Hamro dharma

Mahabht 06 Bhisma P.



(Jamvu-khanda Nirmana Parva)

OM! HAVING BOWED down to Narayana, and Nara, the most exalted of male
beings, and also to the goddess Saraswati, must the word ‘Jaya’ be

Janamejaya said,–“How did those heroes, the Kurus, the Pandavas, and the
Somakas, and the high-souled kings assembled together from various
countries, fight?”

Vaisampayana said,–“Listen thou, O lord of the earth, how those
heroes,–the Kurus, the Pandavas, and the Somakas,–fought on the sacred
plain of the Kurukshetra.[1] Entering Kurukshetra, the Pandavas endued
with great might, along with the Somakas, advanced, desirous of victory,
against the Kauravas. Accomplished in the study of the Vedas, all (of
them) took great delight in battle. Expectant of success in battle, with
their troops (they) faced the fight. Approaching the army of
Dhritarashtra’s son, those (warriors) invincible in battle[2] stationed
themselves with their troops on the western part (of the plain), their
faces turned towards the east. Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, caused
tents by thousands to be set up according to rule, beyond the region
called Samantapanchaka. The whole earth seemed then to be empty, divested
of horses and men, destitute of cars and elephants, and with only the
children and the old left (at home). From the whole area of Jamvudwipa
over which the sun sheds his rays,[3] was collected that force, O best of
kings. Men of all races,[4] assembled together, occupied an area
extending for many Yojanas over districts, rivers, hills, and woods. That
bull among men, king Yudhishthira, ordered excellent food and other
articles of enjoyment for all of them along with their animals. And
Yudhishthira fixed diverse watch-words for them; so that one saying this
should be known as belonging to the Pandavas. And that descendant of
Kuru’s race also settled names and badges for all of them for recognition
during time of battle.

“Beholding the standard-top of Pritha’s son, the high-souled son of
Dhritarashtra, with a white umbrella held over his head, in the midst of
a thousand elephants, and surrounded by his century of brothers, began
with all the kings (on his side) to array his troops against the son of
Pandu. Seeing Duryodhana, the Panchalas who took delight in battle, were
filled with joy and blew their loud-sounding conches and cymbals of sweet
sounds. Beholding those troops so delighted, Pandu’s son and Vasudeva of
great energy had their hearts filled with joy. And those tigers among
men, Vasudeva and Dhananjaya, seated on one car, having felt great joy,
both blew their celestial conches. And hearing the blare of Gigantea and
the loud blast of Theodotes belonging unto the two, the combatants
ejected urine and excreta. As other animals are filled with fear on
hearing the voice of the roaring lion, even so became that force upon
hearing those blasts. A frightful dust arose and nothing could be seen,
for the sun himself, suddenly enveloped by it, seemed to have set.[5] A
black cloud poured a shower of flesh and blood over the troops all
around. All this seemed extraordinary. A wind rose there, bearing along
the earth myriads of stony nodules, and afflicting therewith the
combatants by hundreds and thousands. (For all that), O monarch, both
armies, filled with joy, stood addrest for battle, on Kurukshetra like
two agitated oceans. Indeed, that encounter of the two armies was highly
wonderful, like that of two oceans when the end of the Yuga is arrived.
The whole earth was empty, having only the children and the old left (at
home), in consequence of that large army mustered by the Kauravas.[6]
Then the Kurus, the Pandavas, and the Somakas made certain covenants, and
settled the rules, O bull of Bharata’s race, regarding the different
kinds of combat. Persons equally circumstanced must encounter each other,
fighting fairly. And if having fought fairly the combatants withdraw
(without fear of molestation), even that would be gratifying to us. Those
who engaged in contests of words should be fought against with words.
Those that left the ranks should never be slain.[7] A car-warrior should
have a car-warrior for his antagonist; he on the neck of an elephant
should have a similar combatant for his foe; a horse should be met by a
horse, and a foot-soldier, O Bharata; should be met by a foot-soldier.
Guided by considerations of fitness, willingness, daring and might, one
should strike another, giving notice. No one should strike another that
is unprepared[8] or panic-struck. One engaged with another, one seeking
quarter, one retreating, one whose weapon is rendered unfit, uncased in
mail, should never be struck. Car-drivers, animals (yoked to cars or
carrying weapons) men engaged in the transport of weapons,[9] players on
drums and blowers of conches should never be struck. Having made these
covenants, the Kurus, and the Pandavas, and the Somakas wondered much,
gazing at each other. And having stationed (their forces thus), those
bulls among men, those high-souled ones, with their troops, became glad
at heart, their joy being reflected on their countenances.”


Vaisampayana said,–“Seeing then the two armies (standing) on the east
and the west for the fierce battle that was impending, the holy Rishi
Vyasa, the son of Satyavati, that foremost of all persons acquainted with
the Vedas, that grandsire of the Bharatas, conversant with the past, the
present, and the future, and beholding everything as if it were present
before his eyes, said these words in private unto the royal son of
Vichitravirya who was then distressed and giving way to sorrow,
reflecting on the evil policy of his sons.

“Vyasa said,–‘O king, thy sons and the other monarchs have their hour
arrived.[10] Mustered in battle they will kill one another. O Bharata,
their hour having come, they will all perish. Bearing in mind the changes
brought on by time, do not yield thy heart to grief. O king, if thou wish
to see them (fighting) in battle, I will, O son, grant thee vision.
Behold the battle.”

“Dhritarashtra said,–‘O best of regenerate Rishi, I like not to behold
the slaughter of kinsmen. I shall, however, through thy potency hear of
this battle minutely.”

Vaisampayana continued.–“Upon his not wishing to see the battle but
wishing to hear of it, Vyasa, that lord of boons, gave a boon to Sanjaya.
(And addressing Dhritarashtra he said),–‘This Sanjaya, O king, will
describe the battle to thee. Nothing in the whole battle will be beyond
this one’s eyes.’ Endued, O king with celestial vision, Sanjaya will
narrate the battle to thee. He will have knowledge of everything.
Manifest or concealed, (happening) by day or by night, even that which is
thought of in the mind, Sanjaya shall know everything. Weapons will not
cut him and exertion will not fatigue him. This son of Gavalgani will
come out of the battle with life. As regards myself, O bull of Bharata’s
race, the fame of these Kurus, as also of all the Pandavas, I will
spread. Do not grieve. This is destiny, O tiger among men. It behoveth
thee not to give way to grief. It is not capable of being prevented. As
regards victory, it is there where righteousness is.'”

Vaisampayana continued,–“That highly-blessed and holy grandsire of the
Kurus, having said so, once more addressed Dhritarashtra and
said,–‘Great will the slaughter be, O monarch, in this battle. I see
here also (numerous) omens indicative of terror. Hawks and vultures, and
crows and herons, together with cranes, are alighting on the tops of
trees and gathering in flocks. These birds, delighted at the prospect of
battle, are looking down (on the field) before them. Carnivorous beasts
will feed on the flesh of elephants and steeds. Fierce herons, foreboding
terror, and uttering merciless cries, are wheeling across the centre
towards the southern region. In both the twilights, prior and posterior,
I daily behold, O Bharata, the sun during his rising and setting to be
covered by headless trunks. Tri-coloured clouds with their extremities
white and red and necks black, charged with lightning, and resembling
maces (in figure) envelope the sun in both twilights. I have seen the
sun, the moon, and the stars to be all blazing. No difference in their
aspect is to be noted in the evening. I have seen this all day and all
night. All this forbodes fear. On even the fifteenth night of the
lighted-fortnight in (the month of) Kartika, the moon, divested of
splendour, became invisible, or of the hue of fire, the firmament being
of the hue of the lotus. Many heroic lords of earth, kings and princes,
endued with great bravery and possessed of arms resembling maces, will be
slain and sleep lying down on the earth. Daily I notice in the sky during
night time the fierce cries of battling boars and cats.[11] The images of
gods and goddesses sometimes laugh, sometimes tremble, and sometimes
again these vomit blood through their mouths and sometimes they sweat and
sometimes fall down. O monarch! drums, without being beaten, give sounds,
and the great cars of Kshatriyas move without (being drawn by) animals
yoked to them. Kokilas, wood-peckers, jaws, water-cocks, parrots, crows,
and peacocks, utter terrible cries. Here and there, cavalry soldiers,
cased in mail, armed with weapons, send forth fierce shouts. At sun-rise
flights of insects, by hundreds are seen. In both twilights, the cardinal
quarters seem to be ablaze, and the clouds, O Bharata, shower dust and
flesh. She, O king, who is celebrated over the three worlds and is
applauded by the righteous, even that (constellation) Arundhati keepeth
(her lord) Vasistha on her back. The planet Sani also, O king, appeareth
afflicting (the constellation) Rohini. The sign of the deer in the Moon
hath deviated from its usual position. A great terror is indicated. Even
though the sky is cloudless, a terrible roar is heard there. The animals
are all weeping and their tears are falling fast.'”


“Vyasa said,–‘Asses are taking births in kine. Some are having sexual
pleasure with mothers. The trees in the forests are exhibiting
unseasonable flowers and fruits. Women quick with child, and even those
that are not so, are giving birth to monsters. Carnivorous beasts,
mingling with (carnivorous) birds, are feeding together. Ill-omened
beasts, some having three horns, some with four eyes, some with five
legs, some with two sexual organs, some with two heads, some with two
tails, some having fierce teeth, are being born, and with mouths wide
open are uttering unholy cries. Horses with three legs, furnished with
crests, having four teeth, and endued with horns, are also being born. O
king! in thy city is also seen that the wives of many utterers of Brahma
are bringing forth Garudas and peacocks. The mare is bringing forth the
cow-calf and the bitch is bringing forth, O king, jackals and cocks, and
antelopes and parrots are all uttering inauspicious cries.[12] Certain
women are bringing forth four or five daughters (at a time), and these as
soon as they are born, dance and sing and laugh. The members of the
lowest orders are laughing and dancing and singing, and thus indicating
direful consequences. Infants, as if urged by death, are drawing armed
images, and are running against one another, armed with clubs, and
desirous of battle are also breaking down the towns (they erect in
sport). Lotuses of different kinds and lilies are growing on trees.
Strong winds are blowing fiercely and the dust ceaseth not. The earth is
frequently trembling, and Rahu approacheth towards the sun. The white
planet (Ketu) stayeth, having passed beyond the constellation Chitra. All
this particularly bodeth the destruction of the Kurus. A fierce comet
riseth, afflicting the constellation Pusya. This great planet will cause
frightful mischief to both the armies. Mars wheeleth towards Magha and
Vrihaspati (Jupiter) towards Sravana. The Sun’s offspring (Sani)
approaching towards the constellation Bhaga, afflicteth it. The planet
Sukra, ascending towards Purva Bhadra, shineth brilliantly, and wheeling
towards the Uttara Bhadra, looketh towards it, having effected a junction
(with a smaller planet). The white planet (Ketu), blazing up like fire
mixed with smoke, stayeth, having attacked the bright constellation
Jeshtha that is sacred to Indra. The constellation Dhruva, blazing
fiercely, wheeleth towards the right. Both the Moon and the Sun are
afflicting Rohini. The fierce planet (Rahu) hath taken up its position
between the constellations Chitra and Swati.[13] The red-bodied (Mars)
possessed of the effulgence of fire, wheeling circuitously, stayeth in a
line with the constellation Sravana over-ridden by Vrihaspati. The earth
that produceth particular crops at particular seasons is now covered with
the crops of every season.[14] Every barley-stalk is graced with five
ears, and every paddy-stalk with a hundred. They that are the best of
creatures in the worlds and upon whom depends the universe, viz., kine,
when milked after the calves have their suck, yield only blood. Radiant
rays of light emanate from bows, and swords blaze forth brilliantly. It
is evident that the weapons behold (before them) the battle, as if it
were already arrived. The hue of weapons and the water, as also of coats
of mail and standards, is like that of fire. A great slaughter will take
place. In this battle,[15] O Bharata, of the Kurus with the Pandavas, the
earth, O monarch, will be a river of blood with the standards (of
warriors) as its rafts. Animals and birds on all sides, with mouths
blazing like fire, uttering fierce cries, and displaying these evil
omens, are foreboding terrible consequences. A (fierce) bird with but one
wing, one eye, and one leg, hovering over the sky in the night, screameth
frightfully in wrath, as if for making the hearers vomit blood? It
seemeth, O great king, that all weapons are now blazing with radiance.
The effulgence of the constellation known by the name of the seven
high-souled Rishis, hath been dimmed. Those two blazing planets, viz.,
Vrihaspati and Sani, having approached the constellation called Visakha,
have become stationary there for a whole year. Three lunations twice
meeting together in course of the same lunar fortnight, the duration of
the latter is shortened by two days.[16] On the thirteenth day therefore,
from the first lunation, according as it is the day of the full moon or
the new moon, the moon and the sun are afflicted by Rahu. Such strange
eclipses, both lunar and solar, forebode a great slaughter.[17] All the
quarters of the earth, being overwhelmed by showers of dust, look
inauspicious. Fierce clouds, portentous of danger, drop bloody showers
during the night. Rahu of fierce deeds is also, O monarch, afflicting the
constellation Kirtika. Rough winds, portending fierce danger, are
constantly blowing. All these beget a war characterised by many sad
incidents.[18] The constellations are divided into three classes. Upon
one or another of each class, a planet of evil omen has shed its
influence, foreboding terrible dangers.[19] A lunar fortnight had
hitherto consisted of fourteen days, or fifteen days (as usual), or
sixteen days. This, however, I never knew that the day of new-moon would
be on the thirteenth day from the first lunation, or the day of full-moon
on the thirteenth day from the same. And yet in course of the same month
both the Moon and the Sun have undergone eclipses on the thirteenth days
from the day of the first lunation.[20] The Sun and the Moon therefore,
by undergoing eclipses on unusual days,[21] will cause a great slaughter
of the creatures of the earth. Indeed, Rakshasas, though drinking blood
by mouthful, will yet not be satiated. The great rivers are flowing in
opposite directions. The waters of rivers have become bloody. The wells,
foaming up, are bellowing like bulls.[22] Meteors, effulgent like Indra’s
thunder-bolt, fall with loud hisses.[23] When this night passeth away,
evil consequences will overtake you. People, for meeting together, coming
out of their houses with lighted brands, have still to encounter a thick
gloom all round.[24] Great Rishis have said that in view of such
circumstances the earth drinks the blood of thousands of kings. From the
mountains of Kailasa and Mandara and Himavat thousands of explosions are
heard and thousands of summits are tumbling down. In consequence of the
Earth’s trembling, each of the four oceans having swelled greatly, seems
ready to transgress its continents for afflicting the Earth.[25] Fierce
winds charged with pointed pebbles are blowing, crushing mighty trees. In
villages and towns trees, ordinary and sacred, are falling down, crushed
by mighty winds and struck by lightning. The (sacrificial) fire, when
Brahmanas pour libations on it, becomes blue, or red, or yellow. Its
flames bend towards the left, yielding a bad scent, accompanied by loud
reports. Touch, smell, and taste have, O monarch, become what they were
not. The standards (of warriors), repeatedly trembling are emitting
smoke. Drums and cymbals are throwing off showers of coal-dust. And from
the tops of tall trees all around, crows, wheeling in circles from the
left, are uttering fierce cries. All of them again are uttering frightful
cries of pakka, pakka and are perching upon the tops of standards for the
destruction of the kings. Vicious elephants, trembling all over, are
running hither and thither, urinating and ejecting excreta. The horses
are all melancholy, while the elephants are resorting to the water.
Hearing all this, let that be done which is suitable, so that, O Bharata,
the world may not be depopulated.'”

Vaisampayana continued,–“Hearing these words of his father,
Dhritarashtra said,–‘I think all this hath been ordained of old. A great
slaughter of human beings will take place. If the kings die in battle
observing the duties of the Kshatriya order, they will then, attaining to
the regions reserved for heroes, obtain only happiness. These tigers
among men, casting away their lives in great battle, will win fame in
this and great bliss for ever in the next world.’

Vaisampayana continued,–“O best of kings, thus addressed by his son
Dhritarashtra, that prince of poets, the Muni (Vyasa) concentrated his
mind in supreme Yoga. Having contemplated for only a short space of time,
Vyasa once more said,–‘Without doubt, O king of kings, it is Time that
destroyeth the universe. It is Time also that createth the worlds. There
is nothing here that is eternal. Show the path of righteousness to the
Kurus, to thy kinsmen, relatives, and friends. Thou art competent to
restrain them. The slaughter of kinsmen hath been said to be sinful. Do
not do that which is disagreeable to me. O king, Death himself hath been
born in the shape of thy son. Slaughter is never applauded in the Vedas.
It can never be beneficial. The usages of one’s race are as one’s own
body. Those usages slay him that destroyeth them. For the destruction of
this race and of those kings of the earth it is Time that maketh thee
deviate into the wrong path like one in distress, although thou art
competent (to walk along the path of righteousness). O king, in the shape
of thy kingdom hath calamity come to thee. Thy virtue is sustaining a
very great diminution.[26] Show what righteousness is unto thy sons. O
thou that art invincible, of what value is that kingdom to thee which
bringeth sin to thee? Take care of thy good name, thy virtue, and thy
fame. Thou wilt then win heaven. Let the Pandavas have their kingdom, and
let the Kauravas have peace.”

“While that best of Brahmanas was saying these words in a sorrowful tone,
Dhritarashtra, the son of Ambika, accomplished in speech, once more
addressed him, saying.—‘My knowledge of life and death is similar to
thine. The truth is known to me as regards these. Man, however, in what
concerns his own interests, is deprived of judgment. O sire, know me to
be one who is an ordinary person. Of immeasurable power thou art. I pray
thee to extend thine towards us. Of soul under complete control, thou art
our refuge and instructor. My sons are not obedient to me, O great Rishi.
My understanding too is not inclined to commit sin.[27] Thou art the
cause of the fame, the achievements, and the inclination for virtue, of
the Bharatas. Thou art the reverend grandsire of both the Kurus and the

“Vyasa said,–‘O royal son of Vichitravirya, tell me freely what is in
thy mind. I will remove thy doubts.”

“Dhritarashtra said,–‘O holy one, I desire to hear from thee of all
those indications that happen unto those that become victorious in

“Vyasa said,–‘The (sacred) fire assumes a cheerful radiance. Its light
ascends upwards. Its flame bends towards the right. It blazes up without
being smoky. The libations poured on it yield a fragrant scent. It is
said that these are the indications of future success. The conches and
cymbals yield sounds that are deep and loud. The Sun as well as the Moon
gives pure rays. It is said that these are the indications of future
success. Crows, whether stationary or on their wings, utter cries that
are agreeable. They again that are behind, urge the warriors to advance;
while they that are ahead, forbid all advance.[28] Where vultures, swans,
parrots, cranes, and wood-peckers utter delightful cries, and wheel
towards the right, the Brahmanas say that their victory in battle is
certain. They whose divisions, in consequence of ornaments, coats of
mail, and standards, or the melodious neigh of their steeds, become
resplendent and incapable of being gazed at, always conquer their foes.
They who utter cheerful shouts, those warriors, O Bharata, whose energies
are not damped and whose garlands do not fade, always cross the ocean of
battle. They who utter cheerful shouts having penetrated into the
divisions of the foe, who utter even kind words,[29] to the enemy, and
who, before striking, forewarn the foe, win victory. The objects of
hearing, vision, taste, touch, and smell, without undergoing any change
for the worse, become auspicious. This also is another indication of a
victorious army, viz., there is joy among the combatants at all time.
This also is another indication of success, viz. the winds that blow, the
clouds, and the birds, all become favourable; while the clouds (so
favourable) and the rain-bows drop beneficial showers. These, O king, are
the indications of armies to be crowned with victory, while O monarch,
all these become otherwise in the case of those that are about to be
destroyed. Whether the army be small or large, cheerfulness, as an
attribute of the combatants, is said to be a certain indication of
victory. One soldier, struck with panic, can cause even a large army to
take fright and fly. And when an army, struck with panic, takes to
flight, it causes even heroic warriors to take fright. If a large army is
once broken and put to rout, it cannot like a herd of deer disordered in
fright or a mighty current of water be easily checked. If a large army is
once routed, it is incapable of being rallied; on the other hand,
beholding it broken, even those well-skilled in battle, O Bharata, become
heartless. Beholding soldiers struck with fear and flying, the panic
spreads in other directions, and soon, O king, the whole army is broken
and flies in all directions. And when an army is routed, even brave
leaders, O king, at the head of large divisions consisting of the four
kinds of forces, are incapable of rallying them. An intelligent man,
always exerting himself with activity, should strive (to win success) by
the aid of means. It is said that that success which is won by
negotiation and other means is the very best. That which is achieved by
producing disunion (among the foe) is indifferent. While that success, O
king, which is won by battle, is the worst. In battle are many evils, the
initial one, as it is said, being slaughter. Even fifty brave men who
know one another, who are underpressed, who are free from family ties,
and who are firmly resolved, can crush a large army. Even five, six,
seven men, who are unretreating, win victory. Vinata’s son Garuda, O
Bharata, beholding even a large concourse of birds, asketh not the aid of
many followers (to vanquish them). The strength in number, therefore of
an army is not always the cause of victory. Victory is uncertain. It
depends on chance. Even they that become victorious have to sustain


Vaisampayana said,–“Having said these words unto Dhritarashtra, Vyasa
took his departure. And Dhritarashtra also, having heard those words,
began to reflect in silence. And having reflected for only a short space
of time, he began to sigh repeatedly. And, soon, O bull of Bharata’s
race, the king asked Sanjaya of soul worthy of praise,–saying,–‘O
Sanjaya, these kings, these lords of earth, so brave and taking delight
in battle, are for smiting one another with weapons of diverse kinds,
being prepared to lay down their very lives for the sake of earth.
Incapable of being restrained, they are, indeed, smiting one another for
increasing the population of Yama’s domain. Desirous of prosperity
connected with the possession of earth they are incapable of bearing one
another. I, therefore, think that earth must be possessed of many
attributes. Tell me all these, O Sanjaya, Many thousands, many millions,
many tens of millions, many hundreds of millions, heroic men have come
together at Kurujangala. I desire to hear, O Sanjaya, with accurate
details, about the situation and dimensions of those countries and cities
from which they have come. Through the potency of that regenerate Rishi
Vyasa of immeasurable energy, thou art endued with the lamp of celestial
perception and the eye of knowledge.

“Sanjaya said,–‘O thou of great wisdom, I will recount to thee the
merits of earth according to my knowledge. Behold them with thy eye of
wisdom. I bow to thee, O bull of Bharata’s race. Creatures in this world
are of two kinds, mobile and immobile. Mobile creatures are of three
kinds according to their birth, viz., oviparous, viviparous, and those
engendered by heat and damp. Of mobile creatures, O king, the foremost
are certainly those called viviparous. Of viviparous creatures the
foremost are men and animals. Animals, O king, of diverse forms, are of
fourteen species. Seven have their abodes in the woods, and seven of
these are domestic. Lions, tigers, boars, buffaloes, and elephants as
also bears and apes, are, O king, regarded as wild. Kine, goats, sheep,
men, horses, mules, and asses,–these seven amongst animals are reckoned
as domestic by the learned. These fourteen, O king, complete the tale of
domestic and wild animals, mentioned, O lord of earth, in the Vedas, and
on which the sacrifices rest. Of creatures that are domestic, men are
foremost, while lions are the foremost of those that have their abode in
the woods. All creatures support their life by living upon one another.
Vegetables are said to be immobile, and they are of four species viz.,
trees, shrubs, creepers, creeping plants existing for only a year, and
all stemless plants of the grass species.[30] Of mobile and immobile
creatures, there are thus one less twenty; and as regards their universal
constituents, there are five. Twenty-four in all, these are described as
Gayatri (Brahma) as is well-known to all.[31] He who knows these truly to
be the sacred Gayatri possessed of every virtue, is not liable, O best of
the Bharatas, to destruction in this world. Everything springeth from the
earth and everything, when destroyed, mergeth into the Earth. The Earth
is the stay and refuge of all creatures, and the Earth is eternal. He
that hath the Earth, hath the entire universe with its mobile and
immobile population. It is for this that longing for (the possession of
the) Earth, kings slay one another.'”


“Dhritarashtra said,–‘The names of rivers and mountains, O Sanjaya, as
also of provinces, and all other things resting on the earth, and their
dimensions, O thou that are acquainted with the measures of things of the
earth in its entirety and the forests, O Sanjaya, recount to me in

“Sanjaya said,–‘O great king, all things in the universe, in consequence
of the presence (in them) of the five elements, have been said to be
equal by the wise. These elements, are space, air, fire, water, and
earth. Their (respective) attributes are sound, touch, vision, taste, and
scent. Every one of these elements possesses (in addition to what is
especially its own) the attribute or attributes of that or those coming
before it. The earth, therefore, is the foremost of them all, possessing
as it does the attributes of all the other four, besides what is
specially its own, as said by Rishis acquainted with truth.[32] There are
four attributes, O king, in water. Scent does not exist in it. Fire has
three attributes viz., sound, touch, and vision. Sound and touch belong
to air, while space has sound alone. These five attributes, O king, exist
(in this way) in the five principal elements depending on which all
creatures in the universe exist. They exist separately and independently
when there is homogeneity in the universe.[33] When, however, these do
not exist in their natural state but with one another, then creatures
spring into life, furnished with bodies. This is never otherwise. The
elements are destroyed, in the order of the one succeeding, merging into
the one that proceeds; and they spring also into existence, one arising
from the one before it.[34] All of these are immeasurable, their forms
being Brahma itself. In the universe are seen creatures consisting of the
five elements. Men endeavour to ascertain their proportions by exercising
their reason. Those matters, however, that are inconceivable, should
never be sought to be solved by reason. That which is above (human)
nature is an indication of the inconceivable.

“‘O son of Kuru’s race, I will, however, describe to thee the island
called Sudarsana. This island, O king, is circular and of the form of a
wheel. It is covered with rivers and other pieces of water and with
mountains looking like masses of clouds, and with cities and many
delightful provinces. It is also full of trees furnished with flowers and
fruits, and with crops of diverse kinds and other wealth. And it is
surrounded on all sides with the salt ocean. As a person can see his own
face in a mirror, even so is the island called Sudarsana seen in the
lunar disc. Two of its parts seem to be a peepul tree, while two others
look like a large hare. It is surrounded on all sides with an assemblage
of every kind of deciduous plants. Besides these portions, the rest is
all water. What remains I will describe to thee shortly. The rest I will
speak of afterwards. Listen now to this that I describe in brief.[35]”


“Dhritarashtra said.—“Thou art intelligent, O Sanjaya, and acquainted
with the truth (about everything). Thou hast duly given a description of
the island in brief. Tell us now of the island in detail. Tell us now of
the dimension of the expanse of land that lies in the portion looking
like a hare. Thou mayst then speak of the portion resembling peepul tree.”

Vaisampayana said,–“Thus addressed by the king, Sanjaya began to say.

“Sanjaya said,–‘Stretching from east to west, are these six mountains
that are equal[36] and that extend from the eastern to the western ocean.
They are Himavat, Hemakuta, that best of mountains called Nishadha, Nila
abounding with stones of lapis lazuli, Sweta white as the moon, and the
mountains called Sringavat composed of all kinds of metals.[37] These are
the six mountains, O king, which are always the resorts of Siddhas and
Charanas. The space lying between each of these measures a thousand
Yojanas, and thereon are many delightful kingdoms. And these divisions
are called Varshas, O Bharata. In all those kingdoms reside creatures of
diverse species. This (the land where we are) is in the Varsha that is
called after Bharata. Next to it (northwards) is the Varsha called after
Himavat. The land that is beyond Hemakuta is called Harivarsha, South of
the Nila range and on the north of the Nishadha is a mountain, O king,
called Malyavat that stretches from east to west. Beyond Malyavat
northwards is the mountain called Gandhamadana.[38] Between these two
(viz., Malyavat and Gandhamadana) is a globular mountain called Meru made
of gold. Effulgent as the morning sun, it is like fire without smoke.[39]
It is eighty-four thousand Yojanas high, and, O king, its depth also is
eighty-four Yojanas. It standeth bearing the worlds above, below and
transversely. Besides Meru are situated, O lord, these four islands,
viz., Bhadraswa, and Ketumala, and Jamvudwipa otherwise called Bharata,
and Uttar-Kuru which is the abode of persons who have achieved the merit
of righteousness. The bird Sumukha, the son of Suparna, beholding that
all the birds on Meru were of golden plumage, reflected that he should
leave that mountain inasmuch as there was no difference between the good,
middling, and bad birds. The foremost of luminaries, the sun, always
circumambulates Meru, as also the moon with (his) attendant
constellation, and the Wind-god too. The mountain, O king, is endued with
celestial fruits and flowers, and it is covered all over with mansions
made of furnished gold. There, on that mountain, O king, the celestials,
the Gandharvas, the Asuras, and the Rakshasas, accompanied by the tribes
of Apsaras, always sport. There Brahman, and Rudra, and also Sakra the
chief of the celestials, assembled together, performed diverse kinds of
sacrifices with plentiful gifts. Tumvuru, and Narada and Viswavasu, and
the Hahas and the Huhus, repairing thither, adored the foremost of the
celestials with diverse hymns. The high-souled seven Rishis, and Kasyapa
the lord of creatures, repair thither, blessed be thou, on every parva
day.[40] Upon the summit of that mountain, Usanas, otherwise called the
Poet, sporteth with the Daityas (his disciples).[41] The jewels and gems
(that we see) and all the mountains abounding in precious stones are of
Meru. Therefrom a fourth part is enjoyed by the holy Kuvera. Only a
sixteenth part of that wealth he giveth unto men. On the northern side of
Meru is a delightful and excellent forest of Karnikaras, covered with the
flowers of every season,[42] and occupying a range of hills. There the
illustrious Pasupati himself, the creator of all things, surrounded by
his celestial attendants and accompanied by Uma, sporteth bearing a chain
of Karnikara flowers (on his neck) reaching down to his feet, and blazing
with radiance with his three eyes resembling three risen suns. Him
Siddhas truthful in speech, of excellent vows and austere ascetic
penances, can behold. Indeed, Maheswara is incapable of being seen by
persons of wicked conduct. From the summit of that mountain, like a
stream of milk, O ruler of men, the sacred and auspicious Ganga,
otherwise called Bhagirathi, adored by the most righteous, of universal
form and immeasurable and issuing out with terrific noise, falleth with
impetuous force on the delightful lake of Chandramas.[43] Indeed that
sacred lake, like an ocean, hath been formed by Ganga herself. (While
leaping from the mountains), Ganga, incapable of being supported by even
the mountains, was held for a hundred thousand years by the bearer of
Pinaka  on his head.[44] On the western side of Meru, O king, is
Ketumala.[45] And there also is Jamvukhanda. Both are great seats of
humanity, O king.[46] There, O Bharata, the measure of human life is ten
thousand years. The men are all of a golden complexion, and the women are
like Apsaras. And all the residents are without sickness, without sorrow,
and always cheerful. The men born there are of the effulgence of melted
gold. On the summits of Gandhamadana, Kuvera the lord of the Guhyakas,
with many Rakshasas and accompanied by tribes of Apsaras, passeth his
time in joy. Besides Gandhamadana there are many smaller mountains and
hills. The measure of human life there is eleven thousand years. There, O
king, the men are cheerful, and endued with great energy and great
strength and the women are all of the complexion of the lotus and highly
beautiful. Beyond Nila is (the Varsha called) Sweta, beyond Sweta is (the
Varsha called) Hiranyaka. Beyond Hiranyaka is (the Varsha called)
Airavata covered with provinces. The last Varsha in the (extreme) north
and Bharata’s Varsha in the (extreme) south are both, O king, of the form
of a bow. These five Varshas (viz., Sweta, Hiranyaka, Elavrita,
Harivarsha, and Haimavat-varsha) are in the middle, of which Elavrita
exists in the very middle of all. Amongst these seven Varshas (the five
already mentioned and Airavata and Bharata) that which is further north
excels the one to its immediate south in respect of these attributes,
viz., the period of life, stature, health, righteousness, pleasure, and
profit. In these Varshas, O Bharata, creatures (though of diverse
species) yet, live together. Thus, O king, is Earth covered with
mountains. The huge mountains of Hemakuta are otherwise called Kailasa.
There, O king, Vaisravana passeth his time in joy with his Guhyakas.
Immediately to the north of Kailasa and near the mountains of Mainaka
there is a huge and beautiful mountain called Manimaya endued with golden
summits. Beside this mountain is a large, beautiful, crystal and
delightful lake called Vindusaras with golden sands (on its beach). There
king Bhagiratha, beholding Ganga (since) called after his own name,
resided for many years. There may be seen innumerable sacrificial stakes
made of gems, and Chaitya tree made of gold. It was there that he of a
thousand eyes and great fame won (ascetic) success by performing
sacrifices. There the Lord of all creatures, the eternal Creator of all
the worlds, endued with supreme energy surrounded by his ghostly
attendants, is adored. There Nara and Narayana, Brahman, and Manu, and
Sthanu as the fifth, are (ever present). And there the celestial stream
Ganga having three currents,[47] issuing out of the region of Brahman,
first showed herself, and then dividing herself into seven streams,
became Vaswokasara, Nalini, the sin-cleansing Saraswati, Jamvunadi, Sita,
Ganga and Sindhu as the seventh. The Supreme Lord hath (himself) made the
arrangement with reference to that inconceivable and celestial stream. It
is there that[48] sacrifices have been performed (by gods and Rishis) on
a thousand occasions after the end of the Yuga (when creation begins). As
regards the Saraswati, in some parts (of her course) she becometh visible
and in some parts not so. This celestial sevenfold Ganga is widely known
over the three worlds. Rakshasas reside on Himavat, Guhyakas on Hemakuta,
and serpents and Nagas on Nishadha, and ascetics on Gokarna. The Sweta
mountains are said to be the abode of the celestial and the Asuras. The
Gandharvas always reside on Nishadhas, and the regenerate Rishis on Nila.
The mountains of Sringavat also are regarded as the resort of the

“‘These then, O great king, are the seven Varshas of the world as they
are divided. Diverse creatures, mobile[49] and immobile, are placed in
them all. Diverse kinds of prosperity, both providential and human, are
noticeable in them. They are incapable of being counted. Those desirous,
however, of their own good believe (all this), I have now told thee of
that delightful region (of land) of the form of a hare about which thou
hadst asked me. At the extremities of that region are the two Varshas,
viz., one on the north and the other on the south. Those two also have
now been told to thee. Then again the two islands Naga-dwipa and
Kasyapa-dwipa are the two ears of this region of the form of a hare. The
beautiful mountains of Maleya, O king, having rocks like plates of
copper, form another (prominent) part of Jamvudwipa that having its shape
resembling a hare.'”


“Dhritarashtra said,–‘Tell me, O Sanjaya, thou of great intelligence, of
the regions to the north and the east side of Meru, as also of the
mountains of Malyavat, in detail.[50]

“Sanjaya said,–‘On the south of the Nila mountain and the northern side
of Meru are the sacred Northern Kurus, O king, which are the residence of
the Siddhas. The trees there bear sweet fruits, and are always covered
with fruits and flowers. All the flowers (there) are fragrant, and the
fruits of excellent taste. Some of the trees, again, O king, yield fruits
according to (the) will (of the plucker). There are again some other
trees, O king, that are called milk-yielding. These always yield milk and
the six different kinds of food of the taste of Amrita itself. Those
trees also yield cloths and in their fruits are ornaments (for the use of
man). The entire land abounds with fine golden sands. A portion of the
region there, extremely delightful, is seen to be possessed of the
radiance of the ruby or diamond, or of the lapis lazuli or other jewels
and gems.[51] All the seasons there are agreeable and nowhere does the
land become miry, O king. The tanks are charming, delicious, and full of
crystal water. The men born there have dropped from the world of the
celestials.[52] All are of pure birth and all are extremely handsome in
appearance. There twins (of opposite sexes) are born and the women
resemble Apsaras in beauty. They drink the milk, sweet as Amrita, of
those milk-yielding trees (already mentioned). And the twins born there
(of opposite sexes) grow up equally. Both possessed of equal beauty, both
endued with similar virtues, and both equally dressed, both grow up in
love, O monarch, like a couple of chakrabakas. The people of that country
are free from illness and are always cheerful. Ten thousand and ten
hundred years they live, O king, and never abandon one another. A class
of birds called Bharunda, furnished with sharp beaks and possessed of
great strength, take them up when dead and throw them into mountain
caves. I have now described to thee, O king, the Northern Kurus briefly.

“I will now describe to thee the eastern side of Meru duly. Of all the
regions there, the foremost, O king, is called Bhadraswa, where there is
a large forest of Bhadra-salas, as also a huge tree called Kalamra. This
Kalamra, O king, is always graced with fruits and flowers. That tree
again is a Yojana in height and is adored by Siddhas[53] and the
Charanas. The men there are all of a white complexion, endued with great
energy, and possessed of great strength. The women are of the complexion
of lilies, very beautiful, and agreeable to sight. Possessed of radiance
of the moon,[54] and white as the moon, their faces are as the full-moon.
Their bodies again are as cool as the rays of the moon and they are all
accomplished in singing and dancing. The period of human life there, O
bull of the Bharata’s race, is ten thousand years. Drinking the juice of
the Kalamra they continue youthful for ever. On the south of Nila and the
north of Nishadha, there is a huge Jamvu tree that is eternal. Adored by
the Siddhas and Charanas, that sacred tree granteth every wish. After the
name of that tree this division hath ever been called Jamvudwipa. O bull
of Bharata race, a thousand and a hundred Yojanas is the height of that
prince of trees, which touches the very heavens, O king of men. Two
thousand and five hundred cubits measure the circumference of a fruit of
that tree which bursts when ripe. In falling upon the earth these fruits
make a loud noise, and then pour out, O king, a silvery juice on the
ground. That juice of the Jamvu, becoming, O king, a river, and passing
circuitously round Meru, cometh to the (region of the) Northern Kurus. If
the juice of that fruit is quaffed, it conduces to peace of mind. No
thirst is felt ever after, O king. Decrepitude never weakens them. And
there a species of gold called Jamvunada and used for celestial
ornaments, very brilliant and like the complexion of Indragopoka insects,
is produced. The men born there are of the complexion of the morning sun.

“‘On the summit of Malyavat is always seen, O bull of Bharata’s race, the
fire called Samvataka which blazeth forth at the end of the Yuga for the
destruction of the universe. On Malyavat’s summit towards the east are
many small mountains and Malyavat, O king, measures eleven thousand[55]
Yojanas. The men born there are of the complexion of gold. And they are
all fallen from the region of Brahman and are utterers of Brahma. They
undergo the severest of ascetic austerities, and their vital seed is
drawn up. For the protection of creatures they all enter the sun.
Numbering sixty-six thousand, they proceed in advance of Aruna,
surrounding the sun. Heated with the sun’s rays for sixty-six thousand
years, they then enter the lunar disc.'”


“Dhritarashtra said,–‘Tell me truly, O Sanjaya, the names of all the
Varshas, and of all the mountains, and also of all those that dwell on
those mountains.

“Sanjaya said,–‘On the south of Sweta and the north of Nishadha, is the
Varsha, called Romanaka. The men that are born there are all of white
complexion, of good parentage, and handsome features. And the men born
there are also all without enemies. And they live, O king, for eleven
thousand and five hundred years, being ever of cheerful hearts. On the
south of Nishadha is the Varsha called Hiranmaya where is the river
called Hiranwati. There, O king, liveth that foremost of birds named
Garuda. And the people there, O monarch, are all followers of the
Yakshas, wealthy, and of handsome features. And, O king, the men there
are endued with great strength and have: cheerful hearts. And they live
for twelve thousand and five hundred years., O king, which is the measure
of their lives. The mountains of Sringavat,[56] O ruler of men, have
three beautiful summits. One of these is made of jewels and gems, another
is very wonderful, being made of all kinds of gems and adorned with
palatial mansions. There the self-luminous lady named Sandili always
liveth. On the north of Sringavat and up to the margin of the sea, O
king, the Varsha called Airavat. And because this jewelled mountain is
there, therefore is this Varsha superior to all. The sun giveth no heat
there and men are not subject to decay. And the moon there, with the
stars, becoming the only source of light, covereth (the firmament).
Possessing the radiance and complexion of the lotus, and endued with eyes
that resemble lotus-petals, the men born there have the fragrance of the
lotus. With winkless eyes, and agreeable scent (emanating from their
bodies), they go without food and have their senses under control. They
are all fallen from the region of the celestials, and are all, O king,
without sin of any kind. And they live, O monarch, for thirteen thousand
years, that being. O best of the Bharatas, the measure of their lives.
And so on the north of the milky ocean, the Lord Hari of unlimited
puissance dwelleth on his car made of gold. That vehicle is endued with
eight wheels, with numerous supernatural creatures stationed on it, and
having the speed of the mind. And its complexion is that of fire, and it
is endued with mighty energy and adorned with Jamvunada gold. He is the
Lord of all creatures, and is possessed, O bull of Bharata’s race, of
every kind of prosperity. In him the universe merges (when dissolution
comes), and from him it again emanates (when the creative desire seizes
him). He is the actor, and it is He that makes all others act. He, O
monarch, is earth, water, space, air, and fire. He is Sacrifice’s self
unto all creatures, and fire is His mouth.”

Vaisampayana continued,–“The high-souled king Dhritarashtra, thus
addressed by Sanjaya, became, O monarch, absorbed in meditation about his
sons. Endued with great energy, he then, having reflected, said these
words: ‘Without doubt, O Suta’s son, it is Time that destroyeth the
universe. And it is Time that again createth everything. Nothing here is
eternal. It is Nara and Narayana, endued with omniscience, that
destroyeth all creatures.[57] The gods speak of him as Vaikuntha (of
immeasurable puissance), while men call him Vishnu (one that pervadeth
the Universe)!'”


“Dhritarashtra said,–‘Tell me truly (O Sanjaya) of this Varsha that is
called after Bharata, where this senseless force hath been collected, in
respect of which this my son Duryodhana hath been so very covetous, which
the sons of Pandu also are desirous of obtaining, and in which my mind
too sinketh. O, tell me this, for thou art, in my judgment endued with

“Sanjaya said,–‘Listen to me, O king The sons of Pandu are not covetous
about this country. On the other hand, it is Duryodhana that is covetous,
and Sakuni the son of Suvala, as also many other Kshatriyas who are
rulers of the provinces, who being covetous of this country are not able
to bear one another. I will now will thee, O thou of Bharata’s race, of
the tract of land known by Bharata’s name. This land is the beloved one
of Indra, and, O thou of Bharata’s race, this land, O monarch, that is
called after Bharata, is also the beloved land of Manu, the son of
Vivaswat, of Prithu, of Vainya, of the high-souled Ikshwaku, of Yayati,
of Amvarisha, of Mandhatri, of Nahusha, of Muchukunda, of Sivi the son of
Usinara, of Rishava, of Ila, of king Nriga, of Kusika, O invincible one,
of the high-souled Gadhi, of Somaka, O irrepressible one, and of Dilipa,
and also, O monarch, of many other mighty Kshatriyas. I will now, O
chastiser of foes, describe to thee that country as I have heard of it.
Listen to me, O king, as I speak of what thou hast asked me. Mahendra,
Malaya, Sahya, Suktimat, Rakshavat, Vindhya, and Paripatra,–these seven
are the Kala-mountains[58] (of Bharatvarsha). Besides these, O king,
there are thousands of mountains that are unknown, of hard make, huge,
and having excellent valleys. Besides these there are many other smaller
mountains inhabited by barbarous tribes. Aryans and Mlecchas, O Kauravya,
and many races, O lord, mixed of the two elements, drink the waters of
the following rivers, viz., magnificent Ganga, Sindhu, and Saraswati; of
Godavari, and Narmada, and the large river called Yamuna; of
Dhrishadwati, and Vipapa, and Vipasa and Sthulavaluka; of the river
Vetravati, and that other one called Krishna-vena; of Iravati, and
Vitasta, and Payosyini, and Devika; of Vedasmrita and Vedavati, and
Tridiva, and Ikshumalavi;[59] of Karishini, and Chitravaha, and the river
called Chitrasena; of Gomati, and Dhutapada and the large river called
Gandaki[60], of Kausiki, and Nischitra, and Kirtya, and Nichita, and
Lohatarini;[61] of Rashasi and Satakumbha, and also Sarayu; of
Charmanwati, and Vetravati,[62] and Hastisoma, and Disa; of the river
called Saravati, and Venna, and Bhimarathi; of Kaveri, and Chuluka, and
Vina, and Satavala; of Nivara, and Mahila, and Suprayoga, O king; of
Pavitra, and Kundala, and Rajani, and Puramalini; of Purvabhirama, and
Vira, and Bhima, and Oghavati; of Palasini, and Papahara, and Mahendra,
and Patalavati, of Karishini, and Asikni, and the large river Kusachira:
of Makari, and Pravara, and Mena, and Hema, and Dhritavati; of Puravati,
and Anushna, and Saivya, and Kapi, O Bharata; of Sadanira, and Adhrishya,
and the mighty stream Kusadhara; of Sadakanta, and Siva, and Viravati; of
Vatsu, and Suvastu, and Kampana with Hiranwati; of Vara, and the mighty
river Panchami, of Rathachitra, and Jyotiratha, and Viswamitra, and
Kapinjala; of Upendra, and Vahula, and Kuchira, and Madhuvahini: of
Vinadi, and Pinjala, and Vena, and the great river Pungavena; of Vidisa
and Krishna-vena, and Tamra, and Kapila, of Salu, and Suvama, the
Vedaswa, and the mighty river Harisrava; of Sighra, and Pischala, and the
river Bharadwaji, of the river Kausiki, and Sona, and Chandrama; of
Durgamantrasila, and Brahma-vodhya, and Vrihadvati; of Yaksha, and Rohi,
and Yamvunadi; of Sunasa and Tamasa, and Dasi, and Vasa, and Varuna, and
Asi; of Nila, and Dhrimati, and the mighty river Parnasa; of Pomasi, and
Vrishabha, and Brahma-meddhya, and Vrihaddhani. These and many other
large rivers, O king, such as Sadonirmaya and Krishna, and Mandaga, and
Mandavahini; and Mahagouri, and Durga, O Bharata; and Chitropala.
Chitraratha, and Manjula, and Vahini; and Mandakini, and Vaitarani, and
Kosa, and Mahanadi; and Suktimati, and Ananga, and Pushpaveni, and
Utpalavati; and Lohitya, Karatoya, and Vrishasabhya; and Kumari, and
Rishikullya and Marisha, and Saraswati; and Mandakini, and Supunya,
Sarvasanga, O Bharata, are all mothers of the universe and productive of
great merit. Besides these, there are rivers, by hundreds and thousands,
that are not known (by names), I have now recounted to thee, O king, all
the rivers as far as I remember.

“After this, listen to the names of the provinces as I mention them. They
are the Kuru-Panchalas, the Salwas, the Madreyas, the Jangalas, the
Surasena, the Kalingas, the Vodhas, the Malas, the Matsyas, the
Sauvalyas, the Kuntalas, the Kasi-kosalas, the Chedis, the Karushas, the
Bhojas, the Sindhus, the Pulindakas, the Uttamas, the Dasarnas, the
Mekalas, the Utkalas; the Panchalas, the Kausijas, the Nikarprishthas,
Dhurandharas; the Sodhas, the Madrabhujingas, the Kasis, and the
further-Kasis; the Jatharas, the Kukuras, O Bharata; the Kuntis, the
Avantis, and the further-Kuntis; the Gomantas, the Mandakas, the Shandas,
the Vidarbhas, the Rupavahikas; the Aswakas, the Pansurashtras, the
Goparashtras, and the Karityas; the Adhirjayas, the Kuladyas, the
Mallarashtras, the Keralas, the Varatrasyas, the Apavahas, the Chakras,
the Vakratapas, the Sakas; the Videhas, the Magadhas, the Swakshas, the
Malayas, the Vijayas, the Angas, the Vangas, the Kalingas, the
Yakrillomans; the Mallas, the Suddellas, the Pranradas, the Mahikas, the
Sasikas; the Valhikas, the Vatadhanas, the Abhiras, the Kalajoshakas; the
Aparantas, the Parantas, the Pahnabhas, the Charmamandalas; the
Atavisikharas, the Mahabhutas, O sire; the Upavrittas, the Anupavrittas,
the Surashatras, Kekayas; the Kutas, the Maheyas, the Kakshas, the
Samudranishkutas; the Andhras, and, O king, many hilly tribes, and many
tribes residing on lands laying at the foot of the hills, and the
Angamalajas, and the Manavanjakas; the Pravisheyas, and the Bhargavas, O
king; the Pundras, the Bhargas, the Kiratas, the Sudeshnas, and the
Yamunas, the Sakas, the Nishadhas, the Anartas, the Nairitas, the
Durgalas, the Pratimasyas, the Kuntalas, and the Kusalas; the Tiragrahas,
the Ijakas, the Kanyakagunas, the Tilabharas, the Samiras, the
Madhumattas, the Sukandakas; the Kasmiras, the Sindhusauviras, the
Gandharvas, and the Darsakas; the Abhisaras, the Utulas, the Saivalas,
and the Valhikas; the Darvis, the Vanavadarvas, the Vatagas, the
Amarathas, and the Uragas; the Vahuvadhas, the Kauravyas, the Sudamanas,
the Sumalikas; the Vadhras, the Karishakas, the Kalindas, and the
Upatyakas; the Vatayanas, the Romanas, and the Kusavindas; the Kacchas,
the Gopalkacchas, the Kuruvarnakas; the Kiratas, the Varvasas, the
Siddhas, the Vaidehas, and the Tamraliptas; the Aundras, the Paundras,
the Saisikatas, and the Parvatiyas, O sire.

“‘There are other kingdoms, O bull of Bharata’s race, in the south. They
are the Dravidas, the Keralas, the Prachyas, the Mushikas, and the
Vanavashikas; the Karanatakas, the Mahishakas, the Vikalpas, and also the
Mushakas; the Jhillikas, the Kuntalas, the Saunridas, and the
Nalakananas; the Kankutakas, the Cholas, and the Malavayakas; the
Samangas, the Kanakas, the Kukkuras, and the Angara-marishas; the
Samangas, the Karakas, the Kukuras, the Angaras, the Marishas: the
Dhwajinis, the Utsavas, the Sanketas, the Trigartas, and the Salwasena;
the Vakas, the Kokarakas, the Pashtris, and the Lamavegavasas; the
Vindhyachulakas, the Pulindas, and the Valkalas; the Malavas, the
Vallavas, the further-Vallavas, the Kulindas, the Kalavas, the Kuntaukas,
and the Karatas; the Mrishakas, the Tanavalas, the Saniyas; the Alidas,
the Pasivatas, the Tanayas, and the Sulanyas; the Rishikas, the
Vidarbhas, the Kakas, the Tanganas, and the further-Tanganas. Among the
tribes of the north are the Mlecchas, and the Kruras, O best of the
Bharatas; the Yavanas, the Chinas, the Kamvojas, the Darunas, and many
Mleccha tribes; the Sukritvahas, the Kulatthas, the Hunas, and the
Parasikas; the Ramanas, and the Dasamalikas. These countries are,
besides, the abodes of many Kshatriya, Vaisya, and Sudra tribes. Then
again there are the Sudra-abhiras, the Dardas, the Kasmiras, and the
Pattis; the Khasiras; the Atreyas, the Bharadwajas, the Stanaposhikas,
the Poshakas, the Kalingas, and diverse tribes of Kiratas; the Tomaras,
the Hansamargas, and the Karamanjakas. These and other kingdoms are on
the east and on the north. O lord, alluding to them briefly I have told
thee all. Earth, if its resources are properly developed according to its
qualities and prowess, is like an ever-yielding[63] cow, from which the
three-fold fruits of virtue, profit and pleasure, may be milked. Brave
kings conversant with virtue and profit have become covetous of Earth.
Endued with activity, they would even cast away their lives in battle,
from hunger of wealth. Earth is certainly the refuge of creatures endued
with celestial bodies as also of creatures endued with human bodies.[64]
Desirous of enjoying Earth, the kings, O chief of the Bharatas, have
become like dogs that snatch meat from one another. Their ambition is
unbounded, knowing no gratification.[65] It is for this that the Kurus
and the Pandavas are striving for possession of Earth, by negotiation,
disunion, gift, and battle, O Bharata. If Earth be well looked after, it
becometh the father, mother, children, firmament and heaven, of all
creatures, O bull among men.'”


“Dhritarashtra said,–‘Tell me, O Sanjaya, of the period of life, the
strength, the good and bad things, the future, past and present, of the
residents, O Suta, of this Varsha of Bharata, and of the Himavat-varsha,
as also of Hari-varsha, in detail.”

“Sanjaya said,–‘O bull of Bharata’s race, four Yugas set in Bharata’s
Varsha, viz., Krita, Treta, Dwapara, and Kali. The Yuga that sets in
first is Krita. O Lord; after the expiry of Krita comes Treta; after
expiry of Treta comes Dwapara; and after that last of all, sets in Kali.
Four thousand years, O best of the Kurus, are reckoned as the measure of
life, O best of kings, in the Krita epoch. Three thousand years is the
period in Treta, O ruler of men. At present in Dwapara, persons live on
Earth for two thousand years. In Kali, however, O bull of Bharata’s race,
there is no fixed limit of life’s measure, in so much that men die while
in the womb, as also soon after birth. In the Krita age, O king, men are
born and beget children, by hundreds and thousands, that are of great
strength and great power, endued with the attribute of great wisdom, and
possessed of wealth and handsome features. In that age are born and
begotten Munis endued with wealth of asceticism, capable of great
exertion, possessed of high souls, and virtuous, and truthful in speech.
The Kshatriyas also, born in that age are of agreeable features,
able-bodied, possessed of great energy, accomplished in the use of the
bow, highly skilled in battle and exceedingly brave. In the Treta age, O
king, all the Kshatriya kings were emperors ruling from sea to sea. In
Treta are begotten brave Kshatriyas not subject to any one, endued with
long lives, possessed of heroism, and wielding the bow in battle with
great skill. When Dwapara sets in, O king, all the (four) orders born
become capable of great exertion, endued with great energy, and desirous
of conquering one another. The men born in Kali, O king, are endued with
little energy, highly wrathful, covetous, and untruthful. Jealousy,
pride, anger, deception, malice and covetousness, O Bharata, are the
attributes of creatures in the Kali age. The portion that remains, O
king, of this the Dwapara age, is small, O ruler of men. The Varsha known
as Haimavat is superior to Bharatavarsha, while Harivarsha is superior to
Hainavatvarsha, in respect of all qualities.’


(Bhumi Parva)

“Dhritarashtra said,–‘Thou hast, O Sanjaya, duly described Jamvukhanda
to me. Tell me now its dimensions and extent truly. Tell me also, O
Sanjaya, of the extent of the ocean of Sakadwipa, and Kusadwipa, of
Salmalidwipa and Kraunchadwipa, truly and without leaving anything and
tell me also, O son of Gavalgani, of Rahu and Soma and Surya.’

“Sanjaya said,–‘There are, O king, many islands, over which the Earth
extended. I will describe to thee, however, only seven islands, and the
moon, and the sun, and the planet (Rahu), also. The Jamvu mountain, O
king, extends over full eighteen thousand and six hundred Yojanas. The
extent of the salt ocean is said to be twice this. That ocean is covered
with many kingdoms, and is adorned with gems and corals. It is, besides,
decked with many mountains that are variegated with metals of diverse
kinds. Thickly peopled by Siddhas and Charanas, the ocean is circular in

“I will now tell thee truly of Sakadwipa, O Bharata. Listen to me, O son
of Kuru’s race, as I describe it to thee duly. That island, O ruler of
men, is of twice the extent of Jamvudwipa. And the ocean also, O great
king, is of twice the extent of that island. Indeed, O best of the
Bharatas, Sakadwipa is surrounded on all sides by the ocean. The kingdoms
there are full of righteousness, and the men there never die. How can
famine take place there? The people are all endued with forgiveness and
great energy. I have now, O bull of Bharata’s race, given thee duly a
brief description of Sakadwipa. What else, O king, dost thou wish to

“Dhritarashtra said,–‘Thou hast given me, O Sanjaya, a description of
Sakadwipa in brief. O thou that art possessed of great wisdom, tell me
now everything in detail truly.’

“Sanjaya said,–‘In that island, O king, there are seven mountains that
are decked with jewels and that are mines of gems, precious stones. There
are many rivers also in that island. Listen to me as I recount their
names. Everything there, O king, is excellent and delightful, The first
of these mountains is called Meru. It is the abode of the gods, Rishis,
and Gandharvas. The next mountain, O king, is called Malaya stretching
towards the east. It is there that the clouds are generated and it is
thence that they disperse on all sides. The next, O thou of Kuru’s race,
is the large mountain called Jaladhara.[67] Thence Indra daily taketh
water of the best quality. It is from that water that we get showers in
the season of rains, O ruler of men. Next cometh the high mountain called
Raivataka, over which, in the firmament, hath been permanently placed the
constellation called Revati. This arrangement hath been made by the
Grandsire himself. On the north of this, O great king, is the large
mountain called Syama. It hath the splendour of newly-risen clouds, is
very high, beautiful and of bright body. And since the hue of those
mountains is dark, the people residing there are all dark in complexion,
O king.’

“Dhritarashtra said,–‘A great doubt ariseth in my mind, O Sanjaya, from
what thou hast said. Why, O Suta’s son, would the people there be of dark

“Sanjaya said,–‘O great king, in all islands, O son of Kuru’s race, men
may be found that are fair, and those that are dark, and those also that
are produced by a union of the fair and the dark races. But because the
people there are all dark, therefore is that mountain called the Dark
Mountain. After this, O chief of the Kurus, is the large mountain called
Durgasaila. And then cometh the mountain called Kesari. The breezes that
blow from that mountain are all charged with (odoriferous) effluvia. The
measure of each of these mountains is double that of the one mentioned
immediately before. O thou of Kuru’s race, it hath been said by the wise
that there are seven Varshas in that island. The Varsha of Meru is called
Mahakasa; that of the water-giving (Malaya) is called Kumudottara. The
Varsha of Jaladhara is called Sukumara: while that of Raivatak is called
Kaumara; and of Syama, Manikanchana. The Varsha of Kesara is called
Mandaki, and that called after the next mountain is called Mahapuman. In
the midst of that island is a large tree called Saka. In height and
breadth the measure of that tree is equal to that of the Jamvu tree in
Jamvudwipa. And the people there always adore that tree. There in that
island are, many delightful provinces where Siva is worshipped, and
thither repair the Siddhas, the Charanas, and the celestials. The people
there, O king, are virtuous, and all the four orders, O Bharata, are
devoted to their respective occupation. No instance of theft can be seen
there. Freed from decrepitude and death and gifted with long life, the
people there, O king, grow like rivers during the season of rains. The
rivers there are full of sacred water, and Ganga herself, distributed as
she hath been into various currents, is there, Sukumari, and Kumari, and
Seta, and Keveraka, and Mahanadi, O Kauravya, and the river Manijala, and
Chakshus, and the river Vardhanika, O thou best of the Bharatas,–these
and many other rivers by thousands and hundreds, all full of sacred
water, are there, O perpetuator of Kuru’s race, from which Vasava draweth
water for showering it as rain. It is impossible to recount the names and
lengths of rivers. All of them are foremost of rivers and sin-cleansing.
As heard by all men there, in that island of Saka, are four sacred
provinces. They are the Mrigas, the Masakas, the Manasas, and the
Mandagas. The Mrigas for the most part are Brahmanas devoted to the
occupations of their order. Amongst the Masakas are virtuous Kshatriyas
granting (unto Brahmanas) every wish (entertained by them). The Manasas,
O king, live by following the duties of the Vaisya order. Having every
wish of theirs gratified, they are also brave and firmly devoted to
virtue and profit. The Mandagas are all brave Sudras of virtuous
behaviour. In these provinces, O monarch, there is no king, no
punishment, no person that deserves to be punished. Conversant with the
dictates of duty they are all engaged in the practice of their respective
duties and protect one another. This much is capable of being said of the
island called Saka. This much also should be listened to about that
island endued with great energy.”[68]


“Sanjaya said, ‘O Kauravya, that which is heard about the islands in the
north, I will recount to thee, O Great king. Listen to me now. (Thither
in the north) is the ocean whose waters are clarified butter. Then is the
ocean whose waters are curds. Next cometh the ocean whose waters are
wine, and then is another ocean of water. The islands, O king, are double
in area of one another as they proceed further and further towards the
north. And they are surrounded, O king, by these oceans.[69] In the
island that is in the middle, there is a large mountain called Goura made
of red arsenic; on the western island, O king, is the mountain Krishna
that is the favourite (abode) of Narayana. There Kesava guardeth
celestial gems (in profusion), and thence, inclined to grace, he
bestoweth happiness on creatures. Along with the kingdoms there, O king,
the (celestial) clump of Kusa grass in Kusadwipa, and the Salmali tree in
the island of Salmalika, are adored. In the Krauncha island also, the
mountain called Maha-krauncha that is a mine of all kinds of gems is, O
king, always adored by all the four orders of men. (There), O monarch, is
the mountain called Gomanta that is huge and consists of all kinds of
metals, and whereon always resideth, mingling with those that have been
emancipated, the puissant Narayana, otherwise called Hari, graced with
prosperity and possessed of eyes like lotus leaves. In Kusadwipa, O king
of kings, there is another mountain variegated with corals and called
after the name of that island itself. This mountain is inaccessible and
made of gold. Possessed of great splendour, O Kauravya, there is a third
mountain there that is called Sumida. The sixth is called Harigiri. These
are the six principal mountains. The intervening spaces between one
another of these six mountains increaseth in the ratio of one to two as
they proceed further and further towards the north. The first Varsha is
called Audhido; the second is Venumandala; the third is called Suratha;
the fourth is known by the name of Kamvala; the fifth Varsha is called
Dhritimat; and the sixth is named Prabhakara; the seventh Varsha is
called Kapila. These are the seven successive Varshas. In these, gods and
Gandharvas, and other creatures of the universe, sport and take delight.
In these Varshas the inhabitants never die. There, O king, are no
robbers, nor any tribes of Mlecchas. All the residents are almost white
in complexion, and very delicate, O king.

“‘As regards the rest of the islands, O ruler of men, I will recount all
that hath been heard by me. Listen, O monarch, with an attentive mind. In
the Krauncha island, O great king, there is a large mountain called
Krauncha. Next to Krauncha is Vamanaka; and next to Vamanaka is
Andhakara. And next to Andhakara,[70] O king, is that excellent of
mountains called Mainaka. After Mainaka, O monarch, is that best of
mountains called Govinda; and after Govinda, O king, is the mountain
called Nivida. O multiplier of thy race, the intervening spaces between
one another of these mountains increaseth in the ratio of one to two. I
will now tell thee the countries that lie there. Listen to me as I speak
of them. The region near Krauncha is called Kusala; that near Vamanaka is
Manonuga. The region next to Manonuga, O perpetuator of Kuru’s race, is
called Ushna. After Ushna is Pravaraka; and after Pravaraka is
Andhakaraka. The country after Andhakaraka is named Munidesa. After
Munidesa the region is called Dundubhiswana teeming with Siddhas and
Charanas. The people are almost white in complexion, O king. All these
countries, O monarch, are the habitations of gods and Gandharvas. In (the
island of) Pushkara is a mountain called Pushkara that abounds with
jewels and gems. There always dwelleth the divine Prajapati himself. Him
all the gods and great Rishis always adore with gratifying words and
worship reverently, O king. Diverse gems from Jamvudwipa are used there.
In all these islands, O king, Brahmacharyya, truth, and self-control of
the dwellers, as also their health and periods of life, are in the ratio
of one to two as the islands are more and more remote (northwards). O
king, the land in those islands, O Bharata, comprises but one country,
for that is said to be one country in which one religion is met with. The
Supreme Prajapati himself, upraising the rod of chastisement, always
dwelleth there, protecting those islands. He, O monarch, is the king. He
is their source of bliss. He is the father, and he is the grand-father.
He it is, O best of men, that protecteth all creatures there, mobile or
immobile. Cooked food, O Kauravya, cometh there of itself and the
creatures eat it daily. O mighty-armed one. After these regions is seen a
habitation of the name of Sama. It is of a starry-shape having four
corners, and it hath, O king, thirty-three mandalas. There dwell, O
Kauravya, four princely elephants adored by all.[71] They are, O best of
the Bharatas, Vamana, and Airavata, and another, and also Supratika.[72]
O king, with rent cheeks and mouth, I do not venture to calculate the
proportions of these four elephants.[73] Their length, breadth and
thickness have for ever remained unascertained. There in those regions, O
king, winds blow irregularly from all directions.[74] These are seized by
those elephants with the tips of their trunks which are of the complexion
of the lotus and endued with great splendour and capable of drawing up
everything in their way. And soon enough after seizing them they then
always let them out. The winds, O king, thus let out by those respiring
elephants, come over the Earth and in consequence thereof creatures draw
breath and live.’

“Dhritarashtra said,–‘Thou hast, O Sanjaya, told me everything about the
first subject very elaborately. Thou hast also indicated the positions of
the islands. ‘Tell now, O Sanjaya, about what remains.’

“Sanjaya said,–‘Indeed, O great king, the islands have all been
described to thee. Listen now to what I truly say about the heavenly
bodies and about Swarbhanu, O chief of the Kauravas, as regards its
dimensions. It is heard, O king, that the planet Swarbhanu is globular.
Its diameter is twelve thousand Yojanas, and its circumference, because
it is very large, is forty-two thousand Yojanas, O sinless one,[75] as
said by the learned of olden times. The diameter of the moon, O king, is
stated to be eleven thousand Yojanas. Its circumference, O chief of the
Kurus, is stated to be thirty-eight thousand nine hundred Yojanas of the
illustrious planet of cool rays. It hath been heard that the diameter of
the beneficent, fast going and light-giving Sun, O thou of Kuru’s race,
is ten thousand Yojanas, and his circumference, O king, is thirty-five
thousand eight hundred miles, in consequence of his largeness, O sinless
one. These are the dimensions reckoned here, O Bharata, of Arka. The
planet Rahu, in consequence of his greater bulk, envelops both the Sun
and the Moon in due times. I tell thee this in brief. With the eye of
science, O great king, I have now told thee all that thou hadst asked.
Let peace be thine. I have now told thee about the construction of the
universe as indicated in the Shastras. Therefore, O Kauravya, pacify thy
son Duryodhana.[76]’

“Having listened to this charming Bhumi Parva, O chief of the Bharatas, a
Kshatriya becometh endued with prosperity, obtaineth fruition of all his
desires, and winneth the approbation of the righteous.[77] The king who
listeneth to this on days of the full-moon or the new-moon, carefully
observing vows all the while, hath the period of his life, his fame and
energy, all enhanced. His (deceased) sires and grandsires become
gratified. Thou hast now heard of all the merits that flow from this
Varsha of Bharata where we now are!'”


(Bhagavat-Gita Parva)

Vaisampayana said,–“Possessing a knowledge of the past, the present and
the future, and seeing all things as if present before his eyes, the
learned son of Gavalgana, O Bharata, coming quickly from the field of
battle, and rushing with grief (into the court) represented unto
Dhritarashtra who was plunged in thought that Bhishma the grandsire of
the Bharatas had been slain.”

“Sanjaya said,–‘I am Sanjaya, O great king. I bow to thee, O bull of
Bharata’s race. Bhishma, the son of Santanu and the grandsire of the
Bharatas, hath been slain. That foremost of all warriors, that grandsire
of the Bharatas, hath been slain. That foremost of all warriors, that
embodied energy of all bowmen, that grandsire of the Kurus lieth to-day
on a bed of arrows. That Bhishma. O king, relying on whose energy thy son
had been engaged in that match at dice, now lieth on the field of battle
slain by Sikhandin. That mighty car-warrior who on a single car had
vanquished in terrific combat at the city of Kasi all the kings of the
Earth mustered together, he who had fearlessly fought in battle with
Rama, the son of Jamadagni, he whom Jamadagni’s son could not slay, oh,
even hath he been to-day slain by Sikhandin. Resembling the great Indra
himself in bravery, and Himavat in firmness, like unto the ocean itself
in gravity, and the Earth herself in patience, that invincible warrior
having arrows for his teeth, that bow for his mouth, and the sword for
his tongue, that lion among men, hath to-day been slain by the prince of
Panchala. That slayer of heroes, beholding whom when addrest for battle
the mighty army of the Pandavas, unmanned by fear, used to tremble like a
herd of kine when beholding a lion, alas, having protected that army (of
thine) for ten nights and having achieved feats exceedingly difficult of
accomplishment, hath set like the Sun.[78] He who like Sakra himself,
scattering arrows in thousands with the utmost composure, daily slew ten
thousand warriors for ten days, even he slain (by the enemy), lieth,
though he deserveth it not, on the bare ground like a (mighty) tree
broken by the wind, in consequence, O king, of thy evil counsels, O


“Dhritarashtra said,–‘How hath Bhishma, that bull among the Kurus, been
slain by Sikhandin? How did my father, who resembled Vasava himself, fall
down from his car? What became of my sons, O Sanjaya, when they were
deprived of the mighty Bhishma who was like unto a celestial, and who led
life of Brahmacharyya for the sake of his father?[79] Upon the fall of
that tiger among men who was endued with great wisdom, great capacity for
exertion, great might and great energy, how did our warriors feel?
Hearing that bull amongst the Kurus, that foremost of men, that
unwavering hero is slain, great is the grief that pierceth my heart.
While advancing (against the foe), who followed him and who proceeded
ahead? Who stayed by his side? Who proceeded with him? What brave
combatants followed behind (protecting his rear) that tiger among
car-warriors, that wonderful archer, that bull among Kshatriyas, while he
penetrated into the divisions of the foe?[80] While seizing the hostile
ranks, what warriors opposed that slayer of foes resembling the luminary
of thousand rays, who spreading terror among the foe destroyed their
ranks like the Sun destroying darkness, and who achieved in battle
amongst the ranks of Pandu’s sons feats exceedingly difficult of
accomplishment? How, indeed, O Sanjaya, did the Pandavas oppose in battle
the son of Santanu, that accomplished and invincible warrior when he
approached them smiting? Slaughtering the (hostile) ranks, having arrows
for his teeth, and full of energy, with the bow for his wide-open mouth,
and with the terrible sword for his tongue, and invincible, a very tiger
among men, endued with modesty, and never before vanquished, alas, how
did Kunti’s son overthrow in battle that unconquered one, undeserving as
he was of such a fate,[81]–that fierce bowman shooting fierce shafts,
stationed on his excellent car, and plucking off the heads of foes (from
their bodies)–that warrior, irresistible as the Yuga-fire, beholding
whom addrest for battle the great army of the Pandavas always used to
waver? Mangling the hostile troops for ten nights, alas, that slayer of
ranks hath set like the Sun, having achieved feats difficult of
achievement. He who, scattering like Sakra himself and inexhaustible
shower of arrows, slew in battle a hundred millions of warriors in ten
days, that scion of Bharata’s race, now lieth, although he deserveth it
not, on the bare ground, in the field of battle, deprived of life, a
mighty tree uprooted by the winds, as a result of my evil counsels!
Beholding Santanu’s son Bhishma of terrible prowess, how indeed, could
the army of the Pandavas[82] succeed in smiting him there? How did the
sons of Pandu battle with Bhishma? How is it, O Sanjaya, that Bhishma
could not conquer when Drona liveth? When Kripa, again, was near him, and
Drona’s son (Aswatthaman) also, how could Bhishma, that foremost of
smiters be slain? How could Bhishma who was reckoned as an Atiratha and
who could not be resisted by the very gods, be slain in battle by
Sikhandin, the prince of Panchala? He, who always regarded himself as the
equal of the mighty son of Jamadagni in battle, he whom Jamadagni’s son
himself could not vanquish, he who resembled Indra himself in
prowess,–alas, O Sanjaya, tell me how that hero, Bhishma, born in the
race of Maharathas, was slain in battle, for without knowing all the
particulars I cannot regain my equanimity. What great bowmen of my army,
O Sanjaya, did not desert that hero of unfading glory? What heroic
warriors, again, at Duryodhana’s command, stood around that hero (for
protecting him)? When all the Pandavas placing Sikhandin in their van
advanced against Bhishma, did not all the Kurus,[83] O Sanjaya, stay by
the side of that hero of unfading prowess? Hard as my heart is, surely it
must be made of adamant, for it breaketh not on hearing the death of that
tiger among men, viz., Bhishma! In that irresistible bull of Bharata’s
race, were truth, and intelligence, and policy, to an immeasurable
extent. Alas, how was he slain in battle? Like unto a mighty cloud of
high altitude, having the twang of his bowstring for its roar, his arrows
for its rain-drops, and the sound of his bow for its thunder, that hero
showering his shafts on Kunti’s sons with the Panchalas and the Srinjayas
on their side, smote hostile car-warriors like the slayer of Vala smiting
the Danavas. Who were the heroes that resisted, like the bank resisting
the surging sea, that chastiser of foes, who was a terrible ocean of
arrows and weapons, an ocean in which shafts were the irresistible
crocodiles and bows were the waves, an ocean that was inexhaustible,
without an island, agitated and without a raft to cross it, in which
maces and swords were like sharks and steeds and elephants like eddies,
and foot-soldiers like fishes in abundance, and the sound of conches and
drums like its roar, and ocean that swallowed horses and elephants and
foot-soldiers quickly, an ocean that devoured hostile heroes and that
seethed with wrath and energy which constituted its Yadava-fire?[84] When
for Duryodhana’s good, that slayer of foes, Bhishma, achieved (terrible)
feats in battle, who were then in his van? Who were they that protected
the right wheel of that warrior of immeasurable energy? Who were they
that, mustering patience and energy, resisted hostile heroes from his
rear? Who stationed themselves in his near front for protecting him? Who
were those heroes that protected the fore-wheel of that brave warrior
while he battled (with the foe)? Who were they that stationing themselves
by his left wheel smote the Srinjayas? Who were they that protected the
irresistible advance ranks of his van? Who protected the wings of that
warrior who hath made the last painful journey? And who, O Sanjaya,
fought with hostile heroes in the general engagement? If he was protected
by (our) heroes, and if they were protected by. him, why could he not
then speedily vanquish in battle the army of the Pandavas, invincible
though it be? Indeed, O Sanjaya, how could the Pandavas succeed even in
striking Bhishma who was like Parameshti himself, that Lord and creator
of all creatures?[85] Thou tellest me, O Sanjaya, if the disappearance of
that Bhishma, that tiger among men, who was our refuge and relying upon
whom the Kurus were fighting with their foes, that warrior of mighty
strength relying on whose energy my son had never reckoned the Pandavas,
alas, how hath he been slain by the enemy?[86] In days of yore, all the
gods while engaged in slaying the Danavas, sought the aid of that
invincible warrior, viz., my father of high vows. That foremost of sons
endued with great energy, on whose birth the world-renowned Santanu
abandoned all grief, melancholy, and sorrows, how canst thou tell me, O
Sanjaya, that that celebrated hero, that great refuge of all, that wise
and holy personage who was devoted to the duties of his order and
conversant with the truths of the Vedas and their branches, hath been
slain? Accomplished in every weapon and endued with humility, gentle and
with passions under full control, and possessed of great energy as he
was, alas, hearing that son of Santanu slain I regard the rest of my army
as already slain. In my judgment, unrighteousness hath now become
stronger than righteousness, for the sons of Pandu desire sovereignty
even by killing their venerable superior! In days of yore, Jamadagni’s
son Rama, who was acquainted with every weapon and whom none excelled,
when addrest for battle on behalf of Amvya, was vanquished by Bhishma in
combat. Thou tellest me that that Bhishma, who was the foremost of all
warriors and who resembled Indra himself in the feats he achieved, hath
been slain. What can be a greater grief to me than this? Endued with
great intelligence, he that was not slain even by that slayer of hostile
heroes, that Rama, the son of Jamadagni, who defeated in battle crowds of
Kshatriyas repeatedly, he hath now been slain by Sikhandin. Without
doubt, Drupada’s son Sikhandin, therefore who hath slain in battle that
bull of Bharata’s race, that hero acquainted with the highest weapons,
that brave and accomplished warrior conversant with every weapon, is
superior in energy, prowess, and might to the invincible Vargava endued
with the highest energy. In that encounter of arms who were the heroes
that followed that slayer of foes? Tell me how the battle was fought
between Bhishma and the Pandavas. The army of my son, O Sanjaya, reft of
its hero, is like an unprotected woman. Indeed, that army of mine is like
a panic-struck herd of kine reft of its herdsman. He in whom resided
prowess superior to that of every one, when he was laid low on the field
of battle, what was the state of mind of my army? What power is there, O
Sanjaya, in our life, when we have caused our father of mighty energy,
that foremost of righteous men in the world, to be slain? Like a person
desirous of crossing the sea when he beholds the boat sunk in fathomless
waters, alas, my sons, I ween, are bitterly weeping from grief on
Bhishma’s death. My heart, O Sanjaya, is surely made of adamant, for it
rendeth not even after hearing the death of Bhishma, that tiger among
men. That bull among men in whom were weapons, intelligence, and policy,
to an immeasurable extent, how, alas, hath that invincible warrior been
slain in battle? Neither in consequence of weapons nor of courage, nor of
ascetic merit, nor of intelligence, nor of firmness, nor of gift, can a
man free himself from death. Indeed, time, endued with great energy, is
incapable of being transgressed by anything in the world, when thou
tellest me, O Sanjaya, that Santanu’s son Bhishma is dead. Burning with
grief on account of my sons, in fact, overwhelmed with great sorrow, I
had hoped for relief from Bhishma, the son of Santanu. When he beheld
Santanu’s son, O Sanjaya, lying on earth like the Sun (dropped from the
firmament), what else was made by Duryodhana as his refuge? O Sanjaya,
reflecting with the aid of my understanding, I do not see what the end
will be of the kings belonging to my side and that of the enemy and now
mustered in the opposing ranks of battle. Alas, cruel are the duties of
the Kshatriya order as laid down by the Rishis, since the Pandavas are
desirous of sovereignty by even compassing the death of Santanu’s son,
and we also are desirous of sovereignty by offering up that hero of high
vows as a sacrifice.[87] The sons of Pritha, as also my sons, are all in
the observance of Kshatriya duties. They, therefore, incur no sin (by
doing) this. Even a righteous person should do this, O Sanjaya, when
direful calamities come. The display of prowess and the exhibition of the
utmost might have been laid down among the duties of the Kshatriyas.

“‘How, indeed, did the sons of Pandu oppose my father Bhishma, the son of
Santanu, that unvanquished hero endued with modesty, while he was engaged
in destroying the hostile ranks? How were the troops arrayed, and how did
he battle with high-souled foes? How, O Sanjaya, was my father Bhishma
slain by the enemy? Duryodhana and Karna and the deceitful Sakuni, the
son of Suvala, and Dussasana also,–what did they say when Bhishma was
slain? Thither where the dice-board is constituted by the bodies of men,
elephants, and steeds, and, where arrows and javelins and large swords
and bearded darts from the dice, entering that frightful mansion of
destructive battle’s play, who were those wretched gamblers,–those bulls
among men,–that gambled, making their very lives the frightful stakes?
Who won, who were vanquished, who cast the dice successfully, and who
have been slain, besides Bhishma, the son of Santanu? Tell me all, O
Sanjaya, for peace cannot be mine, hearing that Devavrata hath been
slain,–that father of mine, of terrible deeds, that ornament of battle,
viz., Bhishma! Keen anguish had penetrated my heart, born of the thought
that all my children would die. Thou makest that grief of mine blaze
forth, O Sanjaya, like fire by pouring clarified butter on it. My sons,

I ween, are even now grieving, beholding Bhishma slain,–Bhishma
celebrated in all worlds and who had taken upon himself a heavy burden. I
will listen to all those sorrows arising from Duryodhana’s act.
Therefore, tell me, O Sanjaya, everything that happened
there,–everything that happened in the battle, born of the folly of my
wicked son. Ill-ordered or well-ordered, tell me everything, O Sanjaya.
Whatever was achieved with the aid of energy in the battle by Bhishma
desirous of victory,–by that warrior accomplished in arms,–tell me all
fully and in detail. How, in fact, the battle took place between the
armies of the Kurus and the manner in which each happened.'”


Sanjaya said,–“Deserving as thou art, this question is, indeed, worthy
of thee, O great king. It behoveth thee not, however, to impute this
fault to Duryodhana. The man who incurreth evil as the consequence of his
own misconduct, should not attribute that misconduct to others. O great
king, the man that doth every kind of injury to other men, deserveth to
be slain by all men in consequence of those censurable deeds of his. The
Pandavas unacquainted with the ways of wickedness had, for a long time,
with their friends and counsellors, looking up to thy face, borne the
injuries (done to them) and forgiven them, dwelling in the woods.

“Of steeds and elephants and kings of immeasurable energy that which hath
been seen by the aid of Yoga-power, hear, O lord of earth, and do not set
thy heart on sorrow. All this was pre-destined, O king. Having bowed down
to thy father, that (wise and high-souled[88]) son of Parasara, through
whose grace, (through whose boon bestowed on me,) I have obtained
excellent and celestial apprehension, sight beyond the range of the
visual sense, and hearing, O king, from great distance, knowledge of
other people’s hearts and also of the past and the future, a knowledge
also of the origin of all persons transgressing the ordinances,[89] the
delightful power of coursing through the skies, and untouchableness by
weapons in battles, listen to me in detail as I recite the romantic and
highly wonderful battle that happened between the Bharatas, a battle that
makes one’s hair stand on end.

“When the combatants were arrayed according to rule and when they were
addrest for battle. Duryodhana, O king, said these words to Dussasana,–O
Dussasana, let cars be speedily directed for the protection of Bhishma,
and do thou speedily urge all our divisions (to advance). That hath now
come to me of which I had been thinking for a series of years, viz., the
meeting of the Pandavas and the Kurus at the head of their respective
troops. I do not think that there is any act more important (for us) in
this battle than the protecting of Bhishma. If protected he will slay the
Pandavas, the Somakas, and the Srinjayas. That warrior of pure soul
said,–‘I will not slay Sikhandin. It is heard that he was a female
before. For this reason he should be renounced by me in battle. For this,
Bhishma should be particularly protected. Let all my warriors take up
their positions, resolved to slay Sikhandin. Let also all the troops from
the east, the west, the south, and the north, accomplished in every kind
of weapon, protect the grandsire. Even the lion of mighty strength, if
left unprotected may be slain by the wolf. Let us not, therefore, cause
Bhishma to be slain by Sikhandin like the lion slain by the jackal.
Yudhamanyu protects the left wheel, and Uttamauja protects the right
wheel of Phalguni. Protected by those two, Phalguni himself protects
Sikhandin. O Dussasana, act in such a way that Sikhandin who is protected
by Phalguni and whom Bhishma will renounce, may not slay Ganga’s son.”


Sanjaya said,–“When the night had passed away, loud became the noise
made by the kings, all exclaiming, Array! Array! ‘With the blare of
conches and the sound of drums that resembled leonine roars, O Bharata,
with the neigh of steeds, and the clatter of car-wheels, with the noise
of obstreperous elephants and the shouts, clapping of arm-pits, and cries
of roaring combatants, the din caused everywhere was very great. The
large armies of the Kurus and the Pandavas, O king, rising at sunrise,
completed all their arrangements. Then when the Sun rose, the fierce
weapons of attack and defence and the coats of mail of both thy sons and
the Pandavas, and the large and splendid armies of both sides, became
fully visible. There elephants and cars, adorned with gold, looked
resplendent like clouds mingled with lightning. The ranks of cars,
standing in profusion, looked like cities. And thy father, stationed
there, shone brilliantly, like the full moon. And the warriors armed with
bows and swords and scimitars and maces, javelins and lances and bright
weapons of diverse kinds, took up their positions in their (respective)
ranks. And resplendent standards were seen, set up by thousands, of
diverse forms, belonging to both ourselves and the foe. And made of gold
and decked with gems and blazing like fire, those banners in thousands
endued with great effulgence, looked beautiful like heroic combatants
cased in mail gazed at those standards, longing for battle.[90] And many
foremost of men, with eyes large as those of bulls endued with quivers,
and with hands cased in leathern fences, stood at the heads of their
divisions, with their bright weapons upraised. And Suvala’s son Sakuni,
and Salya, Jayadratha and the two princes of Avanti named Vinda and
Anuvinda, and the Kekaya brothers, and Sudakshina the ruler of the
Kamvojas and Srutayudha the ruler of the Kalingas, and king Jayatsena,
and Vrihadvala the ruler of the Kosalas, and Kritavarman of Satwata’s
race,–these ten tigers among men, endued with great bravery and
possessing arms that looked like maces,–these performers of sacrifices
with plentiful gifts (to Brahmanas), stood each at the head of an
Akshauhini of troops. These and many other kings and princes, mighty
car-warriors conversant with policy, obedient to the commands of
Duryodhana, all cased in mail, were seen stationed in their respective
divisions. All of them, cased in black deer-skins, endued with great
strength, accomplished in battle, and cheerfully prepared, for
Duryodhana’s sake, to ascend to the region of Brahma,[91] stood there
commanding ten efficient Akshauhinis. The eleventh great division of the
Kauravas, consisting of the Dhartarashtra troops, stood in advance of the
whole army. There in the van of that division was Santanu’s son. With his
white head-gear, white umbrella, and white mail, O monarch, we beheld
Bhishma of unfailing prowess look like the risen moon. His standard
bearing the device of a palmyra of gold himself stationed on a car made
of silver, both the Kurus and the Pandavas beheld that hero looking like
the moon encircled by white clouds. The great bowmen amongst the
Srinjayas headed by Dhrishtadyumna, (beholding Bhishma) looked like
little animals when they would behold a mighty yawning lion. Indeed, all
the combatants headed by Dhrishtadyumna repeatedly trembled in fear.
These, O king, were the eleven splendid divisions of thy army. So also
the seven divisions belonging to the Pandavas were protected by foremost
of men. Indeed, the two armies facing each other looked like two oceans
at the end of the Yuga agitated by fierce Makaras, and abounding with
huge crocodiles. Never before, O king, did we see or hear of two such
armies encountering each other like these of the Kauravas.’


Sanjaya said,–“Just as the holy Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa had said, in
that very manner the kings of the Earth, mustered together, came to the
encounter. On that day on which the battle commenced Soma approached the
region of Pitris.[92] The seven large planets, as they appeared in the
firmament, all looked blazing like fire.[93] The Sun, when he rose,
seemed to be divided in twain. Besides, that luminary, as it appeared in
the firmament, seemed to blaze forth in flames.[94] Carnivorous jackals
and crows, expecting dead bodies to feast upon, began to utter fierce
cries from all directions that seemed to be ablaze. Every day the old
grandsire of the Kurus, and the son of Bharadwaja, rising from bed in the
morning, with concentrated mind, said,–‘Victory to the sons of
Pandu’–while those chastisers of foes used (at the same time) yet to
fight for thy sake according to the pledge they had given. Thy father
Devavrata, fully conversant with every duty, summoning all the kings,
said these words (unto them). ‘Ye Kshatriyas, this broad door is open to
you for entering heaven. Go ye through it to the region of Sakra and
Brahman. The Rishis of olden times have showed you this eternal path.[95]
Honour ye yourselves by engaging in battle with attentive minds. Nabhaga,
and Yayati, and Mandhatri, and Nahusa, and Nriga, were crowned with
success and obtained the highest region of bliss by feats like these. To
die of disease at home is sin for a Kshatriya. The death he meets with in
battle is his eternal duty.’–Thus addressed, O bull of Bharata’s race,
by Bhishma, the kings, looking beautiful in their excellent cars,
proceeded to the heads of their respective divisions. Only Vikartana’s
son Karna, with his friends and relatives, O bull of Bharata’s race, laid
aside his weapons in battle for the sake of Bhishma. Without Karna then,
thy sons and all the kings on thy side proceeded, making the ten points
of the horizon resound with their leonine roars. And their divisions
shone brightly, O king, with white umbrellas, banners, standards,
elephants, steeds, cars, and foot-soldiers. And the Earth was agitated
with the sounds of drums and tabors and cymbals, and the clatter of
car-wheels. And the mighty car-warriors, decked with their bracelets and
armlets of gold and with their bows (variegated with gold), looked
resplendent like hills of fire. And with his large palmyra-standard
decked with five stars, Bhishma, the generalissimo of the Kuru army,[96]
looked like the resplendent Sun himself. Those mighty bowmen of royal
birth, O bull of Bharata’s race, that were on thy side, all took up their
positions, O king, as Santanu’s son ordered. (King) Saivya of the country
of the Govasanas, accompanied by all the monarchs, went out on a princely
elephant worthy of royal use and graced with a banner on its back. And
Aswatthaman, of the complexion of the lotus, went out ready for every
emergency, stationing himself at the very head of all the divisions, with
his standard bearing the device of the lion’s tail. And Srutayudha and
Chitrasena and Purumitra and Vivinsati, and Salya and Bhurisravas, and
that mighty car-warrior Vikarna,–these seven mighty bowmen on their
carts and cased in excellent mail, followed Drona’s son behind but in
advance of Bhishma. The tall standards of these warriors, made of gold,
beautifully set up for adorning their excellent cars, looked highly
resplendent. The standard of Drona, the foremost of preceptors, bore the
device of a golden altar decked with a water-pot and the figure of a bow.
The standard of Duryodhana guiding many hundreds and thousands of
divisions bore the device of an elephant worked in gems. Paurava and the
ruler of the Kalingas, and Salya, these Rathas took up their position in
Duryodhana’s van. On a costly car with his standard bearing the device of
a bull, and guiding the very van (of his division), the ruler of the
Magadhas marched against the foe.[97] That large force of the Easterners
looking like the fleecy clouds of autumn[98] was (besides) protected by
the chief of the Angas (Karna’s son Vrishaketu) and Kripa endued with
great energy. Stationing himself in the van of his division with his
beautiful standard of silver bearing the device of the boar, the famous
Jayadratha looked highly resplendent. A hundred thousand cars, eight
thousand elephants, and sixty thousand cavalry were under his
command.[99] Commanded by the royal chief of the Sindhus, that large
division occupying the very van (of the army) and abounding with untold
cars, elephants, and steeds, looked magnificent. With sixty thousand cars
and ten thousand elephants, the ruler of the Kalingas, accompanied by
Ketumat, went out. His huge elephants, looking like hills, and adorned
with Yantras,[100] lances, quivers and standards, looked exceedingly
beautiful. And the ruler of the Kalingas, with his tall standard
effulgent as fire, with his white umbrella, and golden curass, and
Chamaras (wherewith he was fanned), shone brilliantly. And Ketumat also,
riding on an elephant with a highly excellent and beautiful hook, was
stationed in battle, O King, like the Sun in the midst of (black) clouds.
And king Bhagadatta, blazing with energy and riding on that elephant of
his, went out like the wielder of the thunder. And the two princes of
Avanti named Vinda and Anuvinda, who were regarded as equal to
Bhagadatta, followed Ketumat, riding on the necks of their elephants.
And, O king, arrayed by Drona and the royal son of Santanu, and Drona’s
son, and Valhika, and Kripa, the (Kaurava) Vyuha[101] consisting of many
divisions of cars was such that the elephants formed its body; the kings,
its head; and the steeds, its wings. With face towards all sides, that
fierce Vyuha seemed to smile and ready to spring (upon the foe).”


Sanjaya said,–“Soon after, O king, a loud uproar, causing the heart to
tremble was heard, made by the combatants ready for the fight. Indeed,
with the sounds of conches and drums, the grunts of elephants, and the
clatter of car-wheels, the Earth seemed to rend in twain. And soon the
welkin and the whole Earth was filled with the neigh of chargers and the
shouts of combatants. O irresistible one, the troops of thy sons and of
the Pandavas both trembled when they encountered each other. There (on
the field of battle) elephants and cars, decked in gold, looked beautiful
like clouds decked with lightning. And standards of diverse forms, O
king, belonging to the combatants on thy side, and adorned with golden
rings, looked resplendent like fire. And those standards of thy side and
theirs, resembled, O Bharata, the banners of Indra in his celestial
mansions. And the heroic warriors all accoutred and cased in golden coats
of mail endued with the effulgence of the blazing Sun, themselves looked
like blazing fire or the Sun. All the foremost warriors amongst the
Kurus, O king, with excellent bows, and weapons upraised (for striking),
with leathern fences on their hands, and with standards,–those mighty
bowmen, of eyes large as those of bulls, all placed themselves at the
heads of their (respective) divisions. And these amongst thy sons, O
king, protected Bhishma from behind, viz.. Dussasana, and Durvishaha, and
Durmukha, and Dussaha and Vivinsati, and Chitrasena, and that mighty
car-warrior Vikarna. And amongst them were Satyavrata, and Purumitra, and
Jaya, and Bhurisravas, and Sala. And twenty thousand car-warriors
followed them. The Abhishahas, the Surasenas, the Sivis, and the Vasatis,
the Swalyas, the Matsyas, the Amvashtas, the Trigartas, and the Kekayas,
the Sauviras, the Kitavas, and the dwellers of the Eastern, Western, and
the Northern countries,–these twelve brave races were resolved to fight
reckless of the lives. And these protected the grandsire with a
multitudinous array of cars. And with a division that consisted of ten
thousand active elephants, the king of Magadha followed that large car
division. They that protected the wheels of the cars and they that
protected the elephants, numbered full six millions. And the
foot-soldiers that marched in advance (of the army), armed with bows,
swords, and shields, numbered many hundreds of thousands. And they fought
also using their nails and bearded darts. And the ten and one Akshauhinis
of thy son, O Bharata, looked, O mighty king, like Ganga separated from


Dhritarashtra said,–“Beholding our ten and one Akshauhinis arrayed in
order of battle, how did Yudhishthira, the son of Pandu, make his
counter-array with his forces smaller in number? How did Kunti’s son, O
Sanjaya, form his counter-array against that Bhishma who was acquainted
with all kinds of arrays, viz., human, celestial, Gandharva, and Asura?”

Sanjaya said,–“Seeing the Dhritarashtra divisions arrayed in order of
battle, Pandu’s son of virtuous soul, king Yudhishthira the just,
addressed Dhananjaya, saying,–‘Men are informed from the words of that
great Rishi Vrihaspati that the few must be made to fight by condensing
them, while the many may be extended according to pleasure. In encounters
of the few with the many, the array to be formed should be the
needle-mouthed one. Our troops compared with the enemy’s are few. Keeping
in view this precept of the great Rishi, array our troops, O son of
Pandu.’ Hearing this, that son of Pandu answered king Yudhishthira the
just, saying,–That immovable array known by the name of Vajra, which was
designed by the wielder of the thunder-bolt,–that invincible array is
the one that I will make for thee, O best of kings. He who is like the
bursting tempest, he who is incapable of being borne in battle by the
foe, that Bhima the foremost of smiters, will fight at our head. That
foremost of men, conversant with all the appliances of battle, becoming
our leader, will fight in the van, crushing the energy of the foe. That
foremost of smiters, viz., Bhima, beholding whom all the hostile warriors
headed by Duryodhana will retreat in panic like smaller animals beholding
the lion, all of us, our fears dispelled, will seek his shelter as if he
were a wall, like the celestial seeking the shelter of Indra. The man
breathes not in the world who would bear to cast his eyes upon that bull
among men, Vrikodara of fierce deeds, when he is angry.’–Having said
this, Dhananjaya of mighty arms did as he said. And Phalguni, quickly
disposing his troops in battle-array, proceeded (against the foe). And
the mighty army of the Pandavas beholding the Kuru army move, looked like
the full, immovable, and quickly rolling[103] current of Ganga. And
Bhimasena, and Dhrishtadyumna endued with great energy, and Nakula, and
Sahadeva, and king Dhrishtaketu, became the leaders of that force. And
king Virata, surrounded by an Akshawhini of troops and accompanied by his
brothers and sons, marched in their rear, protecting them from behind.
The two sons of Madri, both endued with great effulgence, became the
protectors of Bhima’s wheels; while the (five) sons of Draupadi and the
son of Subhadra all endued with great activity, protected (Bhima) from
behind. And that mighty car-warrior, Dhrishtadyumna, the prince of
Panchala, with those bravest of combatants and the foremost of
car-warriors, viz., the Prabhadrakas, protected those princes from
behind. And behind him was Sikhandin who (in his turn) was protected by
Arjuna, and who, O bull of Bharata’s race, advanced with concentrated
attention for the destruction of Bhishma. Behind Arjuna was Yuyudhana of
mighty strength; and the two princes of Panchala, viz., Yudhamanyu and
Uttamaujas, became protectors of Arjuna’s wheels, along with the Kekaya
brothers, and Dhrishtaketu, and Chekitana of great valour–This
Bhimasena, wielding his mace made of the hardest metal, and moving (on
the field of battle) with fierce speed, can dry up the very ocean. And
there also stay, with their counsellors looking on him. O king, the
children[104] of Dhritarashtra.–Even this, O monarch, was what Vibhatsu
said, pointing out the mighty Bhimasena (to Yudhishthira).[105] And while
Partha was saying so, all the troops, O Bharata, worshipped him on the
field of battle with gratulatory words. King Yudhishthira, the son of
Kunti, took up his position in the centre of his army, surrounded by huge
and furious elephants resembling moving hills. The high-souled Yajnasena,
the king of the Panchalas, endued with great prowess, stationed himself
behind Virata with an Akshauhini of troops for the sake of the Pandavas.
And on the cars of those kings, O monarch, were tall standards bearing
diverse devices, decked with excellent ornaments of gold, and endued with
the effulgence of the Sun and the Moon. Causing those kings to move and
make space for him, that mighty car-warrior Dhrishtadyumna, accompanied
by his brothers and sons protected Yudhishthira from behind. Transcending
the huge standards on all the cars on thy side and that of the enemy, was
the one gigantic ape on Arjuna’s car. Foot-soldiers, by many hundreds of
thousands, and armed with swords, spears, and scimitars, proceeded ahead
for protecting Bhimasena. And ten thousand elephants with (temporal)
juice trickling down their cheek and mouth, and resembling (on that
account) showering clouds,[106] endued with great courage, blazing with
golden armour, huge hills, costly, and emitting the fragrance of lotuses,
followed the king behind like moving mountains.[107] And the high-souled
and invincible Bhimasena, whirling his fierce mace that resembled a
parigha[108] seemed to crush the large army (of thy son). Incapable of
being looked at like the Sun himself, and scorching as it were, the
hostile army (like fire), none of the combatants could bear to even look
at him from any neat point. And this array, fearless and having its face
turned towards all sides called Vajra, having bows for its lightning
sign,[109] and extremely fierce, was protected by the wielder of Gandiva.
Disposing their troops in this counter-array against thy army, the
Pandavas waited for battle. And protected by the Pandavas, that array
became invincible in the world of men.

“‘And as (both) the armies stood at dawn of day waiting for sunrise, a
wind began to blow with drops of water (falling), and although there were
no clouds, the roll of thunder was heard. And dry winds began to blow all
around, bearing a shower of pointed pebbles along the ground. And as
thick dust arose, covering the world with darkness. And large meteors
began to fall east-wards, O bull of Bharata’s race, and striking against
the rising Sun, broke in fragments with loud noise. When the troops stood
arrayed, O bull of Bharata’s race, the Sun rose divested of splendour,
and the Earth trembled with a loud sound, and cracked in many places, O
chief of the Bharatas, with loud noise. And the roll of thunder, O king,
was heard frequently on all sides. So thick was the dust that arose that
nothing could be seen. And the tall standards (of the combatants),
furnished with strings of bells, decked with golden ornaments, garlands
of flowers, and rich drapery, graced with banners and resembling the Sun
in splendour, being suddenly shaken by the wind, gave a loud jingling
noise like that of a forest of palmyra trees (when moved by the wind). It
was thus that those tigers among men, the sons of Pandu, ever taking
delight in battle, stood having disposed their troops in counter-array
against the army of thy son, and sucking as it were, the marrow, O bull
of Bharata’s race, of our warriors, and casting their eyes on Bhimasena
stationed at their head, mace in hand.”


Dhritarashtra said,–“When the Sun rose, O Sanjaya, of my army led by
Bhishma and the Pandava army led by Bhima, which first cheerfully
approached the other, desirous of fight? To which side were the Sun, the
Moon and the wind hostile, and against whom did the beasts of prey utter
inauspicious sounds? Who were those young men, the complexions of whose
faces were cheerful? Tell me all these truly and duly.”

Sanjaya said,–“Both armies, when arrayed, were equally joyful, O king.
Both armies looked equally beautiful, assuming the aspect of blossoming
woods, and both armies were full of elephants, cars and horses. Both
armies were vast and terrible in aspect; and so also, O Bharata, none of
them could bear the other. Both of them were arrayed for conquering the
very heavens, and both of them consisted of excellent persons. The
Kauravas belonging to the Dhritarashtra party stood facing the west,
while the Parthas stood facing the east, addrest for fight. The troops of
the Kauravas looked like the army of the chief of the Danavas, while that
of the Pandavas looked like the army of the celestials. The wind began to
blow from behind the Pandavas (against the face of the Dhartarashtras),
and the beasts of prey began to yell against the Dhartarashtras. The
elephants belonging to thy sons could not bear the strong odour of the
temporal juice emitted by the huge elephants (of the Pandavas). And
Duryodhana rode on an elephant of the complexion of the lotus, with rent
temples, graced with a golden Kaksha (on its back), and cased in an
armour of steel net-work. And he was in the very centre of the Kurus and
was adored by eulogists and bards. And a white umbrella of lunar
effulgence was held over his head graced with a golden chain. Him Sakuni,
the ruler of the Gandharas, followed with mountaineers of Gandhara placed
all around. And the venerable Bhishma was at the head of all the troops,
with a white umbrella held over his head, armed with bow and sword, with
a white headgear, with a white banner (on his car), and with white steeds
(yoked thereto), and altogether looking like a white mountain. In
Bhishma’s division were all the sons of Dhritarashtra, and also Sala who
was a countryman of the Valhikas, and also all those Kshatriyas called
Amvastas, and those called Sindhus, and those also that are called
Sauviras, and the heroic dwellers of the country of the five rivers. And
on a golden car unto which were yoked red steeds, the high-souled Drona,
bow in hand and with never-failing heart, the preceptor of almost all the
kings, remained behind all the troops, protecting them like Indra. And
Saradwat’s son, that fighter in the van,[110] that high-souled and mighty
bowman, called also Gautama, conversant with all modes of warfare,
accompanied by the Sakas, the Kiratas, the Yavanas, and the Pahlavas,
took up his position at the northern point of the army. That large force
which was well protected by mighty car-warriors of the Vrishni and the
Bhoja races, as also by the warriors of Surashtra well-armed and
well-acquainted with the uses of weapons, and which was led by
Kritavarman, proceeded towards the south of the army. Ten thousand cars
of the Samasaptakas who were created for either the death or the fame of
Arjuna, and who, accomplished in arms, intended to follow Arjuna at his
heels[111] all went out as also the brave Trigartas. In thy army, O
Bharata, were a thousand elephants of the foremost fighting powers. Unto
each elephant was assigned a century of cars; unto each car, a hundred
horsemen; unto each horseman, ten bowmen; and unto each bowman ten
combatants armed with sword and shield. Thus, O Bharata, were thy
divisions arrayed by Bhishma. Thy generalissimo Bhishma, the son of
Santanu, as each day dawned, sometimes disposed thy troops in the human
army, sometimes in the celestial, sometimes in the Gandharva, and
sometimes in the Asura. Thronged with a large number of Maharathas, and
roaring like the very ocean, the Dhartarashtra army, arrayed by Bhishma,
stood facing the west for battle. Illimitable as thy army was, O ruler of
men, it looked terrible; but the army of the Pandavas, although it was
not such (in number), yet seemed to me to be very large and invincible
since Kesava and Arjuna were its leader.”


