Hamro dharma

Mahabht 08 Karna P.

BOOK 8
Karna-parva

Section 1

Om! Having bowed down unto Narayana, and unto that most exalted of male
beings, Nara, and unto the goddess Sarasvati also, must the word Jaya be
uttered.

Vaishampayana said, “After Drona had been slain, O monarch, the royal
warriors (of the Kaurava army) headed by Duryodhana, with hearts filled
with great anxiety, all repaired to Drona’s son. Lamenting the loss of
Drona, and deprived of energy in consequence of their cheerlessness, they
sat around the son of Sharadvata’s daughter, afflicted with grief.
Comforted for a little while by considerations founded upon the
scriptures, when night came, those rulers of Earth proceeded to their
respective tents. Those lords of Earth, however, O thou of Kuru’s race,
could feel no happiness in their abodes. Thinking of that immense
slaughter, they could not also sleep. The Suta’s son (Karna), and king
Suyodhana and Duhshasana and Shakuni, in special, could not compose
themselves to sleep. Those four passed that night together in
Duryodhana’s tent, reflecting upon the woes they had inflicted upon the
high-souled Pandavas. Formerly they had brought Draupadi, plunged into
woe on account of the match at dice, into the assembly. Recollecting it
they experienced great regret, their hearts being filled with anxiety.
Thinking of those sufferings inflicted (upon the Pandavas) in consequence
of the gambling match they passed that night in sorrow, O king, as if it
were really a hundred years. Then when morning came, observing the
dictates of the ordinance, all of them duly went through the customary
rites. Having gone through these customary rites, and comforted to some
extent, O Bharata, they ordered their troops to be arrayed, and then came
out for battle, having made Karna their generalissimo by tying the
auspicious thread round his wrists, and having caused many foremost of
brahmanas, by presents of vessels of curds, clarified butter, akshatas,
coins of gold, kine, jewels and gems, and costly robes, to pray for their
victory, and having caused heralds and musicians, and panegyrists to
adore them with hymns about victory. The Pandavas also, O king, having
gone through their morning rites, issued from their camp, resolved on
battle. Then commenced a fierce battle, making the hair to stand on end,
between the Kurus and the Pandavas, each desirous of vanquishing the
other. During the commandership of Karna, the battle that took place
between the Kuru and the Pandava troops was exceedingly fierce and lasted
for two days. Then Vrisha (Karna) having made an immense slaughter of his
enemies in battle, was at last slain in the sight of the Dhartarashtras,
by Arjuna. Then Sanjaya, repairing to Hastinapura told Dhritarashtra all
that had happened at Kurujangala.”

Janamejaya said, “Having heard of the fall of Bhishma and that other
mighty car-warrior, Drona, the old king Dhritarashtra the son of Ambika
had been afflicted with great grief. How, O foremost of brahmanas, could
he, plunged into grief, support his life having heard of the death of
Karna, that well-wisher of Duryodhana? How indeed, could that descendant
of Kuru support his life when he, upon whom that monarch had rested the
hope of his sons’ victory, had fallen? When the king did not lay down his
life even after hearing of Karna’s death, I think that it is very
difficult for men to yield up life even under circumstances of great
grief! O brahmana, when the king did not yield up his life after hearing
of the fall of the venerable son of Shantanu, of Bahlika and Drona and
Somadatta and Bhurishrava, as also other friends and his sons and
grandsons, I think, O regenerate one, that the act of yielding up one’s
life is exceedingly difficult! Tell me all these in detail and as they
actually happened! I am not satiated with hearing the high achievements
of my ancestors!”

Section 2

Vaishampayana said, “Upon the fall of Karna, O monarch, the son of
Gavalgana, with a cheerless heart, set out that night for Nagapura, on
steeds that rivalled the wind in speed. Arrived at Hastinapura, with a
heart filled with deep anxiety, he proceeded to Dhritarashtra’s abode
which no longer teemed with kinsmen and friends. Beholding the king
deprived of all energy by grief, joining his hands he worshipped, with a
bend of his head, the monarch’s feet. Having duly worshipped king
Dhritarashtra, he uttered an exclamation of woe and then began, ‘I am
Sanjaya, O lord of Earth! Art thou not happy? I hope thou art not
stupefied, having through thy own faults fallen into such distress?
Counsels for thy good had been uttered by Vidura and Ganga’s son and
Keshava. I hope thou feelest no pain now, remembering thy rejection of
those counsels? Counsels for thy good had also been uttered in the
assembly by Rama and Narada and Kanwa and others. I hope thou feelest no
pain now, remembering their rejection by thee? I hope thou feelest no
pain, remembering the slaughter in battle, by the foe, of Bhishma and
Drona and others, those friends that were ever engaged in thy good?’ Unto
the Suta’s son who with joined hands was telling him so, the monarch
afflicted with grief and drawing a long and hot breath, said these words.

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Hearing, O Sanjaya, of the fall of the heroic son
of Ganga, that warrior of all celestial weapons, as also of the fall of
that foremost of all bowmen, Drona, my heart feeleth great pain! That
hero endued with great energy and born of the Vasus themselves, who slew
every day 10,000 car-warriors clad in mail, that high-souled one unto
whom Bhrigu’s son had given the highest weapons, that warrior who in his
childhood had been trained in the science of the bow by Rama, alas, even
he hath been slain by Yajnasena’s son Shikhandi protected by the
Pandavas! At this my heart is greatly pained! That hero through whose
grace those mighty car-warriors, the royal sons of Kunti, as also many
other lords of Earth, have become maharathas, alas, hearing of the
slaughter of that great bowman of sure aim, Drona, by Dhrishtadyumna, my
heart is exceedingly pained! Those two had not in the world a person
equal to them in (knowledge and use of) the four kinds of weapons! Alas,
hearing of the slaughter of these two, Bhishma and Drona, in battle my
heart is exceedingly pained! That warrior who had not in the three worlds
a person equal to him in knowledge of weapons, alas, hearing of the
slaughter of that hero, Drona, what did the people of my side do? After
the high-souled son of Pandu, Dhananjaya, exerting himself with prowess,
had despatched unto Yama’s abode the strong force of the samsaptakas,
after the Narayana weapon of the intelligent son of Drona had been
baffled, and after the (Kaurava) divisions had begun to fly away, what,
indeed, did the people of my side do? I think that, after Drona’s death
my troops, flying away and sinking in an ocean of grief, resembled
shipwrecked mariners struggling on the bosom of the vast deep. What also,
O Sanjaya, became the colour of the faces of Duryodhana, and Karna, and
Kritavarma the chief of the Bhojas and Shalya, the ruler of the Madras,
and of my remaining sons, and of the others, when the Kuru divisions fled
away from the field? Tell me all this as it truly happened in battle, O
son of Gavalgana, and describe to me the prowess put forth by the
Pandavas and the warriors of my side!”

“Sanjaya said, ‘O sire, hearing all that has happened unto the Kauravas
through thy fault, thou shouldst not feel any anguish! He that is wise
never feeleth any pain at what Destiny bringeth! And since Destiny is
unconquerable, human purposes may or may not become attainable. Hence, he
that is wise never feeleth pain on the acquisition or the reverse of the
objects cherished by him.

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘I do not feel great pain, O Sanjaya! I regard all
this to be the result of Destiny! Tell me all that thou wishest!'”

Section 3

“Sanjaya said, ‘Upon the fall of the great bowman Drona, thy sons, those
mighty car-warriors, became pale and deprived of their senses. Armed with
weapons, all of them, O monarch, hung down their heads. Afflicted with
grief and without looking at one another, they stood perfectly silent.
Beholding them with such afflicted countenances, thy troops, O Bharata,
themselves perturbed by grief, vacantly gazed upwards. Seeing Drona slain
in battle, the weapons of many of them, O king, dyed with blood, dropped
from their hands. Innumerable weapons, again, O Bharata, still retained
in the grasp of the soldiers, seemed in their pendent attitude, to
resemble falling meteors in the sky. Then king Duryodhana, O monarch,
beholding that army of thine thus standing as if paralysed and lifeless,
said, “Relying upon the might of your army I have summoned the Pandavas
to battle and caused this passage-at-arms to commence! Upon the fall of
Drona, however, the prospect seems to be cheerless. Warriors engaged in
battle all die in battle. Engaged in battle, a warrior may have either
victory or death. What can be strange then in this (viz., the death of
Drona)? Fight ye with faces turned towards every direction. Behold now
the high-souled Karna, the son of Vikartana, that great bowman of mighty
strength, careering in battle, using his celestial weapons! Through fear
of that warrior in battle, that coward, viz., Dhananjaya, the son of
Kunti, always turns back like a small deer at the sight of a lion! It is
he who, by the ordinary methods of human battle, brought the mighty
Bhimasena endued with the strength of 10,000 elephants to that plight! It
is he who, uttering a loud roar, slew with his invincible dart the brave
Ghatotkaca of a 1,000 illusions and well-acquainted with celestial
weapons! Behold today the inexhaustible might of arms of that intelligent
warrior of sure aim and invincible energy! Let the sons of Pandu behold
today the prowess of both Ashvatthama and Karna resembling that of Vishnu
and Vasava! All of you are singly able to slay the sons of Pandu with
their troops in battle! How much more then are you capable, when united
together, of that feat! Endued with great energy and accomplished in
weapons, you will today behold one another engaged in the achievement of
mighty tasks!'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Having said these words, O sinless one, thy son
Duryodhana, with his brothers, made Karna the generalissimo (of the Kuru
army). Obtaining the command, the mighty car-warrior Karna, so fierce in
battle, uttered loud roars and fought with the foe. He caused, O sire, a
great carnage among the Srinjayas, the Pancalas, the Kekayas, and the
Videhas. From his bow issued innumerable lines of arrows, one close
behind the wings of another, like flights of bees. Having afflicted the
Pancalas and the Pandavas endued with great activity, and slain thousands
of warriors, he was at last slain by Arjuna!”

4

Vaishampayana said, “Hearing this intelligence, O monarch, Dhritarashtra
the son of Ambika, feeling the acme of grief, regarded Suyodhana to be
already dead. Exceedingly agitated, the king fell down on the Earth like
an elephant deprived of its senses. When that foremost of the monarchs,
greatly agitated, fell down on the Earth, loud wails were uttered, O best
of the Bharatas, by the ladies (of the royal household). That noise was
so loud that it seemed to fill the entire Earth. Immersed in a deep ocean
of woe, the Bharata ladies, with hearts exceedingly agitated and scorched
by grief, wept aloud. Approaching the king, Gandhari, O bull of Bharata’s
race, and the other ladies of the household, all fell down on the earth,
deprived of their senses. Then Sanjaya, O king, began to comfort those
ladies stricken with grief, bathed in tears, and reft of consciousness.
Comforted (by Sanjaya), those ladies began to tremble repeatedly like a
plantain grove shaken by the wind. Vidura also, sprinkling that
descendant of Kuru with water, began to comfort the puissant monarch who
had knowledge only for his eye. Slowly restored to consciousness, and
understanding that the ladies of the household were there, the king, O
monarch, remained perfectly silent for some time like one reft of reason.
Having reflected then for some time, and repeatedly drawn long breaths,
the king censured his own sons and applauded the Pandavas. Censuring also
his own intelligence and that of Shakuni the son of Subala, the king,
having reflected for a long time, began to tremble repeatedly.
Controlling his mind once more, the king, with sufficient fortitude,
questioned his charioteer Sanjaya the son of Gavalgana.

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘I have heard, O Sanjaya, all that thou hast said.
Hath my son Duryodhana, O Suta, who is ever desirous of victory, already
gone to Yama’s abode, despairing of success? Tell me truly, O Sanjaya,
all this even if thou wilt have to repeat it!'”

Vaishampayana continued, “Thus addressed by the king, O Janamejaya, the
Suta said unto him, ‘The mighty car-warrior Vaikartana, O monarch, hath
been slain with his sons and brothers, and other Suta warriors, all of
whom were mighty bowmen ready to lay down their lives in battle!
Duhshasana also hath been slain by the renowned son of Pandu. Indeed, his
blood also hath been, from wrath, drunk by Bhimasena in battle!'”

5

Vaishampayana said, “Hearing these words, O monarch, Ambika’s son
Dhritarashtra, with heart agitated by grief, addressed his driver
Sanjaya, saying, ‘Though the evil policy, O sire, of my son of little
foresight, Vikartana’s son hath been slain! This intelligence is cutting
the very core of my heart! I am desirous of crossing this sea of grief!
Remove my doubts, therefore, by telling me who are still alive and who
are dead amongst the Kurus and the Pandavas!’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Endued with great prowess and invincible in battle,
Bhishma the son of Shantanu, O king, having slain large numbers of
Srinjayas and Pancalas, hath been slain after ten days. The mighty and
invincible bowman Drona of the golden car, having slaughtered the Pancala
divisions in battle, hath been slain. Having slaughtered the half of what
remained after the carnage by Bhishma and the illustrious Drona,
Vikartana’s son Karna hath been slain. Endued with great strength, O
monarch, prince Vivingsati, having slain hundreds of Anarta warriors in
battle, hath been slain. Thy heroic son Vikarna, deprived of steeds and
weapons, stood, facing the foe, remembering the duties of Kshatriyas.
Remembering the many foul wrongs inflicted upon him by Duryodhana, and
bearing in mind his own vow, Bhimasena hath slain him. Possessed of great
might, Vinda and Anuvinda, the two princes of Avanti, after achieving the
most difficult feats, have gone to Yama’s abode. That hero who had under
his sway ten kingdoms, having Sindhu for their chief, him who was ever
obedient to thee, Jayadratha of mighty energy, O king, Arjuna hath slain
after vanquishing eleven akshauhinis of troops with his keen arrows.
Endued with great activity and incapable of being easily defeated in
battle, the son of Duryodhana, ever obedient to his sire’s commands, hath
been slain by the son of Subhadra. The brave son of Duhshasana, possessed
of mighty arms and fierce in battle, hath been despatched to Yama’s abode
by Draupadi’s son exerting himself with great prowess! The ruler of the
Kiratas and other dwellers of the lowlands on the seacoast, the much
respected and dear friend of the chief of the celestials himself, the
virtuous king Bhagadatta, who was ever devoted to Kshatriya duties, hath
been despatched to Yama’s abode by Dhananjaya exerting himself great with
prowess. The kinsman of the Kauravas, the son of Somadatta, the brave and
celebrated Bhurishrava, O king, hath been slain by Satyaki in battle. The
Amvashtha king Srutayus, that foremost of Kshatriyas, who used to career
in battle most fearlessly, hath been slain by Arjuna. Thy son Duhshasana,
accomplished in arms and invincible in battle, and who was always
wrathful, hath, O monarch, been slain by Bhimasena. Sudakshina, O king,
who had many thousands of wonderful elephants, hath been slain in battle
by Arjuna. The ruler of the Kosolas, having slain many hundreds of foes,
hath himself been despatched to Yama’s abode by Subhadra’s son exerting
himself with prowess. Having fought with many thousands of foes and with
the mighty car-warrior Bhimasena himself, thy son Citrasena hath been
slain by Bhimasena. The brave younger brother of the ruler of the Madras,
that enhancer of the fears of foes, that handsome warrior armed with
sword and shield, hath been slain by Subhadra’s son. He who was equal to
Karna himself in battle, Karna’s son Vrishasena, accomplished in arms, of
mighty energy and steady prowess, hath, in the very sight of Karna, been
despatched to Yama’s abode by Dhananjaya who put forth his prowess
remembering the slaughter of his own son Abhimanyu and bearing in mind
the vow he had made. That lord of Earth, Srutayus, who always displayed a
deep-rooted antipathy towards the Pandavas, hath been slain by Partha who
reminded him of that antipathy before taking his life. Shalya’s son of
great prowess, O sire, Rukmaratha, hath, O king, been slain in battle by
Sahadeva although the former happened to be the latter’s brother, having
been the son of the latter’s maternal uncle. The old king Bhagiratha, and
Vrihatkshatra the ruler of the Kaikeyas both endued with great prowess
and might and energy, have been slain. Bhagadatta’s son, O king who was
possessed of great wisdom and great strength, hath been slain by Nakula
who always careers in battle with the activity of the hawk. Thy grandsire
Bahlika, possessed of great might and prowess, hath, with all his
followers, been slain by Bhimasena. The mighty Jayatsena the son of
Jarasandha, the prince of the Magadhas, O king, hath been slain in battle
by the high-souled son of Subhadra. Thy son Durmukha, O king, as also thy
other son Dussaha, that mighty car-warrior, both of whom were regarded as
heroes, have been slain by Bhimasena with his mace. Durmarshana and
Durvisaha and the mighty car-warrior Durjaya, having achieved the most
difficult feats, have gone to Yama’s abode. The two brothers Kalinga and
Vrishaka, who were invincible in battle, having achieved very difficult
feats have gone to Yama’s abode. Thy counsellor Vrishavarman of the Suta
caste, endued with great energy, hath been despatched to Yama’s abode by
Bhimasena exerting himself with prowess. So also king Paurava who was
endued with the might of 10,000 elephants, hath, with all his followers,
been slain by Pandu’s son Arjuna. The Vasatis, O king, numbering 2,000,
effectual smiters of all, as also the Surasenas endued with prowess, have
all been slain in battle. The Abhishahas, clad in mail, capable of
smiting effectually, and fierce in battle, also the Sivis, those foremost
of car-warriors, with the Kalingas, have all been slain. Those other
heroes also, (the Narayana Gopas) who live and grew in Gokula, who were
exceedingly wrathful in battle, and who never retreated from the field
have been slain by Savyasaci. Many thousands of Srenis, as also the
samsaptakas, approaching Arjuna, have all repaired to the abode of Yama.
Thy two brothers-in-law, viz., the princes Vrishaka and Achala, who were
endued with great prowess, have for thy sake been slain by Savyasaci.
King Shalva of mighty arms and fierce deeds, who was a great bowman both
in name and feats, hath been slain by Bhimasena. Oghavat, O king, and
Vrishanta, fighting together in battle and exerting themselves with great
vigour for the sake of their ally, have both repaired to Yama’s abode. So
also that foremost of car-warriors, viz., Kshemadhurti, O monarch, hath
been slain in battle by Bhimasena with his mace. So also that great
bowman, viz., the mighty king Jalasandha, after causing an immense
carnage, hath been slain by Satyaki in battle. That prince of Rakshasas,
viz., Alayudha, unto whose vehicle were yoked asses (of monstrous shape)
hath been despatched to Yama’s abode by Ghatotkaca exerting himself with
great prowess. Radha’s son of the Suta caste, and those mighty
car-warriors who were his brothers, and the Kaikeyas, the Malavas, the
Madrakas the Dravidas of fierce prowess, the Yaudheyas, the Lalittyas,
the Kshudrakas, the Usinaras, the Tundikeras, the Savitriputras, the
Easterners, the Northerners, the Westerners, and the Southerners, O sire,
have all been slain by Savyasaci. Large bands of foot-soldiers, myriads
upon myriads of steeds, large number of car-warriors, and many huge
elephants, have been slain. Many heroes also, with standards and weapons,
and with armour and attire and ornaments, and endued with perseverance
and possessed of high birth and good conduct, have been slain in battle
by Partha who is never fatigued with exertion. Others, endued with
immeasurable might, and desirous of slaying their foes, (have met with a
similar fate). These and many other kings, numbering thousands, with
their followers, have, O monarch, been slain in battle. That which thou
askest me I am answering now. Even thus did the destruction take place
when Arjuna and Karna fought. Even as Mahendra slew Vritra, and Rama slew
Ravana; even as Krishna slew Naraka or Mura in battle; even as the mighty
Rama of Bhrigu’s race slew the heroic Kartavirya, invincible in battle,
with all his kinsmen and friends, after fighting a terrible battle
celebrated through the three worlds; even as Skanda slew (the Asura)
Mahisha, and Rudra slew (the Asura) Andhaka, even so hath Arjuna, O king,
in single combat, slain, with all his kinsmen, that foremost of smiters,
viz., Karna, who was invincible in battle and upon whom the
Dhartarashtras had placed their hopes of victory, and who was the great
cause of the hostility with the Pandavas! Pandu’s son hath now
accomplished that which at one time thou couldst not believe him capable
of accomplishing, although, O monarch, well-meaning friends failed not to
apprise thee of it. That calamity, fraught with great destruction, hath
now come! Thou, O king wishing them well, hast heaped those evils on the
heads of thy covetous sons! The fruit of those evils is now manifesting
itself!'”

6

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Thou hast, O son, mentioned the names of those of
my side that have been slain in battle by the Pandavas. Tell me now, O
Sanjaya, the names of those amongst the Pandavas that have been slain by
the people of my side!’

“Sanjaya said, ‘The Kuntis possessed of great prowess in battle, endued
with great energy and great might, have been slain in fight by Bhishma,
with all their kinsmen and advisers. The Narayanas, the Valabhadras, and
hundreds of other heroes, all devoted (to the Pandavas) have been slain
in battle by the heroic Bhishma. Satyajit, who was equal to the
diadem-decked Arjuna himself in battle as regards energy and might, hath
been slain in battle by Drona of sure aim. Many mighty bowmen among the
Pancalas, all of whom were skilled in battle, encountering Drona, have
repaired to Yama’s abode. So the two kings Virata and Drupada, both
venerable in years, who exerted themselves with great prowess for their
ally, have, with their sons, been slain in battle by Drona. That
invincible hero, viz., Abhimanyu, who, though a child in years, was still
equal in battle to Arjuna or Keshava or Baladeva, O lord, that, warrior
who was highly accomplished in battle, after making an immense slaughter
of the foe, was at last encompassed by six foremost of car-warriors and
slain by them. Unable to resist Arjuna himself, they thus slew Arjuna’s
son! Deprived of his car, that hero, viz., the son of Subhadra, still
stayed in battle, remembering the duties of a Kshatriya. At last, O king,
Duhshasana’s son slew him on the field. The slayer of the Patachchatras,
viz., the handsome son of Amvashtha, surrounded by a large force, had put
forth all his prowess for the sake of his allies. Having made a great
slaughter among the foe, he was encountered by Duryodhana’s son, the
brave Lakshmana, in battle and despatched to Yama’s abode. The mighty
bowman Vrihanta, accomplished in arms and invincible in battle, hath been
despatched to Yama’s abode by Duhshasana, exerting himself with great
prowess. The two kings Manimat and Dandadhara, both of whom were
invincible in battle and had put forth their prowess for their allies,
have been slain by Drona. Ansumat the ruler of the Bhojas, that mighty
car-warrior at the head of his own forces, hath been despatched to Yama’s
abode by Drona exerting himself with great prowess. Citrasena, the ruler
of the sea-coast, with his son, O Bharata, hath been forcibly despatched
by Samudrasena to Yama’s abode. Another ruler of a maritime country,
viz., Nila, and Vyaghradatta of great energy, have both, O king, been
despatched to Yama’s abode by Ashvatthama. Citrayudha and Citrayodhin,
after making a great slaughter, have both been slain in battle by Vikarna
exerting himself with great prowess and displaying diverse manoeuvres of
his car. The chief of the Kaikeyas, who was equal to Vrikodara himself in
battle and surrounded by Kaikeya warriors, has been slain by Kaikeya, the
brother by the brother. Janamejaya of the hilly country, endued with
great prowess and accomplished in encounters with the mace, hath, O king,
been slain by thy son Durmukha. Those two foremost of men, viz., the
brothers Rochamana, like two brilliant planets, have together been
despatched to heaven by Drona with his shafts. Many other kings, O
monarch, endued with great prowess, have fought (for the Pandavas) Having
achieved the most difficult feats, all of them have gone to Yama’s abode.
Purujit and Kuntibhoja, the two maternal uncles of Savyasaci, have been
despatched by Drona with shafts to such regions as are attained by death
in battle. Abhibhu the Kasis, at the head of many of his followers, hath
been obliged by Vasudana’s son to lay down his life in battle. Yudhamanyu
of immeasurable prowess, and Uttamauja of great energy, after slaying
hundreds of heroic warriors, have themselves been slain by our men. The
Pancala prince Mitravarman, O Bharata, those two foremost of bowmen, have
been despatched to Yama’s abode by Drona. Shikhandi’s son Kshatradeva,
that foremost of warriors, possessed of great bravery, hath, O king, been
slain by thy grandson Lakshmana, O sire! The two heroes Sucitra and
Citravarman, who were sire and son and endued with great might, and who
careered fearlessly in battle, have been slain by Drona. Vardhakshemi, O
monarch, who was like the ocean at full tide, having had his weapons
exhausted in battle, hath at last obtained undisturbed peace. That
foremost of Sutas, viz., Senavindu, having consumed many foes in battle,
hath, at last, O king been slain by Bahlika. Dhrishtaketu, O monarch,
that foremost of car-warriors among the Cedis, after accomplishing the
most difficult feats, hath repaired to the abode of Yama. Similarly, the
heroic Satyadhriti, endued with great prowess, having made a great
slaughter in battle for the sake of the Pandavas, has been despatched to
Yama’s abode. That lord of Earth, viz., Suketu, the son of Shishupala,
having slain many foes, hath at last been slain by Drona in battle.
Virata’s son Sankha, as also Uttara of great strength, having
accomplished the most difficult feats, have repaired to Yama’s abode.
Similarly, Satyadhriti of the Matsyas, and Madiraswa of great energy, and
Suryadatta possessed of great prowess, have all been slain by Drona with
his shafts. Srenimat also, O monarch, having fought with great prowess
and accomplished the most difficult feats, hath repaired to Yama’s abode.
Similarly, the chief of the Magadhas, that slayer of hostile heroes,
endued with great energy and acquainted with the highest weapons,
sleepeth on the field of battle, slain by Bhishma. Vasudana also, having
made an immense carnage in battle, has been despatched to Yama’s abode by
Bharadwaja’s son exerting himself with great prowess. These and many
other mighty car-warriors of the Pandavas have been slain by Drona
exerting himself with great energy. I have now told them all that thou
hadst asked me.'”

7

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘When all the foremost of my warriors, O Sanjaya
have perished, I do not think that the remnant of my army will not
perish! When those two heroes, those two mighty bowmen, those two
foremost of the Kurus, Bhishma and Drona, have been slain, what use can I
any longer have with life? I cannot also brook the death of Radha’s son,
that ornament of battle, the might of whose arms was as great as that of
10,000 elephants! O foremost of speakers, tell me now, O Suta, who are
yet alive in my army after the death of all the foremost heroes! Thou
hast told me the names of those that have fallen. It seems, however, to
me that those who are still alive are almost all dead!’

“Sanjaya said, ‘That hero O king, to whom Drona, that foremost of
brahmanas, imparted many blazing, celestial, and mighty weapons of the
four kinds, that mighty car-warrior, possessed of skill and lightness of
hands, that hero of firm grasp, strong weapons, and powerful shafts, that
high-souled son of Drona, capable of shooting to a great distance, is
still on the field, desirous of battling for thy sake. That dweller of
the Anarta country, that son of Hridika, that mighty car-warrior, that
foremost one among the Satwatas, that chief of the Bhojas, Kritavarma,
accomplished in arms, is on the field, desirous of battle. Artayana’s
son, dauntless in battle, that first of warriors, that foremost of all
yet on thy side, he, that abandoned his own sister’s sons, the Pandavas,
for making his own words true, that hero endued with great activity who
promised in the presence of Yudhishthira that he would in battle depress
the proud spirit of Karna, that invincible Shalya, who is equal unto
Sakra himself in energy, is still on the field, desirous of battling for
thy sake. Accompanied by his own force consisting of Ajaneyas,
Saindhavas, mountaineers, dwellers of riparian regions, Kambojas, and
Vanayus, the king of the Gandharas stayeth on the field, desirous of
battling for thy sake. Sharadvata’s son called Gautama, O king, endued
with mighty arms and capable of fighting with diverse weapons in diverse
beautiful ways, taking up a beautiful and large bow capable of bearing
great strain, stayeth on the field, desirous of battle. That mighty
car-warrior, the son of the ruler of the Kaikeyas, riding on a goodly car
equipped with standard and goodly steeds, stayeth on the field, O chief
of Kuru’s race, for battling for thy sake. Thy son also, that foremost of
heroes in Kuru’s race, Purumitra, O king, riding on his car possessed of
the effulgence of fire or the Sun, stayeth on the field, like the Sun
himself shining brilliantly in the cloudless firmament. Duryodhana also,
endued with great energy, in the midst of an elephant force and
accompanied by many foremost of combatants, stayeth on his car adorned
with gold, desirous of engaging in battle. In the midst of many kings,
that foremost of men, possessed of the splendour of a lotus, looked
resplendent in his beautiful armour of gold like a fire with little smoke
or the Sun emerged from the clouds. So also thy sons Sushena, armed with
sword and shield, and the heroic Satyasena, are staying with Citrasena,
their hearts full of joy and themselves desirous of battle. Endued with
modesty, the Bharata princes Citrayudha, Srutavarman, and Jaya, Dala, and
Satyavrata, and Dussala, all of whom are possessed of great might, stay
on the field, desirous of battle. The ruler of the Kaitavyas, that prince
proud of his courage, and capable of fearlessly careering in battle and
slaying his foes, possessing foot-soldiers and cavalry, and elephants and
cars, stayeth on the field, desirous of battling for thy sake. The heroic
Srutayu and Srutayudha, and Citrangada and Citravarman, those foremost of
men, those proud warriors capable of smiting effectually and possessed of
sureness of aim, stay on the field, desirous of battle. The high-souled
Satyasandha, the son of Karna, stayeth on the field, desirous of battle.
Two other sons of Karna, possessing a knowledge of high weapons and
endued with great lightness of hands, are both staying, O king, at the
head of forces that are large and incapable of being pierced by warriors
of little energy, desirous of battling for thy sake. Accompanied by these
heroes and by many other foremost of warriors, O king, that are possessed
of immeasurable might, the Kuru king (Duryodhana) is staying like a
second Indra in the midst of his elephant division in expectation of
victory!’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Thou hast told me duly all that are alive both
amongst us and the foe. From this I plainly see on which side the victory
will be. Indeed, it may be inferred from the facts.'”

Vaishampayana continued, “While saying this, Dhritarashtra the son of
Ambika, having learnt that only a small portion of his army was alive,
for all his foremost of warriors had died, felt his heart to be
exceedingly agitated by grief. The king swooned away. Partially restored
to his senses, he addressed Sanjaya, saying, ‘Wait for a moment!’ And the
king said, ‘O son, having heard of this dire calamity, my heart is
greatly agitated. My senses are being stupefied, and my limbs are about
to be paralysed!’ Having said these words, Dhritarashtra the son of
Ambika, that lord of earth, lost his senses and fell down on the earth.”

8

Janamejaya said, “Having heard of Karna’s fall and the slaughter of his
sons, what, O foremost of regenerate ones, did the king say, after he had
been a little comforted? Indeed, poignant was the grief that he
experienced, arising from the calamity that befell his sons! Tell me, I
ask thee, all that the king said on that occasion!”

Vaishampayana said, “Hearing of the slaughter of Karna that was
incredible and astounding, that was dreadful and capable of paralysing
the senses of all creatures, that looked like the downfall of Meru, or a
never-to-be-believed clouding of the intellect of the wise Shukra, or the
defeat of Indra of terrible feats at the hands of his foes, or the
falling down on the Earth of the resplendent Sun from the firmament, or a
scarcely-to-be-comprehended drying up of the ocean, that receptacle of
inexhaustible waters, or the annihilation, perfectly astounding, of the
earth, the firmament, the points of the compass, and the waters, or the
fruitlessness of acts both virtuous and sinful, king Dhritarashtra,
having earnestly reflected for some time on it, thought that his army had
been annihilated. Thinking that other creatures also, as unslayable as
Karna, would meet with a similar fate, king Dhritarashtra the son of
Ambika, scorched with grief and sighing like a snake, with limbs almost
palsied, long breaths, highly cheerless, and filled with melancholy,
began to lament, saying, ‘Oh!’ and ‘Alas!’ And the king said, ‘O Sanjaya,
the heroic son of Adhiratha was endued with the prowess of the lion or
the elephant! His neck was as thick as that of a bull, and his eyes,
gait, and voice were like the bull’s! Of limbs as hard as the
thunderbolt, that young man, like a bull never flying away from a bull,
never desisted from battle even if his foe happened to be the great Indra
himself! At the sound of his bow-string and palms and at the whizz of his
arrowy showers men and steeds and cars and elephants fled away from
battle. Relying upon that mighty-armed one, that slayer of large bands of
foes, that warrior of unfading glory, Duryodhana had provoked hostilities
with those mighty car-warriors, the sons of Pandu! How then could Karna,
that foremost of car-warriors, that tiger among men, that hero of
irresistible onset, be forcibly slain by Partha in battle? Relying on the
might of his own arms, he always disregarded Keshava of unfading glory,
and Dhananjaya, and the Vrishnis, and all other foes! Often did he use to
say unto the foolish, avaricious crestfallen, kingdom-coveting, and
afflicted Duryodhana even such words as these, “Alone, I shall, in
battle, throw down from their foremost of cars, those two invincible
warriors united together, the wielder of sarnga and the wielder of
gandiva!” He had subjugated many invincible and mighty foes–the
Gandharas, the Madrakas, the Matsyas, the Trigartas, the Tanganas, the
Khasas, the Pancalas, the Videhas, the Kulindas, the Kasi-kosalas, the
Suhmas, the Angas, the Nishadhas, the Pundras, the Kichakas, the Vatsas,
the Kalingas, the Taralas, the Asmakas, and the Rishikas. Subjugating all
these brave races, by means of his keen and whetted arrows equipped with
kanka feathers, that foremost of car-warriors, Radha’s son, had caused
all of them to pay tribute to us for the aggrandisement of Duryodhana.
Alas, how could that warrior acquainted with celestial weapons, that
protector of armies, Karna the son of Vikartana, called also Vrisha, of
mighty energy, be slain in battle by his foes, the heroic and mighty sons
of Pandu? As Indra is the foremost of gods, Karna was the foremost of
men. In the three worlds no third person has been heard of by us to be
like them. Amongst steeds, Uccaisravas is the foremost; amongst Yakshas,
Vaishravana is the foremost; amongst celestials, Indra is the foremost;
amongst smiters, Karna was the foremost. Unvanquished by even the most
heroic and the mightiest of monarchs, he had, Duryodhana’s
aggrandisement, subjugated the whole earth. The ruler of Magadha, having
by conciliation and honours obtained Karna for a friend, had challenged
all the Kshatriyas of the world, except the Kauravas and the Yadavas, to
battle. Hearing that Karna hath been slain by Savyasaci in single combat,
I am plunged in an ocean of woe like a wrecked vessel in the vast deep!
Indeed, hearing that that foremost of men, that best of car-warriors,
hath been slain in single combat, I am sinking in an ocean of grief like
a person without a raft in the sea! When, O Sanjaya, I do not die of such
grief, I think my heart is impenetrable and made of something harder than
the thunderbolt. Hearing of the defeat and humiliation of kinsmen and
relatives and allies, who else in the world, O Suta, save my wretched
self, would not yield up his life? I desire to have poison or fire or a
fall from the summit of a mountain, I am unable, O Sanjaya, to bear this
heavy load of grief!'”

9

“Sanjaya said, ‘The world regards thee to be equal to Yayati the son of
Nahusha, in beauty, birth, fame, asceticism, and learning! Indeed, in
learning, thou art, O king, like a great rishi, highly accomplished and
crowned with success! Summon thy fortitude! Do not yield to grief!’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘I think destiny is supreme, and exertion fruitless
since even Karna, who was like a shala tree, hath been slain in battle!
Having slaughtered Yudhishthira’s army and the large throngs of the
Pancala car-warriors, having scorched all the points of the compass by
means of his arrowy showers, having stupefied the Parthas in battle like
the wielder of the thunderbolt stupefying the asuras, alas, how could
that mighty car-warrior, slain by the foe, fall down on the earth like a
large tree uprooted by the tempest? Indeed, I do not behold the end of my
sorrows like a drowning man unable to see the end of the ocean. My
anxieties are increasing, I do not desire to live, hearing of Karna’s
death and Phalguni’s victory! Indeed O Sanjaya, I regard the slaughter of
Karna to be highly incredible. Without doubt, this hard heart of mine is
made of the essence of adamant, for it does not burst into a 1,000
fragments upon hearing of the fall of Karna! Without doubt, the gods
ordained, before (my birth), a very long life for me, since sore
distressed on hearing of the death of Karna, I do not die! Fie, O
Sanjaya, on this life of one that is destitute of friends. Brought today,
O Sanjaya, to this wretched plight, miserably shall I have to live, of
foolish understanding that I am, pitied by all! Having formerly been the
honoured of the whole world, how shall I, O Suta, live, overridden by
foes? From pain to greater pain and calamity, have I come, O Sanjaya, in
consequence of the fall of Bhishma and Drona and the high-souled Karna! I
do not see that anyone (of my army) will escape with life when the Suta’s
son hath been slain in battle! He was the great raft, O Sanjaya, to my
sons! That hero, having shot innumerable arrows, hath been slain in
battle! What use have I of life, without that bull among men? Without
doubt, the son of Adhiratha, afflicted with arrows, fell down from his
car, like a mountain-peak riven by the fall of thunder! Without doubt,
bathed in blood, he lieth, adorning the Earth, like an elephant slain by
an infuriate prince of elephants! He who was the strength of the
Dhartarashtras, he who was an object of fear to the sons of Pandu, alas,
he viz., Karna, that pride of all bowman, hath been slain by Arjuna! He
was a hero, a mighty bowman, the dispeller of the fears of my sons! Alas,
that hero, reft of life, lieth (on the earth), like mountain struck down
by Indra! The fulfilment of Duryodhana’s wishes is even like locomotion
to one that is lame, or the gratification of the poor man’s desire, or
stray drops of water to one that is thirsty! Planned in one way, our
schemes end otherwise. Alas, destiny is all powerful, and time incapable
of being transgressed! Was my son Duhshasana, O Suta, slain, while flying
away from the field, humbled (to the dust), of cheerless soul, and
destitute of all manliness? O son, O Sanjaya, I hope he did no dastardly
act on that occasion? Did not that hero meet with his death like the
other kshatriyas that have fallen? The foolish Duryodhana did not accept
Yudhishthira’s constant advice, wholesome as medicine, against the
propriety of battle. Possessed of great renown, Partha, when begged for
drink by Bhishma then lying on his arrowy bed, pierced the surface of the
earth! Beholding the jet of water caused by the son of Pandu, the
mighty-armed (Bhishma, addressing Duryodhana), said, “O sire, make peace
with the Pandavas! Hostilities ceasing, peace will be thine! Let the war
between thyself and thy cousins end with me! Enjoy the earth in
brotherliness with the sons of Pandu!” Having disregarded those counsels,
my child is certainly repenting now. That has now come to pass which
Bhishma of great foresight said. As regards myself, O Sanjaya, I am
destitute of counsellors and reft of sons! In consequence of gambling, I
am fallen into great misery like a bird shorn of its wings! As children
engaged in sport, O Sanjaya, having seized a bird and cut off its wings,
merrily release it, but the creature cannot achieve locomotion in
consequence of its winglessness; even so have I become, like a bird shorn
of its wings! Weak, destitute of every resource, without kinsmen and
deprived of relatives and friends, cheerless and overpowered by enemies,
to which point of the compass shall I go? He who vanquished all the
Kambojas and the Amvashthas with the Kaikeyas, that puissant one, who,
having for the accomplishment of his purpose vanquished the Gandharas and
the Videhas in battle, subjugated the whole Earth for the sake of
Duryodhana’s aggrandisement, alas, he hath been vanquished by the heroic
and strong Pandavas endued with mighty arms! Upon the slaughter, in
battle, of that mighty bowman, Karna, by the diadem-decked (Arjuna), tell
me, O Sanjaya, who were these heroes that stayed (on the field)! I hope
he was not alone and abandoned (by friends) when slain in battle by the
Pandavas? Thou hast, O sire, told me, before this, how our brave warriors
have fallen. With his powerful shafts Shikhandi felled in battle that
foremost of all wielders of weapons, viz., Bhishma, who did nothing to
repel the attack. Similarly, Sanjaya, Drupada’s son Dhrishtadyumna,
uplifting his scimitar, slew the mighty bowman Drona who, already pierced
with many arrows, had laid aside his weapons in battle and devoted
himself to Yoga. These two were both slain at a disadvantage and
especially by deceit. Even this is what I have heard about the slaughter
of Bhishma and Drona! Indeed, Bhishma and Drona, while contending in
fight, were incapable of being slain in battle by the wielder of the
thunderbolt himself by fair means. This that I tell thee is the truth! As
regards Karna, how, indeed, could Death touch him, that hero equal unto
Indra himself, while he was engaged in shooting his manifold celestial
weapons? He unto whom in exchange for his earrings, Purandara had given
that foe slaying, gold-decked, and celestial dart of the splendour of
lightning,–he who had, lying (within his quiver) amid sandal-dust, that
snake-mouthed celestial arrow decked with gold, equipped with goodly
wings, and capable of slaying all foes, he who, disregarding those heroic
and mighty car-warriors having Bhishma and Drona at their head, had
acquired from Jamadagni’s son the terrible brahmastra, that mighty-armed
one, who, having seen the warriors with Drona at their head afflicted
with arrows and turn away from the field, had cut off with his keen
shafts the bow of Subhadra’s son, he who, having in a trice deprived the
invincible Bhimasena endued with the might of 10,000 elephants and the
speed of the wind, of his car, had laughed at him,–he who, having
vanquished Sahadeva by means of his straight shafts and made him carless,
slew him not from compassion and considerations of virtue,–he who, with
Shakra’s dart, slew that prince of rakshasas, Ghatotkaca, who from desire
of victory, had invoked a 1,000 kinds of illusions,–he whose feats in
battle, filling Dhananjaya with fear, had made the latter for such a long
period avoid a single combat with him,–alas, how could that hero be
slain in battle? How could he be slain by foes unless one of these had
happened to him viz., the destruction of his car, the snapping of his
bow, and the exhaustion of his weapons? Who could vanquish that tiger
among men, like a real tiger, endued with great impetuosity, Karna, while
shaking his formidable bow and shooting therefrom his terrible shafts and
celestial weapons in battle? Surely, his bow broke, or his car sank in
the earth, or his weapons became exhausted, since thou tellest me that he
is slain! I do not, indeed, see any other cause for (explaining) his
slaughter! That high-souled one who had made the terrible vow “I will not
wash my feet till I slay Phalguni,” that warrior through whose fear that
bull among men, king Yudhishthira the just, had not, in the wilderness,
for thirteen years continuously, obtained a wink of sleep,–that
high-souled hero of great prowess relying upon whose valour my son had
forcibly dragged the wife of the Pandavas to the assembly, and there in
the midst of that conclave, in the very sight of the Pandavas and in the
presence of the Kurus, had addressed the princess of Pancala as the wife
of slaves, that hero of the Suta caste, who in the midst of the assembly
had addressed Krishna, saying, “All thy husbands, O Krishna, that are
even like sesamum seeds without kernel, are no more, therefore, seek some
other husband, O thou of the fairest complexion!” and in wrath had caused
her to listen to other expressions equally harsh and rude, how was that
hero slain by the foe? He who had said unto Duryodhana even these words,
viz., “If Bhishma who boasteth of his prowess in battle or Drona who is
invincible in fight, doth not, from partiality, slay the sons of Kunti, O
Duryodhana, even I will slay them all, let the fever of thy heart be
dispelled!” who also said, “What will (Arjuna’s) gandiva and the two
inexhaustible quivers do to that shaft of mine, smeared with cool
sandal-paste, when it will course through the welkin?” alas, how could
that warrior possessed of shoulders broad as those of the bull be slain
by Arjuna? He who, disregarding the fierce touch of the arrows shot from
gandiva had addressed Krishna, saying, “Thou hast no husbands now” and
glared at the Pandavas, he who, O Sanjaya, relying on the might of his
own arms, had entertained no fear, for even a moment, of the Parthas with
their sons and Janardana,–he, I think, could not possibly meet with
death at the hands of the very gods with Vasava at their head rushing
against him in fury, what then need I say, O sire, of the Pandavas? The
person could not be seen competent to stay before the son of Adhiratha,
while the latter, putting on his fences, used to touch the bowstring! It
was possible for the Earth to be destitute of the splendour of the Sun,
of the Moon, or of fire, but the death of that foremost of men, who never
retreated from battle, could not be possible. That foolish child of mine,
of wicked understanding, who having got Karna, as also his brother
Duhshasana, for his ally, had made up his mind for the rejection of
Vasudeva’s proposals, surely, that wight, beholding the slaughter of the
bull-shouldered Karna and of Duhshasana, is now indulging in
lamentations! Seeing Vikartana’s son slain in single combat by Savyasaci,
and the Pandavas crowned with victory, what indeed, did Duryodhana say?
Seeing Durmarshana slain in battle and Vrishasena also, and seeing his
host break when slaughtered by mighty car-warriors, beholding also the
kings (of his army) turn back their faces, intent on flight, and his
car-warriors already fled, I think that son of mine is now indulging in
lamentations! Beholding his host dispirited, what, indeed, did the
ungovernable, proud, and foolish Duryodhana, with passions not under
control, say? Having himself provoked such fierce hostility though
dissuaded by all his friends what, indeed, did Duryodhana, who has
suffered a great loss in battle of friends and followers, say? Beholding
his brother slain in battle by Bhimasena, and upon his blood being drunk,
what indeed, did Duryodhana say? My son had, with the ruler of the
gandharvas, said, “Karna will slay Arjuna in battle!” When he saw that
Karna slain, what indeed, did he say? What, O sire, did Shakuni, the son
of Subala, who had formerly been filled with joy after going through the
match at dice and cheating the son of Pandu, say when he saw Karna slain?
What did that mighty car-warrior among the Satwatas, that great bowman,
Kritavarma the son of Hridika, say when he saw Vaikartana slain? Endued
with youth, possessed of a handsome form, agreeable to the sight, and
celebrated throughout the world, what, O Sanjaya, did Ashvatthama, the
intelligent son of Drona, upon whom brahmanas and kshatriyas and vaishyas
who are desirous of acquiring the science of arms wait, for protections,
say when he saw Karna slain? What did Sharadvata’s son Kripa, O sire, of
Gotama’s race, that foremost of car-warriors, that teacher of the science
of arms, say when he saw Karna slain? What did the mighty leader of the
Madras warriors, that king of the Madras, the great bowman Shalya of the
Sauvira clan, that ornament of assemblies, that foremost of car-warriors
(temporarily) engaged in driving the car, say when he saw Karna slain?
What also did all the other warriors, difficult of defeat in battle,
those lords of earth that came to fight, say, O Sanjaya, when they behold
Vaikartana slain? After the fall of the heroic Drona, that tiger among
car-warriors that bull among men, who, O Sanjaya, became the heads of the
several division in their order? Tell me, O Sanjaya, how that foremost of
car-warriors, Shalya the ruler of the Madras, became engaged in driving
the car of Vaikartana! Who were they that guarded the right wheel of the
Suta’s son while the latter was engaged in fight, and who were they that
guarded his left wheel, and who were they that stood at the rear of that
hero? Who were those heroes that did not desert Karna, and who were those
mean fellows that ran away? How was the mighty car-warrior Karna slain
amidst your united selves? How also did those mighty car-warriors, the
brave Pandavas, advance against him shooting showers of shafts like the
clouds pouring torrents of rain? Tell me also, O Sanjaya, how that mighty
shaft, celestial and foremost of its species, and equipped with a head
like that of a serpent became futile! I do not, O Sanjaya, see the
possibility of even a small remnant of my cheerless host being saved when
its leaders have been crushed! Hearing of the slaughter of those two
heroes, those two mighty bowmen, Bhishma and Drona, who were ever ready
to lay down their lives for my sake, what use have I of life? Again and
again I am unable to endure that Karna, the might of whose arms equalled
that of 10,000 elephants, should be slain by the Pandavas! Tell me, O
Sanjaya, all that occurred in the battle between the brave warriors of
the Kauravas and their foes, after the death of Drona! Tell me also how
the sons of Kunti fought the battle with Karna, and how that slayer of
foes received his quietus in the fight!'”

10

“Sanjaya said, ‘After the fall of the mighty bowman Drona on that day, O
Bharata, and after the purpose had been baffled of that mighty
car-warriors, viz., the son of Drona, and after the vasty army, O
monarch, of the Kauravas had fled away, Partha, having arrayed his own
troops, stayed on the field with his brothers. Perceiving him staying on
the field, thy son, O bull of Bharata’s race, seeing his own army running
away, rallied them with great courage. Having caused his divisions to
take up their stand, thy son, O Bharata, relying on the might of his
arms, fought for a long time with his foes, the Pandavas, who, having
gained their end, were filled with joy and had been struggling for hours
together. On the approach there of the evening twilight, he caused the
troops to be withdrawn. Having caused the withdrawal of their troops, and
having entered their own encampment, the Kauravas held with one another a
consultation about their own welfare, seated like the celestials on
costly couches overlaid with rich coverlets, and on excellent seats and
luxurious beds. Then king Duryodhana, addressing those mighty bowmen in
agreeable and highly sweet expression, spoke the following words suited
to the occasion.

“‘Duryodhana said, “Ye foremost of intelligent men, declare all of you,
without delay, your opinions! Under these circumstances, ye kings, what
is necessary and what is still more necessary?'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘When that prince of men had spoken those words,
those lions among men, seated on their thrones, made various gestures
expressive of their desire of battle. Observing the indications of those
who were all desirous of pouring their lives as libations on the
battle-fire, and beholding the monarch’s face radiant as morning Sun, the
preceptor’s son endued with intelligence and accomplished in speech, said
these words: “Enthusiasm, opportunity, skill and policy,–these are the
means declared by the learned, to be capable of accomplishing all ends.
They are, however, dependent on destiny. Those foremost of men we had on
our side, equal unto the celestials, mighty car-warriors all, possessed
of policy, devoted, accomplished, and loyal, have been slain. For all
that we should not despair of victory. If all these means be properly
applied, even destiny may be made propitious. All of us, therefore, O
Bharata, shall install Karna, that foremost of men, endued besides with
every accomplishment, in the command of the army! Making Karna our
commander, we shall crush our foes. This Karna is endued with great
might; he is a hero, accomplished in weapons, and incapable of defeat in
battle. Irresistible as Yama himself, he is quite competent to vanquish
our foes in battle!” Hearing these words from the preceptor’s son, O
king, at that time, built great hopes on Karna. Cherishing the hope in
his heart that after the fall of Bhishma and Drona, Karna would vanquish
the Pandavas, and comforted (by it), O Bharata, Duryodhana then, filled
with joy at having heard those words of Ashvatthama, steadying his mind
and relying on the might of his arms, said unto Radha’s son, O monarch,
these words that were fraught with affection and regard, and that were
true, delightful, and beneficial to himself: “O Karna, I know thy
prowess, and the great friendship thou bearest to me! For all that, O
mighty-armed one, I shall address the certain words that are for my good!
Having heard them, O hero, do that which may appear desirable to thee!
Thou art endued with great wisdom, and thou art even my supreme refuge!
Those two Atirathas that were my Generals, viz., Bhishma and Drona, have
been slain. Be thou my General, thou that art mightier than they! Both of
those great bowmen were advanced in years. They were, besides, partial to
Dhananjaya. Still both those heroes were respected by me, O son of Radha,
at thy word! Viewing his relationship of grandsire unto them, the sons of
Pandu, O sire, were spared in dreadful battle by Bhishma for ten
successive days! Thyself also having laid aside thy weapons, the valiant
Bhishma was slain in great battle by Phalguni with Shikhandi before him!
After that great bowman had fallen and betaken himself to his bed of
arrows, it was at thy word, O tiger among men, that Drona was made our
leader! By him also were the sons of Pritha spared, in consequence, as I
think, of their relationship unto him of pupils. That old man also has
been slain by Dhrishtadyumna more speedily. I do not see, even on
reflection, another warrior equal to thee in battle,–thee, that is,
whose prowess could not be measured by even those two foremost of
warriors that have been slain in the fight! Without doubt, thou alone
today art competent to win victory for us! Before, in the middle, and
later on, thou hast accordingly acted for our good. Therefore, like a
leader, it behoveth thee, in this battle, to bear the burden thyself.
Thyself install thy own self in the Generalship. Like the celestial
generalissimo, the lord Skanda of unfading prowess, (supporting the
celestial army), do thou support this Dhartarashtra host! Like Mahendra
slaying the Danavas, destroy thou all the throngs of our foes! Beholding
thee staying in battle, the Pandavas, those mighty car-warriors, will,
with the Pancalas, fly away from battle, like the Danavas at sight of
Vishnu. Do thou, therefore lead this vast force! When thou shalt stand
resolved on the field, the Pandavas of wicked hearts, the Pancalas, and
the Srinjayas, will all fly away with their friends. As the risen Sun,
scorching everything by his energy, destroyeth the thick gloom, even so
do thou destroy our foes!'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Strong became that hope, O king, in the heart of thy
son, viz., that where Bhishma and Drona had been slain, Karna would
vanquish the Pandavas. Cherishing that hope within his heart, he said
unto Karna, “O Suta’s son, Partha never wishes to fight, standing before
thee!” Karna said, “I have, O son of Gandhari, said before in thy
presence, even these words, vanquish all the Pandavas with their sons and
Janardana!’ I shall become thy General. In this there is no doubt.
Tranquilise thyself, O monarch I Consider the Pandavas to be already
vanquished!'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Thus addressed, O monarch, king Duryodhana then
stood up with all the monarchs, like He of a hundred sacrifices with the
gods, for honouring Karna with the command of the army, like the
celestials for honouring Skanda. Then, O monarch, all the kings headed by
Duryodhana, desirous of victory, installed Karna in the command,
according to the rites enjoined by the ordinance. With golden and earthen
jars filled to the brim with water and sanctified with mantras, with
tusks of elephants and horns of rhinoceroses and mighty bulls, with other
vessels decked with jewels and gems, with also fragrant herbs and plants,
and with other articles collected in abundance, Karna, seated at his ease
on a seat made of udumvara wood and overlaid with silken cloth, was
invested with the command, according to the rites in the scriptures.
Brahmanas, kshatriyas, vaishyas, and respectable shudras, praised that
high-souled one after he was bathed on that excellent seat. Thus
installed in the command, O king, that slayer of foes, the son of Radha,
caused, by presents of Niskas and kine and other wealth, many foremost of
brahmanas to utter blessings on him. “Vanquish the Parthas with Govinda
and all their followers,” even these were the words that the eulogists
and the brahmanas said (unto him), O bull among men! (And they also said)
“Slay the Parthas and the Pancalas, O son of Radha, for our victory, like
risen Sun ever destroying Darkness with his fierce rays! The son of Pandu
with Keshava are not able to even look at the shafts shot by thee, like
owls unable to gaze at the burning rays of the Sun! The Parthas with the
Pancalas are incapable of standing before thee armed with weapons, like
the danavas before Indra in battle!” Installed in the command, Radha’s
son of incomparable splendour looked resplendent in beauty and radiance
like a second Sun. Having installed the son of Radha (thus) in the
command of the army, thy son, urged on by Death, regarded himself as one
who had his purpose accomplished. That chastiser of foes, Karna, also, O
king, having obtained the command, ordered the troops to be arrayed, at
the rise of the Sun. Surrounded by thy sons, O Bharata, Karna looked
resplendent like Skanda surrounded by the celestials, in the battle
having Saraka for its evil root.'”

11

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘After having obtained the command of the army, and
after he had been addressed by the king himself in those sweet and
brotherly words, and after he had ordered the troops to be arrayed at the
hour of sunrise, tell me, O Sanjaya, what did Vikartana’s son Karna do?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Having learnt Karna’s wishes, thy sons, O bull of
Bharata’s race, ordered the troops to be arrayed with joyful music. While
it still wanted a long period for the coming of the dawn, a loud noise of
“Array, Array!” O king, suddenly arose among thy troops. And the uproar
that arose, became tremendous and touched the very heavens, of foremost
of elephants and fenced cars while under process of equipment, of
foot-soldiers and steeds, O monarch, while putting on their armour or in
course of being harnessed, and of combatants moving with activity and
shouting unto one another! Then the Suta’s son bearing a gold-backed bow
appeared (on the field) in his car possessed of the splendour of the
radiant Sun, crowned with many banners, equipped with a white standard,
with steeds of the hue of cranes, bearing the device of the elephants’
rope, filled with a hundred quivers, furnished with mace and wooden
fence, freighted with shataghnis and rows of bells and darts and lances
and spears, and supplied with many bows. And the Suta’s son appeared on
the field, blowing his conch, O king; decorated with a net-work of gold,
and shaking his formidable bow adorned with pure gold. Beholding the
mighty bowman Karna, that foremost of car-warriors, seated on his car,
difficult of approach and resembling the risen Sun that destroys the
gloom, none amongst the Kauravas, O tiger among men, recked, O sire, the
loss of Bhishma or Drona or other men! Speeding the warriors, O sire,
with the blasts of his conch, Karna caused the vast army of the Kauravas
to be drawn out. Having arrayed the troops in the makara array, that
mighty bowman, that scorcher of foes, viz., Karna, proceeded against the
Pandavas from desire of victory. In the tip of the beak of that makara, O
king, was stationed Karna himself. In the two eyes were the brave Shakuni
and the mighty car-warrior Uluka. In the head was Drona’s son and in the
neck were all the uterine brothers. In the middle was king Duryodhana
supported by a large force. In the left foot, O monarch, was stationed
Kritavarma accompanied by the Narayana troops, and those invincible
warriors, the gopalas. In the right foot, O king, was Gotama’s son of
prowess incapable of being baffled, surrounded by those mighty bowmen
viz., the Trigartas and by the Southerners. In the left hind-foot was
stationed Shalya with a large force raised in the country of Madras. In
the right (hind-foot), O monarch, was Sushena of true vows, surrounded by
a 1,000 cars and 300 elephants. In the tail were the two royal brothers
of mighty energy, viz., Citra and Citrasena surrounded by a large force.

“‘When, O great king, that foremost of men, Karna, thus came out, king
Yudhishthira the just, casting his eyes on Arjuna, said these words:
“Behold, O Partha, how the Dhartarashtra force, O hero, in this battle,
protected by heroes and mighty car-warriors, hath been arrayed by Karna!
This vast Dhartarashtra force hath lost its bravest warriors. They that
remain, O mighty-armed one, are feeble, equal, as I think, to straw! Only
one great bowman, viz., the Suta’s son, shineth in it! That foremost of
car-warriors is incapable of being vanquished by the three worlds with
their mobile and immobile creatures, including the gods, Asuras and
Gandharvas, and the Kinnaras and great serpents! If thou slayest him
today, O mighty-armed one, the victory will be thine, O Phalguna! The
thorn also which for twelve years hath been planted in my heart will then
be plucked out! Knowing this, O thou of mighty arms, form thou the array
that thou wishest!” Hearing those words of his brother, that Pandava of
the white steeds disposed his army in counter array after the form of the
half moon. On the left side was stationed Bhimasena, and on the right was
stationed the great bowman Dhrishtadyumna. In the middle of the array
were the king and Dhananjaya the son of Pandu. Nakula and Sahadeva were
at the rear of king Yudhishthira the just. The two Pancala princes,
Yudhamanyu and Uttamauja, became the protectors of (Arjuna’s) car wheels.
Protected by the diadem-decked Arjuna himself, they did not quit Arjuna
for a moment. The remaining kings, possessed of great courage, clad in
mail, stood in the array, each in the position assigned to him, according
to the measure of his enthusiasm and resolution, O Bharata. Having thus
formed their great array, O Bharata, the Pandavas, and the mighty bowmen
of thy army set their hearts on battle. Beholding thy army disposed into
battle array by the Suta’s son in battle Duryodhana with all his brethren
regarded the Pandavas to be already slain. Similarly Yudhishthira, O
king, beholding the Pandava army disposed in array, regarded the
Dhartarashtras with Karna to be already slain. Then conches, and
kettle-drums, and tabours, and large drums, and cymbals, and Dindimas,
and Jharjharas, were loudly blown and beaten on all sides! Indeed, those
loud-sounding instruments were blown and beaten, O king, among both the
armies. Leonine roars also arose, uttered by brave warriors for victory.
And there also arose, O king, the noise of neighing steeds and grunting
elephants, and the fierce clatter of car-wheels. None, O Bharata, (in the
Kaurava army), at that time, felt the loss of Drona, seeing the great
bowman Karna clad in mail and stationed at the head of the array. Both
armies, O monarch, teeming with joyous men, stood, eager for battle and
(ready) to destroy each other without delay. There, the two heroes, viz.,
Karna and the son of Pandu, excited with wrath at sight of each other,
and both firmly resolved, stood or careered, O king, through their
respective divisions. The two armies, as they advanced to meet each
other, seemed to dance (in joy). From the wings and the side-wings of
both, warriors desirous of battle came forth. Then commenced the battle,
O monarch, of men, elephants, steeds, and cars, engaged in destroying one
another.'”

12

“Sanjaya said, ‘Then those two vast armies, teeming with rejoicing men
and steeds and elephants, resembling in splendour the celestial and the
Asura hosts, meeting together, began to strike each other. Men, cars,
steeds, elephants, and foot-soldiers of fierce prowess, made sturdy
strokes destructive of bodies and sin. Lion-like men strewed the Earth
with the heads of lion-like men, each resembling the full moon or the sun
in splendour and the lotus in fragrance. Combatants cut off the heads of
combatants, with crescent-shaped and broad-headed shafts and razor-faced
arrows and axes, and battle-axes. The arms of men of long and massive
arms, cut off by men of long and massive arms, falling upon the Earth,
shone, decked with weapons and bracelets. With those writhing arms
adorned with red fingers and palms, the Earth looked resplendent as if
strewn with fierce five-headed snakes slain by Garuda. From elephants and
cars and steeds, brave warriors fell down, struck by foes, like the
denizens of heaven from their celestial cars on the exhaustion of their
merits. Other brave warriors fell down by hundreds, crushed in that
battle by brave combatants with heavy maces spiked clubs and short
bludgeons. Cars also, in that tumultuous fight, were crushed by cars, and
infuriate elephants by infuriate compeers, and horsemen by horsemen. Men
destroyed by cars, and cars by elephants, and horsemen by foot-soldiers,
and foot-soldiers by horsemen, dropped down on the field, as also cars
and steeds and foot-soldiers destroyed by elephants and cars and steeds
and elephants by foot-soldiers, and cars and foot-soldiers and elephants
by steeds and men and elephants by cars. Great was the carnage made of
car-warriors and steeds and elephants and men by men and steeds and
elephants and car-warriors, using their hands and feet and weapons and
cars. When that host was being thus struck and slain by heroic warriors
the Parthas, headed by Vrikodara, advanced against us. They consisted of
Dhrishtadyumna and Shikhandi and the five sons of Draupadi and the
Prabhadrakas, and Satyaki and Chekitana with the Dravida forces, and the
Pandyas, the Cholas, and the Keralas, surrounded by a mighty array, all
possessed of broad chests, long arms, tall statures, and large eyes.
Decked with ornaments, possessed of red teeth, endued with the prowess of
infuriate elephants, attired in robes of diverse colours, smeared with
powdered scents, armed with swords and nooses, capable of restraining
mighty elephants, companions in death, and never deserting one another,
equipped with quivers, bearing bows adorned with long locks, and
agreeable in speech were the combatants of the infantry files led by
Satyaki, belonging to the Andhra tribe, endued with fierce forms and
great energy. Other brave warriors such as the Cedis, the Pancalas, the
Kaikayas, the Karushas, the Kosalas, the Kanchis, and the Maghadhas, also
rushed forward. Their cars and steeds and elephants, all of the foremost
kind, and their fierce foot-soldiers, gladdened by the notes of diverse
instruments, seemed to dance and laugh. In the midst of that vast force,
came Vrikodara, riding on the neck of an elephant, and surrounded by many
foremost of elephant-soldiers, advancing against thy army. That fierce
and foremost of elephants, duly equipped, looked resplendent, like the
stone-built mansion on the top of the Udaya mountain, crowned with the
risen Sun. Its armour of iron, the foremost of its kind, studded with
costly gems, was as resplendent as the autumnal firmament bespangled with
stars. With a lance in his outstretched arm, his head decked with a
beautiful diadem, and possessed of the splendour of the meridian Sun at
autumn, Bhima began to burn his foes. Beholding that elephant from a
distance, Kshemadhurti, himself on an elephant, challenging, rushed
cheerfully towards Bhima who was more cheerful still. An encounter then
took place between those two elephants of fierce forms resembling two
huge hills topped with trees, each, fighting with the other as it liked.
Those two heroes, then, whose elephants thus encountered each other,
forcibly struck each other with lances endued with the splendour of solar
rays, and uttered loud roars. Separating, they then careered in circles
with their elephants, and each taking up a bow began to strike the other.
Gladdening the people around with their loud roars and the slaps on their
armpits and the whizz of this arrows, they continued to utter leonine
shouts. Endued with great strength, both of them, accomplished in
weapons, fought, using their elephants with upturned trunks and decked
with banners floating on the wind. Then each cutting off the other’s bow,
they roared at each other, and rained on each other showers of darts and
lances like two masses of clouds in the rainy season pouring torrents of
rain. Then Kshemadhurti pierced Bhimasena in the centre of the chest with
a lance endued with great impetuosity, and then with six others, and
uttered a loud shout. With those lances sticking to his body, Bhimasena,
whose form then blazed with wrath, looked resplendent like the
cloud-covered Sun with his rays issuing through the interstices of that
canopy. Then Bhima carefully hurled at his antagonist a lance bright as
the rays of the Sun, coursing perfectly straight, and made entirely of
iron. The ruler of the Kulutas then, drawing his bow, cut off that lance
with ten shafts and then pierced the son of Pandu with sixty shafts. Then
Bhima the son of Pandu, taking up a bow whose twang resembled the roar of
the clouds, uttered a loud shout and deeply afflicted with his shafts the
elephants of his antagonist. Thus afflicted in that battle by Bhimasena
with his arrows, that elephant, though sought to be restrained, stayed
not on the field like a wind-blown cloud. The fierce prince of elephants
owned by Bhima then pursued his (flying) compeer, like a wind-blown mass
of clouds pursuing another mass driven by the tempest. Restraining his
own elephant valiant Kshemadhurti pierced with his shafts the pursuing
elephant of Bhimasena. Then with a well-shot razor-headed arrow that was
perfectly straight, Kshemadhurti cut off his antagonist’s bow and then
afflicted that hostile elephant. Filled with wrath, Kshemadhurti then, in
that battle, pierced Bhima and struck his elephant with many long shafts
in every vital part. That huge elephant of Bhima then fell down, O
Bharata! Bhima, however, who had jumped down from his elephant and stood
on the Earth before the fall of the beast, then crushed the elephant of
his antagonist with his mace. And Vrikodara then struck Kshemadhurti
also, who, jumped down from his crushed elephant, was advancing against
him with uplifted weapon. Kshemadhurti, thus struck, fell down lifeless,
with the sword in his arm, by the side of his elephant, like a lion
struck down by thunder beside a thunder-riven hill. Beholding the
celebrated king of the Kulutas slain, thy troops, O bull of Bharata’s
race exceedingly distressed, fled away.'”

13

“Sanjaya said, ‘Then the mighty and heroic bowman Karna began to smite
the Pandava army in that battle, with his straight shafts. Similarly,
those great car-warriors, viz., the Pandavas, O king, filled with wrath,
began to smite the army of thy son in the very sight of Karna. Karna
also, O king, in that battle slew the Pandava army with his cloth-yard
shafts bright as the rays of the Sun and polished by the hands of the
smith. There, O Bharata, the elephants, struck by Karna with his shafts,
uttered loud cries, lost strength, became faint, and wandered on all
sides. While the army was being thus destroyed by the Suta’s son, Nakula
rushed with speed against that mighty car-warrior. And Bhimasena rushed
against Drona’s son who was engaged in the accomplishment of the most
difficult feats. Satyaki checked the Kaikaya princes Vinda and Anuvinda.
King Citrasena rushed against the advancing Srutakarman; and Prativindhya
against Citra owning a beautiful standard and a beautiful bow. Duryodhana
rushed against king Yudhishthira the son of Dharma; while Dhananjaya
rushed against the angry throngs of the samsaptakas. In that slaughter of
great heroes, Dhrishtadyumna proceeded against Kripa. The invincible
Shikhandi closed with Kritavarma. Srutakirti encountered Shalya, and
Madri’s son, the valiant Sahadeva, O king, encountered thy son
Duhshasana. The two Kaikaya princes, in that battle, shrouded Satyaki
with a shower of blazing arrows, and the latter also, O Bharata, shrouded
the two Kaikaya brothers. Those two heroic brothers deeply struck Satyaki
in the chest like two elephants striking with their tusks a hostile
compeer in the forest. Indeed, O king, those two brothers, in that
battle, their own vitals pierced with shafts, pierced Satyaki of true
deeds with their shafts. Satyaki, however, O great king, covering all the
points of the compass with a shower of arrows and smiling the while,
checked the two brothers, O Bharata. Checked by those showers of arrows
shot by the grandson of Sini, the two brothers speedily shrouded the car
of Sini’s grandson with their shafts. Cutting off their beautiful bows,
Saurin of great fame checked them both with his keen arrows in that
battle. Taking up two other beautiful bows, and a number of powerful
shafts, the two began to cover Satyaki and career with great activity and
skill. Shot by the two brothers, those mighty shafts equipped with the
feathers of the Kanka and the peacock and decked with gold, began to
fall, illumining all the points of the compass. In that dreadful battle
between them, O king, the arrows they shot caused a darkness there. Those
mighty car-warriors then cut off each other’s bows. Then the invincible
Satwata, O king, filled with rage, took up another bow in that battle,
and stringing it, cut off Anuvinda’s head with a keen razor-headed shaft.
Decked with earrings, that large head, O king, fell like the head of
Samvara slain in the great battle (of old). And it reached the Earth in
no time, filling all the Kaikayas with grief. Beholding that brave
warrior slain, his brother, the mighty car-warrior Vinda, stringing
another bow began to resist the grandson of Sini from every side.
Piercing with sixty arrows equipped with wings of gold and whetted on
stone, he uttered a loud shout and said, “Wait, Wait!” Then that mighty
car-warrior of the Kaikayas speedily struck Satyaki with many thousands
of shafts in his arms and chest. All his limbs wounded with arrows,
Satyaki, of prowess incapable of being baffled, looked resplendent in
that battle, O king, like a flowering Kinsuka. Pierced by the high-souled
Kaikaya in that encounter, Satyaki, with the greatest ease, pierced the
Kaikaya (in return) with five and twenty arrows. Then those two foremost
of car-warriors, having each cut off the other’s handsome bow in that
encounter, and having each quickly slain the other’s driver and steeds
approached each other on foot for a fight with swords. Both endued with
massive arms, they looked resplendent on that extensive arena, each
having taken up a shield decked with a hundred moons, and each armed with
an excellent sword, like Jambha and Sakra, both endued with great might,
in the battle between the gods and the Asuras (of old). Both of them, in
that great battle, then began to career in circles. And then they
speedily encountered each other in battle, each approaching the other
near. And each of them made great efforts for the destruction of the
other. Then Satwata cut in twain the shield of Kaikeya. The latter also,
O king, cut in twain the shield of Satyaki. Having cut off his
antagonist’s shield covered with centuries of stars, Kaikeya began to
career in circles, advancing and receding (at times). Then the grandson
of Sini, endued with great activity, cut off by a sidestroke the prince
of the Kaikeyas thus careering in that great arena armed with excellent
sword. Cased in armour that great bowman, viz., the Kaikeya prince, O
king, thus cut off in twain in that great battle, fell down like a hill
riven with thunder. Having slain him in battle that foremost of
car-warriors that scorcher of foes, viz., the brave grandson of Sini
quickly got upon the car of Yudhamanyu. Afterwards riding upon another
car duly equipped (with everything), Satyaki began to slay with his
shafts the large force of the Kaikeyas. The vast army of the Kaikeyas,
thus slaughtered in battle, leaving that foe of theirs fled away on all
sides.'”

14

“Sanjaya said, ‘Srutakarman then, O king, filled with wrath, struck that
lord of Earth, viz., Citrasena, in that battle, with fifty shafts. The
ruler of the Abhisars (in return), striking Srutakarman, O king, with
nine straight arrows, pierced his driver with five. Srutakarman then,
filled with rage, struck Citrasena at the head of his forces, with a keen
arrow in a vital part. Deeply pierced, O monarch, with that arrow by that
high-souled prince the heroic Citrasena felt great pain and swooned away.
During this interval, Srutakarman of great renown covered that lord of
Earth, (viz., his insensible antagonist), with ninety arrows. The mighty
car-warrior Citrasena then, recovering consciousness, cut off his
antagonist’s bow with a broad-headed arrow, and pierced his antagonist
himself with seven arrows. Taking up another bow that was decked with
gold, and capable of striking hard, Srutakarman then, with his waves of
arrows, made Citrasena assume a wonderful appearance. Adorned with those
arrows, the youthful king, wearing beautiful garlands, looked in that
battle like a well-adorned youth in the midst of an assembly. Quickly
piercing Srutakarman with an arrow in the centre of the chest, he said
unto him, “Wait, Wait!” Srutakarman also, pierced with that arrow in the
battle, began to shed blood, like a mountain shedding streams of liquid
red chalk. Bathed in blood and dyed therewith, that hero shone in battle
like a flowering Kinsuka. Srutakarman, then, O king, thus assailed by the
foe, became filled with rage, and cut in twain the foe-resisting bow of
Citrasena. The latter’s bow having been cut off, Srutakarman then, O
king, pierced him with three hundred arrows equipped with goodly wings,
covering him completely therewith. With another broad-headed arrow,
sharp-edged and keen pointed, he cut off the head, decked with head-gear
of his high-souled antagonist. That blazing head of Citrasena fell down
on the ground, like the moon loosened from the firmament upon the Earth
at will. Beholding the king slain, the troops of Citrasena, O sire,
rushed impetuously against (his slayer). That great bowman then, filled
with rage, rushed, shooting his shafts, against that army, like Yama
filled with fury, against all creatures at the time of the universal
dissolution. Slaughtered in that battle by thy grandson armed with the
bow, they quickly fled on all sides like elephants scorched by a
forestconflagration. Beholding them flying away, hopeless of vanquishing
the foe, Srutakarman, pursuing them with his keen arrows, looked
exceedingly resplendent (on his car). Then Prativindhya, piercing Citra
with five arrows, struck his driver with three and his standard with one.
Him Citra pierced, striking in the arms and the chest, with nine
broad-headed shafts equipped with wings of gold, having keen points, and
plumed with Kanka and peacock feathers. Then Prativindhya, O Bharata,
cutting off with his shafts the bow of his antagonist deeply struck the
latter with five keen arrows. Then Citra, O monarch, sped at thy grandson
a terrible and irresistible dart, adorned with golden bells, and
resembling a flame of fire. Prativindhya, however, in that battle, cut
off, with the greatest ease, into three fragments, that dart as it
coursed towards him like a flashing meteor. Cut off into three fragments,
with Prativindhya’s shafts, that dart fell down, like the thunderbolt
inspiring all creatures with fear at the end of the Yuga. Beholding that
dart baffled, Citra, taking up a huge mace decked with a net-work of
gold, hurled it at Prativindhya. That mace slew the latter’s steeds and
driver also in that great battle, and crushing, besides, his car, fell
with great impetuosity on the Earth. Meanwhile, having alighted from his
car, O Bharata, Prativindhya hurled at Citra a dart, well-adorned and
equipped with a golden staff. Catching it as it coursed towards him, the
high-souled king Citra, O Bharata, hurled the very weapon at
Prativindhya. Striking the brave Prativindhya in that battle, that
blazing dart, piercing through his right arm, fell down on the Earth, and
falling illumined the whole region like a blast of lightning. Then
Prativindhya, O king, filled with rage, and desiring to compass the
destruction of Citra, sped at him a lance decked with gold. That lance
penetrating through his armour and chest, entered the Earth like a mighty
snake in its hole. Struck with that lance, the king fell down, stretching
out his large and massive arms that resembled a couple of iron clubs.
Beholding Citra slain, thy warriors, those ornaments of battle, rushed
impetuously at Prativindhya from all sides. Shooting diverse kinds of
shafts and Sataghnis decked with rows of bells, they soon covered
Prativindhya like masses of clouds covering the Sun. The mighty-armed
Prativindhya, consuming with his arrowy showers those assailants of his
in that battle, routed thy army like the thunder-wielding Sakra routing
the Asura host. Thus slaughtered in battle by the Pandavas, thy troops, O
king, suddenly dispersed in all directions like congregated masses of
clouds dispersed by the wind. While thy army, slaughtered on all sides,
was thus flying away, only Drona’s son singly rushed with speed against
the mighty Bhimasena. All at once a fierce encounter ensued between them
like to what had taken place between Vritra and Vasava in the battle
between the gods and the Asuras (of old).'”

