The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 2 Books 4, 5, 6 and 7 online

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between thy troops and those of the foe striking one another, and in
which cars and elephants mingled in the clash of combat. Large numbers of
elephants and crowds of cars were seen everywhere, O king, to rush
towards one another for purposes of slaughter. And the rattle of
innumerable cars rushing (to join the fray), or engaged separately raised
a loud uproar, mingling with the beat of drums. And the shouts of the
heroic combatants belonging to thy army and theirs, O Bharata, slaying
one another in that fierce encounter, reached the very heavens."


Sanjaya said, "After the ranks of thy army and theirs had been disposed
in battle-array, that mighty car-warrior, Dhananjaya, felling in that
conflict leaders of car-divisions with his arrows, caused a great
carnage, O Bharata, among the car-ranks. The Dhartarashtras, (thus)
slaughtered in battle by Pritha's son, like the Destroyer himself at the
end of the Yuga, still fought perseveringly with the Pandavas. Desirous.
of (winning) blazing glory and (bent upon) making death (the only ground
for) a cessation of the fight, with minds undirected to anything else,
they broke the Pandava ranks in many places and were also themselves
broken. Then both the Pandava and the Kaurava troops broke, changed
positions, and fled away. Nothing could be distinguished. An earthly dust
arose, shrouding the very sun. And nobody there could distinguish, either
the cardinal or the subsidiary directions. And everywhere the battle
raged, O king, the combatants being guided by the indications afforded by
colours, by watch-words, names and tribal distinctions. And the array of
the Kauravas, O king, could not be broken, duly protected as it was by
Bharadwaja's son, O sire.[371] And so the formidable array of the Pandava
also, protected by Savyasachin, and well-guarded by Bhima, could not be
broken. And the cars and elephants in close ranks, O king, of both the
armies, and other combatants, coming out of their respective arrays,
engaged in conflict. And in that fierce battle cavalry soldiers felled
cavalry soldiers, with polished swords of sharp edges and long lances.
And car-warriors, getting car-warriors (within reach) in that fierce
conflict, felled them with shafts decked with golden wings. And
elephant-riders, of thy side and theirs, felled large numbers of
elephant-riders in close ranks, with broad-headed shafts and arrows and
lances. And large bodies of infantry, inspired with wrath towards one
another, cheerfully felled combatants of their own class with short
arrows and battle-axes. And car-warriors, O king, getting elephant-riders
(within reach) in that conflict, felled them along with their elephants.
And elephant-riders similarly felled car-warriors. And, O bull of
Bharata's race, the cavalry soldier with his lance felled the car-warrior
in that conflict, and the car-warrior also felled the cavalry soldier.
And both the armies the foot-soldier felled the car-warrior in the
combat, and the car-warrior felled the foot-soldiers, with sharp weapons.
And elephant-riders felled horse-riders, and horse-riders felled warriors
on the backs of elephants. And all this appeared exceedingly wonderful.
And here and there foot-soldiers, were felled by foremost of
elephant-riders, and elephant-riders were seen to be felled by the
former. And bands of foot-soldiers, by hundreds and thousands, were seen
to be felled by horse-riders and horse-riders by foot-soldiers. And
strewn with broken standards and bows and lances and housings of
elephants, and costly blankets and bearded darts, and maces, and clubs
furnished with spikes, and Kampanas, and darts, and variegated coats of
mail and Kunapas, and iron hooks, and polished scimitars, and shafts
furnished with golden wings, the field, O best of Bharata's race, shone
as if with floral wreaths. And the earth, miry with flesh and blood,
became impassable with the bodies of men and steeds and elephants slain
in that dreadful battle. And drenched with human blood, the earthy dust
disappeared. And the cardinal points, all around, became perfectly clear,
O Bharata. And innumerable headless trunks rose up all around indicating,
O Bharata, of the destruction of the world. And in that terrible and
awful battle, car-warriors were seen to run away in all directions. Then
Bhishma and Drona, and Jayadratha, the ruler of the Sindhus and
Purumitra, and Vikarna, and Sakuni the son of Suvala - these warriors
invincible in battle and possessed of leonine prowess - staying in battle
broke the ranks of the Pandavas. And so Bhimasena and the Rakshasa
Ghatotkacha, and Satyaki, and Chekitana, and the sons of Draupadi, O
Bharata, supported by all the kings (on their side), began to grind thy
troops and thy sons stationed in battle, like the gods grinding the
Danavas. And those bulls among Kshatriyas, striking one another in
battle, became terrible to behold and covered with blood shone like
Kinsukas. And the foremost warriors of both armies, vanquishing their
opponents, looked, O king, like the planetary luminaries in the
firmament. Then thy son Duryodhana, supported by a thousand cars, rushed
to battle with the Pandavas and the Rakshasa. And so all the Pandavas,
with a large body of combatants rushed in battle against those chastisers
of foes, the heroic Bhishma and Drona. And the diadem-decked (Arjuna)
also, excited with rage rushed against the foremost of kings. And
Arjuna's son (Abhimanyu), and Satyaki, both advanced against the forces
of Suvala's son. And then commenced once more a fearful battle, making
the hair to stand on end, between thine and the enemy's troops both
desirous of vanquishing each other."