Sanjaya said,–“Beholding the vast Dhartarashtra army ready for battle,
king Yudhisthira, the son of Kunti, gave way to grief. Seeing that
impenetrable array formed by Bhishma and regarding it as really
impenetrable, the king became pale and addressed Arjuna, saying,–O,
mighty-armed Dhananjaya, how shall we be able to fight in battle with the
Dhartarashtras who have the Grandsire for their (chief) combatant?
Immovable and impenetrable is this array that hath been designed,
according to the rules laid down in the scriptures, by that grinder of
foes, Bhishma, of transcendent glory. With our troops we have become
doubtful (of success), O grinder of foes. How, indeed, will victory be
ours in the face of this mighty array?’–Thus addressed, that slayer of
foes Arjuna answered Yudhisthira, the son of Pritha, who had been plunged
into grief at sight, O king, of thy army, in these words,–Hear, O king,
how soldiers that are few in number may vanquish the many that are
possessed of every quality. Thou art without malice; I shall, therefore,
tell thee means, O king. The Rishi Narada knows it, as also both Bhishma
and Drona. Referring to this means, the Grandsire himself in days of old
on the occasion of the battle between the Gods and the Asuras said unto
Indra and the other celestials.–They that are desirous of victory do not
conquer by might and energy so much as by truth, compassion,
righteousness and energy.[112] Discriminating then between righteousness,
and unrighteousness, and understanding what is meant by covetousness and
having recourse to exertion fight without arrogance, for victory is there
where righteousness is.–For this know, O king, that to us victory is
certain in (this) battle. Indeed, as Narada said,–There is victory where
Krishna is.–Victory is inherent to Krishna. Indeed, it followeth
Madhava. And as victory is one of its attributes, so humility is his
another attribute. Govinda is possessed of energy that is infinite. Even
in the midst of immeasurable foes he is without pain. He is the most
eternal of male beings. And there victory is where Krishna is. Even he,
indestructible and of weapons incapable of being baffled, appearing as
Hari in olden days, said in a loud voice unto the Gods and the
Asuras,–Who amongst you would be victorious?–Even the conquered who
said.–With Krishna in the front we will conquer.[113]–And it was
through Hari’s grace that the three worlds were obtained by the gods
headed by Sakra. I do not, therefore, behold the slightest cause of
sorrow in thee, thee that hast the Sovereign of the Universe and the Lord
himself of the celestials for wishing victory to thyself.”


Sanjaya said,–“Then, O bull of Bharata’s race, king Yudhishthira,
disposing his own troops in counter array against the divisions of
Bhishma, urged them on, saying,–‘The Pandavas have now disposed their
forces in counter array agreeably to what is laid down (in the
scriptures). Ye sinless ones, fight fairly, desirous of (entering) the
highest heaven’.–In the centre (of the Pandava army) was Sikhandin and
his troops, protected by Arjuna. And Dhristadyumna moved in the van,
protected by Bhima. The southern division (of the Pandava army) was
protected. O king, by that mighty bowman, the handsome Yuyudhana, that
foremost combatant of the Satwata race, resembling Indra himself.
Yudhisthira was stationed on a car that was worthy of bearing Mahendra
himself, adorned with an excellent standard, variegated with gold and
gems, and furnished with golden traces (for the steeds), in the midst of
his elephant divisions.[114] His pure white umbrella with ivory handle,
raised over his head, looked exceedingly beautiful; and many great Rishis
walked around the king[115] uttering words in his praise. And many
priests, and regenerate Rishis and Siddhas, uttering hymns in his
praise[116] wished him, as they walked around, the destructions of his
enemies, by the aid of Japas, and Mantras, efficacious drugs, and diverse
propitiatory ceremonies. That high-souled chief of the Kurus, then giving
away unto the Brahmanas kine and fruits and flowers and golden coins
along with cloths[117] proceeded like Sakra, the chief of the celestials.
The car of Arjuna, furnished with a hundred bells, decked with Jamvunada
gold of the best kind, endued with excellent wheels, possessed of the
effulgence of fire, and unto which were yoked white steeds, looked
exceedingly brilliant like a thousand suns.[118] And on that ape-bannered
car the reins of which were held by Kesava, stood Arjuna with Gandiva and
arrows in hand–a bowman whose peer exists not on earth, nor ever
will.[119] For crushing thy sons’ troops he who assumeth the most awful
form,–who, divested of weapons, with only his bare hands, poundeth to
dust men, horses, and elephants,–that strong-armed Bhimasena, otherwise
called Vrikodara, accompanied by the twins, became the protector of the
heroic car-warriors (of the Pandava) army. Like unto a furious prince of
lions of sportive gait, or like the great Indra himself with (earthly)
body on the Earth, beholding that invincible Vrikodara, like unto a proud
leader of an elephantine herd, stationed in the van (of the army), the
warriors on thy side, their strength weakened by fear, began to tremble
like elephants sunk in mire.

“Unto that invincible prince Gudakesa staying in the midst of his troops,
Janardana, O chief of Bharata’s race, said–He, who scorching us with his
wrath, stayeth in the midst of his forces, he, who will attack our troops
like a lion, he, who performed three hundred horse-sacrifices,–that
banner of Kuru’s race, that Bhishma,–stayeth yonder! Yon ranks around
him on all sides great warriors like the clouds shrouding the bright
luminary. O foremost of men, slaying yon troops, seek battle with yonder
bull of Bharata’s race.”


Sanjaya said,–“Beholding the Dhartarashtra army approach for fight,
Krishna said these words for Arjuna’s benefit.”

“The holy one said,–‘Cleansing thyself, O mighty-armed one, utter on the
eve of the battle thy hymn to Durga for (compassing) the defeat of the

Sanjaya continued.–Thus addressed on the eve of battle by Vasudeva
endued with great intelligence, Pritha’s son Arjuna, alighting from his
car, said the following hymn with joined hands.

“Arjuna said,–‘I bow to thee, O leader of Yogins, O thou that art
identical with Brahman, O thou that dwellest in the forest of Mandara, O
thou that art freed from decrepitude and decay, O Kali, O wife of Kapala,
O thou that art of a black and tawny hue, I bow to thee. O bringer of
benefits to thy devotees, I bow to thee, O Mahakali, O wife of the
universal destroyer, I bow to thee. O proud one, O thou that rescuest
from dangers, O thou that art endued with every auspicious attribute. O
thou that art sprung from the Kata race, O thou that deservest the most
regardful worship, O fierce one, O giver of victory, O victory’s self, O
thou that bearest a banner of peacock plumes, O thou that art decked with
every ornament, O thou that bearest an awful spear, O thou that holdest a
sword and shield, O thou that art the younger sister of the chief of
cow-herds, O eldest one, O thou that wert born in the race of the cowherd
Nanda! O thou that art always fond of buffalo’s blood, O thou that wert
born in the race of Kusika, O thou that art dressed in yellow robes, O
thou that hadst devoured Asuras assuming the face of a wolf[120], I bow
to thee that art fond of battle! O Uma,[121] Sakambhari, O thou that art
white in hue, O thou that art black in hue, O thou that hast slain the
Asura Kaitabha, O thou that art yellow-eyed, O thou that art
diverse-eyed, O thou of eyes that have the colour of smoke, I bow to
thee. O thou that art the Vedas, the Srutis, and the highest virtue, O
thou that art propitious to Brahmanas engaged in sacrifice, O thou that
hast a knowledge of the past, thou that art ever present in the sacred
abodes erected to thee in cities of Jamvudwipa, I bow to thee. Thou art
the science of Brahma among sciences, and thou that art that sleep of
creatures from which there is no waking. O mother of Skanda, O thou that
possessest the six (highest) attributes, O Durga, O thou that dwellest in
accessible regions, thou art described as Swaha, and Swadha,[122] as
Kala, as Kashta, and as Saraswati, as Savitra the mother of the Vedas,
and as the science of Vedanta. With inner soul cleansed, I praise thee. O
great goddess, let victory always attend me through thy grace on the
field of battle. In inaccessible regions, where there is fear, in places
of difficulty, in the abodes of thy worshippers and in the nether regions
(Patala), thou always dwellest. Thou always defeatest the Danavas. Thou
art the unconsciousness, the sleep, the illusion, the modesty, the beauty
of (all creatures). Thou art the twilight, thou art the day, thou art
Savitri, and thou art the mother. Thou art contentment, thou art growth,
thou art light. It is thou that supportest the Sun and the Moon and that
makes them shine. Thou art the prosperity of those that are prosperous.
The Siddhas and the Charanas behold thee in contemplation.[123]'”

Sanjaya continued,–Understanding (the measure of) Partha’s devotion,
Durga who is always graciously inclined towards mankind, appeared in the
firmament and in the presence of Govinda, said these words.

‘”The goddess said,–‘Within a short time thou shalt conquer thy foes, O
Pandava. O invincible one, thou hast Narayana (again) for aiding thee.
Thou art incapable of being defeated by foes, even by the wielder of the
thunderbolt himself.’

‘”Having said this, the boon-giving goddess disappeared soon. The son of
Kunti, however, obtaining that boon, regarded himself as successful, and
the son of Pritha then mounted his own excellent car. And then Krishna
and Arjuna, seated on the same car, blew their celestial conches. The man
that recites this hymn rising at dawn, hath no fear any time from
Yakshas, Rakshasas, and Pisachas. He can have no enemies; he hath no
fear, from snakes and all animals that have fangs and teeth, as also from
kings. He is sure to be victorious in all disputes, and if bound, he is
freed from his bonds. He is sure to get over all difficulties, is freed
from thieves, is ever victorious in battle and winneth the goddess of
prosperity for ever. With health and strength, he liveth for a hundred

“I have known all this through the grace of Vyasa endued with great
wisdom. Thy wicked sons, however, all entangled in the meshes of death,
do not, from ignorance, know them to be Nara and Narayana. Nor do they,
entangled in the meshes of death, know that the hour of this kingdom hath
arrived. Dwaipayana and Narada, and Kanwa, and the sinless Rama, had all
prevented thy son. But he did not accept their words. There where
righteousness is, there are glory and beauty. There where modesty is,
there are prosperity and intelligence. There where righteousness is,
there is Krishna; and there where Krishna is, there is victory.”


Dhritarashtra said,–“There (on the field of battle) O Sanjaya, the
warriors of which side first advanced to battle cheerfully? Whose hearts
were filled with confidence, and who were spiritless from melancholy? In
that battle which maketh the hearts of men tremble with fear, who were
they that struck the first blow, mine or they belonging to the Pandavas?
Tell me all this, O Sanjaya. Among whose troops did the flowery garlands
and unguents emit fragrant odours? And whose troops, roaring fiercely,
uttered merciful words?”

Sanjaya said,–“The combatants of both armies were cheerful then and the
flowery garlands and perfumes of both troops emitted equal fragrance.
And, O bull of Bharata’s race, fierce was the collision that took place
when the serried ranks arrayed for battle encountered each other. And the
sound of musical instruments, mingled with the blare of conches and the
noise of drums, and the shouts of brave warriors roaring fiercely at one
another, became very loud. O bull of Bharata’s race, dreadful was the
collision caused by the encounter of the combatants of both armies,
filled with joy and staring at one another, and the elephants uttering
obstreperous grunts.”

[(Bhagavad Gita Chapter I)]

([This where is the Bhagavad Gita proper starts. I have added the chapter
headings to aid in comparison with other translations, they are not part
of the original Ganguli text.–John Bruno Hare])

Dhritarashtra said,–“Assembled together on the sacred plain of
Kurukshetra from desire of fighting what did my sons and the Pandavas do.
O Sanjaya.”

“Sanjaya said,–“Beholding the army of the Pandavas arrayed, king
Duryodhana, approaching the preceptor (Drona) said these words: Behold, O
preceptor, this vast army of the son of Pandu, arrayed by Drupada’s son
(Dhrishtadyumna), thy intelligent disciple. There (in that army) are many
brave and mighty bowmen, who in battle are equal to Bhima and Arjuna.
(They are) Yuyudhana, and Virata, and that mighty car-warrior Drupada,
and Dhrishtaketu, and Chekitana, and the ruler of Kasi endued with great
energy; and Purujit, and Kuntibhoja, and Saivya that bull among men; and
Yudhamanyu of great prowess, and Uttamaujas of great energy; and
Subhadra’s son, and the sons of Draupadi, all of whom are mighty
car-warriors. Hear, however, O best of regenerate ones, who are the
distinguished ones among us, the leader of army. I will name them to thee
for (thy) information. (They are) thyself, and Bhishma, and Karna, and
Kripa who is ever victorious; and Aswatthaman and Vikarna, and
Saumadatta, and Jayadratha.[124] Besides these, are many heroic warriors,
prepared to lay down their lives for my sake, armed with diverse kinds of
weapons, and all accomplished in battle. Our army, therefore, protected
by Bhishma, is insufficient. This force, however, of these (the
Pandavas), protected by Bhima, is sufficient.[125] Stationing yourselves
then in the entrances of the divisions that have been assigned to you,
all of you protect Bhishma alone.–(Just at this time) the valiant and
venerable grandsire of the Kurus, affording great joy to him (Duryodhana)
by loudly uttering a leonine roar, blew (his) conch. Then conches and
drums and cymbals and horns were sounded at once and the noise (made)
became a loud uproar. Then Madhava and Pandu’s son (Arjuna), both
stationed on a great car unto which were yoked white steeds, blew their
celestial conches. And Hrishikesha blew (the conch called) Panchajanya
and Dhananjaya (that called) Devadatta; and Vrikodara of terrible deeds
blew the huge conch (called) Paundra. And Kunti’s son king Yudhishthira
blew (the conch called) Anantavijaya; while Nakula and Sahadeva, (those
conches called respectively) Sughosa and Manipushpaka.[126] And that
splendid bowman, the ruler of Kasi and that mighty car-warrior,
Sikhandin, Dhrishtadyumna, Virata, and that unvanquished Satyaki, and
Drupada, and the sons of Draupadi, and the mighty-armed son of
Subhadra–all these, O lord of earth, severally blew their conches. And
that blare, loudly reverberating through the welkin, and the earth, rent
the hearts of the Dhartarashtras. Then beholding the Dhartarashtra troops
drawn up, the ape-bannered son of Pandu, rising his bow, when, the
throwing of missiles had just commenced, said these words, O lord of
earth, to Hrishikesha.[127]

“Arjuna said,–‘O thou that knoweth no deterioration, place my car (once)
between the two armies, so that I may observe these that stand here
desirous of battle, and with whom I shall have to contend in the labours
of this struggle.[128] I will observe those who are assembled here and
who are prepared to fight for doing what is agreeable in battle to the
evil-minded son of Dhritarashtra.'”

Sanjaya continued,—‘Thus addressed by Gudakesa, O Bharata, Hrishikesa,
placing that excellent car between the two armies, in view of Bhishma and
Drona and all the kings of the earth, said,–‘Behold, O Partha these
assembled Kurus,–And there the son of Pritha beheld, standing (his)
sires and grandsons, and friends, and father-in-law and well-wishers, in
both the armies. Beholding all those kinsmen standing (there), the son of
Kunti, possessed by excessive pity, despondingly said (these words).

“Arjuna said,–‘Beholding these kinsmen, O Krishna, assembled together
and eager for the fight, my limbs, become languid, and my mouth becomes
dry. My body trembles, and my hair stands on end. Gandiva slips from my
hand, and my skin burns. I am unable to stand (any longer); my mind seems
to wander. I behold adverse omens, too, O Kesava. I do not desire
victory, O Krishna, not sovereignty, nor pleasures. Of what use would
sovereignty be to us, O Govinda, or enjoyments, or even life, since they,
for whose sake sovereignty, enjoyments, and pleasures are desired by us,
are here arrayed for battle ready to give up life and wealth, viz.,
preceptors, sires, sons and grandsires, maternal uncles, father-in-laws,
grandsons, brother-in-laws, and kinsmen. I wish not to slay these though
they slay me, O slayer of Madhu, even for the sake of the sovereignty of
the three worlds, what then for the sake of (this) earth?[129] What
gratification can be ours, O Janardana, by slaying the Dhartarashtras?
Even if they be regarded as foes,[130] sin will overtake us if we slay
them. Therefore, it behoveth us not to slay the sons of Dhritarashtra who
are our own kinsmen.[131] How, O Madhava can we be happy by killing our
own kinsmen? Even if these, with judgments perverted by avarice, do not
see the evil that ariseth from the extermination of a race, and the sin
of internecine quarrels, why should not we, O Janarddana, who see the
evils of the extermination of a race, learn to abstain from that sin? A
race being destroyed, the eternal customs of that race are lost; and upon
those customs being lost, sin overpowers the whole race. From the
predominance of sin, O Krishna, the women of that race become corrupt.
And the women becoming corrupt, an intermingling of castes happeneth, O
descendant of Vrishni. This intermingling of castes leadeth to hell both
the destroyer of the race and the race itself. The ancestors of those
fall (from heaven), their rites of pinda and water ceasing. By these sins
of destroyers of races, causing intermixture of castes, the rules of
caste and the eternal rites of families become extinct. We have heard, O
Janarddana, that men whose family rites become extinct, ever dwell in
hell. Alas, we have resolved to perpetrate a great sin, for we are ready
to slay our own kinsmen from lust of the sweets of sovereignty. Better
would it be for me if the sons of Dhritarashtra, weapon in hand, should
in battle slay me (myself) unavenging unarmed.–‘”

Sanjaya continued,–“Having spoken thus on the field of battle, Arjuna,
his mind troubled with grief, casting aside his bow and arrows, sat down
on his car.”

[Here ends the first lesson entitled “Survey of Forces”[132] in the
dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna of the Bhagavadgita, the essence of
religion, the knowledge of Brahma, and the system of Yoga, comprised
within the Bhishma Parva of the Mahabharata of Vyasa containing one
hundred thousand verses.]

[(Bhagavad Gita Chapter II)]

Sanjaya said,–“Unto him thus possessed with pity, his eyes filled and
oppressed with tears, and desponding, the slayer of Madhu said these

The Holy One said,–“Whence, O Arjuna, hath come upon thee, at such a
crisis, this despondency that is unbecoming a person of noble birth, that
shuts one out from heaven, and that is productive of infamy? Let no
effeminacy be thine, O son of Kunti. This suits thee not. Shaking off
this vile weakness of hearts, arise, O chastiser of foes.–”

Arjuna said,–“How, O slayer of Madhu, can I with arrows contend in
battle against Bhishma and Drona, deserving as they are. O slayer of
foes, of worship?[133] Without slaying (one’s) preceptors of great glory,
it is well (for one), to live on even alms in this world. By slaying
preceptors, even if they are avaricious of wealth, I should only enjoy
pleasures that are bloodstained![134] We know not which of the two is of
greater moment to us, viz., whether we should conquer them or they should
conquer us. By slaying whom we would not like to live,–even they, the
sons of Dhritarashtra, stand before (us). My nature affected by the taint
of compassion, my mind unsettled about (my) duty, I ask thee. Tell me
what is assuredly good (for me). I am thy disciple. O, instruct me, I
seek thy aid.[135] I do not see (that) which would dispel that grief of
mine blasting my very senses, even if I obtain a prosperous kingdom on
earth without a foe or the very sovereignty of the gods.[136]'”

Sanjaya said,–Having said this unto Hrishikesa, that chastiser of
foes-Gudakesa–(once more) addressed Govinda, saying,–‘I will not
fight,’–and then remained silent.[137] Unto him overcome by despondency,
Hrishikesa, in the midst of the two armies, said.

“The Holy One said,–‘Thou mournest those that deserve not to be mourned.
Thou speakest also the words of the (so-called) wise. Those, however,
that are (really) wise, grieve neither for the dead nor for the living.
It is not that, I or you or those rulers of men never were, or that all
of us shall not hereafter be. Of an Embodied being, as childhood, youth,
and, decrepitude are in this body, so (also) is the acquisition of
another body. The man, who is wise, is never deluded in this.[138] The
contacts of the senses with their (respective) objects producing
(sensations of) heat and cold, pleasure and pain, are not permanent,
having (as they do) a beginning and an end. Do thou. O Bharata, endure
them. For the man whom these afflict not, O bull among men, who is the
same in pain and pleasure and who is firm in mind, is fit for
emancipation.[139] There is no (objective) existence of anything that is
distinct from the soul; nor non-existence of anything possessing the
virtues of the soul. This conclusion in respect of both these hath been
arrived at by those that know the truths (of things).[140] Know that [the
soul] to be immortal by which all this [universe] is pervaded. No one can
compass the destruction of that which is imperishable. It hath been said
that those bodies of the Embodied (soul) which is eternal, indestructible
and infinite, have an end. Do thou, therefore, fight, O Bharata. He who
thinks it (the soul) to be the slayer and he who thinks it to be the
slain, both of them know nothing; for it neither slays nor is slain. It
is never born, nor doth it ever die; nor, having existed, will it exist
no more. Unborn, unchangeable, eternal, and ancient, it is not slain upon
the body being perished. That man who knoweth it to be indestructible,
unchangeable, without decay, how and whom can he slay or cause to be
slain? As a man, casting off robes that are worn out, putteth on others
that are new, so the Embodied (soul), casting off bodies that are worn
out, entereth other bodies that are new. Weapons cleave it not, fire
consumeth it not; the waters do not drench it, nor doth the wind waste
it. It is incapable of being cut, burnt, drenched, or dried up. It is
unchangeable, all-pervading, stable, firm, and eternal. It is said to be
imperceivable, inconceivable and unchangeable. Therefore, knowing it to
be such, it behoveth thee not to mourn (for it). Then again even if thou
regardest it as constantly born and constantly dead, it behoveth thee not
yet, O mighty-armed one, to mourn (for it) thus. For, of one that is
born, death is certain; and of one that is dead, birth is certain.
Therefore. it behoveth thee not to mourn in a matter that is unavoidable.
All beings (before birth) were unmanifest. Only during an interval
(between birth and death), O Bharata, are they manifest; and then again,
when death comes, they become (once more) unmanifest. What grief then is
there in this? One looks upon it as a marvel; another speaks of it as a
marvel. Yet even after having heard of it, no one apprehends it truly.
The Embodied (soul), O Bharata, is ever indestructible in everyone’s
body. Therefore, it behoveth thee not to grieve for all (those)
creatures. Casting thy eyes on the (prescribed) duties of thy order, it
behoveth thee not to waver, for there is nothing else that is better for
a Kshatriya than a battle fought fairly. Arrived of itself and (like
unto) an open gate of heaven, happy are those Kshatriyas, O Partha, that
obtain such a fight. But if thou dost not fight such a just battle, thou
shalt then incur sin by abandoning the duties of thy order and thy fame.
People will then proclaim thy eternal infamy, and to one that is held in
respect, infamy is greater (as an evil) than death itself. All great
car-warriors will regard thee as abstaining from battle from fear, and
thou wilt be thought lightly by those that had (hitherto) esteemed thee
highly. Thy enemies, decrying thy prowess, will say many words which
should not be said. What can be more painful than that? Slain, thou wilt
attain to heaven; or victorious, thou wilt enjoy the Earth. Therefore,
arise, O son of Kunti, resolved for battle. Regarding pleasure and pain,
gain and loss, victory and defeat, as equal, do battle for battle’s sake
and sin will not be thine.[141] This knowledge, that hath been
communicated to thee is (taught) in the Sankhya (system). Listen now to
that (inculcated) in Yoga (system). Possessed of that knowledge, thou, O
Partha, wilt cast off the bonds of action. In this (the Yoga system)
there is no waste of even the first attempt. There are no impediments.
Even a little of this (form of) piety delivers from great fear.[142] Here
in this path, O son of Kuru, there is only one state of mind, consisting
in firm devotion (to one object, viz., securing emancipation). The minds
of those, however, that are not firmly devoted (to this), are
many-branched (un-settled) and attached to endless pursuits. That flowery
talk which, they that are ignorant, they that delight in the words of the
Vedas, they, O Partha, that say that there is nothing else, they whose
minds are attached to worldly pleasures, they that regard (a) heaven (of
pleasures and enjoyments) as the highest object of acquisition,–utter
and promises birth as the fruit of action and concerns itself with
multifarious rites of specific characters for the attainment of pleasures
and power,–delude their hearts and the minds of these men who are
attached to pleasures and power cannot be directed to contemplation (of
the divine being) regarding it as the sole means of emancipation.[143]
The Vedas are concerned with three qualities, (viz., religion, profit,
and pleasure). Be thou, O Arjuna, free from them, unaffected by pairs of
contraries (such as pleasure and pain, heat and cold, etc.), ever
adhering to patience without anxiety for new acquisitions or protection
of those already acquired, and self-possessed, whatever objects are
served by a tank or well, may all be served by a vast sheet of water
extending all around; so whatever objects may be served by all the Vedas,
may all be had by a Brahmana having knowledge (of self or Brahma).[144]
Thy concern is with work only, but not with the fruit (of work). Let not
the fruit be thy motive for work; nor let thy inclination be for
inaction. Staying in devotion, apply thyself to work, casting off
attachment (to it), O Dhananjaya, and being the same in success or
unsuccess. This equanimity is called Yoga (devotion). Work (with desire
of fruit) is far inferior to devotion, O Dhananjaya. Seek thou the
protection of devotion. They that work for the sake of fruit are
miserable. He also that hath devotion throws off, even in this world,
both good actions and bad actions. Therefore, apply thyself to devotion.
Devotion is only cleverness in action. The wise, possessed of devotion,
cast off the fruit born of action, and freed from the obligation of
(repeated) birth, attain to that region where there is no unhappiness.
When thy mind shall have crossed the maze of delusion, then shalt thou
attain to an indifference as regards the hearable and the heard.[145]
When thy mind, distracted (now) by what thou hast heard (about the means
of acquiring the diverse objects of life), will be firmly and immovably
fixed on contemplation, then wilt thou attain to devotion.’

“Arjuna said,–What, O Kesava, are the indications of one whose mind is
fixed on contemplation? How should one of steady mind speak, how sit, how

“The Holy One said,–‘When one casts off all the desires of his heart and
is pleased within (his) self with self, then is one said to be of steady
mind. He whose mind is not agitated amid calamities, whose craving for
pleasure is gone, who is freed from attachment (to worldly objects), fear
and wrath, is said to be a Muni of steady mind. His is steadiness of mind
who is without affection everywhere, and who feeleth no exultation and no
aversion on obtaining diverse objects that are agreeable and
disagreeable. When one withdraws his senses from the objects of (those)
senses as the tortoise its limbs from all sides, even his is steadiness
of mind. Objects of senses fall back from an abstinent person, but not so
the passion (for those objects). Even the passion recedes from one who
has beheld the Supreme (being).[146] The agitating senses, O son of
Kunti, forcibly draw away the mind of even a wise man striving hard to
keep himself aloof from them. Restraining them all, one should stay in
contemplation, making me his sole refuge. For his is steadiness of mind
whose senses are under control. Thinking of the objects of sense, a
person’s attachment is begotten towards them. From attachment springeth
wrath; from wrath ariseth want of discrimination; from want of
discrimination, loss of memory; from loss of memory, loss of
understanding; and from loss of understanding (he) is utterly ruined. But
the self-restrained man, enjoying objects (of sense) with senses freed
from attachment and aversion under his own control, attaineth to peace
(of mind). On peace (of mind) being attained, the annihilation of all his
miseries taketh place, since the mind of him whose heart is peaceful soon
becometh steady.[147] He who is not self-restrained hath no contemplation
(of self). He who hath no contemplation hath no peace (of mind).[148]
Whence can there be happiness for him who hath no peace (of mind)? For
the heart that follows in the wake of the sense moving (among their
objects) destroys his understanding like the wind destroying a boat in
the waters.[149] Therefore, O thou of mighty arms, his is steadiness of
mind whose senses are restrained on all sides from the objects of sense.
The restrained man is awake when it is night for all creatures; and when
other creatures are awake that is night to a discerning Muni.[150] He
into whom all objects of desire enter, even as the waters enter the ocean
which (though) constantly replenished still maintains its water-mark
unchanged–(he) obtains peace (of mind) and not one that longeth for
objects of desire. That man who moveth about, giving up all objects of
desire, who is free from craving (for enjoyments) and who hath no
affection and no pride, attaineth to peace (of mind). This, O Partha, is
the divine state. Attaining to it, one is never deluded. Abiding in it
one obtains, on death, absorption into the Supreme Self.’

[(Bhagavad Gita Chapter III)]

“Arjuna said,–‘If devotion, O Janardana, is regarded by thee as superior
to work, why then, O Kesava, dost thou engage me in such dreadful work?
By equivocal words thou seemest to confound my understanding. Therefore,
tell (me) one thing definitely by which I may attain to what is good.’

“The Holy One said,–‘It hath already been said by me, O sinless one,
that here are, in this world, two kinds of devotion; that of the Sankhyas
through knowledge and that of the yogins through work. A man doth not
acquire freedom from work from (only) the non-performance of work. Nor
doth he acquire final emancipation from only renunciation (of work). No
one can abide even for a moment without doing work.[151] That man of
deluded soul who, curbing the organs of sense, liveth mentally cherishing
the objects of sense, is said to be a dissembler. He however, O Arjuna,
who restraining (his) senses by his mind, engageth in devotion (in the
form) of work with the organs of work, and is free from attachment, is
distinguished (above all). (Therefore), do thou always apply yourself to
work, for action is better than inaction. Even the support of thy body
cannot be accomplished without work.[152] This world is fettered by all
work other than that which is (performed) for Sacrifice. (Therefore), O
son of Kunti, perform work for the sake of that, freed from
attachment.[153] In olden times, the Lord of Creation, creating men and
sacrifice together, said,–flourish by means of this (Sacrifice). Let
this (Sacrifice) be to you (all) the dispenser of all objects cherished
by you. Rear the gods with this, and let the gods (in return) rear you.
Thus fulfilling the mutual interest you will obtain that which is
beneficial (to you).[154] Propitiated with sacrifices the gods will
bestow on you the pleasures you desire. He who enjoyeth (himself) without
giving them what they have given, is assuredly a thief. The good who eat
the remnant of sacrifices are freed from all sins. Those unrighteous ones
incur sin who dress food for their own sake.–From food are all
creatures; and sacrifice is the outcome of work.[155] Know that work
proceeds from the Vedas; Vedas have proceeded from Him who hath no decay.
Therefore, the all-pervading Supreme Being is installed in
sacrifice.[156] He who conformeth not to this wheel that is thus
revolving, that man of sinful life delighting (the indulgence of) his
senses, liveth in vain, O Partha.[157] The man, however, that is attached
to self only, that is contented with self, and that is pleased in his
self,–hath no work (to do). He hath no concern whatever with action nor
with any omission here. Nor, amongst all creatures, is there any upon
whom his interest dependeth.[158] Therefore, always do work that should
be done, without attachment. The man who performeth work without
attachment, attaineth to the Supreme. By work alone, Janaka and others,
attained the accomplishment of their objects. Having regard also to the
observance by men of their duties, it behoveth thee to work. Whatever a
great man doth, is also done by vulgar people. Ordinary men follow the
ideal set by them (the great).[159] There is nothing whatever for me, O
Partha, to do in the three worlds, (since I have) nothing for me which
hath not been acquired; still I engage in action.[160] Because if at any
time I do not, without sloth, engage in action, men would follow my path,
O Partha, on all sides. The worlds would perish if I did not perform
work, and I should cause intermixture of castes and ruin these people. As
the ignorant work, O Bharata, having attachment to the performer, so
should a wise man work without being attached, desiring to make men
observant of their duties. A wise man should not cause confusion of
understanding amongst ignorant persons, who have attachment to work
itself; (on the other hand) he should (himself) acting with devotion
engage them to all (kinds of) work. All works are, in every way, done by
the qualities of nature. He, whose mind is deluded by egoism, however,
regards himself as the actor.[161] But he, O mighty-armed one, who
knoweth the distinction (of self) from qualities and work, is not
attached to work, considering that it is his senses alone (and not his
self) that engage in their objects.[162] Those who are deluded by the
qualities of nature, become attached to the works done by the qualities.
A person of perfect knowledge should not bewilder those men of imperfect
knowledge.[163] Devoting all work to me, with (thy) mind directed to
self, engage in battle, without desire, without affection and with thy
(heart’s) weakness dispelled.[164] Those men who always follow this
opinion of mine with faith and without cavil attain to final emancipation
even by work. But they who cavil at and do not follow this opinion of
mine, know, that, bereft of all knowledge and without discrimination,
they are ruined. Even a wise man acts according to his own nature. All
living beings follow (their own) nature. What then would restraint avail?
The senses have, as regards the objects of the senses, either affection
or aversion fixed. One should not submit to these, for they are obstacles
in one’s way.[165] One’s own duty, even if imperfectly performed, is
better than being done by other even if well performed. Death in
(performance of) one’s own duty is preferable. (The adoption of) the duty
of another carries fear (with it).

“Arjuna said, ‘Impelled by whom, O son of the Vrishni race, doth a man
commit sin, even though unwilling and as if constrained by force’?

“The Holy One said,–‘It is desire, it is wrath, born of the attribute of
passion; it is all devouring, it is very sinful. Know this to be the foe
in this world.[166] As fire is enveloped by smoke, a mirror by dust, the
foetus by the womb, so is this enveloped by desire. Knowledge, O son of
Kunti, is enveloped by this constant foe of the wise in the form of
desire which is insatiable and like a fire. The senses, the mind and the
understanding are said to be its abode. With these it deludeth the
embodied self, enveloping (his) knowledge. Therefore, restraining (thy)
senses first, O bull of Bharata’s race, cast off this wicked thing, for
it destroyeth knowledge derived from instruction and meditation.[167] It
hath been said that the senses are superior (to the body which is inert).
Superior to the senses is the mind. Superior to the mind is the
knowledge. But which is superior to knowledge is He.[168] Thus knowing
that which is superior to knowledge and restraining (thy) self by self,
slay, O mighty-armed one, the enemy in the shape of desire which is
difficult to conquer.'”

[(Bhagavad Gita Chapter IV)]

“The Holy One said,–‘This imperishable (system of) devotion I declared
to Vivaswat: Vivaswat declared it to Manu; and Manu communicated it to
Ikshaku. Descending thus from generation, the Royal sages came to know
it. But, O chastiser of foes, by (lapse of a) long time that devotion
became lost to the world. Even the same (system of) devotion hath today
been declared by me to thee, for thou art my devotee and friend, (and)
this is a great mystery.’

“Arjuna said,–‘Thy birth is posterior; Vivaswat’s birth is prior. How
shall I understand then that thou hadst first declared (it)?’

“The Holy One said,–‘Many births of mine have passed away, O Arjuna, as
also of thine. These all I know, but thou dost not, O chastiser of foes.
Though (I am) unborn and of essence that knoweth no deterioration, though
(I am) the lord of all creatures, still, relying on my own (material)
nature I take birth by my own (powers) of illusion. Whenever, O Bharata,
loss of piety and the rise of impiety occurreth, on those occasions do I
create myself. For the protection of the righteous and for the
destruction of the evil doers, for the sake of establishing Piety, I am
born age after age. He who truly knoweth my divine birth and work to be
such, casting off (his body) is not born again; (on the other hand) he
cometh to me, O Arjuna. Many who have been freed from attachment, fear,
wrath, who were full of me, and who relied on me, have, cleansed by
knowledge and asceticism, attained to my essence. In whatsoever manner
men come to me, in the selfsame manner do I accept them. It is my way, O
Partha, that men follow on all sides.[169] Those in this world who are
desirous of the success of action worship the gods, for in this world of
men success resulting from action is soon attained. The quadruple
division of castes was created by me according to the distinction of
qualities and duties. Though I am the author thereof, (yet) know me to be
not their author and undecaying.[170] Actions do not touch me. I have no
longing for the fruits of actions. He that knoweth me thus is not impeded
by actions. Knowing this, even men of old who were desirous of
emancipation performed work. Therefore, do thou also perform work as was
done by ancients of the remote past. What is action and what is
inaction,–even the learned are perplexed at this. Therefore, I will tell
thee about action (so that) knowing it thou mayst be freed from evil. One
should have knowledge of action, and one should have knowledge of
forbidden actions: one should also know of inaction. The course of action
is incomprehensible. He, who sees inaction in action and action in
inaction, is wise among men; he is possessed of devotion; and he is a
doer of all actions. The learned call him wise whose efforts are all free
from desire (of fruit) and (consequent) will, and whose actions have all
been consumed by the fire of knowledge.[171] Whoever, resigning all
attachment to the fruit of action, is ever contented and is dependent on
none, doth nought, indeed, although engaged in action. He who, without
desire, with mind and the senses under control, and casting off all
concerns, performeth action only for the preservation of the body,
incurreth no sin.[172] He who is contented with what is earned without
exertion, who hath risen superior to the pairs of opposites, who is
without jealousy, who is equable in success and failure, is not fettered
(by action) even though he works. All his actions perish who acts for the
sake of sacrifice,[173] who is without affections, who is free (from
attachments), and whose mind is fixed upon knowledge. Brahma is the
vessel (with which the libation is poured); Brahma is the libation (that
is offered); Brahma is the fire on which by Brahma is poured (the
libation); Brahma is the goal to which he proceedeth by fixing his mind
on Brahma itself which is the action.[174] Some devotees perform
sacrifice to the gods. Others, by means of sacrifice, offer up sacrifices
to the fire of Brahma.[175] Others offer up (as sacrificial libation) the
senses of which hearing is the first to the fire of restraint. Others
(again) offer up (as libations) the objects of sense of which sound is
the first to the fire of the senses.[176] Others (again) offer up all the
functions of the senses and the functions of the vital winds to the fire
of devotion by self-restraint kindled by knowledge.[177] Others again
perform the sacrifice of wealth, the sacrifice of ascetic austerities,
the sacrifice of meditation, the sacrifice of (Vedic) study, the
sacrifice of knowledge, and others are ascetics of rigid vows.[178] Some
offer up the upward vital wind (Prana) to the downward vital wind
(apana); and others, the downward vital wind to the upward vital wind;
some, arresting the course of (both) the upward and the downward vital
winds, are devoted to the restraint of the vital winds. Others of
restricted rations, offer the vital winds to the vital winds.[179] Even
all these who are conversant with sacrifice, whose sins have been
consumed by sacrifice, and who eat the remnants of sacrifice which are
amrita, attain to the eternal Brahma. (Even) this world is not for him
who doth not perform sacrifice. Whence then the other, O best of Kuru’s
race? Thus diverse are the sacrifices occurring in the Vedas. Know that
all of them result from action, and knowing this thou wilt be
emancipated. The sacrifice of knowledge, O chastiser of foes, is superior
to every sacrifice involving (the attainment of) fruits of action, for
all action, O Partha, is wholly comprehended in knowledge.[180] Learn
that (Knowledge) by prostration, enquiry, and service. They who are
possessed of knowledge and can see the truth, will teach thee that
knowledge, knowing which, O son of Pandu, thou wilt not again come by
such delusion, and by which thou wilt see the endless creatures (of the
universe) in thyself (first) and then in me. Even if thou be the greatest
sinner among all that are sinful, thou shalt yet cross over all
transgressions by the raft of knowledge. As a blazing fire, O Arjuna,
reduceth fuel to ashes, so doth the fire of knowledge reduce all actions
to ashes. For there is nothing here that is so cleansing as knowledge.
One who hath attained to success by devotion finds it without effort
within his own self in time. He obtaineth knowledge, who hath faith and
is intent on it and who hath his senses under control; obtaining
knowledge one findeth the highest tranquillity in no length of time. One
who hath no knowledge and no faith, and whose minds is full of doubt, is
lost. Neither this world, nor the next, nor happiness, is for him whose
mind is full of doubt. Actions do not fetter him, O Dhananjaya, who hath
cast off action by devotion, whose doubts have been dispelled by
knowledge, and who is self-restrained. Therefore, destroying, by the
sword of knowledge, this doubt of thine that is born of ignorance and
that dwelleth in thy mind, betake to devotion, (and) arise, O son of

[(Bhagavad Gita Chapter V)]

“Arjuna said,–‘Thou applaudest, O Krishna, the abandonment of actions,
and again the application (to them). Tell me definitely which one of
these two is superior.

“The Holy One said–‘Both abandonment of actions and application to
actions lead to emancipation. But of these, application to action is
superior to abandonment. He should always be known to be an ascetic who
hath no aversion nor desire. For, being free from pairs of opposites, O
thou of mighty arms, he is easily released from the bonds (of action).
Fools say, but not those that are wise, that Sankhya and Yoga are
distinct. One who stayeth in even one (of the two) reapeth the fruit of
both[181]. Whatever seat is attained by those who profess the Sankhya
system, that too is reached by those who profess the Yoga. He seeth truly
who seeth Sankhya and Yoga as one.[182] But renunciation, O mighty-armed
one, without devotion (to action), is difficult to attain. The ascetic
who is engaged in devotion (by action) reacheth the Supreme Being without
delay. He who is engaged in devotion (by action) and is of pure soul, who
hath conquered his body and subdued his senses, and who indentifieth
himself with all creatures, is not fettered though performing
(action).[183] The man of devotion, who knoweth truth, thinking–I am
doing nothing–When seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving,
sleeping, breathing, talking, excreting, taking, opening the eyelids or
closing them; he regardeth that it is the senses that are engaged in the
objects of senses.[184] He who renouncing attachment engageth in actions,
resigning them to Brahma, is not touched by sin as the lotus-leaf (is not
touched) by water.[185] Those who are devotees, casting off attachment,
perform actions (attaining) purity of self, with the body, the mind, the
understanding, and even the senses (free from desire). He who is
possessed of devotion, renouncing the fruit of action, attaineth to the
highest tranquillity. He, who is not possessed of devotion and is
attached to the fruit of action, is fettered by action performed from
desire. The self-restrained embodied (self), renouncing all actions by
the mind, remains at ease within the house of nine gates, neither acting
himself nor causing (anything) to act.[186] The Lord is not the cause of
the capacity for action, or of the actions of men, or of the connection
of actions and (their) fruit. It is nature that engages (in action). The
Lord receiveth no one’s sin, nor also merit. By ignorance, knowledge is
shrouded. It is for this that creatures are deluded. But of whomsoever
that ignorance hath been destroyed by knowledge of self, that knowledge
(which is) like the Sun discloseth the Supreme Being. Those whose mind is
on Him, whose very soul is He, who abide in Him, and who have Him for
their goal, depart never more to return, their sins being all destroyed
by knowledge.[187] Those, who are wise cast an equal eye on a Brahmana
endued with learning and modesty, on a cow, an elephant, a dog, and a
chandala.[188] Even here has birth been conquered by them whose minds
rest on equality; and since Brahma is faultless and equable, therefore,
they (are said to) abide in Brahma.[189] He whose mind is steady, who is
not deluded, who knows Brahma, and who rests in Brahma, doth not exult on
obtaining anything that is agreeable, nor doth he grieve on obtaining
that is disagreeable. He whose mind is not attached to external objects
of sense, obtaineth that happiness which is in self; and by concentrating
his mind on the contemplation of Brahma, he enjoyeth a happiness that is
imperishable. The enjoyments born of the contact (of the senses with
their objects) are productive of sorrow. He who is wise, O son of Kunti,
never taketh pleasure in these that have a beginning and an end. That man
whoever here, before the dissolution of the body, is able to endure the
agitations resulting from desire and wrath, is fixed on contemplation,
and is happy. He who findeth happiness within himself, (and) who sporteth
within himself, he whose light (of knowledge) is deprived from within
himself, is a devotee, and becoming one with Brahma attaineth to
absorption into Brahma. Those saintly personages whose sins have been
destroyed, whose doubts have been dispelled, who are self-restrained, and
who are engaged in the good of all creatures, obtain absorption into
Brahma. For these devotees who are freed from desire and wrath, whose
minds are under control, and who have knowledge of self, absorption into
Brahma exists both here and thereafter.[190] Excluding (from his mind)
all external objects of sense, directing the visual glance between the
brows, mingling (into one) the upward and the downward life-breaths and
making them pass through the nostrils, the devotee, who has restrained
the senses, the mind, and the understanding, being intent on
emancipation, and who is freed from desire, fear, and wrath, is
emancipated, indeed. Knowing me to be enjoyer of all sacrifices and
ascetic austerities, the great Lord of all the worlds, and friend of all
creatures, such a one obtaineth tranquillity.’

[(Bhagavad Gita Chapter VI)]

“The Holy One said,–‘Regardless of fruit of action, he that performs the
actions which should be performed, is a renouncer and devotee, and not
one who discards the (sacrificial) fire, nor one that abstains from
action.[191] That which has been called renunciation, know that, O son of
Pandu, to be devotion, since nobody can be a devotee who has not
renounced (all) resolves.[192] To the sage desirous of rising to
devotion, action is said to be the means; and when he has risen to
devotion, cessation of action is said to be the means. When one is no
longer attached to the objects of the senses, nor to actions, and when
one renounces all resolves, then is. One said to have risen to devotion.
One should raise (his ) self by self; one should not degrade (his) self;
for one’s own self is one’s friend, and one’s own self is one’s
enemy.[193] To him (only) who has subjugated his self by his self is self
a friend. But to him who has not subjugated his self, his self behaves
inimically like an enemy. The soul of one who has subjugated his self and
who is in the enjoyment of tranquillity, is steadily fixed (on itself)
amid cold and heat, pleasure and pain, and also honour and dishonour.
That ascetic is said to be devoted whose mind is satisfied with knowledge
and experience, who hath no affection, who hath subjugated his senses,
and to whom a sod, a stone and gold are alike. He, who views equally
well-wishers, friends, foes, strangers that are indifferent to him, those
who take part with both sides, those who are objects of aversion, those
who are related (to him), those who are good, and those who are wicked,
is distinguished (above all others). A devotee should always fix his mind
on contemplation, remaining in a secluded place alone, restraining both
mind and body, without expectations (of any kind), and without concern
(with anything).[194] Erecting his seat immovably on a clean spot, not
too high nor too low, and spreading over it a piece of cloth, a
deer-skin, or blades of Kusa grass, and there seated on that seat, with
mind fixed on one object, and restraining the functions of the heart and
the senses, one should practise contemplation for the purification of
self. Holding body, head, and neck even, unmoved and steady, and casting
his glance on the tip of his nose, and without looking about in any of
the different directions, with mind in tranquillity, freed from fear,
observant of the practices of Brahmacharins, restraining the mind, with
heart fixed on me, the devotee should sit down, regarding me as the
object of his attainment. Thus applying his soul constantly, the devotee
whose heart is restrained, attains to that tranquillity which culminates
in final absorption and assimilation with me. Devotion is not one’s, O
Arjuna, who eateth much, nor one’s who doth not eat at all; nor one’s who
is addicted to too much sleep, nor one’s who is always awake, devotion
that is destructive of misery is his who is temperate in food and
amusements, who duly exerts himself temperately in all his works, and who
is temperate in sleep and vigils. When one’s heart, properly restrained,
is fixed on one’s own self, then, indifferent to all objects of desire,
he is one called a devotee.[195] As a lamp in a windless spot doth not
flicker, even that is the resemblance declared of a devotee whose heart
hath been restrained and who applieth his self to abstraction. That
(condition) in which the mind, restrained by practice of abstraction,
taketh rest, in which beholding self by self, one is gratified within
self; in which one experienceth that highest felicity which is beyond the
(sphere of the) senses and which the understanding (only) can grasp, and
fixed on which one never swerveth from the truth; acquiring which one
regards no other acquisition greater than it, and abiding in which one is
never moved by even the heaviest sorrow; that (Condition) should be known
to be what is called devotion in which there is a severance of connection
with pain. That devotion should be practised with perseverance and with
an undesponding heart.[196] Renouncing all desires without exception that
are born of resolves, restraining the group of the senses on all sides by
mind alone, one should, by slow degrees, become quiescent (aided) by
(his) understanding controlled by patience, and then directing his mind
to self should think of nothing.[197] Wheresoever the mind, which is (by
nature) restless and unsteady, may run, restraining it from those, one
should direct it to self alone. Indeed, unto such a devotee whose mind is
in tranquillity, whose passions have been suppressed, who hath become one
with Brahma and who is free from sin, the highest felicity cometh (of his
own accord). Thus applying his soul constantly (to abstraction), the
devotee, freed from sin, easily obtaineth that highest happiness, viz.,
with Brahma. He who hath devoted his self to abstraction casting an equal
eye everywhere, beholdeth his self in all creatures and all creatures in
his self. Unto him who beholdeth me in everything and beholdeth
everything in me. I am never lost and he also is never lost to me.[198]
He who worshippeth me as abiding in all creatures, holding yet that all
is one, is a devotee, and whatever mode of life he may lead, he liveth in
me. That devotee, O Arjuna, who casteth an equal eye everywhere,
regarding all things as his own self and the happiness and misery of
others as his own, is deemed to be the best.’

“Arjuna said, ‘This devotion by means of equanimity which thou hast
declared, O slayer of Madhu,–on account of restlessness of the mind I do
not see its stable presence.[199] O Krishna, the mind is restless,
boisterous, perverse, and obstinate. Its restraint I regard to be as
difficult of accomplishment as the restraint of the wind.’

“The Holy One said, ‘Without doubt, O thou of mighty arms the mind is
difficult of subjugation and is restless. With practice, however, O son
of Kunti, and with the abandonment of desire, it can be controlled. It is
my belief that by him whose mind is not restrained, devotion is difficult
of acquisition. But by one whose mind is restrained and who is assiduous,
it is capable of acquisition with the aid of means.’

“Arjuna said, ‘Without assiduity, though endued with faith, and with mind
shaken off from devotion, what is the end of him, O Krishna, who hath not
earned success in devotion? Fallen off from both,[200] is he lost like a
separated cloud or not, being as he is without refuge, O thou of mighty
arms, and deluded on the path leading to Brahma? This my doubt, O
Krishna, it behoveth thee to remove without leaving anything. Besides
thee, no dispeller of this doubt is to be had.[201]

“The Holy One said, ‘O son of Pritha, neither here, nor hereafter, doth
ruin exist for him, since none, O sire, who performs good (acts) comes by
an evil end. Attaining to the regions reserved for those that perform
meritorious acts and living there for many many years, he that hath
fallen off from devotion taketh birth in the abode of those that art
pious and endued with prosperity, or, he is born even in the family of
devotees endued with intelligence. Indeed, a birth such as this is more
difficult of acquisition in this world. There in those births he
obtaineth contact with that Brahmic knowledge which was his in his former
life; and from that point he striveth again, O descendant of Kuru,
towards perfection. And although unwilling, he still worketh on in
consequence of that same former practice of his. Even one that enquireth
of devotion riseth above (the fruits of) the Divine Word.-[202] Striving
with great efforts, the devotee, cleaned of all his sins, attaineth to
perfection after many births, and then reacheth the supreme goal. The
devotee is superior to ascetics engaged in austerities; he is esteemed to
be superior to even the man of knowledge. The devotee is superior to
those that are engaged in action. Therefore, become a devotee, O Arjuna.
Even amongst all the devotees, he who, full of faith and with inner self
resting on me, worshippeth me, is regarded by me to be the most devout.”

[(Bhagavad Gita Chapter VII)]

“The Holy One said, ‘Listen, O son of Pritha, how, without doubt, thou
mayst know me fully, fixing thy mind on me, practising devotion, and
taking refuge in me. I will now, without leaving anything speak to thee
about knowledge and experience, knowing which there would be left nothing
in this world (for thee) to know. One among thousands of men striveth for
perfection. Of those even that are assiduous and have attained to
perfection, only some one knoweth me truly.[203] Earth, water, fire, air,
space, mind, also understanding, and consciousness,–thus hath my nature
been divided eight-fold. This is a lower (form of my) nature. Different
from this, know there is a higher (form of my) nature which is animate, O
thou of mighty arms, and by which this universe is held.[204] Know that
all creatures have these for their source. I am the source of evolution
and also of the dissolution of the entire universe. There is nothing
else, O Dhananjaya, that is higher than myself. Upon me is all this like
a row of pearls on a string. Taste I am in the waters, O soil of Kunti,
(and) I am the splendour of both the moon and the sun, I am the Om in all
the Vedas, the sound in space, and the manliness in men. I am the
fragrant odour in earth, the splendour in fire, the life in all (living)
creatures, and penance in ascetics. Know me, O son of Pritha, to be the
eternal seed of all beings. I am the intelligence of all creatures endued
with intelligence, the glory of all glorious objects. I am also the
strength of all that are endued with strength, (myself) freed from desire
and thirst, and, O bull of Bharata’s race, am the desire, consistent with
duty, in all creatures.[205] And all existences which are of the quality
of goodness, and which are of the quality of passion and quality of
darkness, know that they are, indeed, from me. I am, however, not in
them, but they are in me. This entire universe, deluded by these three
entities consisting of (these) three qualities knoweth not me that am
beyond them and undecaying; since this illusion of mine, depending on the
(three) qualities, is exceedingly marvellous and highly difficult of
being transcended. They that resort to me alone cross this illusion.[206]
Doers of evil, ignorant men, the worst of their species, robbed of their
knowledge by (my) illusion and wedded to the state of demons, do not
resort to me. Four classes of doers of good deeds worship me, O Arjuna,
viz., he that is distressed, that is possessed of knowledge, being always
devoted and having his faith in only One, is superior to the rest, for
unto the man of knowledge I am dear above everything, and he also is dear
to me. All these are noble. But the man of knowledge is regarded (by me)
to be my very self, since he, with soul fixed on abstraction, taketh
refuge in me as the highest goal. At the end of many births, the man
possessed of knowledge attaineth to me, (thinking) that Vasudeva is all
this. Such a high-souled person, however, is exceedingly rare. They who
have been robbed of knowledge by desire, resort to their godheads,
observant of diverse regulations and controlled by their own nature.[207]
Whatever form, (of godhead or myself) any worshipper desireth to worship
with faith, that faith of his unto that (form) I render steady. Endued
with that faith, he payeth his adorations to that (form), and obtaineth
from that all his desire, since all those are ordained by me.[208] The
fruits, however, of those persons endued with little intelligence are
perishable. They that worship the divinities, go to the divinities,
(while) they that worship me come even to me.[209] They that have no
discernment, regard me who am (really) unmanifest to have become
manifest, because they do not know the transcendent and undecaying state
of mine than which there is nothing higher.[210] Shrouded by the illusion
of my inconceivable power, I am not manifest to all. This deluded world
knoweth not me that I am unborn and undecaying. I know, O Arjuna, all
things that have been past, and all things that are present, and all
things that are to be. But there is nobody that knoweth me. All
creatures, O chastiser of foes, are deluded at the time of their birth by
the delusion, O Bharata, of pairs of opposites arising from desire and
aversion. But those persons of meritorious deeds whose sins have attained
their end, being freed from the delusion of pairs of opposites, worship
me, firm in their vow (of that worship). Those who, taking refuge in me,
strive for release from decay and death, know Brahman, the entire
Adhyatma, and action.[211] And they who know me with the Adhibhuta, the
Adhidaiva, and the Adhiyajna, having minds fixed on abstraction, know me
at the time of their departure (from this world).[212]

[(Bhagavad Gita Chapter VIII)]

“Arjuna said, ‘What is that Brahman, what is Adhyatma, what is action, O
best of male beings? What also has been said to be Adhibhuta, and what is
called Adhidaiva? Who is here Adhiyajna, and how, in this body, O slayer
of Madhu? And how at the time of departure art thou to be known by those
that have restrained their self’?–

“The Holy One said, ‘Brahman is the Supreme and indestructible. Adhyatma
is said to be its own manifestation. The offering (to any godhead in a
sacrifice) which causeth the production and development of all–this is
called action.[213] Remembering me alone in (his) last moments, he that,
casting off his body, departeth (hence), cometh into my essence. There is
no doubt in this. Whichever form (of godhead) one remembereth when one
casteth off, at the end, (his) body, unto that one he goeth, O son of
Kunti, having habitually meditated on it always. Therefore, think of me
at all times, and engage in battle. Fixing thy mind and understanding on
me, thou wilt, without doubt, come even to me. Thinking (of the Supreme)
with a mind not running to other objects and endued with abstraction in
the form of uninterrupted application, one goeth, O son of Pritha, unto
the Divine and Supreme male Being. He who at the time of his departure,
with a steady mind, endued with reverence, with power of abstraction, and
directing the life-breath called Prana between the eye-brows, thinketh of
that ancient seer, who is the ruler (of all), who is minuter than the
minutest atom, who is the ordainer of all, who is inconceivable in form,
and who is beyond all darkness, cometh unto that Divine and Supreme Male
Being, I will tell thee in brief about that seat which persons conversant
with the Vedas declare to be indestructible, which is entered by ascetics
freed from all longings, and in expectation of which (people) practise
the vows of Brahmacharins. Casting off (this) body, he who departeth,
stopping up all the doors, confining the mind within the heart, placing
his own life-breath called Prana between the eye-brows, resting on
continued meditation, uttering this one syllable Om which is Brahman, and
thinking of me, attaineth to the highest goal.[214] He who always
thinketh of me with mind ever withdrawn from all other objects, unto that
devotee always engaged on meditation, I am, O Partha, easy of access.
High-souled persons who have achieved the highest perfection, attaining
to me, do not incur re-birth which is the abode of sorrow and which is
transient, All the worlds, O Arjuna, from the abode of Brahman downwards
have to go through a round of births, on attaining to me, however, O son
of Kunti, there is no re-birth.[215] They who know a day of Brahman to
end after a thousand Yugas, and a night (of his) to terminate after a
thousand Yugas are persons that know day and night.[216] On the advent of
(Brahman’s) day everything that is manifest springeth from the
unmanifest; and when (his) night cometh, into that same which is called
unmanifest all things disappear. That same assemblage of creatures,
springing forth again and again, dissolveth on the advent of night, and
springeth forth (again), O son of Pritha, when day cometh, constrained
(by the force of action, etc.)[217]. There is, however, another entity,
unmanifest and eternal, which is beyond that unmanifest, and which is not
destroyed when all the entities are destroyed. It is said to be
unmanifest and indestructible. They call it the highest goal, attaining
which no one hath to come back. That is my Supreme seat. That Supreme
Being, O son of Pritha, He within whom are all entities, and by whom all
this is permeated, is to be attained by reverence undirected to any other
object. I will tell thee the times, O bull of Bharata’s race, in which
devotees departing (from this life) go, never to return, or to return.
The fire, the Light, the day, the lighted fortnight, the six months of
the northern solstice, departing from here, the persons knowing Brahma go
through this path to Brahma.[218] Smoke, night, also the dark-fortnight
(and) the six months of the southern solstice, (departing) through this
path, devotee, attaining to the lunar light, returneth. The bright and
the dark, these two paths, are regarded to be the eternal (two paths) of
the universe. By the one, (one) goeth never to return; by the other, one
(going) cometh back. Knowing these two paths, O son of Pritha, no devotee
is deluded. Therefore, at all times, be endued with devotion, O Arjuna.
The meritorious fruit that is prescribed for the (study of the) Vedas,
for sacrifices, for ascetic austerities and for gifts, a devotee knowing
all this (that hath been said here), attaineth to it all, and (also)
attaineth the Supreme and Primeval seat.’

[(Bhagavad Gita Chapter IX)]

“The Holy One said, ‘Now I will tell thee that art without envy that most
mysterious knowledge along with experience, knowing which thou wilt be
freed from evil. This is royal science, a royal mystery, highly
cleansing, directly apprehensible, consistent with the sacred laws, easy
to practise, (and) imperishable. Those persons, O chastiser of foes, who
have no faith in this sacred doctrine, not attaining to me, return to the
path of this world that is subject to destruction. This entire universe
is pervaded by me in my unmanifest form. All entities are in me, but I do
not reside in them. Nor yet are all entities in me. Behold my divine
power. Supporting all entities and producing all entities, myself doth
not (yet) reside in (those) entities. As the great and obiquitious
atmosphere always occupieth space, understand that all entities reside in
me in the same way.[219] All entities, O son of Kunti, attain to my
nature at the close of a Kalpa. I create them again at the beginning of a
Kalpa.[220] Regulating my own (independent) nature I create again and in
this whole assemblage of entities which is plastic in consequence of its
subjection to nature.[221] Those acts, however, O Dhananjaya, do not
fetter me who sitteth as one unconcerned, being unattached to those acts
(of creation). Through me, the overlooker, primal nature produceth the
(universe of) mobiles and immobiles. For the reason, O son of Kunti, the
universe passeth through its rounds (of birth and destruction).[222] Not
knowing my supreme nature of the great lord of all entities, ignorant
people of vain hopes, vain acts, vain knowledge, confounded minds, wedded
to the delusive nature of Asuras and Rakshasas, disregard me (as one)
that hath assumed a human body. But high-souled ones, O son of Pritha,
possessed of divine nature, and with minds directed to nothing else,
worship me, knowing (me) to be the origin of all entities and
undestructible. Always glorifying me, (or) striving with firm vows, (or)
bowing down to me, with reverence and ever devoted, (they) worship
me.[223] Others again, performing the sacrifice of knowledge, worship me,
(some) as one, (some) as distinct, (some) as pervading the universe, in
many forms.[224] I am the Vedic sacrifice, I am the sacrifice enjoined in
the Smritis, I am Swadha, I am the medicament produced from herbs; I am
the mantra, I am the sacrificial libation, I am the fire, and I am the
(sacrificial) offering.[225] I am the father of this universe, the
mother, the creator, grandsire; (I am) the thing to be known, the means
by which everything is cleaned, the syllable Om, the Rik, the Saman and
the Yajus, (I am) the goal, the supporter, the lord, the on-looker, the
abode, the refuge, the friend, the source, the destruction, the support,
the receptacle; and the undestructible seed. I give heat, I produce and
suspend rain; I am immortality, and also death; and I am the existent and
the non-existent, O Arjuna. They who know the three branches of
knowledge, also drink the Soma juice, and whose sins have been cleansed
worshipping me by sacrifices, seek admission into heaven; and these
attaining to the sacred region of the chief of the gods, enjoy in heaven
the celestial pleasure of the gods. Having enjoyed that celestial world
of vast extent, upon exhaustion of their merit they re-enter the mortal
world. It is thus that they who accept the doctrines of the three Vedas
and wish for objects of desires, obtain going and coming. Those persons
who, thinking (of me) without directing their minds to anything else,
worship me, of those who are (thus) always devoted (to me)–I make them
gifts and preserve what they have. Even those devotees who, endued with
faith worship other godheads even they, O son of Kunti, worship me alone,
(though) irregularly.[226] I am the enjoyer, as also the lord, of all
sacrifices. They, however, do not know me truly; hence they fall off
(from heaven). They whose vows are directed to the Pitris attain to the
Pitris; who direct (their) worship to the inferior spirits called Bhutas
attain to Bhutas; they who worship me, attain even to myself. They who
offer me with reverence, leaf, flower, fruit, water–that offered with
reverence, I accept from him whose self is pure.[227] Whatever thou dost,
whatever eatest, whatever drinkest, whatever givest, whatever austerities
thou performest, manage it in such a way, O son of Kunti, that it may be
an offering to me. Thus mayst thou be freed from the fetters of action
having good and evil fruits. With self endued with renunciation and
devotion, thou wilt be released and will come to me. I am alike to all
creatures; there is none hateful to me, none dear. They, however, who
worship me with reverence are in me and I also am in them. If even a
person of exceedingly wicked conduct worshippeth me, without worshipping
any one else, he should certainly be regard as good, for his efforts are
well-directed. (Such a person) soon becometh of virtuous soul, and
attaineth to eternal tranquillity. Know, O son of Kunti, that none
devoted to me is ever lost. For, O son of Pritha, even they who may be of
sinful birth, women, Vaisyas, and also Sudras, even they, resorting to
me, attain to the supreme goal. What then (shall I say) of holy Brahmanas
and saints who are my devotees? Having come to this transient and
miserable world, be engaged in my worship.[228] Fix thy mind on me; be my
devotee, my worshipper; bow to me; and thus making me thy refuge and
applying thy self to abstraction, thou wilt certainly come to me.’

[(Bhagavad Gita Chapter X)]

“The Holy One said, ‘Once more still, O mighty-armed one, listen to my
supernal words which, from desire of (thy) good, I say unto thee that
wouldst be pleased (therewith).[229] The hosts of gods know not my
origin, nor the great Rishis, since I am, in every way, the source of the
gods and the great Rishis.[230] He that knoweth me as the Supreme Lord of
the worlds, without birth and beginning, (he), undeluded among mortals,
is free from all sins. Intelligence, knowledge, the absence of delusion,
forgiveness, truth, self-restraint, and tranquillity, pleasure, pain,
birth, death, fear, and also security, abstention from harm, evenness of
mind, contentment, ascetic austerities, gift, fame, infamy, these several
attributes of creatures arise from me. The Seven great Rishis, the four
Maharishis before (them), and the Manus, partaking of my nature, were
born from my mind, of whom in this world are these offsprings.[231] He
that knoweth truly this pre-eminence and mystic power of mine, becometh
possessed of unswerving devotion. Of this (there is) no doubt. I am the
origin of all things, from me all things proceed. Thinking thus, the
wise, endued with my nature, worship me.[232] Their hearts on me, their
lives devoted to me, instructing one another, and gloryfying me they are
ever contented and happy.[233] Unto them always devoted, and worshipping
(me) with love, I give that devotion in the form of knowledge by which
they come to me.[234] Of them, for compassion’s sake. I destroy the
darkness born of ignorance, by the brilliant lamp of knowledge, (myself)
dwelling in their souls.’

“Arjuna said, ‘Thou art the Supreme Brahma, the Supreme Abode, the
Holiest of the Holy, the eternal Male Being Divine, the First of gods
Unborn, the Lord. All the Rishis proclaim thee thus, and also the
celestial Rishi Narada; and Asita, Devala, (and) Vyasa; thyself also
tellest me (so). All this that thou tellest me, O Kesava, I regard as
true since, O Holy One, neither the gods nor the Danavas understand thy
manifestation. Thou only knowest thyself by thyself. O Best of Male
Beings. O Creator of all things; O Lord of all things, O God of gods, O
Lord of the Universe, it behoveth thee to declare without any
reservation, those divine perfections of thine by which perfections
pervading these worlds thou abidest. How shall I, ever meditating, know
thee, O thou of mystic powers, in what particular states mayst thou, O
Holy One, be meditated upon by me?[235] Do thou again, O Janardana,
copiously declare thy mystic powers and (thy) perfections, for I am never
satiated with hearing thy nectar-like words.”

“The Holy One said,–‘Well, unto thee I will declare my divine
perfections, by means of the principal ones (among them), O chief of the
Kurus, for there is no end to the extent of my (perfections).[236] I am
the soul, O thou of curly hair, seated in the heart of every being, I am
the beginning, and the middle, and the end also of all beings. I am
Vishnu among the Adityas, the resplendent Sun among all luminous bodies;
I am Marichi among the Maruts, and the Moon among constellations.[237] I
am the Sama Veda among the Vedas; I am Vasava among the gods; I am the
mind among the senses; I am the intellect in (living) beings. I am
Sankara among the Rudras, the Lord of treasures among the Yakshas and the
Rakshasas; I am Pavaka among the Vasus, and Meru among the peaked
(mountains). [238] Know me, O son of Pritha, to be Vrihaspati, the chief
of household priests. I am Skanda among commanders of forces. I am Ocean
among receptacles of water. I am Bhrigu among the great Rishis, I am the
One, undestructible (syllable Om) among words. Of sacrifices I am the
Japa-sacrifice.[239] Of immobiles I am the Himavat. I am the figtree
among all trees, I am Narada among the celestial Rishis. I am Chitraratha
among the Gandharvas and the ascetic Kapila among ascetics crowned with
Yoga success. Know me to be Uchchaisravas among horses, brought forth by
(the churning for) nectar, Airavata among princely elephants, and the
king among men. Among weapons I am the thunderbolt, among cows I am (she
called) Kamadhuk. I am Kandarpa the cause of reproduction, I am Vasuki
among serpents.[240] I am Ananta among Nagas, I am Varuna among acquatic
beings, I am Aryaman among the Pitris, and Yama among those that judge
and punish.[241] I am Prahlada among the Daityas, and Time among things
that count. I am the lion among the beasts, and Vinata’s son among winged
creatures. Of purifiers I am the wind. I am Rama among wielders of
weapons. I am the Makara among fishes, and I am Jahnavi (Ganga) among
streams.[242] Of created things I am the beginning and the end and also
the middle, O Arjuna. I am the knowledge of Supreme Spirit among all
kinds of knowledge, and the disputation among disputants.[243] Among all
letters I am the letter A, and (the compound called) Dwanda among all
compounds. I am also Time Eternal, and I am the Ordainer with face turned
on every side.[244] I am Death that seizeth all, and the source of all,
that is to be. Among females, I am Fame, Fortune, Speech, Memory,
Intelligence, Constancy, Forgiveness. Of the Sama hymns, I am the
Vrihat-sama and Gayatri among metres. Of the months, I am Margasirsha, of
the seasons (I am) that which is productive of flowers.[245] I am the
game of dice of them that cheat, and the splendour of those that are
splendid. I am Victory, I am Exertion, I am the goodness of the good. I
am Vasudeva among the Vrishnis, I am Dhananjaya among the sons of Pandu.
I am even Vyasa among the ascetics, and Usanas among seers. I am the Rod
of those that chastise, I am the Policy of those that seek victory. I am
silence among those that are secret. I am the Knowledge of those that are
possessed of Knowledge. That which is the Seed of all things, I am that,
O Arjuna. There is nothing mobile or immobile, which can exist without
me. There is no end, O chastiser of foes, of my divine perfections. This
recital of the extent of (those) perfections hath been uttered by me by
way (only) of instancing them. Whatever of exalted things (there is) or
glorious, or strong, understand thou that everything is born of a portion
of my energy. Or rather, what hast thou to do, by knowing all this in
detail, O Arjuna? Supporting this entire universe with only a portion (of
myself), I stand.[246]”

[(Bhagavad Gita Chapter XI)]

“Arjuna said,–‘This discourse about the supreme mystery, called
Adhyatman, which thou hast uttered for my welfare, hath dispelled my
delusion.[247] For I have heard at large from thee of the creation and
dissolution of beings, O thou of eyes like lotus petals, and also of thy
greatness that knoweth no deterioration. What thou hast said about
thyself, O great Lord, is even so. O best of Male Beings, I desire to
behold thy sovereign form. If, O Lord, thou thinkest that I am competent
to behold that (form), then, O Lord of mystic power, show me thy eternal

“The Holy One said, ‘Behold, O son of Pritha, my forms by hundreds and
thousands, various, divine, diverse in hue and shape. Behold the Adityas,
the Vasus, the Rudras, the Aswins, and the Maruts. Behold, O Bharata,
innumerable marvels unseen before (by thee). Behold, O thou of curly
hair, the entire universe of mobiles and immobiles, collected together in
this body of mine, whatever else thou mayst wish to see.[249] Thou art,
however, not competent to behold me with this eye of thine. I give thee
celestial sight. Behold my sovereign mystic nature.'”

Sanjaya continued,–“Having said this, O monarch, Hari, the mighty Lord
of mystic power, then revealed to the son of Pritha his Supreme sovereign
form, with many mouths and eyes, many wonderous aspects, many celestial
ornaments, many celestial weapons uplifted, wearing celestial garlands
and robes, (and) with unguents of celestial fragrance, full of every
wonder, resplendent, infinite, with faces turned on all sides.[250] If
the splendour of a thousand suns were to burst forth at once in the sky,
(then) that would be like the splendour of that Mighty One. The son of
Pandu then beheld there in the body of that God of gods the entire
universe divided and sub-divided into many parts, all collected
together.[251] Then Dhananjaya, filled with amazement, (and) with hair
standing on end, bowing with (his) head, with joined hands addressed the

“Arjuna said, ‘I behold all the gods, O God, as also all the varied hosts
of creatures, (and) Brahman seated on (his) lotus seat, and all the
Rishis and the celestial snakes. I behold Thee with innumerable arms,
stomachs, mouths, (and) eyes, on every side, O thou of infinite forms.
Neither end nor middle, nor also beginning of thine do I behold, O Lord
of the universe, O thou of universal form. Bearing (thy) diadem, mace,
and discus, a mass of energy, glowing on all sides, do I behold thee that
art hard to look at, endued on all sides with the effulgence of the
blazing fire or the Sun, (and) immeasurable. Thou art indestructible,
(and) the Supreme object of this universe. Thou art without decay, the
guardian of eternal virtue. I regard thee to be the eternal (male) Being.
I behold thee to be without beginning, mean, end, to be of infinite
prowess, of innumerable arms, having the Sun and the Moon for thy eyes,
the blazing fire for thy mouth, and heating this universe with energy of
thy own. For the space betwixt heaven and earth is pervaded by Thee
alone, as also all the points of the horizon. At sight of this marvellous
and fierce form of thine, O Supreme Soul, the triple world trembleth. For
these hosts of gods are entering thee. Some, afraid, are praying with
joined hands. Saying Hail to Thee–the hosts of great Rishis and Siddhas
praise Thee with copious hymns of praise.[252] The Rudras, the Adityas,
the Vasus, they that (called) the Siddhas, the Viswas, the Aswins, the
Maruts, also the Ushmapas, the Gandharvas, the Yakshas, the Asuras, the
hosts of Siddhyas, behold Thee and are all amazed. Beholding Thy mighty
form with many mouths and eyes, O mighty-armed one, with innumerable
arms, thighs and feet, many stomachs, (and) terrible in consequence of
many tusks, all creatures are frightened and I also. Indeed, touching the
very skies, of blazing radiance, many-hued, mouth wide-open, with eyes
that are blazing and large, beholding thee, O Vishnu, with (my) inner
soul trembling (in fright), I can no longer command courage and peace of
mind. Beholding thy mouths that are terrible in consequence of (their)
tusks, and that are fierce (as the all-destroying fire at the end of the
Yuga), I cannot recognise the points of the horizon nor can I command
peace of mind. Be gracious, O God of gods, O thou that art the refuge of
the Universe. And all these sons of Dhritarashtra, together with the
hosts of kings, and Bhishma, and Drona, and also this Suta’s son (Karna),
accompanied by even the principal warriors of our side, are quickly
entering thy terrible mouths rendered fierce by thy tusks. Some, with
their heads crushed, are seen striking at the interstices of (thy) teeth.
As many currents of water flowing through different channels roll rapidly
towards the ocean, so these heroes of the world of men enter thy mouths
that flame all around. As moths with increasing speed rush for (their
own) destruction to the blazing fire, so also do (these) people, with
unceasing speed, enter thy mouths for (their) destruction. Swallowing all
these men from every side, thou lickest them with thy flaming mouths.
Filling the whole universe with (thy) energy, thy fierce splendours, O
Vishnu, are heating (everything). Tell me who thou art of (such) fierce
form. I bow to thee, O chief of the gods, be gracious to me. I desire to
know thee that art the Primeval One, I do not understand thy action.'[253]

The Holy One said, “I am Death, the destroyer of the worlds, fully
developed. I am now engaged in slaying the race of men. Without thee all
these warriors standing in the different divisions shall cease to
be.[254] Wherefore, arise, gain glory, (and) vanquishing the foe, enjoy
(this) swelling kingdom. By me have all these been already slain. Be only
(my) instrument. O thou that can’st draw the bow with (even) the left
hand. Drona and Bhishma, and Jayadratha, and Karna, and also other heroic
warriors, (already) slain by me, do thou slay. Be not dismayed, fight;
thou shalt conquer in battle (thy) foes.”

Sanjaya continued,–“Hearing these words of Kesava, the diadem-decked
(Arjuna), trembling, (and) with joined-hands, bowed (unto him); and once
more said unto Krishna, with voice choked up and overwhelmed with fear,
and making his salutations (to him).–

Arjuna said, “It is meet, Hrishikesa, that the universe is delighted and
charmed in uttering thy praise, and the Rakshasas flee in fear in all
directions, and the hosts of the Siddhas bow down (to thee). And why
should they not bow down to thee, O Supreme Soul, that are greater than
even Brahman (himself), and the primal cause? O thou that art Infinite. O
God of the gods, O thou that art the refuge of the universe, thou art
indestructible, thou art that which is, and that which is not and that
which is beyond (both). Thou art the First God, the ancient (male) Being,
thou art the Supreme refuge of this universe. Thou art the Knower, thou
art the Object to be known, thou art the highest abode. By thee is
pervaded this universe, O thou of infinite form.[255] Thou art Vayu,
Yama, Agni, Varuna, Moon, Prajapati, and Grandsire. Obeisance be to thee
a thousand times, and again and yet again obeisance to thee. Obeisance to
thee in front, and also from behind. Let obeisance be to thee from every
side, O thou that art all. Thou art all, of energy that is infinite, and
prowess that is immeasurable. Thou embracest the All. Regarding (thee) a
friend whatever hath been said by me carelessly, such as–O Krishna, O
Yadava, O friend,–not knowing this thy greatness from want of judgement
or from love either, whatever disrespect hath been shown thee for purpose
of mirth, on occasions of play, lying, sitting, (or) at meals, while
alone or in the presence of others, O undeteriorating one, I beg thy
pardon for it, that art immeasurable. Thou art the father of this
universe of mobiles and immobiles. Thou art the great master deserving of
worship. There is none equal to thee, how can there be one greater? O
thou whose power is unparalleled in even three worlds?[256] Therefore
bowing (to thee) prostrating (my) body, I ask thy grace, O Lord, O
adorable one. It behoveth thee. O God, to bear (my faults) as a father
(his) son’s, a friend (his) friend’s, a lover (his) loved one’s.
Beholding (thy) form (unseen) before, I have been joyful, (yet) my mind
hath been troubled, with fear. Show me that (other ordinary) form, O God.
Be gracious, O Lord of the gods, O thou that art the refuge of the
universe. (Decked) in diadem, and (armed) with mace, discus in hand, as
before, I desire to behold thee. Be of that same four-armed form, O thou
of a thousand arms, thou of universal form.”

“The Holy One said, ‘Pleased with thee, O Arjuna, I have, by my (own)
mystic power, shown thee this supreme form, full of glory, Universal,
Infinite, Primeval, which hath been seen before by none save thee. Except
by thee alone, hero of Kuru’s race, I cannot be seen in this form in the
world of men by any one else, (aided) even by the study of the Vedas and
of sacrifices, by gifts, by actions, (or) by the severest
austerities.[257] Let no fear be thine, nor perplexity of mind at seeing
this awful form of mine. Freed from fear with a joyful heart, thou again
see Me assuming that other form.'”

Sanjaya continued,–“Vasudeva, having said all this to Arjuna, once more
showed (him) his own (ordinary) form, and that High-Souled one, assuming
once more (his) gentle form, comforted him who had been afflicted.”

“Arjuna said, ‘Beholding this gentle human form of thine, O Janardana, I
have now become of right mind and have come to my normal state.’

“The Holy One said, ‘This form of mine which thou hast seen is difficult
of being seen. Even the gods are always desirous of becoming spectators
of this (my) form. Not by the Vedas, nor by austerities, nor by gifts,
nor by sacrifices, can I be seen in this form of mine which thou hast
seen. By reverence, however, that is exclusive (in its objects), O
Arjuna, I can in this form be known, seen truly, and attained to, O
chastiser of foes. He who doth everything for me, who hath me for his
supreme object, who is freed from attachment, who is without enmity
towards all beings, even he, O Arjuna, cometh to me.’

[(Bhagavad Gita Chapter XII)]

“Arjuna said, ‘Of those worshippers who, constantly devoted, adore thee,
and those who (meditate) on thee as the Immutable and Unmanifest, who are
best acquainted with devotion.’

“The Holy One said, ‘Fixing (their) mind on me, they that constantly
adore me, being endued (besides) with the highest faith, are deemed by me
to be the most devoted. They, however, who worship the Immutable, the
Unmanifest, the All-pervading, the Inconceivable, the Indifferent, the
Immutable, the Eternal, who, restraining the entire group of the senses,
are equal-minded in respect of all around and are engaged in the good of
all creatures, (also) attain to me. The trouble is the greater for those
whose minds are fixed on the Unmanifest; for the path to the Unmanifest
is hard to find by those that are embodied. They (again) who, reposing
all action on me (and) regarding me as their highest object (of
attainment), worship me, meditating on me with devotion undirected to
anything else, of them whose minds are (thus) fixed on me, I, without
delay, become the deliverer from the ocean of (this) mortal world. Fix
thy heart on me alone, place thy understanding on me, Hereafter then
shalt thou dwell in me. (There is) no doubt (in this).[258] If however,
thou art unable to fix thy heart steadily on me, then, O Dhananjaya,
strive to obtain me by devotion (arising) from continuous application. If
thou beest unequal to even (this) continuous application, then let
actions performed for me be thy highest aim. Even performing all thy acts
for my sake, thou wilt obtain perfection. If even this thou art unable to
do, then resorting to devotion in me, (and) subduing thy soul, abandon
the fruit of all actions. Knowledge is superior to application (in
devotion); meditation is better than knowledge; the abandonment of the
fruit of reaction (is better) than meditation, and tranquillity (results)
immediately from abandonment. He who hath no hatred for any creature, who
is friendly and compassionate also, who is free from egoism, who hath no
vanity, attachment, who is alike in pleasure and pain, who is forgiving,
contented, always devoted, of subdued, soul, firm of purpose, with heart
and understanding fixed on me, even he is dear to me. He through whom the
world is not troubled, (and) who is not troubled by the world, who is
free from joy, wrath, fear and anxieties, even he is dear to me. That
devotee of mine who is unconcerned, pure, diligent, unconnected (with
worldly objects), and free from distress (of mind), and who renounceth
every action (for fruit), even he is dear to me.[259] He who hath no joy,
no aversion, who neither grieveth nor desireth, who renounceth both good
and evil, (and) who is full of faith in me, even he is dear to me. He who
is alike to friend and foe, as also in honour and dishonour, who is alike
in cold and heat, (and pleasure and pain), who is free from attachment,
to whom censure and praise are equal, who is taciturn, who is contented
with anything that cometh (to him), who is homeless, of steady mind and
full of faith, even that man is dear to me. They who resort to this
righteousness (leading to) immortality which hath been (already)
declared,–those devotees full of faith and regarding me as the highest
object (of their acquisition) are the dearest to me.’

[(Bhagavad Gita, Chapter XIII)]

“The Holy One said, ‘This body, O son of Kunti, is called Kshetra. Him
who knoweth it, the learned call Kshetrajna.[260] Know me, O Bharata, to
be Kshetras. The knowledge of Kshetra and Kshetrajna I regard to be
(true) knowledge. What that Kshetra (is), and what (it is) like, and what
changes it undergoes, and whence (it comes), what is he (viz.,
Kshetrajna), and what his powers are, hear from me in brief. All this
hath in many ways been sung separately, by Rishis in various verses, in
well-settled texts fraught with reason and giving indications of Brahman.
The great elements, egoism, intellect, the unmanifest (viz., Prakriti),
also the ten senses, the one (manas), the five objects of sense, desire,
aversion, pleasure, pain, body consciousness, courage,–all this in brief
hath been declared to be Kshetra in its modified form. Absence of vanity,
absence of ostentation, abstention from injury, forgiveness, uprightness,
devotion to preceptor, purity, constancy, self-restraint, indifference to
objects of sense, absence of egoism, perception of the misery and evil of
birth, death, decrepitude and disease,[261] freedom from attachment,
absence of sympathy for son, wife, home, and the rest, and constant
equanimity of heart on attainment of good and evil, unswerving devotion
to me without meditation on anything else, frequenting of lonely places,
distaste for concourse of men,[262] constancy in the knowledge of the
relation of the individual self to the supreme, perception of the object
of the knowledge of truth,–all this is called Knowledge; all that which
is contrary to this is Ignorance.[263] That which is the object of
knowledge I will (now) declare (to thee), knowing which one obtaineth
immortality. [It is] the Supreme Brahma having no beginning, who is said
to be neither existent nor non-existent; whose hands and feet are on all
sides, whose eyes, heads and faces are on all sides, who dwells pervading
everything in the world, who is possessed of all the qualities of the
senses (though) devoid of the senses, without attachment (yet) sustaining
all things, without attributes (yet) enjoying (a) all attributes,[264]
without and within all creatures, immobile and mobile, not knowable
because of (his) subtlety, remote yet near, undistributed in all beings,
(yet) remaining as if distributed, who is the sustainer of (all) beings,
the absorber and the creator (of all); who is the light of all luminous
bodies, who is said to be beyond all darkness; who is knowledge, the
Object of knowledge, the End of knowledge and seated in the hearts of
all. Thus Kshetra, and Knowledge, and the Object of Knowledge, have been
declared (to thee) in brief. My devotee, knowing (all) this, becomes one
in spirit with me. Know that Nature and Spirit are both without beginning
(and) know (also) that all modifications and all qualities spring from
Nature.[265] Nature is said to be the source of the capacity of enjoying
pleasures and pains.[266] For Spirit, dwelling in nature enjoyeth the
qualities born of Nature. The cause of its births in good or evil wombs
is (its) connection with the qualities.[267] The Supreme Purusha in this
body is said to be surveyor, approver, supporter, enjoyer, the mighty
lord, and also the Supreme Soul.[268] He who thus knows Spirit, and
Nature, with the qualities, in whatever state he may be, is never born
again. Some by meditation behold the self in the self by the self; others
by devotion according to the Sankhya system; and others (again), by
devotion through works. Others yet not knowing this, worship, hearing of
it from others. Even these, devoted to what is heard, cross over
death.[269] Whatever entity, immobile or mobile, cometh into existence,
know that, O bull of Bharata’s race, to be from the connection of Kshetra
and Kshetrajna (matter and spirit). He seeth the Supreme Lord dwelling
alike in all beings, the Imperishable in the Perishable. For seeing the
Lord dwelling alike everywhere, one doth not destroy[270] himself by
himself, and then reacheth the highest goal. He seeth (truly) who seeth
all actions to be wrought by nature alone in every way and the self
likewise to be not the doer. When one seeth the diversity of entities as
existing in one, and the issue (everything) from that (One), then is one
said to attain to Brahma. This inexhaustible Supreme Self, O son of
Kunti, being without beginning and without attributes, doth not act, nor
is stained even when stationed in the body. As space, which is
ubiquitous, is never, in consequence of its subtlety tainted, so the
soul, stationed in every body, is never tainted.[271] As the single Sun
lights up the entire world, so the Spirit, O Bharata, lights up the
entire (sphere of) matters. They that, by the eye of knowledge, know the
distinction between matter and spirit, and the deliverance from the
nature of all entities, attain to the Supreme.[272]

[(Bhagavad Gita Chapter XIV)]

“The Holy One said, ‘I will again declare (to thee) that supernal science
of sciences, that excellent science, knowing which all the munis have
attained to the highest perfection from (the fetters of) this body.[273]
Resorting to this science, and attaining to my nature, they are not
reborn even on (the occasion of) a (new) creation and are not disturbed
at the universal dissolution. The mighty Brahma is a womb for me. Therein
I place the (living) germ. Thence, O Bharata, the birth of all beings
taketh place. Whatever (bodily) forms, O son of Kunti, are born in all
wombs, of them Brahma is the mighty womb, (and) I the seed-imparting
Sire.[274] Goodness, passion, darkness, these qualities, born of nature,
bind down, O thou of mighty arms, the eternal embodied [soul] in the
body.[275] Amongst these, Goodness, from its unsullied nature, being
enlightening and free from misery, bindeth (the soul), O sinless one,
with the attainment of happiness and of knowledge. Know that passion,
having desire for its essence, is born of thirst and attachment. That, O
son of Kunti, bindeth the embodied (soul) by the attachment of work.
Darkness, however, know, is born of ignorance, (and) bewilders all
embodied [soul]. That bindeth, O Bharata, by error, indolence, and sleep.
Goodness uniteth (the soul) with pleasure; Passion, O Bharata, uniteth
with work; but darkness, veiling knowledge, uniteth with error. Passion
and darkness, being repressed, Goodness remaineth, O Bharata. Passion and
goodness (being repressed), darkness (remaineth); (and) darkness and
goodness (being repressed), passion (remaineth). When in this body, in
all its gates, the light of knowledge is produced, then should one know
that goodness hath been developed there. Avarice, activity, performance
of works, want of tranquillity, desire,–these, O bull of Bharata’s race,
are born when passion is developed. Gloom, inactivity, error, and
delusion also,–these, O son of Kuru’s race, are born when darkness is
developed. When the holder of a body goeth to dissolution while goodness
is developed, then he attaineth to the spotless regions of those that
know the Supreme. Going to dissolution when passion prevails, one is born
among those that are attached to work. Likewise, dissolved during
darkness, one is born in wombs that beget the ignorant. The fruit of good
action is said to be good and untainted. The fruit, however, of passion,
is misery; (and) the fruit of Darkness is ignorance. From goodness is
produced knowledge; from passion, avarice; (and) from darkness are error
and delusion, and also ignorance. They that dwell in goodness go on high;
they that are addicted to passion dwell in the middle; (while) they that
are of darkness, being addicted to the lowest quality, go down. When an
observer recognises none else to be an agent save the qualities, and
knows that which is beyond (the qualities), he attaineth to my nature.
The embodied [soul], by transcending these three qualities which
constitute the source of all bodies, enjoyeth immortality, being freed
from birth, death, decrepitude, and misery.'[276]

“Arjuna said, ‘What are indications, O Lord, of one who hath transcended
these three qualities? What is his conduct? How also doth one transcend
these three qualities?”

“The Holy One said, ‘He who hath no aversion for light, activity, and
even delusion, O son of Pandu, when they are present, nor desireth them
when they are absent,[277] who, seated as one unconcerned, is not shaken
by those qualities; who sitteth and moveth not, thinking that it is the
qualities (and not he) that are engaged (in their respective functions);
to whom pain and pleasure are alike, who is self-contained, and to whom a
sod of earth, a stone, and gold are alike; to whom the agreeable and the
disagreeable are the same; who hath discernment; to whom censure and
praise are the same; to whom honour and dishonour are the same; who
regardeth friend and foe alike; who hath renounced all exertion–is said
to have transcended the qualities. He also who worshippeth Me with
exclusive devotion, he, transcending those qualities, becometh fit for
admission into the nature of Brahma. For I am the stay of Brahma, of
immortality, of undestructibility, of eternal piety, and of unbroken

[(Bhagavad Gita Chapter XV)]

“The Holy One said, ‘They say that the Aswattha, having its roots above
and branches below, is eternal, its leaves are the Chhandas. He who
knoweth it, knoweth the Vedas.[279] Downwards and upwards are stretched
its branches which are enlarged by the qualities; its sprouts are the
objects of senses. Downwards its roots, leading to action, are extended
to this world of men.[280] Its form cannot here (below) be thus known,
nor (its) end, nor (its) beginning, nor (its) support. Cutting, with the
hard weapon of unconcern, this Aswattha of roots firmly fixed, then
should one seek for that place repairing whither one returneth not again
(thinking)–I will seek the protection of that Primeval Sire from whom
the ancient course of (worldly) life hath flowed.–Those that are free
from pride and delusion, that have subdued the evil of attachment, that
are steady in the contemplation of the relation of the Supreme to the
individual self, from whom desire hath departed, freed from the pairs of
opposites known by the names of pleasure and pain (and the like), repair,
undeluded, to that eternal seat. The sun lighteth not that [seat], nor
the moon, nor fire. Whither going none returneth, that is my supreme
seat. An eternal portion of Me is that which, becoming an individual soul
in the world of life, draweth to itself the (five) senses with the mind
as the sixth which all depend on nature. When the sovereign (of this
bodily frame) assumeth or quitteth (a) body, it departeth taking away
these, like the wind (taking away) perfumes from their seats. Presiding
over the ear, the eye, (the organs of) touch, taste, and smell, and also
over the mind, he enjoyeth all objects of senses. They that are deluded
do not see (him) when quitting or abiding in (the body), when enjoying or
joined to the qualities. They (however) see that have the eye of
knowledge.[281] Devotees exerting (towards that end) behold him dwelling
in themselves. They (however) that are senseless and whose minds are not
restrained, behold him not, even while exerting (themselves).[282] That
splendour dwelling in the sun which illumines the vast universe, that
(which is) in the moon, and that (which is) in the fire, know that
splendour to be mine. Entering into the earth I uphold creatures by my
force; and becoming the juicy moon I nourish all herbs.[283] Myself
becoming the vital heat (Vaiswanara) residing in the bodies of creatures
that breathe, (and) uniting with the upward and the downward
life-breaths, I digest the four kinds of food.[284] I am seated in the
hearts of all. From Me are memory and knowledge and the loss of both. I
am the objects of knowledge to be known by (the aid of) all the Vedas. I
am the author of the Vedantas, and I alone am the knower of the
Vedas.[285] There are these two entities in the world, viz., the mutable
and the immutable. The mutable is all (these) creatures. The unchangeable
one is called the immutable.[286] But there is another, the Supreme
Being, called Paramatman, who was the Eternal Lord, pervading the three
worlds, sustaineth (them) (and) since I transcend the mutable, and am
higher than even the immutable; for this I am celebrated in the world
(among men) and in the Veda as Purushottama (the Highest Being). He who,
without being deluded, knoweth Me as this Highest Being,–he knowing all,
O Bharata, worshippeth Me in every way.[287] Thus, O sinless one, hath
this knowledge, forming the greatest of mysteries, been declared by Me
(to thee). Knowing this, O Bharata, one will become gifted with
intelligence, and will have done all he needs do.’

[(Bhagavad Gita Chapter XVI)]

“The Holy One said, ‘Fearlessness, purity of heart, perseverance in (the
pursuit of) knowledge and Yoga meditation, gifts, self-restraint,
sacrifice, study of the Vedas, ascetic penances, uprightness,[288]
abstention from injury, truth, freedom from anger, renunciation,
tranquillity, freedom from reporting other’s faults, compassion for all
creatures, absence of covetousness, gentleness, modesty, absence of
restlessness, vigour, forgiveness, firmness, cleanliness, absence of
quarrelsomeness, freedom from vanity,–these become his, O Bharata, who
is born to godlike possessions. Hypocrisy, pride, conceit, wrath,
rudeness and ignorance, are, O son of Pritha, his who is born to demoniac
possessions. God-like possessions are deemed to be for deliverance; the
demoniac for bondage. Grieve not, O son of Pandu, for thou art born to
god-like possessions. (There are) two kinds of created beings in this
world, viz., the god-like and the demoniac. The god-like have been
described at length. Hear now, from me, O son of Pritha, about the
demoniac. Persons of demoniac nature know not inclination or
disinclination. Neither purity, nor good conduct, nor truth exist in
them.[289] They say that the universe is void of truth, of guiding
principle, (and) of ruler; produced by the union of one another (male and
female) from lust, and nothing else. Depending on this view, these men of
lost selves, little intelligence, and fierce deeds, these enemies (of the
world), are born for the destruction of the universe.[290] Cherishing
desires that are insatiable, and endued with hypocrisy, conceit and
folly, they adopt false notions through delusion and engage in unholy
practices. Cherishing boundless thoughts limited by death (alone), and
regarding the enjoyment of (their ) desires as the highest end, they are
persuaded that that is all. Fettered by the hundred nooses of hope,
addicted to lust and wrath, they covet to obtain this wealth
to-day,–This I will obtain later,–This wealth I have,–This (wealth)
will be mine in addition,–This foe hath been slain by me,–I will slay
even others,–I am lord,–I am the enjoyer,–I am successful, powerful,
happy,–I am rich and of noble birth,–Who else is there that is like
me?–I will sacrifice,–I will make gifts,–I will be merry,–thus
deluded by ignorance,–tossed about by numerous thoughts, enveloped in
the meshes of delusion, attached to the enjoyment of objects of desire,
they sink into foul hell. Self-conceited, stubborn, filled with the pride
and intoxication of wealth, they perform sacrifices that are nominally
so, with hypocrisy and against the (prescribed) ordinance. Wedded to
vanity, power, pride, lust and wrath, these revilers hate Me in their own
bodies and those of others. These haters (of Me), cruel, the vilest among
men, and unholy, I hurl continually down into demoniac wombs. Coming into
demoniac wombs, deluded birth after birth, they, O son of Kunti, without
attaining to Me go down to the vilest state. Three-fold is the way to
hell, ruinous to the self, viz., lust, wrath, likewise avarice.
Therefore, these three, one should renounce. Freed from these three gates
of darkness, a man, O son of Kunti, works out his own welfare, and then
repairs to his highest goal. He who, abandoning the ordinances of the
scriptures, acts only under the impulses of desire, never attains to
perfection, nor happiness, nor the highest goal. Therefore, the
scriptures should be thy authority in determining what should be done and
what should not be done. It behoveth thee to do work here, having
ascertained what hath been declared by the ordinances of the scriptures.'”

[(Bhagavad Gita, Chapter XVII)]

“Arjuna said, ‘What is the state, O Krishna, of those who abandoning the
ordinance of the scriptures, perform sacrifices endued with faith? It is
one of Goodness, or Passion, or Darkness?’