15

“Sanjaya said, ‘Endued with the greatest activity, Drona’s son, O king,
displaying the lightness of his arms, pierced Bhima with an arrow. Aiming
at all his vital points–for he had a knowledge of all the vital points
of the body–the quick-handed Ashvatthama again struck him with ninety
shafts. Pierced all over with keen arrows by the son of Drona, Bhimasena
looked resplendent in that battle like the Sun himself with his rays. The
son of Pandu then, covering the son of Drona with a 1,000 well-directed
shafts, uttered a leonine roar. Baffling with his own shafts the shafts
of his foe in that battle, the son of Drona, O king, as if smiling, then
struck the Pandava on the forehead with a cloth-yard shaft. The son of
Pandu bore that arrow on his forehead even as the proud rhinoceros, O
king, in the forest bears its horn. The valiant Bhima, then, in that
battle as if smiling all the while, struck the struggling son of Drona on
the forehead with three cloth-yard shafts. With those three arrows
sticking on his forehead, that brahmana looked beautiful like a
three-peaked mountain washed with water in the season of rains. The son
of Drona then afflicted the Pandava with hundreds of arrows, but failed
to shake him like the wind failing to shake the mountain. Similarly the
son of Pandu, filled with joy, could not in that battle shake the son of
Drona with his hundreds of keen shafts like torrents of rain failing to
shake a mountain. Shrouding each other with showers of terrible shafts
those two great car-warriors, those two heroes, endued with fierce might,
shone resplendent on those two foremost of cars of theirs. Then they
looked like two blazing Suns risen for the destruction of the world, and
engaged themselves in scorching each other with their rays representing
excellent arrows. Endeavouring with great care to counteract each other’s
feats in the great battle, and actually engaged in matching deed by deed
with showers of arrows most fearlessly, those two foremost of men
careered in that combat like a couple of tigers. Both invincible and
terrible, arrows constituted their fangs and bows their mouths. They
became invisible under those clouds of arrows on all sides like the Sun
and the Moon in the firmament shrouded by masses of clouds. And then
those two chastisers of foes soon became visible and blazed forth like
Mars and Mercury freed from cloudy screens. Then at that instant during
the progress of that awful battle, Drona’s son placing Vrikodara to his
right, poured hundreds of fierce arrows upon him like the clouds pouring
torrents of rain upon a mountain. Bhima, however, could not brook that
indication of his enemy’s triumphs. The son of Pandu, O king, from that
very station on Ashvatthama’s right, began to counteract the latter’s
feats. Their cars continuing to wheel around in diverse ways and advance
and retreat (according to the exigencies of the situation), the battle
between those two lions among men became exceedingly furious. Careering
in diverse paths, and (executing) circular manoeuvres, they continued to
strike each other with arrows shot from their bows drawn to their fullest
stretch. And each made the greatest endeavours to compass the destruction
of the other. And each of them desired to make the other carless in that
battle. Then that car-warrior, viz., the son of Drona, invoked many
mighty weapons. The son of Pandu, however, in that battle, with his own
weapons, counteracted all those weapons of his foe. Then, O monarch,
there took place an awful encounter of weapons, like to the terrible
encounter of planets at the time of the universal dissolution. Those
shafts, O Bharata, let off by them, coming in collision, illuminated all
the points of the compass and thy troops also all around. Covered with
flights of arrows, the welkin assumed a terrible sight, like to what
happens, O king, at the time of the universal dissolution, when it is
covered with falling meteors. From the clash of shafts, O Bharata, fire
was generated there with sparks and blazing flames. That fire began to
consume both armies. Siddhas, moving there, O monarch, said these words,
“O lord, this battle is the foremost of all battles. Any battle (fought
before) does not come up to even a sixteenth part of this. A battle like
this will never occur again. Both these persons, viz., this brahmana and
this kshatriya, are endued with knowledge. Both are possessed of courage,
and both are fierce in prowess. Dreadful is the might of Bhima, and
wonderful is the skill of the other in weapons. How great is their energy
and how wonderful the skill possessed by both! Both of them stand in this
battle like two universe-destroying Yamas at the end of the Yuga. They
are born like two Rudras or like two Suns. These two tigers among men,
both endued with terrible forms, are like two Yamas in this battle.” Such
were the words of the Siddhas heard there every moment. And among the
assembled denizens of heaven there arose a leonine roar. Beholding the
amazing and inconceivable feats of the two warriors in that battle, the
dense throngs of Siddhas, and Charanas were filled with wonder. And the
gods, the Siddhas, and the great Rishis applauded them both saying,
“Excellent, O mighty-armed son of Drona. Excellent, O Bhima.” Meanwhile
those two heroes, in that battle, O king, having done injuries to each
other, glared at each other with eyes rolling in rage. With eyes red in
rage, their lips also quivered in rage. And they grinded their teeth in
wrath and bit their lips. And those two great car-warriors covered each
other with showers of arrows, as if they were in that battle two masses
of clouds that poured torrents of arrows for rain and that gleamed with
weapons constituting their lightning. Having pierced each other’s
standards and drivers in that great battle, and having also pierced each
other’s steeds, they continued to strike each other. Then, O monarch,
filled with rage, they took up in that dreadful encounter, two arrows,
and each desirous of slaying the other shot quickly at his foe. Those two
blazing arrows, resistless and endued with the force of thunder, coming,
O king, to the two warriors as they stood at the head of their respective
divisions, struck them both. Each of the two mighty combatants then
deeply struck with those arrows, sank, on the terrace of their respective
car. Understanding the son of Drona to be insensible, his driver then
bore him away from the battle-field, O king, in the sight of all the
troops. Similarly, O king, Bhima’s driver bore away from the battle-field
on his car, the son of Pandu, that scorcher of foes, who was repeatedly
falling into a swoon.'”

16

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Describe to me the battle of Arjuna with the
samsaptakas, and of the other kings with the Pandavas. Narrate to me
also, O Sanjaya, the battle of Arjuna with Ashvatthama, and of the other
lords of the Earth with Partha.’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Listen, O king, as I speak to thee as to how occurred the
battle of the heroic warriors (on our side) with the foe–the battle
which was destructive of bodies, sins, and lives. That slayer of foes,
viz, Partha, penetrating into the Samsaptaka force that resembled the
ocean, agitated it exceedingly, like a tempest agitating the vast deep.
Cutting off with broad-headed arrows of keen edges the heads of brave
warriors that were decked with faces possessed of the splendour of the
full moon and with beautiful eyes and eyebrows and teeth, Dhananjaya
speedily caused the Earth to be strewn there as if with lotuses, plucked
off their stalks. And in that battle Arjuna with his razor-headed shafts,
cut off the arms of his foes, that were all well rounded, large and
massive, and smeared with sandal-paste and other perfumes, with weapons
in grasp, with leathern gloves casing their fingers, and looking like
five-headed snakes. And the son of Pandu repeatedly cut off with his
broad-headed shafts, steeds, riders, drivers, and flags, and bows and
arrows, and arms decked with gems. And Arjuna in that battle, O king,
with many thousands of arrows, despatched to Yama’s abode, car-warriors
and elephants and horses and horsemen. Many foremost of warriors, filled
with rage and roaring like bulls mad (like them) with excitement for a
cow in season, rushed towards Arjuna, with loud cries. All of them then
began to strike Arjuna with their arrows as the latter was employed in
slaying them, like infuriate bulls striking one of their species with
their horns. The battle that took place between him and them made the
hair to stand on end, even like the battle between the Daityas and the
wielder of the thunderbolt on the occasion of the conquest of the three
worlds. Resisting with his own weapons the weapons of his foes on all
sides. Arjuna, piercing them fast with innumerable arrows, took their
lives. Like the wind destroying vast masses of clouds, Arjuna, otherwise
called Jaya, that enhancer of the fears of his foes, cutting off into
minute fragments large throngs of cars,–cars, that is, whose poles,
wheels, and axles had previously been shattered by him, and whose
warriors and steeds and drivers had been slain before, and whose weapons
and quivers had been displaced, and standards crushed, and traces and
reins sundered, and wooden fences and shafts broken already, and filling
every body with wonder, achieved feats magnificent to behold and
rivalling those of a 1,000 great car-warriors fighting together. Crowds
of Siddhas and celestial Rishis and Charanas all applauded him. And
celestial kettle-drums sounded, and floral showers fell upon the heads of
Keshava and Arjuna. And an incorporeal voice said, “These viz., Keshava
and Arjuna, are those two heroes that always possess the beauty of the
moon, the splendour of fire, the force of the wind and the radiance of
the sun. Stationed on the same car these two heroes are invincible even
like Brahman and Isana. These two heroes the foremost of all creatures
are Nara and Narayana.” Hearing and beholding these wonderful things, O
Bharata, Ashvatthama, with great care and resolution, rushed against
Krishna and Arjuna in that battle. With his arm that held an arrow in its
grasp, the son of Drona hailed the Pandava, shooting shafts equipped with
foe-slaying heads, and smilingly told him these words, “If, O hero, thou
regardest me a worthy guest arrived (before thee), then give me today,
with the whole heart, the hospitality of battle.” Thus summoned by the
preceptor’s son from desire of battle, Arjuna regarded himself highly
honoured, and addressing Janardana said, “The samsaptakas should be slain
by me, but Drona’s son again is summoning me. Tell me, O Madhava, to
which of these duties should I first turn? First let the services of
hospitality be offered, if thou thinkest that to be proper.” Thus
addressed, Krishna bore Partha who had been summoned according to the
rules of triumphant challenge to the vicinity of Drona’s son, like Vayu
bearing Indra to the sacrifice. Saluting Drona’s son whose mind was fixed
upon one thing, Keshava, said unto him, “O Ashvatthama, be cool, and
without losing a moment strike and bear. The time has come for those that
are dependent on others to repay their obligation to their masters. The
disputes between brahmanas are subtle. The consequences, however, of the
disputes of kshatriyas are palpable, being either victory or defeat. For
obtaining those excellent rites of hospitality that from folly thou
solicitest at the hands of Partha, fight coolly now with the son of
Pandu.” Thus addressed by Vasudeva, that foremost of regenerate ones,
replied saying, “So be it!” pierced Keshava with sixty shafts and Arjuna
with three. Arjuna then, filled with rage, cut off Ashvatthama’s bow with
three shafts. Drona’s son took up another bow that was still more
formidable. Stringing it within the twinkling of an eye, he pierced
Arjuna and Keshava, the latter with three hundred arrows, and the former
with a 1,000. And then Drona’s son, with good care, stupefying Arjuna in
that battle, shot thousands and tens of thousands and millions of arrows.
From the quivers, the bow, the bow-string, the fingers, the arms, the
hands, the chest, the face, the nose, the eyes, the ears, the heads, the
limbs, the pores of the body, the armour on his person, the car, and the
standard, O sire, of that utterer of Brahma, arrows began to issue.
Piercing Madhava and the son of Pandu with the thick arrowy shower,
Drona’s son filled with joy, roared aloud like a vast mass of congregated
clouds. Hearing that roar of his, the son of Pandu said unto Keshava of
unfading glory these words “Behold, O Madhava, this wickedness towards me
of the preceptor’s son. He regardeth us to be slain, having shrouded us
with his dense arrowy shower. I will presently, however, by my training
and might, baffle his purpose.” Cutting off every one of those arrows
shot by Ashvatthama into three fragments, that foremost one of Bharata’s
race destroyed them all like the Sun destroying a thick fog. After this
the son of Pandu once more pierced with his fierce shafts, the
samsaptakas with their steeds, drivers, cars, elephants, standards and
foot-soldiers. Every one of those that stood there as spectators, every
one of those that were stationed there on foot or car or steed or
elephant, regarded himself as shrouded by the arrows of Arjuna. Shot from
Gandiva, those winged arrows of diverse forms slew in that battle
elephants and steeds and men whether stationed in his immediate front or
at the distance of two miles. The trunks, cut off with broad-headed
shafts, of elephants, down whose cheeks and other limbs flowed the juice
indicative of excitement, fell down like tall trees in the forest struck
down with the axe. A little after down fell elephants, huge as hillocks,
with their riders, like mountains crushed by Indra with his thunder. With
his shafts cutting into minute portions well-equipped cars that looked
like dissolving edifices of vapour in the evening sky and unto which were
yoked well-trained steeds of great speed and which were ridden by
warriors invincible in battle, the son of Pandu continued to shower his
arrows on his enemies. And Dhananjaya continued to slay well-decked
horsemen and foot-soldiers of the foe. Indeed, Dhananjaya, resembling the
very Sun as he rises at the end of the Yuga, dried up the samsaptaka
ocean incapable of being dried up easily, by means of keen arrows
constituting his rays. Without losing a moment, the son of Pandu once
more pierced Drona’s son resembling a huge hill, with shafts of great
impetuosity and the splendour of the Sun, like the wielder of the
thunderbolt piercing a mountain with the thunder. Desirous of battle, the
preceptor’s son then, filled with rage, approached Arjuna for piercing
him and his steeds and drivers by means of his swiftly coursing shafts.
Arjuna, however, quickly cut off the shafts shot at him by Ashvatthama.
The son of Pandu then filled with great wrath, proffered unto
Ashvatthama, that desirable guest, quivers upon quivers of arrows, like a
charitable person offering everything in his house unto a guest. Leaving
the samsaptakas then the son of Pandu rushed towards Drona’s son like a
donor abandoning unworthy guests, for proceeding towards one that is
worthy.”

17

“Sanjaya said, ‘Then occurred that battle between Arjuna and Ashvatthama
resembling the planets Shukra and Brihaspati in splendour, like the
battle between Shukra and Brihaspati in the firmament for entering the
same constellation. Afflicting each other with blazing shafts that
constituted their rays, those terrifiers of the world stood like two
planets both deviating from their orbits. Then Arjuna deeply pierced
Ashvatthama with a shaft in the midst of his eyebrows. With that shaft
the son of Drona looked resplendent like the Sun with upward rays. The
two Krishnas (Nara and Narayana), also deeply afflicted by Ashvatthama
with hundreds of arrows, looked like two Suns at the end of the Yuga,
resplendent with their own rays. Then when Vasudeva seemed to be
stupefied, Arjuna shot a weapon from which issued torrents of shafts on
all sides. And he struck the son of Drona with innumerable shafts, each
resembling the thunder or fire or the sceptre of Death. Endued with
mighty energy, that achiever of fierce feats, (Ashvatthama) then pierced
both Keshava and Arjuna with well-shot shafts which were inspired with
great impetuosity and struck with which Death himself would feel pain.
Checking the shafts of Drona’s son, Arjuna covered him with twice as many
arrows equipped with goodly wings, and shrouding that foremost of heroes
and his steeds and driver and standard, began to strike the samsaptakas.
With his well-shot shafts Partha began to cut off the bows and quivers
and bowstrings and hands and arms and tightly grasped weapons and
umbrellas and standards and steeds and car shafts and robes and floral
garlands and ornaments and coats of mail and handsome shields and
beautiful heads, in large numbers, of his unretreating foes.
Well-equipped cars and steeds and elephants, ridden by heroes fighting
with great care, were destroyed by the hundreds of shafts sped by Partha
and fell down along with the heroes that rode on them. Cut off with
broad-headed and crescent-shaped and razor-faced arrows, human heads,
resembling the lotus, the Sun, or the full Moon in beauty and resplendent
with diadems and necklaces and crowns, dropped ceaselessly on the earth.
Then the Kalinga, the Vanga, and the Nishada heroes, riding on elephants,
that resembled in splendour the elephant of the great foe of the daityas,
rushed with speed against the queller of the pride of the danavas, the
son of Pandu, from desire of slaying him. Partha cut off the vital limbs,
the trunks, the riders, the standards, and the banners of those
elephants, upon which those beasts fell down like mountain summits riven
with thunder. When that elephant force was broken, the diadem-decked
Arjuna shrouded the son of his preceptor with shafts endued with the
splendour of the newly risen Sun, like the wind shrouding the risen Sun
with masses of congregated clouds. Checking with his own shafts those of
Arjuna, Drona’s son shrouding both Arjuna and Vasudeva with his arrows,
gave a loud roar, like a mass of clouds at the close of summer after
shrouding the Sun or the Moon in the firmament. Deeply afflicted with
those arrows, Arjuna, aiming his weapons at Ashvatthama and at those
followers of his belonging to the army, speedily dispelled that darkness
caused by Ashvatthama’s arrows, and pierced all of them with shafts
equipped with goodly wings. In that battle none could see when Savyasaci
took up his shafts, when he aimed them, and when he let them off. All
that could be seen was that elephants and steeds and foot-soldiers and
car-warriors, struck with his arrows, fell down deprived of life. Then
Drona’s son without losing a moment, aiming ten foremost of arrows, sped
them quickly as if they formed only one arrow. Shot with great force,
five of these pierced Arjuna and the other five pierced Vasudeva. Struck
with those arrows, those two foremost of men, like Kuvera and Indra,
became bathed in blood. Thus afflicted, all the people there regarded
those two heroes as slain by Ashvatthama the warrior who had completely
mastered the science of arms. Then the chief of the Dasharhas addressed
Arjuna and said, “Why errest thou in thus sparing Ashvatthama? Slay this
warrior. If treated with indifference, even this one will be the cause of
great woe, like a disease not sought to be put down by treatment.”
Replying unto Keshava of unfading glory with the words “So be it!” Arjuna
of unclouded understanding began with good care to mangle the son of
Drona with his shafts. Now the son of Pandu, filled with rage, quickly
pierced the massive arms, smeared with sandal-paste, and the chest, the
head, and the unrivalled thighs of his antagonist with shafts equipped
with heads like goats’ ears, and shot with great force from gandiva. Then
cutting off the traces of Ashvatthama’s steeds, Arjuna began to pierce
the steeds themselves, whereat the latter bore Ashvatthama away to a
great distance from the field. Thus borne away by these steeds endued
with the speed of the wind, the intelligent son of Drona, deeply
afflicted with the shafts of Partha, reflecting for some time, wished not
to go back and renew the fight with Partha. Knowing that victory is ever
with the chief of the Vrishnis and with Dhananjaya, that foremost one of
Angirasa’s race, endued with great activity, entered the army of Karna,
deprived of hope and with shafts and weapons almost exhausted. Indeed,
Drona’s son, restraining his steeds, and having comforted himself a
little, O sire, entered the force of Karna, teeming with cars and steeds
and men. After Ashvatthama, that enemy of theirs, had been thus removed
from the field by his steeds like a disease removed from the body by
incantations and medicines and means, Keshava and Arjuna proceeded
towards the samsaptakas, on their car whose rattle resembled the roar of
the clouds and whose banner waved on the wind.'”

18

“Sanjaya said, ‘Meanwhile towards the northern part of the Pandava army,
a loud uproar arose of cars and elephants and steeds and foot-soldiers as
those were being massacred by Dandadhara. Turning the course of the car,
but without stopping the steeds which were as fleet as Garuda or the
wind, Keshava, addressing Arjuna, said, “The chief of the Magadhas, with
his (foe-crushing) elephant is unrivalled in prowess. In training and
might he is not inferior to Bhagadatta himself. Having slain him first,
thou wilt then slay the samsaptakas.” At the conclusion of his words,
Keshava bore Partha to the presence of Dandadhara. The chief of the
Magadhas, peerless in handling the elephant-hook even as the headless
planet Ketu (is peerless) among all the planets, was destroying the
hostile army like a fierce comet destroying the whole earth. Riding on
his foe-slaying and well-equipped elephant which looked like the danava
with elephantine face and form, and whose roar resembled that of a
congregated mass of clouds, Dandadhara was destroying with his shafts
thousands of cars and steeds and elephants and men. The elephants also,
treading upon cars with their feet, pressed down into the Earth a large
number of men with their steeds and drivers. Many were the elephants,
also, which that foremost of elephants, crushed and slew with his two
forefeet and trunk. Indeed, the beast moved like the wheel of Death.
Slaying men adorned with steel coats of mail, along with their horses and
foot-soldiers, the chief of the Magadhas caused these to be pressed down
into the earth, like thick reeds pressed down with crackling sounds, by
means of that mighty and foremost of elephants belonging to him. Then
Arjuna, riding on that foremost of cars, rushed quickly towards that
prince of elephants in the midst of that host teeming with thousands of
cars and steeds and elephants, and resounding with the beat and blare of
innumerable cymbals and drums and conchs and uproarious with the clatter
of car-wheels, the twang of bow-strings, and the sound of palms. Even
Dandadhara pierced Arjuna with a dozen foremost of shafts and Janardana
with sixteen and each of the steeds with three, and then uttered a loud
shout and laughed repeatedly. Then Partha, with a number of broad-headed
shafts, cut off the bow of his antagonist with its string and arrow fixed
thereon, as also his well-decked standard, and then the guides of his
beast and the footmen that protected the animal. At this, the lord of
Girivraja became filled with rage. Desirous of agitating Janardana with
that tusker of his, whose temples had split from excitement, and which
resembled a mass of clouds and was endued with the speed of the wind,
Dandadhara struck Dhananjaya with many lances. The son of Pandu then,
with three razor-headed arrows, cut off, almost at the same instant of
time, the two arms each looking like the trunk of an elephant, and then
the head, resembling the full Moon, of his foe. Then Arjuna struck the
elephant of this antagonist with hundreds of arrows. Covered with the
gold-decked arrows of Partha, that elephant equipped with golden armour
looked as resplendent as a mountain in the night with its herbs and trees
blazing in a conflagration. Afflicted with the pain and roaring like a
mass of clouds, and exceedingly weakened, the elephant crying and
wandering and running with tottering steps, fell down with the guide on
its neck, like a mountain summit riven by thunder. Upon the fall of his
brother in battle, Danda advanced against Indra’s younger brother and
Dhananjaya, desirous of slaying them, on his tusker white as snow and
adorned with gold and looking like a Himalayan summit. Danda struck
Janardana with three whetted lances bright as the rays of the sun, and
Arjuna with five, and uttered a loud shout. The son of Pandu then
uttering a loud shout cut off the two arms of Danda. Cut off by means of
razor-headed shafts, those two arms, smeared with sandal-paste, adorned
with angadas, and with lances in grasp, as they fell from the elephant’s
back at the same instant of time, looked resplendent like a couple of
large snakes of great beauty falling down from a mountain summit. Cut off
with a crescent-shaped arrow by the diadem-decked (Partha), the head also
of Danda fell down on the Earth from the elephant’s back, and covered
with blood it looked resplendent as it lay like the sun dropped from the
Asta mountain towards the western quarter. Then Partha pierced with many
excellent arrows bright as the rays of the sun that elephant of his foe,
resembling a mass of white clouds whereupon it fell down with a noise
like a Himalayan summit riven with thunder. Then other huge elephants
capable of winning victory and resembling the two already slain, were cut
off by Savyasaci, in that battle, even as the two (belonging to Danda and
Dandadhara) had been cut off. At this the vast hostile force broke. Then
elephants and cars and steeds and men, in dense throngs, clashed against
one another and fell down on the field. Tottering, they violently struck
one another and fell down deprived of life. Then his soldiers,
encompassing Arjuna like the celestials encompassing Purandara, began to
say, “O hero, that foe of whom we had been frightened like creatures at
the sight of Death himself, hath by good luck been slain by thee. If thou
hadst not protected from that fear those people that were so deeply
afflicted by mighty foes, then by this time our foes would have felt that
delight which we now feel at their death, O slayer of enemies.” Hearing
these and other words uttered by friends and allies, Arjuna, with a
cheerful heart, worshipped those men, each according to his deserts, and
proceeded once more against the samsaptakas.'”

19

“Sanjaya said, ‘Wheeling round, like the planet Mercury in the curvature
of its orbit, Jishnu (Arjuna) once more slew large number of the
samsaptakas. Afflicted with the shafts of Partha, O king, men, steeds,
and elephants, O Bharata, wavered and wondered and lost colour and fell
down and died. Many foremost of animals tied to yokes and drivers and
standards, and bows, and shafts and hands and weapons in grasp, and arms,
and heads, of heroic foes fighting with him, the son of Pandu cut off in
that battle, with arrows, some of which were broad-headed, some equipped
with heads like razors, some crescent-shaped, and some furnished with
heads like the calf’s tooth. Like bulls fighting with a bull for the sake
of a cow in season, brave warriors by hundreds and thousands closed upon
Arjuna. The battle that took place between them and him made the hair to
stand on end like the encounter between the Daityas and Indra, the
wielder of the thunderbolt on the occasion of the conquest of the three
worlds. Then the son of Ugrayudha pierced Partha with three shafts
resembling three venomous snakes. Partha, however, cut off from his
enemy’s trunk the latter’s head. Then those warriors, filled with rage,
covered Arjuna from every side with diverse kinds of weapons like the
clouds urged by the Maruts shrouding Himavat at the close of summer.
Checking with his own weapons those of his foes on every side, Arjuna
slew a large number of his enemies with well-shot shafts. With his arrows
Arjuna then cut off the Trivenus, the steeds, the drivers, and the
parshni drivers of many cars, and displaced the weapons and quivers of
many, and deprived many of their wheels and standards, and broke the
cords, the traces and the axles of many, and destroyed the bottoms and
yokes of others, and caused all the equipment of many to fall from their
places. Those cars, thus smashed and injured by Arjuna in large numbers,
looked like the luxurious mansions of the rich destroyed by fire, wind,
and rain. Elephants, their vitals pierced with shafts resembling
thunderbolts in impetuosity, fell down like mansions on mountain-tops
overthrown by blasts of lightning. Large numbers of steeds with their
riders, struck by Arjuna, fell down on the Earth, their tongues and
entrails pressed out, themselves deprived of strength and bathed in
blood, and presenting an awful sight. Men and steeds and elephants,
pierced by Savyasaci (Arjuna) with his shafts, wondered and tottered and
fell down and uttered cries of pain and looked pale, O sire. Like
Mahendra smiting down the danavas, Partha smote down large numbers of his
foes, by means of shafts whetted on stone and resembling the thunder of
poison in deadliness. Brave warriors, cased in costly coats of mail and
decked with ornaments and armed with diverse kinds of weapons, lay on the
field, with their cars and standards, slain by Partha. Vanquished (and
deprived of life) persons of righteous deeds, possessed of noble birth
and great knowledge, proceeded to heaven in consequence of those glorious
deeds of theirs while their bodies only lay on Earth. Then the chief,
belonging to thy army, of various realms, filled with wrath and
accompanied by their followers, rushed against Arjuna, that foremost of
car-warriors. Warriors borne on their cars and steeds and elephants, and
foot-soldiers also, all desirous of slaying (Arjuna), rushed towards him,
shooting diverse weapons with great speed. Then Arjuna like wind, by
means of keen shafts, destroyed that thick shower of weapons dropped by
those warriors constituting a mass of congregated clouds. People then
beheld Arjuna crossing that raftless ocean constituted by steeds and
foot-soldiers and elephants and cars, and having mighty weapons for its
waves, on a bridge constituted by his own mighty weapons of offence and
defence. Then Vasudeva, addressing Partha, said, “Why, O sinless one,
dost thou sport in this way? Grinding these samsaptakas, haste thyself
for Karna’s slaughter.” Saying, “So be it” unto Krishna, Arjuna then,
forcibly smiting the remnant of the samsaptakas with his weapons, began
to destroy them like Indra destroying the Daityas. At that time, with
even the closest attention, men could not mark when Arjuna took out his
shafts, when he aimed them and when he let them off quickly. Govinda
himself, O Bharata, regarded it wonderful. Like swans diving into a lake
the shafts of Arjuna, white and active as swans, penetrated into the
hostile force. Then Govinda, beholding the field of battle during the
progress of that carnage, said these words to Savyasaci, “Here, O Partha,
for the sake of Duryodhana alone, occurreth this great and terrible
destruction of the Bharatas and other kings of Earth. Behold, O son of
Bharata, these bows, with golden backs, of many mighty bowmen, and these
girdles and quivers loosened from their bodies. Behold these straight
shafts equipped with wings of gold, and these long arrows washed with oil
and looking like snakes freed from their sloughs. Behold these beautiful
lances decked with gold lying scattered about, and these coats of mail, O
Bharata, adorned with gold and fallen off from the bodies of the
warriors. Behold these spears embellished with gold, these darts adorned
with the same metal, and these huge maces twined round with threads of
gold, and cords of hemp. Behold these swords decked with bright gold and
these axes adorned with the same, and these battle-axes equipped with
gold-decked handles. Behold also these spiked clubs, these short arrows,
these Bhusundis, and these Kanapas; these iron Kuntas lying around, and
these heavy Mushalas. These victory-longing warriors endued with great
activity and armed with diverse weapons, though dead, still seem to be
quick with life. Behold those thousands of warriors, their limbs crushed
with maces, and heads split with Mushalas or smashed and trod by
elephants and steeds and cars. O slayer of foes, the field of battle is
strewn with the bodies of men and elephants and steeds, deprived of life,
dreadfully mangled with shafts and darts and swords and lances and
scimitars and axes and spears and Nakharas and bludgeons, and bathed in
streams of blood. Strewn with arms smeared with sandal-paste and decked
with Angadas and graced with auspicious indications and cased in leathern
fences and adorned with Keyuras, the Earth looks resplendent, O Bharata.
Strewn also with hands having fingers cased in fences, decked with
ornaments, and lopped off from arms, and with severed thighs looking like
the trunks of elephants, of heroes endued with great activity and with
heads adorned with earrings and headgears set with gems, (the Earth looks
exceedingly beautiful). Behold those beautiful cars, decked with golden
bells, broken in diverse ways. Behold those numerous steeds bathed in
blood, those bottoms of cars and long quivers, and diverse kinds of
standards and banners and those huge conchs, of the combatants, and those
yak-tails perfectly white, and those elephants with tongues lolling out
and lying on the field like hills, and those beautiful with triumphal
banners, and those slain elephant-warriors, and those rich coverlets,
each consisting of one piece of blanket, for the backs of those huge
beasts, and those beautiful and variegated and torn blankets, and those
numerous bells loosened from the bodies of elephants and broken into
fragments by those falling creatures, and those hooks with handles set
with stones of lapis lazuli fallen upon the Earth, and those ornamental
yokes of steeds, and those armours set with diamonds for their breasts
and those rich cloths, adorned with gold and tied to the ends of the
standards borne by horsemen, and those variegated coverlets and housings
and Ranku skins, set with brilliant gems and inlaid with gold, for the
backs of steeds and fallen on the ground, and those large diamonds
adorning the head-gears of kings, and those beautiful necklaces of gold,
and those umbrellas displaced from their positions, and those yak-tails
and fans. Behold the earth strewn with faces adorned with earrings bright
as the moon or stars, and embellished with well-cut beards, and each
looking like the full moon. The earth, strewn with those faces looking
like lilies and lotuses, resembles a lake adorned with a dense assemblage
of lilies and lotuses. Behold, the earth possessing the effulgence of the
bright moon and diversified as if with myriads of stars, looks like the
autumnal firmament bespangled with stellar lights. O Arjuna, these feats
that have been achieved by thee in great battle today are, indeed, worthy
of thee or of the chief of the celestials himself in heaven.” Even thus
did Krishna show the field of battle unto Arjuna. And while returning
(from the field to their camp), they heard a loud noise in the army of
Duryodhana. Indeed the uproar that was heard consisted of the blare of
conchs and the beat of cymbals and drums and Patahas and the clatter of
car wheels, the neighing of steeds, the grunt of elephants, and the
fierce clash of weapons. Penetrating into that force by the aid of his
steeds possessing the fleetness of the wind, Krishna became filled with
wonder upon beholding the army grinded by Pandya. Like Yama himself
slaying creatures whose lives have run out, Pandya, that foremost of
warriors skilled in shafts and weapons, was destroying crowds of foes by
means of diverse kinds of shafts. Piercing the bodies of the elephants
and steeds and men with sharp shafts, that foremost of smiters overthrew
and deprived them of life. Cutting off with his own shafts the diverse
weapons hurled at him by many foremost of foes, Pandya slew his enemies
like Sakra (Indra) destroying the Danavas.'”

20

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Thou didst mention to me before the name of Pandya,
that hero of world-wide celebrity, but his feats, O Sanjaya, in battle
have never been narrated by thee. Tell me today in detail of the prowess
of that great hero, his skill, spirit, and energy, the measure of his
might, and his pride.’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Bhishma and Drona and Kripa and Drona’s son and Karna and
Arjuna and Janardana, those thorough masters of the science of weapons,
are regarded by thee as the foremost of car-warriors. Know, however, that
Pandya regarded himself superior to all these foremost of car-warriors in
energy. Indeed he never regarded any one amongst the kings as equal to
himself. He never admitted his equality with Karna and Bhishma. Nor did
he admit within his heart that he was inferior in any respect to Vasudeva
or Arjuna. Even such was Pandya, that foremost of kings, that first of
wielder of weapons. Filled with rage like the Destroyer himself, Pandya
at the time was slaughtering the army of Karna. That force, swelling with
cars and steeds and teeming with foremost of foot-soldiers, struck by
Pandya, began to turn round like the potter’s wheel. Like the wind
dispersing a mass of congregated clouds, Pandya, with his well shot
arrows, began to disperse that force, destroying its steeds and drivers
and standards and cars and causing its weapons and elephants to fall
down. Like the splitter of mountains striking down mountains with his
thunder, Pandya overthrew elephants with their riders, having previously
cut down the standards and banners and weapons with which they were
armed, as also the foot-soldiers that protected those beasts. And he cut
down horses, and horsemen with their darts and lances and quivers.
Mangling with his shafts the Pulindas, the Khasas, the Bahlikas, the
Nishadas, the Andhakas, the Tanganas, the Southerners, and the Bhojas,
all of whom, endued with great courage, were unyielding and obstinate in
battle, and divesting them of their weapons and coats of mail, Pandya
deprived them of their lives. Beholding Pandya destroying with his shafts
in battle that host consisting of four kinds of forces, the son of Drona
fearlessly proceeded towards that fearless warrior. Fearlessly addressing
in sweet words that warrior who then seemed to dance on his car, Drona’s
son, that foremost of smiters, smiling the while, summoned him and said,
“O king, O thou with eyes like the petals of the lotus, thy birth is
noble and learning great. Of celebrated might and prowess, thou
resemblest Indra himself. Stretching with thy two massive arms the bow
held by thee and whose large string is attached to thy grasp, thou
lookest beautiful like a mass of congregated clouds as thou pourest over
thy foes thick showers of impetuous shafts. I do not see anybody save
myself that can be a match for thee in battle. Alone thou crushest
numerous cars and elephants and foot-soldiers and steeds, like the
fearless lion of terrible might crushing herds of deer in the forest.
Making the welkin and the Earth resound with the loud clatter of thy
car-wheels thou lookest resplendent, O king, like a crop-destroying
autumnal cloud of loud roars. Taking out of thy quiver and shooting thy
keen shafts resembling snakes of virulent poison fight with myself only,
like (the asura) Andhaka fighting with the three-eyed deity.” Thus
addressed, Pandya answered, “So be it.” Then Drona’s son, telling him
“Strike,” assailed him with vigour. In return, Malayadhwaja pierced the
son of Drona with a barbed arrow. Then Drona’s son, that best of
preceptors, smiling the while, struck Pandya with some fierce arrows,
capable of penetrating into the very vitals and resembling flames of
fire. Then Ashvatthama once more sped at his foe some other large arrows
equipped with keen points and capable of piercing the very vitals,
causing them to course through the welkin with the ten different kinds of
motion. Pandya, however, with nine shafts of his cut off all those arrows
of his antagonist. With four other shafts he afflicted the four steeds of
his foe, at which they speedily expired. Having then, with his sharp
shafts, cut off the arrows of Drona’s son, Pandya then cut off the
stretched bow-string of Ashvatthama, endued with the splendour of the
sun. Then Drona’s son, that slayer of foes, stringing his unstringed bow,
and seeing that his men had meanwhile speedily yoked other excellent
steeds unto his car, sped thousands of arrows (at his foe). By this, that
regenerate one filled the entire welkin and the ten points of the compass
with his arrows. Although knowing that those shafts of the high-souled
son of Drona employed in shooting were really inexhaustible, yet Pandya,
that bull among men, cut them all into pieces. The antagonist of
Ashvatthama, carefully cutting off all those shafts shot by the latter,
then slew with his own keen shafts the two protectors of the latter’s car
wheels in that encounter. Beholding the lightness of hand displayed by
his foe, Drona’s son, drawing his bow to a circle, began to shoot his
arrows like a mass of clouds pouring torrents of rain. During that space
of time, O sire, which consisted only of the eighth part of a day, the
son of Drona shot as many arrows as were carried on eight carts each
drawn by eight bullocks. Almost all those men that then beheld
Ashvatthama, who at the time looked like the Destroyer himself filled
with rage, or rather the Destroyer of the Destroyer, lost their senses.
Like a mass of clouds at the close of summer drenching with torrents of
rain, the Earth with her mountains and trees, the preceptor’s son poured
on that hostile force his arrowy shower. Baffling with the Vayavya weapon
that unbearable shower of arrows shot by the Ashvatthama-cloud, the
Pandya-wind, filled with joy, uttered loud roars. Then Drona’s son
cutting off the standard, smeared with sandal-paste and other perfumed
unguents and bearing the device of the Malaya mountain on it, of the
roaring Pandya, slew the four steeds of the latter. Slaying then his
foe’s driver with a single shaft, and cutting off with a crescent-shaped
arrow the bow also of that warrior whose twang resembled the roar of the
clouds, Ashvatthama cut off his enemy’s car into minute fragments.
Checking with the weapons those of his enemy, and cutting off all the
weapons of the latter, Drona’s son, although he obtained the opportunity
to do his enemy the crowning evil, still slew him not, from desire of
battling with him for some time more. Meanwhile Karna rushed against the
large elephant force of the Pandavas and began to rout and destroy it.
Depriving car-warriors of their cars, he struck elephants and steeds and
human warriors, O Bharata, with innumerable straight shafts. That mighty
bowman, the son of Drona, although he had made Pandya, that slayer of
foes and foremost of car-warriors, carless, yet he did not slay him from
desire of fight. At that time a huge riderless elephant with large tusks,
well-equipped with all utensils of war, treading with speed, endued with
great might, quick to proceed against any enemy, struck with
Ashvatthama’s shafts, advanced towards the direction of Pandya with great
impetuosity, roaring against a hostile compeer. Beholding that prince of
elephants, looking like a cloven mountain summit, Pandya, who was well
acquainted with the method of fighting from the neck of an elephant,
quickly ascended that beast like a lion springing with a loud roar to the
top of a mountain summit. Then that lord of the prince of mountains,
striking the elephant with the hook, and inspired with rage, and with
that cool care for which he was distinguished in hurling weapons with
great force, quickly sped a lance, bright as Surya’s rays, at the
preceptor’s son and uttered a loud shout. Repeatedly shouting in joy,
“Thou art slain, Thou art slain!” Pandya (with that lance) crushed to
pieces the diadem of Drona’s son adorned with foremost of jewels and
diamonds of the first water and the very best kind of gold and excellent
cloth and strings of pearls. That diadem possessed of the splendour of
the Sun, the Moon, the planets, or the fire, in consequence of the
violence of the stroke, fell down, split into fragments, like a mountain
summit riven by Indra’s thunder, falling down on the Earth with great
noise. At this, Ashvatthama blazed up with exceeding rage like a prince
of snakes struck with the foot, and took up four and ten shafts capable
of inflicting great pain upon foes and each resembling the Destroyer’s
rod. With five of those shafts he cut off the four feet and the trunk of
his adversary’s elephant, and with three the two arms and the head of the
king, and with six he slew the six mighty car-warriors, endued with great
effulgence, that followed king Pandya. Those long and well-rounded arms
of the king, smeared with excellent sandal-paste, and adorned with gold
and pearls and gems and diamonds falling upon the Earth, began to writhe
like a couple of snakes slain by Garuda. That head also, graced with a
face bright as the full Moon, having a prominent nose and a pair of large
eyes, red as copper with rage, adorned with earrings, falling on the
ground, looked resplendent like the Moon himself between two bright
constellations. The elephant, thus cut off by that skilful warrior into
six pieces with those five shafts and the king into four pieces with
those three shafts lay divided in all into ten pieces that looked like
the sacrificial butter distributed into ten portions intended for the ten
deities. Having cut off numerous steeds and men and elephants into pieces
and offered them as food into the Rakshasas, king Pandya was thus quieted
by Drona’s son with his shafts like a blazing fire in a crematorium,
extinguished with water after it has received a libation in the shape of
a lifeless body. Then like the chief of the celestials joyfully
worshipping Vishnu after the subjugation of the Asura Vali, thy son, the
king, accompanied by his brothers approaching the preceptor’s son
worshipped with great respect that warrior who is a complete master of
the science of arms, after indeed, he had completed the task he had
undertaken.”

21

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘When Pandya had been slain and when that foremost
of heroes, viz., Karna was employed in routing and destroying the foe,
what, O Sanjaya, did Arjuna do in battle? That son of Pandu is a hero,
endued with great might, attentive to his duties, and a complete master
of the science of arms. The high-souled Sankara himself hath made him
invincible among all creatures. My greatest fears proceed from that
Dhananjaya, that slayer of foes. Tell me, O Sanjaya, all that Partha
achieved there on that occasion.’

“Sanjaya said, ‘After Pandya’s fall, Krishna quickly said unto Arjuna
these beneficial words, “I do not behold the King. The other Pandavas
also have retreated. If the Parthas had returned, the vast force of the
enemy would have been broken. In fulfilment of purposes entertained by
Ashvatthama, Karna is slaying the Srinjayas. A great carnage is being
made (by that warrior) of steeds and car-warriors and elephants.” Thus
the heroic Vasudeva represented everything unto the diadem-decked
(Arjuna). Hearing of and beholding that great danger of his brother
(Yudhishthira), Partha quickly addressed Krishna, saying, “Urge the
steeds, O Hrishikesha.” Then Hrishikesha proceeded on that irresistible
car. The encounter then that once more took place became exceedingly
fierce. The Kurus and the Pandavas once more fearlessly closed with each
other, that is, the Parthas headed by Bhimasena and ourselves headed by
the Suta’s son. Then, O best of kings, there once more commenced a battle
between Karna and the Pandavas that swelled the population of Yama’s
kingdom. With bows and arrows and spiked clubs and swords and lances and
axes and short clubs and Bhushundis and darts and rapiers and battle-axes
and maces and spears and polished Kuntas, and short shafts and hooks, the
combatants quickly fell upon one another, desirous of taking one
another’s life. Filling the welkin, the cardinal points of the compass,
the subsidiary ones, the firmament, and the Earth, with the whizz of
arrows, the twang of bow-strings, the sound of palms, and the clatter of
car-wheels, foes rushed upon foes. Gladdened by that loud noise, heroes,
fought with heroes desirous of reaching the end of the hostilities. Loud
became the noise caused by the sound of bow-strings and fences and bows,
the grunt of elephants, and the shouts of foot-soldiers and falling men.
Hearing the terrible whizz of arrows and the diverse shouts of brave
warriors, the troops took fright, became pale, and fell down. Large
numbers of those foes thus employed in shouting and shooting weapons, the
heroic son of Adhiratha crushed with his arrows. With his shafts Karna
then despatched to Yama’s abode twenty car-warriors among the brave
Pancala heroes, with their steeds, drivers, and standards. Then many
foremost of warriors of the Pandava army, endued with great energy and
quick in the use of weapons, speedily wheeling round, encompassed Karna
on all sides. Karna agitated that hostile force with showers of weapons
like the leader of an elephantine herd plunging into a lake adorned with
lotuses and covered with swans. Penetrating into the midst of his foes,
the son of Radha, shaking his best of bows, began to strike off and fell
their heads with his sharp shafts. The shield and coats of mail of the
warriors, cut off, fell down on the Earth. There was none amongst them
that needed the touch of a second arrow of Karna’s. Like a driver
striking the steeds with the whip, Karna, with his shafts capable of
crushing coats of mail and bodies and the life that quickened them,
struck the fences (of his foes) perceivable only by their bow-strings.
Like a lion grinding herds of deer, Karna speedily grinded all those
Pandus and Srinjayas and Pancalas that came within range of his arrows.
Then the chief of the Pancalas, and the sons of Draupadi, O sire, and the
twins, and Yuyudhana, uniting together, proceeded against Karna. When
those Kurus, and Pancalas and Pandus were thus engaged in battle, the
other warriors, reckless of their very lives, began to strike at one
another. Well-cased in armour and coats of mail and adorned with
head-gears, combatants endued with great strength rushed at their foes,
with maces and short clubs and spiked bludgeons looking like uplifted
rods of the Destroyer, and jumping, O sire, and challenging one another,
uttered loud shouts. They struck one another, and fell down, assailed by
one another with blood rising from their limbs and deprived of brains and
eyes and weapons. Covered with weapons, some, as they lay there with
faces beautiful as pomegranates, having teeth-adorned mouths filled with
blood, seemed to be alive. Others, in that vast ocean of battle, filled
with rage mangled or cut or pierced or overthrew or lopped off or slew
one another with battle-axes and short arrows and hooks and spears and
lances. Slain by one another they fell down, covered with blood and
deprived of life like sandal trees cut down with the axe falling down and
shedding as they fall their cool blood-red juice. Cars destroyed by cars,
elephants by elephants, men by men, and steeds by steeds, fell down in
thousands. Standards, and heads, and umbrellas, and elephants, trunks,
and human arms, cut off with razor-faced or broad-headed or
crescent-shaped arrows, fell down on the Earth. Large numbers also of
men, and elephants, and cars with steed yoked thereto, were crushed in
that battle. Many brave warriors, slain by horsemen, fell down, and many
tuskers, with their trunks cut off, and banners and standards (on their
bodies), fell down like fallen mountains. Assailed by foot-soldiers, many
elephants and cars, destroyed or in course of destruction, fell down on
all sides. Horsemen, encountering foot-soldiers with activity, were slain
by the latter. Similarly crowds of foot-soldiers, slain by horsemen, laid
themselves down on the field. The faces and the limbs of those slain in
that dreadful battle looked like crushed lotuses and faded floral
wreaths. The beautiful forms of elephants and steeds and human beings, O
king, then resembled cloths foul with dirt, and became exceedingly
repulsive to look at.'”

22

“Sanjaya said, ‘Many elephant-warriors riding on their beasts, urged by
thy son, proceeded against Dhrishtadyumna, filled with rage and desirous
of compassing his destruction. Many foremost of combatants skilled in
elephant-fight, belonging to the Easterners, the Southerners, the Angas,
the Vangas, the Pundras, the Magadhas, the Tamraliptakas, the Mekalas,
the Koshalas, the Madras, the Dasharnas, the Nishadas uniting with the
Kalingas, O Bharata, and showering shafts and lances and arrows like
pouring clouds, drenched the Pancala force therewith in that battle.
Prishata’s son covered with his arrows and shafts those (foe-crushing)
elephants urged forward by their riders with heels and toes and hooks.
Each of those beasts that were huge as hills, the Pancala hero pierced
with ten, eight, or six whetted shafts, O Bharata. Beholding the prince
of the Pancalas shrouded by those elephants like the Sun by the clouds,
the Pandus and the Pancalas proceeded towards him (for his rescue)
uttering loud roars and armed with sharp weapons. Pouring their weapons
upon those elephants, those warriors began to dance the dance of heroes,
aided by the music of their bow-strings and the sound of their palms, and
urged by heroes beating the time. Then Nakula and Sahadeva, and the sons
of Draupadi, and the Prabhadrakas, and Satyaki, and Shikhandi, and
Chekitana endued with great energy,–all those heroes–drenched those
elephants from every side with their weapons, like the clouds drenching
the hills with their showers. Those furious elephants, urged on by
mleccha warriors dragging down with their trunks men and steeds and cars,
crushed them with their feet. And some they pierced with the points of
their tusks, and some they raised aloft and dashed down on the ground;
others taken aloft on the tusks of those huge beasts, fell down inspiring
spectators with fear. Then Satyaki, piercing the vitals of the elephant
belonging to the king of the Vangas staying before him, with a long shaft
endued with great impetuosity, caused it to fall down on the field of
battle. Then Satyaki pierced with another long shaft the chest of the
rider whom he could not hitherto touch, just as the latter was about to
jump from the back of his beast. Thus struck by Satwata, he fell down on
the Earth.

“‘Meanwhile Sahadeva, with three shafts shot with great care, struck the
elephant of Pundra, as it advanced against him like a moving mountain,
depriving it of its standard and driver and armour and life. Having thus
cut off that elephant, Sahadeva proceeded against the chief of the Angas.

“‘Nakula, however, causing Sahadeva to desist, himself afflicted the
ruler of the Angas with three long shafts, each resembling the rod of
Yama, and his foe’s elephant with a hundred arrows. Then the ruler of the
Angas hurled at Nakula eight hundred lances bright as the rays of the
Sun. Each of these Nakula cut off into three fragments. The son of Pandu
then cut off the head of his antagonist with a crescent-shaped arrow. At
this that mleccha king, deprived of life, fell down with the animal he
rode. Upon the fall of the prince of the Angas who was well-skilled in
elephant-lore, the elephant-men of the Angas, filled with rage, proceeded
with speed against Nakula, on their elephants decked with banners that
waved in the air, possessing excellent mouths, adorned with housings of
gold, and looking like blazing mountains, from desire of crushing him to
pieces. And many Mekalas and Utkalas, and Kalingas, and Nishadas, and
Tamraliptakas, also advanced against Nakula, showering their shafts and
lances, desirous of slaying him. Then the Pandus, the Pancalas, and the
Somakas, filled with rage, rushed with speed for the rescue of Nakula
shrouded by those warriors like the Sun by the clouds. Then occurred a
fierce battle between those car-warriors and elephant-men, the former
showering their arrows and shafts the latter their lances by thousands.
The frontal globes and other limbs and the tusks and adornments of the
elephants, exceedingly pierced with shafts, were split and mangled. Then
Sahadeva, with four and sixty impetuous arrows, quickly slew eight of
those huge elephants which fell down with their riders. And Nakula also,
that delighter of his race, bending his excellent bow with great vigour,
with many straight shafts, slew many elephants. Then the Pancala prince,
and the grandson of Sini (Satyaki) and the sons of Draupadi and the
Prabhadrakas, and Shikhandi, drenched those huge elephants with showers
of shafts. Then in consequence of those rain-charged clouds constituted
by the Pandava warriors, those hills constituted by the elephants of the
foe, fell, struck down by torrents of rain formed by their numerous
shafts, like real mountains struck down with a thunder-storm. Those
leaders of the Pandava car-warriors then, thus slaying those elephants of
thine cast their eyes on the hostile army, which, as it fled away at that
time resembled a river whose continents had been washed away. Those
warriors of Pandu’s son, having thus agitated that army of thine,
agitated it once more, and then rushed against Karna.'”

23

“Sanjaya said, ‘While Sahadeva, filled with rage, was thus blasting thy
host, Duhshasana, O great king, proceeded against him, the brother
against the brother. Beholding those two engaged in dreadful combat, all
the great car-warriors uttered leonine shouts and waved their garments.
Then, O Bharata, the mighty son of Pandu was struck in the chest with
three arrows by thy angry son armed with bow. Then Sahadeva, O king,
having first pierced thy son with an arrow, pierced him again with
seventy arrows, and then his driver with three. Then Duhshasana, O
monarch, having cut off Sahadeva’s bow in that great battle, pierced
Sahadeva himself with three and seventy arrows in the arms and the chest.
Then Sahadeva filled with rage, took up a sword, in that dreadful
conflict, and whirling, hurled it quickly towards the car of thy son.
Cutting off Duhshasana’s bow with string and arrow fixed on it, that
large sword fell down on the Earth like a snake from the firmament. Then
the valiant Sahadeva taking up another bow, shot a deadly shaft at
Duhshasana. The Kuru warrior, however, with his keen-edged sword, cut off
into two fragments that shaft, bright as the rod of Death, as it coursed
towards him. Then whirling that sharp sword, Duhshasana quickly hurled it
in that battle as his foe. Meanwhile that valiant warrior took up another
bow with a shaft. Sahadeva, however, with the greatest ease, cut off,
with his keen shafts, that sword as it coursed towards him, and caused it
to fall down in that battle. Then, O Bharata, thy son, in that dreadful
battle, quickly sped four and sixty shafts at the car of Sahadeva.
Sahadeva, however, O king, cut off every one of those numerous arrows as
they coursed with great impetuosity towards him, with five shafts of his.
Checking then those mighty shafts sped by thy son, Sahadeva, in that
battle, sped a large number of arrows at his foe. Cutting off each of
those shafts with three shafts of his, thy son uttered a loud shout,
making the whole Earth resound with it. Then Duhshasana, O king, having
pierced Sahadeva in that battle, struck the latter’s driver with nine
arrows. The valiant Sahadeva then, O monarch, filled with rage, fixed on
his bow-string a terrible shaft resembling the Destroyer himself and
forcibly drawing the bow, he sped that shaft at thy son. Piercing with
great speed through his strong armour and body, that shaft entered the
Earth, O king, like a snake penetrating into an ant-hill. Then thy son,
that great car-warrior, swooned away, O king. Beholding him deprived of
his senses, his driver quickly took away the car, himself forcibly struck
all the while with keen arrows. Having vanquished the Kuru warrior thus,
the son of Pandu, beholding Duryodhana’s division, began to crush it on
all sides. Indeed, O king, as a man excited with wrath crushes swarm of
ants, even so, O Bharata did that son of Pandu begin to crush the Kaurava
host.'”

24

“Sanjaya said, ‘While Nakula was employed in destroying and routing the
Kaurava divisions in battle with great force, Vikartana’s son Karna,
filled with rage, checked him, O king. Then Nakula smiling the while,
addressed Karna, and said, “After a long time, through the favour of the
gods, I am seen by thee, and thou also, O wretch, dost become the object
of my sight. Thou art the root of all these evils, this hostility, this
quarrel. It is through thy faults that the Kauravas are being thinned,
encountering one another. Slaying thee in battle today, I will regard
myself as one that has achieved his object, and the fever of my heart
will be dispelled.” Thus addressed by Nakula, the Suta’s son said unto
him the following words befitting a prince and a bowman in particular,
“Strike me, O hero. We desire to witness thy manliness. Having achieved
some feats in battle, O brave warrior, thou shouldst then boast. O sire,
they that are heroes fight in battle to the best of their powers, without
indulging in brag. Fight now with me to the best of thy might. I will
quell thy pride.” Having said these words the Suta’s son quickly struck
the son of Pandu and pierced him, in that encounter, with three and
seventy shafts. Then Nakula, O Bharata, thus pierced by the Suta’s son,
pierced the latter in return with eighty shafts resembling snakes of
virulent poison. Then Karna, that great bowman, cutting off his
antagonist’s bow with a number of arrows winged with gold and whetted on
stone, afflicted him with thirty arrows. Those arrows, piercing through
his armour drank his blood in that battle, like the Nagas of virulent
poison drinking water after having pierced through the Earth. Then
Nakula, taking up another formidable bow whose back was decked with gold,
pierced Karna with twenty arrows and his driver with three. Then, O
monarch, that slayer of hostile heroes, viz., Nakula, filled with rage,
cut off Karna’s bow with a razor-headed shaft of great keenness. Smiling
the while, the heroic son of Pandu then struck the bowless Karna, that
foremost of car-warriors, with three hundred arrows. Beholding Karna thus
afflicted, O sire, by the son of Pandu, all the carwarriors there, with
the gods (in the welkin), were filled with great wonder. Then Vikartana’s
son Karna taking up another bow, struck Nakula with five arrows in the
shoulder-joint. With those arrows sticking to him here, the son of Madri
looked resplendent like the Sun with his own rays while shedding his
light on the Earth. Then Nakula piercing Karna with seven shafts, once
more, O sire, cut off one of the horns of Karna’s bow. Then Karna, taking
up in that battle a tougher bow, filled the welkin on every side of
Nakula with his arrows. The mighty car-warrior, Nakula, however, thus
suddenly shrouded with the arrows shot from Karna’s bow quickly cut off
all those shafts with shafts of his own. Then was seen overspread in the
welkin a vast number of arrows like to the spectacle presented by the sky
when it is filled with myriads of roving fireflies. Indeed, the sky
shrouded with those hundreds of arrows shot (by both the warriors)
looked, O monarch, as if it was covered with flights of locusts. Those
arrows, decked with gold, issuing repeatedly in continuous lines, looked
beautiful like rows of cranes while flying through the welkin. When the
sky was thus covered with showers of arrows and the sun himself hid from
the view, no creature ranging the air could descend on the Earth. When
all sides were thus covered with showers of arrows, those two high-souled
warriors looked resplendent like two Suns risen at the end of the Yuga.
Slaughtered with the shafts issuing from Karna’s bow the Somakas, O
monarch, greatly afflicted and feeling much pain, began to breathe their
last. Similarly, thy warriors, struck with the shafts of Nakula,
dispersed on all sides, O king, like clouds tossed by the wind. The two
armies thus slaughtered by those two warriors with their mighty celestial
shafts, retreated from the range of those arrows and stood as spectators
of the encounter. When both the armies were driven off by means of the
shafts of Karna and Nakula, those two high-souled warriors began to
pierce each other with showers of shafts. Displaying their celestial
weapons on the field of battle, they quickly shrouded each other, each
desirous of compassing the destruction of the other. The shafts shot by
Nakula, dressed with Kanka and peacock feathers, shrouding the Suta’s
son, seemed to stay in the welkin. Similarly, the shafts sped by the
Suta’s son in that dreadful battle, shrouding the son of Pandu, seemed to
stay in the welkin. Shrouded within arrowy chambers, both the warriors
became invisible, like the Sun and the Moon, O king, hidden by the
clouds. Then Karna, filled with rage and assuming a terrible aspect in
the battle, covered the son of Pandu with showers of arrows from every
side. Completely covered, O monarch, by the Suta’s son, the son of Pandu
felt no pain like the Maker of day when covered by the clouds. The son of
Adhiratha then, smiling the while, sped arrowy lines, O sire, in hundreds
and thousands, in that battle. With those shafts of the high-souled
Karna, an extensive shade seemed to rest on the field of battle. Indeed,
with those excellent shafts constantly issuing out (of his bow), a shade
was caused there like that formed by the clouds. Then Karna, O monarch,
cutting off the bow of the high-souled Nakula, felled the latter’s driver
from the car-niche with the greatest ease. With four keen shafts, next,
he quickly despatched the four steeds of Nakula, O Bharata, to the abode
of Yama. With his shafts, he also cut off into minute fragments that
excellent car of his antagonist as also his standard and the protectors
of his car-wheels, and mace, and sword, and shield decked with a hundred
moons, and other utensils and equipments of battle. Then Nakula,
steedless and carless and armourless, O monarch, quickly alighting from
his car, stood, armed with a spiked bludgeon. Even that terrible
bludgeon, so uplifted by the son of Pandu, the Suta’s son, O king, cut
off with many keen arrows capable of bearing a great strain. Beholding
his adversary weaponless. Karna began to strike him with many straight
shafts, but took care not to afflict him greatly. Thus struck in that
battle by that mighty warrior accomplished in weapons, Nakula, O king,
fled away precipitately in great affliction. Laughing repeatedly, the son
of Radha pursued him and placed his stringed bow, O Bharata, around the
neck of the retreating Nakula. With the large bow around his neck, O
king, the son of Pandu looked resplendent like Moon in the firmament when
within a circular halo of light, or a white cloud girdled round by
Indra’s bow. Then Karna, addressing him, said, “The words thou hadst
uttered were futile. Canst thou utter them now once more in joy,
repeatedly struck as thou art by me? Do not, O son of Pandu, fight again
with those amongst the Kurus that are possessed of greater might. O
child, fight with them that are thy equals. Do not, O son of Pandu, feel
any shame for it. Return home, O son of Madri, or go thither where
Krishna and Phalguna are.” Having addressed him thus he abandoned him
then. Acquainted with morality as the brave Karna was, he did not then
slay Nakula who was already within the jaws of death. Recollecting the
words of Kunti, O king, Karna let Nakula go. The son of Pandu, thus let
off, O king, by that bowman, Suta’s son, proceeded towards Yudhishthira’s
car in great shame. Scorched by the Suta’s son, he then ascended his
brother’s car, and burning with grief he continued to sigh like a snake
kept within a jar. Meanwhile Karna, having vanquished Nakula, quickly
proceeded against the Pancalas, riding on that car of his which bore many
gorgeous pennons and whose steeds were as white as the Moon. There, O
monarch, a great uproar arose among the Pandavas when they saw the leader
of the Kaurava army proceeding towards the Pancala car-throngs. The
Suta’s son, O monarch, made a great massacre there at that hour when the
Sun had reached the meridian, that puissant warrior careering all the
while with the activity of a wheel. We beheld many Pancala car-warriors
borne away from the battle on their steedless and driverless cars with
broken wheels and broken axles and with standards and pennons also that
were broken and torn, O sire. And many elephants were seen to wander
there in all directions (with limbs scorched by arrows) like individuals
of their species in the wide forest with limbs scorched and burned in a
forest conflagration. Others with their frontal globes split open, or
bathed in blood, or with trunks lopped off, or with their armour cut
down, or their tails lopped off, fell down, struck by the high-souled
Karna, like straggling clouds. Other elephants, frightened by the shafts
and lances of Radha’s son proceeded against Radha’s son himself like
insects towards a blazing fire. Other huge elephants were seen striking
against one another and shedding blood from various limbs like mountains
with rillets running down their breasts. Steeds of the foremost breed,
divested of breast-plates and their ornaments of silver and brass and
gold, destitute of trappings and bridle-bits and yak-tails and
saddle-cloths, with quivers fallen off from their backs, and with their
heroic riders,–ornaments of battle,–slain, were seen wandering here and
there on the field. Pierced and cut with lances and scimitars and swords,
O Bharata, we beheld many a horseman adorned with armour and head-gear,
slain or in course of being slain or trembling with fear, and deprived, O
Bharata, of diverse limbs. Cars also, decked with gold, and unto which
were yoked steeds of great fleetness, were seen by us dragged with
exceeding speed hither and thither, their riders having been slain. Some
of these had their axles and poles broken, and some, O Bharata, had their
wheels broken; and some were without banners and standards, and some were
divested of their shafts. Many car-warriors also were seen there, by us,
O monarch, wandering all around, deprived of their cars and scorched with
the shafts of the Suta’s son. And some destitute of weapons and some with
weapons still in their arms were seen lying lifeless on the field in
large numbers. And many elephants also were seen by us, wandering in all
directions, studded with clusters of stars, adorned with rows of
beautiful bells, and decked with variegated banners of diverse hues.
Heads and arms and chests and other limbs, cut off with shafts sped from
Karna’s bow, were beheld by us lying around. A great and fierce calamity
overtook the warriors (of the Pandava army) as they fought with whetted
arrows, and mangled as they were with the shafts of Karna. The Srinjayas,
slaughtered in that battle by the Suta’s son, blindly proceeded against
the latter’s self like insects rushing upon a blazing fire. Indeed, as
that mighty car-warrior was engaged in scorching the Pandava divisions,
the kshatriyas avoided him, regarding him to be the blazing Yuga fire.
Those heroic and mighty car-warriors of the Pancala that survived the
slaughter fled away. The brave Karna, however, pursued those broken and
retreating warriors from behind, shooting his shafts at them. Endued with
great energy, he pursued those combatants divested of armour and
destitute of standards. Indeed, the Suta’s son, possessed of great might,
continued to scorch them with his shafts, like the dispeller of darkness
scorching all creatures when he attains to the meridian.'”

25

“Sanjaya said, ‘Against Yuyutsu who was employed in routing the vast army
of thy son, Uluka proceeded with speed saying “Wait, Wait.” Then Yuyutsu,
O king, with a winged arrow of keen edge struck Uluka with great force,
like (Indra himself striking ) a mountain with the thunderbolt. Filled
with rage at this, Uluka, in that battle, cut off thy son’s bow with a
razor-headed arrow and struck thy son himself with a barbed shaft.
Casting off that broken bow, Yuyutsu, with eyes red in wrath, took up
another formidable bow endued with greater impetus. The prince then, O
bull of Bharata’s race, pierced Uluka with sixty arrows. Piercing next
the driver of Uluka, Yuyutsu struck Uluka once more. Then Uluka, filled
with rage pierced Yuyutsu with twenty shafts adorned with gold, and then
cut off his standard made of gold. That lofty and gorgeous standard made
of gold, O king, thus cut off (by Uluka), fell down in front of Yuyutsu’s
car. Beholding his standard cut off, Yuyutsu, deprived of his senses by
wrath, struck Uluka with five shafts in the centre of the chest. Then
Uluka, O sire, in that battle, cut off, with a broad-headed arrow steeped
in oil, the head of his antagonist’s driver, O best of the Bharatas.
Slaying next his four steeds he struck Yuyutsu himself with five arrows.
Deeply struck by the strong Uluka, Yuyutsu proceeded to another car.
Having vanquished him in battle, O king, Uluka proceeded quickly towards
the Pancalas and the Srinjayas and began to slaughter them with sharp
shafts. Thy son Srutakarman, O monarch, within half the time taken up by
a wink of the eye, fearlessly made Satanika steedless and driverless and
carless. The mighty car-warrior Satanika, however, staying on his
steedless car, O sire, hurled a mace, filled with rage, at thy son. That
mace, reducing thy son’s car with its steeds and driver into fragments,
fell down upon the Earth with great speed, and pierced it through. Then
those two heroes, both enhancers of the glory of the Kurus, deprived of
their cars, retreated from the encounter, glaring at each other. Then thy
son, overcome with fear, mounted upon the car of Vivingsu, while Satanika
quickly got upon the car of Prativindhya. Shakuni, filled with rage,
pierced Sutasoma with many keen shafts, but failed to make the latter
tremble like a torrent of water failing to produce any impression upon a
mountain. Beholding that great enemy of his father, Sutasoma covered
Shakuni, O Bharata, with many thousands of arrows. Shakuni, however, that
warrior of sure aim and conversant with all methods of warfare, actuated
by desire of battle, quickly cut off all those shafts with his own winged
arrows. Having checked those shafts with his own keen arrows in battle,
Shakuni, filled with rage, struck Sutasoma with three arrows. Thy
brother-in-law then, O monarch, with his arrows cut off into minute
fragments the steeds, the standard, and the driver of his adversary, at
which all the spectators uttered a loud shout. Deprived of his steed and
car, and having his standard cut off, O sire, the great bowman
(Sutasoma), jumping down from his car, stood on the Earth, having taken
up a good bow. And he shot a large number of arrows equipped with golden
wings and whetted on stone, and shrouded therewith the car of thy
brother-in law in that battle. The son of Subala, however, beholding
those showers of arrows that resembled a flight of locusts, coming
towards his car, did not tremble. On the other hand, that illustrious
warrior crushed all those arrows with arrows of his own. The warriors
that were present there, as also the Siddhas in the firmament, were
highly pleased at sight of that wonderful and incredible feat of
Sutasoma, inasmuch as he contended on foot with Shakuni staying in his
car. Then Shakuni, with a number of broad-headed shafts of great
impetuosity, keen and perfectly straight, cut off, O king, the bow of
Sutasoma as also all his quivers. Bowless, and carless, Sutasoma then,
uplifting a scimitar of the hue of the blue lotus and equipped with an
ivory handle, uttered a loud shout. That scimitar of the intelligent
Sutasoma of the hue of the clear sky, as it was whirled by that hero, was
regarded by Shakuni to be as fatal as the rod of Death. Armed with that
scimitar he suddenly began to career in circles over the arena,
displaying, O monarch, the fourteen different kinds of manoeuvres, endued
as he was with skill and might. Indeed, he displayed in that battle all
those motions such as wheeling about and whirling on high, and making
side-thrusts and jumping forward and leaping on high and running above
and rushing forward and rushing upwards. The valiant son of Subala then
sped a number of arrows at his foe, but the latter quickly cut them off
with that excellent scimitar of his as they coursed towards him. Filled
with rage (at this), the son of Subala, O king, once more sped at
Sutasoma a number of shafts that resembled snakes of virulent poison.
Aided by his skill and might, Sutasoma cut off even these with his
scimitar, displaying his great activity, and possessed as he was of
prowess equal to that of Garuda himself. With a razor-headed arrow of
great sharpness, Shakuni then, O king, cut off that bright scimitar of
his adversary as the latter careered in circles before him. Thus cut off,
(half of) that large scimitar suddenly fell down on the Earth, while half
of it, O Bharata, continued in the grasp of Sutasoma. Seeing his sword
cut off, the mighty car-warrior Sutasoma retreated six steps and then
hurled that half (of the scimitar) which he had in his grasp at his foe.
The fragment decked with gold and gems, cutting off the bow, with string,
of the illustrious Shakuni, quickly fell down on the Earth. Then Sutasoma
went to the great car of Srutakirti. Subala’s son also, taking up another
formidable and invincible bow, proceeded towards the Pandava army,
slaying large numbers of foes (on the way). Beholding the son of Subala
careering fearlessly in battle, a loud uproar, O king, arose among the
Pandavas in that part of the army. People witnessed those large and proud
divisions bristling with arms, routed by the illustrious son of Subala.
Even as the chief of the celestials crushed the Daitya army, the son of
Subala destroyed that army of the Pandavas.'”

26

“Sanjaya said, ‘Kripa, O king, resisted Dhrishtadyumna in battle, like a
Sarabha in the forest resisting a proud lion. Checked by the mighty son
of Gautama, Prishata’s son, O Bharata, could not advance even one step.
Beholding Gautama’s car in front of Dhrishtadyumna’s, all creatures were
inspired with fright and regarded the latter’s destruction to be at hand.
Car-warriors and horsemen, becoming very cheerless, said, “Without doubt,
this foremost of men, Sharadvata’s son of mighty energy and great
intelligence and versed in celestial weapon, is filled with rage at the
death of Drona. Will Dhrishtadyumna today escape from the hands of
Gautama? Will this vast army escape today this great danger? Will not
this brahmana slay all of us together? The form that he has assumed
today, even like that of the Destroyer himself, shows that he will today
act after the manner of Drona himself. The preceptor Gautama, endued with
great lightness of hands, is ever victorious in battle. Possessing a
knowledge of weapons, he is endued with great energy and filled with
rage.” Diverse speeches like these, uttered by the warriors of both the
armies were, O monarch, heard there as those two heroes encountered each
other. Drawing deep breath in rage, Sharadvata’s son Kripa, O king, began
to afflict the son of Prishata in all his vital limbs while the latter
stood inactive. Struck in that battle by the illustrious Gautama,
Dhrishtadyumna, greatly stupefied, knew not what to do. His driver then,
addressing him said, “It is not all right with thee, O son of Prishata.
Never before have I seen such a calamity overtake thee in battle. It is a
lucky chance, it seems, that these shafts, capable of penetrating the
very vitals, sped by that foremost of brahmanas aiming at thy vital
limbs, are not striking thee. I will presently cause the car to turn
back, like the current of a river dashed back by the sea. I think that
brahmana, by whom thy prowess hath been annihilated, is incapable of
being slain by thee.” Thus addressed, Dhrishtadyumna, O king, slowly
said, “My mind becometh stupefied, O sire, and perspiration covereth my
limbs. My body trembles and my hair stands on end. Avoiding that brahmana
in battle, proceed slowly to where Arjuna is, O charioteer; arrived at
the presence of either Arjuna or Bhimasena, prosperity may be mine. Even
this is my certain conviction.” Then, O monarch, the charioteer, urging
the steeds, proceeded to the spot where the mighty bowman Bhimasena was
battling with thy troops. Beholding the car, O sire, of Dhrishtadyumna
speedily moving away from that spot, Gautama followed it, shooting
hundreds of shafts. And that chastiser of foes also repeatedly blew his
conch. Indeed, he routed the son of Prishata like Indra routing the
Danava Namuci.

“‘The invincible Shikhandi, the cause of Bhishma’s death, was in that
battle, resisted by Hridika’s son who smiled repeatedly as he fought with
the former. Shikhandi, however, encountering the mighty car-warrior of
the Hridikas, struck him with five keen and broad-headed shafts at the
shoulder-joint. Then the mighty car-warrior Kritavarma filled with rage,
pierced his foe with sixty winged arrows. With a single arrow then, he
cut off his bow, laughing the while. The mighty son of Drupada, filled
with wrath, took up another bow, and addressing the son of Hridika, said,
“Wait, Wait.” Then, O monarch, Shikhandi sped at his foe ninety shafts of
great impetuosity, all equipped with golden wings. Those shafts, however,
all recoiled from Kritavarma’s armour. Seeing those shafts recoil and
scattered on the surface of the Earth, Shikhandi cut off Kritavarma’s bow
with a keen razor-headed arrow. Filled with wrath he struck the bowless
son of Hridika, who then resembled a hornless bull, in the arms and the
chest, with eighty arrows. Filled with rage but torn and mangled with
shafts, Kritavarma vomited blood through his limbs like a jar disgorging
the water with which it is filled. Bathed in blood, the Bhoja king looked
beautiful like a mountain, O king, streaked with streams of liquefied red
chalk after a shower. The puissant Kritavarma then, taking up another bow
with a string and an arrow fixed thereon, struck Shikhandi in his
shoulder-joint. With those shafts sticking to his shoulder-joint,
Shikhandi looked resplendent like a lordly tree with its spreading
branches and twigs. Having pierced each other, the two combatants were
bathed in blood, and resembled a couple of bulls that have gored each
other with their horns Carefully exerting themselves to slay each other,
those two mighty car-warriors moved in a 1,000 circles with their
respective cars on that arena. Then Kritavarma, O king, in that
encounter, pierced the son of Prishata with seventy shafts all of which
were equipped with wings of gold and whetted on stone. The ruler of the
Bhojas then, that foremost of smiters, sped with great activity a
terrible and fatal shaft at his foe. Struck therewith, Shikhandi quickly
swooned away. Overcome with stupefaction, he supported himself by seizing
his flag-staff. The driver then of that foremost of car-warriors speedily
bore him away from the fight. Scorched with the shaft of Hridika’s son he
drew breath upon breath repeatedly. After the defeat of the heroic son of
Drupada, O lord, the Pandava army, slaughtered on all sides, fled away
from the field.”

27

“Sanjaya said, ‘The white steeded (Arjuna) also, O monarch, routed thy
force even as the winds, approaching a heap of cotton, scatters it on all
sides. Against him rushed the Trigartas, the Sivis, the Kauravas, the
Salwas, the samsaptakas, and that force which consisted of the Narayanas.
And Satyasena and Candradeva, and Mitradeva and Satrunjaya, and Susruta’s
son, and Citrasena, and Mitravarman, O Bharata, and the king of the
Trigartas surrounded by his brothers and by his sons that were all mighty
bowmen accomplished in diverse weapons, suddenly advanced, shooting and
scattering showers of shafts in that battle, against Arjuna, like a
fierce current of water towards the ocean. Those warriors in hundreds of
thousands, approaching Arjuna, seemed to melt away like snakes at sight
of Garuda. Though slaughtered in battle, they did not still leave the son
of Pandu like insects, O monarch, never receding from a blazing fire.
Satyasena, in that encounter, pierced that son of Pandu with three
arrows, and Mitradeva pierced him with three and sixty, and Candradeva
with seven. And Mitravarman pierced him with three and seventy arrows,
and Susruta’s son with seven. And Satrunjaya pierced him with twenty, and
Susharma with nine. Thus pierced in that encounter by many, Arjuna
pierced all those kings in return. Indeed, piercing the son of Susruta
with seven arrows, he pierced Satyasena with three, Satrunjaya with
twenty and Candradeva with eight, Mitradeva with a hundred, Srutasena
with three, Mitravarman with nine, and Susharma with eight. Then slaying
king Satrunjaya with a number of arrows whetted on stone, he smote off
from his trunk, the head, decked with headgear, of Susruta’s son. Without
any delay he then, with a number of other shafts, despatched Candradeva
to the abode of Yama. As regards the other mighty car-warriors vigorously
contending with him, he checked each of them with five arrows. Then
Satyasena filled with rage, hurled a formidable lance in that battle
aiming at Krishna and uttered a leonine roar. That ironmouthed lance
having a golden shaft, piercing through the left arm of the high-souled
Madhava, penetrated into the Earth. Madhava being thus pierced with that
lance in great battle the goad and the reins, O king, fell down from his
hands. Beholding Vasudeva’s limb pierced through, Pritha’s son Dhananjaya
mustered all his wrath and addressing Vasudeva said, “O mighty-armed one,
bear the car to Satyasena, O puissant one, so that I may, with keen
shafts, despatch him to Yama’s abode.” The illustrious Keshava then,
quickly taking up the goad and the reins, caused the steeds to bear the
car to the front of Satyasena’s vehicle. Beholding the Ruler of the
Universe pierced, Pritha’s son Dhananjaya, that mighty car-warrior,
checking Satyasena with some keen arrows, cut off with a number of
broad-headed shafts of great sharpness, the large head of that king
decked with earrings, from off his trunk at the head of the army. Having
thus cut off Satyasena’s head, he then despatched Citravarman with a
number of keen shafts, and then the latter’s driver, O sire, with a keen
calf-toothed arrow. Filled with rage, the mighty Partha then, with
hundreds of shafts, felled the samsaptakas in hundreds and thousands.
Then, O king, with a razor-headed arrow equipped with wings of silver,
that mighty car-warrior cut off the head of the illustrious Mitrasena.
Filled with rage he then struck Susharma in the shoulder-joint. Then all
the samsaptakas, filled with wrath, encompassed Dhananjaya on all sides
and began to afflict him with showers of weapons and make all the points
of the compass resound with their shouts. Afflicted by them thus, the
mighty car-warrior Jishnu, of immeasurable soul, endued with prowess
resembling that of Sakra himself, invoked the Aindra weapon. From that
weapon, thousands of shafts, O king, began to issue continually. Then O
king, a loud din was heard of falling cars with standards and quivers and
yokes, and axles and wheels and traces with chords, of bottoms of cars
and wooden fences around them, of arrows and steeds and spears and
swords, and maces and spiked clubs and darts and lances and axes, and
Sataghnis equipped with wheels and arrows. Thighs and necklaces and
Angadas and Keyuras, O sire, and garlands and cuirasses and coats of
mail, O Bharata, and umbrellas and fans and heads decked with diadems lay
on the battle-field. Heads adorned with earrings and beautiful eyes, and
each resembling the full moon, looked, as they lay on the field, like
stars in the firmament. Adorned with sandal-paste, beautiful garlands of
flowers and excellent robes, many were the bodies of slain warriors that
were seen to lie on the ground. The field of battle, terrible as it was,
looked like the welkin teeming with vapoury forms. With the slain princes
and kshatriyas of great might and fallen elephants and steeds, the Earth
became impassable in that battle as if she were strewn with hills. There
was no path on the field for the wheels of the illustrious Pandava’s car,
engaged as he was in continually slaying his foes and striking down
elephants and steeds with his broad-headed shafts. It seemed, O sire,
that the wheels of his car stopped in fright at the sight of his own self
careering in that battle through that bloody mire. His steeds, however,
endued with the speed of the mind or the wind, dragged with great efforts
and labour those wheels that had refused to move. Thus slaughtered by
Pandu’s son armed with the bow, that host fled away almost entirely,
without leaving even a remnant, O Bharata, contending with the foe.
Having vanquished large numbers of the samsaptakas in battle, Pritha’s
son Jishnu looked resplendent, like a blazing fire without smoke.'”