Sanjaya said, "Then those kings, excited with rage, beholding Phalguni in
battle, surrounded him on all sides with many thousands of cars. And
having, O Bharata surrounded him with multitudinous division of cars,
they shrouded him from all sides with many thousands of shafts. And
bright lances of sharp points, and maces, and clubs endued with spikes,
and bearded darts and battle-axes, and mallets and bludgeons they hurled
at Phalguni's car, excited with rage. And that shower of weapons
approaching (towards him) like a flight of locusts, Pritha's son checked
on all sides with his gold-decked arrows. And beholding there on that
occasion the superhuman lightness of hand that Vibhatsu possessed, the
gods, the Danavas, the Gandharvas, the Pisachas, the Uragas and the
Rakshasas eulogised Phalguni, O king, saying, - 'Excellent, Excellent.'
And the heroic Gandharvas along with Suvala's son with a large force
surrounded Satyaki and Abhimanyu. Then the brave warriors led by Suvala's
son from anger, cut into pieces the excellent car of the Vrishni hero,
with weapons of diverse kinds. And in course of that fierce conflict,
Satyaki, abandoning that car of his, speedily mounted on Abhimanyu's car,
O chastiser of foes. And those two, mounted on the same car, then began
to speedily slaughter the army of Suvala's son with straight arrows of
sharp points. And Drona and Bhishma, steadily struggling in battle, began
to slaughter the division of king Yudhishthira the just, with sharp
shafts furnished with the feathers of the Kanka bird. Then the son of
Dharma and two other sons of Pandu by Madri, in the very sight of the
whole army, began to grind the division of Drona. And the battle that
took place there was fierce and awful, making the hair stand on end, like
the terrible battle that took place between the gods and the Asuras in
days of yore. And Bhimasena and Ghatotkacha, both achieved mighty feats.
Then Duryodhana, approaching, checked them both. And the prowess we then
beheld of Hidimva's son was exceedingly wonderful, insomuch that he
fought in battle, O Bharata, transcending his very father. And Bhimasena,
the son of Pandu, excited with wrath, pierced the vindictive Duryodhana
in the breast, with an arrow, smiling the while. Then king Duryodhana,
afflicted by the violence of that blow, sat down on the terrace of his
car and swooned away. And his charioteer then, beholding him senseless,
speedily bore him away, O king, from battle. And then the troops that
supported Duryodhana broke and fled. And thereupon Bhima, smiting that
Kuru army thus flying away in all directions, with sharp-pointed shafts,
pursued it behind. And Prishata's son (Dhrishtadyumna), that foremost of
warriors, and Pandu's son king Yudhishthira, the just, in the very sight,
O Bharata, of both Drona and Ganga's son, slew their army with sharp
shafts capable of slaying hostile forces. That host of thy son, thus
flying away in battle, those mighty car-warriors, Bhishma and Drona were
incapable of checking. For though attempted to be checked by Bhishma and
the high-souled Drona, that host fled away in the very sight of Drona and
Bhishma. And then when (those) thousand of car-warriors fled away in all
directions, Subhadra's son and that bull of Sini's race, both stationed
on the same car, began, O chastiser of foes, to slaughter the army of
Suvala's son of battle. And Sini's grandson and that bull of Kuru's race
looked resplendent like the sun and the moon when together in the
firmament after the last lunation of the dark fortnight has passed away.