“The Holy One said, ‘The faith of embodied (creatures) is of three kinds.
It is (also) born of their (individual) natures. It is good, passionate,
and dark. Hear now these. The faith of one, O Bharata, is conformable to
his own nature. A being here is full of faith; and whatever is one’s
faith, one is even that. They that are of the quality of goodness worship
the gods; they that are of the quality of passion (worship) the Yakshas
and the Rakshasas; other people that are of the quality of darkness
worship departed spirits and hosts of Bhutas. Those people who practise
severe ascetic austerities not ordained by the scriptures, are given up
to hypocrisy and pride, and endued with desire of attachment, and
violence,–those persons possessed of no discernment, torturing the
groups of organs in (their) bodies and Me also seated within (those)
bodies,–should be known to be of demoniac resolves. Food which is dear
to all is of three kinds. Sacrifice, penance, and gifts are likewise (of
three kinds). Listen to their distinctions as follows. Those kinds of
food that increase life’s period, energy, strength, health, well-being,
and joy, which are savoury, oleaginous, nutritive, and agreeable, are
liked by God. Those kinds of food which are bitter, sour, salted,
over-hot, pungent, dry, and burning, and which produce pain, grief and
disease, are desired by the passionate. The food which is cold, without
savour, stinking and corrupt, and which is even refuse, and filthy, is
dear to men of darkness. That sacrifice is good which, being prescribed
by the ordinance, is performed by persons, without any longing for the
fruit (thereof) and the mind being determined (to it under the belief)
that its performance is a duty. But that which is performed in
expectation of fruit and even for the sake of ostentation, know that
sacrifice, O chief of the sons of Bharata, to be of the quality of
passion. That sacrifice which is against the ordinance, in which no food
is dealt out, which is devoid of mantras (sacred verse), in which no fees
are paid to the brahmanas assisting to it, and which is void of faith, is
said to be of the quality of darkness. Reverence to the gods, regenerate
ones, preceptors, and men of knowledge, purity, uprightness, the
practices of a Brahmacharin, and abstention from injury, are said to
constitute the penance of the body. The speech which causeth no
agitation, which is true, which is agreeable and beneficial, and the
diligent study of the Vedas, are said to be the penance of speech.
Serenity of the mind, gentleness, taciturnity, self-restraint, and purity
of the disposition,–these are said to be the penance of the mind. This
three-fold penance performed with perfect faith, by men without desire of
fruit, and with devotion, is said to be of the quality of goodness. That
penance which is performed for the sake of (gaining) respect, honour, and
reverence, with hypocrisy, (and) which is unstable and transient is said
to be of the quality of passion. That penance which is performed under a
deluded conviction, with torture of one’s self, and for the destruction
of another, is said to be of the quality of darkness. That gift which is
given because it ought to be given, to one who cannot return any service
for it, in a proper time, and to a proper person, is said to be of the
quality of goodness. That, however, which is given reluctantly, for
return of services (past or expected), or even with an eye to
fruit,–that gift is said to be of the quality of passion. In an unfit
place and at an unfit time, the gift that is made to an unworthy object,
without respect, and with contempt, is said to be of the quality of
darkness. OM, TAT, SAT, this is said to be the three-fold designation of
Brahma. By that (Brahma), the Brahmanas and the Vedas, and the
Sacrifices, were ordained of old. Therefore, uttering the syllable OM,
the sacrifices, gifts, and penances, prescribed by the ordinance, of all
utterers of Brahma begin. Uttering TAT, the various rites of sacrifice,
penance, and gifts, without expectation of fruit, are performed by those
that are desirous of deliverance. SAT is employed to denote existence and
goodness. Likewise, O son of Pritha, the word SAT is used in any
auspicious act. Constancy in sacrifices, in penances and in gifts, is
also called SAT, and an act, too, for the sake of That is called
SAT.[291] Whatever oblation is offered (to the fire), whatever is given
away, whatever penance is performed, whatever is done, without faith, is,
O son of Pritha, said to be the opposite of SAT; and that is nought both
here and hereafter.[292]’

[(Bhagavad Gita, Chapter XVIII)]

“Arjuna said, ‘Of renunciation, O thou of mighty arms, I desire to know
the true nature, and also of abandonment, O lord of the senses
distinctly, O slayer of Kesi.'[293]

“The Holy One said, ‘The rejection of the works with desire is known by
the learned as renunciation. The abandonment of the fruit of all work,
the discerning call abandonment. Some wise men say that work (itself)
should be abandoned as evil; others (say) that the works of sacrifice,
gifts, and penance, should not be abandoned. As to that abandonment,
listen to my decision, O best of the sons of Bharata, for abandonment, O
tiger among men, hath been declared to be of three kinds. The works of
sacrifice, gifts, and penance should not be abandoned. They should,
indeed, be done. Sacrifice, gift, and penance, are the purifications of
the wise. But even those works should be done, abandoning attachment and
fruit. This, O son of Pritha, is my excellent and decided opinion. The
renunciation of an act prescribed (in the scriptures) is not proper. Its
abandonment (is) from delusion, (and) is (therefore,) declared to be of
the quality of darkness.[294] (Regarding it) as (a source of) sorrow,
when work is abandoned from (fear of) bodily pain, one making such an
abandonment which is of the quality of passion never obtaineth the fruit
of abandonment. (Regarding it) as one that should be done, when[295] work
that is prescribed (in the scriptures) is done, O Arjuna, abandoning
attachment and fruit also, that abandonment is deemed to be of the
quality of goodness. Possessed of intelligence and with doubts dispelled,
an abandoner that is endowed with the quality of goodness hath no
aversion for an unpleasant action and no attachment to pleasant
(ones).[296] Since actions cannot be absolutely abandoned by an embodied
person, (therefore) he who abandons the fruit of actions is truly said to
be an abandoner. Evil, good and mixed-action hath (this) three-fold fruit
hereafter for those that do not abandon. But there is none whatever for
the renouncer.[297] Listen from me, O thou of mighty arms, to those five
causes for the completion of all actions, declared in the Sankhya
treating of the annihilation of actions.[298] (They are) substratum,
agent, the diverse kinds of organs, the diverse efforts severally, and
with them the deities as the fifth.[299] With body, speech, or mind,
whatever work, just or the reverse, a man undertakes, these five are its
causes. That being so, he that, owing to an unrefined understanding,
beholdeth his own self as solely the agent, he, dull in mind, beholdeth
not. He that hath no feeling of egoism, whose mind is not sullied, he,
even killing all these people, killeth not, nor is fettered (by
action).[300]–Knowledge, the object of knowledge, and the knower, form
the three-fold impulse of action. Instrument, action, and the agent, form
the three-fold complement of action.[301] Knowledge, action, and agent,
are declared in the enumeration of qualities to be three-fold, according
to the difference of qualities. Listen to those also duly.[302] That by
which One Eternal Essence is viewed in all things, undivided in the
divided, know that to be knowledge having the quality of goodness. That
knowledge which discerneth all things as diverse essences of different
kinds in consequence of their separateness, know that that knowledge hath
the quality of passion. But that which is attached to (each) single
object as if it were the whole, which is without reason, without truth,
and mean, that knowledge hath been said to be of the quality of darkness.
The action which is prescribed (by the scriptures), (done) without
attachment, performed without desires and aversion, by one who longeth
not for (its) fruit, is said to be of the quality of goodness. But that
action which is done by one seeking objects of desire, or by one filled
with egoism, and which is attended with great trouble, is said to be of
the quality of passion. That action which is undertaken from delusion,
without regard to consequences, loss, injury (to others), and (one’s own)
power also, is said to be of the quality of passion. The agent who is
free from attachment, who never speaketh of himself, who is endued with
constancy and energy, and is unmoved by success and defeat, is said to be
of the quality of goodness. The agent who is full of affections, who
wisheth for the fruit of actions, who is covetous, endued with cruelty,
and impure, and who feeleth joy and sorrow, is declared to be of the
quality of passion.[303] The agent who is void of application, without
discernment, obstinate, deceitful, malicious, slothful, desponding, and
procrastinating, is said to be of the quality of darkness.[304] Hear now,
O Dhananjaya, the three-fold division of intellect and constancy,
according to their qualities, which I am about to declare exhaustively
and distinctly. The intellect which knoweth action and inaction, what
ought to be done and what ought not to be done, fear and fearlessness,
bondage and deliverance, is, O son of Pritha, of the quality of goodness.
The intellect by which one imperfectly discerneth right and wrong, that
which ought to be done and that which ought not to be done, is, O son of
Pritha, of the quality of passion. That intellect which, shrouded by
darkness, regardeth wrong to be right, and all things as reversed, is, O
son of Pritha, of the quality of darkness. That unswerving constancy by
which one controls the functions of the mind, the life-breaths, and the
senses, through devotion, that constancy, is, O son of Pritha, of the
quality of goodness.[305] But that constancy, O Arjuna, by which one
holds to religion, desire, and profit, through attachment, desiring
fruit, that constancy, O son of Pritha, is of the quality of passion.
That through which an undiscerning person abandons not sleep, fear,
sorrow, despondency, and folly, that constancy is deemed to be of the
quality of darkness. Hear now from me, O bull of Bharata’s race, of the
three kinds of happiness. That in which one findeth pleasure from
repetition (of enjoyment), which bringeth an end to pain, which is like
poison first but resembleth nectar in the end, that happiness born of the
serenity produced by a knowledge of self, is said to be of the quality of
goodness.[306] That which is from the contact of the senses with their
objects which resembleth nectar first but is like poison in the end, that
happiness is held to be of the quality of passion. That happiness which
in the beginning and its consequences deludeth the soul, and springeth
from sleep, indolence, and stupidity, that is described to be of the
quality of darkness. There is not, either on earth or heaven among the
gods, the entity that is free from these three qualities born of nature.
The duties of Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, and Vaisyas, and of Sudras also, O
chastiser of foes, are distinguished by (these three) qualities born of
nature. Tranquillity, self-restraint, ascetic austerities, purity,
forgiveness, rectitude, knowledge, experience, and belief (in an
existence hereafter),–these are the duties of Brahmanas, born of (their
proper) nature. Bravery, energy, firmness, skill, not flying away from
battle, liberality, the bearing of a ruler,–these are the duties of
Kshatriyas, born of (their proper) nature. Agriculture, tending of
cattle, and trade, are the natural duties of Vaisyas. Of Sudras also, the
natural duty consists in servitude. Every man, engaged in his own duties,
attains to perfection. Hear now how one obtains perfection by application
to his duties. Him from whom are the movements of all beings, Him by whom
all this is pervaded, worshipping him by (the performance of) one’s own
duty, one obtaineth perfection. Better is one’s own duty though performed
faultily than another’s duty well-performed. Performing the duty
prescribed by (one’s own) nature, one incurreth no sin. One must not
abandon, O son of Kunti, one’s natural duty though tainted with evil, for
all actions are enveloped by evil like fire by smoke. He whose mind is
unattached everywhere, who hath subdued his self, and whose desire hath
departed, obtaineth, through renunciation, the supreme perfection of
freedom from work. Learn from me, only in brief, O son of Kunti, how one,
having obtained (this kind of) perfection, attaineth to Brahma which is
the supreme end of knowledge. Endued with a pure mind, and restraining
his self by constancy, renouncing sound and other objects of sense, and
casting off affection and aversion, he who resideth in a lonely place,
eateth little, and restraineth speech, body, and mind, who is ever intent
on meditation and abstraction, who hath recourse to indifference, who,
abandoning egoism, violence, pride, lust, wrath, and (all) surroundings,
hath been freed from selfishness and is tranquil (in mind), becometh fit
for assimilation with Brahma. Becoming one with Brahma, tranquil in
spirit, (such a) one grieveth not, desireth not; alike to all beings, he
obtaineth the highest devotion to Me. By (that) devotion he truly
understandeth Me. What I am, and who I am; then understanding Me truly,
he entereth into Me forthwith. Even performing all actions at all times
having refuge in Me, he obtaineth, through my favour, the seat that is
eternal and imperishable. Dedicating in thy heart all actions to Me,
being devoted to Me, resorting to mental abstraction, fix thy thoughts
constantly on Me. Fixing thy thoughts on Me, thou wilt surmount all
difficulties through my grace. But if from self-conceit thou wilt not
listen, thou wilt (then) utterly perish. If, having recourse to
self-conceit, thou thinkest–I will not fight,–that resolution of thine
would be vain, (for) Nature will constrain thee. That which, from
delusion, thou dost not wish to do, thou wilt do involuntarily, bound by
thy own duty springing from (thy own) nature. The Lord, O Arjuna,
dwelleth in the region of the heart of beings, turning all beings as if
mounted on a machine, by his illusive power. Seek shelter with Him in
every way, O Bharata. Through his grace thou wilt obtain supreme
tranquillity, the eternal seat. Thus hath been declared to thee by Me the
knowledge that is more mysterious than any (other) matter. Reflecting on
it fully, act as thou likest. Once more, listen to my supernal words, the
most mysterious of all. Exceedingly dear art thou to Me, therefore, I
will declare what is for thy benefit. Set thy heart on Me, become My
devotee, sacrifice to Me, bow down to Me. Then shalt thou come to Me. I
declare to thee truly, (for) thou art dear to Me. Forsaking all
(religious) duties, come to Me as thy sole refuge. I will deliver thee
from all sins. Do not grieve. This is not to be ever declared by thee to
one who practiseth no austerities, to one who is not a devotee, to one
who never waiteth on a preceptor, nor yet to one who calumniateth Me. He
who shall inculcate this supreme mystery to those that are devoted to Me,
offering Me the highest devotion, will come to Me, freed from (all his)
doubts.[307] Amongst men there is none who can do Me a dearer service
than he, nor shall any other on earth be dearer to Me than he. And he who
will study this holy converse between us, by him will have been offered
to Me the sacrifice of knowledge. Such is my opinion. Even the man who,
with faith and without cavil, will hear it (read), even he freed (from
re-birth), will obtain of the blessed regions of those that perform pious
acts. Hath this, O son of Pritha, been heard by thee with mind undirected
to any other objects? Hath thy delusion, (caused) by ignorance, been
destroyed, O Dhananjaya?’

“Arjuna said, ‘My delusion hath been destroyed, and the recollection (of
what I am) hath been gained by me, O Undeteriorating one, through thy
favour. I am now firm. My doubts have been dispelled. I will do thy

Sanjaya continued, “Thus I heard this converse between Vasudeva and the
high-souled son of Pritha, (that is) wonderful and causeth the hair to
stand on end. Through Vyasa’s favour heard I this supreme mystery, this
(doctrine of) Yoga, from Krishna himself, the Lord of Yoga, who declared
it in person. O King recollecting and (again) recollecting this wonderful
(and) holy converse of Kesava and Arjuna, I rejoice over and over again.
Recollecting again and again that wonderful form also of Hari, great is
my amazement, O king, and I rejoice ever more. Thither where Krishna, the
Lord of Yoga (is), thither where the great bowman (Partha) is, thither,
in my opinion, are prosperity, and victory, and greatness, and eternal

[End of the Bhagavad Gita]


Sanjaya said,–“Beholding Dhananjaya then to take up once again (his)
arrows and Gandiva, the mighty car-warriors (of the Pandava party)
uttered a tremendous shout. And those heroes, viz., the Pandavas and the
Somakas, and those who followed them, filled with joy, blew their
sea-born conches. And drums, and Pesis, and Karkachas, and cow-horns were
beaten and blown together, and the uproar made was very loud. And then, O
ruler of men, there came the gods, with Gandharvas and the Pitris, and
the hosts of Siddhas and Charanas, from desire of witnessing (the sight).
And Rishis highly blessed came there in a body with him (Indra) of a
hundred sacrifices at their head, for beholding that great slaughter.
Then, O king, beholding the two armies, that looked like two oceans,
ready for the encounter and continuously moving, the heroic king
Yudhishthira, the Just, putting off his coat of mail and casting aside
his excellent weapon and quickly descending from his car, with joined
hands, proceeded on foot, eyeing the grandsire, with restrained speech,
facing the east, towards the direction where the hostile host was
(standing).[309] And seeing him proceed (thus), Dhananjaya, the son of
Kunti, speedily alighting from his car, followed him, accompanied by his
(other) brothers. And the Lord Vasudeva also followed him behind. And the
principal kings too (of his army), filled with anxiety, followed in the
same path.

“Arjuna said, ‘What is this act of thine, O king, that abandoning thy
brothers, thou proceedest on foot, face eastwards, to the hostile host?’

“Bhimasena said, ‘Where wilt thou go, O king of kings, having cast off
thy coat of mail and weapons, towards the warriors of the foe cased in
mail, and leaving thy brothers, O ruler of earth?’

“Nakula said, ‘Thou art my eldest brother, O Bharata, (beholding) thee
proceeding in this way, fear troubleth my bosom. Tell (us), whither wilt
thou go?’

“Sahadeva said, ‘When these hostile divisions, terrible and numerous, are
here with whom we are to fight, whither dost thou go, O king, in the
direction of our foes?’

Sanjaya continued, “Though thus addressed by his brothers, O son of
Kuru’s race, Yudhishthira of restrained speech said nothing but continued
to proceed. Unto them (then), the high-souled Vasudeva of great wisdom
smilingly said,–His object is known to me. Having paid his respects to
all his superiors (such as) Bhishma, Drona, and Kripa, and Salya also, he
will fight the foe. It is heard in histories of olden times that he who,
having paid his respects according to the ordinance unto his preceptors,
revered in years and his kinsmen, fighteth with those that are his
superiors, is sure to obtain victory in battle. Even that is my
opinion.–When Krishna was saying this, among the ranks of
Dhritarashtra’s son, a loud uproar of Alas, and Oh arose, but the other
(army) remained perfectly still. Beholding Yudhishthira, the heroic
warriors of Dhritarashtra’s Son conversed with one another saying,–‘This
one is an infamous wretch of his race. It is plain that this king is
coming in terror towards Bhishma’s side. Yudhishthira, with his brothers,
hath become a seeker after (Bhishma’s) shelter. When Dhananjaya, however,
is (his) protector, and Pandu’s son Vrikodara, and Nakula, and Sahadeva
also, why doth the (eldest) son of Pandu come (hither) in fear? Though
celebrated in the world, this one, however, could never have been born in
the Kshatriya order, since he is weak and his bosom is filled with fear
(at the prospect) of battle.’ Then those warriors all praised the
Kauravas. And all of them, becoming rejoiced, with cheerful hearts waved
their garments. And, O monarch, all the warriors there (then) censured
Yudhishthira with all his brothers and along with Kesava too. Then the
Kaurava army, having said Fie to Yudhishthira, soon again, O monarch,
became perfectly still,–What will this king say? What will Bhishma say
in reply? What will Bhima boastful of his powers in battle, (say), and
what Krishna and Arjuna? What, indeed, hath (Yudhishthira) to say?–Great
was the curiosity then, O king, of both the armies in respect of
Yudhishthira. The king (meanwhile), penetrating the hostile array
bristling with arrows and darts, proceeded quickly towards Bhishma,
surrounded by his brothers. Seizing his feet with his two hands, the
royal son of Pandu then said unto Santanu’s son Bhishma who was there
ready for battle, (these words).

“Yudhishthira said, ‘I salute thee, O invincible one. With thee we will
do battle. Grant (us) thy permission in that matter. Give (us) also (thy)

“Bhishma said, ‘If, O lord of the earth, thou hadst not, in this battle
come to me thus, I would have, O great king, cursed thee, O Bharata, for
bringing about thy defeat. I am gratified (with thee), O son. Do battle,
and obtain victory, O son of Pandu, What else may be desired by thee,
obtain thou in battle. Solicit also the boon, O son of Pritha, which thou
desirest to have from us. If it happens so, O great king, then defeat
will not be thine. A man is the slave of wealth, but wealth is no one’s
slave. This is very true, O king. I have been bound by the Kauravas with
(their) wealth. It is for this, O son of Kuru’s race, that like a eunuch
I am uttering these words, viz.,–Bound I am by the Kauravas with wealth.
Battle excepted, what dost thou desire?[310]’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O thou of great wisdom, do thou, desirous of my
welfare, from day to day, consult my interests. Do battle, however for
the sake of the Kauravas. Even this is always my prayer (to thee).’

“Bhishma said, ‘O king, O son of Kuru’s race, what aid can I render thee
in this? I shall, of course, fight for (thy) foes. Tell me what thou hast
to say.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Therefore, O Sire, I ask thee, I bow to thee, O
grandsire, how shall we, in battle, vanquish thee that art invincible?
Tell me this that is for my benefit, if indeed, thou seest any good in

“Bhishma said, ‘I do not, O son of Kunti, see the person who, even if he
were the chief of the celestials himself, can defeat me in battle when I

“Yudhishthira said, ‘My salutations to thee, O grandsire. Therefore, do I
ask thee (this). Tell us how thy own death may be compassed by foes in

“Bhishma said, ‘I do not see the person, O sire, who can vanquish me in
battle. The time also of my death is not yet come to me once again.”

Sanjaya continued,–“Then, O son of Kuru’s race, Yudhishthira, once more
saluting him, accepted Bhishma’s words with a bend of his head. And that
mighty-armed one then proceeded towards the car of the preceptor ( Drona)
through the midst of all the soldiers who were eyeing him, accompanied by
his brothers. Then saluting Drona and walking round him, the king spoke
to that invincible warrior words that were for his own benefit.[311]

“Yudhishthira said, ‘I ask thee, O invincible one, how I may fight
without incurring sin, and how, with thy permission, O regenerate one, I
may vanquish all my foes?[312]

“Drona said, ‘If, having resolved to fight, thou hadst not come to me
(thus), I would have cursed thee. O king, for thy complete overthrow. I
am, however, gratified, O Yudhishthira, and honoured by thee, O sinless
one. I permit thee, fight and obtain victory. I will also fulfil thy
wish. Say what thou hast to say. Under these circumstances, battle
excepted, what dost thou wish? A man is the slave of wealth, but wealth
is not one’s slave. This is quite true, O king! Bound I have been with
(their) wealth by the Kauravas! It is for this that like a eunuch I shall
fight for the sake of the Kauravas. It is for this that like a eunuch I
am uttering these words–Battle excepted, what dost thou wish? I shall
fight for the sake of the Kauravas, but will pray for thy victory.'[313]

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Pray for my victory, O regenerate one, and counsel
what is for my good. Fight, however, for the Kauravas. This is the boon
solicited by me.’

“Drona said, ‘Victory, O king, is certain for thee that hast Hari for thy
counsellor. I (also) grant thee that thou wilt vanquish thy foes in
battle. Thither where righteousness is, thither is Krishna, and thither
where Krishna is, thither is victory. Go, fight, O son of Kunti! Ask me,
what shall I say unto thee?’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘I ask thee, O foremost of regenerate ones, listen to
what I have to say. How shall we in battle vanquish thee that art

“Drona said, ‘As long as I will fight, so long victory can never be
thine. (Therefore) O king, seek with thy brothers, for my speedy

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Alas, for this, O thou of mighty arms, tell (us) the
means of thy death. O preceptor, prostrating myself I ask thee this. (My)
salutations to thee.”

“Drona said, ‘The foe, O sire, I see not who may slay me while standing
in battle I am engaged in fight, with wrath excited, and scattering (my)
arrowy showers continually. Except when addrest for death O king, having
abandoned my arms and withdrawn (in Yoga meditation) from surrounding
sights, none will be able to slay me. This that I tell thee is true. I
also tell thee truly that I will cast off my arms in battle, having heard
something very disagreeable from some one of credible speech.–‘”

Sanjaya continued, “Hearing these words, O king, of the wise son of
Bharadwaja, and honouring the preceptor, (Yudhishthira then) proceeded
towards the son of Saradwat. And saluting Kripa and walking round him, O
king, Yudhishthira, accomplished in speech, said these words unto that
warrior of great valour.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Obtaining thy permission, O preceptor, I will fight
without incurring sin, and permitted by thee, O sinless one, I will
vanquish all (my) foes.”

“Kripa said, ‘If having resolved on fight, thou hadst not come to me
(thus), I would have cursed thee, O king, for thy complete overthrow. A
man is the slave of wealth, but wealth is no one’s slave. This is very
true, O king, and bound I have been with wealth by the Kauravas. I must,
O king, fight for their sake. This is my opinion. I therefore, speak like
a eunuch in asking thee,–Battle excepted, what dost thou desire?’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Alas, I ask thee, therefore., O preceptor, listen to
my words.–Saying this, the king, greatly agitated and deprived of his
sense, stood silent.”

Sanjaya continued.–“Understanding, however, what he intended to say,
Gautama (Kripa) replied to him, saying,–I am incapable of being slain, O
king. Fight, and obtain victory. I am gratified with thy coming. Rising
every day [from bed] I will pray for thy victory, O monarch. I say this
to thee truly.–Hearing, O king, these words of Gautama, and paying him
due honours, the king proceeded thither where the ruler of the Madra was.
Saluting Salya and walking round him the king said unto that invincible
warrior those words that were for his own benefit.

‘Yudhishthira said,–‘Obtaining thy permission, O invincible one, I will
fight without incurring sin, and permitted by thee, O king, I will
vanquish (my) valourous foes.'[314]–

“Salya said, ‘If, having resolved on fight, thou hadst not come to me
(thus), I would have, O king, cursed thee for thy overthrow in battle. I
am gratified (with thee) and honoured (by thee). Let it be as thou
wishest. I grant thee permission, fight and obtain victory. Speak, O
hero, for what hast thou any need? What shalt I give thee? Under these
circumstances, O king, battle excepted, what dost thou desire? A man is
the slave of wealth but wealth is no one’s slave. This is true, O king.
Bound I have been with wealth by the Kauravas, O nephew, it is for this
that I am speaking to thee like a eunuch,–I will accomplish the desire
thou mayst cherish. Battle excepted, what dost thou wish.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Think, O king, daily of what is for my great good.
Fight, according to thy pleasure, for the sake of the foe. This is the
boon that I solicit.’

“Salya said, ‘Under these circumstances, say, O best of kings what aid
shall I render thee? I shall, of course, fight for the sake of (thy)
enemy, for I have been made one of their party by the Kauravas with their

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Even that is my boon, O Salya, which was solicited
by me during the preparations (for the fight). The energy of the Suta’s
son (Karna) should be weakened by thee in battle.’

“Salya said, ‘This thy wish, O Yudhishthira, shall be accomplished, O son
of Kunti. Go, fight according to thy pleasure. I shall look after thy

‘Sanjaya continued, “Having obtained the permission of his maternal
uncle, the ruler of the Madra, the son of Kunti, surrounded by his
brothers, came out of that vast army. Vasudeva then went to Radha’s son
on the field of battle. And the elder brother of Gada, for the sake of
the Pandavas, then said to Karna,–It hath been heard by me, O Karna,
that from hatred of Bhishma thou wilt not fight. Come to our side, O son
of Radha, and (stay with us) as long as Bhishma is not slain. After
Bhishma is slain, O son of Radha, thou mayst then again engage in battle
on Duryodhana’s side, if thou hast no preference for any of the

“Karna said, ‘I will not do anything that is disagreeable to
Dhritarashtra’s son, O Kesava. Devoted to Duryodhana’s good, know that I
have cast off my life (for him).–Hearing these words (of Karna), Krishna
ceased, O Bharata, and reunited himself with the sons of Pandu headed by
Yudhishthira. Then amid all the warriors the eldest son of Pandu, loudly
exclaimed,–He who will choose us, him we shall choose for our
ally!–Casting his eyes then upon them, Yuyutsu said these words, with a
cheerful heart, unto Kunti’s son king Yudhishthira the Just,–I will
fight under thee in battle, for the sake of you all, with the sons of
Dhritarashtra, if, O king, thou wilt accept me, sinless one.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Come, come, all of us will fight with thy foolish
brothers. O Yuyutsu, both Vasudeva and we all say to thee–I accept thee,
O thou of mighty arms, fight for my cause. On thee rests, it seems, the
thread of Dhritarashtra’s line as also his funeral cake. O prince, O thou
of great splendour, accept us that accept thee. The wrathful Duryodhana
of wicked understanding will cease to live.'”

Sanjaya continued, ‘Yuvutsu then, abandoning the Kurus thy sons, went
over to the army of the Pandavas, with beat of drums and cymbals. Then
king Yudhishthira of mighty arms, filled with joy, again put on his
shining coat of mail of golden effulgence. And those bulls among men then
mounted their respective cars. And they counter-arrayed their troops in
battle-array as before. And they caused drums and cymbals in many
hundreds to be sounded. And those bulls among men also set up diverse
leonine roars.[316] And beholding those tigers among men, viz., the sons
of Pandu, on their cars, the kings (on their side) with Dhrishtadyumna
and others, once more set up shouts of joy. And beholding the nobility of
the sons of Pandu who had paid due honour to those that were deserving of
honour, all the kings there present applauded them highly. And the
monarchs, talked with one another about the friendship, the compassion,
and the kindness to kinsmen, displayed at the proper season by those
high-souled personages. Excellent,–Excellent,–were the delightful words
everywhere bruited about, coupled with eulogistic hymns about those
famous men. And in consequence of this the minds and hearts of every one
there were attracted towards them. And the Mlechchhas and the Aryas there
who witnessed or heard of that behaviour of the sons of Pandu, all wept
with choked voices. And those warriors then, endued with great energy,
caused large drums and Pushkaras by hundreds upon hundreds to be sounded
and also blew their conches all white as the milk of cows.'”


Dhritarashtra said, ‘When the divisions of both my side and the foe were
thus arrayed, who struck first, the Kurus or the Pandavas?’

Sanjaya said, “Hearing those words of his (elder) brother, thy son
Dussasana advanced with his troops, with Bhishma at their head, and the
Pandavas also advanced with cheerful hearts, desiring battle with
Bhishma, having Bhimasena at their head. Then leonine, shouts, and
clamorous uproars and the noise of Krakachas, the blare of cow-horns, and
the sound of drums and cymbals and tabors, arose in both armies. And the
warriors of the foe rushed against us, and we also (rushed) against them
with loud shouts. And the uproar (caused by this rush) was
deafening.[317] The vast hosts of the Pandavas and the Dhartarashtras, in
that awfully murderous encounter shook in consequence of that uproar of
conches and cymbals, like forests shaken by the wind.[318] And the din
made by those hosts teeming with kings, elephants, and steeds, rushing
against one another in that evil hour, was as loud as that of oceans
agitated by the tempest. And when that din, loud and causing the hair to
stand on end, arose, the mighty-armed Bhimasena began to roar like a
bull. And those roars of Bhimasena rose above the clamour of conches and
drums, the grunts of elephants, and the leonine shouts of the combatants.
Indeed, the shouts of Bhimasena transcended the noise made by the
thousands of chargers neighing in (both) the armies. And hearing those
shouts of Bhimasena who was roaring like the clouds, shouts that
resembled the report of Sakra’s thunder, thy warriors were filled with
fear. And at those roars of the hero, the steeds and elephants all
ejected urine and excreta like other animals at the roar of the lion. And
roaring like a deep mass of clouds, and assuming an awful form, that hero
frightened thy sons and fell upon them.[319] Thereupon the brothers,
viz., thy sons Duryodhana, and Durmukha and Dussaha, and that mighty
car-warrior Dussasana, and Durmarshana, O king, and Vivingsati, and
Chitrasena, and the great car-warrior Vikarna and also Purumitra, and
Jaya, and Bhoja, and the valorous son of Somadatta, shaking their
splendid bows like masses of clouds exhibiting the lightning’s flashes,
and taking out (of their quivers) long arrows resembling snakes that have
just cast off their sloughs, surrounded that mighty bowman rushing
(towards them) covering him with flights of arrows like the clouds
shrouding the sun. And the (five) sons of Draupadi, and the mighty
car-warrior Saubhadra,[320] and Nakula, and Sahadeva, and Dhrishtadyumna
of Prishata’s race, rushed against (those) Dhartarashtras, tearing them
with whetted shafts like summits of mountains with the impetuous bolts of
heaven. And in that first encounter characterised by the awful twang of
bow-strings and their flapping against the leathern fences (of the
warriors)[321] no combatant, either on thy side or that of the foe,
turned back. And, O bull of Bharata’s race, I beheld the lightness of
hand of the disciples of Drona (in particular), who, shooting innumerable
arrows, O king, always succeeded in hitting the mark.[322] And the twang
of sounding bowstrings ceased not for a moment, and the blazing arrows
shot through (the air) like meteors (falling) from the firmament. And all
the other kings, O Bharata, stood like (silent) spectators witnessing
that interesting and awful encounter of kinsmen. And then those mighty
car-warriors, with wrath excited and remembering the injuries sustained
at one another’s hands, strove in battle, O king, challenging one
another. And the two armies of the Kurus and the Pandavas, teeming with
elephants, steeds and cars, looked exceedingly beautiful on the field of
battle like painted figures on a canvas. And then the (other) kings all
took up their bows. And the Sun himself was shrouded by the dust raised
by the combatants. And they fell upon one another, at the heads of their
(respective) troops, at the command of thy son. And the loud uproar made
by the elephants and the chargers of those kings rushing to the combat,
mingled with the leonine shouts of the combatants and the din made by the
blare of conches and the sounds of drums. And the uproar of that ocean
having arrows for its crocodiles, bows for its snakes, swords for its
tortoises, and the forward leaps of the warriors for its tempest,
resembled the din made by the (actual) ocean when agitated. And kings in
thousands, commanded by Yudhishthira, with their (respective) troops fell
upon the ranks of thy son. And the encounter between the combatants of
the two hosts was fierce in the extreme. And no difference could be
perceived between the combatants of our side or that of the foe, while
battling, or retreating in broken array or rallying again to the fight.
In that terrific and awful battle, thy father (Bhishma) shone,
transcending that countless host.


Sanjaya said, “On the forenoon of that awful day, O king, the terrible
battle that mangled the bodies of (so many) kings commenced. And the loud
shouts, resembling leonine roars of the Kurus and the Srinjayas, both
desirous of victory in battle, made both the welkin and the earth resound
therewith. And a tumultuous uproar was heard mingled with the flaps of
leathern fences and the blare of conches. And many were the leonine roars
that rose there of men shouting against one another. And, O bull of
Bharata’s race, the sound of bowstrings stretched by (hands cased in)
fences, the heavy tread of infantry, the furious neigh of chargers, the
falling of sticks and iron hooks (on the beads of elephants), the clash
of weapons, the jingle of bells of elephants rushing against one another,
and the clatter of cars resembling the roar of clouds, mingled together,
produced a loud uproar making one’s hair stand on end. And all the Kuru
warriors, reckless of their very lives and with cruel intentions, rushed,
with standards upraised, against the Pandavas. And Santanu’s son himself,
taking up a terrible bow that resembled the rod of Death, rushed, O king,
on the field of battle, against Dhananjaya. And Arjuna also, endued with
great energy, taking up the bow Gandiva celebrated overall the world,
rushed, on the field of battle, against Ganga’s son. And both those
tigers among the Kurus became desirous of slaying each other. The mighty
son of Ganga however, piercing in battle the son of Pritha could not make
him waver. And so, O king, the son of Pandu also could not make Bhishma
waver in battle. And the mighty bowman Satyaki rushed against
Kritavarman. And the battle between these two was fierce in the extreme
and made the hair (of onlookers) stand on end. And Satyaki afflicted
Kritavarman, and Kritavarman afflicted Satyaki, with loud shouts and each
weakened the other. And pierced all over with arrows those mighty
warriors shone like two blossoming Kinsukas in spring adorned with
flowers. And the mighty bowman Abhimanyu battled with Vrihadvala. Soon,
however, in that encounter, O king, the ruler of Kosala cut off the
standard and overthrew the charioteer of Subhadra’s son. The son of
Subhadra then upon the overthrow of his charioteer, was filled with wrath
and pierced Vrihadvala, O king, with nine shafts, and with a couple of
sharp arrows that grinder of foes also cut off (Vrihadvala’s) standard,
and with one (more) cut off one of the protectors of his car-wheels and
with the other his charioteer.[323] And those chastisers of foes
continued to weaken each other with sharp arrows. And Bhimasena struggled
in battle with thy son Duryodhana, that mighty car-warrior, proud and
inflated, who had injured (the sons of Pandu). Both of those foremost
(princes) among the Kurus, are tigers among men and mighty car-warriors.
And they covered each other, on the field of battle, with their arrowy
showers. And beholding those high-souled and accomplished warriors
conversant with all modes of warfare, all creatures were filled with
amazement of Bharata. And Dussasana, rushing against that mighty
car-warrior Nakula, pierced him with many sharp arrows capable of
penetrating into the very vitals. The son of Madri, then, laughing the
while, cut off, with sharp arrows (of his), adversary’s standard and bow,
and then he struck him with five and twenty small-headed arrows. Thy son,
however, then, who can with difficulty be vanquished, slew in that fierce
encounter the steeds of Nakula and cut off his standard. And Durmukha
rushing against the mighty Sahadeva battling in that terrific encounter,
pierced him with a shower of arrows. The heroic Sahadeva then, in that
fearful battle, overthrew Durmukha’s charioteer with an arrow of great
sharpness. Both of them, irrepressible in fight, approaching each other
in combat, and each attacking the other and desirous of warding off the
other’s attack, began to strike terror into each other with terrible
shafts. And king Yudhishthira himself encountered the ruler of the
Madras. The chief of the Madras then in his very sight cut off in twain
Yudhishthira’s bow. Thereupon the son of Kunti, throwing aside that
broken bow, took up another that was stronger and capable of imparting a
greater velocity. The king then, with straight arrows, covered the ruler
of the Madras, and in great wrath said, ‘wait, wait’. And Dhrishtadyumna,
O Bharata rushed against Drona. And Drona, then, in great wrath, cut off
in that encounter the hard bow of the high-souled prince of Panchala that
was capable of always taking the lives of foes. And at the same time he
shot in that conflict a terrible arrow that was like a second rod of
Death. And the arrow shot penetrated the body of the prince. Taking up
then another bow and fourteen arrows, the son of Drupada pierced Drona in
that encounter. And enraged with each other, they battled on fiercely.
And the impetuous Sankha encountered Somadatta’s son who was equally
impetuous in battle and addressed him, O king, saying ‘wait, wait’. And
that hero then pierced his (adversary’s) right arm in that combat. And
thereupon the son of Somadatta struck Sankha on the shoulders. And the
battle that ensued between those two proud heroes, O king, soon became as
terrible as a combat between the gods and the Danavas. And that mighty
car-warrior Dhrishtaketu of immeasurable soul, with wrath excited, rushed
in battle, O king, against Valhika, the very embodiment of wrath.
Valhika, then, O king, setting up a leonine roar, weakened the wrathful
Dhrishtaketu with innumerable arrows. The king of the Chedis, however,
exceedingly provoked, quickly pierced Valhika in that encounter with nine
arrows. Like an infuriate elephant against an infuriate elephant, in that
combat they roared against each other repeatedly, both exceedingly
enraged. And they encountered each other with great wrath and looked like
the planets Angaraka and Sukra.[324] And Ghatotkacha of cruel deeds
encountered the Rakshasa Alamvusha of cruel deeds like Sakra
(encountering) Vala in battle. And Ghatotkacha, O Bharata, pierced that
infuriate and powerful Rakshasa with ninety keen-edged shafts. And
Alamvusha also in that combat pierced the mighty son of Bhimasena in many
places with straight arrows (of his). And mangled with arrows they shone
in that encounter like the mighty Sakra and the powerful Vala in the
combat (of old) between the celestials and the Asuras. The powerful
Sikhandin, O king, rushed against Drona’s son, Aswatthaman, however
deeply piercing the angry Sikhandin stationed (before him) with a
keen-edged shaft, caused him to tremble, Sikhandin also, O king, smote
Drona’s son with a sharp-whetted shaft of excellent temper. And they
continued in that encounter to strike each other with various kinds of
arrows. And against the heroic Bhagadatta in battle, Virata, the
commander of a large division, rushed impetuously, O king, and then
commenced (their) combat. Virata, exceedingly provoked, poured on
Bhagadatta an arrowy shower like, O Bharata, the clouds showering rain on
the mountain breast. But Bhagadatta, that lord of the earth, speedily
enveloped Virata in that encounter (with arrows) like the clouds
enveloping the risen sun. Kripa, the son of Saradwat, rushed against
Vrihadkshatra, the ruler of the Kaikeyas. And Kripa, O Bharata, enveloped
him with a shower of arrows. Vrihadkshatra also shrouded the infuriate
son of Gautama with an arrowy downpour. And those warriors, then, having
slain each other’s steeds and cut off each other’s bows, were both
deprived of their cars. And exceedingly enraged, they then approached
each other for fighting with their swords. And the combat which then took
place between them was terrible in aspect and unparalleled. That
chastiser of foes, king Drupada, then, in great wrath rushed against
Jayadratha, the ruler of the Sindhus, cheerfully waiting (for battle).
The ruler of the Sindhus pierced Drupada in that combat with three
shafts, and Drupada pierced him in return. And the battle that took place
between them was terrible and fierce, and productive of satisfaction in
the hearts of all the spectators and resembling a conflict between the
planets Sukra and Angaraka. And Vikarna, son to thee, with fleet steeds,
rushed against the mighty Sutasoma and the combat between them commenced.
Vikarna, however, although he pierced Sutasoma with many arrows, failed
to make him waver. Neither could Sutasoma make Vikarna waver. And that
appeared wonderful (to all). And against Susarman, that mighty
car-warrior and tiger among men, viz., Chekitana of great prowess, rushed
in exceeding wrath for the sake of the Pandavas. And Susarman also, O
great king, in that encounter checked the advance of that mighty
car-warrior Chekitana with plentiful shower of arrows. And Chekitana
also, greatly provoked, showered on Susarman, in that terrible conflict,
a shower of arrows like a mighty mass of clouds showering rain on the
mountain breast. And Sakuni, endued with great prowess, rushed, O king,
against Prativindhya[325] of great prowess, like a lion against an
infuriate elephant. Thereupon the son of Yudhishthira, in exceeding
wrath, mangled Suvala’s son in that combat, with sharp arrows, like
Maghavat[326] (mangling) a Danava. And Sakuni also, in that fierce
conflict, pierced Prativindhya in return and mangled that warrior of
great intelligence with straight arrows. And Srutakarman rushed in
battle, O great king, against that mighty car-warrior Sudakshina of great
prowess, the ruler of the Kamvojas. Sudakshina, however, O great king,
piercing that mighty car-warrior, viz., the son of Sahadeva, failed to
make him waver (for he stood) like the Mainaka mountain (against the
assaults of Indra). Thereupon Srutakarman, exceedingly provoked, weakened
that mighty car-warrior of the Kamvojas with innumerable arrows and
mangled him in every part of his body. And Iravan, that chastiser of
foes, in great wrath and exerting carefully, rushed in battle against the
wrathful Srutayush. The powerful son of Arjuna, that mighty car-warrior,
then slaying the steeds of his adversary, set up a loud roar, and
thereupon, O king, all the warriors (who saw the feat) praised him
greatly. And Srutasena also, exceedingly provoked, slew in that conflict
the steeds of Falguni’s son with a powerful mace, and the battle between
them continued. And Vinda and Anuvinda, those two princes of Avanti,
approached in battle that mighty car-warrior the heroic Kuntibhoja at the
head of his troops accompanied by his son. And wonderful was the prowess
we beheld of those two princes on that occasion, for they fought on very
cooly though battling with a large body of troops. And Anuvinda hurled a
mace at Kuntibhoja, but Kuntibhoja quickly covered him with a shower of
arrows. And the son of Kuntibhoja pierced Vinda with many arrows, and the
latter also pierced him in return. And the combat (between them) looked
very wonderful. And the Kekaya brothers, O sire, at the head of their
troops, encountered in battle the five Gandhara princes with their
troops. And thy son Viravahu battled with that best of car-warriors
Uttara, the son of Virata and pierced him with nine arrows. And Uttara
also pierced that hero with sharp-edged arrows. And the ruler of the
Chedis, O king, rushed in battle against Uluka. And he pierced Uluka with
a shower of arrows, and Uluka also pierced him with sharp arrows
furnished with excellent wing. And the combat that took place between
them, O king, was fierce in the extreme, for unable to vanquish each
other, they mangled each other terribly. And thus in that general
engagement thousands of single combats took place between men on car,
warriors on elephants and horsemen, and foot-soldiers, of their side and
thine. For a short while only that engagement offered a beautiful sight.
Soon, however, O king, it became furious and nothing could be discovered.
In the battle (that ensued) elephants rushed against elephants,
car-warriors against car-warriors, steed against steed and foot-soldier
against foot-soldier. The conflict then became confused and fierce in the
extreme, of heroes rushing against each other in the melee. And the
celestial Rishi, and Siddhas and Charanas, that were present there,
beheld that terrific battle to resemble the combat of the gods and the
Asuras. And elephants in thousands, and cars also in thousands, and vast
bodies of infantry, O sire, seemed to alter their character.[327] And, O
tiger among men, it was seen that cars and elephants and steeds and
infantry fought with each other repeatedly on the same places.[328]


Sanjaya said,–“O king, I will now describe to thee the combats of
hundreds and thousands of foot-soldiers. O Bharata, in utter
forgetfulness of all consideration due to others. There the son
recognised not the sire, the sire (recognised not) the son of his loins,
the brother (recognised not) the brother, the sister’s son (recognised
not) the maternal uncle. The maternal uncle (recognised not) the sister’s
son, the friend not the friend. The Pandavas and the Kurus fought as if
they were possessed by demons. Some tigers among men, fell with cars into
pieces. And the shafts of cars broke clashing against shafts, and the
spikes of car-yokes against spikes of car-yokes. And some (warriors)
united together encountered others that were united together, all
desirous of taking one another’s life-And some cars, obstructed by cars,
were unable to move. And huge-bodied elephants with rent temples, falling
upon huge elephants, angrily tore one another in many places with their
tusks. Others, O king, encountering impetuous and huge ones of their
species with arched edifices and standards (on their backs) and trained
to the fight struck with their tusks, shrieked in great agony.[329]
Disciplined by training and urged on by pikes and hooks, elephants not in
rut rushed straight against those that were in rut.[330] And some huge
elephants, encountering compeers in rut, ran, uttering cries like those
of cranes, in all directions. And many huge elephants, well-trained, and
with juice trickling down from rent temples and mouth, mangle with
swords, lances, and arrows, and pierced in their vital parts, shrieked
aloud and falling down expired. And some, uttering frightful cries, ran
in all directions. The foot-soldiers that protected the elephants, endued
with broad chests, and capable of smiting effectually, with wrath
excited, and armed with pikes and bows, and bright battle-axes, and with
maces and clubs, and short arrows, and lances, and with shafts, and stout
bludgeons mounted with iron spikes and swords, well-grasped of the
brightest polish, ran hither and thither, O king, and seemed resolved to
take one another’s life. And the sabres of brave combatants rushing
against one another steeped in human blood, seemed to shine brightly. And
the whiz of swords whirled and made to descend by heroic arms and falling
upon the vital parts (of the bodies) of foes, became very loud. And the
heart-ending wails of combatants in multitudinous hosts, crushed with
maces and clubs, and cut off with well-tempered swords, and pierced with
the tusks of elephants, and grained by tuskers, calling upon one another,
were heard, O Bharata, to resemble the wails of those that are doomed to
hell. And horsemen, on chargers of exceeding speed and furnished with
outstretched tails resembling (the Plumes of) swans, rushed against one
another. And hurled by them, long-bearded darts adorned with pure gold,
fleet, and polished, and sharp-pointed, fell like snakes.[331] And some
heroic horsemen, on coursers of speed, leaping high, cut off the heads of
car-warriors from their cars.[332] And (here and there) a car-warrior,
getting bodies of cavalry within shooting distance, slew many with
straight shafts furnished with heads. And many infuriate elephants
adorned with trapping of gold, and looking like newly-risen clouds,
throwing down steed, crushed them with their own legs. And some elephants
struck on their frontal globes and flanks, and mangled by means of
lances, shrieked aloud in great agony. And many huge elephants, in the
bewildering of the melee, crushing steeds with their riders, threw them
down. And some elephants, overthrowing with the points of their tusks,
steeds with their riders, wandered, crushing cars with their standards.
And some huge male elephants, from excess of energy and with the temporal
juice gushing down in large quantities, slew steeds along with their
riders by means of their trunks and legs. Fleet arrows polished and
sharp-pointed and resembling snakes fell upon the heads, the temples, the
flanks, and the limbs of elephants. And polished javelins of terrible
mien, and looking like large meteoric flashes, hurled by heroic arms,
felt hither and thither, O king, piercing through the bodies of men and
horses, and cutting through coats of mail. And many taking out their
polished sabres from sheaths made of the skins of leopards and tigers,
slew the combatants opposed to them in battle. And many warriors, though
themselves attacked and had the flanks of their bodies cut open, yet
angrily fell upon (their foes) with swords, shields and battle-axes. And
some elephants dragging down and overthrowing cars with their steeds by
means of their trunks, began to wander in all directions, guided by the
cries of those behind them. And hither and thither some pierced by
javelins, and some cut asunder by battle-axes, and some crushed by
elephants and others trod down by horses, and some cut by car-wheels, and
some by axes, loudly called upon their kinsmen, O king. And some called
upon their sons, and some upon their sires, and some upon brother and
kinsmen. And some called upon their maternal uncles, and some upon their
sister’s sons. And some called upon others, on the field of battle. And a
very large number of combatants, O Bharata, lost their weapons, or had
their thighs broken. And other with arms torn off or sides pierced or cut
open, were seen to wail aloud, from desire of life. And some, endued with
little strength, tortured by thirst, O king, and lying on the field of
battle on the bare ground, asked for water. And some, weltering in pools
of blood and excessively weakened, O Bharata, greatly censured themselves
and thy sons assembled together for battle. And there were brave
Kshatriyas, who having injured one another, did not abandon their weapons
or set up any wails, O sire, On the other hand, lying in those places
where they lay, roared with joyful hearts, and biting from wrath with
their teeth their own lips, looked at one another with faces rendered
fierce in consequence of the contraction of their eyebrows. And others
endued with great strength and tenacity in great pain, afflicted by
arrows and smarting under their wounds, remained perfectly silent. And
other heroic car-warriors, deprived, in the encounter, of their own cars
and thrown down and wounded by huge elephants, asked to be taken up on
the cars of others. And many, O king, looked beautiful in their wounds
like blossoming Kinsukas. And in all the divisions were heard terrific
cries, countless in number. And in that awful combat destructive of
heroes, the sire slew the son, the son slew the sire, the sister’s son
slew the maternal uncle, the maternal uncle slew the sister’s son, friend
slew friend, and relatives slew kinsmen. Even thus the slaughter took
place in that encounter of the Kurus with the Pandavas. And in that
frightful and terrible battle in which no consideration was shown (by
anybody for anybody), the divisions of the Pandavas, approaching Bhishma,
began to waver. And, O bull of Bharata’s race, the mighty-armed Bhishma,
O king, with his standard which was made of silver and graced with the
device of the palmyra with five stars, setting upon his great car, shone
like the lunar orb under the peak of Meru.”


Sanjaya said,–“After the great part of the forenoon of that awful day
had worn out, in that terrific engagement, O king, that was (so)
destructive of foremost of men[333], Durmukha and Kritavarman, and Kripa,
and Salya, and Vivinsati, urged by thy son, approached Bhishma and began
to protect him. And protected by those five mighty car-warriors. O bull
of Bharata’s race, that great car-warrior penetrated the Pandava host.
And the palmyra standard of Bhishma was seen to glide continually, O
Bharata, through the Chedis, the Kasis, the Karushas, and the Panchalas.
And that hero, with broad-headed shafts of great swiftness which were
again perfectly straight, cut off the heads (of foes) and their cars with
yokes and standards. And, O bull of Bharata’s race, Bhishma seemed to
dance on his car as it coursed along its track. And some elephants,
struck (by him) in their vital parts, shrieked in agony. Then Abhimanyu
in great wrath, stationed on his car unto which were yoked excellent
steeds of a tawny hue, rushed towards Bhishma’s car. And with his
standard adorned with pure gold and resembling a Karnikara tree, he
approached Bhishma and those (five) foremost of car-warriors. And
striking with a keen-edged shaft the standard of the palmyra-bannered
(warrior), that hero engaged in battle with Bhishma and those other
car-warriors that protected him.[334] Piercing Kritavarman with one
arrow, and Salya with five, he weakened his great-grandsire with nine
arrows. And with one arrow well shot from his bow drawn to its fullest
stretch, he cut off (his adversary’s) standard adorned with pure gold.
And with one broad-headed shaft capable of penetrating every cover, which
was perfectly straight, he cut off from his body the head of Durmukha’s
charioteer. And with another keen-edged arrow he cut in twain the
gold-decked bow of Kripa. And them also, with many sharp-pointed shafts,
that mighty car-warrior smote in great wrath, seeming to dance (the
while). And beholding his lightness of hand, the very gods were
gratified. And in consequence of Abhimanyu’s sureness of aim, all the
car-warriors headed by Bhishma regarded him to be possessed of the
capacity of Dhananjaya himself.[335] And his bow, emitting a twang like
that of Gandiva, while stretched and re-stretched, seemed to revolve like
a circle of fire.[336] Bhishma then, that slayer of hostile heroes,
rushing on him impetuously, speedily pierced the son of Arjuna in that
combat with nine arrows. And he also, with three broad-headed shafts, cut
off the standard of that warrior of great energy. Of rigid vows, Bhishma
also struck his (adversary’s) charioteer. And Kritavarman, and Kripa, and
Salya also, O sire, piercing Arjuna’s son, all failed to make him waver,
for he stood firm like the Mainaka mountain. And the heroic son of
Arjuna, though surrounded by those mighty car-warriors of the
Dhartarashtra army, still showered on those five car-warriors arrowy
downpours. And baffling their mighty weapons by his arrowy showers, and
pouring on Bhishma his shafts, the powerful son of Arjuna set up loud
shout. And struggling in the battle thus and afflicting Bhishma with
(his) arrows, the strength we saw of his arms then was very great. But
though endued with such prowess Bhishma also shot his arrows at him. But
he cut off in that combat the arrows shot from Bhishma’s bow. And then
that heroic warrior of arrows that were never lost, cut off with nine
arrows, in that combat, the standard of Bhishma. And at that feat the
people there set up a loud shout. Decked with jewels and made of silver,
that tall standard bearing the device of the palmyra, cut off, O Bharata,
by the shafts of Subhadra’s son, fell down on the earth. And beholding, O
bull of Bharata’s race, that standard failing in consequence of the
shafts of Subhadra’s son, the proud Bhima set up a loud shout for
cheering the son of Subhadra. Then in fierce combat, the mighty Bhishma
caused many celestial weapons of great efficacy to appear. And the great
grandsire of immeasurable soul then covered Subhadra’s son with thousands
of arrows. And at this, ten great bowmen and mighty car-warriors of the
Pandavas, quickly rushed on their cars for protecting the son of
Subhadra. And those were Virata with his son, and Dhrishtadyumna of
Prishata’s race, and Bhima, the five Kekaya brothers, and Satyaki also, O
king. And as they were falling upon him with great impetuosity, Bhishma
the son of Santanu, in that conflict, pierced the prince of Panchala with
three arrows, and Satyaki with ten. And with one winged arrow, whetted
and sharp-edged as a razor, and shot from his bow drawn to its fullest
stretch, he cut off the standard of Bhimasena. And, O best of men, the
standard of Bhimasena, made of gold and bearing the device of a lion, cut
off by Bhishma, fell from the car. And Bhima then, piercing Santanu’s son
Bhishma in that combat with three arrows, pierced Kripa with one, and
Kritavarman with eight. And Uttara also, the son of Virata, on a tusker
with upraised trunk, rushed against the ruler of the Madras. Salya,
however, succeeded in checking the unparalleled impetuosity of that
prince of elephants rushing quickly towards his car. That prince of
elephants, in great wrath, placing his leg upon the yoke of (Salya’s)
car, killed his four large steeds of excellent speed. The ruler of the
Madras then, staying on that car whose steeds had been slain, hurled a
dart, all made of iron, and resembling a snake, for slaying Uttara
outright. The latter’s coat of mail being cut through by that dart, he
became totally deprived of his senses and fell down from his elephant’s
neck, with the hook and the lance loosened from his grasp. And Salya
then, taking up his sword and jumping down from his excellent car, and
putting forth his prowess, cut off the large trunk of that prince of
elephants. His coat of mail pierced all over with a shower of arrows, and
his trunk cut off, that elephant uttered a loud shriek and fell down and
expired. Achieving such a feat, O king, the ruler of the Madras speedily
mounted on the splendid car of Kritavarman. And beholding his brother
Uttara slain and seeing Salya staying with Kritavarman, Virata’s son
Sweta blazed up in wrath, like fire (blazing up) with clarified butter.
And that mighty warrior, stretching his large bow that resembled the bow
of Sakra himself, rushed with the desire of slaying Salya the ruler of
the Madras. Surrounded on all sides with a mighty division of cars, he
advanced towards Salya’s car pouring an arrowy shower. And beholding him
rush to the fight with prowess equal to that of an infuriate elephant,
seven car-warriors of thy side surrounded him on all sides, desirous of
protecting the ruler of Madras who seemed to be already within the jaws
of Death. And those seven warriors were Vrihadvala the ruler of the
Kosalas, and Jayatsena of Magadha, and Rukmaratha, O king, who was the
valourous son of Salya, and Vinda and Anuvinda of Avanti, and Sudakshina
the king of the Kamvojas, and Jayadratha, the ruler of the Sindhus and
the kinsman of Vrihadkshatra. And the stretched bows of those high-souled
warriors, decorated with diverse colours, looked like the lightning’s
flashes in the clouds. And they all poured on Sweta’s head ceaseless
showers of arrows like the clouds tossed by the wind dropping rain on the
mountain breast on the expiry of summer. That mighty bowman and commander
of the forces, enraged at this, with seven broad-headed arrows of great
impetuosity, struck their bows, and then continued to grind them. And
those bows we saw were cut off, O Bharata, and thereupon they all took
up, within half the time taken up in a wink of the eye, other bows. And
they then shot at Sweta seven arrows. And once again that mighty-armed
warrior of immeasurable soul, with seven fleet shafts, cut off those
(other) bows of these bowmen. Those warriors then, whose large bows had
been cut off, those mighty car-warriors swelling (with rage), grasping
(seven) darts, set up a loud shout. And, O chief of the Bharatas, they
hurled those seven darts at Sweta’s car. And those blazing darts which
coursed (through the air) like large meteors, with the sound of thunder,
were all cut off, before they could reach him, that warrior conversant
with mighty weapons, by means of seven broad-headed arrows. Then taking
up an arrow capable of penetrating into every part of the body, he shot
it, O chief of the Bharatas, at Rukmaratha. And that mighty arrow,
surpassing (the force of) the thunder-bolt, penetrated into the latter’s
body. Then, O king, forcibly struck by that arrow, Rukmaratha sat down on
the terrace of his car and fell into a deadly swoon. His charioteer then,
without betraying any fear, bore him away, senseless and in a swoon, in
the very sight of all. Then taking up six other (arrows) adorned with
gold, the mighty-armed Sweta cut off the standard-tops of his six
adversaries. And that chastiser of foes then, piercing their steeds and
charioteers also, and covering those six warriors themselves with
ceaseless shafts, proceeded towards the car of Salya. And beholding that
generalissimo of the (Pandava) forces proceeding quickly towards Salya’s
car, a loud uproar of oh and alas arose in thy army, O Bharata. Then thy
mighty son, with Bhishma at the head, and supported by heroic warriors
and many troops, proceeded towards Sweta’s car.[337] And he (thus)
rescued the ruler of the Madras who had already entered the jaws of
Death. And then commenced a battle, terrific and making the hair stand on
end, between thy troops and those of the enemy, in which cars and
elephants all got mixed up in confusion. And upon Subhadra’s son and
Bhimasena, and that mighty car-warrior Satyaki, and upon the ruler of the
Kekayas, and Virata, and Dhrishtadyumna of Prishatas’ race, and upon the
Chedi troops, the old Kuru grandsire poured showers of arrows.[338]


Dhritarashtra said,–“When that great bowman Sweta proceeded towards
Salya’s car, what did the Kauravas and the Pandavas do, O Sanjaya? And
what also did Bhishma the son of Santanu do? Tell me who ask thee, all

Sanjaya said,–“O king, hundreds and thousands of bulls among Kshatriyas,
all brave and mighty car-warriors, placing the generalissimo Sweta in the
van, and displaying their strength. O Bharata, unto thy royal son and
with Sikhandin also at their head, desired to rescue (Sweta). And those
mighty car-warriors rushed towards Bhishma’s car decked with gold
desirous of slaying that foremost of warriors. And the battle that ensued
then was terrible. I shall describe to thee that wonderful and terrific
battle as it occurred between thy troops and those of the enemy. The son
of Santanu made the terraces of many cars empty, (for) that best of
car-warriors showering (his) arrows, cut off many heads. Endued with
energy equal to that of the Sun himself, he shrouded the very Sun with
his arrows. And he removed his enemies from around him in that combat
like the rising Sun dispelling the darkness around. And in that battle, O
king, arrows were shot by him in hundreds and thousands that were
powerful and possessed of great impetuosity and that took in that
conflict the lives of numberless Kshatriyas. And in that combat he felled
heads, by hundreds, of heroic warriors, O king, and elephants cased in
thorny mail, like summits of mountains (felled) by heaven’s bolt. And
cars, O king, were seen to mingle with cars. A car might be seen upon
another car, and a steed upon another steed. And impetuous chargers, O
king, bore hither and thither heroic riders in the prime of youth, slain
and hanging (from their saddles) with their bows (still in their
grasp).[339] With swords and quivers attached (to their persons) and
coats of mail loosened (from their bodies), hundreds of warriors,
deprived of life, lay on the ground, sleeping on beds (worthy) of heroes.
Rushing against one another, falling down and rising up again and rushing
again having risen up, the combatants fought hand to hand. Afflicted by
one another, many rolled on the field of battle. Infuriate elephants
rushed hither and thither, and car-warriors by hundreds were slain. And
car-warriors, along with their cars, were crushed on all sides. And some
warriors fell upon his car, slain by another with arrows. And a mighty
car-warrior might be seen to fall down from high, his charioteer (also)
having been slain. A thick dust arose, and thereupon unto the warrior
struggling in battle, the twang of the (hostile) bow indicated the
struggling adversary before. From the pressure also on their bodies,
combatants guessed their foes. And the warriors, O king, fought on with
arrows, guided by the sound of bow-strings and (hostile) division. The
very hiss of the arrows shot by the combatants at one another could not
be heard. And so loud was the sound of drums, that it seemed to pierce
the ears. And in that tumultuous uproar making the hair stand on end, the
name of the combatant uttered in the battle, while displaying his
prowess, could not be heard. The sire could not recognise the son of his
loins. One of the wheels being broken, or the yoke being torn off or one
of the steeds being slain, the brave car-warrior was overthrown from his
car, along with his charioteer, by means of straight arrows. And thus
many heroic warriors, deprived of their cars, were seen to fly away.[340]
He who was slain had cut off; he who was not slain, was struck at the
very vitals: but unstruck there was none, when Bhishma attacked the foe.
And in that terrific battle, Sweta caused a great slaughter of the Kurus.
And he slew many noble princes by hundreds upon hundreds.[341] And he cut
off, by means of his arrows, the heads of car-warriors by hundreds upon
hundreds, and (their) arms decked with Angadas, and (their) bows all
around. And car-warriors and car-wheels and others that were on cars, and
the cars themselves, and standards both small and costly, O king, and
large bodies of horses, and crowds of cars, and crowds of men, O
Bharata’s race, were destroyed by Sweta. Ourselves, from fear of Sweta,
abandoning (Bhishma) that best of car-warriors, left the battle
retreating to the rear and, therefore, do we (now) behold your lordship.
And all the Kurus, O son of Kuru’s race, beyond the range of arrows, and
abandoning Bhishma the son of Santanu, in that battle, stood (as
spectators though) armed for the combat. Cheerful in the hour of
(universal) cheerlessness, that tiger among men Bhishma, alone of our
army, in that terrible battle stood immovable like the mountain Meru.
Taking the lives (of the foe) like the Sun at close of winter, he stood
resplendent with the golden rays (of his car) like the Sun himself with
his rays. And that great bowman shot clouds of arrows and struck down the
Asuras.[342] And while being slaughtered by Bhishma in that dreadful
combat, those warriors breaking away from their ranks, they all fled from
him, as if from a fire fed by fuel.[343] Encountering the single warrior
(Sweta), that slayer of foes, Bhishma, was the only one (amongst us) who
was cheerful and whole. Devoted to the welfare of Duryodhana, he began to
consume the Pandava (warrior). Reckless of his very life which is
difficult of being cast off, and abandoning all fear he slaughtered, O
king, the Pandava army in that fierce conflict.[344] And beholding the
generalissimo (Sweta) smiting the (Dhartarashtra) divisions, thy father
Bhishma, called also Devavrata, impetuously rushed against him.
Thereupon, Sweta covered Bhishma with an extensive net-work of arrows.
And Bhishma also covered Sweta with a flight of arrows. And roaring like
a couple of bulls, they rushed, like two infuriate elephants of gigantic
size or two raging tigers, against each other. Baffling each other’s
weapons by means of their weapons, those bulls among men, viz., Bhishma
and Sweta fought with each other, desirous of taking each other’s life.
In one single day Bhishma, infuriate with anger, could consume the
Pandava army with his arrows, if Sweta did not protect it. Beholding the
grandsire then turned off by Sweta, the Pandavas were filled with joy,
while thy son became cheerless. Duryodhana then, with wrath excited and
surrounded by many kings, rushed with his troops against the Pandava host
in battle. Then Sweta, abandoning the son of Ganga, slaughtered thy son’s
host with great impetuosity like the wind (uprooting) trees with
violence. And the son of Virata, senseless with wrath, having routed thy
army, advanced (once more), O king, to the place where Bhishma was
stationed. And those two high-souled and mighty warriors then, both
blazing with their arrows, battled with each other like Vritra and Vasava
(of old), desirous, O king, of slaying each other. Drawing (his) bow to
the fullest stretch, Sweta pierced Bhishma with seven arrows. The
valourous (Bhishma) then, putting forth his prowess, quickly checked his
foe’s valour, like an infuriate elephant checking an infuriate compeer.
And Sweta then, that delighter of Kshatriyas struck Bhishma, and Bhishma
the son of Santanu also pierced him in return with ten arrows. And though
pierced by him (thus), that mighty warrior stood still like a mountain.
And Sweta again pierced Santanu’s son with five and twenty straight
arrows, at which all wondered. Then smiling and licking with his tongue
the corners of his mouth, Sweta in that combat cut off Bhishma’s bow into
ten fragments with ten arrows. Then aiming a plumed arrow made wholly of
iron, (Sweta) crushed the palmyra on the top of the standard of the
high-souled (Bhishma). And beholding the standard of Bhishma cut down,
thy sons thought that Bhishma was slain, having succumbed to Sweta. And
the Pandavas also filled with delight, blew their conches all around. And
beholding the palmyra standard of the high-souled Bhishma laid low,
Duryodhana, from wrath, urged his own army to the battle. And they all
began very carefully to protect Bhishma who ‘was in great distress. Unto
them, also unto those that stood (idle) spectators, the king
said,–Either Sweta will die (today), or Bhishma the son of Santanu. I
say this truly. Hearing the words of the king, the mighty car-warriors
speedily with four kinds of forces, advanced protecting the son of Ganga.
And Valhika and Kritavarman, and Kripa, and Salya also, O Bharata, and
the son of Jarasandha, and Vikarna, and Chitrasena, and Vivinsati, with
great speed, when speed was so necessary, surrounding him on all sides,
poured on Sweta ceaseless showers of arrows. That mighty warrior then, of
immeasurable soul, quickly checked those angry warriors by means of sharp
arrows, displaying his own lightness of hand. And checking them all like
a lion and a multitude of elephants, Sweta then cut off Bhishma’s bow
with thick shower of arrows. Then Bhishma the son of Santanu, taking up
another bow in that battle, pierced Sweta, O king, with arrows furnished
with feathers of Kanka bird. Then the commander (of the Pandava army),
with wrath excited, pierced Bhishma in that encounter O king, with a
great many shafts in the very sight of all. Beholding Bhishma, that
foremost of heroes in all the world, checked in battle by Sweta, the king
(Duryodhana) became greatly troubled, and great also became the distress
of thy whole army. And beholding the heroic Bhishma checked and mangled
by Sweta with his arrows, all thought that Bhishma, having succumbed to
Sweta, was slain by him. Then thy sire Devavrata, yielding to anger, and
beholding his (own) standard overthrown and the (Dhartarashtra) army
checked, shot a great many arrows, O king, at Sweta. Sweta, however, that
foremost of car-warriors, baffling all those arrows of Bhishma, once more
cut off, with a broad-headed shaft, thy sire’s bow. Throwing aside that
bow, O king, Ganga’s son, senseless with anger, taking up another bow
larger and stronger, and aiming seven large broad-headed arrows whetted
on stone, slew with four arrows the four steeds of the generalissimo
Sweta, cut off his standard with two and with the seventh shaft that
warrior of great prowess, exceedingly provoked, cut off his charioteer’s
head. Thereupon, that mighty car-warrior, jumping down from his car whose
steeds and charioteer had been slain[345], and yielding to the influence
of wrath, became exceedingly troubled. The grandsire, beholding Sweta
that foremost of car-warriors, deprived of car, began to smite him on all
sides with showers of arrows. And smitten in that combat with arrows shot
from Bhishma’s bow, Sweta, leaving his bow on his (abandoned) car took up
a dart decked with gold and taking up that terrible and fierce dart[346]
which resembled the fatal rod of Death and was capable of slaying Death’s
self. Sweta then, in great wrath, addressed Bhishma the son of Santanu in
that combat, saying,–Wait a little, and behold me, O best of men,–And
having said this unto Bhishma in battle, that great bowman of exceeding
prowess and immeasurable soul, hurled the dart resembling a snake,
displaying his valour for the sake of the Pandavas and desiring to
achieve thy evil. Then loud cries of oh and alas arose among thy sons, O
king, upon beholding that terrible dart resembling the rod of Death in
splendour. And hurled from Sweta’s arms, (that dart), resembling a snake
that had just cast off its slough, fell with great force, O king, like a
large meteor from the firmament. Thy sire Devavrata then, O king, without
the slightest fear, with eight sharp and winged arrows, cut off into nine
fragments, that dart decked with pure gold and which seemed to be covered
with flames of fire, as it coursed ablaze through the air. All thy troops
then, O bull of Bharata’s race, set up loud shouts of joy. The son of
Virata, however, beholding his dart cut off into fragments, became
senseless with anger, and like one whose heart was overcome by (the
arrival of) his hour, could not settle what to do. Deprived of his senses
by anger, O king, the son of Virata, then, smiling, joyfully took up a
mace for Bhishma’s slaughter, with eyes red in wrath, and resembling a
second Yama armed with mace, he rushed against Bhishma like a swollen
torrent against the rocks. Regarding his impetuosity as incapable of
cheek, Bhishma endued with great prowess and conversant with the might
(of others), suddenly alighted on the ground for warding off that blow.
Sweta then, O king, whirling in wrath that heavy mace, hurled it on
Bhishma’s car like the god Maheswara.[347] And in consequence of that
mace intended for Bhishma’s destruction, that car was reduced to ashes,
with standard, and charioteer, and steeds and shaft. Beholding Bhishma,
that foremost of car-warriors, become a combatant on foot, many
car-warriors, viz., Salya and others, speedily rushed (to his rescue).
Mounting then upon another car, and cheerlessly stretching his bow,
Bhishma slowly advanced towards Sweta, seeing that foremost of
car-warriors. Meanwhile, Bhishma heard a loud voice uttered in the skies,
that was celestial and fraught with his own good. (And the voice
said).–‘O, Bhishma, O thou of mighty arms, strive without losing a
moment. Even this is the hour fixed by the Creator of the Universe for
success over this one’. Hearing those words uttered by the celestial
messenger, Bhishma, filled with joy, set his heart upon Sweta’s
destruction. And beholding that foremost of car-warriors, Sweta become a
combatant on foot, many mighty car-warriors (of the Pandava side) rushed
unitedly (to his rescue). (They were) Satyaki, and Bhimasena, and
Dhrishtadyumna of Prishata’s race; and the (five) Kekaya brothers, and
Dhrishtaketu and Abhimanyu of great energy. And beholding them rushing
(to the rescue), with Drona and Salya and Kripa that hero of immeasurable
soul (Bhishma) checked them all like the mountain resisting the force of
the wind. And when all the high-souled warriors of the Pandava side were
(thus) held in check, Sweta, taking up a sword cut off Bhishma’s bow.
Casting aside that bow, the grandsire, quickly made up his mind for
Sweta’s destruction, having heard the words of the celestial messenger.
Though baffled (by Sweta), thy sire Devavrata then that mighty
car-warrior quickly taking up another bow that resembled the bow of Sakra
himself in splendour, stringed it in a moment. Then thy sire, O chief of
the Bharatas, beholding that mighty car-warrior Sweta, though the latter
was then surrounded by those tigers among men with Bhimasena at their
head,–(thy sire) the son of Ganga-advanced steadily for the sake of the
generalissimo Sweta alone. Beholding Bhishma advance, Bhimasena of great
prowess pierced him with sixty shafts. But that mighty car-warrior, thy
sire Devavrata, checking both Bhimasena and Abhimanyu and other
car-warriors with terrible shafts, struck him with three straight arrows.
And the grandsire of the Bharatas also struck Satyaki, in that combat,
with a hundred arrows, and Dhrishtadyumna with twenty and the Kekaya
brothers with five. And checking all those great bowmen with terrible
arrows, thy sire Devavrata advanced towards Sweta alone. Then taking out
an arrow resembling Death’s self and capable of bearing a great strain
and incapable of being resisted, the powerful Bhishma placed it on his
bowstring. And that shaft, furnished with wings and duly endued with the
force of the Brahma weapon, was seen by the gods and Gandharvas and
Pisachas and Uragas, and Rakshasas. And that shaft, of splendour like
that of a blazing fire, piercing through his coat of mail (passed through
his body and) struck into the earth, with a flash like that of heaven’s
bolt. Like the Sun when speedily retiring to his western chambers taking
along with him the rays of light, even thus that shaft passed out of
Sweta’s body, bearing away with itself his life. Thus slain in battle by
Bhishma, we beheld that tiger among men fall down like the loosened crest
of a mountain. And all the mighty car-warriors of the Kshatriya race
belonging to the Pandava side indulged in lamentations. Thy sons,
however, and all the Kurus, were filled with delight. Then, O king,
beholding Sweta overthrown, Dussasana danced in joy over the field in
accompaniment With the loud music of conches and drums. And when that
great bowman was slain by Bhishma, that ornament of battle, the mighty
bowmen (of the Pandava side) with Sikhandin at their head, trembled in
fear. Then when their commander was slain, Dhananjaya, O king, and he of
Vrishni’s race, slowly withdrew the troops (for their nightly rest). And
then, O Bharata, the withdrawal took place of both theirs and thine,
while thine and theirs were frequently setting up loud roars. And the
mighty car-warriors of the Parthas entered (their quarters) cheerlessly,
thinking, O chastiser of foes, of that awful slaughter in single combat
(of their commander).”


Dhritarashtra said, “When the generalissimo Sweta, O son, was slain in
battle by the enemy, what did those mighty bowmen, the Panchalas with the
Pandavas, do? Hearing their commander Sweta slain, what happened between
those that strove for his sake and their foes that retreated before them?
O Sanjaya, hearing of our victory, (thy) words please my heart? Nor doth
my heart feel any shame in remembering our transgression.[348] The old
chief of Kuru’s race is ever cheerful and devoted (to us). (As regards
Duryodhana), having provoked hostilities with that intelligent son of his
uncle, he sought at one time the protection of the sons of Pandu in
consequence of his anxiety and fear due to Yudhishthira. At that time,
abandoning everything he lived in misery. In consequence of the prowess
of the sons of Pandu, and everywhere receiving checks–having placed
himself amid entanglements–from his enemies Duryodhana had (for some
time) recourse to honourable behaviour. Formerly that wicked-minded king
had placed himself under their protection. Why, therefore, O Sanjaya,
hath Sweta who was devoted to Yudhishthira, been slain. Indeed, this
narrow-minded prince, with all his prospects, hath been hurled to the
nether regions by a number of wretches. Bhishma liked not the war, nor
even did the preceptor.[349] Nor Kripa, nor Gandhari liked it. O Sanjaya,
nor do I like it, nor Vasudeva of Vrishni’s race, nor that just king the
son of Pandu; nor Bhima, nor Arjuna, nor those bulls among men, the twins
(liked it.) Always forbidden by me, by Gandhari, by Vidura, by Rama the
son of Jamadagni, and by the high-souled Vyasa also, the wicked-minded
and sinful Duryodhana, with Dussasana, O Sanjaya, always following the
counsels of Karna and Suvala’s son, behaved maliciously towards the
Pandavas. I think, O Sanjaya, that he has fallen into great distress.
After the slaughter of Sweta and the victory of Bhishma what did Partha,
excited with rage, do in battle accompanied by Krishna? Indeed, it is
from Arjuna that my fears arise, and those fears, O Sanjaya, cannot be
dispelled. He, Dhananjaya. the son of Kunti, is brave and endued with
great activity. I think, with his arrows he will cut into fragments the
bodies of his enemies. The son of Indra, and in battle equal unto Upendra
the younger brother of Indra, a warrior whose wrath and purposes are
never futile, alas, beholding him what becomes the state of your minds?
Brave, acquainted with Vedas, resembling the fire and the Sun in
splendour, and possessing a knowledge of the Aindra weapon, that warrior
of immeasurable soul is ever victorious when he falleth upon the foe? His
weapons always falling upon the foe with the force of the thunderbolt and
his arms wonderfully quick in drawing the bowstring, the son of Kunti is
a mighty car-warrior. The formidable son of Drupada also, O Sanjaya, is
endued with great wisdom. What, indeed, did Dhristadyumna do when Sweta
was slain in battle? I think that in consequence of the wrongs they
sustained of old, and of the slaughter of their commander, the hearts of
the high-souled Pandavas blazed up. Thinking of their wrath I am never at
my ease, by day or by night, on account of Duryodhana. How did the great
battle take place? Tell me all about it, O Sanjaya.

Sanjaya said, “Hear, O king, quietly about thy transgressions. It
behoveth thee not to impute the fruit to Duryodhana. As is the
construction of an embankment when the waters have disappeared, so is thy
understanding, or, it is like the digging of a well when house is on
fire.[350] When, after the forenoon had passed away, the commander Sweta
was, O Bharata, slain by Bhishma in that fierce conflict, Virata’s son
Sankha, that grinder of hostile ranks ever delighting in battle,
beholding Salya stationed with Kritavarman (on his car), suddenly blazed
up with wrath, like fire with clarified butter. That mighty warrior,
stretching his large bow that resembled the bow of Indra himself, rushed
with the desire of slaying the ruler of the Madras in battle, himself
supported on all sides by a large division of cars. And Sankha, causing
an arrowy downpour rushed towards the car on which Salya was. And
beholding him advancing like an infuriate elephant, seven mighty
car-warriors of thy side surrounded him–desirous of rescuing the ruler
of the Madras already within the jaws of death. Then the mighty-armed
Bhishma, roaring like the very clouds, and taking up a bow full six
cubits long, rushed towards Sankha in battle. And beholding that mighty
car-warrior and great bowman thus rushing, the Pandava host began to
tremble like a boat tossed by a violence of the tempest. Then Arjuna,
quickly advancing, placed himself in front of Sankha, thinking that
Sankha should, then be protected from Bhishma. And then the combat
commenced between Bhishma and Arjuna. And loud cries of oh and alas arose
among the warriors engaged in battle. And one force seemed to merge into
another force. And thus all were filled with wonder.[351] Then Salya,
mace in hand, alighting from his large car, slew, O bull of Bharata’s
race, the four steeds of Sankha. Jumping down from his car thus deprived
of steeds, and taking a sword, Sankha ran towards Vibhatsu’s car and
(mounting on it) was once more at his ease. And then there fell from
Bhishma’s car innumerable arrows by which were covered the entire welkin
and the earth. And that foremost of smiters, Bhishma, slaughtered with
his arrows the Panchala, the Matsya, the Kekaya, and the Prabhadraka
host. And soon abandoning in that battle, Pandu’s son (Arjuna) capable of
drawing the bow with even his left hand, Bhishma rushed towards Drupada,
the king of the Panchalas, surrounded by his host. And he soon covered
his dear relative with innumerable arrows. Like a forest consumed by fire
at the end of winter, the troops of Drupada were seen to be consumed. And
Bhishma stood in that battle like a blazing fire without smoke, or like
the Sun himself at midday scorching everything around with his heat. The
combatants of the Pandavas were not able to even look at Bhishma. And
afflicted with fear, the Pandava host cast its eyes around, and not
beholding any protector, looked like a herd of kine afflicted by cold.
Slaughtered or retreating in despondence being crushed the while, loud
cries, O Bharata, of oh and alas arose among the troops of the Pandavas.
Then Bhishma the son of Santanu, with bow always drawn to a circle, shot
therefrom blazing arrows that resembled virulent poison. And creating
continuous lines of arrows in all directions, that hero of rigid vows
slew Pandava car-warriors, naming each, O Bharata, beforehand. And then
when the troops of the Pandavas were routed and crushed all over the
field, the sun set and nothing could be seen. And then beholding Bhishma,
O bull of Bharata’s race, proudly standing in battle, the Parthas
withdrew their forces (for nightly rest).”


Sanjaya said, “When the troops, O bull of Bharata’s race, were withdrawn
on the first day, and when Duryodhana was filled with delight upon
(beholding) Bhishma excited with wrath in battle, king Yudhisthira the
just, speedily repaired unto Janardana, accompanied by all his brothers
and all the kings (on his side). Filled with great grief thinking of his
defeat, and beholding Bhishma’s prowess, O king, he addressed that scion
of Vrishni’s race, saying, ‘Behold, O Krishna, that mighty bowman Bhishma
of terrible prowess. He consumes with his arrow my troops like fire
(consuming) dry grass. How shall we even look at that high-souled
(warrior) who is licking up my troops like fire fed with clarified
butter? Beholding; that tiger among men, that mighty warrior armed with
the bow, my troops fly away, afflicted with arrows. Enraged Yama himself,
or He armed with the thunder, or even Varuna noose in hand, or Kuvera
armed with mace, may be vanquished in battle but the mighty car-warrior
Bhishma, of great energy is incapable of being vanquished. Such being the
case, I am sinking in the fathomless ocean represented by Bhishma,
without a boat (to rescue me).[352] In consequence, O Kesava, of the
weakness of my understanding, having obtained Bhishma (for a foe in
battle), I shall, O Govinda, retire into woods. To live there is
preferable to devoting these lords of earth to Death in the form of
Bhishma. Conversant with mighty weapons, Bhishma, O Krishna, will
annihilate my army. As insects rush into the blazing fire for their own
destruction, the combatants of my army are even so. In putting forth
prowess for the sake of kingdom, O thou of Vrishni’s race, I am being led
to destruction. My heroic brothers also are pained and afflicted with
arrows for my sake, having been deprived of both sovereignty and
happiness in consequence of their love for their eldest brother. We
regard life very highly, for, under these circumstances, life is too
precious (to be sacrificed). During the remainder of my days I will
practise the severest of ascetic austerities. I will not, O Kesava, cause
these friends of mine to be slain.[353] The mighty Bhishma incessantly
stays, with his celestial weapon, many thousands of my car-warriors who
are foremost of smiters. Tell me, O Madhava, without delay, what should
be done that might do me good. As regards Arjuna, I see that he is an
indifferent spectator in this battle. Endued with great might, this Bhima
alone, remembering Kshatriya duties, fighteth putting forth the prowess
of his arms and to the utmost of his power. With his hero-slaying mace,
this high-souled (warrior), to the full measure of his powers, achieveth
the most difficult feats upon foot-soldiers and steeds and cars and
elephants. This hero, however, is incapable, O sire, of destroying in
fair fight the hostile host in even a century. This thy friend (Arjuna)
alone (amongst) is conversant with (mighty) weapons. He, however,
beholding us consumed by Bhishma and the high-souled Drona, looketh
indifferently on us. The celestial weapons of Bhishma and the high-souled
Drona, incessantly applied, are consuming all the Kshatriyas. O Krishna,
such is his prowess, that Bhishma, with wrath excited, aided by the kings
(on his side), will, without doubt annihilate us. O Lord of Yoga, look
for that great bowman, that mighty car-warrior, who will give Bhishma his
quietus like rain-charged clouds quenching a forest conflagration. (Then)
through thy grace, O Govinda, the son of Pandu, their foes being slain,
will, after recovery of their kingdom, be happy with their kinsmen.

“Having said this, the high-souled son of Pritha, with heart afflicted by
grief and mind turned within, remained silent for a long while in a
reflected mood. Beholding the son of Pandu stricken with grief and
deprived of his senses by sorrow, Govinda then gladdening all the
Pandavas said, ‘Do not grieve, O chief of the Bharatas. It behoveth thee
not to grieve, when thy brothers are all heroes and renowned bowmen in
the world. I also am employed in doing thee good, as also that mighty
car-warrior Satyaki and Virata and Drupada, both reverend in years, and
Dhrishtadyumna of Prishata’s line. And so also, O best of kings, all
these monarchs with their (respective) troops are expectant of thy favour
and devoted to thee, O king. This mighty car-warrior Dhrishtadyumna of
Prishata’s race placed in command of thy army is always desirous of thy
welfare and engaged in doing that which is agreeable to thee, as also
this Sikhandin, O thou of mighty arms, who is certainly the slayer of
Bhishma. Hearing these words, the king (Yudhishthira), said, unto that
mighty car-warrior Dhrishtadyumna, in that very assembly and in the
hearing of Vasudeva, these words, O Dhrishtadyumna, mark these words that
I say unto thee, O thou of Prishata’s line. The words uttered by me
should not be transgressed. Approved by Vasudeva, thou hast been the
commander of our forces. As Kartikeya, in days of old, was ever the
commander of the celestial host, so also art thou, O bull among men, the
commander of the Pandava host. Putting forth thy prowess, O tiger among
men, slay the Kauravas. I will follow thee, and Bhima, and Krishna also,
O sire, and the sons of Madri united together, and the sons of Draupadi
accoutred in mail, and all the other foremost of kings, O bull among men.
Then gladdening (the listeners) Dhrishtadyumna said, ‘Ordained of old by
Sambhu himself, I am, O son of Pritha, the slayer of Drona. I shall now
fight in battle against Bhishma, and Drona and Kripa and Salya and
Jayadratha and all the proud monarchs (on the Kuru side)’. When that
foremost of princes, that slayer of foes, the son of Prishata, said this
defiantly, the Pandava warriors, endued with great energy and incapable
of being defeated in battle, all set up a loud shout. And then Pritha’s
son Yudhishthira said unto the commander of his army, the son of
Prishata, (these words), ‘An array known by the name of Krauncharuma,
that is destructive of all foes, and that was spoken of by Vrihaspati
unto Indra in days of old when the gods and the Asuras fought,–that
array destructive of hostile divisions, do thou form. Unseen before, the
kings behold it, along with the Kurus.’ Thus addressed by that god among
men, like Vishnu addressed by the wielder of the thunderbolt,[354] he
(Dhrishtadyumna), when morning dawned, placed Dhananjaya in the van of
the whole army. And Dhananjaya’s standard, created at Indra’s command by
the celestial artificer, while moving through the skies, seemed
wonderfully beautiful. Decked with banners bearing hues resembling those
of Indra’s bow,[355] coursing through the air like a ranger of the skies,
and looking like the fleeting edifice of vapour in the welkin, it seemed,
O sire to glide dancingly along the track of the car (to which it was
attached). And the bearer of Gandiva with that (standard) graced with
gems, and that standard itself with the bearer of Gandiva, looked highly
adorned, like the Self-create with the Sun (and the Sun with the
Self-create).[356] And king Drupada, surrounded by a large number of
troops, became the head (of that array). And the two kings Kuntibhoja and
Saivya became its two eyes. And the ruler of the Dasarnas, and the
Prayagas, with the Daserakas, and the Anupakas, and the Kiratas were
placed in its neck, O bull of Bharata’s race. And Yudhishthira, O king,
with the Patachcharas, the Hunas, the Pauravakas and the Nishadas, became
its two wings, so also the Pisachas, with the Kundavishas, and the
Mandakas, the Ladakas, the Tanganas, and the Uddras, O Bharata, and the
Saravas, the Tumbhumas, the Vatsas, and the Nakulas. And Nakula and
Sahadeva placed themselves on the left wing. And on the joints of the
wings were placed ten thousand cars and on the head a hundred thousand,
and on the back a hundred millions and twenty thousand and on the neck a
hundred and seventy thousand. And on the joints of the wings, the wings
and the extremities of the wings proceeded elephants in large bodies,
looking, O king, like blazing mountains. And the rear was protected by
Virata aided by the Kekayas, and the ruler of Kasi and the king of the
Chedis, with thirty thousand cars.[357] Forming, O Bharata, their mighty
array thus, the Pandavas, expectant of sunrise, waited for battle, all
cased in armour. And their white umbrellas, clean and costly, and
brilliant as the sun, shone resplendent on their elephants and cars.”[358]


Sanjaya said, “Beholding the mighty and terrible array called Krauncha
formed by Pandu’s son of immeasurable energy, thy son, approaching the
preceptor, and Kripa, and Salya, O sire, and Somadatta’s son, and
Vikarna, and Aswatthaman also, and all his brothers too, headed by
Dussasana, O Bharata, and other immeasurable heroes assembled there for
battle, said these timely words, gladdening them all, ‘Armed with various
kinds of weapons, ye all are conversant with the meaning of the
scriptures. Ye mighty car-warriors, each of you is singly capable of
slaying in battle the sons of Pandu with their troops. How much more
then, when ye are united together. Our host, therefore, which is
protected by Bhishma, is immeasurable, while that host of theirs, which
is protected by Bhima, is measurable.[359] Let the Samsthanas, the
Surasenas, the Venikas, the Kukkuras, the Rechakas, the Trigartas, the
Madrakas, the Yavanas, with Satrunjayas, and Dussasana, and that
excellent hero Vikarna, and Nanda and Upanandaka, and Chitrasena, along
with the Manibhadrakas, protect Bhishma with their (respective)
troops,’–Then Bhishma and Drona and thy sons, O sire, formed a mighty
array for resisting that of the Parthas. And Bhishma, surrounded by a
large body of troops, advanced, leading a mighty army, like the chief of
the celestials himself. And that mighty bowman, the son of Bharadwaja,
endued with great energy, followed him with the Kuntalas, the Dasarnas,
and the Magadhas, O king, and with the Vidarbhas, the Melakas, the
Karnas, and the Pravaranas also. And the Gandharas, the Sindhusauviras,
the Sivis and the Vasatis with all their combatants also, (followed)
Bhishma, that ornament of battle, and Sakuni, with all his troops
protected the son of Bharadwaja. And then king Duryodhana, united with
all his brothers, with the Aswalakas, the Vikarnas, the Vamanas, the
Kosalas, the Daradas, the Vrikas, as also the Kshudrakas and the Malavas
advanced cheerfully against the Pandava host. And Bhurisravas, and Sala,
and Salya, and Bhagadatta, O sire, and Vinda and Anuvinda of Avanti,
protected the left flank. And Somadatta, and Susarman, and Sudakshina,
the ruler of the Kamvojas and Satayus, and Srutayus, were on the right
flank. And Aswatthaman, and Kripa, and Kritavarman of Satwata’s race,
with a very large division of the troops, were, stationed at the rear of
the army. And behind them were the rulers of many provinces, and Ketumat,
and Vasudana, and the powerful son of the king of Kasi. Then all the
troops on thy side cheerfully waiting for battle, O Bharata, blew their
conches with great pleasure, and set up leonine roars. And hearing the
shouts of those (combatants) filled with delight the venerable Kuru
grandsire, endued with great prowess, uttering a leonine roar, blew his
conch. Thereupon, conches and drums and diverse kinds of Pesis and
cymbals, were sounded at once by others, and the noise made became a loud
uproar. And Madhava and Arjuna, both stationed on a great car unto which
were yoked white steeds, blew their excellent conches decked with gold
and jewels. And Hrishikesa blew the conch called Panchajanya, and
Dhananjaya (that called) Devadatta. And Vrikodara of terrible deeds blew
the huge conch called Paundra. And Kunti’s son king Yudhishthira blew the
conch called Anantavijaya, while Nakula and Sahadeva (those conches
called) Sughosa and Manipushpaka.[360] And the ruler of Kasi, and Saivya,
and Sikhandin the mighty car-warrior, and Dhrishtadyumna, and Virata, and
the mighty car-warrior Satyaki, and that great bowman the king of the
Panchalas, and the five sons of Draupadi, all blew their large conches
and set up leonine roars. And that great uproar uttered there by those
heroes, loudly reverberated through both the earth and the welkin. Thus,
O great king, the Kurus and the Pandavas, both filled with delight,
advanced against each other for battling again, and scorching each other


Dhritarashtra said, “When mine and the hostile hosts were thus formed
into battle array, how did the foremost of smiters begin to strike?”

Sanjaya said, “When all the divisions were thus arrayed, the combatants
waited, each cased in mail, and with their beautiful standards all
upraised. And beholding the (Kuru) host that resembled the limitless
ocean, thy son Duryodhana, O king, stationed within it, said unto all the
combatants on thy side, ‘Cased in mail (as ye are), begin ye the fight’.
The combatants then, entertaining cruel intentions, and abandoning their
very lives, all rushed against the Pandavas, with standards upraised. The
battle that took place then was fierce and made the hair stand on end.
And the cars and elephants all got mixed together. And shafts with
beautiful feathers, and endued with great energy and sharp points, shot
by car-warriors fell upon elephants and horses. And when the battle began
in this way, the venerable Kuru grandsire, the mighty-armed Bhishma of
terrible prowess, cased in mail, taking up his bow, and approaching them,
showered an arrowy downpour on the heroic son of Subhadra, and the mighty
car-warrior Arjuna, and the ruler of the Kekayas and Virata, and
Dhrishtadyumna of Prishata’s race, as also upon the Chedi and the Matsya
warriors. And that mighty array (of the Pandavas) wavered at the onset of
that hero. And terrific was the encounter that took place between all the
combatants. And horse-men and car-warriors and foremost of steeds fell
fast. And the car-divisions of the Pandavas began to fly away. Then that
tiger among men, Arjuna, beholding that mighty car-warrior Bhishma,
angrily said unto him of Vrishni’s race. ‘Proceed to the place where the
grandsire is. O thou of Vrishni’s race, it is evident that this Bhishma,
with wrath excited, will annihilate for Duryodhana’s benefit my host. And
this Drona, and Kripa and Salya and Vikarna, O Janardana, united with
Dhritarashtra’s sons headed by Duryodhana, and protected by this firm
bowman, will slaughter the Panchalas. Even I, therefore, shall stay
Bhishma for the sake of my troops, O Janardana.’ Unto him Vasudeva then
said, ‘Be careful, O Dhananjaya, for I will soon take thee, O hero,
towards the grandsire’s car.’ Having said this, O king, Saurin took that
car, which was celebrated over the world, before the car of Bhishma. With
numerous banners all waving, with steeds looking handsome like a flight
of (white) cranes, with standard upraised on which was the ape roaring
fiercely, upon his large car of solar effulgence and whose rattle
resembled roar of the clouds, slaughtering the Kaurava divisions and the
Surasenas also, the son of Pandu, that enhancer of the joys of friends
speedily came to the encounter. Him (thus) rushing impetuously like an
infuriate elephant and (thus) frightening in a battle brave combatants
and felling them with his shafts, Bhishma the son of Santanu, protected
by the warriors headed by Saindhava and by the combatants of the East and
the Sauviras and the Kekayas, encountered with great impetuosity. Who
else save the Kuru grandsire and those car-warriors, viz., Drona and
Vikartana’s son (Karna), are capable of advancing in battle against the
bearer of the bow called Gandiva? Then, O great king, Bhishma, the
grandsire of the Kauravas, struck Arjuna with seventy-seven arrows and
Drona (struck him) with five and twenty, and Kripa with fifty, and
Duryodhana with four and sixty, and Salya with nine arrows; and Drona’s
son, that tiger among men, with sixty, and Vikarna with three arrows; and
Saindhava with nine and Sakuni with five. And Artayani O king, pierced
Pandu’s son with three broad-headed arrows. And (though) pierced on all
sides by them with sharp arrows, that great bowman,[361] that
mighty-armed (warrior), wavered not like mountain that is pierced (with
arrows). Thereupon he, the diadem-decked, of immeasurable soul, O bull of
Bharata’s race, in return pierced Bhishma with five and twenty, and Kripa
with nine arrows, and Drona with sixty, O tiger among men, and Vikarna
with three arrows; and Artayani with three arrows, and the king
(Duryodhana) also with five. And then Satyaki, and Virata and
Dhrishtadyumna of Prishata’s race, and the sons of Draupadi, and
Abhimanyu, all surrounded him, (proceeding to his support). Then the
prince of the Panchalas, supported by the Somakas, advanced towards the
great bowman Drona who was engaged in seeking the welfare of Ganga’s son.
Then Bhishma, that foremost of car-warriors, speedily pierced the son of
Pandu with eighty sharp arrows, upon which the combatants on thy side
were much gratified. Hearing the shouts of those lions among
car-warriors, Dhananjaya, endued with great prowess, then cheerfully
entered into the midst of those lions among car-warriors and sported with
his bow, O king, (successively) aiming those mighty car-warriors. Then
that ruler of men, king Duryodhana, said unto Bhishma, beholding his own
troops (thus) afflicted in battle by the son of Pritha. ‘This mighty son
of Pandu, O sire, accompanied by Krishna, felling all our troops, cutteth
down our roots, even though thou, O son of Ganga, and that foremost of
car-warriors, Drona, are alive. O monarch, it is for thee only that this
Karna, laying aside his weapons, doth not fight with the sons of Pritha
in battle (though) he is ever a well-wisher of mine, Do, therefore, that,
O son of Ganga by which Phalguni may be slain. ‘Thus addressed, O king,
thy sire Devavrata, saying, ‘Fie to Kshatriya usage’, then proceeded
towards Partha’s car. And all the kings, O monarch, seeing both those
warriors with white steeds yoked unto their cars stationed (for battle),
set up loud leonine roars, and also blew their conches, O sire. And
Drona’s son and Duryodhana, and thy son Vikarna, surrounding Bhishma in
that combat, stood, O sire, for battle. And so all the Pandavas,
surrounding Dhananjaya, stood for fierce conflict. And the battle then
commenced. And the son of Ganga pierced Partha in that combat with nine
shafts. And Arjuna pierced him in return with ten shafts penetrating into
the very vitals. Then, with a thousand arrows, well shot, Pandu’s son
Arjuna, famed for his skill in battle, shrouded Bhishma on all sides.
That arrowy net, however, of Partha, O king, Bhishma the son of Santanu
baffled with an arrowy net (of his own). And both well-pleased, and both
delighting in battle, fought with each other without each gaining any
advantage over the other, and each desirous of counteracting the other’s
feats. And the successive flights of arrows shot from Bhishma’s bow were
seen to be dispersed by the shafts of Arjuna. And so the flights of
arrows shot by Arjuna, cut off by the arrows of Ganga’s son, all fell
down on the ground. And Arjuna pierced Bhishma with five and twenty
arrows of sharp points. And Bhishma, too, in that combat, pierced Partha
in return with nine arrows. And those two mighty warriors, those
chastisers of foes, piercing each other’s steeds, and also the shafts and
the wheels of each other’s cars, began to sport. Then, O king, Bhishma,
that foremost of smiters, struck Vasudeva between his two breasts with
three arrows. And the slayer of Madhu, struck with those shafts shot from
Bhishma’s bow, shone in that battle, O king, like a flowering Kinsuka.
Then Arjuna, indignant at seeing Madhava, pierced in that combat the
charioteer of Ganga’s son with three arrows. And both heroes, striving
with each other against each other’s car, succeeded not in taking aim at
each other in the combat. And in consequence of the ability and dexterity
of the charioteers of both those warriors, both displayed, O king,
beautiful circles and advancings and retreatings in respect of their
moving cars. And, O monarch, seeing the opportunity to strike, they
frequently changed positions, O king, for obtaining what they sought. And
both the heroes blew their conches, mingling that blare with their
leonine roars. And those mighty car-warriors twang their bows, both in
the same manner. And with the blare of their conches and the rattle of
their car-wheels, the very Earth was suddenly rent. And it began to
tremble and produce subterranean noises. And nobody, O bull of Bharata’s
race, could detect any latches in either of them. Both of them was
possessed of great might and great courage in battle, each was other’s
match. And by (the sight of) his standard alone, the Kauravas could
approach him (for aid). And so the Pandavas approached Pritha’s son (for
aid), guided by his standard only. And beholding, O king, prowess thus
displayed by those two foremost of men, O Bharata, all creatures
(present) in that battle were filled with wonder. And none, O Bharata,
observed any difference between the two, just as none finds any
transgression in a person observant of morality. And both of them (at
times) became perfectly invisible in consequence of clouds of arrows. And
soon enough both of them in that battle became visible. And the gods with
Gandharvas and the Charanas, and the great Rishis beholding their
prowess, said unto one another. These mighty car-warriors when excited
with rage, are incapable of ever being vanquished in battle by all the
worlds with the gods, the Asuras and the Gandharvas. This highly
wonderful battle would be wonderful in all the worlds. Indeed, a battle
such as this will never take place again. Bhishma is incapable of being
conquered in combat by Pritha’s son of great intelligence, showering his
arrows in battle, with bow and car and steeds. So also that great bowman,
the son of Pandu, incapable of being vanquished in battle by the very
gods, Bhishma is not competent to conquer in combat. As long as the world
itself will last, so long will this battle continue equally. We heard
these words, O king, fraught with the praise of Ganga’s son and Arjuna in
battle bruited about there. And while those two were engaged in
displaying their prowess, other warriors of thy side and of the Pandavas,
O Bharata, slew one another in battle, with sharp-edged scimitars, and
polished battle-axes, and innumerable arrows, and diverse kinds of
weapons. And the brave combatants of both armies cut one another down,
while that terrible and murderous conflict lasted. And the encounter
also, O king, that took place between Drona and the prince of the
Panchalas, was awful.”


Dhritarashtra said, “Tell me, O Sanjaya, how that great bowman Drona and
the Panchala prince of Prishata’s race encounter each other in battle,
each striving his best. I regard destiny to be superior, O Sanjaya, to
exertion, when Santanu’s son Bhishma (even) could not escape Pandu’s son
in battle. Indeed, Bhishma, when enraged in battle could destroy all
mobile and immobile creatures, why, O Sanjaya, could he not then by his
prowess, escape the son of Pandu in battle?”

Sanjaya said, ‘Listen, O king, quietly to this terrific battle. The son
of Pandu is incapable of being vanquished by the very gods with Vasava.
Drona with diverse arrows pierced Dhrishtadyumna and felled the latter’s
charioteer from his niche in the car.[362] And, O sire, the enraged hero
also afflicted Dhrishtadyumna’s four steeds with four excellent shafts.
And the heroic Dhrishtadyumna too pierced Drona in the combat with nine
sharp arrows and addressed him, saying, ‘Wait–Wait’. ‘Then, again,
Bharadwaja’s son of great prowess and immeasurable soul, covered with his
arrows the wrathful Dhrishtadyumna. And he took up a dreadful arrow for
the destruction of Prishata’s son whose force resembled that of Sakra’s
bolt and which was like a second rod of death. And beholding that arrow
aimed by Bharadwaja in battle, loud cries of oh and alas arose, O
Bharata, among all the combatants. And then we beheld the wonderful
prowess of Dhrishtadyumna insomuch that the hero stood alone, immovable
like a mountain. And he cut off that terrible and blazing arrow coming
towards him like his own Death, and also showered an arrowy downpour on
Bharadwaja’s son. And beholding that difficult feat achieved by
Dhrishtadyumna, the Panchalas with the Pandavas, filled with delight, set
up loud shouts. And that prince, endued with great prowess, desirous of
slaying Drona hurled at him a dart of great impetuosity, decked with gold
and stones of lapis lazuli. Thereupon the son of Bharadwaja, smiling the
while, cut off into three fragments that dart decked with gold that was
coming towards him impetuously. Beholding his dart thus baffled,
Dhrishtadyumna of great prowess rained arrowy downpours on Drona, O king.
Then that mighty car-warrior Drona, baffling that arrowy shower, cut off
when the opportunity presented, the bow of Drupada’s son. His bow (thus)
cut off in the combat, that mighty warrior of great fame hurled at Drona
a heavy mace endued with the strength of the mountain. And hurled from
his hands, that mace coursed through the air for Drona’s destruction. And
then we beheld the wonderful prowess of Bharadwaja’s son. By (the)
lightness (of his car’s motion), he baffled that mace decked with gold,
and having baffled it, he shot at Prishata’s son many shafts of sharp
edge, well-tempered, furnished with golden wings, and whetted on stone.
And these, penetrating through Prishata’s coat of mail, drank his blood
in that battle. Then the high-souled Dhrishtadyumna, taking up another
bow, and putting forth his prowess pierced Drona in that encounter with
five shafts. And then those two bulls among men, both covered with blood,
looked beautiful like two blossoming Kinsukas in spring variegated with
flowers. Then, O king, excited with wrath and putting forth his prowess
at the head of his division, Drona once more cut off the bow of Drupada’s
son. And then that hero of immeasurable soul covered that warrior whose
bow was cut off, with innumerable straight arrows like the clouds
showering rain on a mountain. And he also felled his foe’s charioteer
from his niche in the car. And his four steeds, too, with four sharp
arrows, Drona felled in that combat that set up a leonine roar. And with
another shaft he cut off the leathern fence that cased Dhrishtadyumna’s
hand. His bow cut off, deprived of car, his steeds slain, and charioteer
overthrown, the prince of Panchala alighted from his car, mace in hand,
displaying great prowess. But before he could come down from his car, O
Bharata, Drona with his shafts cut off that mace into fragments. This
feat seemed wonderful to us. And then the mighty prince of the Panchalas
of strong arms, taking a large and beautiful shield decked with a hundred
moons, and a large scimitar of beautiful make, rushed impetuously from
desire of slaying Drona, like a hungry lion in the forest towards an
infuriate elephant. Then wonderful was the prowess that we behold of
Bharadwaja’s son, and his lightness (of hand) in the use of weapons, as
also the strength of his arms, O Bharata, in as much as, alone, he
checked Prishata’s son with a shower of arrows. And although possessed of
great might in battle, he was unable to proceed further. And we behold
the mighty car-warrior Dhrishtadyumna staying where he did and warding
off those clouds of arrows with his shield, using his arms with great
dexterity. Then the mighty-armed Bhima endued with great strength quickly
came there, desirous of aiding in battle the high-souled son of Prishata.
And he pierced Drona, O king, with seven sharp-pointed arrows, and
speedily caused Prishata’s son to be taken up on another car. Then king
Duryodhana urged the ruler of the Kalingas supported by a large division,
for the protection of Bharadwaja’s son. Then that terrible and mighty
division of the Kalingas, O ruler of men, rushed against Bhima at the
command of thy son. And Drona then, that foremost of car-warriors,
abandoning the prince of Panchala, encountered Virata and Drupada
together. And Dhrishtadyumna also proceeded to support king Yudhishthira
in battle. And then commenced a fierce battle, making the hair stand on
end, between the Kalingas and the high-souled Bhima, a battle that was
destructive of the universe, terrific, and awful.”