28

“Sanjaya said, ‘King Duryodhana, O monarch, himself fearlessly received
Yudhishthira, as the latter was engaged in shooting large numbers of
shafts. The royal Yudhishthira the just, speedily piercing thy son, that
mighty car-warrior, as the latter was rushing towards him with
impetuosity, addressed him, saying, “Wait, Wait.” Duryodhana, however,
pierced Yudhishthira, in return, with nine keen arrows, and filled with
great wrath, struck Yudhishthira’s driver also with a broad-headed shaft.
Then king Yudhishthira sped at Duryodhana three and ten arrows equipped
with wings of gold and whetted on stone. With four shafts that mighty
car-warrior then slew the four steeds of his foe, and with the fifth he
cut off from his trunk the head of Duryodhana’s driver. With the sixth
arrow he felled the (Kuru) king’s standard on the Earth, with the seventh
his bow, and with the eighth his scimitar. And then with five more shafts
king Yudhishthira the just deeply afflicted the Kuru monarch. Thy son,
then, alighting from that steedless car, stood on the Earth in imminent
danger. Beholding him in that situation of great peril, Karna and Drona’s
son and Kripa and others rushed suddenly towards the spot, desirous of
rescuing the king. Then the (other) sons of Pandu, surrounding
Yudhishthira, all proceeded to the encounter, upon which, O king, a
fierce battle was fought. Thousands of trumpets then were blown in that
great engagement, and a confused din of myriad voices arose there, O
king. There where the Pancalas engaged the Kauravas, in battle, men
closed with men, and elephants with foremost of elephants. And
car-warriors closed with car-warriors, and horse with horse. And the
various couples of battling men and animals, of great prowess and armed
with diverse kinds of weapons and possessed of great skill presented a
beautiful sight, O king, over the field. All those heroes endued with
great impetuosity and desirous of compassing the destruction of one
another, fought beautifully and with great activity and skill. Observing
the (sanctioned) practices of warriors, they slew one another in battle.
None of them fought from behind others. For only a very short time that
battle presented a beautiful aspect. Soon it became an encounter of mad
men, in which the combatants showed no regard for one another. The
car-warrior, approaching the elephant, pierced the latter with keen
shafts and despatched it to Yama’s presence by means of straight arrows.
Elephants, approaching steeds, dragged down many of them in that battle,
and tore them (with their tusks) most fiercely in diverse places. Large
numbers of horsemen also, encompassing many foremost of steeds, made a
loud noise with their palms, and closed with them. And those horsemen
slew those steeds as they ran hither and thither, as also many huge
elephants as these wandered over the field, from behind and the flanks.
Infuriate elephants, O king, routing large numbers of steeds, slew them
with their tusks or crushed them with great force. Some elephants, filled
with wrath pierced with their tusks horses with horsemen. Others seizing
such with great force hurled them to the ground with violence. Many
elephants, struck by foot-soldiers availing of the proper opportunities,
uttered terrible cries of pain and fled away on all sides. Among the
foot-soldiers that fled away in that great battle throwing down their
ornaments, there were many that were quickly encompassed on the field.
Elephant-warriors, riding on huge elephants, understanding indications of
victory, wheeled their beasts and causing them to seize those beautiful
ornaments, made the beasts to pierce them with their tusks. Other
foot-soldiers endued with great impetuosity and fierce might, surrounding
those elephant-warriors thus engaged in those spots began to slay them.
Others in that great battle, thrown aloft into the air by elephants with
their trunks, were pierced by those trained beasts with the points of
their tusks as they fell down. Others, suddenly seized by other
elephants, were deprived of life with their tusks. Others, borne away
from their own divisions into the midst of others, were, O king, mangled
by huge elephants which rolled them repeatedly on the ground. Others,
whirled on high like fans, were slain in that battle. Others, hither and
thither on the field, that stood full in front of other elephants had
their bodies exceedingly pierced and torn. Many elephants were deeply
wounded with spears and lances and darts in their cheeks and frontal
globes and parts between their tusks. Exceedingly afflicted by fierce
car-warriors and horsemen stationed on their flanks, many elephants,
ripped open, fell down on the Earth. In that dreadful battle many
horsemen on their steeds, striking foot-soldiers with their lances,
pinned them down to the Earth or crushed them with great force. Some
elephants, approaching mail-clad car-warriors, O sire, raised them aloft
from their vehicles and hurled them down with great force upon the Earth
in that fierce and awful fight. Some huge elephants slain by means of
cloth-yard shafts, fell down on the Earth like mountain summits riven by
thunder. Combatants, encountering combatants, began to strike each other
with their fists, or seizing each other by the hair, began to drag and
throw down and mangle each other. Others, stretching their arms and
throwing down their foes on the Earth, placed their feet on their chests
and with great activity cut off their heads. Some combatant, O king,
struck with his feet some foe that was dead, and some, O king, struck off
with his sword, the head of a falling foe, and some thrust his weapon
into the body of a living foe. A fierce battle took place there, O
Bharata, in which the combatants struck one another with fists or seized
one another’s hair or wrestled with one another with bare arms. In many
instances, combatants, using diverse kinds of weapons, took the lives of
combatants engaged with others and, therefore, unperceived by them.
During the progress of that general engagement when all the combatants
were mangled in battle, hundreds and thousands of headless trunks stood
up on the field. Weapons and coats of mail, drenched with gore, looked
resplendent, like cloths dyed with gorgeous red. Even thus occurred that
fierce battle marked by the awful clash of weapons. Like the mad and
roaring current of the Ganga it seemed to fill the whole universe with
its uproar. Afflicted with shafts, the warriors failed to distinguish
friends from foes. Solicitous of victory, the kings fought on because
they fought that fight they should. The warriors slew both friends and
foes, with whom they came in contact. The combatants of both the armies
were deprived of reason by the heroes of both the armies assailing them
with fury. With broken cars, O monarch, the fallen elephants, and steeds
lying on the ground, and men laid low, the Earth, miry with gore and
flesh, and covered with streams of blood, soon became impassable, Karna
slaughtered the Pancalas while Dhananjaya slaughtered the Trigartas. And
Bhimasena, O king, slaughtered the Kurus and all the elephant divisions
of the latter. Even thus occurred that destruction of troops of both the
Kurus and the Pandavas, both parties having been actuated by the desire
of winning great fame, at that hour when the Sun had passed the
meridian.'”

29

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘I have heard from thee, O Sanjaya, of many poignant
and unbearable griefs as also of the losses sustained by my sons. From
what thou hast said unto me, from the manner in which the battle has been
fought, it is my certain conviction, O Suta, that the Kauravas are no
more. Duryodhana was made carless in that dreadful battle. How did
Dharma’s son (then) fight, and how did the royal Duryodhana also fight in
return? How also occurred that battle which was fought in the afternoon?
Tell me all this in detail, for thou art skilled in narration, O Sanjaya.’

“Sanjaya said, ‘When the troops of both armies were engaged in battle,
according to their respective divisions, thy son Duryodhana, O king,
riding on another car and filled with rage like a snake of virulent
poison, beholding king Yudhishthira the just, quickly addressed his own
driver, O Bharata, saying, “Proceed, proceed, quickly take me there, O
driver, where the royal son of Pandu, clad in mail shineth under yon
umbrella held over his head.” Thus urged by the king, the driver, in that
battle, quickly urged his royal master’s goodly car towards the face of
Yudhishthira. At this, Yudhishthira also, filled with rage and looking
like an infuriate elephant, urged his own driver saying, “Proceed to
where Suyodhana is.” Then those two heroes and brothers and foremost of
car-warriors encountered each other. Both endued with great energy, both
filled with wrath, both difficult of defeat in battle, approaching each
other, those two great bowmen began to mangle each other with their
arrows in that battle. Then king Duryodhana, in that encounter, O sire,
with a broad-headed arrow whetted on stone, cut in twain the bow of the
virtuous monarch. Filled with rage, Yudhishthira could not brook that
insult. Casting aside his broken bow, with eyes red in wrath, Dharma’s
son took up another bow at the head of his forces, and then cut off
Duryodhana’s standard and bow. Duryodhana then, taking up another bow,
pierced the son of Pandu. Filled with rage, they continued to shoot
showers of shafts at each other. Desirous of vanquishing each other, they
resembled a pair of angry lions. They struck each other in that battle
like a couple of roaring bulls. Those mighty car-warriors continued to
career, expecting to find each other’s lapses. Then wounded with shafts
sped from bows drawn to their fullest stretch the two warriors, O king,
looked resplendent like flowering Kinsukas. They then, O king, repeatedly
uttered leonine roars. Those two rulers of men, in that dreadful battle,
also made loud sounds with their palms and caused their bows to twang
loudly. And they blew their conchs too with great force. And they
afflicted each other very much. Then king Yudhishthira, filled with rage,
struck thy son in the chest with three irresistible shafts endued with
force of thunder. Him, however, thy royal son quickly pierced, in return,
with five keen shafts winged with gold and whetted on stone. Then king
Duryodhana, O Bharata, hurled a dart capable of slaying everybody,
exceedingly keen, and resembling a large blazing brand. As it advanced,
king Yudhishthira the just, with sharp shafts, speedily cut it off into
three fragments, and then pierced Duryodhana also with five arrows.
Equipped with golden staff, and producing a loud whizz, that dart then
fell down, and while falling, looked resplendent like a large brand with
blazing flames. Beholding the dart baffled, thy son, O monarch, struck
Yudhishthira with nine sharp and keen-pointed arrows. Pierced deeply by
his mighty foe, that scorcher of foes quickly took up an arrow for aiming
it at Duryodhana. The mighty Yudhishthira then placed that arrow on his
bow-string. Filled with rage and possessed of great valour, the son of
Pandu then shot it at his foe. That arrow, striking thy son, that mighty
car-warrior, stupefied him and then (passing through his body) entered
the Earth. Then Duryodhana, filled with wrath, uplifting a mace of great
impetuosity, rushed at king Yudhishthira the just, for ending the
hostilities (that raged between the Kurus and the Pandus). Beholding him
armed with that uplifted mace and resembling Yama himself with his
bludgeon, king Yudhishthira the just hurled at thy son a mighty dart
blazing with splendour, endued with great impetuosity, and looking like a
large blazing brand. Deeply pierced in the chest by that dart as he stood
on his car, the Kuru prince, deeply pained, fell down and swooned away.
Then Bhima, recollecting his own vow, addressed Yudhishthira, saying,
“This one should not be slain by thee, O king.” At this Yudhishthira
abstained from giving his foe the finishing blow. At that time
Kritavarma, quickly advancing, came upon thy royal son then sunk in an
ocean of calamity. Bhima then, taking up a mace adorned with gold and
flaxen chords, rushed impetuously towards Kritavarma in that battle. Thus
occurred the battle between thy troops and the foe on that afternoon, O
monarch, every one of the combatants being inspired with the desire of
victory.'”

30

“Sanjaya said, ‘Placing Karna at their van, thy warriors, difficult of
defeat in fight, returned and fought (with the foe) a battle that
resembled that between the gods and the Asuras. Excited by the loud
uproar made by elephants and men and cars and steeds and conchs,
elephant-men and car-warriors and foot-soldiers and horsemen, in large
numbers, filled with wrath advanced against the foe and slew the latter
with strokes of diverse kinds of weapons. Elephants and cars, steeds and
men, in that dreadful battle were destroyed by brave warriors with sharp
battle axes and swords and axes and shafts of diverse kinds and by means
also of their animals. Strewn with human heads that were adorned with
white teeth and fair faces and beautiful eyes and goodly noses, and
graced with beautiful diadems and earrings, and everyone of which
resembled the lotus, the Sun, or the Moon, the Earth looked exceedingly
resplendent. Elephants and men and steeds, by thousands, were slain with
hundreds of spiked clubs and short bludgeons and darts and lances and
hooks and Bhusundis and maces. The blood that fell formed a river like
currents on the field. In consequence of those car-warriors and men and
steeds and elephants slain by the foe, and lying with ghostly features
and gaping wounds, the field of battle looked like the domains of the
king of the dead at the time of universal dissolution. Then, O god among
men, thy troops, and those bulls amongst the Kurus, viz., thy sons
resembling the children of the celestials, with a host of warriors of
immeasurable might at their van, all proceeded against Satyaki, that bull
of Sini’s race. Thereupon that host, teeming with many foremost of men
and steeds and cars and elephants, producing an uproar loud as that of
the vast deep, and resembling the army of the Asuras or that of the
celestials, shone with fierce beauty. Then the son of Surya, resembling
the chief of the celestials himself in prowess and like unto the younger
brother of Indra, struck that foremost one of Sini’s race with shafts
whose splendour resembled the rays of the Sun. That bull of Sini’s race
also, in that battle, then quickly shrouded that foremost of men, with
his car and steeds and driver, with diverse kinds of shafts terrible as
the poison of the snake. Then many Atirathas belonging to thy army,
accompanied by elephants and cars and foot-soldiers, quickly approached
that bull among car-warriors, viz., Vasusena, when they beheld the latter
deeply afflicted with the shafts of that foremost hero of Sini’s race.
That force, however, vast as the ocean, assailed by foes possessed of
great quickness viz., the Pandava warriors headed by the sons of Drupada,
fled away from the field. At that time a great carnage occurred of men
and cars and steeds and elephants. Then those two foremost of men, viz.,
Arjuna and Keshava, having said their daily prayer and duly worshipped
the lord Bhava, quickly rushed against thy troops, resolved to slay those
foes of theirs. Their foes (i.e., the Kurus) cast their eyes cheerlessly
on that car whose rattle resembled the roar of the clouds and whose
banners waved beautifully in the air and which had white steeds yoked
unto it and which was coming towards them. Then Arjuna, bending Gandiva
and as if dancing on his car, filled the welkin and all the points of the
compass, cardinal and subsidiary, with showers of shafts, not leaving the
smallest space empty. Like the tempest destroying the clouds, the son of
Pandu destroyed with his arrows many cars looking like celestial
vehicles, that were well-adorned, and equipped with weapons and
standards, along with their drivers. Many elephants also, with the men
that guided them, adorned with truimphal banners and weapons, and many
horsemen with horses, and many foot-soldiers also, Arjuna despatched with
his arrows to Yama’s abode. Then Duryodhana singly proceeded against that
mighty car-warrior who was angry and irresistible and resembled a
veritable Yama, striking him with his straight shafts. Arjuna, cutting
off his adversary’s bow and driver and steeds and standard with seven
shafts, next cut off his umbrella with one arrow. Obtaining then an
opportunity, he sped at Duryodhana an excellent shaft, capable of taking
the life of the person struck. Drona’s son, however, cut off that shaft
into seven fragments. Cutting off then the bow of Drona’s son and slaying
the four steeds of the latter with his arrow, the son of Pandu next cut
off the formidable bow of Kripa too. Then cutting off the bow of
Hridika’s son, he felled the latter’s standard and steeds. Then cutting
off the bow of Duhshasana, he proceeded against the son of Radha. At
this, Karna, leaving Satyaki quickly pierced Arjuna with three arrows and
Krishna with twenty, and Partha again repeatedly. Although many were the
arrows that he shot while slaying his foes in that battle, like Indra
himself inspired with wrath, Karna yet felt no fatigue. Meanwhile
Satyaki, coming up, pierced Karna with nine and ninety fierce arrows, and
once more with a hundred. Then all the foremost heroes among the Parthas
began to afflict Karna. Yudhamanyu and Shikhandi and the sons of Draupadi
and the Prabhadrakas, and Uttamauja and Yuyutsu and the twins and
Dhrishtadyumna, and the divisions of the Cedis and the Karushas and the
Matsyas and Kaikeyas, and the mighty Chekitana, and king Yudhishthira of
excellent vows, all these, accompanied by cars and steeds and elephants,
and foot-soldiers of fierce prowess, encompassed Karna on all sides in
that battle, and showered upon him diverse kinds of weapons, addressing
him in harsh words and resolved to compass his destruction. Cutting off
that shower of weapons with his sharp shafts, Karna dispersed his
assailants by the power of his weapons like the wind breaking down the
trees that stand on its way. Filled with wrath, Karna was seen to destroy
car-warriors, and elephants with their riders, and horses with horse-men,
and large bands of foot-soldiers. Slaughtered by the energy of Karna’s
weapons, almost the whole of that force of the Pandavas, deprived of
weapons, and with limbs mangled and torn, retired from the field. Then
Arjuna, smiling the while, baffled with his own weapons the weapons of
Karna and covered the welkin, the Earth, and all the points of the
compass with dense shower of arrows. The shafts of Arjuna fell like heavy
clubs and spiked bludgeons. And some amongst them fell like Sataghnis and
some fell like fierce thunderbolts. Slaughtered therewith, the Kaurava
force consisting of infantry and horse and cars and elephants, shutting
its eyes, uttered loud wails of woe and wandered senselessly. Many were
the steeds and men and elephants that perished on that occasion. Many,
again, struck with shafts and deeply afflicted fled away in fear.

“‘Whilst thy warriors were thus engaged in battle from desire of victory,
the Sun approaching the Setting Mountain, entered it. In consequence of
the darkness, O king, but especially owing to the dust, we could not
notice anything favourable or unfavourable. The mighty bowmen (amongst
the Kauravas), fearing a night-battle, O Bharata, then retired from the
field, accompanied by all their combatants. Upon the retirement of the
Kauravas, O king, at the close of the day, the Parthas, cheerful at
having obtained the victory, also retired to their own encampment,
jeering at their enemies by producing diverse kinds of sounds with their
musical instruments, and applauding Acyuta and Arjuna. After those heroes
had thus withdrawn the army, all the troops and all the kings uttered
benediction upon the Pandavas. The withdrawal having been made, those
sinless men, the Pandavas, became very glad, and proceeding to their
tents rested there for the night. Then rakshasas and pishacas, and
carnivorous beasts, in large numbers came to that awful field of battle
resembling the sporting ground of Rudra himself.’

31

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘It seems that Arjuna slew all of you at his will.
Indeed, the Destroyer himself could not escape him in battle, if Arjuna
took up arms against Him. Single-handed, Partha ravished Bhadra, and
single-handed, he gratified Agni. Single-handed, he subjugated the whole
Earth, and made all the kings pay tribute. Single-handed, with his
celestial bow he slew the Nivatakavachas. Single-handed, he contended in
battle with Mahadeva who stood before him in the guise of a hunter.
Single-handed, he protected the Bharatas, and single-handed, he gratified
Bhava. Single-handed, were vanquished by him all the kings of the Earth
endued with fierce prowess. The Kurus cannot be blamed. On the other
hand, they deserve praise (for having fought with such a warrior). Tell
me now what they did. Tell me also, O Suta, what Duryodhana did after
that.’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Struck and wounded and overthrown from their vehicles and
divested of armour and deprived of weapons and their beasts slain, with
plaintive voices and burning with grief and vanquished by their foes, the
vain Kauravas, entering their tents once more took counsel of one
another. They then looked like snakes deprived of fangs and poison trod
upon by others. Unto them, Karna, sighing like an angry snake, squeezing
his hands, and eyeing thy son, said, “Arjuna is always careful, firm,
possessed of skill, and endued with intelligence. Again, when the time
comes, Vasudeva awakes him (to what should be done). Today, by that
sudden shower of weapons we were deceived by him. Tomorrow, however, O
lord of Earth, I will frustrate all his purposes.” Thus addressed by
Karna, Duryodhana said, “So be it,” and then granted permission to those
foremost of kings to retire. Bidden by the king, all those rulers
proceeded to their respective tents. Having passed the night happily,
they cheerfully went out for battle (the next day). They then beheld an
invincible array formed by king Yudhishthira the just, that foremost one
of Kuru race, with great care, and according to the sanction of
Brihaspati and Usanas. Then that slayer of foes, Duryodhana, called to
mind the heroic Karna, that counteractor of foes, that warrior with neck
like that of a bull, equal to Purandara himself in battle, the Maruts in
might, and Kartavirya in energy. Indeed, the heart of the king turned
towards Karna. And the hearts of all the troops also turned to that hero,
that Suta’s son, that mighty bowman, as one’s heart turns to a friend in
a situation of great danger.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘What did Duryodhana next do, O Suta, when the
hearts of all of you turned towards Vikarna’s son Karna? Did my troops
cast their eyes on Radha’s son like persons afflicted with cold turning
their gaze towards the Sun? Upon the recommencement of the battle after
the withdrawal of the troops, how, O Sanjaya, did Vikarna’s son Karna
fight? How also did all the Pandavas fight with the Suta’s son? The
mighty-armed Karna would, single-handed, slay the Parthas with the
Srinjayas. The might of Karna’s arms in battle equals that of Sakra or
Vishnu. His weapons are fierce, and the prowess also of that high-souled
one is fierce. Relying upon Karna, king Duryodhana had set his heart on
battle. Beholding Duryodhana deeply afflicted by the son of Pandu, and
seeing also the sons of Pandu displaying great prowess, what did that
mighty car-warrior, viz., Karna, do? Alas, the foolish Duryodhana,
relying on Karna, hopeth to vanquish the Parthas with their sons and
Keshava in battle! Alas, it is a matter of great grief that Karna could
not, with his strength, overcome the sons of Pandu in fight! Without
doubt, Destiny is supreme. Alas, the terrible end of that gambling match
hath now come! Alas, these heartrending sorrows, due to Duryodhana’s
acts, many in number and like unto terrible darts, are now being borne
by, me, O Sanjaya! O sire, Subala’s son used to be then regarded as a
politic person. Karna also is always exceedingly attached to king
Duryodhana. Alas, when such is the case, O Sanjaya, why have I then to
hear of the frequent defeats and deaths of my sons? There is no one that
can resist the Pandavas in battle. They penetrate into my army like a man
into the midst of helpless women. Destiny, indeed, is supreme.’

“Sanjaya said, ‘O king, think now of all those wrongful acts of thine
like that match at dice and the others–acts that have passed away from
the subjects of thought with man. One should not, however, reflect on
bygone acts. One may be ruined by such reflection. That result (which
thou hadst expected) is now much removed from the point of fruition,
since, although possessed of knowledge, thou didst not reflect on the
propriety or impropriety of thy acts then. Many a time wert thou, O king,
counselled against warring with the Pandavas. Thou didst not, however, O
monarch, accept those counsels, from folly. Diverse sinful acts of a
grave nature were perpetrated by thee against the sons of Pandu. For
those acts this awful slaughter of kings hath now come. All that,
however, is now past. Do not grieve, O bull of Bharata’s race. O thou of
unfading glory, listen now to the details of the awful carnage that has
occurred.

“‘When the night dawned, Karna repaired to king Duryodhana. Approaching
the king, the mighty-armed hero said, “I shall, O king, engage in battle
today the illustrious son of Pandu. Either I will slay that hero today,
or he will slay me. In consequence of the diverse things both myself and
Partha had to do, O Bharata, an encounter, O king, could not hitherto
take place between myself and Arjuna! Listen now, O monarch, to these
words of mine, spoken according to my wisdom. Without slaying Partha in
battle I will not come back, O Bharata. Since this army of ours hath been
deprived of its foremost warriors, and since I will stand in battle,
Partha will advance against me, especially because I am destitute of the
dart Sakra gave me. Therefore, O ruler of men, listen now to what is
beneficial. The energy of my celestial weapons is equal to the energy of
Arjuna’s weapons. In counteracting the feats of powerful foes, in
lightness of hands, in range of the arrows shot, in skill, and in hitting
the mark, Savyasaci is never my equal. In physical strength, in courage,
in knowledge of (weapons), in prowess, O Bharata, in aiming, Savyasaci is
never my equal. My bow, called Vijaya, is the foremost of all weapons (of
its kind). Desirous of doing what was agreeable (to Indra), it was made
by Vishakarman (the celestial artificer) for Indra. With that bow, O
king, Indra had vanquished the Daityas. At its twang the Daityas beheld
the ten points to be empty. That bow, respected by all, Sakra gave to
Bhrigu’s son (Rama). That celestial and foremost of bows Bhrigu’s son
gave to me. With that bow I will contend in battle with the mighty-armed
Arjuna, that foremost of victorious warriors, like Indra fighting with
the assembled Daityas. That formidable bow, the gift of Rama, is superior
to Gandiva. It was with that bow that the Earth was subjugated thrice
seven times (by Bhrigu’s son). With that bow given to me by Rama I will
contend in battle with the son of Pandu. I will, O Duryodhana, gladden
thee today with thy friends, by slaying in battle that hero, viz.,
Arjuna, that foremost of conquerors. The whole Earth with her mountains
and forest and islands, without a heroic warrior (to oppose thy wish),
will, O king, become thine today, over which thyself with thy sons and
grandsons will reign supreme. Today there is nothing that is incapable of
being achieved by me, especially when the object is to do what is
agreeable to thee, even as success is incapable of being missed by an
ascetic zealously devoted to virtue and having his soul under control.
Arjuna will not be able to bear me in battle, even as a tree in contact
with fire is incapable of bearing that element. I must, however, declare
in what respect I am inferior to Arjuna. The string of his bow is
celestial, and the two large quivers of his are inexhaustible. His driver
is Govinda. I have none like him. His is that celestial and foremost of
bows, called Gandiva, which is irrefragible in battle. I also have that
excellent, celestial, and formidable bow called Vijaya. In respect of our
bows, therefore, O king, I am superior to Arjuna. Listen now to those
matters in which the heroic son of Pandu is superior to me. The holder of
the reins (of his steeds) is he of Dasharha’s race who is adored by all
the worlds. His celestial car decked with gold, given unto him by Agni,
is impenetrable in every part, and his steeds also, O hero, are endued
with the speed of the mind. His celestial standard, bearing the blazing
Ape, is exceedingly wonderful. Again, Krishna, who is Creator of the
universe, protects that car. Though inferior to Arjuna in respect of
these things, I still desire to fight with him. This Shalya, however, the
ornament of assemblies, is equal to Saurin. If he becomes my driver,
victory will certainly be thine. Let Shalya, therefore, who is incapable
of being resisted by foes be the driver of my car. Let a large number of
carts bear my long shafts and those that are winged with vulturine
feathers. Let a number of foremost cars, O monarch, with excellent steeds
yoked unto them, always follow me, O bull of Bharata’s race. By these
arrangements I will, as regards the qualities mentioned, be superior to
Arjuna. Shalya is superior to Krishna, and I am superior to Arjuna. As
that slayer of foes, viz., he of Dasharha’s race, is acquainted with
horselore, even so is that mighty car-warrior, viz., Shalya acquainted
with horselore. There is none equal to the chief of the Madras in might
of arms. As there is none equal to myself in weapons, so there is none
equal to Shalya in knowledge of steeds. So circumstanced, I will become
superior to Partha. Against my car, the very gods with Vasava at their
head will not dare advance. All these being attended to, when I take my
stand on my car, I will become superior to Arjuna in the attributes of
warrior and will then, O best of the Kurus, vanquish Phalguna. I desire,
O monarch, all this to be done by thee, O scorcher of foes. Let these
wishes of mine be accomplished. Let no time be suffered to elapse. If all
this be accomplished, the most effectual aid will be rendered to me on
every desirable point. Thou wilt then see, O Bharata, what I will achieve
in battle. I will by every means vanquish the sons of Pandu in battle
when they will approach me. The very gods and Asuras are not able to
advance against me in battle. What need be said then of the sons of Pandu
that are of human origin?'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Thus addressed by that ornament of battle, viz.,
Karna, thy son, worshipping the son of Radha, answered him, with a glad
heart, saying, “Accomplish that, O Karna, which thou thinkest. Equipped
with goodly quivers and steeds, such cars shall follow thee in battle.
Let as many cars as thou wishest bear thy long shafts and arrows equipped
with vulturine feathers. Ourselves, as also all the kings, O Karna will,
follow thee in battle.'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Having said these words, thy royal son, endued with
great prowess, approached the ruler of the Madras and addressed him in
the following words.'”

32

“Sanjaya said, ‘Thy son then, O monarch, humbly approaching that mighty
car-warrior, viz., the ruler of the Madras, addressed him, from
affection, in these words, “O thou of true vows, O thou of great good
fortune, O enhancer of the sorrows of foes, O ruler of the Madras, O hero
in battle, O thou that inspirest hostile troops with fear, thou hast
heard, O foremost of speakers, how, for the sake of Karna who spoke unto
me, I myself am desirous of soliciting thee among all these lions of
kings. O thou of incomparable prowess, O king of the Madras, for the
destruction of the foe, I solicit thee today, with humility and bow of
the head. Therefore, for the destruction of Partha and for my good, it
behoveth thee, O foremost of car-warriors, to accept, from love, the
office of charioteer. With thee for his driver, the son of Radha will
subjugate my foes. There is none else for holding the reins of Karna’s
steeds, except thee, O thou of great good fortune, thou that art the
equal of Vasudeva in battle. Protect Karna then by every means like
Brahma protecting Maheswara. Even as he of Vrishni’s race protects by
every means the son of Pandu in all dangers, do thou, O chief of the
Madras, protect the son of Radha today. Bhishma, and Drona, and Kripa,
and thyself and the valiant ruler of the Bhojas, and Shakuni the son of
Subala, and Drona’s son and myself, constituted the chief strength of our
army. Even thus, O lord of Earth, we had divided amongst ourselves the
hostile army into portion for the share of each. The share that had been
allotted to Bhishma is now no more as also that which had been allotted
to the high-souled Drona. Going even beyond their allotted shares, those
two slew my foes. Those two tigers among men, however, were old, and both
of them have been slain deceitfully. Having achieved the most difficult
feats, both of them, O sinless one, have departed hence to heaven.
Similarly, many other tigers among men, of our army, slain by foes in
battle, have ascended to heaven, casting off their lives and having made
great exertions to the best of their powers. This my host, therefore, O
king, the greater portion of which has been slaughtered, has been reduced
to this state by the Parthas who were at first fewer than us. What should
be done for the present? Do that now, O lord of Earth, by which the
mighty and the high-souled sons of Kunti, of prowess incapable of being
baffled, may be prevented from exterminating the remnant of my host. O
lord, the Pandavas have in battle slain the bravest warriors of this my
force. The mighty-armed Karna alone is devoted to our good, as also
thyself, O tiger among men, that art the foremost of car-warriors in the
whole world. O Shalya, Karna wishes to contend in battle today with
Arjuna. On him, O ruler of the Madras, my hopes of victory are great.
There is none else in the world (save thee) that can make so good a
holder of the reins for Karna. As Krishna is the foremost of all holders
of reins for Partha in battle, even so, O king, be thou the foremost of
all holders of reins for Karna’s car. Accompanied and protected, O sire,
by him in battle, the feats that Partha achieve are all before thee.
Formerly, Arjuna had never slain his foes in battle in such a way. Now
however, his prowess has become great, united as he is with Krishna. Day
after day, O ruler of the Madras, this vast Dhritarashtra force is seen
to be routed by Partha because he is united with Krishna. A portion
remains of the share allotted to Karna and thyself, O thou of great
splendour. Bear that share with Karna, and destroy it unitedly in battle.
Even as Surya, uniting with Aruna, destroys the darkness, do thou,
uniting with Karna, slay Partha in battle. Let the mighty car-warriors
(of the enemy), fly away, beholding in battle those two warriors endued
with the effulgence of the morning sun, viz., Karna and Shalya,
resembling two Suns risen above the horizon. Even as darkness is
destroyed, O sire, at the sight of Surya and Aruna, even so let the
Kaunteyas (Pandavas) with the Pancalas and the Srinjayas perish beholding
thee and Karna. Karna is the foremost of car-warriors, and thou art the
foremost of drivers. In the clash of battle, again there is none equal to
thee. As he of Vrishni’s race protects the son of Pandu under all
circumstances, even so let thyself protect Vikarna’s son Karna in battle.
With thee as his driver, Karna will become invincible, O king, in battle
even with the gods having Sakra at their head! What then need be said
about the Pandavas? Do not doubt my words.'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Hearing these words of Duryodhana, Shalya, became
filled with rage. Contracting his brow into three lines, and waving his
arms repeatedly, and rolling his large eyes red in wrath, that warrior of
massive arms proud of his lineage and wealth and knowledge and strength,
said these words:

“‘Shalya said “Thou insultest me, O son of Gandhari, or without doubt
suspectest me, since thou solicitest me, without hesitation, saying, ‘Act
thou as a driver.’ Regarding Karna to be superior to ourselves, thou
applaudest him thus. I, however, do not regard the son of Radha as my
equal in battle. Assign to me a much greater share, O lord of Earth.
Destroying that in battle, I will return to the place I come from. Or, if
thou wishest, I will, O delighter of the Kurus, contend, single-handed,
with the enemy. While engaged in consuming the foe, behold thou my
prowess today. Brooding upon an insult, O thou of Kuru’s race, a person
like ourselves never engageth in my task. Do not have thy doubts about
me. Never shouldst thou humiliate me in battle. Behold these two massive
arms of mine, strong as the thunder. Behold also my excellent bow, and
these shafts that resemble snakes of virulent poison. Behold my car, unto
which are yoked excellent steeds endued with the speed of the wind.
Behold also, O son of Gandhari, my mace decked with gold and twined with
hempen chords. Filled with wrath, I can split the very Earth, scatter the
mountains, and dry up the oceans, with my own energy, O king. Knowing me,
O monarch, to be so capable, of afflicting the foe, why dost thou appoint
me to the office of driver in battle for such a low-born person as
Adhiratha’s son? It behoveth thee not, O king of kings, to set me to such
mean tasks! Being so superior, I cannot make up my mind to obey the
commands of a sinful person. He that causeth a superior person arrived of
his own will and obedient from love, to yield to a sinful wight,
certainly incurreth the sin of confusing the superior with the inferior.
Brahman created the brahmanas from his mouth, and the kshatriyas from his
arms. He created the Vaishyas from his thighs and the Shudras from his
feet. In consequence of the intermixture of those four orders, O Bharata,
from those four have sprung particular classes, viz., those born of men
of superior classes wedding women of classes inferior to themselves, and
vice versa. The kshatriyas have been described to be protectors (of the
other classes) acquirers of wealth and givers of the same. The brahmanas
have been established on the Earth for the sake of favouring its people
by assisting at sacrifices, by teaching and acceptance of pure gifts.
Agriculture and tending of cattle and gift are the occupations of the
Vaishyas according to the scriptures. Shudras have been ordained to be
the servants of the brahmanas, the kshatriyas, and the vaishyas.
Similarly, the Sutas are the servants of kshatriyas, and not latter the
servants of the former. Listen to these my words, O sinless one. As
regards myself, I am one whose coronal locks have undergone the sacred
bath. I am born in a race of royal sages. I am reckoned a great
car-warrior. I deserve the worship and the praises that bards and
eulogists render and sing. Being all this, O slayer of hostile troops, I
cannot go to the extent of acting as the driver of the Suta’s son in
battle. I will never fight, undergoing an act of humiliation. I ask thy
permission, O son of Gandhari, for returning home.”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Having said these words that tiger among men and
ornament of assemblies, viz., Shalya, filled with rage stood up quickly
and endeavoured to get away from that concourse of kings. Thy son,
however, from affection and great regard, held the king, and addressed
him in these sweet and conciliatory words, that were capable of
accomplishing every object, “Without doubt, O Shalya, it is even so as
thou hast said. But I have a certain purpose in view. Listen to it, O
ruler of men, Karna is not superior to thee, nor do I suspect thee, O
king. The royal chief of the Madras will never do that which is false.
Those foremost of men that were thy ancestors always told the truth. I
think it is for this that thou art called Artayani (the descendant of
those that had truth for their refuge). And since, O giver of honours,
thou art like a barbed arrow to thy foes, therefore art thou called by
the name of Shalya on earth. O thou that makest large present (to
brahmanas) at sacrifices, do thou accomplish all that which, O virtuous
one, thou hadst previously said thou wouldst accomplish. Neither the son
of Radha nor myself am superior to thee in valour that I would select
thee as the driver of those foremost of steeds (that are yoked unto
Karna’s car). As, however, O sire, Karna is superior to Dhananjaya in
regard to many qualities, even so doth the world regard thee to be
superior to Vasudeva. Karna is certainly superior to Partha in the matter
of weapons, O bull among men. Thou too art superior to Krishna in
knowledge of steeds and might. Without doubt O ruler of the Madras, thy
knowledge of horse is double that which the high-souled Vasudeva hath.”

“‘Shalya said, “Since, O son of Gandhari, thou describest me, O thou of
Kuru’s race, in the midst of all these troops, to be superior to Devaki’s
son, I am gratified with thee. I will become the driver of Radha’s son of
great fame while he will be engaged in battle with the foremost one of
Pandu’s sons, as thou solicitest me. Let this, however, O hero, be my
understanding with Vikartana’s son that I will in his presence utter
whatever speeches I desire.'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘O king, thy son, with Karna then, O Bharata,
answered the prince of the Madras, O best of Bharata’s race, saying, “So
be it.”‘”

33

“‘Duryodhana said, “Listen, once more, O ruler of the Madras, to what I
will say unto thee, about what happened, O lord, in the battle between
the gods and the Asuras in days of yore. The great rishi Markandeya
narrated it to my sire. I will now recite it without leaving out
anything, O best of royal sages. Listen to that account confidingly and
without mistrusting it at all. Between the gods and the Asuras, each
desirous of vanquishing the other, there happened a great battle, O king,
which had Taraka for its evil (root). It hath been heard by us that the
Daityas were defeated by the gods. Upon the defeat of the Daityas, the
three sons of Taraka, named Tarakaksha, Kamalaksha and Vidyunmalin, O
king, practising the austerest penances, lived in the observance of high
vows. By those penances they emaciated their bodies, O scorcher of foes.
In consequence of their self-restraint, their penances, their vows and
contemplation, the boongiving Grandsire became gratified with them and
gave them boons. Unitedly they solicited the Grandsire of all the worlds,
O king, for the boon of immunity from death at the hands of all Creatures
of all times. The divine Lord and Master of all the worlds said unto
them, ‘There is nothing like immunity from death at the hands of all
creatures. Therefore, ye Asuras, abstain from such a prayer. Solicit some
other boon that may seem desirable to you.’ When all of them, O king,
having settled it amongst themselves after long and repeated conferences,
bowed to the great Master of all the worlds and said these words, ‘O god,
O Grandsire, give us this boon. Residing in three cities, we will rove
over this Earth, with thy grace ever before us. After a 1,000 years then,
we will come together, and our three cities also, O sinless one, will
become united into one. That foremost one amongst the gods who will, with
one shaft, pierce those three cities united into one, will, O lord, be
the cause of our destruction.’ Saying unto them, ‘Let it be so,’ that god
ascended to heaven. Those Asuras then, filled with joy at having obtained
those boons and having settled it among themselves about the construction
of the three cities, selected for the purpose the great Asura Maya, the
celestial artificer, knowing no fatigue or decay, and worshipped by all
the daityas and danavas. Then Maya, of great intelligence, by the aid of
his own ascetic merit, constructed three cities, one of which was of
gold, another of silver, and the third of black iron. The golden city was
set in heaven, the silver city in the welkin, and the iron city was set
on the Earth, all in such a way as to revolve in a circle, O lord of
Earth. Each of those cities measured a hundred yojanas in breadth and a
hundred in length. And they consisted of houses and mansions and lofty
walls and porches. And though teeming with lordly palaces close to each
other, yet the streets were wide and spacious. And they were adorned with
diverse mansions and gate-ways. Each of those cities, again, O monarch,
had a separate king. The beautiful city of gold belonged to the
illustrious Tarakaksha: the silver city to Kamalaksha, and the iron one
to Vidyunmalin. Those three Daitya kings, soon assailing the three worlds
with their energy, continued to dwell and reign, and began to say, ‘Who
is he called the Creator?’ Unto those foremost of Danavas having no
heroes equal to them, came from every side millions upon millions, of
proud and flesh-eating Danavas who had before been defeated by the
celestials, and who now settled in the three cities, desirous of great
prosperity. Unto all of them thus united, Maya became the supplier of
every thing they wanted. Relying upon him, all of them resided there, in
perfect fearlessness. Whoever amongst those residing in the triple city
wished for any object in his heart had his wish fulfilled by Maya aided
by the latter’s powers of illusion. Tarakaksha had a heroic and mighty
son named Hari. He underwent the austerest of penances, upon which the
Grandsire became gratified with him. When the god was gratified, Hari
solicited a boon of him, saying, ‘Let a lake start into existence in our
city, such that persons, slain by means of weapons, may, when thrown into
it, come out with life, and with redoubled strength.’ Obtaining this
boon, the heroic Hari, son of Tarakaksha, created a lake, O lord, in his
city, that was capable of reviving the dead. In whatever form and
whatever guise a Daitya might have been slain, if thrown into that lake,
he was restored to life, in the self-same form and guise. Obtaining alive
the slain among them, the Daityas began to afflict the three worlds.
Crowned with success by means of austere penances, those enhancers of the
fears of the gods sustained, O king, no diminution in battle. Stupefied
then by covetousness and folly, and deprived of their senses, all of them
began to shamelessly exterminate the cities and towns established all
over the universe. Filled with pride at the boons they had received, and
driving before them, at all times and from all places, the gods with
their attendants, they roamed at will over celestial forests and other
realms dear to the denizens of heaven and the delightful and sacred
asylums of rishis. And the wicked Danavas ceased to show any respect for
anybody. While the worlds were thus afflicted, Sakra, surrounded by the
Maruts, battled against the three cities by hurling his thunder upon them
from every side. When, however, Purandra failed to pierce those cities
made impenetrable, O king, by the Creator with his boons, the chief of
celestials, filled with fear, and leaving those cities, repaired with
those very gods to that chastiser of foes, viz., the Grandsire, for
representing unto him the oppressions committed by the Asuras.
Representing everything and bowing with their heads unto him, they asked
the divine Grandsire the means by which the triple city could be
destroyed. The illustrious Deity, hearing the words of Indra, told the
gods, ‘He that is an offender against you offends against me also. The
Asuras are all of wicked souls and always hate the gods. They that give
pain to you always offend against me. I am impartial to all creatures.
There is no doubt in this. For all that, however, they that are
unrighteous should be slain. This is my fixed vow. Those three forts are
to be pierced with one shaft. By no other means can their destruction be
effected. None else, save Sthanu, is competent to pierce them with one
shaft. Ye Adityas, select Sthanu, otherwise called Ishana and Jishnu, who
is never fatigued with work, as your warrior. It is he that will destroy
those asuras.’ Hearing these words of his, the gods with Sakra at their
head, making Brahman take their lead, sought the protection of the Deity
having the bull for his mark. Those righteous ones accompanied by rishis
devoted to the severest penances and uttering the eternal words of the
Vedas, sought Bhava with their whole soul. And they praised, O king, in
the high words of the Vedas, that dispeller of fears in all situations of
fear that Universal Soul, that Supreme Soul, that One by whom All this is
pervaded with his Soul. Then the gods who, by special penances, had
learnt to still all the functions of his Soul and to withdraw Soul from
Matter,–they who had their soul always under control–beheld him, called
Ishana,–that lord of Uma, that mass of energy, that is, who hath no
equal in the universe, that source (of everything), that sinless Self.
Though that Deity is one they had imagined him to be of various forms.
Beholding in that high-souled one those diverse forms that each had
individually conceived in own heart, all of them became filled with
wonder. Beholding that Unborn one, that Lord of the universe, to be the
embodiment of all creatures, the gods and the regenerate Rishis, all
touched the Earth with their heads. Saluting them with the word ‘Welcome’
and raising them from their bent attitudes, the illustrious Sankara
addressed them smilingly, saying, ‘Tell us the object of your visit.’
Commanded by the Three-eyed god, their hearts became easy. They then said
these words unto him, ‘Our repeated salutations to thee, O Lord.
Salutations to thee that art the source of all the gods, to thee that art
armed with the bow, to thee that art full of wrath. Salutations to thee
that hadst destroyed the sacrifice of that lord of creatures (viz.,
Daksha) to thee that art adored by all the lords of creatures.
Salutations to thee that art always praised, to thee that deservest to be
praised, to thee that art Death’s self. Salutations to thee that art red,
to thee that art fierce, to thee that art blue-throated, to thee that art
armed with the trident, to thee that art incapable of being baffled, to
thee that hast eyes as beautiful as those of the gazelle, to thee that
fightest with the foremost of weapons, to thee that deservest all praise,
to thee that art pure, to thee that art destruction’s self, to thee that
art the destroyer; to thee that art irresistible, to thee that art
Brahman, to thee that leadest the life of a brahmacari; to thee that art
Ishana; to thee that art immeasurable, to thee that art the great
controller, to thee that art robed in tatters; to thee that art ever
engaged in penances, to thee that art tawny, to thee that art observant
of vows, to thee that art robed in animal skins; to thee that art the
sire of Kumara, to thee that art three-eyed, to thee that art armed with
the foremost of weapons, to thee that destroyest the afflictions of all
that seek thy shelter, to thee that destroyest all haters of brahmanas,
to thee that art the lord of all trees, the lord of all men, the lord of
all kine, and ever the lord of sacrifices. Salutations to thee that art
always at the head of troops, to thee that art three-eyed, to thee that
art endued with fierce energy. We devote ourselves to thee in thought,
word and deed. Be gracious unto us.’ Gratified with these adorations, the
holy one, saluting them with the word ‘Welcome’ said unto them, ‘Let your
fears be dispelled. Say, what we are to do for you?'”‘”

34

“‘Duryodhana said, “After the fears of those throngs of the pitris, the
gods, and the Rishis had thus been dispelled by that high-souled Deity,
Brahman then offered his adorations, unto Sankara, and said these words
for the benefit of the universe, ‘Through thy favour, O Lord of all, the
Lordship of all creatures is mine. Occupying that rank, I have given a
great boon to the Danavas. It behoveth none else, save thee, O Lord of
the Past and the Future, to destroy those wicked wights that show no
regard for any one. Thou O god, art the only person competent to slay the
foes of these denizens of heaven that have sought thy protection and that
solicit thee. O lord of all the gods, show favour to these. Slay the
Danavas, O wielder of the trident. O giver of honours, let the universe,
through thy grace, obtain happiness. O Lord of all the worlds, thou art
the one whose shelter should be sought. We all seek thy shelter.’

“‘”Sthanu said, ‘All your foes should be slain. But, I shall not however,
slay them single-handed. The enemies of the gods are possessed of might.
Therefore, all of you, united together, consume those enemies of yours in
battle, with half my might. Union is great strength.’

“‘”The gods said, ‘Theirs (Danavas’) is twice the energy and might of
ourselves, we think, for we have already seen their energy and might.’

“‘”The holy one said, ‘Those sinful wights that have offended against ye
should be slain. With half of my energy and might, slay all those enemies
of yours.’

“‘”The gods said, ‘We will not be able, O Maheswara, to bear half of thy
energy. With, on the other hand, half of our united might, do thou slay
those foes.’

“‘”The holy one said, ‘If, indeed, ye have not the ability to bear half
of my might, then, endued with half of your united energy, I will slay
them.’

“‘Duryodhana continued, “The celestials then, addressing the god of gods,
said ‘So be it’ O best of kings. Taking half of their energies from all
of them, he became superior in might. Indeed, in might that god became
superior to all in the universe. From that time Sankara came to be called
Mahadeva. And Mahadeva then said, ‘Armed with bow and shaft, I will, from
my car, slay in battle those foes of yours, ye denizens of heaven.
Therefore, ye gods, see now to my car and bow and shaft so that I may,
this very day, throw the Asuras down on the Earth.’

“‘”The gods said, ‘Gathering all forms that may be found in the three
worlds and taking portions of each, we will each, O Lord of the gods,
construct a car of great energy for thee. It will be a large car, the
handiwork of Viswakarman, designed with intelligence.’ Saying this, those
tigers among the gods began the construction of that car. And they made
Vishnu and Soma and Hutasana the arrow for Sankara’s use. Agni became the
staff, and Soma became the head, and Vishnu the point, O king, of that
foremost of arrows. The goddess Earth, with her large cities and towns,
her mountains and forests and islands, that home of diverse creatures,
was made the car. The Mandara mountain was made its axle; and the great
river Ganga was made its Jangha; and the points of the compass, cardinal
and subsidiary became the ornaments of the car. The constellations became
its shaft; the Krita age became its yoke; and that best of Snakes, viz.,
Vasuki, became the Kuvara of that car. Himavat and Vindhya mountains
became its Apaskara and Adhishthana; and the Udaya and the Asta mountains
were made the wheels of that car by those foremost ones among the gods.
They made the excellent Ocean, that abode of the Danavas its other axle.
The seven Rishis became the protectors of the wheels of that car. Ganga
and Sarasvati and Sindhu and the Sky became its Dhura; all the other
rivers and all the waters became the chords for binding the several limbs
of that car. Day and Night and the other divisions of time such as Kalas
and Kasthas, and the Seasons became its Amukarsha. The blazing planets
and the stars became its wooden fence; Religion, Profit, and Pleasure,
united together, became its Trivenu. The herbs and the creepers, decked
with flowers and fruits, became its bells. Making the Sun and the Moon
equal, these were made the (other two) wheels of that foremost of cars.
Day and Night were made its auspicious wings on the right and left. The
ten foremost of snakes having Dhritarashtra for their first, all
exceedingly strong, formed the (other) shaft of that car. The Sky was
made its (other) yoke, and the clouds called Samvartaka and Valahaka were
the leathern strings of the yoke. The two Twilights and Dhritri and Medha
and Sthiti and Sannati, and the firmament bespangled with planets and
stars, were made the skins for covering that car. Those Regents of the
world, viz., the Lords of the gods, of the waters, of the dead, and of
treasures, were made the steeds of that car. Kalaprishtha, and Nahusha,
and Karkotaka, and Dhananjaya and the other snakes became the chords for
binding the manes of the steeds. The cardinal and the subsidiary
directions became the reins of the steeds of that car. The Vedic sound
Vashat became the goad, and Gayatri became the string attached to that
goad. The four auspicious days were made the traces of the steeds, and
the pitris presiding over them were made the hooks and pins. Action and
truth and ascetic penances and profit were made the chords of that car.
The Mind became the ground upon which that car stood, and Speech the
tracks upon which it was to proceed. Beautiful banners of various hues
waved in the air. With lightning and Indra’s bow attached to it, that
blazing car gave fierce light. That space of time which, on a former
occasion, had, in the Sacrifice of the high-souled Ishana, been fixed as
a Year, became the bow, and the goddess Savitri became the loud-sounding
bow-string. A celestial coat of mail was made, decked with costly gems,
and impenetrable and effulgent, sprung from the wheel of Time. That
golden mountain, viz., the beautiful Meru, became the flagstaff, and the
clouds decked with flashes of lightning became its banners. Thus
equipped, that car shone brilliantly like a blazing fire in the midst of
the priests officiating at a sacrifice. Beholding that car properly
equipped, the gods became filled with wonder. Seeing the energies of the
entire universe united together in one place, O sire, the gods wondered,
and at last represented unto that illustrious Deity that the car was
ready. After, O monarch, that best of cars had thus been constructed by
the gods, O tiger among men, for grinding their foes, Sankara placed upon
it his own celestial weapons. Making the sky its flagstaff, he placed
upon it his bovine bull. The Brahmana’s rod, the rod of Death, Rudra’s
rod, and Fever became the protectors of the sides of that car and stood
with faces turned towards all sides. Atharvan and Angirasa became the
protectors of the car-wheels of that illustrious warrior. The Rigveda,
the Samaveda, and the Puranas stood in advance of that car. The histories
and the Yajurveda became the protectors of the rear. All sacred Speeches
and all the Sciences stood around it, and all hymns, O monarch, and the
Vedic sound of Vashat also. And the syllable Om, O king, standing in the
van of that car, made it exceedingly beautiful. Having made the Year
adorned with the six seasons his bow, he made his own shadow the
irrefragable string of that bow in that battle. The illustrious Rudra is
Death’s self. The Year became his bow; Kala Ratri the Death-night
therefore, which is Rudra’s shadow, became the indestructible string of
that bow. Vishnu and Agni and Soma became (as already said) the arrow.
The universe is said to consist of Agni and Soma. The universe is
similarly said to consist of Vishnu. Vishnu is, again, the Soul of the
holy Bhava of immeasurable energy. For this the touch of that bow-string
became unbearable to the Asuras. And the lord Sankara cast on that arrow
his own irresistible and fierce wrath, the unbearable fire of anger,
viz., that which was born of wrath of Bhrigu and Angirasa. Then He called
Nila Rohita (Blue and Red or smoke)–that terrible deity robed in
skins,–looking like 10,000 Suns, and shrouded by the fire of
superabundant Energy, blazed up with splendour. That discomfiter of even
him that is difficult of being discomfited, that victor, that slayer of
all haters of Brahma, called also Hara, that rescuer of the righteous and
destroyer of the unrighteous, viz., the illustrious Sthanu, accompanied
by many beings of terrible might and terrible forms that were endued with
the speed of the mind and capable of agitating and crushing all foes, as
if with all the fourteen faculties of the soul awake about him, looked
exceedingly resplendent. Having his limbs for their refuge, this entire
universe of mobile and immobile creatures that were present there, O
king, looked beautiful, presenting a highly wonderful appearance.
Beholding that car, duly equipped, he cased himself in mail and armed
himself with the bow, and took up that celestial shaft born of Soma and
Vishnu and Agni. The gods, O king, then commanded that foremost of
celestials, viz., Wind, to breathe after that puissant Deity all the
fragrance that he carries. Then Mahadeva, terrifying the very gods, and
making the very Earth tremble, ascended that car resolutely. Then the
great Rishis, the Gandharvas, those throngs of gods and those diverse
tribes of Apsaras began to praise that Lord of the gods while he was
about to ascend that car. Adored by the regenerate Rishis, and praised by
the eulogists and diverse tribes of dancing Apsaras well-versed in the
art of dancing, that boon-giving lord, armed with scimitar and arrow and
bow, looked very beautiful. Smiling, he then asked the gods, ‘Who will
become my driver?’ The gods answered him, saying, ‘He whom thou wilt
appoint, will, O Lord of the gods, without doubt, become thy driver!’
Unto them the god replied, ‘Reflecting yourselves, without delay make him
my driver who is superior to me!’ Hearing these words uttered by that
high-souled Deity, the gods repaired unto the Grandsire and inclining him
to grace, said these words, ‘We have accomplished everything, O holy one,
that thou hadst ordered us to do in the matter of afflicting the foes of
celestials. The Deity having the bull for his mark has been gratified
with us. A car hath been constructed by us, equipped with many wonderful
weapons. We do not, however, know who is to become the driver of that
foremost of cars. Therefore, let some foremost one among the gods be
appointed as the driver. O holy one, it behoveth thee to make true those
words that thou, O lord, hadst then said to us. Before this, O god, thou
hadst even said to us that thou wouldst do us good. It behoveth thee to
accomplish that promise. That irresistible and best of cars, that router
of our foes, hath been constructed out of the component parts of the
celestials. The Deity armed with Pinaka hath been made the warrior who is
to stand on it. Striking the Danavas with fear, he is prepared for
battle. The four Vedas have become the four foremost of steeds. With her
mountains, the Earth has become the car of that high-souled one. The
stars have become the adornments of that vehicle. (As already said) Hara
is the warrior. We do not, however, see who is to become the driver. A
driver should be sought for that car who is superior to all these. Equal
to thee in importance is that car, O god, and Hara is the warrior.
Armour, and weapons, and bow, these we have got already, O Grandsire.
Except thee, we do not behold any person that can make its driver. Thou
art endued with every accomplishment. Thou, O lord, art superior to all
the gods. Mounting upon that car with speed, hold the reins of those
foremost of steeds, for the victory of the celestials and the destruction
of their foes.’ It has been heard by us that bowing with their heads unto
the Grandsire that Lord of the three worlds, the gods sought to gratify
him for inducing him to accept the drivership.

“‘”The Grandsire said, ‘There is nothing of untruth in all this that ye
have said, ye denizens of heaven. I will hold the reins of the steeds for
Kapaddin while he will be engaged in fight.’ Then that illustrious god,
that Creator of the worlds, the Grandsire, was appointed by the gods as
the driver of the high-souled Ishana. And when he was about to ascend
quickly upon that car worshipped by all, those steeds, endued with the
speed of the wind, bowed themselves with their heads to the Earth. Having
ascended the car the illustrious Deity, viz., the Grandsire resplendent
with his own energy, took the reins and the goad. Then the illustrious
god, raising those steeds addressed that foremost one among the gods,
viz., Sthanu, saying, ‘Ascend.’ Then, taking that arrow composed of
Vishnu and Soma and Agni, Sthanu ascended the car, causing the foe to
tremble by means of his bow. The great Rishis, the Gandharvas, the
throngs of gods, and the diverse tribes of Apsaras, then praised that
Lord of the gods after he had ascended the car. Resplendent with beauty,
the boon-giving Lord, armed with scimitar, shaft, and bow, stayed on the
car causing the three worlds to blaze forth with his own energy. The
great Deity once more said unto the gods headed by Indra, ‘Ye should
never grieve, doubting my ability to destroy the Asura. Know that the
Asuras have already been slain by means of this arrow’. The gods then
answered, saying, ‘It is true! The Asuras have already been slain.’
Indeed, the gods thinking that the words which the divine Lord had said
could not be untrue, became exceedingly gratified. Then that Lord of the
gods proceeded surrounded by all the gods, upon that large car, O king,
which had nothing to compare with it. And the illustrious Deity was
adored, all the while by the attendants that always wait upon him, and by
others that subsisted on meat, that were invincible in battle, and that
danced in joy on the present occasion, running wildly on all sides and
shouting at one another, Rishis also, of great good fortune, possessed of
ascetic merit and endued with high qualities, as also the gods, wished
for Mahadeva’s success. When that boon-giving Lord, that dispeller of the
fears of the three worlds, thus proceeded, the entire universe, all the
gods, O best of men, became exceedingly gratified. And the Rishis there
adored the Lord of the gods with diverse hymns, and enhancing his energy,
O king, took up their station there. And millions upon millions of
Gandharvas played upon diverse kinds of musical instruments at the hour
of his setting out. When the boon-giving Brahman, having ascended the
car, set out for the Asuras, the Lord of the Universe, smiling the while,
said, ‘Excellent, Excellent! Proceed, O god, to the spot where the
Daityas are. Urge the steeds wakefully. Behold today the might of arms
while I slay the foe in battle.’ Thus addressed, Brahman urged those
steeds endued with the fleetness of the wind or thought towards that spot
where the triple city, O king, stood, protected by the Daityas and the
Danavas. With those steeds worshipped by all the worlds, and which
coursed with such speed that they seemed to devour the skies, the
illustrious god quickly proceeded for the victory of the denizens of
heaven. Indeed, when Bhava, riding on the car, set out towards the triple
city, his bull uttered tremendous roars, filling all the points of the
compass. Hearing that loud and terrible roar of the bull, many of the
descendants and followers of Taraka, those enemies of the gods, breathed
their last. Others amongst them stood facing the foe for battle. Then
Sthanu, O king, armed with trident became deprived of his senses in
wrath. All creatures became frightened, and the three worlds began to
tremble. Frightful portents appeared when he was on the point of aiming
that shaft. In consequence, however, of the pressure caused by the weight
of Soma, Agni, and Vishnu that were in that shaft, as also of the
pressure caused by the weight of Brahman and Rudra and the latter’s bow,
that car seemed to sink. Then Narayana, issuing out of the point of that
shaft, assumed the form of a bull and raised that large car. During the
time the car had sunk and the foe had began to roar, the illustrious
Deity, endued with great might began, from rage, to utter loud shouts,
standing, O giver of honours, on the head of his bull and the back of his
steeds. At that time the illustrious Rudra was employed in eyeing the
Danava city. While in that posture, O best of men, Rudra cut off the
teats of the horses and clove the hoofs of the bull. Blessed be thou,
from the date the hoofs of all animals of the bovine species came to be
cloven. And from that time, O king, horses, afflicted by the mighty Rudra
of wonderful deeds, came to be without teats. Then Sarva, having stringed
his bow and aimed that shaft with which he had united the Pasupata
weapon, waited thinking of the triple city. And O king, as Rudra thus
stood, holding his bow, the three cities during that time became united.
When the three cities, losing their separate characters became united,
tumultuous became the joy of the high-souled gods. Then all the gods, the
Siddhas, and the great Rishis, uttered the word Jaya, adoring Maheshwara.
The triple city then appeared immediately before that god of unbearable
energy, that Deity of fierce and indescribable form, that warrior who was
desirous of slaying the Asuras. The illustrious deity, that Lord of the
universe, then drawing that celestial bow, sped that shaft which
represented the might of the whole universe, at the triple city. Upon
that foremost of shafts, O thou of great good fortune, being shot, loud
wails of woe were heard from those cities as they began to fall down
towards the Earth. Burning those Asuras, he threw them down into the
Western ocean. Thus was the triple city burnt and thus were the Danavas
exterminated by Maheswara in wrath, from desire of doing good to the
three worlds. The fire born of his own wrath, the three-eyed god
quenched, saying, ‘Do not reduce the three worlds to ashes.’ After this,
the gods, the Rishis, and the three worlds became all restored to their
natural dispositions, and gratified Sthanu of unrivalled energy with
words of high import. Receiving then the permission of the great god, the
gods with the Creator at their head went away to the places they came
from, their object being accomplished after such effort. Thus that
illustrious Deity, that Creator of the worlds, that Lord of both the Gods
and the Asuras, viz., Maheswara, did that which was for the good of all
the worlds. As the illustrious Brahman, the Creator of the worlds, the
Grandsire, the Supreme Deity of unfading glory, acted as the driver of
Rudra, so do thou restrain the steeds of the high-souled son of Radha
like Grandsire restraining those of Rudra. There is not the slightest
doubt, O tiger among kings, that thou art superior to Krishna, to Karna,
and to Phalguna. In battle, Karna is like Rudra, and thou art like
Brahman in policy. United, ye two, therefore, are competent to vanquish
my foes that are even like the Asuras. Let, O Shalya, that be done
speedily today by which this Karna, grinding the Pandava troops, may be
able to slay Kunti’s son owning white steeds and having Krishna for the
driver of his car. Upon thee depend Karna, ourselves, our kingdom, and
(our) victory in battle. Hold the reins, therefore, of the excellent
steeds (of Karna). There is another story which I will narrate. Listen
once more to it. A virtuous brahmana had recited it in the presence of my
father. Hearing these delightful words fraught with the reasons and
purposes of acts, do, O Shalya, what thou mayst settle, without
entertaining any scruples. In the race of the Bhrigus was Jamadagni of
severe ascetic penances. He had a son endued with energy and every
virtue, who became celebrated by the name of Rama. Practising the
austerest penances, of cheerful soul, bound to observances and vows, and
keeping his senses under control, he gratified the god Bhava for
obtaining weapons. In consequence of his devotion and tranquillity of
heart. Mahadeva became gratified with him. Sankara, understanding the
desire cherished in his heart, showed himself unto Rama. And Mahadeva
said, ‘O Rama, I am gratified with thee. Blessed be thou, thy desire is
known to me. Make thy soul pure. Thou wilt then have all that thou
desirest. I will give thee all weapons when thou wilt become pure. Those
weapons, O son, of Bhrigu, burn a person that is incompetent and that is
not deserving of them.’ Thus addressed by that god of gods, that deity
bearing the trident, the son of Jamadagni, bending his head unto that
puissant high-souled one, said, ‘O god of gods, it behoveth thee to give
those weapons unto me that am always devoted to thy service, when, indeed
thou wilt regard me fit for holding them.'”

“‘Duryodhana continued. “With penances then, and restraining his senses,
and observances of vows, and worship and offerings and with sacrifices
and Homa performed with mantras, Rama adored Sarva for many long years.
At last Mahadeva, pleased with the high-souled son of Bhrigu’s race,
described him, in the presence of his divine spouse, as possessed of many
virtues: ‘This Rama, of firm vows is ever devoted to me.’ Gratified with
him, the Lord Sankara thus repeatedly proclaimed his virtues in the
presence of gods and the Rishis, O slayer of foes. Meanwhile, the Daityas
became very mighty. Blinded by pride and folly, they afflicted the
denizens of heaven. The gods then, uniting together, and firmly resolved
to slay them, strove earnestly for the destruction of those foes. They,
however, failed to vanquish them. The gods then, repairing to Maheswara,
the Lord of Uma, began to gratify him with devotion, saying, ‘Slay our
foes.’ That god, having promised the destruction of their foes unto the
celestials, summoned Rama the descendant of Bhrigu. And Sankara addressed
Rama, saying, ‘O descendant of Bhrigu, slay all the assembled foes of the
gods, from desire of doing good unto all the worlds as also for my
satisfaction.’ Thus addressed, Rama replied unto that boon-giving Lord of
Three-eyes, saying, ‘What strength have I, O chief of the gods destitute
as I am of weapons, to slay in battle the assembled Danavas that are
accomplished in weapons and invincible in fight? Maheswara said, ‘Go thou
at my command. Thou shalt slay those foes. Having vanquished all those
enemies, thou shalt acquire numerous merits.’ Hearing these words and
accepting them all, Rama, causing propitiatory rites to be performed for
his success, proceeded against the Danavas. Addressing those enemies of
the gods that were endued with might and possessed with folly and pride,
he said, ‘Ye Daityas that are fierce in battle, give me battle. I have
been sent by the God of gods to vanquish you.’ Thus addressed by the
descendant of Bhrigu, the Daityas began to fight. The delighter of the
Bhargavas, however, slaying the Daityas in battle, with strokes whose
touch resembled that of Indra’s thunder, came back to Mahadeva.
Jamadagni’s son, that foremost of brahmanas returned with many wounds on
his person inflicted by the Danavas. Touched, however by Sthanu, his
wounds were immediately healed. Gratified also with that feat of his, the
illustrious god gave diverse kinds of boons unto the high-souled son of
Bhrigu. With satisfaction in his heart, the trident-wielding God of gods
said, ‘The pain thou hast suffered in consequence of the fall of weapons
upon thy body evidences the super-human feat that thou hast achieved, O
delighter of the Bhrigus. As desired by thee, accept from me these
celestial weapons.'”

“‘Duryodhana continued, “Having obtained all the celestial weapons and
the boons that had been desired by him, Rama bowed unto Siva with his
head. Obtaining the leave also of the gods that great ascetic went away.
This is the old story that the rishi had recited. The descendant of
Bhrigu gave the whole science of weapons unto the high-souled Karna, O
tiger among kings with delighted heart. If Karna had any fault, O lord of
Earth, the delighter of Bhrigu’s race would never have given him his
celestial weapons. I do not think that Karna could have been born in the
Suta order. I think him to be the son of a god, born in the kshatriya
order. I think that he was abandoned (in infancy) in order that the race
in which he was born might be ascertained (by his features and feats). By
no means, O Shalya, could this Karna have been born in the Suta order.
With his (natural) earring and (natural) coat of mail, this mighty
car-warrior of long arms, resembling Surya himself, could not be borne by
a common woman even as a she-deer can never bear a tiger. His arms are
massive, each resembling the trunk of a prince of elephants. Behold his
chest that is so broad and capable of resisting every foe. Karna
otherwise called Vaikartana, O king, cannot be an ordinary person. Endued
with great valour, this disciple of Rama, O king of kings, is a
high-souled personage.'”

35

“‘Duryodhana said, “Even thus did that illustrious Deity, that Grandsire
of all the worlds, viz., Brahman, act as driver on that occasion and even
thus did Rudra become the warrior. The driver of the car, O hero, should
be superior to the warrior on it. Therefore, O tiger among men, do thou
hold the reins of the steeds in this battle. As on that occasion the
Grandsire had been selected with care by all the celestials, indeed, O
great king, as one greater than Sankara, so thou that art superior to
Karna art now selected by us with care. Like the Grandsire holding the
reins of Rudra’s steeds, do thou hold, without delay, the reins of
Karna’s steeds in battle, O thou of great splendour.”

“‘Shalya said, “O foremost of men, many a time have I heard this
excellent and celestial history, recited to me, of those two lions among
gods. Indeed, I have heard how the Grandsire acted as the driver of Bhava
and how the Asuras also, O Bharata, were all destroyed with one shaft.
Krishna also had knowledge of all this before, the knowledge, viz., of
how the illustrious Grandsire had become the driver on that occasion of
yore. Indeed, Krishna knoweth the past and the future with all their
details. Knowing this fact, he became the driver, O Bharata, of Partha
like the Self-create becoming the driver of Rudra. If the Suta’s son, by
some means, succeeds in slaying the son of Kunti, Keshava, beholding
Partha slain, will fight himself. That bearer of the conch, the discus,
and the mace, will then consume thy army. There is no king here that will
stay in the ranks in front of that illustrious one of Vrishni’s race when
he will be excited with wrath.'”

“Sanjaya said, ‘Unto the ruler of the Madras who was speaking in that
strain, that chastiser of foes, viz., thy mighty-armed son of cheerful
soul replied, saying, “Do not, O mighty-armed one, think disparagingly of
Karna, otherwise called Vaikartana, in battle,–that warrior who is the
foremost of all wielders of arms and who is acquainted with the meaning
of the whole body of our scriptures. Hearing the terrible and loud twang
of his bow and the sound of his palms, the Pandava troops fly away on all
sides. Thou hast witnessed it with thy own eyes, O mighty-armed one, how
Ghatotkaca, screened by his illusions and displaying hundreds of still
slain that night (by Karna). Feeling a great fear all these days Vibhatsu
could never stand, fronting Karna. The mighty Bhimasena also, moved
hither and thither by the horn of Karna’s bow, was, O king, addressed in
very harsh words such as ‘Fool’ and ‘Glutton.’ The two brave sons of
Madri also were defeated by Karna in great battle, though, from some
object he had in view, he did not, O sire, slay them then. That foremost
one of Vrishni’s race, viz., the heroic Satyaki, the chief of the Satwata
clan, was vanquished by Karna and made carless. Others, such as all the
Srinjayas headed by Dhrishtadyumna, have been repeatedly defeated in
battle by Karna the great car-warrior who has achieved all these feats
and who excited with wrath, is competent to slay Purandara himself armed
with the thunderbolt in fight. Thyself also, O hero, art acquainted with
every weapon. Thou art, again, the master of all branches of learning.
There is none on Earth who is thy equal in might of arms. Irresistible in
prowess, thou art like a dart (Shalya) unto thy enemies. It is for this,
O king, that thou O slayer of foes, art called ‘Shalya.’ Encountering the
might of thy arms, all the Satwatas were unable to get the better of it.
Is Krishna superior to thee in might of arms, O king? Indeed, as Krishna
is to bear the burthen of the Pandava troops upon the slaughter of
Partha, even so art thou to bear the burthen of this vast (Kaurava) force
if Karna lays down his life. Why should he be able to resist my troops
and why shouldst not thou be able to slay the hostile troops, O sire? For
thy sake, O sire, I would willingly follow the footsteps of my (slain)
brothers and the other heroic kings of the Earth.”

“‘Shalya said, “O son of Gandhari, when thou, O giver of honours,
describest me before thy troops to be superior to the son of Devaki, I am
exceedingly gratified with thee. I accept the drivership of the
celebrated son of Radha when he will fight with that foremost of the sons
of Pandu, as thou desirest. I have, however, O hero, a compact to make
with Vaikartana, and that is this: I will utter whatever words I may
wish, in this one’s presence.'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Thy son then, O king, with Karna, O sire, answered
the ruler of the Madras, saying, “Let it be so” in the presence of all
the kshatriyas. Assured by Shalya’s acceptance of the drivership,
Duryodhana, filled with joy, embraced Karna. Eulogised (by bards and
panegyrists around), thy son then once more addressed Karna, saying,
“Slay all the Parthas in battle, like the great Indra slaying the
Danavas.” Shalya having accepted the office of holding the reins of his
steeds, Karna, with a cheerful heart, once more addressed Duryodhana,
saying, “The ruler of the Madras does not say very cheerfully what he
says. O king, solicit him once more in sweet words.” Thus addressed, the
mighty king Duryodhana, possessed of great wisdom and accomplished in
everything, once more spoke unto that lord of Earth, viz., Shalya, the
ruler of Madras, in a voice deep as that of the clouds and filling the
whole region there with the sound of that voice: “O Shalya, Karna thinks
that he should fight with Arjuna today. O tiger among men hold the reins
of Karna’s steeds in battle. Having slain all the other warriors Karna
desires to slay Phalguna. I solicit thee, O king, repeatedly, in the
matter of holding the reins of his steeds. As Krishna, that foremost of
all drivers, is the counsellor of Partha, even so do thou protect the son
of Radha today from every danger.'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Embracing thy son then, Shalya the ruler of the
Madras, joyfully answered that slayer of foes, viz., Duryodhana, saying,
“If this is what is thou thinkest, O royal son of Gandhari, O thou of
handsome features, I shall, for that, accomplish everything that may be
agreeable to thee. O chief of the Bharatas, for whatever acts I may be
fit, employing myself therein with my whole heart, I will bear the
burthen of those acts of thine. Let Karna, however, and thyself pardon me
all those words, agreeable or disagreeable, that I may speak unto Karna
from desire of his good.'”

“‘Karna said, “O ruler of the Madras, be thou ever engaged in our good as
Brahman in that of Ishana, as Keshava in that of Partha.”

“‘Shalya said, “These four kinds of conduct–self-rebuke and self-praise,
speaking ill of others, and adulation of others, are never practised by
those that are respectable. That, however, O learned one, which I shall
say, for inspiring thy confidence is fraught with self-adulation. For all
that, listen to it duly. O puissant one, like Matali himself, I am fit to
act as the driver of even Indra in watchfulness, in managing the steeds,
in knowledge of coming danger and of the means of avoiding it, and in
competence to avoid it in practice. When thou wilt be engaged in battle
with Partha, I will hold the reins of thy steeds. Let thy anxiety be
dispelled, O Suta’s son.”‘”

36

“‘Duryodhana said, “This one, O Karna, will act as thy driver, this ruler
of the Madras, who is superior to Krishna, like Matali the driver of the
chief of the celestials. Indeed, as Matali taketh the management of the
car unto which the steeds of Indra are attached, even so will Shalya be
the driver of the steeds of thy car today. With thyself as warrior on
that vehicle and the ruler of the Madras as its driver, that foremost of
car will certainly vanquish the Parthas in battle.'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘When the morning came, O monarch, Duryodhana once
more addressed the ruler of the Madras endued with great activity,
saying, “O ruler of the Madras, hold the reins in battle of Karna’s
foremost of steeds. Protected by thee, the son of Radha will vanquish
Dhananjaya.” Thus addressed, Shalya, answering, “So be it” ascended the
car, O Bharata. When Shalya approached that car, Karna with a cheerful
heart addressed his driver, saying, “O charioteer, quickly equip the car
for me.” Having duly equipped that triumphal car, the foremost of its
kind, which resembled the vapoury mansions in the sky, Shalya presented
it to Karna, saying, “Blessed be thou, victory to thee.” Then Karna, that
foremost of car-warriors, duly worshipping that car which had in days of
old been sanctified by a priest conversant with Brahma, and
circumambulating it and carefully adoring the god Surya addressed the
ruler of the Madras standing near, saying, “Ascend the vehicle.”
Thereupon Shalya of mighty energy ascended that large, invincible, and
foremost of cars, belonging to Karna like a lion ascending a mountain
summit. Beholding Shalya stationed, Karna ascended his excellent car like
the Sun riding on a mass of clouds charged with lightning. Mounted on the
same car, those two heroes endued with the splendour or the Sun of fire
looked resplendent like Surya and Agni sitting together on a cloud in the
firmament. Eulogised then (by bards and panegyrists), those two heroes of
great effulgence looked like Indra and Agni adored with hymns in a
sacrifice by Ritwiks and Sadasyas. Karna stood on that car, the reins of
whose steeds were held by Shalya, stretching his formidable bow, like the
Sun himself within a halo of circular light. Stationed on that foremost
of cars, that tiger among men, Karna, with his shafts constituting his
rays, looked beautiful like the Sun on the Mandara mountains. Unto the
mighty-armed son of Radha that warrior of immeasurable energy, stationed
on his car for battle. Duryodhana said these words, “O son of Adhiratha,
O hero, do thou achieve that feat difficult of accomplishment which Drona
and Bhishma have not achieved in the very sight of all the bowmen. I had
always believed that those two mighty car-warriors, viz., Bhishma and
Drona, would without doubt slay Arjuna and Bhimasena in battle. Like a
second wielder of the thunderbolt, O son of Radha, do thou in great
battle achieve that feat worthy of a hero which was not achieved by those
two. Either seize king Yudhishthira the just or slay Dhananjaya and
Bhimasena, O son of Radha, and the twin sons of Madri. Blessed be thou,
let victory be thine. Set out for battle, O tiger among men. Reduce to
ashes all the troops of Pandu’s son.” Then thousands of trumpets and tens
of thousands of drums, sounded together, produced a noise like that of
the clouds in the welkin. Accepting those words (of Duryodhana), the
foremost of car-warriors stationed on his car, viz., the son of Radha,
addressed Shalya, that warrior accomplished in battle, saying, “Urge the
steeds, O mighty-armed one, so that I may slay Dhananjaya and Bhimasena
and both the twins and king Yudhishthira. O Shalya, let Dhananjaya behold
today the might of my arms, when I will be engaged in shooting shafts
winged with Kanka feathers in hundreds and thousands. Today, O Shalya, I
will shoot shafts with great energy for the destruction of the Pandavas
and the victory of Duryodhana.”

“‘”Shalya said, “O Suta’s son, why dost thou think so low of the sons of
Pandu, all of whom are endued with great might, all of whom are great
bowmen, and all of whom are acquainted with every weapon? They are
unretreating, of great good fortune, invincible, and of prowess incapable
of being baffled. They are capable of inspiring fear in the heart of
Indra himself. When, son of Radha thou wilt hear the twang of Gandiva in
battle, resembling the peal of the thunder itself, thou wilt not then
utter such speeches. When thou wilt behold Dharma’s son and the twins
causing a canopy, like that of the clouds in the welkin, with their sharp
arrows, and the other invincible kings (of the Pandava army), endued with
great lightness of hands and shooting (showers of shafts) and weakening
their foes, then thou wilt not utter such words.'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Disregarding those words spoken by the ruler of the
Madras, Karna addressing him endued with great activity, saying,
“Proceed.”‘”

37

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding the mighty Karna take up his station from
desire of battle, the Kauravas, filled with delight, uttered loud shouts
from every side. With the beat of cymbals and the sound of drums, with
the whizz of diverse kinds of arrows and the roars of combatants endued
with great activity, all thy troops proceeded to battle, making death
only the point at which to stop. When Karna set out and the warriors of
the Kuru army were filled with joy, the Earth, O king, trembled and made
a loud noise. The seven great planets including the Sun seemed to proceed
against one another (for combat). Meteoric showers became noticeable and
all the quarters seemed ablaze. Thunders fell from a cloudless sky, and
fierce winds began to blow. Animals and birds in larger numbers kept thy
army to their right, foreboding great calamities. After Karna had set
out, his steeds tumbled down on the Earth. A frightful shower of bones
fell from the sky. The weapons (of the Kuru warriors) seemed to be
ablaze; their standards trembled; and their animals, O monarch, shed
copious tears. These and many other terrible and awful portents appeared
for the destruction of the Kurus. Stupefied by destiny, none of them
regarded those portents at all. Beholding the Suta’s son setting out, all
the rulers of men (in the Kaurava army) cried victory to him. The
Kauravas regarded the Pandavas to have been already vanquished. That
slayer of hostile heroes, that foremost of car-warriors, viz.,
Vaikartana, as he stayed on his car recollecting the death of Bhishma and
Drona, blazed up with splendour like the Sun or fire. Reflecting on the
mighty feats of Partha, and burning with self-conceit and pride, and
blazing with wrath and breathing long and hard, he addressed Shalya and
said these words: “When stationed on my car and armed with my bow, I
would not take fright at Indra himself armed with the thunder and excited
with wrath. Beholding those great heroes headed by Bhishma lying on the
field of battle, do not feel any anxiety. Seeing even the faultless
Bhishma and Drona, equal unto Indra and Vishnu, those crushers of
foremost of cars and steeds and elephants, those heroes that were
unslayable, slain by the foe, I do not still experience any fear in this
battle. Acquainted with mighty weapons, and himself the foremost of
brahmanas, why, indeed, did not the preceptor slay in battle all foes,
seeing them destroy the mightiest of our kings with their drivers and
elephants and cars? Remembering that Drona in great battle, I tell you
truly, listen to me, ye Kurus, there is none amongst you, save myself,
that is competent to bear the advancing Arjuna, that warrior who
resembles Death himself in his fiercest form. In Drona were the skills
attendant on practice, and might, and bravery, and the highest of weapons
and policy. When even that high-souled one had to succumb to Death, I
regard all the others (of our army), strengthless and on the point of
death. In this world I do not find anything, even on reflection, to be
stable, in consequence of the inevitable connection of acts. When the
preceptor himself is dead, who then will indulge in the certain belief
that he will live till even today’s sun-rise? When the preceptor was thus
slain by the enemy in battle, without doubt weapons, ordinary and
celestial, and might and prowess, and achievements and wise policy, are
not able to compass the happiness of man. In energy Drona was equal to
fire or the Sun, in prowess he resembled Vishnu or Purandara; in policy
he was equal to Brihaspati or Usana; irresistible as he was, weapons
could not yet protect him. When (our) women and children are weeping and
uttering loud wails, when the valour of the Dhartarashtras has been
defeated, I know it, O Shalya, that it is I who am to fight. Proceed
therefore, against the army of our enemies. Who else, save myself, will
be able to bear those troops amongst whom are stationed the royal son of
Pandu firm in truth, and Bhimasena and Arjuna, and Satyaki, and the
twins? Therefore, O ruler of the Madras, proceed quickly, in this battle,
towards the Pancalas, the Pandavas, and the Srinjayas. Encountering them
in battle, either I will slay them, or myself to Yama’s presence by the
path taken by Drona. Do not think, O Shalya, that I will not go into the
very midst of those heroes. These intestine dissensions cannot be
tolerated by me. (Without seeking to tolerate them) I will even follow in
the wake of Drona. Wise or ignorant, when his period is run out,
everybody is equally regarded by the Destroyer; no one can escape, O
learned one, for this, I will proceed against the Parthas. I am unable to
transgress my destiny. The son of Vichitravirya’s son is, O king, always
engaged in doing me good. For the accomplishment of his purpose, I will
cast away my life-breaths that are so dear, and this body that is so
difficult of being cast away. This foremost of cars covered with
tigerskins, with axle producing no sound equipped with a golden seat
endued with trivenu made of silver, and unto which are yoked these
foremost of steeds, Rama gave unto me. Behold, also, O Shalya, these
beautiful bows, these standards, these maces, these shafts of fierce
forms, this blazing sword, this mighty weapon, this white conch of fierce
and loud blare. Riding upon this car decked with banners, its wheels
producing a rattle deep as that of the thunder, having white steeds yoked
unto it, and adorned with excellent quivers, I will, putting forth my
might, slay in battle that bull among car-warriors, Arjuna. If Death
himself, that universal consumer, were to protect with vigilance the son
of Pandu in battle, I would still encounter him in fight and either slay
him or myself go to Yama’s presence following Bhishma. If Yama, Varuna,
Kuvera, and Vasava, with all their followers coming hither, unitedly
protect the son of Pandu in this great battle, what need of many words, I
will still vanquish him with them.'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Hearing these words of the bragging Karna who was
exceedingly delighted with the prospect of battle, the valiant king of
the Madras, deriding him, laughed aloud, and gave him the following reply
for checking him.

