The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said. 'A battle took place between the diadem-decked (Arjuna) and the sons and grandsons of the Trigartas whose hostility the Pandavas has incurred before and all of whom were well-known as mighty car-warriors. Having learnt that that foremost of steeds, which was intended for the sacrifice, had come to their realm, these heroes, casing themselves in mail, surrounded Arjuna. Mounted on their cars, drawn by excellent and well-decked horses, and with quivers on their backs, they surrounded that horse, O king, and endeavoured to capture it. The diadem-decked Arjuna, reflecting on that endeavour of theirs, forbade those heroes, with conciliatory speeches, O chastiser of foes. Disregarding Arjuna's message, they assailed him with their shafts. The diadem-decked Arjuna resisted those warriors who were under the sway of darkness and passion. Jishnu, addressed them smilingly and said, 'Desist, ye unrighteous ones. Life is a benefit (that should not be thrown away).' At the time of his setting out, he had been earnestly ordered by king Yudhishthira the just, not to slay those Kshatriyas whose kinsmen had been slain before on the field of Kurukshetra. Recollecting these commands of king Yudhishthira the just who was endued with great intelligence, Arjuna asked the Trigartas to forbear. But they disregarded Arjuna's injunction. Then Arjuna vanquished Suryavarman, the king of the Trigartas, in battle, by shooting countless shafts at him and laughed in scorn. The Trigarta warriors, however, filling the ten points with the clatter of their cars and car-wheels, rushed towards Dhananjaya. Then Suryavarman, displaying his great lightness of hand, pierced Dhananjaya with hundreds of straight arrows, O monarch. The other great bowmen who followed the king and who were all desirous of compassing the destruction of Dhananjaya, shot showers of arrows on him. With countless shafts shot from his own bow-siring, the son of Pandu, O king, cut off those clouds of arrows; upon which they fell down. Endued with great energy, Ketuvarman, the younger brother of Suryavarman, and possessed of youthful vigour, fought, for the sake of his brother, against Pandu's son possessed of great fame. Beholding Ketuvarman approaching towards him for battle,
[paragraph continues] Vibhatsu, that slayer of hostile heroes, slew him with many sharp-pointed arrows. Upon Ketuvarman's fall, the mighty car-warrior Dhritavarman, rushing on his car towards Arjuna, showered a perfect downpour of arrows on him. Beholding that lightness of hand displayed by the youth Dhritavarman, Gudakesa of mighty energy and great prowess became highly gratified with him. The son of Indra could not see when the young warrior took out his arrows and when he placed them on his bow-string aiming at him. He only saw showers of arrows in the air. For a brief space of time, Arjuna gladdened his enemy and mentally admired his heroism and skill. The Kuru hero, smiling the while, fought with that youth who resembled an angry snake. The mighty armed Dhananjaya, glad as he was in beholding the valour of Dhritavarman, did not take his life. While, however, Partha of immeasurable energy fought mildly with him without wishing to take his life, Dhritavarman shot a blazing arrow at him. Deeply pierced in the hand by that arrow, Vijaya became stupefied and his bow Gandiva fell down on the Earth from his relaxed grasp. The form of that bow, O king, when it fell from the grasp of Arjuna, resembled, O Bharata, that of the bow of Indra (that is seen in the welkin after a shower). When that great and celestial bow fell down, O monarch, Dhritavarman laughed loudly in battle. At this, Jishnu, excited with rage, wiped the blood from his hand and once more taking up his bow, showered a perfect downpour of arrows. Then a loud and confused noise arose, filling the welkin and touching the very heavens as it were, from diverse creatures who applauded that feat of Dhananjaya. Beholding Jishnu inflamed with rage and looking like Yama himself as he appears at the end of the Yuga, the Trigarta warriors hastily surrounded him, rushing from their posts and desirous of rescuing Dhritavarman. Seeing himself surrounded by his foes, Arjuna became more angry than before. He then quickly despatched eight and ten of their foremost warriors with many shafts of hard iron that resembled the arrows of the great Indra himself. The Trigarta warriors then began to fly. Seeing them retreat, Dhananjaya, with great speed, shot many shafts at them that resembled wrathful snakes of virulent poison, and laughed aloud. The mighty car-warriors of the Trigartas, with dispirited hearts, fled in all directions, exceedingly afflicted by Dhananjaya with his arrows. They then addressed that tiger among men, that slayer of the Samsaptaka host (on the field of Kurukshetra), saying, 'We are your slaves. We yield to thee. 1 Do thou command us, O Partha. Lo, we wait here as the most docile of thy servants. O delighter of the Kurus, we shall execute all thy commands.' Hearing these words expressive of their submission, Dhananjaya, said unto them, 'Do ye, O kings, save your lives, and accept my dominion.'"
128:1 It will be remembered that the Samsaptaka host which had engaged Arjuna for several days on the field of Kurukshetra, all consisted of Trigarta warriors led by their king Susarman, Samsaptaka means 'sworn'. Those soldiers who took the oath that they would either conquer or die, wore called by that name.
Next: Section LXXV