Dhritarashtra said, “How did the ruler of the Kalingas, that commander of
a large division, urged by my son, and supported by his troops, fight in
battle with the mighty Bhimasena of wonderful feats, that hero wandering
over the field of battle with his mace like Death himself club in hand?”

Sanjaya said, “Thus urged by thy son, O great king, the mighty king of
the Kalingas, accompanied by a large army advanced towards Bhima’s car.
And Bhimasena, then, O Bharata, supported by the Chedis, rushed towards
that large and mighty army of the Kalingas, abounding with cars, steeds,
and elephants, and armed with mighty weapons, and advancing towards him
with Ketumat, the son of the king of the Nishadas. And Srutayus also,
excited with wrath, accoutred in mail, followed by his troops in
battle-array, and, accompanied by king Ketumat, came before Bhima in
battle. And the ruler of the Kalingas with many thousands of cars, and
Ketumat with ten thousand elephants and the Nishadas, surrounded
Bhimasena, O king, on all sides. Then the Chedis, the Matsyas, and
Karushas, with Bhimasena at their head, with many kings impetuously
rushed against the Nishadas. And then commenced the battle, fierce and
terrible, between the warriors rushing at one another from desire of
slaughter. And terrific was the battle that suddenly took place between
Bhima and his foes, resembling the battle, O great king, between Indra
and the mighty host of Diti’s sons. And loud became the uproar, O
Bharata, of that mighty army struggling in battle, that resembled the
sound of the roaring ocean. And the combatants, O king, cutting one
another, made the whole field resemble a crematorium strewn with flesh
and blood. And combatants, impelled by the desire of slaughter could not
distinguish friend from foe. And those brave warriors, incapable of being
easily defeated in battle, even began to strike down their own friend.
And terrific was the collision that took place between the few and many,
between the Chedis (on the one side) and the Kalingas and the Nishadas, O
king, (on the other). Displaying their manliness to the best of their
power, the mighty Chedis, abandoning Bhimasena, turned back, and when the
Chedis ceased to follow him, the son of Pandu, encountering all the
Kalingas, did not turn back, depending upon the might of his own arms.
Indeed, the mighty Bhimasena moved not, but from the terrace of his car
covered the division of the Kalingas with showers of sharp arrows. Then
that mighty bowman, the king of the Kalingas, and that car-warrior, his
son known by the name of Sakradeva, both began to strike the son of Pandu
with their shafts. And the mighty-armed Bhima, shaking his beautiful bow,
and depending on the might of his own arms, fought with Kalinga, and
Sakradeva, shooting in that battle innumerable arrows, slew Bhimasena’s
steeds with them. And beholding that chastiser of foes Bhimasena deprived
of his car, Sakradeva rushed at him, shooting sharp arrows. And upon
Bhimasena, O great king, the mighty Sakradeva showered arrowy downpours
like the clouds after summer is gone. But the mighty Bhimasena, staying
on his car whose steeds had been slain, hurled at Sakradeva a mace made
of the hardest iron. And slain by that mace, O king, the son of the ruler
of the Kalingas, from his car, fell down on the ground, with his standard
and charioteer. Then that mighty car-warrior, the king of the Kalingas
beholding his own son slain, surrounded Bhima on all sides with many
thousands of cars. Then the mighty-armed Bhima endued with great
strength, abandoning mace, took up a scimitar, desirous of achieving a
fierce feat. And that bull among men also took up, O king, crescents made
of gold. And the ruler of the Kalingas also, excited with wrath, and
rubbing his bowstring, and taking up a terrible arrow (deadly) as poison
of the snake, shot it at Bhimasena, desirous at that monarch was of
slaying (the Pandava). That sharp arrow, thus shot and coursing
impetuously, Bhimasena, O king, cut in twain with his huge sword. And
filled with delight he set up a loud shout, terrifying the troops. And
the ruler of the Kalingas, excited with rage in that combat with
Bhimasena, quickly hurled at him fourteen bearded darts whetted on stone.
The mighty-armed son of Pandu, however, with that best of scimitars,
fearlessly cut into fragments in a trice, O king, those darts while
coursing through the welkin and before they could reach him. And having
in that battle (thus) cut off those fourteen darts Bhima, that bull among
men, beholding Bhanumat, rushed at him. Bhanumat then covered Bhima with
a shower of arrows, and set up a loud shout, making the welkin resound
with it. Bhima, however, in that fierce battle, could not bear that
leonine shout. Himself endued with a loud voice, he also shouted very
loudly. And at these shouts of his, the army of the Kalingas became
filled with fear. In that battle they no longer regarded Bhima, O bull
among men, as a human being. Then, O great king, having uttered a loud
shout, Bhima, sword in hand impetuously jumping on (Bhanumat’s) excellent
elephant aided by the latter’s tusks, gained, O sire, the back of that
prince of tuskers, and with his huge sword cut Bhanumat, dividing him in
the middle. That chastiser of foes, then, having (thus) slain in battle
the prince of the Kalingas, next[363] made his sword which was capable of
bearing a great strain, to descend upon the neck of that elephant. His
head cut off, that prince of elephants fell down with a loud roar, like a
crested mountain (whose base is) eaten away by the impetuous (surges of
the) sea. And jumping down, O Bharata, from that failing elephant, the
prince of Bharata’s race, of undepressed soul, stood on the ground, sword
in hand and accoutred in mail (as before). And felling numerous elephants
on all sides, he wandered (over the field), making many paths (for
himself). And then he seemed to be like a moving wheel of fire
slaughtering whole divisions of cavalry, of elephants, and cars, and
large bodies of infantry. And that lord among men, the mighty Bhima, was
seen to move over the field with the activity of the hawk, quickly
cutting off in that battle, with his sharp-edged sword, their bodies and
heads, as also those of the combatants on elephant. And combatant on
foot, excited with rage, all alone, and like Yama at the season of
universal dissolution, he struck terror into his foes and confounded
those brave warriors. Only they that were senseless rushed with loud
shouts at him wandering in that great battle with impetuosity, sword in
hand. And that grinder of foes, endued with great strength, cutting off
the shafts and yokes of warriors on their cars, slew those warriors also.
And Bhimasena was seen, O Bharata, to display diverse kinds of motions
there. He wheeled about, and whirled about on high, and, made
side-thrusts, and jumped forward, and ran above, and leapt high. And, O
Bharata, he was also seen to rush forward and rush upward. And some
mangled by the high-souled son of Pandu by means of his excellent sword,
shrieked aloud, struck at their vitals or fell down deprived of life. And
many elephants, O Bharata, some with trunks and the extremities of their
tusks cut off, and others having their temporal globes cut open, deprived
of riders, slew their own ranks and fell down uttering loud cries. And
broken lances, O king, and the head of elephant drivers, and beautiful
housings of elephants, and chords resplendent with gold, and collars, and
darts and mallets and quivers, diverse kinds of machines, and beautiful
bows, short arrows with polished heads, with hooks and iron crows for
guiding elephants, bells of diverse shape, and hilts decked with gold,
were seen by us falling down or (already) fallen along with riders of
steeds. And with elephants (lying down) having the fore parts and hind
parts of their bodies and their trunks cut off, or entirely slain, the
field seemed to be strewn with fallen cliffs. That bull among men, having
thus crushed the huge elephants, next crushed the steeds also. And, O
Bharata, that hero also felled the foremost of cavalry soldiers. And the
battle, O sire, that took place between him and them was fierce in the
extreme. And hilts and traces, and saddle girths resplendent with gold,
and covers for the back of steeds, and bearded darts, and costly swords,
and coats of mail, and shields, and beautiful ornaments, were seen by us
strewn over the ground in that great battle. And he caused the earth to
be strewn over (with blood) as if it were variegated with lilies. And the
mighty son of Pandu, jumping high and dragging some car-warriors down
with his sword felled them along with (their) standards. Frequently
jumping up or rushing on all sides, that hero endued with great activity,
wandering along many routes, caused the combatants to be amazed. And some
he slew by his legs, and dragging down others he pressed them down under
the earth. And others he cut off with his sword, and others he frightened
with his roars. And others he threw down on the ground by the force of
his thighs (as he ran). And others, beholding him, fled away in terror.
It was thus that that vast force of the Kalingas endued with great
activity, surrounding the terrible Bhimasena in battle, rushed at him.
Then, O bull of Bharata’s race, beholding Srutayush at the head of
Kalinga troops, Bhimasena rushed at him. And seeing him advancing the
ruler of the Kalingas, of immeasurable soul, pierced Bhimasena between
his breasts with nine arrows. Struck with those shafts shot by the ruler
of the Kalingas, like an elephant pierced with the hook, Bhimasena blazed
up with wrath like fire fed with fuel. Then Asoka, that best of
charioteers, bringing a car decked with gold, caused Bhima to mount on
it. And thereupon that slayer of foes, the son of Kunti, speedily mounted
on that car. And then he rushed at the ruler of the Kalingas,
saying,–‘Wait, Wait’. And then the mighty Srutayush excited with wrath,
shot at Bhima many sharp arrows, displaying his lightness of hand, and
that mighty warrior, Bhima, forcibly struck with those nine sharp arrows
shot by Kalinga from his excellent bow, yielded to great wrath, O king,
like a snake struck with a rod. Then that foremost of mighty men, Bhima,
the son of Pritha, excited with rage and drawing his bow with great
strength, slew the ruler of the Kalingas with seven shafts made wholly of
iron. And with two shafts he slew the two mighty protectors of the
car-wheels of Kalinga. And he also despatched Satyadeva and Satya to the
abode of Yama. Of immeasurable soul, Bhima also, with many sharp arrows
and long shafts, caused Ketumat to repair unto Yama’s abode. Then the
Kshatriyas of the Kalinga country, excited with rage and supported by
many thousands of combatants, encountered the wrathful Bhimasena in
battle. And armed with darts and maces and scimitars and lances and
swords and battle-axes, the Kalingas, O king, hundreds upon hundreds
surrounded Bhimasena. Baffling that risen shower of arrows, that mighty
warrior then took up his mace and jumped down (from his car) with great
speed.[364] And Bhima then despatched seven hundred heroes to Yama’s
abode. And that grinder of foes despatched, in addition, two thousand
Kalingas to the region of death. And that feat seemed highly wonderful.
And it was thus that the heroic Bhima of terrible prowess repeatedly
felled in battle large bands of the Kalingas. And elephants deprived by
Pandu’s son, in that battle, of their riders, and afflicted with arrows
wandered on the field, treading down their own ranks and uttering loud
roars like masses of clouds driven by the wind. Then the mighty-armed
Bhima, scimitar in hand, and filled with delight, blew his conch of
terrible loudness. And with that blare he caused the hearts of all the
Kalinga troops to quake with fear. And, O chastiser of foes, all the
Kalingas seemed at the same time to be deprived of their senses. And all
the combatants and all the animals shook with terror. And in consequence
of Bhimasena wandering in that battle through many paths or rushing on
all sides like a prince of elephants, or frequently jumping up, a trance
seemed to be engendered there that deprived his foes of their senses. And
the whole (Kalinga) army shook with terror of Bhimasena, like a large
lake agitated by an alligator. And struck with panic in consequence of
Bhima of wonderful achievements, all the Kalinga combatants fled away in
all directions. When, however, they were rallied again, the commander of
the Pandava army (Dhrishtadyumna), O Bharata, ordered his own troops,
saying,–‘Fight’. Hearing the words of their commander, many leaders (of
the Pandava army) headed by Sikhandin approached Bhima, supported by many
car-divisions accomplished in smiting. And Pandu’s son, king Yudhishthira
the just, followed all of them with a large elephant force of the colour
of the clouds. And thus urging all his divisions, the son of Prishata,
surrounded by many excellent warriors, took upon himself the protection
of one of the wings of Bhimasena.[365] There exists nobody on earth, save
Bhima and Satyaki, who to the prince of the Panchalas is dearer than his
very life. That slayer of hostile heroes, the son of Prishata, beheld the
mighty-armed Bhimasena, that slayer of foes, wandering among the
Kalingas. He set up many shouts, O king, and was filled with delight, O
chastiser of foes. Indeed, he blew his conch in battle and uttered a
leonine roar. And Bhimasena also, beholding the red standard of
Dhrishtadyumna on his car decked with gold and unto which were yoked
steeds white as pigeons, became comforted.[366] And Dhrishtadyumna of
immeasurable soul, beholding Bhimasena encountered by the Kalingas rushed
to the battle for his rescue. And both those heroes. Dhrishtadyumna and
Vrikodara, endued with great energy, beholding Satyaki at a distance,
furiously encountered the Kalingas in battle. And that bull among men,
the grand son of Sini, that foremost of victorious warriors, quickly
advancing to the spot took up the wing of both Bhima and Prishata’s son.
Bow in hand creating a great havoc there and making himself fierce in the
extreme, he began to slay the enemy in battle. And Bhima caused a river
to flow there of bloody current, mingled with the blood and flesh of the
warriors born in Kalinga. And beholding Bhimasena then, the troops cried
aloud, O king, saying. ‘This is Death himself that is fighting in Bhima’s
shape with the Kalingas.’ Then Santanu’s son Bhishma, hearing those cries
in battle, quickly proceeded towards Bhima, himself surrounded on all
sides with combatants in army. Thereupon, Satyaki and Bhimasena and
Dhrishtadyumna of Prishata’s race, rushed towards that car of Bhima
decked with gold. And all of them quickly surrounding Ganga’s son in
battle, pierced Bhishma, each with three terrible shafts, without losing
a moment. Thy sire Devavrata, however, in return pierced each of those
mighty bowmen striving (in battle) with three straight shafts. And
checking those mighty car-warriors, with thousands of arrows he Slew with
his shafts the steeds of Bhima decked with golden armour. Bhima, however,
endued with great energy, staying on that car whose steeds had been
slain, with great impetuosity hurled a dart at Bhishma’s car. Thy sire
Devavrata then, in that battle, cut off that dart in twain before it
could reach him, and thereupon it fell down on the earth. Then that bull
among men, Bhimasena, taking up a heavy and mighty mace made of Saikya
iron speedily jumped down from his car. And Dhrishtadyumna quickly taking
up that foremost of car-warriors on his own car, took away, in the very
sight of all the combatants, that renowned warrior. And Satyaki then from
desire of doing what was agreeable to Bhima, felled with his shaft the
charioteer of the reverend Kuru grand-sire. Upon his charioteer being
slain, that foremost of car-warriors, Bhishma, was borne away from the
field of battle by his steeds with the speed of the wind. And when that
mighty car-warrior was (thus) taken away from the field, Bhimasena then,
O monarch, blazed up like a mighty fire while consuming dry grass. And
slaying all the Kalingas, he stayed in the midst of the troops, and none,
O bull of Bharata’s race, of thy side ventured to withstand him. And
worshipped by the Panchalas and the Matsyas, O bull of Bharata’s race, he
embraced Dhrishtadyumna and then approached Satyaki. And Satyaki, the
tiger among the Yadus, of prowess incapable of being baffled, then
gladdening Bhimasena, said unto him, in the presence of Dhrishtadyumna,
(these words). ‘By good luck the king of the Kalingas, and Ketumat, the
prince of the Kalingas, and Sakradeva also of that country and all the
Kalingas, have been slain in battle. With the might and prowess of thy
arms, by thee alone, hath been crushed the very large division of the
Kalingas that abounded with elephants and steeds and cars, and with noble
warriors, and heroic combatants.’ Having said this, the long-armed
grandson of Sini, that chastiser of foes, quickly getting upon his car,
embraced the son of Pandu. And then that mighty car-warrior, coming back
to his own car, began to slay thy troops excited with rage and
strengthening (the hands of) Bhima.


Sanjaya said, “When the forenoon of that day had passed away, O Bharata,
and when the destruction of cars, elephants, steeds, foot-soldiers and
horse-soldiers, proceeded on, the prince of Panchala engaged himself in
battle with these three mighty car-warriors, viz., Drona’s son, Salya,
and the high-souled Kripa. And the mighty heir of Panchala’s king with
many sharp shafts, slew the steeds of Drona’s son that were celebrated
over all the world. Deprived then of his animals, Drona’s son quickly
getting up on Salya’s car, showered his shafts on the hair of the
Panchala king. And beholding Dhrishtadyumna engaged in battle with
Drona’s son, the son of Subhadra, O Bharata, quickly came up scattering
his sharp arrows. And, O bull of Bharata’s race, he pierced Salya with
five and twenty, and Kripa with nine arrows, and Aswatthaman with eight.
Drona’s son, however, quickly pierced Arjuna’s son with many winged
arrows, and Salya pierced him with twelve, and Kripa with three sharp
arrows. Thy grandson Lakshmana then, beholding Subhadra’s son engaged in
battle, rushed at him, excited with rage. And the battle commenced
between them. And the son of Duryodhana, excited with rage, pierced
Subhadra’s son with sharp shafts in that combat. And that (feat), O king,
seemed highly wonderful. The light-handed Abhimanyu then, O bull of
Bharata’s race, excited with rage, quickly pierced his cousin with five
hundred arrows. Lakshmana also, with his shafts, then cut off his
(cousin’s) bow-staff at the middle, at which, O monarch, all the people
sent forth a loud shout. Then that slayer of hostile heroes, the son of
Subhadra, leaving aside that broken bow, took up another that was
beautiful and tougher.[367] And thereupon those two bulls among men, thus
engaged in combat and desirous of counteracting each other’s feats,
pierced each other with sharp shafts. King Duryodhana then, O monarch,
beholding his mighty son thus afflicted by thy grandson (Abhimanyu),
proceeded to that spot. And when thy son turned (towards that spot), all
the kings surrounded the son of Arjuna on every side with crowds of cars.
Incapable of being defeated in battle and equal in prowess unto Krishna
himself, that hero, O king, thus surrounded by those heroes, was not
agitated in the least. Then Dhananjaya, beholding Subhadra’s son engaged
in battle, rushed to that spot, excited with wrath, desirous of rescuing
his own son. Thereupon the kings (on the Kuru side), headed by Bhishma
and Drona and with cars, elephants and steeds, rushed impetuously at
Savyasachin. Then a thick earthly dust, suddenly raised by foot-soldiers
and steeds and cars and cavalry troopers, covering the sky appeared on
the view. And those thousands of elephants and hundreds of kings, when
they came within reach of Arjuna’s arrows, were all unable to make any
further advance. And all creatures there set up loud wails, and the
points of the compass became dark. And then the transgression of the
Kurus assumed a fierce and dreadful aspect as regards its consequences.
Neither the welkin, nor the cardinal points of the compass nor the earth,
nor the sun, could be distinguished, O best of men, in consequence of the
arrows shot by Kiritin.[368] And many were the elephants there deprived
of the standards (on their backs), and many car-warriors also, deprived
of their steeds. And some leaders of car divisions were seen wandering,
having abandoned their cars. And other car-warriors, deprived of their
cars, were seen to wander hither and thither, weapon in hand and their
arms graced with Angadas. And riders of steeds abandoning their steeds
and of elephants abandoning their elephants from fear of Arjuna, O king,
fled away in all directions. And kings were seen felled or falling from
cars and elephants and steeds in consequence of Arjuna’s shafts. And
Arjuna, assuming a fierce countenance, cut off with his terrible shafts,
the upraised arms of warriors, mace in grasp, and arms bearing swords, O
king, or darts, or quivers, or shafts, or bows, or hooks, or standards,
all over the field. And spiked maces broken in fragments, and mallets, O
sire, and bearded darts, and short arrows, and swords also, in that
battle, and sharp-edged battle-axes, and lances, O Bharata, and shields
broken into pieces, and coats of mail also, O king,[369] and standards,
and weapons of all kinds thrown away and umbrellas furnished with golden
staves, and iron hooks also, O Bharata, and goads and whips, and traces
also, O sire, were seen strewn over the field of battle in heaps. There
was no man in thy army, O sire, who could advance against the heroic
Arjuna in battle. Whoever, O king, advanced against Pritha’s son in
battle, pierced by sharp shafts was despatched to the other world. When
all these combatants of thine broke had fled away, Arjuna and Vasudeva
blew their excellent conches. Thy sire Devavrata then, beholding the
(Kuru) host routed, smilingly addressed the heroic son of Bharadwaja in
the battle and said, “This mighty and heroic son of Pandu, viz.,
Dhananjaya, accompanied by Krishna, is dealing with (our) troops as he
alone is competent to deal with them. He is incapable of being vanquished
in battle today by any means, judging by his form that we see now so like
unto that of the Destroyer himself at the end of the Yuga. This vast host
again (of ours) is incapable of being rallied. Behold, looking at one
another, our troops are flying away. Yon Sun, robbing in every way the
vision of the whole world, is about to reach that best of mountains
called Asta.[370] For this, O bull among men, I think that the hour is
come for the withdrawal (of the army). The warriors, who have all been
tired and struck with panic, will never fight. Having said this unto
Drona that best of preceptors, Bhishma, that mighty car-warrior, caused
thy army to be withdrawn. And then when the sun set, the withdrawal of
both thy army and theirs took place, O sire, and twilight set in.”


Sanjaya said,–“When the night having passed away, the dawn came,
Santanu’s son Bhishma, that chastiser of foes, gave the order for the
(Kuru) army to prepare for battle. And the son of Santanu, the old Kuru
grandsire, desirous of victory to thy sons, formed that mighty array
known after the name of Garuda. And on the beak of that Garuda was thy
sire Devavrata himself. And its two eyes were Bharadwaja’s son and
Kritavarman of Satwata’s race. And those renowned warriors, Aswatthaman
and Kripa, supported by the Trigartas, the Matsyas, the Kekayas, and the
Vatadhanas, were in its head. And Bhurisravas and Sala, and Salya and
Bhagadatta, O sire, and the Madrakas, the Sindhu-Souviras, and they that
were called the Pancha-nodas, together with Jayadratha, were placed on
its neck. And on its back was king Duryodhana with all his followers. And
Vinda and Anuvinda of Avanti, and the Kamvojas with the Sakas, and the
Surasenas, O sire, formed its tail, O great king. And the Magadhas and
the Kalingas, with all the tribes of the Daserakas, accoutred in mail,
formed the right wing of that array. And the Karushas, the Vikunjas, the
Mundas, and the Kaundivrishas, with Vrithadvala, were stationed on the
left wing. Then that chastiser of foes, Savyasachin, beholding the host
disposed in battle-array, aided by Dhrishtadyumna, disposed his troops in
counter-array. And in opposition to that array of thine, the son of Pandu
formed fierce array after the form of the half-moon. And stationed on the
right horn, Bhimasena shone surrounded by kings of diverse countries
abundantly armed with various weapons. Next to him were those mighty
car-warriors Virata and Drupada; and next to them was Nila armed with
envenomed weapons. And next to Nila was the mighty car-warrior
Dhrishtaketu, surrounded by the Chedis, the Kasis, the Karushas, and the
Pauravas. And Dhrishtadyumna, and Sikhandin, with the Panchalas and the
Prabhadrakas, and supported by other troops, were stationed in the
middle, O Bharata, for battle. And thither also was king Yudhishthira the
just, surrounded by his elephant division. And next to him were Satyaki,
O king, and the five sons of Draupadi. And immediately next to them was
Iravan. And next to him were Bhimasena’s son (Ghatotkacha) and those
mighty car-warriors, the Kekayas. And next, on the left horn (of that
array), was that best of men, viz., he who had for his protector,
Janardana–that protector of the whole Universe. It was thus that the
Pandavas formed their mighty counter-array for the destruction of thy
sons and of those who had sided with them. Then commenced the battle
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 cheek 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 Yudhisthira 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
very powerfully in battle, and that the Kurus were rushing from all
sides, the younger brother of Vasava, the high-souled protector of all
the Dasarhas, unable to bear it all, addressed the renowned grandson of
Sini, and applauding him, said,–‘O hero of Sini’s race, they that are
retreating, are, indeed, retreating. They that are yet staying, O thou of
the Satwata race, let them also go away. Behold, I will soon throw
Bhishma down from his car, and Drona also in battle, with all their
followers. There is none in the Kuru host, O thou of the Satwata race,
who is able to escape my angry self. Therefore, taking up my fierce
discus, I will slay Bhishma of high vows. And slaying in battle those two
foremost of car-warriors, viz., Bhishma along with his followers and
Drona also, O grandson of Sini, I will gladden Dhananjaya, and the king,
and Bhima, and the twin Aswins. And slaying all the sons of Dhritarashtra
and all those foremost of kings who have embraced their side, I will
joyfully furnish king Ajatasatru with a kingdom today.’ Saying this,
Vasudeva’s son, abandoning (the reins of) the steeds, jumped down from
the car, whirling with his (right) arm his discus of beautiful nave with
edge sharp as a razor, effulgent as the sun and possessed of force equal
to that of a thousand bolts of heaven. And making the earth tremble under
his tread, the high-souled Krishna rushed impetuously towards Bhishma.
And that grinder of foes, the younger brother of the chief of the gods,
excited with wrath, rushed towards Bhishma staying in the midst of his
troops, like a lion from desire of slaying upon a prince of elephants
blinded with fury and staying proudly for the attack. And the end of his
yellow garments waving in the air looked like a cloud charged with
lightning in the sky. And that lotus of a discus called Sudarsana, having
for its stalk the beautiful arm of Saurin, looked as beautiful as the
primeval lotus, bright as the morning sun, which sprung from the navel of
Narayana. And Krishna’s wrath was the morning sun that caused that lotus
to blow. And the beautiful leaves of that lotus were as sharp as the edge
of a razor. And Krishna’s body was the beautiful lake, and his (right)
arm the stalk springing therefrom, upon which that lotus shone. And
beholding the younger brother of Mahendra, excited with wrath and roaring
loudly and armed with that discus, all creatures set out a loud wail,
thinking that the destruction of the Kurus was at hand. And armed with
his discus Vasudeva looked like the Samvarta fire that appears at the end
of the Yuga for consuming the world. And the preceptor of the universe
blazed up like a fierce comet risen for consuming all creatures. And
beholding that foremost of bipeds, that divine personage, advancing armed
with the discus, Santanu’s son stationed on his car, bow and arrow in
hand, fearlessly said, ‘Come, Come, O Lord of the gods, O thou that hast
the universe for thy abode. I bow to thee, O thou that art armed with
mace, sword and Saranga. O lord of the universe, forcibly throw me down
from this excellent car, O thou that art the refuge of all creatures in
this battle. Slain here by thee, O Krishna, great will be my good fortune
both in this world and the next. Great is the respect thou payest me, O
Lord of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas. My dignity will be celebrated in
the three worlds.’ Hearing these words of Santanu’s son, Krishna rushing
impetuously towards him said, ‘Thou art the root of this great slaughter
on earth. Thou wilt behold Duryodhana slain to-day. A wise minister who
treadeth in the path of righteousness should restrain a king that is
addicted to the evil of gambling. That wretch again of his race who
transgresseth duty should be abandoned as one whose intelligence hath
been misdirected by destiny.–The royal Bhishma, hearing these words,
replied unto the chief of the Yadus, saying,–Destiny is all powerful.
The Yadus, for their benefit, had abandoned Kansa. I said this to the
king (Dhritarashtra) but he minded it not. The listener that hath no
benefit to receive becometh, for (his own) misery, of perverted
understanding through (the influence of destiny).’ Meanwhile, jumping
down from his car, Partha, himself of massive and long arms, quickly ran
on foot after that chief of Yadu’s race possessed of massive and long
arms, and seized him by his two hands. That first of all gods devoted in
self, Krishna, was excited with rage. And therefore, though thus seized,
Vishnu forcibly dragged Jishnu after him, like a tempest bearing away a
single tree. The high-souled Partha, however, seizing them with great
force his legs as he was proceeding at a quick pace towards Bhishma,
succeeded, O king, in stopping him with difficulty at the tenth step. And
when Krishna stopped, decked as he was with a beautiful garland of gold,
cheerfully bowed down to him and said, ‘Quell this wrath of thine. Thou
art the refuge of the Pandavas, O Kesava. I swear, O Kesava, by my sons
and uterine brothers that I will not withdraw from the acts to which I
have pledged myself. O younger brother of Indra, at thy command I will
certainly annihilate the Kurus.’ Hearing that promise and oath of his,
Janardana became gratified. And ever engaged as he was in doing what was
agreeable to Arjuna–that best of the Kurus.–he once more, discus on
arm, mounted on his car. And that slayer of foes once more took up those
reins (that he had abandoned), and taking up his conch called
Panchajanya, Saurin filled all the points of the compass and the welkin
with its blare. And thereupon beholding Krishna decked with necklace and
Angada and ear-rings, with curved eye-lashes smeared with dust, and with
teeth of perfect whiteness, once more take up his conch the Kuru heroes
uttered a loud cry. And the sound of cymbals and drums and kettle-drums,
and the rattle of car-wheels and the noise of smaller drums, mingling
with those leonine shouts, set forth from all the ranks of the Kurus,
became a fierce uproar. And the twang of Partha’s Gandiva, resembling the
roll of the thunder, filled the welkin and all the quarters. And shot
from the bow of Pandu’s son, bright and blazing shafts proceeded in all
directions. Then the Kuru king, with a large force, and with Bhishma and
Bhurisravas also, arrow in hand, and resembling a comet risen for
consuming a constellation, rushed against him. And Bhurisravas hurled at
Arjuna seven javelins furnished with wings of gold, and Duryodhana a
lance of fierce impetuosity, and Salya a mace, and Santanu’s son a dart.
Thereupon, Arjuna, baffling with seven shafts the seven javelins, fleet
as arrows, shot by Bhurisravas, cut off with another keen-edged shaft the
lance hurled from Duryodhana’s arm. And the blazing dart coming towards
him–effulgent as lightning–hurled by Santanu’s son, and the mace hurled
from the arm of the ruler of the Madras, that hero cut off with two
(other) shafts. Then drawing with his two hands and with great force his
beautiful bow Gandiva of immeasurable energy, he invoked with proper
mantras the highly wonderful and terrible Mahendra weapon and caused it
to appear in the welkin. And with that mighty weapon producing profuse
showers of arrows endued with the effulgence of the blazing fire, that
high-souled and mighty bowman, decked with diadem and garland of gold,
checked the entire Kaurava host. And those shafts from Partha’s bow,
cutting off the arms, bows, standard-tops, and cars, penetrated into the
bodies of the kings and of the huge elephants and steeds of the foe. And
filling the cardinal and the subsidiary directions with those sharp and
terrible shafts of his, Pritha’s son decked with diadem and garland of
gold, agitated the hearts of his foes by means of the twang of Gandiva.
And in that awful passage at arms, the blare of conches and beat of drums
and the deep rattle of cars were all silenced by the twang of Gandiva.
And ascertaining that twang to be of Gandiva, king Virata and other
heroes among men, and the brave Drupada, the king of the Panchalas, all
proceeded to that spot with undepressed hearts. And all thy combatants
stood, struck with fear, each at the spot where he heard that twang of
Gandiva. And none amongst them ventured to proceed to that place whence
that sound was heard. And in that awful slaughter of kings, heroic
combatants were slain and car-warriors with those that guided their cars.
And elephants with resplendent housings of gold and gorgeous standards
(on their backs), afflicted with broad-headed shafts failing upon them,
suddenly fell down, deprived of life and their bodies mangled by Kiritin.
And forcibly struck by Partha with his winged arrows of great impetuosity
and broad-headed shafts of keen-edge and points, the standards of
innumerable kings stationed at the heads of their yantras and Indrajalas
were cut off.[372] And bands of infantry and car-warriors, in that
battle, and steeds and elephants, fell fast on the field, their limbs
paralysed, or themselves speedily deprived of life, affected by
Dhananjaya with those shafts. And, O king, many were the warriors who in
that terrible conflict had their coats of mail and bodies cut through by
that mighty weapon called after the name of Indra. And with those
terrible and sharp shafts of his, Kiritin caused an awful river to run on
the field of battle, having for its waters the blood flowing from the
mangled bodies of the combatants and having for its froth their fat. And
its current was broad and ran fiercely. And the bodies of elephants and
steeds despatched to the other world formed its banks. And its mire
consisted of the entrails, the marrow, and the flesh of human beings, and
prodigious Rakshasas formed the (tall) trees (standing on its banks). And
the crowns of human heads in profusion, covered with hair, formed its
(floating) mess, and heaps of human bodies, forming its sandbanks, caused
the current to flow in a thousand directions. And the coats of mail
strewn all over formed its hard pebbles. And its banks were infested by
large number of jackals and wolves and cranes and vultures and crowds of
Rakshasas, and packs of hyenas. And they that were alive beheld that
terrible river of current consisting of fat, marrow, and blood, caused by
the arrowy showers of Arjuna–that embodiment of (man’s) cruelty–to look
like the great Vaitarani.[373] And beholding the foremost warriors of
that army of the Kurus thus slain by Phalguni, the Chedis, the Panchalas,
the Kurushas, the Matsyas, and all the combatants of the Pandava side,
those foremost of men, elated with victory, together set up a loud shout
for frightening the Kaurava warriors. And they uttered that cry
indicative of victory, beholding the foremost combatants of the (Kuru)
army, the very troops protected by mighty leaders of divisions, thus
slain by Kiritin, that terror of foes, who frightened them like a lion
frightening herds of smaller animals. And then the bearer of Gandiva
himself, and Janardana both filled with delight, uttered loud roars. And
the Kurus, with Bhishma, and Drona and Duryodhana and Valhika,
exceedingly mangled by the weapons (of Arjuna), beholding the sun
withdraw his rays, and seeing also that awful and irresistible weapon
called after the name of Indra spread out and causing (as it were) the
end of the Yuga to appear, withdraw their forces for the nightly rest.
And that foremost of men, Dhananjaya also, having achieved a great feat
and won great renown by crushing his foes, and beholding the sun assume a
red hue and the evening twilight to set in, and having completed his
work, retired with his uterine brothers to the camp for nightly rest.
Then when darkness was about to set in, there arose among the Kuru troops
a great and terrible uproar. And all said, ‘In today’s battle Arjuna hath
slain ten thousand car-warriors, and full seven hundred elephants. And
all the westerners, and the diverse tribes of the Sauviras, and the
Kshudrakas and the Malavas, have all been slain. The feat achieved by
Dhananjaya is a mighty one. None else is competent to achieve it.
Srutayush, the ruler of the Amvashtas, and Durmarshana, and Chitrasena,
and Drona, and Kripa, and the ruler of the Sindhus, and Valhika, and
Bhurisravas, and Salya, and Sala, O king, and other warriors by hundreds
united together, along with Bhishma himself, have on battle, by the
prowess of his own arms, been vanquished today by the angry son of
Pritha, viz., Kiritin, that one mighty car-warrior in the world.’ Talking
thus, O Bharata, all the warriors of thy side went to their tents from
the field of battle. And all the combatants of the Kuru army frightened
by Kiritin, then entered their tents illumined by thousands of torches,
and beautified by innumerable lamps.


Sanjaya said,–“When the night passed away, O Bharata, the high-souled
Bhishma, with wrath engendered, supported by a large force, and stationed
at the head of the Bharata army, proceeded against the foe. And Drona and
Duryodhana and Valhika, and also Durmarshana and Chitrasena, the mighty
Jayadratha, and other royal warriors, supported by large divisions
accompanied, surrounding him all sides. And surrounded by those great and
mighty car-warriors endued with great prowess and energy, O king, he
shone, O best of monarchs, in the midst of those foremost of royal
warriors, like the chief of the celestials in the midst of the gods. And
the magnificent standards on the backs of the elephants stationed in
front of those ranks, of diverse colours, viz., red, yellow, black and
brown, waving in the air, looked exceedingly beautiful. And that army
with the royal son of Santanu and other mighty car-warriors and with
elephants and steeds, looked resplendent like a mass of clouds charged
with lightning, or like the firmament, in the season of rains, with
gathering clouds.[374] And then the fierce army of the Kurus, bent on
battle and protected by Santanu’s son, rushed impetuously towards Arjuna
like the fierce current of the ocean-going Ganga.[375] Pervaded by
diverse kinds of forces possessed of great strength, and having in its
wings elephants, steeds, infantry, and cars in profusion, that array the
high-souled (Arjuna) having the prince of apes on his banner beheld from
a distance to resemble a mighty mass of clouds.[376] That high-souled
hero, that bull among men, upon his car furnished with tall standard and
unto which were yoked white steeds, at the head of his (own) division and
surrounded by a mighty force, proceeded against the whole hostile army.
And all the Kauravas with thy sons, beholding that ape-bannered (warrior)
with his excellent standard and handsome car-shaft wrapped (in costly
cover), accompanied by that bull of Yadu’s race, his charioteer in
battle, were filled with dismay. And thy army beheld that best of arrays,
which was protected by that mighty car-warrior of the world, viz.,
Kiritin, with weapons upraised to have at each of its corners four
thousand elephants. Like the array which was formed on the day before by
that best of Kurus viz., king Yudhishthira the just, and like of which
had never been seen or heard before by human beings, was this one of
today (that the Pandavas formed). Then on the field of battle thousand of
drums were loudly beaten, and there arose from all the divisions the loud
blare of conches and the notes of trumpets and many leonine shouts. Then
(innumerable) bows of loud twang, stretched by heroic warriors with shaft
fixed on the bowstrings, and the blare of conches, silenced that uproar
of drums and cymbals. And the entire welkin filled with that blare of
conches was diffused with an earthly dust that made it wonderful to
behold. And with that dust the sky looked as if a vast canopy were spread
overhead. And beholding that canopy the brave warriors all rushed
impetuously (to battle). And car-warriors, struck by car-warriors, were
overthrown with charioteers, steeds, cars, and standards. And elephants,
struck by elephants, fell down, and foot-soldiers struck by
foot-soldiers. And rushing horsemen, struck down by rushing horsemen with
lances and swords, fell down with frightful countenances. And all this
seemed exceedingly wonderful. And excellent shields decked with golden
stars and possessed of solar effulgence, broken by (strokes of)
battle-axes, lances and swords dropped on the field.[377] And many
car-warriors mangled and bruised by the tusks and the strong trunks of
elephants, fell down with their charioteers. And many bulls among
car-warriors struck by bulls among car-warriors with their shafts, fell
down on the ground. And many persons hearing the wails of horsemen and
foot-soldiers struck with the tusks and other limbs of elephants or
crushed by the impetus of those huge creatures rushing in close ranks,
fell down on the field of battle.[378]

“Then when cavalry and foot-soldiers were falling fast, and elephants and
steeds and cars were flying away in fear, Bhishma, surrounded by many
mighty car-warriors, obtained sight of him who had the prince of apes on
his standard. And the palmyra-bannered warrior, viz. the son of Santanu,
having five palmyras on his standard, then rushed against the
diadem-decked (Arjuna) whose car, in consequence of the fleetness of the
excellent steeds attached to it was endued with wonderful energy and
which blazed like the very lightning in consequence of the energy of his
mighty weapons. And so against that son of Indra who was like unto Indra
himself, rushed many (other) warriors headed by Drona and Kripa and Salya
and Vivinsati and Duryodhana and also Somadatta’s son, O king. Then the
heroic Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna, conversant with all weapons and
cased in a handsome and golden coat of mail, rushing out of the ranks,
quickly proceeded against all those warriors. And that son of Krishna of
feats incapable of being borne, baffling the mighty weapons of all those
warriors of great strength, looked resplendent like the adorable Agni
himself, on the sacrificial altar, of blazing flames, invoked with high
mantras. Then Bhishma of mighty energy, creating in that battle a very
river whose waters were the blood of foes, and quickly avoiding
Subhadra’s son, encountered that mighty car-warrior, viz., Partha
himself. Then Arjuna decked with diadem and garlands with his Gandiva of
wonderful mien and twang loud as the roar of the thunder, shooting
showers of arrows, baffled that shower of mighty weapons (shot by
Bhishma). And that high-souled warrior having the prince of apes on his
banner, of feats incapable of being borne, then poured in return upon
Bhishma, that best of all wielders of bows a shower of sharp-edged arrows
and polished shafts of broad heads. And so thy troops also beheld that
shower of mighty weapons shot by him who had the prince of apes on his
banner, opposed and dispersed by Bhishma like the maker of day dispelling
(the gloom of night). And the Kurus and the Srinjayas, and all the people
there, beheld that single combat between those two foremost of men, viz.,
Bhishma and Dhananjaya, proceeding thus steadily and thus distinguished
by the terrible twang of the bows of both.”


Sanjaya said, “And Drona’s son, and Bhurisravas, and Chitrasena, O sire,
and the son of Samyamani also, all fought with Subhadra’s son. And while
fighting alone with five tigers among men, people beheld him possessed of
exceeding energy, like a young lion fighting with five elephants. And no
one among them equalled Krishna’s son in sureness of aim, in bravery, in
prowess, in lightness of hand or in knowledge of weapons. And beholding
his son, that chastiser of foes thus struggling and displaying his
prowess in battle, Partha set up a leonine roar. And seeing thy grandson,
O king, thus afflicting thy host, thy warriors, O monarch, surrounded him
on all sides. Then that smiter of foes, the son of Subhadra, depending
upon his prowess and might, advanced with undepressed heart against the
Dhartarashtra host. And while battling with the foe in that conflict, his
mighty bow endued with the effulgence of the sun, was seen by all to be
incessantly stretched for striking. And piercing the son of Drona with
one shaft, and Salya with five, he overthrew the standard of Samyamani’s
son with eight shafts. And with another sharp-edged arrow he cut off the
mighty dart of golden staff, resembling a snake, that was hurled at him
by Somadatta’s son. And the heir of Arjuna, baffling in the very sight of
Salya, his hundreds of terrible shafts, slew his four steeds. Thereupon
Bhurisravas, and Salya, and Drona’s son and Samyamani, and Sala struck
with the fear at the strength of arms displayed by Krishna’s son could
not stay before him. Then, O great king, the Trigartas and the Madras,
with the Kekayas, numbering five and twenty thousand urged by thy son,
all of whom were foremost of men accomplished in the science of arms and
who were incapable of defeat by foes in battle, surrounded Kiritin with
his son for slaying them both. Then, O king, that vanquisher of foes, the
commander of the Pandava army, the prince of the Panchalas, beheld the
cars of the father and the son (thus) surrounded (by the foe). Supported
by many thousands of elephants and cars, and by hundred thousands of
cavalry and infantry, and stretching his bow in great wrath he advanced
against that division of the Madras and the Kekayas, O chastiser of foes,
leading his troops with him. And that division (of the Pandava army),
protected by that renowned and firm bowman, and consisting of cars,
elephants, and cavalry, looked resplendent as it advanced for the
encounter. And while proceeding towards Arjuna, that perpetuator of
Panchala’s race struck Saradwat’s son on his shoulder-joint with three
arrows. And piercing the Madrakas then with ten sharp shafts, he speedily
slew the protector of Kritavarman’s rear. And that chastiser of foes
then, with a shaft of broad head, slew Damana, the heir of the
high-souled Paurava. Then the son of Samyamani pierced the Panchala
prince incapable of defeat in the battle with ten shafts, and his
charioteer also with ten shafts. Then that mighty bowman, (thus) severely
pierced, licked with his tongue the corners of his mouth, and cut off his
enemy’s bow with a broad-headed shaft of excessive sharpness. And soon
the prince of Panchala afflicted his foe with five and twenty arrows, and
then slew his steeds, O king, and then both the protectors of his wings.
Then, O bull of Bharata’s race, Samyamani’s son, standing on that car
whose steeds were slain, looked at the son of the renowned king of the
Panchalas. Then taking up a terrible scimitar of the best kind, made of
steel, Samyamani’s son walking on foot, approached Drupada’s son staying
on his car. And the Pandavas, soldiers and Dhrishtadyumna also of
Prishata’s race beheld him coming like a wave and resembling a snake
fallen from the skies. And he whirled his sword and looked like the sun
and advanced with the tread of an infuriate elephant. The prince of
Panchala then, excited with rage, quickly taking up a mace, smashed the
head of Samyamani’s son thus advancing towards him, sharp-edged scimitar
in grasp and shield in hand, as soon as the latter, having crossed the
shooting distance, was near enough to his adversary’s car. And then, O
king, while falling down deprived of life, his blazing scimitar and
shield, loosened from his grasp, fell down with his body on the ground.
And the high-souled son of the Panchala king, of terrible prowess, having
slain his foe with his mace, won great renown. And when that prince, that
mighty car-warrior and great bowman, was (thus) slain, loud cries of oh
and alas arose among thy troops, O sire. Then Samyamani, excited with
rage upon beholding his own son slain, impetuously rushed towards the
prince of Panchala who was incapable of defeat in battle. And all the
kings of both the Kuru and the Pandava armies beheld those two princes
and foremost of car-warriors engaged in battle. Then that slayer of
hostile heroes Samyamani, excited with wrath, struck Prishata’s son with
three shafts like (the conductor of an elephant striking) a mighty
elephant with hooks. And so Salya also, that ornament of assemblies,
excited with wrath, struck the heroic son of Prishata on his breast. And
then commenced (another) battle (there).”


Dhritarashtra said,–“I regard destiny to be superior to exertion, O
Sanjaya, inasmuch as the army of my son is continually slaughtered by the
army of the Pandavas. Thou always speakest, O suta, of my troops as being
slaughtered, and thou always speakest of the Pandavas as both unslain and
cheerful. Indeed, O Sanjaya, thou speakest of mine as deprived of
manliness, felled and falling, and slaughtered, although they are
battling to the best of their powers and striving hard for victory. Thou
always speakest to me of the Pandavas as obtaining victory and mine as
becoming weaker and weaker. O child, I am incessantly hearing of
countless cause of unbearable and poignant grief on account of
Duryodhana’s doing. I do not see, O Sanjaya, the means by which the
Pandavas, may be weakened and sons of mine may obtain the victory in

Sanjaya said, “This mighty evil hath proceeded from thee, O king. Listen
now with patience to the great slaughter of men, elephants, steeds and
car-warriors. Dhrishtadyumna, afflicted by Salya with nine shafts,
afflicted in return the ruler of Madras with many shafts made of steel.
And then we beheld the prowess of Prishata’s son to be highly wonderful
inasmuch as he speedily checked Salya that ornament of assemblies. The
battle between them lasted for only a short space of time. While angrily
engaged in combat, none beheld even a moment’s rest taken by any of them.
Then, O king, Salya in that battle cut off Dhrishtadyumna’s bow with a
broad-headed shaft of sharp edge and excellent temper. And he also
covered him, O Bharata, with a shower of arrows like rain charged clouds
pouring their drops on the mountain breast during the season of rains.
And while Dhrishtadyumna was being thus afflicted, Abhimanyu, excited
with wrath, rushed impetuously towards the car of the ruler of the
Madras. Then the wrathful son of Krishna, of immeasurable soul, obtaining
the car of the ruler of the Madras (within shooting distance), pierced
Artayani with three sharp shafts.[379] Then the warriors of thy army, O
king, desirous of opposing the son of Arjuna in battle, speedily
surrounded the car of the ruler of Madras. And Duryodhana, and Vikarna,
and Dussasana, and Vivinsati and Durmarshana, and Dussala, and
Chitrasena, and Durmukha, and Satyabrata, blessed be thou, and Purumitra,
O Bharata,–these, protecting the car of the ruler of the Madras,
stationed themselves there. Then Bhimasena, excited with wrath, and
Dhrishtadyumna. of Prishata’s race, and the five sons of Draupadi, and
Abhimanyu, and the twin sons of Madri and Pandu,–these ten opposed those
ten warriors of the Dhritarashtra army shooting, O king, diverse kinds of
weapons. And they approached and encountered one another in battle
desirous of slaying one another, in consequence, O king, of thy wicked
policy. And when those ten car-warriors, excited with wrath, engaged with
the ten others in that awful battle, the other car-warriors of both thy
army and of the foe all stood as spectators. And those mighty
car-warriors, shooting diverse kinds of weapons and roaring at one
another, smote one another fiercely. With wrath engendered in their
breasts, desirous of slaying one another, they uttered fierce shouts,
challenging one another. And jealous of one another, O king, those
kinsfolk united together, encountered one another wrathfully, shooting
mighty weapons. And wonderful to say, Duryodhana, excited with rage,
pierced Dhrishtadyumna in that battle with four sharp shafts. And
Durmarshana pierced him with twenty, and Chitrasena with five, and
Durmukha with nine, and Dussaha with seven, and Vivinsati with five, and
Dussasana with three shafts. Then, O great king, that scorcher of foes,
viz., Prishata’s son, pierced each of them in return with five and twenty
shafts, displaying his lightness of hand. And Abhimanyu, O Bharata,
pierced Satyavrata and Purumitra each with ten shafts. Then the son of
Madri, those delighters of their mother, covered their uncle with showers
of sharp arrows. And all this seemed wonderful. Then, O monarch, Salya
covered his nephews, those two foremost of car-warriors desirous of
counteracting their uncle’s feats, with arrows, but the sons of Madri
wavered not. Then the mighty Bhimasena, the son of Pandu, beholding
Duryodhana and desirous of ending the strife, took up his mace. And
beholding the mighty-armed Bhimasena with upraised mace and looking like
the crested Kailasa mount, thy sons fled away in terror. Duryodhana,
however, excited with wrath, urged the Magadha division consisting of ten
thousand elephants of great activity. Accompanied by that elephant
division and placing the ruler of Magadha before him, king Duryodhana
advanced towards Bhimasena. Beholding that elephant division advancing
towards him, Vrikodara, mace in hand, jumped down from his car, uttering
a loud roar like that of a lion. And armed with that mighty mace which
was endued with great weight and strength of adamant, he rushed towards
that elephant division, like the Destroyer himself with wide open mouth.
And the mighty-armed Bhimasena endued with great strength, slaying
elephants with his mace, wandered over the field, like the slayer of
Vritra among the Danava host. And with the loud shouts of the roaring
Bhima, shouts that made the mind and the heart to tremble with fear, the
elephants, crouching close, lost all power of motion. Then the sons of
Draupadi, and that mighty car-warrior, the son of Subhadra, and Nakula
and Sahadeva, and Dhrishtadyumna of Prishata’s race, protecting Bhima’s
rear, rushed behind him, checking all by scattering their arrowy showers
like the very clouds pouring rain on the mountain breast. And those
Pandava warriors struck off the heads of their foes battling from the
backs of elephants, with well-tempered and keen-edged shafts of diverse
forms.[380] And the heads (of elephant-riders), and arms decked with
ornaments, and hands with iron-hooks in grasp, falling fast, resembled a
stony shower. And the headless trunk of elephant-riders on the necks of
the beasts they rode, looked like headless trees on mountain summits. And
we beheld mighty elephants felled and falling, slain by Dhrishtadyumna,
the high-souled son of Prishata. Then the ruler of the Magadhas, in that
battle, urged his elephant resembling Airavata himself, towards the car
of Subhadra’s son. Beholding that mighty elephant advancing towards him,
that slayer of hostile heroes, the brave son of Subhadra, slew it with a
single shaft. And when the ruler of the Magadhas was thus deprived of his
elephant, that conqueror of hostile cities viz., the son of Krishna, then
struck off that king’s head with a broad-headed shaft with silver wings.
And Bhimasena, the son of Pandu, having penetrated that elephant
division, began to wander over the field, crushing those beasts around
him like Indra himself crushing the mountains. And we beheld elephants
slain in that battle by Bhimasena, each with only one stroke (of his
mace), like hills riven by thunder. And many elephants, huge as hills,
were slain there, having their tusks broken or temples, or bones, or
backs, or frontal globes. And others, O king, deprived of life, lay there
with foaming mouths. And many mighty elephants, with frontal globes
completely smashed, vomited large quantities of blood. And some, from
fear, laid themselves down on the ground like (so many) hillocks. And
smeared with the fat and blood (of elephants) and almost bathed in their
marrow, Bhima wandered over the field like the Destroyer himself, club in
hand. And Vrikodara, whirling that mace of his which was wet with the
blood of elephants, became terrible and awful to behold, like the wielder
of Pinaka armed with Pinaka.[381] And those huge tuskers, while (thus)
crushed by the angry Bhima, suddenly fled away, afflicted, crushing thy
own ranks. And these mighty bowmen and car-warriors, headed by Subhadra’s
son (all the while) protected that battling hero whirling his gory
mace[382] wet with the blood of elephants, like the celestials protecting
the wielder of the thunder-bolt. Of terrible soul, Bhimasena then looked
like the Destroyer. himself. Indeed, O Bharata, putting forth his
strength on all sides, mace in arms, we beheld Bhimasena then to resemble
Sankara himself dancing (at the end of the Yuga), and his fierce, heavy,
and sounding mace to resemble the club of Yama and possessed of the sound
of Indra’s bolt. And that gory mace of his, smeared with marrow and hair,
resembled (also) the angry Rudra’s Pinaka while he is engaged in
destroying all creatures. As a herdsman chastises his herd of cattle with
a goad, so did Bhima smite that elephant division with that mace of his.
And while thus slaughtered by Bhima with his mace and with shafts (by
those that protected his rear), the elephants ran on all sides, crushing
the cars of thy own army. Then driving away those elephants from the
field like a mighty wind driving away masses of clouds, Bhima stood there
like wielder of the trident on a crematorium.”


Sanjaya said, “When that elephant division was exterminated, thy son
Duryodhana urged his entire army, commanding the warriors to slay
Bhimasena. Then the entire army at the command of thy son, rushed towards
Bhimasena who was uttering fierce shouts. That vast and unlimited host
difficult of being borne by the very gods, incapable of being crossed
like the surging sea on the day of full moon or new moon, abounding with
cars, elephants, and steeds, resounding with the blare of conches and the
beat of drums, numbering untold foot-soldiers and car-warriors, and
shrouded by the dust (raised), that very sea of hostile troops incapable
of being agitated, thus coming towards him, Bhimasena checked in battle,
O king, like the bank resisting the ocean. That feat, O king, which we
beheld, of Bhimasena the high-souled son of Pandu, was exceedingly
wonderful and superhuman. With his mace, he fearlessly checked all those
kings angrily rushing towards him, with their steeds and cars, and
elephants. Checking that vast force with mace, that foremost of mighty
men, Bhima, stood in that fierce melee, immovable as the mountain Meru.
And in that dreadful, fierce, and terrific encounter his brother and sons
and Dhrishtadyumna of Prishata’s race, and the sons of Draupadi and
Abhimanyu, and the unvanquished Sikhandin–these mighty warriors,–did
not abandon him from fear. Taking up his massive and weighty mace made of
Saika iron, he rushed towards the warriors of thy army like the Destroyer
himself, armed with his club. And pressing crowds of cars and crowds of
horsemen down into the earth, Bhima wandered over the field like the fire
at the end of the Yuga. And Pandu’s son of infinite prowess crushing
crowds of cars with the impetus of his thighs and slaying thy warriors in
battle, wandered like the Destroyer himself at the end of the Yuga. And
he began to grind thy troops with the greatest ease like an elephant
crushing a forest of reeds. And dragging car-warriors down from their
cars, and warriors fighting from the backs of heroes, and foot soldiers
as they stood on the ground, in the army of thy son, the mighty-armed
Bhimasena slew them all with his mace like the wind crushing trees by its
force. And that mace of his, slaying elephants and steeds, became smeared
with fat, marrow, flesh, and blood, and looked exceedingly terrible. And
with the bodies of slain men and cavalry lying scattered about, the field
of battle wore the appearance of the abode of Yama. And the terrible and
slaughtering mace of Bhimasena, resembling the fierce bludgeon of Death
and endued with the effulgence of Indra’s bolt, looked like Pinaka of the
angry Rudra while destroying living creatures. Indeed, that mace of the
high-souled son of Kunti, who was slaying all around, looked fiercely
resplendent like the bludgeon of the Destroyer himself at the time of the
universal dissolution. And beholding him thus routing that large army
repeatedly and advancing like Death’s self, all the warriors became
cheerless. Withersoever the son of Pandu, raising his mace, cast his
eyes, in consequence of his look alone, O Bharata, all the troops there
seemed to melt away. Beholding Vrikodara of terrible deeds, thus routing
the army and unvanquished by even so large a force and devouring the
(hostile) division like the Destroyer himself with wide-open mouth,
Bhimasena speedily came towards him, on his car of solar effulgence and
rattle loud as that of the clouds, (shrouding the welkin) with his arrowy
showers like a vapoury canopy charged with rain. Then the mighty-armed
Bhimasena, beholding Bhishma thus advancing like the Destroyer himself
with wide-open mouth, rushed towards him, excited with wrath. At that
moment, that foremost hero of Sini’s race viz., Satyaki of sure aim, fell
upon the grandsire, slaying his enemies (along the way) with his firm bow
and causing thy son’s army to tremble. And all the combatants who
belonged to thy army were then, O Bharata, unable to impede the progress
of that hero thus advancing with his steeds of silvery hue and scattering
his sharp shafts furnished with handsome wings. At that time the Rakshasa
Alamvusha (only) succeeded in piercing him with ten shafts. But piercing
Alamvusha in return with four shafts, the grandson of Sini proceeded on
his car. Beholding that hero of Vrishni’s race thus advancing and rolling
(as it were) through the very midst of his enemies, and checking (as he
proceeded) the foremost of Kuru warriors, and repeatedly uttering loud
shouts in that battle, thy warriors then like masses of clouds pouring
rain in torrents on the mountain breast, showered their arrowy downpours
on him. They were, however, incapable of impeding the progress of that
hero who looked like the noon-day sun in his glory. And there was none
who was not then cheerless, save Somadatta’s son, O king, and
Bhurisravas, the son of Somadatta, O Bharata, beholding the car-warriors
of his own side driven away, rushed against Satyaki from desire of
battle, taking up his bow of fierce impetus.”


Sanjaya said, “Then, O king, Bhurisravas, excited with great wrath,
pierced Satyaki with nine arrows like the conductor of an elephant
piercing an elephant with the iron hook. Satyaki also, of immeasurable
soul, in the very sight of all the troops, pierced the Kaurava warrior
with nine shafts. Then king Duryodhana, accompanied by his uterine
brothers, surrounded Somadatta’s son thus striving in battle. Similarly
the Pandavas also, of great energy, quickly surrounding Satyaki in that
battle took up their positions around him. And Bhimasena, excited with
wrath, and with mace upraised, O Bharata, encountered all thy sons headed
by Duryodhana. With many thousands of cars, and excited with wrath and
vindictiveness, thy son Nandaka pierced Bhimasena of great might with
keen-edged and sharp-pointed shafts whetted on stone and winged with the
feathers of the kanka bird. Then Duryodhana, O king, in that great
battle, excited with wrath, struck Bhimasena in the breast with nine
shafts. Then the mighty-armed Bhima of great strength mounted on his own
excellent car and addressing (his charioteer) Visoka, said, ‘These heroic
and mighty sons of Dhritarashtra, all great car-warriors, are exceedingly
angry with me and desirous of slaying me in battle. I will slay all these
today in thy sight, without doubt. Therefore, O charioteer, guide my
steed in battle with care.’ Having said this, O monarch, Pritha’s son
pierced thy son with sharp-pointed arrows decked with gold. And he
pierced Nandaka in return with three arrows between his two breasts. Then
Duryodhana having pierced the mighty Bhima with six arrows pierced Visoka
in return with three other sharp arrows. And Duryodhana, O king, as if
smiling the while, with three other sharp arrows cut off at the grasp the
resplendent bow of Bhima in that battle. Bhima then, that bull among men,
beholding his charioteer Visoka afflicted, in that conflict, with sharp
shafts by thy son armed with the bow, and unable to bear it, drew another
excellent bow, excited with wrath, for the destruction of thy son, O
monarch. And excited with great wrath, he also took up an arrow with
horse-shoe head and furnished with excellent wings. And with that (arrow)
Bhima cut off the excellent bow of the king. Then thy son, excited to the
highest pitch of fury, leaving that broken bow aside, speedily took up
another that was tougher. And aiming a terrible shaft blazing as Death’s
rod, the Kuru king, excited with rage struck Bhimasena between his two
breasts. Deeply pierced therewith, and greatly pained, he sat down on the
terrace of his car. And while seated on the terrace of his car, he
swooned away. Beholding Bhima thus unmanned, the illustrious and mighty
car-warriors of the Pandava army, headed by Abhimanyu could not bear it.
And those warriors then, with great steadiness, showered on thy sons’
head a thick down-pour of fierce shafts. Then the mighty Bhimasena,
regaining consciousness, pierced Duryodhana at first with those shafts
and then with five. And that mighty bowman the son of Pandu then pierced
Salya with five and twenty shafts furnished with golden wings. And
pierced therewith, Salya was borne away from the battle. Then thy
fourteen sons, viz., Senapati, Sushena, Jalasandha, Sulochana, Ugra,
Bhimaratha, Bhima, Viravahu, Aolupa, Durmukha, Dushpradarsha, Vivitsu,
Vikata, and Sama, then encountered Bhimasena in battle. United together
they rushed against Bhimasena, and with eyes red in wrath, showering
countless arrows, they pierced him deeply. Then the heroic and mighty
Bhimasena of strong arms, beholding thy sons, licking the corners of his
mouth like a wolf in the midst of smaller creatures, fell upon them with
the impetuosity of Garuda. And the son of Pandu then cut off the head of
Senapati with a shaft having a horse-shoe head. And with delighted soul
and laughing the while, that mighty-armed warrior, piercing Jalasandha
with three arrows, despatched him to Yama’s abode. And next, smiting
Sushena, he sent him to the presence of Death’s self. And with a single
broad-headed shaft he felled on the ground the head, handsome as the
moon, of Ugra, decked with turban and adorned with ear-rings. And in that
battle, Pandu’s son Bhima, with seventy shafts, despatched Viravahu to
the other world with his steeds and standard and charioteer. And smiling
the while, O king, Bhimasena quickly despatched both the brothers Bhima
and Bhimaratha also to Yama’s abode. And then in that great battle in the
very sight of all the troops, with an arrow of horse-shoe head Bhima
despatched Sulochana also to Death’s domain. Then the rest of thy sons
that were there, O king, beholding the prowess of Bhimasena and while
thus being struck by that illustrious warrior, all fled from battle from
fear of Bhima. Then Santanu’s son, addressing all the mighty car-warriors
(of his army) said, ‘That fierce bowman, Bhima, excited with wrath in
battle, is slaying the mighty sons of Dhritarashtra and other heroic
car-warriors united together, whatever their knowledge of weapons, and
whatever their bravery. Therefore, seize ye all that son of Pandu’. Thus
addressed, all the troops of the Dhritarashtra army, excited with rage,
rushed towards Bhimasena endued with great might, And Bhagadatta, O king,
on his elephant of rent temples, suddenly rushed thither where Bhimasena
was stationed. And thither to the combat, he shrouded Bhima with his
shafts whetted on stone so as to make him completely invisible, like the
clouds covering the sun. Those mighty car-warriors, however, (of the
Pandava army), relying on the prowess of their own arms, could not bear
that shrouding of Bhima (with the arrowy showers of Bhagadatta). They,
therefore, surrounding Bhagadatta on all sides, poured on him their
arrowy down-pours. And they pierced his elephant also with showers of
shafts. And struck by all those mighty car-warriors with showers of
fierce shafts of diverse kinds that elephant, O king, of the ruler of the
Pragjyotishas with blood trickling down his body, became beautiful to
behold on the field of battle like a mass of clouds tinged with the rays
of the sun. And that elephant with temporal juice trickling down urged by
Bhagadatta, like the Destroyer, ran with double his former speed, shaking
the very earth with his tread. Then all those mighty car-warriors,
beholding that terrible mien of the animal, and regarding it
irresistible, became cheerless. Then king Bhagadatta, that tiger among
men, excited with rage, struck Bhimasena between his two breasts with a
straight shaft. Deeply pierced by the king with that shaft, that great
bowman and mighty car-warrior, with limbs deprived of sensation in
consequence of a swoon, sat down on his car, holding his flagstaff. And
beholding those mighty car-warriors terrified and Bhimasena in a swoon,
Bhagadatta of great prowess uttered a loud roar. Then, O king, that
terrible Rakshasa Ghatotkacha, beholding Bhima in that state, became
excited with rage and there and then disappeared from the view. And
creating a terrible illusion enhancing the fears of the timid, he
reappeared in a moment assuming a fierce form. Himself riding on an
Airavata created by his powers of illusion, the other Dik-elephants,
viz., Anjana, Vamana, and Mahapadma of blazing glory, followed him. And
those three mighty elephants, ridden by Rakshasas, were of huge form,
with juice profusely trickling down in three lines, and endued with great
speed and prowess. Then Ghatotkacha urged his own elephant to battle,
desirous, O chastiser of foes, of slaying Bhagadatta with his elephant.
And those other elephants, excited with fury and each endued with four
tusks, urged by Rakshasas of great strength, fell from all sides upon
Bhagadatta’s elephant and afflicted him with their tusks. And the
elephant of Bhagadatta, thus afflicted by those elephants, (already)
struck with arrows and feeling great pain, uttered loud cries that
resembled the thunder of Indra. And hearing those terrible and loud cries
of that roaring elephant, Bhishma, addressing Drona, Suyodhana and all
the kings, said, ‘The mighty bowman Bhagadatta is battling with the
wicked-souled son of Hidimva, and hath fallen into great distress. That
Rakshasa is of huge form, and the king also is very wrathful. Engaged in
battle, they would certainly prove each other’s death. Loud shouts were
also heard of the rejoicing Pandavas, and the cries of agony of (king
Bhagadatta’s) terrified elephant. Blessed be ye, let us all go there for
rescuing the king, for, if left unprotected, in battle, he will soon give
up his life. Ye warriors of great energy, do, as I bid, even now. Ye
sinless ones, make no delay. The combat deepens and becometh fierce,
making the hair to stand on end. That commander of a division is
high-born, endued with great bravery, and devoted to us. Ye warriors of
unfading glory, it is meet that his rescue should be effected by us.’
Hearing these words of Bhishma, all the kings (of the Kuru army), headed
by Bharadwaja’s son, desirous of rescuing Bhagadatta, proceeded with
great speed to where the ruler of the Pragjyotishas was. And beholding
the enemy advancing, the Panchalas with the Pandavas, headed by
Yudhishthira, pursued them behind. Then that prince of Rakshasas, endued
with great prowess, beholding that division (of the enemy) advance,
uttered a fierce roar, deep as that of thunder. Hearing that roar of his
and beholding those battling elephants, Santanu’s son Bhishma once again
addressed Bharadwaja’s son and said, ‘I do not like to fight (to-day)
with the wicked-souled son of Hidimva. Endued with great might and
energy, he is at present well-supported. He is incapable of being
vanquished now by the wielder of the thunder-bolt himself. Of sureness of
aim, he is a great smiter. As regards ourselves, our animals are tired
(today). We have also been greatly mangled by Panchalas and the Pandavas.
I do not like fresh encounter with the victorious Pandavas. Let the
withdrawal of our army, therefore, be proclaimed today. Tomorrow we will
fight with the foe.’ Hearing these words of the grandsire, the Kauravas,
afflicted with the fear of Ghatotkacha, and availing of the advent of
night as a pretext, gladly did what the grandsire said. And after the
Kauravas had withdrawn, the Pandavas, crowned with victory uttered
leonine roars, mingling them with the blare of conches and the notes of
pipes. Thus did the battle take place that day, O Bharata, between the
Kurus and the Pandavas headed by Ghatotkacha. And the Kauravas also,
vanquished by the Pandavas and overcome with shame, retired to their own
tents when night came. And those mighty car-warriors, the sons of Pandu,
their bodies mangled with shafts and themselves filled with (the result
of) the battle, proceeded, O king, towards their encampment, with
Bhimasena and Ghatotkacha, O monarch, at their head. And filled with
great joy, O king, they worshipped those heroes. And they uttered diverse
kinds of shouts which were mingled with the notes of trumpets. And those
high-souled warriors shouted making the very earth tremble therewith, and
grinding as it were, O sire, the hearts of thy sons. And it was thus that
those chastisers of foes, when night came, proceeded towards their tents.
And king Duryodhana, cheerless at the death of his brothers, passed some
time in thoughtfulness, overcome with grief and tears. Then making all
the arrangements for his camp according to the rules (of military
science), he began to pass the hours in meditation, scorched with grief
and afflicted with sorrow on account of his (slain) brothers.”


Dhritarashtra said, ‘Hearing of those feats of the sons of Pandu which
are incapable of being achieved by the gods themselves, my heart, O
Sanjaya, is filled with fear and wonder. Hearing also of the humiliation
of my sons in every way, great hath been my anxiety as to the consequence
that will ensue. The words uttered by Vidura will, no doubt, consume my
heart. Everything that hath happened seemeth to be due to Destiny, O
Sanjaya. The combatants of the Pandava army are encountering and smiting
those best of warriors having Bhishma for their head, those heroes
conversant with every weapon. What ascetic penances have been performed
by the high-souled and mighty sons of Pandu, what boon hath they
obtained, O son, or what science is known to them, in consequence of
which, like the stars in the firmament, they are undergoing no
diminution? I cannot bear it that my army should be repeatedly
slaughtered by the Pandavas. The divine chastisement, highly severe, both
fallen on me alone. Tell me everything truly, O Sanjaya, about that for
which the sons of Pandu have become unslayable and mine slayable. I do
not see the other shore of this (sea of) distress.[383] I am like a man
desirous of crossing the vastly deep ocean with my two arms alone. I
certainly think that a great calamity hath overtaken my sons. Without
doubt, Bhima will slay all my sons. I do not see that hero who is able to
protect my sons in battle. The death of my sons in this battle, O
Sanjaya, is certain. It behoveth thee, therefore, O Suta, to tell me, who
asketh thee, everything about the true cause of all these. Beholding his
own troops retreating from battle, what did Duryodhana do? And what old
Bhishma and Drona, and Kripa, and Suvala’s son, and Jayadratha, and that
mighty bowman, viz., Drona’s son and Vikarna of great strength do? When
also, O thou of great wisdom, my sons turned back from the fight, what O
Sanjaya, became the resolve of those high-souled warriors?”

Sanjaya said, “Listen, O king, with attention, and having listened, let
it go to thy heart. Nothing (in this) is the result of incantation,
nothing the result of illusion of any king. Nor have the sons of Pandu
created any new terrors. They are endued with might; and they are
fighting by fair means in this battle. Desirous of high fame, the sons of
Pritha always do every act, including even the support of their lives,
agreeably to the way of morality. Endued with every kind of prosperity,
and possessed of great strength, they never desist from battle, keeping
their eyes on righteousness. And victory is there where righteousness is.
It is for this, O king, that the sons of Pritha are unslayable in battle
and always victorious. Thy sons are of wicked souls and are addicted to
sinfulness. They are cruel and wedded to mean acts. It is for this that
they are being weakened in battle. Thy sons, O king, like despicable men,
did many cruel and deceitful acts to the sons of Pandu. Disregarding,
however, all those offences of thy sons, the sons of Pandu always
concealed those acts, O elder brother of Pandu. Thy sons also, O king, on
numerous occasions humiliated the Pandavas. Let them now reap the
terrible fruit, like poison, of that persistent course of
sinfulness.[384] That fruit should be enjoyed by thee also, O king, with
thy sons and kinsmen, since thou, O king, could not be awakened even
though counselled by thy well-wishers. Repeatedly forbidden by Vidura, by
Bhishma, by the high-souled Drona, and by myself also thou didst not
understand, rejecting our words intended for thy good and worthy of thy
acceptance, like a sick man rejecting the medicine prescribed. Accepting
the views of thy sons thou hadst regarded the Pandavas as already
vanquished. Listen again, O king, to what thou hast asked me, viz., the
true cause, O chief of the Bharatas, of the victory of the Pandavas. I
will tell thee whit I have heard, O chastiser of foes. Duryodhana had
asked the grandsire this very question. Beholding his brothers, all
mighty car-warriors, vanquished in battle, thy son Duryodhana, O Kaurava,
with heart confounded with grief, repairing with humility during the
night to the grandsire possessed of great wisdom, asked him this
question. Listen to me, O monarch, about it all.

“Duryodhana said, ‘Drona and thou, and Salya, and Kripa, and Drona’s son,
and Kritavarman the son of Hridika, and Sudakshina the ruler of the
Kamvojas, and Bhurisravas, and Vikarna, and Bhagadatta of exceeding
prowess, are all regarded as mighty car-warriors. All of these, again,
are high-born, and prepared to throw away their lives in battle. It is my
opinion that these are a match for even the three worlds (united
together). Even all the warriors of the Pandava army (united together)
cannot bear your prowess. A doubt has arisen in my mind. Explain it to me
who enquireth of thee. Who it is, relying on whom the Pandavas are
vanquishing us repeatedly.’

“Bhishma said, ‘Listen, O king, to the words that I will speak unto thee,
O thou of Kuru’s race. Frequently wert thou addressed by me to the same
effect but thou didst not do what I said. Let peace be made with the
Pandavas, O best of the Bharatas. I regard this to be beneficial both to
the world and thee, O lord. Enjoy this earth, O king, with thy brothers
and be happy, gratifying all thy well-wishers and delighting thy
kinsfolk. Although I cried myself hoarse before this, thou didst not yet
listen to me, O sire. Thou hadst always disregarded the sons of Pandu.
The effect of all that hath now overtaken thee. Listen also, O king, from
me as I speak of it, O Lord, to the reason why the Pandavas, whose
achievements tire them not, are unslayable.[385] There is not, was not,
will not be, the being in all the worlds who would or will be able to
vanquish the sons of Pandu who are all protected by the wielder of
Saranga. Listen truly, O thou that art conversant with morality, to that
ancient history which was recited to me by sages of souls under control.
In days of yore, all the celestials and the Rishis, united together,
waited reverentially on the Grandsire upon the mountains of Gandhamadana.
And the Lord of all creatures, seated at his case in their midst, beheld
an excellent car stationed in the firmament, blazing with effulgence.
Having ascertained (everything about it) by meditation, joining his hands
with restrained heart, Brahman, with delighted soul, made his salutations
to the highest Divine Being. And the Rishis and the celestials, beholding
in the firmament (the form thus) displayed, all stood up with joined
hands, their eyes fixed on that wonder of wonders. Worshipping him duly,
Brahma, the foremost of all conversant with Brahman, the Creator of the
universe, acquainted with the highest morality, uttered these high words:
Thou art the Glory of the Universe for thy form. Thou art the Lord of the
Universe. O thou whose protection extendeth through the whole Universe, O
thou that hath the Universe for thy work, O thou that hath thy soul under
control, Thou art the Supreme Master of the Universe. Thou art Vasudeva.
Therefore, I seek refuge in Thee that art the soul of Yoga and the
highest Divinity. Victory to Thee that art the Supreme God of the
Universe. Victory to Thee that art ever employed in the good of the
worlds. Victory to Thee that art the Lord of Yoga. Thee that art
all-powerful. Victory to Thee that art prior, and subsequent to Yoga.
Having the lotus springing from thy navel, and having large expansive
eyes, victory to Thee that art Lord of Lords of the Universe. O Lord of
the Past, the Present, and the Future, victory to Thee that art the
embodiment of gentleness. Thee that art the sun of suns. O thou that art
the receptacle of untold attributes, victory to Thee that art the refuge
of all things. Thou art Narayana, thou art incapable of being understood,
victory to Thee that art the wielder of the bow called Saranga. Victory
to Thee that art endued with every attribute, O thou that hast the
Universe for thy form, O thou that art ever hale. O Lord of the Universe,
O thou of mighty arms, victory to Thee that art always ready for
benefitting the worlds. O great Snake, O huge Boar, O first Cause, O thou
of tawny locks, victory to Thee that art Almighty. O thou of yellow
robes, O Lord of the cardinal and the subsidiary points of the compass, O
thou that hast the Universe for thy abode, O thou that art Infinite, O
thou that hast no decay, O thou that art the Manifest, O thou that art
the Unmanifest, O thou that art the immeasurable Space, O thou that hast
all thy senses under control, O thou that always achievest what is good,
O thou that art immeasurable, O thou that alone knowest thy own nature,
victory to Thee that art deep, O thou that art the giver of all wishes, O
thou that art without end, O thou that art known as Brahma, O thou that
art Eternal, O thou that art the Creator of all creatures, O thou that
art ever successful, O thou whose acts always display wisdom, O thou that
art conversant with morality, O thou that givest victory, O thou of
mysterious Self, O thou that art the Soul of all Yoga, O thou that art
the Cause of everything that hath sprung into existence, O thou that art
the knowledge of the selves of all beings, O Lord of the worlds, victory
to thee that art the Creator of all beings. O thou that hath thyself for
thy origin, O thou that art highly blessed, O thou that art the Destroyer
of everything, O thou that art the inspirer of all mental thoughts,
victory to Thee that art dear to all conversant with Brahma. O thou that
art busy in creation and destruction, O controller of all wishes, O
Supreme Lord, O thou that art the Cause of Amrita, O thou that art
All-existent, O thou that art the first that appears at the end of the
Yuga, O thou that art the giver of victory, O Divine Lord of the Lord of
all creatures, O thou that hast the lotus springing from thy navel, O
thou of mighty strength, O thou that art sprung from Thyself, O thou that
art the great elements in their primeval state, O thou that art the soul
of all (religious) rites, victory to Thee that givest all. The goddess
Earth represents thy two feet, the cardinal and the subsidiary directions
thy arms, and the heavens thy head. I am thy form, the celestials
constitute thy limbs, and the Sun, the moon are thy two eyes. Ascetic
austerities and Truth born of morality and (religious) rites, constitute
thy strength. Fire is thy energy, the wind is thy breath, and the waters
have sprung from thy sweat. The twins Aswins constitute thy ears, and the
goddess Saraswati is thy tongue. The Vedas are thy Knowledge, and upon
thee resteth this Universe. O Lord of Yoga and Yogins, we do not know thy
extent, thy measure, thy energy, thy prowess, thy might, thy origin. O
God, O Vishnu, filled with devotion in thee, and depending upon thee with
vows and observances, we ever worship Thee as the highest Lord, the God
of gods. The Rishis, the gods, Gandharvas, the Yakshas, the Rakshasas,
the Pannagas, the Pisachas, human beings, beasts, birds, reptiles,–all
these were created by me on Earth through Thy grace. O thou having the
lotus springing from thy navel, O thou of large expansive eyes, O
Krishna, O Dispeller of all woe, Thou art the Refuge of all creatures,
and Thou art their Guide. Thou hast the Universe for thy mouth. Through
thy grace, O Lord of the gods, the gods are ever happy. Through thy grace
the Earth hath always been freed from terrors. Therefore, O thou of large
eyes, take birth in the race of Yadu.[386] For the sake of establishing
righteousness, for slaying the sons of Diti, and for upholding the
Universe, do what I have said, O Lord. O Vasudeva, that which is thy
supreme mystery, that, O Lord hath been sung by me through Thy grace.
Having created the divine Sankarshana out of thy own Self by Thyself,
thou didst then, O Krishna, create Thyself as Pradyumna born of thyself.
From Pradyumna thou didst then create Aniruddha who is known as the
eternal Vishnu. And it was Aniruddha who created me as Brahma, the
upholder of the Universe. Created out of Vasudeva’s essence I have,
therefore, been created by thee. Dividing Thyself into portions, take
birth, O Lord, among human beings. And slaughtering the Asuras there for
happiness of all the worlds, and establishing righteousness, and winning
renown, Thou wilt again truly attain to Yoga. The regenerate Rishis on
Earth and the gods, O thou of infinite prowess, devoted to thee, sing of
thy wonderous Self under those names that belong to thee. O thou of
excellent arms, all classes of creatures rest on thee, having taken
refuge in Thee, thou giver of boons. The regenerate ones sing Thee as the
world’s bridge, having no beginning, middle and end, and as possessed of
unlimited Yoga.'”


“Bhishma said, ‘Then that illustrious Deity, the Lord of the worlds,
replied unto Brahma in a soft deep voice, saying,–‘Through Yoga, O sire,
all that is wished by thee is known to me. It will be even as thou
wishest,–And saying this, he disappeared then and there. Then the gods,
Rishis, and Gandharvas, filled with great wonder and curiosity all asked
the Grandsire, saying,–‘Who is that one, O Lord, that was worshipped by
thy illustrious self with such humility and praised in such high words?
We desire to hear,–Thus addressed, the illustrious Grandsire replied
unto all the Gods, the regenerate Rishis, and the Gandharvas, in sweet
words saying,–He who is called TAT, He who is Supreme, He who is
existent at present and who will be for all time, He who is the highest
Self, He who is the Soul of beings, and who is the great Lord, I was
talking even with His ever-cheerful self, ye bulls among gods. The Lord
of the Universe was solicited by me, for the good of the Universe, to
take his birth among mankind in the family of Vasudeva. I said unto
him,–For the slaughter of the Asuras take thy birth in the world of
men!–Those Daityas and Rakshasas, of fierce form and great strength,
that were slain in battle, have been born among men. Indeed, the
illustrious and mighty Lord, taking birth in the human womb, will live on
the Earth, accompanied by Nara. Those ancient and best of Rishis, viz.,
Nara and Narayana, are incapable of defeat in battle by even all the
celestials united together. Of immeasurable effulgence, those Rishis
viz., Nara and Narayana, when born together in the world of men, will not
be known (as such) by fools. He, from whose Self, I, Brahman, the Lord of
the whole Universe, have sprung that Vasudeva, that Supreme God of all
the worlds, is worthy of your adoration. Endued with great energy, and
bearing the conch, the discus, and the mace, he should never be
disregarded as a man, ye best of deities. He is the Supreme Mystery, the
Supreme refuge, the Supreme Brahma, and the Supreme glory. He is without
decay, Unmanifest, and Eternal. He it is who hath been sung as Purusha,
though none can comprehend him. The divine Artificer hath sung of him as
the Supreme Energy, the Supreme Felicity, and the Supreme Truth.
Therefore, the Lord Vasudeva of immeasurable prowess should never be
disregarded as a man by all the Asuras and the gods with Indra at their
head. That person of foolish understanding is called a wretch, who, from
disregard, speaketh of Hrishikesa as only a man. People speak of him as
one labouring under darkness who disregardeth Vasudeva, that Yogin of
illustrious soul, for his entering into a human form. People speak of him
as one labouring under darkness who knoweth not that Divine personage,
that Soul of the mobile and the immobile creation, that one bearing the
auspicious wheel (on his breast), that one of dazzling effulgence, that
one from whose navel hath sprung the (primeval) lotus. He who
disregardeth that wearer of the diadem and the Kaustuva gem, that
dispeller of fears of his friends, that high-souled one, sinketh in thick
darkness. Having known all these truths duly, that Lord of the worlds,
viz., Vasudeva, should be adored by every one, ye best of gods.’–

“Bhishma continued,–Having said these words unto those gods and Rishis
in days of yore, the illustrious Grandsire, dismissing them all, repaired
to his own abode. And the gods and the Gandharvas, and the Munis and the
Apsaras also, having listened to those words spoken by Brahman, were
filled with delight and repaired to heaven. Even this was heard by me, O
sire, from Rishis of cultured soul talking in their assembly, of
Vasudeva, that ancient one. And O thou that art well-versed in
scriptures, I heard this from Rama, the son of Jamadagni, and Markandeya
of great wisdom, and Vyasa and Narada also. Having learnt all this and
heard of the illustrious Vasudeva as the Eternal Lord, the Supreme God of
all the worlds, and the great Master, from whom hath sprung Brahman
himself, the Father of the Universe, why should not that Vasudeva be
adored and worshipped by men? Forbidden wert thou before, O sire, by
sages of cultured souls, (who said unto thee)–Never go to war with that
Vasudeva armed with bow as also with the Pandavas,–This, from folly,
thou couldst not apprehend. I regard thee therefore, as a wicked Rakshsa.
Thou art, besides, enveloped in darkness. It is for this that thou hatest
Govinda and Dhananjaya the son of Pandu, for who else among men would
hate the divine Nara and Narayana? It is for this, O king, that I say
unto thee that this one is Eternal and Unfading, pervading the whole
Universe, Unchanging, the Ruler, Creator and Upholder of all, and the
truly Existent. He it is who upholdeth the three worlds. He is the
Supreme Lord of all mobile and immobile creatures, and He is the great
Master, He is warrior, He is Victory, He is Victor, and He is the Lord of
all nature. O king, He is full of goodness and divested of all the
qualities of Darkness and Passion. There, where Krishna is, there
righteousness is; and there is victory where righteousness is. It is by
the Yoga of his Supreme Excellence, and the Yoga of his Self, that the
sons of Pandu, O king, are supported. Victory, therefore, will surely be
theirs. He it is that always imparteth to the Pandavas and understanding
endued with righteousness, and strength in battle; and He it is that
always protecteth them from danger. He is the Eternal God, pervading all
beings, and ever blessed. He, of whom thou hadst asked me, is known by
the name of Vasudeva. He it is whom Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaisyas
and Sudras, having distinctive features of their own, humbly serve and
worship with restrained hearts and performing their own duties. He it is
who, towards the close of the Dwapara Yuga and the beginning of the Kali
Yuga, is sung of with Sankarshana, by believers with devotion. It is that
Vasudeva that createth, Yuga after Yuga, the worlds of the gods and the
mortals, all cities girt by the sea, and the region of human


“Duryodhana said, ‘In all the worlds Vasudeva is spoken of as the Supreme
Being. I desire, O Grandsire, to know his origin and glory.”

“Bhishma said, ‘Vasudeva is the Supreme Being. He is the God of all Gods.
None superior to him of eyes like lotus-petals is to be seen, O bull of
Bharata’s race. Markandeya speaketh of Govinda as the Most Wonderful and
the Most high, as the All-being, as the All-soul, as the Highest soul,
and as the Supreme male Being. Water, Air, and Fire,–these three were
created by Him. That Divine Master and Lord of all the worlds created
this Earth. That Supreme Being of illustrious soul laid himself down on
the waters. And that Divine Being made up of all kinds of energy slept
thereon in Yoga. From his mouth He created Fire, and from his breath, the
Wind. Of unfading glory, He created from his mouth Speech and the Vedas.
It was thus that he created first the Worlds and also the gods along with
the diverse classes of Rishis. And he created decay and death also of all
creatures, as well as birth and growth. He is Righteousness and of
righteous soul. He is the giver of boons and the giver of all (our)
wishes. He is the Actor and Action, and He is himself the Divine
Master.[387] He first made the Past, the Present, and the Future; He is
the Creator of the Universe. He is of illustrious soul; He is the Master
possessed of unfading glory. He created Sankarshana, the First-born of
all creatures. He created the divine Sesha who is known as Ananta and who
upholdeth all creatures and the Earth with her mountains. Of Supreme
Energy, He it is whom the regenerate ones know by Yoga meditation. Sprung
from the secretions of his ear, the great Asura known by the name of
Madhu, fierce and of fierce deeds and entertaining a fierce intent and
about to destroy Brahman, was slain by that Supreme Being. And O sire, in
consequence of Madhu’s slaughter, the gods, the Danavas, and human
beings, and Rishis, call Janardana the slayer of Madhu. He is the great
Boar. He is the great Lion, and He is the Three-stepped Lord.[388] He is
the Mother and the Father of all living creatures. There never was, nor
will be, any superior to Him of eyes like lotus-petals. From His mouth He
created the Brahmanas: and from His two arms the Kshatriyas, and from His
thighs, O king, He created the Vaisyas, and from His feet He created the
Sudras. One waiting dutifully on Him, observant of vows with ascetic
austerities on days of the full-moon and the new-moon, is sure to obtain
the Divine Kesava, that refuge of all embodied creatures that essence of
Brahma and of Yoga. Kesava is the higher Energy, the Grandsire of all the
worlds. Him, O king, the sages call Hrishikesa (the lord of the senses).
Him also should all know as the Preceptor, the Father, and the Master.
Inexhaustible regions (of blessedness) are won by him with whom Krishna
is gratified. He also who, in a place of fear, seeketh the protection of
Kesava, and he who frequently readeth this description, becometh happy
and endued with every prosperity. Those men who attain to Krishna are
never beguiled, Janardana always saveth those that are sunk in great
terrors. Knowing this truly, O Bharata, Yudhishthira, with his whole
soul, O king, hath sought the shelter of the highly blessed Kesava, the
Lord of Yoga, and the Lord of the Earth.”


“Bhishma said, ‘Hear from me, O king, this hymn that was uttered by
Brahman himself. This hymn was in days of old communicated by regenerate
Rishis and the gods (to men) on Earth-Narada described thee as the Master
and the Lord of the god of gods and all the Sadhyas and the celestials,
and as one acquainted with the nature of the Creator of the worlds.
Markandeya spoke of thee as the Past, the Present, and the Future, and
the sacrifice of sacrifices, and the austerity of austerities. The
illustrious Bhrigu said of thee that thou art the God of the gods, that
thine is the ancient form of Vishnu. Dwaipayana said of thee that thou
art Vasudeva of the Vasus, the establisher of Sakra, and the God of gods
and all creatures. In days of old on the occasion of procreating
creatures, the sages spoke of thee as Daksha, the Father of creation.
Angiras said that thou art the creator of all beings. Devala said of thee
that the unmanifest all is thy body, and the manifest is in thy mind, and
that the gods are all the result of thy breath.[389] With thy heads is
pervaded the heavens, and thy two arms support the Earth. In thy stomach
are three worlds and thou art the Eternal Being. Even thus do men exalted
by asceticism know thee. Thou art the Sat of Sat, with Rishis gratified
with sight of Self.[390] With royal sages of liberal minds, never
retreating from battle and having morality for their highest end, thou, O
slayer of Madhu, art, the sole refuse. Even thus is that illustrious and
Supreme Being, viz., Hari, adored and worshipped by Sanatkumar and other
ascetics endued with Yoga. The truth about Kesava, O sire, is now
narrated to thee, both in brief and detail. Turn thy heart in love to

Sanjaya continued, “Hearing this sacred story, thy son, O great king,
began to regard highly both Kesava and these mighty car-warriors, viz.,
the sons of Pandu. Then, O monarch, Bhishma the son of Santanu once more
addressed thy son, saying, ‘Thou hast now heard truly, O king, about the
glory of the high-souled Kesava and of Nara about which thou hadst asked
me. Thou hast also heard about the object for which both Nara and
Narayana have taken their births among men. Thou hast also been told the
reason why those heroes are invincible and have never been vanquished in
battle, and why also, O king, the sons of Pandu are incapable of being
slain in battle, by anybody. Krishna beareth great love for the
illustrious sons of Pandu. It is for this, O king of kings, that I say,
‘Let peace be made with the Pandavas.’ Restraining thy passions enjoy
thou the Earth with thy mighty brothers (around thee). By disregarding
the divine Nara and Narayana, thou shalt certainly be destroyed. Having
said these words, thy sire, became silent, O monarch, and dismissing the
king, entered his tent. And the king also came back to his (own) tent,
having worshipped the illustrious grandsire. And then, O bull of
Bharata’s race, he laid himself down on his white bed for passing the
night in sleep.”


Sanjaya said, “After the night had passed away and the sun had risen, the
two armies, O king, approached each other for battle. Beholding each
other, each rushed in united ranks towards the other excited with rage
and desirous of vanquishing the other. And in consequence of thy evil
policy, O king, the Pandavas and the Dhartarashtras thus rushed, cased in
mail and forming battle-array, for striking each other. And the array
that Bhishma protected from all sides, O king, was of the shape of a
Makara.[391] And so the Pandavas also, O king, protected the array they
had formed (of their troops). Then thy sire Devavrata, O great king, that
foremost of car-warriors, proceeded in advance, supported by a large
division of cars. And others, viz., car-warriors, infantry, elephants,
and cavalry, all followed him, each stationed in the place allotted. And
beholding them prepared for battle, the illustrious sons of Pandu arrayed
their troops in that invincible and prince of arrays called the
Syena.[392] And in the beak of that array shone Bhimasena of great
strength. And in its two eyes were the invincible Sikhandin and
Dhrishtadyumna of Prishata’s race. And in the head was the heroic Satyaki
of prowess incapable of being baffled. And in its neck was Arjuna shaking
his Gandiva. And in its left wing was the high-souled and blessed Drupada
with his son and supported by an akshauhini of all forces. And the king
of the Kekayas, owning an akshauhini, formed the right wing (of that
array). And in its back were the sons of Draupadi, and Subhadra’s son of
great prowess. And in its tail was the heroic king Yudhishthira himself,
of excellent prowess, supported by his twin brothers. Then in the battle
(that ensued). Bhima, penetrating the Makara array (of the Kauravas)
through its mouth, and approaching Bhishma, covered him with his shafts.
Then in that great battle, Bhishma possessed of great prowess shot his
mighty weapons, confounding the combatants of the Pandavas disposed in
battle-array. And when the combatants (of the Pandava army) were thus
confounded, Dhananjaya, speedily proceeding, pierced Bhishma at the van
of battle with a thousand arrows. And counteracting, in that conflict,
the weapons shot by Bhishma, Arjuna stood ready for the combat, supported
by his own division filled with cheerfulness.[393] Then king Duryodhana,
that foremost of mighty men, that great car-warrior, beholding that
terrible carnage of his troops and remembering the slaughter of his
brothers (on the previous day), came quickly towards Bharadwaja’s son,
and addressing him, said, ‘O preceptor, O sinless one, thou art ever my
well-wisher,–Relying on thee as also on the grandsire Bhishma,
ourselves, hope to vanquish without doubt the very gods in battle, let
alone the sons of Pandu that are destitute of energy and prowess. Blessed
be thou, act in such away that the Pandavas may be slain. Thus addressed
in battle by thy son, Drona penetrated into the Pandava array in the very
sight of Satyaki. Then O Bharata, Satyaki checked the son of Bharadwaja,
(and thereupon) ensued a battle that was fierce in its incidents and
awful to behold. Then Bharadwaja’s son excited with rage and endued with
great prowess, as if smiling the while, pierced the grandson of Sini with
ten shafts at his shoulder-joint. And Bhimasena also, excited with rage,
pierced Bharadwaja’s son (with many shafts), desirous of protecting
Satyaki, O king, from Drona that foremost of all warriors. Then Drona and
Bhishma, and Salya also, O sire, excited with rage, covered Bhimasena, in
that battle, with their shafts. Thereupon Abhimanyu excited with wrath,
and the sons of Draupadi, O sire, pierced with their sharp-pointed shafts
all those warriors with upraised weapons. Then in that fierce battle, the
great bowman Sikhandin rushed against those two mighty warriors, viz.,
Bhishma and Drona who, excited with rage, had (thus) fallen upon the
Pandavas. Firmly grasping his bow whose twang resembled the roar of the
clouds, that hero, shrouding the very Sun with his arrows, quickly
covered his antagonists therewith. The grandsire of the Bharatas,
however, getting Sikhandin before him, avoided him, remembering the
femininity of his sex. Then, O king, urged by thy son, Drona rushed to
battle, desirous of protecting Bhishma in that stress. Sikhandin,
however, approaching Drona that foremost of all wielders of weapons,
avoided, from fear, that warrior resembling the blazing fire that appears
at the end of the Yuga. Then, O king, thy son with a large force,
desirous of winning great glory, proceeded to protect Bhishma. And the
Pandavas also proceeded, O king, firmly setting their hearts upon
victory, and the battle then that took place between the combatants of
both armies desirous of victory and fame, was fierce and highly
wonderful, resembling that (in days of yore) between the gods and Danavas.


Sanjaya said, “Then Bhishma the son of Santanu fought fiercely,[394]
desirous of protecting the sons from the fear of Bhimasena. And the
battle that then took place between the kings of the Kaurava and the
Pandava armies was awful in the extreme and destructive of great heroes.
And in that general engagement, so fierce and terrible, tremendous was
the din that arose, touching the very heavens. And in consequence of the
shrieks of huge elephants and the neigh of steeds and the blare of
conches and beat of drums, the uproar was deafening. Fighting for the
sake of victory, the mighty combatants endued with great prowess roared
at one another like bulls in a cow-pen. And heads cut off in that battle
with keen-edged shafts, incessantly falling, created, O bull of Bharata’s
race, the appearance of a stony shower in the welkin. Indeed, O bull of
Bharata’s race, innumerable were the heads lying on the field of battle,
decked with ear-rings and turbans and resplendent with ornaments of gold.
And the earth was covered with limbs cut off with broad-headed shafts,
with heads decked with ear-rings, and with arms adorned with ornaments.
And in a moment the whole field was strewn over with bodies cased in
mail, with arms decked with ornaments, with faces beautiful as the moon
and having eyes with reddish corners, and with every limb, O king, of
elephants, steeds and men. And the dust (raised by the warriors) looked
like a thick cloud, and the bright implements of destruction, like
flashes of lightning. And the noise made by the weapons resembled the
roar of thunder. And that fierce and awful passage-at-arms, O Bharata,
between the Kurus and the Pandavas caused a very river of blood to flow
there. And in that terrible, fierce, and awful battle causing the hair
stand on end, Kshatriya warriors incapable of defeat incessantly poured
their arrowy showers. And the elephants of both thy army and the enemy’s,
afflicted with those arrowy showers, shrieked aloud and ran hither and
thither in fury. And in consequence of (the twang of) bows, endued with
great energy, of fierce and heroic warriors excited with fury, and of
flapping of their bow-strings against their leathern fences, nothing
could be distinguished.[395] And all over the field which looked like a
lake of blood, headless trunks stood up, and the kings bent upon slaying
their foes, rushed to battle. And brave warriors of immeasurable energy
and possessed of arms resembling stout bludgeons, slew one another with
arrows and darts and maces and scimitars. And elephants, pierced with
arrows and deprived of riders to guide them with hooks, and steeds
destitute of riders, wildly ran in all directions. And many warriors, O
best of the Bharatas, belonging to both thy army and that of the foe,
deeply pierced with shafts jumped up and fell down. And in that encounter
between Bhima and Bhishma, heaps of arms and heads, as also of bows and
maces and spiked clubs and hands and thighs, of legs and ornaments and
bracelets, were seen lying over the field. And here and there over the
field, O king, were seen large bodies of unretreating elephants and
steeds and cars. And the Kshatriya warriors, urged on by fate, slew one
another with maces, swords, lances, and straight shafts. And others
endued with great heroism and accomplished in fight, encountered one
another with their bare arms that resembled spiked clubs made of iron.
And other heroic warriors of thy army, engaged with the combatants of the
Pandava host, fought on slaying one another with clenched fists and
knees, and slaps and blows, O king. And with the fallen and falling
warriors and those weltering in agony on the ground, the field of battle
everywhere became, O king, terrible to behold, and car-warriors, deprived
of the cars and grasping excellent swords, rushed at one another,
desirous of slaughter. Then king Duryodhana, surrounded by a large
division of Kalingas, and placing Bhishma ahead, rushed towards the
Pandavas. And so the Pandava combatants also, supporting Vrikodara, and
owning fleet animals, rushed, excited with rage, against Bhishma.”


