The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'Duryodhana, with heart undepressed, beholding Bhimasena in that state, rushed furiously against him, uttering a loud roar. They encountered each other like two bulls encountering each other with their horns. The strokes of their maces produced loud sounds like those of thunderbolts. Each longing for victory, the battle that took place between them was terrible, making the very hair stand on end, like that between Indra and Prahlada. All their limbs bathed in blood, the two high-souled warriors of great energy, both armed with maces, looked like two Kinsukas decked with flowers. During the progress of that great and awful encounter, the welkin looked beautiful as if it swarmed with fire-flies. After that fierce and terrible battle had lasted for some time, both those chastisers of foes became fatigued. Having rested for a little while, those two scorchers of foes, taking up their handsome maces, once again began to ward off each others' attacks. Indeed, when those two warriors of great energy, those two foremost of men, both possessed of great might, encountered each other after having taken a little rest, they looked like two elephants infuriated with passion and attacking each other for obtaining the companionship of a cow elephant in season. Beholding those two heroes, both armed with maces and each equal to the other in energy, the gods and Gandharvas and men became filled with wonder. Beholding Duryodhana and Vrikodara both armed with maces, all creatures became doubtful as to who amongst them would be victorious. Those two cousins, those two foremost of mighty men, once again rushing at each other and desiring to take advantage of each other's lapses, waited each watching the other. The spectators, O king, beheld each armed with his uplifted mace, that was heavy, fierce, and murderous, and that resembled the bludgeon of Yama or the thunder-bolt of Indra. While Bhimasena whirled his weapon, loud and awful was the sound that it produced. Beholding his foe, the son of Pandu, thus whirling his mace endued with unrivalled impetuosity, Duryodhana became filled with amazement. Indeed, the heroic Vrikodara, O Bharata, as he careered in diverse courses, presented a highly beautiful spectacle. Both bent upon carefully protecting themselves, as they approached, they repeatedly mangled each other like two cats fighting for a piece of meat. Bhimasena performed diverse kinds of evolutions. He coursed in beautiful circles, advanced, and receded. He dealt blows and warded off those of his adversary, with wonderful activity. He took up various kinds of position (for attack and defence). He delivered attacks and avoided those of his antagonist. He ran at his foe, now turning to the right and now to the left. He advanced straight against the enemy. He made ruses for drawing his foe. He stood immovable, prepared for attacking his foe as soon as the latter would expose himself to attack. He circumambulated his foe, and prevented his foe from circumambulating him. He avoided the blows of his foe by moving away in bent postures or jumping aloft. He struck, coming up to his foe face to face, or dealt back-thrusts while moving away from him. Both accomplished in encounters with the mace, Bhima and Duryodhana thus careered and fought, and struck each other. Those two foremost ones of Kuru's race careered thus, each avoiding the other's blows. Indeed, those two mighty warriors thus coursed in circles and seemed to sport with each other. Displaying in that encounter their skill in battle, those two chastisers of foes sometimes suddenly attacked each other with their weapons, like two elephants approaching and attacking each other with their tusks. Covered with blood, they looked very beautiful, O monarch, on the field. Even thus occurred that battle, awfully and before the gaze of a large multitude, towards the close of the day, like the battle between Vritra and Vasava. Armed with maces, both began to career in circles. Duryodhana, O monarch, adopted the right mandala, while Bhimasena adopted the left mandala. While Bhima was thus careering in circles on the field of battle, Duryodhana, O monarch, suddenly struck him a fierce blow on one of his flanks. Struck by thy son, O sire, Bhima began to whirl his heavy mace for returning that blow. The spectators, O monarch, beheld that mace of Bhimasena look as terrible as Indra's thunder-bolt or Yama's uplifted bludgeon. Seeing Bhima whirl his mace, thy son, uplifting his own terrible weapon, struck him again. Loud was the sound, O Bharata, produced by the descent of thy son's mace. So quick was that descent that it generated a flame of fire in the welkin. Coursing in diverse kinds of circles, adopting each motion at the proper time, Suyodhana, possessed of great energy, once more seemed to prevail over Bhima. The massive mace of Bhimasena meanwhile, whirled with his whole force, produced a loud sound as also smoke and sparks and flames of fire. Beholding Bhimasena whirling his mace, Suyodhana also whirled his heavy and adamantine weapon and presented a highly beautiful aspect. Marking the violence of the wind produced by the whirl of Duryodhana's mace, a great fear entered the hearts of all the Pandus