And then Arjuna also, O king, excited with rage, showered arrows on thy
army like the clouds pouring rain in torrents. And the Kaurava army, thus
slaughtered in battle with the shafts of Partha, fled away, trembling in
grief and fear. And beholding the army flying away, the mighty Bhishma
and Drona, excited with rage and both desirous of Duryodhana's welfare
sought to check it. Then king Duryodhana himself, comforting the
combatants, checked that army, then flying away in all directions. And
thereupon all the mighty Kshatriya car-warriors stopped, each at the spot
where he saw thy son. And then others among the common soldiers,
beholding them stop, stopped of their own accord, O king, from shame and
desire of displaying their courage unto one another. And the impetuosity,
O king, of that army thus rallied to the fight resembled that of the
surging sea at the moment of the moon's rise. And king Duryodhana,
beholding that army of his rallied for the fight, quickly repaired to
Santanu's son Bhishma and said these words. 'O grandsire, listen to what
I say, O Bharata. When, O son of Kuru, thou art alive, and Drona, that
foremost of persons conversant with weapons, along with his son and with
all our other friends (is alive), and then that mighty bowman Kripa also
is alive, I do not regard it as at all creditable that my army should
thus fly away. I do not regard the Pandavas to be, by any means, a match
for thee or for Drona, in battle, or for Drona's son, or for Kripa.
Without doubt, O grandsire, the sons of Pandu are being favoured by thee,
inasmuch as thou forgivest, O hero, this slaughter of my army. Thou
shouldst have told me, O king, before this battle took place, that thou
wouldst not fight with the Pandavas. Hearing such words from thee, as
also from the preceptor, O Bharata, I would then have, with Karna,
reflected upon what course I should pursue. If I do not deserve to be
abandoned by you two in battle, then, O bulls among men, do ye fight
according to the measure of your prowess.' Hearing these words, Bhishma,
laughing repeatedly, and turning up his eyes in wrath, said to thy son,
'Many a time, O king, have I said unto thee words worthy of thy
acceptance and fraught with thy good. The Pandavas are incapable of being
vanquished in battle by the very gods with Vasava amongst them. That,
however, which my aged self is capable of doing, I will do to the extent
of my power, O best of kings, in this battle. Witness it now with thy
kinsmen. Today, in the very sight of all, alone I shall check the sons of
Pandu at the head of their troops and with all their kinsfolk.' Thus
addressed by Bhishma, thy son, O king, filled with delight, caused
conches to be blown and drums to be beaten. And the Pandavas also, O
king, hearing that loud uproar, blew their conches, and caused their
drums and cymbals to be played upon."


Dhritarashtra said, "After that dreadful vow had been made in battle by
Bhishma enraged by the words of my son, what, O Sanjaya, did Bhishma do
unto the sons of Pandu or what did the Panchalas do unto the grandsire?
Tell it all unto me, O Sanjaya."

Sanjaya said, "After the forenoon of that day, O Bharata, had passed
away, and the sun in his westward course had passed a portion of his
path, and after the high-souled Pandavas had won the victory, thy sire
Devavrata, conversant with the distinction of all codes of morality,
rushed carried by the fleetest steeds, towards the army of the Pandavas,
protected by a large force and by all thy sons. Then, O Bharata, in
consequence of thy sinful policy, commenced a dreadful battle, making the
hair stand on end, between ourselves and the Pandavas. And the twang of
bows, the flapping of bowstrings against the leathern fences (casing the
hands of the bowman), mingling together, made a loud uproar resembling
that of splitting hills. Stay - Here I stand, - Know this one, - Turn
back, - Stand, - I wait for thee - Strike, - these were the words heard
everywhere. And the sound of falling coats of mail made of gold, of
crowns and diadems, and of standards resembled the sound of falling
stones on a stony ground. And heads, and arms decked with ornaments,
falling by hundreds and thousands upon the ground moved in convulsions.