“‘Shalya said, “Forbear, forbear, O Karna, from such bragging. Thou art
in transports of delight and sayest what thou shouldst never say. Where
is Dhananjaya, that foremost of men, and where again, art thou, O lowest
of men? Who else, save Arjuna, could take away the younger sister of
(Keshava) that foremost of all persons, having forcibly agitated the home
of the Yadus that was protected by the younger brother of Indra and that
resembled heaven itself that is guarded by the chief of celestials? What
man save Arjuna who is endued with prowess that is equal to the prowess
of the chief of the celestials, could on the occasion of the dispute
caused by the slaughter of an animal, summon Bhava the Lord of Lords, the
Creator of the worlds, to battle? For the sake of honouring Agni, Jaya
had vanquished asuras and gods and great snakes and men and birds and
pishacas and yakshas and rakshasas with his shafts and gave unto that god
the food he had desired. Dost thou remember, O Karna, the occasion when,
slaughtering those foes in large numbers with his excellent shafts endued
with the effulgence of the Sun, Phalguna liberated Dhritarashtra’s son
himself among the Kurus? Dost thou remember the occasion when, thyself
having been the first to fly away, the quarrelsome sons of Dhritarashtra
were liberated by the Pandavas after the latter had defeated those
rangers of the skies (the gandharvas headed by Citraratha)? On the
occasion also of the seizure of (Virata’s) kine, the Kauravas, swelling
with numbers in respect of both men and animals, and having the preceptor
and the preceptor’s son and Bhishma amongst them, were vanquished by that
foremost of men. Why, O son of Suta, didst thou not vanquish Arjuna then?
For thy destruction another excellent battle has now presented itself. If
thou dost not fly away from fear of thy enemy, know O Suta’s son, that as
soon as thou goest to battle thou wilt be slain.'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘When the ruler of the Madras was most heartily
engaged in addressing these harsh speeches to Karna and uttering these
praises of the latter’s foe, that scorcher of foes, viz., the commander
of the Kuru army, excited with rage, said these words unto the Madra king.

“‘Karna said, “Let it be so, let it be so. Why, however, dost thou
indulge in Arjuna’s praises? A battle is about to ensue between myself
and him. If he vanquishes me in fight, then will these thy praises be
regarded as well-uttered.'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘The ruler of the Madras said, “Let it be so,” and
gave no reply. When Karna, from desire of fight, addressed Shalya,
saying, “Proceed,” then that great carwarrior, having white steeds yoked
unto his vehicle and owning Shalya as his charioteer, proceeded against
his foes, slaying large numbers in battle along his way, like the Sun
destroying the darkness. Indeed, on that car covered with tiger-skins and
having white steeds yoked unto it, Karna proceeded with a cheerful heart,
and beholding the army of the Pandavas, speedily enquired after
Dhananjaya.'”

38

“Sanjaya said ‘After Karna, gladdening thy army, had set out for battle,
he spoke unto every Pandava soldier that he met with, even these words:
“Unto him that will today point out the high-souled Dhananjaya of white
steeds to me, I will give whatever wealth he desires. If having got it he
does not become satisfied, I shall in addition, give him,–him that is,
that will discover Arjuna to me, a cart-load of jewels and gems. If that
does not satisfy the person who discovers Arjuna to me, I will give him a
century of kine with as many vessels of brass for milking those animals.
I will give a hundred foremost of villages unto the person that discovers
Arjuna to me. I will also give him that shows Arjuna to me a number of
long-tressed damsels of black eyes and a car unto which shall be yoked
white mules. If that does not satisfy the person that discovers Arjuna to
me, I shall give him another foremost of cars, made of gold, and having
six bulls yoked unto it that shall be as large as elephants. I shall also
give unto him a hundred damsels decked with ornaments, with collars of
gold, fair-complexioned and accomplished in singing and dancing. If that
does not satisfy the person that discovers Arjuna to me, I shall give him
a 100 elephants, a 100 villages and a 100 cars, and 10,000 steeds of the
foremost of breed, fat, docile, endued with many excellent qualities,
capable of dragging cars and well-trained. I shall also give to the
person that discovers Arjuna to me four hundred kine, each with golden
horns and her calf. If that does not satisfy the person that discovers
Arjuna to me, I shall make him a more valuable gift, viz., five hundred
steeds, adorned with trappings of gold and decked with jewelled
ornaments. I shall also give eighteen other steeds of great docility. I
shall also give the person that discovers Arjuna to me a bright car made
of gold and adorned with diverse ornaments and having foremost of Kamboja
steeds yoked unto it. If that does not satisfy the person that discovers
Arjuna to me, I shall make him a more valuable gift, viz., six hundred
elephants, with chains of gold around their necks, and covered with
housings of gold, born in the western shores of the ocean, and trained by
elephant trainers. If that does not satisfy the person that discovers
Arjuna to me, I shall make him a more valuable gift, viz., fourteen
Vaishya villages, teeming with people, full of wealth, situated in the
proximity of forests and rivers, free from all sorts of danger, well
furnished (with other necessaries), and worthy of being enjoyed by kings.
To him that will discover Dhananjaya to me, I shall also give a hundred
female slaves, with golden collars, belonging to the country of the
Magadhas, and of very youthful age. If that does not satisfy the person
that discovers Arjuna to me, I will make him a more valuable gift, that,
indeed, which he himself will solicit. Sons, wives and articles of
pleasure and enjoyment that I have, these all I shall give him if he
desires them. Indeed, unto him who discovers Keshava and Arjuna to me, I
shall, after slaying those two, give all the wealth that may be left by
them.” Having uttered those diverse speeches in that battle, Karna blew
his excellent conch, sea-born and producing a sweet blare. Hearing these
words of Suta’s son that were suitable to his disposition, Duryodhana, O
king, with all his followers became filled with joy. At that juncture the
beat of cymbals and drums and leonine shouts, and grunts of elephants
with the sounds of diverse musical instruments, arose there, O king,
among the (Kaurava) troops, O bull among men. The shouts also of warriors
filled with joy arose there. When the (Kaurava) troops were thus filled
with joy, the ruler of the Madras, laughing in scorn, said these words
unto that grinder of foes, viz., the son of Radha, that mighty
car-warrior who was about to plunge into that ocean of battle and who was
indulging in such vain bragging.'”

39

“‘Shalya said, “Do not, O Suta’s son, give away to any man a golden car
with six bulls of elephantine proportions. Thou wilt obtain a sight of
Dhananjaya today. From foolishness thou art giving away wealth as if thou
wert the Lord of treasures. Without any trouble, however, O son of Radha,
thou wilt behold Dhananjaya today. Thou art for giving away this wealth
like a senseless person; but thou seest not the demerits attaching to
those gifts that are made to undeserving persons. With that large wealth
which thou art desirous of giving away, thou art certainly able to
perform many sacrifices. Therefore, O Suta’s son, do thou perform those
sacrifices. As regards thy desire, entertained from folly, that is surely
vain. We have never heard of a couple of lions having been overthrown by
a fox. Thou seekest what should never be sought by thee. It seems that
thou hast no friends for forbidding thee that art speedily falling into a
blazing fire. Thou art unable to discriminate between what thou shouldst
do and what thou shouldst not. Without doubt thy period is full. What man
desirous of living would utter speeches that are so incoherent and
undeserving of being listened to? This thy endeavour is like that of a
person desirous of crossing the ocean by the aid of only his two arms
after having attached to his neck a heavy stone, or of one desirous of
leaping down from the summit of a mountain. If thou art desirous of
winning what is for thy good, fight with Dhananjaya, well protected from
within thy arrayed division, and aided by all thy warriors. I say this to
thee for the good of Dhritarashtra’s son and not from any ill will to
thee. If thou hast any wish for preserving thy life then accept the words
spoken by me.”

“‘Karna said, “Relying on the might of my own arms I seek Arjuna in
battle. Thou, however, that art a foe with the face of a friend desirest
to frighten me. No person shall deter me from this resolution, not even
Indra himself uplifting his thunder; what then need be said of a mortal?'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘At the conclusion of these words of Karna, Shalya,
the ruler of the Madras, desirous of provoking Karna exceedingly, said
these words in reply, “When keen-pointed shafts winged with Kanka
feathers, shot by Phalguna of mighty arms and impelled from his
bow-string and sped with all his energy will seek thee then wilt thou
lament thy encounter with that hero. When Partha, called also Savyasaci,
taking up his celestial bow, will scorch the (Kuru) army and afflict thee
exceedingly with keen shafts, then, O Suta’s son, wilt thou repent (of
thy folly). As a child lying on the lap of its mother seeks to seize the
Moon, even so dost thou from folly seek to vanquish the resplendent
Arjuna stationed on his car. In desiring, O Karna, to fight today with
Arjuna of keen-edged feats, thou art for rubbing all thy limbs against
the keen edges of a trident. This thy challenge of Arjuna, O Suta’s son,
is like that of a foolish young little deer of activity challenging a
huge lion excited with wrath. Do not, O Suta’s son, challenge that prince
of mighty energy like a fox gratified with meat in the forest challenging
the maned monarch of the forest. Do not be destroyed, encountering
Arjuna. Thou, O Karna, challengest Dhananjaya, the son of Pritha, even
like a hare challenging a mighty elephant with tusks large as
plough-shafts, and with the juice issuing out of its mouth and rent
cheeks. From folly thou art piercing, with a piece of wood, the black
cobra of virulent poison excited to fury within its hole, in desiring to
fight with Partha. Endued with little understanding, thou, O Karna,
disregarding that lion among men, viz., the son of Pandu, yellest at him,
like a jackal that, disregarding a maned lion excited with wrath, yells
at him. As a snake, for its own destruction, challenges that foremost of
birds, viz., Vinata’s son, possessed of beautiful plumage and great
activity, even so dost thou, O Karna, challenge Dhananjaya the son of
Pandu. Thou desirest to cross without a raft the terrible ocean, the
receptacle of all the waters, with its mountain waves and teeming with
aquatic animals, when at its height at the rise of the Moon. O Karna,
thou challengest Dhananjaya, the son of Pritha, to battle even like a
calf challenging a smiting bull of keen horns and neck thick as a drum.
Like a frog croaking at a terrible and mighty cloud yielding copious
showers of rain, thou croakest at Arjuna who is even like Parjanya among
men. As a dog from within the precincts of the house of his master barks
at a forest-roaming tiger, even so, O Karna, thou barkest at Dhananjaya,
that tiger among men. A jackal, O Karna, residing in the forest in the
midst of hares regardeth himself a lion till he actually sees a lion.
Even so, O son of Radha, thou regardest thyself a lion, for thou dost not
behold that repressor of foes, that tiger among men, viz., Dhananjaya.
Thou regardest thyself a lion till thou beholdest the two Krishnas
stationed on the same car like Surya and Candramas. As long as thou dost
not hear the twang of Gandiva in great battle, so long art thou able to
do what thou pleasest. Beholding Partha, causing the ten points of the
compass to resound with the roar of his car and the twang of his bow, and
beholding him roaring like a tiger, thou wilt become a jackal. Thou art
always a jackal, and Dhananjaya always a lion. O fool, in consequence of
thy envy and hatred for heroes, thou always, seemest to be like a jackal.
As a mouse and a car are to each other in strength, or a dog and a tiger,
a fox and a lion, or a hare and an elephant, as falsehood and truth, as
poison and nectar, even so art thou and Partha known to all by your
respective deeds.'”

40

“Sanjaya said, ‘Thus rebuked by Shalya of immeasurable energy, the son of
Radha, feeling the propriety of his rebuker’s name in consequence of his
wordy darts, and becoming filled with rage, answered him thus:

“‘Karna said, “The merits of meritorious men, O Shalya, are known to them
that are themselves meritorious but not to them that are destitute of
merit. Thou, however, art destitute of every merit. How then canst thou
judge of merit and demerit? The mighty weapons of Arjuna, his wrath, his
energy, his bow, his shafts and the prowess also of that high-souled hero
are, O Shalya, well known to me. So also, O Shalya, thou dost not know,
so as well as I myself, the greatness of Krishna, that bull among the
lords of Earth. But knowing my own energy as also that of Pandu’s son, I
challenge him to battle, O Shalya, I do not act like an insect in respect
of a blazing fire. I have this shaft, O Shalya, of keen mouth,
blood-drinking, lying alone within one quiver, equipped with wings,
well-steeped in oil and well-adorned. It lieth amid sandal dust,
worshipped by me for long years. Partaking of the nature and form of a
snake, it is poisonous and fierce and capable of killing large numbers of
men and steeds and elephants of terrible form, and exceedingly awful, it
is capable of piercing coats of mail and bones. Inspired with wrath, I
may pierce even the mighty mountains of Meru with it. That shaft I will
never shoot at any other person save Phalguna or Krishna, the son of
Devaki. In this I tell thee the truth. Listen to it. With that shaft, O
Shalya, I will, inspired with rage, fight with Vasudeva and Dhananjaya.
That would be a feat worthy of me. Of all the heroes in the Vrishni race,
it is Krishna in whom Prosperity is always established. Among all the
sons of Pandu, it is Partha in whom Victory is always established. Those
two tigers among men, stationed together on the same car, will advance
against my single self for battle. Thou shalt, O Shalya, behold today the
nobility of my lineage. Those two cousins, one of whom is the son of the
aunt and the other the son of the maternal uncle, those two invincible
warriors, thou shalt see, will be slain by me (with one shaft) and will
look like two pearls strung together in the same string. Arjuna’s gandiva
and the ape-bearing banner, and Krishna’s discus and the Garuda-bearing
banner, inspire with fear only those that are timid. To me, however, O
Shalya, they are causes of delight. Thou art a fool, of evil disposition,
and unskilled in the ways of great battle. Overcome with terror, thou
utterest these ravings. Or, thou art praising them for some reason not
known to me. Having slain those two first, I shall then slay thee today
with all thy kinsmen. Born in a sinful country thou art wicked-souled and
mean, and a wretch amongst kshatriyas. Being a friend, why dost thou,
like an enemy, frighten me with these praises of the two Krishnas? Either
they two will slay me today or I will slay them two. Knowing as I do my
own might, I do not cherish any fear of the two Krishnas. A 1,000
Vasudevas and hundreds of Phalgunas, I shall, single-handed, slay. Hold
thy tongue, O thou that art born in a sinful country. Hear from me, O
Shalya, the sayings, already passed into proverbs, that men, young and
old, and women, and persons arrived in course of their listless
wanderings, generally utter, as if those sayings formed part of their
studies, about the wicked Madrakas. brahmanas also duly narrated the same
things formerly in the courts of kings. Listening to those sayings
attentively, O fool, thou mayst forgive or rejoin. The Madraka is always
a hater of friends. He that hateth us is a Madraka. There is no
friendship in the Madraka who is mean in speech and is the lowest of
mankind. The Madraka is always a person of wicked soul, is always
untruthful and crooked. It hath been heard by us that till the moment of
death the Madrakas are wicked. (Amongst the Madrakas) the sire, the son,
the mother, the mother-in-law, the brother, the grand-son, and other
kinsmen, companions, strangers arrived at their homes, slaves male and
female, mingle together. The women of the Madrakas mingle, at their own
will, with men known and unknown. Of unrighteous conduct, and subsisting
upon fried and powdered corn and fish, in their homes, they laugh and cry
having drunk spirits and eaten beef. They sing incoherent songs and
mingle lustfully with one another, indulging the while in the freest
speeches. How then can virtue have a place amongst the Madrakas who are
arrogant and notorious for all kinds of evil acts? No one should make
friends with a Madraka or provoke hostilities with him. In the Madraka
land there is no friendship. The Madraka is always the dirt of humanity.
Amongst the Madrakas all acts of friendship are lost as purity amongst
the Gandharakas and the libations poured in a sacrifice in which the king
is himself the sacrificer and priest. Then again, it is truly seen that
wise men treat a person bit by a scorpion and affected by its poison,
even with these words: ‘As a brahmana that assists at the religious
ceremonies of a Shudra suffereth degradation, as one that hateth
brahmanas always suffereth degradation, even so a person by making an
alliance with the Madrakas becometh fallen. As there is no friendship in
the Madraka, so, O scorpion, thy poison is nought.’ With these mantras of
the Atharvan I have duly performed the rite of exorcism. Knowing this, O
learned one, hold thy tongue, or listen to something further that I will
say. Those women that, intoxicated by spirits, cast off their robes and
dance, those women that are not attached (to particular individuals) in
the matter of intercourse and that they do as they please without owning
any restrictions, I say, that being as thou art the child of one of those
women, how canst thou, O Madraka, be a fit person for declaring the
duties of men? Those women that live and answer calls of nature like
camels and asses, being as thou art the child of one of those sinful and
shameless creatures, how canst thou wish to declare the duties of men?
When a Madraka woman is solicited for the gift of a little quantity of
vinegar, she scratches her hips and without being desirous of giving it,
says these cruel words, ‘Let no man ask any vinegar of me that is so dear
to me. I would give him my son, I would give him my husband, but vinegar
I would not give.’ The young Madraka maidens, we hear, are generally very
shameless and hairy and gluttonous and impure. These and many other
things of a like nature, in respect of all their acts, from the crown of
their heads to the tip of their toes, are capable of being asserted of
them by myself and others. How, indeed, would the Madrakas and the
Sindhu-Sauviras know anything of duty, being born, as they are, in a
sinful country, being mlecchas in their practices, and being totally
regardless of all duties? It hath been heard by us that even this is the
highest duty of a kshatriya, viz., that slain in battle, he should lie
down on the Earth, applauded by the righteous. That I should lay down (my
life) in this clash of arms is my foremost wish, desirous as I am of
heaven through Death. I am also the dear friend of the intelligent son of
Dhritarashtra. For his sake are my life-breaths and whatever wealth I
have! As regards thyself, O thou that art born in a sinful country, it is
evident that thou hast been tampered with by the Pandavas, since thou
behavest towards us in everything like a foe. Like a righteous man that
is incapable of being led astray by atheists, surely I am incapable of
being dissuaded from this battle by hundreds of persons like thee. Like a
deer, covered with sweat, thou art at liberty to weep or thirst.
Observant as I am of the duties of a kshatriya, I am incapable of being
frightened by thee. I recall to my mind the end, declared unto me in past
times by my preceptor Rama, of those lions among men, those unreturning
heroes, that laid down their lives in battle. Prepared for rescuing the
Kauravas and slaying our foes, know that I am now determined to imitate
the excellent behaviour of Pururavas. I do not, O ruler of the Madrakas,
behold the person in the three worlds that can, I think, dissuade me from
this purpose. Forbear to speak, knowing all this. Why dost thou rave in
such a way from fear? O wretch amongst the Madrakas, I shall not now slay
thee and present thy carcase as an offering to carnivorous creatures.
From regard for a friend, O Shalya, for the sake of Dhritarashtra’s son,
and for avoiding blame, for these three reasons, thou still livest. If, O
ruler of the Madras, thou speakest such words again, I shall then crush
thy head with my mace that is as hard as the thunder. People will today
see or hear, O thou that art born in a sinful country, either that the
two Krishnas have slain Karna or that Karna has slain the two Krishnas.”
Having said these words, the son of Radha, O monarch, once more addressed
the king of the Madras, fearlessly saying, “Proceed, proceed.'”

41

“Sanjaya said, ‘Hearing, O sire, these words of Radha’s son who delighted
in battle, Shalya once more addressed Karna, citing an example, “I am
born in the race of men who performed great sacrifices, who never
retreated from battle, who were kings whose coronal locks underwent the
sacred bath. I am also myself devoted to the practice of virtue. Thou, O
Vrisha, seemest to be like one that is intoxicated with spirits. For all
that, I will, from friendship, seek to cure thy erring and intoxicated
self. Listen, O Karna, to this simile of a crow that I am about to
narrate. Having heard it, thou mayest do what thou choosest, O thou that
art destitute of intelligence and that art a wretch of thy race. I do
not, O Karna, remember the slightest fault in me for which, O thou of
mighty arms, thou mayst desire to slay my innocent self. I must tell thee
what is for thy good and what is for thy ill, acquainted as I am with
both, especially as I am the driver of thy car and desirous of the good
of king Duryodhana. What land is level and what not, the strength or
weakness of the warrior (on my vehicle), the fatigue and faintness, at
all times, of the steeds and the warrior (I am driving), a knowledge of
the weapons that are available, the cries of animals and birds, what
would be heavy for the steeds and what exceedingly heavy for them, the
extraction of arrows and the curing of wounds which weapons counteract
which, the several methods of battle, and all kinds of omens and
indications, I who am so nearly connected with this car, being none else
than its driver, should be familiar with. For this, O Karna, I narrate
this instance to thee once more. There lived on the other side of the
ocean a Vaishya who had abundance of wealth and corn. He performed
sacrifices, made liberal gifts, was peaceful, devoted to the duties of
his own order, and pure in habits and mind. He had many sons whom he
loved, and was kind unto all creatures. He lived fearlessly in the
dominions of a king that was guided by virtue. There was a crow that
lived on the refuse of the dishes set before those well-behaved young
children of the Vaishya. Those Vaishya children always gave the crow meat
and curds, and milk, and sugared milk with rice, and honey, and butter.
Thus fed with the refuse of their dishes by the young children of that
Vaishya, the crow became arrogant and came to disregard all birds that
were equal to him or even superior. It chanced that once certain swans of
cheerful hearts, of great speed and capable of going everywhere at will
and equal unto Garuda himself in range and speed of flight, came to that
side of the ocean. The Vaishya boys, beholding those swans, addressed the
crow and said, ‘O ranger of the skies, thou art superior to all winged
creatures.’ Deceived by those children of little understanding, that
oviparous creature from folly and pride, regarded their words to be true.
Proud of the refuse of the children’s dishes upon which he fed, the crow
then, alighting in the midst of those swans capable of traversing great
distances, desired to enquire as to who amongst them was their leader.
The foolish crow at last challenged him amongst those birds of tireless
wings whom he regarded their leader, saying, ‘Let us compete in flight.’
Hearing those words of the raving crow, the swans that had assembled
there, those foremost of birds endued with great strength, began to
laugh. The swans then, that were capable of going everywhere at will,
addressed the crow, saying. ‘We are swans, having our abode in the Manasa
lake. We traverse the whole Earth, and amongst winged creatures we are
always applauded for the length of the distances we traverse. Being, as
thou art, only a crow, how canst thou, O fool, challenge a swan endued
with might, capable of going everywhere at will, and doing large
distances in course of his flight? Tell us, O crow, how thou shalt fly
with us.’ The boastful crow, in consequence of the foolishness of his
species, repeatedly finding fault with the words of that swan, at last
gave this answer. The crow said, ‘I shall without doubt fly displaying a
hundred and one different kinds of motion. Doing every hundred Yojanas in
a separate and beautiful kind of motion, I shall display all those
motions. Rising up, and swooping down, and whirling around, and coursing
straight, and proceeding gently, and advancing steadily, and performing
the diverse courses up and receding back, and soaring high, and darting
forward and soaring upwards with fiercer velocity, and once more
proceeding gently and then proceeding with great impetuosity, and once
again swooping down and whirling around and advancing steadily, and
rising up by the jerks, and soaring straight, and once more falling down
and wheeling in a circle and rushing proudly, and diverse other kinds of
motion, these all I shall display in the sight of all you. Ye shall then
witness my strength. With one of these different kinds of motion I shall
presently rise into the sky. Point out duly, ye swans, by which of these
motions I shall course through space. Settling the kind of motion amongst
yourselves, you will have to course with me. Adopting all those different
motion, ye shall have to course with me through supportless space.’ The
crow having said these words, one of the swans addressed him, ‘Listen, O
son of Radha, to the words that the swan said. The swan spoke, ‘Thou, O
crow, wilt doubtless fly the hundred and one different kinds of flight. I
shall, however, fly in that one kind of motion that all (other) birds
know, for I do not, O crow, know any other. As regards thee, O thou of
red eyes, fly thou in any kind of course that thou likest.’ At these
words, those crows that had been assembled there laughed aloud, saying,
‘How will the swan with only one kind of flight get the better of a
hundred different kinds of flight?’

“‘”Then those two, viz., the swan and the crow, rose into the sky,
challenging each other. Capable of going everywhere at will, the swan
proceeded in one kind of motion, while the crow coursed in a hundred
different kinds. And the swan flew and the crow also flew, causing each
other to wonder (at his skill) and each speaking highly of his own
achievements. Beholding the diverse kinds of flight at successive
instants of time, the crows that were there were filled with great joy
and began to caw more loudly. The swans also laughed in mockery, uttering
many remarks disagreeable (to the crows). And they began to soar and
alight repeatedly, here and there. And they began to come down and rise
up from tree-tops and the surface of the earth. And they uttered diverse
cries indicative of their victory. The swan, however, with that one kind
of slow motion (with which he was familiar) began to traverse the skies.
For a moment, therefore, O sire, he seemed to yield to the crow. The
crows, at this, disregarding the swans, said these words: ‘That swan
amongst you which has soared into the sky, is evidently yielding’.
Hearing these words, the (soaring) swan flew westwards with great
velocity to the ocean, that abode of Makaras. Then fear entered the heart
of the crow who became almost senseless at not seeing any island or trees
whereon to perch when tired. And the crow thought within his heart as to
where he should alight when tired, upon that vast expanse of water. The
ocean, being as it is the abode of countless creatures, is irresistible.
Dwelt in by hundreds of monsters, it is grander than space. Nothing can
exceed it in depth, O Suta’s son. Men know, O Karna, that the waters of
the ocean are as limitless as space. For the extent of its waters, O
Karna, what is a crow to it? The swan, having traversed a great distance
in a moment, looked back at the crow, and (though capable) could not
leave him behind. Having transgressed the crow, the swan cast his eyes on
him and waited, thinking, ‘Let the crow come up.’ The crow then,
exceedingly tired, came up to the swan. Beholding him succumbing, and
about to sink, and desirous of rescuing him in remembrance of the
practices of good folks, the swan addressed him in these words, ‘Thou
hadst repeatedly spoken of many kinds of flight while speaking on the
subject. Thou wouldst not speak of this (thy present motion) because of
its having been a mystery to us? What is the name of this kind of flight,
O crow, that thou hast now adopted? Thou touchest the waters with thy
wings and beak repeatedly. Which amongst those diverse kinds of flight is
this, O crow, that thou art now practising? Come, come, quickly, O crow,
for I am waiting for thee.””

“‘Shalya continued, “Exceedingly afflicted, and touching the water with
his wings and beak, O thou of wicked soul, the crow, beheld in that state
by the swan, addressed the latter. Indeed, not seeing the limit of that
watery expanse and sinking down in fatigue, and exhausted with the effort
of his flight the crow said unto the swan, ‘We are crows, we wander
hither and thither, crying-caw, caw. ‘O swan, I seek thy protection,
placing my life-breaths at thy hands. Oh, take me to the shores of the
ocean with the wings and beak.’ The crow, very much fatigued, suddenly
fell down. Beholding him fallen upon the waters of the ocean with a
melancholy heart, the swan, addressing the crow who was on the point of
death, said these words, ‘Remember, O crow, what thou hadst said in
praise of thyself. The words even were that thou wouldst course through
the sky in a hundred and one different kinds of flight. Thou, therefore
that wouldst fly a hundred different kinds of flight, thou that art
superior to me, alas, why then art thou tired and fallen down on the
ocean?’ Overcome with weakness, the crow then, casting his eyes upwards
at the swan, and seeking to gratify him, replied, saying, ‘Proud of the
remains of others’ dishes upon which I fed, I had, O swan, regarded
myself as the equal of Garuda and disregarded all crows and many other
birds. I now, however, seek thy protection and place my life-breaths at
thy hands. Oh, take me to the shores of some island. If, O swan, I can, O
lord, return in safety to my own country, I will never again disregard
anybody. Oh rescue me now from this calamity.’ Him that said so and was
so melancholy and weeping and deprived of senses, him that was sinking in
the ocean, uttering cries ‘caw, caw,’ him so drenched by the water and so
disgusting to look at and trembling with fear, the swan, without a word,
took up with his feet, and slowly caused him to ride on his back. Having
caused the crow whose senses had deserted him to ride upon his back, the
swan quickly returned to that island whence they had both flown,
challenging each other. Placing down that ranger of the sky on dry land
and comforting him, the swan, fleet as the mind, proceeded to the region
he desired. Thus was that crow, fed on the remains of others’ dinners,
vanquished by the swan. The crow, then, casting off the pride of might
and energy, adopted a life of peace and quiet. Indeed, even, as that
crow, fed upon the remains of the dinners of the Vaishya children,
disregarded his equals and superiors, so dost thou, O Karna, that art fed
by the sons of Dhritarashtra upon the remains of their dishes, disregard
all thy equals and superiors. Why didst thou not slay Partha at Virata’s
city when thou hadst the advantage of being protected by Drona and
Drona’s son and Kripa and Bhishma and the other Kauravas? There where,
like a pack of jackals defeated by a lion, ye all were defeated with
great slaughter by the diadem-decked Arjuna, what became of your prowess?
Beholding also thy brother slain by Savyasaci, in the very sight of the
Kuru heroes, it was thou that didst fly away first. By the skirts also of
the dvaitya lake, O Karna, when thou wert assailed by the Gandharvas, it
was thou that, deserting all the Kurus, didst first run away. Having
vanquished in battle the Gandharvas headed by Citrasena, with great
slaughter, it was Partha, O Karna, that liberated Duryodhana with his
wife. Rama himself, O Karna, before the kings in the (Kuru) assembly
spake of the great prowess of both Partha and Keshava. Thou didst
frequently hear the words of Drona and Bhishma, speaking in the presence
of all the kings, that the two Krishnas are unslayable. I have told thee
a little only regarding those matters in which Dhananjaya is superior to
thee like the brahmana who is superior to all created beings. Soon wilt
thou see, stationed on that foremost of cars, the son of Vasudeva and the
son of Kunti and Pandu. As the crow (in the story), acting with
intelligence, had sought the protection of the swan, so do thou seek the
protection of him of Vrishni’s race, and of Pandu’s son Dhananjaya. When
thou shalt in battle behold Vasudeva and Dhananjaya, those two endued
with great prowess, stationed together on the same car, thou shalt not
then, O Karna, utter such speeches. When Partha will, with hundreds of
arrows, quell thy pride, then wilt thou behold the difference between
thyself and Dhananjaya. Those two best of persons are celebrated among
the gods, the Asuras and human beings. Thou that art a firefly, do not,
from folly, think disrespectfully of those two resplendent luminaries.
Like the Sun and moon, Keshava and Arjuna are celebrated for their
resplendence. Thou, however, art like a fire-fly among men. O learned
one, O son of a Suta, do not think disrespectfully of Acyuta and Arjuna.
Those two high-souled persons are lions among men. Forbear indulging in
such boasts.”‘”

42

“Sanjaya said, ‘The high-souled son of Adhiratha, having listened
unconvinced to these words of the ruler of the Madras, addressed Shalya,
saying, “That which Vasudeva and Arjuna are is well-known to me. The
skill of Saurin in the management of cars, and the might and the high
weapons of Arjuna, the son of Pandu are well known to me at this hour.
Thou however, O Shalya, hast no ocular proof of those matters. I shall
fearlessly fight with the two Krishnas, those two foremost of all
wielders of weapons. The curse, however, of Rama that best of regenerate
persons, paineth me greatly today. I dwelt, in the disguise of a
brahmana, with Rama in former days, desirous of obtaining celestial
weapons from him. On that occasion, O Shalya, the chief of the gods,
wishing to benefit Phalguna, caused an obstacle, by approaching my thigh
and piercing it, having assumed the dire form of a worm. When my
preceptor slept, having laid his head thereon, that worm, approaching my
thigh, began to pierce it through. In consequence of the piercing of my
thigh, a pool of thick blood flowed from my body. For fear of (disturbing
the slumber of) my preceptor I did not move my limb. Awaking, the
brahmana, however, beheld what had taken place. Witnessing my patience he
addressed me, saying, ‘Thou art never a brahmana. Tell me truly who thou
art.’ I then, O Shalya, truly informed him of myself, saying that I was a
Suta. Hearing my words, the great ascetic, his heart filled with rage,
cursed me, saying, ‘In consequence of the deception, O Suta, by which
thou hast obtained this weapon, it will never, at the time of need, when
the hour of thy death comes, occur to thy memory. Brahma cannot certainly
reside in one that is not a brahmana.’ I have forgotten that great weapon
in this fierce and terrible battle. He amongst the Bharatas, O Shalya,
who is accomplished, who is an effectual smiter, who is universal
destroyer, and who is exceedingly terrible, (viz., Arjuna),–that mighty
crusher,–I think, will burn many foremost of kshatriyas. Know, however,
O Shalya, that I will slay in battle that fierce bowman, that foremost of
warriors, that hero endued with activity, that terrible person whose
energy is unbearable, that warrior whose promises are accomplished, that
son of Pandu, viz., Dhananjaya. I have that weapon (at least) under my
control today with which I will be able to destroy large numbers of foes.
I will slay in battle that scorcher of enemies, that mighty warrior
accomplished in weapons, that fierce bowman of immeasurable energy, that
cruel and terrible hero, that great resister of enemies, viz.,
Dhananjaya. The immeasurable Ocean, that lord of all waters, rusheth with
fierce impetuosity for overwhelming innumerable creatures. The continent,
however, holds and checks him. Today, in this world, I will resist in
fight the son of Kunti, that foremost of all drawers of the bow-string,
while he will be engaged in ceaselessly shooting his countless shafts
equipped with goodly wings, destructive of heroes, capable of penetrating
into every limb and none of which becomes futile. Like the continent
resisting the Ocean, I will today resist that mightiest of the mighty,
that great warrior possessing the highest weapons, that hero like unto
the Ocean’s self of far-reaching arrows, fierce, and having shafts for
his waves, while he will be engaged in overwhelming (hostile) kings.
Behold today the fierce battle I fight with him that hath no equal, I
think, among men wielding the bow, and that would vanquish the very gods
united with the Asuras. Exceedingly proud is that son of Pandu. Desirous
of battle he will approach me with his mighty and super-human weapons.
Baffling his weapons with my own weapons in battle, I shall today
overthrow that Partha with my own excellent shafts. Scorching his foes
like the Sun endued with fiery rays, and blazing with flame like that
dispeller of the darkness, I shall, like a mass of clouds, completely
shroud Dhananjaya today with my shafts. Like the clouds extinguishing a
blazing fire of great energy and smoke-mixed flames, that seems ready to
consume the whole Earth, I shall, with my showers of arrows, extinguish
the son of Kunti in battle. With my broad-headed shafts I shall still the
son of Kunti, that terrible snake of virulent poison, that is exceedingly
difficult of being captured, that is endued with keen fangs, that is even
like a blazing fire that flames up in wrath, and that always consumes his
foes. Like Himavat bearing the mighty, all-crushing, fierce and smiting
god of wind, I shall, without moving, bear the angry and vindictive
Dhananjaya. I shall resist in battle Dhananjaya, that foremost of all
wielders of bows in the world, that hero in fight, that warrior who is
always in the van and who is competent to meet all foes, that car-warrior
who is conversant with all car-tracks. Today I shall fight in battle with
that person who hath, I think, no equal among men wielding the bow and
who conquered the entire Earth. What other man desirous of saving his
life, except myself, will fight with that Savyasaci, who vanquished all
creatures including the very gods in the country called Khandava? Arjuna
is proud; his weapons strike deep; he is endued with great lightness of
hands; he is conversant with steeds; he agitates vast hosts; he is
regarded an Atiratha. Though such, I shall yet, with my sharp shafts,
strike his head from off his trunk today. O Shalya, ever keeping Death or
victory in battle before me, I shall today fight with Dhananjaya. There
is none else save myself that would on a single car fight with that
Pandava who resembles the destroyer himself. I myself will gladly speak
of the prowess of Phalguna in the midst of an assembly of kshatriyas. Why
however, dost thou, a fool as thou art and of foolish understanding,
speak to me of Phalguna’s prowess? Thou art a doer of disagreeable deeds.
Thou art cruel and mean and being thyself unforgiving, thou art a
detractor of one that is forgiving. I can slay a hundred persons like
thee, but I forgive thee in consequence of my forgiving disposition,
owing to the exigency of the times. Thou art of sinful deeds. Like a fool
thou hast, for the sake of Pandu’s son, rebuked me and told me many
disagreeable things. Crooked-hearted as thou art, thou hast said all
these words unto me, that am of a sincere heart. Cursed art thou for thou
art an injurer of friends,–of friends, because friendship is
seven-paced. Terrible is the hour that is now passing. Duryodhana hath
himself come to battle. I am solicitous of seeing his purposes achieved.
Thou, however, art acting in such a way that it shows thee to have no
friendship (for the Kuru king)! He is a friend who shows affection for
another, who gladdens another, who makes himself agreeable to another,
who protects another, who honours another, and who rejoices in the joys
of another. I tell thee that I have all those attributes, and the king
himself knows all this. He, on the other hand, that destroys, chastises,
sharpens his weapons, injures, causes us to sigh, makes us cheerless, and
wrongs us in diverse ways, is a foe. All these attributes are to be found
in thee and thou discoverest all of them in me. For the sake of
Duryodhana, for the sake of doing what is agreeable to thee, for the sake
of victory, for the sake of myself, and for the sake of God himself, I
will with vigorous exertion, fight with Partha and Vasudeva. Witness
today my feats. Behold today my excellent weapons, my brahmastra and
other celestial weapons, as also those that are human. I will today slay
that hero of fierce prowess, like an exceedingly infuriate elephant
slaying an infuriate compeer. I shall, by my mind alone, hurl today at
Partha, for my victory, that weapon of immeasurable energy, called the
brahmastra. Arjuna will never be able to escape that weapon, if only the
wheels of my car do not sink into the Earth in battle today. Know this, O
Shalya, that I would not take fright at Yama himself armed with his rod,
or Varuna himself armed with his noose, or Kuvera himself armed with his
mace, or Vasava himself armed with the thunderbolt, or at any other foe
whatever that may approach for slaying me. Therefore, I have no fear from
Partha, nor from Janardana. On the other hand, I shall encounter them
both in today’s destructive battle. Once on a time, while wandering for
the sake of practising weapons on my bow called Vijaya, O king, I had, by
shooting many fierce shafts of terrible forms, heedlessly struck the calf
of a (brahmana’s) homa cow with one of those shafts, and unwillingly
killed it white it was wandering in a solitary forest. The brahmana then
addressed me, saying, ‘Since, becoming insensate, thou hast slain the
offspring of my homa cow, the wheel (of thy car) will sink into the Earth
while at the time of battle fear will enter thy heart.’ From these words
of the brahmana I am experiencing great fear. These kings of the Lunar
race that are lords of (other people’s) weal and woe, offered to give
that brahmana a 1,000 kine and 600 bovine bulls. With even such a gift, O
Shalya, the brahmana would not be gratified, O ruler of the Madras. I was
then for giving him seven hundred elephants of large tusks and many
hundred of slaves male and female. That foremost of brahmana would not
still be gratified. Collecting next full 14,000 kine, each black in hue
and having a white calf I was still unable to obtain the grace of that
best of brahmana. A wealthy mansion full of every object of desire, in
fact, whatever wealth I had, I wished to give him with due worship, but
he refused to accept the gift. Unto me then that had offended and that
had begged so importunately for his pardon, the brahmana said, ‘That
which, O Suta, hath been uttered by me is sure to happen. It cannot be
otherwise. A false speech would destroy creatures, and sin also would be
mine. Therefore, for the preservation of virtue I do not venture to speak
what is false. Do not, again, destroy the means of a brahmana’s support.
There is none in the world that would be able to falsify my speech.
Accept those words. It will be thy atonement (for the sin of having slain
a calf).’ Though rebuked by thee, still for friendship’s sake, I have
disclosed to thee all this. I know thee that art rebuking me thus. Be
silent now, and hear what I will presently say.'”

43

“Sanjaya said, ‘That chastiser of foes, viz., the son of Radha, thus
silencing the ruler of the Madras, once more addressed him, O monarch,
saying these words, “In answer to that which, O Shalya, thou hast said
unto me by way of instance, I tell thee that I am incapable of being
frightened by thee in battle with thy words. If all the gods themselves
with Vasava would fight with me, I would not still feel any fear, what
need be said then of my fears from Pritha and Keshava? I am incapable of
being frightened by means of words alone. He, O Shalya, whom thou wouldst
be able to frighten in battle is some other person (and not myself)! Thou
hast spoken many bitter words to me. Therein lieth the strength of a
person that is low. Incapable of speaking of my merits, thou sayst many
bitter things, O thou of wicked heart; Karna was never born, O Madraka,
for fear in battle. On the other hand, I was born for displaying valour
as also for achieving glory for my own self. For the sake of my
friendship for thee, for my affection, and for thy being an ally,–for
these three reasons thou still livest, O Shalya. Important is the task
that has now to be done for king Dhritarashtra. That task, O Shalya,
depends on me. For this, thou livest a moment. Before this, I made a
compact with thee that any disagreeable speeches thou mightest utter
would be pardoned by me. That compact should be observed. It is for this
that thou livest, O Madraka. Without a 1,000 Salyas I would vanquish my
foes. He that injureth a friend is sinful. It is for this that thou
livest for the present.'”

44

“‘Shalya said, “These, O Karna, are ravings that thou utterest regarding
the foe. As regards myself without a 1,000 Karnas I am able to vanquish
the foe in battle.'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Unto the ruler of Madras, of harsh features, who was
saying such disagreeable things unto Karna, the latter once more said
words that were twice bitter.

“‘Karna said, “Listen with devoted attention to this, O ruler of the
Madras, that was heard by me while it was recited in the presence of
Dhritarashtra. In Dhritarashtra’s abode the brahmanas used to narrate the
accounts of diverse delightful regions and many kings of ancient times. A
foremost one among brahmanas, venerable in years while reciting old
histories, said these words, blaming the Vahikas and Madrakas, ‘One
should always avoid the Vahikas, those impure people that are out of the
pale of virtue, and that live away from the Himavat and the Ganga and
Sarasvati and Yamuna and Kurukshetra and the Sindhu and its five
tributary rivers. I remember from the days of my youth that a
slaughter-ground for kine and a space for storing intoxicating spirits
always distinguish the entrances of the abodes of the (Vahika) kings. On
some very secret mission I had to live among the Vahikas. In consequence
of such residence the conduct of these people is well known to me. There
is a town of the name of Sakala, a river of the name of Apaga, and a clan
of the Vahikas known by the name of the Jarttikas. The practices of these
people are very censurable. They drink the liquor called Gauda, and eat
fried barley with it. They also eat beef with garlic. They also eat cakes
of flour mixed with meat, and boiled rice that is bought from others. Of
righteous practices they have none. Their women, intoxicated with drink
and divested of robes, laugh and dance outside the walls of the houses in
cities, without garlands and unguents, singing while drunk obscene songs
of diverse kinds that are as musical as the bray of the ass or the bleat
of the camel. In intercourse they are absolutely without any restraint,
and in all other matters they act as they like. Maddened with drink, they
call upon one another, using many endearing epithets. Addressing many
drunken exclamations to their husbands and lords, the fallen women among
the Vahikas, without observing restrictions even on sacred days, give
themselves up to dancing. One of those wicked Vahikas,–one that is, that
lived amongst those arrogant women,–who happened to live for some days
in Kurujangala, burst out with cheerless heart, saying, “Alas, that
(Vahika) maiden of large proportions, dressed in thin blankets, is
thinking of me,–her Vahika lover–that is now passing his days in
Kurujangala, at the hour of her going to bed.” Crossing the Sutlej and
the delightful Iravati, and arriving at my own country, when shall I cast
my eyes upon those beautiful women with thick frontal bones, with blazing
circlets of red arsenic on their foreheads, with streaks of jet black
collyrium on their eyes, and their beautiful forms attired in blankets
and skins and themselves uttering shrill cries! When shall I be happy, in
the company of those intoxicated ladies amid the music of drums and
kettle-drums and conchs sweet as the cries of asses and camels and mules!
When shall I be amongst those ladies eating cakes of flour and meat and
balls of pounded barley mixed with skimmed milk, in the forests, having
many pleasant paths of Sami and Pilu and Karira! When shall I, amid my
own countrymen, mustering in strength on the high-roads, fall upon
passengers, and snatching their robes and attires beat them repeatedly!
What man is there that would willingly dwell, even for a moment amongst
the Vahikas that are so fallen and wicked, and so depraved in their
practises?’ Even thus did that brahmana describe the Vahikas of base
behaviour, a sixth of whose merits and demerits is thine, O Shalya.
Having said this, that pious brahmana began once more to say what I am
about to repeat respecting the wicked Vahikas. Listen to what I say, ‘In
the large and populous town of Sakala, a Rakshasa woman used to sing on
every fourteenth day of the dark fortnight, in accompaniment with a drum,
“When shall I next sing the songs of the Vahikas in this Sakala town,
having gorged myself with beef and drunk the Gauda liquor? When shall I
again, decked in ornaments, and with those maidens and ladies of large
proportions, gorge upon a large number of sheep and large quantities of
pork and beef and the meat of fowls and asses and camels? They who do not
eat sheep live in vain!”‘ Even thus, O Shalya, the young and old, among
the inhabitants of Sakala, intoxicated with spirits, sing and cry. How
can virtue be met with among such a people? Thou shouldst know this. I
must, however, speak again to thee about what another brahmana had said
unto us in the Kuru court, ‘There where forests of Pilus stand, and those
five rivers flow, viz., the Satadru, the Vipasa, the Iravati, the
Candrabhaga, and the Vitasa and which have the Sindhu for their sixth,
there in those regions removed from the Himavat, are the countries called
by the name of the Arattas. Those regions are without virtue and
religion. No one should go thither. The gods, the pitris, and the
brahmanas, never accept gifts from those that are fallen, or those that
are begotten by Shudras on the girls of other castes, or the Vahikas who
never perform sacrifices and are exceedingly irreligious.’ That learned
brahmana had also said in the Kuru court, ‘The Vahikas, without any
feelings of revulsion, eat of wooden vessels having deep stomachs and
earthen plates and vessels that have been licked by dogs and that are
stained with pounded barley and other corn. The Vahikas drink the milk of
sheep and camels and asses and eat curds and other preparations from
those different kinds of milk. Those degraded people number many bastards
among them. There is no food and no milk that they do not take. The
Aratta-Vahikas that are steeped in ignorance, should be avoided.’ Thou
shouldst know this, O Shalya. I must, however, again speak to thee about
what another brahmana had said unto me in the Kuru court, ‘How can one go
to heaven, having drunk milk in the town called Yugandhara, and resided
in the place called Acyutasthala, and bathed in the spot called
Bhutilaya? There where the five rivers flow just after issuing from the
mountains, there among the Aratta-Vahikas, no respectable person should
dwell even for two days. There are two Pishacas named Vahi and Hika in
the river Vipasa. The Vahikas are the offspring of those two Pishacas.
They are not creatures created by the Creator. Being of such low origin,
how can they be conversant with the duties ordained in the scriptures?
The Karashakas, the Mahishakas, the Kalingas, the Keralas, the
Karkotakas, the Virakas, and other peoples of no religion, one should
always avoid.’ Even thus did a Rakshasa woman of gigantic hips speak unto
a brahmana who on a certain occasion went to that country for bathing in
a sacred water and passed a single night there. The regions are called by
the name of Arattas. The people residing there are called the Vahikas.
The lowest of brahmanas also are residing there from very remote times.
They are without the Veda and without knowledge, without sacrifice and
without the power to assist at other’s sacrifices. They are all fallen
and many amongst them have been begotten by Shudras upon other peoples’
girls. The gods never accept any gifts from them. The Prasthalas, the
Madras, the Gandharas, the Arattas, those called Khasas, the Vasatis, the
Sindhus and the Sauviras are almost as blamable in their practices.'”

45

“‘Karna continued, “Thou shouldst know all this, O Shalya. I shall
however, again speak unto thee. Listen with close attention to what I
say. Once on a time a brahmana came to our house as a guest. Observing
our practices he became highly gratified and said unto us, ‘I dwelt for a
long time on a peak of the Himavat quite alone. Since then I have seen
diverse countries following diverse religions. Never, however, have I
seen all the people of a country act unrighteously. All the races I have
met will admit that to be true religion which has been declared by
persons conversant with the Vedas. Travelling through various countries
following various religions, I at last, O king, came among the Vahikas.
There I heard that one at first becomes a brahmana and then he becomes a
kshatriya. Indeed, a Vahika would, after that, become a Vaishya, and then
a Shudra, and then a barber. Having become a barber, he would then again
become a brahmana. Returning to the status of a brahmana, he would again
become a slave. One person in a family becomes a brahmana: all the
others, falling off from virtue, act as they like. The Gandharas, the
Madrakas, and the Vahikas of little understanding are even such. Having
travelled through the whole world I heard of these practices, destructive
of virtue, of these sinful irregularities amongst the Vahikas.’ Thou
shouldst know all this, O Shalya. I shall, however, again speak to thee
about those ugly words that another said unto me regarding the Vahikas.
In former days a chaste woman was abducted by robbers (hailing) from
Aratta. Sinfully was she violated by them, upon which she cursed them,
saying, ‘Since ye have sinfully violated a helpless girl who am not
without a husband, therefore, the women of your families shall all become
unchaste. Ye lowest of men, never shall ye escape from the consequences
of this dreadful sin.’ It is for this, O Shalya, that the sisters’ sons
of the Arattas, and not their own sons, become their heirs. The Kauravas
with the Pancalas, the Salwas, the Matsyas, the Naimishas, the Koshalas,
the Kasapaundras, the Kalingas, the Magadhas, and the Cedis who are all
highly blessed, know what the eternal religion is. The wicked even of
these various countries know what religion is. The Vahikas, however, live
without righteousness. Beginning with the Matsyas, the residents of the
Kuru and the Pancala countries, the Naimishas as well and the other
respectable peoples, the pious among all races are conversant with the
eternal truths of religion. This cannot be said of the Madrakas and the
crooked-hearted race that resides in the country of the five rivers.
Knowing all these things, O king, hold thy tongue, O Shalya, like one
deprived of utterance, in all matters connected with religion and virtue.
Thou art the protector and king of that people, and, therefore, the
partaker of sixth part of their merits and demerits. Or perhaps, thou art
the partaker of a sixth part of their demerits only, for thou never
protectest them. A king that protects is a sharer in the merits of his
subjects. Thou art not a sharer in their merits. In days of yore, when
the eternal religion was reverenced in all countries, the Grandsire,
observing the practices of the country of the five rivers, cried fie on
them. When even in the krita age, Brahman had censured the practices of
those fallen people of evil deeds who were begotten by Shudras on others’
wives, what would you now say to men in the world? Even thus did the
Grandsire condemn the practices of the country of the five waters. When
all people were observant of the duties of their respective orders, the
Grandsire had to find fault with these men. Thou shouldst know all this,
O Shalya. I shall, however, again speak to thee. A Rakshasa of the name
of Kalmashapada, while plunging in a tank, said, ‘Eleemosynation is a
kshatriya’s dirt, while the non-observance of vows is a brahmana’s dirt.
The Vahikas are the dirt of the Earth, and the Madra women are the dirt
of the whole female sex. While sinking in the stream, a king rescued the
Rakshasa. Asked by the former, the latter gave this answer. I will recite
it to you. Listen to me. ‘The mlecchas are the dirt of mankind: the
oilmen are the dirt of the Mlecchas; eunuchs are the dirt of oilmen; they
who avail of the priestly ministrations of Kshatriyas, in their
sacrifices, are the dirt of eunuchs. The sin of those again that have the
last-named persons for their priests, of also of the Madrakas, shall be
thine if thou do not abandon me.’ Even this was declared by the Rakshasa
to be the formula that should be used for curing a person possessed by a
Rakshasa or one killed by the energy of a poison. The words that follow
are all very true. The Pancalas observe the duties enjoined in the Vedas;
the Kauravas observe truth; the Matsyas and the Surasenas perform
sacrifices, the Easterners follow the practices of the Shudras; the
Southerners are fallen; the Vahikas are thieves; the Saurashtras are
bastards. They that are defiled by ingratitude, theft, drunkenness,
adultery with the wives of their preceptors, harshness of speech,
slaughter of kine, lustful wanderings during the night out of home, and
the wearing of other people’s ornaments,–what sin is there that they do
not incur? Fie on the Arattas and the people of the country of the five
rivers! Commencing with the Pancalas, the Kauravas, the Naimishas, the
Matsyas,–all these,–know what religion is. The old men among the
Northerners, the Angas, the Magadhas, (without themselves knowing what
virtue is) follow the practices of the pious. Many gods, headed by Agni,
dwell in the East. The pitris dwell in the South that is presided over by
Yama of righteous deeds. The West is protected by the mighty Varuna who
overlooks the other gods there. The north is protected by the divine Soma
along with the Brahmanas. So Rakshasas and Pishacas protect the Himavat,
the best of mountains. The Guhyakas, O great king, protect the mountains
of Gandhamadana. Without doubt, Vishnu, otherwise, called Janardana,
protects all creatures. (For all that the Vahikas have no especial
protectors among the gods). The Magadhas are comprehenders of signs; the
Koshalas comprehend from what they see; the Kurus and the Pancalas
comprehend from a half-uttered speech; the Salwas cannot comprehend till
the whole speech is uttered. The Mountaineers, like the Sivis, are very
stupid. The Yavanas, O king, are omniscient; the Suras are particularly
so. The mlecchas are wedded to the creations of their own fancy. Other
peoples cannot understand. The Vahikas resent beneficial counsels; as
regards the Madrakas there are none amongst those (mentioned above.)
Thou, O Shalya, art so. Thou shouldst not reply to me. The Madrakas are
regarded on Earth as the dirt of every nation. So the Madra woman is
called the dirt of the whole female sex. They that have for their
practices the drinking of spirits, the violation of the beds of their
preceptors, the destruction of the embryo by procuring miscarriage, and
the robbing of other people’s wealth, there is no sin that they have not.
Fie on the Arattas and the people of the country of the five rivers.
Knowing this, be silent. Do not seek to oppose me. Do not let me slay
Keshava and Arjuna, having slain thee first.'”

“‘Shalya said, “The abandonment of the afflicted and the sale of wives
and children are, O Karna, prevalent amongst the Angas whose king thou
art. Recollecting those faults of thine that Bhishma recited on the
occasion of the tale of Rathas and Atirathas, drive away thy wrath. Do
not be angry. Brahmanas may be found everywhere; Kshatriyas may be found
everywhere; so also Vaishyas and Shudras, O Karna, women of chastity and
excellent vows may also be found everywhere. Everywhere men take delight
in jesting with men and wounding one another. Lustful men also may be
found everywhere. Everyone on every occasion can command skill in
speaking of the faults of others. No one, however, knows his own faults,
or knowing them, feels shame. Everywhere are kings devoted to their
respective religions, and employed in chastising the wicked. Everywhere
may be found virtuous men. It cannot be, O Karna, that all the people of
a country are sinful. There are men in many countries that surpass the
very gods by their behaviour.'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Then king Duryodhana stopped Karna and Shalya (from
going on with their wordy warfare), addressing the son of Radha as a
friend, and beseeching Shalya with joined hands, Karna, O sire, was
quieted by thy son and forbore saying anything more. Shalya also then
faced the enemy. Then Radha’s son, smiling, once more urged Shalya,
saying, “Proceed.”‘”

46

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding then that unrivalled array of the Parthas made
by Dhrishtadyumna which was capable of resisting all hostile armies,
Karna proceeded, uttering leonine shouts and causing his car to produce a
loud rattle. And he made the Earth to tremble with the loud din of
musical instruments. And that chastiser of foes, that hero in battle,
seemed to tremble in rage. Duly disposing his own troops in
counter-array, O bull of Bharata’s race, that hero of great energy made a
great slaughter of the Pandava forces like Maghavat slaughtering the
Asura host. Striking Yudhishthira then with many arrows, he placed the
eldest son of Pandu to his right.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘How, O Sanjaya, did the son of Radha dispose his
forces in counter array to all the Pandavas headed by Dhristadyumna and
protected by Bhimasena, viz., all those great bowmen invincible by the
very gods? Who, O Sanjaya, stood in the wings and the further wings of
our army? Dividing themselves properly, how were the warriors stationed?
How also did the sons of Pandu dispose their army in counter-array to
mine? How also did that great and awful battle commence? Where was
Vibhatsu when Karna proceeded against Yudhishthira? Who could succeed in
assailing Yudhishthira in the presence of Arjuna? That Arjuna who had
vanquished, single-handed in former days, all creatures at Khandava, who
else that is desirous of life, save the son of Radha, would fight with
him?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Hear now of the formation of the arrays, the manner in
which Arjuna came and how the battle was fought by both sides surrounding
their respective kings. Sharadvata’s son Kripa, O king, and the Magadhas
endued with great activity, and Kritavarma of Satwata race, took up their
position in the right wing. Shakuni, and the mighty car-warrior Uluka,
standing on the right of these, and accompanied by many fearless Gandhara
horsemen armed with bright lances, and many mountaineers difficult to
defeat, numerous as flights of locusts, and grimlooking as Pishacas,
protected the (Kaurava) army. 34,000 unreturning cars of the samsaptakas,
mad with desire of battle, with thy sons in their midst, and all desirous
of slaying Krishna and Arjuna, protected the left side (of the Kaurava
army). On their left, the Kambojas, the Sakas, and the Yavanas, with cars
and horse and foot, at the command of the Suta’s son, stood, challenging
Arjuna and the mighty Keshava. In the centre, at the head of that host,
stood Karna, clad in armour with beautiful coat of mail and adorned with
Angadas and garlands, for protecting that point. Supported by his own
angry sons, that foremost of all wielders of weapons, that hero, shone
resplendent at the head of the army as he drew his bow repeatedly. The
mighty-armed Duhshasana, possessed of the effulgence of the sun or fire
with tawny eyes and handsome features, riding on the neck of a huge
elephant, surrounded by many troops, and stationed at the rear of the
army gradually approached for fight. Behind him came Duryodhana himself,
O monarch, protected by his uterine brothers riding on beautiful steeds
and cased in beautiful mail. Protected by the united Madrakas and the
Kekayas of exceeding energy, the king, O monarch, looked resplendent like
Indra of a hundred sacrifices when surrounded by the celestials.
Ashvatthama and the other foremost of mighty car-warriors, and many
ever-infuriate elephants shedding temporal secretions like the very
clouds and ridden by brave Mlecchas, followed behind that car-force.
Decked with triumphal standards and blazing weapons, those huge
creatures, ridden by warriors skilled in fighting from their backs,
looked beautiful like hills overgrown with trees. Many thousands of brave
and unreturning warriors, armed with axes and swords, became the
footguards of those elephants. Gorgeously decked with horsemen and
car-warriors and elephants, that foremost of arrays looked exceedingly
beautiful like the array of the celestials or of the Asuras. That great
array, formed according to the scheme of Brihaspati by its commander,
well-versed in ways of battle, seemed to dance (as it advanced) and
struck terror into the hearts of foes. Like ever-appearing clouds in the
season of rains, foot-soldiers and horsemen and car-warriors and
elephants, longing for battle began to issue from the wings and further
wings of that array. Then king Yudhishthira, beholding Karna at the head
of the (hostile) army, addressed Dhananjaya, that slayer of foes, that
one hero in the world, and said these words, “Behold, O Arjuna, the
mighty array formed by Karna in battle. The hostile force looks
resplendent with its wings and further wings. At sight of this vast
hostile force, let such measures be adopted that it may not vanquish us.’
Thus addressed by the king, Arjuna replied with joined hands, ‘Everything
will be done as thou sayest. Nothing will be otherwise. I will, O
Bharata, do that by which the destruction of the enemy may be compassed.
By slaying their foremost of warriors, I will achieve their destruction.”

“‘Yudhishthira said, “With that view, do thou proceed against the son of
Radha, and let Bhimasena proceed against Suyodhana, Nakula against
Virshasena, Sahadeva against the son of Subala, Satanika against
Duhshasana, that bull amongst the Sinis, viz., Satyaki, against the son
of Hridika, and Pandya against the son of Drona. I myself will fight with
Kripa. Let the sons of Draupadi with Shikhandi amongst them, proceed
against the rest of the Dhartarashtras. Let the other warriors of our
army encounter our other foes.'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Thus addressed by Yudhishthira the just, Dhananjaya
saying, “So be it,” ordered his troops (to do the needful) and himself
proceeded to the head of the army. That car for which the Leader of the
universe, viz., Agni, who derives his effulgence from Brahman, became the
steeds, that car which was known amongst the gods as belonging to Brahman
because it sprang first from Brahman himself, that car which in days of
old had successively borne Brahman and Ishana and Indra and Varuna one
after another, riding on that primeval car, Keshava and Arjuna now
proceeded to battle. Beholding that advancing car of wonderful aspect,
Shalya once more said unto Adhiratha’s son, that warrior of great energy
in battle, these words “Yonder comes that car having white steeds yoked
unto it and owning Krishna for its driver, that vehicle incapable of
being resisted by all the troops, like the inevitable fruit of work.
There comes the son of Kunti, slaughtering his foes along the way,–he,
that is, about whom thou hadst been enquiring. Since tremendous is the
uproar that is being heard, deep as the roar of the clouds, it is,
without doubt, those high-souled ones, viz., Vasudeva and Dhananjaya.
Yonder ascends a cloud of dust that overspreads the welkin like a canopy.
The whole Earth, O Karna, seems to tremble, cut deep by the circumference
of Arjuna’s wheels. These violent winds are blowing on both sides of thy
army. These carnivorous creatures are yelling aloud and these animals are
uttering fearful cries. Behold, O Karna, the terrible and portentous Ketu
of vapoury form, making the hair to stand on end, hath appeared, covering
the Sun. Behold, diverse kinds of animals, all around in large packs, and
many mighty wolves and tigers are looking at the Sun. Behold those
terrible Kankas and those vultures, assembled together in thousands,
sitting with faces towards one another, in seeming discourse. Those
coloured yak-tails attached to thy great car are waving unquietly. Thy
standard also is trembling. Behold these thy beautiful steeds, of huge
limbs and great speed resembling that of soaring birds, are also
quivering. From these portents, it is certain that kings, in hundreds and
thousands, O Karna, deprived of life, will lie down on the ground for
eternal sleep. The loud uproar of conchs, making the hair to stand on
end, is being heard. The sound also of drums and cymbals, O son of Radha,
is being heard on all sides, as also the whizz of diverse kinds of
arrows, and the din made by cars and steeds and men. Listen also, O
Karna, to the loud twang produced by the bow-strings of high-souled
warriors. Behold, O Karna, those banners of Arjuna, that are equipped
with rows of bells, and decked with golden moons and stars. Made by
skilful artists out of cloths embroidered with gold and of diverse hues,
they are blazing with resplendence on Arjuna’s car as they are shaken by
the wind, like flashes of lightning in a mass of clouds. Behold those
(other) banners producing sharp sounds as they wave in the air. Those
car-warriors of the high-souled Pancalas, with flag-decked standards on
their vehicles, are looking resplendent, O Karna, like the very gods on
their celestial cars. Behold the heroic son of Kunti, the unvanquished
Vibhatsu (Arjuna) with that foremost of apes on his standard, advancing
for the destruction of the foe. There, on the top of Partha’s standard,
is to be seen that terrible ape, that enhancer of the fears of foes,
attracting the gaze (of warriors) from every side. The discus, the mace,
the bow called Saranga and the conch (called Panchajanya) of the
intelligent Krishna, as also his gem Kaustubha, look exceedingly
beautiful in him. The wielder of Saranga and the mace, viz., Vasudeva, of
great energy, cometh, urging those white steeds endued with the fleetness
of the wind. Yonder twangs Gandiva, drawn by Savyasaci. Those whetted
shafts, sped by that strong-armed hero, are destroying his enemies. The
Earth is strewn with the heads of unretreating kings, with faces
beautiful as the moon at full, and decked with large and expansive eyes
of coppery hue. There the arms, looking like spiked maces, with weapons
in grasp, and smeared with excellent perfumes, of warriors delighting in
battle and contending with uplifted weapons, are falling. Steeds with
eyes, tongues, and entrails drawn out along with their riders, are
falling and fallen and deprived of life lie prostrate on the Earth. Those
lifeless elephants huge as mountain summits, torn, mangled, and pierced
by Partha, are falling down like veritable hills. Those cars, looking
like the changeful forms of vapour in the sky, with their royal riders
slain, are falling down like the celestial cars of the denizens of heaven
upon the exhaustion of the latter’s merits. Behold, the army is
exceedingly agitated by the diadem-decked Arjuna, like herds of countless
cattle by a maned lion. There the Pandava heroes, advancing for the
attack, are slaying kings and large numbers of elephants and steeds and
car-warriors and foot-soldiers of thy army engaged in battle. There
Partha, shrouded (by friends and foes and weapons and dust) is not to be
seen, like the Sun shrouded by clouds. Only the top of his standard may
be seen and the twang of his bow-string may be heard. Thou art sure, O
Karna, to behold today that hero of white steed with Krishna for his
driver, engaged in slaughtering his foes in battle. Thou art sure of
beholding him about whom thou hadst been enquiring. Today, O Karna, thou
art sure to behold those two tigers among men, both of red eyes, both
chastisers of foes, viz., Vasudeva and Arjuna, stationed on the same car.
If, O son of Radha, thou succeedest in slaying him that hath Keshava for
his driver and Gandiva for his bow, then thou shalt be our king.
Challenged by the samsaptakas, Partha now proceedeth against them. That
mighty warrior is engaged in making a great slaughter of his foes in
battle.” Unto the ruler of the Madras who was saying so, Karna, in rage,
said, “Behold, Partha is assailed on all sides by the angry samsaptakas.
Like the Sun shrouded by the clouds, Partha is no longer visible.
Plunged, into that ocean of warriors, O Shalya, Arjuna is sure to perish.”

“‘Shalya said, “Who is there that would slay Varuna with water, or quench
fire with fuel? Who is there that would seize the wind, or drink off the
ocean? I regard thy act of afflicting Partha to be even such. Arjuna is
incapable of being vanquished in battle by the very gods and the Asuras
united together and having Indra himself at their head. Or, suffer
thyself to be gratified, and be of easy mind, having said those words
(about thy capacity to slay Partha) Partha cannot be conquered in battle.
Accomplish some other purpose thou mayst have in thy mind. He that would
uplift this Earth on his two arms, or burn all creatures in wrath, or
hurl the gods from heaven, may vanquish Arjuna in battle. Behold that
other heroic son of Kunti, viz., Bhima, who is never fatigued with
exertion, blazing with resplendence, mighty-armed, and standing like
another Meru. With wrath ever kindled and longing for revenge, Bhima of
great energy stands there desirous of victory in battle, and remembering
all his injuries. There that foremost of virtuous men, viz., king
Yudhishthira the just, that subjugator of hostile towns, stands difficult
of being resisted by foes in battle. There stand those two tigers among
men, the twin Ashvinis, the two uterine brothers Nakula and Sahadeva,
both invincible in battle. Yonder may be seen the five sons of Krishna,
that have the features of Pancala princes. All of them, equal to Arjuna
in battle, are standing, desirous of fight. There the sons of Drupada,
headed by Dhristadyumna, swelling with pride and energy,–heroes endued
with great energy,–have taken up their stand. There, that foremost one
among the Satwatas, viz., Satyaki, irresistible like Indra, advanceth
against us, from desire of fight, like the destroyer himself in wrath
before our eyes.” While those two lions among men were thus addressing
each other, the two armies mingled fiercely in battle, like the currents
of the Ganga and Yamuna.'”

47

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘When the two armies, duly arrayed, thus mingled
with each other for battle, O Sanjaya, how did Partha assail the
samsaptakas, and how Karna assail the Pandavas? Tell me the incidents of
the battle in detail, for thou art skilled in narration. Listening to the
accounts of the prowess of heroes in battle, I am never satiated.’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Observing the vast hostile force stationed in that
manner, Arjuna arrayed his troops in proper form, in consequence of the
evil policy of thy son. The vast Pandava force then, teeming with
horsemen and elephants and foot-soldiers and cars, and headed by
Dhrishtadyumna, looked exceedingly magnificent. With his steeds white as
pigeons, the son of Prishata, equal in splendour to the Sun or the Moon,
armed with bow, looked resplendent like Death himself in embodied form.
The sons of Draupadi, desirous of battle, stood by the side of the son of
Prishata. They were clad in excellent coats of mail, and armed with
excellent weapons, and all of them were endued with the prowess of
tigers. Possessed of effulgent bodies, they followed their maternal uncle
like the stars appearing with the Moon. Beholding the samsaptakas
standing in array, Arjuna, with wrath excited, rushed against them,
drawing his bow Gandiva. The samsaptakas then, desirous of slaying
Arjuna, rushed against Partha, firmly resolved on victory, and making
death their goal. That brave host of heroes, teeming with men, steeds,
infuriate elephants, and cars, began very quickly to afflict Arjuna.
Their encounter with Kiritin (Arjuna) became exceedingly furious. That
encounter resembled the one that took place between Arjuna and the
Nivatakavachas, as we have heard. Partha cut off cars and steeds and
standards and elephants and foot-soldiers engaged in fight, with shafts
and bows and swords and discs and battle axes, and uplifted arms with
weapons in grasp, and the heads also of foes, by thousands upon
thousands. The samsaptakas, regarding the car of Partha sunk in that deep
vortex of warriors, uttered loud roars. Partha, however, slaying all his
foes in front, slew those that stood further off, and then those that
were on his right and his back, like Rudra himself in rage slaughtering
all created things endued with life. The encounter that took place when
the Pancalas, the Cedis, and the Srinjayas faced thy troops was
exceedingly fierce. Kripa and Kritavarma, and Shakuni the son of Subala,
those heroes difficult of defeat in battle, accompanied by troops that
were all cheerful, themselves filled with rage, and capable of smiting
down thick ranks of cars, fought with the Koshalas, the Kasis, the
Matsyas, the Karusas, the Kaikayas, and the Surasenas, all of whom were
possessed of great courage. That battle fraught with great slaughter and
destructive of body, life and sins, became conducive to fame, heaven, and
virtue, in respect of the Kshatriya, the Vaishya, and the Shudra heroes
that were engaged in it. Meanwhile the Kuru king Duryodhana with his
brothers, O bull of Bharata’s race, and supported by many Kuru heroes and
many mighty Madraka car-warriors, protected Karna while the latter was
engaged in battle with the Pandavas, the Pancalas, the Cedis, and
Satyaki. Destroying that vast division with his sharp arrows, and
crushing many foremost of car-warriors Karna succeeded in afflicting
Yudhishthira. Cutting off the armour, the weapons, and the bodies of
thousands of foes and slaying his foes by thousands and sending them to
heaven and making them earn great fame, Karna caused his friends great
joy. Thus, O sire, that battle destructive of men, steeds, and cars,
between the Kurus and the Srinjayas, resembled the battle between the
gods and the Asuras of old.'”

48

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Tell me, O Sanjaya, how Karna, having caused a
great slaughter penetrated into the midst of the Pandava troops, and
struck and afflicted king Yudhishthira. Who were those foremost of heroes
among the Parthas that resisted Karna? Who were they whom Karna crushed
before he could succeed in afflicting Yudhishthira?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding the Parthas headed by Dhrishtadyumna stationed
for battle, that crusher of foes, viz., Karna, rushed impetuously against
the Pancalas. Like swans rushing towards the sea, the Pancalas, longing
for victory, rushed as quickly against that high-souled warrior advancing
to the encounter. Then the blare of thousands of conchs, as if piercing
the heart by its shrillness, arose from both hosts, and the fierce peal
also of thousands of drums. The sound also of diverse musical instruments
and the noise made by elephants and steeds and cars, and the leonine
shouts of heroes, that arose there, became exceedingly awful. It seemed
that the whole Earth with her mountains and trees and oceans, the entire
welkin covered with wind-tossed clouds, and the whole firmament with the
Sun, the Moon, and the stars, trembled with that sound. All creatures
regarded that noise to be even such and became agitated. Those amongst
them that were endued with little strength fell dead. Then Karna, excited
with great wrath, quickly invoking his weapons, began to smite the
Pandava army like Maghavat smiting the army of the Asuras. Penetrating
then into the Pandava host and shooting his arrows, Karna slew seven and
seventy foremost of warriors among the Prabhadrakas. Then that foremost
of car-warriors, with five and twenty sharp shafts equipped with goodly
wings, slew five and twenty Pancalas. With many cloth-yard shafts
equipped with wings of gold and capable of piercing the bodies of all
foes, that hero slew the Cedis by hundreds and thousands. While he was
employed in achieving those superhuman feats in battle, large throngs of
Pancala cars, O king, quickly surrounded him on all sides. Aiming then, O
Bharata, five irresistible shafts, Karna, otherwise called Vaikartana or
Vrisha, slew five Pancala warriors. The five Pancalas, O Bharata, that he
slew in that battle were Bhanudeva and Citrasena and Senavindu and Tapana
and Surasena. While the Pancala heroes were thus being slaughtered with
arrows in that great battle, loud cries of “Oh” and “Alas” arose from
among the Pancala host. Then ten car-warriors among the Pancalas, O
monarch, surrounded Karna. Them, too, Karna speedily slew with his
shafts. The two protectors of Karna’s car wheels, viz., his two
invincible sons, O sire, that were named Sushena and Satyasena, began to
fight, reckless of their very lives. The eldest son of Karna, viz., the
mighty car-warrior Vrishasena, himself protected his father’s rear. Then
Dhrishtadyumna, Satyaki, and the five sons of Draupadi, and Vrikodara,
Janamejaya, and Shikhandi, and many foremost warriors among the
Prabhadrakas, and many amongst the Cedis, the Kaikayas, and the Pancalas,
the twins (Nakula and Sahadeva), and the Matsyas, all clad in mail,
rushed fiercely upon Radha’s son, skilled in smiting, from desire of
slaying him. Pouring upon him diverse kinds of weapons and thick showers
of arrows, they began to afflict him like the clouds afflicting the
mountain breast in the season of rains. Desirous of rescuing their
father, the sons of Karna, all of whom were effectual smiters, and many
other heroes, O king, of thy army, resisted those (Pandava) heroes.
Sushena, cutting off with a broad-headed arrow the bow of Bhimasena,
pierced Bhima himself with seven cloth-yard shafts in the chest, and
uttered a loud roar. Then Vrikodara of terrible prowess, taking up
another tough bow and stringing it quickly, cut off Sushena’s bow.
Excited with rage and as if dancing (on his car), he quickly pierced
Sushena himself with ten arrows, and then pierced Karna, within the
twinkling of an eye, with seventy sharp shafts. With ten other shafts,
Bhima then felled Bhanusena, another son of Karna, with his steeds,
driver, weapons, and standard, in the very sight of the latter’s friends.
The sightly head of that youth, graced with a face as beautiful as the
Moon, cut off with a razor-headed arrow, looked like a lotus plucked from
its stalk. Having slain Karna’s son, Bhima began to afflict thy troops
once more. Cutting off the bows then of Kripa and Hridika’s son, he began
to afflict those two also. Piercing Duhshasana with three arrows made
wholly of iron, and Shakuni with six, he deprived both Uluka and his
brother Patatri of their cars. Addressing Sushena next in these words,
viz., “Thou art slain.” Bhima took up an arrow. Karna, however, cut off
that arrow and struck Bhima himself with three shafts. Then Bhima took up
another straight arrow of great impetuosity and sped it at Sushena. But
Vrisha cut that arrow also. Then Karna, desirous of rescuing his son, and
wishing to make an end of the cruel Bhimasena, struck the latter with
three and seventy fierce arrows. Then Sushena taking up an excellent bow
capable of bearing a great strain, pierced Nakula with five arrows in the
arms and the chest. Nakula, then piercing his antagonist with twenty
strong shafts capable of bearing a great strain, uttered a loud roar and
inspired Karna with fright. The mighty car-warrior Sushena, however, O
king, piercing Nakula with ten shafts, quickly cut off the latter’s bow
with a razor-headed arrow. Then Nakula, insensate with rage, took up
another bow, and resisted Sushena in that battle with nine shafts. That
slayer of hostile heroes, O king, shrouding all the quarters with showers
of arrows, slew Sushena’s driver, and piercing Sushena himself again with
three shafts, and then with three other broad-headed arrows, cut off his
bow of great strength into three fragments. Sushena also, deprived of his
senses in rage, took up another bow and pierced Nakula with sixty arrows
and Sahadeva with seven. The battle raged fiercely, like that of the gods
and the Asuras between those heroes striking one another. Satyaki,
slaying the driver of Vrishasena with three arrows, cut off the latter’s
bow with a broad-headed shaft and struck his steeds with seven arrows.
Crushing his standard then with another arrow, he struck Vrishasena
himself with three arrows in the chest. Thus struck, Vrishasena became
senseless on his car, but within the twinkling of an eye, stood up again.
Deprived of his driver and steeds and car standard by Yuyudhana
(Satyaki), Vrishasena then, armed with sword and shield, rushed against
Yuyudhana from desire of slaying him. Satyaki, however, as his antagonist
rushed towards him, struck at his sword and shield with ten arrows
equipped with heads like a boar’s ear. Then Duhshasana, beholding
Vrishasena made carless and weaponless, quickly caused him to ascend his
own car, and bearing him away from the spot, caused him to ride another
vehicle. The mighty car-warrior Vrishasena then, riding on another
vehicle, pierced the five sons of Draupadi with seventy and Yuyudhana
with five, and Bhimasena with four and sixty, and Sahadeva with five, and
Nakula with thirty, and Satanika with seven arrows, and Shikhandi with
ten, and king Yudhishthira with a hundred. These and many other foremost
of heroes, O king, all inspired with desire of victory that great bowman,
viz., the son of Karna, O monarch, continued to afflict with his shafts.
Then, in that battle, the invincible Vrishasena continued to protect the
rear of Karna. The grandson of Sini, having made Duhshasana driverless
and steedless and carless by means of nine times nine arrows made wholly
of iron, struck Duhshasana with ten shafts in the forehead. The Kuru
prince then, riding on another car that was duly equipped (with all
necessary implements), once more began to fight with the Pandavas, from
within the division of Karna. Then Dhristadyumna pierced Karna with ten
arrows, and the sons of Draupadi pierced him with three and seventy, and
Yuyudhana with seven. And Bhimasena pierced him with four and sixty
arrows, and Sahadeva with seven. And Nakula pierced him with thirty
arrows, and Satanika with seven. And the heroic Shikhandi pierced him
with ten and king Yudhishthira with a hundred. These and other foremost
of men, O monarch, all inspired with desire of victory, began to grind
that great bowman, viz., the Suta’s son, in that dreadful battle. That
chastiser of foes, viz., the Suta’s son of great heroism, performing
quick evolutions with his car, pierced every one of those warriors with
ten arrows. We then, O king, witnessed the lightness of hand displayed by
the high-souled Karna and the power of his weapons. Indeed, what we saw
appeared to be highly wonderful. People could not notice when he took up
his arrows, when he aimed them, and when he let them off. They only
beheld his enemies dying fast in consequence of his wrath. The sky, the
firmament, the Earth, and all the quarters seemed to be entirely shrouded
with sharp arrows. The firmament looked resplendent as if covered with
red clouds. The valiant son of Radha, armed with the bow, and as if
dancing (on his car), pierced each of his assailants with thrice as many
arrows as each of them had pierced him with. And once more piercing each
of them, and his steeds, driver, car, and standard with ten arrows, he
uttered a loud roar. His assailants then gave him a way (through which he
passed out). Having crushed those mighty bowmen with showers of arrows,
the son of Radha, that crusher of foes, then penetrated, unresisted, into
the midst of the division commanded by the Pandava king. Having destroyed
thirty cars of the unreturning Cedis, the son of Radha struck
Yudhishthira with many sharp arrows. Then many Pandava warriors, O king,
with Shikhandi and Satyaki, desirous of rescuing the king from the son of
Radha, surrounded the former. Similarly all the brave and mighty bowmen
of thy army resolutely protected the irresistible Karna in that battle.
The noise of diverse musical instrument arose then, O king, and the
leonine shouts of brave warriors rent the sky. And the Kurus and the
Pandavas once more fearlessly encountered each other, the former headed
by the Suta’s son and the latter by Yudhishthira.'”