and the Somakas. Meanwhile those two chastisers of foes, displaying on every side their skill in battle, continued to strike each other with their maces, like two elephants approaching and striking each other with their tusks. Both of them, O monarch, covered with blood, looked highly beautiful. Even thus progressed that awful combat before the gaze of thousands of spectators at the close of day, like the fierce battle that took place between Vritra and Vasava. Beholding Bhima firmly stationed on the field, thy mighty son, careering in more beautiful motions, rushed towards that son of Kunti. Filled with wrath, Bhima struck the mace, endued with great impetuosity and adorned with gold, of the angry Duryodhana. A loud sound with sparks of fire was produced by that clash of the two maces which resembled the clash of two thunder-bolts from opposite directions. Hurled by Bhimasena, his impetuous mace, as it fell down, caused the very earth to tremble. The Kuru prince could not brook to see his own mace thus baffled in that attack. Indeed, he became filled with rage like an infuriated elephant at the sight of a rival elephant. Adopting the left mandala, O monarch, and whirling his mace, Suyodhana then, firmly resolved, struck the son of Kunti on the head with his weapon of terrible force. Thus struck by thy son, Bhima, the son of Pandu, trembled not, O monarch, at which all the spectators wondered exceedingly. That amazing patience, O king, of Bhimasena, who stirred not an inch though struck so violently, was applauded by all the warriors present there. Then Bhima of terrible prowess hurled at Duryodhana his own heavy and blazing mace adorned with gold. That blow the mighty and fearless Duryodhana warded off by his agility. Beholding this, great was the wonder that the spectators felt. That mace, hurled by Bhima, O king, as it fell baffled of effect, produced a loud sound like that of the thunderbolt and caused the very earth to tremble. Adopting the manoeuvre called Kausika, and repeatedly jumping up, Duryodhana, properly marking the descent of Bhima's mace, baffled the latter. Baffling Bhimasena thus, the Kuru king, endued with great strength, at last in rage struck the former on the chest. Struck very forcibly by thy son in that dreadful battle, Bhimasena became stupefied and for a time knew not what to do. At that time, O king, the Somakas and the Pandavas became greatly disappointed and very cheerless. Filled with rage at that blow, Bhima then rushed at thy son like an elephant rushing against an elephant. Indeed, with uplifted mace, Bhima rushed furiously at Duryodhana like a lion rushing against a wild elephant. Approaching the Kuru king, the son of Pandu, O monarch, accomplished in the use of the mace, began to whirl his weapon, taking aim at thy son. Bhimasena then struck Duryodhana on one of his flanks. Stupefied at that blow, the latter fell down on the earth, supporting himself on his knees. When that foremost one of Kuru's race fell upon his knees, a loud cry arose from among the Srinjayas, O ruler of the world! Hearing that loud uproar of the Srinjayas, O bull among men, thy son became filled with rage. The mighty-armed hero, rising up, began to breathe like a mighty snake, and seemed to burn Bhimasena by casting his glances upon him. That foremost one of Bharata's race then rushed at Bhimasena, as if he would that time crush the head of his antagonist in that battle. The high-souled Duryodhana of terrible prowess then struck the high-souled Bhimasena on the forehead. The latter, however, moved not an inch but stood immovable like a mountain. Thus struck in that battle, the son of Pritha, O monarch, looked beautiful, as he bled profusely, like an elephant of rent temples with juicy secretions trickling adown. The elder brother of Dhananjaya, then, that crusher of foes, taking up his hero-slaying mace made of iron and producing a sound loud as that of the thunder-bolt, struck his adversary with great force. Struck by Bhimasena, thy son fell down, his frame trembling all over, like a gigantic Sala in the forest, decked with flowers, uprooted by the violence of the tempest. Beholding thy son prostrated on the earth, the Pandavas became exceedingly glad and uttered loud cries. Recovering his consciousness, thy son then rose, like an elephant from a lake. That ever wrathful monarch and great car-warrior then careering with great skill, struck Bhimasena who was standing before him. At this, the son of Pandu, with weakened limbs, fell down on the earth.
"Having by his energy prostrated Bhimasena on the ground, the Kuru prince uttered a leonine roar. By the descent of his mace, whose violence resembled that of the thunder, he had fractured Bhima's coat of mail. A loud uproar was then heard in the welkin, made by the denizens of heaven and the Apsaras. A floral shower, emitting great fragrance, fell, rained by the celestials. Beholding Bhima prostrated on the earth and weakened in strength, and seeing his coat of mail laid open, a great fear entered the hearts of our foes. Recovering his senses in a moment, and wiping his face which had been dyed with blood, and mustering great patience, Vrikodara stood up, with rolling eyes steadying himself with great effort."
Next: Section 58