need is there with Duryodhana? See if he is yet alive! Do you all fight unitedly? What will the king do to you?" Other Kshatriyas, who were exceedingly mangled, who had lost many of their kinsmen, and who were still being afflicted with the arrows of the enemy, said these words in indistinct tones, "Let us slay these forces by whom we are encompassed! Behold, the Pandavas are coming hither, after having slain the elephants!" Hearing these words of theirs, the mighty Ashvatthama, piercing through that irresistible force of the Pancala king, proceeded with Kripa and Kritavarma to the spot where Subala's son was. Indeed, those heroes, those firm bowmen, leaving the car-force, repaired (in search of Duryodhana). After they had gone away, the Pandavas, headed by Dhrishtadyumna, advanced, O king, and began to slay their enemies. Beholding those valiant and heroic and mighty car-warriors cheerfully rushing towards them, thy troops, amongst whom the faces of many had turned pale, became hopeless of their lives. Seeing those soldiers of ours almost deprived of weapons and surrounded (by the foe). I myself, O king, having only two kinds of forces, and becoming reckless of life, joined the five leaders of our army, and fought with the forces of the Pancala prince, posting our men on that spot where Saradwat's son was stationed. We had been afflicted with the shafts of Kiritin. Nevertheless, a fierce battle took place between us and the division of Dhrishtadyumna. At last, vanquished by the latter, all of us retreated from that encounter. I then beheld the mighty car-warrior Satyaki rushing against us. With four hundred cars that hero pursued me in battle. Having escaped with difficulty from Dhrishtadyumna whose steeds had been tired, I fell among the forces of Madhava even as a sinner falleth into hell. There a fierce and terrible battle took place for a short while. The mighty-armed Satyaki, having cut off my armour, became desirous of taking me alive. He seized me while I lay down on the ground insensible. Then within a short while that elephant-force was destroyed by Bhimasena with his mace and Arjuna with his arrows. In consequence of those mighty elephants, huge as hills, falling down on every side with crushed limbs, the Pandava warriors found their way almost entirely blocked up. Then the mighty Bhimasena, O monarch, dragging away those huge elephants, made a way for the Pandavas to come out. Meanwhile, Ashvatthama and Kripa and Kritavarma of the Satwata race, not seeing that chastiser of foes, Duryodhana, amid the car-division, sought for thy royal son, Abandoning the prince of the Pancalas, they proceeded to the spot where Subala's son was anxious to have a sight of the king during that terrible carnage.'"
Next: Section 26