49

“Sanjaya said, ‘Piercing through the Pandava host, Karna, surrounded by
thousands of cars and elephants and steeds and foot-soldiers, rushed
towards king Yudhishthira the just. Cutting off with hundreds of fierce
shafts the thousands of weapons sped at him by his foes, Vrisha
fearlessly pierced through that host. Indeed, the Suta’s son cut off the
heads, the arms and the thighs of his enemies, who, deprived of life,
fell down on the Earth. Others, finding their divisions broken, fled
away. The Dravida, the Andhaka, and the Nishada foot-soldiers, urged on
by Satyaki, once more rushed towards Karna in that battle, from desire of
slaying him. Deprived of arms and head-gears, and slain by Karna with his
shafts, they fell down simultaneously on the Earth, like a forest of Sala
tree cut down (with the axe). Thus hundreds, thousands and ten thousands
of combatants, deprived of life and filling the whole welkin with their
fame, fell down with their bodies on the Earth. The Pandus and the
Pancalas obstructed Karna, otherwise called Vaikartana, who careered
wrathfully in battle like the Destroyer himself, even as people seek to
obstruct a disease with incantations and drugs. Crushing all those
assailants Karna once more rushed towards Yudhishthira, like an
irresistible disease unchecked by incantations and drugs and
(propitiatory) rites. At last checked by the Pandus, the Pancalas, and
the Kekayas, all of whom were desirous of rescuing the king, Karna could
not succeed in passing them over, like Death that is unable to vanquish
persons conversant with Brahma. Then Yudhishthira, with eyes red in
wrath, addressed Karna, that slayer of hostile heroes, who was held in
check at a little distance from him, and said these words “O Karna, O
Karna, O thou of vain sight, O son of a Suta, listen to my words. Thou
always challengest the active Phalguna in battle. Obedient to the
counsels of Dhritarashtra’s son, thou always seekest to oppose us.
Mustering thy great prowess, show thou today all thy might, all thy
energy, and all the hatred thou bearest towards the sons of Pandu. Today
in dreadful encounter, I will purge thee of thy desire for battle.”
Having said these words, the son of Pandu, O king, pierced Karna with ten
shafts made entirely of iron and equipped with wings of gold. That
chastiser of foes, and great bowman, viz., the Suta’s son, O Bharata,
pierced Yudhishthira, with the greatest care, in return, with ten arrows
equipped with heads like the calf’s tooth. Thus pierced by the Suta’s son
in contempt, O sire, the mighty-armed Yudhishthira, blazed up with wrath
like a fire upon receiving butter. Bending his formidable bow decked with
gold, the son of Pandu placed on his bow-string a whetted arrow capable
of piercing the very hills. Drawing the bow to its fullest stretch, the
king quickly sped that arrow, fatal as the rod of the Destroyer, from
desire of slaying the Suta’s son. Sped by the king endued with great
might, that arrow whose whizz resembled the noise of the thunder,
suddenly pierced Karna, that mighty car-warrior, on his left side. Deeply
afflicted by the violence of that stroke, the mighty-armed Karna with
weakened limbs, fell into a swoon on his car, his bow dropping from his
hand. Beholding Karna in that plight, the vast Dhartarashtra host uttered
cries of “Oh” and “Alas,” and the faces of all the combatants became
colourless. Beholding the prowess of their king, on the other hand, O
monarch, amongst the Pandavas, leonine roars and shouts and confused
cries of joy arose. The son of Radha, however, of cruel prowess,
recovering his senses soon enough, set his heart on the destruction of
Yudhishthira. Drawing his formidable bow called Vijaya that was decked
with gold, the Suta’s son of immeasurable soul began to resist the son of
Pandu with his sharp shafts. With a couple of razor-headed arrows he slew
in that encounter Candradeva and Dandadhara, the two Pancala princes,
that protected the two car wheels of the high-souled Yudhishthira. Each
of those heroes, standing by the side of Yudhishthira’s car, looked
resplendent like the constellation Punarvasu by the side of the moon.
Yudhishthira, however, once more pierced Karna with thirty arrows. And he
struck Sushena and Satyasena, each with three arrows. And he pierced
everyone of the protectors of Karna with three straight arrows. The son
of Adhiratha then, laughing and shaking his bow inflicted a cutting wound
on the king’s body with a broad-headed arrow, and again pierced him with
sixty arrows and then uttered a loud shout. Then many foremost heroes
amongst the Pandavas, desirous of rescuing the king, rushed in wrath
towards Karna and began to grind him with their arrows. Satyaki and
Chekitana and Yuyutsu and Shikhandi and the sons of Draupadi and the
Prabhadrakas, and the twins (Nakula and Sahadeva) and Bhimasena and
Shishupala and the Karushas, Matsyas, the Suras, the Kaikayas, the Kasis
and the Kosalas, all these brave heroes, endued with great activity,
assailed Vasusena. The Pancala prince Janamejaya then pierced Karna with
many arrows. The Pandava heroes, armed with diverse kinds of arrows and
diverse weapons and accompanied by cars and elephants and steeds, rushing
towards Karna, encompassed him on all sides, from desire of slaying him.
Thus assailed on all sides by the foremost of Pandava warriors, Karna
invoked into existence the brahmastra and filled all the points of the
compass with arrows. The heroic Karna then, like unto a blazing fire
having shafts for its scorching flame, careered in battle, burning that
forest of Pandavas troops. The high-souled Karna, that great bowman,
aiming some mighty weapons, and laughing the while, cut off the bow of
that foremost of men, Yudhishthira. Then aiming ninety straight arrows
within the twinkling of an eye, Karna cut off, with those sharp shafts,
the armour of his antagonist. That armour, decked with gold and set with
gems, looked beautiful, as it fell down, like a wind-tossed cloud
penetrated by the rays of the Sun. Indeed, that armour, adorned with
costly brilliants, fallen off from the body of that foremost of men,
looked beautiful like the firmament in the night, bespangled with stars.
His armour cut off with those arrows, the son of Pritha, covered with
blood, wrathfully hurled at the son of Adhiratha a dart made wholly of
iron. Karna, however, cut (into pieces) that blazing dart, as it coursed
through the welkin, with seven shafts. That dart, thus cut off with those
shafts of great bowman, fell down on the Earth. Then Yudhishthira,
striking Karna with four lances in his two arms and forehead and chest,
repeatedly uttered loud shouts. Thereupon blood spouted forth from the
wounds of Karna, and the latter, filled with rage and breathing like a
snake, cut off his antagonist’s standard and pierced the Pandava himself
with three broad-headed arrows. And he also cut off the couple of quivers
(that his foe had) and the car (he rode) into minute fragments. Thereupon
the king, riding on another car unto which were yoked those steeds, white
as ivory and having black hair on their tails, that used to bear him (to
battle), turned his face and began to fly. Thus did Yudhishthira began to
retreat. His Parshni driver had been slain. He became exceedingly
cheerless and unable to stay before Karna. The son of Radha then,
pursuing Yudhishthira, the son of Pandu, cleansed himself by touching him
in the shoulder with his own fair hand (the palm of which was) graced
with the auspicious signs of the thunderbolt, the umbrella, the hook, the
fish, the tortoise, and the conchshell, and desired to seize him by
force. He then remembered the words of Kunti. Then Shalya addressed him,
and said, “Do not, O Karna, seize this best of kings. As soon as thou
seizest him, he will reduce both thee and me to ashes.” Then Karna, O
king, laughing in mockery, addressed the son of Pandu and thus spoke unto
him disparagingly. “How, indeed, born though thou art in a noble race,
and observant though thou art of Kshatriya duties, wouldst thou leave the
battle in fear, desiring to save thy life? I think that thou art not
well-acquainted with the duties of Kshatriyas. Endued with Brahma-force,
thou art indeed devoted to the study of the Vedas and the performance of
sacrificial rites. Do not, O son of Kunti, fight again, and do not again
approach brave warriors. Do not use harsh language towards heroes and do
not come to great battles. Thou mayst use such words, O sire, towards
others, but thou shouldst never address persons like us in that way. By
using such words towards persons like us, thou wouldst in battle meet
with this and other kinds of behaviour. Go back to thy quarters, O son of
Kunti, or thither where those two, viz., Keshava and Arjuna, are. Indeed,
O king, Karna will never slay one like thee.” Having said these words
unto the son of Pritha, the mighty Karna, setting Yudhishthira free,
began to slaughter the Pandava host like the wielder of the thunderbolt
slaughtering the Asura host. That ruler of men, (viz., Yudhishthira,)
then, O king, quickly fled away. Beholding the king flying away, the
Cedis, the Pandavas, the Pancalas, and the mighty car-warrior Satyaki,
all followed that monarch of unfading glory. And the sons of Draupadi,
and the Suras, and the twin sons of Madri by Pandu, also followed the
king. Beholding the division of Yudhishthira retreating, the heroic Karna
became highly glad with all the Kurus and began to pursue the retreating
force. The din of battle-drums and conchs and cymbals and bows, and
leonine shouts, arose from among the Dhartarashtra troops. Meanwhile
Yudhishthira, O thou of Kuru’s race, quickly riding on the car of
Srutakirti, began to behold the prowess of Karna. Then king Yudhishthira,
the just, seeing his troops fast slaughtered, became filled with rage,
and addressing his warriors, commanded them, saying, “Slay these enemies.
Why are ye inactive?” Then the mighty car-warriors of the Pandavas,
headed by Bhimasena, thus commanded by the king, all rushed against thy
sons. The shouts then, O Bharata, of the warriors (of both hosts), and
the noise made by cars and elephants and steeds and foot-soldiers, and
the clash of weapons, became tremendous. “Exert,” “Strike,” “Face the
foe,” were the words that the combatants addressed to one another as they
began to slay one another in that dreadful battle. And in consequence of
the showers of shafts shot by them a shadow as that of the clouds seemed
to spread over the field. And in consequence of those rulers of men,
covered with arrows, striking one another, they became divested of
banners and standards and umbrellas and steeds and drivers and weapons in
that battle. Indeed, those lords of Earth, deprived of life and limbs,
fell down on the Earth. Looking like the mountain-summits in consequence
of their uneven backs, huge elephants with their riders, deprived of
life, fell down like mountains riven by thunder. Thousands of steeds,
with their armour, equipments, and adornments all torn and broken and
displaced, fell down, along with their heroic riders, deprived of life.
Car-warriors with weapons loosened from their grasp, and deprived by
(hostile) car-warriors of cars and life, and large bands of
foot-soldiers, slain by hostile heroes in that dreadful clash, fell down
in thousands. The Earth became covered with the heads of heroic
combatants intoxicated with battle, heads that were adorned with large
and expansive eyes of coppery hue and faces as beautiful as the lotus or
the moon. And people heard noises as loud in the sky as on the surface of
the Earth, in consequence of the sound of music and song proceeding from
large bands of Apsaras on their celestial cars, with which those bands of
heavenly choristers continually greeted the newly-arrived heroes slain in
hundreds and thousands by brave enemies on Earth, and with which, placing
them on celestial cars, they repaired on those vehicles (towards the
region of Indra). Witnessing with their own eyes those wonderful sights,
and actuated by the desire of going to heaven, heroes with cheerful
hearts speedily slew one another. Car-warriors fought beautifully with
car-warriors in that battle, and foot-soldiers with foot-soldiers, and
elephants with elephants, and steeds with steeds. Indeed, when that
battle, destructive of elephants and steeds and men, raged in this way,
the field became covered with the dust raised by the troops. Then enemies
slew enemies and friends slew friends. The combatants dragged one another
by their locks, bit one another with their teeth, tore one another with
their nails, and struck one another with clenched fists, and fought one
another with bare arms in that fierce battle destructive of both life and
sins. Indeed, as that battle, fraught with carnage of elephants and
steeds and men, raged on so fiercely, a river of blood ran from the
bodies of (slain) human beings and steeds and elephants. And that current
carried away a large number of dead bodies of elephants and steeds and
men. Indeed, in that vast host teeming with men, steeds, and elephants,
that river formed by the blood of men and steeds and elephants and
horsemen and elephant-men, became miry with flesh and exceedingly
terrible. And on that current, inspiring the timid with terror, floated
the bodies of men and steeds and elephants. Impelled by the desire of
victory, some combatants forded it and some remained on the other side.
And some plunged into its depths, and some sank in it and some rose above
its surface as they swam through it. Smeared all over with blood, their
armour and weapons and robes–all became bloody. Some bathed in it and
some drank the liquid and some became strengthless, O bull of Bharata’s
race. Cars and steeds, and men and elephants and weapons and ornaments,
and robes and armour, and combatants that were slain or about to be
slain, and the Earth, the welkin, the firmament, and all the points of
the compass, became red. With the odour, the touch, the taste, and the
exceedingly red sight of that blood and its rushing sound, almost all the
combatants, O Bharata, became very cheerless. The Pandava heroes then,
headed by Bhimasena and Satyaki, once more rushed impetuously against
that army already beaten. Beholding the impetuosity of that rush of the
Pandava heroes to be irresistible, the vast force of thy sons, O king,
turned its back on the field. Indeed, that host of thine, teeming with
cars and steeds and elephants and men no longer in compact array, with
armour and coats of mail displaced and weapons and bows loosened from
their grasp, fled away in all directions, whilst being agitated by the
enemy, even like a herd of elephants in the forest afflicted by lions.'”

50

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding the Pandava heroes rushing impetuously towards
thy host, Duryodhana, O monarch, endeavoured to check the warriors of his
army on all sides, O bull of Bharata race. Although, however, thy son
cried at the top of his voice, his flying troops, O king, still refused
to stop. Then one of the wings of the army and its further wing, and
Shakuni, the son of Subala, and the Kauravas well-armed turned against
Bhimasena in that battle. Karna also, beholding the Dhartarashtra force
with all its kings flying away, addressed the ruler of the Madras,
saying, “Proceed towards the car of Bhima.” Thus addressed by Karna, the
ruler of the Madras began to urge those foremost of steeds, of the hue of
swans, towards the spot where Vrikodara was. Thus urged by Shalya, that
ornament of battle, those steeds approaching the car of Bhimasena,
mingled in battle. Meanwhile, Bhima, beholding Karna approach, became
filled with rage, and set his heart on the destruction of Karna, O bull
of Bharata’s race. Addressing the heroic Satyaki and Dhrishtadyumna, the
son of Prishata, he said, “Go you to protect king Yudhishthira of
virtuous soul. With difficulty he escaped from a situation of great peril
before my very eyes. In my sight have the armour and robes of the king
been cut off and torn, for Duryodhana’s gratification, by Radha’s son of
wicked soul. I shall today reach the end of that woe, O son of Prishata.
Today, either I shall slay Karna in battle, or he will slay me in
dreadful battle. I tell thee truly. Today I make over the king to you as
sacred pledge. With cheerful hearts exert ye today for protecting the
king.” Having said these words, the mighty-armed Bhima proceeded towards
Adhiratha’s son, making all the points of the compass resound with a loud
leonine shout. Beholding Bhima, that delighter in battle, advancing
quickly, the puissant king of the Madras addressed the Suta’s son in the
following words:

“‘Shalya said, “Behold, O Karna, the mighty-armed son of Pandu, who is
filled with rage. Without doubt, he is desirous of vomiting upon thee
that wrath which he has cherished for many years. Never before did I see
him assume such a form, not even when Abhimanyu was slain and the
Rakshasa Ghatotkaca. Filled with wrath, the form he hath now assumed,
endued with the splendour of the all-destroying fire at the end of the
Yuga, is such that it seems he is capable of resisting the three worlds
united together.'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘While the ruler of the Madras was saying these words
unto the son of Radha, Vrikodara, excited with rage, came upon Karna.
Beholding Bhima, that delighter in battle, approaching him in that way,
the son of Radha laughingly said unto Shalya these words, “The words that
thou, O ruler of the Madras, hast today spoken to me regarding Bhima, O
lord, are without doubt all true. This Vrikodara is brave and is a hero
full of wrath. He is reckless in protecting his body, and in strength of
limbs he is superior to all. While leading a life of concealment in the
city of Virata, relying then on the might of his bare arms, for doing
what was agreeable to Draupadi, he secretly slew Kichaka with all his
relatives. Even he stands today at the head of battle clad in mail and
insensate with wrath. He is ready to engage in battle with the Destroyer
armed with uplifted mace. This desire, however, hath been cherished
through all my days, viz., that either I shall slay Arjuna or Arjuna will
slay me. That desire of mine may be fulfilled today in consequence of my
encounter with Bhima. If I slay Bhima or make him carless, Partha may
come against me. That will be well for me. Settle that without delay
which thou thinkest to be suitable to the hour.” Hearing these words of
Radha’s son of immeasurable energy Shalya replied, saying, “O thou of
mighty arms, proceed against Bhimasena of great might. Having checked
Bhimasena, thou mayst then obtain Phalguna. That which is thy purpose,
that desire which for many long years thou hast cherished in thy heart,
will be accomplished, O Karna. I tell the truth.” Thus addressed, Karna
once more said unto Shalya, “Either I shall slay Arjuna in battle, or he
will slay me. Setting thy heart on battle proceed to the spot where
Vrikodara is.'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Then, O king, Shalya speedily proceeded on that car
to the spot where that great bowman, viz., Bhima, was engaged in routing
thy army. There rose then the blare of trumpets and the peal of drums, O
monarch, when Bhima and Karna met. The mighty Bhimasena, filled with
rage, began to scatter thy troops difficult of defeat, with his sharp and
polished shafts, to all sides. That collision in battle, O monarch,
between Karna and the son of Pandu became, O king, fierce and awful, and
the noise that arose was tremendous. Beholding Bhima coming towards him,
Karna, otherwise called Vaikartana or Vrisha, filled with rage, struck
him with shafts in the centre of the chest. And once more, Karna of
immeasurable soul, covered him with a shower of arrows. Thus pierced by
the Suta’s son, Bhima covered the former with winged arrows. And he once
more pierced Karna with nine straight and keen shafts. Then Karna, with a
number of arrows, cut in twain Bhima’s bow at the handle. And after
cutting off his bow, he pierced him once again in the centre of the chest
with a shaft of great keenness and capable of penetrating every kind of
armour. Then Vrikodara, taking up another bow, O king, and knowing full
well what the vital parts of the body are, pierced the Suta’s son with
many keen arrows. Then Karna pierced him with five and twenty arrows,
like a hunter striking a proud and infuriate elephant in the forest with
a number of blazing brands. His limbs mangled with those shafts, his eyes
red with rage and the desire of revenge, the son of Pandu, insensate with
wrath, and impelled by the desire of slaying the Suta’s son, fixed on his
bow an excellent shaft of great impetuosity, capable of bearing a great
strain, and competent to pierce the very mountains. Forcibly drawing the
bow-string to his very ear, the son of the Wind-god, that great bowman,
filled with wrath and desirous of making an end of Karna, sped that
shaft. Thus sped by the mighty Bhima, that shaft, making a noise loud as
that of the thunder, pierced through thunderbolt Karna in that battle,
like the thunderbolt itself piercing through a mountain. Struck by
Bhimasena, O perpetuator of Kuru’s race, the Suta’s son, that commander
(of thy forces), sat down senseless on the terrace of his car. The ruler
of the Madras then, beholding the Suta’s son deprived of his senses, bore
that ornament of battle away on his car, from that fight. Then after
Karna’s defeat, Bhimasena began to rout the vast Dhartarashtra host like
Indra routing the danavas.'”

51

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Exceedingly difficult of accomplishment was that
feat, O Sanjaya, which was achieved by Bhima who caused the mighty-armed
Karna himself to measure his length on the terrace of his car. There is
only one person, Karna, who will slay the Pandavas along with the
Srinjayas–even this is what Duryodhana, O Suta, used very often to say
unto me. Beholding, however, that son of Radha now defeated by Bhima in
battle, what did my son Duryodhana next do?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding Radha’s son of the Suta caste turned back from
the fight in that great battle, thy son, O monarch, addressed his uterine
brothers, saying, “Go ye quickly, blessed be ye, and protect the son of
Radha who is plunged into that fathomless ocean of calamity represented
by the fear of Bhimasena.” Thus commanded by the king, those princes,
excited with wrath and desirous of slaying Bhimasena, rushed towards him
like insects towards a blazing fire. They were Srutarvan and Durddhara
and Kratha and Vivitsu and Vikata and Soma, and Nishangin and Kavashin
and Pasin and Nanda and Upanandaka, and Duspradharsha and Suvahu and
Vatavega and Suvarchasas, and Dhanurgraha and Durmada and Jalasandha and
Sala and Saha. Surrounded by a large car-force, those princes, endued
with great energy and might, approached Bhimasena and encompassed him on
all sides. They sped at him from every side showers of arrows of diverse
kinds. Thus afflicted by them, Bhima of great strength, O king, quickly
slew fifty foremost car-warriors with five hundred others, amongst those
sons of thine that advanced against him. Filled with rage, Bhimasena
then, O king, with a broad-headed arrow, struck off the head of Vivitsu
adorned with earrings and head-gear, and graced with a face resembling
the full moon. Thus cut off, that prince fell down on the Earth.
Beholding that heroic brother of theirs slain, the (other) brothers
there, O lord, rushed in that battle, from every side, upon Bhima of
terrible prowess. With two other broad-headed arrows then, Bhima of
terrible prowess took the lives of two other sons of thine in that
dreadful battle. Those two, Vikata and Saha, looking like a couple of
celestial youths, O king, thereupon fell down on the Earth like a couple
of trees uprooted by the tempest. Then Bhima, without losing a moment,
despatched Kratha to the abode of Yama, with a long arrow of keen point.
Deprived of life, that prince fell down on the Earth. Loud cries of woe
then, O ruler of men, arose there when those heroic sons of thine, all
great bowmen, were being thus slaughtered. When those troops were once
more agitated, the mighty Bhima, O monarch, then despatched Nanda and
Upananda in that battle to Yama’s abode. Thereupon thy sons, exceedingly
agitated and inspired with fear, fled away, seeing that Bhimasena in that
battle behaved like the Destroyer himself at the end of the Yuga.
Beholding those sons of thine slain, the Suta’s son with a cheerless
heart once more urged his steeds of the hue of swans to that place where
the son of Pandu was. Those steeds, O king, urged on by the ruler of
Madras, approached with great speed the car of Bhimasena and mingled in
battle. The collision, O monarch, that once more took place between Karna
and the son of Pandu in battle, became, O king, exceedingly fierce and
awful and fraught with a loud din. Beholding, O king, those two mighty
car-warriors close with each other, I became very curious to observe the
course of the battle. Then Bhima, boasting of his prowess in battle,
covered Karna in that encounter, O king, with showers of winged shafts in
the very sight of thy sons. Then Karna, that warrior acquainted with the
highest of weapons, filled with wrath, pierced Bhima with nine
broad-headed and straight arrows made entirely of iron. Thereupon the
mighty-armed Bhima of terrible prowess, thus struck by Karna, pierced his
assailant in return with seven shafts sped from his bow-string drawn to
his ear. Then Karna, O monarch, sighing like a snake of virulent poison,
shrouded the son of Pandu with a thick shower of arrows. The mighty Bhima
also, shrouding that mighty car-warrior with dense arrowy downpours in
the very sight of the Kauravas, uttered a loud shout. Then Karna, filled
with rage, grasped his strong bow and pierced Bhima with ten arrows
whetted on stone and equipped with kanka feathers. With another
broad-headed arrow of great sharpness, he also cut off Bhima’s bow. Then
the mighty-armed Bhima of great strength, taking up a terrible parigha,
twined round with hempen cords and decked with gold and resembling a
second bludgeon of Death himself, and desiring to slay Karna outright,
hurled it at him with a loud roar. Karna, however, with a number of
arrows resembling snakes of virulent poison, cut off into many fragments
that spiked mace as it coursed towards him with the tremendous peal of
thunder. Then Bhima, that grinder of hostile troops, grasping his bow
with greater strength, covered Karna with keen shafts. The battle that
took place between Karna and the son of Pandu in that meeting became
awful for a moment, like that of a couple of huge lions desirous of
slaying each other. Then Karna, O king, drawing the bow with great force
and stretching the string to his very ear, pierced Bhimasena with three
arrows. Deeply pierced by Karna, that great bowman and foremost of all
persons endued with might then took up a terrible shaft capable of
piercing through the body of his antagonist. That shaft, cutting through
Karna’s armour and piercing through his body, passed out and entered the
Earth like a snake into ant-hill. In consequence of the violence of that
stroke, Karna felt great pain and became exceedingly agitated. Indeed, he
trembled on his car like a mountain during an earthquake. Then Karna, O
king, filled with rage and the desire to retaliate, struck Bhima with
five and twenty shafts, and then with many more. With one arrow he then
cut off Bhimasena’s standard, and with another broad-headed arrow he
despatched Bhima’s driver to the presence of Yama. Next quickly cutting
off the bow of Pandu’s son with another winged arrow, Karna deprived
Bhima of terrible feats of his car. Deprived of his car, O chief of
Bharata’s race, the mighty-armed Bhima, who resembled the Wind-god (in
prowess) took up a mace and jumped down from his excellent vehicle.
Indeed, jumping down from his car with great fury, Bhima began to slay
thy troops, O king, like the wind destroying the clouds of autumn.
Suddenly the son of Pandu, that scorcher of foes, filled with wrath,
routed seven hundred elephants, O king, endued with tusks as large as
plough-shafts, and all skilled in smiting hostile troops. Possessed of
great strength and a knowledge of what the vital parts of an elephant
are, he struck them on their temples and frontal globes and eyes and the
parts above their gums. Thereupon those animals, inspired with fear, ran
away. But urged again by their drivers they surrounded Bhimasena once
more, like the clouds covering the Sun. Like Indra felling mountains with
thunder, Bhima with his mace prostrated those seven hundred elephants
with their riders and weapons and standards. That chastiser of foes, the
son of Kunti, next pressed down two and fifty elephants of great strength
belonging to the son of Subala. Scorching thy army, the son of Pandu then
destroyed a century of foremost cars and several hundreds of
foot-soldiers in that battle. Scorched by the Sun as also by the
high-souled Bhima, thy army began to shrink like a piece of leather
spread over a fire. Those troops of thine, O bull of Bharata’s race,
filled with anxiety through fear of Bhimasena, avoided Bhima in that
battle and fled away in all directions. Then five hundred car-warriors,
cased in excellent mail, rushed towards Bhima with loud shouts, shooting
thick showers of arrows on all sides. Like Vishnu destroying the Asuras,
Bhima destroyed with his mace all those brave warriors with their drivers
and cars and banners and standards and weapons. Then 3,000 horsemen,
despatched by Shakuni, respected by all brave men and armed with darts
and swords and lances, rushed towards Bhima. That slayer of foes,
advancing impetuously towards them, and coursing in diverse tracks, slew
them with his mace. Loud sounds arose from among them while they were
being assailed by Bhima, like those that arise from among herd of
elephants struck with large pieces of rocks. Having slain those 3,000
excellent horses of Subala’s son in that way, he rode upon another car,
and filled with rage proceeded against the son of Radha. Meanwhile, Karna
also, O king, covered Dharma’s son (Yudhishthira) that chastiser of foes,
with thick showers of arrows, and felled his driver. Then that mighty
car-warrior beholding Yudhishthira fly away in that battle, pursued him,
shooting many straight-coursing shafts equipped with Kanka feathers. The
son of the Wind-god, filled with wrath, and covering the entire welkin
with his shafts, shrouded Karna with thick showers of arrows as the
latter pursued the king from behind. The son of Radha then, that crusher
of foes, turning back from the pursuit, quickly covered Bhima himself
with sharp arrows from every side. Then Satyaki, of immeasurable soul, O
Bharata, placing himself on the side of Bhima’s car, began to afflict
Karna who was in front of Bhima. Though exceedingly afflicted by Satyaki,
Karna still approached Bhima. Approaching each other those two bulls
among all wielders of bows, those two heroes endued with great energy,
looked exceedingly resplendent as they sped their beautiful arrows at
each other. Spread by them, O monarch, in the welkin, those flights of
arrows, blazing as the backs of cranes, looked exceedingly fierce and
terrible. In consequence of those thousands of arrows, O king, neither
the rays of the Sun nor the points of the compass, cardinal and
subsidiary, could any longer be noticed either by ourselves or by the
enemy. Indeed, the blazing effulgence of the Sun shining at mid-day was
dispelled by those dense showers of arrows shot by Karna and the son of
Pandu. Beholding the son of Subala, and Kritavarma, and Drona’s son, and
Adhiratha’s son, and Kripa, engaged with the Pandavas, the Kauravas
rallied and came back to the fight. Tremendous became the din, O monarch,
that was made by that host as it rushed impetuously against their foes,
resembling that terrible noise that is made by many oceans swollen with
rains. Furiously engaged in battle, the two hosts became filled with
great joy as the warriors beheld and seized one another in that dreadful
melee. The battle that commenced at that hour when the Sun had reached
the meridian was such that its like had never been heard or seen by us.
One vast host rushed against another, like a vast reservoir of water
rushing towards the ocean. The din that arose from the two hosts as they
roared at each other, was loud and deep as that which may be heard when
several oceans mingle with one another. Indeed, the two furious hosts,
approaching each other, mingled into one mass like two furious rivers
that run into each other.

“‘The battle then commenced, awful and terrible, between the Kurus and
the Pandavas, both of whom were inspired with the desire of winning great
fame. A perfect Babel of voices of the shouting warriors was incessantly
heard there, O royal Bharata, as they addressed one another by name. He
who had anything, by his father’s or mother’s side or in respect of his
acts or conduct, that could furnish matter for ridicule, was in that
battle made to hear it by his antagonist. Beholding those brave warriors
loudly rebuking one another in that battle, I thought, O king, that their
periods of life had been run out. Beholding the bodies of those angry
heroes of immeasurable energy a great fear entered my heart, respecting
the dire consequences that would ensue. Then the Pandavas, O king, and
the Kauravas also, mighty car-warriors all, striking one another, began
to mangle one another with their keen shafts.'”

52

“Sanjaya said, ‘Those Kshatriyas, O monarch, harbouring feelings of
animosity against one another and longing to take one another’s life,
began to slay one another in that battle. Throngs of cars, and large
bodies of horses, and teeming divisions of infantry and elephants in
large numbers mingled with one another, O king, for battle. We beheld the
falling of maces and spiked bludgeons and Kunapas and lances and short
arrows and rockets hurled at one another in that dreadful engagement.
Arrowy showers terrible to look at coursed like flights of locusts.
Elephants approaching elephants routed one another. Horsemen encountering
horsemen in that battle, and car-warriors encountering car-warriors, and
foot-soldiers encountering foot-soldiers, and foot-soldiers meeting with
horsemen, and foot-soldiers meeting with cars and elephants, and cars
meeting with elephants and horsemen, and elephants of great speed meeting
with the three other kinds of forces, began, O king, to crush and grind
one another. In consequence of those brave combatants striking one
another and shouting at the top of their voices, the field of battle
became awful, resembling the slaughter-ground of creatures (of Rudra
himself). The Earth, O Bharata, covered with blood, looked beautiful like
a vast plain in the season of rains covered with the red coccinella.
Indeed, the Earth assumed the aspect of a youthful maiden of great
beauty, attired in white robes dyed with deep red. Variegated with flesh
and blood, the field of battle looked as if decked all over with gold.
Large numbers of heads severed from trunks and arms and thighs and
earrings and other ornaments displaced from the bodies of warriors, O
Bharata, and collars and cuirasses and bodies of brave bowmen, and coats
of mail, and banners, lay scattered on the ground. Elephants coming
against elephants tore one another with their tusks, O king. Struck with
the tusks of hostile compeers, elephants looked exceedingly beautiful.
Bathed in blood, those huge creatures looked resplendent like moving
hills decked with metals, down whose breasts ran streams of liquid chalk.
Lances hurled by horsemen, or those held horizontally by hostile
combatants, were seized by many of those beasts, while many amongst them
twisted and broke those weapons. Many huge elephants, whose armour had
been cut off with shafts, looked, O king, like mountains divested of
clouds at the advent of winter. Many foremost of elephants pierced with
arrows winged with gold, looked beautiful like mountains, O sire, whose
summits are lighted with blazing brands. Some of those creatures, huge as
hills, struck by hostile compeers, fell down in that battle, like winged
mountains (when clipped of their wings). Others, afflicted with arrows
and much pained by their wounds, fell down touching the Earth, in that
dreadful battle, at their frontal globes or the parts between their
tusks. Others roared aloud like lions. And many, uttering terrible
sounds, ran hither and thither, and many, O king, uttered cries of pain.
Steeds also, in golden trappings, struck with arrows, fell down, or
became weak, or ran in all directions. Others, struck with arrows and
lances or dragged down, fell on the Earth and writhed in agony, making
diverse kinds of motion. Men also, struck down, fell on the Earth,
uttering diverse cries of pain, O sire; others, beholding their relatives
and sires and grandsires, and others seeing retreating foes, shouted to
one another their well-known names and the names of their races. The arms
of many combatants, decked with ornaments of gold, cut off, O king, by
foes, writhed on the ground, making diverse kinds of motions. Thousands
of such arms fell down and sprang up, and many seemed to dart forward
like five-headed snakes. Those arms, looking like the tapering bodies of
snakes, and smeared with sandal paste, O king, looked beautiful, when
drenched with blood, like little standards of gold. When the battle,
becoming general, raged so furiously on all sides, the warriors fought
with and slew one another without distinct perceptions of those they
fought with or struck. A dusty cloud overspread the field of battle, and
the weapons used fell in thick showers. The scene being thus darkened,
the combatants could no longer distinguish friends from foes. Indeed,
that fierce and awful battle proceeded thus. And soon there began to flow
many mighty rivers of the bloody currents. And they abounded with the
heads of combatants that formed their rocks. And the hair of the warriors
constituted their floating weeds and moss. Bones formed the fishes with
which they teemed, and bows and arrows and maces formed the rafts by
which to cross them. Flesh and blood forming their mire, those terrible
and awful rivers, with currents swelled by blood, were thus formed there,
enhancing the fears of the timid and the joy of the brave. Those awful
rivers led to the abode of Yama. Many plunged into those streams
inspiring Kshatriyas with fear, and perished. And in consequence of
various carnivorous creatures, O tiger among men, roaring and yelling on
all sides, the field of battle became terrible like the domains of the
king of the dead. And innumerable headless trunks rose up on all sides.
And terrible creatures, gorging on flesh and drinking fat, and blood, O
Bharata, began to dance around. And crows and vultures and cranes,
gratified with fat and marrow and other animals relishing flesh, were
seen to move about in glee. They, however, O king, that were heroes,
casting off all fear which is so difficult of being cast off, and
observing the vow of warriors, fearlessly did their duty. Indeed, on that
field where countless arrows and darts coursed through the air, and which
was crowded with carnivorous creatures of diverse kinds, brave warriors
careered fearlessly, displaying their prowess. Addressing one another, O
Bharata, they declared their names and families. And many amongst them,
declaring the names of their sires and families, O lord, began to crush
one another, O king, with darts and lances and battle-axes. During the
progress of that fierce and awful battle, the Kaurava army became
strengthless and unable to bear up any longer like a foundered vessel on
the bosom of the ocean.'”

53

“Sanjaya said, ‘During the progress of that battle in which so many
Kshatriyas sank down, the loud twang of Gandiva, O sire, was heard above
the din on that spot, O king, where the son of Pandu was engaged in
slaughtering the samsaptakas, the Kosalas, and the Narayana forces.
Filled with rage and longing for victory, the samsaptakas, in that
battle, began to pour showers of arrows on Arjuna’s head. The puissant
Partha, however, quickly checking those arrowy showers, O king, plunged
into that battle, and began to slay many foremost of car-warriors.
Plunging into the midst of that division of cars with the aid of his
whetted shafts equipped with Kanka feathers, Partha came upon Susharma of
excellent weapons. That foremost of car-warriors poured on Arjuna thick
showers of arrows. Meanwhile the samsaptakas also covered Partha with
their shafts. Then Susharma, piercing Partha with ten shafts, struck
Janardana with three in the right arm. With a broad-headed arrow then, O
sire, he pierced the standard of Arjuna. Thereupon that foremost of apes,
of huge dimensions, the handiwork of the celestial artificer himself,
began to utter loud sounds and roared very fiercely, affrighting thy
troops. Hearing the roars of the ape, thy army became inspired with fear.
Indeed, under the influence of a great fear, that army became perfectly
inactive. That army then, as it stood inactive, O king, looked beautiful
like the Citraratha forest with its flowery burthen of diverse kinds.
Then those warriors, recovering their senses, O chief of the Kurus, began
to drench Arjuna with their arrowy downpours like the clouds drenching
the mountains. Then all of them encompassed the great car of the Pandava.
Assailing him, they uttered loud roars although all the while they were
being struck and slaughtered with sharp shafts. Assailing his steeds, his
car-wheels, his car-shaft, and every other limb of his vehicle, with
great force, O sire, they uttered many leonine roars. Some among them
seized the massive arms of Keshava, and some among them, O king, seized
Partha himself with great joy as he stood on his car. Then Keshava,
shaking his arms on the field of battle, threw down all those that had
seized them, like a wicked elephant shaking down all the riders from his
back. Then Partha, encompassed by those great car-warriors, and beholding
his car assailed and Keshava attacked in that manner became filled with
rage, and overthrew a large number of car-warriors and foot-soldiers. And
he covered all the combatants that were close to him with many arrows,
that were fit for close encounters. Addressing Keshava then, he said,
“Behold, O Krishna, O thou of mighty arms, these countless samsaptakas
engaged in accomplishing a fearful task although slaughtered in
thousands. O bull amongst the Yadus, there is none on Earth, save myself,
that would be able to bear such a close attack on his car.” Having said
these words, Vibhatsu blew his conch. Then Krishna also blew his conch
filling the welkin with its blare. Hearing that blare the army of the
samsaptakas began to waver, O king, and became inspired with great
fright. Then that slayer of hostile heroes, viz., the son of Pandu,
paralysed the legs of the samsaptakas by repeatedly invoking, O monarch,
the weapon called Naga. Thus tied with those foot-tying bands by the
high-souled son of Pandu, all of them stood motionless, O king, as if
they had been petrified. The son of Pandu then began to slay those
motionless warriors like Indra in days of yore slaying the Daityas in the
battle with Taraka. Thus slaughtered in that battle, they set the car
free, and commenced to throw down all their weapons. Their legs being
paralysed, they could not, O king, move a step. Then Partha slew them
with his straight arrows. Indeed, all these warriors in that battle,
aiming at whom Partha had invoked that foot-tying weapon, had their lower
limbs encircled with snakes. Then the mighty car-warrior Susharma, O
monarch, beholding his army thus paralysed, quickly invoked the weapon
called Sauparna. Thereupon numerous birds began to come down and devour
those snakes. The latter again, at the sight of rangers of the sky,
began, O king, to fly away. Freed from that foot-tying weapon, the
Samsaptaka force, O monarch, looked like the Sun himself giving light
unto all creatures, when freed from clouds. Thus liberated, those
warriors once more shot their arrows, O sire, and hurled their weapons at
Arjuna’s car. And all of them pierced Partha with numerous weapons.
Cutting off with his own arrowy downpour that shower of mighty weapons
Vasava’s son, that slayer of hostile heroes, began to slaughter those
warriors. Then Susharma, O king, with a straight arrow, pierced Arjuna in
the chest, and then he pierced him with three other shafts. Deeply
pierced therewith, and feeling great pain, Arjuna sat down on the terrace
of his car. Then all the troops loudly cried out, saying, “Partha is
slain.” At this the blare of conchs, and the peal of drums, and the sound
of diverse musical instruments, and loud leonine shouts, arose there.
Recovering his senses, Partha of immeasurable soul, owning white steeds
and having Krishna for his driver, speedily invoked the Aindra weapon.
Then thousands of arrows, O sire, issuing from that weapon, were seen on
all sides to slay kings and elephants. And steeds and warriors, in
hundreds and thousands, were also seen to be slaughtered in that battle,
with these weapons. Then while the troops were thus being slaughtered, a
great fear entered the hearts of all the samsaptakas and Gopalas, O
Bharata. There was no man amongst them that could fight with Arjuna.
There in the very sight of all the heroes, Arjuna began to destroy thy
troops. Beholding that slaughter, all of them remained perfectly
inactive, without putting forth their prowess. Then the son of Pandu
having slain full 10,000 combatants in that battle, looked resplendent, O
monarch, like a blazing fire without smoke. And then he slew full 14,000
warriors, and 3,000 warriors, and 3,000 elephants. Then the samsaptakas
once more encompassed Dhananjaya, making death or victory their goal. The
battle then that took place there between thy warriors and that mighty
hero, viz., the diadem-decked son of Pandu became awful.'”

54

“Sanjaya said, ‘Then Kritavarma, and Kripa, and the son of Drona and the
Suta’s son, O sire, and Uluka, and Subala’s son (Shakuni), and the king
himself, with his uterine brothers, beholding the (Kuru) army afflicted
with the fear of Pandu’s son, unable to stand together, like a vessel
wrecked on the ocean, endeavoured to rescue it with great speed. For a
short space of time, O Bharata, the battle that once more took place
became exceedingly fierce, enhancing as it did the fears of timid and the
joy of the brave. The dense showers of arrows shot in battle by Kripa,
thick, as flights of locusts, covered the Srinjayas. Then Shikhandi,
filled with rage, speedily proceeded against the grandson of Gautama
(Kripa) and poured upon that bull amongst Brahmanas his arrowy downpours
from all sides. Acquainted with the highest weapons Kripa then checked
that arrowy downpour, and wrathfully pierced Shikhandi with ten arrows in
that battle. Then Shikhandi filled with rage, deeply pierced Kripa, in
that encounter, with seven straight arrows equipped with Kanka feathers.
The twice-born Kripa then, that great car-warrior, deeply pierced with
those keen arrows, deprived Shikhandi of his steeds, driver and car.
Jumping down from his steedless vehicle, the mighty car-warrior
(Shikhandi) rushed impetuously at the Brahmana, having taken up a sword
and a shield. As the Pancala prince advanced, Kripa quickly covered him
with many straight arrows in that encounter, which seemed exceedingly
wonderful. Indeed, exceedingly wonderful was the sight that we then
beheld, even like the flying of rocks, for Shikhandi, O king, (thus
assailed) remained perfectly inactive in that battle. Beholding Shikhandi
covered (with arrows) by Kripa, O best of the kings, the mighty
car-warrior Dhrishtadyumna speedily proceeded against Kripa. The great
car-warrior Kritavarma, however, rushing impetuously received
Dhrishtadyumna as the latter proceeded against the son of Sharadvata
(Kripa). Then Drona’s son checked Yudhishthira as the latter, with his
son and troops, was rushing towards the car of Sharadvata’s son. Thy son
Duryodhana, shooting a shower of arrows, received and checked Nakula and
Sahadeva, those two great car-warriors endued with celerity. Karna too,
otherwise called Vaikartana, O Bharata, in that battle, resisted
Bhimasena, and the Karushas, the Kaikayas, and the Srinjayas. Meanwhile
Sharadvata’s son, in that battle, O sire, with great activity, sped many
arrows at Shikhandi, as if for the purpose of burning him outright. The
Pancala prince, however, whirling his sword repeatedly, cut off all those
arrows, decked with gold, that had been sped at him by Kripa from all
sides. The grandson of Gautama (Kripa) then quickly cut off with his
arrows the shield of Prishata’s son, that was decked with hundred moons.
At this feat of his, the troops made a loud uproar. Deprived of his
shield, O monarch, and placed under Kripa’s power Shikhandi still rushed,
sword in hand, (towards Kripa), like a sick man towards the jaws of
Death. Then Suketu, the son of Citraketu, O king, quickly proceeded
towards the mighty Shikhandi plunged into such distress and assailed in
that manner by Kripa with his arrows. Indeed, the young prince of
immeasurable soul rushed towards the car of Sharadvata’s son and poured
upon that Brahmana, in that battle, innumerable shafts of great keenness.
Beholding that Brahmana observant of vows thus engaged in battle (with
another), Shikhandi, O best of kings, retreated hastily from that spot.
Meanwhile Suketu, O king, piercing the son of Gautama with nine arrows,
once more pierced him with seventy and again with three. Then the prince,
O sire, cut off Kripa’s bow with arrow fixed thereon, and with another
shaft struck hard the latter’s driver in a vital limb. The grandson of
Gautama then, filled with rage, took up a new and very strong bow and
struck Suketu with thirty arrows in all his vital limbs. All his limbs
exceedingly weakened, the prince trembled on his excellent car like a
tree trembling exceedingly during an earthquake. With a razor-headed
arrow then, Kripa struck off from the prince’s trunk, while the latter
was still trembling, his head decked with a pair of blazing earrings and
head-protector. That head thereupon fell down on the Earth like a piece
of meat from the claws of a hawk, and then his trunk also fell down, O
thou of great glory. Upon the fall of Suketu, O monarch, his troops
became frightened, and avoiding Kripa, fled away on all sides.

“‘Encompassing the mighty Dhrishtadyumna, Kritavarma cheerfully addressed
him saying, “Wait, Wait!” The encounter then that took place between the
Vrishni and the Pancala warriors in that battle became exceedingly
fierce, like that between two hawks, O king, for a piece of meat. Filled
with rage, Dhrishtadyumna, in that battle, struck the son of Hridika
(Kritavarma, the ruler of Bhoja) with nine arrows in the chest, and
succeeded in afflicting him greatly. Then Kritavarma, thus deeply struck
by Prishata’s son in that encounter, covered his assailant, his steeds,
and his car with his shafts. Thus shrouded, O king, along with his car,
Dhrishtadyumna became invisible, like the Sun shrouded by rain-charged
clouds. Baffling all those shafts decked with gold, Dhrishtadyumna, O
king, looked resplendent in that battle in his wounds. The commander of
the Pandava forces, viz., the son of Prishata, then, filled with rage,
approached Kritavarma and poured upon him a fierce shower of arrows. The
son of Hridika, however, in that battle, with many thousands of his own
arrows, destroyed that fierce arrowy shower coursing towards him with
great impetuosity. Beholding his irresistible shower of arrows checked in
that battle by Kritavarma, the son of Prishata, approaching his
antagonist, began to resist him. And soon he despatched Kritavarma’s
driver to Yama’s abode with a broad-headed arrow of great sharpness.
Deprived of life, the driver fell down from the car. The mighty
Dhrishtadyumna, having vanquished his mighty antagonist, began then to
resist the Kauravas with shafts, without losing a moment. Then thy
warriors, O king, rushed towards Dhrishtadyumna, uttering loud leonine
roars. At this a battle once more took place between them.'”

55

“Sanjaya said, ‘Meanwhile the son of Drona (Ashvatthama), beholding
Yudhishthira protected by the grandson of Sini (Satyaki) and by the
heroic sons of Draupadi, cheerfully advanced against the king, scattering
many fierce arrows equipped with wings of gold and whetted on stone, and
displaying diverse manoeuvres of his car and the great skill he had
acquired and his exceeding lightness of hands. He filled the entire
welkin with shafts inspired with the force of celestial weapons.
Conversant with all weapons, Drona’s son encompassed Yudhishthira in that
battle. The welkin being covered with the shafts of Drona’s son, nothing
could be seen. The vast space in front of Ashvatthama became one expanse
of arrows. The welkin then, thus covered with that dense shower of arrows
decked with gold, looked beautiful, O chief of the Bharatas, as if a
canopy embroidered with gold had been spread there. Indeed, the
firmament, O king, having been covered with that bright shower of arrows,
a shadow, as that of the clouds, appeared there on the occasion.
Wonderful was the sight that we then beheld when the sky had thus become
one expanse of arrows, for not one creature ranging the sky could course
through his element. Then Satyaki, though struggling resolutely, and
Pandu’s son king Yudhishthira the just, as also all the other warriors,
could not display their prowess. Beholding the great lightness of hands
displayed by the son of Drona, the mighty car-warriors (of the Pandava
army) were filled with wonder. All the kings became incapable of even
looking at Ashvatthama, O monarch, who then resembled the scorching Sun
himself in the sky. While the Pandava troops were thus being slaughtered,
those mighty car-warriors, viz., the sons of Draupadi, and Satyaki, and
king Yudhishthira the just, and the Pancala warriors, all uniting
together, cast off their fears of death and rushed against the son of
Drona. Then Satyaki, piercing the son of Drona with seventy arrows, once
more pierced him with seven long shafts decked with gold. And
Yudhishthira pierced him with three and seventy arrows, and Prativindya
with seven, and Srutakarman pierced him with three arrows and Srutakirti
with five. And Sutasoma pierced him with nine arrows, and Satanika with
seven. And many other heroes pierced him with many arrows from every
side. Filled then with rage and breathing, O king, like a snake of
virulent poison, Drona’s son pierced Satyaki in return with five and
twenty arrows whetted on stone. And he pierced Srutakirti with nine
arrows and Sutasoma with five, and with eight arrows he pierced
Srutakarman, and Prativindya with three. And he pierced Satanika with
nine arrows, and Dharma’s son (Yudhishthira) with five. And each of the
other warriors he pierced with a couple of shafts. With some keen arrows
he then cut off the bow of Srutakirti. The latter then, that great
car-warrior, taking up another bow, pierced Drona’s son, first with three
arrows and then with many others equipped with sharp points. Then, O
monarch, the son of Drona covered the Pandava troops, O sire, with thick
showers of arrows, O bull of Bharata’s race. Of immeasurable soul, the
son of Drona, next smiling the while, cut off the bow of king
Yudhishthira the just, and then pierced him with three arrows. The son of
Dharma then, O king, taking up another formidable bow, pierced Drona’s
son with seventy arrows in the arms and the chest. Then Satyaki, filled
with rage in that battle, cut off the bow of Drona’s son, that great
smiter, with a sharp crescent-shaped arrow and uttered a loud roar. His
bow cut off, that foremost of mighty men viz., the son of Drona, quickly
felled Satyaki’s driver from his car with a dart. The valiant son of
Drona then, taking up another bow, covered the grandson of Sini, O
Bharata, with a shower of arrows. His driver having been slain, Satyaki’s
steeds were seen to run hither and thither, O Bharata, in that battle.
Then the Pandava warriors headed by Yudhishthira, shooting sharp shafts,
all rushed with impetuosity towards Drona’s son, that foremost of all
wielders of weapons. That scorcher of foes, however, viz., the son of
Drona, beholding those warriors wrathfully advancing against him received
them all in that dreadful battle. Then like a fire in the forest
consuming heaps of dry grass and straw, that mighty car-warrior, viz.,
Drona’s son, having showers of arrows for his flames, consumed the
Pandava troops in that battle, who resembled a heap of dry grass and
straw. That army of Pandu’s son, thus scorched by the son of Drona,
became exceedingly agitated, O chief of the Bharatas, like the mouth of a
river by a whale. People then, O monarch, beholding the prowess of
Drona’s son, regarded all the Pandavas as already slain by him. Then
Yudhishthira, that great car-warrior and disciple of Drona, filled with
rage and the desire to retaliate, addressed Drona’s son, saying “O tiger
among men, thou hast no affection, thou hast no gratitude, since thou
desirest to slay me today. The duties of a Brahmana are asceticism and
gift and study. The bow should be bent by the Kshatriya only. It seems,
therefore, that thou art a Brahmana in name only. In thy very sight,
however. O thou of mighty arms, I will vanquish the Kauravas in battle.
Do what thou canst in battle. I tell thee that thou art a wretch amongst
Brahmanas.” Thus addressed, the son of Drona. smiling, and reflecting
upon what was proper and true, gave no reply. Without saying anything, he
covered the son of Pandu in that battle with a shower of arrows like the
destroyer himself in wrath while engaged in annihilating creatures. Thus
covered by Drona’s son. O sire, the son of Pritha quickly went away from
that spot, leaving that large division of his. After Yudhishthira, the
son of Dharma, had gone away, the high-souled son of Drona also, O king,
left that spot. Then Yudhishthira, O king, avoiding the son of Drona in
that great battle proceeded against thy army, resolved to achieve the
cruel task of slaughter.'”

56

“Sanjaya said, ‘Meanwhile Vikartana himself, resisting Bhimasena
supported by the Pancalas and the Cedis and the Kaikayas, covered him
with many arrows. In the very sight of Bhimasena, Karna, slew in that
battle many mighty car-warriors among the Cedis, the Karushas, and the
Srinjayas. Then Bhimasena, avoiding Karna, that best of car-warriors,
proceeded against the Kaurava troops like a blazing fire towards a heap
of dry grass. The Suta’s son also in that battle, began to slay the
mighty bowmen amongst the Pancalas, the Kaikayas, and the Srinjayas, in
thousands. Indeed, the three mighty car-warriors viz., Partha and
Vrikodara and Karna, began to exterminate the samsaptakas, the Kauravas,
and the Pancalas, respectively. In consequence of thy evil policy, O
king, all these Kshatriyas, scorched with excellent shafts by those three
great warriors, began to be exterminated in that battle. Then Duryodhana,
O chief of the Bharatas, filled with rage, pierced Nakula and his four
steeds with nine arrows. Of immeasurable soul, thy son next, O ruler of
men, cut off the golden standard of Sahadeva with a razor-faced shaft.
Filled with wrath, Nakula then, O king, struck thy son with three and
seventy arrows in that battle, and Sahadeva struck him with five. Each of
those foremost warriors of Bharata’s race and foremost of all bowmen, was
struck by Duryodhana in rage with five arrows. With a couple of
broad-headed arrows, then, he cut off the bows of both those warriors;
and then he suddenly pierced each of the twins with three and seventy
arrows. Taking up then two other beautiful and foremost of bows each of
which resembled the bow of Indra himself, those two heroes looked
beautiful like a pair of celestial youths in that battle. Then those two
brothers, both endued with great activity in battle, poured upon their
cousin, O king, ceaseless showers of terrible shafts like two masses of
clouds, pouring rain upon a mountain breast. Thereupon thy son, that
great car-warrior, O king filled with rage, resisted those two great
bowmen, viz., the twin sons of Pandu, with showers of winged arrows. The
bow of Duryodhana in that battle, O Bharata, seemed to be continuously
drawn into a circle, and shafts seemed to issue from it ceaselessly on
all sides. Covered with Duryodhana’s shafts the two sons of Pandu ceased
to shine brightly, like the Sun and the Moon in the firmament, divested
of splendour, when shrouded by masses of clouds. Indeed, those arrows, O
king, equipped with wings of gold and whetted on stone, covered all the
points of the compass like the rays of the Sun, when the welkin was thus
shrouded and all that was seen was one uniform expanse of the Destroyer
himself, at the end of the Yuga. Beholding on the other hand, the prowess
of thy son, the great car-warriors all regarded the twin sons of Madri to
be in the presence of Death. The commander then, O king, of the Pandava
army, viz., the mighty car-warrior Parshata (Son of Prishata) proceeded
to that spot where Duryodhana was. Transgressing those two great
car-warriors, viz., the two brave sons of Madri, Dhrishtadyumna began to
resist thy son with his shafts. Of immeasurable soul, that bull among
men, viz., thy son, filled with the desire to retaliate, and smiling the
while, pierced the prince of Pancala with five and twenty arrows. Of
immeasurable soul and filled with the desire to retaliate, thy son once
more pierced the prince of Pancala with sixty shafts and once again with
five, and uttered a loud roar. Then the king, with a sharp razor-faced
arrow, cut off, in that battle, O sire, the bow with arrow fixed thereon
and the leathern fence of his antagonist. Casting aside that broken bow,
the prince of Pancala, that crusher of foes, quickly took up another bow
that was new and capable of bearing a great strain. Blazing with
impetuosity, and with eyes red as blood from rage, the great bowman
Dhrishtadyumna, with many wounds on his person looked resplendent on his
car. Desirous of slaying Duryodhana, O chief of the Bharatas, the Pancala
hero sped five and ten cloth-yard shafts that resembled hissing snakes.
Those shafts, whetted on stone and equipped with the feathers of Kankas
and peacocks, cutting through the armour decked with gold of the king
passed through his body and entered the Earth in consequence of the force
with which they had been shot. Deeply pierced, O monarch, thy son looked
exceedingly beautiful like a gigantic Kinsuka in the season of spring
with its flowery weight. His armour pierced with those shafts, and all
his limbs rendered exceedingly infirm with wounds, he became filled with
rage and cut off Dhrishtadyumna’s bow, with a broad-headed arrow. Having
cut off his assailant’s bow the king then, O monarch, with great speed,
struck him with ten shafts on the forehead between the two eyebrows.
Those shafts, polished by the hands of the smith, adorned
Dhrishtadyumna’s face like a number of bees, desirous of honey, adorning
a full-blown lotus. Throwing aside that broken bow, the high-souled
Dhrishtadyumna quickly took up another, and with it, sixteen broad-headed
arrows. With five he slew the four steeds and the driver of Duryodhana,
and he cut off with another his bow decked with gold. With the remaining
ten shafts, the son of Prishata cut off the car with the upashkara, the
umbrella, the dart, the sword, the mace, and the standard of thy son.
Indeed, all the kings beheld the beautiful standard of the Kuru king,
decked with golden Angadas and bearing the device of an elephant worked
in jewels, cut off by the prince of the Pancalas. Then the uterine
brothers of Duryodhana, O bull of Bharata’s race, rescued the carless
Duryodhana who had all his weapons, besides, cut off in that battle. In
the very sight of Dhrishtadyumna, Durdhara, O monarch, causing that ruler
of men to ride upon his car quickly bore him away from the battle.

“‘Meanwhile the mighty Karna, having vanquished Satyaki and desirous of
rescuing the (Kuru) king, proceeded straight against the face of Drona’s
slayer, that warrior of fierce shafts. The grandson of Sini, however,
quickly pursued him from behind, striking him with his arrows, like an
elephant pursuing a rival and striking him at the hinder limbs with his
tusks. Then, O Bharata, fierce became the battle that raged between the
high-souled warriors of the two armies, in the space that intervened
between Karna and the son of Prishata. Not a single combatant of either
the Pandavas nor ourselves turned his face from the battle. Then Karna
proceeded against the Pancalas with great speed. At that hour when the
Sun had ascended the meridian, great slaughter, O best of men, of
elephants and steeds and men, took place on both sides. The Pancalas, O
king, inspired with the desire of victory, all rushed with speed against
Karna like birds towards a tree. The son of Adhiratha, of great energy,
filled with rage, began from their front to strike those Pancalas, with
the keen points of his shafts, singling out their leaders, viz.,
Vyaghraketu and Susharma and Citra and Ugrayudha and Jaya and Sukla and
Rochamana and the invincible Singhasena. Those heroes, speedily advancing
with their cars, encompassed that foremost of men, and poured their
shafts upon that angry warrior, viz., Karna, that ornament of battle.
That foremost of men endued with great valour, viz., the son of Radha,
afflicted those eight heroes engaged in battle with eight keen shafts.
The Suta’s son possessed of great prowess, O king, then slew many
thousands of other warriors skilled in fight. Filled with rage, the son
of Radha then slew Jishnu, and Jishnukarman, and Devapi, O king, in that
battle, and Citra, and Citrayudha, and Hari, and Singhaketu and Rochamana
and the great car-warrior Salabha, and many car-warriors among the Cedis
bathed the form of Adhiratha’s son in blood, while he himself was engaged
in taking the lives of those heroes. There, O Bharata, elephants,
assailed with arrows by Karna, fled away on all sides in fear and caused
a great agitation on the field of battle. Others assailed with the shafts
of Karna, uttered diverse cries, and fell down like mountains riven with
thunder. With the fallen bodies of elephants and steeds and men and with
fallen cars, the Earth became strewn along the track of Karna’s car.
Indeed, neither Bhishma, nor Drona, nor any other warrior of thy army had
ever achieved such feats as were then achieved by Karna in that battle.
Amongst elephants, amongst steeds, amongst cars and amongst men, the
Suta’s son caused a very great carnage, O tiger among men. As a lion is
seen to career fearlessly among a herd of deer, even so Karna careered
fearlessly among the Pancalas. As a lion routeth a herd of terrified deer
to all points of the compass, even so Karna routed those throngs of
Pancala cars to all sides. As a herd of deer that have approached the
jaws of a lion can never escape with life, even so those great
car-warriors that approached Karna could not escape with their lives. As
people are certainly burnt if they come in contact with a blazing fire,
even so the Srinjayas, O Bharata, were burnt by the Karna-fire when they
came in contact with it. Many warriors among the Cedis and the Pancalas,
O Bharata, that were regarded as heroes, were slain by the single-handed
Karna in that battle who fought with them, proclaiming his name, in every
instance. Beholding the prowess of Karna, O king, I thought that a single
Pancala even would not, in that battle, escape from the son of Adhiratha.
Indeed, the Suta’s son in that battle repeatedly routed the Pancalas.

“‘Beholding Karna thus slaughtering the Pancalas in that dreadful battle,
King Yudhishthira the just rushed in wrath towards him; Dhrishtadyumna
and the sons of Draupadi also, O sire, and hundreds of warriors,
encompassed that slayer of foes viz., the son of Radha. And Shikhandi,
and Sahadeva, and Nakula, and Nakula’s son, and Janamejaya, and the
grandson of Sini, and innumerable Prabhadrakas, all endued with
immeasurable energy, advancing with Dhrishtadyumna in their van, looked
magnificent as they struck Karna with shafts and diverse weapons. Like
Garuda falling upon a large number of snakes, the son of Adhiratha,
singlehanded, fell upon all those Cedis and Pancalas and Pandavas in that
encounter. The battle that took place between them and Karna, O monarch,
became exceedingly fierce like that which had occurred in days of old
between the gods and the Danavas. Like the Sun dispelling the surrounding
darkness, Karna fearlessly and alone encountered all those great bowmen
united together and pouring upon him repeated showers of arrows. While
the son of Radha was thus engaged with the Pandavas, Bhimasena, filled
with rage, began to slaughter the Kurus with shafts, every one of which
resembled the lord of Yama. That great bowman, fighting single-handed
with the Bahlikas, and the Kaikayas, the Matsyas, the Vasatas, the
Madras, and Saindhavas, looked exceedingly resplendent. There, elephants,
assailed in their vital limbs by Bhima with his cloth-yard shafts fell
down, with their riders slain, making the Earth tremble with the violence
of their fall. Steeds also, with their riders slain, and foot-soldiers
deprived of life, lay down, pierced with arrows and vomiting blood in
large quantities. Car-warriors in thousands fell down, their weapons
loosened from their hands. Inspired with the fear of Bhima, they lay
deprived of life, their bodies mangled with sounds. The Earth became
strewn with car-warriors and horsemen and elephant-men and drivers and
foot-soldiers and steeds and elephants all mangled with the shafts of
Bhimasena. The army of Duryodhana, O king, cheerless and mangled and
afflicted with the fear of Bhimasena, stood as if stupefied. Indeed that
melancholy host stood motionless in that dreadful battle like the Ocean,
O king, during a calm in autumn. Stupefied, that host stood even like the
Ocean in calm. However endued with wrath and energy and might, the army
of thy son then, divested of its pride, lost all its splendour. Indeed,
the host, whilst thus being slaughtered became drenched with gore and
seemed to bathe in blood. The combatants, O chief of the Bharatas,
drenched with blood, were seen to approach and slaughter one another. The
Suta’s son, filled with rage, routed the Pandava division, while
Bhimasena in rage routed the Kurus. And both of them, while thus
employed, looked exceedingly resplendent. During the progress of that
fierce battle filling the spectators with wonder, Arjuna, that foremost
of various persons, having slain a large number of samsaptakas in the
midst of their array, addressed Vasudeva, saying, “This struggling force
of samsaptakas, O Janardana, is broken. Those great car-warriors amongst
the samsaptakas are flying away with their followers, unable to bear my
shafts, like deer unable to bear the roar of the lion. The vast force of
the Srinjayas also seems to break in this great battle. There that banner
of the intelligent Karna, bearing the device of the elephant’s rope, O
Krishna, is seen in the midst of Yudhishthira’s division, where he is
careering with activity. The other great car-warriors (of our army) are
incapable of vanquishing Karna. Thou knowest that Karna is possessed of
great energy as regards prowess in battle. Proceed thither where Karna is
routing our force. Avoiding (other warriors) in battle, proceed against
the Suta’s son, that mighty car-warrior. This is what I wish, O Krishna.
Do, however, that which thou likest.” Hearing these words of his, Govinda
smiled, and addressing Arjuna, said, “Slay the Kauravas, O son of Pandu,
without delay.” Then those steeds, white as swans, urged by Govinda, and
bearing Krishna and the son of Pandu penetrated thy vast force. Indeed,
thy host broke on all sides as those white steeds in trappings of gold,
urged by Keshava, penetrated into its midst. That ape-bannered car, the
clatter of whose wheels resembled the deep roar of the clouds and whose
flags waved in the air, penetrated into the host like a celestial car
passing through the welkin. Keshava and Arjuna, filled with rage, and
with eyes red as blood, as they penetrated, piercing through thy vast
host, looked exceedingly resplendent in their splendour. Both delighting
in battle, as those two heroes, challenged by the Kurus, came to the
field, they looked like the twin Ashvinis invoked with proper rites in a
sacrifice by the officiating priests. Filled with rage, the impetuosity
of those two tigers among men increased like that of two elephants in a
large forest, enraged at the claps of hunters. Having penetrated into the
midst of that car-force and those bodies of horse, Phalguna careered
within those divisions like the Destroyer himself, armed with the fatal
noose. Beholding him put forth such prowess within his army, thy son, O
Bharata, once more urged the samsaptakas against him. Thereupon, with a
1,000 cars, and 300 elephants, and 14,000 horses, and 200,00 of
foot-soldiers armed with the bow, endued with great courage, of sureness
of aim and conversant with all the ways of battle, the leaders of the
samsaptakas rushed (from every side) towards the son of Kunti (in the
great battle) covering the Pandava, O monarch, with showers of arrows
from all sides. Thus covered with shafts in that battle, Partha, that
grinder of hostile forces, exhibited himself in a fierce form like the
Destroyer himself, armed with the noose. While engaged in slaughtering
the samsaptakas, Partha became a worthy object of sight to all. Then the
welkin became filled with shafts decked with gold and possessed of the
effulgence of lightning that were ceaselessly short by the diadem-decked
Arjuna. Indeed, everything completely shrouded with mighty shafts sped
from Arjuna’s arms and falling ceaselessly all around, looked
resplendent, O lord, as if covered with snakes. The son of Pandu, of
immeasurable soul, shot on all sides his straight shafts equipped with
wings of gold and furnished with keen points. In consequence of the sound
of Partha’s palms, people thought that the Earth, or the vault of the
welkin, or all the points of the compass, or the several oceans, or the
mountains seemed to split. Having slain 10,000 kshatriyas, Kunti’s son,
that mighty car-warrior, then quickly proceeded to the further wing of
the samsaptakas. Repairing to that further wing which was protected by
the Kambojas, Partha began to grind it forcibly with his arrows like
Vasava grinding the Danavas. With broad-headed arrows he began to quickly
cut off the arms, with weapons in grasp, and also the heads of foes
longing to slay him. Deprived of diverse limbs, and of weapons, they
began to fall down on the Earth, like trees of many boughs broken by a
hurricane. While he was engaged in thus slaughtering elephants and steeds
and car-warriors and foot-soldiers, the younger brother of Sudakshina
(the chief of the Kambojas) began to pour showers of arrows on him. With
a couple of crescent-shaped arrows, Arjuna cut off the two arms, looking
like spiked maces, of his striking assailant, and then his head graced
with a face as beautiful as the full moon, with a razor-headed arrow.
Deprived of life, he fell down from his vehicle, his body bathed in
blood, like the thunder-riven summit of a mountain of red arsenic.
Indeed, people saw the tall and exceedingly handsome younger brother of
Sudakshina, the chief of the Kambojas, of eyes resembling lotus petals,
slain and fall down like a column of gold or like a summit of the golden
Sumeru. Then commenced a battle there once more that was fierce and
exceedingly wonderful. The condition of the struggling combatants varied
repeatedly. Each slain with a single arrow, and combatants of the
Kamboja, the Yavana, and the Saka races, fell down bathed in blood, upon
which the whole field of battle became one expanse of red, O monarch. In
consequence of car-warriors deprived of steeds and drivers, and steeds
deprived of riders, and elephants deprived of riders, and riders deprived
of elephants, battling with one another, O king, a great carnage took
place. When the wing and the further wing of the samsaptakas had thus
been exterminated by Savyasaci, the son of Drona quickly proceeded
against Arjuna, that foremost of victorious warriors. Indeed, Drona’s son
rushed, shaking his formidable bow, and taking with him many terrible
arrows like the Sun himself appearing with his own rays. With mouth wide
open from rage and with the desire to retaliate, and with red eyes, the
mighty Ashvatthama looked formidable like death himself, armed with his
mace and filled with wrath as at the end of the Yuga. He then shot
showers of fierce shafts. With those shafts sped by him, he began to rout
the Pandava army. As soon as he beheld him of Dasharha’s race (Keshava)
on the car, O king, he once more sped at him, and repeated showers of
fierce shafts. With those falling shafts, O monarch, sped by Drona’s son,
both Krishna and Dhananjaya were completely shrouded on the car. Then the
valiant Ashvatthama, with hundreds of keen arrows, stupefied both Madhava
and the son of Pandu in that battle. Beholding those two protectors of
all mobile and immobile creatures thus covered with arrows, the universe
of mobile and immobile beings uttered cries of “Oh!” and “Alas!” Crowds
of Siddhas and Charanas began to repair to that spot from every side,
mentally uttering this prayer, viz., “Let good be to all the worlds.”
Never before, O king, did I see prowess like that of Drona’s son in that
battle while he was engaged in shrouding the two Krishnas with shafts.
The sound of Ashvatthama’s bow, inspiring foes with terror, was
repeatedly heard by us in that battle, O king, to resemble that of a
roaring lion. While careering in that battle and striking right and left
the string of his bow looked beautiful like flashes of lightning in the
midst of a mass of clouds. Though endued with great firmness and
lightness of hand the son of Pandu, for all that, beholding the son of
Drona then, became greatly stupefied. Indeed, Arjuna then regarded his
own prowess to be destroyed by his high-souled assailant. The form of
Ashvatthama became such in that battle that men could with difficulty
gaze at it. During the progress of that dreadful battle between Drona’s
son and the Pandava, during that time when the mighty son of Drona, O
monarch, thus prevailed over his antagonist and the son of Kunti lost his
energy, Krishna became filled with rage. Inspired with wrath he drew deep
breaths, O king, and seemed to burn with his eyes both Ashvatthama and
Phalguna as he looked at them repeatedly. Filled with rage, Krishna
addressed Partha in an affectionate tone, saying, “This, O Partha, that I
behold in battle regarding thee, is exceedingly strange, since Drona’s
son, O Partha, surpasseth thee today! Hast thou not now the energy and
the might of thy arms thou hadst before? Hast thou not that Gandiva still
in thy hands, and dost thou not stay on thy car now? Are not thy two arms
sound? Hath thy fist suffered any hurt? Why is it then that I see the son
of Drona prevail over thee in battle? Do not, O Partha, spare thy
assailant, regarding him as the son of thy preceptor, O bull of Bharata’s
race. This is not the time for sparing him.” Thus addressed by Krishna,
Partha speedily took up four and ten broad-headed arrows at a time, when
speed was of the highest moment, and with them he cut off Ashvatthama’s
bow and standard and umbrella and banners and car and dart and mace. With
a few calf-toothed arrows he then deeply struck the son of Drona in the
latter’s shoulder. Thereupon overcome with a deep swoon, Ashvatthama sat
down, supporting himself on his flagstaff. The latter’s driver then, O
monarch, desirous of protecting him from Dhananjaya, bore him away
insensible and thus deeply afflicted by the foe. Meanwhile that scorcher
of foes, viz., Vijaya, slaughtered thy troops by hundreds and thousands,
in the very sight of that hero, viz., thy son, O sire. Thus, O king, in
consequence of thy evil counsels, a cruel and awful destruction and
carnage commenced as thy warriors were engaged with the enemy. Within a
short time Vibhatsu routed the samsaptakas: Vrikodara, the Kurus, and
Vasusena, the Pancalas. During the progress of the battle destructive of
great heroes, there rose many headless trunks all around. Meanwhile
Yudhishthira, O chief of the Bharatas, in great pain owing to his wounds,
retreating about two miles from the battle, rested himself for some
time.'”

57

“Sanjaya said, ‘Then Duryodhana, O chief of Bharatas, repairing to Karna,
said unto him as also unto the ruler of the Madras and the other lords of
Earth present there, these words, “Without seeking hath this occasion
arrived, when the gates of heaven have become wide open. Happy are those
Kshatriyas, O Karna, that obtain such a battle. Brave heroes fighting in
battle with brave Kshatriyas equal to them in might and prowess, obtain
great good, O son of Radha. The occasion that hath come is even such.
Either let these brave Kshatriyas, slaying the Pandavas in battle, obtain
the broad Earth, or let them, slain in battle by the foe, win the blessed
region reserved for heroes.” Hearing these words of Duryodhana, those
bulls among Kshatriyas cheerfully uttered loud shouts and beat and blew
their musical instruments. When Duryodhana’s force became thus filled
with joy, the son of Drona, gladdening all thy warriors further said, “In
the very sight of all the troops, and before the eyes of you all, my
father after he had laid aside his weapons, was slain by Dhrishtadyumna.
By that wrath which such an act might kindle, and for the sake also of my
friend, ye kings, I swear truly before you all. Listen then to that oath
of mine. Without slaying Dhrishtadyumna I shall not doff my armour. If
this vow of mine be not fulfilled, let me not go to heaven. Be it Arjuna,
be it Bhimasena, or be it anybody else, whoever will come against me I
will crush him or all of them. There is no doubt in this.” After
Ashvatthama had uttered these words, the entire Bharata army, united
together, rushed against the Pandavas, and the latter also rushed against
the former. The collision of brave leaders of car-divisions, O Bharata,
became exceedingly awful. A destruction of life then set in at the van of
the Kurus and the Srinjayas, that resembled what takes place at the last
great universal dissolution. Upon the commencement of that
passage-at-arms, various (superior) beings, with the gods, came there
accompanied by the Apsaras, for beholding those foremost of men. Filled
with joy, the Apsaras began to cover those foremost of men devoted to the
duties of their order, with celestial garlands, with diverse kinds of
celestial perfumes, and with diverse species of gems. Soft winds bore
those excellent odours to the nostrils of all the foremost of warriors.
Having smelt those perfumes in consequence of the action of the wind, the
warriors once more engaged in battle, and striking one another began to
fall down on the Earth. Strewn with celestial flowers, with beautiful
shafts equipped with wings of gold, and with many foremost of warriors,
the Earth looked beautiful like the firmament bespangled with myriads of
stars. Then in consequence of cheers coming from the welkin and the noise
of musical instruments, the furious passage-at-arms distinguished by
twang of bows and clatter of car-wheels and shouts of warriors became
exceedingly fierce.'”