And some brave combatants, with heads severed from their trunks,
continued to stand weapons in grasp or armed with drawn bow. And a
dreadful river of blood began to flow there, of impetuous current, miry
with flesh and blood, and with the bodies of (dead) elephants for its
(sub-aqueous) rocks. Flowing from the bodies of steeds, men, and
elephants, and delightful to vultures and jackals, it ran towards the
ocean represented by the next world. A battle such as that, O king, which
(then) took place between thy sons, O Bharata, and the Pandavas, was
never seen or heard before. And in consequence of the bodies of
combatants slain in that conflict, cars could not make their way. And the
field of battle in consequence of the bodies of slain elephants seemed to
be strewn over with blue crests of hills. And the field of battle, strewn
with variegated coats of mail and turbans, O sire, looked beautiful like
the firmament autumn. And some combatants were seen who, though severely
wounded, yet rushed cheerfully and proudly upon the foe in battle. And
many, fallen on the field of battle, cried aloud, saying - 'O father, O
brother, O friend, O kinsman, O companion, O maternal uncle, do not
abandon me.' - And others cried aloud, saying, - 'Come! Come thou here! Why
art thou frightened? Where dost thou go? I stand in battle, do not be
afraid.' And in that combat Bhishma, the son of Santanu, with bow
incessantly drawn to a circle, shot shafts of blazing points, resembling
snakes of virulent poison. And shooting continuous line of arrows in all
directions, that hero of rigid vows smote the Pandava car-warriors naming
each beforehand, O Bharata. And displaying his extreme lightness of
hands, and dancing (as it were) along the track of his car, he seemed, O
king, to be present everywhere like a circle of fire. And in consequence
of the lightness of his movements, the Pandavas in that battle, along
with the Srinjayas, beheld that hero, though really alone, as multiplied
a thousand-fold. And every one there regarded Bhishma as having
multiplied his self by illusion. Having seen him now on the east, the
next moment they saw him on the west. And so having seen him on the
north, the next moment they saw him on the south. And the son of Ganga
was thus seen fighting in that battle. And there was no one amongst the
Pandavas capable of even looking at him. What they all saw were only the
innumerable shafts shot from his bow. And heroic warriors, beholding him
achieve such feats in battle, and (thus) slaughtering their ranks,
uttered many lamentations. And, kings in thousands came in contact with
thy sire, thus coursing over the field in a superhuman way, and fell upon
that fire represented by the enraged Bhishma like flights of senseless
insects (upon a blazing fire) for their own destruction. Not a single
shaft of that light-handed warrior was futile, falling upon the bodies of
men, elephants, and steeds, in consequence of the numbers (opposed to
him). With a single straight shaft shot in that battle, he despatched a
single elephant like hill riven by the thunderbolt. Two or three
elephant-riders at a time, cased in mail and standing together, thy sire
pierced with one shaft of sharp point. Whoever approached Bhishma, that
tiger among men, in battle, seen for a moment, was next beheld to fall
down on the ground. And that vast host of king Yudhishthira the just,
thus slaughtered by Bhishma of incomparable prowess, gave way in a
thousand directions. And afflicted with that arrowy shower, the vast army
began to tremble in the very presence of Vasudeva and the high-souled
Partha. And although the heroic leaders of the Pandava army made great
efforts, yet they could not check the flight of (even) the great
car-warriors of their side afflicted with the shafts of Bhishma. The
prowess, in consequence of which that vast army was routed, was equal to
that of the chief of the gods himself. And that army was so completely
routed, O great king, that no two persons could be seen together. And
cars and elephants and steeds were pierced all over, and standards and
shafts of cars were strewn over the field. And the army of the sons of
Pandu uttered cries of oh and alas, and became deprived of senses. And
the sire struck the son and the son struck the sire; and friend
challenged the dearest of friends to battle as if under the influence of
fate. And others amongst the combatants of Pandu's son were seen, O
Bharata, to run away, throwing aside their coats of mail, and with
dishevelled hair. And the army of the sons of Pandu, indulging in loud
wails, including the very leaders of their best of car-warriors, was seen
to be as confounded as a very herd of kine. The delighter of the Yadavas
then, beholding that army thus routed, said unto Partha, stopping that
best of cars (which he guided), these words, 'The hour is now come, O
Partha, which was desired by thee. Strike Bhishma, O tiger among men,
else, thou wilt lose the senses. O hero, formerly, in the conclave of
kings, thou hadst said, - "I will slay all the warriors of Dhritarashtra's
sons, headed by Bhishma and Drona - all in fact, who will fight with me in
battle." O son of Kunti, O chastiser of foes, make those words of thine
true. Behold, O Vibhatsu, this army of thine is being routed on all
sides. Behold, the kings in Yudhishthira's host are all flying away,
seeing Bhishma in battle, who looketh like the Destroyer himself with
wide-open mouth. Afflicted with fear, they are making themselves scarce
like the weaker animals at sight of the lion.' Thus addressed, Dhananjaya
replied unto Vasudeva, saying, 'Plunging through this sea of the hostile
host, urge on the steeds to where Bhishma is. I will throw down that
invincible warrior, the reverend Kuru grandsire'. Then Madhava urged
those steeds of silvery hue to where, O king, the car of Bhishma was,
that car which, like the very sun, was incapable of being gazed at. And
beholding the mighty-armed Partha thus rushing to an encounter with
Bhishma, the mighty army of Yudhishthira rallied for battle. Then Bhishma,
that foremost of warriors amongst the Kurus, repeatedly roaring like a
lion, quickly covered Dhananjaya's car with an arrowy shower. In a moment
that car of his, with standard and charioteer, became invisible, shrouded
with that arrowy downpour. Vasudeva, however, endued with great might
fearlessly and summoning all his patience, began to guide those steeds
mangled by Bhishma's shafts. Then Partha, taking up his celestial bow
whose twang resembled the roar of the clouds, caused Bhishma's bow to
drop down, cutting it off with his keen shafts. The Kuru warrior, thy
sire, seeing his bow cut off, took up another and stringed it within the
twinkling of the eye. And he stretched that bow whose twang resembled the
roar of the clouds, with his two hands. But Arjuna, excited with wrath,
cut off that bow also of his. Then the son of Santanu applauded that
lightness of hand (displayed by Arjuna), saying - 'Excellent, O Partha, O
thou of mighty arms, excellent, O son of Pandu. O Dhananjaya, such a
mighty feat is, indeed, worthy of thee. I have been pleased with thee.