Sanjaya said, “Beholding his brothers and the other kings engaged in
battle with Bhishma, Dhananjaya, with weapons upraised, rushed against
the son of Ganga. Hearing the blare of Panchajanya and the twang of the
bow Gandiva, and seeing also the standard of Pritha’s son, a great fear
entered our hearts. And the standard that we behold, O king, of the
wielder of Gandiva bore the device of lion’s tail and looked like a
blazing mountain in the welkin. Beautiful and of celestial workmanship,
it was variegated with diverse hues, and looking like a risen comet it
could not be obstructed by trees. And in that great battle, the warriors
beheld Gandiva, the back of whose staff was decked with pure gold, and
which looked beautiful like a flash of lightning in the midst of a mass
of clouds in the firmament. And while slaying the combatants of thy army,
the shouts we heard uttered by Arjuna seemed to resemble the loud roars
of Indra himself, and the slaps also of his palms were frightfully loud.
Like a roaring mass of clouds charged with lightning and aided by a
raging tempest, Arjuna incessantly poured his arrowy showers on all
sides, completely shrouding the ten points of the compass. Dhananjaya
then possessed of terrible weapons, quickly proceeded towards the son of
Ganga. Deprived of four senses in consequence of his weapons, we could
not then distinguish the East from the West. And thy warriors, then, O
bull of Bharata’s race,–their animals tired, steeds slain, and hearts
depressed,–thoroughly confounded[396] and huddling close to one another,
sought Bhishma’s protection along with all thy sons. And in that battle
Bhishma the son of Santanu became their protector. Struck with fear,
car-warriors jumping down from their cars, cavalry soldiers jumping down
from the backs of their steeds, and the foot-soldiers where they stood,
all began to fall down on the earth. Hearing the twang of Gandiva that
resembled the roar of the thunder, all thy warriors were struck with fear
and seemed, O Bharata, to melt away. Then, O king, with many huge and
fleet steeds of the Kamvoja breed, and surrounded by many thousand of
Gopas with a large Gopayana force and supported by the Madras, the
Sauviras, the Gandharas and the Trigartas, and surrounded by all the
principal Kalingas, the king of the Kalingas, and king Jayadratha
accompanied by all the kings and supported by a large force of diverse
races with Dussasana at their head, and fourteen thousand principal
horsemen, urged by thy son, surrounded the son of Suvala (for supporting
him). Then in that battle, all the Pandavas, united together, and riding
on separate cars and animals, began, O bull of Bharata’s race, to
slaughter thy troops.[397] And the dust raised by car-warriors and steeds
and foot-soldiers, looking like a mass of clouds, made the field of
battle exceedingly awful. And with a large force consisting of elephants,
steeds and cars, and armed with lances and bearded darts and broad-headed
shafts, Bhishma engaged in battle with the diadem decked (Arjuna). And
the king of Avanti engaged with the ruler of Kasi, and the ruler of the
Sindhus engaged with Bhimasena. And king Yudhishthira with his sons and
counsellors engaged with Salya, the famous chief of the Madras. And
Vikarna engaged with Sahadeva, and Chitrasena with Sikhandin. And the
Matsyas, O king, engaged with Duryodhana, and Sakuni; and Drupada and
Chekitana, and that mighty car-warrior Satyaki engaged in battle with the
high-souled Drona aided by his son. And Kripa and Kritavarman both rushed
against Dhrishtadyumna. And thus, all over the field, rushing bodies of
horses, of elephants and cars, engaged with one another in battle. And
although there were no clouds in the sky, yet flashes of lightning were
seen. And all the points of the compass were covered with dust. And, O
king, fierce meteors were seen failing with thundering noise. And violent
winds blew and a shower of dust fell from above. And the sun, covered by
the dust raised by the troops, disappeared in the firmament. And all the
warriors, covered by that dust and battling with weapons, were deprived
of their senses. And the sound made by weapons, all capable of
penetrating through every armour and hurled from heroic arms, became a
tremendous uproar. And, O bull of Bharata’s race, weapons hurled from
excellent arms and possessed of stellar brightness, illumined the whole
welkin. And variegated shields made of bull’s hides and embossed with
gold were strewn, O bull of Bharata’s race, all over the field. And heads
and limbs were seen falling on all sides, cut off with swords and
scimitars possessed of solar effulgence. And great car-warriors, the
wheels, axles, and boxes of whose cars were broken, fell down on the
ground, their steeds slain and their tall standards tumbling down.[398]
And many car-warriors having been slain, their steeds, mangled with
weapons, fell down as they ran dragging the cars (to which they were
yoked). And, in many places over the field, excellent steeds, afflicted
with arrows, with limbs mangled, and with their traces on, ran, dragging
the car-yokes after them. And many car-warriors, with their charioteers
and steeds, were seen, O king, to be crushed by single elephants endued
with great strength.[399] And in that battle, in the midst of large
forces, many elephants, scenting the odour of the temporal juice of their
compeers, began to snuff the breeze repeatedly. And the whole field was
strewn with slain elephants, deprived of life by means of broad-headed
shafts and falling down with the wooden edifices and the guides on their
backs. And many elephants, in, the midst of large forces crushed, with
the standards and warriors on their backs, by huge compeers urged by
their guides, fell down on the field. And many car-shafts, O king, were
seen to be broken in that battle by huge elephants using their trunks,
each of which resembled the trunk of the prince of elephants (called
Airavata). And many car-warriors also, in that conflict, the Jalas of
whose cars had been broken, were like branches of trees dragged down by
tuskers, seized by the hair of their heads and, thrashed violently on the
ground, were crushed into shapeless masses. And other huge elephants,
dragging cars that were entangled with other cars, ran in all directions
shrieking loudly. And those elephants, thus dragging those cars, looked
like others of their species dragging lotus-stalks growing in lakes. And
thus was that vast field of battle strewn over with cavalry soldiers and
foot-soldiers and great car-warriors and standards.”


Sanjaya said, “Sikhandin with Virata king of the Matsyas speedily
approached Bhishma that invincible and mighty bowman. And Dhananjaya
encountered Drona and Kripa, and Vikarna and many other kings, brave in
battle, all mighty bowmen endued with great strength, as also that mighty
bowman the ruler of the Sindhus supported by his friends and kinsmen and
many kings of the west and the south also, O bull of Bharata’s race. And
Bhimasena proceeded against that mighty bowman, viz., thy vindictive son
Duryodhana, and also against Dussaha. And Sahadeva proceeded against
those invincible warriors, viz., Sakuni and that mighty car-warrior
Uluka, those great bowmen, who were sire and son. And that mighty
car-warrior Yudhishthira, deceitfully treated by thy son, proceeded in
that battle, O king, against the elephant division (of the Kauravas). And
that son of Pandu and Madri, viz., the heroic Nakula capable of wringing
tears from the foe, engaged in battle with the excellent car-warriors of
the Trigartas. And those invincible warriors, viz., Satyaki and
Chekitana, and the mighty son of Subhadra, proceeded against Salya and
the Kaikeyas. And Dhrishtaketu and the Rakshasa Ghatotkacha, both
invincible in battle, proceeded against the car-division of thy sons. And
that mighty car-warrior Dhrishtadyumna, that generalissimo (of the
Pandava forces) of immeasurable soul, engaged in battle, O king, with
Drona of fierce achievements. And it was thus that those heroic and
mighty bowmen of thy army and the Pandavas, engaged in battle, began to
strike one another. And when the sun had reached the meridian and the sky
was brilliantly illumined by his rays, the Kauravas and the Pandavas
began to slay one another. Then cars, furnished with standards from whose
tops pennons were afloat, variegated with gold and covered with
tiger-skins, looked beautiful as they moved on the field of battle. And
the shouts of warriors engaged in battle from desire of vanquishing one
another, became as loud as leonine roars. And that encounter which we
beheld between the heroic Srinjayas and the Kurus, was fierce in the
extreme and highly wonderful. And in consequence of the arrows shot all
around, we could not, O king, distinguish, O chastiser of foes, the
firmament, the sun and the cardinal and the subsidiary points of the
compass. And the splendour, like that of the blue lotus, of darts with
polished points, of bearded lances hurled (at the foe), of well-tempered
sabres and scimitars, of variegated coats of mail and of the ornaments
(on the persons of the warriors), illumined the welkin and the cardinal
and the subsidiary points with its effulgence. And the field of battle in
many places, O king, shone in consequence of the bodies of monarchs whose
effulgence resembled that of the moon and the sun. And brave
car-warriors, tigers among men shone in that battle, O king, like the
planets in the firmament. And Bhishma, that foremost of car-warriors,
excited with rage, checked the mighty Bhimasena in the very sight of the
troops. And the impetuous shafts shot by Bhishma, furnished with golden
wings, and whetted on stone, and rubbed with oil pierced Bhima in that
battle. Then Bhimasena endued with great strength hurled at him, O
Bharata, a dart of fierce impetuosity that resembled a wrathful snake.
But Bhishma in that combat cut off with straight shafts that dart with
staff made of gold and difficult of being borne, as it coursed
impetuously towards him. And with another broad-headed shaft, sharp and
well-tempered, he cut off Bhimasena’s bow, O Bharata, into two parts.
Then, O king, in that battle, Satyaki, coming quickly towards Bhishma,
pierced thy sire with innumerable keen-edged and sharp-pointed shafts of
fierce impetuosity shot from his bowstring drawn to the ear. Then
Bhishma, aiming an exceedingly fierce shaft, felled the charioteer of the
Vrishni hero from his box in the car. And when the charioteer of
Satyaki’s car was thus slain, his steeds, O king, bolted away. Endued
with the speed of the tempest or the mind, they ran wild over the field.
Then cries were uttered by the whole army which became a loud uproar. And
exclamation of oh and alas arose from the high-souled warriors of the
Pandava army. And those cries-said–Run, seize, check the horses, go in
haste. And this uproar followed Yuyudhana’s car. Meanwhile, Bhishma the
son of Santanu began to slay the Pandava forces like Indra slaying the
Danavas. But the Panchalas and the Somakas, though slain by Bhishma thus,
forming yet a laudable resolution, rushed towards Bhishma. And other
warriors of the Pandava army, headed by Dhrishtadyumna, and desirous of
slaughtering the ranks of thy son, rushed towards Santanu’s son in that
battle. And so also, O king, the warriors of thy army, headed by Bhishma
and Drona, impetuously rushed towards their foes. And thereupon another
battle took place.”


Sanjaya said, “King Virata then pierced that mighty car-warrior, viz.,
Bhishma, with three shafts. And that great car-warrior pierced his
(antagonist’s) steeds also with three shafts furnished with golden wings.
And that terrible bowman and mighty car-warrior of firm hand, viz.,
Drona’s son, pierced with six shafts the wielder of Gandiva between his
two breasts. Thereupon that grinder of foes, viz., Phalguni, that slayer
of hostile heroes, cut off Aswatthaman’s bow and deeply pierced him in
return with five shafts. Deprived of his senses by anger, and unable to
bear the cutting off of his bow in that battle, Drona’s son, taking up
another bow that was tougher, pierced Phalguni, O king, with ninety
sharp-shafts, and Vasudeva also with seventy fierce arrows. Then, with
eyes red in wrath, Phalguni, with Krishna, breathing long and hot
breaths, reflected for a moment. Firmly grasping the bow with his left
hand, that grinder of foes, viz., the wielder of gandiva excited with
rage, fixed on his bowstring a number of fierce shafts, sharp and
perfectly straight, and capable of taking (the foe’s) life. And that
foremost of mighty men speedily pierced Drona’s son, in that battle, with
those arrows. And those arrows, penetrating through his armour, drank his
life-blood. But though thus pierced by the wielder of Gandiva, Drona’s
son wavered not. Shooting in return similar arrows at Partha, he stayed
unperturbed, in that battle, desirous, O king, of protecting Bhishma of
high vows. And that feat of his was applauded by the foremost warriors of
the Kuru army, consisting, as it did, of his having encountered the two
Krishnas united together. Indeed, Aswatthaman daily battled fearlessly
amid the forces, having obtained from Drona all weapons with the methods
also of their withdrawal. This one is the son of my preceptor. He is
again the dear son of Drona. He is especially a Brahmana, and, therefore,
worthy of my regard. Thinking so, that scorcher of foes, the heroic
Vibhatsu, that foremost of car-warriors, showed mercy to the son of
Bharadwaja. Avoiding the son of Drona, Kunti’s son endued with great
prowess and having white steeds (yoked unto his car), began to fight,
displaying great quickness of arms and causing a great carnage of thy
troops. Duryodhana then pierced that great bowman Bhima with ten shafts
winged with vulturine feathers, adorned with gold, and whetted on stone.
Thereupon Bhimasena, excited with wrath, took up a tough and well-adorned
bow capable of taking the life of the foe, and also ten sharp shafts. And
steadily aiming those sharp-pointed shafts of fierce energy and impetuous
velocity, and drawing the bow-string to his ear, he deeply pierced the
king of the Kurus in his wide chest. Thereupon the gem hanging on his
breast on threads of gold, surrounded by those shafts, looked beautiful
like the Sun in the firmament surrounded by the planets. Thy son,
however, endued with great energy, thus struck by Bhimasena, could not
bear it (coolly), like a snake unable to bear the sounds of a man’s slap.
Excited with wrath and desirous of protecting his army, he then pierced
Bhima in return, O king, with many shafts whetted on stone and endued
with golden wings. Thus struggling in battle and mangling each other
fiercely, those two mighty sons of thine looked like a pair of celestials.

“That tiger among men and slayer of hostile heroes, viz., the son of
Subhadra, pierced Chitrasena with many sharp shafts and Purumitra also
with seven shafts. And piercing Satyavrata too with seventy shafts, that
hero resembling Indra himself in battle, began as it were to dance on the
field, and caused us much pain. Chitrasena then pierced him in return
with ten shafts, and Satyavrata with nine, and Purumitra with seven. Then
the son of Arjuna, thus pierced, while yet covered with blood, cut off
the large and beautiful bow of Chitrasena that was capable of checking
foes. And cutting through his coat of mail he pierced his antagonist’s
breast with a shaft. Then the princes of thy army, all heroic and mighty
car-warriors, excited with wrath and united together in that conflict,
pierced him with sharp arrows. And Abhimanyu, acquainted with the
mightiest weapons, smote them all with keen shafts. Beholding that feat
of his, thy sons then surrounded the son of Arjuna, who was consuming thy
army in that conflict like a swelling fire of blazing flames consuming a
heap of dry grass in summer. And the son of Subhadra, while smiting thy
troops (thus), seemed to glow in splendour. Seeing that conduct of his,
thy grandson Lakshmana then, O monarch, quickly fell upon the son of
Subhadra. Thereupon that mighty car-warrior Abhimanyu, excited with
wrath, pierced Lakshmana graced with auspicious marks, as also his
charioteer, with six sharp arrows. But Lakshmana also, O king, pierced
Subhadra’s son with many keen shafts. And that feat, O king, seemed to be
highly wonderful. Then that mighty car-warrior, viz., Abhimanyu, slaying
the four steeds as also the charioteer of Lakshmana with sharp shafts,
rushed towards the latter. Thereupon Lakshmana, that slayer of hostile
heroes, staying on that car of his whose steeds had been slain, and
excited with wrath, hurled a dart towards the car of Subhadra’s son.
Abhimanyu, however, with his sharp arrows, cut off that irresistible dart
of fierce mien, resembling a snake, and coming impetuously towards him.
Then Kripa, taking Lakshmana up on his own car, bore him away from the
conflict, in the very sight of all the troops. Then when that awful
conflict became general, the combatants rushed against one another,
desirous of taking another’s life. And the mighty bowmen of thy army and
the great car-warriors of the Pandava host, prepared to lay down their
lives in battle, slew one another. With hair dishevelled, divested of
their coats of mail, deprived of their cars, and their bows broken, the
Srinjayas fought with the Kurus with their bare arms. Then the
mighty-armed Bhishma, endued with great strength, and excited with wrath,
slew with his celestial weapons the troops of the high-souled Pandavas.
And the earth became covered with the fallen bodies of elephants deprived
of their guides of men and steeds and car-warriors and cavalry-soldiers.”


Sanjaya said, “Then, O king, the mighty-armed Satyaki invincible in
battle, drawing in that conflict an excellent bow capable of bearing a
great strain shot innumerable winged arrows resembling snakes of virulent
poison, displaying his wonderful lightness of hand. And while slaying his
foes in battle, so quickly did he draw the bow, take out his arrows, fix
them on the bowstring, and letting them off throw them among the foe,
that he then seemed to be a mass of clouds pouring a thick shower of
rain. Beholding him then thus blazing up (like a swelling fire), king
Duryodhana, O Bharata, despatched ten thousand cars against him. But that
great bowman, Satyaki, of prowess incapable of being baffled and
possessed of great energy, slew with his celestial weapons all those
mighty car-warriors. Having achieved, bow in hand, that fierce feat, that
hero then approached Bhurisravas in battle. And Bhurisravas also, that
enhancer of the fame of the Kurus, beholding the Dhartarashtra ranks thus
felled by Yuyudhana, rushed in wrath against the latter.[400] Drawing his
great bow which resembled that of Indra himself in hue, he shot thousands
of shafts, O monarch, looking like snakes of virulent poison and
possessed of the strength of the thunder, displaying his extreme
lightness of hand. Thereupon the combatants that followed Satyaki, unable
to bear those shafts of fatal touch, fled away, O king, in all
directions, abandoning, O monarch, the invincible Satyaki in that
conflict. Beholding this, the mighty sons of Yuyudhana, all mighty
car-warriors of great renown, cased in excellent mail, bearing diverse
arms, and possessing excellent standards, approaching that great bowman,
viz., Bhurisravas, in battle, wrathfully addressed that warrior bearing
on his standard the device of a sacrificial stake, and said these words,
‘Listen, O kinsman of the Kauravas, O thou that art possessed of great
strength, come, fight in battle with us, i.e., with either all of us
jointly or with each of us separately. Vanquishing us in battle thou
mayst win great renown, or ourselves, vanquishing thee, will have great
gratification.’ Thus addressed by them, that mighty hero endued with
great strength and proud of his prowess, that foremost of men, beholding
them before him, replied unto them, saying, ‘Ye heroes, ye have said
well. If such be now your wish, fight ye then all together with care. I
shall slay all of you in battle.’ Thus addressed by him, those heroic and
mighty bowmen endued with great activity covered that chastiser of foes
with a thick shower of arrows. And it was towards the afternoon, O king,
that that dreadful battle took place between Bhurisravas alone on one
side and the many united together on the other. And those ten heroes
covered that single mighty car-warrior with showers of arrows like the
clouds showering rain on a mountain cliff in the season of rains. That
mighty car-warrior, however, cut off, those clouds of shafts shot by them
resembling the fatal darts of Death or the very thunder in effulgence,
before they could reach him.[401] They then, surrounding that
mighty-armed warrior, endeavoured to slay him. But the son of Somadatta,
excited with rage, cut off their bows, O Bharata, and then their heads,
with sharp shafts. Thus slain, they fell down, O monarch, like mighty
trees felled by the thunder.[402] Beholding then his mighty sons thus
slain in battle, the Vrishni hero (Satyaki), O king, uttering a loud
roar, rushed against Bhurisravas. And those mighty warriors then each
pressed his car against the other. And each of them in that combat slew
the other’s car-steeds. And both deprived of their cars, those mighty
warriors jumped down on the ground. And both taking up large scimitars
and excellent shields encountered each other. And those tigers among men,
stationed for the encounter, shone brightly. Then Bhimasena, O king,
quickly coming up to Satyaki thus armed with an excellent scimitar, took
him up on his own car. And thy son also, O monarch, speedily took up
Bhurisravas on his car, in that battle, at the very sight of all the

“Meanwhile, during the continuance of that battle, the Pandavas, O bull
of Bharata’s race, excited with wrath, fought with that mighty
car-warrior Bhishma. And when the sun assumed a red hue, Dhananjaya
exerting himself actively, slew five and twenty thousand great
car-warriors. These, urged on by Duryodhana for slaying Partha, were thus
completely destroyed before they could even come up to him, like insects
on a blazing fire. Then the Matsyas and the Kekayas, all accomplished in
the science of arms, surrounded that mighty car-warrior Partha as also
his son (for supporting them). Just at that time the sun disappeared, and
all the combatants seemed to be deprived of their senses. Then at
twilight, O king, thy sire Devavrata, his animals having been tired,
caused the troops to be withdrawn. And the troops of both the Pandavas
and the Kurus, filled with fear and anxiety in course of that dreadful
encounter, proceeded to their respective camps, the Pandavas with the
Srinjayas and the Kauravas also rested for the night agreeably to the
rules (of military science).”


Sanjaya said, “Having rested for a while, O king, both the Kurus and the
Pandavas, after the night had passed away, once more went out for battle.
And then loud was the uproar, O king, that arose of mighty car-warriors
as they prepared for battle, and of tuskers as these were being equipped
for the conflict, and of infantry as they put on their armour, and of
steeds also, O Bharata. And the blare of conches and the beat of drums
became deafening in all parts of the field. Then king Yudhishthira
addressed Dhrishtadyumna and said, ‘O mighty-armed one, dispose the
troops in the array called Makara that scorcheth the foe.’ Thus addressed
by Pritha’s son, that mighty car-warrior Dhrishtadyumna, that foremost of
combatants on cars, issued the order, O great king, to the car-warriors,
(for forming the Makara array). Drupada, and Dhananjaya the son of Pandu,
formed the head of that array, and Sahadeva and that mighty car-warrior
Nakula formed its two eyes. And the mighty Bhimasena formed its beak. And
Subhadra’s son, and the sons of Draupadi and the Rakshasa Ghatotkacha,
and Satyaki, and king Yudhishthira the just, were stationed in its neck.
And king Virata that commander of a large division, formed its back,
supported by Dhrishtadyumna and a large force. And the five Kekaya
brothers consisted its left wing, and that tiger among men, viz.,
Dhrishtaketu, and Chekitana of great prowess, stationed in the right
wing, stood for protecting that array. And its two feet, O monarch, were
constituted by that mighty car-warrior the blessed Kuntibhoja, and
Satanika, supported by a large force. And that great bowman, the mighty
Sikhandin, surrounded by the Somakas, and Iravat, were stationed in the
tail of that Makara array. And having, O Bharata, formed their great
array, the Pandavas, O monarch, equipped in mail at dawn, again stood for
battle. And with elephants and steeds and cars and infantry, and with
standards upraised and umbrellas set up, and armed with bright, whetted
weapons, they quickly proceeded against the Kauravas.

“Then thy sire Devavrata, beholding the (Pandava) army thus arrayed,
disposed his army, O king, in counter-array after the form of a huge
crane. And in its beak was Bharadwaja’s son (Drona). And Aswatthaman and
Kripa, O monarch, formed its two eyes. And that foremost, of all bowmen,
viz., Kritavarman, united with the ruler of the Kamvojas and with the
Valhikas was stationed, O king, in its head. And in its neck. O Bharata,
were Surasena, and thy son Duryodhana, O king, surrounded by many kings.
And the ruler of the Pragjyotishas, united with the Madras, the Sauviras,
and the Kekayas, and surrounded by a large force, was stationed, O king,
in its breasts. And Susarman the king of Prasthala, accompanied by his
own troops, stood, accoutred in mail, in the left wing. And the Tusharas,
the Yavanas and the Sakas, along with the Chulikas, stood in the right
wing, O Bharata, of that array. And Srutayush and Sataytish and
Somadatta’s son, O sire, were stationed in the rear of that array
protecting one another.

“Then the Pandavas, O king, rushed against the Kauravas for battle. The
sun, O Bharata, had risen when the battle commenced. And elephants
proceeded against elephants. And horsemen rushed against horsemen,
car-warriors against car-warriors, O king, and against elephants also, in
that dreadful conflict. And car-men rushed against riders of elephants,
and riders of elephants against horsemen. And car-warriors engaged with
foot-soldiers, and cavalry with infantry. And all the warriors, O king,
excited with wrath, rushed against one another in battle. And the Pandava
army, protected by Bhimasena and Arjuna and the twins, looked beautiful
like the night decorated with stars. And thy army also, with Bhishma and
Kripa and Drona and Salya and Duryodhana, and others, shone like the
firmament spangled with the planets. And Bhimasena the son of Kunti,
endued with great prowess, beholding Drona rushed against the division of
Bharadwaja’s son, borne by his steeds of great fleetness. Then Drona,
excited with wrath in that conflict and endued with great energy, pierced
Bhima with nine shafts made wholly of iron, aiming his vital limbs.
Deeply pierced by Bharadwaja’s son in that conflict, Bhima despatched
Drona’s charioteer to the region of Yama. Thereupon the son of
Bharadwaja, endued with great prowess, himself restraining his steeds,
began to consume the Pandava army like fire consuming a heap of cotton.
And while thus slaughtered, O king, by Drona and Bhishma, the Srinjayas
along with the Kekayas took to flight. And so thy troops also, mangled by
Bhima and Arjuna, became deprived of their senses as they stood, like a
beautiful female in her pride. And in that conflict destructive of heroes
great was the distress, O Bharata, that befell both thy army and theirs.
And we beheld the wonderful sight, O Bharata, of the troops fighting with
one another regardless of their lives.[403] And the Pandavas and the
Kauravas, O king, in that conflict, fought with one another counteracting
one another’s weapons.”


Dhritarashtra said, “Our army is possessed of many excellencies,
consisting of diverse forces, its efficiency is great. It is again
arrayed according to the rules of science and, therefore, ought to be
irresistible. It is attached to us exceedingly, and always devoted to us.
It is submissive, and free from the faults of drunkenness and
licentiousness. Its prowess had before been tested. The soldiers are
neither very old nor very young. They are neither lean nor corpulent. Of
active habits, of well-developed and strong frames, they are free from
disease. They are cased in mail and well-equipped with arms. They are
exercised in every kind of weapons. They are skilled in encounters with
swords, with bare arms, and with maces. They are well-exercised in
lances, sabres, and darts, as also in iron clubs, short arrows, javelins
and mallets. They are devoted to all kinds of armed exercises, and are
adepts in mounting upon and descending from the backs of elephants, in
moving forward and stepping back, in smiting effectually, in marching and
retreating. Many a time have they been tested in the management of
elephants and steeds and cars. Having been examined duly they have been
entertained on pay, and not for the sake of lineage, nor from favour nor
from relationship, nor from strength of attachments, nor from connections
of birth and blood. They are all respectable and honest, and their
kinsmen have been well-treated and gratified by us. We have done them
many good offices. They are, besides, all renowned men and endued with
great mental vigour. O son, they are again protected by many foremost of
men endued with great activity, and of famous achievements, resembling
the very Regents of the world and renowned over the whole earth.
Innumerable Kshatriyas, respected throughout the world, and who have of
their own will sided us with their forces and followers also protect
them. Indeed, our army is like the vast ocean filled with the water of
innumerable rivers running from all directions. It abounds with
elephants, and with cars which though destitute of wings, yet resemble
the winged tenants of the air. Vast numbers of combatants constitute the
waters of that ocean, and the steeds and other animals constitute its
terrible waves. Innumerable swords and maces and darts and arrows and
lances constitute the oars (piled on that ocean). Abounding with
standards and ornaments and adorned with cloth inlaid with gold and gems,
the rushing steeds and elephants constitute the winds agitating it into
fury. Our host, therefore, really resembles the vast, shoreless ocean
roaring in rage. And that host is protected by Drona and Bhishma and by
Kritavarman and Kripa and Dussasana, and others headed by Jayadratha. It
is also protected by Bhagadatta and Vikarna by Drona’s son, and Suvala’s
son, and Valhika and by many other mighty and high-souled heroes of the
world. That our army should yet be slaughtered in battle is due only to
predestined fate, O Sanjaya. Neither men nor highly blessed Rishis of old
ever beheld such preparations (for battle) on earth before. That so large
an army, mustered according to science, and attached (to us) by wealth,
should yet be slaughtered in battle, alas, what can it be but the result
of Destiny? O Sanjaya, all these seem to be unnatural. Indeed Vidura had
often said what was both beneficial and desirable. But my wicked son
Duryodhana would not accept it. I believe that high-souled and
well-knowing person had foreseen all that is now happening and hence the
counsel he gave.[404] Or, O Sanjaya, all these, in all its details, had
been pre-arranged by Him, for that which is ordained by the Creator must
happen as ordained and cannot be otherwise.”


Sanjaya said, “Thou hast, O king, in consequence of thy own fault, been
overtaken by this calamity. O bull of Bharata’s race, the faults which
thou, O monarch, hadst seen in that unrighteous course of conduct
(towards the Pandavas), were not seen by Duryodhana. It was through thy
fault, O king, that the match at dice had taken place. And it is through
thy fault that this battle hath taken place with the Pandavas. Having
committed a sin, do thou, therefore, reap the fruit of that sin of thine.
One reapeth the fruit of acts perpetrated by one’s own self. Do thou,
therefore, O king, reap the fruit of thy own acts both here and
hereafter. Therefore, O monarch, though overtaken by this calamity, be
calm still, and listen, O sire, to the (account of the) battle as I
recite it.

“The heroic Bhimasena, having with his sharp shafts broken thy mighty
array, then came upon all the younger brothers of Duryodhana. The mighty
Bhima, beholding Dussasana and Durvisaha and Dussaha and Durmada and
Jaya, and Jayasena and Vikarna and Chitrasena and Sudarsana, and
Charuchitra and Suvarman and Duskarna and Karna, and many other mighty
car-warriors, excited with rage, of the Dhartarashtra host near enough to
himself, penetrated into (thy) mighty array that was protected by Bhishma
in that battle. Then, beholding him in their midst, all those warriors
said, ‘Ye kings, let us take this one’s life’!–Thereupon that son of
Pritha was surrounded by those cousins of his who were firmly resolved
(to take his life). And Bhima then resembled Surya himself of fierce
splendour surrounded by the mighty planets of evil nature, at the time of
the universal destruction. And although the son of Pandu was there in the
very midst of the (Kaurava) array, yet fear entered not his heart, as it
did not that of Indra while surrounded by the Danavas in the fierce
battle of old between the celestials and the Asuras. Then thousands of
car-warriors armed with all weapons and fully prepared for battle
overwhelmed his single self with terrible shafts. Thereupon the heroic
Bhima, disregarding the sons of Dhritarashtra, slew in that conflict many
foremost warriors (of the Kaurava army) fighting from cars or upon the
back of elephants and steeds. And ascertaining the purpose harboured by
those cousins of his who were bent upon his destruction, the mighty Bhima
set his heart upon slaying them all. Then leaving his car and taking up
his mace, the son of Pandu began to smite that very sea of Dhartarashtra

“Then when Bhimasena thus penetrated the Dhartarashtra host,
Dhrishtadyumna the son of Prishata, forsaking Drona (with whom he had
been engaged), quickly proceeded to the spot where Suvala’s son was
stationed. That bull among men, baffling countless warriors of thy army,
came upon the empty car of Bhimasena in that battle. And beholding in
that conflict Visoka, the charioteer of Bhimasena, Dhrishtadyumna, O
king, became exceedingly cheerless and almost deprived of his senses.
With voice choked in tears, and sighing as he spoke, he asked Visoka, in
grief, saying, ‘Where is Bhima who is dear to me as my life itself?’
Visoka then, joining his hands, replied unto Dhrishtadyumna saying, ‘The
mighty son of Pandu, endued with great strength, ordering me to wait for
him here, hath alone penetrated into the Dhartarashtra host that
resembleth the very ocean. That tiger among men very cheerfully said unto
me these words–‘Wait for me, O charioteer, restraining the steeds for a
short space of time, that is, till I slay those that are bent upon my
destruction.–Beholding then the mighty Bhima rushing mace in hand, all
our troops (that supported him) became filled with delight. Then in this
fierce and terrible battle, O prince, thy friend, breaking the mighty
array (of the foe), hath penetrated into it. Hearing these words of
Visoka, Prishata’s son Dhrishtadyumna, endued with great strength, said
unto the charioteer these words on the field of battle. ‘What need have I
today of life itself, if forgetting my affection for the Pandavas, I
forsake Bhima in battle? If I return today without Bhima, what will the
Kshatriyas say of me? What will they say of me when they will learn that
while I was on the field Bhima penetrated alone into the hostile array
making a single opening in it? The gods with Indra at their head visit
him with evil who, forsaking his comrades in battle, returneth home
unhurt! The mighty Bhima again is my friend and kinsman. He is devoted to
me, and I also am devoted to that slayer of foes. Therefore, I will go
thither, whither Bhima hath gone. Behold me slaying the foe like Vasava
slaying the Danavas.’ Having said this, the heroic Dhrishtadyumna, O
Bharata, proceeded through the midst of the foe, along the tracks opened
by Bhimasena and marked by elephants crushed with his mace. He then
obtained sight of Bhimasena consuming the hostile ranks or felling
Kshatriya warriors like the tempest devastating rows of trees. And
car-warriors and horsemen and foot-soldiers and tuskers, while thus
slaughtered by him, uttered loud cries of woe. And cries of ah and alas
arose from thy troops, O sire, while they were slaughtered by the
victorious Bhima accomplished in all moods of warfare. Then the Kaurava
warriors all accomplished in arms, surrounding Vrikodara on all sides,
fearlessly poured upon him their arrowy showers at the same time. Then
the mighty son of Prishata, beholding that foremost of all wielders of
weapons, that celebrated hero, viz., the son of Pandu, thus attacked on
all sides by fierce ranks of foes in close array, mangled with shafts,
treading the field on foot, and vomiting the poison of his wrath, mace in
hand and looking like the Destroyer himself at the hour of the universal
dissolution, quickly approached him and comforted him by his presence.
And taking him upon his car, and plucking the arrows off from all his
limbs, and embracing him warmly, the high-souled son of Prishata
comforted Bhimasena in the very midst of the foe. Then thy son, in that
terrible conflict, quickly coming up to his brothers, said unto them,
‘This son of Drupada of wicked soul, is now united with Bhimasena. Let us
all approach him together for slaying him. Let not the foe seek our ranks
(for battle).’ Hearing these words, the Dhartarashtras, thus urged on by
the command of their eldest brother and unable to put up (with the foe),
quickly rushed, with upraised weapons, for slaying Dhrishtadyumna like
fierce comets at the hour of the universal dissolution. Taking up their
beautiful bows, those heroes, making the very earth shiver with the twang
of their bowstring and the rattle of their car-wheels, showered shafts on
Drupada’s son, like the clouds covering the mountain-breast with torrents
of rain. But that hero conversant with all modes of warfare, though thus
struck with sharp arrows in that battle, did not waver. On the other
hand, that mighty car-warrior, the youthful son of Drupada, beholding
those heroic sons of thine staying before him in battle and exerting
themselves to their utmost being desirous of slaying them applied that
fierce weapon called Pramohana and engaged with thy sons, O king, like
Indra with the Danavas in battle. Then those heroic warriors were
deprived of their senses, their minds and strength afflicted by the
Pramohana weapon. And the Kauravas fled away in all directions, with
their steeds and elephants and cars, beholding those sons of thine
deprived of their senses in a swoon like those whose hours had come. And
at that time Drona, the foremost of all wielders of weapons, approaching
Drupada, pierced him with three fierce shafts. And that monarch then, O
king, viz., Drupada, deeply pierced by Drona, left the battle, O Bharata,
remembering his former hostility (with Bharadwaja’s son). Thereupon Drona
endued with great prowess having thus vanquished Drupada, blew his conch.
And hearing the blare of his conch, all the Somakas were struck with
fear. Then Drona, possessed of great energy, that foremost of all
wielders of weapons, heard of thy sons being deprived of their senses in
battle with the Pramohana weapon. Then the son of Bharadwaja, desirous of
rescuing the princes, speedily left that part of the field where he was
and proceeded to the place where thy sons were. And that mighty bowman
viz., Bharadwaja’s son of great prowess, there beheld Dhrishtadyumna and
Bhima careering through the field in that dreadful conflict. And that
mighty car-warrior beheld thy sons deprived of their senses. Taking up
then the weapon called Prajna, he neutralised the Pramohana weapon (that
Dhrishtadyumna had shot). Then thy sons those mighty car-warriors, when
their senses returned, once more proceeded to battle with Bhima and
Prishata’s son. Then Yudhishthira, addressing his own troops said, ‘Let
twelve brave car-warriors cased in mail and headed by Subhadra’s son,
follow, to the utmost of their might, the track of Bhima and Prishata’s
son in battle. Let intelligence be had (of those two warriors). My heart
is very uneasy.’ Thus ordered by the king, those heroes possessed of
great prowess in battle and proud of their manliness, saying ‘Yes,’ all
proceeded forward when the sun had reached the meridian. And those
chastisers of foes then, viz., the Kaikeyas and the sons of Draupadi, and
Dhrishtaketu of great prowess, supported by a large force and with
Abhimanyu at their head, and disposing themselves in the array called
Suchimukha,[405] penetrated into that car-division of the Dhartarashtras
in battle. And thy troops, O king, struck with the fear of Bhimasena and
deprived of their senses by Dhrishtadyumna, were unable to resist (the
rush of) those mighty bowmen headed by Abhimanyu. And they were quite
helpless, like a lady in the streets. And those mighty bowmen with
standards variegated with gold cutting through (the Kaurava ranks),
proceeded with great speed for rescuing Dhrishtadyumna and Vrikodara. And
the latter, beholding those mighty bowmen headed by Abhimanyu, became
filled with delight and continued to smite down thy ranks. And the heroic
prince of Panchala, viz., the son of Prishata, seeing meanwhile his
preceptor advancing towards him with great speed, no longer wished to
compass the death of thy sons. Causing Vrikodara then to be taken up on
the car of the king of the Kaikeyas, he rushed in great wrath against
Drona accomplished in arrow and all weapons. And that slayer of foes,
viz., the valiant son of Bharadwaja, excited with rage, cut off with a
broad-headed shaft the bow of Prishata’s son who was rushing towards him
with impetuosity. And remembering the bread he had eaten of his master
and desirous of doing good to Duryodhana, he also sped hundreds of shafts
after Prishata’s son. Then that slayer of hostile heroes, viz., the son
of Prishata, taking up another bow, pierced Drona with seventy shafts
whetted on stone and furnished with wings of gold. Then that grinder of
foes, viz., Drona, once more cut off his bow, and despatched his four
steeds to Yama’s abode with four excellent arrows, and also slew his
charioteer, O Bharata, with a broad-headed shaft. Then that mighty
car-warrior of strong arms, viz., Dhrishtadyumna, quickly descending from
that car whose steeds had been slain, ascended the great car of
Abhimanyu. Then Drona caused the Pandava army consisting of cars,
elephants, and steeds, to tremble, in the very sight of Bhimasena and the
intelligent son of Prishata. Beholding then that army thus broken by
Drona of immeasurable energy, all those mighty car-warriors were
incapable of checking its flight. And that army, thus slaughtered by
Drona with his sharp shafts, began to move in eddies there, like the
agitated sea. And beholding the (Pandava) army in that condition, thy
troops were filled with delight. And seeing the preceptor excited with
rage and thus consuming the ranks of the foe, all thy warriors, O
Bharata, set up loud shouts and uttered exclamations in praise of Drona.”


Sanjaya said, “Then king Duryodhana, regaining his senses, once more
began to resist Bhima with showers of arrows. And once more those mighty
car-warriors viz., thy sons, united together, began to fight valiantly
with Bhimasena. And Bhimasena also of mighty arms during that battle,
having got his car, ascended it and proceeded to the spot where thy sons
were. And taking up a strong and very tough bow adorned with gold and
capable of taking the lives of foes he pierced thy sons in that conflict,
with his shafts. Then king Duryodhana struck the mighty Bhimasena at the
very vitals with a long shaft of exceeding sharpness. Then that mighty
bowman, pierced thus deeply by thy son, bow in hand, forcibly drawing his
own with eyes red in wrath, struck Duryodhana in his two arms and the
breast with three shafts. But struck thus, O king, he moved not, like a
prince of mountains. Beholding then those two heroes excited with rage
and smiting each other, the younger brothers of Duryodhana, all of whom
were heroes prepared to lay down their lives, remembering their
previously formed scheme of afflicting Vrikodara of terrible deeds, set
about firmly resolved, for smiting him down. And as they fell upon him in
battle, Bhimasena of great strength rushed against them, O king, like an
elephant rushing against an attacking compeer. Excited with fury and
endued with great energy, that celebrated hero then, O king, afflicted
thy son Chitrasena with a long arrow. And as regards thy other sons, that
descendant of Bharata smote them all in that battle, with diverse kinds
of shafts furnished with wings of gold and endued with great impetus.
Then king Yudhishthira the just, disposing all his own divisions properly
despatched twelve mighty car-warriors including Abhimanyu and others to
follow Bhimasena behind. Those, O king, all proceeded against those
mighty car-warriors, viz., thy sons. Beholding those heroes on their
cars, resembling the Sun himself or the fire in splendour-those great
bowmen of blazing effulgence and superb beauty, looking resplendent in
that dreadful conflict with ornaments of gold,–thy mighty sons abandoned
Bhima (with whom they had been fighting). The sons of Kunti, however,
could not bear the sight of their abandoning the conflict alive.”


Sanjaya said, “Then Abhimanyu, accompanied by Bhimasena pursuing thy
sons, afflicted them all. Then the mighty car-warriors of thy army,
including Duryodhana and others, beholding Abhimanyu and Bhimasena united
with Prishata’s son in the midst of the (Kauravas) troops, took up their
bows, and borne by their fleet steeds rushed to the spot where those
warriors were. And on that afternoon, O king, a dreadful conflict took
place between the mighty combatants of thy army and those of the foe, O
Bharata. And Abhimanyu, having, in that fierce battle, slain the steeds
of Vikarna, pierced the latter with five and twenty small arrows. Then
that mighty car-warrior, Vikarna, abandoning that car whose steeds had
been slain, mounted on the resplendent car, O king, of Chitrasena. Then
thus stationed on the same car, viz., those two brothers of Kuru’s race,
the son of Arjuna covered, O Bharata, with showers of arrows. Then
Durjaya and Vikarna pierced Abhimanyu with five shafts made wholly of
iron. Abhimanyu however, shook not in the least but stood firm like the
mountain Meru. Dussasana in that battle, O sire, fought with the five
Kekaya brothers. All these, O great king, seemed exceedingly wonderful.
The sons of Draupadi, excited with rage, resisted Duryodhana in that
battle. And each of them, O king, pierced thy son with three shafts. Thy
son also, invincible in battle, pierced each of the sons of Draupadi, O
monarch, with sharp shafts. And pierced by them (in return) and bathed in
blood, he shone like a hill with rillets of water mixed with red-chalk
(gliding down its breast). And the mighty Bhishma also, in that battle, O
king, afflicted the Pandava army like a herdsman belabouring his herd.
Then, O monarch, the twang of Gandiva was heard, of Partha, who was
engaged in slaughtering the foe on the right of the army.

And in that part of the field headless trunks stood up by thousands,
amongst the troops, O Bharata, of both the Kauravas and the Pandavas. And
the field of battle resembled an ocean whose water was blood, and whose
eddies were the shafts (shot by the combatants). And the elephants
constituted the islands of that ocean, and the steeds its waves. And cars
constituted the boats by which brave men crossed it. And many brave
combatants, with arms cut off, divested of armour, and hideously
mutilated, were seen lying there in hundreds and thousands. And with the
bodies of infuriate elephants deprived of life and bathed in blood, the
field of battle. O Bharata, looked as if strewn with hills. And the
wonderful sight we saw there, O Bharata, was that neither in their army
nor in thine was a single person that was unwilling to fight. And thus, O
monarch, did those brave warriors, of both thy army and the Pandavas,
fight, seeking glory and desirous of victory.”


Sanjaya said, “Then when the sun assumed a red hue, king Duryodhana,
desirous of battle, rushed towards Bhima from desire of slaying him.
Beholding that heroic warrior cherishing deep animosity (thus) coming
towards him, Bhimasena, excited with great wrath, said these
words,–‘That hour hath come which I have desired for so many years. I
will slay thee to-day if thou dost not abandon the battle. Slaying thee I
shall today dispel the sorrows of Kunti as also of Draupadi and the woes
that were ours during our exile in the woods. Filled with pride, thou
hadst formerly humiliated the sons of Pandu. Behold, O son of Gandhari,
the dire fruit of that sinful behaviour. Following the counsels of Karna
as also of Suvala’s son, and recking the Pandavas little, thou hadst
formerly behaved towards them as thou hadst hinted. Thou hadst also
disregarded Krishna who begged thee (for peace). With a joyous heart
didst thou despatch Uluka (to us) with thy messages. For all these, I
shall slay thee to-day with all thy kinsmen, and thus avenge all those
offences of thine of former days.’ Having said these words, Bhima bending
his bow and stretching it repeatedly, and taking up a number of terrible
shafts whose effulgence resembled that of the lightning itself, and
filled with wrath, quickly sped six and thirty of them at Duryodhana. And
those shafts resembled the flames of a blazing fire, and coursed straight
with the force of the thunder-bolt. And then he pierced Duryodhana’s bow
with two shafts, and his charioteer with two. And with four shafts he
despatched Duryodhana’s (four) steeds to the regions of Yama. And that
grinder of foes then, with two shafts shot with great force, cut off in
that battle the king’s umbrella from his excellent car. And with three
other shafts he cut off his handsome and blazing standard. And having cut
it off, he uttered a loud shout in the very sight of thy son. And that
beautiful standard of the latter, decked with diverse gems, suddenly fell
down on the earth from his car like a flash of lightning from the clouds.
And all the kings beheld that beautiful standard of the Kuru king,
bearing the device of an elephant, decked with gems, and blazing like the
sun, fell down cut off (by Bhimasena). And that mighty car-warrior, viz.,
Bhima, then pierced Duryodhana in that battle, smiling the while, with
ten shafts like a guide piercing a mighty elephant with the hook. Then
that foremost of car-warriors, viz., the mighty king of the Sindhus,
supported by many brave warriors, placed himself on the flank of
Duryodhana. And then that great car-warrior, viz., Kripa, O king, caused
the vindictive Duryodhana, that son of Kuru’s race, of immeasurable
energy, to mount on his own car. Then king Duryodhana, deeply pierced by
Bhimasena and feeling great pain, sat down on the terrace of that car.
Then Jayadratha, desirous of slaying Bhima, surrounded him on all sides
with several thousands of cars. Then, O king, Dhrishtaketu and Abhimanyu
of great energy, and the Kekayas, and the sons of Draupadi, all
encountered thy sons. And the high-souled Abhimanyu smote them all,
piercing each with five straight shafts, resembling the bolts of heaven
or Death’s selves, shot from his excellent bow. Thereupon, all of them,
unable to bear it (coolly), showered on that foremost of car-warriors,
viz., the son of Subhadra, a perfect down-pour of sharp shafts like
rain-charged clouds pouring rain on the breast of the mountains of Meru.
But Abhimanyu, that invisible warrior accomplished in arms, thus
afflicted by them in battle, caused all thy sons, O king, to tremble like
the wielder of the thunder-bolt causing the mighty Asuras to tremble in
the battle between the celestials and the latter. Then that foremost of
car-warriors, O Bharata, shot fourteen broad-headed shafts, fierce and
looking like snakes of virulent poison, at Vikarna. Endued with great
prowess and as if dancing in that battle, he felled with those shafts the
standard of Vikarna from his car and slew also his charioteer and steeds.
Then that mighty car-warrior, the son of Subhadra, again sped at Vikarna
many other arrows that were well-tempered, straight-going, and capable of
penetrating every armour. And those arrows furnished with feathers of the
kanka bird, coming at Vikarna and passing through his body, entered the
earth, like hissing snakes. And those arrows, with wings and points
decked with gold, bathed in Vikarna’s blood, seemed to vomit blood on the
earth. Beholding Vikarna thus pierced, his other uterine brothers rushed,
in that battle, against those car-warriors headed by Subhadra’s son. And
when these invincible warriors upon their (own) cars came upon those
combatants (of the Pandava army) resplendent like so many suns and
staying on their cars both began to pierce one another.. And Durmukha,
having pierced Srutakarman with five shafts, cut off the latter’s
standard with a single shaft and then pierced his charioteer with seven.
And advancing closer, he slew with half a dozen shafts his foe’s steeds,
fleet as the wind and cased in golden armour, and then felled his
charioteer. Srutakarman, however, staying on that car of his, the steeds
of which had been slain, hurled in great wrath a dart blazing like a
fierce meteor. That dart, blazing with effulgence, passing through the
renowned Durmukha’s hard coat of mail, penetrated into the earth.
Meanwhile the mighty Sutasoma beholding Srutakarman deprived of his car,
caused him to mount upon his own car in the very sight of all the troops.
The heroic Srutakirti rushed against thy son Jayatsena in that battle,
desirous, O king, of slaying that renowned warrior. Then thy son
Jayatsena, O king, with a sharp arrow having a horse-shoe head, smiling
the while, cut off the bow of the high-souled Srutakirti as the latter
came along stretching it in his hands. Then Satanika, beholding his
uterine brother’s bow cut off, endued as he was with great valour,
quickly came at that spot repeatedly roaring like a lion. And Satanika,
drawing his bow in that battle with great force, speedily pierced
Jayatsena with ten shafts, and uttered a loud shout like an infuriate
elephant. And with another arrow of sharp point and capable of
penetrating every armour, Satanika deeply pierced Jayatsena in the chest.
Just at that time, Dushkarna who was near his brother. (Jayatsena)
infuriate with anger, cut off Satanika’s bow and arrow. Then the mighty
Satanika taking up another excellent bow capable of bearing a great
strain, aimed many sharp shafts. And addressing Dushkarna in the presence
of his brother (Jayatsena), saying–‘Wait’, ‘Wait’,–he sped at him those
sharp and blazing shafts resembling so many snakes. And then he speedily
cut off Dushkarna’s bow with one arrow, and slew his charioteer, O sire,
with two, and then pierced Dushkarna himself with seven arrows. And that
spotless warrior then with a dozen sharp shafts slew all the steeds of
Dushkarna that were fleet as the mind and of variegated hue. And then
with another broad-headed arrow, well-aimed and capable of coursing
swiftly, Satanika, excited with great wrath deeply pierced Dushkarna in
the chest. And thereupon the latter fell down on the earth like a tree
struck with lightning. Beholding Dushkarna slain, five mighty
car-warriors, O king, surrounded Satanika on all sides, from desire of
slaying him. And they struck the renowned Satanika with showers of
arrows. Then the five Kekaya brothers, excited with wrath, approached
(Satanika for rescuing him). Beholding the latter coming upon them, thy
sons–those mighty car-warriors,–rushed towards them like elephants
rushing against mighty elephants. (These amongst thy sons, viz.,)
Durmukha and Durjaya and the youthful Durmarshana and Satranjaya and
Satrusha, all renowned warriors, excited with rage, proceeded, O king,
against the (five) Kekaya brothers. On their cars that resembled
(fortified) towns, unto which were yoked steeds decked with ornaments,
and which were graced with beautiful standards of variegated hue, those
heroes wielding excellent bows and cased in beautiful coats of mail and
owning excellent standards, entered the hostile army like lions entering
one forest from another. Smiting one another, fierce and terrific was the
battle that ensued between them and the foe, in which cars and elephants
got entangled with one another. Cherishing feelings of hostility towards
one another, the terrible battle in which they took part lasted for a
short space of time about sunset, increasing the population of Yama’s
kingdom. And car-warriors and horsemen by thousands were strewn over the
field. And Bhishma the son of Santanu excited with wrath, began to
slaughter the troops of the high-souled Pandavas with his straight
shafts. And with his arrows he began to despatch the combatants of the
Panchalas to the domains of Yama. And the grandsire, having thus broken
the ranks of the Pandavas at last withdrew his troops and retired, O
king, to his encampment. And king Yudhishthira also, beholding both
Dhrishtadyumna and Vrikodara, smelt their heads, and filled with joy,
retired to his tents.”


Sanjaya said, “Then those heroes, O king, who cherished feelings of
hostility towards one another, retired to their tents, their persons
covered with blood. Having rested for a while agreeably to rule, and
praising one another (for the feats of the day), they were again seen
clad in mail, desirous of battle. Then thy son, O king, overwhelmed with
anxiety and covered with blood trickling down (from his wounds), asked
the grandsire, saying.[406] ‘Our troops are fierce and terrible and carry
innumerable standards. They are, again, arrayed properly. Yet the brave
and mighty car-warriors of the Pandavas, having penetrated (into our
array) and afflicted and slaughtered (our troops), escaped unhurt.[407]
Confounding us all, they have won great fame in battle. Bhima again,
having penetrated into our Makara array which was strong as the
thunder-bolt, afflicted me with his terrible shafts each resembling the
rod of Death. Beholding him excited with wrath, O king, I was deprived of
my senses. Even now I cannot regain my peace of mind. Through thy grace,
O thou that art firm in truth, I desire to obtain victory and slay the
sons of Pandu.’ Thus addressed by him, the high-souled son of Ganga, that
foremost of all wielders of weapons, endued with great mental energy,
understanding that Duryodhana was possessed by grief replied unto him,
laughing the while though cheerless, saying,[408] ‘Penetrating into
(their) army with the utmost exertions and with my whole soul, O prince,
I wish to give thee victory and joy. For thy sake I do not at all
dissemble. They that have become the allies of the Pandavas in this
battle are fierce and numerous. Mighty car-warriors of great renown, they
are exceedingly brave and accomplished in arms. Incapable of being
fatigued, they vomit forth their wrath. Cherishing feelings of animosity
towards thee, and swelling with prowess, they are not capable of being
defeated easily. I will, however, O king, contend against those heroes
with my whole soul and throwing away my very life. For thy sake, in
battle, O thou of great glory, my life itself shall today be recklessly
exposed. For thy sake I would consume all the worlds with the celestials
and the Daityas, let alone thy foes here. I will, O king, fight with
those Pandavas, and do all that is agreeable to thee. Hearing these
words, Duryodhana became inspired with great confidence and his heart was
filled with delight. And cheerfully he ordered all the troops, and all
the kings, (in his army) saying, Advance. And at that command, O king,
his army consisting of cars, steeds, foot-soldiers, and elephants, began
to advance. And that large force. O king, armed with diverse kinds of
weapons, was exceedingly cheerful. And that army of thine, O monarch,
consisting of elephants, steeds, and foot-soldiers, on the field of
battle, looked exceedingly beautiful. And huge tuskers, stationed in
large bodies, and skilfully urged, looked resplendent on the field all
around. And many royal combatants accomplished in diverse weapons were
seen in the midst of thy troops. And the dust, red as the morning sun,
raised by those cars and foot-soldiers and elephants and steeds in large
bodies as they were duly moved over the field, looked beautiful,
shrouding the rays of the sun. And the many-coloured banners stationed on
cars and elephants, waving in the air and moving along the welkin, looked
beautiful like flashes of lightning amid the clouds. And loud and fierce
was the uproar made by the twang of the bows stretched by the kings,
resembling the roar of the ocean while churned in the Krita age by the
gods and the great Asuras. And that army of thy sons, looking so proud,
consisting of (combatants of) diverse hues and shapes, shouting so
fiercely, and capable of slaying hostile warriors, then looked like those
masses of clouds that appear at the end of the Yuga.[409]'”


Sanjaya said, “O chief of the Bharatas, Ganga’s son, once more addressing
thy son who was plunged in thought, told him these delightful words,
‘Myself and Drona and Salya and Kritavarman of Satwata’s race, and
Aswatthaman and Vikarna and Bhagadatta and Suvala’s son and Vinda and
Anuvinda of Avanti, and Valhika with the Valhikas,[410] and the mighty
king of the Trigartas and the invincible ruler of the Magadhas,
Vrihadvala the king of the Kosalas, and Chitrasena and Vivingsati and
many thousands of car-warriors graced with tall standards, a large number
of country-born steeds well-mounted with excellent horse-soldiers and
many infuriate elephants of large size with temporal juice issuing from
their mouths and cheeks, and many brave foot-soldiers armed with diverse
weapons and born in diverse realms, are all prepared to do battle for thy
sake.[411] These, and many others ready for thy sake to lay down their
lives, are, as I think, competent to vanquish the very gods in battle. I
should, however, always tell thee, O king, what is for thy good. The
Pandavas are incapable of being vanquished by the very gods with Vasava.
They have Vasudeva for their ally and are equal to Mahendra himself in
prowess. As regards myself, I shall, however, always do thy bidding.
Either I shall vanquish the Pandavas in battle or they will vanquish me.
Having said these words, the grandsire gave him an excellent herb of
great efficacy for healing his wounds. And therewith thy son was cured of
his wounds. Then at dawn when the sky was clear, the valiant Bhishma,
that foremost of men well-versed in all kinds of array, himself disposed
his troops in that array called Mandala bristling with weapons. And it
abounded with foremost of warriors and with tuskers and foot-soldiers.
And it was surrounded on all sides with many thousands of cars, and with
large bodies of horsemen armed with swords and lances. Near unto every
elephant were placed seven cars, and near unto every car were placed
seven horsemen. And behind every horseman were placed seven bowmen, and
behind every bowman were seven combatants with shields. And thus, O king,
thy army, arrayed by mighty car-warriors, stood for fierce battle,
protected by Bhishma. And ten thousand horses, and as many elephants, and
ten thousand cars, and thy sons, all equipped in mail, viz., the heroic
Chitrasena and others, protected the grandsire. And it was seen that
Bhishma was protected by those brave warriors, and those princes
themselves of great strength, accoutred in mail, were (in their turn)
protected by him. And Duryodhana accoutred in mail sat upon his car on
the field, and possessed of every grace, looked resplendent like Sakra
himself in heaven. Then, O Bharata, loud were the shouts uttered by thy
sons and deafening the clatter of cars and the uproar of musical
instruments. That mighty and impenetrable array of those slayer of foes,
viz., the Dhartarashtras (in the form called) Mandala, (thus) arrayed by
Bhishma, began to proceed, facing the west. Incapable of being defeated
by enemies, it looked beautiful in every point. Beholding then the array
called Mandala that was exceedingly fierce, king Yudhishthira himself
disposed his troops in the array called Vajra. And when the divisions
were thus arrayed, car-warriors and horsemen, stationed in their proper
places, uttered leonine shouts. Accompanied by their respective forces,
the brave warriors of both armies, well versed in smiting, and longing
for battle, proceeded, desirous of breaking each other’s array. And
Bharadwaja’s son proceeded against the king of the Matsyas, and his son
(Aswatthaman) against Sikhandin. And king Duryodhana himself rushed
against the son of Prishata. And Nakula and Sahadeva went forth against
the king of the Madras. And Vinda and Anuvinda of Avanti proceeded
against Iravat. And many kings together battled with Dhananjaya. And
Bhimasena, exerting himself well, opposed the son of Hridika in battle.
And possessed of great prowess, (Abhimanyu) the son of Arjuna, fought in
battle, O king, against the sons Chitrasena and Vikarna, and Durmarshana.
And Hidimva’s son, that prince of the Rakshasas, rushed against that
mighty bowman, the ruler of the Pragjyotishas, like one infuriate
elephant against another. And the Rakshasa Alamvusha, O king, excited
with wrath, rushed in battle against the invincible Satyaki in the midst
of his followers. And Bhurisravas, exerting himself greatly, fought
against Dhrishtaketu. And Yudhishthira, the son of Dharma, proceeded
against king Srutayush. And Chekitana in that battle fought against
Kripa. And others (among the Kuru warriors), exerting themselves
powerfully, proceeded against that mighty car-warrior Bhima. And
thousands of (other) kings surrounded Dhananjaya, with darts, lances,
arrows, maces, and spiked clubs in their hands. Then Arjuna, excited with
great wrath, addressing him of Vrishni’s race, said, ‘Behold, O Madhava,
the Dhartarashtra troops in battle, arrayed by the high-souled son of
Ganga, acquainted with every kind of array. Behold, O Madhava, those
brave warriors, countless in number, and desirous of battle (with me).
Behold, O Kesava, the ruler of the Trigartas with his brothers.[412] This
very day I shall slay them all, O Janardana, before thy eyes,–them, that
is, O foremost of the Yadus, who, longing for battle (with me), are on
the field.’ Having said these words, the son of Kunti, rubbing his
bowstring, showered his arrows on that multitude of kings. And those
great bowmen also, poured on him thick showers of arrows, like clouds
that fill a lake with torrents of rain in the rainy season. And loud
shouts were heard in thy army, O monarch, when in that great battle the
two Krishnas were seen covered with thick showers of arrows. And the
gods, the celestial Rishis, and the Gandharvas with the Uragas, beholding
the two Krishnas in that state, were filled with great wonder. Then
Arjuna, O king, excited with wrath, invoked the Aindra weapon. And then
the prowess we beheld of Vijaya seemed to be highly wonderful insomuch
that those showers of weapons shot by his foes were checked by his
myriads of arrows. And there among those thousands of kings and steeds
and elephants, was none, O king, that was not wounded. And others, O
sire, the son of Pritha pierced, each with two or three arrows. And while
being thus struck by Pritha, they sought the protection of Bhishma, the
son of Santanu. But Bhishma then became the rescuer of those warriors who
were like men sinking in the fathomless deep. And in consequence of those
warriors thus flying away and mixing with thy troops, thy broken ranks, O
king, were agitated like the vast deep with a tempest.”


Sanjaya said, “And when the battle was thus raging and after Susarman had
ceased fighting, and the (other) heroic warriors (of the Kuru army) had
been routed by the high-souled son of Pandu; after, indeed, thy army,
resembling the very ocean, had become quickly agitated and the son of
Ganga had speedily proceeded against the car of Vijaya, king Duryodhana,
beholding the prowess of Partha in battle, quickly proceeded towards
those kings, and addressing them as also the heroic and mighty Susarman
stationed in their van, said in their midst these words, gladdening them
all, ‘This Bhishma, the son of Santanu, this foremost one among the
Kurus, reckless of his very life, is desirous of fighting with his whole
soul against Dhananjaya. Exerting your best, ye all, united together, and
accompanied by your troops, protect in battle the grandsire, of Bharata’s
race, who is proceeding against the hostile army.’ Saying, ‘Yes,’ all
those divisions, belonging to those kings, O monarch, proceeded,
following the grandsire. Then the mighty Bhishma, the son of Santanu,
(thus rushing to battle), speedily came upon Arjuna of Bharata’s race who
also had been coming towards him, on his exceedingly resplendent and
large car unto which were yoked white steeds and upon which was set up
his standard bearing the fierce ape, and whose rattle resembled the deep
roll of the clouds. And thy entire army, beholding the diadem-decked
Dhananjaya, thus coming to battle, uttered, from fear, many loud
exclamations. And beholding Krishna, reins in hand, and looking like the
mid-day sun in splendour, thy troops could not gaze at him. And so also
the Pandavas were incapable of looking at Santanu’s son Bhishma of white
steeds and white bow and resembling the planet Sukra risen in the
firmament. And the latter was surrounded on all sides by the high-souled
warriors of the Trigartas headed by their king with his brothers and
sons, and by many other mighty car-warriors.

“Meanwhile, Bharadwaja’s son pierced with his winged arrows the king of
the Matsyas in battle. And in that combat he cut off the latter’s
standard with one shaft, and his bow also with another. Then Virata, the
commander of a large division, leaving aside that bow thus cut off,
quickly took up another that was strong and capable of bearing a great
strain. And he also took up a number of blazing arrows that resembled
snakes of virulent poison. And he pierced Drona in return with three (of
these) and his (four) steeds with four. And then he pierced Drona’s
standard with one arrow, and his charioteer with five. And he also
pierced Drona’s bow with one arrow, and (at all this) that bull among
Brahmanas became highly angry. Then Drona slew Virata’s steeds with eight
straight shafts, and then his charioteer, O chief of the Bharatas, with
one shaft. His charioteer having been slain, Virata jumped down from his
car whose steeds also had been killed. And then that foremost of
car-warriors speedily mounted upon the car of (his son) Sankha. Then sire
and son, staying on the same car, began with great might to resist the
son of Bharadwaja with a thick shower of arrows. Then the mighty son of
Bharadwaja, excited with wrath, quickly shot at Sankha in that encounter,
an arrow resembling a snake of virulent poison. And that arrow, piercing
through Sankha’s breast and drinking his blood, fell upon the earth, wet
and smeared with gore. Struck with that arrow of Bharadwaja’s son, Sankha
speedily fell down from his car, his bow and arrows loosened from his
grasp in the very presence of his sire. And beholding his son slain,
Virata fled from fear, avoiding Drona in battle, who resembled Death’s
self with gasping mouth. The son of Bharadwaja then, without losing a
moment, checked the mighty host of the Pandavas resisting combatants by
hundreds and thousands.

“Sikhandin also, O king, getting at Drona’s son in that battle, struck
the latter between his brows with three swiftly coursing shafts. And that
tiger among men, viz., Aswatthaman, pierced with those shafts looked
beautiful like the mountain Meru with its three tall golden crests. Then,
O king, Aswatthaman excited with rage, and within half the time taken up
by a wink of the eye, overthrew in that battle Sikhandin’s charioteer and
standard and steeds and weapons, covering them with myriads of shafts.
Then that foremost of car-warriors, viz., Sikhandin, that scorcher of
foes, jumping down from that car whose steeds had been slain, and taking
up a sharp and polished scimitar and a shield, excited with rage, moved
on the field with great activity like a hawk. And while moving with great
activity, O king, on the field sword in hand, the son of Drona failed to
find an opportunity (for striking him). And all this seemed highly
wonderful. And then, O bull of Bharata’s race, the highly wrathful son of
Drona sent after Sikhandin in that battle many thousands of shafts. But
Sikhandin, that foremost of mighty men, with his sharp sword cut that
fierce shower of arrows coming towards him. Then the son of Drona cut
into pieces that resplendent and beautiful shield decked with a hundred
moons and then that sword also of Sikhandin. And he pierced the latter’s
person also, O king, with a large number of winged arrows. Then
Sikhandin, whirling the fragment (in his hand) of that sword of his which
had been cut off by Aswatthaman with his arrows and which resembled a
blazing snake, quickly hurled it at him. The son of Drona however,
displaying in that battle the lightness of his arms, cut off that (broken
blade) coming impetuously towards him and resembling in splendour the
fire that blazeth forth at the end of the Yuga. And he pierced Sikhandin
himself with innumerable arrows made of iron. Then Sikhandin, O King,
exceedingly afflicted with those whetted arrows, speedily mounted on the
car of (Satyaki) that high-souled scion of Madhu’s race. Then Satyaki,
excited with rage, pierced in that battle, with his terrible shafts the
cruel Rakshasa Alamvusha on all sides. That prince of Rakshasas then, O
Bharata, cut off in that combat Satyaki’s bow with a crescent-shaped
arrow and pierced Satyaki also with many shafts. And creating by his
Rakshasa powers an illusion, he covered Satyaki with showers of arrows.
But wonderful was the prowess that we then beheld of the grandson of
Sini, inasmuch as struck with those whetted shafts he betrayed no fear.
On the other hand, O Bharata, that son of Vrishni’s race applied (with
Mantras) the Aindra weapon, which that illustrious hero of Madhu’s race
had obtained from Vijaya.[413] That weapon, consuming into ashes that
Demoniac illusion, covered Alamvusha all over with terrible shafts, like
a mass of clouds covering the mountain-breast with torrents of rain in
the rainy season. Thereupon the Rakshasa, thus afflicted by that hero of
Madhu’s race, fled away in fear, avoiding Satyaki in battle. Then the
grandson of Sini, having vanquished that prince of Rakshasas who was
incapable of being vanquished by Maghavat himself, uttered a loud roar in
the very sight of all thy troops. And Satyaki, of prowess incapable of
being baffled, then began to slay thy troops with innumerable shafts
whereupon the latter fled away in fear.

“Meanwhile, O monarch, Dhrishtadyumna, the mighty son of Drupada, covered
thy royal son in battle with innumerable straight shafts. While, however,
O Bharata, Dhrishtadyumna was thus shrouding him with his shafts, thy
royal son was neither agitated nor struck with fear. On the other hand,
he speedily pierced Dhrishtadyumna in that battle (first) with sixty and
(then) with thirty shafts. And all these seemed highly wonderful. Then
the commander of the Pandava army, O Bharata, excited with wrath cut off
his bow. And that mighty car-warrior then slew in that combat the four
steeds of thy son, and also pierced him with seven shafts of the keenest
points. Thereupon (thy son), that mighty-armed warrior endued with great
strength, jumping down from that car whose steeds had been slain, ran on
foot, with an upraised sabre, towards the son of Prishata. Then the
mighty Sakuni, devoted to the king, quickly coming to that spot, caused
thy royal son to mount on his own car in the very sight of all. Then that
slayer of foes, the son of Prishata, having vanquished the king, began to
slaughter thy troops like the wielder of the thunder-bolt slaughtering
the Asuras.

“Kritavarman, in that battle, covered with his arrows that mighty
car-warrior Bhima. Indeed, he overwhelmed the latter entirely, like a
mighty mass of clouds shrouding the sun. Then that chastiser of foes
viz., Bhimasena, excited with wrath, and laughing the while, sped some
shafts at Kritavarman. Struck therewith, that Atiratha of the Satwata
race, excelling all in might, trembled not, O king, but (instead) pierced
Bhima (in return) with many sharp arrows. Then the mighty Bhimasena,
slaying the four steeds of Kritavarman, felled the latter’s charioteer,
and then his beautiful standard. And that slayer of hostile heroes (viz.,
Bhima) then pierced Kritavarman himself with many shafts of diverse
kinds. And Kritavarman, pierced all over, seemed to be excessively
mangled in every limb. Then from that car whose steeds had been slain,
Kritavarman quickly went to the car of Vrishaka, in the very sight, O
king, of both Salya and thy son. And Bhimasena. excited with rage, began
to afflict thy troops. Goaded to fury, he began to slay them, like the
destroyer himself armed with his club.”


Dhritarashtra said, “Many and wonderful, O Sanjaya, were the single
combats I hear thee speak of between the Pandavas and my warriors. Thou
speakest not, however, O Sanjaya, of any one of my side having been
cheerful (on such occasions). Thou always speakest of the sons of Pandu
as cheerful and never routed, O Suta and thou speakest of mine as
cheerless, deprived of energy, and constantly vanquished in battle. All
this, without doubt, is Destiny.”

Sanjaya said, “Thy men, O bull of Bharata’s race, exert themselves
according to the measure of their might and courage, and display their
valour to the utmost extent of their strength. As contact with the
properties of the ocean make the sweet waters of the celestial stream
Ganga brakish, so the valour, O king, of the illustrious warriors of thy
army coming in contact with the heroic sons of Pandu in battle, becometh
futile. Exerting themselves according to their might, and achieving the
most difficult feats, thou shouldst not, O chief of the Kurus, find fault
with thy troops. O monarch, this great and awful destruction of the
world, swelling the (population of the) domains of Yama, hath arisen from
thy misconduct and that of thy sons. It behoveth thee not, O king, to
grieve for what hath arisen from thy own fault. Kings do not always in
this world protect their lives. These rulers of Earth, desirous of
winning by battle the regions of the righteous, daily fight, penetrating
into (hostile) divisions, with heaven only for their aim.

“On the forenoon of that day, O king, great was the carnage that ensued,
resembling what occurred in the battle between the gods and the Asuras
(of old). Listen to it, O monarch, with undivided attention. The two
princes of Avanti, those great bowmen endued with exceeding might, those
excellent warriors fierce in battle, beholding Iravat, advanced against
him. The battle that took place between them was fierce, making the hair
stand on end. Then Iravat, excited with rage, quickly pierced those two
brothers of celestial forms with many sharp and straight shafts. Those
two, however, conversant with all modes of warfare, pierced him in return
in that battle. Struggling their best to slaughter the foe, and desirous
of counteracting each other’s feats, no distinction, O king, could be
observed between them as they fought. Iravat then, O monarch, with four
shafts, despatched the four steeds of Anuvinda to the abode of Yama. And
with a couple of sharp, broad-headed shafts, O sire, he cut off the bow
and standard also of Anuvinda. And this feat, O king, seemed highly
wonderful. Then Anuvinda, leaving his own car, mounted on the car of
Vinda. Taking up an excellent and strong bow capable of bearing a great
strain, Anuvinda, as also his brother Vinda, those foremost of
car-warriors hailing from Avanti, both stationed on the same car, quickly
shot many shafts at the high-souled Iravat. Shot by them, those shafts of
great impetuosity decked with gold, while coursing through the air,
covered the welkin.[414] Then Iravat, excited with rage, showered on
those mighty car-warriors, those two brothers (of Avanti) his arrowy
down-pours, and felled their charioteer. When the charioteer, deprived of
life, fell down on the ground, the horses, no longer restrained, ran away
with car. Having vanquished those two warriors, that daughter’s son of
the king of the Nagas, displaying his prowess, then began to consume with
great activity thy ranks. Then that mighty Dhartarashtra host, while thus
slaughtered in battle, began to reel in many directions like a person who
hath drunk poison.

“That prince of Rakshasa, the mighty son of Hidimva, on his car of solar
effulgence furnished with a standard, rushed against Bhagadatta. The
ruler of the Pragjyotishas was stationed on his prince of elephants like
the wielder of the thunder-bolt in days of old in the battle occasioned
by the ravishment of Taraka. The gods, the Gandharvas, and the Rishis had
all come there. They could not, however, notice any distinction between
Hidimva’s son and Bhagadatta. As the chief of the celestials, excited
with wrath, had inspired the Danavas with fear, so did Bhagadatta, O
king, frightened the Pandava warriors. And the warriors of the Pandava
army, frightened by him on all sides, failed, O Bharata, to find among
their ranks any protector. We beheld however, O Bharata, the son of
Bhimasena there, on his car. The other mighty car-warriors fled away with
cheerless hearts. When, however, O Bharata, he troops of the Pandavas
rallied, in the battle that then ensued an awful uproar arose among thy
troops. Then Ghatotkatcha, O king, in that dreadful battle, covered
Bhagadatta with his arrows like the clouds pouring rain on the breast of
Meru. Baffling all those arrows shot from the Rakshasa’s bow, the king
quickly struck the son of Bhimasena in all his vital limbs. That prince
of the Rakshasa, however, though struck with innumerable straight shafts,
wavered not at all (but stood still) like a mountain pierced (with
shafts). Then the ruler of the Pragjyotishas, excited with wrath, hurled
in that combat fourteen lances, all of which, however, were cut off by
the Rakshasa. Cutting off by means of his sharp shafts those lances, the
mighty-armed Rakshasa pierced Bhagadatta with seventy shafts, each
resembling the thunder-bolt in force. Then the ruler of the
Pragjyotishas, laughing the while, O Bharata, despatched in that combat
the four steeds of the Rakshasa to Death’s domain. The prince of the
Rakshasas, however, of great valour, staying on that car whose steeds had
been slain, hurled with great force a dart at the elephant of the ruler
of the Pragjyotishas. King Bhagadatta then cut off that swift dart
furnished with a staff of gold and coursing impetuously towards him into
three fragments, and thereupon it fell down on the ground. Beholding his
dart cut off, the son of Hidimva fled from fear like Namuchi, that
foremost of the Daityas, in days of old, from battle with Indra. Having
vanquished in battle that hero of great valour and renowned prowess, who,
O king, cannot be vanquished in battle by Yama himself or Varuna, king
Bhagadatta with his elephant began to crush down the troops of the
Pandavas like a wild elephant. O king, crushing as he treads the
lotus-stalks (in a lake).

“The ruler of the Madras engaged in battle with his sister’s sons, the
twins. And the overwhelmed those sons of Pandu with clouds of arrows.
Then Sahadeva, beholding his maternal uncle, engaged in battle (with
him), covered him with arrows like the clouds covering the maker of day.
Covered with those clouds of arrows, the ruler of the Madras wore a
delighted expression, and the twins also felt great delight for the sake
of their mother.[415] Then Salya, that mighty car-warrior, smiting
effectively in that battle, despatched with four excellent shafts, O
king, the four steeds of Nakula to the abode of Yama. Nakula then, that
mighty car-warrior, quickly jumping down from that car whose steeds had
been slain, mounted upon the vehicle of his renowned brother. Stationed
then on the same car, those two heroes, both fierce in battle, and both
excited with rage, began to shroud the car of the ruler of Madras, (with
heir arrows), drawing their bows with great strength. But that tiger
among men, though thus covered by his sister’s sons with innumerable
straight arrows shook not in the least (but stood immovable) like a hill.
Laughing the while, he smote them (in return) with showers of arrows.
Then Sahadeva of great prowess, O Bharata, excited with wrath, took up a
(powerful) shaft, and rushing at the ruler of the Madras, shot it at
him[416]. That shaft endued with the impetuosity of Garuda himself, shot
by him, pierced the ruler of the Madras through, and fell on the earth.
Thereupon that mighty car-warrior, deeply pierced and greatly pained, sat
down. O king, on the terrace of his car, and went into a swoon. Beholding
him (thus) afflicted by the twins, deprived of consciousness, and
prostrated (on his car), his charioteer bore him away on his vehicle over
the field. Seeing the car of the ruler of the Madras retreating (from
battle) the Dhartarashtras all became cheerless and thought it was all
over with him.[417] Then those mighty car-warriors, viz., the two sons of
Madri, having vanquished in battle their maternal uncle, cheerfully blew
their conches and uttered leonine roars. And then they rushed joyfully, O
king, towards thy forces like the gods Indra and Upendra, O monarch,
towards the Daitya host.”


Sanjaya said, “Then when the sun attained the meridian, king
Yudhishthira, beholding Srutayush, urged on his steeds. And the king
rushed at Srutayush, that chastiser of foes, striking him with nine
straight shafts of keen points. That great bowman, viz., king Srutayush
then, checking in that battle those arrows shot by the son of Pandu,
struck Yudhishthira with seven shafts. These penetrating through his
armour, drank his blood in that battle, as if sucking the very vital
energies dwelling in the body of that high-souled one.[418] The son of
Pandu then, though deeply pierced by that high-souled king, pierced king
Srutayush (in return), at the latter’s heart, with an arrow shaped as the
boar’s ear. And that foremost of car-warriors, viz., the son of Pritha,
with another broad-headed arrow, quickly felled on the earth the standard
of the high-souled Srutayush from his car. Beholding his standard
overthrown, king Srutayush then, O monarch, pierced the son of Pandu with
seven sharp shafts. Thereupon Yudhishthira, the son of Dharma, blazed up
with wrath, like the fire that blazeth forth at the end of the Yuga for
consuming creatures. Beholding the son of Pandu excited with rage, the
gods, the Gandharvas, and the Rakshasas, trembled, O king, and the
universe became agitated. And even this was the thought that arose in the
minds of all creatures, viz., that that king, excited with rage, would
that day consume the three worlds. Indeed, when the son of Pandu was thus
excited with wrath, the Rishis and the celestials prayed for the peace of
the world. Filled with wrath and frequently licking the corners of his
mouth, Yudhishthira assumed a terrible expression looking like the sun
that riseth at the end of the Yuga. Then all thy warriors, O king, became
hopeless of their lives, O Bharata. Checking, however, that wrath with
patience, that great bowman endued with high renown then cut off
Srutayush’s bow at the grasp. And then, in the very sight of all the
troops, the king in that battle pierced Srutayush whose bow had been cut
off, with a long arrow in the centre of the chest. And the mighty
Yudhishthira then, O king, speedily slew with his arrows the steeds of
Srutayush and then, without losing a moment, his charioteer. Beholding
the prowess of the king, Srutayush leaving that car whose steeds had been
slain, quickly fled away from battle. After that great bowman had been
vanquished in combat by the son of Dharma, all the troops of Duryodhana,
O king, turned their faces. Having, O monarch, achieved this feat,
Yudhishthira, the son of Dharma, began to slay thy troops like Death
himself with wide-open mouth.

“Chekitana of the Vrishni race, in the very sight of all the troops,
covered with his shafts Gautama, that foremost of car-warriors. Baffling
all those arrows, Kripa the son of Saradwat, pierced Chekitana in return
who was fighting with great care, O king, with arrows in that battle.
Then, O Bharata, with another broad-headed arrow he cut off Chekitana’s
bow, and endued with great lightness of hand, he also felled with another
broad-headed arrow the former’s charioteer. Kripa then, O monarch, slew
Chekitana’s steeds, as also both the warriors that protected the latter’s
wings. Then Chekitana of the Satwata race, quickly jumped down from his
car, and took up a mace. The foremost of all wielders of the mace,
Chekitana, with that hero-slaying mace of his, slew the steeds of Gautama
and then felled his charioteer. Then Gautama, standing on the ground,
shot sixteen arrows at Chekitana. Those arrows, piercing through that
hero of the Satwata race, entered the earth. Thereat, Chekitana excited
with rage, once more hurled his mace, desirous of slaying Gautama, like
Purandara desirous of slaying Vritra. Then Gautama with many thousands of
arrows checked that huge mace, endued with the strength of adamant, that
was coursing towards him. Then Chekitana, O Bharata, drawing his sabre
from the sheath, rushed with great speed towards Gautama. Thereupon
Gautama also, throwing away his bow, and taking up a polished sabre,
rushed with great speed towards Chekitana. Both of them possessed of
great strength, and both armed with excellent sabres, began to strike
each other with those sharp-edged weapons of theirs. Then those bulls
among men, struck with the force of each other’s sabres, fell down on the
earth, that (common) element of all creatures. Exhausted by the efforts
they had made, the limbs of both were motionless in a swoon. Then
Karakarsha impelled by friendship, quickly rushed to that spot. And that
invincible warrior, beholding Chekitana in that plight, took him up on
his car in the very sight of all troops. And so also the brave Sakuni,
thy brother-in-law, O monarch, speedily caused Gautama, that foremost of
car-warriors, to mount on his car.

“The mighty Dhrishtaketu, excited with wrath, speedily pierced the son of
Somadatta, O king, with ninety shafts in the chest. And the son of
Somadatta looked highly resplendent with those shafts on his chest, like
the sun, O king, with his rays at mid-day. Bhurisravas, however, in that
battle, with his excellent shafts, deprived Dhrishtaketu, that mighty
car-warrior, of his car, slaying his charioteer and steeds. And beholding
him deprived of his car, and his steeds and charioteer slain, Bhurisravas
covered Dhrishtaketu in that combat with a thick shower of arrows. The
high-souled Dhrishtaketu then. O sire, abandoning that car of his,
mounted upon the vehicle of Satanika. Chitrasena, and Vikarna, O king,
and also Durmarshana,–these car-warriors cased in golden mail,–all
rushed against the son of Subhadra. Then a fierce battle took place
between Abhimanyu and those warriors, like the battle of the body, O
king, with wind, bile, and phlegm.[419] That tiger among men, however,
(viz., Abhimanyu), having, O king, deprived thy sons of their cars, slew
them not, remembering Bhima’s words.[420] Then during the progress of the
fight, Kunti’s son (Arjuna), of white steeds, beholding Bhishma, who was
incapable of being vanquished by very gods, proceeding to rescue thy sons
in view of Abhimanyu–a boy and alone though a mighty car-warrior,
addressed Vasudeva and said these words, ‘Urge the steeds, O Hrishikesa,
to that spot where are those numerous car-warriors. They are many in
number, brave, accomplished in arms, invincible in battle. Guide the
horses so, O Madhava, that the foe may not be able to slay our troops.’
Thus urged by Kunti’s son of immeasurable energy, he of Vrishni’s race
then drove that car, unto which were yoked white steeds, to battle. When
Arjuna, excited with rage, thus proceeded towards thy army, a loud
uproar, O sire, arose among thy troops.[421] The son of Kunti then,
having come up to those kings that were protecting Bhishma, (first)
addressed Susarman, O king, and said these words, ‘I know thee to be
foremost in battle, and a dire enemy (of ours) of old. Behold to-day the
terrible fruit of that evil behaviour (of thine).[422] I will today cause
thee to visit the manes of thy ancestors.’ That leader of car-divisions,
Susarman, however, hearing these harsh words uttered by that slayer of
foes viz., Vibhatsu, told him nothing (in reply), well or ill. (But)
approaching the heroic Arjuna, with a large number of kings in his train,
and surrounding him in that battle, he covered him aided by thy sons, O
sinless one, with arrows from all sides, viz., front, rear, and flanks,
like the clouds covering the maker of day. Then, O Bharata, a dreadful
battle took place between thy army and the Pandavas, in which blood ran
like water.”


Sanjaya said, “Then the mighty Dhananjaya, struck with those shafts and
drawing long breaths like a trodden snake, cut off, with great force, by
means of his successive shafts, the bows of those mighty car-warriors.
Cutting off in a moment, O king, the bows of those powerful monarchs in
that battle, the high-souled Arjuna, desiring to exterminate them pierced
all of them simultaneously with his shafts. Struck (thus) by Indra’s son,
O king, some of them fell down on the field, covered with blood. And some
had their limbs mangled, and some had their heads struck off. And some
perished with bodies mangled and coats of mail cut through. And afflicted
by the arrows of Partha, many of them, falling down on the earth,
perished together. Beholding then those princes slain in battle, the
ruler of the Trigartas advanced on his car. And two and thirty others
amongst those car-warriors, they who had been protecting the rear of the
slain combatants also fell upon Partha. These all, surrounding Partha,
and drawing their bows of loud twang, poured on him a thick shower of
arrows like the clouds pouring torrents of water on the mountain breast.
Then Dhananjaya afflicted with that arrowy down-pour in that battle,
became excited with wrath, and with sixty arrows steeped in oil he
despatched all those protectors of the rear. Having vanquished in battle
those sixty car-warriors, the illustrious Dhananjaya became cheerful at
heart. And having slain also the forces of those kings, Jishnu sped for
Bhishma’s slaughter. Then the ruler of the Trigartas, beholding his
friends those mighty car-warriors slain, speedily advanced upon Partha,
with a number of (other) kings in his van, for slaying him. Then the
Pandava warrior headed by Sikhandin, beholding those combatants advancing
upon Dhananjaya that foremost of all conversant with arms, proceeded with
whetted weapons in hand, desirous of protecting the car of Arjuna. Partha
also beholding those brave men advanced towards him with the ruler of the
Trigartas, mangled them in battle with arrows shot from Gandiva. Then
that distinguished bowman, desirous of approaching Bhishma beheld
Duryodhana and other kings headed by the ruler of the Sindhus. Fighting
with great energy for a moment and checking those warriors that were
desirous of protecting Bhishma, the heroic Arjuna of great valour and
infinite prowess avoiding Duryodhana and Jayadratha and others,–that
warrior of mighty strength and great mental vigour,–at last proceeded,
bow and arrow in hand, towards the son of Ganga in battle. The
high-souled Yudhishthira also, of fierce prowess and infinite renown,
avoiding in battle the ruler of the Madras who had been assigned to his
share, quickly proceeded, with excited wrath and accompanied by Bhima and
the sons of Madri towards Bhishma, the son of Santanu, for battle.
Conversant with all modes of warfare the high-souled son of Ganga and
Santanu, though attacked in battle by all the sons of Pandu united
together, wavered not at all. Of fierce might and great energy king
Jayadratha of sure aim, advancing in battle, forcibly cut off with his
own excellent bow the bows of all those mighty car-warriors. And the
illustrious Duryodhana also with excited wrath and having wrath for his
position, struck Yudhishthira and Bhimasena and the twins and Partha,
with arrows resembling flames of fire. Pierced with arrows by Kripa and
Sala and Chitrasena, O lord, the Pandavas, inflamed with rage, resembled
the gods pierced with arrows by the united Daityas (in days of old). King
Yudhishthira then, beholding Sikhandin flying away, having had his weapon
cut off by Santanu’s son became filled with anger. The high-souled
Ajatasatru, angrily addressing Sikhandin in that battle, said these
words, ‘Thou saidst at that time, in the presence of thy sire, unto
me–Even I shall slay Bhishma of high vows with my shafts of the hue of
the effulgent sun. Truly do I say this.–Even this was thy oath. That
oath of thine thou dost not fulfil inasmuch as thou dost not slay
Devavrata in battle. O hero, be not a person of unfulfilled vow. Take
care of thy virtue, race, and fame. Behold Bhishma of terrible
impetuosity scorching all my troops with his innumerable arrows of fierce
energy and destroying everything in a moment like Death himself. With thy
bow cut off avoiding the battle, and vanquished by the royal son of
Santanu, whither dost thou go, forsaking thy kinsmen and brothers? This
doth not become thee. Beholding Bhishma of infinite prowess, and our army
routed and flying away, thou art assuredly, O son of Drupada, frightened,
since the colour of thy face is pale. Unknown to thee, O hero, Dhananjaya
hath engaged in the dreadful battle. Celebrated over the whole world, why
O hero, art thou afraid today of Bhishma.[423]’–Hearing these words of
king, Yudhishthira the just, that were harsh, though fraught with sound
reason, the high-souled Sikhandin, regarding them as good counsel,
speedily set himself about slaying Bhishma.[424] And while Sikhandin was
proceeding to battle with great impetuosity for falling upon Bhishma,
Salya began to resist him with terrible weapons that were difficult of
being baffled. The son of Drupada, however, O king, of prowess equal to
that of Indra himself, beholding those weapons effulgent as the fire that
blazeth forth at the hour of universal dissolution (thus) displayed, was
not confounded in the least. Checking those weapons by means of his own
shafts, that mighty bowman, viz., Sikhandin, stayed there without moving.
And then he took up another weapon, viz., the fierce Varuna weapon for
baffling (those fiery weapons of Salya). Then the celestials staying in
the firmament, and the kings of the earth also, all beheld Salya’s
weapons baffled by that Varuna weapon of Sikhandin. Meanwhile, the
high-souled and heroic Bhishma, O king, in that battle, cut off the bow
and the variegated standard also of Pandu’s son, king Yudhishthira of the
Ajamida race. Thereupon casting aside his bow and arrows upon beholding
Yudhishthira overwhelmed with fear, and taking up a mace in that battle,
Bhimasena rushed, on foot, at Jayadratha. Then Jayadratha, with five
hundred terrible arrows of keen points and each resembling the rod of
Death, pierced Bhimasena from every side who was thus rushing impetuously
at him, mace in hand. Disregarding those arrows, the impetuous Vrikodara,
with heart filled with rage, slew in that battle all the steeds, born in
Aratta, of the king of the Sindhus. Then beholding Bhimasena on foot, thy
son (Chitrasena) of unrivalled prowess and resembling the chief of the
celestials himself, quickly rushed at him on his car, with upraised
weapons, for giving him his quietus. Bhima also, roaring and uttering a
loud shout, rushed at him impetuously, mace in hand. Thereupon the
Kauravas all around beholding that upraised mace resembling the rod of
Death, forsaking thy brave son, fled away, desirous of avoiding its fall
(amongst them). In that fierce and awful crush (of men), O Bharata,
confounding the senses, Chitrasena, however, beholding that mace coursing
towards him, was not deprived of his senses. Taking up a bright scimitar
and a shield, he forsook his car and became a warrior on foot in the
field, for jumping down (from his vehicle) like a lion from the top of a
cliff he came down upon the level ground. Meanwhile that mace, failing
upon that beautiful car and destroying the vehicle itself with its steeds
and charioteer in that battle, dropped on the ground like a blazing
meteor, loosened from the firmament, failing upon the earth. Then thy
troops, O Bharata, beholding that highly wonderful feat became filled
with joy, and all of them together set up a loud shout over the field of
battle. And the warriors all applauded thy son (for what they witnessed).”


Sanjaya said,–“Approaching then thy son Chitrasena of great energy who
had thus been deprived of his car, thy son Vikarna caused him to mount on
his car. And during the progress of that general engagement, so fierce
and dreadful, Bhishma, the son of Santanu, impetuously rushed at
Yudhishthira. Then the Srinjayas with their cars, elephants, and horses,
trembled. And they regarded Yudhishthira to be already within the jaws of
Death. The lord Yudhishthira, however, of Kuru’s race, accompanied by the
twins, proceeded towards that mighty bowman, that tiger among men viz.,
Bhishma. Then the son of Pandu, shooting in that battle thousands of
arrows, shrouded Bhishma like the clouds shrouding the sun. And those
numberless arrows, well shot by Yudhishthira, were received by the son of
Ganga in distinct sets by hundreds and thousands.[425] And so also, O
sire, innumerable were the arrows shot by Bhishma (in return), which
looked like flights of insects coursing through the air. In half the time
taken up by a wink of the eye, Bhishma, the son of Santanu, in that
battle, made Kunti’s son invisible by means of his numberless shafts shot
in sets. Then king Yudhishthira, excited with rage, sped at the
high-souled Kaurava a long arrow resembling a snake of virulent poison.
That mighty car-warrior, Bhishma, however, O king, cut off in that
combat, with a horse-shoe (headed) arrow, that shaft shot from
Yudhishthira’s bow before it could reach him. Having cut off that long
arrow resembling Death himself, Bhishma then slew in that battle the
steeds, decked with gold, of that prince of Kuru’s line. Then
Yudhishthira the son of Pandu, abandoning that car whose steeds had been
slain, quickly mounted upon the car of the high-souled Nakula. Then
Bhishma that subjugator of hostile cities, excited with rage, and coming
upon the twins in that battle, covered them with arrows. Beholding those
two (brothers), O king, thus afflicted, with the arrows of Bhishma,
Yudhishthira began to reflect earnestly desirous, O monarch, of
(compassing) Bhishma’s destruction. Then Yudhishthira, O king, urged his
friends and the rulers (on his side), saying,–‘Slay Bhishma the son of
Santanu, uniting together.’ Then all those rulers, hearing these words of
Pritha’s son, surrounded the grandsire with a large number of cars. Thy
sire Devavrata then, thus surrounded on all sides, began to sport, O
king, with his bow, felling (all the while) many mighty car-warriors. Him
of Kuru’s race, thus careering over the field of battle, the Pandavas
beheld resembling a young lion in the forest amid a herd of deer.
Uttering a loud roar in that battle and striking fear into the hearts of
brave warriors by means of his shafts, the Kshatriyas beholding him, O
king, were all struck with fear, like inferior animals upon seeing a
lion. Indeed the Kshatriyas beheld the movements of that lion of
Bharata’s race in battle to resemble those of a conflagration aided by
the wind while consuming a heap of dry grass. And Bhishma in that battle
felled the heads of car-warriors like a skilful man felling (with stones)
ripe (palmyra) fruits from trees that bear them. And the heads of
warriors, O king, falling upon the surface of the earth produced a loud
noise resembling that of a stony shower. During the progress of that
fierce and dreadful battle a great confusion set in among all the troops.
And in consequence of that confusion the arrays (of both armies) were
broken. And the Kshatriyas summoning one another individually, approached
one another for fight. Then Sikhandin, sighting the grandsire of the
Bharatas, rushed at him impetuously, saying,–Wait, Wait–Remembering,
however, the femininity of Sikhandin, and disregarding him on that
account, Bhishma proceeded against the Srinjayas. Thereupon the
Srinjayas, beholding Bhishma in that great battle, were filled with joy.
And they set forth diverse kinds of loud shouts, mingled with the blare
of their conches. Then commenced a fierce battle in course of which cars
and elephants got entangled with one another. And it was that hour of the
day, O lord, when the sun was on the other side (of the meridian). Then
Dhrishtadyumna, the prince of the Panchalas, and that mighty car-warrior
Satyaki, greatly afflicted the (Bharata) host with showers of arrows and
lances. And with innumerable shafts, O king, these two began to smite
down thy warriors in that battle. Thy combatants, however, O bull among
men, though slaughtered in battle (thus) retreated not from the fight,
having formed an honourable resolution in that engagement. Indeed, thy
troops began to smite according to the measure of their courage. While,
however, O king, thy high-souled combatants were being slaughtered by the
illustrious son of Prishata, loud cries of woe were heard among them.
Hearing those loud cries, that couple of mighty car-warriors of thy army,
viz., Vinda and Anuvinda of Avanti, quickly proceeded against Prishata’s
son. And those mighty car-warriors, speedily slaying his steeds, together
covered Prishata’s son with showers of arrows. Thereupon that mighty
car-warrior, viz., the prince of the Panchalas, quickly jumping down from
that car of his, mounted without loss of time the car of the high-souled
Satyaki. Then king Yudhishthira, supported by a large force, proceeded
against those chastisers of foes, viz., the two princes of Avanti excited
with rage. Similarly thy son, O sire, with every preparation, stood,
surrounding Vinda and Anuvinda in that battle (for supporting them).
Arjuna also in that battle, excited with rage, fought against many bulls
of the Kshatriya race, like the wielder of the thunder-bolt against the
Asuras. Drona also, who always does what is agreeable to thy son,
inflamed with wrath in that battle, began to consume the Panchalas like
fire consuming a heap of cotton. Thy other sons, O king, owning
Duryodhana as their chief, surrounding Bhishma in that battle, fought
against the Pandavas. Then when the sun assumed a red hue,[426] king
Duryodhana, O Bharata, addressing thy troops, said,–Lose no time–And
while they were thus battling and achieving feats difficult of
accomplishment, the sun having become invisible in consequence of his
retirement behind the western hill, there soon flowed, towards dusk, an
awful river whose current and billows were of blood, and which was
infested by innumerable jackals. And the field of battle became dreadful,
abounding as it did with spirits and with those jackals howling
hideously, forboding evil. Rakshasas and Pisachas and other cannibals
were seen all round, in hundreds and thousands. Then Arjuna, having
vanquished those kings headed by Susarman along with all their followers,
in the midst of their division, proceeded towards his tent. And the lord
Yudhishthira also of Kuru’s race, accompanied by his brothers, and
followed by his troops, proceeded, O king, when night set in, towards his
tent. And Bhimasena, too, having vanquished those kings, viz., those
warriors headed by Duryodhana, proceeded towards his tent. And king
Duryodhana (with his troops), surrounding Bhishma, the son of Santanu, in
that great battle proceeded towards his tent. And Drona, and Drona’s son,
and Kripa, and Salya, and Kritavarman of the Satwata race, surrounding
the whole (Dhartarashtra) army, proceeded towards their tents. And
similarly Satyaki also, O king, and Dhrishtadyumna, the son of Prishata,
surrounding their army, proceeded towards their tents. It was thus, O
king, that those chastisers of foes, viz., thy troops and the Pandavas,
ceased to fight when darkness came. Then the Pandavas, and the Kauravas,
retiring to their tents, entered the same, applauding one another. And
making arrangements for the protection of their brave warriors and
disposing outposts according to rule, they plucked out the arrows (from
their bodies) and bathed in diverse kinds of water. And Brahmanas
performed propitiatory rites for them, and bards sang their praises. And
those renowned men sported for a while in accompaniment with music both
vocal and instrumental. And for a while the whole scene resembled heaven
itself. And those bulls among men for a while spoke not of battle. And
when both armies abounding with tired men and elephants and steeds slept
there, they became, O monarch, beautiful to behold.”


Sanjaya said, “Having passed the night in sound steep, those rulers of
men, the Kauravas and the Pandavas, once more proceeded to battle. And
when the troops of both armies were about to proceed to the field, great
was the uproar heard there, resembling the loud uproar of the ocean
itself. Then king Duryodhana, and Chitrasena, and Vivinsati, and that
foremost of car-warriors, viz., Bhishma and Bharadwaja’s son possessed of
great prowess,–those mighty car-warriors, clad in mail and uniting
together, O King, formed with great care the array of the Kauravas
against the Pandavas. Having formed that mighty array fierce as the ocean
and having for its billows and current its steeds and elephants, thy sire
Bhishma, the son of Santanu, then, O king, proceeded in the van of the
whole army, supported by the Malavas, and the inhabitants of the southern
countries, and the Avantis. Next to him was the valiant son of
Bharadwaja, accompanied by the Pulindas, the Paradas, and the
Kshudraka-Malavas. Next to Drona was the valiant Bhagadatta. O king,
firmly resolved on fight, accompanied by the Magadhas, the Kalingas, and
the Pisachas. Behind Bhagadatta was Vrihadvala the king of the Kosalas
accompanied by the Melakas, the Tripuras, and the Chichilas. Next to
Vrihadvala was the brave Trigarta, the ruler of the Prasthala,
accompanied by a large number of the Kamvojas, and by Yavanas in
thousands. Next to the ruler of the Trigartas, O Bharata, proceeded that
mighty hero, viz., the son of Drona, uttering leonine roars and filling
the earth with those shouts. Next to Drona’s son proceeded king
Duryodhana with the whole army, surrounded by his uterine brothers.
Behind Duryodhana proceeded Kripa the son of Saradwat. It was thus that
that mighty array, resembling the very ocean, advanced (to battle). And
standards and white umbrellas, O lord, and beautiful bracelets and costly
bows shed their effulgence there. And beholding that mighty array of thy
forces, that great car-warrior Yudhishthira, speedily addressed the
generalissimo (of his forces), viz., Prishata’s son saying, ‘Behold, O
great bowman, that array, already formed, resembling the ocean. Do thou
also, O son of Prishata, form without delay thy counter-array. (Thus
addressed), the heroic son of Prishata, O great king, formed that
terrible array called Sringataka that is destructive of all hostile
arrays. At the horns were Bhimasena and that mighty car-warrior, viz.,
Satyaki, with many thousands of cars as also of horse and infantry. Next
to them was that foremost of men, (viz., Arjuna) of white steeds and
having Krishna for his charioteer.[427] In the centre were king
Yudhishthira and the twin sons of Pandu by Madri. Other royal bowmen,
conversant with the science of arrays, with their troops, filled up that
array. In the rear were ordered Abhimanyu, and that mighty car-warrior,
Virata, and the sons of Draupadi and the Rakshasa Ghatotkacha. Thus, O
Bharata, having formed their mighty array, the heroic Pandavas waited on
the field, longing for battle and desirous of victory. And the loud noise
of drums mingling with the blare of conches and leonine roars and shouts
(of the combatants) and the slapping of their armpits, became terrible
and filled all the points of the compass. Then those brave warriors,
approaching one another for battle, looked at one another, O king, with
winkless eyes. Then O ruler of men, the warriors, first challenging each
other by name, engaged with each other.[428] Then commenced a fierce and
terrible battle between thy troops and those of the foe striking one
another. And in that battle, O Bharata, whetted shafts fell in showers
like terrible snakes with mouths wide open. And polished darts of
impetuous force, washed with oil, O king, shone like the effulgent
flashes of lightning from the clouds. And maces decked with gold and
attached to bright slings were seen to fall all over the field,
resembling beautiful crests of hills. And sabres of the colour of the
clear (blue) sky, O Bharata, and shields of bull’s hides and decked with
a hundred moons, as they fell everywhere over the field, O king, looked
beautiful. And as the two armies, O king, were engaged in battle with
each other, they looked resplendent like the celestial and the demoniac
hosts battling with each other. All around they rushed against one
another in battle. Foremost of royal car-warriors, impetuously dashing
against car-warriors in that dreadful battle, fought on, with the yokes
of their cars entangled with those of their adversaries. And, O bull of
Bharata’s race, all over the field flashes of fire mixed with smoke were
generated, in consequence of friction, in the tusks of battling
elephants. And combatants on the backs of elephants, struck with lances,
were seen all around to fall down like blocks (loosened) from crests of
hills.[429] And brave foot-soldiers, battling with their bare arms or
with lances, and striking one another, looked exceedingly beautiful. And
the warriors of the Kaurava and the Pandava hosts, coming upon one
another in that conflict, despatched one another with diverse kinds of
shafts to the abode of Yama. Then Bhishma, the son of Santanu, filling
(the air) with the rattle of his car, and depriving the foe of his senses
by the twang of his bow, rushed against the Pandavas in battle. The
car-warriors of the Pandavas, too, headed by Dhrishtadyumna, uttering
fierce shouts, rushed at him, firmly resolved on fight. Then commenced, O
Bharata, a battle between the infantry, car-warriors, and elephants, of
theirs and thine, in which the combatants became all entangled with one


Sanjaya said, “The Pandavas were incapable of even looking at Bhishma
excited with rage in battle and scorching every side like the Sun himself
shedding scorching heat. Then all the (Pandava) troops, at the command of
Dharma’s son, rushed at the son of Ganga who was grinding (everything)
with his whetted arrows, Bhishma, however, who delighted in battle felled
the mightiest of bowmen amongst the Srinjayas and the Panchalas, with his
shafts. Though thus slaughtered by Bhishma, the Panchalas along with the
Somakas still rushed impetuously at him, forsaking the fear of death. The
heroic Bhishma, the son of Santanu, however, in that battle, cut off, O
king, the arms and heads of their car-warriors. Thy sire, Devavrata
deprived their car-warriors of cars. And the heads of cavalry soldiers on
their chargers fell fast. And we beheld, O king, huge elephants looking
like hills, deprived of their riders, and paralysed with Bhishma’s
weapons, lying all around. Amongst the Pandavas, O king, there was no
other man save that foremost of car-warriors, the mighty Bhimasena, (who
could resist Bhishma). Indeed, Bhima alone, approaching Bhishma,
encountered him in battle. Then in that encounter between Bhima and
Bhishma, a fierce and terrible uproar arose among all the troops (of the
Kauravas). The Pandavas then, filled with joy, uttered leonine shouts.
During that destructive carnage, king Duryodhana, surrounded by his
uterine brothers, protected Bhishma in that battle. Then that foremost of
car-warriors, viz., Bhima, slew Bhishma’s charioteer. Thereupon the
steeds no longer controlled, ran away from the field with car. Then that
slayer of foes, viz., Bhima with a sharp arrow having a horse-shoe head,
cut off the head of Sunabha. (Thus) slain, the latter fell down on the
earth. When that son of thine, that mighty car-warrior and great bowman
was slain, seven of his heroic brothers, O sire, could not (quietly) bear
(that act). These, viz., Adityaketu and Vahvasin, and Kundadhara and
Mahodara, and Aparajita, and Panditaka and the invincible Visalaksha,
clad in variegated armour and with their beautiful coats of mail and
weapons,–these grinders of foes desirous of battle,–rushed against the
son of Pandu. And Mahodara, in that battle, pierced Bhimasena with nine
winged arrows, each resembling the thunder-bolt in force, like the slayer
of Vritra striking (the great Asura) Namuchi. And Adityaketu struck him
with seventy shafts, and Vishnu with five. And Kundadhara struck him with
ninety shafts, and Visalaksha with seven. And that conqueror of foes, the
mighty car-warrior Aparajita, O king, struck Bhimasena of great strength
with many arrows. And Panditaka also, in battle, pierced him with three
arrows. Bhima, however, did not (quietly) bear these attacks of his foes
in battle. Forcibly grasping the bow with his left hand, that grinder of
foes cut off, in that battle, the head, with a straight shaft, of thy son
Aparajita, graced with a fine nose. Thus vanquished by Bhima, his head
then dropped on the ground. Then, in the very sight of all the troops,
Bhima despatched, with another broad-headed arrow, the mighty car-warrior
Kundadhara to the domain of Death. Then that hero of immeasurable soul,
once more aiming an arrow, sped it, O Bharata, at Panditaka in that
battle. And the arrow killing Panditaka, entered the earth, like a snake
impelled by Death quickly entering the earth after despatching the person
(whose hour had come). Of undepressed soul, that hero then, O king,
recollecting his former woes, felled Visalaksha’s head, cutting it off
with three arrows. Then Bhima, in that battle, struck the mighty bowman
Mahodara in the centre of the chest with a long shaft. Slain (therewith),
O king, the latter fell down on the earth. Then, O Bharata, cutting off
with an arrow the umbrella of Adityaketu in that battle, he severed his
head with another broad-headed shaft of exceeding sharpness. Then, O
monarch, excited with rage, Bhima, with another straight shaft,
despatched Vahvasin towards the abode of Yama. Then thy other sons, O
king, all fled away regarding the words to be true which Bhima had
uttered in the (midst of the Kaurava) assembly.[430] Then king Duryodhana
afflicted with sorrow on account of his brothers, addressed all his
troops, saying, ‘There is Bhima. Let him be slain.’ Thus, O king, thy
sons, those mighty bowmen, beholding their brothers slain, recollected
those words beneficial and peaceful, that Vidura of great wisdom had
spoken. Indeed, those words of the truthful Vidura are now being
realised,–those beneficial words, O king, which, influenced by
covetousness and folly as also by affection for thy sons, thou couldst
not then understand. From the way in which that mighty armed hero is
slaying the Kauravas, it seemeth that that mighty son of Pandu hath
assuredly taken his birth for the destruction of thy sons. Meanwhile,
king Duryodhana, O sire, overwhelmed with great grief, went to Bhishma,
and there, overcome with sorrow, he began to lament, saying, ‘My heroic
brothers have been slain in battle by Bhimasena. Although, again, all our
troops are fighting bravely, yet they also are failing. Thou seemest to
disregard us, behaving (as thou dost) like an indifferent spectator,
Alas, what course have I taken. Behold my evil destiny.'”