58

“Sanjaya said, ‘Thus raged that great battle between those lords of Earth
when Arjuna and Karna and Bhimasena, the son of Pandu became angry.
Having vanquished the son of Drona, and other great car-warriors, Arjuna,
O king, addressing Vasudeva, said, “Behold, O Krishna of mighty arms, the
Pandava army is flying away. Behold, Karna is slaying our great
car-warriors in this battle. I do not, O thou of Dasaratha’s race, see
king Yudhishthira the just. Nor is the standard of Dharma’s son, foremost
of warriors, visible. The third part of the day still remaineth,
Janardana. No one amongst the Dhartarashtras cometh against me for fight.
For doing, therefore, what is agreeable to me, proceed to the spot where
Yudhishthira is. Beholding Dharma’s son safe and sound with his younger
brothers in battle, I will again fight with the foe, O thou of Vrishni’s
race.” At these words of Vibhatsu, Hari (Krishna) quickly proceeded on
that car to that spot where king Yudhishthira, along with the mighty
Srinjaya car-warriors of great strength, were fighting with the foe,
making death their goal. During the progress of that great carnage,
Govinda, beholding the field of battle, addressed Savyasaci, saying,
“Behold, O Partha, how great and awful is this carnage, O Bharata, of
Kshatriyas on Earth for the sake of Duryodhana. Behold, O Bharata, the
gold-backed bows of slain warriors, as also their costly quivers
displaced from their shoulders. Behold those straight shafts equipped
with wings of gold, and those clothyard arrows washed with oil and
looking like snakes freed from their sloughs. Behold, O Bharata, those
scimitars, decked with gold, and having ivory handles, and those
displaced shields embossed with gold. Behold those lances decked with
gold, those darts having golden ornaments, and those huge maces twined
round with gold. Behold those swords adorned with gold, those axes with
golden ornaments, and the heads of those battle-axes fallen off from
their golden handles. Behold those iron Kuntas, those short clubs
exceedingly heavy, those beautiful rockets, those huge bludgeons with
spiked heads, those discs displaced from the arms of their wielders, and
those spears (that have been used) in this dreadful battle. Endued (while
living) with great activity, warriors that came to battle, having taken
up diverse weapons, are lying, though deprived of life, as if still
alive. Behold, thousands of warriors lying on the field, with limbs
crushed by means of maces, or heads broken by means of heavy clubs, or
torn and mangled by elephants and steeds and cars. The field of battle is
covered with shafts and darts and swords and axes and scimitars and
spiked maces and lances and iron Kuntas and battle-axes, and the bodies
of men and steeds and elephants, hacked with many wounds and covered with
streams of blood and deprived of life, O slayer of foes. The Earth looks
beautiful, O Bharata, with arms smeared with sandal, decked with Angadas
of gold and with Keyuras, and having their ends cased in leathern fences.
With hands cased in leathern fences, with displaced ornaments, with
severed thighs looking like elephants’ trunks of many active warriors,
with fallen heads, decked with costly gems and earrings, of heroes having
large expansive eyes, the Earth looks exceedingly beautiful. With
headless trunks smeared all over with blood with severed limbs and heads
and hips, the Earth looks, O best of the Bharatas, like an altar strewn
with extinguished fires. Behold those beautiful cars with rows of golden
bells, broken in diverse ways, and those slain steeds lying scattered on
the field, with arrows yet sticking to their bodies. Behold those bottoms
of cars, those quivers, those banners, those diverse kinds of standards,
those gigantic conchs of car-warriors, white in hue and scattered all
over the field. Behold those elephants, huge as hills, lying on the
Earth, with tongues lolling out, and those other elephants and steeds,
deprived of life and decked with triumphal banners. Behold those housings
of elephants, and those skins and blankets, and those other beautiful and
variegated and torn blankets. Behold those rows of bells torn and broken
in diverse ways in consequence of falling elephants of gigantic size, and
those beautiful goads set with stones of lapis lazuli, and those hooks
falling upon the ground. Behold those whips, adorned with gold, and
variegated with gems, still in the grasp of (slain) horsemen, and those
blankets and skins of the Ranku deer falling on the ground but which had
served for seats on horse back. Behold those gems for adorning the
diadems of kings, and those beautiful necklaces of gold, and those
displaced umbrellas and yak-tails for fanning. Behold the Earth, miry
with blood, strewn with the faces of heroes, decked with beautiful
earrings and well-cut beards and possessed of the splendour of the moon
and stars. Behold those wounded warriors in whom life is not yet extinct
and who, lying all around, are uttering wails of woe. Their relatives, O
prince, casting aside their weapons are tending them, weeping
incessantly. Having covered many warriors with arrows and deprived them
of life, behold those combatants, endued with activity longing for
victory, and swelling with rage, are once more proceeding for battle
against their antagonists. Others are running hither and thither on the
field. Being begged for water by fallen heroes, others related to them
have gone in quest of drink. Many, O Arjuna, are breathing their last
meanwhile. Returning their brave relatives, seeing them become senseless
are throwing down the water they brought and are running wildly, shouting
at one another. Behold, many have died after having slaked their thirst,
and many, O Bharata, are dying while drinking. Others, though
affectionate towards relatives, are still seen to rush towards foes in
great battle deserting their dear relatives. Others, again, O best of
men, biting their nether lips, and with faces rendered terrible in
consequence of the contraction of their brows, are surveying the field
all around.” While saying these words unto Arjuna, Vasudeva proceeded
towards Yudhishthira. Arjuna also, beholding the king in that great
battle, repeatedly urged Govinda, saying, “Proceed, Proceed.” Having
shown the field of battle to Partha, Madhava, while proceeding quickly,
slowly said unto Partha once more, “Behold those kings rushing towards
king Yudhishthira. Behold Karna, who resembles a blazing fire, on the
arena of the battle. Yonder the mighty-bowman Bhima is proceeding to
battle. They that are the foremost among the Pancalas, the Srinjayas, and
the Pandavas–they, that is, that have Dhrishtadyumna for their head, are
following Bhima. The vast army of the enemy is again broken by the
rushing Parthas. Behold, O Arjuna, Karna is trying to rally the flying
Kauravas. Resembling the Destroyer himself in impetuosity and Indra
himself in prowess, yonder proceedeth Drona’s son, O thou of Kuru’s race,
that hero who is the foremost of all wielders of weapons. The mighty
carwarrior Dhrishtadyumna is rushing against that hero. The Srinjayas are
following the lead of Dhristadyumna. Behold, the Srinjayas are falling.”
Thus did the invincible Vasudeva describe everything unto the
diadem-decked Arjuna. Then, O king, commenced a terrible and awful
battle. Loud leonine shouts arose as the two hosts encountered each
other, O monarch, making death their goal. Even thus, O king, in
consequence of thy evil counsels, did that destruction set in on Earth, O
lord of Earth, of both thy warriors and those of the enemy.'”

59

“Sanjaya said, ‘Then the Kurus and the Srinjayas once more fearlessly
encountered each other in battle, the Parthas being headed by
Yudhishthira, and ourselves headed by the Suta’s son. Then commenced a
terrible battle, making the hair to stand on end, between Karna and the
Pandavas, that increased the population of Yama’s kingdom. After that
furious battle, producing rivers of blood, had commenced, and when a
remnant only of the brave samsaptakas, O Bharata, were left
unslaughtered, Dhrishtadyumna, O monarch, with all the kings (on the
Pandava side) and those mighty car-warriors–the Pandavas themselves, all
rushed against Karna only. Like the mountain receiving a vast body of
water, Karna, unaided by anyone, received in that battle all those
advancing warriors filled with joy and longing for victory. Those mighty
car-warriors encountering Karna, were beat off and broken like a mass of
water, and beat back on all sides when it encounters a mountain. The
battle, however, that took place between them and Karna made the hair
stand on end. Then Dhrishtadyumna assailed the son of Radha with a
straight shaft in that battle, and addressing him said, “Wait, Wait.” The
mighty car-warrior Karna, filled with rage, shook his foremost of bows
called Vijaya, and cutting off the bow of Dhrishtadyumna, as also his
arrows resembling snakes of virulent poison assailed Dhrishtadyumna
himself with nine arrows. Those arrows, O sinless one, piercing through
the gold-decked armour of the high-souled son of Prishata, became bathed
in blood and looked beautiful like so many cochineal. The mighty
car-warrior Dhrishtadyumna, casting aside that broken bow, took up
another bow and a number of shafts resembling snakes of virulent poison.
With those straight shafts numbering seventy, he pierced Karna.
Similarly, O king, Karna, in that battle, covered Prishata’s son, that
scorcher of foes, with many shafts resembling snakes of virulent poison.
The slayer of Drona, that great bowman, retaliated by piercing Karna with
many keen shafts. Filled with rage, Karna then, O monarch, sped at his
antagonist a gold-decked shaft that resembled a second rod of death. That
terrible shaft, O monarch, as it coursed impetuously towards Prishata’s
son, the grandson of Sini, O king, cut off into seven fragments,
displaying great lightness of hand. Beholding his shaft baffled by the
arrows of Satyaki, O king, Karna resisted Satyaki with showers of arrows
from every side. And he pierced Satyaki in that encounter with seven
clothyard shafts. The grandson of Sini, however, pierced him in return
with many arrows decked with gold. The battle then that took place, O
king, between those two warriors was such as to fill both spectators and
listeners with fear. Though awful, soon it became beautiful and deserving
objects of sight. Beholding the feats, in that encounter, of Karna and
the grandson of Sini, the hair of all the creatures there present seemed
to stand on end. Meanwhile the mighty son of Drona rushed against
Prishata’s son, that chastiser of foes and queller of the prowess of all
enemies. Filled with rage, Drona’s son, that subjugator of hostile towns,
addressing Dhrishtadyumna, said, “Wait, wait, O slayer of a Brahmana,
thou shalt not escape me today with life.” Having said these words, that
mighty car-warrior of great lightness of hand striving resolutely, deeply
pierced the brave son of Prishata, who also strove to the utmost of his
prowess, with many keen and terrible shafts endued with great
impetuosity. As Drona (while alive), beholding the son of Prishata, O
sire, had become cheerless and regarded him as his death, even so the son
of Prishata, that slayer of hostile heroes, beholding Drona’s son in that
battle, now regarded him as his death. Soon, however, remembering that he
was unslayable in battle by means of weapons, he rushed with great speed
against Drona’s son, like the Destroyer running against the Destroyer at
the time of the universal dissolution. Drona’s heroic son, however, O
monarch, beholding Dhrishtadyumna stationed before him, drew deep
breaths, in wrath, and rushed towards him. Both of them were filled with
great rage at the sight of each other. Endued with great activity, the
valiant son of Drona then, O monarch, said these words unto
Dhrishtadyumna staying not far from him, “O wretch amongst the Pancalas,
I shall today despatch thee to Yama. The sin thou hast committed before
by slaying Drona will fill thee today with regret, to thy great evil, if
thou stayest in battle without being protected by Partha, or if thou dost
not fly away, O fool, I tell thee truly.” Thus addressed, the valiant
Dhrishtadyumna replied, saying, “That same sword of mine which answered
thy sire, resolutely engaged in battle, will today answer this speech of
thine. If Drona could be slain by me, O thou that art a Brahmana in name
only, why should I not then, putting forth my prowess, slay thee also in
battle today?” Having said these words, the wrathful commander of the
Pandava forces, viz., the son of Prishata, pierced Drona’s son with a
keen arrow. Then Drona’s son filled with great rage, shrouded every side
of Dhrishtadyumna, O king, in that battle, with straight arrows. Shrouded
with thousands of arrows, neither the welkin, nor the points of the
compass, nor the combatants all around, could, O monarch, be any longer
seen. Similarly, the son of Prishata, O king, shrouded Drona’s son, that
ornament of battle, with arrows, in the very sight of Karna. The son of
Radha, too, O monarch, singly resisted the Pancalas and the Pandavas and
the (five) sons of Draupadi and Yudhamanyu and the mighty car-warrior
Satyaki, in consequence of which feat he became the cynosure of all eyes.
Then Dhrishtadyumna in that battle cut off the very tough and formidable
bow of Drona’s son, as also all his arrows resembling snakes of virulent
poison. Drona’s son, however, with his arrows, destroyed within the
twinkling of an eye the bow, the dart, the mace, the standard, the
steeds, the driver, and the car of Prishata’s son. Bowless and carless
and steedless and driverless, the son of Prishata then took up a huge
scimitar and a blazing shield decked with a hundred moons. Endued with
great lightness of hand, and possessed of mighty weapons, that mighty
car-warrior, viz., the heroic son of Drona, O king, quickly cut off, in
that battle, with many broad-headed arrows, those weapons also of
Dhrishtadyumna before the latter could come down from his car. All this
seemed exceedingly wonderful. The mighty car-warrior Ashvatthama,
however, though struggling vigorously, could not, O chief of the
Bharatas, slay the carless and steedless and bowless Dhrishtadyumna,
although pierced and exceedingly mangled with many arrows. When,
therefore, O king, the son of Drona found that he could not slay his
enemy with arrows, he laid aside his bow and quickly proceeded towards
the son of Prishata. The impetuosity of that high-souled one, as he
rushed towards his foe, resembled that of Garuda swooping down for
seizing a large snake. Meanwhile Madhava, addressing Arjuna, said,
“Behold, O Partha, how the son of Drona is rushing with great speed
towards the car of Prishata’s son. Without doubt, he will slay the
prince. O mighty-armed one, O crusher of foes, rescue the son of
Prishata, who is now within the jaws of Drona’s son as if within the jaws
of Death himself.” Having said these words, the valiant Vasudeva urged
the steeds towards that spot where Drona’s son was. Those steeds, of the
splendour of the moon, urged by Keshava, proceeded towards the car of
Drona’s son, devouring the very skies. Beholding those two of great
energy, viz., Krishna and Dhananjaya, coming towards him, the mighty
Ashvatthama made great efforts for slaying Dhrishtadyumna soon. Seeing
Dhrishtadyumna dragged, O ruler of men by his enemy, the mighty Partha
sped many arrows at the son of Drona. Those arrows, decked with gold and
sped from Gandiva, approached the son of Drona and pierced him deeply
like snakes penetrating into an ant-hill. Thus pierced with those
terrible arrows, the valiant son of Drona, O king, abandoned the Pancala
prince of immeasurable energy. Indeed, the hero, thus afflicted with
Dhananjaya’s shafts, mounted on his car, and taking up his own excellent
bow, began to pierce Partha with many shafts. Meanwhile, the heroic
Sahadeva, O ruler of men, bore away on his car the son of Prishata, that
scorcher of foes. Arjuna then, O king, pierced Drona’s son with many
arrows. Filled with rage, Drona’s son struck Arjuna in the arms and the
chest. Thus provoked, Partha, in that battle, sped at Drona’s son, a long
shaft that resembled a second rod of Death, or rather, Death himself.
That arrow of great splendour fell upon the shoulder of the Brahmana
hero. Exceedingly agitated, O monarch, in that battle, by the violence of
the stroke, he sat down on the terrace of his car and swooned away. Then
Karna, O monarch, shook his bow Vijaya and, filled with rage, repeatedly
eyed Arjuna in that battle, desiring a single combat with him. Meanwhile
the driver of Drona’s son, beholding the latter senseless, quickly bore
him away on his car from the field of battle. Beholding Prishata’s son
rescued and Drona’s son afflicted, the Pancalas, O king, expectant of
victory, began to utter loud shouts. Thousands of sweet instruments began
to be sounded. Seeing such wonderful feats in battle, the combatants
uttered leonine roars. Having achieved that feat, Partha addressed
Vasudeva, saying “Proceed, O Krishna, towards the samsaptakas, for this
is greatly desired by me.” Hearing those words of Pandu’s son, he of
Dasharha’s race proceeded on that car graced with many banners and whose
speed resembled that of the wind or the mind.'”

60

“Sanjaya said, ‘Meanwhile Krishna, pointing out king Yudhishthira the
just, unto Kunti’s son Partha, addressed him in these words: “Yonder, O
son of Pandu, your brother (Yudhishthira) is being pursued by many mighty
and great bowmen amongst the Dhartarashtras, all inspired with the desire
of slaughtering him. The mighty Pancalas, difficult of defeat in battle,
are proceeding after the high-souled Yudhishthira from desire of rescuing
him. Yonder, Duryodhana, O Partha, the king of the whole world, clad in
mail and accompanied by a large car force, is pursuing the Pandava king.
Impelled by the desire of slaughtering his rival, the mighty Duryodhana,
O tiger among men, is pursuing him, accompanied by his brothers, the
touch of whose weapons is as fatal as that of poisonous snakes and who
are all conversant with every mode of warfare. Those Dhartarashtra
elephants and horses and car-warriors and foot-soldiers are advancing to
seize Yudhishthira like poor men after a precious gem. Behold, checked by
Satyaki and Bhima, they have again been stupefied, like the Daityas, that
desired to take away the Amrita, made motionless by Sakra and Agni. The
mighty car-warriors (of the Kuru army), however, in consequence of the
vastness of their numbers, are again proceeding towards Yudhishthira like
a vast quantity of water in the season of rains rushing towards the
ocean. Those mighty bowmen are uttering leonine roars, blowing their
conchs, and shaking their bows. I regard Kunti’s son Yudhishthira, thus
brought under the influence of Duryodhana, to be already within the jaws
of Death or already poured as a libation on the sacrificial fire. The
army of Dhritarashtra’s son, O Pandava, is arrayed and equipped duly.
Sakra himself, coming within the range of its arrows, can scarcely
escape. Who will in battle bear the impetuosity of the heroic Duryodhana
who shoots showers of arrows with the greatest celerity and who, when
angry, resembles the Destroyer himself? The force of the heroic
Duryodhana’s shafts, or Drona’s son’s or Kripa’s or Karna’s would break
down the very mountains. That scorcher of foes, viz., king Yudhishthira,
was once compelled by Karna to turn his back upon the field. The son of
Radha is endued with great might and great lightness of hand. Possessed
of great skill, he is accomplished in battle. He is competent to afflict
the eldest son of Pandu in fight, specially when he is united with the
mighty and brave son of Dhritarashtra. Of rigid vows, when the son of
Pritha (Yudhishthira) had been engaged in battle with all those warriors,
other great car-warriors had struck him and contributed to his defeat.
The king, O best of the Bharatas, is exceedingly emaciated in consequence
of his fasts. He is endued with Brahma-force, but the puissant one is not
endued with much of Kshatriya-might. Assailed, however, by Karna, the
royal son of Pandu, Yudhishthira, that scorcher of foes, hath been placed
in a situation of great peril. I think, O Partha, that king Yudhishthira
has fallen. Indeed, since that chastiser of foes, the wrathful Bhimasena,
coolly heareth the leonine roars of the frequently shouting
Dhartarashtra’s longing for victory and blowing their conchs, I think, O
bull among men, that Pandu’s son Yudhishthira is dead. Yonder Karna urges
forward the mighty car-warriors of the Dhartarashtras towards the son of
Pritha with the weapons called Sthunakarna, Indrasjaha and Pasupata, and
with clubs and other weapons. The king, O Bharata, must be deeply
afflicted and exceedingly weakened, because the Pancalas and the
Pandavas, those foremost of all wielders of weapons, are seen to proceed
with great speed towards him at a time when speed is of the highest
moment like strong men rushing to the rescue of a person sinking in a
bottomless sea. The king’s standard is no longer visible. It has probably
been struck down by Karna with his shafts. In the very sight of the
twins, O Partha, and of Satyaki and Shikhandi, and Dhrishtadyumna and
Bhima and Satanika, O lord, as also of all the Pancalas and the Cedis, O
Bharata, yonder Karna is destroying the Pandava division with his arrows,
like an elephant destroying an assemblage of lotuses. There, those
car-warriors of thy army, O son of Pandu, are flying away. See, see, O
Partha, how those great warriors are retreating. Those elephants, O
Bharata, assailed by Karna in battle, are flying away in all directions,
uttering cries of pain. There those crowds of car-warriors, routed in
battle, O Partha, by Karna, that crusher of foes, are flying away in all
directions. Behold, O Partha, that foremost of standards, of the Suta’s
son, on his car, bearing the device of the elephant’s rope, is seen to
move all over the field. There, the son of Radha is now rushing against
Bhimasena, scattering hundreds of shafts as he proceeds and slaughtering
thy army therewith. There, those mighty car-warriors of the Pancalas are
being routed (by Karna) even as the Daityas had been routed by Sakra in
dreadful battle. There, Karna, having vanquished the Pancalas, the
Pandus, and the Srinjayas, is casting his eyes on all sides, I think, for
seeking thee. Behold, O Partha, Karna, as he beautifully draws his
foremost of bows, looketh exceedingly beautiful even as Sakra in the
midst of the celestials, after vanquishing his foes. There the Kauravas,
beholding the prowess of Karna, are roaring and inspiring the Pandus and
the Srinjayas with fear on every side. There, Karna himself, terrifying
the Pandus with his whole soul, in dreadful battle, is addressing all the
troops, O giver of honours, saying, ‘Blessed be ye, advance, ye Kauravas
and rush with such speed that no Srinjaya may, in this battle escape with
life. United together, do this all of you. As regards ourselves, we will
follow behind you.’ Saying these words, he is advancing behind (his
troops), scattering his shafts. Behold Karna, adorned with his white
umbrella in this battle and looking like the Udaya hills adorned by the
moon. With his beautiful umbrella of a hundred ribs, resembling the moon
in full, held over his head, O Bharata, in this battle, Karna, O prince,
is casting his glances after thee. Without doubt, he will, in this
battle, come hither, with great speed. Behold him, O mighty-armed one, as
he shaketh his formidable bow and shooteth, in this dreadful battle, his
shafts resembling snakes of virulent poison. There, the son of Radha
turneth towards this direction, beholding thy banner bearing the ape, and
desiring, O Partha, an encounter with thee, O scorcher of foes. Indeed,
he cometh for his own destruction, even like an insect into the mouth of
a lamp. Wrathful and brave, he is ever engaged in the good of
Dhritarashtra’s son. Of wicked understanding, he is always unable to put
up with thee. Beholding Karna alone and unsupported, Dhritarashtra’s son,
O Bharata, turneth towards him with great resolution, accompanied by his
car-force, for protecting him. Let that wicked-souled one, along with all
those allies of his, be slain by thee, putting forth thy vigour, from
desire of winning fame, kingdom and happiness. Both of you are endued
with great strength. Both of you are possessed of great celebrity. When
encountering each other in battle, O Partha, like a celestial and a
Danava in the great battle between the gods and the Asuras, let all the
Kauravas behold thy prowess. Beholding thee filled with great rage and
Karna also excited to fury, O bull of Bharata’s race, Duryodhana in wrath
will not be able to do anything. Remembering thyself to be of purified
soul, O bull of Bharata’s race, and remembering also that the son of
Radha harboureth a great animosity for the virtuous Yudhishthira, achieve
that, O son of Kunti, which should now be achieved. Righteously setting
thy heart on battle, advance against that leader of car-warriors. There,
five hundred foremost of car-warriors, O thou best of car-warriors, that
are endued with great might and fierce energy, and 5,000 elephants, and
twice as many horses, and innumerable foot-soldiers, all united together,
O son of Kunti, and protecting one another, O hero, are advancing against
thee. Show thyself, of thy own will, unto that great bowman, viz., the
Suta’s son. Advance, O bull of Bharata’s race, towards him with great
speed. There, Karna, filled with great wrath is rushing against the
Pancalas. I see his standard approaching towards the car of
Dhrishtadyumna. I think he will exterminate the Pancalas. I will tell
thee, O bull of Bharata’s race, some good news, O Partha. King
Yudhishthira the just is living. There, the mighty-armed Bhima, having
returned, is stationed at the head of the army, supported by the
Srinjayas and by Satyaki, O Bharata. There, the Kauravas are being
slaughtered with keen shafts by Bhimasena, O son of Kunti, and the
high-souled Pancalas. The troops of Dhritarashtra’s son, with their faces
turned from the field, and with blood streaming down from their wounds,
are speedily flying away from battle, struck by Bhima with his shafts.
Bathed in blood, the Bharata army, O chief of Bharata’s race, presents an
exceedingly cheerless aspect like that of the Earth when divested of
crops. Behold, O son of Kunti, Bhimasena, that foremost of combatants,
filled with rage like a snake of virulent poison, and engaged in routing
the (Kaurava) host. Yellow and red and black and white banners, adorned
with stars and moons and suns as also many umbrellas, O Arjuna, lie
scattered about. Made of gold or silver or brass and other metals,
standards are lying about, and elephants and steeds also, scattered all
over the field. There, those car-warriors are falling from their cars,
deprived of life by the unreturning Pancalas with shafts of diverse
kinds. There the Pancalas of great speed, O Dhananjaya, are rushing
against the riderless Dhartarashtra elephants and steeds and cars.
Reckless of their very lives, O chastiser of foes, those warriors,
difficult of defeat in battle aided by the might of Bhimasena are
crushing, O tiger among men, the hostile force. There, the Pancalas are
uttering loud roars and blowing their conchs as they are rushing against
their foes and crushing them with their shafts in battle. Behold their
great energy and power. Through sheer valour, the Pancalas are
slaughtering the Dhartarashtras like angry lions slaying elephants.
Unarmed they are snatching the weapons of their armed foes and with those
weapons thus snatched, they are slaying their foes that are effectual
smiters, and uttering loud roars. The heads and arms of their foes are
being struck off and felled on the field. The Pancala cars and elephants
and horses are all worthy of the highest praise. Like swans of great
speed leaving the Manasa lake and rushing into the Ganga, the Pancalas
are rushing against the Kauravas, and every part of the vast
Dhartarashtra force is assailed by them. Like bulls resisting bulls, the
heroic Kripa and Karna and other leaders are putting forth all their
valour for resisting the Pancalas. The Pancala heroes headed by
Dhrishtadyumna are slaying thousands of their foes, viz., the great
car-warriors of the Dhartarashtra army already sinking in the ocean of
Bhima’s weapons. Beholding the Pancalas overwhelmed by their foes, the
fearless son of the Wind-god, assailing the hostile force, is shooting
his shafts and uttering loud roars. The greater portion of the vast
Dhartarashtra army has become exceedingly frightened. Behold those
elephants, pierced by Bhima with his cloth-yard shafts, are falling down
like mountain summits riven by the thunderbolt of Indra. There, those
huge elephants, deeply pierced with the straight shafts of Bhimasena are
flying away, crushing their own ranks. Dost thou not recognise the
unbearable leonine shouts, O Arjuna, of the terribly-roaring Bhimasena
inspired with desire of victory in battle? There, the prince of the
Nishadas, filled with rage, is coming against the son of Pandu, on his
foremost of elephants, from desire of slaying him with his lances, even
like Destroyer himself armed with his bludgeon. Struck by Bhima with ten
keen cloth-yard shafts endued with the splendour of the fire or the Sun,
the two arms of the roaring prince, with lances in grasp, are lopped off.
Staying the prince, Bhima proceedeth against other elephants looking like
masses of blue clouds and ridden by riders guiding them with skill.
Behold those riders striking Vrikodara with darts and lances in
profusion. Slaying with his keen shafts those elephants, seven at a time,
their triumphal standards also, O Partha, are cut down by thy elder
brother. As regards those other elephants, each of them is being slain
with ten shafts by him. The shouts of the Dhartarashtras are no longer
heard, now that Bhima, O bull of Bharata’s race, who is equal to
Purandara himself, is engaged in battle. Full three akshauhinis of
Duryodhana’s soldiers had been assembled together (in front of Bhima).
They have all been checked by that lion among men, Bhimasena, in wrath.'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Behold that feat, difficult of accomplishment,
achieved by Bhimasena. Arjuna, with his keen shafts, destroyed the
remnant of his foes. The mighty samsaptakas, O lord, slaughtered in
battle and routed (by Arjuna), fled away in all directions, overcome with
fear. Many amongst them (that fell) became the guests of Shakra and
attained to great happiness. As regards Partha, that tiger among men, he
continued, with his straight shafts, to slaughter the Dhartarashtra host
consisting of four kinds of forces.'”

61

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘When Bhima and Pandu’s son Yudhishthira were
engaged in battle, when my troops were being slaughtered by the Pandus
and the Srinjayas, when, indeed, my vast army being broken and routed
repeatedly became cheerless, tell me, O Sanjaya, what the Kauravas did.’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding the mighty-armed Bhima, the Suta’s son of great
valour, with eyes red in wrath, O king, rushed towards him. Seeing thy
army fly away from Bhimasena, the mighty Karna, O king, rallied it with
great efforts. The mighty-armed Karna, having rallied thy son’s host,
proceeded against the Pandavas, those heroes difficult of defeat in
battle. The great car-warriors of the Pandavas also, shaking their bows
and shooting their shafts, proceeded against the son of Radha. Bhimasena,
and the grandson of Sini, and Shikhandi and Janamejaya, and
Dhrishtadyumna of great strength, and all the Prabhadrakas, and those
tigers among men, the Pancalas, filled with rage and inspired with desire
of victory, rushed in that battle from every side against thy army.
Similarly, the great car-warriors of thy army, O king, quickly proceeded
against the Pandava host, desirous of slaughtering it. Teeming with cars
and elephants and horses, and abounding with foot-soldiers and standards,
the two armies then, O tiger among men, assumed a wonderful aspect.
Shikhandi proceeded against Karna, and Dhrishtadyumna proceeded against
thy son Duhshasana, accompanied by a large force. Nakula proceeded
against Vrishasena, while Yudhishthira against Citrasena. Sahadeva, O
king, in that battle, proceeded against Uluka. Satyaki proceeded against
Shakuni, and the sons of Draupadi against the other Kauravas. The mighty
car-warrior Ashvatthama proceeded, with great care, against Arjuna.
Sharadvata’s son Kripa proceeded against the mighty bowman Yudhamanyu,
while Kritavarma of great strength proceeded against Uttamauja. The
mighty-armed Bhimasena, O sire, alone and unsupported, resisted all the
Kurus and thy sons at the head of their division. The slayer of Bhishma,
Shikhandi, then, O monarch, with his winged arrows, resisted Karna,
careering fearlessly in that battle. Held in check, Karna then, his lips
trembling in rage, assailed Shikhandi with three arrows in the midst of
his eyebrows. With those three arrows sticking on his forehead, Shikhandi
looked highly beautiful like a silver mountain with three elevated
crests. Deeply pierced by the Suta’s son in that encounter, the mighty
bowman Shikhandi pierced Karna, in return, with ninety keen shafts. The
mighty car-warrior Karna then, slaying Shikhandi’s steeds and next his
driver with three arrows, cut off his standard with a razor-faced arrow.
That mighty car-warrior then, that scorcher of foes, filled with rage,
jumped down from his steedless car and hurled a dart at Karna. Cutting
off that dart with three shafts in that encounter, Karna then, O Bharata,
pierced Shikhandi with nine keen arrows. Avoiding then the shafts sped
from Karna’s bow, that best of men, Shikhandi, exceedingly mangled,
retreated speedily from that spot. Then Karna, O monarch, began to
scatter the troops of the Pandavas, like a mighty wind scattering a heap
of cotton. Meanwhile Dhrishtadyumna, O monarch, afflicted by thy son,
pierced Duhshasana, in return, with three arrows in the centre of the
chest. Then Duhshasana, O sire, pierced his assailant’s left arm with a
broad-headed shaft, sharp and straight and equipped with wings of gold.
Thus pierced, Dhrishtadyumna, filled with wrath and the desire to
retaliate, sped a terrible shaft, O Bharata, at Duhshasana. Thy son,
however, O king, with three shafts of his, cut off that impetuous arrow
sped by Dhrishtadyumna as it coursed towards him. Approaching
Dhrishtadyumna then, he struck him in the arms and the chest with
seventeen other broad-headed shafts adorned with gold. Thereat Prishata’s
son, filled with rage, cut off Duhshasana’s bow, O sire, with a sharp
razor-headed arrow, at which all the troops there uttered a loud shout.
Taking up then another bow, thy son, as if smiling, held Dhrishtadyumna
in check with showers of arrows from every side. Beholding the prowess of
that high-souled son of thine, the combatants, as also the siddhas and
the apsaras, became all filled with wonder. We then saw the mighty
Dhrishtadyumna thus assailed by Duhshasana to resemble a huge elephant,
held in check by a lion. Then many Pancala car-warriors and elephants and
horses, O elder brother of Pandu, desirous of rescuing the commander (of
the Pandava army) encompassed thy son. The battle that commenced, O
scorcher of foes, between thy warriors and the enemy, presented as
frightful a sight as that which may be seen at the destruction of all
creatures at the end of the Yuga.

“‘Vrishasena, staying by the side of his father, having pierced Nakula
with five arrows made wholly of iron, pierced him once again with three
other arrows. The heroic Nakula then, as if smiling, deeply pierced
Vrishasena in the chest with a cloth-yard shaft of great keenness. Thus
pierced by his mighty foe, that scorcher of foes, viz., Vrishasena,
pierced his assailant with twenty arrows and was himself pierced by him
with five. Then those two bulls among men shrouded each other with
thousands of arrows, at which the divisions that supported them broke.
Beholding the troops of Dhritarashtra’s son flying away, the Suta’s son,
following them, O king, began to forcibly stop them. After Karna had gone
away, Nakula proceeded against the Kauravas. Karna’s son also, avoiding
Nakula, proceeded quickly, O sire, to where his father, the son of Radha,
was for protecting his car-wheel.

“‘The angry Uluka was held in check by Sahadeva. Having slain his four
steeds, the valiant Sahadeva then despatched his foe’s driver to the
abode of Yama. Uluka then, that delighter of his father, jumping down
from his car, O king, quickly proceeded and entered the division of the
Trigartas. Satyaki, having pierced Shakuni with twenty keen arrows,
easily cut off the standard of Subala’s son with a broad-headed arrow.
The valiant son of Subala, filled with rage, O king, in that encounter,
pierced Satyaki’s armour and then cut off his golden standard. Then
Satyaki pierced him in return with many keen arrows, and struck his
driver, O monarch, with three arrows. With great speed then, he
despatched with other shafts the steeds of Shakuni to Yama’s abode.
Speedily alighting then, O bull among men, from his car, Shakuni, that
mighty car-warrior, quickly ascended the car of Uluka. The latter then
bore away with great speed his father from Sini’s grandson, that warrior
skilled in battle. Then Satyaki, O king, rushed in that battle against
thy army with great impetuosity, at which that army broke. Shrouded with
the arrows of Sini’s grandson, thy army, O monarch, fled away on all
sides with great speed, and fell down deprived of life.

“‘Thy son resisted Bhimasena in that battle, in a trice Bhima made that
ruler of men steedless and driverless and carless and standardless, at
which the (Pandava) troops became highly glad. Then thy son, O king, went
away from Bhimasena’s presence. The whole Kuru army, at this, rushed
against Bhimasena. Tremendous became the din made by those combatants
inspired with the desire of slaying Bhimasena. Yudhamanyu, piercing
Kripa, quickly cut off his bow. Then Kripa, that foremost of all wielders
of weapons, taking up another bow, felled Yudhamanyu’s standard and
driver and umbrella on the Earth. At this, the mighty car-warrior
Yudhamanyu retreated on his car, driving it himself. Uttamauja covered
the terrible son of Hridika, endued with terrible prowess, with a thick
shower of arrows like a cloud pouring torrents of rain on a mountain. The
battle between them, O scorcher of foes, became so awful that its like, O
monarch, I had never seen before. Then Kritavarma, O king, in that
encounter, suddenly pierced Uttamauja in the chest, at which the latter
sat down on the terrace of his car. His driver then bore away that
foremost of car-warriors. Then the whole Kuru army rushed at Bhimasena.
Duhshasana and Subala’s son, encompassing the son of Pandu with a large
elephant force, began to strike him with small arrows. Then Bhima,
causing the wrathful Duryodhana to turn his back on the field by means of
hundreds of arrows, quickly rushed towards that elephant force. Beholding
that elephant-force advance impetuously against him, Vrikodara became
filled with great rage and invoked his celestial weapons. And he began to
strike elephants with elephants like Indra striking the Asuras. While
engaged in slaughtering those elephants, Vrikodara, in that battle,
covered the welkin with his shafts like myriads of insects covering a
fire. Like the wind scattering masses of clouds, Bhima quickly scattered
and destroyed crowds of elephants united together in thousands. Covered
all over with networks of gold, as also with many gems, the elephants
looked exceedingly beautiful in that battle like clouds charged with
lightning. Slaughtered by Bhima, those elephants, O king, began to fly
away. Some amongst them, with their hearts pierced, fell down on the
Earth. With those fallen and failing elephants adorned with gold, the
Earth looked beautiful there, as if strewn with broken mountains. With
the fallen elephant-warriors of blazing resplendence and adorned with
gems, the Earth looked beautiful as if strewn with planets of exhausted
merit. Then elephants, with their temples, frontal globes, and trunks
deeply pierced, fled in hundreds in that battle, afflicted with the
shafts of Bhimasena. Some amongst them, huge as hills, afflicted with
fear and vomiting blood, ran away, their limbs mangled with arrows, and
looked on that account, like mountains with liquid metals running down
their sides. People then beheld the two arms of Bhima, resembling two
mighty snakes, smeared with sandal-paste and other pounded unguents,
continually employed in drawing the bow. Hearing the sound of his
bow-string and palms that resembled the peal of thunder, those elephants,
ejecting urine and excreta, ran away in fear. The feats of the
single-handed Bhima of great intelligence, on that occasion, shone like
those of Rudra, himself, while engaged in destroying all creatures.'”

62

“Sanjaya said, ‘The handsome Arjuna then, on that foremost car of his,
unto which were yoked white steeds, and which was urged by Narayana
himself, appeared on the scene. Like the tempest agitating the ocean,
Vijaya, O foremost of kings, in that battle, agitated that host of thine
teeming with horsemen. When the white-steeded Arjuna was otherwise
engaged, thy son Duryodhana, filled with rage and surrounded by half his
troops, approached suddenly, and encompassed the advancing Yudhishthira
inspired with the desire of revenge. The Kuru king then pierced the son
of Pandu with three and seventy razor-headed arrows. At this,
Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, became inflamed with ire, and quickly
struck thy son with thirty broad-headed arrows. The Kaurava troops then
rushed impetuously for seizing Yudhishthira. Understanding the wicked
intentions of the enemy, the great car-warriors of the Pandava army,
uniting together, rushed towards Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, for
rescuing him. Indeed, Nakula and Sahadeva and Dhrishtadyumna, the son of
Prishata, surrounded by a full Akshauhini of troops, thus proceeded
towards Yudhishthira. Bhimasena also, in that battle, crushing the great
car-warriors of thy army, proceeded towards the king surrounded by foes.
Karna, otherwise called Vaikartana, O king, shooting dense showers of
arrows, checked, single-handed, all those mighty bowmen thus advancing
(to the rescue). Though they shot dense showers of arrows and hurled
innumerable lances, fighting with determination, yet they were unable
even to look at the son of Radha. Indeed, the son of Radha, that master
of all weapons offensive and defensive, by shooting dense showers of
shafts checked all those great bowmen. The high-souled Sahadeva, however,
quickly approaching (the spot where Duryodhana was), and invoking without
loss of time a (celestial) weapon, pierced Duryodhana with twenty arrows.
Thus pierced by Sahadeva, the Kuru king, covered with blood, looked
beautiful, like a huge elephant of split temples. Beholding thy son
deeply pierced with many arrows of great energy, that foremost of
car-warriors, viz., the son of Radha, filled with rage, rushed to that
spot. Seeing Duryodhana reduced to that plight, Karna, invoking his
weapons quickly, began to slaughter the troops of Yudhishthira and
Prishata’s son. Thus slaughtered by the high-souled Karna, Yudhishthira’s
troops, O king, afflicted with the arrows of the Suta’s son, soon fled
away. Showers of shafts fell together. Indeed, those sped subsequently
from the bow of the Suta’s son touched with their heads the wings of
those sped before. In consequence of those falling showers, of shafts, O
monarch, colliding with one another, a conflagration seemed to blaze
forth in the welkin. Soon Karna shrouded the ten points of the compass, O
king, with arrows capable of piercing the bodies of foes, as if with
advancing flights of locusts. Displaying the highest weapons, Karna began
to wave with great force his two arms smeared with red sandal-paste and
adorned with jewels and gold. Then stupefying all sides, O king, with his
shafts, Karna deeply afflicted Yudhishthira the just. Filled with rage at
this, Dharma’s son Yudhishthira struck Karna with fifty keen shafts. In
consequence then of the darkness caused by those showers of arrows, the
battle became awful to look at. Loud cries of woe arose from among thy
troops, O monarch, whilst they were being slaughtered by Dharma’s son, O
sire, with diverse kinds of keen shafts equipped with Kanka feathers and
whetted on stone, with numerous broad-headed arrows, and with diverse
kinds of darts and swords and clubs. Thither where Pandu’s son of
virtuous soul cast his eyes with the desire of producing evil, thither
thy army broke, O bull of Bharata’s race. Inflamed with great rage, Karna
also, of immeasurable soul, inspired with the desire of retaliating, his
face flushed in anger, rushed in that battle against Pandu’s son, king
Yudhishthira the just, shooting cloth-yard shafts and crescent-shaped
arrows and those equipped with heads like the calf’s tooth. Yudhishthira
also pierced him with many whetted arrows equipped with wings of gold. As
if smiling the while, Karna pierced the royal son of Pandu in the chest
with three broad-headed arrows, whetted on stone, and equipped with Kanka
feathers. Deeply afflicted therewith, king Yudhishthira the just, sitting
down on the terrace of his car, ordered his driver to retreat. Thereupon
all the Dhartarashtras, with their king, set up a loud shout, saying,
“Seize! Seize!” and all of them then pursued the (Pandava) king. Then
seventeen hundred Kekaya troops, skilled in smiting, united with a body
of the Pancala troops, O king, checked the Dhartarashtras. During the
progress of that fierce and terrible battle, Duryodhana and Bhima, those
two warriors endued with great might, encountered each other.'”

63

“Sanjaya said, ‘Meanwhile Karna also began, with his arrowy showers, to
afflict the mighty car-warriors of the Kaikayas, viz., those great bowmen
that stood before him. Indeed, the son of Radha despatched to Yama’s
abode full five hundred of those warriors that were employed in checking
him in that battle. Beholding the son of Radha to be irresistible in that
battle, those warriors, afflicted with the arrows of their assailant,
repaired to the presence of Bhimasena. Breaking that car-force into many
parts by means of his arrows, Karna, singly and riding on that same car
of his, pursued Yudhishthira, who then, exceedingly mangled with arrows
and almost insensible, was proceeding slowly for reaching the Pandava
encampment with Nakula and Sahadeva on his two sides. Having approached
the king, the Suta’s son, from desire of doing good to Duryodhana,
pierced the son of Pandu with three formidable arrows. In return, the
king pierced Radha’s son in the centre of the chest and then his driver
with three shafts. Then those two scorchers of foes, viz., the twin sons
of Madri, those two protectors of Yudhishthira’s car-wheels, rushed
towards Karna so that the latter might not succeed in slaying the king.
Then Nakula and Sahadeva, both shooting showers of shafts with great
care, covered the son of Radha therewith. The valiant son of the Suta,
however, in return, pierced those two high-souled chastisers of foes with
two broad-headed arrows of great sharpness. The son of Radha then slew
Yudhishthira’s excellent steeds, white as ivory and fleet as the mind,
and having black hair in their tails. Then, smiling the while, the Suta’s
son, that great bowman, with another broadheaded shaft, felled the
head-gear of Kunti’s son. Similarly, the valiant Karna, having slain the
steeds of Nakula, cut off the car shafts and bow of that intelligent son
of Madri. Those two steedless and carless sons of Pandu,–those two
brothers,–thereupon ascended the car of Sahadeva. Beholding those two
brothers made carless, that slayer of hostile heroes, viz., their
maternal uncle, the ruler of the Madras, moved by compassion, addressed
the son of Radha and said, “Thou art to fight today with Pritha’s son
Phalguna. Why dost thou then, with rage inflamed to such a pitch, battle
with Dharma’s royal son? Thou art suffering thy weapons to be exhausted.
Thy own armour is being weakened. With thy shafts reduced, and without
quivers, with thy driver and steeds fatigued, and thyself mangled by foes
with weapons, when thou wilt approach Partha, O son of Radha, thou wilt
be an object of derision and mirth.” Though thus addressed by the ruler
of the Madras, Karna still, filled with rage, continued to assail
Yudhishthira in battle. And he continued to pierce the two sons of Madri
by Pandu with many keen arrows. Smiling the while, by means of his shafts
he made Yudhishthira turn his face from the battle. Then Shalya,
laughing, once more said unto Karna as the latter, excited with great
wrath and resolved upon Yudhishthira’s destruction stood on his car,
these words, “Him for whose sake Dhritarashtra’s son always honours thee,
slay that Partha, O son of Radha. What wouldst thou gain by slaying
Yudhishthira? The two Krishnas are blowing their conchs, whose loud blare
is being heard. The twang also of Arjuna’s bow is being heard, like the
roar of the clouds in the season of rains. There, Arjuna, striking down
the foremost of our car-warriors with his arrowy down-pours, is devouring
all our troops. Behold him, O Karna, in this battle. The two that are
protecting his rear are Yudhamanyu and Uttamauja. The brave Satyaki is
protecting his left wheel, and Dhrishtadyumna is protecting his right
wheel. There, Bhimasena is fighting with the royal son of Dhritarashtra.
Act in such way, O son of Radha, that Bhima may not be able to slay the
king today in the sight of us all,–that the king may, indeed, escape
him. Behold, Duryodhana is brought under the power of Bhimasena, that
ornament of battle. Approaching if thou canst rescue him, it will,
indeed, be a very wonderful feat. Going thither, rescue the king, for a
great peril has overtaken him. What wilt thou gain by slaying the sons of
Madri or king Yudhishthira?” Hearing these words of Shalya, O lord of
Earth, and beholding Duryodhana overpowered by Bhima in that dreadful
battle, the valiant son of Radha, thus urged by the words of Shalya and
exceedingly desirous of rescuing the king, left Ajatasatru and the twin
sons of Madri by Pandu, and rushed for rescuing thy son. He was borne by
his steeds that were fleet as birds and that were urged by the ruler of
the Madras. After Karna had gone away, Kunti’s son Yudhishthira
retreated, borne, O sire, by the fleet steeds of Sahadeva. With his twin
brothers accompanying him, that ruler of men, quickly repairing in shame
to the (Pandava) camp, his body exceedingly mangled with shafts, alighted
from the car and hastily sat down on an excellent bed. The, arrows then
being extracted from his body, the royal son of Pandu, his heart
exceedingly afflicted with sorrow’s dart, addressed his two brothers,
viz., those two mighty car-warriors, the sons of Madri, saying, “Repair
quickly to the division of Bhimasena. Roaring like a cloud, Vrikodara is
engaged in battle.” Riding another car, Nakula, that bull among
car-warriors, and Sahadeva of great energy,–those two brothers, those
two crushers of foes,–both endued with great might, then proceeded
towards Bhima, borne by steeds of the utmost fleetness. Indeed, the
brothers having together repaired to Bhimasena’s division, took up their
places there.'”

64

“Sanjaya said, ‘Meanwhile Drona’s son, surrounded by a large car-force, O
king, suddenly proceeded to that spot where Partha was. Like the
continent withstanding the surging ocean, the heroic Partha having Saurin
(Krishna) for his help-mate withstood the impetuously rushing
Ashvatthama. Then, O monarch, the valiant son of Drona, filled with rage,
covered both Arjuna and Vasudeva with his shafts. Beholding the two
Krishnas shrouded with arrows, the great car-warriors (of the Pandava
army), as also the Kurus that witnessed it, wondered exceedingly. Then
Arjuna, as if smiling, invoked into existence a celestial weapon. The
brahmana Ashvatthama, however, O Bharata, baffled that weapon in that
battle. Indeed, all those weapons that Arjuna sped from desire of slaying
the son of Drona were baffled by the latter, that great bowman, in that
encounter. During the progress of that awful encounter of weapons, O
king, we beheld the son of Drona to resemble the Destroyer himself, with
gaping mouth. Having covered all the points of the compass, cardinal and
subsidiary, with straight arrows, he pierced Vasudeva with three arrows
in the right arm. Then Arjuna, slaying all the steeds of his high-souled
assailant, caused the Earth in that battle to be covered with a river of
blood that was exceedingly awful that led towards the other world, and
that had diverse kinds of creatures floating on it. All the spectators
beheld a large number of car-warriors along with their cars, belonging to
the division of Ashvatthama, slain and destroyed by means of the arrows
sped from Partha’s bow. Ashvatthama also, slaying his enemies, caused a
terrible river of blood to flow there that led to Yama’s domains. During
the progress of that fierce and awful battle between Drona’s son and
Partha, the combatants fought without showing any regard for one another,
and rushed hither and thither. In consequence of cars having their steeds
and drivers slain, and steeds having their riders slain, and elephants
having their riders and guides slain, an awful carnage, O king, was made
by Partha in that battle! Car-warriors, deprived of life with shafts sped
from Partha’s bow, fell down. Steeds freed from their trappings ran
hither and thither. Beholding those feats of Partha, that ornament of
battle, that valiant son of Drona quickly approached the former, that
foremost of victorious men, shook his formidable bow decked with gold,
and then pierced him from every side with many sharp arrows. Once more
bending the bow, O king, the son of Drona cruelly struck Arjuna, aiming
at the chest, with a winged arrow. Deeply pierced by Drona’s son, O
Bharata, in that encounter, the wielder of gandiva, that hero of great
intelligence forcibly covered the son of Drona with showers of arrows,
and then cut off his bow. His bow cut off Drona’s son then, taking up a
spiked mace whose touch resembled that of thunder’s, hurled it, in that
encounter, at the diadem-decked Arjuna. The son of Pandu, however, O
king, as if smiling the while, suddenly cut off that spiked mace decked
with gold, as it advanced towards him. Thus cut off with Partha’s shafts,
it fell down on the Earth, like a mountain, O king, broken into pieces,
struck with the thunderbolt. Filled with rage at this, Drona’s son, that
great car-warrior, began to cover Vibhatsu, aided by the energy of the
aindra weapon. Beholding that shower of arrows spread over the welkin
through the aindra weapon, Partha, endued with great activity, O king,
taking up his bow gandiva, and fixing on his bowstring a mighty weapon
created by Indra, destroyed that aindra-shower of arrows. Having baffled
that arrowy shower caused by the aindra weapon, Partha soon covered the
car of Drona’s son (with his own arrows). The son of Drona, however,
overwhelmed with Partha’s shafts, penetrated through that shower of
arrows shot by the son of Pandu, and approaching the latter, invoked a
mighty weapon and suddenly pierced Krishna with hundred shafts and Arjuna
with three hundred small arrows. Then Arjuna pierced the son of his
preceptor with a hundred arrows in all his vital limbs. And then he
poured many arrows on the steeds and driver and the bowstring of Drona’s
son in the very sight of thy warriors. Having pierced Drona’s son in
every vital part, Pandu’s son, that slayer of hostile heroes, then felled
his adversary’s driver from the car-niche with a broad-headed arrow.
Drona’s son, however, himself, taking up the reins, covered Krishna with
many arrows. The activity of prowess that we then beheld in Drona’s son
was exceedingly wonderful, since he guided his steeds while he fought
with Phalguni. That feat of his in battle, O king, was applauded by all
the warriors. Then Vibhatsu, otherwise called Jaya, smiling the while,
quickly cut off the traces of Ashvatthama’s steeds in that battle, with a
razor-faced arrow. Already afflicted by the energy of Arjuna’s shafts,
the steeds of Drona’s son thereupon ran away. Then a loud noise arose
from thy troops, O Bharata! Meanwhile the Pandavas, having obtained the
victory, and desiring to improve it, rushed against thy troops, shooting
from all sides sharp arrows at them. The vast Dhartarashtra host, then, O
king, was repeatedly broken by the heroic Pandavas inspired with desire
of victory, in the very sight, O monarch, of thy sons, conversant with
all modes of warfare, and of, Shakuni the son of Subala, and of Karna, O
king! Though sought to be stopped, O king, by thy sons, that great army,
afflicted on all sides, stayed not on the field. Indeed, a confusion set
in among the vast terrified host of thy son in consequence of many
warriors flying away on all sides. The Suta’s son loudly cried out,
saying “Stay, Stay!” but thy army, slaughtered by many high-souled
warriors, did not stay on the field. Loud shouts were uttered then, O
monarch, by the Pandavas, inspired with this desire of victory, on
beholding the Dhartarashtra host flying away on all sides. Then
Duryodhana addressing Karna from affection, “Behold, O Karna, how our
army, exceedingly afflicted by the Pandavas, though thou art here, is
flying away from battle! Knowing this, O thou of mighty arms, do that
which is suited to the hour, O chastiser of foes! Thousands of (our)
warriors, routed by the Pandavas, are O hero, calling after thee only, O
best of men!” Hearing these grave words of Duryodhana, the son of Radha,
as if smiling, said these words unto the ruler of the Madras, “Behold the
prowess of my arms and the energy of my weapons, O ruler of men! Today I
will slay all the Pancalas and the Pandavas in battle! Cause the steeds
to proceed with my car, O tiger among men! Without doubt, everything will
be as I have said!” Having said these words, the Suta’s son of great
valour, that hero, taking up his ancient and foremost of bows called
Vijaya, stringed it and rubbed the string repeatedly. Bidding the troops
stay on the field after having assured them upon his truth and by an
oath, the mighty Karna of immeasurable soul fixed on his bow-string the
weapon known by the name of Bhargava. From that weapon flowed, O king,
millions and millions of keen arrows in that great battle. Entirely
shrouded with those blazing and terrible arrows winged with feathers of
Kankas and peacocks, the Pandava army could not see anything. Loud wails
of woe arose from among the Pancalas, O king, afflicted, in that battle,
with the mighty Bhargava weapon. In consequence then of elephants, O
king, and steeds, by thousands, and cars, O monarch, and men, falling on
all sides, deprived of life, the Earth began to tremble. The vast force
of the Pandavas became agitated from one extremity to another. Meanwhile
Karna, that scorcher of foes, that foremost of warriors, that tiger among
men, while consuming his foes, looked resplendent like a smokeless fire.
Thus slaughtered by Karna, the Pancalas and the Cedis began to lose their
senses all over the field like elephants during the conflagration in a
forest. Those foremost of men, O tiger among men, uttered loud roars like
those of the tiger. Loud became the wails of woe, like those of living
creatures at the universal dissolution that were uttered by those crying
combatants struck with panic and running wildly on all sides, O king, of
the field of battle and trembling with fear. Beholding them thus
slaughtered, O sire, by the Suta’s son, all creatures, even beasts and
birds, were filled with fear. The Srinjayas then, thus slaughtered in
battle by the Suta’s son, repeatedly called upon Arjuna and Vasudeva like
the spirits of the dead within Yama’s dominions calling upon Yama to
rescue them. Hearing those wails of the troops slaughtered with Karna’s
shafts, and beholding the terrible bhargava weapon invoked into existence
Kunti’s son Dhananjaya said unto Vasudeva these words, “Behold, O Krishna
of mighty arms, the prowess of the bhargava weapon! It cannot, by any
means, be baffled! Behold the Suta’s son also, O Krishna, filled with
rage in this great battle and resembling the Destroyer himself, in
prowess and employed in achieving such a fierce feat! Urging his steeds
incessantly, he is repeatedly casting angry glances upon me! I will never
be able to fly away from Karna in battle! The person that is living, may,
in battle, meet with either victory or defeat. To the man, however, that
is dead, O Hrishikesha, even death is victory. How can defeat be his that
is dead?” Thus addressed by Partha, Krishna replied unto that foremost of
intelligent men and chastiser of foes, these words that were suitable to
the occasion, “The royal son of Kunti hath been deeply wounded and
mangled by Karna. Having seen him first and comforted him, thou wilt
then, O Partha, slay Karna?” Then Keshava proceeded, desirous of
beholding Yudhishthira, thinking that Karna meanwhile, O monarch, would
be overwhelmed with fatigue! Then Dhananjaya, himself desirous of
beholding the king afflicted with arrows, quickly proceeded on that car,
avoiding the battle, at Keshava’s command. While the son of Kunti was
thus proceeding from desire of seeing king Yudhishthira the just, he cast
his eyes on every part of the army but failed to find his eldest brother
anywhere on the field. The son of Kunti proceeded, O Bharata, having
fought with the son of his preceptor Drona, and having vanquished that
hero incapable of being resisted by the wielder of the thunderbolt
himself.'”

65

“Sanjaya said, ‘Having vanquished the son of Drona and achieved a mighty
and heroic feat that is exceedingly difficult of accomplishment,
Dhananjaya, irresistible by foes, and with bow outstretched in his hands,
cast his eyes among his own troops. The brave Savyasaci, gladdening those
warriors of his that were still battling at the head of their divisions
and applauding those among them that were celebrated for their former
achievements, caused the carwarriors of his own army to continue to stand
in their posts. Not seeing his brother Yudhishthira of Ajamida’s race,
the diadem-decked Arjuna, adorned, besides, with a necklace of gold,
speedily approached Bhima and enquired of him the whereabouts of the
king, saying, “Tell me, where is the king?” Thus asked, Bhima said, “King
Yudhishthira the just, hath gone away from this place, his limbs scorched
with Karna’s shafts. It is doubtful whether he still liveth!” Hearing
those words, Arjuna said, “For this reason go thou quickly from the spot
for bringing intelligence of the king, that best of all the descendants
of Kuru! Without doubt, deeply pierced by Karna with shafts, the king
hath gone to the camp! In that fierce passage at arms, though deeply
pierced by Drona with keen shafts, the king endued with great activity,
had still stayed in battle, expectant of victory, until Drona was slain!
That foremost one among the Pandavas, possessed of great magnanimity, was
greatly imperilled by Karna in today’s battle! For ascertaining his
condition, quickly go hence, O Bhima! I will stay here, checking all our
foes!” Thus addressed, Bhima said, “O thou of great glory, go thyself for
ascertaining the condition of the king, that bull amongst the Bharatas!
If, O Arjuna, I go there, many foremost of heroes will then say that I am
frightened in battle!” Then Arjuna said unto Bhimasena, “The samsaptakas
are before my division! Without slaying those assembled foes first, it is
impossible for me to stir from this place!’ Then Bhimasena said unto
Arjuna, ‘Relying upon my own might, O foremost one among the Kurus, I
will fight with all the samsaptakas in battle! Therefore, O Dhananjaya,
do thou go thyself!'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Hearing in the midst of foes, those words of his
brother Bhimasena that were difficult of accomplishment, Arjuna, desiring
to see the king, addressed the Vrishni hero, saying, “Urge the steeds, O
Hrishikesha, leaving this sea of troops! I desire, O Keshava to see king
Ajatasatru!'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Just as he was on the point of urging the steeds,
Keshava, that foremost one of the Dasharhas, addressed Bhima, saying,
“This feat is not at all wonderful for thee, O Bhima! I am about to go
(hence). Slay these assembled foes of Partha!” Then Hrishikesha proceeded
with very great speed to the spot where king Yudhishthira was, O king,
borne by those steeds that resembled Garuda, having stationed Bhima, that
chastiser of foes, at the head of the army and having commanded him, O
monarch, to fight (with the samsaptakas). Then those two foremost of men,
(Krishna and Arjuna), proceeding on their car, approached the king who
was lying alone on his bed. Both of them, alighting from that car,
worshipped the feet of king Yudhishthira the just. Beholding that bull of
tigers among men safe and sound, the two Krishnas became filled with joy,
like the twin Ashvinis on seeing Vasava. The king then congratulated them
both like Vivasvat congratulating the twin Ashvinis, or like Brihaspati
congratulating Sankara and Vishnu after the slaughter of the mighty asura
Jambha. King Yudhishthira the just, thinking that Karna had been slain,
became filled with joy, and that scorcher of foes thereupon addressed
them in these words in a voice choked with delight.'”

66

“‘Yudhishthira said, “Welcome, O thou that hast Devaki for thy mother,
and welcome to thee, O Dhananjaya! The sight of both of you, O Acyuta and
Arjuna, is exceedingly agreeable! I see that without being wounded
yourselves, you two, his foes, have slain the mighty car-warrior Karna!
He was in battle like unto a snake of virulent poison. He was
accomplished in all weapons. The leader of all the Dhartarashtras, he was
their armour and protector! While fighting he was always protected by
Vrishasena and by Sushena, both of whom are great bowmen! Of great
energy, he had received lessons from Rama in weapons! He was invincible
in battle! The foremost one in all the world, as a car-warrior he was
celebrated throughout all the worlds. He was the saviour of the
Dhartarashtras, and the proceeder in their van! A slayer of hostile
troops, he was the crusher of large bands of foes. Ever engaged in
Duryodhana’s good, he was always prepared to inflict woe on us! He was
invincible in battle by the very gods with Vasava at their head. In
energy and might he was equal unto the god of fire and the god of wind.
In gravity he was unfathomable as the Nether world. The enhancer of the
joys of friends, he was like the Destroyer himself unto foes! Having
slain Karna (who was even so) in dreadful battle, by good luck it is that
you two have come, like a couple of celestials after vanquishing an
Asura! Today, O Acyuta and Arjuna, a great battle was fought between
myself exerting with might and that hero resembling the Destroyer
himself, while seeking to exterminate all creatures! My standard was cut
down, and my two Parshni drivers also were slain by him. I was also made
steedless and carless by him in the very sight of Yuyudhana, of
Dhrishtadyumna, of the twins (Nakula and Sahadeva), of the heroic
Shikhandi, as also in the very sight of the sons of Draupadi, and all the
Pancalas! Having vanquished those innumerable foes, Karna of mighty
energy then vanquished me, O thou of mighty arms, although I exerted
myself resolutely in battle! Pursuing me then and without doubt,
vanquishing all my protectors, that foremost of warriors addressed me in
diverse harsh speeches. That I am still alive, O Dhananjaya, is due to
the prowess of Bhimasena. What more need I say? I am unable to bear that
humiliation! For thirteen years, O Dhananjaya, through fear of Karna, I
did not obtain any sleep by night or any comfort by day! Filled with
hatred of Karna, I burn, O Dhananjaya! Like the bird Vaddhrinasa I fled
from Karna, knowing that the time for my own destruction had come. The
whole of my time had passed in the thought as to how I would accomplish
the destruction of Karna in battle! Awake or asleep, O son of Kunti, I
always beheld Karna (with my mind’s eye). Wherever I was, the universe
appeared to me to be full of Karna! Inspired with the fear of Karna,
wherever I used to go, O Dhananjaya, thither I beheld Karna standing
before my eyes! Vanquished in battle, with my steeds and car, by that
hero who never retreated from battle, alive I was let off by him! What
use have I of life or of kingdom either, since Karna, that ornament of
battle, today cried fie on me? That which I had never before met with at
the hands of Bhishma or Kripa or Drona in battle, that I met with today
at the hands of the Suta’s son, that mighty car-warrior! It is for this,
O son of Kunti, that I ask thee today about thy welfare! Tell me in
detail how thou hast slain Karna today! In battle Karna was equal unto
Sakra himself. In prowess he was equal unto Yama. In weapons he was equal
unto Rama. How then hath he been slain? He was regarded as a mighty
car-warrior, conversant with all modes of warfare. He was the foremost of
all bowmen, and the one man amongst all men! O prince, the son of Radha
was always worshipped by Dhritarashtra and his son, for thy sake! How
then hath he been slain by thee? In all engagements, Dhritarashtra’s son,
O Arjuna, used to regard Karna as thy death, O bull among men! How then,
O tiger among men, hath that Karna been slain by thee in battle? Tell me,
O son of Kunti, how that Karna hath been slain by thee! How, while he was
engaged in battle, didst thou, O tiger among men, strike off his head in
the very sight of all his friends like a tiger tearing off the head of a
ruru deer? That Suta’s son who in battle searched all the points of the
compass for finding thee, that Karna who had promised to give a car with
six bulls of elephantine proportions unto him that would point thee out,
I ask: doth that Karna of wicked soul lie today on the bare ground, slain
with thy keen arrows equipped with kanka feathers? Having slain the
Suta’s son in battle, thou hast accomplished a deed highly agreeable to
me! Encountering him in battle, hast thou really slain that Suta’s son,
who, filled with arrogance and pride and bragging of his heroism, used to
search everywhere on the field of battle for thee? Hast thou, O sire,
really slain in battle that sinful wretch who used to always challenge
thee and who was desirous for thy sake of giving unto others a
magnificent car, made of gold along with a number of elephants and bulls
and steeds? Hast thou really slain today that sinful wight who was
exceedingly dear to Suyodhana, and who, intoxicated with pride of
heroism, used always to brag in the assembly of the Kurus? Encountered in
battle, doth that wretch lie today on the field, his limbs exceedingly
mangled with sky-ranging shafts sped by thee from thy bow and all steeped
in blood? Have the two arms of Dhritarashtra’s son been (at last) broken?
Have those words been unfulfilled, uttered from folly by him who, filled
with pride, used to always boast in the midst of the kings for gladdening
Duryodhana, saying, ‘I will slay Phalguna’? O son of Indra, hath that
Karna of little understanding been slain by thee today, that Suta’s son
who made the vow that he would not wash his feet as long as Partha lived?
That Karna of wicked understanding who in the assembly; before the Kuru
chiefs, had addressed Krishna, saying, ‘Why, O Krishna, dost thou not
abandon the Pandavas that are divested of might, exceedingly weak, and
fallen?’ That Karna who had vowed for thy sake, saying that he would not
return from battle without having slain Krishna and Partha. I ask, doth
that Karna of sinful understanding lie today on the field, his body
pierced with shafts? Thou knowest the nature of the battle that took
place when the Srinjayas and the Kauravas encountered each other, the
battle in which I was brought to that distressful plight. Encountering
that Karna, hast thou slain him today? O Savyasaci, hast thou today, with
blazing shafts sped from gandiva, cut off from the trunk of that Karna of
wicked understanding his resplendent head decked with earrings? Pierced
with Karna’s shafts today, I had, O hero, thought of thee (that thou
wouldst slay him)! Hast thou then, by the slaughter of Karna, made that
thought of mine true? In consequence of the protection granted him by
Karna, Suyodhana, filled with pride, always recked us little. Displaying
thy prowess, hast then today destroyed that refuge of Suyodhana? That
Suta’s son of wicked soul, that Karna of great wrath, who had formerly,
in the presence of the Kauravas and in the midst of the assembly called
us sesame seeds without kernel, encountering that Karna in battle, hast
thou slain him today? That Suta’s son of wicked soul who had, laughing
the while, commanded Duhshasana to forcibly drag Yajnasena’s daughter won
in gambling by Subala’s son, hath he been slain today by thee? That Karna
of little understanding who, having been counted as only half a
car-warrior during the tale of rathas and atirathas, had upbraided that
foremost of all wielders of weapons on Earth, our grandsire Bhishma, hath
he been slain by thee? Extinguish, O Phalguna, this fire in my heart that
is born of vindictiveness and is fanned by the wind of humiliation, by
telling me that thou hast slain Karna today, having encountered him in
battle! The news of Karna’s slaughter is exceedingly agreeable to me.
Tell me, therefore, how the Suta’s son hath been slain! Like the divine
Vishnu waiting for the arrival of Indra with the intelligence of Vritra’s
slaughter, I had so long waited for thee, O hero!”‘”

67

“Sanjaya said, ‘Hearing these words of the righteous king who had been
filled with anger, that high-souled atiratha, Jishnu of infinite energy,
replied unto the invincible Yudhishthira of great might, saying, “While
battling with the samsaptakas today, Drona’s son who always proceedeth at
the head of the Kuru troops, O king, suddenly came before me, shooting
shafts that resembled snakes of virulent poison. Beholding my car, of
rattle deep as the roar of clouds, all the troops began to encompass it.
Slaying full five hundred of those, I then, O foremost of kings,
proceeded against Drona’s son. Approaching me, O king, that hero with
great resolution rushed against me like a prince of elephants against a
lion, and desired to rescue, O monarch, the Kaurava car-warriors that
were being slaughtered by me. Then, in that battle, O Bharata, the
preceptor’s son, that foremost of heroes among the Kurus, incapable of
being made to tremble, began to afflict me and Janardana with whetted
shafts resembling poison or fire. While engaged in battle with me, eight
carts, each drawn by eight bullocks, carried his hundreds of arrows. He
shot them all at me, but like a wind destroying the clouds I destroyed
with my shafts that arrowy shower of his. He then shot at me, with skill
and force and resolution, thousands of other arrows, all sped from his
bow-string stretched to his very ear, even like a black cloud in the
season of rains pouring in torrents the water with which it is charged.
So quickly did Drona’s son career in that battle that we could not
discern from which side, the left or the right, he shot his arrows, nor
could we notice when he took up his arrows and when he let them off.
Indeed, the bow of Drona’s son was seen by us to be incessantly drawn to
a circle. At last, the son of Drona pierced me with five whetted arrows
and Vasudeva also with five whetted arrows. Within the twinkling of an
eye, however, I afflicted him with the force of thunderbolts. Exceedingly
afflicted with those shafts sped by me, he soon assumed the form of a
porcupine. All his limbs became bathed in blood. Beholding his troops,
those foremost of warriors all covered with blood and overwhelmed by me,
he then entered the car-division of the Suta’s son. Seeing the troops
overwhelmed by me in battle, and struck with fear, and beholding the
elephants and steeds flying away, that grinder (of hostile hosts), viz.,
Karna approached me quickly with fifty great carwarriors. Slaying them
all and avoiding Karna, I have quickly come hither for seeing thee. All
the Pancalas are afflicted with fear at sight of Karna like kine at the
scent of a lion. The Prabhadrakas also, O king, having approached Karna,
are like persons that have entered the wide open jaws of Death. Karna has
already despatched to Yama’s abode full seventeen hundred of those
distressed car-warriors. Indeed, O king, the Suta’s son did not become
cheerless till he had a sight of us. Thou hadst first been engaged with
Ashvatthama and exceedingly mangled by him. I heard that after that thou
wert seen by Karna. O thou of inconceivable feats, I thought that thou
must have, O king, been enjoying rest (in the camp), having come away
from the cruel Karna. I have seen, O son of Pandu, the great and
wonderful (Bhargava) weapon of Karna displayed in the van of battle.
There is now no other warrior among the Srinjayas that is able to resist
the mighty car-warrior Karna. Let Sini’s grandson Satyaki and
Dhrishtadyumna, O king, be the protectors of my car-wheels. Let the
heroic princes Yudhamanyu and Uttamauja protect my rear. O thou of great
glory, encountering that heroic and invincible car-warrior, viz., the
Suta’s son, staying in the hostile army, like Sakra encountering Vritra,
O foremost of kings, I will, O Bharata, fight with the Suta’s son if he
can be found in this battle today. Come and behold me and the Suta’s son
contending with each other in battle for victory. There, the Prabhadrakas
are rushing towards the face of a mighty bull. There, O Bharata, 6,000
princes are sacrificing themselves in battle today, for the sake of
heaven. If, putting forth my strength, I do not, O king, slay Karna today
with all his relatives while engaged in battle with him, then that end
will be mine, O lion among kings, which is his that does not accomplish a
vow taken by him. I beg of thee, bless me, saying that victory will be
mine in battle. Yonder, the Dhartarashtras are about to devour Bhima. I
will, O lion among kings, slay the Suta’s son and his troops and all our
foes!”‘”

68

“Sanjaya said, ‘Hearing that Karna of mighty energy was still alive,
Pritha’s son Yudhishthira of immeasurable energy, exceedingly angry with
Phalguna and burning with the shafts of Karna, said these words unto
Dhananjaya, “O sire, thy army is fled and hath been beaten in a way that
is scarcely honourable! Inspired with fear and deserting Bhima, thou hast
come hither since thou hast been unable to slay Karna. Thou hast, by
entering her womb, rendered the conception of Kunti abortive. Thou hast
acted improperly by deserting Bhima, because thou wert unable to slay the
Suta’s son. Thou hadst, O Partha, said unto me in the Dwaita woods that
thou wouldst, on a single car, slay Karna. Why, then, through fear of
Karna hast come hither, avoiding Karna and deserting Bhima? If in the
Dwaita woods thou hadst said unto me, ‘O king, I shall not be able to
fight with Karna,’ we would then, O Partha, have made other arrangements
suitable to the circumstances. Having promised me the slaughter of Karna,
thou hast not, O hero, kept that promise. Bringing us into the midst of
foes, why hast thou broken us into pieces by throwing us down on a hard
soil? Expecting diverse good things and benefits from thee, O Arjuna, we
have always uttered blessings on thee. All those expectations, however, O
prince, have proved vain like those of persons expectant of fruit getting
instead of a tree burthened only with flowers! Like a fish-hook hid
within a piece of meat, or poison overlaid with food, thou didst, for
disappointing us at last, point out destruction in the shape of kingdom
unto ourselves covetous of kingdom! For these thirteen years, O
Dhananjaya, we have, from hope, lived relying on thee, like seeds sown on
earth in expectation of the showers sent by the gods in season! Even
these were the words that a voice in the skies had said unto Pritha on
the seventh day after thy birth, O thou of foolish understanding! ‘This
son of thine that is born will have the prowess of Vasava himself! He
will vanquish all his heroic foes! Endued with superior energy, he will
at Khandava vanquish all the celestials united together and diverse other
creatures. This one will subjugate the Madras, the Kalingas, and the
Kaikeyas. This one will, in the midst of many kings, slay the Kurus.
There will be no bowman superior to him, and no creature will ever be
able to vanquish him. With his senses under control, and having obtained
mastery over all branches of knowledge, this one, by merely desiring it,
will bring all creatures under subjection to himself. This high-souled
son that is born of thee, O Kunti, will in beauty be the rival of Soma,
in speed of the god of wind, in patience of Meru, in forgiveness of
Earth, in splendour of Surya, in prosperity of the Lord of treasures, in
courage of Sakra, and in might of Vishnu. He will be the slayer of all
foes like Vishnu, the son of Aditi. Endued with immeasurable energy, he
will be celebrated for the destruction he will deal to foes and the
success he will win for friends. He will, besides, be the founder of a
race!’ Even thus, in the skies, on the summit of the Satasringa
mountains, in the hearing of many ascetics, that voice spoke. All that,
however, hath not come to pass. Alas, it shows that the gods even may
speak untruths! Hearing also the words of praise always uttered about
thee by many foremost of Rishis, I never expected that Suyodhana would
win success and prosperity or that thou thyself wouldst be afflicted with
the fear of Karna! Thou ridest upon an excellent car constructed by the
celestial artificer himself, with axles that do not creak, and with
standard that bears the ape. Thou bearest a sword attached to thy belt of
gold and silk. This thy bow Gandiva is full six cubits long. Thou hast
Keshava for thy driver. Why, then, through fear of Karna hast thou come
away from battle, O Partha? If, O thou of wicked soul, thou hadst given
this bow to Keshava and become his driver, then Keshava could have (by
this time) slain the fierce Karna like the lord of the Maruts (Sakra)
slaying with his thunder the Asura Vritra. If thou art unable to resist
the fierce son of Radha today, as he is careering in battle, give this
thy Gandiva today to some other king, that may be thy superior in (the
use and knowledge of) weapons. If that be done, the world will not then
behold us bereft of sons and wives, deprived of happiness in consequence
of the loss of kingdom, and sunk, O son of Pandu, in an unfathomable hell
of great misery. It would have been better for thee if thou hadst never
been born in the womb of Kunti, or having taken thy birth there, if thou
hadst come out on the fifth month an abortion, than to have, O prince,
thus come away from battle, O thou of wicked soul! Fie on thy Gandiva,
fie on the might of thy arms, fie on thy inexhaustible arrows! Fie on thy
banner with the gigantic ape on it, and fie on thy car given thee by the
god of fire!”‘”

69

“Sanjaya said, ‘Thus addressed by Yudhishthira, Kunti’s son owning white
steeds, filled with rage, drew his sword for slaying that bull of
Bharata’s race. Beholding his wrath, Keshava, conversant with the
workings of the (human) heart said, “Why, O Partha, dost thou draw thy
sword? I do not, O Dhananjaya, behold anyone here with whom thou hast to
fight! The Dhartarashtras have now been assailed by the intelligent
Bhimasena. Thou comest from battle, O son of Kunti, for seeing the king.
The king has been seen by thee. Indeed, Yudhishthira is well. Having seen
that tiger among kings who is endued with prowess equal to that of a
tiger, why this folly at a time when thou shouldst rejoice? I do not see
here, O son of Kunti, the person whom thou mayst slay. Why then dost thou
desire to strike? What is this delusion of thy mind? Why dost thou, with
such speed, take up that formidable sword? I ask thee this, O son, of
Kunti! What is this that thou art about, inasmuch as, O thou of
inconceivable prowess, thou graspest that sword in anger?” Thus addressed
by Krishna, Arjuna, casting his eyes on Yudhishthira, and breathing like
an angry snake, said unto Govinda, “I would cut off the head of that man
who would tell me ‘Give thy Gandiva to another person.” Even this is my
secret vow. Those words have been spoken by this king, O thou of
immeasurable prowess, in thy presence, O Govinda! I dare not forgive
them. I will for that slay this king who himself fears the slightest
falling from virtue. Slaying this best of men, I will keep my vow. It is
for this that I have drawn the sword, O delighter of the Yadus. Even I,
slaying Yudhishthira, will pay off my debt to truth. By that I will
dispel my grief and fever, O Janardana. I ask thee, what do you think
suitable to the circumstances that have arisen? Thou, O sire, knowest the
entire past and future of this universe. I will do what thou wilt tell
me.'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Govinda then said, “Fie, fie,” unto Partha and once
more continued to say, “I now know, O Partha, that thou hast not waited
upon the old, since, O tiger among men, thou hast yielded to wrath at a
time when thou shouldst not have done so. No one that is acquainted with
the distinctions of morality would act in the way, O Dhananjaya, in which
thou, O son of Pandu, that art unacquainted with them, art acting today!
He, O Partha, is the worst of men who committeth acts that should not be
done and doeth acts that are apparently proper but condemned by the
scriptures. Thou knowest not the decisions of those learned men who,
waited upon by pupils, declare their opinions, following the dictates of
morality. The man that is not acquainted with those rulings becomes
confounded and stupefied, O Partha, even as thou hast been stupefied, in
discriminating between what should be done and what should not. What
should be done and what should not cannot be ascertained easily.
Everything can be ascertained by the aid of the scriptures. Thou,
however, art not acquainted with the scriptures. Since (believing
thyself) conversant with morality, thou art desirous of observing
morality (in this way, it seems) thou art actuated by ignorance. Thou
believest thyself to be conversant with virtue, but thou dost not know, O
Partha, that the slaughter of living creatures is a sin. Abstention from
injury to animals is, I think, the highest virtue. One may even speak an
untruth, but one should never kill. How then, O foremost of men, couldst
thou wish, like an ordinary person, to slay thy eldest brother, the King,
who is conversant with morality? The slaughter of a person not engaged in
battle, or of a foe, O Bharata who has turned his face from battle or who
flies away or seeks protection or joins his hands or yields himself up or
is careless, is never applauded by the righteous. All these attributes
are in thy superior. This vow, O Partha, was adopted by thee before from
foolishness. In consequence of that vow thou art now, from folly,
desirous of perpetrating a sinful act. Why, O Partha, dost thou rush
towards thy reverend superior for slaying him, without having resolved
the exceedingly subtle course of morality that is, again, difficult of
being understood? I will now tell thee, O son of Pandu, this mystery
connected with morality, this mystery that was declared by Bhishma, by
the righteous Yudhishthira, by Vidura otherwise called Kshatri, and by
Kunti, of great celebrity. I will tell thee that mystery in all its
details. Listen to it, O Dhananjaya! One who speaks truth is righteous.
There is nothing higher than truth. Behold, however, truth as practised
is exceedingly difficult to be understood as regards its essential
attributes. Truth may be unutterable, and even falsehood may be utterable
where falsehood would become truth and truth would become falsehood. In a
situation of peril to life and in marriage, falsehood becomes utterable.
In a situation involving the loss of one’s entire property, falsehood
becomes utterable. On an occasion of marriage, or of enjoying a woman, or
when life is in danger, or when one’s entire property is about to be
taken away, or for the sake of a Brahmana, falsehood may be uttered.
These five kinds of falsehood have been declared to be sinless. On these
occasions falsehood would become truth and truth would become falsehood.
He is a fool that practises truth without knowing the difference between
truth and falsehood. One is said to be conversant with morality when one
is able to distinguish between truth and falsehood. What wonder then in
this that a man of wisdom, by perpetrating even a cruel act, may obtain
great merit like Valaka by the slaughter of the blind beast? What wonder,
again, in this that a foolish and ignorant person, from even the desire
of winning merit, earns great sin like Kausika (living) among the rivers?”

“‘Arjuna said, “Tell me, O holy one, this story that I may understand it,
viz., this illustration about Valaka and about Kausika (living) among
rivers.”

“‘Vasudeva said, “There was a certain hunter of animals, O Bharata, of
the name of Valaka. He used, for the livelihood of his son and wives and
not from will, to slay animals. Devoted to the duties of his own order
and always speaking the truth and never harbouring malice, he used also
to support his parents and others that depended upon him. One day,
searching for animals even with perseverance and care, he found none. At
last he saw a beast of prey whose sense of smell supplied the defect of
his eyes, employed in drinking water. Although he had never seen such an
animal before, still he slew it immediately. After the slaughter of that
blind beast, a floral shower fell from the skies (upon the head of the
hunter). A celestial car also, exceedingly delightful and resounding with
the songs of Apsaras and the music of their instruments, came from heaven
for taking away that hunter of animals. That beast of prey, having
undergone ascetic austerities, had obtained a boon and had become the
cause of the destruction of all creatures. For this reason he was made
blind by the Self-born. Having slain that animal which had resolved to
slay all creatures, Valaka went to heaven. Morality is even so difficult
of being understood. There was an ascetic of the name of Kausika without
much knowledge of the scriptures. He lived in a spot much removed from a
village, at a point where many rivers met. He made a vow, saying, ‘I must
always speak the truth.’ He then became celebrated, O Dhananjaya, as a
speaker of truth. At that time certain persons, from fear of robbers,
entered that wood (where Kausika dwelt). Thither even, the robbers,
filled with rage, searched for them carefully. Approaching Kausika then,
that speaker of truth, they asked him saying, ‘O holy one, by which path
have a multitude of men gone a little while before? Asked in the name of
Truth, answer us. If thou hast seen them, tell us this’. Thus adjured,
Kausika told them the truth, saying, ‘Those men have entered this wood
crowded with many trees and creepers and plants’. Even thus, O Partha,
did Kausika give them the information. Then those cruel men, it is heard,
finding out the persons they sought, slew them all. In consequence of
that great sin consisting in the words spoken, Kausika, ignorant of the
subtilities of morality, fell into a grievous hell, even as a foolish
man, of little knowledge, and unacquainted with the distinctions of
morality, falleth into painful hell by not having asked persons of age
for the solution of his doubts. There must be some indications for
distinguishing virtue from sin. Sometimes that high and unattainable
knowledge may be had by the exercise of reason. Many persons say, on the
one hand, that the scriptures indicate morality. I do not contradict
this. The scriptures, however, do not provide for every case. For the
growth of creatures have precepts of morality been declared. That which
is connected with inoffensiveness is religion. Dharma protects and
preserves the people. So it is the conclusion of the Pandits that what
maintains is Dharma. O Partha, I have narrated to you the signs and
indications of Dharma. Hearing this, you decide whether Yudhishthira is
to be slaughtered by you or not.” Arjuna said, “Krishna, your words are
fraught with great intelligence and impregnated with wisdom. Thou art to
us like our parents and our refuge. Nothing is unknown to thee in the
three worlds, so thou art conversant with the canons of morality. O
Keshava of the Vrishni clan, thou knowest my vow that whoever among men
would tell me, ‘Partha, give thy Gandiva to some one braver than you,’ I
shall at once put an end to his life. Bhima has also made a promise that
whoever would call him ‘tularak’, would be slaughtered by him there and
then. Now the King has repeatedly used those very words to me in thy
presence, O hero, viz., ‘Give thy bow.’ If I slay him, O Keshava, I will
not be able to live in this world for even a moment. Having intended
again the slaughter of the king through folly and the loss of my mental
faculties, I have been polluted by sin. It behoveth thee today, O
foremost of all righteous persons, to give me such counsel that my vow,
known throughout the world, may become true while at the same time both
myself and the eldest son of Pandu may live.'”