Fight hard with me, O son.' And having applauded Partha thus, and taking
up another large bow, that hero shot his shafts at Partha's car. And
Vasudeva then displayed his great skill in the guiding of chariot, for he
baffled those shafts of his, by guiding the car in quick circles. Then, O
sire, Bhishma with great strength pierced both Vasudeva and Dhananjaya
with keen shafts all over their bodies. And mangled by those shafts of
Bhishma, those two tigers among men looked like two roaring bulls with
the scratches of horns on their bodies. And once again, excited with
rage, Bhishma covered the two Krishnas on all sides with shafts in
hundreds and thousands. And with those keen shafts of his, the enraged
Bhishma caused him of Vrishni's race to shiver. And laughing loudly he
also made Krishna to wonder. Then the mighty-armed Krishna, beholding the
prowess of Bhishma in battle as also the mildness with which Arjuna
fought, and seeing that Bhishma was creating incessant showers of arrows
in that conflict and looked like the all-consuming Sun himself in the
midst of the two armies, and marking besides, that that hero was slaying
the foremost of combatants in Yudhishthira's host and causing a havoc in
that army as if the hour of dissolution had come, - the adorable Kesava,
that slayer of hosts, endued with immeasurable soul - unable to bear what
he saw, thought that Yudhishthira's army could not survive that
slaughter. - In a single day Bhishma can slaughter all the Daityas and the
Danavas. With how much ease then can he slay in battle the sons of Pandu
with all their troops and followers. The vast army of the illustrious son
of Pandu is again flying away. And the Kauravas also beholding the
Somakas routed, are rushing to battle cheerfully, gladdening the
grandsire. Accoutred in mail, even I will stay Bhishma to-day for the
sake of the Pandavas. This burthen of the high-souled Pandavas even I
will lighten. As regards Arjuna, though struck in battle with keen
shafts, he knoweth not what he should do, from respect for Bhishma, - And
while Krishna was reflecting thus the grandsire, excited with wrath, once
again shot his shafts at Partha's car. And in consequence of very great
number of those arrows all the points of the compass became entirely
shrouded. And neither the welkin nor the quarters nor the earth nor the
sun himself of brilliant rays, could be seen. And the winds that blew
seemed to be mixed with smoke, and all the points of the compass seemed
to be agitated. And Drona, and Vikarna, and Jayadratha, and Bhurisrava,
and Kritavarman, and Kripa, and Srutayush and the ruler of the Amvashtas
and Vinda and Anuvinda, Sudakshina and the westerners, and the diverse
tribes of the Sauviras, the Vasatis, and the Kshudrakas, and the Malavas,
all these, at the command of the royal son of Santanu, quickly approached
Kiritin for battle. And the grandson of Sini saw that Kiritin was
surrounded by many hundreds of horse, and infantry, and cars, and mighty
elephants. And beholding both Vasudeva and Arjuna thus encompassed by
infantry and elephants and horses and cars, on all sides, that foremost
of all bearers of arms, viz., the chief of the Sinis, quickly proceeded
to that spot. And that foremost of bowmen, the chief of the Sinis,
quickly rushing at those troops, came to Arjuna's side like Vishnu coming
to the aid of the slayer of Vritra. And that foremost warrior of Sini's
race cheerfully said unto Yudhishthira's host all the combatants of which
had been frightened by Bhishma and whose elephants, steeds, cars, and
numberless standards had been mangled and broken into pieces, and which
was flying away from the field, these words, 'Ye Kshatriyas, where do ye
go? This is not the duty of the righteous as hath been declared by the
ancients. Ye foremost of heroes, do not violate your pledges. Observe
your own duties as heroes'. Beholding that those foremost of kings were
flying together from the field of battle, and marking the mildness with
which Partha fought, and beholding also that Bhishma was exerting himself

Online LibraryUnknownThe Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 2 Books 4, 5, 6 and 7 → online text (page 76 of 160)