Sanjaya continued. “Hearing these cruel words of Duryodhana, thy sire
Devavrata with eyes filled with tears, said this unto him.[431] ‘Even
this was said by me before, as also by Drona, and Vidura, and the
renowned Gandhari. O son, thou didst not then comprehend it. O grinder of
foes, it hath also been before settled by me that neither myself, nor
Drona, will ever escape with life from this battle. I tell thee truly
that those upon whom Bhima will cast his eyes in battle, he will surely
slay. Therefore, O king, summoning all thy patience, and firmly resolved
on battle, fight with the sons of Pritha, making heaven thy goal. As
regards the Pandavas, they are incapable of being vanquished by the very
gods with Vasava (at their head). Therefore, setting thy heart firmly on
battle, fight, O Bharata.–‘”


Dhritarashtra said, “Beholding my sons, so many in number, O Sanjaya,
slain by a single person, what did Bhishma and Drona and Kripa do in
battle?[432] Day after day, O Sanjaya, my sons are being slain. I think,
O Suta, that they are completely overtaken by evil destiny, inasmuch as
my sons never conquer but are always vanquished. When my sons staying in
the midst of those unretreating heroes, viz., Drona and Bhishma, and the
high-souled Kripa, and Somadatta’s heroic son and Bhagadatta, and
Aswatthaman also, O son, and other brave warriors, are being still slain
in battle, what can it be said save the result of fate?[433] The wicked
Duryodhana did not comprehend (our) words before, though admonished by
me, O son, and by Bhishma and Vidura. (Though forbidden) always by
Gandhari, too, from motives of doing him good, Duryodhana of wicked
understanding awoke not before from folly.[434] That (conduct) hath now
borne fruit, inasmuch as Bhimasena, excited with wrath, despatcheth, day
after day in battle, my insensate sons to the abode of Yama.”

Sanjaya said, “Those excellent words of Vidura, uttered for thy good, but
which thou didst not then understand, have now come to be realised.
Vidura had said, ‘Restrain thy sons from the dice.’ Like a man whose hour
is come refusing the proper medicine, thou didst not then listen to the
words of well-wishing friends counselling thee (for thy good). Those
words uttered by the righteous have now been realised before thee.
Indeed, the Kauravas are now being destroyed for having rejected those
words, deserving of acceptance, of Vidura and Drona and Bhishma and thy
other well-wishers. These very consequences happened even then when thou
declinedst to listen to those counsels. Hear now, however, to my
narration of the battle exactly as it has happened.[435] At midday the
battle became exceedingly awful and fraught with great carnage. Listen to
me, O king, as I describe it. Then all the troops (of the Pandava army),
excited with rage, rushed, at the command of Dharma’s son, against
Bhishma alone from desire of slaying him. Dhrishtadyumna and Sikhandin,
and the mighty car-warrior Satyaki, accompanied, O king, by their forces,
proceeded against Bhishma alone. And those mighty car-warriors, viz.,
Virata and Drupada, with all the Somakas, rushed in battle against
Bhishma alone. And the Kaikeyas, and Dhrishtaketu, and Kuntibhoja,
equipped in mail and supported by their forces, rushed, O king, against
Bhishma alone. And Arjuna, and the sons of Draupadi, and Chekitana of
great prowess, proceeded against all the kings under the command of
Duryodhana. And the heroic Abhimanyu, and that mighty car-warrior, viz.,
the son of Hidimva, and Bhimasena excited with wrath, rushed against the
(other) Kauravas. (Thus) the Pandavas, divided into three bodies began to
slaughter the Kauravas. And similarly the Kauravas also, O king, began to
slaughter their foes.[436] That foremost of car-warriors, viz., Drona
excited with wrath, rushed against the Somakas and the Srinjayas,
desirous of sending them to the abode of Yama. Thereupon loud cries of
woe arose among the brave Srinjayas while they were being slaughtered. O
king, by Bharadwaja’s son bow in hand. Large numbers of Kshatriyas,
struck down by Drona, were seen to all convulsing like persons writhing
in the agony of disease. All over the field were continuously heard moans
and shrieks and groans resembling those of persons afflicted with hunger.
And so the mighty Bhimasena, excited with wrath, and like unto a second
Yama, caused a terrible carnage amongst the Kaurava troops. There in that
dreadful battle, in consequence of the warriors slaying one another, a
terrible river began to flow whose billowy current consisted of
blood.[437] And that battle, O king, between the Kurus and the Pandavas,
becoming fierce and awful, began to swell the population of Yama’s
kingdom. Then in that battle Bhima excited with wrath, fell with great
impetuosity upon the elephant division (of the Kauravas) and began to
send many to the regions of Death. Then, O Bharata, struck with Bhima’s
shafts, some of those beasts fell down, some were paralysed, some
shrieked (in pain), and some ran away in all directions. Huge elephants,
their trunks cut off and limbs mangled, screaming like cranes, began, O
king, to fall down on the earth. Nakula and Sahadeva fell upon the
(Kaurava) cavalry. Many steeds with garlands of gold on their heads and
with their necks and breasts adorned with ornaments of gold, were seen to
be slain in hundreds and thousands. The earth, O king, was strewn with
fallen steeds. And some were deprived of their tongues; and some breathed
hard; and some uttered low moans, and some were void of life. The earth
looked beautiful, O chief of men, with those steeds of such diverse
kinds. At the same time, O Bharata, she looked fiercely resplendent, O
monarch, with a large number of kings slain by Arjuna in that battle. And
strewn with broken cars and rent banners and brilliant umbrellas, with
torn chamaras and fans, and mighty weapons broken into fragments, with
garlands and necklaces of gold, with bracelets, with heads decked with
ear-rings, with head-gears loosened (from off heads), with standards,
with beautiful bottoms of cars, O king, and with traces and reins, the
earth shone as brightly as she does in spring when strewn with flowers.
And it was thus, O Bharata, that the Pandava host suffered destruction
when Bhishma the son of Santanu, and Drona that foremost of car-warriors,
and Aswatthaman, and Kripa, and Kritavarman, were inflamed with wrath.
And similarly thy army also suffered the same kind of destruction when
the other side, viz., the Pandava heroes were excited with rage.”


Sanjaya said, “During the progress, O king, of that fierce battle fraught
with the slaughter of great heroes, Sakuni the glorious son of Suvala,
rushed against the Pandavas. And so also, O monarch, Hridika’s son of the
Satwata race, that slayer of hostile heroes, rushed in that battle
against the Pandava ranks. And smiling the while, (several warriors on
thy side), with a large number of steeds consisting of the best of the
Kamvoja breed as also of those born in the country of the Rivers, and of
those belonging to Aratta and Mahi and Sindhu, and of those of Vanayu
also that were white in hue, and lastly those of hilly countries,
surrounded (the Pandava army).[438] And so also with horses, exceedingly
swift, fleet as the very winds, and belonging to the Tittri breed,
(others encompassed that army). And with many horses, clad in mail and
decked with gold, the foremost of their class and fleet as the winds the
mighty son of Arjuna (viz., Iravat), that slayer of foes, approached the
(Kaurava) force. This handsome and valiant son of Arjuna, named Iravat,
was begotten upon the daughter of the king of the Nagas by the
intelligent Partha. Her husband having been slain by Garuda, she became
helpless, and of cheerless soul. Childless as she was, she was bestowed
(upon Arjuna) by the high-souled Airavat. Partha accepted her for wife,
coming to him as she did under the influence of desire. It was thus that
that son of Arjuna was begotten upon the wife of another.[439] Abandoned
by his wicked uncle from hatred of Partha, he grew up in the region of
the Nagas, protected by his mother. And he was handsome and endued with
great strength, possessed of diverse accomplishments, and of prowess
incapable of being baffled. Hearing that Arjuna had gone to the region of
Indra, he speedily went thither. And the mighty-armed Iravat, possessed
of prowess incapable of being baffled, approaching his sire, saluted him
duly, standing before him with joined hands. And he introduced himself to
the high-souled Arjuna, saying, ‘I am Iravat. blessed be thou, and I am
thy son, O lord’. And he reminded Arjuna of all the circumstances
connected with the latter’s meeting with his mother. And thereupon the
son of Pandu recollected all those circumstances exactly as they
happened. Embracing his son then who resembled himself in
accomplishments, Partha, in Indra’s abode, was filled with joy. The
mighty-armed Iravat then, O king, in the celestial regions was, O
Bharata, joyfully commanded by Arjuna, with regard to his own business,
(in these words), ‘When the battle takes place, assistance should be
rendered by thee’. Saying ‘Yes’, O lord, he went away. And now at the
time of battle he presented himself. O king, accompanied with a large
number of steeds of great fleetness and beautiful colour. And those
steeds, decked with ornaments of gold, of various colours and exceeding
fleetness, suddenly coursed over the field, O king, like swans on the
bosom of the vast deep. And those steeds failing upon thine of exceeding
swiftness, struck their chests and noses against those of thine.
Afflicted by their own impetuous clash (against thine), they suddenly
fell down, O king, on the earth. And in consequence of those steeds as
also of thine occasioned by that clash, loud sounds were heard resembling
what occurs at Garuda’s swoop. And the rider of those steeds, O king,
thus dashing against one another in that battle, began to slay one
another fiercely. And during that general engagement which was fierce and
terrible, the chargers of both sides (escaping from press of battle) ran
wildly away over the field. Weakened by one another’s shafts, brave
warriors, with their horses killed under them, and themselves worn out
with exertion, perished fast sabring one another. Then when those cavalry
divisions were thinned and a remnant only survived, the Younger brothers
of Suvala’s son, Possessed of great wisdom, rode out, O Bharata (from the
Kaurava array) to the van of battle, mounted On excellent charges that
resembled the tempest itself in both fleetness and the violence of their
dash and that were well-trained and neither old nor young.[440] Those six
brothers endued with great strength, viz., Gaya, Gavaksha, Vrishava,
Charmavat, Arjava, and Suka dashed out of the mighty (Kaurava) array,
supported by Sakuni and by their respective forces of great valour,
themselves clad in mail, skilled in battle, fierce in mien, and possessed
of exceeding might. Breaking through that invincible cavalry division (of
the Pandavas), O thou of mighty arms, those Gandhara warriors who could
with difficulty be vanquished, supported by a large force, desirous of
heaven, longing for victory, and filled with delight, penetrated into it.
Beholding them filled with joy, the valiant Iravat, addressing his own
warriors decked with diverse ornaments and weapons, said unto them,
‘Adopt such contrivances in consequence of which these Dhritarashtra
warriors with their weapons and animals may all be destroyed.’ Saying
‘Yes’, all those warriors of Iravat began to slay those mighty and
invincible Dhartarashtra soldiers. Beholding that their own warriors were
thus overthrown by Iravat’s division, those sons of Suvala being unable
to beat it coolly, all rushed at Iravat and surrounded him on all sides.
And commanding (all their followers) to attack those of Iravat with
lances, those heroes swept over the field, creating a great confusion.
And Iravat, pierced with lances by those high-souled warriors, and bathed
in blood that trickled down (his wounds), looked like an elephant pierced
with the hook. Wounded deeply on the chest, back, and flanks, singly
encountering the many, he did not yet, O king, swerve from his (natural)
firmness. Indeed, Iravat, excited with rage, deprived all those
adversaries of their senses, piercing them, in that battle, with sharp
shafts. And that chastiser of foes, tearing those lances from off his
body, struck with them the sons of Suvala in battle. Then unsheathing his
polished sword and taking a shield, he rushed on foot, desirous of
slaying Suvala’s sons in that combat. The sons of Suvala, however,
recovering their senses, once more rushed at Iravat, excited with wrath.
Iravat, however, proud of his might, and displaying his lightness of
hand, proceeded towards all of them, armed with his sword. Moving as he
did with great activity, the sons of Suvala, although they moved about on
their fleet steeds, could not find an opportunity for striking that hero
(on foot). Beholding him then on foot, his foes surrounded him closely
and wished to take him captive. Then that crusher of foes, seeing them
contiguous to himself, struck off, with his sword, both their right and
left arms, and mangled their other limbs. Then those arms of theirs
adorned with gold, and their weapons, fell down on the earth, and they
themselves, with limbs mangled, fell down on the field, deprived of life.
Only Vrishava, O king, with many wounds on his person, escaped (with
life) from that dreadful battle destructive of heroes. Beholding them
lying on the field of battle, thy son Duryodhana, excited with wrath said
unto that Rakshasa of terrible mien, viz., Rishyasringa’s son
(Alamvusha), that great bowman versed in illusion, that chastiser of
foes, who bore feelings of animosity against Bhimasena in consequence of
the slaughter of Vaka, these words: “Behold, O hero, how the mighty son
of Phalguni, versed in illusion, hath done me a severe injury by
destroying my forces. Thou also, O sire, art capable of going everywhere
at will and accomplished in all weapons of illusion. Thou cherishest
animosity also for Partha. Therefore, do thou slay this one in battle.’
Saying ‘Yes’, that Rakshasa of terrible mien proceeded with a leonine
roar to that spot where the mighty and youthful son of Arjuna was. And he
was supported by the heroic warriors of his own division, accomplished in
smiting, well-mounted, skilled in battle and fighting with bright lances.
Accompanied by the remnant of that excellent cavalry division (of the
Kauravas), he proceeded, desirous of slaying in battle the mighty Iravat.
That slayer of foes, viz., the valiant Iravat, excited with rage, and
advancing speedily from desire of slaying the Rakshasa, began to resist
him. Beholding him advance, the mighty Rakshasa speedily set himself
about for displaying his powers of illusion. The Rakshasa then created a
number of illusive chargers which were riden by terrible Rakshasas armed
with spears and axes. Those two thousand accomplished smiters advancing
with rage, were however, soon sent to the regions of Yama, (falling in
the encounter with Iravat’s forces). And when the forces of both
perished, both of them, invincible in battle, encountered each other like
Vritra and Vasava. Beholding the Rakshasa, who was difficult of being
vanquished in battle, advancing towards him, the mighty Iravat, excited
with rage, began to check his onset. And when the Rakshasa approached him
nearer, Iravat with his sword quickly cut off his bow, as also each of
his shafts into five fragments. Seeing his bow cut off, the Rakshasa
speedily rose up into the welkin, confounding with his illusion the
enraged Iravat. Then Iravat also, difficult of approach, capable of
assuming any form at will, and having a knowledge of what are the vital
limbs of the body, rising up into the welkin, and confounding with his
illusion the Rakshasa began to cut off the latter’s limbs in that battle
and thus were the limbs of the Rakshasa repeatedly cut into several
pieces.[441] [(Rakshasa ceases to be italicized at this point for a
couple of pages.–JBH)] Then the Rakshasa, however, O king, was re-born,
assuming a youthful appearance. Illusion is natural with them, and their
age and form are both dependent on their will. And the limbs of that
Rakshasa, O king, cut into pieces, presented a beautiful sight. Iravat,
excited with rage, repeatedly cut that mighty Rakshasa with his sharp
axe. ‘The brave Rakshasa, thus cut into pieces like a tree by the mighty
Iravat, roared fiercely’. And those roars of his became deafening.
Mangled with the axe, the Rakshasa began to pour forth blood in torrents.
Then (Alamvusha), the mighty son of Rishyasringa, beholding his foe
blazing forth with energy, became infuriate with rage and himself put
forth his prowess in that combat. Assuming a prodigious and fierce form,
he endeavoured to seize the heroic son of Arjuna, viz., the renowned
Iravat. In the sight of all the combatants there present, beholding that
illusion of the wicked Rakshasa in the van of battle, Iravat became
inflamed with rage and adopted steps for himself having recourse to
illusion. And when that hero, never retreating from battle, became
inflamed with wrath, a Naga related to him by his mother’s side, came to
him. Surrounded on all sides, in that battle by Nagas, that Naga, O king,
assumed a huge form mighty as Ananta himself. With diverse kinds of Nagas
then he covered the Rakshasa. While being covered by those Nagas, that
bull among Rakshasas reflected for a moment, and assuming the form of
Garuda, he devoured those snakes. When that Naga of his mother’s line was
devoured through illusion, Iravat became confounded. And while in that
state, the Rakshasa slew him with his sword, Alamvusha felled on the
earth Iravat’s head decked with ear-rings and graced with a diadem and
looking beautiful like a lotus or the moon.

“When the heroic son of Arjuna was thus slain by the Rakshasa, the
Dhartarashtra host with all the kings (in it) were freed from grief. In
that great battle that was so fierce, awful was the carnage that occurred
among both the divisions. Horses and elephants and foot-soldiers
entangled with one another, were slain by tuskers. And many steeds and
tuskers were slain by foot-soldiers. And in that general engagement
bodies of foot-soldiers and cars, and large numbers of horses belonging
both to thy army and theirs, were slain. O king, by car-warriors.
Meanwhile, Arjuna, not knowing that the son of his loins had been
slaughtered, slew in that battle many kings who had been protecting
Bhishma. And the warriors, O king, of thy army and the Srinjayas, by
thousands, poured out their lives as libations (on the fire of battle),
striking one another. And many car-warriors, with dishevelled hair, and
with swords and bows fallen from their grasp fought with their bare arms,
encountering one another. The mighty Bhishma also, with shafts capable of
penetrating into the very vitals, slew many mighty car-warriors and
caused the Pandava army to tremble (the while). By him were slain many
combatants in Yudhishthira’s host, and many tuskers and cavalry-soldiers
and car-warriors and steeds. Beholding, O Bharata, the prowess of Bhishma
in that battle, it seemed to us that it was equal to that of Sakra
himself. And the prowess of Bhimasena, as also that of Parshata, was
hardly less, O Bharata, (than that of Bhishma). And so also the battle
fought by that great bowman (viz., Satyaki) of Satwata’s race, was
equally fierce. Beholding, however, the prowess of Drona, the Pandavas
were struck with fear. Indeed they thought, ‘Alone, Drona can slay us
with all our troops. What then should be said of him when he is
surrounded by a large body of warriors who for their bravery are renowned
over the world? Even this, O king, was what the Partha said, afflicted by
Drona. During the progress of that fierce battle, O bull of Bharata’s
race, the brave combatants of neither army forgave their adversaries of
the other. O sire, the mighty bowmen of both thy army and that of the
Pandavas, inflamed with wrath, fought furiously with one another, as if
they were possessed of by the Rakshasas and demons. Indeed, he did not
see any one in the battle which was so destructive of lives and which was
considered as a battle of the demons, to take of life.”


Dhritarashtra said, “Tell me, O Sanjaya, all that the mighty Partha did
in battle when they heard that Iravat had been slain.”

Sanjaya said, “Beholding Iravat slain in battle, the Rakshasa
Ghatotkacha, the son of Bhimasena, uttered loud shouts. And in
consequence of the loudness of those roars, the earth having the ocean
for her robes, along with her mountains and forests, began to tremble
violently. And the welkin also and the quarters both cardinal and
subsidiary, all trembled. And hearing those loud roars of his, O Bharata,
the thighs and other limbs of the troops began to tremble, and sweat also
appeared on their persons. And all thy combatants, O king, became
cheerless of heart. And all over the field the warriors stood still, like
an elephant afraid of the lion. And the Rakshasa, uttering those loud
roars resembling the rattle of thunder, assuming a terrible form, and
with a blazing spear upraised in hand, and surrounded by many bulls among
Rakshasas of fierce forms armed with diverse weapons, advanced, excited
with rage and resembling the Destroyer himself at the end of the Yuga.
Beholding him advance in wrath and with a terrible countenance, and
seeing also his own troops almost all running away from fear of that
Rakshasa, king Duryodhana rushed against Ghatotkacha, taking up his bow
with arrow fixed on the string, and repeatedly roaring like a lion.
Behind him proceeded the ruler of the Vangas, with ten thousand
elephants, huge as hills, and each with juice trickling down. Beholding
thy son, O king, (thus) advancing surrounded by that elephant division,
that ranger of the night (viz., Ghatotkacha) was highly inflamed with
rage. Then commenced a battle with utmost vehemences that made the hair
stand on end, between the formidable Rakshasa and the troops of
Duryodhana. And beholding also that elephant division risen (on the
horizon) like a cloud, the Rakshasas, inflamed with rage, rushed towards
it, weapons in hand, and uttering diverse roars like clouds charged with
lightning. With arrows and darts and swords and long shafts, as also with
spears and mallets and battle-axes and short arrows, they began to smite
down that elephant host. And they slew huge elephants with
mountain-summits and large trees. While the Rakshasas slew those
elephants, O king, we saw that some of them had their frontal globes
smashed, some were bathed in blood, and some had their limbs broken or
cut through. At last when that elephant host was broken and thinned,
Duryodhana, O king, rushed upon the Rakshasas, under the influence of
rage and becoming reckless of his very life. And that mighty warrior sped
clouds of sharp shafts at the Rakshasas. And that great bowman slew many
of their foremost warriors. Inflamed with rage, O chief of the Bharatas,
that mighty car-warrior, viz., thy son Duryodhana, then slew with four
shafts four of the principal Rakshasas, viz., Vegavat, Maharudra,
Vidyujihva, and Pramathin. And once again, O chief of the Bharatas, that
warrior of immeasurable soul, sped at the Rakshasa host showers of arrows
that could with difficulty be resisted. Beholding that great feat of thy
son, O sire, the mighty son of Bhimasena blazed up with wrath. Drawing
his large bow effulgent as the lightning, he rushed impetuously at the
wrathful Duryodhana. Beholding him (thus) rushing like Death himself
commissioned by the Destroyer, thy son Duryodhana, O king, shook not at
all. With eyes red in anger, and excited with rage, Ghatotkacha, then,
addressing thy son, said, ‘I shall today be freed from the debt I owe to
my sires, as also to my mother, they that had so long been exiled by thy
cruel self. The sons of Pandu, O king, were vanquished by thee in that
match at dice. Drupada’s daughter Krishna also, while ill and, therefore,
clad in a single raiment, was brought into the assembly and great trouble
was given by thee in diverse ways, O thou most wicked, unto her. While
dwelling also in her sylvan retreat, thy well-wisher, that wicked wight,
viz., the ruler of the Sindhus, persecuted her further, disregarding my
sires. For these and other wrongs, O wretch of thy race, I shall today
take vengeance if thou dost not quit the field.’ Having said these words,
Hidimva’s son, drawing his gigantic bow, biting his (nether) lip with his
teeth, and licking the corners of his mouth, covered Duryodhana with a
profuse shower, like a mass of clouds covering the mountain-breast with
torrents of rain in the rainy season.”


Sanjaya said,–“That arrowy shower, difficult of being borne by even the
Danavas, king Duryodhana, however, (quietly) bore in that battle, like a
gigantic elephant bearing a shower (from the blue).[442] Then filled with
anger and sighing like a snake, thy son, O bull of Bharata’s race, was
placed in a position of great danger. He then shot five and twenty sharp
arrows of keen points. These, O king, fell with great force on that bull
among Rakshasas, like angry snakes of virulent poison on the breast of
Gandhamadana. Pierced with those shafts, blood trickled down the
Rakshasa’s body and he looked like an elephant with rent temples.[443]
Thereupon that cannibal set his heart upon the destruction of the (Kuru)
king. And he took up a huge dart that was capable of piercing even a
mountain. Blazing with light, effulgent as a large meteor, it flamed with
radiance like the lightning itself. And the mighty-armed Ghatotkacha,
desirous of slaying thy son, raised that dart. Beholding that dart
upraised, the ruler of the Vangas mounting upon an elephant huge as a
hill, drove towards the Rakshasa. On the field of battle, with the mighty
elephant of great speed, Bhagadatta placed himself in the very front of
Duryodhana’s car. And with that elephant he completely shrouded the car
of thy son. Beholding then the way (to Duryodhana’s car) thus covered by
the intelligent king of the Vangas, the eyes of Ghatotkacha, O king,
became red in anger. And he ruled that huge dart, before upraised, at
that elephant. Struck, O king, with that dart hurled from the arms of
Ghatotkacha, that elephant, covered with blood and in great agony, fell
down and died. The mighty king of the Vangas, however, quickly jumping
down from that elephant, alighted on the ground. Duryodhana then
beholding the prince of elephants slain, and seeing also his troops
broken and giving way, was filled with anguish. From regard, however, for
a Kshatriya’s duty[444] as also his own pride, the king, though defeated,
stood firm like a hill. Filled with wrath and aiming a sharp arrow that
resembled the Yuga fire in energy, he sped it at that fierce wanderer of
the night. Beholding that arrow, blazing as Indra’s bolt, thus coursing
towards him, the high-souled Ghatotkacha baffled it by the celerity of
his movements. With eyes red in wrath, he once more shouted fiercely,
frightening all thy troops, like the clouds that appear at the end of the
Yuga. Hearing those fierce roars of the terrible Rakshasa, Bhishma the
son of Santanu, approaching the preceptor, said these words, ‘These
fierce roars that are heard, uttered by Rakshasas, without doubt indicate
that Hidimva’s son is battling with king Duryodhana. That Rakshasa is
incapable of being vanquished in battle by any creature. Therefore,
blessed be ye, go thither and protect the king. The blessed Duryodhana
hath been attacked by the high-souled Rakshasa. Therefore, ye chastisers
of foes, even this is our highest duty.[445]’ Hearing those words of the
grandsire, those mighty car-warriors without loss of time and with the
utmost speed, proceeded to the spot when the king of the Kurus was. They
met Duryodhana and Somadatta and Valhika and Jayadratha; and Kripa and
Bhurisravas and Salya, and the two princes of Avanti along with
Vrihadvala, and Aswatthaman and Vikarna, and Chitrasena and Vivinsati.
And many thousands of other car-warriors, including all those that
followed them, proceeded, desirous of rescuing thy son Duryodhana who had
been hotly pressed. Beholding that invincible division protected by those
mighty car-warriors, coming towards him with hostile intentions, that
best of Rakshasas, viz., the mighty-armed Ghatotkacha, stood firm like
the Mainaka mountain, with a huge bow in hand, and surrounded by his
kinsmen armed with clubs and mallets and diverse other kinds of weapons.
Then commenced a fierce battle, making the hair stand on end, between
those Rakshasas on the one side and that foremost of Duryodhana’s
divisions on the other. And the loud noise of twanging bows in that
battle was heard, O king, on all sides resembling the noise made by
burning bamboos. And the din produced by the weapons falling upon the
coats of mail of the combatants resembled, O king, the noise of splitting
hills. And the lances, O monarch, hurled by heroic arms, while coursing
through the welkin, looked like darting snakes. Then, excited with great
wrath and drawing his gigantic bow, the mighty-armed prince of the
Rakshasas, uttering a loud roar, cut off, with a crescent-shaped arrow,
the preceptor’s bow in a rage. And overthrowing, with another
broad-headed arrow, the standard of Somadatta, he uttered a loud yell.
And he pierced Valhika with three shafts in the centre of the chest. And
he pierced Kripa with one arrow, and Chitrasena with three. And with
another arrow, well-armed and well-sped from his bow drawn to its fullest
stretch, he struck Vikarna at the shoulder-joint. Thereupon the latter,
covered with gore, sat down on the terrace of his car. Then that Rakshasa
of immeasurable soul, excited With rage, O bull of Bharata’s race, sped
at Bhurisravas five and ten shafts. These, penetrating through the
latter’s armour, entered the earth. He then struck the chariot of
Vivingsati and Aswatthaman. These fell down on the front of their cars,
relinquishing the reins of the steeds. With another crescent-shaped shaft
he overthrew the standard of Jayadratha bearing the device of a boar and
decked with gold. And with a second arrow he cut off the latter’s bow.
And with eyes red in wrath, he slew with four shafts the four steeds of
the high-souled king of Avanti. And with another arrow, O king,
well-tempered and sharp, and shot from his bow drawn to its fullest
stretch, he pierced king Vrihadvala. Deeply pierced and exceedingly
pained, the latter sat down on the terrace of his car. Filled with great
wrath and seated on his car, the prince of the Rakshasas then shot many
bright arrows of keen points that resembled snakes of virulent poison.
These, O king, succeeded in piercing Salya accomplished in battle.”


Sanjaya said, “Having in that battle made all those warriors (of thy
army) turn their faces from the field, the Rakshasa then, O chief of the
Bharatas, rushed at Duryodhana, desirous of slaying him. Beholding him
rushing with great impetuosity towards the king, many warriors of thy
army, incapable of defeat in battle, rushed towards him (in return) from
desire of slaying him. Those mighty car-warriors, drawing their bows that
measured full six cubits long, and uttering loud roars like a herd of
lions, all rushed together against that single warrior. And surrounding
him on all sides, they covered him with their arrowy showers like the
clouds covering the mountain-breast with torrents of rain in autumn.
Deeply pierced with those arrows and much pained, he resembled then an
elephant pierced with the hook. Quickly then he soared up into the
firmament like Garuda. And (while there) he uttered many loud roars like
the autumnal clouds, making the welkin and all the points of the compass,
cardinal and subsidiary, resounded with those fierce cries. Hearing those
roars of the Rakshasa, O chief of the Bharatas, king Yudhishthira then,
addressing Bhima, said unto that chastiser of foes these words, ‘The
noise that we hear uttered by the fiercely-roaring Rakshasa, without
doubt, indicates that he is battling with the mighty car-warriors of the
Dhartarashtra army. I see also that the burden has proved heavier than
what that bull among Rakshasas is able to bear. The grandsire, too,
excited with rage, is ready to slaughter the Panchalas. For protecting
them Phalguni is battling with the foe. O thou of mighty arms hearing now
of these two tasks, both of which demand prompt attention, go and give
succour to Hidimva’s son who is placed in a position of very great
danger.’ Listening to these words of his brother, Vrikodara, with great
speed, proceeded, frightening all the kings with his leonine roars, with
great impetuosity, O king, like the ocean itself during the period of the
new full moon. Him followed Satyadhriti and Sauchiti difficult of being
vanquished in battle, and Srenimat, and Vasudana and the powerful son of
the ruler of Kasi, and many car-warriors headed by Abhimanyu, as also
those mighty car-warriors, viz., the sons of Draupadi, and the valiant
Kshatradeva, and Kshatradharman, and Nila, the ruler of the low
countries, at the head of his own forces. And these surrounded the son of
Hidimva with a large division of cars (for aiding him).[446] And they
advanced to the rescue of Ghatotkacha, that prince of the Rakshasas, with
the six thousand elephants, always infuriate and accomplished in smiting.
And with their loud leonine roars, and the clatter of their car-wheels,
and with the tread of their horse’s hoofs, they made the very earth to
tremble. Hearing the din of those advancing warriors the faces of thy
troops who were filled with anxiety in consequence of their fear of
Bhimasena became pale. Leaving Ghatotkacha then they all fled away. Then
commenced in that part of the field a dreadful battle between those
high-souled warriors and thine, both of whom were unretreating. Mighty
car-warriors, hurling diverse kinds of the weapons, chased and smote one
another. That fierce battle striking terror into the hearts of the timid,
was such that the different classes of combatants became entangled with
one another. Horses engaged with elephants and foot-soldiers with
car-warriors. And challenging one another, O king, they engaged in the
fight.[447] And in consequence of that clash of cars, steeds, elephants,
and foot-soldiers, a thick dust appeared, raised by the car-wheels and
the tread (of those combatants and animals). And that dust, thick and of
the colour of reddish smoke, shrouded the field of battle. And the
combatants were unable to distinguish their own from the foe. Sire
recognised not the son, and son recognised not the sire, in that dreadful
engagement which made the hair stand on end and in which no consideration
was shown (by any one for any body). And the noise made by the hissing
weapons and the shouting combatants resembled, O chief of Bharata’s race,
that made by departed spirits (in the infernal regions). And there flowed
a river whose current consisted of the blood of elephants and steeds and
men. And the hair (of the combatants) formed its weeds and moss. And in
that battle heads falling from the trunks of men made a loud noise like
that of a falling shower of stones. And the earth was strewn with the
headless trunks of human beings, with mangled bodies of elephants and
with the hacked limbs of steeds. And mighty car-warriors chased one
another for smiting one another down, and hurled diverse kinds of
weapons. Steeds, urged by their riders and falling upon steeds, dashed
against one another and fell down deprived of life. And men, with eyes
red in wrath, rushing against men and striking one another with their
chests, smote one another down. And elephants, urged by their guides
against hostile elephants, slew their compeers in that battle, with the
points of their tusks. Covered with blood in consequence of their wounds
and decked with standards (on their backs), elephants were entangled with
elephants and looked like masses of clouds charged with lightning. And
some amongst them mounted (by others) with the points of their tusks, and
some with their frontal globes split with lances, ran hither and thither
with loud shrieks like masses of roaring clouds. And some amongst them
with their trunks lopped off,[448] and others with mangled limbs, dropped
down in that dreadful battle like mountains shorn of their wings.[449]
Other huge elephants, copiously shedding blood from their flanks, ripped
open by compeers, looked like mountains with (liquified) red chalk
running down their sides (after a shower).[450] Others, slain with shafts
or pierced with lances and deprived of their riders, looked like
mountains deprived of their crests.[451]Some amongst them, possessed by
wrath and blinded (with fury) in consequence of the juice (trickling down
their temples and cheeks).[452] and no longer restrained with the hook,
crushed cars and steeds and foot-soldiers in that battle by hundreds. And
so steeds, attacked by horsemen with bearded darts and lances, rushed
against their assailants, as if agitating the points of the compass.
Car-warriors of noble parentage and prepared to lay down their lives,
encountering car-warriors, fought fearlessly, relying upon their utmost
might. The combatants, O king, seeking glory or heaven, struck one
another in that awful press, as if in a marriage by self-choice. During
however, that dreadful battle making the hair stand on end, the
Dhartarashtra troops generally were made to run their backs on the field.”


Sanjaya said, “Beholding his own troops slain, king Duryodhana then
excited with wrath, rushed towards Bhimasena, that chastiser of foes.
Taking up a large bow whose effulgence resembled that of Indra’s bolt, he
covered the son of Pandu with a thick shower of arrows. And filled with
rage, and aiming a sharp crescent-shaped shaft winged with feathers, he
cut off Bhimasena’s bow. And that mighty car-warrior, noticing an
opportunity, quickly aimed at his adversary a whetted shaft capable of
riving the very hills. With that (shaft), that mighty-armed (warrior)
struck Bhimasena in the chest. Deeply pierced with that arrow, and
exceedingly pained, and licking the corners of his mouth, Bhimasena of
great energy caught hold of his flag-staff decked with gold. Beholding
Bhimasena in that cheerless state, Ghatotkacha blazed up with wrath like
an all-consuming conflagration. Then many mighty car-warriors of the
Pandava army, headed by Abhimanyu and with wrath generated (in their
bosoms), rushed at the king shouting loudly. Beholding them (thus)
advancing (to the fight) filled with wrath and in great fury,
Bharadwaja’s son addressing the mighty car-warriors (of thy side), said
these words,–‘Go quickly, blessed be ye, and protect the king. Sinking
in an ocean of distress, he is placed in a situation of great danger.
These mighty car-warriors of the Pandava army, these great bowmen,
placing Bhimasena at their head, are rushing towards Duryodhana, shooting
and hurling diverse kinds of weapons, resolved upon winning success,
uttering terrible shouts, and frightening the kings (on your side)’.
Hearing these words of the preceptor, many warriors of thy side headed by
Somadatta rushed upon the Pandava ranks. Kripa and Bhurisravas and Salya,
and Drona’s son and Vivingsati, and Chitrasena and Vikarna, and the ruler
of the Sindhus, and Vrihadvala, and those two mighty bowmen, viz., the
two princes of Avanti, surrounded the Kuru king. Advancing only twenty
steps, the Pandavas and the Dhartarashtras began to strike, desirous of
slaughtering each other. The mighty-armed son of Bharadwaja also, having
said those words (unto the Dhartarashtra warriors), stretched his own
large bow and pierced Bhima with six and twenty arrows. And once again
that mighty car-warrior speedily covered Bhimasena with a shower of
arrows like a mass of clouds dropping torrents of rain on the
mountain-breasts in the rainy season. That mighty bowman Bhimasena,
however, of great strength, speedily pierced him in return with ten
shafts on the left side. Deeply pierced with those arrows and exceedingly
pained, O Bharata, the preceptor, enfeebled as he is with age, suddenly
sat down on the terrace of his car, deprived of consciousness. Beholding
him thus pained, king Duryodhana himself, and Aswatthaman also, excited
with wrath, both rushed towards Bhimasena. Beholding those two warriors
advance, each like Yama as he shows himself at the end of the Yuga, the
mighty-armed Bhimasena, quickly taking up a mace, and jumping down from
his car without loss of time, stood immovable like a hill, with that
heavy mace resembling the very club of Yama, upraised in battle.
Beholding him with mace (thus) upraised and looking (on that account)
like the crested Kailasa, both the Kuru king and Drona’s son rushed
towards him. Then the mighty Bhimasena himself rushed impetuously at
those two foremost of men thus rushing together towards him with great
speed. Beholding him thus rushing in fury and with terrible expression of
face, many mighty car-warriors of the Kaurava army speedily proceeded
towards him. Those car-warriors headed by Bharadwaja’s son, impelled by
the desire of slaughtering Bhimasena, hurled at his breast diverse kinds
of weapons, and thus all of them together afflicted Bhima from all sides.
Beholding that mighty car-warrior thus afflicted and placed in a
situation of great peril, many mighty car-warriors of the Pandava army,
headed by Abhimanyu, and prepared to lay down dear life itself, rushed to
the spot, desirous of rescuing him. The heroic ruler of the low country,
the dear friend of Bhima, viz., Nila, looking like a mass of blue clouds,
rushed at Drona’s son, filled with wrath. A great bowman, Nila always
desired an encounter with Drona’s son. Drawing his large bow, he pierced
the son of Drona with many winged arrows, like Sakra in days of old, O
king, piercing the invincible Danava Viprachitti, that terror of the
celestials, who, moved by anger frightened the three worlds by his
energy. Pierced after the same way by Nila with his well-shot arrows
winged with feathers, Drona’s son, covered with blood and exceedingly
pained, was filled with wrath. Drawing then his large bow, of twang loud
as the roar of Indra’s thunder, that foremost of intelligent persons set
his heart upon the destruction of Nila. Aiming then a few bright shafts
of broad heads and sharpened by the hands of their forger, he slew the
four steeds of his adversary and overthrew also his standard. And with
the seventh shaft he pierced Nila himself in the chest. Deeply pierced
and exceedingly pained, he sat down on the terrace of his car. Beholding
king Nila, who looked like a mass of blue clouds, in a swoon,
Ghatotkacha, filled with wrath and surrounded by his kinsmen, rushed
impetuously towards Drona’s son, that ornament of battle. Similarly many
other Rakshasas, incapable of being easily defeated in battle, rushed at
Aswatthaman. Beholding then that Rakshasa of terrible mien coming towards
him, the valiant son of Bharadwaja impetuously rushed towards him. Filled
with wrath he slew many Rakshasas of formidable visage, that is, those
wrathful ones amongst them who were in Ghatotkacha’s van. Beholding them
repulsed from the encounter by means of the shafts shot from the bow of
Drona’s son, Bhimasena’s son Ghatotkacha of gigantic size was filled with
rage. He then exhibited a fierce and awful illusion. Therewith that
prince of the Rakshasas, endued with extraordinary powers of illusion,
confounded the son of Drona in that battle. Then all thy troops, in
consequence of that illusion, turned their backs upon the field. They
beheld one another cut down and lying prostrate on the surface of the
earth, writhing convulsively, perfectly helpless, and bathed in blood.
Drona and Duryodhana and Salya and Aswatthaman, and other great bowmen
that were regarded as foremost among the Kauravas, also seemed to fly
away. All the car-warriors seemed to be crushed, and all the kings seemed
to be slain. And horses and horse-riders seemed to be cut down in
thousands. Beholding all this, thy troops fled away towards their tents.
And although, O king, both myself and Devavrata cried out at the top of
our voices, saying, ‘Fight, do not fly away, all this is Rakshasa
illusion in battle, applied by Ghatotkacha.’ Yet they stopped not, their
senses having been confounded. Although both of us said so, still struck
with panic, they gave no credit to our words. Beholding them fly away the
Pandavas regarded the victory to be theirs. With Ghatotkacha (among them)
they uttered many leonine shouts. And all around they filled the air with
their shouts mingled with the blare of their conches and the beat of
their drums. It was thus that thy whole army, routed by the wicked
Ghatotkacha, towards the hour of sunset, fled away in all directions.'”


Sanjaya said, “After that great battle, king Duryodhana, approaching
Ganga’s son and saluting him with humility, began to narrate to him all
that had happened about the victory won by Ghatotkacha and his own
defeat. That invincible warrior, O king, sighing repeatedly, said these
words unto Bhishma, the grandsire of the Kurus, ‘O lord, relying upon
thee, as Vasudeva hath been (relied upon) by the foe, a fierce war hath
been commenced by me with the Pandavas. These eleven Akshauhinis of
celebrated troops that I have, are, with myself, obedient to thy command,
O chastiser of foes. O tiger among the Bharatas, though thus situated,
yet have I been defeated into battle by the Pandava warriors headed by
Bhimasena relying upon Ghatotkacha. It is this that consumeth my limbs
like fire consuming dry tree. O blessed one, O chastiser of foes, I
therefore, desire, through thy grace, O grandsire, to slay Ghatotkacha
myself, that worst of Rakshasas, relying upon thy invincible self. It
behoveth thee to see that wish of mine may be fulfilled.’ Hearing these
words of the king, that foremost one among the Bharatas, viz., Bhishma,
the son of Santanu, said these words unto Duryodhana, ‘Listen, O king, to
these words of mine that I say unto thee, O thou of Kuru’s race, about
the way in which thou, O chastiser of foes, shouldst always behave. One’s
own self, under all circumstances, should be protected in battle, O
repressor of foes. Thou shouldst always, O sinless one, battle with king
Yudhishthira–the Just, or with Arjuna, or with the twins, or with
Bhimasena. Keeping the duty of a king before himself, a king striketh a
king. Myself, and Drona, and Kripa, and Drona’s son, and Kritavarman of
the Satwata race, and Salya, and Somadatta’s son, and that mighty
car-warrior Vikarna, and thy heroic brothers headed by Dussasana, will
all, for thy sake, battle against that mighty Rakshasas. Or if thy grief
on account of that fierce prince of the Rakshasas be too great, let this
one proceed in battle against that wicked warrior, that is to say, king
Bhagadatta who is equal unto Purandara himself in fight’. Having said
this much unto the king, the grandsire skilled in speech then addressed
Bhagadatta in the presence of the (Kuru) king, saying, ‘Proceed quickly,
O great monarch, against that invincible warrior, viz., the son of
Hidimva. Resist in battle, with care, and in view of all the bowmen, that
Rakshasa of cruel deeds, like Indra in days of old resisting Taraka. Thy
weapons are celestial. Thy prowess also is great, O chastiser of foes. In
days of old many have been the encounters that thou hadst with Asura, O
tiger among kings, thou art that Rakshasa’s match in great battle.
Strongly supported by thy own troops, slay, O king, that bull among
Rakshasas’. Hearing these words of Bhishma the generalissimo (of the
Kaurava army), Bhagadatta specially set out with a leonine roar facing
the ranks of the foe. Beholding him advance towards them like a mass of
roaring clouds, many mighty car-warriors of the Pandava army proceeded
against him, inflamed with wrath. They were Bhimasena, and Abhimanyu and
the Rakshasa Ghatotkacha; and the sons of Draupadi, and Satyadhriti, and
Kshatradeva, O sire, and the rulers of the Chedis, and Vasudana, and the
king of the Dasarnas. Bhagadatta then, on his elephant named Supratika,
rushed against them. Then commenced a fierce and awful battle between the
Pandavas and Bhagadatta, that increased the population of Yama’s kingdom.
Shafts of terrible energy and great impetuosity, shot by car-warriors,
fell, O king, on elephants and cars. Huge elephants with rent temples and
trained (to the fight) by their guides, approaching fell upon one another
fearlessly. Blind (with fury) in consequence of the temporal juice
trickling down their bodies, and excited with rage, attacking one another
with their tusks resembling stout bludgeons, they pierced one another
with the points of those weapons.[453] Graced with excellent tails, and
ridden by warriors armed with lances, steeds, urged by those riders fell
fearlessly and with great impetuosity upon one another. And
foot-soldiers, attacked by bodies of foot-soldiers with darts and lances,
fell down on the earth by hundreds and thousands. And car-warriors upon
their cars, slaughtering heroic adversaries in that battle by means of
barbed arrows and muskets and shafts, uttered leonine shouts.[454] And
during the progress of the battle making the hair stand on end, that
great bowman, viz., Bhagadatta, rushed towards Bhimasena, on his elephant
of rent temples and with juice trickling down in seven currents and
resembling (on that account) a mountain with (as many) rillets flowing
down its breast after a shower. And he came, O sinless one, scattering
thousands of arrows from the head of Supratika (whereon he stood) like
the illustrious Purandara himself on his Airavata. King Bhagadatta
afflicted Bhimasena with that arrowy shower like the clouds afflicting
the mountain breast with torrents of rain on the expiry of summer. That
mighty bowman Bhimasena, however, excited with rage, slew by his arrowy
showers the combatants numbering more than a hundred, that protected the
flanks and rear of Bhagadatta.[455] Beholding them slain, the valiant
Bhagadatta, filled with rage, urged his prince of elephants towards
Bhimasena’s car. That elephant, thus urged by him, rushed impetuously
like an arrow propelled from the bowstring towards Bhimasena, that
chastiser of foes. Beholding that elephant advancing, the mighty
car-warriors of the Pandava army, placing Bhimasena at their head,
themselves rushed towards it. Those warriors were the (five) Kekaya
princes, and Abhimanyu, and the (five) sons of Draupadi and the heroic
ruler of the Dasarnas, and Kshatradeva also, O sire, and the ruler of the
Chedis, and Chitraketu. And all these mighty warriors came, inflamed with
anger, and exhibiting their excellent celestial weapons. And they all
surrounded in anger that single elephant (on which their adversary rode).
Pierced with many shafts, that huge elephant, covered with gore flowing
from his wounds, looked resplendent like a prince of mountain variegated
with (liquified) red chalk (after a shower). The ruler of the Dasarnas
then, on an elephant that resembled a mountain, rushed towards
Bhagadatta’s elephant. That prince of elephants, however, viz.,
Supratika, bore (the rush of) that advancing compeer like the continent
bearing (the rush of) the surging sea. Beholding that elephant of the
high souled king of the Dasarnas thus resisted, even the Pandava troops,
applauding, cried out ‘Excellent, excellent!’ Then that best of kings,
viz., the ruler of the Pragjyotishas, excited with rage, sped four and
ten lances at that elephant. These, speedily penetrating through the
excellent armour, decked with gold, that covered the animal’s body,
entered into it, like snakes entering anthills. Deeply pierced and
exceedingly pained, that elephant, O chief of the Bharatas, its fury
quelled, speedily turned back with great force. And it fled away with
great swiftness, uttering frightful shrieks, and crushing the Pandava
ranks like the tempest crushing trees with its violence. After that
elephant was (thus) vanquished, the mighty car-warriors of the Pandava
army, uttering loud leonine shouts, approached for battle. Placing Bhima
at their head, they rushed at Bhagadatta scattering diverse kinds of
arrows and diverse kinds of weapons. Hearing the fierce shouts, O king,
of those advancing warriors swelling with rage and vengeance, that great
bowman Bhagadatta, filled with rage and perfectly fearless, urged his own
elephant. That prince of elephants then, thus urged with the hook and the
toe, soon assumed the form of the (all-destructive) Samvarta fire (that
appears at the end of the Yuga). Crushing crowds of cars and (hostile)
compeers and steeds with riders, in that battle, it began, O king, to
turn hither and thither. Filled with rage it also crushed foot-soldiers
by hundreds and thousands. Attacked and agitated by that elephant, that
large force of the Pandavas shrank in dimensions, O king, like a piece of
leather exposed to the heat of fire. Beholding, then the Pandava array
broken by the intelligent Bhagadatta, Ghatotkacha, of fierce mien, O
king, with blazing face and eyes red as fire, filled with rage, rushed
towards him. Assuming a terrible form and burning with wrath, he took up
a bright dart capable of riving the very hills. Endued with great
strength, he forcibly hurled that dart that emitted blazing flames from
every part desirous of slaying that elephant. Beholding it coursing
towards him with great impetuosity, the ruler of the Pragjyotishas sped
at it a beautiful but fierce and sharp arrow with a crescent head.
Possessed of great energy he cut off that dart with that arrow of his.
Thereupon that dart, decked with gold, thus divided in twain, dropped
down on the ground, like the bolt of heaven, hurled by Indra, flashing
through the welkin. Beholding that dart (of his adversary), O king,
divided in twain and fallen on the ground, Bhagadatta took up a large
javelin furnished with a golden staff and resembling a flame of fire in
effulgence, and hurled it at the Rakshasa, saying, ‘Wait, Wait’. Seeing
it coursing towards him like the bolt of heaven through the welkin, the
Rakshasa jumped up and speedily seizing it uttered a loud shout. And
quickly placing it against his knee, O Bharata, he broke it in the very
sight of all the kings. All this seemed exceedingly wonderful. Beholding
that feat achieved by the mighty Rakshasa, the celestials in the
firmament, with the Gandharvas  and the Munis, were filled with wonder.
And the Pandava warriors also, headed by Bhimasena, filled the earth with
cries of ‘Excellent, Excellent’. Hearing, however, those loud shouts of
the rejoicing Pandavas, that great bowman, viz., the valiant Bhagadatta,
could not bear it (coolly). Drawing his large bow whose effulgence
resembled that of Indra’s bolt, he roared with great energy at the mighty
car-warriors of the Pandava army, shooting at the same time many bright
arrows of great sharpness and possessed of the effulgence of fire. And he
pierced Bhima with one arrow, and the Rakshasa with nine. And he pierced
Abhimanyu with three, and the Kekaya brothers with five. And with another
straight arrow shot from his bow drawn to its fullest stretch, he
pierced, in that battle, the right arm of Kshatradeva. Thereupon the
latter’s bow with arrow fixed on the bowstring dropped down from his
hand. And he struck the five sons of Draupadi with five arrows. And from
wrath, he slew the steeds of Bhimasena. And with three shafts winged with
feathers, he cut down Bhimasena’s standard bearing the device of a lion.
And with three other shafts he pierced Bhima’s charioteer. Deeply pierced
by Bhagadatta in that battle, and exceedingly pained, Visoka thereupon, O
chief of the Bharatas, sat down on the terrace of the car. Then, O king,
that foremost of car-warriors, viz., Bhima, thus deprived of his car,
quickly jumped down from his large vehicle taking up his mace. Beholding
him with mace upraised and looking like a crested hill, all thy troops, O
Bharata, became filled with great fear. Just at this time that son of
Pandu who had Krishna for his charioteer, O king, slaughtering the foe on
all sides as he came, appeared at that spot where those tigers among men,
those mighty car-warriors, viz., Bhimasena and Ghatotkacha, sire and son,
were engaged with the ruler of the Pragjyotishas. Beholding his brothers,
those mighty car-warriors, engaged in battle, that son of Pandu quickly
commenced to fight, profusely scattering his shafts, O chief of the
Bharatas. Then that mighty car-warrior, viz., king Duryodhana, speedily
urged on a division of his troops abounding with cars and elephants.
Towards that mighty division of the Kauravas thus advancing with
impetuosity, Arjuna of white steeds rushed with great impetuosity.
Bhagadatta also, upon that elephant of his, O Bharata, crushing the
Pandava ranks, rushed towards Yudhishthira. Then commenced a fierce
battle between Bhagadatta, O sire, and the Panchalas, the Srinjayas, and
the Kekayas, with upraised weapons. Then Bhimasena, in that battle told
both Kesava and Arjuna in detail about the slaughter of Iravat as it had


Sanjaya said, “Hearing that his son Iravat had been slain, Dhananjaya was
filled with great grief and sighed like a snake. And addressing Vasava in
the midst of battle, he said these words, ‘Without doubt, the high-souled
Vidura of great wisdom had before seen (with his mind’s eye) this awful
destruction of the Kurus and the Pandavas. It was for this that he
forbade king Dhritarashtra.[456] In this battle, O slayer of Madhu, many
other heroes have been slain by the Kaurava and many amongst the Kauravas
have similarly been slain by ourselves. O best of men, for the sake of
wealth vile acts are being done. Fie upon that wealth for the sake of
which such slaughter of kinsmen is being perpetrated. For him that hath
no wealth, even death would be better than the acquisition of wealth by
the slaughter of kinsmen. What, O Krishna, shall we gain by slaying our
assembled kinsmen? Alas, for Duryodhana’s, fault, and also of Sakuni the
son of Suvala, as also through the evil counsels of Karna, the Kshatriya
race is being exterminated, O slayer of Madhu, I now understand, O
mighty-armed one, that the king acted wisely by begging of Suyodhana[457]
only half the kingdom, or, instead, only five villages. Alas, even that
was not granted by that wicked-souled wight. Beholding so many brave
Kshatriyas lying (dead) on the field of battle, I censure myself,
(saying) fie upon the profession of a Kshatriya. The Kshatriyas will
regard me powerless in battle. For this alone, I am battling. Else, O
slayer of Madhu, this battle with kinsmen is distasteful to me. Urge the
steeds on with speed towards the Dhartarashtra army, I will, with my two
arms, reach the other shore of this ocean of battle that is so difficult
to cross. There is no time, O Madhava, to lose in action’. Thus addressed
by Partha, Kesava, that slayer of hostile heroes, urged those steeds of
white hue endued with the speed of the wind. Then, O Bharata, loud was
the noise that was heard among thy troops, resembling that of the ocean
itself at full tide when agitated by the tempest.[458] In the afternoon,
O king, the battle that ensued between Bhishma and the Pandavas was
marked by noise that resembled the roar of the clouds. Then, O king, thy
sons, surrounding Drona like the Vasus surrounding Vasava, rushed in the
battle against Bhimasena. Then Santanu’s son, Bhishma, and that foremost
of car-warriors, viz., Kripa, and Bhagadatta, and Susarman, all went
towards Dhananjaya. And Hridika’s son (Kritavarman) and Valhika rushed
towards Satyaki. And king Amvashta placed himself before Abhimanyu. And
other great car-warriors, O king, encountered other great car-warriors.
Then commenced a fierce battle that was terrible to behold. Bhimasena
then, I O king, beholding thy sons, blazed up with wrath in that battle,
like fire with (a libation of) clarified butter. Thy sons, however, O
monarch, covered that son of Kunti with their arrows like the clouds
drenching the mountain-breast in the season of rains. While being (thus)
covered in diverse ways by thy sons, O king, that hero, possessed of the
activity of the tiger, licked the corners of his mouth.[459] Then, O
Bharata, Bhima felled Vyudoroska with a sharp horse-shoe-headed arrow.
Thereupon that son of thine was deprived of life. With another
broad-headed arrow, well-tempered and sharp, he then felled Kundalin like
a lion overthrowing a smaller animal. Then, O sire, getting thy (other)
sons (within reach of his arrows), he took up a number of shafts, sharp
and well-tempered, and with careful aim speedily shot these at them.
Those shafts, sped by that strong bowman, viz., Bhimasena, felled thy
sons, those mighty car-warriors, from their vehicles. (These sons of
thine that were thus slain were) Anadhriti, and Kundabhedin, and Virata,
and Dirghalochana, and Dirghavahu, and Suvahu, and Kanykadhyaja. While
falling down (from their cars), O bull of Bharata’s race, those heroes
looked resplendent like falling mango trees variegated with blossoms in
the spring. Then thy other sons, O monarch, fled away, regarding the
mighty Bhimasena as Death himself. Then like the clouds pouring torrents
of rain on the mountain breast, Drona in that battle covered with arrows
from every side that hero who was thus consuming thy sons. The prowess
that we then beheld of Kunti’s son was exceedingly wonderful, for though
held in check by Drona, he still slew thy sons. Indeed, as a bull beareth
a shower of rain falling from above. Bhima cheerfully bore that shower of
arrows shot by Drona. Wonderful, O monarch, was the feat that Vrikodara
achieved there, for he slew thy sons in that battle and resisted Drona
the while. Indeed, the elder brother of Arjuna sported amongst those
heroic sons o thine, like a mighty tiger, O king, among a herd of deer.
As a wolf, staying in the midst of a herd of deer, would chase and
frighten those animals, so did Vrikodara, in that battle chase and
frighten thy sons.

“Meanwhile, Ganga’s son, and Bhagadatta, and that mighty car-warrior,
viz., Gautama, began to resist Arjuna, that impetuous son of Pandu. That
Atiratha, baffling with his weapons the weapons of those adversaries of
his in that battle, despatched many prominent heroes of thy army to the
abode of Death. Abhimanyu also, with his shafts, deprived that renowned
and foremost of car-warriors, viz., king Amvashta, of his car. Deprived
of his car and about to be slain by the celebrated son of Subhadra, that
king quickly jumped down from his car in shame, and hurled his sword in
that battle at the high-souled Abhimanyu. Then, that mighty monarch got
up on the car of Hridika’s son, conversant with all movements in battle,
Subhadra’s son, that slayer of hostile heroes, beholding that sword
coursing towards him, baffled it by the celerity of his movements. Seeing
that sword thus baffled in that battle by Subhadra’s son, loud cries of
‘well done’ ‘well done’ were, O king, heard among the troops. Other
warriors headed by Dhrishtadyumna battled with thy troops, while thy
troops, also, all battled with those of the Pandavas. Then, O Bharata,
fierce was the engagement that took place between thine and theirs, that
combatants smiting one another with great force and achieving the most
difficult feats. Brave combatants, O sire, seizing one another by the
hair, fought using their nails and teeth, and fists and knees, and palms
and swords, and their well-proportioned arms. And seizing one another’s
laches, they despatched one another to the abode of Yama. Sire slew son,
and son slew sire. Indeed, the combatants fought with one another, using
every limb of theirs. Beautiful bows with golden staves, O Bharata,
loosened from the grasp of slain warriors, and costly ornaments, and
sharp shafts furnished with wings of pure gold or silver and washed with
oil, looked resplendent (as they lay scattered on the field), the latter
resembling, in particular, snakes that had cast off their slough. And
swords furnished with ivory handles decked with gold, and the shield also
of bowmen, variegated with gold, lay on the field, loosened from their
grasp. Bearded darts and axes and swords and javelins, all decked with
gold, beautiful coats of mail, and heavy and short bludgeons, and spiked
clubs, and battle-axes, and short arrows, O sire, and elephants’ housings
of diverse shapes, and yak tails, and fans, lay scattered on the field.
And mighty car-warriors lay on the field with diverse kinds of weapons in
their hands or beside them, and looking alive, though the breath of life
had gone.[460] And men lay on the field with limbs shattered with maces
and heads smashed with clubs, or crushed by elephants, steeds, and cars.
And the earth, strewn in many places with the bodies of slain steeds,
men, and elephants, looked beautiful, O king, as if strewn with hills.
And the field of battle lay covered with fallen darts and swords and
arrows and lances and scimitars and axes and bearded darts and iron crows
and battle-axes, and spiked clubs and short arrows and Sataghnis[461] and
bodies mangled with weapons. And, O slayer of foes, covered with blood,
warriors lay prostrate on the field, some deprived of life and therefore,
in the silence of death, and others uttering low moans. And the earth,
strewn with those bodies, presented a variegated sight. And strewn with
the arms of strong warriors smeared with sandal paste and decked with
leathern fences and bracelets, with tapering thighs resembling the trunks
of elephants, and with fallen heads, graced with gems attached to turbans
and with earrings of large-eyed combatants, O Bharata, the earth assumed
a beautiful sight. And the field of battle, overspread with blood, dyed
coats of mail and golden ornaments of many kinds, looked exceedingly
beautiful as if with (scattered) fires of mild flames. And with ornaments
of diverse kinds fallen off from their places, with bows lying about,
with arrows of golden wings scattered around, with many broken cars
adorned with rows of bells, with many slain steeds scattered about
covered with blood and with their tongues protruding, with bottoms of
cars, standards, quivers, and banners, with gigantic conches, belonging
to great heroes, of milky whiteness lying about, and with trunkless
elephants lying prostrate, the earth looked beautiful like a damsel
adorned with diverse kinds of ornaments. And there, with other elephants
pierced with lances and in great agony, and frequently uttering low moans
with their trunks, the field of battle looked beautiful as if with moving
hills. With blankets of diverse hue, and housings of elephants, with
beautiful hooks falling about having handles decked with stones of lapis
lazuli, with bells lying about that had adorned gigantic elephants, with
clean and variegated cloths as also skins of the Ranku deer, with
beautiful neck-chains of elephants, with gold-decked girths, with broken
engines of diverse kinds, with bearded darts decked with gold, with
embroidered housings of steeds, embrowned with dust, with the lopped off
arms of cavalry soldiers, decked with bracelets and lying about, with
polished and sharp lances and bright swords, with variegated head-gears
fallen off (from heads) and scattered about, with beautiful
crescent-shaped arrows decked with gold, with housings of steeds, with
skins of the Ranku deer, torn and crushed, with beautiful and costly gems
that decked the head-gears of kings, with their umbrellas lying about and
yak tails and fans, with faces, bright as the lotus or the moon, of
heroic warriors, decked with beautiful ear-rings and graced with well-cut
beards, lying about and radiant with other ornaments of gold, the earth
looked like the firmament besmangled with planets and stars. Thus, O
Bharata, the two armies, viz., thine and theirs, encountering each other
in battle, crushed each other. And after the combatants had been
fatigued, routed, and crushed, O Bharata, dark night set in and the
battle could no longer be seen. Thereupon both the Kurus and the Pandavas
withdrew their armies, when that awful night of pitchy darkness came. And
having withdrawn their troops, both the Kurus and the Pandavas took rest
for the night, retiring to their respective tents.


Sanjaya said, “Then king Duryodhana, and Sakuni the son of Suvala, and
thy son Dussasana, and the invincible Suta’s son (Karna) meeting
together, consulted in the following way. How could the sons of Pandu,
with their followers, be vanquished in battle? Even this was the subject
of their consultation. Then king Duryodhana, addressing the Suta’s son
and the mighty Sakuni, said unto all those counsellors of his, ‘Drona,
Bhishma, and Kripa, and Salya and Somadatta’s son do not resist the
Parthas. I do not know what the cause is of such conduct (of theirs).
Unslain by any of these, the Pandavas are destroying my forces.
Therefore, O Karna, I am becoming weaker in strength and my weapons also
are being exhausted’. I am deceived by the heroic Pandavas–they that are
incapable of being vanquished by the very gods. Doubt filleth my mind as
to how, indeed, I shall succeed is smiting them in battle.’ Unto the king
who said so, O great monarch, the Suta’s son answered, ‘Do not grieve, O
chief of the Bharata. Even I will do what is agreeable to thee. Let
Santanu’s son Bhishma soon withdraw from the great battle. After Ganga’s
son will have withdrawn from the fight and laid aside his weapons, I will
slay the Partha along with all the Somakas, in the very sight of Bhishma.
I pledge my truth, O king. Indeed, Bhishma every day showeth mercy
towards the Pandavas. He is, besides incapable of vanquishing those
mighty car-warriors. Bhishma is proud of showing his prowess in battle.
He is again, very fond of fight. Why, O sire, will he, therefore,
vanquish the assembled Pandavas (for then the battle will be over)?
Therefore, repairing without delay to the tent of Bhishma, solicit that
old and reverend signior to lay aside his weapons. After he will have
laid aside his weapons, O Bharata, think the Pandavas as already slain,
with all their friends and kinsmen, O king, by myself alone.’ Thus
addressed by Karna, thy son Duryodhana then said unto his brother
Dussasana these words, ‘See, O Dussasana, that without delay that all who
walk in my train be dressed.’ Having said these words, O monarch, the
king addressed Karna, saying, ‘Having caused Bhishma, that foremost of
men, to consent to this, I will, without delay, come to thee, O chastiser
of foes. After Bhishma will have retired from the fight, thou wilt smite
(the foe) in battle’. Then thy son, O monarch, set out without delay,
accompanied by his brothers like He of a hundred sacrifices (accompanied)
by the gods. Then his brother Dussasana caused that tiger among king,
endued, besides, with the prowess of a tiger, to mount on his horse.
Graced with bracelets, with diadem on head, and adorned with other
ornaments on his arms. O king, thy son shone brightly as he proceeded
along the streets. Smeared with fragrant sandal-paste of the hue of the
Bhandi flower and bright as burnished gold, and clad in clean vestments,
and proceeding with the sportive gait of the lion, Duryodhana looked
beautiful like the Sun of brilliant radiance in the firmament. And as
that tiger among men proceeded towards the tent of Bhishma, many mighty
bowmen, celebrated over the world, followed him behind. And his brothers
also walked in his train, like the celestials walking behind Vasava. And
others, foremost of men, mounted upon steeds, and others again on
elephants, O Bharata, and others on cars, surrounded him on all sides.
And many amongst those that wished him well, taking up arms for the
protection on his royal self, appeared there in large bodies, like the
celestials surrounding Sakra in heaven. The mighty chief of the Kurus,
adored by all the Kauravas, thus proceeded, O king, towards the quarters
of the renowned son of Ganga. Ever followed and surrounded, by his
uterine brothers, he proceeded, often raising his right arm, massive and
resembling the trunk of an elephant and capable of resisting all foes.
And with that arm of his, he accepted the regards that were paid to him
from all sides by by-standers who stood raising towards him their joined
hands. And he heard, as he journeyed, the sweet voices of the natives of
diverse realms. Of great fame, he was eulogised by bards and eulogists.
And in return that great king paid his regards unto them all. And many
high-souled persons stood around him with lighted lamps of gold fed with
fragrant oil. And surrounded with golden lamps, the king looked radiant
like the Moon attended by the blazing planets around him. And
(attendants) with head-gears decked with gold, having canes and
Jhariharas in hand, softly caused the crowd all around to make way. The
king then, having reached the excellent quarters of Bhishma, alighted
from his horse. And arrived at Bhishma’s presence, that ruler of men
saluted Bhishma and then sat himself down on an excellent seat that was
made of gold, beautiful throughout and overlaid with a rich coverlet.
With hands joined, eyes bathed in tears, and voice chocked in grief, he
then addressed Bhishma, saying, ‘Taking thy protection, this battle, O
slayer of foes, we ventured to vanquish the very gods and the Asuras with
Indra at their head. What shall I say, therefore, of the sons of Pandu,
heroic though they be, with their kinsmen and friends? Therefore, O son
of Ganga, it behoveth thee, O lord, to show me mercy. Slay the brave sons
of Pandu like Mahendra slaying the Danavas.–I will slay, O king, all the
Somakas and the Panchalas and the Karushas along with the Kekayas, O
Bharata-these were thy words to me. Let these words become true. Slay the
assembled Parthas, and those mighty bowmen, viz., the Somakas. Make thy
words true, O Bharata. If from kindness (for the Pandavas), O king, or
from thy hatred of my unfortunate self, thou sparest the Pandavas, then
permit Karna, that ornament of battle, to fight. He will vanquish in
battle the Parthas with all their friends and kinsmen. The king, thy son
Duryodhana having said this, shut his lips without saying anything more
to Bhishma of terrible prowess.”


Sanjaya said, “The high-souled Bhishma, deeply pierced with wordy daggers
by thy son, became filled with great grief. But he said not a single
disagreeable word in reply. Indeed, mangled by those wordy daggers and
filled with grief and rage, he sighed like a snake and reflected (in
silence) for a long while. Raising his eyes then, and as if consuming,
from wrath, the world with the celestials, the Asuras, and the
Gandharvas, that foremost of persons conversant with the world, then
addressed thy son and said unto him these tranquil words, ‘Why, O
Duryodhana, dost thou pierce me thus with thy wordy daggers? I always
endeavour to the utmost of my might to achieve, and do achieve, what is
for thy good. Indeed, from desire of doing what is agreeable to thee, I
am prepared to cast away my life in battle. The Pandavas are really
invincible. When the brave son of Pandu gratified Agni in the forest of
Khandava, having vanquished Sakra himself in battle, even that is a
sufficient indication.[462] When, O mighty-armed one, the same son of
Pandu rescued thee while thou wert being led away a captive by the
Gandharvas, even that is a sufficient indication. On that occasion, O
lord, thy brave uterine brothers had all fled, as also Radha’s son of the
Suta caste. That (rescue, therefore, by Arjuna) is a sufficient
indication. In Virata’s city, alone he fell upon all of us united
together. That is a sufficient indication. Vanquishing in battle both
Drona and myself excited with rage, he took away our robes. That is a
sufficient indication. On that occasion, of old, of the seizure of kine,
he vanquished that mighty bowman the son of Drona, and Saradwat also.
That is a sufficient indication. Having vanquished Karna also who is very
boastful of his manliness, he gave the latter’s robes unto Uttara. That
is a sufficient indication. The son of Pritha defeated in battle the
Nivatakavachas who were incapable of defeat by Vasava himself. That is a
sufficient indication. Who, indeed, is capable of vanquishing in battle
the son of Pandu by force, him, viz., that hath for his protector the
Protector of the Universe armed with conch, discus, and mace? Vasudeva is
possessed of infinite power, and is the Destroyer of the Universe. He is
the highest Lord of all, the God of gods, the Supreme Soul and eternal.
He hath been variously described, O king, by Narada and other great
Rishis. In consequence of thy folly, however, O Suyodhana, thou knowest
not what should be said and what should not. The man on the point of
death beholdeth all trees to be made of gold. So thou also, O son of
Gandhari, seest everything inverted. Having provoked fierce hostilities
with the Pandavas and the Srinjayas, fight now (thyself) with them in
battle. Let us see thee act like a man. As regards myself, I will, O
tiger among men, slay all the Somakas and the Panchalas assembled
together, avoiding Sikhandin alone. Slain by them in battle, I will go to
Yama’s abode, or slaying them in battle, I will give thee joy. Sikhandin
was born in Drupada’s palace as female at first. She became a male in
consequence of the grant of a boon. After all, however, she is
Sikhandini. Him I will not slay even if I have to lose my life, O
Bharata. She is the same Sikhandini that the Creator had first made her.
Pass the night in happy sleep, O son of Gandhari. Tomorrow I will fight a
fierce battle about which men will speak as long as the world lasts.’
Thus addressed by him, thy son, O monarch, came away. And saluting his
signior with a bow of the head, he came back to his own tent. Coming
back, the king dismissed his attendants. And soon then that destroyer of
foes entered his abode. And having entered (his tent) the monarch passed
the night (in. sleep). And when the night dawned, rising up, the king,
ordered all the royal warriors, saying, Draw up the forces. Today
Bhishma, excited with wrath, will slay all the Somakas.’

Hearing those copious lamentations of Duryodhana in the night, Bhishma
regarded them, O king, as commands to himself. Filled with great grief
and deprecating the status of servitude, Santanu’s son reflected for a
long time, thinking of an encounter with Arjuna in battle. Understanding
from signs that Ganga’s son had been thinking of that, Duryodhana, O
king, commanding Dussasana, saying, ‘O Dussasana, let cars be quickly
appointed for protecting Bhishma. Let all the two and twenty divisions
(of our army) be urged on. That hath now come about which we had been
thinking for a series of years, viz., the slaughter of the Pandavas with
all their troops and the acquisition (by ourselves) of the kingdom. In
this matter, I think, the protection of Bhishma is our foremost duty.
Protected by us, he will protect us and slay the Parthas in battle. Of
cleansed soul, he said unto me,–I will not slay Sikhandini. He was a
female before, O king, and, therefore, should be avoided by me in battle.
The world knoweth, O thou of mighty arms, that from desire of doing good
to my father, I formerly gave up a swelling kingdom. I will not,
therefore, slay in battle, O foremost of men, any female or anybody that
was a female before. This that I tell thee is true. This Sikhandin, O
king, was first born a female. Thou hast heard that story. She was born
as Sikhandini after the manner I told thee before the battle began.
Taking her birth as a daughter she hath become a man. Indeed, she will
fight with me, but I will never shoot my arrows at her. As regards all
other Kshatriyas desirous of victory to the Pandavas, O sire, whom I may
get within my reach on the field of battle, I will slay them.–These were
the words that Ganga’s son acquainted with the scriptures, that chief of
Bharata’s race, said unto me. Therefore, with my whole soul I think that
protecting the son of Ganga is our foremost duty. The very wolf may slay
the lion left unprotected in the great forest. Let not Ganga’s son be
slain by Sikhandin like the lion slain by the wolf. Let our maternal
uncle Sakuni, and Salya, and Kripa, and Drona, and Vivingsati, carefully
protect the son of Ganga. If he is protected, (our) victory is certain.’

“Hearing these words of Duryodhana, all surrounded Ganga’s son with a
large division of cars. And thy sons also, taking up their position
around Bhishma, proceeded to battle. And they all went, shaking the earth
and the welkin, and causing fear in the hearts of the Pandavas. The
mighty car-warriors (of the Kaurava army), supported by those cars and
elephants, and clad in mail, stood in battle, surrounding Bhishma. And
all of them took up their positions for protecting that mighty
car-warrior like the celestials in the battle between themselves and the
Asuras for protecting the wielder of the thunder-bolt. Then king
Duryodhana once more addressing his brother, said, ‘Yudhamanyu protects
the left wheel of Arjuna’s car, and Uttamaujas his right wheel. And (thus
protected) Arjuna protects Sikhandin. O Dussasana, adopt such steps that,
protected by Partha, Sikhandin may not be able to slay Bhishma left
unprotected by us.’ Hearing these words of his brother, thy son
Dussasana, accompanied by the troops, advanced for battle, placing
Bhishma in the van. Beholding Bhishma (thus surrounded by a large number
of cars), Arjuna, that foremost of car-warriors, addressed Dhrishtadyumna
and said, ‘O prince, place that tiger among men, Sikhandin, today in
front of Bhishma, I myself will be his protector, O prince of Panchala.”


Sanjaya said, “Then Bhishma, the son of Santanu, went out with the
troops. And he disposed his own troops in mighty array called
Sarvatobhadra.[463] Kripa, and Kritavarman, and that mighty car-warrior
Saivya, and Sakuni, and the ruler of the Sindhus, and Sudakshina the
ruler of the Kamvojas, these all, together with Bhishma and thy sons, O
Bharata, took up their stations in the van of the whole army and in the
very front of the (Kaurava) array. Drona and Bhurisravas and Salya and
Bhagadatta, O sire, clad in mail, took up their position in the right
wing of that array. And Aswatthaman, and Somadatta, and those great
car-warriors, viz., the two princes of Avanti, accompanied by a large
force, protected the left wing. Duryodhana, O monarch, surrounded on all
sides by the Trigartas, took up, for encountering the Pandavas, a
position in the midst of that array. That foremost of car-warriors, viz.,
Alamvusha, and that mighty car-warrior, viz., Srutayush, clad in mail,
took up their position in the rear of that array, and therefore, of the
whole army. Having, O Bharata, on that occasion formed their array thus,
thy warriors, clad in mail, looked like scorching fires.

“Then king Yudhishthira, and that son of Pandu, viz., Bhimasena, and the
twin sons of Madri, viz., Nakula and Sahadeva, clad in mail, took up
their position in the van of that array and therefore, at the very head
of all their troops. And Dhrishtadyumna, and Virata, and that mighty
car-warrior, viz., Satyaki,–these destroyers of hostile ranks,–stood,
supported by a large force. And Sikhandin, and Vijaya (Arjuna), and the
Rakshasa Ghatotkacha, and Chekitana of mighty arms, and the valiant
Kuntibhoja, stood for battle, surrounded by a large force. And that great
bowman Abhimanyu, and the mighty Drupada, and the (five) Kaikeya
brothers, stood for battle, clad in mail. Having formed their mighty and
invincible array thus, the Pandavas, endued with great courage in battle,
stood for the fight, clad in mail.

“Then the kings of thy array, O monarch, exerting themselves at their
best, accompanied by their forces, and placing Bhishma at their van,
rushed against the Parthas in battle. Similarly the Pandavas also, O
king, headed by Bhimasena, and desirous of victory in battle proceeded,
for battling with Bhishma. With leonine roars and confused cries, blowing
their conches Krakachas, and cow-horns, beating their drums and cymbals
and Pandavas in thousands.[464] And uttering terrible shouts, the
Pandavas advanced to battle. With the din of our drums and cymbals and
conches and smaller drums, with loud leonine roars, and other kinds of
shouts, ourselves also, replying to the cries of the foe, rushed against
him with great impetuosity, inflamed with rage. Those sounds mingling
with one another, produced a tremendous uproar. The warriors then, of the
two armies, rushing at one another, began to strike. And in consequence
of the din produced by that encounter, the earth seemed to tremble. And
birds, uttering fierce cries, hovered in the air. The Sun, radiant as he
was when he had risen, became dimmed. And fierce winds blew, indicating
great terrors. Frightful jackals wandered, yelling terribly, O king, and
foreboding an awful carnage at hand. The quarters seemed, O king, to be
ablaze, and showers of dust fell from the blue. And a shower fell there,
of pieces of bones mixed with blood. And tears fell from the eyes of the
animals which were all weeping. And filled with anxiety, O king, these
began to urinate and eject the contents of their stomachs. And the loud
shouts of battle, O bull of Bharata’s race, were rendered inaudible by
the louder cries of Rakshasas and cannibals. And jackals and vultures and
crows and dogs, uttering diverse kinds of cries, began, O sire, to fall
and swoop down on the field. And blazing meteors, striking against the
Sun’s disc, fell with great celerity on the earth, foreboding great
terrors. Then those two vast hosts belonging to the Pandavas and the
Dhartarashtras, in course of that awful encounter, shook in consequence
of that tremendous uproar of conches and drums like forests shaken by the
tempest. And the noise made by the two armies, both of which abounded
with kings, elephants, and steeds, and which encountered each other in an
evil hour, resembled the noise made by oceans tossed by the tempest.”


Sanjaya said, “Then the noble Abhimanyu of great energy, borne by his
steeds of a tawny hue, rushed at the mighty host of Duryodhana,
scattering his arrowy showers like the clouds pouring torrents of rain. O
son of Kuru’s race, thy warriors, in that battle, were unable to resist
that slayer of foes, viz., Subhadra’s son, who, excited with wrath and
possessed of wealth of arms, was then immersed in that inexhaustible
ocean of (Kaurava) forces. Death-dealing shafts, O king, shot by him in
that battle, despatched many heroic Kshatriyas to the regions of the king
of the departed spirits. Indeed, excited with wrath Subhadra’s son in
that battle shot fierce and blazing arrows in profusion that resembled
snakes of virulent poison or rods of death himself. And Phalguni’s son
speedily split into fragments car-warriors with their cars, steeds with
their riders, and elephant-warriors along with the huge animals they
rode. And the rulers of the earth, filled with joy, applauded those
mighty feats in battle and praised him also that achieved them. And the
son of Subhadra, O Bharata, tossed those divisions (of the Kaurava army)
like the tempest tossing a heap of cotton on all sides in the welkin.
Routed by him, O Bharata, the troops failed to find a protector, like
elephants sunk in a slough. Then, O best of men, having routed all
troops, Abhimanyu stood, O king, like a blazing fire without a curl of
smoke. Indeed, O king, thy warriors were incapable of bearing that slayer
of foes, like insects impelled by fate unable to bear a blazing fire.
That mighty car-warrior and great bowman, having struck all the foes of
the Pandavas, looked at that moment like Vasava himself armed with the
thunder. And his bow, the back of whose staff was decked with gold, as it
moved on every side, seemed, O king, like the lightning’s flash as it
spotted amid the clouds. And well-tempered and sharp shafts came from his
bow-string in that battle like flights of bees, O king, from blossoming
trees in the forest. And as the high-souled son of Subhadra careered on
the field on his car whose limbs were decked with gold, people were
incapable of finding an opportunity (for striking him). Confounding Kripa
and Drona and mighty son of Drona, as also the ruler of the Sindhus, the
great bowman moved on the field of battle with great activity and skill.
As he consumed thy troops, O Bharata, I beheld his bow incessantly drawn
to a circle and resembling on that account the circular halo of light
that is sometimes seen around the Sun. Brave Kshatriyas, beholding him
endued with such activity and scorching the foe thus, thought, in
consequence of those feats, that the world contained two Phalgunis.
Indeed, O king, the vast host of the Bharatas, afflicted by him, reeled
hither and thither like a woman drunk with wine. Routing that large army
and causing many mighty car-warriors to tremble, he gladdened his friends
(like Vasava gladdening the celestials) after vanquishing Maya. And while
being routed by him in that battle, thy troops uttered loud exclamations
of woe that resembled the roar of the clouds. Hearing that awful wail thy
troops, O Bharata, that resembled the roar of the very sea at full tide
when agitated by the winds, Duryodhana then, O king, addressed the son of
Rishyasringa and said, ‘This Abhimanyu singly, O thou of mighty arms,
like a second Phalguni, routeth from rage (my) army like Vritra routing
the celestial host. I do not see any other efficacious medicine for him
in battle than thyself, O best of Rakshasas, that art well-skilled in
every science. Therefore, go speedily and slay the heroic son of Subhadra
in battle. As regards ourselves, headed by Bhishma and Drona, we will
slay Partha himself.’ Thus addressed, the mighty and valiant Rakshasa
speedily went to battle at the command of thy son, uttering loud roars
like the clouds themselves in the season of rains. And in consequence of
that loud noise, O king, the vast host of the Pandavas trembled
throughout like the ocean when agitated by the wind. And many combatants,
O king, terrified by those roars, giving up dear life, fell prostrate on
the earth. Filled with joy and taking up his bow with arrow fixed on the
string, and apparently dancing on the terrace of his car, that Rakshasa
proceeded against Abhimanyu himself. Then the angry Rakshasa, having in
that battle got Arjuna’s son within reach, began to rout his ranks,–even
those that stood not far from him. Indeed, the Rakshasa rushed in battle
against that mighty Pandava host which he began to slaughter, like Vala
rushing against the celestial host. Attacked in battle by that Rakshasa
of terrible mien, the slaughter was very great, O sire, that took place
amongst those troops. Exhibiting his prowess, the Rakshasa began to rout
that vast force of the Pandavas, with thousands of arrows. Thus
slaughtered by that Rakshasa of terrible visage, the Pandava army fled
away from excess of fear. Grinding that army like an elephant grinding
lotus-stalks, the mighty Rakshasa then rushed in battle against the sons
of Draupadi. Then those great bowmen, accomplished in fighting, viz., the
sons of Draupadi, rushed towards the Rakshasa in battle like five planets
rushing against the Sun. That best of Rakshasa then was afflicted by
those brothers endued with great energy, like the Moon afflicted by the
five planets of the awful occasion of the dissolution of the world. Then
the mighty Prativindhya quickly pierced the Rakshasa with whetted shafts,
sharp as battle-axes and furnished with points capable of penetrating
every armour. Thereupon that foremost of Rakshasas, with his armour
pierced through, looked like a mass of clouds penetrated by the rays of
the Sun. Pierced with these shafts furnished with golden wings,
Rishyasringa’s son, O king, looked resplendent like a mountain with
blazing crests. Then those five brothers in that great battle, pierced
that foremost of Rakshasas with many whetted shafts of golden wings.
Pierced with those terrible shafts resembling angry snakes, Alamvusha, O
king, became inflamed with rage like the king of the serpents himself.
Deeply pierced, O king, within only a few moments, O sire, by those great
car-warriors, the Rakshasa, much afflicted, remained senseless for a long
while. Regaining his consciousness then, and swelling through rage to
twice his dimensions, he cut off their arrows and standards and bows. And
as if smiling the while he struck each of them with five arrows. Then
that mighty Rakshasa and great car-warrior, Alamvusha, excited with
wrath, and as if dancing on the terrace of his car, quickly slew the
steeds, and then the charioteers, of those five illustrious adversaries
of his. And burning with rage he once more pierced them with sharp arrows
of diverse shades by hundreds and thousands. Then that wanderer of the
night, viz., the Rakshasa Alamvusha, having deprived those great bowmen
of their cars, rushed impetuously at them, wishing to despatch them to
Yama’s abode. Beholding them (thus) afflicted in battle by that
wicked-souled Rakshasa, the son of Arjuna rushed at him. Then the battle
that took place between him and the cannibal resembled that between
Vritra and Vasava. And the mighty car-warriors of thy army, as also of
the Pandavas, all became spectators of that engagement. Encountering each
other in fierce battle, blazing with wrath, endued with great might, and
with eyes red in rage, each beheld the other in that battle to resemble
the Yuga fire. And that engagement between them became fierce and awful
like that between Sakra and Samvara in days of old in the battle between
the gods and Asuras.”


Dhritarashtra said, “How, O Sanjaya, did Alamvusha resist in combat the
heroic son of Arjuna smiting many of our mighty car-warriors in battle?
And how also did that slayer of hostile heroes, viz., the son of
Subhadra, fight with Rishyasringa’s son? Tell me all this in detail,
exactly as it happened in that fight. What also did Bhima, that foremost
of car-warriors, and the Rakshasa Ghatotkacha, and Nakula, and Sahadeva
and the mighty car-warrior Satyaki, and Dhananjaya, do with my troops in
battle? Tell me all this truly, O Sanjaya, for thou art skilled (in

Sanjaya said, “I will presently describe to thee, O sire, the awful
battle that took place between that foremost of the Rakshasas and the son
of Subhadra. I will also describe to thee the prowess that Arjuna put
forth in battle, and Bhimasena the son of Pandu and Nakula, and Sahadeva,
as also the warriors of thy army headed by Bhishma and Drona, all of whom
fearlessly achieved wonderful feats of diverse kinds, Alamvusha, uttering
loud shouts and repeatedly roaring at Abhimanyu, rushed impetuously
against that mighty car-warrior in battle, saying, ‘Wait,
Wait’–Abhimanyu also, repeatedly roaring like a lion, rushed with at
great force at that mighty bowman, viz., the son of Rishyasringa, who was
an implacable foe of the former’s sire. Soon then those two foremost of
car-warriors, man and Rakshasa, on their cars, encountered each other,
like a god and Danava. That best of Rakshasa were endued with powers of
illusion, while Phalguni’s son was acquainted with celestial weapons.
Then Abhimanyu, O king, pierced Rishyasringa’s son in that battle with
three sharp shafts and once more with five. Alamvusha, also, excited with
wrath, speedily pierced Abhimanyu in the chest with nine shafts like a
guide piercing an elephant with hooks. Then, O Bharata, that wanderer of
the night, endued with great activity, afflicted Arjuna’s son in that
combat with a thousand arrows. Then Abhimanyu excited with rage, pierced
that prince of the Rakshasas in his wide chest with nine straight shafts
of great sharpness. Piercing through his body these penetrated into his
very vitals. And that best of Rakshasas, his limbs mangled by them,
looked beautiful like a mountain overgrown with flowering Kinsukas.
Bearing those shafts of golden wings on his body, that mighty prince of
Rakshasas looked radiant like a mountain on fire. Then the vindictive son
of Rishyasringa, inflamed with wrath, covered Abhimanyu, who was equal
unto Mahendra himself, with clouds of winged arrows. Those sharp shafts
resembling the rods of Yama himself, shot by him, pierced Abhimanyu
through and entered the earth. And similarly the gold-decked arrows shot
by Arjuna’s son, piercing Alamvusha through, entered the earth. The son
of Subhadra then, in that battle, with his straight shafts, obliged the
Rakshasa to turn his back upon the field, like Sakra repulsing Maya in
days of old. That scorcher of foes, the Rakshasa, then, thus repulsed and
struck repeatedly by his adversary, exhibited his great powers of
illusion by causing a thick darkness to set in. Then all the combatants
there, O king, were covered by that darkness. Neither could Abhimanyu be
seen, nor could friends be distinguished from foes in that battle.
Abhimanyu, however, beholding that thick and awful gloom, invoked into
existence. O son of Kuru’s race, the blazing solar weapon. Thereupon, O
king, the universe once more became visible. And thus he neutralised the
illusion of that wicked Rakshasa. Then that prince of men, excited with
wrath and endued with great energy, covered that foremost of Rakshasa in
that battle with many straight shafts. Diverse other kinds of illusion
were conjured up there by that Rakshasa. Conversant with all weapons, the
son of Phalguni however, neutralised them all. The Rakshasa then, his
illusions all destroyed, and himself struck with shafts, abandoned his
car even there, and fled away in great fear. After that Rakshasa addicted
to unfair fight had been thus vanquished, the son of Arjuna began to
grind thy troops in battle, like a juice-blind prince of wild elephants
agitating a lake overgrown with lotus.[465] Then Bhishma the son of
Santanu, beholding his troops routed, covered Subhadra’s son with a thick
shower of arrows. Then many mighty car-warriors of the Dhartarashtra
army, standing in a ring round that single hero, began to strike him
forcibly with their shafts. That hero then, who resembled his sire in
prowess and who was equal to Vasudeva in valour and might,–that foremost
of all wielders of weapons,–achieved diverse feats in that battle that
were worthy of both his sire and maternal uncle. Then the heroic
Dhananjaya, excited with wrath and desirous of rescuing his son, arrived
at the spot where the latter was slaughtering thy troops as he came
along. And similarly, O king, thy sire Devavrata in that battle
approached Partha like Rahu approaching the sun.[466] Then thy sons, O
monarch, supported by cars, elephants, and steeds, surrounded Bhishma in
that battle and protected him from every side. And so also the Pandavas,
O king, clad in mail and surrounding Dhananjaya, engaged in fierce
battle, O bull of Bharata’s race. Then Saradwat’s son (Kripa), O king,
pierced Arjuna who was staying in front of Bhishma, with five and twenty
shafts. Thereupon, like a tiger attacking an elephant, Satyaki,
approaching Kripa, pierced him with many whetted shafts from desire of
doing what was agreeable to the Pandavas. Gautama in return, excited with
wrath, quickly pierced him of Madhu’s race in the chest with nine arrows
winged with the feathers of the Kanka bird. Sini’s grandson also, excited
with wrath, and forcibly drawing his bow, quickly sped at him an arrow
capable of taking his life. The fiery son of Drona, however, excited with
wrath, cut in twain that arrow as it coursed impetuously towards Kripa,
resembling Indra’s bolt in effulgence. Thereupon that foremost of
car-warriors, viz., Sini’s grandson, abandoning Gautama, rushed in battle
towards Drona’s son like Rahu in the firmament against the Moon. Drona’s
son, however, O Bharata, cut Satyaki’s bow in twain. After his bow had
thus been cut off, the former began to strike the latter with his shafts.
Satyaki then, taking up another bow capable of bearing a great strain and
slaughtering the foe, struck Drona’s son, O king, in the chest and arms
with six shafts. Pierced therewith and feeling great pain, for a moment
he was deprived of his senses, and he sat down on the terrace of his car,
catching hold of his flag-staff. Regaining his consciousness then, the
valiant son of Drona, excited with rage afflicted him of Vrishni’s race
in that battle, with one long shaft. That shaft, piercing Sini’s grandson
through, entered the earth like a vigorous young snake entering its hole
in the season of spring. And with another broad-headed arrow, Drona’s son
in that battle cut off the excellent standard of Satyaki. And having
achieved this feat he uttered a leonine roar. And once more, O Bharata,
he covered his adversary with a shower of fierce shafts like the clouds,
O king covering the Sun after summer is past, Satyaki also, O monarch,
baffling that arrowy shower, soon covered the son of Drona with diverse
showers of arrows That slayer of hostile heroes, viz., the grandson of
Sini, freed from that arrowy shower like the Sun from the clouds, began
to scorch the son of Drona (with his energy). Swelling with rage the
mighty Satyaki once more covered his foe with a thousand arrows and
uttered a loud shout. Beholding his son then thus afflicted like the Moon
by Rahu, the valiant son of Bharadwaja rushed towards the grandson of
Sini. Desirous, O king, of rescuing, his son who was afflicted by the
Vrishni hero, Drona, in that great battle, pierced the latter with a
shaft of exceeding sharpness. Satyaki then, abandoning the mighty
car-warrior Aswatthaman, pierced Drona himself in that battle with twenty
arrows of exceeding sharpness. Soon after, that scorcher of foes and
mighty car-warrior, viz., Kunti’s son of immeasurable soul, excited with
wrath, rushed in that battle against Drona. Then Drona and Partha
encountered each other in fierce combat like the planets Budha and Sukra,
O king, in the firmament.[467]


Dhritarashtra said, “How did those bulls among men, viz., that great
bowman Drona, and Dhananjaya the son of Pandu, encounter each other in
battle? The son of Pandu is ever dear to the wise son of Bharadwaja. The
preceptor also is ever dear to Pritha’s son, O Sanjaya. Both of those
car-warriors delight in battle, and both of them are fierce like lions.
How therefore, did Bharadwaja’s son and Dhananjaya, both fighting with
care encounter each other in battle?”

Sanjaya said, “In battle Drona never recognises Partha as dear to
himself. Partha also, keeping a Kshatriya’s duty in view, recognises not
in battle his preceptor. Kshatriyas, O king, never avoid one another in
battle. Without showing any regard for one another, they fight with sires
and brothers. In that battle, O Bharata, Partha pierced Drona with three
shafts. Drona, however, regarded not those shafts shot in battle from
Partha’s bow. Indeed, Partha once more covered the preceptor in the fight
with a shower of arrows. Thereupon the latter blazed up with wrath like a
conflagration in a deep forest. Then, O king, Drona soon covered Arjuna
in that combat with many straight shafts, O Bharata. Then king
Duryodhana, O monarch, despatched Susarman for taking up the wing of
Drona. Then the ruler of the Trigartas, excited with rage and forcibly
drawing his bow, covered Partha, O king, with a profusion of arrows
furnished with iron heads. Shot by those two warriors, O king, the shafts
looked beautiful in the welkin like cranes in the autumnal sky. Those
shafts, O lord, reaching the son of Kunti, entered his body like birds
disappearing within a tree bending with a load of tasteful fruits. Arjuna
then, that foremost of car-warriors, uttering a loud roar in that battle
pierced the ruler of the Trigartas and his son with his shafts. Pierced
by Partha like Death himself at the end of the Yuga, they were unwilling
to avoid Partha, resolved as they were on laying down their lives. And
they shot showers on the car of Arjuna. Arjuna, however, received those
arrowy showers with showers of his own, like a mountain, O monarch,
receiving a downpour from the clouds. And the lightness of hand that we
then beheld of Vibhatsu was exceedingly wonderful. For alone he baffled
that unbearable shower of arrows shot by many warriors like the wind
alone scattering myriads of clouds rushing upon clouds. And at that feat
of Partha, the gods and the Danavas (assembled there for witnessing the
fight) were highly gratified. Then, O Bharata, engaged with the Trigartas
in that battle, Partha shot, O king, the Vayavya weapon against their
division. Then arose a wind that agitated the welkin, felled many trees,
and smote down the (hostile) troops. Then Drona, beholding the fierce
Vayavya weapon, himself shot an awful weapon called the Saila. And when
that weapon, O ruler of men, was shot by Drona in that battle, the wind
abated and the ten quarters became calm. The heroic son of Pandu,
however, made the car-warriors of the Trigarta division destitute of
prowess and hope, and caused them to turn their backs on the field. Then
Duryodhana and that foremost of car-warriors, viz., Kripa, and
Aswatthaman, and Salya, and Sudakshina, the ruler of the Kamvojas, and
Vinda and Anuvinda of Avanti, and Valhika supported by the Valhikas, with
a large number of cars surrounded Partha on all sides. And similarly
Bhagadatta also, and the mighty Srutayush, surrounded Bhima on all sides
with an elephant division. And Bhurisravas, and Sala, and Suvala’s son, O
monarch, began to check the twin sons of Madri with showers of bright and
sharp arrows. Bhishma, however, in that battle, supported by the sons of
Dhritarashtra with their troops, approaching Yudhishthira, surrounded him
on all sides. Beholding that elephant division coming towards him,
Pirtha’s son Vrikodara, possessed of great courage, began to lick the
corners of his mouth like a lion in the forest. Then Bhima, that foremost
of car-warriors, taking up his mace in that great battle, quickly jumped
down from his car and struck terror into the hearts of thy warriors.
Beholding him mace in hand, those elephant-warriors in that battle
carefully surrounded Bhimasena on all sides. Stationed in the midst of
those elephants, the son of Pandu looked resplendent like the Sun in the
midst of a mighty mass of clouds. Then that bull among the sons of Pandu
began with his mace to consume that elephant-division like the wind
dispelling a huge mass of clouds covering the welkin. Those tuskers,
while being slaughtered by the mighty Bhimasena, uttered loud cries of
woe like roaring masses of clouds. With diverse scratches (on his person)
inflicted by those huge animals with their tusks, the son of Pritha
looked beautiful on the field of battle like a flowering Kinsuka. Seizing
some of the elephants by their tusks, he deprived them of those weapons.
Wrenching out the tusks of others, with those very tusks he struck them
on their frontal globes and felled them in battle like the Destroyer
himself armed with his rod. Wielding his mace bathed in gore, and himself
bespattered with fat and marrow and smeared with blood, he looked like
Rudra himself. Thus slaughtered by him, the few gigantic elephants that
remained, ran away on all sides, O king, crushing even friendly ranks.
And in consequence of those huge elephants fleeing away on all sides,
Duryodhana’s troops once more, O bull of Bharata’s race, fled away from
the field.”