“‘Vasudeva said, “The king was fatigued, and under the influence of
grief, He had been mangled in battle by Karna with numerous arrows. After
that, O hero, he was repeatedly struck by the Suta’s son (with his
shafts), while he was retreating from battle. It was for this that,
labouring under a load of sorrow, he spoke those improper words unto thee
in wrath. He provoked thee by those words so that thou mightest slay
Karna in battle. The son of Pandu knows that the wretched Karna is
incapable of being borne by any one else in the world (save thee). It was
for this, O Partha, that the king in great wrath said those harsh words
to thy face. The stake in the game of today’s battle has been made to lie
in the ever alert and always unbearable Karna. That Karna being slain,
the Kauravas would necessarily be vanquished. Even this is what the royal
son of Dharma had thought. For this the son of Dharma does not deserve
death. Thy vow also, O Arjuna, should be kept. Listen now to my counsels
that will be agreeable to thee, to counsels in consequence of which
Yudhishthira without being actually deprived of life may yet be dead. As
long as one that is deserving of respect continues to receive respect,
one is said to live in the world of men. When, however, such a person
meets with disrespect, he is spoken of as one that is dead though alive.
This king hath always been respected by thee and by Bhima and the twins,
as also by all heroes and all persons in the world that are venerable for
years. In some trifle then show him disrespect. Therefore, O Partha,
address this Yudhishthira as ‘thou’ when his usual form of address is
‘your honour.’ A superior, O Bharata, by being addressed as ‘thou,’ is
killed though not deprived of life. Bear thyself thus, O son of Kunti,
towards king Yudhishthira, the just. Adopt this censurable behaviour, O
perpetuator of Kuru’s race! This best audition of all auditions, hath
been declared by both Atharvan and Angiras. Men desiring good should
always act in this way without scruples of any kind. Without being
deprived of life a superior is yet said to be killed if that venerable
one is addressed as ‘thou.’ Conversant with duty as thou art, address
king Yudhishthira the just, in the manner I have indicated. This death, O
son of Pandu, at thy hands, king Yudhishthira will never regard as an
offence committed by thee. Having addressed him in this way, thou mayst
then worship his feet and speak words of respect unto this son of Pritha
and soothe his wounded honour. Thy brother is wise. The royal son of
Pandu, therefore, will never be angry with thee. Freed from falsehood as
also from fratricide, thou wilt then, O Partha, cheerfully slay the
Suta’s son Karna!”‘”

70

“Sanjaya said, ‘Thus addressed by Janardana, Pritha’s son Arjuna,
applauding those counsels of his friend, then vehemently addressed king
Yudhishthira the just, in language that was harsh and the like of which
he had never used before.

“‘Arjuna said, “Do thou not, O king, address these upbraidings to me,
thou that art passing thy time full two miles away from battle. Bhima,
however, who is battling with the foremost heroes of the world may
upbraid me. Having afflicted his foes at the proper time in battle, and
slain many brave lords of earth and many foremost of car-warriors and
huge elephants and many heroic horsemen and countless brave combatants,
he hath, in addition, slain a 1,000 elephants and 10,000 Kamboja
mountaineers, and is uttering loud roars in battle like a lion after
slaying innumerable smaller animals. That hero achieveth the most
difficult feats, the like of which thou canst never achieve. Jumping down
from his car, mace in hand, he hath destroyed a large number of steeds
and cars and elephants in battle. With also his foremost of swords he
hath destroyed many horsemen and cars and steeds and elephants. With the
broken limbs of cars, and with his bow also, he consumeth his foes.
Endued with the prowess of Indra, with his feet and also his bare arms he
slayeth numerous foes. Possessed of great might and resembling Kuvera and
Yama, he destroyeth the hostile army, putting forth his strength. That
Bhimasena hath the right to upbraid me, but not thou that art always
protected by friends. Agitating the foremost of car-warriors and
elephants and steeds and foot-soldiers, Bhima, single-handed, is now in
the midst of the Dhartarashtras. That chastiser of foes hath the right to
upbraid me. The chastiser of foes who is slaying the Kalingas, the
Vangas, the Angas, the Nishadas, and the Magadhas, and large numbers of
hostile elephants that are ever infuriated and that look like masses of
blue clouds, is competent to upbraid me. Riding on a suitable car,
shaking his bow at the proper time, and with shafts in his (other) hand,
that hero poureth showers of arrows in great battle like the clouds
pouring torrents of rain. Eight hundred elephants, I have seen, with
their frontal globes split open and the ends of their tusks cut off, have
today been slain by Bhima with shafts in battle. That slayer of foes is
competent to tell me harsh words. The learned say that the strength of
the foremost of Brahmanas lies in speech, and that the Kshatriya’s
strength is in his arms. Thou, O Bharata, art strong in words and very
unfeeling. Thou thinkest me to be like thyself. I always strive to do
thee good with my soul, life, sons and wives. Since, not withstanding all
this, thou still piercest me with such wordy darts, it is evident that we
cannot expect any happiness from thee. Lying on Draupadi’s bed thou
insultest me, though for thy sake I slay the mightiest of car-warriors.
Thou art without any anxiety, O Bharata, and thou art cruel. I have never
obtained any happiness from thee. It was for thy good, O chief of men,
that Bhishma, firmly devoted to truth, himself told thee the means of his
death in battle, and was slain by the heroic and high-souled Shikhandi,
the son of Drupada, protected by me. I do not derive any pleasure from
the thought of thy restoration to sovereignty, since thou art addicted to
the evil practice of gambling. Having thyself committed a wicked act to
which they only are addicted that are low, thou desirest now to vanquish
thy foes through our aid. Thou hadst heard of the numerous faults and the
great sinfulness of dice that Sahadeva spoke about. Yet dice, which are
worshipped by the wicked, thou couldst not abandon. It was for this that
all of us have fallen into hell. We have never derived any happiness from
thee since thou wert engaged in gambling with dice. Having, O son of
Pandu, thyself caused all this calamity, thou art, again, addressing
these harsh words to me. Slain by us, hostile troops are lying on the
field, with mangled bodies and uttering loud wails. It was thou that
didst that cruel act in consequence of which the Kauravas have become
offenders and are being destroyed. Nations from the North, the West, the
East, and the South, are being struck, wounded and slain, after the
performance of incomparable feats in battle by great warriors of both
sides. It was thou that hadst gambled. It was for thee that we lost our
kingdom. Our calamity arose from thee, O king! Striking us, again, with
the cruel goad of thy speeches, O king, do not provoke our wrath.'”

“Sanjaya said, ‘Having addressed these harsh and exceedingly bitter words
unto his eldest brother and thereby committed a venial sin, the
intelligent Savyasaci of calm wisdom, who is ever actuated by the fear of
defection from virtue, became very cheerless. The son of the chief of the
celestials became filled with remorse and breathing heavily, drew his
sword. Seeing this, Krishna asked him, “What is this? Why dost thou again
unsheathe thy sword blue as the sky? Tell me what thy answer is, for then
I shall give thee counsel for the gratification of thy object.” Thus
addressed by that foremost of men, Arjuna, in great sorrow answered
Keshava, saying, “I shall, putting forth my strength, slay my own self by
whom this wicked act hath been done.” Hearing those words of Partha,
Keshava, that foremost of all righteous persons said this unto
Dhananjaya, “Having said these words unto the king, why hast thou become
so cheerless? O slayer of foes, thou desirest now to destroy thy own
self. This, however, Kiritin, is not approved by the righteous. If, O
hero among men, thou hadst today, from fear of sin, slain this thy eldest
brother of virtuous soul, what would then have been thy condition and
what wouldst thou not then have done? Morality is subtle, O Bharata, and
unknowable, especially by those that are ignorant. Listen to me as I
preach to thee. By destroying thy own self, thou wouldst sink into a more
terrible hell than if thou hadst slain thy brother. Declare now, in
words, thy own merit. Thou shalt then, O Partha, have slain thy own
self.” Applauding these words and saying, “Let it be so, O Krishna,”
Dhananjaya, the son of Sakra, lowering his bow, said unto Yudhishthira,
that foremost of virtuous persons, “Listen, O king, there is no other
bowman, O ruler of men, like unto myself, except the deity that bears
Pinaka; I am regarded by even that illustrious deity. In a moment I can
destroy this universe of mobile and immobile creatures. It was I, O king,
that vanquished all the points of the compass with all the kings ruling
there, and brought all to thy subjection. The Rajasuya (performed by
thee), brought to completion by gift of Dakshina, and the celestial
palace owned by thee, were both due to my prowess. In my hands are (marks
of) sharp shafts and a stringed bow with arrow fixed thereon. On both my
soles are the signs of cars with standards. No one can vanquish a person
like me in battle. Nations from the North, the West, the East and the
South, have been struck down, slain, exterminated and destroyed. A small
remnant only of the samsaptakas is alive. I alone have slain half of the
entire (hostile) army. Slaughtered by me, the Bharata host that
resembled, O king, the very host of the celestials, is lying dead on the
field. I slay those with (high) weapons that are conversant with high
weapons. For this reason I do not reduce the three worlds to ashes.
Riding upon my terrible and victorious car, Krishna and myself will soon
proceed for slaying the Suta’s son. Let this king become cheerful now. I
will surely slay Karna in battle, with my arrows. Either the Suta dame
will today be made childless by me, or Kunti will be made childless by
Karna. Truly do I say it that I will not put off my armour before I have
slain Karna with my arrows in battle.'”

“Sanjaya said, ‘Having said these words unto that foremost of virtuous
persons, viz., Yudhishthira, Partha threw down his weapons and cast aside
his bow and quickly thrust his sword back into its sheath. Hanging down
his head in shame, the diadem-decked Arjuna, with joined hands, addressed
Yudhishthira, and said, “Be cheerful, O king, forgiving me. What I have
said, you will understand a little while after. I bow to thee.” Thus
seeking to cheer that royal hero capable of bearing all foes, Arjuna,
that foremost of men, standing there, once more said, “This task will not
be delayed. It will be accomplished soon. Karna cometh towards me. I
shall proceed against him. I shall, with my whole soul, proceed for
rescuing Bhima from the battle and for slaying the Suta’s son. I tell
thee that I hold my life for thy good. Know this for the truth, O king.”
Having said so, the diadem-decked Arjuna of blazing splendour touched the
king’s feet and rose for proceeding to the field. Hearing, however, those
harsh words of his brother Phalguna, Pandu’s son, king Yudhishthira, the
just, rising up from that bed (on which he had been sitting), said these
words unto Partha, with his heart filled with sorrow, “O Partha, I have
acted wickedly. For that, ye have been overwhelmed with terrible
calamity. Do thou strike off, therefore, this my head today. I am the
worst of men, and the exterminator of my race. I am a wretch. I am
addicted to wicked courses. I am of foolish understanding. I am idle and
a coward. I am an insulter of the old. I am cruel. What wouldst thou gain
by always being obedient to a cruel person like me? A wretch that I am, I
shall this very day retire into the woods. Live you happily without me.
The high-souled Bhimasena is fit to be king. A eunuch that I am, what
shall I do with sovereignty? I am incapable of bearing these harsh
speeches of thee excited with wrath. Let Bhima become king. Having been
insulted thus, O hero, what use have I with life.” Having said these
words, the king, leaving that bed, suddenly stood up and desired to go to
the woods. Then Vasudeva, bowing down, said unto him, “O king, the
celebrated vow of the wielder of Gandiva who is ever devoted to truth
about his Gandiva, is known to thee. That man in the world who would tell
him, ‘Give thy Gandiva to another’, would be slain by him. Even those
very words were addressed to him by you. Therefore, for keeping that
earnest vow, Partha, acting also at my instance, inflicted you this
insult, O lord of Earth. Insult to superiors is said to be their death.
For this reason, O thou of mighty arms, it behoveth thee to forgive me
that beseech and bow to thee this transgression, O king, of both myself
and Arjuna, committed for maintaining the truth. Both of us, O great
king, throw ourselves on thy mercy. The Earth shall today drink the blood
of the wretched son of Radha. I swear truly to thee. Know the Suta’s son
as slain today. He, whose slaughter thou desirest, hath today lost his
life.” Hearing those words of Krishna, king Yudhishthira the just, in a
great fury, raised the prostrate Hrishikesha and joining his hands, said
in haste, “It is even so as thou hast said. I have been guilty of a
transgression, I have now been awakened by thee, O Govinda. I am saved by
thee, O Madhava. By thee, O Acyuta, we have today been rescued from a
great calamity. Both of us stupefied by folly, viz., myself and Arjuna,
have been rescued from an ocean of distress, having obtained thee as our
lord. Indeed, having obtained the raft of thy intelligence today, we
have, with our relatives and allies, passed over an ocean of sorrow and
grief. Having obtained thee, O Acyuta, we are not masterless.”‘”

71

“Sanjaya said, ‘Having heard these joyful words of king Yudhishthira,
Govinda of virtuous soul, that delighter of the Yadus, then addressed
Partha. The latter, however, having at the instance of Krishna addressed
those words unto Yudhishthira, became exceedingly cheerless for having
committed a trivial sin. Then Vasudeva, smiling, said unto the son of
Pandu, “What would have been thy condition, O Partha, if, observant of
virtue thou hadst slain the son of Dharma with thy sharp sword? Having
only addressed the king as thou, such cheerlessness hath possessed thy
heart. If thou hadst slain the king, O Partha, what wouldst thou have
done after that? Morality is so inscrutable, especially by persons of
foolish understanding. Without doubt great grief would have been thine in
consequence of thy fear of sin. Thou wouldst have sunk also in terrible
hell in consequence of the slaughter of thy brother. Gratify now this
king of virtuous behaviour, this foremost of all practisers of virtue,
this chief of Kuru’s race. Even this is my wish. Gratifying the king with
devotion, and after Yudhishthira will have been made happy, we two will
proceed against the car of the Suta’s son for fighting him. Slaying Karna
today with thy keen shafts in battle, do thou, O giver of honours, give
great happiness to Dharma’s son. Even this, O mighty-armed one, is what I
think to be suitable to this hour. Having done this, thy purpose will be
achieved.” Then Arjuna, O monarch, in shame, touched king Yudhishthira’s
feet with his head. And he repeatedly said unto that chief of the
Bharatas, “Be pleased with me, Forgive, O king, all that I have said from
desire of observing virtue and from fear of sins.'”

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding Dhananjaya, that slayer of foes, lying weeping
at his feet, O bull of Bharata’s race, king Yudhishthira the just raised
his brother. And king Yudhishthira, that lord of the earth, then embraced
his brother affectionately and wept aloud. The two brothers, of great
splendour, having wept for a long while, at last became freed from grief,
O monarch, and as cheerful as before. Then embracing him once more with
affection and smelling his head, the son of Pandu, exceedingly gratified,
applauded his brother Jaya and said, “O thou of mighty arms, in the very
sight of all the troops, my armour, standard, bow, dart, steeds, and
arrows, were cut off in battle, O great bowman, by Karna with his shafts,
although I exerted myself with care. Thinking of and seeing his feats in
battle, O Phalguna, I lose my energies in grief. Life itself is no longer
dear to me. If thou dost not slay that hero in battle today, I will cast
away my life breaths. What use have I with life?” Thus addressed, Vijaya,
replied, O bull of Bharata’s race, saying, “I swear by Truth, O king, and
by thy grace, by Bhima, O best of men, and by the twins, O lord of the
earth, that today I shall slay Karna, in battle, or, being myself slain
by him fall down on the earth. Swearing truly, I touch my weapons.”
Having said these words unto the king, he addressed Madhava, saying,
“Without doubt, O Krishna, I will slay Karna in battle today. Aided by
thy intelligence, blessed be thou, the slaughter of that wicked-souled
one is certain.” Thus addressed, Keshava, O best of kings, said unto
Partha, “Thou art competent, O best of the Bharatas, to slay the mighty
Karna. Even this hath ever been my thought, O mighty car-warrior, as to
how, O best of men thou, wouldst slay Karna in battle.” Endued with great
intelligence, Madhava once more addressed the son of Dharma, saying, “O
Yudhishthira, it behoveth thee to comfort Vibhatsu, and command him to
slaughter Karna of wicked soul. Having heard that thou hadst been
afflicted with shafts of Karna, myself and this one came hither, O son of
Pandu, for ascertaining thy plight. By good luck, O king, thou wert not
slain. By good luck thou wert not seized. Comfort thy Vibhatsu, and bless
him, O sinless one, with thy wishes for his victory.'”

“‘Yudhishthira said, “Come, Come, O Partha, O Vibhatsu, and embrace me, O
son of Pandu. Thou hast told me beneficial words that deserved to be
said, and I have forgiven thee. I command thee, O Dhananjaya, go and slay
Karna. Do not, O Partha, be angry for the harsh words I said unto thee.'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Then Dhananjaya, O king, bowed unto Yudhishthira by
bending his head, and seized with his two hands, O sire, the feet of his
eldest brother. Raising him and embracing him closely, the king smelt his
head and once more said these words unto him, “O Dhananjaya, O thou of
mighty arms, I have been greatly honoured by thee. Do thou ever win
greatness and victory.'”

“‘Arjuna said, “Approaching Radha’s son today that is proud of his might,
I shall slay that man of sinful deeds with my shafts in battle, along
with all his kinsmen and followers. He who, having bent the bow strongly,
afflicted thee with his shafts, I say, that Karna, will obtain today the
bitter fruit of that act of his. Having slain Karna, O lord of the earth,
I shall today come back from the dreadful battle to pay thee my respects
by walking behind thee. I tell thee this truly. Without having slain
Karna I shall not come back today from the great battle. Truly do I swear
this by touching thy feet, O lord of the universe.'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Unto the diadem-decked (Arjuna) who was speaking in
that way, Yudhishthira, with a cheerful heart, said these words of grave
import, “Do thou obtain imperishable fame, and such a period of life as
accordeth with thy own desire, and victory, and energy, and the
destruction of thy foes. Let the gods grant thee prosperity. Obtain thou
all these to the measure desired by me. Go quickly to battle, and slay
Karna, even as Purandara slew Vritra for his own aggrandisement.”‘”

72

“Sanjaya said, ‘Having with a cheerful heart gratified king Yudhishthira
the just, Partha, prepared to slay the Suta’s son, addressed Govinda,
saying, “Let my car be once more equipped and let my foremost of steeds
be yoked thereto. Let all kinds of weapon be placed upon that great
vehicle. The steeds have rolled on the ground. They have been trained by
persons skilled in horse lore. Along with the other equipment of the car,
let them be quickly brought and decked in their trappings. Proceed
quickly, O Govinda, for the slaughter of the Suta’s son.” Thus addressed,
O monarch, by the high-souled Phalguna, Krishna commanded Daruka, saying,
“Do all that Arjuna, that chief of Bharata’s race and that foremost of
all wielders of the bow, hath said.” Thus ordered by Krishna, Daruka, O
best of kings, yoked those steeds unto that car covered with tiger-skins
and ever capable of scorching all foes. He then represented unto the
high-souled son of Pandu the fact of having equipped his vehicle.
Beholding the car equipped by the high-souled Daruka, Phalguna, obtaining
Yudhishthira’s leave and causing the Brahmanas to perform propitiatory
rites and utter benedictions on him, ascended that excellent vehicle.
King Yudhishthira the just, of great wisdom, also blessed him. After
this, Phalguna proceeded towards Karna’s car. Beholding that great bowman
thus proceeding, all creatures, O Bharata, regarded Karna as already
slain by the high-souled Pandava. All the points of the compass, O king,
became serene. King-fishers and parrots and herons, O king, wheeled
around the son of Pandu. A large number of beautiful and auspicious
birds, O king, called Pung, causing Arjuna (by their timely appearance)
to put forth greater speed in battle, cheerfully uttered their cries
around him. Terrible Kankas and vultures, and cranes and hawks and
ravens, O king, tempted by the prospect of food, proceeded in advance of
his car, and indicated auspicious omens foreboding the destruction of the
hostile host and the slaughter of Karna. And while Partha proceeded, a
copious perspiration covered his body. His anxiety also became very great
as to how he would achieve his vow. The slayer of Madhu then, beholding
Partha filled with anxiety as he proceeded, addressed the wielder of
Gandiva and said these words.

“‘Vasudeva said, “O wielder of Gandiva, save thee there exists no other
man that could vanquish those whom thou hast vanquished with this bow of
thine. We have seen many heroes, who, endued with prowess like that
Sakra, have attained to the highest regions, encountering thy heroic self
in battle! Who else, O puissant one, that is not equal to thee, would be
safe and sound after encountering Drona and Bhishma and Bhagadatta, O
sire, and Vinda and Anuvinda of Avanti and Sudakshina, the chief of the
Kambojas and Srutayudha of mighty energy and Acyutayudha as well? Thou
hast celestial weapons, and lightness of hand and might, and thou art
never stupefied in battle! Thou hast also that humility which is due to
knowledge! Thou canst strike with effect! Thou hast sureness of aim, and
presence of mind as regards the selection of means, O Arjuna! Thou art
competent to destroy all mobile and immobile creatures including the very
gods with the Gandharvas! On earth, O Partha, there is no human warrior
who is equal to thee in battle. Amongst all Kshatriyas, invincible in
battle, that wield the bow, amongst the very gods, I have not seen or
heard of even one that is equal to thee. The Creator of all beings, viz.,
Brahma himself created the great bow Gandiva with which thou fightest, O
Partha! For this reason there is no one that is equal to thee. I must,
however, O son of Pandu, say that which is beneficial to thee. Do not. O
mighty-armed one, disregard Karna, that ornament of battle! Karna is
possessed of might. He is proud and accomplished in weapons. He is a
maharatha. He is accomplished (in the ways of battle) and conversant with
all modes of warfare. He is also well-acquainted with all that suits
place and time. What need is there of saying much? Hear in brief, O son
of Pandu! I regard the mighty car-warrior Karna as thy equal, or perhaps,
thy superior! With the greatest care and resolution shouldst thou slay
him in great battle. In energy he is equal to Agni. As regards speed, he
is equal to the impetuosity of the wind. In wrath, he resembles the
Destroyer himself. Endued with might, he resembles a lion in the
formation of his body. He is eight ratnis in stature. His arms are large.
His chest is broad. He is invincible. He is sensitive. He is a hero. He
is, again, the foremost of heroes. He is exceedingly handsome. Possessed
of every accomplishment of a warrior, he is a dispeller of the fears of
friends. Engaged in the good of Dhritarashtra’s son, he always hates the
sons of Pandu. No one, not even the gods with Vasava at their head, can
slay the son of Radha, save thee, as I think. Slay, therefore, the Suta’s
son today. No one possessed of flesh and blood, not even the gods
fighting with great care, not all the warriors (of the three worlds)
fighting together can vanquish that car-warrior. Towards the Pandavas he
is always of wicked soul and sinful behaviour, and cruel, and of wicked
intelligence. In his quarrel with the sons of Pandu, he is actuated by no
consideration affecting his own interests. Slaying that Karna, therefore,
fulfill thy purpose today. Despatch today unto Yama’s presence that
Suta’s son, that foremost of car-warriors, whose death is near. Indeed,
slaying that Suta’s son, that first of car-warriors, show the love for
Yudhishthira the just. I know thy prowess truly, O Partha, which is
incapable of being resisted by the gods and Asuras. The Suta’s son of
wicked soul, from exceeding pride, always disregards the sons of Pandu. O
Dhananjaya, slay that man today for whose sake the wretched Duryodhana
regardeth himself a hero, that root of all (those) sinful persons, that
son of a Suta. Slay, O Dhananjaya, that tiger among men, that active and
proud Karna, who hath a sword for his tongue, a bow for his mouth, and
arrows for his teeth. I know thee well as regards the energy and the
might that are in thee. Slay the brave Karna in battle, like a lion
slaying an elephant. Slay in battle today, O Partha, that Karna,
otherwise called Vaikartana, in consequence of whose energy
Dhritarashtra’s son disregards thine.'”

73

“Sanjaya said, ‘Once more Keshava of immeasurable soul said these words
unto Arjuna, who, O Bharata, was advancing (to battle), firmly resolved
upon slaying Karna, ‘Today is the seventeenth day, O Bharata, of this
terrible massacre of men and elephants and steeds. At the outset vast was
the host that belonged to you. Encountering the foe in battle, that host
has been very much reduced in numbers, O king! The Kauravas also, O
Partha, were numerous at first, teeming with elephants and steeds.
Encountering thee, however, as their foe, they have been nearly
exterminated in the van of battle! These lords of Earth and these
Srinjayas, united together, and these Pandava troops also, obtaining thy
invincible self as their leader, are maintaining their ground on the
field. Protected by thee, O slayer of foes, the Pancalas, the Matsyas,
the Karushas, and the Cedis, have caused a great destruction of thy foes.
Who is there that can vanquish the assembled Kauravas in battle? On the
other hand, who is there that can vanquish the mighty car-warriors of the
Pandavas protected by thee? Thou, however, art competent to vanquish in
battle the three worlds consisting of the gods, the asuras, and human
beings, united together. What need I say then of the Kaurava host? Save
thee, O tiger among men, who else is there, even if he resemble Vasava
himself in prowess, that could vanquish king Bhagadatta? So also, O
sinless one, all the lords of earth, united together, are incapable, O
Partha, of even gazing at this vast force that is protected by thee. So
also, O Partha, it is owing to their having been always protected by thee
that Dhrishtadyumna and Shikhandi succeeded in slaying Drona and Bhishma.
Who, indeed, O Partha, could vanquish in battle those two mighty
car-warriors of the Bharatas, Bhishma and Drona, both of whom were endued
with prowess equal to that of Sakra himself? Save thee, O tiger among
men, what other man in this world is able to vanquish those fierce lords
of akshauhinis, those unreturning and invincible heroes, all accomplished
in weapons and united together, Shantanu’s son Bhishma, and Drona, and
Vaikartana, and Kripa, and Drona’s son, and king Duryodhana himself?
Innumerable divisions of soldiers have been destroyed (by thee), their
steeds and cars and elephants having been mangled (with thy shafts).
Numberless Kshatriyas also, wrathful and fierce, hailing from diverse
provinces, have been destroyed by thee. Teeming with horses and
elephants, large bodies of combatants of diverse Kshatriya clans, such as
the Govasas, the Dasamiyas, the Vasatis, O Bharata, and the Easterners,
the Vatadhanas, and the Bhojas that are very sensitive of their honour,
approaching thee and Bhima, O Bharata, have met with destruction. Of
terrible deeds and exceedingly fierce, the Tusharas, the Yavanas, the
Khasas, the Darvabhisaras, the Daradas, the Sakas, the Kamathas, the
Ramathas, the Tanganas the Andhrakas, the Pulindas, the Kiratas of fierce
prowess, the Mlecchas, the Mountaineers, and the races hailing from the
sea-side, all endued with great wrath and great might, delighting in
battle and armed with maces, these all–united with the Kurus and
fighting wrathfully for Duryodhana’s sake were incapable of being
vanquished in battle by anybody else save thee, O scorcher of foes! What
man, unprotected by thee, could advance, beholding the mighty and
swelling host of the Dhartarashtras arrayed in order of battle? Protected
by thee, O puissant one, the Pandavas, filled with wrath, and penetrating
into its midst, have destroyed that host shrouded with dust and
resembling a swollen sea. Seven days have elapsed since the mighty
Jayatsena, the ruler of the Magadhas, was slain in battle by Abhimanyu.
After that, 10,000 elephants, of fierce feats, that used to follow that
king, were slain by Bhimasena with his mace. After that, other elephants,
and car-warriors, by hundreds, have been destroyed by Bhima in that
exercise of his might. Even thus, O Partha, during the progress of this
awful battle, the Kauravas, with their steeds and carwarriors and
elephants, encountering Bhimasena and thee, O son of Pandu, have from
hence repaired to the region of Death. The van of the Kaurava army, O
Partha, having been struck down by the Pandavas, Bhishma shot showers of
fierce shafts, O sire! Conversant with the highest weapons, he shrouded
the Cedis, the Pancalas, the Karushas, the Matsyas, and the Kaikayas with
the shafts, and deprived them of life! The welkin became filled with
gold-winged and straight coursing shafts, capable of piercing the bodies
of all foes, that issued out of his bow. He slew thousands of
car-warriors, shooting showers of shafts at a time. In all, he slew a
100,000 men and elephants of great might. Abandoning the diverse motions,
each of a new kind, in which they careered, those wicked kings and
elephants, while perishing, destroyed many steeds and cars and elephants.
Indeed, numberless were the shafts that Bhishma shot in battle.
Slaughtering the Pandava host for ten days together, Bhishma made the
terraces of numberless cars empty and deprived innumerable elephants and
steeds of life. Having assumed the form of Rudra or of Upendra in battle,
he afflicted the Pandava divisions and caused a great carnage amongst
them. Desirous of rescuing the wicked Suyodhana who was sinking in a
raftless sea, he slaughtered many lords of Earth among the Cedis, the
Pancalas, and the Kaikayas, and caused a great massacre of the Pandava
army teeming with cars and steeds and elephants. Innumerable
foot-soldiers among the Srinjayas, all well-armed, and other lords of
earth, were incapable of even looking at that hero when he careered in
battle like the Sun himself of scorching splendour. At last the Pandavas,
with all their resources, made a mighty effort, and rushed against that
warrior who, inspired with the desire of victory, used to career in
battle even in this way. Without availing himself of any aid, he routed,
however, the Pandavas and the Srinjayas in battle, and came to be
regarded as the one foremost hero in the world. Encountering him,
Shikhandi, protected by thee, slew that tiger among men with his straight
shafts. Having obtained thee that art a tiger among men (as his foe),
that grandsire is now stretched on a bed of arrows, like Vritra when he
obtained Vasava for his foe. The fierce Drona also slaughtered the
hostile army for five days together. Having made an impenetrable array
and caused many mighty car-warriors to be slain, that great car-warrior
had protected Jayadratha (for some time). Fierce as the Destroyer
himself, he caused a great carnage in the nocturnal battle. Endued with
great valour, the heroic son of Bharadwaja consumed innumerable
combatants with his arrows. At last, encountering Dhrishtadyumna, he
attained to the highest end. If, on that day, thou hadst not checked in
battle all the (Dhartarashtra) car-warriors headed by the Suta’s son,
Drona then would never have been slain. Thou heldst in check the whole
Dhartarashtra force. It was for this, O Dhananjaya, that Drona could be
slain by the son of Prishata. What other Kshatriya, save thee, could in
battle achieve such feats for compassing the slaughter of Jayadratha.
Checking the vast (Kaurava) army and slaying many brave kings, thou
killedest king Jayadratha, aided by the might and energy of thy weapons.
All the kings regarded the slaughter of the ruler of the Sindhus to have
been exceedingly wonderful. I, however, do not regard it so; thou didst
it and thou art a great car-warrior. If this vast assemblage of
Kshatriyas, obtaining thee as a foe, suffer extermination in course of
even a whole day, I should, I think, still regard these Kshatriyas to be
truly mighty. When Bhishma and Drona have been slain, the terrible
Dhartarashtra host, O Partha, may be regarded to have lost all its
heroes. Indeed, with all its foremost warriors slain, with its steeds,
cars, and elephants destroyed, the Bharata army looketh today like the
firmament, reft of the Sun, the Moon, and stars. Yonder host of fierce
prowess, O Partha, hath been shorn of its splendours today like the Asura
host in days of yore shorn of its splendours by Sakra’s prowess. The
remnant of that grand master now consists of only five great
car-warriors, viz., Ashvatthama, Kritavarma, Karna, Shalya, and Kripa.
Slaying those five great car-warriors today, O tiger among men, be thou a
hero that hath killed all his foes, and bestow thou the Earth with all
her islands and cities on king Yudhishthira. Let Pritha’s son
Yudhishthira of immeasurable energy and prosperity, obtain today the
whole earth with the welkin above it, the waters on it, and the nether
regions below it. Slaying this host like Vishnu in days of yore slaying
the Daityas and the Danavas, bestow the Earth on the king like Hari
bestowing (the three worlds) on Sakra. Let the Pancalas rejoice today,
their foes being slain, like the celestials rejoicing after the slaughter
of the Danavas by Vishnu. If in consequence of thy regard for that
foremost of men, viz., thy preceptor Drona, thou cherishest compassion
for Ashvatthama, if, again, thou hast any kindness for Kripa for the sake
of respect that is due to a preceptor, if, approaching Kritavarma, thou
dost not despatch him today to Yama’s abode in consequence of the honour
that is due to one’s kinsmen by the mother’s side, if, O lotus-eyed one,
approaching thy mother’s brother, viz., Shalya, the ruler of the Madras,
thou dost not from compassion slay him, I ask thee, do thou, with keen
shafts, O foremost of men slay Karna today with speed, that vile wretch
of sinful heart who cherisheth the fiercest hate for the son of Pandu.
This is thy noblest duty. There is nothing in it that would be improper.
We approve of it, and here is no fault in the act. The wicked-souled
Karna is the root, O thou of unfading glory, of that attempt, O sinless
one, made in the night for burning thy mother with all her children, and
of that conduct which Suyodhana adopted towards you in consequence of
that match at dice. Suyodhana always hopeth for deliverance through
Karna. Filled with rage, he endeavours to afflict me also (in consequence
of that support). It is the firm belief of Dhritarashtra’s royal son, O
giver of honours, that Karna, without doubt, will slay all the Prithas in
battle. Though fully acquainted with thy might, still, O son of Kunti,
Dhritarashtra’s son hath selected war with you in consequence of his
reliance on Karna. Karna also always says, ‘I will vanquish the assembled
Parthas and that mighty car-warrior, viz., Vasudeva of Dasharha’s race’.
Buoying up the wicked-souled son of Dhritarashtra, the wicked Karna
always roareth in the (Kuru) assembly. Slay him today, O Bharata. In all
the acts of injury, of which Dhritarashtra’s son hath been guilty towards
you, the wicked-souled Karna of sinful understanding hath been the
leader. I saw the heroic son of Subhadra of eyes like those of a bull,
slain by six mighty car-warriors of cruel heart belonging to the
Dhritarashtra army. Grinding those bulls among men, viz., Drona, Drona’s
son, Kripa and other heroes, he deprived elephants of their riders and
mighty car-warriors of their cars. The bull-necked Abhimanyu, that
spreader of the fame of both the Kurus and the Vrishnis, deprived steeds
also of their riders and foot-soldiers of weapons and life. Routing the
(Kaurava) divisions and afflicting many mighty car-warriors, he
despatched innumerable men and steeds and elephants to Yama’s abode. I
swear by Truth to thee, O friend, that my limbs are burning at the
thought that while the son of Subhadra was thus advancing, consuming the
hostile army with his shafts, even on that occasion the wicked-souled
Karna was engaged in acts of hostility to that hero, O lord! Unable, O
Partha, to stay in that battle before Abhimanyu’s face, mangled with the
shafts of Subhadra’s son, deprived of consciousness, and bathed in blood,
Karna drew deep breaths, inflamed with rage. At last, afflicted with
arrows, he was obliged to turn his back upon the field. Eagerly desirous
of flying away and becoming hopeless of life, he stayed for some time in
battle, perfectly stupefied and exhausted with the wounds he had
received. At last hearing those cruel words of Drona in battle–words
that were suited to the hour–Karna cut off Abhimanyu’s bow. Made bowless
by him in that battle, five great car-warriors then, well-versed in the
ways of foul warfare, slew that hero with showers of shafts. Upon the
slaughter of that hero, grief entered the heart of everyone. Only, the
wicked-souled Karna and Suyodhana laughed in joy. (Thou rememberest also)
the harsh and bitter words that Karna cruelly said unto Krishna in the
(Kuru) assembly, in the presence of the Pandavas and Kurus, ‘The
Pandavas, O Krishna, are dead! They have sunk into eternal hell! O thou
of large hips, choose other lords now, O thou of sweet speeches! Enter
now the abode of Dhritarashtra as a serving woman, for, O thou of curving
eye-lashes, thy husbands are no more! The Pandavas will not, O Krishna,
be of any service to thee today! Thou art the wife of men that are
slaves, O princess of Pancala, and thou art thyself, O beautiful lady, a
slave! Today only Duryodhana is regarded as the one king on earth; all
other kings of the world are worshipping the agency by which his
administration is kept up. Behold now, O amiable one, how all the sons of
Pandu have equally fallen! Overwhelmed by the energy of Dhritarashtra’s
son, they are now silently eyeing one another. It is evident that they
are all sesame seeds without kernel, and have sunk into hell. They will
have to serve the Kaurava (Duryodhana), that king of kings, as his
slaves.’ Even these were the foul words that that wretch, viz., the
sinful Karna of exceedingly wicked heart, spoke on that occasion, in thy
hearing, O Bharata! Let gold-decked shafts whetted on stone and capable
of taking the life of him at whom they are sped, shot by thee, quench
(the fire of) those words and all the other wrongs that that
wicked-souled wight did unto thee. Let thy shafts quench all those wrongs
and the life also of that wicked wight. Feeling the touch of terrible
arrows sped from Gandiva, let the wicked-souled Karna recollect today the
words of Bhishma and Drona! Let foe-killing cloth-yard shafts, equipped
with the effulgence of lightning, shot by thee, pierce his vital limbs
and drink his blood! Let fierce and mighty shafts, of great impetuosity,
sped by thy arms, penetrate the vitals of Karna today and despatch him to
Yama’s abode. Let all the kings of the earth, cheerless and filled with
grief and uttering wails of woe, behold Karna fall down from his car
today, afflicted with thy arrows. Let his kinsmen, with cheerless faces,
behold Karna today, fallen down and stretched at his length on the earth,
dipped in gore and with his weapons loosened from his grasp! Let the
lofty standard of Adhiratha’s son, bearing the device of the elephant’s
rope, fall fluttering on the earth, cut off by thee with a broad-headed
arrow. Let Shalya fly away in terror, abandoning the gold-decked car (he
drives) upon seeing it deprived of its warrior and steeds and cut off
into fragments with hundreds of shafts by thee. Let thy enemy Suyodhana
today, beholding Adhiratha’s son slain by thee, despair of both his life
and kingdom. Yonder, O Partha, Karna, equal unto Indra in energy, or,
perhaps, Sankara himself, is slaughtering thy troops with his shafts.
There the Pancalas, though slaughtered by Karna with his whetted shafts,
are yet, O chief of Bharata’s race, rushing (to battle), for serving the
cause of the Pandavas. Know, O Partha, that is prevailing over the
Pancalas, and the (five) sons of Draupadi, and Dhrishtadyumna and
Shikhandi, and the sons of Dhrishtadyumna, and Satanika, the son of
Nakula, and Nakula himself, and Sahadeva, and Durmukha, and Janamejaya,
and Sudharman, and Satyaki! The loud uproar made by those allies of
thine, viz., the Pancalas, O scorcher of foes, as they are being struck
by Karna in dreadful battle, is heard. The Pancalas have not at all been
inspired with fear, nor do they turn away their faces from the battle.
Those mighty bowmen are utterly reckless of death in great battle.
Encountering even that Bhishma who, single-handed, had encompassed the
Pandava army with a cloud of shafts, the Pancalas did not turn away their
faces from him. Then again, O chastiser of foes, they always strove with
alacrity to vanquish forcibly in battle their great foe, viz., the
invincible Drona, that preceptor of all wielders of the bow, that blazing
fire of weapons, that hero who always burnt his foes in battle. They have
never turned their faces from battle, afraid of Adhiratha’s son. The
heroic Karna, however, with his shafts, is taking the lives of the
Pancala warriors endued with great activity as they are advancing against
him, like a blazing fire taking the lives of myriads of insects. The son
of Radha, in this battle, is destroying in hundreds the Pancalas that are
advancing against him,–those heroes, that are resolved to lay down their
lives for the sake of their allies! It behoveth thee, O Bharata, to
become a raft and rescue those brave warriors, those great bowmen, that
are sinking in the raftless ocean represented by Karna. The awful form of
that weapon which was obtained by Karna from that foremost of sages,
viz., Rama of Bhrigu’s race, hath been displayed. Scorching all the
troops, that weapon of exceedingly fierce and awful form is blazing with
its own energy, surrounding our vast army. Those arrows, sped from
Karna’s bow, are coursing in battle thick as swarm of bees, and scorching
thy troops. Encountering Karna’s weapon in battle, that is irresistible
by persons not having their souls under control, there the Pancalas, O
Bharata, are flying away in all directions! Yonder, Bhima, of
unappeasable wrath, surrounded on all sides by the Srinjayas, is fighting
with Karna, O Partha, afflicted by the latter with keen shafts! If
neglected, Karna will, O Bharata, exterminate the Pandavas, the
Srinjayas, and the Pancalas, like a neglected disease whose germ has
entered the body. Save thee I do not see another in Yudhishthira’s army
that would come home safe and sound, having encountered the son of Radha
in battle. Slaying that Karna today with thy keen shafts, O bull among
men, act according to thy vow, O Partha, and win great fame. I tell thee
truly, thou only art able to vanquish in battle the Kaurava host with
Karna amongst them, and no one else, O foremost of warriors! Achieving
this great feat, viz., slaying the mighty car-warrior Karna, attain thy
object, O Partha, and crowned with success, be happy, O best of men!'”

74

“Sanjaya said, ‘Hearing these words of Keshava, O Bharata, Vibhatsu soon
cast off his anxiety and became cheerful. Rubbing then the string of
gandiva and stretching it, he held his bow for the destruction of Karna,
and addressed Keshava, saying, ‘With thee for my protector, O Govinda,
and when thou that art acquainted with the past and the future art
gratified with me today, victory is sure to be mine. Aided by thee, O
Krishna, I can, in great battle, destroy the three worlds assembled
together, what need be said of Karna then? I see the Pancala host is
flying away, O Janardana. I see also Karna careering fearlessly in
battle. I see too the bhargava weapon careering in all directions, having
been invoked by Karna, O thou of Vrishni’s race, like the puissant
thunder invoked by Shakra. This is that battle in which Karna will be
slain by me and of which all creatures will speak as long as the earth
will last. Today, O Krishna, unbarbed arrows, impelled by my arms and
sped from the gandiva, mangling Karna, will take him to Yama. Today king
Dhritarashtra will curse that intelligence of his in consequence of which
he had installed Duryodhana, who was undeserving of sovereignty, on the
throne. Today, O mighty-armed one, Dhritarashtra will be divested of
sovereignty, happiness, prosperity, kingdom, city, and sons. I tell thee
truly, O Krishna, that today, Karna being slain, Duryodhana will become
hopeless of both life and kingdom. Today, beholding Karna cut in pieces
by me with my arrows, like Vritra in days of yore by Indra in the battle
between the gods and the asuras, let king Duryodhana call to mind the
words thou hast spoken for bringing about peace. Today let the son of
Subala, O Krishna, know that my shafts are dice, my gandiva the box for
throwing them, and my car, the chequered cloth. O Govinda, slaying Karna
with keen shafts I will dispel the long sleeplessness of Kunti’s son.
Today the royal son of Kunti, upon the slaughter of the Suta’s son by me,
shall be gratified and be of cheerful heart and obtain happiness for
ever. Today, O Keshava, I will shoot an irresistible and unrivalled arrow
that will deprive Karna of life. Even this, O Krishna, was the vow of
that wicked-souled one about my slaughter, viz., ‘I will not wash my feet
till I slay Phalguna.’ Falsifying this vow of that wretch, O slayer of
Madhu, I will, with straight shafts, throw down his body today from his
car. Today the earth will drink the blood of that Suta’s son who in
battle condemns all other men on earth! With Dhritarashtra’s approbation,
the Suta’s son Karna, boasting of his own merits, had said, ‘Thou hast no
husband now, O Krishna!’ My keen shafts will falsify that speech of his.
Like angry snakes of virulent poison, they will drink his life-blood.
Cloth-yard shafts, of the effulgence of the lightning, shot by myself
possessed of mighty arms, sped from Gandiva, will send Karna on his last
journey. Today the son of Radha will repent for those cruel words that he
said unto the princess of Pancala in the midst of the assembly, in
disparagement of the Pandavas! They that were on that occasion sesame
seeds without kernel, will today become seeds with kernel after the fall
of the Suta’s son Karna of wicked soul, otherwise called Vaikartana! ‘I
will save ye from the sons of Pandu!’–even these were the words that
Karna, bragging of his own merits, said unto the sons of Dhritarashtra!
My keen shafts will falsify that speech of his! Today, in the very sight
of all the bowmen, I will slay that Karna who said, ‘I will slay all the
Pancalas with their sons.’ Today, O slayer of Madhu, I will slay that
Karna, that son of Radha, relying on whose prowess the proud son of
Dhritarashtra, of wicked understanding, always disregarded us. Today, O
Krishna, after Karna’s fall, the Dhartarashtras with their king, struck
with panic, will fly away in all directions, like deer afraid of the
lion. Today let king Duryodhana repent upon the slaughter of Karna, with
his sons and relatives, by me in battle. Today, beholding Karna slain,
let the wrathful son of Dhritarashtra, O Krishna, know me to be the
foremost of all bowmen in battle. Today, I will make king Dhritarashtra,
with his sons and grandsons and counsellors and servants, shelterless.
Today, cranes and other carnivorous birds will, O Keshava, sport over the
limbs of Karna cut off into pieces with my shafts. Today, O slayer of
Madhu, I will cut off in battle the head of Radha’s son Karna, in the
very sight of all the bowmen. Today, O slayer of Madhu, I will cut off in
battle the limbs of Radha’s son of wicked soul with keen vipathas and
razor-faced arrows. Today, the heroic king Yudhishthira will cast off a
great pain and a great sorrow cherished long in his heart. Today, O
Keshava, slaying the son of Radha, with all his kinsmen, I will gladden
king Yudhishthira, the son of Dharma. Today, I will slay the cheerless
followers of Karna in battle, with shafts resembling the blazing fire or
the poison of the snake. Today, with my straight shafts equipped with
vulturine feathers, I will, O Govinda, cause the earth to be strewn with
(the bodies of) kings cased in golden armour. Today, O slayer of Madhu, I
will, with keen shafts, crush the bodies and cut off the heads of all the
foes of Abhimanyu. Today, I will bestow the earth, divested of
Dhartarashtras on my brother, or, perhaps, thou, O Keshava, wilt walk
over the earth divested of Arjuna! Today, O Krishna, I will free myself
from the debt I owe to all bowmen, to my own wrath, to the Kurus, to my
shafts, and to gandiva. Today, I will be freed from the grief that I have
cherished for thirteen years, O Krishna, by slaying Karna in battle like
Maghavat slaying Samvara. Today, after I have slain Karna in battle, let
the mighty car-warriors of the Somakas, who are desirous of accomplishing
the task of their allies, regard their task as accomplished. I do not
know what will be the measure, O Madhava, of the joy of Sini’s grandson
today after I shall have slain Karna and won the victory. Today, I will
slay Karna in battle as also his son, that mighty car-warrior, and give
joy to Bhima and the twins and Satyaki. Today, slaying Karna in dreadful
battle, I will pay off my debt, O Madhava, to the Pancalas with
Dhrishtadyumna and Shikhandi! Today let all behold the wrathful
Dhananjaya fight with the Kauravas in battle and slay the Suta’s son.
Once more there is none equal to me in the world. In prowess also, who is
there that resembles me? What other man is there that is equal to me in
forgiveness? In wrath also, there is no one that is equal to me. Armed
with the bow and aided by the prowess of my arms, I can vanquish the
Asuras and the gods and all creatures united together. Know that my
prowess is higher than the highest. Alone assailing all the Kurus and the
Bahlikas with the fire of my shafts issuing from Gandiva, I will, putting
forth my might, burn them with their followers like a fire in the midst
of a heap of dry grass at the close of winter. My palms bear these marks
of arrows and this excellent and outstretched bow with arrow fixed on the
string. On each of the soles of my feet occur the mark of a car and a
standard. When a person like me goeth forth to battle, he cannot be
vanquished by any one.” Having said these words unto Acyuta, that
foremost of all heroes, that slayer of foes, with blood red eyes,
proceeded quickly to battle, for rescuing Bhima and cutting off the head
from Karna’s trunk.'”

75

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘In that awful and fathomless encounter of the
Pandavas and the Srinjayas with the warriors of my army, when Dhananjaya,
O sire, proceeded for battle, how, indeed, did the fight occur?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘The innumerable divisions of the Pandava army, decked
with lofty standards and swelling (with pride and energy) and united
together in battle, began to roar aloud, drums and other instruments
constituting their mouth, like masses of clouds at the close of summer
uttering deep roars. The battle that ensued resembled a baneful shower
out of season, cruel and destructive of living creatures. Huge elephants
were its clouds; weapons were the water they were to pour; the peal of
musical instruments, the rattle of car-wheels, and the noise of palms,
constituted their roar; diverse weapons decked with gold formed their
flashes of lightning; and arrows and swords and cloth-yard shafts and
mighty weapons constituted their torrents of rain. Marked by impetuous
onsets blood flowed in streams in that encounter. Rendered awful by
incessant strokes of the sword, it was fraught with a great carnage of
Kshatriyas. Many car-warriors, united together, encompassed one
car-warrior and despatched him to Yama’s presence. Or, one foremost of
car-warriors despatched a single adversary, or one despatched many
adversaries united together. Again, some one car-warrior despatched to
Yama’s abode some one adversary along with his driver and steeds. Some
one rider, with a single elephant, despatched many car-warriors and
horsemen. Similarly, Partha, with clouds of shafts, despatched large
number of cars with drivers and steeds, of elephants and horses with
their riders, and of foot-soldiers, belonging to the enemy. Kripa and
Shikhandi encountered each other in that battle, while Satyaki proceeded
against Duryodhana. And Srutasravas was engaged with Drona’s son, and
Yudhamanyu with Citrasena. The great Srinjaya car-warrior Uttamauja was
engaged with Karna’s son Sushena, while Sahadeva rushed against Shakuni,
the king of the Gandharas, like a hungry lion against a mighty bull. The
youthful Satanika, the son of Nakula, rushed against the youthful
Vrishasena, the son of Karna, shooting showers of shafts. The heroic son
of Karna struck that son of the princess of Pancala with many arrows.
Conversant with all modes of warfare, Madri’s son Nakula, that bull among
car-warriors, assailed Kritavarma. The king of the Pancalas,
Dhrishtadyumna, the son of Yajnasena, attacked Karna, the commander of
the Kaurava army, with all his forces. Duhshasana, O Bharata, with the
swelling host of the samsaptakas forming a portion of the Bharata army,
fiercely attacked in that battle Bhima, that foremost of warriors of
irresistible impetuosity. The heroic Uttamauja, putting forth his
strength struck the son of Karna and cut off his head which fell down on
the earth, filling the earth and the welkin with a loud noise. Beholding
the head of Sushena lying on the ground, Karna became filled with grief.
Soon, however, in rage he cut off the steeds, the car, and the standard,
of his son’s slayer with many keen shafts. Meanwhile Uttamauja, piercing
with his keen shafts and cutting off with his bright sword the steeds of
Kripa and those warriors also that protected Kripa’s sides, quickly
ascended the car of Shikhandi. Beholding Kripa deprived of his car,
Shikhandi who was on his vehicle, wished not to strike him with his
shafts. The son of Drona then, covering with his own the car of Kripa,
rescued the latter like a bull sunk in a mire. Meanwhile Bhima, the son
of the Wind-god clad in golden mail, began to scorch with his keen arrows
the troops of thy sons like the mid-day sun scorching everything in the
summer season.'”

76

“Sanjaya said, ‘During the progress of the fierce engagement, Bhima,
while fighting along, being encompassed by innumerable foes, addressed
his driver, saying, “Bear me into the midst of the Dhartarashtra host.
Proceed, O charioteer, with speed, borne by these steeds. I will despatch
all these Dhartarashtras to the presence of Yama.” Thus urged by
Bhimasena, the charioteer proceeded, quickly and with great impetuosity,
against thy son’s host to that spot whence Bhima desired to slaughter it.
Then a large number of Kaurava troops, with elephants and cars and horse
and foot, advanced against him from all sides. They then, from every
side, began to strike that foremost of vehicles belonging to Bhima, with
numerous arrows. The high-souled Bhima, however, with his own shafts of
golden wings, cut off all those advancing arrows of his enemies. Thus cut
off into two or three fragments with Bhima’s arrows, those shafts,
equipped with golden wings, of his enemies, fell down on the earth. Then,
O king, amongst those foremost of Kshatriyas, struck with Bhima’s shafts,
the elephants and cars and horse and foot, set up a loud wail, O monarch,
that resembled the din made by mountains when riven with thunder. Thus
struck by Bhima, those foremost of Kshatriyas, their limbs pierced with
Bhima’s powerful shafts, rushed against Bhima in that battle from every
side, like new-fledged birds towards a tree. When thy troops thus rushed
against him, Bhima of furious impetuosity displayed all his vim like
Destroyer himself armed with a mace when he burns and exterminates all
creatures at the end of the Yuga. Thy soldiers were unable to resist in
that battle that fierce forcible energy of Bhima endued with fierce
impetuosity, like that of the Destroyer himself of wide open mouth when
he rusheth at the end of the Yuga for exterminating all creatures. Then,
O Bharata, like masses of clouds scattered by the tempest the Bharata
host, thus mangled and burnt in that battle by the high-souled Bhima,
broke and fled in fear in all directions. Then the mighty Bhimasena of
great intelligence once more cheerfully said unto his charioteer,
“Ascertain, O Suta, whether those assembled cars and standards that are
advancing towards me, are ours or the enemy’s. Absorbed in battle, I am
unable to distinguish them. Let me not shroud our own troops with my
shafts. O Visoka, beholding hostile warriors and cars and the tops of
their standards on all sides, I am greatly afflicted. The king is in
pain. The diadem-decked Arjuna also has not yet come. These things, O
Suta, fill my heart with sorrow. Even this is my grief, O charioteer,
that king Yudhishthira the just should have gone away, leaving me in the
midst of the enemy. I do not know whether he, as also Vibhatsu, is alive
or dead. This adds to my sorrow. I shall, however, though filled with
great grief, destroy those hostile troops of great might. Thus
slaughtering in the midst of battle my assembled foes, I shall rejoice
with thee today. Examining all the quivers containing my arrows, tell me,
O Suta, ascertaining the matter well, what quantity of arrows is still
left on my car, that is, how much of what sort.”

“‘Thus commanded, Visoka said, “Of arrows, O hero, thou hast yet 60,000,
while thy razor-headed shafts number 10,000, and broad-headed ones number
as much. Of cloth-yard shafts thou hast still 2,000, O hero, and of
Pradaras thou hast still, O Partha, 3,000! Indeed, of the weapons, O son
of Pandu, the portion that still remains is not capable of being borne,
if placed on carts, by six bullocks. Shoot and hurl them, O learned one,
for of maces and swords and other weapons used with the arms alone, thou
hast thousands upon thousands, as also lances and scimitars and darts and
spears! Never fear that thy weapons will be exhausted.”

“‘Bhima said, “Behold, O Suta, today this awful battle in which
everything will be shrouded with my impetuous arrows sped fiercely from
my bow and, mangling all my foes, and in consequence of which the very
sun will disappear from the field, making the latter resemble the domains
of Death! Today, even this will be known to all the Kshatriyas including
the very children, O Suta, that Bhimasena hath succumbed in battle or
that, alone, he hath subjugated all the Kurus! Today, let all the
Kauravas fall in battle or let all the world applaud me, beginning with
the feats of my earliest years. Alone, I will overthrow them all, or let
all of them strike Bhimasena down. Let the gods that aid in the
achievement of the best acts bless me. Let that slayer of foes Arjuna
come here now like Sakra, duly invoked, quickly coming to a sacrifice.
Behold, the Bharata host is breaking! Why do those kings fly away? It is
evident that Savyasaci, that foremost of men, is quickly shrouding that
host with his shafts. Behold, those standards, O Visoka, and elephants
and steeds and bands of foot-soldiers are flying away. Behold, these
cars, assailed with shafts and darts, with those warriors riding on them,
are being scattered, O Suta! Yonder, the Kaurava host, assailed with the
shafts, equipped with wings of gold and feathers of peacocks, of
Dhananjaya, and resembling thunderbolts in force, though slaughtered
extensively, is repeatedly filling its gaps. There, cars and steeds and
elephants are flying away, crushing down bands of foot-soldiers. Indeed,
all the Kauravas, having lost their sense, are flying away, like
elephants filled with panic at a forest conflagration, and uttering cries
of woe. These huge elephants, again, O Visoka, are uttering loud cries,
assailed with shafts.”

“‘Visoka said, “How is it, O Bhima, that thou dost not hear the loud
twang of the yawning Gandiva stretched by Partha in wrath? Are these two
ears of thine gone? All thy wishes, O son of Pandu, have been fulfilled!
Yonder the Ape (on Arjuna’s banner) is seen in the midst of the elephant
force (of the enemy). Behold, the string of Gandiva is flashing
repeatedly like lightning amid blue clouds. Yonder the Ape on
Dhananjaya’s standard-top is everywhere seen to terrify hostile divisions
in this dreadful battle. Even I, looking at it, am struck with fear.
There the beautiful diadem of Arjuna is shining brilliantly. There, the
precious jewel on the diadem, endued with the splendour of the sun,
looketh exceedingly resplendent. There, beside him, behold his conch
Devadatta of loud blare and the hue of a white cloud. There, by the side
of Janardana, reins in hand, as he penetrates into the hostile army,
behold his discus of solar effulgence, its nave hard as thunder, and its
edge sharp as a razor. Behold, O hero, that discus of Keshava, that
enhancer of his fame, which is always worshipped by the Yadus. There, the
trunks, resembling lofty trees perfectly straight, of huge elephants, cut
off by Kiritin, are falling upon the earth. There those huge creatures
also, with their riders, pierced and split with shafts, are falling down,
like hills riven with thunder. There, behold, O son of Kunti, the
Panchajanya of Krishna, exceedingly beautiful and of the hue of the moon,
as also the blazing Kaustubha on his breast and his triumphal garland.
Without doubt, that first and foremost of all car-warriors, Partha, is
advancing, routing the hostile army as he comes, borne by his foremost of
steeds, of the hue of white clouds, and urged by Krishna. Behold those
cars and steeds and bands of foot-soldiers, mangled by thy younger
brother with the energy of the chief of the celestials. Behold, they are
falling down like a forest uprooted by the tempest caused by Garuda’s
wings. Behold, four hundred car-warriors, with their steeds and drivers,
and seven hundred elephants and innumerable foot-soldiers and horsemen
slain in this battle by Kiritin with his mighty shafts. Slaughtering the
Kurus, the mighty Arjuna is coming towards thy side even like the
constellation Citra. All thy wishes are fulfilled. Thy foes are being
exterminated. Let thy might, as also the period of thy life, ever
increase.”

“‘Bhima said, “Since, O Visoka, thou tellest me of Arjuna’s arrival, I
will give thee four and ten populous villages and a hundred female slaves
and twenty cars, being pleased with thee, O Suta, for this agreeable
intelligence imparted by thee!”‘”

77

“Sanjaya said, ‘Hearing the roars of cars and the leonine shouts (of the
warriors) in battle, Arjuna addressed Govinda, saying, “Urge the steeds
to greater speed.” Hearing these words of Arjuna, Govinda said unto him,
“I am proceeding with great speed to the spot where Bhima is stationed.”
Then many lions among men (belonging to the Kaurava army), excited with
wrath and accompanied by a large force of cars and horse and elephants
and foot-soldiers and making the earth resound with the whizz of their
arrows, the rattle of their car wheels, and the tread of their horses’
hoofs, advanced against Jaya (Arjuna) as the latter proceeded for
victory, borne by his steeds white as snow or conchs and decked in
trappings of gold and pearls and gems like the chief of the celestials in
great wrath proceeding, armed with the thunder, against (the asura)
Jambha for slaying him. Between them and Partha, O sire, occurred a great
battle destructive of body, life, and sin, like the battle between the
asuras and the god Vishnu, that foremost of victors for the sake of the
three worlds. Alone, Partha, decked with diadem and garlands, cut off the
mighty weapons sped by them, as also their heads and arms in diverse
ways, with his razor-faced and crescent-shaped and broad-headed arrows of
great keenness. Umbrellas, and yak-tails for fanning, and standards, and
steeds, and cars, and bands of foot-soldiers, and elephants, fell down on
the earth, mutilated in diverse ways, like a forest broken down by a
tempest. Huge elephants, decked in caparisons of gold and equipped with
triumphal standards and warriors (on their backs), looked resplendent, as
they were pierced with shafts of golden wings, like mountains ablaze with
light. Piercing elephants and steeds and cars with excellent shafts
resembling Vasava’s thunder, Dhananjaya proceeded quickly for the
slaughter of Karna, even as Indra in days of yore for riving (the asura)
Vala. Then that tiger among men, that mighty-armed chastiser of foes,
penetrated into thy host like a makara into the ocean. Beholding the son
of Pandu, thy warriors, O king, accompanied by cars and foot-soldiers and
a large number of elephants and steeds, rushed against him. Tremendous
was the din made by them as they advanced against Partha, resembling that
made by the waters of the ocean lashed into fury by the tempest. Those
mighty car-warriors, resembling tigers (in prowess) all rushed in that
battle against that tiger among men, abandoning all fear of death.
Arjuna, however, routed the troops of those leaders of the Kurus as they
advanced, shooting at him showers of weapons, like a tempest driving off
masses of congregated clouds. Those great bowmen, all skilled in smiting,
united together and proceeded against Arjuna with a large number of cars
and began to pierce him with keen shafts. Then Arjuna, with his shafts,
despatched to Yama’s abode several thousands of cars and elephants and
steeds. While those great car-warriors in that battle were thus struck
with shafts sped from Arjuna’s bow, they were filled with fear and seemed
to disappear one after another from their cars. In all, Arjuna, with his
sharp arrows, slew four hundred of those heroic car-warriors exerting
themselves vigorously in battle. Thus struck in that battle with sharp
shafts of diverse kinds, they fled away on all sides, avoiding Arjuna.
Tremendous was the uproar made at the van of the army by those warriors
as they broke and fled, like that made by the surging sea when it breaks
upon a rock. Having routed with his arrows that army struck with fright,
Pritha’s son Arjuna then proceeded, O sire, against the division of the
Suta’s son. Loud was the noise with which Arjuna faced his foes, like
that made by Garuda in days of yore when swooping down for snakes.
Hearing that sound, the mighty Bhimasena, desirous as he had been of
obtaining a sight of Partha, became filled with joy. As soon as the
valiant Bhimasena heard of Partha’s arrival, he began, O monarch, to
grind thy troops, reckless of his very life. Possessed of prowess equal
to that of the wind, the valiant Bhima, the son of the Wind-god, began to
career in that battle like the wind itself. Afflicted by him, O monarch,
thy army, O king, began to reel like a wrecked vessel on the bosom of the
sea. Displaying his lightness of hands, Bhima began to cut and mangle
that host with his fierce arrows and despatch large numbers to the abode
of Yama. Beholding on that occasion the superhuman might of Bhima, O
Bharata, like that of the Destroyer at the end of the Yuga, thy warriors
became filled with fright. Seeing his mightiest soldiers thus afflicted
by Bhimasena, O Bharata, king Duryodhana addressed all his troops and
great bowmen, O bull of Bharata’s race, commanding them to slay Bhima in
that battle, since upon Bhima’s fall he would regard the Pandava troops
already exterminated. Accepting that command of thy son, all the kings
shrouded Bhima with showers of shafts from every side. Innumerable
elephants, O king, and men inspired with desire of victory, and cars, and
horse, O monarch, encompassed Vrikodara. Thus encompassed by those brave
warriors on all sides, O king, that hero, that chief of Bharata’s race,
looked resplendent like the Moon surrounded by the stars. Indeed, as the
Moon at full within his corona looks beautiful, even so that best of men,
exceedingly handsome, looked beautiful in that battle. All those kings,
with cruel intent and eyes red in wrath, inflicted upon Vrikodara their
arrowy downpours, moved by the desire of slaying him. Piercing that
mighty host with straight shafts, Bhima came out of the press like a fish
coming out of a net, having slain 10,000 unretreating elephants, 200,200
men, O Bharata, and 5,000 horses, and a hundred car-warriors. Having
slaughtered these, Bhima caused a river of blood to flow there. Blood
constituted its water, and cars its eddies; and elephants were the
alligators with which it teemed. Men were its fishes, and steeds its
sharks, and the hair of animals formed its woods and moss. Arms lopped
off from trunks formed its foremost of snakes. Innumerable jewels and
gems were carried along by the current. Thighs constituted its gravels,
and marrow its mire. And it was covered with heads forming its rocks. And
bows and arrows constituted the rafts by which men sought to cross that
terrible river, and maces and spiked bludgeons formed its snakes. And
umbrellas and standards formed its swans, and head-gears its foam.
Necklaces constituted its lotuses, and the earthy dust that arose formed
its waves. Those endued with noble qualities could cross it with ease,
while those that were timid and affrighted found it exceedingly difficult
to cross. Warriors constituting its crocodiles and alligators, it ran
towards the region of Yama. Very soon, indeed, did that tiger among men
cause that river to flow. Even as the terrible Vaitarani is difficult of
being crossed by persons of unrefined souls, that bloody river, terrible
and enhancing the fears of the timid, was difficult to cross. Thither
where that best of car-warriors, the son of Pandu, penetrated, thither he
felled hostile warriors in hundreds and thousands. Seeing those feats
achieved in battle by Bhimasena, Duryodhana, O monarch, addressing
Shakuni, said, “Vanquish, O uncle, the mighty Bhimasena in battle. Upon
his defeat the mighty host of the Pandavas may be regarded as defeated.”
Thus addressed, O monarch, the valiant son of Subala, competent to wage
dreadful battle, proceeded, surrounded by his brothers. Approaching in
that battle Bhima of terrible prowess, the heroic Shakuni checked him
like the continent resisting the ocean. Though resisted with keen shafts,
Bhima, disregarding them all, proceeded against the sons of Subala. Then
Shakuni, O monarch, sped a number of cloth-yard shafts equipped with
wings of gold and whetted on stone, at the left side of Bhima’s chest.
Piercing through the armour of the high-souled son of Pandu, those fierce
shafts, O monarch, equipped with feathers of Kankas and peacocks, sunk
deep into his body. Deeply pierced in that battle, Bhima, O Bharata,
suddenly shot at Subala’s son a shaft decked with gold. The mighty
Shakuni however, that scorcher of foes, O king, endued with great
lightness of hands, cut off into seven fragments that terrible arrow as
it coursed towards him. When his shaft fell down on the earth, Bhima, O
king, became highly enraged, and cut off with a broad-headed arrow the
bow of Subala’s son with the greatest ease. The valiant son of Subala
then, casting aside that broken bow, quickly took up another and six and
ten broad-headed arrows. With two of those straight and broad-headed
arrows, O monarch, he struck Bhima himself, with one he cut off Bhima’s
standard, and with two, his umbrella. With the remaining four, the son of
Subala pierced the four steeds of his antagonist. Filled with rage at
this, the valiant Bhima, O monarch, hurled in that battle a dart made of
iron, with its staff adorned with gold. That dart, restless as the tongue
of a snake, hurled from Bhima’s arms, speedily fell upon the car of the
high-souled son of Subala. The latter then, filled with wrath, O monarch,
took up that same gold-decked dart and hurled it back at Bhimasena.
Piercing through the left arm of the high-souled son of Pandu, it fell
down on the earth like lightning flashed down from the sky. At this, the
Dhartarashtras, O monarch, set up a loud roar all around. Bhima, however,
could not bear that leonine roar of his foes endued with great activity.
The mighty son of Pandu then, quickly taking up another stringed bow, in
a moment, O monarch, covered with shafts the soldiers of Subala’s son in
that battle, who were fighting reckless of their very lives. Having slain
his four steeds, and then his driver, O king, Bhima of great prowess next
cut off his antagonist’s standard with a broad-headed arrow without
losing a moment. Abandoning with speed that steedless car, Shakuni, that
foremost of men, stood on the ground, with his bow ready drawn in his
hands, his eyes red like blood in rage, and himself breathing heavily. He
then, O king, struck Bhima from every side with innumerable arrows. The
valiant Bhima, baffling those shafts, cut off Shakuni’s bow in rage and
pierced Shakuni himself, with many keen arrows. Deeply pierced by his
powerful antagonist, that scorcher of foes, O king, fell down on the
earth almost lifeless. Then thy son, O monarch, seeing him stupefied,
bore him away from battle on his car in the very sight of Bhimasena. When
that tiger among men, Shakuni was thus taken up on Duryodhana’s car, the
Dhartarashtra troops, turning their faces from battle, fled away on all
sides inspired with fear on that occasion of great terror due to
Bhimasena. Upon the defeat of Subala’s son, O king, by that great bowman,
Bhimasena, thy son Duryodhana, filled with great fright, retreated, borne
away by his fleet steeds, from regard for his maternal uncle’s life.
Beholding the king himself turn away from the battle, the troops, O
Bharata, fled away, from the encounters in which each of them had been
engaged. Seeing all the Dhartarashtra troops turn away from battle and
fly in all directions, Bhima rushing impetuously, fell upon them,
shooting many hundreds of shafts. Slaughtered by Bhima, the retreating
Dhartarashtras, O king, approaching the spot where Karna was, once more
stood for battle, surrounding him. Endued with great might and great
energy, Karna then became their refuge. Finding Karna, O bull of
Bharata’s race, thy troops became comforted and stood cheerfully, relying
upon one another, like shipwrecked mariners, O tiger of men, in their
distressful plight, when at last they reach an island. They then, once
more, making death itself their goal, proceeded against their foes for
battle.'”

78

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘When our troops were broken in battle by Bhimasena,
what, O Sanjaya, did Duryodhana and Subala’s son say? Or, what did Karna,
that foremost of victors, or the warriors of my army in that battle, or
Kripa, or Kritavarma, or Drona’s son Duhshasana, say? Exceedingly
wonderful, I think, is the prowess of Pandu’s son, since, single-handed,
he fought in battle with all the warriors of my army. Did the son of
Radha act towards the (hostile) troops according to his vow? That slayer
of foes, Karna, O Sanjaya, is the prosperity, the armour, the fame, and
the very hope of life, of the Kurus. Beholding the army broken by Kunti’s
son of immeasurable energy, what did Karna, the son of Adhiratha and
Radha, do in that battle? What also did my sons, difficult of defeat in
battle, do, or the other kings and mighty car-warriors of our army? Tell
me all this, O Sanjaya, for thou art skilled in narration!’

“Sanjaya said, ‘In that afternoon, O monarch, the Suta’s son of great
valour began to smite all the Somakas in the very sight of Bhimasena.
Bhima also of great strength began to destroy the Dhartarashtra troops.
Then Karna, addressing (his driver) Shalya, said unto him, “Bear me to
the Pancalas.” Indeed, beholding his army in course of being routed by
Bhimasena of great intelligence, Karna once more addressed his driver,
saying, ‘Bear me to the Pancalas only.’ Thus urged, Shalya, the ruler of
the Madras, endued with great might, urged those white steeds that were
fleet as thought, towards the Cedis, the Pancalas and the Karushas.
Penetrating then into that mighty host, Shalya, that grinder of hostile
troops, cheerfully conducted those steeds into every spot that Karna,
that foremost of warriors, desired to go to. Beholding that car cased in
tiger skins and looking like a cloud, the Pandus and the Pancalas, O
monarch, became terrified. The rattle then of that car, like unto the
peal of thunder or the sound of a mountain splitting into fragments,
became audible in that dreadful battle. With hundreds upon hundreds of
keen arrows sped from the bow-string drawn to his ear, Karna then smote
hundreds and thousands of warriors belonging to the Pandava army. While
the unvanquished Karna was employed in achieving those feats, many mighty
bowmen and great car-warriors among the Pandavas encompassed him on all
sides. Indeed, Shikhandi, and Bhima, and Dhrishtadyumna, the son of
Prishata, and Nakula, and Sahadeva, and the (five) sons of Draupadi, and
Satyaki, surrounded the son of Radha, pouring showers of arrows upon him,
from desire of despatching him to the other world. The heroic Satyaki,
that best of men, struck Karna in that engagement with twenty keen shafts
in the shoulder-joint. Shikhandi struck him with five and twenty shafts,
and Dhrishtadyumna struck him with seven, and the sons of Draupadi with
four and sixty, and Sahadeva with seven, and Nakula with a hundred, in
that battle. The mighty Bhimasena, in that encounter, filled with rage,
struck the son of Radha in the shoulder-joint with ninety straight
shafts. The son of Adhiratha, then, of great might laughing in scorn, and
drawing his excellent bow let off many keen shafts, afflicting his foes.
The son of Radha pierced each of them in return with five arrows. Cutting
off the bow of Satyaki, as also his standard, O bull of Bharata’s race,
Karna pierced Satyaki himself with nine shafts in the centre of the
chest. Filled with wrath, he then pierced Bhimasena with thirty shafts.
With a broad-headed arrow, O sire, he next cut off the standard of
Sahadeva, and with three other arrows, that chastiser of foes afflicted
Sahadeva’s driver. Within the twinkling of an eye he then deprived the
(five) sons of Draupadi of their cars, O bull of Bharata’s race, which
seemed exceedingly wonderful. Indeed, with his straight shafts casting
those heroes to turn back from the fight, the heroic Karna began to slay
the Pancalas and many mighty car-warriors among the Cedis. Thus struck in
that battle. O monarch, the Cedis and the Matsyas, rushing against Karna
alone, poured upon him showers of shafts. The Suta’s son, however, that
mighty car-warrior, began to smite them with his keen shafts. I beheld
this exceedingly wonderful feat. O Bharata, viz., that the Suta’s son of
great prowess, alone and unsupported in that battle, fought with all
those bowmen who contended with him to the utmost of their prowess, and
checked all those Pandava warriors, O monarch, with his shafts. With the
lightness of hand, O Bharata, of the high-souled Karna on that occasion,
all the gods as also the Siddhas and the Charanas were gratified. All the
great bowmen among the Dhartarashtras also, O best of men, applauded
Karna, that foremost of great car-warriors, that first of all bowmen.
Then Karna, O monarch, burnt the hostile army like a mighty and blazing
conflagration consuming a heap of dry grass in the summer season. Thus
slaughtered by Karna, the Pandava troops, struck with fear, fled in all
directions, at the very sight of Karna. Loud wails arose there among the
Pancalas in that great battle, while they were thus struck with the keen
shafts sped from Karna’s bow. Struck with fear at the noise, the vast
host of the Pandavas, those enemies of Karna, regarded him as the one
warrior in that battle. Then that crusher of foes, viz., the son of
Radha, once more achieved an exceedingly wonderful feat, inasmuch as all
the Pandavas, united together, were unable to even gaze at him. Like a
swelling mass of water breaking when it comes in contact with a mountain,
the Pandava army broke when it came in contact with Karna. Indeed, O
king, the mighty-armed Karna in that battle, burning the vast host of the
Pandavas, stood there like a blazing fire without smoke. With great
activity that hero, with his shafts, cut off the arms and the heads of
his brave foes, O king, and their ears decked with earrings. Swords with
hilts of ivory, and standards, and darts, and steeds, and elephants, and
cars of diverse kind, O king, and banners, and axles, and yokes, and
wheels of many kinds, were cut off in various ways by Karna, observant of
a warrior’s vow. There, O Bharata, with elephants and steeds slain by
Karna, the earth became impassable and miry with flesh and blood. The
uneven and even spots also of the field, in consequence of slain horse
and foot and broken cars and dead elephants, could no longer be
distinguished. The combatants could not distinguish friends from foes in
that thick darkness caused by shafts when Karna’s (celestial) weapon was
displayed. The mighty car-warriors of the Pandavas, O monarch, were
completely shrouded with shafts, decked with gold, that were sped from
Karna’s bow. Those mighty car-warriors of the Pandavas, O king, in that
battle, though struggling vigorously, were repeatedly broken by the son
of Radha, even as a herd of deer in the forest is routed by an angry
lion. Routing the foremost of Pancala car-warriors and (other) foes,
Karna of great fame, in that battle, slew the Pandava warriors like a
wolf slaying smaller animals. Beholding the Pandava army turn away from
battle, the Dhartarashtra bowmen of great might rushed against the
retreating host uttering terrible shouts. Then Duryodhana, O monarch,
filled with great delight, caused diverse musical instruments to be
beaten and blown in all parts of the army. The great bowmen amongst the
Pancalas, those foremost of men, though broken, returned heroically to
the fight, making death their goal. The son of Radha, however, that bull
among men and scorcher of foes, O monarch, in that battle, broke those
returned heroes in diverse ways. There, O Bharata twenty car-warriors
among the Pancalas and more than a hundred Cedi warriors were slain by
Karna with his shafts. Making the terraces of cars and the backs of
steeds empty, O Bharata, and slaying the combatants that fought from the
necks of elephants, and routing the foot-soldiers, that scorcher of foes,
the Suta’s son of great bravery, became incapable of being gazed at like
the mid-day sun and looked resplendent like the Destroyer himself at the
end of the Yuga. Thus, O monarch, that slayer of foes, that mighty
bowmen, Karna, having slain foot, horse, car-warriors, and elephants,
stood there on his car. Indeed, like the Destroyer himself of great might
standing after slaying all creatures, the mighty car-warrior Karna stood
alone, having slain the Somakas. The prowess that we then beheld of the
Pancalas seemed to be exceedingly wonderful, for, though thus struck by
Karna, they refused to fly away from that hero at the head of battle. At
that time, the king (Duryodhana), and Duhshasana, and Kripa, the son of
Sharadvata, and Ashvatthama, and Kritavarma, and Shakuni also of great
might, slaughtered the Pandava warriors in hundreds and thousands. The
two sons also of Karna, O monarch, those two brothers of prowess
incapable of being baffled, filled with rage, slaughtered the Pandava
army in several parts of the field. The battle at that place was dreadful
and cruel and the carnage that occurred was very great. Similarly the
Pandava heroes, Dhrishtadyumna and Shikhandi and the (five) sons of
Draupadi, filled with rage, slaughtered thy host. Even thus a great
destruction took place among the Pandavas everywhere on the field, and
even thus thy army also suffered great loss at the hands of the mighty
Bhima.'”