Sanjaya said, “At mid-day, O king, happened a fierce battle, fraught with
great carnage, between Bhishma and the Somakas. That foremost of
car-warriors, viz., Ganga’s son began to consume the ranks of the
Pandavas with keen shafts by hundreds and thousands. Thy sire Devavrata
began to grind those troops like a herd of bulls grinding (with their
tread) a heap of paddy sheaves. Then Dhrishtadyumna and Sikhandin and
Virata and Drupada, falling upon Bhishma in that battle, struck that
mighty car-warrior with numerous arrows. Bhishma then, having pierced
Dhrishtadyumna and Virata each with three arrows, sped a long shaft, O
Bharata, at Drupada. Thus pierced in battle by Bhishma, that grinder of
foes, those great bowmen became filled with wrath O king, like snakes
trod upon (by human feet). Then Sikhandin pierced the grandsire of the
Bharatas (with many shafts). Of unfading glory, Bhishma, however,
regarding his foe as a female struck him not. Dhrishtadyumna then, in
that battle, blazing up with wrath like fire, struck the grandsire with
three shafts in his arms and chest. And Drupada pierced Bhishma with five
and twenty shafts, and Virata pierced him with ten, and Sikhandin with
five and twenty. Deeply pierced (with those shafts) he became covered
with blood, and looked beautiful like a red Asoka variegated with
flowers. Then the son of Ganga pierced, in return, each of them with
three straight shafts. And then, O sire, he cut off Drupada’s bow with a
broad-headed arrow. The latter then, taking up another bow, pierced
Bhishma with five shafts. And he pierced Bhishma’s charioteer also with
three sharp shafts on the field of battle. Then the five sons of
Draupadi, and the five Kaikeya brothers and Satyaki also of the Satwata
race, headed by Yudhishthira, all rushed towards Ganga’s son, desirous of
protecting the Panchalas headed by Dhrishtadyumna. And so all the
warriors of thy army also, O king, prepared to protect Bhishma, rushed at
the head of their troops against the Pandava host. And then happened
there a fierce general engagement between thy army of men and steeds and
theirs, that increased the population of Yama’s kingdom. And car-warriors
falling upon car-warriors despatched one another to Yama’s abode. And so
men and elephant-riders and horse-riders, falling upon others (of their
class), despatched them to the other world with straight shafts And here
and there on the field, O monarch, cars, deprived of riders and
charioteers by means of diverse kinds of fierce shafts, were in that
battle dragged on all sides over the field. And those cars, O king,
crushing large numbers of men and steeds in battle, were seen to resemble
the wind itself (in speed) and vapoury edifices in the firmament (for
their picturesque forms). And many car-warriors cased in mail and endued
with great energy, decked with ear-rings and head-gears and adorned with
garlands and bracelets, resembling the children of the celestials, equal
to Sakra himself for prowess in battle, surpassing Vaisravana in wealth
and Vrishaspati in intelligence, ruling over extensive territories, and
possessed of great heroism, O monarch, deprived of their cars, were seen
to run hither and thither like ordinary men. Huge tuskers also, O chief
of men, deprived of their skilled riders, ran, crushing friendly ranks,
and fell down with loud shrieks. Prodigious elephants looking like
newly-risen clouds and roaring also like the clouds, were seen to run in
all directions, deprived of their coats of mail. And, O sire, their
Chamaras and variegated standards, their umbrellas with golden staves,
and the bright lances (of their riders), lay scattered about.[468] And
elephant-riders, O king, deprived of their elephants, belonging both of
thy army and theirs, were seen to run (on foot) amid that awful press.
And steeds from diverse countries, decked with ornaments of gold, were
seen, by hundreds and thousands, to run with the speed of the wind. And
horse-riders, deprived of their horses, and armed with swords were in
that battle seen to run, or made to run (by others assailing them).
Elephant, meeting with a flying elephant in that dreadful battle,
proceeded, quickly crushing foot-soldiers and steeds. And, similarly, O
king those prodigious creatures crushed many cars in that battle, and
cars also, coming upon fallen steeds crushed them (in their course). And
steeds too, in the press of battle, crushed many foot-soldiers, O king
(with their hoofs). And thus, O monarch, they crushed one another in
diverse ways.[469] And in that fierce and awful battle there flowed a
terrible river of bloody current. And heaps of bows obstructed its
straight course, and the hair (of slain warriors) formed its moss. And
(broken) cars formed its lakes, and arrows its eddies. And steeds formed
its fishes. And heads (severed from trunks) formed its blocks of stone.
And it abounded with elephants that formed its crocodiles. And coats of
mail and head-gears formed its froth. And bows (in the hands of the
warriors) constituted the speed of its current, and swords its tortoises.
And banners and standards in profusion formed the trees on its banks. And
mortals constituted its banks which that river continually ate away. And
it abounded with cannibals that formed its swans. And that stream
(instead of swelling the ocean with its discharge) swelled the population
of Yama’s kingdom. And brave Kshatriyas,–mighty car-warriors,–casting
off all fear, O king, sought to cross that river with the aid of cars,
elephants, and steeds that played the part of rafts and boats. And as the
river Vaitarani beareth all departed spirits towards the domains of the
King of the Dead, so that river of bloody current bore away all timid men
deprived of their senses in a swoon. And the Kshatriyas, beholding that
awful carnage, all exclaimed, saying, ‘Alas, through Duryodhana’s fault
the Kshatriyas are being exterminated. Why, Oh, Dhritarashtra of sinful
soul, deluded by avarice, harboured envy for the sons of Pandu, who are
graced with numerous virtues.’ Diverse exclamations of this kind were
heard there, made by one another, fraught with the praises of the
Pandavas and censure of thy sons. Hearing then these words uttered by all
the combatants, thy son Duryodhana, that offender against all, addressed
Bhishma and Drona and Kripa and Salya, O Bharata, saying, ‘Fight ye
without boastfulness. Why tarry ye at all?’ Then the battle was resumed
between the Kurus and the Pandavas, that fierce battle, O king, caused by
the match at dice and marked by an awful slaughter. Thou beholdest now, O
son of Vichitravirya, the dreadful fruit of that rejection by thee (of
the counsels of thy friends) though warned against it by many illustrious
persons. Neither the sons of Pandu, O king, nor their troops, nor they
that follow them, nor the Kauravas, show the least regard for their lives
in battle. For this reason, O tiger among men, a dreadful destruction of
kinsmen is taking place, caused either by Destiny or by thy evil policy,
O king.”


Sanjaya said, “O tiger among men, Arjuna sent those Kshatriyas that
followed Susarman to the abode of the King of the Dead by means of his
whetted shafts. Susarman however, in that battle, pierced Partha with his
shafts. And he pierced Vasudeva with seventy, and Arjuna once more with
nine shafts. Checking those shafts by means of his arrowy showers, that
mighty car-warrior, viz., the son of Indra, despatched Susarman’s troops
unto Yama’s abode. Those mighty car-warriors, while being slaughtered by
Partha in that battle as if by Death himself at the end of the Yuga, all
fled away from the field, O king struck with panic, Some abandoning their
steeds, some abandoning, O sire, their cars, and others their elephants,
fled away in all directions. Others taking with them their horses,
elephants, and cars, fled away, O king, with great speed. Foot-soldiers
in that dreadful battle, throwing aside their weapons, and without any
regard for one another, fled away hither and thither. Though forbidden by
Susarman the ruler of the Trigartas, and by other foremost of kings, they
stayed not yet in battle. Beholding that host routed, thy son Duryodhana
himself at the head of the whole army and with Bhishma ahead, attacked
Dhananjaya with all his vigour, for the sake, O king, of (protecting) the
life of the ruler of the Trigartas. And he stayed in battle, scattering
diverse kinds of arrows, supported by all his brothers. The rest of the
men all fled away. Similarly, the Pandavas, O king, clad in mail and with
all their vigour, proceeded, for the sake of Phalguni, to the spot where
Bhishma was. Although acquainted with the awful prowess, in battle of the
wielder of Gandiva, these yet proceeded with loud cries and great bravery
to the spot where Bhishma was and surrounded him on all sides. Then the
palmyra-bannered hero covered the Pandava army, in that battle, with his
straight shafts. The sun having reached the meridian, the Kauravas, O
king, fought with the Pandavas in one confused mass. The heroic Satyaki,
having pierced Kritavarman with five arrows, stayed in battle scattering
his arrows by thousands. And so king Drupada also, having pierced Drona
with many whetted shafts, once more pierced him with seventy shafts and
his charioteer with nine. Bhimasena also, having pierced his great
grandsire king Valhika uttered a loud roar like a tiger in the forest.
Arjuna’s son (Abhimanyu) pierced by Chitrasena with many shafts, deeply
pierced Chitrasena in the chest with three arrows. Engaged with each
other in battle, those two foremost of men looked resplendent on the
field like the planets, Venus and Saturn, O king, in the firmament. Then
that slayer of foes, viz., the son of Subhadra, having slain his
antagonist’s steeds and charioteer with nine arrows, uttered a loud
shout. Thereupon that mighty car-warrior, (viz., Chitrasena), quickly
jumping down from that car whose steed had been slain, mounted, O king,
without delay, the car of Durmukha. The valiant Drona, pierced the
latter’s charioteer also, Then, O king, Drupada, thus afflicted at the
head of his troops, retreated by the aid of his fleet steeds,
recollecting the hostility that existed from days of old (between himself
and Drona). Bhimasena, within a moment, deprived king Valhika of his
steeds, car and charioteer, in the very sight of all the troops. Fallen
into a situation of great danger and with fear in his heart, O king,
Valhika, that best of men, jumping down from that vehicle, quickly
mounted upon the car of Lakshmana in that battle. Satyaki, having checked
Kritavarman in that dreadful battle, fell upon the grandsire and rained
on him shafts of diverse kinds.[470] Piercing the grandsire with sixty
whetted shafts winged with feathers, he seemed to dance on his car,
shaking his large bow. The grandsire then hurled at him a mighty dart
made of iron, decked with gold, endued with great velocity, and beautiful
as a daughter of the Nagas. Beholding that irresistible dart, resembling
Death himself, coursing towards him, that illustrious warrior of the
Vrishni race baffled it by the celerity of movements. Thereupon that
fierce dart, unable to reach him of the Vrishni race, fell down on the
earth like a large meteor of blazing splendour. Then he of Vrishni’s
race, O king, taking up with a firm hand his own dart of golden
effulgence, hurled it at the car of the grandsire. That dart, hurled in
that dreadful battle with the strength of Satyaki’s arms, coursed
impetuously like the fatal night, coursing speedily towards a (doomed)
man. As it coursed, however, towards him with great force, Bhishma cut it
in twain, O Bharata, with a couple of horse-shoe-headed arrows of keen
edge, and thereupon it fell down on the earth. Having cut that dart, that
grinder of foes, viz., Ganga’s son, excited with wrath and smiling the
while struck Satyaki in the chest with nine arrows. Then the Pandava
warriors, O elder brother of Pandu, with their cars, elephants, and
steeds,[471] surrounded Bhishma in that battle, for the sake of rescuing
him of Madhu’s race. Then commenced again a fierce battle, making the
hair to stand on end, between the Pandavas and the Kurus both of whom
were desirous of victory.”


“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding Bhishma excited with wrath in battle,
surrounded on all sides by the Pandavas like the Sun in the firmament. O
king, by the clouds at the end of summer, Duryodhana, O monarch,
addressed Dussasana, saying, ‘This heroic and great bowman Bhishma, this
slayer of heroes, hath, O bull of Bharata’s race, been surrounded on all
sides by the brave Pandavas. It is thy duty, O hero, to protect that
illustrious one. Protected by us in battle, our grandsire Bhishma will
slay all the Panchalas along with the Pandavas. The protection of
Bhishma. therefore, I think, is our highest duty, for this great bowman
of his vows, viz., Bhishma, is our protector in return. Therefore,
surrounding the grandsire with all our troops, do thou protect him, who
always achieveth the most difficult feats in battle. Thus addressed by
Duryodhana, thy son Dussasana, surrounding Bhishma with a large force on
all sides took up his position. Then Suvala’s son Sakuni, with hundreds
and thousands of horsemen having bright spears and swords and lances in
hand, and who formed a proud, well-dressed, and strong body bearing
standards, and who were mingled with excellent foot-soldiers that were
all well-trained and skilled in battle began to cheek Nakula, and
Sahadeva, and Yudhishthira the son of Pandu, surrounding those foremost
of men on all sides. Then king Duryodhana despatched ten thousand (other)
brave horsemen for resisting the Pandavas. When these rushed like so many
Garudas towards the enemy with great impetuosity, the earth, O king,
struck with their horse-hoofs, trembled and uttered a loud noise. And the
loud clatter of their hoofs was heard resembling the noise made by a
large forest of bamboos, in conflagration on a mountain. And as these
dashed over the field, there rose a cloud of dust, which rising to the
welkin shrouded the very Sun. And in consequence of those impetuous
steeds, the Pandava army was agitated like a large lake with a flight of
swans suddenly alighting on its bosom. And in consequence of their
neighing, nothing else could be heard there. Then king Yudhishthira, and
the two sons of Pandu by Madri, quickly checked the charge of those
horsemen in battle, like the continent, O king, bearing the force, at
full tide, of the surging sea swollen with the waters of the rainy
season. Then those (three) car-warriors, O monarch, with their straight
shafts, cut off the heads of those horse-riders. Slain by those strong
bowmen, they fell down, O king, (on the earth), like mighty elephants
tumbling into mountain caves, slain by huge compeers. Indeed, coursing
all over the field, those warriors (of the Pandavas army) cut off the
heads of those cavalry soldiers with sharp-bearded darts and straight
shafts. Struck with swords, those horsemen, O bull of Bharata’s race,
suffered their heads to drop like tall trees, dropping their fruits. All
over the field, O king, steeds along with their riders were seen fallen
or falling, deprived of life. And while being (thus) slaughtered, the
steeds, affected with panic, fled away like smaller animals desirous of
saving their lives at sight of the lion. And the Pandavas, O king, having
vanquished their foes in that great battle, blew their conches and beat
their drums. Then Duryodhana, filled with grief on seeing his troops
vanquished, addressed the ruler of the Madras, O chief of the Bharatas,
and said, ‘There, the eldest son of Pandu, accompanied by the twins in
battle, in thy very sight, O thou of mighty arms, routeth our troops, O
lord. O mighty-armed one, resist him like the continent resisting the
ocean. Thou art exceedingly well-known as possessed of might and prowess
that are irresistible.’ Hearing these words of thy son, the valiant Salya
proceeded with a large body of cars to the spot where Yudhishthira was.
Thereupon, the son of Pandu began to resist in battle that large host of
Salya rushing impetuously towards him with the force of a mighty wave.
And that mighty car-warrior, viz., king Yudhishthira the just, in that
battle quickly pierced the ruler of the Madras in the centre of the chest
with ten shafts. And Nakula and Sahadeva struck him with seven straight
shafts. The ruler of the Madras then struck each of them with three
arrows. And once more he pierced Yudhishthira with sixty sharp-pointed
arrows. And excited with wrath he struck each of the sons of Madri also
with two shafts. Then that vanquisher of foes, the mighty-armed Bhima,
beholding the king, in that great battle, staying within reach of Salya’s
car as if within the very jaws of Death, quickly proceeded to
Yudhishthira’s side. Then when the Sun, having passed the meridian, was
sinking, there commenced a fierce and terrible battle (on that part of
the field).


Sanjaya said, “Then thy sire, excited with wrath, began to strike the
Parthas and their troops all round, with excellent shafts of great
sharpness. And he pierced Bhima with twelve shafts, and Satyaki with
nine. And having pierced Nakula with three shafts, he pierced Sahadeva
with seven. And he pierced Yudhishthira in the arms and the chest with
twelve shafts. And piercing Dhrishtadyumna also, that mighty warrior
uttered a loud roar. Him Nakula pierced (in return) with twelve shafts,
and Satyaki with three. And Dhrishtadyumna pierced him with seventy
shafts, and Bhimasena with seven. And Yudhishthira pierced the grandsire
in return with twelve shafts. Drona (on the other hand), having pierced
Satyaki, pierced Bhimasena next. And he pierced each of them with five
sharp shafts, each of which resembled the rod of Death. Each of those
two, however, pierced Drona, that bull among Brahmanas, in return, with
three straight shafts. The Sauviras, the Kitavas, the Easterners, the
Westerners, the Northerners, the Malavas, the Abhishahas, the Surasenas,
the Sivis, and the Vasatis, did not avoid Bhishma in battle although they
were incessantly slaughtered by him with sharp shafts. And similarly
kings coming from diverse countries and armed with diverse weapons,
approached the Pandavas (without seeking to avoid them in battle). And
the Pandavas, O king, surrounded the grandsire on all sides. Surrounded
on all sides, yet unvanquished by that large body of cars, Bhishma blazed
up like a fire in the midst of a forest, and consumed his foes. His car
was his fire-chamber; his bow constituted the (flames of that fire);
swords, darts, and maces, constituted the fuel; his shafts were the
sparks (of that fire); and Bhishma was himself the fire that consumed the
foremost of Kshatriyas. Indeed, with shafts furnished with golden wings
and vulturine feathers and endued with great energy, with barbed arrows,
and nalikas, and long shafts, he covered the hostile host. And he felled
elephants and car-warriors also with his sharp shafts. And he made that
large body of cars resemble a forest of palmyras shorn of their leafy
heads. And that mighty armed warrior, that foremost of all wielders of
weapons, O king, deprived cars and elephants and steeds of their riders
in that conflict. And hearing the twang of his bow-string and the noise
of his palms, loud as the roar of the thunder, all the troops trembled, O
Bharata. The shafts of thy sire, O bull of Bharata’s race, told on the
foe. Indeed, shot from Bhishma’s bow they did not strike the coats of
mail only (but pierced them through). And we beheld, O king, many cars
destitute of their brave riders dragged over the field of battle, O
monarch, by the fleet steeds yoked unto them. Fourteen thousand
car-warriors, belonging to the Chedis, the Kasis, and the Karushas, of
great celebrity and noble parentage, prepared to lay down their lives,
unretreating from the field, and owning excellent standards decked with
gold, having met with Bhishma in battle who resembled the Destroyer
himself with wide-open mouth, all went to the other world along with
their cars, steeds, and elephants. And we beheld there, O king, cars by
hundreds and thousands, some with their axles and bottoms broken, and
some, O Bharata, with broken wheels. And the earth was strewn with cars
broken along with their wooden fences, with the prostrate forms of
car-warriors, with shafts, with beautiful but broken coats of mail, with
axes. O monarch; with maces and short arrows and sharp shafts, with
bottoms of cars, with quivers and broken wheels, O sire, with innumerable
bows and scimitars and heads decked with ear-rings; with leathern fences
and gloves and overthrown standards, and with bows broken in various
parts. And elephants, O king, destitute of riders, and slain horsemen (of
the Pandava army), lay dead. The valiant Pandavas notwithstanding all
their efforts, could not rally those car-warriors, who, afflicted by the
shafts of Bhishma, were flying away from the field. Indeed, O king, that
mighty host while being slaughtered by Bhishma endued with energy equal
to that of Indra himself, broke so completely that no two persons fled
together. With its cars, elephants, and steeds overthrown, and with its
standards laid low in profusion, the army of the sons of Pandu, deprived
of senses, uttered loud exclamations of woe. And at that time, sire slew
son, and son slew sire, and friend smote dear friend, impelled by fate.
And many combatants of the Pandavas army, throwing aside their armour,
were seen flying in all directions with dishevelled hair. Indeed, the
Pandava troops looked like bulls running wild in fear, and no longer
restrained by the yoke. Indeed, loud were the exclamations, we heard of
woe that they uttered.

“Then that delighter of the Yadavas, beholding the Pandava army breaking,
reined the excellent car (that he guided), and addressing Vibhatsu the
son of Pritha, said,–That hour is come, O Partha, which thou hadst hoped
for. Strike now, O tiger among men, or thou wilt be deprived of thy
senses. Formerly, O hero, thou saidst, O Partha, in that conclave of
kings in Virata’s city, in the presence also of Sanjaya, these words:–‘I
will slay all the warriors of Dhritarashtra’s son, all of them with their
followers, including, Bhishma and Drona, that would fight with me in
battle–O son of Kunti, O chastiser of foes, make those words of thine
true. Remembering the duty of a Kshatriya, fight, without any anxiety.’
Thus addressed by Vasudeva, Arjuna hung down his head and looked askance
at him. And Vibhatsu replied very unwillingly, saying, ‘To acquire
sovereignty with hell in the end, having slain those who should not be
slain, or the woes of an exile in the woods,–(these are the
alternatives). Which of these should I achieve? Urge the steeds, O
Hrishikesa, I will do thy bidding. I will overthrow the Kuru grandsire
Bhishma, that invincible warrior.’–Thus asked, Madhava urged those
steeds of a silvery hue, to the spot where Bhishma, incapable of being
looked at like the Sun himself, was staying. Then that large host of
Yudhishthira rallied and came again to the fight, beholding the
mighty-armed Partha proceeding for an encounter with Bhishma. Then
Bhishma that foremost one among the Kurus, repeatedly roared like a lion.
And he soon covered Dhananjaya’s car with a shower of arrows. Within a
trice that car of his with its steeds and charioteer, became entirely
invisible in consequence of that thick shower of arrows. Vasudeva,
however, without fear, mustering patience, and endued with great
activity, urged those steeds mangled with Bhishma’s shafts. Then Partha,
taking up his celestial bow of twang loud as the roar of the clouds,
caused Bhishma’s bow to drop from his hands, cutting it (into fragments)
by means of his sharp shafts. Then thy sire, the Kuru hero, whose bow had
thus been cut off, stringed another large bow within the twinkling of the
eye. Arjuna, however, excited with wrath, cut that bow also of his. The
son of Santanu applauded that lightness of hand displayed by Arjuna,
saying, ‘Well done, Well done, O mighty-armed one. Well done, O son of
Kunti.’–Having addressed him thus, Bhishma took up another beautiful bow
in that battle, and shot many arrows at Partha’s car. And Vasudeva showed
great skill in the management of steeds, for, displaying the circling
motion he baffled all those arrows (of Bhishma). Mangled with the arrows
of Bhishma, those two tigers among men looked beautiful like two angry
bulls marked with scratches of horns. Then that slayer of hostile heroes,
viz., the mighty-armed Vasudeva of Madhu’s race beholding that Partha was
fighting mildly and that Bhishma was incessantly scattering his arrowy
showers in battle, and that stationed between the two hosts, he latter
was scorching everything like the Sun himself, smiting down the foremost
of Yudhishthira’s combatants, and, in fact, achieving feat on
Yudhishthira’s army like unto what happeneth at the end of the Yuga,
could not any longer bear it. Abandoning then, O sire, Partha’s steeds
that looked like silver, and filled with wrath, that great lord of Yoga
powers jumped down from that great car. Repeatedly roaring like a lion,
the mighty Krishna of great energy and immeasurable splendour, the Lord
of Universe, with eyes red as copper from rage, and having his bare arms
alone for his weapons, rushed towards Bhishma, whip in hand, desirous of
slaying him and seeming to split the universe itself with his tread.
Beholding Madhava in the vicinity of Bhishma and about to fall upon him
in that furious battle, the hearts of all the combatants seemed to be in
a stupor. ‘Bhishma is slain, Bhishma is slain.’–These loud exclamations
were heard there, O king, caused by the fear inspired by Vasudeva. Robed
in yellow silk, and himself dark as the lapis lazuli, Janarddana, when he
pursued Bhishma, looked beautiful as a mass of clouds charged with
lightning. Like a lion towards an elephant, or the leader of a bovine
herd upon another of his species, that bull of Madhu’s race, with a loud
roar, impetuously rushed towards Bhishma. Beholding him of eyes like
lotus petals (thus) rushing towards him in that battle, Bhishma began to
fearlessly draw his large bow. And with a fearless heart he addressed
Govinda, saying, ‘Come, come, O thou of eyes like lotus petals. O God of
the gods, I bow to thee. O best of the Satwatas, throw me down today in
this great battle. O god, slain by thee in battle, O sinless one, great
will be the good done to me, O Krishna, in every respect in the world.
Amongst all, in the three worlds, great is the honour done to me today in
battle, O Govinda. Strike me as thou pleasest, for I am thy slave, O
sinless one.’ Meanwhile, the mighty-armed Partha. quickly following
Kesava behind, seized him by encircling him with his two arms. That best
of male beings, viz., Krishna, of eyes like lotus petals, seized by
Partha, still proceeded with great speed, bearing the latter away with
him. The mighty Partha, that slayer of hostile heroes, however, forcibly
catching hold of his legs, stopped Hrishikesa with great difficulty at
the tenth step. Then Arjuna his dear friend, filled with sorrow,
affectionately addressed Kesava, who was then sighing like a snake and
whose eyes were troubled in wrath, saying, ‘O thou of mighty arms, stop,
O Kesava, it behoveth thee not to make those words false which thou hadst
spoken before, viz., I will not fight. O Madhava, people will say that
thou art a liar. All this burden resteth upon me. I will slay the
grandsire. I swear, O Kesava, by my weapons, by truth, and my good deeds,
that, O slayer of foes, I will do all by which the destruction of my foes
may be achieved. Behold this very day that invincible and mighty
car-warrior in the act of being thrown down by me, with the greatest
ease, like the crescent moon at the end of the Yuga (when the destruction
of the universe comes). Madhava, however, hearing these words of the
high-souled Phalguni, spoke not a word, but in anger once more mounted
upon the car. And then upon those two tigers among men, when stationed on
their car, Bhishma the son of Santanu, once more poured his arrowy
showers like the clouds pouring rain upon the mountain-breast. Thy sire
Devavrata took the lives of the (hostile) warriors like the Sun sucking
with his rays the energies of all things during summer. As the Pandavas
had been breaking the ranks of the Kurus in battle, so thy sire broke the
Pandava ranks in battle. And the routed soldiers, helpless and heartless,
slaughtered in hundreds and thousands by Bhishma, were unable to even
look at him in that battle,–him who resembled the mid-day Sun blazing in
his own splendour. Indeed, the Pandavas afflicted with fear, timidly
gazed at Bhishma who was then achieving super-human feats in that battle.
And the Pandava troops, thus fleeing away, O Bharata, failed to find a
protector, like a herd of kine sunk in a shoal of ants while being trod
down by a strong person. Indeed, the Pandavas could not, O Bharata, look
at that mighty car-warrior incapable of being shaken, who, furnished with
a profusion of shafts, was scorching the kings (in the Pandava army), and
who in consequence of those shafts looked like the blazing Sun shedding
his fiery rays. And while he was thus grinding the Pandava army, the
thousand-rayed maker of day repaired to the setting hills, and the
troops, worn with fatigue, set their hearts on withdrawal (from the


Sanjaya said, “While they were battling, the Sun set, O Bharata, aid
there came the dreadful hour of twilight and the battle could no longer
be seen. Then king Yudhishthira, seeing that twilight had come and that
his own troops, slaughtered by Bhishma, had thrown aside their weapons,
and that stricken with fear, and turned off the field, they were seeking
to flee away, and beholding Bhishma also, that mighty car-warrior,
excited with wrath and afflicting everybody in fight, and noticing that
the mighty car-warriors of the Somakas, having been vanquished, had all
become cheerless, reflected a little, and then ordered the troops to be
withdrawn. Then king Yudhishthira withdrew his forces. And similarly, the
withdrawal of thy forces also took place at the same time. Then those
mighty car-warriors, O chief of the Kurus, having withdrawn their forces,
entered their tents, themselves mangled in battle. Afflicted by the
shafts of Bhishma and reflecting upon that hero’s feats in battle, the
Pandavas obtained no peace of mind. Bhishma also, having vanquished the
Pandavas and the Srinjayas in battle, was worshipped by thy sons and
glorified by them, O Bharata. Accompanied by the rejoicing Kurus, he then
entered his tent. Night then set in, that deprives all creatures of their
senses. Then in that fierce hour of night, the Pandavas, the Vrishnis and
the invincible Srinjayas sat down for a consultation. All those mighty
persons, skilled in arriving at conclusions in council, coolly
deliberated about that which was beneficial for them in view of their
immediate circumstances. Then king Yudhishthira, having reflected for a
long while, said these words, casting his eyes on Vasudeva, ‘Behold, O
Krishna, the high-souled Bhishma of fierce prowess. He crusheth my troops
like an elephant crushing a forest of reeds. We dare not even look at
that high-souled warrior. Like a raging conflagration he licketh up my
troops. The valiant Bhishma of keen weapons, when excited with wrath in
battle and bow in hand shooting his shafts, becometh as fierce as the
mighty Naga Takshaka of virulent poison. Indeed, the angry Yama is
capable of being vanquished, or even the chief of the celestials armed
with the thunder, or Varuna himself, noose in hand, or the Lord of the
Yakshas armed with mace. But Bhishma, excited with wrath, is incapable of
being vanquished in battle. When this is the case, O Krishna, I am,
through the weakness of my understanding, plunged in an ocean of grief
having got Bhishma (as a foe) in battle. I will retire into the woods, O
invincible one. My exile there would be for my benefit. Battle, O
Krishna, I no longer desire. Bhishma slayeth us always. As an insect, by
rushing into a blazing fire meeteth only with death, even so do I rush
upon Bhishma. In putting forth prowess, O thou of Vrishni’s race, for the
sake of my kingdom, I am, alas, led to destruction. My brave brothers
have all been exceedingly afflicted with arrows. In consequence of the
affection they bear to myself their (eldest) brother they had to go into
the woods, deprived of kingdom. For myself alone, O slayer of Madhu, hath
Krishna been sunk into such distress. I regard life to be of high value.
Indeed, even life now seemeth to be difficult of being saved. (If I can
save that life), its latter remnant will I pass in the practice of
excellent virtue. If, with my brothers, O Kesava, I am worthy of thy
favour, tell me, O Krishna, what is for my benefit, without contravening
the duties of my order. Hearing these words of his, and (describing the
situation) in detail, Krishna, from compassion, said these words in reply
for comforting Yudhishthira, ‘O son of Dharma, O thou that art firm in
truth, do thou not indulge in sorrow, thou that hast these invincible
heroes, these slayers of foes, for thy brothers. Arjuna and Bhimasena are
each endued with the energy of the Wind and the Fire. The twin sons of
Madri also are each as valiant as the Chief of the celestials himself.
From the good understanding that exists between us, do thou set me also
to this task. Even I, O son of Pandu, will fight with Bhishma. Directed
by thee, O great king, what is there that I may not do in great battle.
Challenging that bull among men, viz., Bhishma, I will slay him in
battle, in the very sight of the Dhartarashtras, if Phalguni doth not
wish to slay him. If, O son of Pandu, thou seest victory to be certain on
the slaughter of the heroic Bhishma, even, I, on a single car, will slay
that aged grandsire of the Kurus. Behold, O king, my prowess, equal to
that of the great Indra in battle. I will overthrow from his car that
warrior who always shooteth mighty weapons. He that is an enemy of the
sons of Pandu, without doubt, is my enemy also. They, that are yours, are
mine, and so they, that are mine, are yours. Thy brother (Arjuna) is my
friend, relative, and disciple. I will, O king, cut off my own flesh and
give it away for the sake of Arjuna. And this tiger among men also can
lay down his life for my sake. O sire, even this is our understanding,
viz., that we will protect each other. Therefore, command me, O king, in
what way I am to fight. Formerly, at Upaplavya, Partha had, in the
presence of many persons, vowed, saying, ‘I will slay the son of Ganga.’
These words of the intelligent Partha should be observed (in practice).
Indeed, if Partha requests me without doubt I will fulfill that vow. Or,
let it be the task of Phalguni himself in battle. It is not heavy for
him. He will slay Bhishma, that subjugator of hostile cities. If excited
in battle, Partha can achieve feats that are incapable of being achieved
by others. Arjuna can slay in battle the very gods exerting themselves
actively, along with the Daityas and the Danavas. What need be said of
Bhishma, therefore, O king? Endued with great energy, Bhishma, the son of
Santanu, is now of perverted judgment, of intelligence decayed, and of
little sense, without doubt, he knoweth not what he should do.’

“Hearing these words of Krishna, Yudhishthira said, ‘It is even so, O
thou of mighty arms, even as thou sayest, O thou of Madhu’s race. All
these together are not competent to bear thy force. I am sure of always
having whatever I desire, when, O tiger among men, I have thyself staying
on my side. O foremost of victorious persons, I would conquer the very
gods with Indra at their head, when, O Govinda, I have thee for my
protector. What need I say, therefore, of Bhishma, though he is a mighty
car-warrior? But, O Krishna, I dare not, for my own glorification,
falsify thy words. Therefore, O Madhava, as promised before by thee,
render me aid without fighting for me. In this battle an agreement was
made by me with Bhishma. He said,–I will give thee counsel, but fight I
shall never for thee, since I shall have to fight for Duryodhana’s sake.
Know this for truth. Therefore, O Lord, Bhishma may give me sovereignty
by giving me good counsel, O Madhava. Therefore, O slayer of Madhu, all
of us accompanied by thee, will once more repair unto Devavrata, for
asking him about the means of his own death. All of us then, O best of
persons, together going to Bhishma without delay, will speedily ask him
of Kuru’s race his advice. O Janardana, he will truly give us beneficial
counsel; and O Krishna, I will do in battle what he will say. Of austere
vows, he will give us counsel, as also victory. We were children and
orphans. By him were we reared. O Madhava, him, our aged grandsire, I
wish to day,–him, the sire of our sire. Oh, fie upon the profession of a

Sanjaya continued, “Hearing these words, O king, he of Vrishni’s race
said unto Yudhishthira, ‘O thou of great wisdom, these words of thine, O
king, are to my taste. Bhishma, otherwise called Devavrata, is skilled in
weapons. With only his glances he can consume the foe. Repair unto that
son of the Ocean-going (Ganga), for asking him about the means of his
death. Asked by thee, in particular, he will certainly say the truth. We
will, therefore, proceed for questioning the Kuru grandsire. Repairing
unto the reverend son of Santanu, we will, O Bharata, ask him his advice
and according to the advice that he will give us we will fight with the
foe.’ Having thus deliberated, O elder brother of Pandu, the heroic sons
of Pandu, and the valiant Vasudeva, all proceeded together towards the
abode of Bhishma, casting aside their coats of mail and weapons and
entering then his tent, they all bowed to him, bending their heads. And
the sons of Pandu, O king, worshipping that bull of Bharata’s race, and
bowing unto him with their heads, sought his protection. The Kuru
grandsire, the mighty-armed Bhishma, then addressed them, saying,
‘Welcome art thou, O thou of Vrishni’s race. Welcome art thou, O
Dhananjaya. Welcome to thee, O king Yudhishthira the just, Ad to thee, O
Bhima. Welcome to you also, ye twins. What am I to do now for enhancing
your joy? Even if it be exceedingly difficult of achievement, I will yet
do it with all my soul. Unto the son of Ganga who thus repeatedly spoke
unto them with such affection, king Yudhishthira, with a cheerful heart,
lovingly said, these words, ‘O thou that art conversant with everything,
how shall we obtain victory, and how shall we acquire sovereignty? How
also may this destruction of creatures be stopped? Say all these unto me,
O lord. Tell us the means of thy own death. How, O hero, shall we be able
to bear thee in battle? O grandsire of the Kurus, thou givest not thy
foes even a minute hole to pick in thee. Thou art seen in battle with thy
bow ever drawn to a circle. When thou takest thy shafts, when aimest
them, and when drawest the bow (for letting them off), no one is able to
mark. O slayer of hostile heroes, constantly smiting (as thou dost) cars
and steeds and men and elephants, we behold thee on thy car, O
mighty-armed one, to resemble a second Sun. What man is there, O bull of
Bharata’s race, who can venture to vanquish thee, scattering showers of
arrows in battle, and causing a great destruction. Tell me, O grandsire,
the means by which we may vanquish thee in battle, by which sovereignty
may be ours, and lastly, by which my army may not have to undergo such
destruction. Hearing these words, Santanu’s son, O elder brother of
Pandu, said unto the son of Pandu, ‘As long as I am alive, O son of
Kunti, victory cannot be yours in battle, O thou of great wisdom. Truly
do I say this unto thee. After, however, I am vanquished in fight, ye may
have victory in battle, ye sons of Pandu. If, therefore, ye desire
victory in the battle, smite me down without delay. I give you
permission, ye sons of Pritha, strike me as ye please. I am thus known to
you in what I regard to be a fortunate circumstance.[472] After I am
slain, all the rest will be slain. Therefore, do as I bid’.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell us the means by which we may vanquish thee in
battle, thee that art, when excited with wrath in the fight, like unto
the Destroyer himself armed with mace. The wielder of the thunder-bolt
may be vanquished or Varuna, or Yama. Thou, however, art incapable of
being defeated in battle by even the gods and Asuras united together,
with Indra at their head.’

“Bhishma said, ‘That, O son of Pandu, is true, which thou sayest. O thou,
of mighty arms. When with weapons and my large bow in hand I contend
carefully in battle, I am incapable of being defeated by the very gods
and the Asuras with Indra at their head. If, however, I lay aside my
weapons, even these car-warriors can slay me. One that hath thrown away
his weapons, one that hath fallen down, one whose armour hath slipped
off, one whose standard is down, one who is flying away, one who is
frightened, one who says–I am thine–one who is a female, one who
beareth the name of a female, one no longer capable of taking care of
one’s self, one who hath only a single son, or one who is a vulgar
fellows,–with these I do not like to battle. Hear also, O king, about my
resolve formed before. Beholding any inauspicious omen I would never
fight. That mighty car-warrior, the son of Drupada, O king, whom thou
hast in thy army, who is known by the name of Sikhandin, who is wrathful
in battle, brave, and ever victorious, was a female before but
subsequently obtained manhood. How all this took place, ye all know it
truly. Brave in battle and clad in mail, let Arjuna, keeping Sikhandin
before him, attack me with his sharp shafts. When that inauspicious omen
will be there, especially in the form of one that was a female before, I
will never seek, though armed with bow and arrow, to strike him.
Obtaining that opportunity, let Dhananjaya the son of Pandu quickly
pierce me on every side with his shafts, O bull of Bharata’s race. Except
the highly blessed Krishna, and Dhananjaya the son of Pandu, I do not
behold the person in the three worlds who is able to slay me while
exerting myself in battle. Let Vibhatsu, therefore, armed with weapons,
struggling carefully in battle, with his excellent bow in hand, placing
(Sikhandin or) something else before, throw, me down (from my car). Then
the victory will be certain. Do this, O great king, even this that I have
said unto thee, O thou of excellent vows. Thou wilt then be able to slay
all Dhartarashtras assembled together in battle.’

Sanjaya continued, “The Parthas then, having ascertained all this went
back to their tents, saluting the Kuru grandsire, viz., the high-souled
Bhishma. After Ganga’s son, prepared to go to the other world, had said
this, Arjuna. burning with grief and his face suffused in shame, said
these words, ‘How, O Madhava, shall I fight in battle with the grandsire
who is my senior in years, who is possessed of wisdom and intelligence,
and who is the oldest member of our race? While sporting in days of
childhood, O Vasudeva, I used to smear the body of this high-souled and
illustrious one with dust by climbing on his lap with my own filthy body.
O elder brother of Gada, he is the sire of my sire Pandu. While a child,
climbing on the lap of this high-souled one I once called him father, I
am not thy father but thy father’s father, O Bharata!–even this is what
he said to me (in reply) in my childhood. He who said so, Oh, how can he
be slain by me. O, let my army perish. Whether, it is victory or death
that I obtain I will never fight that high-souled person. (Even this is
what I think). What dost thou think, O Krishna!’

“Vasudeva said, ‘Having vowed the slaughter of Bhishma before, O Jishnu,
how canst thou abstain from slaying him, agreeably to the duties of a
Kshatriya? Throw down from his car, O Partha, that Kshatriya who is
invincible in battle. Victory can never be yours without slaying Ganga’s
son. Even thus shall he go to the abode of Yama. This hath been settled
before by the gods. That which hath been destined before, O Partha, must
happen. It cannot be otherwise. None save thee, O invincible one, not
even the wielder of the thunder-bolt himself, would be capable of
fighting with Bhishma, who is like the Destroyer with wide-open mouth.
Slay Bhishma, without any anxiety. Listen also to these words of mine
that are what Vrihaspati of great intelligence had said unto Sakra in
days of old. One should slay even an aged person endued with every merit
and worthy of reverence if he cometh as a foe, or, indeed any other who
approacheth for destroying one’s self–O Dhananjaya, this is the eternal
duty sanctioned for the Kshatriya, viz., that they should fight, protect
subjects, and perform sacrifices, all without malice.’

“Arjuna said, ‘Sikhandin, O Krishna, will certainly be the cause of
Bhishma’s death, for Bhishma, as soon as he beholds the prince of the
Panchalas, abstains from striking. Therefore, keeping Sikhandin before
him and at our head, we will, by that means, overthrow the son of Ganga.
Even this is what I think. I will hold in check other great bowmen with
my shafts. As regards Sikhandin, he will fight with Bhishma alone, that
foremost of all warriors. I have heard from that chief of the Kurus that
he would not strike Sikhandin, for having been born before as a woman he
subsequently became a male person.’

Sanjaya continued, “Having settled this with Bhishma’s permission, the
Pandavas, along with Madhava, went away with rejoicing hearts. And then
those bulls among men retired to their respective beds.”


Dhritarashtra said, “How did Sikhandin advance against the son of Ganga
in battle, and how did Bhishma also advance against the Pandavas? Say all
this unto me, O Sanjaya!”

Sanjaya said, “Then all those Pandavas, towards the hour of sun-rise,
with beat of drums and cymbals and smaller drums, and with the blare of
conches of milky whiteness, all around, went out for battle, placing
Sikhandin in their van. And they marched out, O king, having formed an
array that was destructive of all foes. And Sikhandin, O monarch, was
stationed in the very van of all the troops. And Bhimasena and Dhananjaya
became the protectors of his car-wheels. And in his rear were the sons of
Draupadi and the valiant Abhimanyu. And those mighty car-warriors, viz.,
Satyaki and Chekitana, became the protectors of the last. And behind them
was Dhrishtadyumna protected by the Panchalas. Next to Dhrishtadyumna,
behind, marched the royal lord Yudhishthira, accompanied by the twins,
filling the air with leonine shouts, O bull of Bharata’s race. Next
behind him was Virata, surrounded by his own troops. Next to him marched
Drupada, O mighty-armed one. And the five Kaikeya brothers and the
valiant Dhrishtaketu, O Bharata, protected the rear of the Pandava army.
Having disposed their vast army in such an array, the Pandavas rushed
against thy host, prepared to cast away their lives. And similarly the
Kauravas, O king, placing that mighty car-warrior Bhishma at the head of
their whole host, proceeded against the Pandavas. And that invincible
warrior was protected by thy mighty sons. Next behind them was the great
bowman Drona, as also his mighty son (Aswatthaman). Next behind was
Bhagadatta surrounded by his elephant division. And behind Bhagadatta
were Kripa and Kritavarman. Behind them were Sudakshina the mighty ruler
of the Kamvojas, and Jayatsena, the king of the Magadhas, and Suvala’s
son and Vrihadvala. And similarly, many other kings, that were all great
bowmen, protected the rear of thy host, O Bharata. As each day came,
Bhishma the son of Santanu, formed arrays in battle, sometimes after the
manner of the Asuras, sometimes after that of the Pisachas, and sometimes
after that of the Rakshasas. Then commenced the battle between thy
troops, O Bharata, and theirs, both parties smiting one another and
increasing the population of Yama’s kingdom. And the Parthas with Arjuna
at their head, placing Sikhandin in the van, proceeded against Bhishma in
that battle, scattering diverse kinds of arrows. And then, O Bharata
afflicted by Bhishma with his shafts, (many of) thy warriors, profusely
bathed in blood, repaired to the other world. And Nakula and Sahadeva,
and the mighty car-warrior Satyaki, approaching thy army, began to
afflict it with great vigour. Thus slaughtered in battle, O bull of
Bharata’s race, thy warriors were unable to resist that vast host of the
Pandavas. Then thy host, vigorously afflicted by great car-warriors and
thus slaughtered by them everywhere, fled away on all sides. Slaughtered
with sharp shafts by the Pandavas and the Srinjayas they found not a
protector, O bull of Bharata’s race.”

Dhritarashtra said, “Tell me, O Sanjaya, what the valiant Bhishma,
excited with rage, did in battle, upon beholding my host afflicted by the
Parthas. O sinless one, tell me how that hero, that chastiser of foes,
rushed against the Pandavas in battle, and slaughtered the Somakas.”

Sanjaya said, “I will tell thee, O king, what thy sire did when thy sons’
host was afflicted by the Pandavas and the Srinjayas. With cheerful
hearts, the brave sons of Pandu, O elder brother of Pandu, encountered
thy son’s host, slaughtering (all whom they met). That carnage, O chief
of men, of human beings, elephants and steeds, that destruction by the
foe of thy army in battle, Bhishma could not brook. That invincible and
great bowman, then, reckless of his very life poured upon the Pandavas,
the Panchalas, and the Srinjayas, showers of long shafts and calf-toothed
and crescent-shaped arrows. And with weapons, O monarch, he checked with
his shafts and with showers of other weapons, both offensive and
defensive, all sped with energy and wrath, the five foremost of mighty
car-warriors of the Pandavas, who had been struggling vigorously in
battle. Excited with wrath, he slaughtered in that battle countless
elephants and steeds. And that bull among men, O monarch, throwing down
many car-warriors from their cars,[473] and horsemen from their horses,
and crowds of foot soldiers, and elephant-warriors from the backs of the
beasts they rode, struck terror into the foe. And the Pandava warriors
all rushed together upon Bhishma singly, upon that mighty car-warrior
struggling in battle with great activity, like the Asuras rushing
together upon him with the thunderbolt in hand. Shooting on all sides his
whetted arrows whose touch resembled that of Indra’s thunder, he seemed
to the enemy to have assembled a terrible visage. While fighting in that
battle, his large bow, resembling that of Sakra himself, seemed to be
always drawn to a circle. Beholding those feats in battle, thy sons, O
monarch, filled with exceeding wonder, worshipped the grandsire. The
Parthas cast their eyes, with cheerless hearts, upon thy heroic sire
struggling in battle, like the celestials upon (the Asura) Viprachitti
(in days of old).[474] They could not resist that warrior who then
resembled the Destroyer himself with wide-open mouth. In that battle on
the tenth day, Bhishma, with his sharp shafts, consumed the division of
Sikhandin like a conflagration consuming a forest. Him resembling an
angry snake of virulent poison, or the Destroyer urged by Death himself,
Sikhandin pierced with three shafts in the centre of the chest. Deeply
pierced therewith, Bhishma saw that it was Sikhandin (who was piercing
him). Excited with wrath, but unwilling (to fight with Sikhandin) Bhishma
laughingly said, ‘Whether thou choosest to strike me or not, I will never
fight with thee. Thou art that Sikhandin still which the Creator had made
thee first’,[475] Hearing these words of his, Sikhandin, deprived of his
senses by wrath, and licking the corners of his mouth addressed Bhishma
in that battle, saying, ‘I know thee, O mighty-armed one, to be the
exterminator of the Kshatriya race. I have heard also of thy battle with
Jamadagni’s son. I have also heard much of thy super-human prowess.
Knowing thy prowess I will still fight with thee today. For doing what is
agreeable to the Pandavas and is agreeable to my own self, O chastiser of
foes, I will today fight with thee in battle, O best of men. I will, of a
certainty, slay thee. I swear this before thee by my troth! Hearing these
words of mine, do that which thou shouldst. Whether thou choosest to
strike me or not, thou shall not escape me with life. O thou that art
ever victorious, O Bhishma, look thy last on this world.

Sanjaya continued, “Having said so, Sikhandin in that battle pierced
Bhishma with five straight shafts, having already pierced him with his
wordy shafts. Hearing those words of his, the mighty car-warrior Arjuna,
regarding Sikhandin to be Bhishma’s Destroyer, urged him on, saying, ‘I
will fight behind thee, routing the foe with my shafts. Excited with
fury, rush thou against Bhishma of terrible prowess. The mighty Bhishma
will not be able to afflict thee in battle. Therefore, O mighty-armed
one, encounter Bhishma with vigor. If, O sire, thou returnest today
without slaying Bhishma, thou wilt, with myself, be an object of ridicule
to the world. Seek to do that in battle by which, O hero, we may not
incur ridicule in this great battle. Stay the grandsire. O thou of great
strength, I will protect thee in this battle, checking all the
car-warriors (of the Kuru army). Do thou slay the grandsire. Drona, and
Drona’s son, and Kripa, and Suyodhana, and Chitrasena, and Vikarna, and
Jayadratha the ruler of the Sindhus, Vinda and Anuvinda. of Avanti, and
Sudakshina the ruler of the Kamvojas, and the brave Bhagadatta, and the
mighty king of the Magadhas, and Somadatta’s son, and the brave Rakshasas
who is Rishyasringa’s son and the ruler of the Trigartas, alone with all
the other great car-warriors (of the Kuru army). I will check like the
continent resisting the surging sea. Indeed, I will hold in check all the
mighty warriors of the Kuru army assembled together and battling with us.
Do thou slay the grandsire.’


Dhritarashtra said, “How did Sikhandin the prince of the Panchalas,
excited with wrath, rushed in battle against the grandsire, viz., Ganga’s
son of righteous soul and regulated vows. What mighty car-warriors of the
Pandavas army, upraised weapons, desirous of victory, and exerting
themselves with activity, protected Sikhandin on that occasion which
required great activity? How also did Bhishma the son of Santanu, endued
with great energy, fight on that tenth day of battle with the Pandavas
and the Srinjayas? I cannot brook the idea of Sikhandin encountering
Bhishma in battle. (Indeed, when Sikhandin attacked Bhishma), was
Bhishma’s car or his bow broken?”

Sanjaya said, “While fighting in that battle, O bull of Bharata’s race,
neither the bow nor the car of Bhishma had suffered any injury. He was
then slaying the foe with straight shafts. Many thousands of mighty
car-warriors belonging to thy army, as also elephants, O king, and steeds
well harnessed, proceeded for battle, with the grandsire in the van.
Agreeably to his vow, O thou of Kuru’s race, the ever-victorious Bhishma
was incessantly engaged in slaughtering the troops of the Parthas. The
Panchalas and the Pandavas were unable to bear that great bowman battling
(with them) and slaying his foes with his shafts. When the tenth day
came, the hostile army was torn into pieces by Bhishma with his shafts by
hundreds and thousands. O elder brother of Pandu, the sons of Pandu were
incapable of defeating in battle the great bowman Bhishma who resembled
the Destroyer himself armed with the lance.

“Then, O king, the unvanquished Vibhatsu or Dhananjaya, who was capable
of drawing the bow with even the left hand, came to that spot,
frightening all the car-warriors. Roaring loudly like a lion, and
repeatedly drawing the bow-string, and scattering showers of arrows,
Partha careered on the field of battle like Death himself. Frightened at
those roars of his, thy warriors, O bull of Bharata’s race, fled away in
terror, like smaller animals, O king, at the sound of the lion. Beholding
the son of Pandu crowned with victory and thus afflicting that host,
Duryodhana, himself under the influence of terror addressed Bhishma and
said, ‘You son of Pandu, O sire, with white steeds (yoked unto his car),
and having Krishna for his charioteer, consumeth all my troops like a
conflagration consuming a forest. Behold, O son of Ganga, all troops,
slaughtered by Pandu’s son in battle, are, O foremost of warriors,
fleeing away. Indeed, as the herdsman belaboureth his cattle in the
forest, even so, O scorcher of foes is my army being belaboured. Broken
and driven away on all sides by Dhananjaya with his shafts, the
invincible Bhima is also routing that (already broken) host of mine. And
Satyaki, and Chekitana, and the twin sons of Madri, and the valiant
Abhimanyu,–these also are routing my troops. The brave Dhrishtadyumna,
and the Rakshasa Ghatotkacha also, are vigorously breaking and driving
away my army in this fierce conflict. Of these troops that are being
slaughtered by all those mighty car-warriors, I do not see any other
refuge in the matter of their staying and fighting on the field, O
Bharata, save thee, O tiger among men, that art possessed of prowess
equal to that of the celestials, Therefore, receive thou those great
car-warriors without delay, and be thou the refuge of these afflicted
troops. Thus addressed by him, O king, thy sire Devavrata, the son of
Santanu, reflecting for a moment and settling what he should do, said
these words unto thy son, comforting him (therewith), ‘O Duryodhana,
listen calmly to what I say, O king, O thou of great might, formerly I
vowed before thee that slaying every day ten thousand high-souled
Kshatriyas, I would come back from the battle. I have fulfilled that vow,
O bull of Bharata’s race! O thou of great might, today I will achieve
even a great feat. Today I will either sleep myself being slain, or, I
will slay the Pandavas. O tiger among men, I will today free myself from
the debt I owe thee,–the debt, O king, arising out of the food, thou
gavest me,–by casting away my life at the head of thy army.’ Having said
these words, O chief of the Bharatas, that invincible warrior, scattering
his shafts among the Kshatriyas, attacked the Pandava host. And the
Pandavas then, O bull of Bharata’s race, began to resist the son of Ganga
staying in the midst of his forces and excited with wrath like a snake of
virulent poison. Indeed, O king, on that tenth day of the battle,
Bhishma, displaying his might, slew, O son of Kuru’s race, hundreds of
thousands. And he drained the energies of those royal and mighty
car-warriors that were the foremost among the Panchalas, like the Sun
sucking up the moisture (of the earth) with his rays. Having slain ten
thousand elephants of great activity and ten thousand steeds also, O
king, along with their riders, and full two hundred thousands of
foot-soldiers, that best of men, viz., Bhishma, shone resplendent in
battle like a fire without a curl of smoke. And no one amongst the
Pandavas was capable of even looking at him who then resembled the
burning Sun staying in the northern solstice. The Pandavas, however,
though afflicted in battle by that great bowman, still rushed,
accompanied by the mighty car-warriors of the Srinjayas, for slaughtering
him. Battling with myriads upon myriads around him, Santanu’s son Bhishma
then looked like the cliff of Meru covered on all sides with masses of
clouds. Thy sons, however, stood, surrounding Bhishma on all sides with a
large force (for protecting him). Then commenced a fierce battle (between
the Kurus and the Pandavas).”


Sanjaya said, “Arjuna then, O king, beholding the prowess of Bhishma in
battle, addressed Sikhandin saying, ‘Proceed towards the grandsire. Thou
shouldst not entertain the slightest fear of Bhishma today. Even I will
throw him down from his excellent car by means of my sharp shafts’. Thus
addressed by Partha, Sikhandin, O bull of Bharata’s race, having heard
those words, rushed at the son of Ganga. And so Dhrishtadyumna also, O
king, and the mighty car-warrior Abhimanyu, having heard those words of
Partha, joyfully rushed at Bhishma. And old Virata and Drupada, and
Kuntibhoja also, clad in mail, rushed at Bhishma in the very sight of thy
son. And Nakula, Sahadeva, and the valiant king Yudhishthira also, and
all the rest of the warriors, O monarch, rushed against Bhishma. As
regards thy warriors O king, that rushed, according to the measure of
their might and courage, against those mighty car-warriors (of the
Pandava army) united together, listen to me as I speak (of them) unto
thee. Like a young tiger attacking a bull, Chitrasena, O king, rushed
against Chekitana who in that battle was proceeding for getting at
Bhishma. Kritavarman, O king, resisted Dhrishtadyumna who had reached the
presence of Bhishma and who was exerting himself with great activity and
vigour in that battle. Somadatta’s son, O monarch, with great activity,
resisted Bhimasena excited with fury and desirous of slaying Bhishma.
Similarly Vikarna, desirous of (protecting) Bhishma’s life, resisted the
brave Nakula who was scattering innumerable arrows around. And so, O
king, Kripa the son of Saradwat, excited with rage, resisted Sahadeva
proceeding towards Bhishma’s car. And the mighty Durmukha rushed at that
Rakshasa of cruel deeds, viz., the mighty son of Bhishmasena, desirous of
Bhishma’s slaughter. Thy son Duryodhana himself resisted Satyaki
proceeding to battle. Sudakshina the ruler of the Kamavojas, O king,
resisted Abhimanyu, O monarch, who was proceeding towards Bhishma’s car.
And Aswatthaman, O king, excited with rage, resisted old Virata and
Drupada, those two chastisers of foes united together. And Bharadwaja’s
son, exerting himself with vigour in battle, resisted the eldest Pandava,
that is to say, king Yudhishthira the just, who was desirous of Bhishma’s
death. And that great bowman, viz., Dussasana, in that battle, resisted
Arjuna who was rushing with great speed, with Sikhandin before him,
desirous of coming upon Bhishma, O monarch, and illuminating the ten
quarters (with his bright weapons). And other warriors of thy army
resisted in that great battle other mighty car-warriors of the Pandavas
proceeding against Bhishma. Dhrishtadyumna, that mighty car-warrior,
excited with rage, rushed against Bhishma alone and addressing the
troops, repeatedly said in a loud voice, ‘There, Arjuna, that delighter
of Kuru’s race, is proceeding against Bhishma in battle. Rush ye against
Ganga’s son. Be not afraid. Bhishma will not be able to attack you in
battle.[476] Vasava himself cannot venture to fight with Arjuna in
battle. What therefore, need be said of Bhishma who, though possessed of
bravery in battle, is feeble and old.” Hearing these words of their
commander, the mighty car-warriors of the Pandava army, filled with joy,
rushed towards the car of Ganga’s son. Many foremost of men, however, of
thy army cheerfully received and resisted those heroes coming towards
Bhishma like impetuous mass of living energy. That mighty car-warrior,
Dussasana, abandoning all fears, rushed against Dhananjaya, desirous of
protecting the life of Bhishma. And so the heroic Pandavas also, O king,
rushed in. battle against thy sons, those mighty car-warriors, stationed
about Bhishma’s car. And then, O king we beheld a highly wonderful
incident, viz., that Partha, having proceeded as far as Dussasana’s car,
could not advance further. As the continent resists the surging sea, even
so did thy son (Dussasana) resist the angry son of Pandu. Both of them
were foremost of car-warriors. Both of them, O Bharata, were invincible.
Both of them, in beauty and splendour, O Bharata, resembled the Sun or
the Moon. Both of them were excited with wrath. And each of them desired
to slay the other. And they encountered each other in dreadful battle
like Maya and Sakra in days of old. And Dussasana, O king, in that battle
pierced the son of Pandu with three shafts and Vasudeva with twenty. Then
Arjuna, excited with rage upon beholding him of Vrishni’s race thus
afflicted, pierced Dussasana with a hundred shafts. These, penetrating
through the latter’s armour, drank his blood in that battle. Then
Dussasana, excited with wrath, pierced Partha with five shafts. And once
more, O chief of the Bharatas, he pierced Arjuna in the forehead with
three sharp shafts. And with those shafts sticking to his forehead, the
son of Pandu looked beautiful in that battle, like Meru, O king with its
tall crests. That great bowman, viz., Partha, then thus deeply pierced by
thy son wielding the bow, looked resplendent in that battle like a
flowering Kinsuka. The son of Pandu then, excited with rage, afflicted
Dussasana, like Rahu inflamed with rage on the fifteenth day of the
lighted fortnight afflicting the Moon at full. Thus afflicted by that
mighty warrior, thy son, O king, pierced Partha in that battle with many
shafts whetted on stone and winged with the features of the Kanka bird.
Then Partha, cutting off Dussasana’s bow and splitting his car with three
shafts, sped at him many fierce arrows resembling the darts of Death. Thy
son, however, cut off all those shafts of Partha exerting himself with
vigour before they could reach him. All this seemed highly wonderful.
Then thy son pierced Partha with many shafts of great sharpness. Then
Partha, excited with rage in that battle, placed on his bowstring a
number of shafts whetted on stone and furnished with wings of gold and
aiming them, sped them all at his foe. These, O king, penetrated the body
of that high-souled warrior, like swans, O monarch, diving into a lake.
Thus afflicted by the high-souled son of Pandu, thy son avoiding Partha,
quickly proceeded to the car of Bhishma. Indeed, Bhishma then became an
island unto him who was thus sinking into fathomless waters. Regaining
consciousness then, thy son, O monarch, endued with heroism and prowess,
once more began to resist Partha with sharp arrows like Purandara
resisting (the Asura) Vritra. Of huge form, thy son began to pierce
Arjuna, but the latter was scarcely pained (at all this).”


Sanjaya said, “The mighty bowman (Alamvusha) the son of Rishyasringa, in
that battle, resisted Satyaki clad in mail and proceeding towards
Bhishma. He of Madhu’s race, however, O king, excited with wrath, pierced
the Rakshasa with nine arrows, smiling the while, O Bharata. And so the
Rakshasa also, O king, excited with wrath, afflicted him of Madhu’s race,
viz., that bull of Sini’s line, with nine arrows. Then Sini’s grandson,
that slayer of hostile heroes, of Madhu’s race, excited with rage, sped
in that battle a profusion of arrows at the Rakshasa. Then that
mighty-aimed Rakshasa pierced Satyaki, of prowess incapable of being
baffled, with many sharp arrows, and uttered a loud shout. Then he of
Madhu’s race, endued with great energy, though deeply pierced by the
Rakshasa in that battle, still, relying upon his prowess, laughed (at his
wounds) and uttered loud roars. Then Bhagadatta, excited with rage,
afflicted him of Madhu’s race in that battle with many sharp arrows like
a guide piercing a huge elephant with the hook. Then that foremost of
car-warriors, viz., the grandson of Sini, abandoning the Rakshasa in
battle, sped many straight shafts at the ruler of the Pragjyotishas. The
ruler of the Pragjyotishas then, with a broad-headed arrow of great
sharpness, displaying great lightness of hand, cut off, the large bow of
Satyaki. Then that slayer of hostile heroes, excited with rage and taking
up another bow of greater impetus, pierced Bhagadatta in that battle with
many sharp arrows. That mighty bowman, viz., Bhagadatta, then deeply
pierced, began to lick the corners of his mouth. And he then hurled at
his foe, in that dreadful battle, a tough dart, made wholly of iron,
decked with gold and stones of lapis lazuli, and fierce as the rod of
Yama himself. Sped with the might of Bhagadatta’s arm and coursing
towards him impetuously, Satyaki, O king, cut that dart in twain by means
of his shafts. Thereupon that dart fell down suddenly, like a great
meteor shorn of its splendour. Beholding the dart baffled, thy son
(Duryodhana), O monarch, surrounded him of Madhu’s race with a large
number of cars. And seeing that mighty car-warrior among the Vrishnis
thus surrounded, Duryodhana, angrily addressing all his brothers, said,
‘Take such steps, ye Kauravas, that Satyaki may not, in this battle,
escape you and this large division of cars, with life. If he be slain,
the vast host of the Pandavas may be regarded as slain also.’ Accepting
Duryodhana’s words with the answer–So be it,–those mighty car-warriors
fought with Sini’s grandson in the view of Bhishma. The mighty ruler of
the Kamvojas, in that battle, resisted Abhimanyu who was proceeding
against Bhishma. The son of Arjuna, having pierced the king with many
straight shafts,[477] once more pierced that monarch, O monarch, with
four and sixty shafts. Sudakshina, however, desirous of Bhishma’s life,
pierced Abhimanyu in that battle with five arrows and his charioteer with
nine. And the battle that took place there, in consequence of the meeting
of those two warriors, was fierce in the extreme. That grinder of foes
Sikhandin, then rushed at the of Ganga. Old Virata and Drupada, those
mighty car-warriors, both excited with rage, rushed to battle with
Bhishma, resisting the large host of the Kauravas as they went. That best
of car-warriors, viz., Aswatthaman, excited with rage, encountered both
those warriors. Then commenced a battle, O Bharata, between him and them.
Virata then, O chastiser of foes, struck, with broad-headed shafts, that
mighty bowman and ornament of battle, viz., Drona’s son, as the latter
advanced against them. And Drupada also pierced him with three sharp
shafts. Then the preceptor’s soil, Aswatthaman, coming upon those mighty
warriors thus striking him, viz., the brave Virata and Drupada both
proceeding towards Bhishma, pierced them both with many shafts. Wonderful
was the conduct that we then beheld of those two old warriors, inasmuch
as they checked all those fierce shafts shot by Drona’s son. Like an
infuriate elephant in the forest rushing against an infuriate compeer,
Kripa, the son of Saradwat, proceeded against Sahadeva who was advancing
upon Bhishma. And Kripa, brave in battle, quickly struck that mighty
car-warrior, viz., the son of Madri, with seventy shafts decked with
gold. The son of Madri, however, cut Kripa’s bow in twain by means of his
shafts. And cutting off his bow, Sahadeva then pierced Kripa with nine
arrows. Taking up then, in that battle, another bow capable of bearing a
great strain Kripa, excited with rage and desirous of Bhishma’s life,
cheerfully struck Madri’s son in that battle with ten shafts. And so the
son of Pandu, in return, desirous of Bhishma’s death, excited with rage,
struck the wrathful Kripa in the chest (with many shafts). And then
occurred there a terrible and fierce battle. That scorcher of foes, viz.,
Vikarna, desirous of saving the grandsire Bhishma, excited with rage in
that battle, pierced Nakula with sixty arrows. Nakula also, deeply
pierced by thy intelligent son, pierced Vikarna in return with seven and
seventy shafts. There those two tigers among men, those two chastisers of
foes, those two heroes, struck each other for the sake of Bhishma, like
two bovine bulls in a fold. Thy son Durmukha, endued with great prowess,
proceeded, for the sake of Bhishma, against Ghatotkacha advancing to
battle and slaughtering thy army as he came. Hidimva’s son, however, O
king, excited with rage, struck Durmukha, that chastiser of foes, in the
chest a straight shaft. The heroic Durmukha then, shouting cheerfully,
pierced Bhimasena’s son on the field of battle with sixty shafts of keen
points. That mighty car-warrior, viz., the son of Hridika resisted
Dhrishtadyumna, that foremost of car-warriors, who was advancing to
battle from desire of Bhishma’s slaughter. The son of Prishata, however,
having pierced Kritavarman with five shafts made wholly of iron, once
more, struck him quickly in the centre of the chest fifty shafts. And
similarly, O king, Prishata’s son struck Kritavarman with nine sharp and
blazing shaft, winged with the feathers of the Kanka bird. Encountering
each other with great vigour, the battle that took place between them for
Bhishma’s sake was as fierce as that between Vritra and Vasava. Against
Bhimasena who was advancing upon the mighty Bhishma, proceeded
Bhurisravas with great speed, saying,–Wait, Wait,–And the son of
Somadatta struck Bhima in the centre of the chest with an arrow of
exceeding sharpness and golden wings in that battle. And the valiant
Bhimasena, with that arrow on his chest, looked beautiful, O best of
kings, like the Krauncha mountain in days of old with the dart of Skanda.
And those two bulls among men, enraged in battle, shot at each other
shafts brightly polished by their forgers and endued with effulgence of
the Sun. Bhima, longing for Bhishma’s death, fought with the mighty son
of Somadatta, and the latter, desirous of Bhishma’s victory, fought with
the former, each carefully seeking to counteract the other’s feats.
Bharadwaja’s son resisted Yudhishthira the son of Kunti, who, accompanied
by a large force, was coming towards Bhishma. Hearing the rattle of
Drona’s car, O king, that resembled the roar of the clouds, the
Prabhadrakas, O sire, began to tremble. That large force, of Pandu’s son,
resisted by Drona in battle, could not, exerting vigorously, advance even
one step. Thy son Chitrasena, O king, resisted Chekitana of wrathful
visage who was exerting vigorously for coming upon Bhishma. Possessed of
great prowess and great dexterity of hand, that mighty car-warrior for
the sake of Bhishma, battled with Chekitana, O Bharata, according to the
utmost of his power. And Chekitana also fought with Chitrasena to the
utmost of his power. And the battle that took place there in consequence
of the meeting of those two warriors, was exceedingly fierce. As regards
Arjuna, although he was resisted by all means, O Bharata, he still
compelled thy son to turn back and then crushed thy troops. Dussasana
however, to the utmost stretch of his power, began to resist Partha,
wishing, O Bharata, to protect Bhishma. The army of thy son, O Bharata,
undergoing such slaughter, began to be agitated here and there by many
foremost car-warriors (of the Pandava).”


Sanjaya said, “The heroic Drona, that great bowman endued with the
prowess of an infuriate elephant, that foremost of men possessed of great
might, taking up his large bow which was capable [of] checking even an
infuriate elephant, and shaking it (in his hands), was engaged in
afflicting the Pandava ranks, having penetrated into their midst. That
valiant warrior acquainted with every omen, beholding the omens on all
sides, addressed his son who also was scorching the hostile ranks and
said these words, ‘This is that day, O son, on which the mighty Partha,
desirous of slaying Bhishma in battle, will exert himself to the best of
his might. My arrows are coming out (of the quiver, of their own accord).
My bow seems to yawn. My weapon seems unwilling to obey my behests, and
my heart also is cheerless. Animals and birds are uttering fearful and
incessant cries. Vultures seem to disappear beneath the feet of the
Bharata troops. The Sun himself seems to have lost hue. The quarters are
all ablaze. The Earth seems to shriek, inspire fear, and tremble
everywhere. Kankas, and vultures, and cranes are frequently crying.
Jackals are uttering inauspicious and fierce yells foreboding great
danger. Large meteors seem to fall from the centre of the solar disc. The
constellation called Parigha, with a trunkless form, appeareth around the
Sun. The solar and the lunar discs have become awful, foreboding great
danger to Kshatriyas about the mangling of their bodies. The idols of the
Kuru king in his temples tremble and laugh and dance and weep. The
illustrious Moon riseth with his horns downward. The bodies of the kings
belonging to the Kuru army all seem to be pale, and though clad in mail,
are shorn of splendour. The loud blare of Panchajanya and the twang of
Gandiva are heard on all sides of both the armies. Without doubt, Arjuna,
relying upon his great weapons and avoiding other warriors will advance
upon the grandsire. The pores of my body are contracting, and my heart
also is depressed, thinking, O mighty-armed one, of the encounter between
Bhishma and Arjuna. Keeping on his fore the Panchala prince of sinful
soul and conversant with deceit, Partha is proceeding towards Bhishma for
battle. Bhishma said before that he would not slay Sikhandin. By the
Creator had that one been made female, though through chance he
subsequently became a male person. That mighty son of Yajnasena is also
an inauspicious omen (by himself). The son of the Ocean-going (Ganga)
will not strike that person of inauspicious self. Thinking of this, viz.,
that Arjuna, excited with wrath, is about to fall upon the aged Kuru
grandsire, my heart is exceedingly depressed. The wrath of Yudhishthira,
an encounter between Bhishma and Arjuna in battle, and an endeavour like
this (of the shooting of weapons) by myself,–these (three) are certainly
fraught with great harm to creatures. Arjuna is endued with great energy;
he is powerful, brave, accomplished in weapons, and possessed of valour
that is very active. Capable of shooting his arrows to a great distance
and shooting them with force, he is, besides, acquainted with omens,
Endued with great might and intelligence, and above fatigue, that
foremost of warriors is incapable of defeat by the very gods with Vasava
at their head. The son of Pandu possesses terrible weapons and is ever
victorious in battle. Avoiding his path, go thou to battle (for Bhishma’s
victory) O thou of rigid vows.[478] Today in this dreadful battle thou
wilt behold a great carnage. The beautiful and costly coats of mail,
decked with gold, of brave warriors will be pierced with straight shafts.
And the tops of standards, and bearded javelins, and bows, and bright
lances of sharp points, and darts bright with gold, and the standards on
the backs of elephants, will all be cut off by Kiritin in wrath. O son,
this is not the time when dependants should take care of their lives. Go
to battle, keeping heaven before thee, and for the sake of fame and
victory. There, the ape-bannered (Arjuna) crosseth on his car the river
of battle that is awful and incapable of being easily crossed, and hath
cars, elephants, and steeds, for its eddies. Regard for Brahmanas,
self-restraint, liberality, asceticism, and noble conduct, are seen in
Yudhishthira alone who hath for his brothers Dhananjaya, and the mighty
Bhimasena, and the twin sons of Madri by Pandu, and who hath Vasudeva of
the Vrishni race for his protector. The wrath, born of grief, of that
Yudhishthira whose body hath been purified by the flames of penance,
directed to the wicked-souled son of Dhritarashtra, is consuming this
Bharata host. There cometh Partha, having Vasudeva for his protector,
checking (as he cometh) this entire Dhartarashtra army. Behold, Kiritin
is agitating this host like a large whale agitating the vast sea of
crested waves. Hark, cries of distress and woe are heard in the van of
the army. Go, encounter the heir of the Panchala king. As for myself, I
will proceed against Yudhishthira. The heart of king Yudhishthira’s very
strong array is difficult of access. Inaccessible as the interior of the
sea, it is guarded on all sides by Atirathas. Satyaki, and Abhimanyu and
Dhrishtadyumna, and Vrikodara, and the twins, even these are protecting
that ruler of men, viz., king Yudhishthira. Dark as the younger brother
of Indra, and risen like a tall Sala, behold Abhimanyu advancing at the
head of the (Pandava) host, like a second Phalguna! Take up thy mighty
weapons, and with thy large bow in hand proceed against the royal son of
Prishata (viz., Sikhandin), and against Vrikodara. Who is there that doth
not wish his dear son to live for many years? Keeping the duties of a
Kshatriya, however, before me, I am engaging thee (to this task). So
Bhishma also, in this battle, is consuming the mighty host of the
Pandavas. O son, he is, in battle, equal to Yama or Varuna himself.'”


Sanjaya said, “Hearing these words of the high-souled Drona, Bhagadatta
and Kripa and Salya and Kritavarman, and Vinda and Anuvinda of Avanti,
and Jayadratha the ruler of the Sindhus, and Chitrasena and Vikarna and
Durmarshana and others, these ten warriors of thy army, supported by a
large host consisting of many nationalities, fought with Bhimasena,
desirous of winning high renown in the battle for Bhishma’s sake. And
Salya struck Bhima with nine arrows, and Kritavarman struck him with
three, and Kripa with nine. And Chitrasena and Vikarna and Bhagadatta, O
sire, each struck him with ten arrows. And the ruler of the Sindhus
struck him with three, and Vinda and Anuvinda of Avanti each struck him
with five arrows. And Duryodhana struck that son of Pandu with twenty
sharp arrows. Bhimasena, O king, pierced in return every one of those
kings, those foremost of men in the world, those mighty car-warriors of
the Dhartarashtra army, one after another. The brave Pandava, that slayer
of hostile heroes, pierced Salya with seven arrows, and Kritavarman with
eight. And he cut off Kripa’s bow with arrow fixed thereon, O Bharata, in
the middle, dividing it in twain. And after thus cutting off his bow, he
pierced Kripa once more with seven arrows. And he struck Vinda and
Anuvinda with three arrows each. And he pierced Durmarshana with twenty
arrows, and Chitrasena with five, and Vikarna with ten, and Jayadratha
with five. And once more striking the ruler of the Sindhus with three
arrows, he uttered a loud shout, filled with joy. Then Gautama, that
foremost of car-warriors, taking up another bow, angrily pierced Bhima
with ten sharp shafts. Pierced with those ten shafts like a huge elephant
with the hook, the valiant Bhimasena, O king, filled with wrath, struck
Gautama in that battle with many shafts. Possessed of the splendour of
Yama himself, as he appears at the end of the Yuga, Bhimasena then, with
three arrows, despatched unto Death’s domain the steeds of the ruler of
the Sindhus as also his charioteer. Thereupon that mighty car-warrior,
(viz., Jayadratha), quickly jumping down from that car whose steeds had
been slain, shot in that battle many sharp-pointed shafts at Bhimasena.
Then, O sire, with a couple of broad-headed arrows, he cut off, O chief
of the Bharatas, the bow of the high-souled king of the Sindhus in the
middle. His bow cut off, himself deprived of car, his steeds and
charioteer slain, Jayadratha then, O king, quickly mounted on the car of
Chitrasena. Indeed, the son of Pandu achieved in that battle a most
wonderful feat, for piercing all those mighty car-warriors and holding
them in check, he deprived, O sire, the ruler of the Sindhus of his car
in the very sight of all the army. Salya could not brook to see the
prowess that Bhimasena displayed, for saying unto him,–Wait, Wait,–he
aimed some sharp arrows well-polished by the forger’s hands, and pierced
Bhima therewith in that battle. And Kripa and Kritavarman and the valiant
Bhagadatta, and Vinda and Anuvinda of Avanti, and Chitrasena, and
Durmarshana, and Vikarna, and the valiant ruler of the Sindhus also, in
that battle,–These chastisers of foes, all quickly pierced Bhima for the
sake of Salya. Bhima then pierced each of them in return with five
arrows. And he pierced Salya then with seventy arrows and once more with
ten. And Salya then pierced him with nine arrows and once more with five.
And he pierced Bhimasena’s charioteer also, deep in his vitals, with a
broad-headed arrow. The valiant Bhimasena then, beholding his charioteer
Visoka deeply pierced, sped three arrows at the arms and chest of the
ruler of Madras. And as regards the other great bowmen, he pierced each
of them in that battle With three straight arrows, and then uttered a
loud roar like that of a lion. Each of those great bowmen then, exerting
himself with vigour, deeply Pierced that son of Pandu skilled in battle,
with three arrows in his vitals. That mighty bowman viz., Bhimasena,
though pierced deeply, trembled not (but stood still) like a mountain
drenched with torrents of rain by showering clouds. Then that mighty
car-warrior of the Pandavas, filled with wrath, that celebrated hero,
deeply, pierced the ruler of the Madras with three arrows. And he pierced
the ruler of the Pragjyotishas, O king, in that battle, with a hundred
arrows. Of great renown, he then pierced Kripa with many arrows, and
then, displaying great dexterity, he cut off with a keen-edged shaft the
bow, with arrow fixed thereon, of the high-souled Kritavarman. Then
Kritavarman, that scorcher of foes, taking up another bow, struck
Vrikodara between his eyebrows with a long arrow. Bhima, however, in that
battle, having pierced Salya with nine arrows made wholly of iron, and
Bhagadatta with three, and Kritavarman with eight, pierced each of the
others with Gautama at their head, with two arrows. Those warriors also,
in return, pierced him, O king, with sharp-pointed shafts. Though thus
afflicted by those mighty car-warriors with all kinds of weapons, yet,
regarding them all as straw, he coursed on the field without any anxiety.
Those foremost of car-warriors (on the other hand), with great coolness,
sped at Bhima sharp-pointed arrows by hundreds and thousands. The heroic
and mighty Bhagadatta then, in that battle, hurled at him a dart of
fierce impetuosity furnished with a golden staff. And the Sindhu king, of
strong arms, hurled at him a lance and an axe. And Kripa, O king, hurled
at him a Sataghni, and Salya an arrow. And the other great bowmen each
sped at him five arrows with great force. The son of the Wind-god then
cut off, with a sharp shaft, that lance in twain. And he cut off that axe
also with three shafts, as if it were a sesame stalk. And with five
shafts winged with the feathers of the Kanka bird, he cut that Sataghni
into fragments. That mighty car-warrior then, having cut off the arrow
sped by the ruler of the Madras, forcibly cut off the dart sped by
Bhagadatta in that battle. As regards the other fierce shafts, Bhimasena,
proud of his feats in battle, cut them each into three fragments by means
of his own straight shafts. And he struck each of those great bowmen also
with three shafts. Then Dhananjaya, during the progress of that dreadful
battle, beholding the mighty car-warrior Bhima striking the foe and
battling (against many) with his arrows, came thither on his car. Then
those bulls among men, of thy army, beholding those two high-souled sons
of Pandu together, gave up all hopes of victory. Then Arjuna, desirous of
slaying Bhishma, placing Sikhandin before him, approached Bhima who had
been fighting with those great car-warriors and fell upon those fierce
combatants, numbering ten, of thy army, O Bharata. Then Vibhatsu,
desirous of doing what was agreeable to Bhima, pierced all those
warriors, O king, who had been battling with Bhima. Then king Duryodhana
urged Susarman, for the destruction of both Arjuna and Bhimasena, saying,
‘O Susarman, go thou quickly supported by a large force. Slay those two
sons of Pandu, viz., Dhananjaya and Vrikodara.’ Hearing these words of
his, the Trigarta king who ruled the country called Prasthala, quickly
rushed in battle upon those two bowmen, viz., Bhima and Dhananjaya, and
surrounded them both by many thousands of cars. Then commenced a fierce
battle between Arjuna and the foe.”


Sanjaya said, “Arjuna covered with his straight shafts the mighty
car-warrior Salya who was struggling vigorously in battle. And he pierced
Susarman and Kripa with three arrows each. And in that battle the
Atiratha Arjuna, afflicting thy host, struck the ruler of the
Pragjyotishas, and Jayadratha the king of the Sindhus, and Chitrasena,
and Vikarna, and Kritavarman, and Durmarshana, O monarch, and those two
mighty car-warriors, viz., the princes of Avanti, each with three arrows
winged with the feathers of the Kanka and the peacock. Jayadratha,
staying on the car of Chitrasena, pierced Partha (in return), O Bharata,
and then, without loss of time, Bhima also, with his shafts. And Salya,
and that foremost of car-warriors, viz., Kripa, both pierced Jishnu, O
monarch, with diverse arrows capable of penetrating into the very vitals.
Thy sons headed by Chitrasena, O king, each quickly pierced Arjuna and
Bhimasena in that battle, O sire, with five sharp shafts. Those two
foremost of car-warriors however, viz., those sons of Kunti, those bulls
of Bharata’s race, began in that battle to afflict the mighty host of the
Trigartas. Susarman (in return) pierced Partha with nine swift arrows,
and uttered a loud shout frightening the vast host (of the Pandavas). And
other heroic car-warriors pierced Bhimasena and Dhananjaya with many
straight-going arrows of keen points and golden wings. Amid these
car-warriors, however, those two bulls of Bharata’s race, viz., the two
sons of Kunti, those great car-warriors, looked exceedingly beautiful.
And they seemed to sport amid them like two furious lions amid a herd of
kine. Cutting off in various ways the bows and arrows of many brave
warriors in that battle, those two heroes felled the heads of combatants
by hundreds upon hundreds. Innumerable cars were broken, and steeds by
hundreds were slain, and many elephants, along with their riders, were
laid low on the field in that dreadful battle. And car-warriors and
horsemen and elephant-riders in large numbers, O king, deprived of life
were seen moving in convulsions all over the field. And the earth was
covered with slain elephants and foot-soldiers in large bands, and steeds
deprived of life, and cars broken in diverse ways. And the prowess we
beheld there of Partha was highly wonderful, in as much as holding in
check all those heroes, that mighty warrior caused a great slaughter.
Kripa, and Kritavarman, and Jayadratha, the ruler of the Sindhus, and
Vinda and Anuvinda of Avanti,–these did not forsake the battle. Then
that great bowman Bhima, and that mighty car-warrior Arjuna, began in
that battle to rout the fierce host of the Kauravas. The kings (in that
army) quickly sped at Dhananjaya’s car myriads upon myriads and millions
upon millions of arrows furnished with peacock feathers. Partha, however,
checking those arrows by means of his own arrowy showers, began to send
those mighty car-warriors to Yama’s abode. The great car-warrior Salya
then, excited with wrath and as if sporting in that battle, struck Partha
in the chest with some straight shafts of broad heads. Partha then,
cutting off by means of five shafts Salya’s bow and leathern fence,
pierced the latter deeply in the very vitals with many arrows of keen
points. Taking up another bow capable of bearing a great strain, the
ruler of the Madras then furiously attacked Jishnu with three arrows, O
king, and Vasudeva with five. And he struck Bhimasena in the arms and the
chest with nine arrows. Then Drona, O king, and that mighty car-warrior,
viz., the ruler of the Magadhas, commanded by Duryodhana, both came to
that spot where those two mighty car-warriors, viz., Partha and
Bhimasena, were slaughtering the mighty host of the Kuru king. Jayatsena
(the king of the Magadhas) then, O bull of Bharata’s race pierced Bhima,
that wielder of awful weapons in battle, with eight sharp arrows. Bhima,
however, pierced him (in return) with ten arrows, and once more with
five. And with another broad-headed shaft he felled Jayatsena’s
charioteer from his niche in the car. The steeds (of his car), no longer
restrained, ran wildly in all directions and thus carried away the ruler
of the Magadhas (from battle) in the sight of all the troops. Meanwhile
Drona, noticing an opening, pierced Bhimasena, O bull of Bharata’s race,
with eight keen shafts furnished with heads shaped after the frog’s
mouth. Bhima, however, ever delighting in battle, pierced the preceptor,
who was worthy of paternal reverence, with five broad-headed arrows, and
then, O Bharata, with sixty. Arjuna, again piercing Susarman with a large
number of arrows made (wholly) of iron, destroyed his troops like the
tempest destroying mighty masses of clouds. Then Bhishma, and the king
(viz., Duryodhana), and Vrihadvala, the ruler of the Kosalas, excited
with rage, advanced upon Bhimasena and Dhananjaya. At this, the heroic
warriors of the Pandava army, and Dhrishtadyumna the son of Prishata,
rushed in battle against Bhishma who was advancing like Death himself
with wide-open mouth. Sikhandin also, sighting the grandsire of the
Bharatas, was filled with joy and rushed at him, abandoning all fear of
the mighty car-warrior. Then all the Parthas with Yudhishthira at their
head, placing Sikhandin in the van, and uniting with the Srinjayas,
fought with Bhishma in battle. And similarly all the warriors of thy
army, placing Bhishma of regulated vows in their van, fought in battle
with all the Parthas headed by Sikhandin. The battle then that commenced
there between the Kauravas and the sons of Pandu for the sake of
Bhishma’s victory or victory over Bhishma, was exceedingly terrible.
Indeed, in that game of battle, played for the sake of victory or the
reverse, Bhishma, O monarch, became the stake on which the victory of thy
army depended. Then Dhrishtadyumna, O king, commanded all the troops,
saying, ‘Rush against the son of Ganga. Do not fear, ye best of
car-warriors. Hearing those words of their generalissimo, the army of the
Pandavas quickly advanced against Bhishma, ready to lay down their lives
in that dreadful battle. Bhishma then, that foremost of car-warriors,
received that large host rushing towards him, like the continent
receiving the surging sea.”


Dhritarashtra said, “How, O Sanjaya, did Santanu’s son Bhishma of mighty
energy fight on the tenth day of battle, with the Pandavas and the
Srinjayas? How also did the Kurus resist the Pandavas in battle? Describe
to me the great battle fought by Bhishma, that ornament of battle.”

Sanjaya said, “I will presently describe to thee, O Bharata, how the
Kauravas fought with the Pandavas, and how that battle took place. Day
after day many mighty car-warriors of thy army, excited with wrath, were
despatched to the other world by the diadem-decked (Arjuna) with his
great weapons. The ever-victorious Kuru warrior Bhishma also, agreeably
to his vow, always caused a great carnage among the Partha army. O
chastiser of foes, beholding Bhishma, fighting at the head of the Kurus,
and Arjuna also fighting at the head of the Panchalas, we could not say
truly on which side the victory would declare itself. On the tenth day of
battle, when Bhishma and Arjuna encountered each other, awful was the
carnage that took place. On that day, O scorcher of foes, Santanu’s son,
Bhishma, conversant with high and mighty weapons, repeatedly slew
thousands upon thousands of warriors. Many, O Bharata, whose names and
families were not known, but who, endued with great bravery, were
unretreating from battle, were on that day slain by Bhishma. Scorching
the Pandava army for ten days, Bhishma of virtuous soul, gave up all
desire of protecting his life. Wishing his own slaughter presently at the
head of his troops,–No more shall I slay large numbers of foremost of
warriors.–thought thy mighty-armed sire Devavrata. And seeing
Yudhishthira near him, O king, he addressed him, saying, ‘O Yudhishthira,
O thou of great wisdom, O thou that art acquainted with every branch of
learning, listen to these righteous and heaven-leading words, O sire,
that I say. O Bharata, I no longer desire to protect, O sire, this body
of mine. I have passed much time in slaying large numbers of men in
battle. If thou wishest to do what is agreeable to me, strive to slay me,
placing Partha with the Panchalas and the Srinjayas at thy van’.
Ascertaining this to be his intention, king Yudhishthira of true sight
proceeded to battle with the Srinjayas (for his support). Then
Dhrishtadyumna, O king, and Pandu’s son Yudhishthira, having heard those
words of Bhishma urged their array on. And Yudhishthira said, ‘Advance!
Fight! Vanquish Bhishma in battle. Ye all will be protected by that
conqueror of foes, viz., Jishnu of unbaffled aim. And this great bowman,
this generalissimo (of our forces), viz., the son of Prishata, as also
Bhima, will assuredly protect you. Ye Srinjayas, entertain no fear today
of Bhishma in battle. Without doubt, we will vanquish Bhishma today,
placing Sikhandin in our van’. Having, on the tenth day of battle, made
such a vow, the Pandavas, resolved to (conquer or) go to heaven,
advanced, blinded by rage, with Sikhandin and Dhananjaya the son of Pandu
to the fore. And they made the most vigorous efforts for the overthrow of
Bhishma. Then diverse kings, of great might, urged by thy son, and
accompanied by Drona and his son and a large force, and the mighty
Dussasana at the head of all his uterine brothers, proceeded towards
Bhishma staying in the midst of that battle. Then those brave warriors of
thy army, placing Bhishma of high vows in their van, battled with the
Parthas headed by Sikhandin. Supported by the Chedis and the Panchalas,
the ape-bannered Arjuna, placing Sikhandin ahead, proceeded towards
Bhishma, the son of Santanu. And the grandson of Sini battled with
Drona’s son, and Dhrishtaketu with the descendant of Puru, and Yudhamanyu
with thy son Duryodhana at the head of his followers. And Virata, at the
head of his forces, encountered Jayadratha supported by his own troops.
And Vardhakshatra’s heir, O chastiser of foes, encountered thy son
Chitrasena armed with excellent bow and arrows.[479] And Yudhishthira
proceeded against the mighty bowman Salya at the head of his troops. And
Bhimasena, well-protected, proceeded against the elephant-division (of
the Kaurava army). And Dhrishtadyumna, the prince of Panchala, excited
with fury and accompanied by his brothers, proceeded against Drona, that
foremost of all wielders of weapons, invincible, and irresistible. That
chastiser of foes, viz., prince Vrihadvala, bearing on his standard the
device of the lion, proceeded against Subhadra’s son whose standard bore
the device of the Karnikara flower. Thy sons, accompanied by many kings,
proceeded against Sikhandin and Dhananjaya the son of Pritha, from desire
of slaughtering both of them. When the combatants of both armies rushed
against each other with awful prowess, the earth shook (under their
tread). Beholding Santanu’s son in battle, the divisions of thy army and
of the foe, O Bharata, became mingled with one another. Tremendous was
the din, O Bharata, that arose there of those warriors burning with rage
and rushing against each other. And it was heard on all sides, O king.
With the blare of conchs and the leonine shouts of the soldiers, the
uproar became awful. The splendour, equal to that of either the Sun or
the Moon, of bracelets and diadems of all the heroic kings, became
dimmed. And the dust that rose looked like a cloud, the flash of bright
weapons constituting its lightning. And the twang of bows, the whiz of
arrows, the blare of conchs, the loud beat of drums, and the rattle of
cars, of both the armies, constituted the fierce roar of those clouds.
And the welkin, over the field of battle, in consequence of the bearded
darts, the javelins, the swords and showers of arrows of both armies, was
darkened. And car-warriors, and horsemen felled horsemen, in that
dreadful battle. And elephants killed elephants, and foot-soldiers slew
foot-soldiers. And the battle that took place there for Bhishma’s sake,
between the Kurus and the Pandavas, O tiger among men, was fierce in the
extreme, like that between two hawks for a piece of flesh. Engaged in
battle, that encounter between those combatants desirous of slaughtering
and vanquishing one another, was extremely dreadful.”


Sanjaya said, “Abhimanyu, O king, displaying his prowess for the sake of
Bhishma, fought with thy son who was supported by a large force. Then
Duryodhana, excited with wrath, struck Abhimanyu in the chest with rune
straight arrows, and once more with three. Then in that battle, Arjuna’s
son, inflamed with wrath, hurled at Duryodhana’s car a terrible dart
resembling the rod of Death himself. Thy son, however, that mighty
car-warrior, O king, with a broad-headed arrow of great sharpness, cut
off in twain that dart of terrible force coursing towards him with great
speed. Beholding that dart of his drop down on the earth, Arjuna’s
wrathful son pierced Duryodhana with three shafts in his arms and chest.
And once more, O Chief of the Bharatas, that mighty car-warrior of
Bharata’s race struck the Kuru king with ten fierce shafts in the centre
of his chest. And the battle, O Bharata, that took place between those
two heroes, viz., Subhadra’s son, and that bull of Kuru’s race, the
former fighting for compassing Bhishma’s death and the latter for
Arjuna’s defeat, was fierce and interesting to behold, and gratifying to
the senses, and was applauded by all the kings. That bull among Brahmanas
and chastiser of foes, viz., the son of Drona, excited with wrath in that
battle, forcibly struck Satyaki in the chest with fierce arrow. The
grandson of Sini also, that hero of immeasurable soul, struck the
preceptor’s son in every vital limbs with nine shafts winged with the
feathers of the Kanka bird. Aswatthaman then, in that battle, struck
Satyaki (in return) with nine shafts, and once more, quickly, with
thirty, in his arms and chest. Then that great bowman Of the Satwata
race, possessed of great fame, deeply pierced by Drona’s son, pierced the
latter (in return) with arrows. The mighty car-warrior Paurava, covering
Dhrishtaketu in that battle with his shafts, mangled that great bowman
exceedingly. The mighty car-warrior Dhrishtaketu, endued with great
strength, quickly pierced the former with thirty arrows. Then the mighty
car-warrior Paurava cut off Dhrishtaketu’s bow, and uttering a loud
shout, pierced him with whetted shafts. Dhrishtaketu then taking up
another bow, pierced Paurava, O king, with three and seventy shafts of
great sharpness. Those two great bowmen and mighty car-warriors, both of
gigantic stature, pierced each other with showers of arrows. Each
succeeded in cutting off the other’s bow, and each slew the other’s
steeds. And both of them, thus deprived of their cars, then encountered
each other in a battle with swords. And each took up a beautiful shield
made of bull’s hide and docked with a hundred moons and graced with a
hundred stars. And each of them also took up a polished sword of
brilliant lustre. And thus equipt, they rushed, O king at each other,
like two lions in the deep forest, both seeking the companionship of the
same lioness in her season. They wheeled in beautiful circles, advanced
and retreated, and displayed other movements, seeking to strike each
other. Then Paurava, excited with wrath, addressed Dhrishtaketu,
saying–Wait, Wait,–and struck him on the frontal bone with that large
scimitar of his. The king of the Chedis also, in that battle, struck
Paurava, that bull among men, on his shoulder-joint, with his large
scimitar of sharp edge. Those two repressors of foes thus encountering
each other in dreadful battle and thus striking each other, O king, both
fell down on the field. Then thy son Jayatsena, taking Paurava up on his
car, removed him from the field of battle on that vehicle. And as regards
Dhrishtaketu, the valiant and heroic Sahadeva, the son of Madri,
possessed of great prowess, bore him away from the field.

“Chitrasena, having pierced Susarman with many arrows made wholly of
iron, once more pierced him with sixty arrows and once more with nine.
Susarman, however, excited with wrath in battle, pierced thy son, O king,
with hundreds of arrows. Chitrasena then, O monarch, excited with rage,
pierced his adversary with thirty straight shafts. Susarman, however,
pierced Chitrasena again in return.[480]

“In that battle for the destruction of Bhishma, Subhadra’s son, enhancing
his fame and honour, fought with prince Vrihadvala, putting forth his
prowess for aiding (his sire) Partha and then proceeded towards Bhishma’s
front. The ruler of the Kosalas, having pierced the son of Arjuna with
five shafts made of iron, once more pierced him with twenty straight
shafts. Then the son of Subhadra pierced the ruler of Kosalas with eight
shafts made wholly of iron. He succeeded not, however, in making the
ruler of the Kosalas to tremble, and, therefore, he once more pierced him
with many arrows. And Phalguni’s son then cut off Vrihadvala’s bow, and
struck him again with thirty arrows winged with feathers of the Kanka
bird. Prince Vrihadvala then, taking up another bow, angrily pierced the
son of Phalguni in that battle with many arrows. Verily, O scorcher of
foes, the battle, for Bhishma’s sake, that took place between them, both
excited with rage and both conversant with every mode of fight, was like
the encounter of Vali and Vasava in days of old on the occasion of the
battle between the gods and the Asuras.

“Bhimasena, fighting against the elephant-division, looked highly
resplendent like Sakra armed with the thunder after splitting large
mountains.[481] Indeed, elephants, huge as hills, slaughtered by
Bhimasena in battle, fell down in numbers on the field, filling the earth
with their shrieks. Resembling massive heaps of antimony, and of
mountain-like proportions, those elephants with frontal globes split
open, lying prostrate on the earth, seemed like mountains strewn over the
earth’s surface. The mighty bowman Yudhishthira, protected by a large
force, afflicted the ruler of the Madras, encountering him in that
dreadful battle. The ruler of the Madras, in return, displaying his
prowess for the sake of Bhishma, afflicted the son of Dharma, that mighty
car-warrior, in battle. The king of Sindhus, having pierced Virata with
nine straight arrows of keen points, once more struck him with thirty.
Virata, however, O king, that commander of a large division, struck
Jayadratha in the centre of his chest with thirty shafts of keen points.
The ruler of the Matsyas and the ruler of the Sindhus, both armed with
beautiful bows and beautiful scimitars, both decked with handsome coats
of mail and weapons and standards, and both of beautiful forms looked
resplendent in that battle.

“Drona, encountering Dhrishtadyumna the prince of the Panchalas in
dreadful battle, fought fiercely with his straight shafts. Then Drona, O
king, having cut off the large bow of Prishata’s son, pierced him deeply
with fifty arrows. Then that slayer of hostile heroes, viz., the son of
Prishata, taking up another bow, sped at Drona who was contending with
him, many arrows. The mighty car-warrior Drona however, cut off all those
arrows, striking them with his own. And then Drona sped at Drupada’s son
five fierce shafts. Then that slayer of hostile heroes, viz., the son of
Prishata, excited with rage, hurled at Drona in that battle a mace
resembling the rod of Death himself. Drona however, with fifty arrows
checked that mace decked with gold as it coursed impetuously towards him.
Thereupon that mace, cut into fragments, O king, by those shafts shot
from Drona’s bow, fell down on the earth. Then that scorcher of foes,
viz., the son of Prishata, beholding his mace baffled, hurled at Drona an
excellent dart made wholly of iron. Drona, however, O Bharata, cut that
dart with nine shafts in that battle and then afflicted that great
bowman, viz., the son of Prishata. Thus took place, O king, that fierce
and awful battle between Drona and the son of Prishata, for the sake of

“Arjuna, getting at the son of Ganga, afflicted him with many arrows of
keen points, and rushed at him like an infuriate elephant in the forest
upon another. King Bhagadatta, however, of great prowess then rushed at
Arjuna, and checked his course in battle with showers of arrows. Arjuna
then, in that dreadful battle, pierced Bhagadatta’s elephant coming
towards him, with many polished arrows of iron, that were all bright as
silver and furnished with keen points. The son of Kunti, meanwhile, O
king, urged Sikhandin, saying,–Proceed, proceed, towards Bhishma, and
slay him!–Then, O elder brother of Pandu, the ruler of Pragjyotishas,
abandoning that son of Pandu, quickly proceeded, O king, against the car
of Drupada. Then Arjuna, O monarch, speedily proceeded towards Bhishma,
placing Sikhandin ahead. And then there took place a fierce battle, for
all the brave combatants of thy army rushed with great vigour against
Arjuna, uttering loud shouts. And all this seemed extremely wonderful.
Like the wind dispersing in the summer masses of clouds in the welkin,
Arjuna dispersed, O king, all those diverse divisions of thy sons.
Sikhandin, however, without any anxiety, coming up at the grandsire of
the Bharatas, quickly pierced him with great many arrows. As regards
Bhishma, his car was then his fire-chamber. His bow was the flame of that
fire. And swords I and darts and maces constituted the fuel of that fire.
And the showers of arrows he shot were the blazing sparks of that fire
with which he was then consuming Kshatriyas in that battle. As a raging
conflagration with constant supply of fuel, wandereth amid masses of dry
grass when aided by the wind, so did Bhishma blaze up with his flames,
scattering his celestial weapons. And the Kuru hero slew the Somakas that
followed Partha in that battle. Indeed that mighty car-warrior checked
also the other forces of Arjuna, by means of his straight and whetted
shafts furnished with wings of gold. Filling in that dreadful battle all
the points of the compass, cardinal and subsidiary, with his leonine
shouts, Bhishma felled many car-warriors, O king, (from their cars) and
many steeds along with their riders. And he caused large bodies of cars
to look like forests of palmyras shorn of their leafy heads. That
foremost of all wielders of weapons, in that battle, deprived cars and
steeds and elephants, of their riders. Hearing the twang of his bow and
the slap of his palms, both resembling the roll of the thunder, the
troops, O king, trembled all over the field. The shafts, O chief of men,
of thy sire were never bootless as they fell. Indeed, shot from Bhishma’s
bow they never fell only touching the bodies of the foe (but pierced them
through in every case). We saw crowds of cars, O king, deprived of
riders, but unto which were yoked fleet steeds, dragged on all sides with
the speed of the wind. Full fourteen thousand great car-warriors of noble
parentage, prepared to lay down their lives, unretreating and brave, and
possessed of standards decked with gold, belonging to the Chedis, the
Kasis, and the Karushas, approaching Bhishma, that hero who resembled the
Destroyer himself with wide-open mouth, were despatched to the other
world, with their steeds, cars and elephants. There was not, O king, a
single great car-warrior among the Somakas, who, having approached
Bhishma in that battle, returned with life from that engagement.
Beholding Bhishma’s prowess, people regarded all those warriors (who
approached him) as already despatched to the abode of the king of the
Dead. Indeed, no car-warrior ventured to approach Bhishma in battle,
except the heroic Arjuna having white steeds (yoked unto his car) and
owning Krishna for his charioteer, and Sikhandin, the prince of Panchala,
of immeasurable energy.”


Sanjaya said,–Sikhandin, O bull among men, approaching Bhishma in
battle, struck him in the centre of the chest with ten broad-headed
arrows The son of Ganga, however, O Bharata, only looked at Sikhandin
with wrath and as if consuming the Panchala prince with that look.
Remembering his femininity, O king, Bhishma, in the very sight of all,
struck him not. Sikhandin, however, understood it not. Then Arjuna, O
monarch, addressed Sikhandin, saying,–‘Rush quickly and slay the
grandsire. What needst thou say, O hero? Slay the mighty car-warrior
Bhishma. I do not see any other warrior in Yudhishthira’s army who is
competent to fight with Bhishma in battle, save thee, O tiger among men.
I say this truly.’ Thus addressed by Partha, Sikhandin, O bull of
Bharata’s race, quickly covered the grandsire with diverse kinds of
weapons. Disregarding those shafts, thy sire Devavrata began, with his
shafts, to check the angry Arjuna only in that battle. And that mighty
car-warrior, O sire, began also to despatch, with his shafts of keen
points, the whole army of the Pandavas to the other world. The Pandavas
also, O king, after the same manner, supported by their vast host, began
to overwhelm Bhishma like the clouds covering the maker of day. O bull of
Bharata’s race, surrounded on all sides, that Bharata hero consumed many
brave warriors in that battle like a raging conflagration in the forest
(consuming numberless trees). The prowess that we then beheld there of
thy son (Dussasana) was wonderful, inasmuch as he battled with Partha and
protected the grandsire at the same time. With that feat of thy son
Dussasana, that illustrious bowman, all the people there were highly
gratified. Alone he battled with all the Pandavas having Arjuna amongst
them; and he fought with such vigour that the Pandavas were unable to
resist him. Many car-warriors were in that battle deprived of their cars
by Dussasana. And many mighty bowmen on horseback and many
mighty-warriors, elephants, pierced with Dussasana’s keen shafts, fell
down on the earth. And many elephants, afflicted with his shafts, ran
away in all directions. As a fire fiercely blazeth forth with bright
flames when fed with fuel, so did thy son blaze forth, consuming the
Pandava host. And no car-warrior, O Bharata, of the Pandava host ventured
to vanquish or even proceed against that warrior of gigantic proportions,
save Indra’s son (Arjuna) owning white steeds and having Krishna for his
charioteer. Then Arjuna also called Vijaya, vanquishing Dussasana in
battle, O king, in the very sight of all the troops, proceeded against
Bhishma. Though vanquished, thy son, however, relying upon the might of
Bhishma’s arms, repeatedly comforted his own side and battled with the
Pandavas with great fierceness. Arjuna, O king, fighting with his foes in
that battle, looked exceedingly resplendent.[482] Then Sikhandin, in that
battle, O king, pierced the grandsire with many arrows whose touch
resembled that of the bolts of heaven and which were as fatal as the
poison of the snake. These arrows, however, O monarch, caused thy sire
little pain, for the son of Ganga received them laughingly. Indeed, as a
person afflicted with heat cheerfully receives torrents of rain, even so
did the son of Ganga received those arrows of Sikhandin. And the
Kshatriyas there, O king, beheld Bhishma in that great battle as a being
of fierce visage who was incessantly consuming the troops of the
high-souled Pandavas.

“Then thy son (Duryodhana), addressing all his warriors, said unto them,
‘Rush ye against Phalguni from all sides. Bhishma, acquainted with the
duties of a commander, will protect you’. Thus addressed, the Kaurava
troops casting off all fear, fought with the Pandavas. (And once more,
Duryodhana said unto them). ‘With his tall standard bearing the device of
the golden palmyra, Bhishma stayeth, protecting the honour and the armour
of all the Dhartarashtra warriors. The very gods, striving vigorously,
cannot vanquish the illustrious and mighty Bhishma. What need be said,
therefore, of the Parthas who are mortals? Therefore, ye warriors, fly
not away from the field, getting Phalguni for a foe. I myself, striving
vigorously, will today fight with the Pandavas.. uniting with all of you,
ye lords of earth, exerting yourselves actively.’ Hearing these words, O
monarch, of thy son with bow in hand, many mighty combatants, excited
with rage, belonging to the Videhas, the Kalingas, and the diverse tribes
of the Daserkas, fell upon Phalguni. And many combatants also, belonging
to the Nishadas, the Sauviras, the Valhikas, the Daradas, the Westerners,
the Northerners, the Malavas, the Abhighatas, the Surasenas, the Sivis,
the Vasatis, the Salwas, the Sakas, the Trigartas, the Amvashthas, and
the Kekayas, similarly fell upon Partha, like flights of insects upon a
fire. The mighty Dhananjaya, otherwise called Vibhatsu, then, O monarch,
calling to mind diverse celestial weapons and aiming them at those great
car-warriors at the heads of their respective divisions,[483] quickly
consumed them all, by means of those weapons of great force, like fire
consuming a flight of insects. And while that firm bowman was (by means
of his celestial weapons) creating thousands upon thousands of arrows,
his Gandiva looked highly resplendent in the welkin. Then those
Kshatriyas, O monarch, afflicted with those arrows with their tall
standards torn and overthrown, could not even together, approach the
ape-bannered (Partha). Car-warriors fell down with their standards, and
horsemen with their horses, and elephant-riders with their elephants,
attacked by Kiritin with his shafts. And the earth was soon covered all
on all sides with the retreating troops of those kings, routed in
consequence of the shafts shot from Arjuna’s arms. Partha then, O
monarch, having routed the Kaurava army, sped many arrows at Dussasana.
Those arrows with iron heads, piercing thy son Dussasana through, all
entered the earth like snakes through ant-hills. Arjuna then slew
Dussasana’s steeds and then felled his charioteer. And the lord Arjuna,
with twenty shafts, deprived Vivingsati of his car, and struck him five
straight shafts. And piercing Kripa and Vikarna and Salya with many
arrows made wholly of iron, Kunti’s son owning white steeds deprived all
of them of their cars. Thus deprived of their cars and vanquished in
battle by Savyasachin, Kripa and Salya, O sire, and Dussasana, and
Vikarna and Vivingsati, all fled away. Having vanquished those mighty
car-warriors, O chief of the Bharatas, in the forenoon, Partha blazed up
in that battle like a smokeless conflagration. Scattering his shafts all
around like the Sun shedding rays of light, Partha felled many other
kings, O monarch. Making those mighty car-warriors turn their backs upon
the field by means of his arrowy showers, Arjuna caused a large river of
bloody current to flow in that battle between the hosts of the Kurus and
the Pandavas, O Bharata. Large numbers of elephants and steeds and
car-warriors were slain by car-warriors. And many were the car-warriors
slain by elephants, and many also were the steeds slain by foot-soldiers.
And the bodies of many elephant-riders and horsemen and car-warriors, cut
off in the middle, as also their heads, fell down on every part of the
field. And the field of battle, O king, was strewn with (slain)
princes,–mighty car-warriors,–falling or fallen, decked with ear-rings
and bracelets. And it was also strewn with the bodies of many warriors
cut off by car-wheels, or trodden down by elephants. And foot-soldiers
ran away, and horsemen also with their horses. And many elephants and
car-warriors fell down on all sides. And many cars, with wheels and yokes
and standards broken, lay scattered all about on the field. And the field
of battle, dyed with the gore of large numbers of elephants, steeds, and
car-warriors, looked beautiful like a red cloud, in the autumnal sky.
Dogs, and crows, and vultures, and wolves, and jackals, and many other
frightful beasts and birds, set up loud howls, at the sight of the food
that lay before them. Diverse kinds of winds blew along all directions.
And Rakshasas and evil spirits were seen there, uttering loud roars. And
strings, embroidered with gold, and costly banners, were seen to wave,
moved by the wind. And thousands of umbrellas and great cars with
standards attached to them, were seen lying scattered about on the field.
Then Bhishma, O king, invoking a celestial weapon, rushed at the son of
Kunti, in the very sight of all the bowmen. Thereupon Sikhandin, clad in
mail, rushed at Bhishma who was dashing towards Arjuna. At this, Bhishma
withdrew that weapon resembling fire (in effulgence and energy).
Meanwhile Kunti’s son owning white steeds slaughtered thy troops,
confounding the grandsire.[484]”


Sanjaya said, “When the combatants of both armies, strong in number, were
thus disposed in battle array, all those unretreating heroes, O Bharata,
set their heart upon the region of Brahma.[485] In course of the general
engagement that followed, the same class of combatants did not fight with
the same class of combatants. Car-warriors fought not with car-warriors,
or foot-soldiers with foot-soldiers, or horsemen with horsemen, or
elephant-warriors with elephant-warriors. On the other hand, O monarch,
the combatants fought with one another like mad men. Great and dreadful
was the calamity that overtook both the armies. In that fierce slaughter
when elephants and men spread themselves on the field, all distinctions
between them ceased, for they fought indiscriminately.

“Then Salya and Kripa, and Chitrasena, O Bharata, and Dussasana, and
Vikarna, those heroes mounted on their bright cars, caused the Pandava
host to tremble. Slaughtered in battle by those high-souled warriors, the
Pandava army began to reel in diverse ways, O king, like a boat on the
waters tossed by the wind. As the wintry cold cuts kine to the quick, so
did Bhishma cut the sons of Pandu to the quick. As regards thy army also,
many elephants, looking like newly-risen clouds, were felled by the
illustrious Partha. And many foremost of warriors too were seen to be
crushed by that hero. And struck with arrows and long shafts in
thousands, many huge elephants fell down, uttering frightful shrieks of
pain. And the field of battle looked beautiful, strewn with the bodies,
still decked with ornaments of high-souled warriors deprived of life and
with heads still decked with ear-rings. And in that battle, O king, which
was destructive of great heroes, when Bhishma and Dhananjaya the son of
Pandu put forth their prowess, thy sons, O monarch, beholding the
grandsire exert himself vigorously, approached him, with all their troops
placed ahead. Desirous of laying down their lives in battle and making
heaven itself their goal, they approached the Pandavas in that battle,
which was fraught with great carnage. The brave Pandavas also, O king,
bearing in mind the many injuries of diverse kinds inflicted upon them
before by thee and thy son, O monarch, and casting off all fear, and
eager to win the highest heavens, cheerfully fought with thy son and the
other warriors of thy army.

“Then the generalissimo of the Pandava army, viz., the mighty car-warrior
Dhrishtadyumna, addressing his soldiers, said, ‘Ye Somakas, accompanied
by the Srinjayas, rush ye at Ganga’s son.’ Hearing those words of their
commander the Somakas and the Srinjayas, though afflicted with showers of
arrows, rushed at the son of Ganga. Thus attacked, O king, thy sire
Bhishma, influenced by wrath, began to fight with the Srinjayas. In days
of old, O sire, the intelligent Rama had imparted to Bhishma of glorious
achievements that instruction in weapons which was so destructive of
hostile ranks. Relying on that instruction and causing a great havoc
among the troops of the foe, that slayer of hostile heroes, viz., the old
Kuru grandsire Bhishma, day after day, slew ten thousand warriors of the
Ratha. On the tenth day, however, O bull of Bharata’s race, Bhishma,
single-handed, slew ten thousand elephants. And then he slew seven great
car-warriors among the Matsyas and the Panchalas. In addition to all
this, in that dreadful battle five thousand foot-soldiers, and one
thousand tuskers, and ten thousand steeds, were also slain by thy sire, O
king, through skill acquired by education. Then having thinned the ranks
of all the kings, he slew Satanika, the dear brother of Virata. And the
valiant Bhishma, having slain Satanika in battle, felled, O king, full
one thousand Kshatriyas with his broad-headed shafts. Besides these, all
the Kshatriyas of the Pandava army who followed Dhananjaya, as soon as
they approached Bhishma, had to go to Yama’s abode. Covering the Pandava
host from every side with showers of arrows, Bhishma stayed in battle at
the head of the Kaurava army. Achieving the most glorious feats on the
tenth day, as he stayed between the two armies, bow in hand, none of the
kings, O monarch, could even look at him, for he then resembled the hot
mid-day Sun in the summer sky. As Sakra scorched the Daitya host in
battle, even so, O Bharata, did Bhishma scorch the Pandava host.
Beholding him thus put forth his prowess, the slayer of Madhu, viz., the
son of Devaki, cheerfully addressing Dhananjaya, said, ‘There, Bhishma,
the son of Santanu, stayeth between the two armies. Slaying him by
putting forth thy might, thou mayst win victory. There, at that spot,
whence he breaketh our ranks, check him, putting forth thy strength. O
lord, none else, save thee, ventureth to bear the arrows of Bhishma. Thus
urged, the ape-bannered Arjuna at that moment made Bhishma with his car,
steeds, and standard, invisible by means of his arrows. That bull,
however, among the foremost of Kurus, by means of his own arrowy showers,
pierced those showers of shafts shot by the son of Pandu. Then the king
of the Panchalas the valiant Dhrishtaketu, Bhimasena the son of Pandu,
Dhrishtadyumna of Prishata’s race, the twins (Nakula and Sahadeva),
Chekitana, and the five Kaikaya brothers, and the mighty-armed Satyaki
and Subhadra’s son, and Ghatotkacha, and the (five) sons of Draupadi, and
Sikhandin, and the valiant Kuntibhoja, and Susarman, and Virata, these
and many other powerful warriors of the Pandava army, afflicted by the
shafts of Bhishma, seemed to sink in an ocean of grief, Phalguni,
however, rescued them all. Then Sikhandin, taking up a mighty weapon and
protected by Kiritin, rushed impetuously towards Bhishma alone. The
unvanquished Vibhatsu then, knowing what should be done after what, slew
all those that followed Bhishma, and then himself rushed at him. And
Satyaki, and Chekitana, and Dhristadyumna of Prishata’s race, and Virata,
and Drupada, and the twin sons of Madri by Pandu, all protected by that
firm bowman (viz., Arjuna) rushed against Bhishma alone in that battle.
And Abhimanyu, and the five sons of Draupadi also, with mighty weapons
upraised, rushed against Bhishma in battle. All those firm bowmen,
unretreating from battle, pierced Bhishma in diverse parts of his body
with well-aimed shafts. Disregarding all those shafts, large in number,
shot by those foremost of princes belonging to the Pandava host, Bhishma
of undepressed soul penetrated into the Pandava ranks. And the grandsire
baffled all those arrows, as if sporting the while. Frequently looking at
Sikhandin the prince of the Panchalas with a laugh, he aimed not a single
arrow at him, recollecting his femininity. On the other hand, he slew
seven great car-warriors belonging to Drupada’s division. Then confused
cries of woe soon arose amongst the Matsyas, the Panchalas, and the
Chedis, who were together rushing at that single hero. With large numbers
of foot-soldiers and steeds and cars, and with showers of arrows, O
scorcher of foes, they overwhelmed that single warrior, viz., Bhishma the
son of Bhagirathi, that scorcher of foes, like the clouds overwhelming
the maker of day. Then in that battle between him and them, which
resembled the battle between the gods and the Asuras in days of old, the
diadem-decked (Arjuna), placing Sikhandin before him, pierced Bhishma


Sanjaya said, “Thus all the Pandavas, placing Sikhandin before them
pierced Bhishma in that battle repeatedly surrounding him on all sides.
And all the Srinjayas, uniting together, struck him with dreadful
Sataghnis, and spiked maces, and battle-axes, and mallets, and short
thick clubs, and bearded darts, and other missiles, and arrows furnished
with golden wing, and darts and lances and kampanas; and with long
shafts, and arrows furnished with heads shaped like the calf-tooth, and
rockets. Thus afflicted by many, his coat of mail was pierced everywhere.
But though pierced in every vital part, Bhishma felt no pain. On the
other hand, he then seemed to his enemies to resemble in appearance the
(all-destructive) fire that rises at the end of Yuga. His bow and arrows
constituted the blazing flames (of that fire). The flight of his weapons
constituted its (friendly) breeze. The rattle of his car-wheels
constituted its heat and mighty weapons constituted its splendour. His
beautiful bow formed its fierce tongue, and the bodies of heroic
warriors, its profuse fuel. And Bhishma was seen to roll through the
midst of crowds of cars belonging to those kings, or to come out (of the
press) at times, or course once more through their midst. Then,
disregarding the king of the Panchalas and Dhrishtaketu, he penetrated, O
monarch, into the midst of the Pandava army. He then pierced the six
Pandava warriors, viz., Satyaki, and Bhima, and Dhananjaya the son of
Pandu, and Drupada, and Virata, and Dhrishtadyumna of Prishata’s race,
with many excellent arrows of great sharpness and dreadful whizz and
exceeding impetuosity, and capable of piercing through every kind of
armour. Those mighty car-warriors, however, checking those keen shafts,
afflicted Bhishma with great force, each of them striking him with ten
shafts. Those mighty shafts, whetted on stone and furnished with golden
wings, which the great car-warrior Sikhandin shot, quickly penetrated
into Bhishma’s body. Then the diadem-decked (Arjuna), excited with wrath,
and placing Sikhandin ahead rushed at Bhishma and cut off the latter’s
bow. Thereupon mighty car-warriors, seven in number, viz., Drona and
Kritavarman, and Jayadratha the ruler of the Sindhus, and Bhurisravas,
and Sala, and Salya, and Bhagadatta could not brook that act of Arjuna.
Inflamed with rage, they rushed at him. Indeed, those mighty
car-warriors, invoking into existence celestial weapons, fell with great
wrath upon that son of Pandu, and covered him with their arrows. And as
they rushed towards Phalguni’s car, the noise made by them was heard to
resemble that made by the ocean itself when it swelleth in rage at the
end of the Yuga, Kill, Bring up (our forces), Take, Pierce, Cut off, this
was the furious uproar heard about Phalguni’s car. Hearing that furious
uproar, the mighty car-warriors of the Pandava army rushed forward, O
bull of Bharata’s race, for protecting Arjuna. They were Satyaki, and
Bhimasena, and Dhrishtadyumna of Prishata’s race, and both Virata and
Drupada, and the Rakshasa Ghatotkacha, and the wrathful Abhimanyu. These
seven, inflamed with rage, and armed with excellent bows, rushed with
great speed. And the battle that took place between these and the Kaurava
warriors was fierce, making the hair stand on end, and resembling O chief
of the Bharatas, the battle of the gods with the Danavas. Sikhandin,
however, that foremost of car-warriors, protected in the battle by the
diadem-decked (Arjuna), pierced Bhishma, in that encounter, with ten
shafts after the latter’s bow had been cut off. And he struck Bhishma’s
charioteer with other shafts, and cut off the latter’s standard with one
shaft. Then the son of Ganga took up another bow that was tougher. That
even was cut off by Phalguni with three sharp shafts. Indeed, that
chastiser of foes, viz., Arjuna, who was capable of drawing the bow with
even his left hand, excited with rage, one after another, cut off all the
bows that Bhishma took up. Then Bhishma, whose bows were thus cut off,
excited with rage, and licking the corners of his mouth, took up a dart
that was capable of riving a hill. In rage he hurled it at Phalguni’s
car. Beholding its course towards him like the blazing bolt of heaven,
the delighter of the Pandavas fixed five sharp broad-headed arrows (on
his bow-string). And with those five arrows, O chief of the Bharatas, the
angry Arjuna cut off into five fragments that dart hurled from Bhishma’s
arms. Thus cut off by the angry Arjuna, that dart then fell down like a
flash of lightning separated from a mass of clouds. Beholding his dart
cut off, Bhishma became filled with rage. That hero, that subjugator of
hostile cities, then began to reflect. And he said unto himself, ‘With
only a single bow I could slay all the Pandavas, if the mighty Vishnu
himself had not been their protector. For two reasons, however, I will
not fight with the Pandavas, viz., their unslayableness, and the
femininity of Sikhandin. Formerly, when my sire wedded Kali, he pleased
(with me) gave me two boons, viz., that I should be incapable of being
slain in battle, and that my death should depend on my own choice. I
should, however, now wish my own death, this being the proper hour.’
Ascertaining this to be the resolve of Bhishma of immeasurable energy,
the Rishis and the Vasus stationed in the firmament, said, ‘That which
hath been resolved by thee is approved by us also, O son! Act according
to thy resolution, O king. Withdraw thy heart from battle.’ On the
conclusion, of those words, fragrant and auspicious breeze charged with
particles of water, began to blow along a natural direction.[486] And
celestial cymbals of loud sounds began to beat. And a flowery shower fell
upon Bhishma, O sire. The words spoken by the Rishis and the Vasus,
however, O king, were not heard by any one save Bhishma himself. I also
heard them, through the power conferred on me by the Muni. Great was the
grief, O monarch, that filled the hearts of the celestials at the thought
of Bhishma, that favourite of all the worlds, falling down from his car.
Having listened to these words of the celestials, Santanu’s son Bhishma
of great ascetic merit rushed out at Vibhatsu, even though he was then
being pierced with sharp arrows capable of penetrating through every
armour. Then Sikhandin, O king, excited with rage, struck the grandsire
of the Bharatas in the chest with nine sharp arrows. The Kuru grandsire
Bhishma, however, though struck by him in battle, thus, trembled not, O
monarch, but remained unmoved like a mountain during an earthquake. Then
Vibhatsu, drawing his bow Gandiva with a laugh, pierced the son of Ganga
with five and twenty arrows. And once more, Dhananjaya, with great speed
and excited with wrath struck him in every vital part with hundreds of
arrows. Thus pierced by others, also with thousands of arrows, the mighty
car-warrior Bhishma pierced those others in return with great speed. And
as regards the arrows shot by those warriors, Bhishma, possessed of
prowess in battle that was incapable of being baffled, equally checked
them all with his own straight arrows. Those arrows, however, endued with
wings of gold and whetted on stone, which the mighty car-warrior
Sikhandin shot in that battle, scarcely caused Bhishma any pain. Then the
diadem-decked (Arjuna), excited with rage and placing Sikhandin to the
fore, approached Bhishma (nearer) and once more cut off his bow. And then
piercing Bhishma with ten arrows, he cut off the latter’s standard with
one. And striking Bhishma’s chariot with ten arrows, Arjuna caused him to
tremble. The son of Ganga then took up another bow that was stronger.
Within, however, the twinkling of an eye, as soon, in fact, as it was
taken up, Arjuna cut that bow also into three fragments with three
broad-headed shafts. And thus the son of Pandu cut off in that battle
even all the bows of Bhishma. After that, Bhishma the son of Santanu, no
longer desired to battle with Arjuna. The latter, however, then pierced
him with five and twenty arrows. That great bowman, thus pierced greatly,
then addressed Dussasana, and skid, ‘Behold, Partha, that great
car-warrior of the Pandavas, excited with wrath in battle, pierceth me
alone with many thousands of arrows. He is incapable of being vanquished
in battle by the wielder of the thunder-bolt himself. As regards myself
also, O hero, the very gods, Danavas and Rakshasas united together, are
incapable of vanquishing me. What I shall say then of mighty car-warriors
among men?’ While Bhishma was thus speaking to Dussasana, Phalguni with
sharp shafts, and placing Sikhandin to the fore, pierced Bhishma in that
battle. Then Bhishma, deeply and excessively pierced by the wielder of
Gandiva with keen-pointed shafts, once more addressed Dussasana with a
smile and said, ‘These arrows coursing towards me in one continuous line,
whose touch resembleth that of heaven’s bolt, have been shot by Arjuna.
These are not Sikhandin’s. Cutting me to the quick, piercing through even
my hard coat of mail, and striking me with the force of mushalas, these
arrows are not Sikhandin’s. Of touch as hard as that of the Brahmana’s
rod (of chastisement),[487] and of impetus unbearable as that of the
thunder-bolt, these arrows are afflicting my vital forces. These are not
Sikhandin’s. Of the touch of maces and spiked bludgeons, those arrows are
destroying my vital forces like messengers of Death commissioned (by the
grim king himself). These are not Sikhandin’s. Like angry snakes of
virulent poison, projecting their tongues out, these are penetrating into
my vitals. These are not Sikhandin’s–these that cut me to the quick like
the cold of winter cutting kine to the quick. Save the heroic wielder of
Gandiva, viz., the ape-bannered Jishnu, even all other kings united
together cannot cause me pain. Saying these words, Bhishma, the valiant
son of Santanu, as if for the object of consuming the Pandavas, hurled a
dart at Partha. Partha, however, caused that dart to drop down, cutting
it into three fragments with three shafts, in the very sight, O Bharata,
of all the Kuru heroes of thy army. Desirous of obtaining either death or
victory, the son of Ganga then took up a sword and a shield decked with
gold. Before, however, he could come down from his car, Arjuna cut off by
means of his arrows, that shield into a hundred fragments. And that feat
of his seemed exceedingly wonderful. Then the king Yudhishthira urged his
own troops, saying, ‘Rush ye at Ganga’s son. Do not entertain the
slightest fear’. Then, armed with bearded darts, and lances, and arrows,
from all sides, with axes, and excellent scimitars, and long shafts of
great sharpness, with calf-toothed arrows, and broad-headed shafts, they
all rushed at that single warrior. Then arose from among the Pandava host
a loud shout. Then thy sons also, O king, desirous of Bhishma’s victory,
surrounded him and uttered leonine shouts. Fierce was the battle fought
there between thy troops and those of the enemy on that the tenth day, O
king, when Bhishma and Arjuna met together. Like unto the vortex that
occurs at the spot where the Ganga meets the Ocean, for a short while a
vortex occurred there where the troops of both armies met and struck one
another down. And the Earth, wet with gore, assumed a fierce form. And
the even and the uneven spots on her surface could no longer be
distinguished. Although Bhishma was pierced in all his vital limbs, yet
on that the tenth day he stayed (calmly) in battle, having slain ten
thousand warriors. Then that great bowman, Partha, stationed at the head
of his troops, broke the centre of the Kuru army. Ourselves then, afraid
of Kunti’s son Dhananjaya having white steeds attached to his car, and
afflicted by him with polished weapons, fled away from the battle. The
Sauviras, the Kitavas, the Easterners, the Westerners, the Northerners,
the Malavas, the Abhishahas, the Surasenas, the Sivis, the Vasatis, the
Salwas, the Sayas, the Trigartas, the Amvashthas, and the
Kaikeyas.[488]–these and many other illustrious warriors,–afflicted
with arrows and pained by their wounds, abandoned Bhishma in that battle
while he was fighting with the diadem-decked (Arjuna). Then a great many
warriors, surrounding that single warrior on all sides, defeated the
Kurus (that protected him) and covered him with shower of arrows. Throw
down, Seize, Fight, Cut into pieces,–this was the furious uproar, O
king, heard in the vicinity of Bhishma’s car. Having slain in that
battle, O monarch, (his foes) by hundreds and thousands, there was not in
Bhishma’s body space of even two fingers’ breadth that was not pierced
with arrows. Thus was thy sire mangled with arrows of keen points by
Phalguni in that battle. And then he fell down from his car with his head
to the east, a little before sunset, in the very sight of thy sons. And
while Bhishma fell, loud cries of alas and oh, O Bharata, were heard in
the welkin uttered by the celestials and the kings of the earth. And
beholding the high-souled grandsire falling down (from his car), the
hearts of all of us fell with him. That foremost of all bowmen, that
mighty-armed hero, fell down, like an uprooted standard of Indra, making
the earth tremble the while.[489] Pierced all over with arrows, his body
touched not the ground. At that moment, O bull of Bharata’s race, a
divine nature took possession of that great bowman lying on a bed of
arrows. The clouds poured a (cool) shower (over him) and the Earth
trembled. While falling he had marked that the Sun was then in the
southern solstice. That hero, therefore, permitted not his senses to
depart, thinking of that (inauspicious) season (of death). And all around
in the welkin he heard celestial voices saying, ‘Why, Oh why, should
Ganga’s son, that foremost of all warriors of weapons, yield up his life
during the southern declension?’ Hearing these words, the son of Ganga
answered, ‘I am alive!’ Although fallen upon the earth, the Kuru
grandsire Bhishma, expectant of the northern declension, suffered not his
life to depart. Ascertaining that to be his resolve, Ganga, the daughter
of Himavat, sent unto him the great Rishis in swanlike form. Then those
Rishis in the forms of swans inhabiting the Manasa lake, quickly rose up,
and came together, for obtaining a sight of the Kuru grandsire Bhishma,
to that spot where that foremost of men was lying on his bed of arrows.
Then those Rishis in swanlike forms, coming to Bhishma, beheld that
perpetuator of Kuru’s race lying on his bed of arrows. Beholding that
high-souled son of Ganga, that chief of the Bharatas, they walked round
him, and the Sun being then in the southern solstice, they said,
addressing one another, these words, ‘Being a high-souled person, why
should Bhishma pass out (of the world) during the southern declension?’
Having said these words, those swans went away, proceeding towards the
southern direction. Endued with great intelligence, Bhishma, O Bharata.
beholding them, reflected for a moment. And the son of Santanu then said
unto them. ‘I will never pass out (of the world) as long as the Sun is in
the southern solstice. Even this is my resolve. I will proceed to my own
ancient abode when the Sun reacheth the northern solstice. Ye swans, I
tell you this truly. Expectant of the northern declension I will hold my
life. Since I have the fullest control over the yielding up of my life, I
will, therefore, hold life, expectant of death during the northern
declension. The boon that was granted to me by my illustrious sire, to
the effect that my death would depend on my own wish O, let that boon
become true. I will hold my life, since I have control in the matter of
laying it down.’ Having said these words to those swans, he continued to
lie down on his bed of arrows.

“When that crest of the Kuru race, viz., Bhishma of great energy, fell
down, the Pandavas and the Srinjayas uttered leonine shouts. When the
grandsire of the Bharatas who was endued with great might was overthrown,
thy son, O bull of Bharata’s race, knew not what to do. And all the Kurus
were entirely deprived of their senses. And the Kurus headed by Kripa,
and Duryodhana, sighed and wept. And from grief they remained for a long
while deprived of their senses. And they remained perfectly still, O
monarch, without setting their hearts on battle. As if seized by thighs,
they stood motionless, without proceeding against the Pandavas. When
Santanu’s son Bhishma of mighty energy, who was (regarded as) unslayable,
was slain, all of us thought that the destruction of the Kuru king was at
hand.[490] Vanquished by Savyasachin, with our foremost heroes slain, and
ourselves mangled with sharp arrows, we knew not what to do. And the
heroic Pandavas possessed of massive arms that looked like spiked maces,
having obtained the victory and won a highly blessed state in the other
world,[491] all blew their great conches. And the Somakas and the
Panchalas all rejoiced, O king. Then when thousands of trumpets were
blown, the mighty Bhimasena slapped his arm-pits and uttered loud shouts.
When the all-powerful son of Ganga was slain, the heroic warriors of both
armies, laying down their weapons, began to reflect thoughtfully. And
some uttered loud shrieks and some fled away, and some were deprived of
their senses. And some censured the practices of the Kshatriya order and
some applauded Bhishma. And the Rishis and the Pitris all applauded
Bhishma of high vows. And the deceased ancestors of the Bharatas also
praised Bhishma. Meanwhile the valiant and intelligent Bhishma, the son
of Santanu, having recourse to that Yoga which is taught in the great
Upanishads and engaged in mental prayers, remained quiet, expectant of
his hour.”


Dhritarashtra said, ‘Alas, what was the state of (my) warriors, O
Sanjaya, when they were deprived of the mighty and god-like Bhishma who
had become a Brahmacharin for the sake of his reverend sire? Even then I
regarded the Kurus and all the others as slain by the Pandavas when
Bhishma, despising the son of Drupada, struck him not. Wretch that I am,
also, I hear today of my sire’s slaughter. What can be a heavier sorrow
than this? My heart assuredly, O Sanjaya, is made of adamant, since it
breaketh not into a hundred fragments on hearing of Bhishma’s death! Tell
me, O thou of excellent vows, what was done by that lion among the Kurus,
viz., the victory-desiring Bhishma when he was slain in battle. I cannot
at all brook it that Devavrata should be slain in battle. Alas, he that
was not slain by Jamadagni’s son himself in days of old by means of even
his celestial weapons, alas, he hath now been slain by Drupada’s son
Sikhandin, the prince of Panchala!–

‘Sanjaya said,–“Slain in the evening the Kuru grandsire Bhishma saddened
the Dhartarashtras and delighted the Panchalas. Falling down on the
earth, he lay on his bed of arrows without however, touching the earth
with his body. Indeed, when Bhishma, thrown down from his car fell upon
the surface of the earth, cries of Oh and Alas were heard among all
creatures. When that boundary-tree of the Kurus, viz., the ever
victorious Bhishma, fell down, fear entered the hearts, O king, of the
Kshatriyas of both the armies. Beholding Bhishma, the son of Santanu,
with his standard overthrown and his armour cut open, both the Kurus and
the Pandavas were inspired, O monarch, with sentiments of cheerlessness.
And the welkin was enveloped with a gloom and the Sun himself became dim.
The Earth seemed to utter loud shrieks when the son of Santanu was slain.
This one is the foremost of those conversant with the Vedas! This one is
the best of those that are conversant with the Vedas!–Even thus did
creatures speak of that bull among men as he lay (on his bed of
arrows).This one, formerly, ascertaining his sire Santanu to be afflicted
by Kama, this bull among men, resolved to draw up his vital steed!–Even
thus did the Rishis together with the Siddhas and the Charanas said of
that foremost one of the Bharatas as he lay on his bed of arrows. When
Santanu’s son Bhishma, the grandsire of the Bharatas, was slain, thy
sons, O sire, knew not what to do. Their faces wore an expression of
grief. The splendour of their countenances seemed to abandon them, O
Bharata! All of them stood in shame, hanging down their heads. The
Pandavas, on the other hand, having, won the victory, stood at the head
of their ranks. And they all blew their large conchs decked with gold.
And when in consequence of their joys thousands of trumpets, O sinless
one, were blown there, we beheld O monarch, the mighty Bhimasena, the son
of Kunti, sporting in great glee, having quickly slain many hostile
warriors endued with great strength. And a great swoon overtook all the
Kurus. And Karna and Duryodhana repeatedly drew long breaths. When the
Kuru grandsire Bhishma fell down, thus, cries of sorrow were heard all
round, and the greatest confusion prevailed (among the Kuru army).
Beholding Bhishma fallen, thy son Dussasana, with great speed, entered
the division commanded by Drona. That hero, clad in mail and at the head
of his own troops, had been placed by his elder brother (for the
protection of Bhishma). That tiger among men now came, plunging the
troops he had commanded into grief. Beholding him coming towards them,
the Kauravas surrounded prince Dussasana, desirous, O monarch, of hearing
what he had to say. Then Dussasana of Kuru’s race informed Drona of
Bhishma’s slaughter. Drona then, hearing those evil tidings, suddenly
fell down from his car. Then the valiant son of Bharadwaja, quickly
recovering his senses, forbade the Kuru army, sire, to continue the
fight. Beholding the Kurus desist from battle, the Pandavas also, through
messengers on fleet horses, forbade their orders, ceased to fight, the
kings of both armies, putting off their armour, all repaired to Bhishma.
Desisting from the fight, thousands of (other) warriors then, proceeded
towards the high-souled Bhishma like the celestials towards the Lord of
all creatures. Approaching Bhishma who was then, O bull of Bharata’s
race, lying (on his bed of arrows), the Pandavas and the Kurus stood
there, having offered him their salutations. Then Santanu’s son Bhishma
of righteous soul addressed the Pandavas and the Kurus who having
reverenced him thus, stood before him. And he said,–Welcome to you, ye
highly blessed ones! Welcome to you, ye mighty car-warriors! Gratified am
I with your sight, ye that are the equals of the very gods.–Thus
addressing them with his head hanging down, he once more said,–‘My head
is hanging down greatly. Let a pillow be given to me!–The kings
(standing there) then fetched many excellent pillows that were very soft
and made of very delicate fabrics. The grandsire, however, desired them
not. That tiger among men then said unto those kings with a
laugh,–These, ye kings, do not become a hero’s bed.–Beholding them that
foremost of men, that mightiest of car-warriors in all the worlds, viz.,
the mighty-armed Dhananjaya the son of Pandu, he said,–O Dhananjaya, O
thou of mighty arms, my head hangeth down, O sire! Give me a pillow such
as thou regardest to be fit!–‘”


“Sanjaya said,–‘Stringing then his large bow and reverentially saluting
the grandsire, Arjuna, with eyes filled with tears, said these words, O
foremost one among the Kurus, O thou that art the first among all
wielders of weapons, command me, O invincible one, for I am thy slave!
What shall I do, O grandsire!–Unto him Santanu’s son said,–My head, O
sire, hangeth down!–O foremost one among the Kuru’s O Phalguni, get me a
pillow! Indeed, give me one without delay O hero, that would become my
bed! Thou O Partha, art competent, thou art the foremost of all wielders
of bows! Thou art conversant with the duties of Kshatriyas and thou art
endued with intelligence and goodness!–Then Phalguni, saying,–So be
it–desired to do Bhishma’s bidding. Taking up Gandiva and a number of
straight shafts, and inspiring them with mantras, and obtaining the
permission of that illustrious and mighty car-warrior of Bharata’s race,
Arjuna then, with three keen shafts endued with great force, supported
Bhishma’s head. Then that chief of the Bharatas, viz., Bhishma of
virtuous soul, conversant with the truths of religion, seeing that
Arjuna, having divined his thought, had achieved that feat, became highly
gratified. And after that pillow had thus been given to him, he applauded
Dhananjaya. And casting his eyes upon all the Bharatas there, he
addressed Kunti’s son Arjuna, that foremost of all warriors, that
enhancer of the joys of his friends and said,–Thou hast given me, O son
of Pandu, a pillow that becometh my bed! If thou hadst acted otherwise, I
would have cursed thee, from wrath! Even thus, O mighty-armed one, should
a Kshatriya, observant of his duties, sleep on the field of battle on his
bed of arrows!–Having addressed Vibhatsu thus, he then said unto all
those kings and princes that were present there, these words:–Behold ye
the pillow that the son of Pandu hath given me! I will sleep on this bed
till the Sun turneth to the northern solstice! Those king that will then
come to me will behold me (yield up my life)! When the Sun on his car of
great speed and unto which are yoked seven steeds, will proceed towards
the direction occupied by Vaisravana, verily, even then, will I yield up
my life like a dear friend dismissing a dear friend! Let a ditch be dug
here around my quarters ye kings! Thus pierced with hundreds of arrows
will I pay my adorations to the Sun? As regards yourselves, abandoning
enmity, cease ye from the fight, ye kings–

‘Sanjaya continued,–“Then there came unto him some surgeons well trained
(in their science) and skilled in plucking out arrows, with all becoming
appliances (of their profession). Beholding them, the son of Ganga said
unto thy son,–‘Let these physicians, after proper respect being paid to
them, be dismissed with presents of wealth. Brought to such a plight,
what need have I now of physicians? I have won the most laudable and the
highest state ordained in Kshatriya observances! Ye kings, lying as I do
on a bed of arrows, it is not proper for me to submit now to the
treatment of physicians. With these arrows on my body, ye rulers of men,
should I be burnt!’–Hearing these words of his, thy son Duryodhana
dismissed those physicians, having honoured them as they deserved. Then
those kings of diverse realms, beholding that constancy in virtue
displayed by Bhishma of immeasurable energy, were filled with wonder.
Having given a pillow to thy sire thus, those rulers of men, those mighty
car-warriors, viz., the Pandavas and the Kauravas, united together, once
more approached the high-souled Bhishma lying on that excellent bed of
his. Reverentially saluting that high-souled one and circumambulating him
thrice, and stationing guards all around for his protection, those
heroes, with bodies drenched in blood, repaired for rest towards their
own tents in the evening, their hearts plunged into grief and thinking of
what they had seen.

Then at the proper time, the mighty Madhava, approaching the Pandavas,
those mighty car-warriors cheerfully seated together and filled with joy
at the fall of Bhishma, said unto Dharma’s son Yudhishthira these
words,–“By good luck victory hath been thine, O thou of Kuru’s rare! By
good luck hath Bhishma been overthrown, who is unslayable by men, and is
a mighty car-warrior of aim incapable of being baffled! Or, perhaps, as
destiny would have it, that warrior who was master of every weapon,
having obtained thee for a foe that canst slay with thy eyes alone, hath
been consumed by thy wrathful eye!–Thus addressed by Krishna, king
Yudhishthira the just, replied unto Janardana, saying,–Through Thy grace
is Victory, through Thy wrath is Defeat! Thou art dispeller of the fears
of those that are devoted to thee. Thou art our refuge! It is not
wonderful that they should have victory whom Thou always protectest in
battle, and in whose welfare Thou art always engaged, O Kesava! Having
got Thee for our refuge, I do not regard anything as wonderful! Thus
addressed by him, Janardana answered with a smile,–O best of kings,
these words can come from thee alone!”


“Sanjaya said,–‘After the night had passed away, O monarch, all the
kings, the Pandavas and the Dhartarashtras, repaired to the grandsire,
Those Kshatriyas then saluted that bull of their order, that foremost one
among the Kurus, that hero lying on a hero’s bed, and stood in his
presence. Maidens by thousands, having repaired to that place, gently
showered over Santanu’s son powdered sandal wood and fried paddy, and
garlands of flowers. And women and old men and children, and ordinary
spectators, all approached Santanu’s son like creatures of the world
desirous of beholding the Sun. And trumpets by hundreds and thousands,
and actors, and mimes, and skilled mechanics also came to the aged Kuru
grandsire. And ceasing to fight, putting aside their coats of mail, and
lying aside their weapons, the Kurus and the Pandavas, united together,
came to the invincible Devavrata, that chastiser of foes. And they were
assembled together as in days of old, and cheerfully addressed one
another according to their respective ages. And that conclave full of
Bharata kings by hundreds and adorned with Bhishma, looked beautiful and
blazing like a conclave of the gods in heaven. And that conclave of kings
engaged in honouring the son of Ganga looked as beautiful as a conclave
of the celestials engaged in adorning their Lord, viz., the Grandsire
(Brahman). Bhishma, however, O bull of Bharata’s race, suppressing his
agonies with fortitude though burning with the arrows (still sticking to
his body), was sighing like a snake. His body burning with these arrows,
and himself nearly deprived of his senses in consequence of his
weapon-wounds, Bhishma cast his eyes on those kings and asked for water.
Then those Kshatriyas, O king, brought thither excellent viands and
several vessels of cold water. Beholding that water brought for him,
Santanu’s son said,–I cannot, O sire, now use any article of human
enjoyment! I am removed from the pale of humanity. I am lying on a bed of
arrows. I am staying here, expecting only the return of the Moon and the
Sun! Having spoken these words and thereby rebuked those kings, O
Bharata, he said,–I wish to see Arjuna!–The mighty-armed Arjuna then
came there, and reverentially saluting the grandsire stood with joined
hands, and said,–What shall I do?–Beholding then that son of Pandu, O
monarch, thus standing before him after having offered him respectful
salutations, Bhishma of righteous soul cheerfully addressed Dhananjaya,
saying,–Covered all over with thy shafts, my body is burning greatly!
All the vital parts of my body are in agony. My mouth is dry. Staying as
I am with body afflicted with agony, give me water, O Arjuna! Thou art a
great bowman! Thou art capable of giving me water duly!–The valiant
Arjuna then saying,–So be it,–mounted on his car, and striking his
Gandiva with force, began to stretch it. Hearing the twang of his bow and
the slap of his palms which resembled the roar of the thunder, the troops
and the kings were all inspired with fear. Then that foremost of
car-warriors, mounted on his car, circumambulated that prostrate chief of
the Bharatas, that foremost of all wielders of weapons. Aiming then a
blazing arrow, after having inspired it with Mantras and identified it
with the Parjanya weapon, in the very sight of the entire army, the son
of Pandu, viz., Partha, pierced the Earth a little to the south of where
Bhishma lay. Then there arose a jet of water that was pure, and
auspicious, and cool, and that resembling the nectar itself, was of
celestial scent and taste. And with that cool jet of water Partha
gratified Bhishma, that bull among the Kurus, of godlike deeds and
prowess. And at that feat of Partha who resembled Sakra himself in his
acts, all those rulers of Earth were filled with great wonder. And
beholding that feat of Vibhatsu implying superhuman prowess, the Kurus
trembled like kine afflicted with cold. And from wonder all the kings
there present waved their garments (in the air). And loud was the blare
of conchs and the beat of drums that were then heard all over the field.
And Santanu’s son, his thirst quenched, then addressed Jishnu, O monarch,
and said, applauding him highly in the presence of all those kings, these
words, viz.,–O thou of mighty arms, this is not wonderful in thee, O son
of Kuru’s race! O thou of immeasurable effulgence, even Narada spoke of
thee as an ancient Rishi! Indeed, with Vasudeva as thy ally, thou wilt
achieve many mighty feats which the chief of the celestials himself with
all the gods, of a certainty, will not venture to achieve! They that have
knowledge of such things know thee to be the destroyer of the whole
Kshatriya race! Thou art the one bowman among the bowmen of the world!
Thou art the foremost among men. As human beings are, in this world,
foremost of all creatures, as Garuda is the foremost of all winged
creatures; as the Ocean is the foremost among all receptacles of water
and the cow among all quadrupeds; as the Sun is the foremost amongst all
luminous bodies and Himavat among all mountains; as the Brahmana is the
foremost among all castes, art thou the foremost of all bowmen!
Dhritarashtra’s son (Duryodhana) listened not to the words repeatedly
spoken by me and Vidura and Drona and Rama and Janardana and also by
Sanjaya. Reft of his senses, like unto an idiot, Duryodhana placed no
reliance on those utterances. Past all instructions, he will certainly
have to lie down for ever, overwhelmed by the might of Bhima!–Hearing
these words of his, the Kuru king Duryodhana became of cheerless heart.
Eyeing him, Santanu’s son said,–Listen, O king! Abandon thy wrath! Thou
hast seen, O Duryodhana how the intelligent Partha created that jet of
cool and nectar-scented water! There is none else in this world capable
of achieving such feat. The weapons appertaining to Agni, Varuna, Soma,
Vayu, and Vishnu, as also those appertaining to Indra, Pasupati, and
Paramesthi, and those of Prajapati, Dhatri, Tashtri, Savitri, and
Vivaswat, all these are known to Dhananjaya alone in this world of men!
Krishna, the son of Devaki, also knoweth them. But there is none else
here that knoweth them. This son of Pandu, O sire, is incapable of being
defeated in battle by even the gods and the Asuras together. The feats of
this high-souled one are superhuman. With that truthful hero, that
ornament of battle, that warrior accomplished in fight, let peace, O
king, be soon made! As long as the mighty-armed Krishna is not possessed
by wrath, O chief of the Kurus, it is fit, O sire, that peace should be
made with the heroic Parthas! As long as this remnant of thy brothers is
not slain, let peace, O monarch, be made! As long as Yudhishthira with
eyes burning in wrath doth not consume thy troops in battle, let peace, O
sire, be made! As long as Nakula, and Sahadeva, and Bhimasena, the sons
of Pandu, do not, O monarch, exterminate thy army, it seems to me that
friendly relations should be restored between thee and the heroic
Pandavas! Let this battle end with my death, O sire! Make peace with the
Pandavas, Let these words that are uttered to thee by me be acceptable to
thee, O sinless one! Even this is what I regard to be beneficial both for
thyself and the race (itself of Kuru)! Abandoning thy wrath, let peace be
made with Parthas. What Phalguni hath already done is sufficient. Let
friendly relations be restored with the death of Bhishma! Let this
remnant (of warriors) live! Relent, O king! Let half the kingdom be given
to the Pandavas. Let king Yudhishthira the just, go to Indraprastha. O
chief of the Kurus, do not achieve a sinful notoriety among the kings of
the earth by incurring the reproach of meanness, becoming a fomentor of
intestine dissensions! Let peace come to all with my death! Let these
rulers of earth, cheerfully mix with one another! Let sire get back the
son, let sister’s son get back the maternal uncle! If from want of
understanding and possessed by folly thou dost not harken to those timely
words of mine thou wilt have to repent greatly! What I say is true.
Therefore, desist even now! Having, from affection, said these words unto
Duryodhana in the midst of the kings, the son of the ocean-going (Ganga)
became silent. Though his vital limbs were burning with the arrow-wounds,
yet, prevailing over his agonies, he applied himself to yoga.

“Sanjaya continued–‘Having heard these beneficial and peaceful words
fraught with both virtue and profit, thy son, however, accepted them not,
like a dying man refusing medicine.”


“Sanjaya said,–‘After Santanu’s son Bhishma, O monarch, had become
silent, all those rulers of earth, there present, then returned to their
respective quarters. Hearing of Bhishma’s slaughter that bull among men,
viz., Radha’s son (Karna), partially inspired with fear quickly came
there. He beheld that illustrious hero lying on his bed of reeds. Then
Vrisha (Karna) endued with great glory, with voice choked in tears,
approaching that hero lying with eyes closed, fell at his feet. And he
said,–O chief of the Kurus, I am Radha’s son, who while before thy eyes,
was everywhere looked upon by thee with hate!–Hearing these words, the
aged chief of the Kurus, the son of Ganga, whose eyes were covered with
film slowly raising his eyelids, and causing the guards to be removed,
and seeing the place deserted by all, embraced Karna with one arm, like a
sire embracing his son, and said these words with great affection:–Come,
come! Thou art an opponent of mine who always challengest comparison with
me! If thou hadst not come to me, without doubt, it would not have been
well with thee! Thou art Kunti’s son, not Radha’s! Nor is Adhiratha thy
father! O thou of mighty arms, I heard all this about thee from Narada as
also from Krishna-Dwaipayana! Without doubt, all this is true! I tell
thee truly, O son, that I bear thee no malice! It was only for abating
thy energy that I used to say such harsh words to thee! O thou of
excellent vows without any reason thou speakest ill of all the Pandavas!
Sinfully didst thou come into the world. It is for this that thy heart
hath been such. Through pride, and owning also to thy companionship with
the low, thy heart hateth even persons of merit! It is for this that I
spoke such harsh words about thee in the Kuru camp! I know thy prowess in
battle, which can with difficulty be borne on earth by foes! I know also
thy regard for Brahmanas. thy courage, and thy great attachment to
alms-giving! O thou that resemblest a very god, amongst men there is none
like thee! For fear of intestine dissensions I always spoke harsh words
about thee. In bowmanship, in aiming weapon, in lightness of hand and in
strength of weapons, thou art equal to Phalguni himself, or the
high-souled Krishna! O Karna, proceeding to the city of Kasi, alone with
thy bow, thou hadst crushed the kings in battle for procuring a bride for
the Kuru king! The mighty and invincible king Jarasandha also, ever
boastful of his prowess in battle, could not become thy match in fight!
Thou art devoted to Brahmanas; thou always fightest fairly! In energy and
strength, thou art equal to a child of the celestials and certainly much
superior to men. The wrath I cherished against thee is gone. Destiny is
incapable of being avoided by exertion. O slayer of foes, the heroic sons
of Pandu are thy uterine brothers! If thou wishest to do what is
agreeable to me, unite with them, O thou of mighty arms! O son of Surya,
let these hostilities end with me! Let all the kings of Earth be to-day
freed from danger!–

“‘Karna said I know this, O thou of mighty arms! All this without doubt,
is (as thou sayest)! As thou tellest me, O, Bhishma, I am Kunti’s son,
and not the son of a Suta! I was, however, abandoned by Kunti, and I have
been reared by a Suta. Having (so long) enjoyed the wealth of Duryodhana,
I dare not falsify it now. Like Vasudeva’s son who is firmly resolved for
the sake of the Pandavas, I also, O thou that makest profuse presents to
Brahmanas, am prepared to cast away my possessions, my body itself, my
children, and my wife, for Duryodhana’s sake! Death from disease, O thou
of Kuru’s race, doth not become a Kshatriya! Relying upon Suyodhana I
have always offended the Pandavas! This affairs is destined to take its
course. It is incapable of being prevented. Who was there that would
venture to overcome Destiny by exertion? Various omens indicating the
destruction of the Earth. O grandsire, were noticed by thee and declared
in the assembly. It is well known to me that the son of Pandu, and
Vasudeva, are incapable of being conquered by other men. Even with them
we venture to fight! I will vanquish the son of Pandu in battle! Even
this is my firm resolve! I am not capable, of casting off this fierce
animosity (that I cherish against the Pandavas)! With a cheerful heart,
and keeping the duties of my order before my eye, I will contend against
Dhananjaya. Firmly resolved that I am on battle, grant me thy permission,
O hero! I will fight. Even this is my wish. It behoveth thee to forgive
me also any harsh words that I may have at any time uttered against thee
or any act that I may have done against thee from anger or

“‘Bhishma said,–If, indeed, thou art unable to cast off this fierce
animosity, I permit thee, O Karna! Fight, moved by the desire of heaven!
Without anger and without vindictiveness, serve thou the king according
to thy power and according to thy courage and observant of the conduct of
the righteous! Have then my permission, O Karna! Obtain thou that which
thou seekest! Through Dhananjaya thou wilt obtain all those regions
(hereafter) which are capable of being had by fulfilling the duties of a
Kshatriya! Freed from pride, and relying on thy (own) might and energy,
engage in battle, since a Kshatriya cannot have a (source of) greater
happiness than a righteous battle. For a long while I made great efforts
for bringing about peace! But I succeeded not, O Karna, in the task!
Truly do I say this unto thee!–”

“‘Sanjaya continued,–‘After the son of Ganga had said this, Radha’s son
(Karna) having saluted Bhishma and obtained his forgiveness, got up on
his car and proceeded towards (the quarters of) thy son.’

The End of Bhishma Parva


1. Tapas-kshetra because Kuru, the common ancestor of the rival houses,
performed his ascetic austerities there. Since Kuru’s time, many ascetics
took up their abode there.

2. Some texts have Duddharsham for Durddharshas.

3. Literally, “gives heat”.

4. ‘Varna’ is used here in the sense of races and not castes.

5. This sloka is variously read. For bhauman in the first line some texts
read bhimam which I have adopted. For sahasa in the second line some
texts have rajasa, and then aditye (locative) for ‘adityas’.

6. The Bombay text is evidently faulty here; it repeats the second half
of the 7th sloka, making the second half of the 25th the first half of
the 24th.

7. i.e., stragglers should not be slain.

8. Literally, “confiding.”

9. The Bombay text has Castropanayishu; the Bengal texts have

10. Rather, “have their periods run out.”

11. The Bombay text reads pralahshaye for prajashaye. I have adopted the

12. Both the Bengal and the Bombay editions have Kukkuran for Kukkutan as
the Burdwan Pundits correct it. A bitch producing dogs and bitches would
be no anomaly.

13. Unlike the Bengal editions, the Bombay edition correctly includes
this sloka, or rather half sloka, within the 17th, making the 17th a
triplet instead of a couplet. For the well-known word Dhishthitas
however, the Bombay text has Vishthitas.

14. The Bombay text reads Paricchanna for Paricchinna. The former is

15. Vaisase is explained by Nilakantha as Virodhe. Conttavarta—a river
having bloody eddies.

16. Conitam cchardayanniva. I have adopted Nilakantha’s explanation. The
Burdwan Pundits take it as referring to “weapons” instead of “hearers.”
The passage, however, may mean that the bird screams so frightfully as if
it vomits blood. The only thing that militates against this
interpretation is that cchardayan is a causal verb. In the Mahabharata,
however, causal forms are frequently used without causal meaning.

17. This sloka is omitted in many editions, though it is certainly
genuine. I have rendered it very freely, as otherwise it would be
unintelligible. The fact is, three lunations twice meeting together in
course of the same lunar fortnight is very rare. The lunar-fortnight
(Paksha) being then reduced by two days, the day of full-moon or that of
new moon, instead of being (as usual) the fifteenth day from the first
lunation becomes the thirteenth day. Lunar-eclipses always occur on days
of the full-moon, while solar-eclipses on those of the new moon. Such
eclipses, therefore, occurring on days removed from the days of the first
lunation by thirteen instead of (as usual) fifteen days, are very
extraordinary occurrences.

18. Vishamam is battle or war, and akranda is weeping or productive of
grief. The latter word may also mean a fierce battle. If understood in
this sense, Vishamam may be taken as indicating hostility, or absence of

19. Nilakantha explains this in a long note the substance of which is
appended below. Kings are divided into three classes, viz., owners of
elephants (Gajapati), owners of horses (Aswapati), and owners of men
(Narapati). If an evil-omened planet (papa-graha) sheds its influence
upon any of the nine constellations beginning with Aswini, it forebodes
danger to Aswapatis; if on any of the nine beginning with Magha, it
forebodes danger to Gajapatis; and if on any of the nine beginning with
Mula, it forebodes danger to Narapatis. What Vyasa says here, therefore,
is that one or another papa-graha has shed its influence upon one another
of each of the three classes of constellations, thus foreboding danger to
all classes of kings.

20. Vide note ante.

21. Aparvani, i.e., not on Parva days or days of full-moon and new-moon
as ordinarily coming. The Bombay edition, after aparvani, reads grahenau
tau. A better reading unquestionably grastavetau, as many Bengal texts

22. Pratisrotas; strict grammar would require pratisrotasas; the meaning
is that those that flowed east to west now flow west to east, &c. For
kurddanti some texts have narddanti which is certainly better. Kurddanti
means play or sport; wells playing like bulls would be unmeaning, unless
the sport is accompanied by bellowing.

23. The Burdwan Pundits reads suskasani for sakrasani. The latter,
however, is the true reading.

24. The original is very obscure. Uluka is explained by Nilakantha as a
brand (used for want of lambs). The line, however, is elliptical. The
Burdwan Pundits introduce an entirely new line.

25. Mahabhuta is swelling greatly.

26. Parena is explained by Nilakantha as atisayena.

27. Some of the Bengal texts read anugraham (making the initial a silent
after maharshe, in the vocative case). There can be no doubt however,
that this is incorrect. The true reading is nadharmam which I have
adopted. The Bombay text reads na cha dharmam. The introduction of the
article cha needlessly makes the line incorrect as to metre.

28. The second line of the 67th sloka is very obscure. I have followed
Nilakantha in translating it thus. The sense seems to be, that when crows
hover behind an army, that is an auspicious sign; while it is an
inauspicious sign if they are seen ahead. I am not sure that Nilakantha
is right in taking the pronoun ye as referring to even crows.

29. Such as “don’t fight, for you will be dead men soon.” &c.

30. Nilakantha explains these five species thus: trees such as the
peepul; gulma (shrub), as kusa, kasa, &c., growing from a clump
underneath; creepers, such as all plants growing upon the soil but
requiring some support to twine round; Valli, those that creep on the
earth and live for a year only, such, as the gourd, the pumpkin, etc.,
and lastly, Trina, such as grass and all plants that are stemless, having
only their barks and leaves.

31. When Gayatri, or Brahma or the Universe, is mentioned, these
twenty-four are indicated, five of which exist independently, the
remaining nineteen being the result of five in those various proportions.

32. I have rendered 4 and 5 a little too freely. The language of the
original is very terse.

33. Samyam is homogeneity. The allusion is to the state of the universe
before creation, when there exists nothing but a homogeneous mass or
Brahma alone. The first compound of the 2nd line is read differently. The
Burdwan Pandits and the Bombay edition read anyonyam (in the accusative);
many of the Bengal texts read anyonyena (in the instrumental). The
meaning is scarcely affected by this difference of reading.

34. The order of destruction is that earth merges into water, water into
fire, fire into air, and air into space. And so the order of birth is
that from space arises air, from air arises fire, from fire arises water,
and from water arises earth.

35. Nilakantha explains the last six slokas as having an esoteric
meaning. By Sudarsana he understands the mind. The rest is explained
consistently. Interpretations, however, are not rare among commentators
seeking to put sense in non-sense.

36. The Bombay text reads Varsha parvatas for parvatas samas.

37. For Pinaddha occurring in the Bengal texts, the Bombay edition reads

38. The Bengal texts add a line here which is properly omitted in the
Bombay edition.

39. After the 10th occurs a line in the Bengal text which is evidently

40. Day of the full-moon and that of the new-moon.

41. The Bengal texts, except the Burdwan one, have divi for Daityas, of
course, the latter reading is correct.

42. The Bombay text has Sarvatas (which is better) for Sarvata in the
Bengal texts.

43. in the first line of 28, the Bengal texts read Sirasas (ablative) for
Sikhhrat of the Bombay edition. In the last line of 29 also, the Bombay
text has plavantiva-pravegena for the Bengal reading patatyajapravegena.
No material difference of meaning arises if one or the other is accepted.

44. Alluding to the tradition of Siva’s holding Ganga on his head and for
which the great god is sometimes called Gangadhara.

45. This word occurs in various forms, Ketumala and Ketumali being two

46. The Bombay edition reads tu for cha after Jamvukhanda. The meaning
becomes changed.

47. The sacred stream Ganga is believed to have three currents. In heaven
the current is called Mandakini; on earth, it is called Ganga; and in the
subterraneous world it is called Bhogavati.

48. The Bengal texts, excepting the Burdwan one, incorrectly read Sakram
for Satram.

49. The correct reading is Gatimanti. Many of the Bengal texts
incorrectly read matimanti, which is unmeaning.

50. Many of the Bengal texts incorrectly read Merorapyyantaram for

51. This sloka beginning with mani and ending with prabham is omitted in
the Bombay text, I don’t think rightly. If anything that seems to be a
repetition is to be omitted.

52. i.e. “have fallen away from a celestial state.”

53. In sloka 13, the Bengal texts read Bhayanakas for mahavalas. In 15
Mudhabhishekas for Purvabhishekas; is substituted in the Bombay text. In
1 again the Bombay text reads Subhas for drumas.

54. The Bengal texts have Chandrabhasa for Chandraprabha. The difference
is not material.

55. Both the Burdwan and the Bombay editions read Panchashat (five and
six). The Bengal texts generally have panchasat (fifty).

56. The Bombay edition reads Tasmat-sritigamatas param. The Bengal texts
read Yasmat-sringamatas param. The Bengal reading is better. The Asiatic
Society’s edition contains a misprint. The meaning is, “Because Sringa
(jewelled mountain of that name), therefore superior.” I have rendered it
somewhat freely.

57. They are but portions of the same Supreme Being.

58. i.e. mountains forming boundaries of divisions.

59. The Bombay text reads Ikshula and Krimi for “Ikshumlavi” occurring in
Bengal texts.

60. The Bengal texts have Gandakincha mahanadim. The Bombay text reads
Vandanancha mahanadim with a cha immediately before. The Burdwan Pandits
read Chandanancha mahanadim.

61. The Bombay texts read Tridiva for Nischita; this is incorrect, for
Tridiva occurs in the Bombay text itself a little before. The name
Lohatarini occurs in various forms.

62. For Vetravati, the Bengal texts read Chandrabhaga. Both Chandrabhaga
and Vetravati, however occur before.

63. Kamadhuk is that species of kine which always yield milk.

64. Nilakantha explains this in this way. The gods depend on sacrifices
performed by human beings; and as regards human beings, their food is
supplied by the Earth. Superior and inferior creatures, therefore, are
all supported by the earth; the Earth then is their refuge. The word
Earth in these slokas is sometimes used to signify the world and
sometimes the element of that name.

65. I render the last line a little too freely. If the saying is intended
to be general, the translation should run thus: “Up to this day there is
no man whose desires can be satiated.”

66. The Bombay text reads Kimanyat Kathayami te. The Bengal reading is
Kimanyat srotumicchasi.

67. The Bombay text reads Tatas parena; the Bengal reading is Tatas
purvena. I adopt the former.

68. Probably this mythical account of Sakadwipa embodies some vague
tradition current in ancient India of some republic in Eastern Asia or
Oceanic Asia (further east in the Pacific). Accustomed as the Hindus were
to kingly form of government, a government without a king, would strike
them exactly in the way described in the last two slokas.

69. The second line of the 3rd sloka is read variously. The Bombay
edition incorrectly reads ‘Parvataccha’ etc. etc.,; the Bengal reading is
evameva etc. etc. The Bengal reading is better, although the true
reading, I apprehend, is Evametais &c., &c.

70. Vamanaka and Vamana are the same words the final ka being a suffix
causing no difference of meaning. So Andhakaraka and Andhakara are the

71. Dig-gaja, i.e. an elephant supporting the globe. There are four such
in Hindu mythology or ten according to some accounts.

72. i.e., with the juice trickling down from their cheeks and mouth. In
the season of rut, a peculiar kind of juice issues from several parts of
an elephant’s body. It is believed to be the temporal-juice. The stronger
and fierce the elephant, the greater the quantity of the juice that
issues out its body.

73. Tasya (singular of Tad) and sa (masculine singular of Tad) both refer
to the four elephants, Gaja-chatushtaya in singular.

74. Asamyadha lit. “Unbound” or “unrestrained,” i.e. freely or

75. It is a remarkable fact that the ratio between the diameter and the
circumference of a circle was roughly known to the ancient Hindus. The
circumference is nearly, as stated here, three times and a half of the
diameter. The next ratio, of course, is slightly less, being three and

76. The first word of this sloka is variously read. ‘Yathadishtam’ is the
Bengal reading, while the Bombay reading ‘Yathoddishtam.’ If the latter
reading were adopted, the meaning would be as indicated (in the Sastras).
The second line literally rendered, is “pacify thy son Duryodhana.” But
how Dhritarashtra is to pacify his son having listened to the
geographical digression, is not easy to see.

77. For Sadhusattamas of the Bengal texts, the Bombay edition reads
Sadhusammatas. I adopt the last.

78. The last word in the first line of the 11th sloka, in the Bengal
texts, is ‘Pravriha.’ In the Bombay edition it is ‘Anikaha.’ The
difference in meaning is immaterial.

79. The first half of the first line, in the Bengal texts, is read as
‘Kathamascha me putra’, the Bombay text reads “Kathamascha me Yoddha’. If
the latter reading be adopted, the meaning would be–“Tell me how my
warriors were, etc. etc.

80. In the second line of sloka 3, for ‘kim na asinmanastada’ (what was
the state of mind of our men) the Bombay text reads ‘Kimu asinmanastava’
(what was the state of your mind)?

81. The Plural pronouns ‘ye’ in the second line of the 8th sloka (changed
into ‘ya’ by rule of Sandhi because coming before tenam) is read ‘ke’ (or
ka)’ by the Burdwan Pundits. I think the correction a happy one.
Nilakantha would take 7 and 8 and the first half of 9 as a complete
sentence reading ‘Asya twama antike’ (thou wert near him) for ‘Asyaram
antike’ (smiting or shooting arrows near).

82. Some of the Bengal texts have Panchalanam for Pandavanam.

83. The form of the 2nd line is a negative interrogative, implying,–‘I
hope the Kurus did not abandon him.

84. This comparison, lengthy as it is, is not sustained throughout with
the usual felicity of Vyasa. In several parts it is undoubtedly faulty.
Slight variation of reading also occur here and there, without affecting
the sense materially.

85. Gachchhato durgam gatim. The Bombay edition reads Gachchhanto etc.,
etc. The meaning then would be–“who protected the wings, themselves
making the last painful journey?

86. The Burdwan Pundits make Mahavalas an adjective of Putras. A better
construction would be to take it as referring to Bhishma.

87. Ghatayitwa is, literally, causing to be slain.

88. The words “high-souled” and also “through whose boon bestowed of me
occur in the 9th sloka following.

89. Vyotthiopatti vijananam, Vyutthita is a very doubtful word.

90. Literally, “in Indra’s abodes,” i.e. Amaravati.

91. A Kshatriya failing bravely in fight at once goes to the highest
regions of bliss.

92. Nilakantha in a long note explains that Magha Vishayagas Somas cannot
mean that Soma or the Moon entered the constellation called Magha. He
quotes numerous slokas scattered throughout the Mahabharata that throw
light, directly or indirectly, on the question of the opening day of the
battle, and shows that all these lead to a different conclusion. What is
meant by the Moon approaching the region of the Pitris is that those who
fall in battle immediately ascend to heaven; of course, they have first
to go to the region of Pitris. Thence they have to go to the lunar region
for obtaining celestial bodies. All this implies a little delay. Here,
however, in the case of those that would fall on the field of
Kurukshetra, they would not have to incur even such a little delay.
Chandramas or Soma approached the region of Pitris so that the fallen
warriors might have celestial bodies very soon, without, in fact, any
necessity, on their part, to incur the delay of a journey to the lunar
region prior to their ascension to heaven with resplendent bodies.

93. There are nine planets in all the Pauranic astronomy. Of these Rahu
and Ketu are regarded Upagrahas, and hence, of grahas there are only
seven. Thus Nilakantha, and the Burdwan pundits have made a mess of this

94. The Bengal texts read Bhanumanudito divi. The Bombay reading is
Bhanumanudito Ravis. If the latter be adopted, Bhanuman would be an
adjective of Ravis.

95. Purvais Purvatarais is literally–“They of old and still older
times”; for Sanatanas some editions read Srutijas (qualifying panthas).
Srutija means arising from the Srutis or as laid down in the Srutis.

96. Chamupatis is the Bengal reading. The Bombay text reads Chamupari. If
the latter reading be adopted, the meaning would be, “at the head of the
(Kuru) army.”

97. The Bengal editions read ‘Magadhascha ripum yayau.’ The Bombay text
reads ‘Magadhasya Kripo-yayau.’ If the latter reading be adopted, the
meaning would be “and guiding the very van of the Magadha troops Kripa

98. The Bengal reading is Saradabhraghana-prakshyam. The Bombay reading
is ‘Sharadamvudhara-prakshyam.’

99. Vasavartinas is nominative, masculine, plural, referring to cars,
&c.; the Burdwan Pundits take it as a genitive singular qualifying tasya,
and they render it, therefore, as “of that subordinate of Duryodhana.”
This is evidently incorrect.

100. Machines, perhaps catapults.

101. ‘Vyuha’ is an array of troops in a certain form. Many such will be
spoken of in this and the other ‘parvas’ devoted to the battle.

102. The Bombay edition reads Yamunantara for Yamunantare of the Bengal
texts. The difference in meaning is not very material.

103. The Bengal texts read Syandamana; the Bombay reading is Spandamana.
Both imply “moving”, only the motion in the latter case is slower,
perhaps, than in the former.

104. The word used is Dayadas lit., taker of (one’s) wealth.

105. The Bombay text is here faulty. Darsay swamahavalam is scarcely
correct. The Bengal reading is ‘Darsayan sumahavalam.’

106. Literally, “with rent cheeks and mouth.”

107. The Bombay reading is certainly faulty here. For Chalanta iva
parvatas it reads Jimuta iva varashikas, although it makes the previous
line begin Ksharantaiva Jimuta.

108. A parigha is a thick club mounted with iron. The comparison is very
feeble, for Bhima’s mace, in the popular estimation, is much heavier and
stouter than any parigha manufactured for human combatants. Prachakarsha
is, lit. dragged. I think, however, the root krish must be taken here in
the sense of crush.

109. The name Vajra implies either a hard needle for boring diamonds and
gems, or the thunder-bolt. In this sloka the word Vajra is used as
associated with the thunder and therefore, as thunder is accompanied by
lightning so the bows of the warriors are the lightning-marks of this
particular Vajra.

110. The word is Uttaradhus which seems to be very doubtful.

111. Yenarjunastena, Yena is yatra and tena is tatra, as Nilakantha
rightly explains. The meaning is–“who would be there where Arjuna would

112. The Bengal texts read Dharmenikena chanagha which is evidently
faulty, remembering that the words are Brahman’s to Indra and the
celestials. The Bombay reading is Dharmenaivodyamena cha which I have

113. The sense is that they, viz., the gods, who accepted Krishna’s lead,
or selected him for their leader, became victorious. The Bengal reading
is evidently superior, viz., Anu Krishna literally “behind Krishna,”
i.e., “with Krishna in the front, or “with Krishna as a leader.” The
Bombay reading is Katham Krishna. If this were adopted, the meaning would
be, “How O Krishna, shall we conquer?” I do not understand how victory
should be theirs who answered in this way. Of course, the answer implies
modesty. But modesty is not the sole requisite of victory, nor is modesty
inculcated here as the chief means of victory.

114. The Bengal texts read Kanchana-bhanda-yuktam. The Bombay reading is
much better, being Kanchanabhanda-yoktam; again, for Nagakulasya the
Bombay edition reads Nagapurasya, Nilakantha notices the latter reading.

115. The Bengal reading is Mahindram (king of earth, or king); the Bombay
reading is Mahendram (the great Indra). Without iva any word to that
effect, Mahendram would be ungrammatical.

116. The Bengal texts read, and as I think, correctly, Stutavanta enam.
The Bombay reading is Srutavanta enam. In the case of regenerate Rishis
and Siddhas it is scarcely necessary to say that they are conversant with
the Srutis.

117. The Bengal reading Sahasrani for Savastrani is correct. I adopt the

118. This is how I understand this verse, and I am supported by the
Burdwan Pundits. Nilakantha, it seems, thinks that the car had a thousand
wheels resembling a thousand suns.

119. Verse 15 is read variously. As the last word of the first line, I
read Achakarsha for raraksha, and accordingly I take that as a genitive
and not an ablative particle.

120. follow Nilakantha in rendering many of the names occurring in this
and the succeeding slokas. I retain, however, those names that are of
doubtful etymology, as also those that are very common.

121. Every scholar knows the derivation of this word as given in this
sloka of Kalidasa (in his Kumara Sambhavam) Umeti matra tapasonishiddha
paschadumakhyam Sumukhi Jagama.

122. Both Swaha and Swadha are mantras of high efficacy. Kala and Kastha
are divisions of time. Saraswati implies speech.

123. Sankhye is explained by Nilakantha to be Samyak Khyanam Prakasana
Yasmin; hence Atmanatma-vivekarupa Samadhi.

124. The text of the Gita has come down to us without, it may be ventured
to be stated, any interpolation. The difference of reading are few and
far between. For Jayadratha some texts read tathaivacha.

125. The words Aparyaptam and Paryaptam have exercised all commentators.
If paryaptam is sufficient (as it certainly is), aparyaptam may mean
either more or less than sufficient. The context, however, would seem to
show that Duryodhana addressed his preceptor in alarm and not with
confidence of success, I, therefore, take aparyaptam to be less than

126. It has been observed before that Schlegel renders the names of these
conches as Gigantea, Theodotes, Arundinca, Triumpphatrix, Dulcisona, and
Gemmiflora, and that Professor Wilson approves of them.

127. It seems a fashion to doubt the etymology of this word, as if
commentators of the learning of Sreedhara and Sankara, Anandagiri and
Nilakantha even upon a question of derivation and grammar can really be
set aside in favour of anything that may occur in the Petersburgh
lexicon. Hrishikesa means the lord of the senses.

128. Ranasamudyame may also mean “at the outset of battle.”

129. The meaning is that even for the sake of such a rich reward in
prospect I would not kill persons so dear and near to me. I would much
rather suffer them strike me, myself not returning their blows.

130. The word is atatayinas.

131. Most editions read savandhavam “with (their) kinsmen or friends,” I
think, however, that swa (own) for (with) is the correct reading. K. T.
Telang adopts it in his translation published ill Vol. VIII of the Sacred
Books of the East.

132. In some editions this lesson is stated to be “Arjuna’s grief.” The
description of the lesson again is given in fewer words.

133. The commentators betray their ingenuity by emphasizing the word
ishubhis (with arrows), explaining, “how can I encounter them with arrows
whom I cannot encounter with even harsh words?”

134. Arthakaman is an adjective qualifying Gurun. Some commentators
particularly Sreedhara, suggest that it may, instead, qualify bhogan. The
meaning, however, in that case would be far-fetched.

135. Sreedhara explains that Karpanya is compassion (for kinsmen), and
dosha is the fear of sin (for destroying a race). The first compound,
therefore, according to him, means,–“My nature affected by both
compassion and fear of sin, etc. It is better, however, to take Karpanya
itself as a dosha (taint or fault). K. T. Telang understands it in this
way. Upahata, however, is affected and not contaminated.

136. What Arjuna says here is that “Even if I obtain such a kingdom on
Earth, even if I obtain the very kingship of the gods, I do not yet see
that will dispel that grief which will overtake me if I slay my preceptor
and kinsmen.” Telang’s version is slightly ambiguous.

137. The Bengal texts have Parantapa with a Visarga, thus implying that
it refers to Gudakesa. The Bombay edition prints it without the Visarga,
implying that it is in the vocative case, referring to Dhritarashtra, the

138. One of the most useful rules in translating from one language into
another is to use identical words for identical expressions in the
original. In translating, however, from a language like Sanskrit which
abounds in synonyms, this is not always practicable without ambiguity. As
an example, the word used in 13 is Dhira; that used in 11 is Pandita.
There can be little doubt, however, that Pandita and Dhira have exactly
the same meaning.

139. Amritatwa is really emancipation or non-liability to repeated death
or repeated rebirth. To render it as “immortality” is, perhaps, a little
slovenly, for every soul is immortal, and this particular section
inculcates it.

140. Sat and asat are the two words which must be distinctly understood
as they occur often in Hindu philosophy. Sat is explained as the real,
i.e., the soul, or anything as real and permanent as the soul. Asat is
the reverse of this, i.e., the unreal or the Non-soul. What is said here
by Krishna is that the unreal has no existence; the real, again can have
no non-existence. Is not this a sort of cosmothetic idealism?

141. Most texts read Yudhaya Yujyaswa. A manuscript belonging to a friend
of mine has the correction in red-ink, Yudhaya Yudhaya Yudhaywa. It
accords so well with the spirit of the lesson sought to be inculcated
here that I make no scruple to adopt it.

142. A life in this world that is subject to decay and death. So say all
the commentators.

143. What Krishna seeks to inculcate here is the simple truth that
persons who believe in the Vedas and their ordinances laying down
specific acts for the attainment of a heaven of pleasure and power,
cannot have the devotion without which there cannot be final emancipation
which only is the highest bliss. The performance of Vedic rites may lead
to heaven of pleasure and power, but what is that heaven worth? True
emancipation is something else which must be obtained by devotion, by
pure contemplation. In rendering Janma-Karma-phalapradam I have followed
Sankara. Sreedhara and other commentators explain it differently.

144. This sloka has been variously rendered by various translators. It is
the same that occurs in the Sanat-Sujata Parva of the Udyoga. (Vide
Udyoga Parva, Section XLV). Both Sreedhara and Sankara (and I may mention
Anandagiri also) explain it in this way. Shortly stated, the meaning is
that to an instructed Brahmana (Brahma-knowing person and not a Brahmana
by birth), his knowledge (of self or Brahma) teaches him that which is
obtainable from all the Vedas, just as a man wanting to bathe or drink
may find a tank or well as useful to him as a large reservoir of water
occupying an extensive area. Nilakantha explains it in a different way.

145. Srotavyasya Srutasyacha is literally ‘of the hearable and the
heard’, i.e., “what you may or will hear, and what you have heard.”
European translators of the Gita view in these words a rejection of the
Vedas by the author. It is amusing to see how confidently they dogmatise
upon this point, rejecting the authority of Sankara, Sreedhara,
Anandagiri, and the whole host of Indian commentators. As K. T. Telang,
however, has answered the point elaborately, nothing more need be said

146. One may abstain, either from choice or inability to procure them,
from the objects of enjoyment. Until, however, the very desire to enjoy
is suppressed, one cannot be said to have attained to steadiness of mind.
Of Aristotle’s saying that he is a voluptuary who pines at his own
abstinence, and the Christian doctrine of sin being in the wish, mere
abstinence from the act constitutes no merit.

147. The particle ‘he’ in the second line is explained by both Sankara
and Anandagiri as equivalent to Yasmat. The meaning becomes certainly
clearer by taking the word in this sense. The ‘he’, however, may also be
taken as implying the sense of “indeed.”

148. Buddhi in the first line is explained by Sreedhara as Aintavishayak
buddhi. Bhavanta Sreedhara explains, is Dhyanam; and Sankara as
Atmajnanabhinivesas. K. T. Telang renders Bhavana as perseverance. I do
not think this is correct.

149. Sankara, Anandagiri, and Nilakantha explain this sloka thus.
Sreedhara explains it otherwise. The latter supposes the pronouns yat and
tat to mean a particular sense among the Charatam indriyanam. If
Sreedhara’s interpretation be correct, the meaning would be–“That (one
sense) amongst the senses moving (among their objects) which the mind
follows, (that one sense) tosseth the mind’s (or the man’s) understanding
about like the wind tossing a (drunken boatman’s) boat on the waters.”
The parenthetical words are introduced by Sreedhara himself. It may not
be out of place to mention here that so far as Bengal, Mithila and
Benares are concerned, the authority of Sreedhara is regarded as supreme.

150. The vulgar, being spiritually dark, are engaged in worldly pursuits.
The sage in spiritual light is dead to the latter.

151. Prakritijais Gunas is explained by Sreedhara as qualities born of
one’s nature such as Ragadveshadi. Sankara thinks that they are the
qualities or attributes of primal matter (which enters into the
composition of every self) such as Satwa, Rajas, and Tamas.

152. “Apply to work”, i.e. to work as prescribed in the scriptures. Thus
says Sankara. “To morning and evening prayers, etc.” says Sreedhara.

153. Sacrifices Vishnu’s self as declared by the Srutis; work for
sacrifice, therefore, is work for Vishnu’s sake or gratification. For the
sake of that i.e., for sacrifice’s, or “Vishnu’s sake. So say all the

154. Bhavaya is explained by both Sankara and Sreedhara as Vradhaya or
make grow. Perhaps, “rear” is the nearest approach to it in English. K.
T. Telang renders it, ‘please.’ The idea is eminently Indian. The gods
are fed by sacrifices, and in return they feed men by sending rain. The
Asuras again who warred with the gods warred with sacrifices.

155. Parjjanya is explained by both Sankara and Sreedhara as rain. It
means also the clouds or the origin of rain.

156. The word in the original that is rendered in the Vedas is Brahma. It
may mean the Supreme Soul. Of course, in Brahmanic literature, the Vedas
are Brahma and Brahma is the Vedas, but still in the second line of 15
there is no necessity of taking Brahma as equivalent to the Vedas, I do
not think Telang is accurate in his rendering of this line.

157. The wheel referred to is what has been said before, viz., from the
Vedas are work, from work is rain, from rain is food, from food are
creatures, from creatures again work and so back to the Vedas.

158. The sense seems to be, as explained by the commentators, that such a
man earns no merit by action, nor sin by inaction or omission. Nor is
there anybody from the Supreme Being to the lowest creature on whom he
depends for anything.

159. The example set by the great is always catching, Itaras, here, is
Vulgar and not “other”. Kurute which I have rendered as “maketh” is used
in the sense of “regardeth.” Pramanam, however, may not necessarily mean
something else that is set up as an ideal. It may refer to the actions
themselves of the great men set up by them as a standard.

160. Sreedhara would connect “in the three worlds” with what follows. I
follow Sankara and the natural order of words.

161. The word rendered “nature” is prakriti. It really implies “primal

162. The second line, literally rendered, is “deeming that qualities
engage in qualities.” The first “qualities” imply the senses, and the
second, the objects of the senses. The purport is that one knowing the
distinction referred to, never thinks that his soul is the actor, for
that which is work is only the result of the senses being applied to
their objects.

163. Guna-karmashu is explained by Sankara as works of the qualities, or
works done by them. Sreedhara explains the compound as “qualities and
(their) works.”

164. Devoting all work to me, i.e., in the belief that all you do is for
me or my sake.

165. The senses, as regards their diverse objects in the world, are
either drawn towards them or repelled by them. These likes and dislikes
(in the case of men who, of course, only act according to their nature)
stand in the way of their emancipation, if men submit to them.

166. Desire, if not gratified, results in wrath. Thus say the

167. Prajahi is explained by both Sankara and Sreedhara as parityaja
(cast off).

168. He is the Supreme Soul or Being.

169. There can be little doubt that what Krishna says here is that no
form of worship is unacceptable to him. Whatever the manner of the
worship, it is I who is worshipped. After K. T. Telang’s exhaustive and
effective reply to Dr. Lorinser’s strange hypothesis of the Gita having
been composed under Christian influences, it is scarcely necessary to add
that such toleration would ill accord with the theory of the Christian
authorship of the poem.

170. i.e., both inactive and undecaying. Work implies exertion, and,
therefore, loss of energy. In me there is no action, no loss of energy
and therefore, no decay.

171. ‘Kama-sankalpa vivarjjitas.’ i.e., freed from kama (desire of fruit)
and sankalpa–the consequent will or determination to do. Thus both
Sreedhara and Sankara.

172. Chitta the mind and atma in this connection is the senses. Thus both
Sreedhara and Sankara.

173. Sacrifice means here the Supreme Soul. What is done for the sake of
sacrifice is done for procuring emancipation.

174. What is meant by this is that in the case of such a person complete
identification with Brahma takes place, and when such an identification
has taken place, action is destroyed.

175. I.e., offering up sacrifice itself as a sacrifice to the Brahma
fire, they cast off all action.

176. Offering up the senses to the fire of restraint means restraining
the senses for the practice of Yoga. Offering up the objects of the
senses means non-attachment to those objects.

177. Suspending the functions of life for contemplation or Yoga.

178. In these cases the sacrifices consist in the giving away of wealth,
in the ascetic austerities themselves, in meditation, in study, etc.
Sreedhara explains the first compound of the second line differently.
According to him, it means not study and knowledge, but the knowledge
from study.

179. All these are different kinds of Yoga, or the different stages of
Yoga practice.

180. i.e., knowledge being attained, the fruits of action are attained
by, at least, their end being compassed.

181. Sankhya is renunciation of action, while Yoga is devotion through

182. The grammatical form of the word Yoga as here employed is

183. The first atman is explained as the soul, the second as the body, by
all the commentators.

184. Taking means taking anything with the hands.

185. Water when thrown over a lotus-leaf escapes without soaking or
drenching the leaf at all.

186. Telang renders Pura as city, of course, the body having two eyes,
two ears, two nostrils, one mouth, and two openings for excretions, is

187. Such men are exempted from the obligation of re-birth. Leaving this
body they merge into the Supreme Soul.

188. The word is Swapacha meaning a member of the lowest caste.

189. “Brahma is faultless and equable”; so Sreedhara and others,–“since
faultless equality is Brahma.”

190. The sense is that they are at one with Brahma both here and

191. Renouncer and devotee Sannyasin and Yogin.

192. Which spring from desire.

193. Self in this sloka is explained by the commentators as mind. The
mind, unless controlled, cannot lead to devotion.

194. Chitta and atma are explained by the commentators as “mind and body.”

195. Fixed on one’s own self, i.e., withdrawn from all objects of sense.
Thus Sankara.

196. Nischayena is explained by Sankara as equivalent to “with
preservence” or steadily. Sreedhara explains it as equal to “with the
certitude of knowledge acquired by instruction.”

197. Mriti-grahitaya Buddhya is, as explained by Sankara and others “with
understanding controlled by patience,” K. T. Telang renders it “with firm
resolve coupled with courage.”

198. i.e. I am always visible to him, and he too is always within my
sight and I am always kind to him.

199. i.e. how its stable existence may be secured, the mind being by
nature ever restless.

200. Fallen off from both, i.e., from heaven (through work) and
absorption into Brahma (through devotion).

201. Without leaving anything, i.e., entirely.

202. The Divine-Word i.e., the Vedas. So great is the efficacy of
devotion that one merely enquiring of it transcends him who conforms to
the rites of the Vedas.

203. Only some one, i.e., very few. Few perfection, i.e., for knowledge
of self. Thus all the commentators.

204. The last word of the first line of this sloka is param (higher) and
not aparam with the initial a silent owing to the rules of Sandhi. Many
of the Bengal texts have aparam, not excepting the latest one printed at

205. Kama which I have rendered desire is explained by Sreedhara as the
wish for an unattained object; and raga as the longing or thirst for
more. The second Kama is explained as desires of the class of love or

206. Daivi is explained by Sankara as divine; by Sreedhara as marvellous.

207. The divine desires are about sons, fame, victory over enemies, etc.,
regulations, such as fasts etc.; their own nature, i.e., disposition as
dependent on the acts of their past lives. Thus all the commentators.

208. The worshipper obtains his desires, thinking he gets them from the
godhead he worships. It is however, that gives him those.

209. The divinities being perishable, myself imperishable. What these
obtain is perishable. What my worshippers obtain is imperishable.

210. The ignorant, without knowledge of my transcendent essence take me
to be no higher than that what is indicated in my human and other
incarnate manifestations. Thus Sreedhara.

211. Adhyatman is explained as all that by which Brahman is to be
attained. All actions mean the whole course of duties and practices
leading to the knowledge of Brahman.

212. The three words occurring in this sloka and explained in the next
section, forming as they do the subject of a question by Arjuna.

213. Bhava is production, and Udbhava is growth or development. Thus

214. All the doors, i.e., the senses. Confining the mind within the
heart, i.e., withdrawing the mind from all external objects. Murdhni is
explained by Sreedhara to mean here “between the eyebrows.”

215. All these regions being destructible and liable to re-birth, those
that live there are equally liable to death and re-birth.

216. The meaning, as explained by Sreedhara, is that such persons are
said to know all, and not those whose knowledge is bounded by the course
of the sun and the moon.

217. In this round of births and deaths, the creatures themselves are not
free agents, being all the while subject to the influence of Karma, as
explained by the commentators.

218. The commentators explain the word fire, the light, day, &c., as
several godheads presiding over particular times.

219. The atmosphere occupies space without affecting it or its nature. So
all things are in the Supreme Being without affecting him.

220. My nature, i.e., the unmanifest principle or primal essence.

221. Prakriti which I render “nature” is explained by the commentators as
Karma, the influence of Karma or action being universal in setting the
form of a particular entity at the time of its creation.

222. This reason, i.e., my supervision.

223. Sreedhara says that these are different modes of worship; “with
reverence and ever devoted” grammatically refers to each of the three
classes of worshippers indicated.

224. Performing the sacrifice of knowledge, i.e., believing Vasudeva to
be everything. In many forms, i.e., as Brahman, Rudra, etc.

225. Mantra is the sacred verse or verses used for invoking godheads, and
for other purposes.

226. Hence they have to come back, explains Sreedhara.

227. Prayatatmanas is explained as Suddhachittasya.

228. Iman lokan (this mortal world), Sreedhara says, may mean “this form
of royal saint that thou hast.” This is far-fetched.

229. Telang renders Paramam ‘excellent’; Mr. John Davies, ‘all
important’. The meaning is referring to the ‘Supreme Soul’.

230. Both Sankara and Sreedhara explain Sarvassas as “in every way”.
i.e., as creator, as guide, &c.

231. Prajas offspring, including, as Sankara says, both mobile, and
immobile, therefore, not mankind alone.

232. Bhava-samanwitas is explained by Sreedhara as “full of love”, which
K. T. Telang accepts. Sankara explains it as “endued with penetration
into the knowledge of the Supreme object.”

233. Tityam, ever, is connected with what follows and not what precedes.
Thus Sreedhara. Mr. Davies connects it with Kathayantas.

234. K. T. Telang renders buddhi-yogam as knowledge; Mr. Davies, as
mental devotion and Sankara, “devotion by special insight.”

235. To know thee fully is impossible. In what particular forms or
manifestations, therefore, shall I think of thee? The word Bhava in the
second line is rendered “entities” by K. T. Telang, and “form of being”
by Mr. Davies.

236. Vistarasya evidently refers (as explained by all the commentators)
to Vibhutinam. it is a question of grammar and not of doctrine that there
can be any difference of opinion. Mr. Davies, however, renders it “of
(my) greatness.” This is inaccurate.

237. The Adityas are the solar deities, twelve in number, corresponding
to the twelve months of the year. The Maruts are the wind-gods, whose
chief is Marichi.

238. The Rudras are a class of destructive gods, eleven in number. The
Vasus are an inferior class of deities, eight in number. The lord of
treasures is Kuvera.

239. The Japa-sacrifice is the sacrifice by meditation which is superior
to all sacrifices.

240. Kamadhuk, the wish-giving cow called Surabhi. The cause of
re-production, i.e., I am not the mere carnal passion, but that passion
which procreates or is crowned with fruit.

241. In 28, Vasuki is called the chief of the Sarpas (serpents); in 29
Ananta is spoken of as the chief of the Nagas. The latter are Sarpas as
well, Sreedhara says that the distinction lies in the fact of the Nagas
being without poison. This is hardly correct.

242. Pavatam may also mean “of those that have motion.” Rama is
Dasaratha’s son, the hero of Valmiki’s poem. Ganga is called Jahnavi
because she was, after having been drunk up, let out by the ascetic Jahnu
through his knee.

243. Mr. Davies renders Vedas ‘Pravadatam’ as “the speech of those that
speak.” K. T. Telang renders it “the argument of controversialists.”

244. A, or rather the sound of A as in full, is the initial letter of the
Sanskrit alphabet. Of compounds, the Dwanda, or the copulative compound,
is enumerated first. In other respects again, the Dwanda is the best kind
of compound for the words forming it are co-ordinate, without one being
dependent on the other or others.

245. The Vrihat-saman is said to be the best, because it leads to
emancipation at once. Thus Sankara. The Margasirsha is the month from the
middle of February to the middle of March. Productive of flowers, i.e.,
the Spring.

246. Mr. Davies renders the last line of this verse as “I have
established in continuance all this universe by one part myself.” This is
both obscure and inaccurate.

247. Adhyatman, i.e., the relation between the Supreme and the individual
soul. This my delusion, i.e., about my being the slayer.

248. Avyayam is that which has no decay. Ordinarily, it may be rendered
“eternal.” Telang renders it “inexhaustible”. Elsewhere I have rendered
it as “understanding.”

249. Ekastham, lit. “all in one”. i.e., collected together.

250. Devam is explained by Sreedhara as Dyotanatmakam i.e., endued with
splendour. Mr. Davies renders it resplendent; but Telang renders it

251. Pra-vibhaktam-anekadha (divided diversely) is an adjective of Jagat.
See Sreedhara. Both Mr. Davies and Telang seem to take it as a predicate
in contra-distinction to Ekastham. This is scarcely correct.

252. Verse 21 is read differently. For Twam Surasangha, some texts read
twa-Asurasanghas. Then again for Stuvanti in the second line some read

253. Pravritti is explained by both Sankara and Sreedhara as Chesta,
i.e., movements or acts. Mr. Davies is, I think, not correct in taking it
to mean “evolved or developed form.”

254. Kala here is death. Mr. Davies renders it Time, following some other
translators. Pravriddha is not (as Mr. Davies renders it) “old” or “very
old,” but swelling or fully developed. Then again, Mr. Davies commits a
ludicrous blunder in rendering Rite twam as “Except thee.” This is one of
those idioms at which a foreigner is sure to stumble who has only the
lexicons for his guide. What Krishna says is not that all would perish
save Arjuna, but that without Arjuna (i.e., even if he did not fight) all
would perish.

255. Nidhanam is either refuge or support or abode or receptacle. Mr.
Davies incorrectly renders it “treasure-house.”

256. Sankara accepts the reading Gururgariyan, Sreedhara takes it as
Gururgariyan. In either case the difference in meaning is not material.

257. Sankara connects Adhyayana with Veda and Yajna. This seems to be
right explanation.

258. Ata urddham is ‘after this,’ or ‘hereafter on high’ as Mr. Davies
renders it.

259. Although the limitation “for fruit” does not occur in the text, yet,
it is evident, it should be understood. Krishna does not recommend the
total abandonment of actions, but abandonment for their fruit. Mr. Davies
renders arambha as “enterprise.”

260. The learned, i.e., they that are themselves acquainted with is
Kshetra and what not. As explained by Krishna himself below, Kshetra is
Matter, and Kshetrajna is Soul.

261. Dukha-dosha is explained by both Sankara and Sreedhara as a Dwanda

262. Vivikta is explained by the commentators as Suddha or
Chittaprasadakara. There can be no doubt, however, that it is in
opposition to Janasamsadi following. Hence I render it “lonely”.

263. The object of the knowledge of truth is the dispelling of ignorance
and the acquisition of happiness.

264. Nor having eyes, etc., yet seeing, etc.; without attributes, yet
having or enjoying all that the attributes give.

265. All modifications, i.e., of material forms; all qualities, i.e.,
pleasure, pain, etc. The word rendered “nature” is Prakriti (primal
matter), and that rendered “spirit” is Purusha (the active principle).
Vikarna and Gunan include all material forms and attributes of the soul.

266. Karya-karana-karttritwa is explained by both Sankara and Sreedhara
to mean “the capacity of working (residing) in the body and the senses.”
K. T. Telang adopts this. Mr. Davies in his text has “in the activity of
the organs of action.” In course of his philological notes, however, he
gives the correct rendering. ‘Is said to be’ is explained by Sreedhara.
as referring to Kapila and others.

267. It is the embodied spirit only that can enjoy the qualities of
Nature. Then again, the kind of connection it has with those qualities
settles its birth in good or evil wombs.

268. Mr. Davies misunderstands the grammatical connection of the words in
the second line of this verse. K. T. Telang, following Sreedhara, says,
the word should be rendered “approver.”

269. What is heard, i.e., the Srutis or the sacred doctrines.

270. Destroying self by self is to be deprived of true knowledge.

271. Sarvatra in the second line is explained by Sreedhara as “in every
body, superior and inferior.” Grammatically it may mean also, “in every
part of the body.” Such a theory, however, of the seat of the soul would
be contrary to all Hindu ideas.

272. Bhuta-Prakriti-moksha is explained by both Sankara and Sreedhara as
moksha or deliverance from the prakriti (nature) of bhutas’ or entities.
It is true knowledge that effects such deliverance. Mr. Davies renders it
“deliverance of beings from Nature.” This is evidently incorrect.
“Beings” is not synonymous with self or soul.

273. Itas is explained by Sreedhara as “from the fetters of this body.”

274. Sreedhara makes mahat an adjective of yoni; Sankara makes it an
adjective of Brahma. K. T. Telang follows Sankara.

275. Happiness and knowledge are attributes of the mind, not of the soul.
Hence, when attached to the soul, they are as fetters from which the soul
should be freed.

276. Deha samudbhava is explained by the commentators as having their
“samudbhava or parinama in deha.” It is an instance of the vahuvrihi

277. Light, activity, and delusion are the three qualities as indicated
by their effects.

278. Pratishtha is explained by Sankara as “something on which another
(here Brahma) stays or rests.” Sreedhara explains it as Pratima. Telang
following Sreedhara, renders it “embodiment;” Mr. Davies, as “seat.”
Amritasya and Avyayasya are taken separately by the commentators.

279. The ‘Aswattha’ is the sacred Indian fig tree, here emblematical of
the course of worldly life. Its roots are above; those roots are the
Supreme Being. Its branches are below, these being the inferior deities.
Its leaves are the sacred hymns of the Vedas, i.e., as leaves keep the
tree alive and even conduce to its fruits, so the Vedas support this tree
and lead to salvation.

280. Upwards and downwards i.e., from the highest to the lowest of
created things. Enlarged by the qualities, i.e., the qualities appearing
as the body, the senses, etc. The sprouts are the objects of sense, being
attached to the senses themselves as sprouts to branches. The roots
extending downwards are the desires for diverse enjoyments. Thus Telang,
following the commentators.

281. Joined to the qualities, i.e., perceiving objects of sense or
experiencing pleasure and pain.

282. “Atmani” in the first line is “in the body” as explained by
Sreedhara and others: “in the understanding” as explained by Sankara. It
seems, however, to be used in the general senses of “themselves”, without
particular reference to either body or understanding. An Akritatman is
one whose soul is not made or formed; generally, “a person of unsubdued

283. There can be no question that Soma here means the moon and not the
Soma juice quaffed in sacrifices, or sap. It is the moon that supports,
nourishes all herbs and numerous passages may be quoted from Hindu sacred
literature to show this. Mr. Davies, therefore, clearly errs in rendering
Soma as “the savoury juice.”

284. The four kinds of food are: that which is masticated, that which is
sucked, that which is licked, and that which is drunk.

285. Apohanam is loss or removal. It is a well-known word and its
application here is very natural. I am memory and knowledge (to those
that use them for virtuous acts). I am the loss of these faculties (to
those that engage in unrighteous acts). Mr. Davies erroneously renders it
as “The power of reason.”

286. Kutashtha is rendered by K. T. Telang as “the unconcerned one”, by
Mr. Davies as “the lord on high.” I incline to the scholiasts who explain
it as “the uniform or the unchangeable one.”

287. Sarvabhavena is explained by Sankara by Sarvatma-chintaya (thinking
Me to be the soul of everything). Sreedhara explains it as
Sarvaprakarena. Why may it not mean “with the whole soul” or “with excess
of love.”

288. I adopt Sankara’s explanation of the last compound of the first line
of this sloka, Sreedhara explains it differently.

289. Prabritti I render “inclination” and Nivritti as “disinclination.”
The inclination is, as all the commentators explain, towards righteous
actions, and the disinclination,–consequently, is about all unrighteous
actions. K. T. Telang renders these words as “action” and “inaction”. Mr.
Davies, following the French version of Burnouf, takes them to mean “the
creation and its end.”

290. Sankara seems to connect the genitive Jagatas with achitas Sreedhara
connects it (which is natural) with Kshayaya, which I accept.

291. ‘That’ evidently refers to sacrifice, penance, and gift, in the
clause before. The commentators, however, suggest that it may, besides,
refer to Brahma. I am myself not sure that it does not refer to Brahma.

292. ‘What the author wishes to lay down in these verses is that the
words OM, TAT, and SAT, have each their respective uses. When used as
directed here, such use cures the defects of the respective actions to
which they are applied, it being understood that all three denote Brahma.

293. Sanyasa I render Renunciation. K. T. Telang does the same. Mr.
Davies renders it “abstention.” So ‘Tyaga’ I render “abandonment.” Mr.
Davies renders it “renunciation.” What the two words, however, mean is
explained fully in the verses that follow.

294. Both Sankara and Sreedhara explain the second line consisting of two
propositions, the connecting verb bhavet being understood.

295. I have used “when” for “whatever” to make the sentence grammatical.

296. Davies, giving the sense correctly, does not follow the true order
of the subject and the predicate. Following Lassen, he renders kusala and
akusala as “prosperous” and “unprosperous;” for medhabi K. T. Telang has
rendered “talented” which has not the sanction of good usage.

297. That is, as Sreedhara explains, one who hath renounced the fruit of

298. Kritante Sankara takes it as an adjective of Sankhye and thinks that
the reference is to the Vedanta. Sreedhara also seems to be of the same

299. The substratum is the body. The agent is the person that thinks
himself to be the actor. The organs are those of perception etc. The
efforts are the actions of the vital winds–Prana, etc. The deities are
those that preside over the eye and the other senses. The deities have no
place in Kapila’s system. Hence, if it is not the Vedanta, some system
materially based upon Kapila’s and recognising the interference of the
deities, seems to be indicated. Atra is explained by Sreedhara as
equivalent to “among” or “with these.” I think, however, it means, “are
here”, i.e., are enumerated here, or, in this connection.

300. Hath no feeling of egoism, i.e., doth n