79

“Sanjaya said, ‘Meanwhile Arjuna, O monarch, having slain the four kinds
of forces (of the enemy), and having obtained a sight of the angry son of
the Suta in that dreadful battle, caused a river of blood to flow there
that was tawny with flesh and marrow and bones. Human heads constituted
its rocks and stones. Elephants and steeds formed its banks. Full of the
bones of heroic combatants, it resounded with the cries of ravens and
vultures. Umbrellas were its swans or rafts. And that river ran, bearing
away heroes like trees along its current. (Even) necklaces constituted
its assemblage of lotuses, and head-gears formed its excellent foam. Bows
and shafts constituted its fishes; and the crowns of crushed men floated
on its surface. Shields and armour were its eddies, and cars were the
rafts with which it teemed. And it could be easily forded by persons
desirous of victory, while to those that were cowards it was unfordable.
Having caused that river to flow, Vibhatsu, that slayer of hostile heroes
and bull among men, addressing Vasudeva said, “Yonder, O Krishna, the
standard of the Suta’s son is visible. There, Bhimasena and others are
fighting with that great car-warrior. There, the Pancalas, afraid of
Karna, are flying away, O Janardana. Yonder, king Duryodhana, with the
white umbrella over his head, along with Karna, looketh exceedingly
resplendent as he is engaged in routing the Pancalas. There Kripa, and
Kritavarma, and Drona’s son, that mighty car-warrior, are protecting king
Duryodhana, themselves protected by the Suta’s son. There, O Krishna,
Shalya, well conversant with holding the reins, looketh exceedingly
resplendent as, seated on the terrace of Karna’s car, he guideth that
vehicle. Bear me to that mighty car-warrior, for even such is the wish
cherished by me. Without slaying Karna in this battle I will never
return. Otherwise, the son of Radha, O Janardana, will, in my sight,
exterminate the mighty car-warriors of the Parthas and the Srinjayas.”
Thus addressed, Keshava quickly proceeded on his car, towards the mighty
bowman Karna, for causing a single combat to take place between Karna and
Savyasaci. Indeed, the mighty-armed Hari, at the command of Pandu’s son,
proceeded on his car, assuring (by that very act) all the Pandava troops.
The rattle then of Arjuna’s vehicle rose loud in that battle, resembling,
O sire, the tremendous peal of Vasu’s thunder. Beholding Arjuna of white
steeds and having Krishna for his driver thus advance, and seeing the
standard of that high-souled one, the king of the Madras, addressing
Karna, said, “There cometh that car-warrior having white steeds yoked
unto his vehicle and having Krishna for his driver, slaying his foes in
battle. There cometh he about whom thou wert enquiring, holding his bow
Gandiva. If thou canst slay him today, great good may then be done to us.
He cometh, O Karna, desirous of an encounter with thee, slaying, as he
cometh, our chief warriors. Do thou proceed against that hero of
Bharata’s race. Avoiding all our warriors, Dhananjaya advanceth with
great speed, for, as I think, an encounter with thee, judging by his form
swelling with rage and energy. Blazing with wrath, Partha will not stop
from desire of battle with anybody else save thee, especially when
Vrikodara is being so much afflicted (by thee). Learning that king
Yudhishthira the just hath been exceedingly mangled and made carless by
thee, and seeing (the plight of) Shikhandi, and Satyaki, and
Dhrishtadyumna, the son of Prishata, and the (five) sons of Draupadi, and
Yudhamanyu, and Uttamauja, and the brothers, Nakula and Sahadeva, that
scorcher of foes, Partha, advanceth impetuously on a single car against
thee. Without doubt, he is advancing with speed against us, avoiding
other combatants. Do thou, O Karna, proceed against him, for there is no
other bowman (among us that can do so). I do not behold any arrangements
made for his protection, either on his flanks or at his rear. He
advanceth alone against thee. Look after thy success now. Thou alone art
able to encounter the two Krishnas in battle. Proceed, therefore, against
Dhananjaya. Thou art the equal of Bhishma, of Drona, of Drona’s son, of
Kripa. Do thou resist in this great battle the advancing Savyasaci.
Indeed, O Karna, slay this Dhananjaya that resembles a snake frequently
darting out its tongue, or a roaring bull, or a tiger in the forest.
There, those kings, those mighty car-warriors of the Dhritarashtra’s
army, through fear of Arjuna, are quickly flying away, regardless of one
another. Save thee, O Suta’s son, there is no other man, O hero, that
can, in battle, dispel the fears of those retreating combatants. All
those Kurus, O tiger among men, obtaining thee as their refuge in this
battle, stand depending on thee and desirous of thy protection. Mustering
thy great prowess, O mighty-armed one, proceed against Vrishni’s race,
who is always gratified by the diadem-decked (Arjuna).”

“‘Karna said, “Thou seemest now to be in thy usual frame of mind and thou
art now agreeable to me. Do not, O mighty-armed one, entertain any fear
of Dhananjaya. Behold the might of my arms today, and behold my skill.
Single-handed, I will today destroy the mighty host of the Pandavas, as
also those two lions among men, the two Krishnas! I say this truly unto
thee. I will never return from the field today without slaying two
heroes. Or, slain by those two, I shall today sleep on the field of
battle. Victory is uncertain in battle. Slaying or slain, I shall today
achieve my purpose.”

“‘Shalya said, “All great car-warriors, O Karna, say that this foremost
of car-warriors, (Arjuna), even when alone, is invincible. When again, he
is protected by Krishna, who will venture to vanquish him?”

“‘Karna said, “As far as I have heard, such a superior car-warrior has
never been born on earth! Behold my prowess, since I will contend in
battle with even that Partha who is such. This prince of Kuru’s line,
this foremost of car-warriors, careers in battle, borne by his steeds
white in hue. Perhaps he will despatch me to Yama’s abode today. Know,
however, that with Karna’s death, these all will be exterminated. The two
arms of this prince are never covered with sweat. They never tremble.
They are massive and covered with cicatrices. Firm in the use of weapons,
he is possessed of great skill and endued with great lightness of hands.
Indeed, there is no warrior equal to the son of Pandu. He taketh a large
number of arrows and shooteth them as if they were one. Quickly fixing
them on the bow-string, he propelleth them to the distance of two miles.
They always fall on the foe. What warriors is there on earth that is
equal to him? That Atiratha, endued with great activity, with Krishna as
his ally, gratified the god Agni at Khandava. There, on that occasion,
the high-souled Krishna obtained his discus, and Savyasaci, the son of
Pandu, obtained his bow Gandiva. There that mighty-armed one, endued with
might that knows no decay, also obtained his terrible car unto which are
yoked those white steeds, as also his two great celestial and
inexhaustible quivers, and many celestial weapons, from the God of Fire.
In the region of Indra he obtained his conch Devadatta and slew
innumerable Daityas, and all the Kalakeyas. Who is there on earth that is
superior to him? Possessed of greatness of soul, he gratified Mahadeva
himself in fair fight, and obtained from him the terrible and mighty
weapon Pasupata that is capable of destroying the three worlds. The
several Regents of the world, united together gave him their weapons of
immeasurable energy, with which that lion among men quickly destroyed in
battle those united Asuras, the Kalakhanjas. So also, in Virata’s city,
moving on a single car he vanquished all of us, and snatched from us that
wealth of kine, and took from all the foremost of car-warriors (portions
of) their garments. Challenging that foremost of Kshatriyas, that hero
having him of Vrishni’s race for his ally, that warrior who is endued
with such energy and such attributes, I regard myself, O Shalya, to be
the foremost of persons in all the world in point of courage. He is,
again, protected by that Keshava of great energy, who is Narayana himself
and who is without a rival, that high-souled Vasudeva, that
ever-victorious Vishnu armed with conch, discus, and mace, whose
attributes all the world united together, cannot (in narrating) exhaust
in 10,000 years. Beholding the two Krishnas together on the same car,
fear entereth my heart together with courage. Partha is the foremost of
all bowmen, while Narayana is unrivalled in encounters with the discus.
Even such are Vasudeva, and the son of Pandu. Indeed, the mountains of
Himavat may move from the spot where they stand but not the two Krishnas.
Both of them are heroes, possessed of great skill, firm in the use of
weapons, and mighty car-warriors. Both of them have adamantine frames.
Who else, O Shalya, save myself, would proceed against Phalguna and
Vasudeva that are even such? The desire cherished by me today, viz., that
of a battle with the son of Pandu, O ruler of the Madras, will be
fulfilled without delay. Soon will that wonderful and matchless and
beautiful battle take place. Either I will overthrow those two in battle
today, or the two Krishnas will today overthrow me.” Saying these words
unto Shalya, Karna, that slayer of foes, began to utter loud roars in
that battle, like those of the clouds. Approaching then thy son, that
foremost one among the Kurus, and saluted respectfully by him, Karna said
unto that prince as also unto those two mighty-armed warriors, Kripa and
the Bhoja chief Kritavarma, and the ruler of the Gandharvas with his son,
and the preceptors and his own younger brothers, and all the
foot-soldiers and horsemen and elephant-riders, these words, “Rush
towards Acyuta and Arjuna and close up their path all around, and cause
them to be tired with exertion, so that, ye lords of the earth, I may
easily slay those two after ye all will have mangled them deeply.”
Saying, “So be it!” those foremost of heroes, desirous of slaying Arjuna,
speedily proceeded against him. Those mighty car-warriors then, obeying
the behest of Karna, began to strike Dhananjaya with innumerable arrows
in that battle. Like the great ocean containing a vast quantity of water
receiving all rivers with their tributaries Arjuna received all those
warriors in battle. His foes could not notice when he fixed his excellent
arrows on the bow-string and when he let them off. All that could be seen
was that men and steeds and elephants, pierced with the arrows sped by
Dhananjaya, continually fell down, deprived of life. Like men with
diseased eyes that are unable to gaze at the sun, the Kauravas on that
occasion could not gaze at Jaya who seemed to be possessed of the energy
of the all-destroying Sun that rises at the end of the Yuga, having
arrows for his rays, and Gandiva for his beautiful circular disc. Smiling
the while, Partha with his own showers of arrows cut off the excellent
arrows sped at him by those mighty car-warriors. In return, he struck
them with innumerable arrows, drawing his bow Gandiva to a complete
circle. As the sun of fierce rays between the months of Jyaishtha and
Ashadha easily drieth up the waters (of the earth), even so Arjuna,
baffling the arrows of his foes, consumed thy troops, O king of kings!
Then Kripa, and the chief of the Bhojas, and thy son himself shooting
showers of shafts, rushed towards him. Drona’s son also, that mighty
car-warrior, rushed towards him, shooting his shafts. Indeed, all of them
rained their arrows on him, like the clouds pouring torrents of rain on a
mountain. The son of Pandu, however, with great activity and speed, cut
off with his own shafts those excellent arrows sped at him with great
care in that dreadful battle by those accomplished warriors desirous of
slaying him, and pierced the chest of each of his adversaries with three
shafts. Having arrows for his fierce rays, the Arjuna sun, with gandiva
drawn to its fullest stretch constituting his corona, looked resplendent,
as he scorched his foes, like the Sun himself between the months of
Jyeshtha and Ashadha, within his bright corona. Then Drona’s son pierced
Dhananjaya with ten foremost of shafts, and Keshava with three, and the
four steeds of Dhananjaya with four, and showered many shafts on the Ape
on Arjuna’s banner. For all that, Dhananjaya cut off the full drawn bow
in his adversary’s hand with three shafts, the head of his driver with a
razor-faced arrow, and his four steeds with his four other shafts and his
standard with three other arrows and felled him from his car. The son of
Drona then, filled with wrath, took up another costly bow, bright as the
body of Takshaka, and decked with gems and diamonds and gold, and
resembling a mighty snake caught from the foot of a mountain. Stringing
that bow as he stood on the earth, and bringing out one after another
shafts and weapons, Drona’s son, that warrior who excelled in many
accomplishments, began to afflict those two unvanquished and foremost of
men and pierce them from a near point with many shafts. Then those mighty
car-warriors, Kripa and Bhoja and thy son, standing at the van of battle,
fell upon and shrouded that bull among the Pandavas, shooting showers of
shafts, like clouds shrouding the dispeller of darkness. Possessed of
prowess equal to that of the thousand-armed (Kartavirya), Partha then
showered his shafts on Kripa’s bow with arrow fixed on it, his steeds,
his standard, and his driver, like the wielder of the thunder in days of
yore showering his shafts on (the asura) Vali. His weapons destroyed by
Partha’s shafts, and his standard also having been crushed in that great
battle, Kripa was afflicted with as many thousands of arrows by Arjuna as
Ganga’s son Bhishma before them (on the day of his fall) by the same
diademdecked warrior. The valiant Partha then, with his shafts, cut off
the standard and the bow of thy roaring son. Destroying next the handsome
steeds of Kritavarma, he cut off the latter’s standard as well. He then
began to destroy with great speed the elephants of the hostile force, as
also its cars with their steeds and drivers and bows and standards.
Thereupon that vast host of thine broke into a hundred parts like an
embankment washed off by the waters. Then Keshava, quickly urging
Arjuna’s car, placed all his afflicted foes on his right side. Then other
warriors, desirous of an encounter, with their well-equipped cars bearing
lofty standards, followed Dhananjaya who was proceeding with great speed
like Indra proceeding for the slaughter of Vritra. Then those mighty
car-warriors, Shikhandi and Satyaki and the twins, proceeding in the
direction of Dhananjaya, checked those foes and, piercing them with keen
arrows, uttered terrible roars. Then the Kuru heroes and the Srinjayas,
encountering one another with rage, slew one another with straight shafts
of great energy, like the Asuras and the celestials in days of yore in
great battle. Elephant-warriors and horsemen and car-warriors,–all
chastisers of foes,–inspired with desire of victory or impatient of
proceeding to heaven, fell fast on the field. Uttering loud shouts, they
pierced one another vigorously with well-shot arrows. In consequence of
those high-souled warriors of great courage shooting their arrows at one
another in that dreadful battle and by that means causing a darkness
there, the points of the compass, cardinal and subsidiary became
enveloped in gloom and the very effulgence of the sun became totally
shrouded.'”

80

“Sanjaya said, ‘Then, O king, Dhananjaya, desirous of rescuing Kunti’s
son Bhima who, assailed by many, foremost of warriors of the Kuru army,
seemed to sink (under that attack), avoided, O Bharata, the troops of the
Suta’s son and began, with his shafts, to despatch those hostile heroes
(that were opposed to Bhima) to the regions of death. Successive showers
of Arjuna’s shafts were seen overspread on the sky, while others were
seen to slay thy army. Filling the welkin with his shafts that resembled
dense flights of feathery creatures, Dhananjaya, O monarch, at that time,
became the very Destroyer unto the Kurus. With his broad-headed arrows,
and those equipped with heads flat and sharp as razors, and cloth-yard
shafts of bright polish, Partha mangled the bodies of his foes and cut
off their heads. The field of battle became strewn with falling warriors,
some with bodies cut and mangled, some divested of armour and some
deprived of heads. Like the great Vaitarani (separating the regions of
life from those of the dead), the field of battle, O king, became uneven
and impassable and unsightly and terrible, in consequence of steeds and
cars and elephants, which struck with Dhananjaya’s shafts, were mangled
and crushed and cut off in diverse ways. The earth was also covered with
broken shafts and wheels and axles, and with cars that were steedless or
that had their steeds and others that were driverless or that had their
drivers. Then four hundred well-trained and ever-furious elephants,
excited with wrath, and ridden by warriors cased in mail of golden hue
and adorned with ornaments of gold, and urged by fierce guides with
pressure of heels and toes, fell down, struck by the diadem-decked Arjuna
with his shafts, like loosened summits, peopled with living creatures, of
gigantic mountains. Indeed, the earth became covered with (other) huge
elephants struck down by Dhananjaya with his arrows. Like the sun
piercing through masses of clouds, Arjuna’s car passed through dense
bodies of elephants with juicy secretions flowing down their bodies and
looking like masses of clouds. Phalguna caused his track to be heaped up
with slain elephants and steeds, and with cars broken in diverse ways,
and with lifeless heroes deprived of weapons and engines and of armour,
as also with arms of diverse kinds loosened from hands that held them.
The twang of Gandiva became tremendously loud, like the peal of thunder
in the welkin. The (Dhartarashtra) army then, smitten with the shafts of
Dhananjaya, broke, like a large vessel on the bosom of the ocean
violently lashed by the tempest. Diverse kinds of fatal shafts, sped from
Gandiva, and resembling burning brands and meteors and thunderbolts,
burnt thy army. That mighty host, thus afflicted with Dhananjaya’s
shafts, looked beautiful like a blazing forest of bamboos on a mountain
in the night. Crushed and burnt and thrown into confusion, and mangled
and massacred by the diadem-decked Arjuna with his arrows, that host of
thine then fled away on all sides. Indeed, the Kauravas, burnt by
Savyasaci, dispersed on all sides, like animals in the great forest
frightened at a forest conflagration. The Kuru host then (that had
assailed Bhimasena) abandoning that mighty-armed hero, turned their faces
from battle, filled with anxiety. After the Kurus had been routed, the
unvanquished Vibhatsu, approaching Bhimasena, stayed there for a moment.
Having met Bhima and held a consultation with him, Phalguna informed his
brother that the arrows had been extracted from Yudhishthira’s body and
that the latter was perfectly well.

“‘With Bhimasena’s leave, Dhananjaya then proceeded (once more against
his foes), causing the earth and the welkin, O Bharata, to resound with
the rattle of his car. He was then surrounded by ten heroic and foremost
of warriors, viz., thy sons, all of whom were Duhshasana’s juniors in
age. Afflicting Arjuna with their shafts like hunters afflicting an
elephant with burning brands, those heroes, with outstretched bow, seemed
to dance, O Bharata, (on their cars). The slayer of Madhu then, guiding
his, car placed all of them to his right. Indeed, he expected that Arjuna
would very soon send all of them to Yama’s presence. Beholding Arjuna’s
car proceeding in a different direction, those heroes rushed towards him.
Soon, however, Partha, with a number of cloth-yard shafts and
crescent-shaped arrows, cut off their standards and steeds and bows and
arrows, causing them to fall down on the earth. Then with some
broad-headed arrows he cut off and felled their heads decked with lips
bit and eyes blood-red in rage. Those faces looked beautiful like an
assemblage of lotuses. Having slain those ten Kauravas cased in golden
mail, with ten broad-headed shafts endued with great, impetuosity and
equipped with wings of gold that slayer of foes, Arjuna continued to
proceed.'”

81

“Sanjaya said, ‘Meanwhile ninety Kaurava car-warriors rushed for battle
against the ape-bannered Arjuna who was advancing, borne by his steeds of
exceeding fleetness. Those tigers among men, having sworn a terrible oath
about the other world, encompassed that tiger among men, Arjuna. Krishna,
however, (without minding those warriors), urged the white steeds of
Arjuna, endued with great speed and adorned with ornaments of gold and
covered with networks of pearls, towards Karna’s car. Those ninety
Samsaptaka cars pursued Dhananjaya, that slayer of foes, pouring upon him
showers of shafts, as he proceeded towards Karna’s car. Then Arjuna, with
his keen shafts, cut off those ninety assailants endued with great
activity, along with their drivers and bows and standards. Slain by the
diadem-decked Arjuna with diverse kinds of shafts, they fell down like
Siddhas falling down, with their cars, from heaven upon the exhaustion of
their merits. After this, many Kauravas, with cars and elephants and
steeds, fearlessly advanced against that foremost one of Kuru’s race,
that chief of the Bharatas, Phalguna. That large force of thy sons,
teeming with struggling men and steeds, and swelling with foremost of
elephants, then encompassed Dhananjaya, checking his further progress.
The mighty Kaurava bowmen shrouded that descendant of Kuru’s race with
darts and swords and lances and spears and maces and scimitars and
arrows. Like the Sun destroying the darkness with his rays, the son of
Pandu destroyed with his own shafts that shower of weapons over-spread in
the welkin. Then a force of Mlecchas riding thirteen hundred
ever-infuriated elephants, at the command of thy son, assailed Partha in
the flank. With barbed arrows and Nalikas and cloth-yard shafts and
lances and spears and darts and Kampanas and short arrows, they afflicted
Partha on his car. That matchless shower of weapons, some of which were
hurled by the elephants with their tusks, Phalguna cut off with his
broad-headed shafts and crescent-shaped arrows of great keenness. With
excellent arrows of diverse kinds, he struck all those elephants and
their standards and banners and riders, like Indra striking mountains
with thunderbolts. Afflicted with gold-winged shafts, those huge
elephants decked with necklaces of gold fell down deprived of life, like
mountains ablaze with volcanic fires. Amid that roaring and shouting and
wailing army of men and elephants and steeds, the twang of Gandiva, O
monarch, rose high. Elephants, O king, struck (with shafts), fled away on
all sides. Steeds also, their riders slain, wandered in all directions.
Cars, O monarch, looking like the changeful forms of vapour in the sky,
deprived of riders and steeds, were seen in thousands. Horsemen, O
monarch, wandering hither and thither, were seen to fall down deprived of
life by the shafts of Partha. At that time the might of Arjuna’s arms was
seen. (So great was that might) that alone, in that battle, he vanquished
horsemen and elephants and car-warriors (that had been assailing him from
every side). Then Bhimasena, beholding the diadem-decked Phalguna
encompassed, O bull of Bharata’s race, by a large (Kaurava) host
consisting of three kinds of forces, abandoned the small unslaughtered
remnant of the Kaurava car-warriors with whom he had been engaged, and
rushed impetuously, O king, to the spot where Dhananjaya’s car was.
Meanwhile the Kaurava force that still remained after heavy slaughter,
exceedingly weakened, fled away, Bhima (as already said) beholding
Arjuna, proceeded towards his brother. The unfatigued Bhima, armed with a
mace, destroyed, in that battle, the portion that still remained after
the greater part had been slaughtered by Arjuna, of the Kaurava host
possessed of great might. Fierce as the death-night, subsisting upon men
and elephants and steeds as its food, and capable of crushing walls and
mansions and gates of cities, that exceedingly terrible mace of Bhima
incessantly descended on men and elephants and steeds around him. That
mace, O sire, slew numberless steeds and riders. With that mace the son
of Pandu crushed men and steeds cased in steel armour. Struck therewith,
they fell down with great noise. Biting the earth with their teeth, and
bathed in blood, these, with the crowns of their heads and bows and lower
limbs crushed, laid themselves down on the field, supplying all
carnivorous creatures with food. Satiated with blood and flesh and
marrow, and eating bones as well, that mace (of Bhimasena) became, like
the death-night, difficult of being gazed at. Having slain 10,000 horses
and numerous foot-soldiers, Bhima ran hither and thither in rage, armed
with his mace. Then, O Bharata, thy troops, beholding Bhima mace in hand,
thought that Yama himself, armed with his fatal bludgeon, was in their
midst. The son of Pandu then, excited with rage, and resembling an
infuriated elephant, penetrated into the elephant division (of the
Kauravas), like a Makara entering the ocean. Having, with his formidable
mace, penetrated into that elephant division, the enraged Bhima, within a
very short time, despatched it to Yama’s abode. We then beheld those
infuriated elephants with spiked plates on their bodies falling on every
side, with their riders and standards, like winged mountains. Having
destroyed that elephant division, the mighty Bhimasena, once more riding
on his car, followed Arjuna at his rear. That great host, thus
slaughtered, filled with cheerlessness and about to fly away, stood
almost inactive, O monarch, assailed on all sides with weapons. Beholding
that host looking humble and standing inactive and almost motionless,
Arjuna covered it with life-scorching shafts. Men and steeds and
elephants, pierced in that battle with showers of shafts by the wielder
of Gandiva, looked beautiful like Kadamva flowers with their filaments.
Thus struck with Arjuna’s shafts that quickly slew men and steeds and
cars and elephants, loud wails, O king, arose from the Kuru army. With
cries of “Oh” and “Alas,” and exceedingly frightened, and huddling close
to one another, thy army began to turn round with great speed. The
battle, however, continued between the Kurus and the Pandavas of great
might. There was not a single car-warrior or horseman or elephant-warrior
or steed or elephant that was unwounded. Their coats of mail pierced with
shafts and themselves bathed in blood, the troops looked blazing like a
forest of flowering Asokas. Beholding Savyasaci putting forth his valour
on that occasion, the Kauravas became hopeless of Karna’s life. Regarding
the touch of Arjuna’s shafts to be unbearable, the Kauravas, vanquished
by the wielder of Gandiva, fled from the field. Deserting Karna in that
battle as they were being thus struck with Arjuna’s shafts, they fled
away in fear on all sides, loudly calling upon the Suta’s son (to rescue
them). Partha, however, pursued them, shooting hundreds of shafts and
gladdening the Pandava warriors headed by Bhimasena. Thy sons then, O
monarch, proceeded towards the car of Karna. Sinking, as they seemed to
be, in a fathomless ocean, Karna then became an island unto them. The
Kauravas, O monarch, like snakes without poison, took Karna’s shelter,
moved by the fear of the wielder of Gandiva. Indeed, even as creatures, O
sire, endued with actions, from fear of death, take the shelter of
virtue, thy sons, O ruler of men, from fear of the high-souled son of
Pandu, took shelter with the mighty bowman Karna. Then, Karna, uninspired
with fear, addressed those distressed warriors afflicted with arrows and
bathed in blood, saying, ‘Do not fear! Come to me!” Beholding thy army
vigorously broken by Partha, Karna, stretching his bow, stood desirous of
slaughtering the foe. Seeing that the Kurus had left the field, Karna,
that foremost of all wielders of weapons, reflecting a little, set his
heart upon the slaughter of Partha and began to draw deep breaths.
Bending his formidable bow, Adhiratha’s son Vrisha once more rushed
against the Pancalas, in the very sight of Savyasaci. Soon, however, many
lords of the earth, with eyes red as blood, poured their arrowy downpours
on him like clouds pouring rain upon a mountain. Then thousands of
arrows, O foremost of living creatures, shot by Karna, O sire, deprived
many Pancalas of their lives. Loud sounds of wailing were uttered by the
Pancalas, O thou of great intelligence, while they were being thus
smitten by the Suta’s son, that rescuer of friends, for the sake of his
friends.'”

82

“Sanjaya said, ‘After the Kurus, O king, had been put to flight by the
mighty car-warrior Arjuna of white steeds, the Suta’s son Karna began to
destroy the sons of the Pancalas with his mighty shafts, like the tempest
destroying congregated masses of clouds. Felling Janamejaya’s driver with
broad-faced shafts called Anjalikas, he next slew the steeds of that
Pancala warrior. With a number of broad-headed arrows he then pierced
both Satanika and Sutasoma and then cut off the bows of both those
heroes. Next he pierced Dhrishtadyumna with six arrows, and then, without
the loss of a moment, he slew in that encounter the steeds of that
prince. Having slain next the steeds of Satyaki, the Suta’s son then slew
Visoka, the son of the ruler of the Kaikayas. Upon the slaughter of the
Kaikaya prince, the commander of the Kaikaya division, Ugrakarman, rushed
with speed and striking Prasena, the son of Karna, with many shafts of
fierce impetuosity caused him to tremble. Then Karna, with three
crescent-shaped arrows, cut off the arms and the head of his son’s
assailant, whereupon the latter, deprived of life, fell down upon the
ground from his car, like a Sala tree with its branches lopped off with
an axe. Then Prasena, with many keen arrows of straight course, covered
the steedless grandson of Sini, and seemed to dance upon his car. Soon,
however, the son of Karna, struck by the grandson of Sini, fell down.
Upon the slaughter of his son, Karna, with heart filled with rage,
addressed that bull among the Sinis from desire of slaying him, saying,
“Thou art slain, O grandson of Sini!’ and sped at him an arrow capable of
slaying all foes. Then Shikhandi cut off that arrow with three shafts of
his, and struck Karna himself with three other shafts. The fierce son of
the Suta then, cutting off with a couple of razor-faced arrows the bow
and the standard of Shikhandi, struck and pierced Shikhandi himself with
six shafts, and then cut off the head of Dhrishtadyumna’s son. The
high-souled son of Adhiratha then pierced Sutasoma with a very keen
shaft. During the progress of that fierce battle, and after
Dhrishtadyumna’s son had been slain, Krishna, O lion among kings,
addressed Partha, saying, “The Pancalas are being exterminated. Go, O
Partha, and slay Karna.” Thus addressed the mighty-armed Arjuna, that
foremost of men, smiled and then proceeded on his car towards the car of
Adhiratha’s son desirous, on that occasion of terror, of rescuing the
Pancalas slaughtered by Karna, that leader of car-warriors. Stretching
his Gandiva of loud twang and fiercely striking his palms with her
bow-string, he suddenly created a darkness by means of his arrows and
destroyed large numbers of men and steeds and cars and standards. The
echoes (of that twang) travelled through the welkin. The birds, (no
longer finding room in their own element), took shelter in the caverns of
mountains. With his full-drawn bow, Arjuna looked resplendent. Indeed, as
the diadem-decked Partha, at that terrible moment, fell upon the foe,
Bhimasena, that foremost of heroes, proceeded on his car behind that son
of Pandu, protecting his rear. Those two princes then, on their cars,
proceeded with great speed towards Karna, encountering their foes along
the way. During that interval, the Suta’s son fought fiercely, grinding
the Somakas. He slew a large number of car-warriors and steeds and
elephants, and covered the ten points of the compass with his shafts.
Then Uttamauja and Janamejaya, and the enraged Yudhamanyu and Shikhandi,
uniting with Prishata’s son (Dhrishtadyumna) and uttering loud roars,
pierced Karna with many shafts. Those five foremost of Pancala
car-warriors rushed against Karna otherwise called Vaikartana, but they
could not shake him off his car like the objects of the senses failing to
shake off the person of purified soul from abstinence. Quickly cutting
off their bows, standards, steeds, drivers and banners, with his shafts,
Karna struck each of them with five arrows and then uttered a loud roar
like a lion, People then became exceedingly cheerless, thinking that the
very earth, with her mountains and trees, might split at the twang of
Karna’s bow while that hero, with shafts in hand touching the bow-string,
was employed in shooting at his assailants and slaying his foes. Shooting
his shafts with that large and extended bow of his that resembled the bow
of Sakra himself, the son of Adhiratha looked resplendent like the sun,
with his multitude of blazing rays, within his corona. The Suta’s son
then pierced Shikhandi with a dozen keen shafts, and Uttamauja with half
a dozen, and Yudhamanyu with three, and then each of the other two, viz.,
Somaka (Janamejaya) and Prishata’s son (Dhrishtadyumna) with three
shafts. Vanquished in dreadful battle by the Suta’s son, O sire, those
five mighty car-warriors then stood inactive, gladdening their foes, even
as the objects of the senses are vanquished by a person of purified soul.
The five sons of Draupadi then, with other well-equipped cars, rescued
those maternal uncles of theirs that were sinking in the Karna ocean,
like persons rescuing from the depths of the ocean ship-wrecked merchants
in the sea by means of other vessels. Then that bull among the Sinis,
cutting off with his own keen shafts the innumerable arrows sped by
Karna, and piercing Karna himself with many keen arrows made entirely of
iron, pierced thy eldest son with eight shafts. Then Kripa, and the Bhoja
chief (Kritavarma), and thy son, and Karna himself, assailed Satyaki in
return with keen shafts. That foremost one, however, of Yadu’s race
fought with those four warriors like the chief of the Daityas fighting
with the Regents of the (four) quarters. With his twanging bow stretched
to its fullest limits, and from which shafts flowed incessantly, Satyaki
became exceedingly irresistible like the meridian Sun in the autumnal
sky. Those scorchers of foes then, viz., the mighty car-warriors among
the Pancalas, once more riding on their cars and clad in mail and united
together, protected that foremost one among the Sinis, like the Maruts
protecting Sakra while engaged in afflicting his foes in battle. The
battle fraught with the slaughter of men and steeds and elephants that
then ensued between thy foes and the warriors of thy army, became so
fierce that it resembled the encounter in days of old between the gods
and the Asuras. Car-warriors and elephants and steeds and foot-soldiers,
covered with showers of diverse weapons, began to move from one point to
another. Struck by one another, they reeled or uttered wails of woe in
affliction or fell down deprived of life. When such was the state of
affairs, thy son Duhshasana, the younger brother of the king, fearlessly
advanced against Bhima, shooting showers of shafts. Vrikodara also rushed
impetuously against him, like a lion springing towards a large Ruru deer.
The encounter then that took place between those two heroes incensed with
each other and who engaged in battle’s sport making life itself the
stake, became exceedingly fierce, resembled that between Samvara and
Sakra in days of old. They struck each other deeply with shafts possessed
of great energy and capable of piercing each other’s body, like two
mighty elephants excited with lust and with juicy secretions incessantly
trickling down their bodies, fighting with each other in the vicinity of
a she-elephant in her season. Vrikodara, with great speed, cut off, with
a couple of razor-headed arrows, the bow and the standard of thy son.
With another winged arrow he pierced his antagonist’s forehead and then
(with a fourth) cut off from his trunk the head of the latter’s driver.
Prince Duhshasana, taking up another bow, pierced Vrikodara with a dozen
shafts. Himself holding the reins of his steeds, he once more poured over
Bhima a shower of straight arrows. Then Duhshasana sped a shaft bright as
the rays of the sun, decked with gold, diamonds, and other precious gems,
capable of piercing the body of his assailant, and irresistible as the
stroke of Indra’s thunder. His body pierced therewith, Vrikodara fell,
with languid limbs and like one deprived of life and with outstretched
arms, upon his own excellent car. Recovering his senses, however, he
began to roar like a lion.'”

83

“Sanjaya said, ‘Fighting fiercely, prince Duhshasana achieved the most
difficult feats in that encounter. With a single shaft he cut off Bhima’s
bow, and then with six shafts he pierced his foe’s driver. Having
achieved those feats, the prince, endued with great activity, pierced
Bhima himself with nine shafts. Indeed the high-souled warrior, without
losing a moment, then pierced Bhimasena with many shafts of great energy.
Filled with rage at this, Bhimasena, endued with great activity, sped at
thy son a fierce dart. Beholding that terrible dart impetuously coursing
towards him like a blazing brand, thy high-souled son cut it off with ten
shafts shot from his bow drawn to its fullest stretch. Seeing that
difficult feat achieved by him, all the warriors, filled with joy,
applauded him highly. Thy son then once more pierced Bhima deeply with
another shaft. Blazing with wrath at sight of Duhshasana, Bhima then
addressed him, saying, “Pierced I have been, O hero, quickly and deeply,
by thee. Bear now, however, once more, the stroke of my mace.” Having
said this, the enraged Bhima took up that terrible mace of his for
Duhshasana’s slaughter. Once more addressing him, he said, “O thou of
wicked soul, I shall today drink thy blood on the field of battle.” Thus
addressed, thy son sped at Bhima with great force a fierce dart
resembling Death itself. Bhima also, his form filled with wrath, whirled
his terrible mace and hurled it at his antagonist. That mace,
precipitately breaking Duhshasana’s dart, struck thy son on his head.
Indeed, perspiring like an elephant with juicy secretions trickling down
his body, Bhima, in that dreadful battle, hurled his mace at the prince.
With that weapon, Bhimasena forcibly threw Duhshasana down from his car
at a distance measured by the length of ten bows. Struck with the
impetuous mace, Duhshasana, thrown down on the ground, began to tremble.
All his steeds also, O king, were slain, and his car too was reduced to
atoms by that falling weapon. As regards Duhshasana himself, his armour
and ornaments and attire and garlands were all displaced, and he began to
writhe, afflicted with agony. Endued with great activity, Bhimasena then
recollected, in the midst of that terrible battle and standing as he did
amid many foremost warriors of the Kuru army, all the acts of hostility
(done towards the Pandavas) by thy sons. The mighty-armed Bhima of
inconceivable feats, O king, beholding Duhshasana (in that plight), and
recollecting the seizure of Draupadi’s tresses and her disrobing while
she was ill,–indeed, the innocent Bhima, reflecting also upon the
diverse other wrongs inflicted on that princess while her husbands sat
with faces turned away from the scene, blazed up in wrath like fire fed
with libations of clarified butter. Addressing Karna and Suyodhana and
Kripa and Drona’s son and Kritavarma, he said, “Today I shall slay the
wretched Duhshasana. Let all the warriors protect him (if they can).”
Having said this, Bhima of exceeding strength and great activity suddenly
rushed, from desire of slaying Duhshasana. Like a lion of fierce
impetuosity rushing towards a mighty elephant, Vrikodara, that foremost
of heroes, rushed towards Duhshasana in that battle and attacked him in
the very sight of Suyodhana and Karna. Jumping down from his car, he
alighted on the ground, and fixed his eyes steadfastly on his fallen foe.
Drawing then his whetted sword of keen edge, and trembling with rage, he
placed his foot upon the throat of Duhshasana, and ripping open the
breast of his enemy stretched on the ground, quaffed his warm life-blood.
Then throwing him down and cutting off, O king, with that sword the head
of thy son, Bhima of great intelligence, desirous of accomplishing his
vow, again quaffed his enemy’s blood little by little, as if for enjoying
its taste. Then looking at him with wrathful eyes, he said these words,
“I regard the taste of this blood of my enemy to be superior to that of
my mother’s milk, or honey, or clarified butter, or good wine that is
prepared from honey, or excellent water, or milk, or curds, or skimmed
milk, or all other kinds of drinks there are on earth that are sweet as
ambrosia or nectar.” Once more, Bhima of fierce deeds, his heart filled
with wrath, beholding Duhshasana dead, laughed softly and said, “What
more can I do to thee? Death has rescued thee from my hands.” They, O
king, that saw Bhimasena, while he filled with joy at having quaffed the
blood of his foe, was uttering those words and stalking on the field of
battle, fell down in fear. They that did not fall down at the sight, saw
their weapons drop from their hands. Many, from fear, cried out feebly
and looked at Bhima with half-shut eyes. Indeed, all those that stood
around Bhima and beheld him drink the blood of Duhshasana, fled away,
overwhelmed with fear, and saying unto one another, “This one is no human
being!” When Bhima had assumed that form, people, beholding him quaff his
enemy’s blood, fled away with Citrasena, saying unto one another, ‘This
Bhima must be a rakshasa!” Then the (Pancala) prince Yudhamanyu, at the
head of his troops, fearlessly pursued the retreating Citrasena and
pierced him with seven keen shafts, quickly sped one after another. At
this, like a trampled snake of great energy repeatedly darting out its
tongue and desirous of vomiting its poison, Citrasena turned back and
pierced the Pancala prince with three shafts and his driver with six. The
brave Yudhamanyu then struck off his enemy’s head with a shaft equipped
with goodly wings and an exceedingly keen point and sped with great care
from his bow drawn to its fullest stretch. Upon the fall of his brother
Citrasena, Karna, filled with wrath and displaying his prowess, put the
Pandava host to flight, at which Nakula rushed against that warrior of
immeasurable energy. Bhima, having slain there (at the very sight of
Karna) the vindictive Duhshasana, took up a little quantity of his blood,
and, endued with stentorian lungs, he said these words in the hearing of
all those foremost of heroes of the world, “O wretch amongst men, here I
drink thy life-blood from thy throat. Filled with joy, abuse us once
more, saying ‘beast, beast’ (as thou didst before).” And he continued,
“They that danced at us then, saying, ‘beast, beast,’ even we will dance
at them now, repeating their own words. Our sleep at the palace at
Pramanakoti, the administration of deadly poison to our food, the bites
of black cobras, the setting fire to the house of lac, the robbing of our
kingdom by gambling, our exile in the woods, the cruel seizure of
Draupadi’s beautiful tresses, the strokes of shafts and weapons in
battle, our miseries at home, the other kinds of sufferings we endured at
Virata’s abode, all these woes borne by us through the counsels of
Shakuni and Duryodhana and Radha’s son, proceeded from thee as their
cause. Through the wickedness of Dhritarashtra and his son, we have
endured all these woes. Happiness has never been ours.” Having said these
words, O king, the victorious Vrikodara, once more spoke these words unto
Keshava and Arjuna. Indeed, bathed in blood, with blood flowing from his
wounds, with face exceedingly red, filled with great wrath, Bhimasena
endued with great activity, said these words, “Ye heroes, that which I
had vowed in respect of Duhshasana in battle, I have accomplished today.
I will soon accomplish my other vow by slaying that second beast, viz.,
Duryodhana, in this sacrifice of battle. Striking the head of that
wicked-souled one with my foot in the presence of the Kauravas, I shall
obtain peace.” Having said these words, Bhima, filled with great joy,
drenched with blood, uttered loud shouts, even as the mighty and
high-souled Indra of a 1,000 eyes had roared after slaying (the Asura)
Vritra.'”

84

“Sanjaya said, ‘After the slaughter of Duhshasana, O king, ten of thy
sons, heroes that never retreated from battle, all of whom were great
car-warriors, endued with mighty energy, and filled with the poison of
wrath, shrouded Bhima with their shafts. Nishangin, and Kavachin, and
Pasin and Dundadhara and Dhanurgraha, and Alolupa, and Saha, and Shanda,
and Vatavega and Suvarchasas, these ten, afflicted at the slaughter of
their brother, united together and checked the mighty-armed Bhimasena
with their shafts. Resisted on all sides with their shafts by those great
car-warriors, Bhima, with eyes red as fire with fury, looked resplendent
like the Destroyer himself in rage. Partha, however, with ten
broad-headed shafts of great impetuosity, equipped with golden wings,
despatched to Yama’s abode those ten Bharata princes decked with golden
bracelets. Upon the fall of those ten heroes, thy army fled away in the
very sight of the Suta’s son, overwhelmed with the fear of the Pandavas.
Then, O king, great fear entered the heart of Karna at sight of Bhima’s
prowess which resembled that of the Destroyer himself unto living
creatures. Then Shalya, that ornament of assemblies, understanding the
state of Karna’s mind from a survey of his features, addressed that
chastiser of foes in words suited to the hour, “Do not be grieved, O son
of Radha! This deed does not become thee. Afflicted with the fear of
Bhimasena, these kings are all flying away. Exceedingly pained by the
calamity that has befallen his brother Duhshasana in consequence of his
blood having been quaffed by the high-souled Bhima, Duryodhana is
stupefied! Kripa and others, and those of the king’s brothers that are
still alive, with afflicted hearts, their rage quelled by sorrow, are
tending Duryodhana, sitting around him. Those heroes, the Pandavas of
sure aim, headed by Dhananjaya, are advancing against thee for battle.
For these reasons, O tiger among men, mustering all thy prowess and
keeping the duties of a Kshatriya before thy eyes, proceed against
Dhananjaya. The entire burthen (of this battle) has been placed upon thee
by the son of Dhritarashtra. O thou of mighty arms, bear that burthen to
the best of thy power and might. In victory there will be great fame. In
defeat, heaven is certain. There, O son of Radha, thy son, Vrishasena,
filled with wrath at sight of the stupefaction that has overwhelmed thee,
is rushing towards the Pandavas.” Hearing these words of Shalya of
immeasurable energy, Karna, reflecting, concluded unalterably that
fighting had become unavoidable. Then Vrishasena, filled with wrath, and
riding upon his own car, rushed towards that son of Pandu, viz.,
Vrikodara, who, armed with his mace, resembled the Destroyer himself with
his fatal rod and was employed in slaughtering thy troops. That foremost
of heroes, Nakula, filled with wrath, rushed at that enemy of theirs,
Karna’s son, striking him with arrows, like the victorious Maghavat with
joyous heart rushing against (the Asura) Jambha. Then the brave Nakula,
with a razor-headed shaft, cut off his enemy’s standard decked with gems.
With a broad-headed arrow, he next cut off the bow also of Karna’s son,
with a golden belt attached to it. Possessed of mighty weapons, Karna’s
son then, desirous of showing his regard for Duhshasana, quickly took up
another bow, and pierced Nakula, the son of Pandu with many mighty
celestial weapons. The high-souled Nakula, then, filled with rage,
pierced his antagonist with shafts that resembled large blazing brands.
At this Karna’s son also, accomplished in weapons, showered celestial
weapon upon Nakula. From rage engendered by the strokes of his enemy’s
weapon, as also from his own resplendence and the energy of his weapons,
the son of Karna blazed up like a fire with libations of clarified
butter. Indeed, O king, Karna’s son then slew with his excellent weapons
the beautiful steeds of the delicate Nakula, that were of the Vanayu
breed, white in hue, and decked with trappings of gold. Alighting then
from his steedless vehicle, and taking up a bright shield decked with
golden moons, and armed also with a sword that was blue as the sky,
Nakula, frequently jumping up, careered there like a bird. Performing
diverse beautiful evolutions in the air, the son of Pandu cut off many
foremost of men and steeds and elephants. Cut off with that sword, they
fell down on the earth like animals cut off in a horse-sacrifice by the
person appointed to that duty. 2,000 well-trained heroes, delighting in
battle, hailing from diverse realms, well-paid, of sure aim, and their
limbs smeared with excellent sandal-paste, were quickly cut off by the
single-handed Nakula inspired with desire of victory. Then Karna’s son,
suddenly advancing with great speed against the rushing Nakula in that
battle pierced him from every side with many keen arrows from desire of
slaying him. Thus struck with shafts (by Vrishasena), Nakula struck his
brave antagonist in return. Pierced by the son of Pandu, Vrishasena
became filled with wrath. Protected, however, in that dreadful battle, by
his brother Bhima, the high-souled Nakula achieved such terrible feats on
that occasion. Filled with rage, the son of Karna then pierced with
eighteen shafts the heroic Nakula who seemed to sport in that battle,
while employed, unaided, in destroying the foremost of men and steeds and
elephants. Deeply pierced by Vrishasena in that battle, O king, Pandu’s
son Nakula, that foremost of men, endued with great activity, became
filled with rage and rushed in that encounter against the son of Karna
from desire of slaying him. Then Vrishasena poured showers of keen shafts
upon Nakula of great energy as the latter precipitately advanced against
him in that battle like a hawk with outstretched wings from desire of
meat. Baffling, however, his antagonist’s showers of shafts, Nakula
careered in diverse beautiful motions. Then Karna’s son, O king, in that
dreadful battle, cut off, with his mighty shafts, the shield, decked with
a 1,000 stars, of Nakula, while he was careering with great activity in
those beautiful motions. Without losing a moment, that resister of foes,
(Vrishasena), with half a dozen sharp razor-headed shafts, then cut off
that naked sword of Nakula, polished and keen-edged, made of steel,
capable of bearing a great strain and of destroying the bodies of all
foes, and terrible and fierce as the poison of the snake, while he was
whirling it rapidly. After this, Vrishasena deeply pierced his antagonist
in the centre of his chest with some well-tempered and keen shafts.
Having achieved those feats in battle that were applauded by all noble
persons and that could not be achieved by other men, the high-souled
Nakula of great activity, afflicted with those shafts, proceeded to the
car, O king, of Bhimasena. The steedless son of Madri, thus afflicted by
Karna’s son, sprang upon Bhima’s car like a lion springing upon a
mountain summit, in the sight of Dhananjaya. The high-souled and heroic
Vrishasena then, filled with wrath, poured his arrowy showers upon those
two mighty car-warriors for piercing those two sons of Pandu. After the
destruction of that car belonging to the son of Pandu (Nakula), and after
his sword also had been speedily cut off with (Vrishasena’s) shafts; many
other foremost of Kuru heroes, uniting together, approached the Pandava
brothers, and began to strike them with showers of shafts. Then those two
sons of Pandu, Bhima and Arjuna, filled with wrath, and resembling two
fires fed with libations of clarified butter, poured terrible showers of
arrows upon Vrishasena and the other assembled warriors around him. The
son of the Wind-god then, addressing Phalguna, said, “Behold, Nakula here
is being afflicted. The son of Karna is resisting us. Proceed, therefore,
against Karna’s son.” Hearing these words, the diadem-decked (Arjuna)
approached the car of his brother Vrikodara. Beholding that hero arrived
near, Nakula addressed him, saying, “Do thou speedily slay this one.”
Thus addressed in that battle by his brother, Nakula, standing before
him, the diadem-decked Arjuna, that formidable hero, precipitately caused
his ape-bannered vehicle, guided by Keshava himself, to be driven towards
Vrishasena.'”

85

“Sanjaya said, ‘Learning that Nakula had been deprived of his car,
afflicted with arrows and mangled with the weapons of Karna’s son, and
that he had his shafts, bow, and sword cut off, these eleven formidable
resisters of all foes, the five heroic sons of Drupada, the grandson of
Sini forming the sixth, and the five sons of Draupadi quickly proceeded
on their loud-sounding cars drawn by bounding steeds, with banners waving
in the air, and guided by accomplished drivers. Those well-armed warriors
began to destroy thy elephants and cars and men and steeds with shafts
that resembled formidable snakes. Then Hridika’s son and Kripa and
Drona’s son and Duryodhana and Shakuni’s son and Vrika and Kratha and
Devavridha, those foremost of Kaurava car-warriors, speedily proceeded
against them, armed with their bows and mounted upon their cars of rattle
deep as the roar of elephants or the clouds. These Kaurava warriors,
assailing those foremost of men and first of car-warriors, those eleven
heroes (of the Pandava army), O king, with the mightiest of shafts,
checked their progress. At this, the Kulindas, riding upon their
elephants of impetuous speed that looked like mountain summits and that
were of the hue of newly-risen clouds, advanced against those Kaurava
heroes. Well-equipped, and covered with gold, those infuriated elephants,
born in Himalayan regions and ridden by accomplished warriors longing for
battle, looked resplendent like clouds in the welkin, charged with
lightning. The prince of the Kulindas then vigorously assailed Kripa and
his driver and steeds, with ten shafts made wholly of iron. Struck (in
return) with the shafts of Sharadvata’s son, the prince fell down with
his elephant on the ground. The younger brother of that prince then,
assailing Kripa’s car with a number of lances made wholly of iron and all
bright as the rays of the sun, uttered loud roars. The ruler of the
Gandharvas, however, cut off the head of that warrior while still
uttering those roars. Upon the fall of those Kulindas, those mighty
car-warriors of thy army, filled with joy, blew their sea-born conchs,
and, armed with bows, rushed against their enemies. The battle then that
once more took place between the Kurus on the one side and the Pandavas
and the Srinjayas on the other, with arrows and scimitars and darts and
swords and maces and battle-axes, became fierce and awful and exceedingly
destructive of men and steeds and elephants. Car-warriors and steeds and
elephants and foot-soldiers, striking one another, fell down on the
ground, making the field of battle look like the welkin when congregated
masses of clouds charged with lightning and producing incessant peals of
thunder are assailed by fierce winds from all sides. Then the chief of
the Bhojas struck the huge elephants, the car-warriors, the innumerable
foot-soldiers, and the horse under Satanika. Struck with Kritavarma’s
shafts, these soon fell down on the ground. About this time, struck with
Ashvatthama’s shafts, three huge elephants equipped with all kinds of
weapons, ridden by accomplished warriors, and adorned with lofty
standards, fell down lifeless on the ground like gigantic cliffs riven by
thunder. Then the third brother of the Kulinda chief assailed thy son
Duryodhana with some excellent shafts in the centre of the chest. Thy
son, however, pierced him as also his elephant with many whetted shafts.
That prince of elephants then, with the prince on his back, fell down,
with streams of blood issuing from every part of his body, like a
mountain of red chalk in the season of rains, with red streams running
down its breast, tumbling down when riven by the thunder of Sachi’s lord.
The Kulinda prince, however, having saved himself in time, rode another
elephant. Urged by the prince, that animal assailed Kratha with his
driver and steeds and car. Pierced, however, with Kratha’s shafts, that
elephant, with its rider, fell down like a thunder-riven hill. The ruler
of the Krathas, that invincible car-warrior, however, struck with shafts
by the prince born on the mountains from the back of another elephant,
fell down with his steeds, driver, bow, and standard, like a mighty tree
uprooted by the tempest. Then Vrika deeply pierced with a dozen shafts
that prince having his abode on the Himavat as he stood on his elephant.
The huge beast quickly crushed with his four legs (the Kaurava warrior)
Vrika with his steeds and car. That prince of elephants then, with its
rider, deeply pierced by the son of Vabhru, advanced impetuously against
the latter. Vabhru’s son, however, that prince of the Magadhas, afflicted
with arrows by Sahadeva’s son, fell down. The prince of the Kulindas
then, with that elephant of his which was capable of slaying the foremost
of warriors with its tusks and body, rushed impetuously towards Shakuni
for slaying him. The mountaineer succeeded in afflicting Shakuni greatly.
Soon, however, the chief of the Gandharas cut off his head. About this
time huge elephants and steeds and car-warriors and large bands of foot,
struck by Satanika, fell down on the earth, paralysed and crushed like
snakes beaten by the tempest caused by Garuda’s wings. Then a Kulinda
warrior (on the Kaurava side), smiling the while, pierced Satanika, the
son of Nakula, with many whetted arrows. Nakula’s son, however, with a
razor-headed arrow, cut off from his antagonist’s trunk his head
resembling a lotus. Then Karna’s son pierced Satanika with three arrows,
made wholly of iron and Arjuna also with as many. And he pierced Bhima
with three arrows and Nakula with seven and Janardana with a dozen.
Beholding that feat of Vrishasena, that achiever of superhuman feats, the
Kauravas became filled with joy and applauded him greatly. They, however,
that were conversant with Dhananjaya’s prowess, regarded Vrishasena as a
libation already poured on the fire. The diadem-decked Arjuna then, that
slayer of hostile heroes, seeing Madri’s son Nakula, that foremost of
men, deprived of his steeds in the midst of all, and beholding Janardana
mangled with arrows, rushed in that battle against Vrishasena who was
then staying in front of the Suta’s son (Karna). Like Namuci rushing
against Indra, Karna’s son, that great car-warrior, also rushed, in that
battle, against that fierce and foremost of men, Arjuna, that warrior
possessing thousands of arrows, as the latter advanced towards him.
Unsupported by any one, the high-souled son of Karna, quickly piercing
Partha with a shaft in that battle, uttered a loud shout, like Namuci in
days of old after having pierced Indra. Once more Vrishasena pierced
Partha in the left arm-pit with many formidable shafts. Piercing Krishna
next with nine arrows, he struck Partha again with ten shafts. The
white-steeded Arjuna, having before been pierced by Vrishasena with those
formidable arrows, became slightly enraged and set his heart on the
slaughter of Karna’s son. The high-souled and diadem-decked Arjuna then,
his brow furrowed from wrath with three lines, quickly sped from the van
of battle a number of shafts for the destruction of Vrishasena in that
encounter. With eyes red in wrath, that hero capable of slaying Yama
himself if the latter fought with him, then laughed terribly and said
unto Karna and all the other Kaurava heroes headed by Duryodhana and
Drona’s son, these words, “Today, O Karna, in thy very sight in this
battle, I will despatch the fierce Vrishasena unto Yama’s abode with my
keen arrows! People say that all of you, united together, slew my son,
endued with great activity, in my absence, and while he was alone and
unsupported on his car. I, however, will slay thy son in the very sight
of you all. Let all the Kaurava car-warriors protect him. I will slay the
fierce Vrishasena. After that, I will slay thee, O fool, even I, Arjuna,
in the midst of battle! Today I will, in battle, slay thee that art the
root of this quarrel and that hast become so proud in consequence of
Duryodhana’s patronage. Putting forth my strength, I will certainly slay
thee in this battle, and Bhimasena will slay this Duryodhana, this wretch
among men, through whose evil policy this quarrel born of dice hath
arisen.” Having said these words, Arjuna rubbed the string of his bow and
took aim at Vrishasena in that battle, and sped, O king, a number of
shafts for the slaughter of Karna’s son. The diadem-decked Arjuna then,
fearlessly and with great force, pierced Vrishasena with ten shafts in
all his vital limbs. With four fierce razor-headed arrows he cut off
Vrishasena’s bow and two arms and head. Struck with Partha’s shafts, the
son of Karna, deprived of arms and head, fell down on the earth from his
car, like a gigantic shala adorned with flowers falling down from a
mountain summit. Beholding his son, thus struck with arrows, fall down
from his vehicle, the Suta’s son Karna, endued with great activity and
scorched with grief on account of the death of his son, quickly proceeded
on his car, inspired with wrath, against the car of the diadem-decked
Partha.

“Indeed, beholding his son slain in his sight by the white-steeded Arjuna
in battle, the high-souled Karna, filled with great wrath, rushed against
Krishna and Arjuna.'”

86

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding the gigantic and roaring Karna, incapable of
being resisted by the very gods, advancing like the surging sea, that
bull amongst men, viz., he of Dasharha’s race, addressed Arjuna, saying,
“That car-warrior having white steeds and owning Shalya for his driver
cometh hither with whom thou art to contend in battle. Therefore, O
Dhananjaya, summon all thy coolness. Behold then, O son of Pandu, the
well-equipped car of Karna. White steeds are yoked unto it and Radha’s
son himself is the warrior that stands upon it. Teeming with banners and
decked with rows of bells, it looks like a celestial car borne along the
welkin by steeds white in hue. Behold also the standard of the
high-souled Karna, bearing the device of the elephant’s rope, and looking
like the bow of Indra himself that divides the firmament by a clear line.
Behold Karna as he advanceth from desire of doing what is agreeable to
Dhritarashtra’s son, shooting showers of shafts like the clouds pouring
torrents of rain. There the royal chief of the Madras, stationed on the
fore-part of the car, guideth the steeds of Radha’s son of immeasurable
energy. Hear the peal of their drums and the fierce blare of their
conchs. Hear, O son of Pandu, the diverse leonine roars coming from every
side. Hear the terrible twang, silencing all other loud sounds, of the
bow (Vijaya) stretched by Karna of immeasurable energy. There the mighty
car-warriors among the Pancalas, with their followers, are breaking like
a herd of deer in the great forest at the sight of an angry lion. It
behoveth thee, O son of Kunti, to slay the Suta’s son with every care. No
other person save thee can venture to bear the shafts of Karna. It is
well known to me that thou art competent to vanquish in battle the three
worlds with all their mobile and immobile creatures including the very
gods and the Gandharvas. What need be said about battling with that
puissant one, when people are incapable of even gazing at him, viz., the
fierce and terrible Isana, that great god, the three-eyed Sarva,
otherwise called Kapardin? Thou, however, hadst, by battle, gratified
that god of gods himself, that Siva who is the source of bliss unto all
creatures, that deity called Sthanu. The other deities also have all
given thee boons. Through the grace, O Partha, of that god of gods, that
deity armed with a trident, slay Karna, O mighty-armed one, like Indra
slaying the Asura Namuci. Let prosperity be ever with thee, O Partha, and
do thou obtain victory in battle.”

“‘Arjuna said, “My victory, O Krishna, is, certain. There is no doubt in
this, since thou, O slayer of Madhu, that art the master of all the
worlds, art pleased with me. Urge the steeds, O Hrishikesha, and my car,
O great car-warrior! Today Phalguna will not return from battle without
slaying Karna. Behold Karna slain today and cut in pieces with my shafts.
Or, O Govinda, thou wilt today behold me slain with (Karna’s) arrows.
That terrible battle, capable of stupefying the three words, is at hand.
As long as the earth will last, people will speak of it.” Saying these
words unto Krishna who is never tired with exertion, Partha quickly
proceeded on his car against Karna like an elephant against a rival
elephant. Once more Partha of great energy said unto Krishna, that
chastiser of foes, these words, “Urge the steeds, O Hrishikesha, for time
passeth.” Thus addressed by the high-souled son of Pandu, Keshava wished
him victory and urged steeds as fleet as thought. Then that car of
Pandu’s son, possessed of great speed, soon reached the front of Karna’s
car.'”

87

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding Vrishasena slain, Karna, filled with grief and
rage, shed tears from his eyes for the death of his son. Endued with
great energy, with eyes red as copper from rage, Karna proceeded in the
face of his foe, having summoned Dhananjaya to battle. Then those two
cars, both possessed of solar effulgence and covered with tiger-skins,
when they came together, looked like two suns close to each other. Both
having white steeds and both crushers of foes, those two great bowmen,
those two warriors possessed of solar effulgence, looked resplendent like
the sun and the moon in the firmament. Beholding those two warriors that
resembled Indra and Virochana’s son (Vali) carefully preparing for battle
for the conquest of the three worlds, all creatures were filled with
wonder. Seeing those two warriors rushing towards each other with the
clatter of car-wheels the twang of bows, the sound of palms, the whizz of
arrows, and leonine shouts, and seeing also their standards, viz., that
of Karna bearing the elephant’s rope and that of Partha bearing the ape,
approach each other, all the lords of the earth became filled with
wonder. Seeing those two car-warriors engaged with each other, O Bharata,
all the kings uttered leonine shouts and cheered them repeatedly with
applause. Beholding that single combat between Partha and Karna,
thousands of combatants there slapped their armpits and waved their
garments on the air. The Kauravas beat their musical instruments and blew
their numerous conchs for gladdening Karna. Similarly, all the Pandavas,
for gladdening Dhananjaya, caused every point of the compass to resound
with the blasts of their trumpets and conchs. With those leonine shouts
and slaps on armpits and other loud cries and roars of brave warriors,
tremendous became the noise there on the occasion of that encounter
between Karna and Arjuna. People beheld those two tigers among men, those
two foremost of car-warriors, stationed on their cars, each armed with
his formidable bow, each equipped with arrows and darts, and each owning
a lofty standard. Both were clad in mail, both had scimitars tied to
their belts, both had white steeds, and both were adorned with excellent
conchs. One had Krishna for driver on his car, and the other had Shalya.
Both of them were great car-warriors and both looked alike. Both
possessed of leonine necks and long arms, the eyes of both were red, and
both were adorned with garlands of gold. Both were armed with bows that
seemed to flash like lightning, and both were adorned with wealth of
weapons. Both had yak-tails for being fanned therewith, and both were
decked with white umbrellas held over them. Both had excellent quivers
and both looked exceedingly handsome. The limbs of both were smeared with
red sandal-paste and both looked like infuriated bulls. Both were
broad-necked like the lion, both were broad-chested, and both endued with
great strength. Challenging each other, O king, each desired to slay the
other. And they rushed against each other like two mighty bulls in a
cow-pen. They were like a couple of infuriated elephants or of angry
mountains or of infant snakes of virulent poison or of all-destroying
Yamas. Enraged with each other like Indra and Vritra, they looked like
the sun and the moon in splendour. Filled with wrath, they resembled two
mighty planets risen for the destruction of the world at the end of the
Yuga. Both of them born of celestial fathers, and both resembling gods in
beauty, they were of godlike energy. Indeed, they looked like the sun and
the moon come of their own accord on the field of battle. Both of them
endued with great might, both filled with pride in battle, they were
armed with diverse weapons. Beholding those two tigers among men, those
two heroes endued with the impetuosity of tigers, thy troops, O monarch,
were filled with great joy. Seeing those two tigers amongst men, viz.,
Karna and Dhananjaya, engaged in battle, a doubt entered the hearts of
all as to which of them would be victorious. Both armed with superior
weapons, and both well-practised in battle, both made the welkin resound
with the slaps on their armpits. Both possessed of great celebrity in
consequence of prowess and might, they resembled the Asura Samvara and
the chief of the celestials in respect of their skill in battle. Both
equal to Kartavirya or Dasaratha’s son in battle, both resembled Vishnu
himself in energy or Bhava himself in fight. Both had white steeds, O
king, and both were borne on foremost of cars. Both of them, again, had
foremost of drivers in that great battle. Beholding, O monarch, those two
great car-warriors looking resplendent on their cars, the bands of
Siddhas and Charanas that came there became filled with wonder. The
Dhartarashtras then, O bull of Bharata’s race, with their troops,
encompassed the high-souled Karna, that ornament of battle, without
losing any time. Similarly the Pandavas headed by Dhrishtadyumna, filled
with joy, encompassed that high-souled Partha who was unrivalled in
battle. Karna became the stake, O monarch, of thy army in that battle,
while Partha became the stake of the Pandavas. The soldiers of both sides
were as members of that assembly and became the spectators of that game.
Indeed, as regards the parties engaged in that game of battle, either
victory or defeat was certain. Those two then, Karna and Arjuna, for
victory or the reverse, began the match between ourselves and the
Pandavas both standing on the field of battle. Skilled in fight, the two
heroes, O monarch, in that encounter, became highly enraged with each
other and wished to slay each other. Desiring to take each other’s life,
like Indra and Vritra, O lord, they faced each other like two mighty
comets of terrible form. Then in the sky, differences and disputes,
accompanied with revilings, arose among the creatures there, O bull of
Bharata’s race, on the subject of Karna and Arjuna. All the inhabitants
of the world, O sire, were heard to differ amongst themselves. The gods,
the Danavas, the Gandharvas, the Pishacas, the Snakes, the Rakshasas,
adopted opposite sides in that encounter between Karna and Arjuna. The
welkin, O monarch, with all the stars, became anxious on Karna’s account,
while the wide earth became so on Partha’s account, like the mother for
her son. The rivers, the seas, the mountains, O best of men, the trees,
the deciduous plants and herbs, took the side of the diadem-decked
Arjuna. The Asuras, Yatudhanas, the Guhyakas, O scorcher of foes, and
ravens and other rangers of the sky, sided with Karna. All the gems and
precious jewels, the four Vedas with the histories as the fifth, the
Upavedas, the Upanishads, with all their mysteries, and the compilations,
and Vasuki, and Citrasena, and Takshaka, and Upatakshaka, and all the
mountains, and all the offspring of Kadru with their children, all the
great snakes endued with poison, and the Nagas, took the side of Arjuna.
Airavata and his children, the offspring of Surabhi, the offspring of
Vaisali, and the Bhogins sided with Arjuna. The smaller snakes all sided
with Karna. Wolves and wild stags and all kinds of auspicious animals and
birds were, O king, for victory to Partha. The Vasus, the Maruts, the
Sadhyas, the Rudras, the Vishvedevas and the Ashvinis, and Agni and Indra
and Soma and Pavana, and the ten points of the compass, became the
partisans of Dhananjaya, while all the Adityas sided with Karna. The
vaishyas, the shudras, the Sutas, and those castes that were of a mixed
origin, all, O king, adopted the side of Radha’s son. The celestials,
however, with the pitris, and with all that were numbered with them as
also with their followers, and Yama and Vaishravana and Varuna were on
the side of Arjuna. The brahmanas, the kshatriyas, the sacrifices, and
those gifts called dakshinas, were for Arjuna. The pretas, and pishacas,
many carnivorous animals and birds, the rakshasas with all the monsters
of the sea, the dogs, and the jackals were for Karna. The diverse tribes
of celestial and regenerate and royal rishis were for the son of Pandu.
The gandharvas headed by Tumvuru, O king, were on the side of Arjuna.
With the offspring of Pradha and Mauni, the several classes of gandharvas
and apsaras, and many wise sages, having for their vehicles wolves and
stags and elephants and steeds and cars and foot, and clouds and the
wind, came there for witnessing the encounter between Karna and Arjuna.
The gods, the danavas, the gandharvas, the nagas, the yakshas, the birds,
the great rishis versed in the Vedas, the pitris that subsist upon the
gifts called svadha, and asceticism and the sciences, and the (celestial)
herbs with diverse virtues, came, O monarch, and took up their stations
in the welkin, making a great noise. Brahman, with the regenerate rishis
and the Lords of creatures, and Bhava himself on his car, came to that
part of the welkin. Beholding those two high-souled ones, Karna and
Dhananjaya, about to encounter each other, Shakra himself said, “Let
Arjuna vanquish Karna.” Surya, however, said, “Let Karna vanquish Arjuna.
Indeed, let my son Karna, slaying Arjuna, gain the victory in this
battle. Let my son, slaying Karna, win victory.” Even thus did Surya and
Vasava, those two foremost of personages, who were there and had adopted
opposite sides, dispute with each other. Beholding those two high-souled
ones, Karna and Dhananjaya, about to engage themselves in battle, the
gods and the asuras adopted opposite sides. The three worlds with the
celestial rishis and all the gods and all other creatures, trembled at
the sight. The gods were on the side of Partha, while the asuras were on
that of Karna. Thus all creatures were interested in that encounter,
siding with this or that leader of car-warriors, the Kuru or the Pandava
hero. Beholding the Self-born Lord of Creation (viz., Brahman), the gods
urged him, saying, “Let, O god, the success of these two lions among men
be equal. Let not the vast universe be destroyed in consequence of this
encounter between Karna and Arjuna. O Selfborn one, say but the word, let
the success of these two be equal.” Hearing these words, Maghavat, bowing
down unto the Grandsire, represented this unto that god of gods, that
foremost one of all intelligent beings, saying, “Formerly it was said by
thy holy self that the two Krishnas are always sure to win victory. Let
it be (now) as thou then saidest. Be gratified with me, O holy one!” At
this, Brahman and Isana replied unto the chief of the celestials, saying,
‘The victory of the high-souled Vijaya is certain, of that Savyasaci who
gratified the eater of sacrificial libations in the forest of Khandava
and who, coming to heaven, rendered assistance to thee, O Sakra! Karna is
on the side of the Danavas. It is proper, therefore, that he should meet
with defeat. By this, without doubt, the purposes of the gods will be
achieved. One’s own business, O chief of the celestials, should always be
important. The high-souled Phalguna, again, is devoted to truth and to
morality. He must always be victorious, without doubt. He by whom the
high-souled and holy god having the bull on his standard was gratified,
why should not he, O thou of a hundred eyes, be victorious,–he, that is,
who hath for the driver of his car that Lord of the universe, Vishnu
himself? Possessed of great energy of mind and great strength, Partha is
a hero, accomplished in arms and endued with ascetic merit. Possessed
also of great energy of body, he beareth the entire science of weapons.
Indeed, Partha hath every accomplishment. He ought to be victorious,
since that would accomplish the purposes of the gods. In consequence of
his greatness, Partha transgresses destiny itself, whether favourable or
unfavourable, and when he does so, a great destruction of creatures takes
place. When the two Krishnas are excited with wrath, they show regard for
nothing. These two bulls among beings are the Creators of all real and
unreal things. These two are Nara and Narayana, the two ancient and best
of Rishis. There is none to rule over them. They are rulers over all,
perfectly fearless, they are scorchers of all foes. In heaven or among
human beings, there is none equal to either of them. The three worlds
with the celestial Rishis and the Charanas are behind these two. All the
gods and all creatures walk behind them. The entire universe exists in
consequence of the power of these two. Let Karna, that bull among men,
obtain these foremost of regions of bliss here. Let him obtain identity
with the Vasus or the Maruts. Let him, with Drona and Bhishma, be
worshipped in heaven, for Vikartana’s son is brave and is a hero. Let the
victory, however, belong to the two Krishnas.” After those two foremost
ones among the gods (Brahman and Isana), said so, the deity of a 1,000
eyes, worshipping those words of Brahman and Isana and saluting all
creatures himself said, “Ye have heard what has been said by the two gods
for the benefit of the universe. It will be even so and not otherwise.
Stay ye then, with cheerful hearts.” Hearing these words of Indra, all
creatures, O sire, became filled with wonder and applauded, O king, that
deity. The celestials then showered diverse kinds of fragrant flowers and
blew their trumpets. Indeed, the gods, the Danavas and the Gandharvas all
waited there for witnessing that matchless single combat between those
two lions among men. The two cars, O king, upon which Karna and Arjuna
were stationed, had white steeds yoked unto them both. And both had
excellent standards, and both produced a loud rattle. Many foremost of
heroes, approaching the brave Vasudeva and Arjuna as also Shalya and
Karna, began each to blow his conch. The battle then commenced (between
the two warriors), overwhelming all timid persons with fear. Fiercely
they challenged each other like Sakra and Samvara. The standards of the
two heroes, perfectly bright, looked exceedingly beautiful on their cars,
like the planets Rahu and Ketu risen in the firmament at the time of the
universal dissolution. The elephant’s rope on Karna’s banner, looking
like a snake of virulent poison and made of jewels and gems and
exceedingly strong and resembling the bow of Indra, looked resplendent
(as it waved in the air). That foremost of apes, again, belonging to
Partha, with jaws wide open and terrible, and difficult of being gazed
at, like the sun himself, inspired fear by his formidable teeth. The
impetuous Ape on the standard of the wielder of Gandiva, becoming
desirous of battle, rushed from his station and fell upon Karna’s
standard. Endued with great impetuosity, the Ape, darting forward, struck
the elephant’s rope with his nails and teeth, like Garuda falling upon a
snake. Decked with rows of little bells, hard as iron, and resembling the
fatal noose (in the hands of Yama or Varuna), the elephant’s rope, filled
with wrath, closed with the Ape. Thus in that fierce single combat
between those two heroes, which was the result of what had been settled
at the time of the match at dice, their standards first battled with each
other. Meanwhile the steeds of the one neighed at the steeds of the
other. The lotus-eyed Keshava pierced Shalya with his keen glances. The
latter also cast similar glances at the former. Vasudeva, however,
vanquished Shalya with those glances of his, while Dhananjaya, the son of
Kunti, vanquished Karna with his glances. Then the Suta’s son, smilingly
addressing Shalya, said, “If Partha by any means slays me in battle
today, tell me truly, O friend, what thou wilt do after that.” Shalya
answered, saying, “If thou art slain, I myself will slay both Krishna and
Dhananjaya.” Once more the ruler of the Madras said, “If, O Karna, the
white steeded Arjuna slays thee in battle today, I myself, on a single
car, will slay both Madhava and Phalguna.'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Arjuna also asked Govinda a similar question.
Krishna, however, smiling, said unto Partha these words of grave import,
“The Sun himself may fall down from his place, the Earth herself may
split into a 1,000 fragments; fire itself may become cold. Still Karna
will not be able to slay thee, O Dhananjaya! If, however, any such
occurrence takes place, know then that the destruction of the universe
will be at hand. As regards myself, I will, using my bare arms, slay both
Karna and Shalya in battle.” Hearing these words of Krishna, the
ape-bannered Arjuna, smiling, replied unto Krishna who was never fatigued
with exertion, saying, “Shalya and Karna, united together, are not a
match for myself alone, O Janardana! Thou shalt today, O Krishna, behold
Karna with his standard and banners with Shalya and his car and steeds,
with his umbrella and armour and darts and shafts and bow, cut in pieces
with my shafts in battle. Thou shalt today behold him with his car and
steeds and darts and armour and weapons, reduced to dust like a tree in
the forest crushed by a tusker. Today the widowhood of the wives of
Radha’s son is at hand. Verily, they must have in their (last night’s)
dreams seen signs of approaching evil, O Mahadeva! Verily, thou shalt
today see the wives of Karna become widows. I cannot restrain my wrath at
what was done before now by this fool of little foresight when he beheld
Krishna dragged to the assembly and when laughing at us he abused us
repeatedly in vile words. Today, O Govinda, thou shalt behold Karna
crushed by me like a tree with its load of flowers crushed by an
infuriated elephant. Today, O slayer of Madhu, thou shalt, after Karna’s
fall, hear those sweet words, ‘By good luck, O thou of Vrishni’s race,
victory hath been thine!’ Thou shalt today comfort the mother of
Abhimanyu with a lighter heart for having paid thy debt to the foe. Today
thou shalt, filled with joy, comfort thy paternal aunt Kunti. Today thou
shalt, O Madhava, comfort Krishna of tearful face and king Yudhishthira
the just with words sweet as nectar.”‘”

88

“Sanjaya said, ‘Meanwhile the welkin, filled with gods and Nagas and
Asuras and Siddhas and Yakshas and with large bands of Gandharvas and
Rakshasas, and Asuras and regenerate Rishis and royal sages and birds of
excellent feathers, assumed a wonderful aspect. All human beings
assembled there beheld those beings of wonderful aspect staying in the
sky, and the sky itself resounded with the voice of musical instruments
and song and adulatory hymns and laughter and dance, and diverse other
kinds of charming sounds. Then both the Kaurava and the Pandava warriors,
filled with joy, and causing the earth and the ten points of the compass
to resound with the voice of musical instruments, the blare of conchs,
and leonine roars and the din of battle, began to slaughter their foes.
Teeming with men and steeds and elephants and cars and weapons,
unbearable to combatants in consequence of the falling of maces and
swords and darts and rapiers, abounding in heroes, and crowded with
lifeless bodies, the field of battle, crimsoned with gore, looked
exceedingly resplendent. Indeed, the battle between the Kurus and the
Pandavas then resembled that in days of yore between the gods and the
Asuras. After that fierce and awful battle had commenced between
Dhananjaya and Adhiratha’s son, each of those two heroes, clad in
excellent mail, shrouded the ten points of the compass and the host
opposed to him with keen and straight arrows. A darkness having been
caused there with the arrows shot on that occasion, neither thy warriors
nor the enemy could any longer see anything. From fear all the warriors
there sought the protection of either Karna or Arjuna like rays of light
spread out in the welkin converging towards either the sun or the moon.
The two heroes then, each baffling the other’s weapons with his own, like
the east and the west winds encountering each other, looked exceedingly
resplendent like the sun and the moon risen after dispelling the darkness
caused by the clouds and covering the welkin. Each having encouraged his
troops, saying, “Do not fly away!” the enemy and thy warriors stood their
ground, encircling those two mighty car-warriors like the gods and the
asuras standing around Vasava and Samvara. The two armies then greeted
those two best of men with the sounds of drums and other instruments and
with leonine roars, at which those two bulls among men looked beautiful
like the sun and the moon greeted by roaring clouds gathered around. Each
armed with a formidable bow drawn to a complete circle and looking like a
(solar or lunar) corona, those two heroes of great splendour, shooting,
in that battle thousands of arrows that constituted their rays, resembled
two unbearable suns risen at the end of the yuga for burning the entire
universe with its mobile and immobile creatures. Both invincible, both
capable of exterminating foes, each desirous of slaying the other; and
each displaying his skill upon the other, those two warriors, Karna and
the son of Pandu, closed fearlessly with each other in that dreadful
battle, like Indra and the asura Jambha. Invoking the mightiest of
weapons then, those two formidable bowmen began, with their terrible
shafts, to slay innumerable men and steeds and elephants as also to
strike each other, O king! Afflicted once more by those two foremost of
men, the troops of both the Kurus and the Pandavas, consisting of
elephants and foot-soldiers and horsemen and car-warriors, fled away on
all sides like other animals in the forest when assailed by the lion.
Then Duryodhana, and the chief of the Bhojas, and Subala’s son, and
Kripa, and the son of Sharadvata’s daughter, these five great
car-warriors, assailed Dhananjaya and Keshava with shafts capable of
producing great pain. Dhananjaya, however, with his shafts, cut off at
the same time the bows, the quivers, the steeds, the elephants, and the
cars with their drivers, of those warriors, and mangling every one of
them with excellent shafts, pierced the Suta’s son with a dozen arrows.
Then a hundred cars, a hundred elephants, and a number of Saka and
Tukhara and Yavana horsemen, accompanied by some of the foremost
combatants among the Kambojas, quickly rushed against Arjuna from desire
of slaying him. Speedily cutting off with the shafts and razor-headed
arrows in his hands the excellent weapons of his foes, as also their
heads, and steeds, and elephants, and cars, Dhananjaya felled his
contending enemies on the field. Then in the welkin blasts of celestial
trumpets were blown by the excellent gods. These were mingled with the
praises of Arjuna. Blown by gentle breezes, excellent floral showers,
fragrant and auspicious, fell (upon Arjuna’s head). Beholding that
incident, which was witnessed by gods and men, all creatures, O king,
were filled with wonder.’ Only thy son and the Suta’s son who were both
of the same opinion, felt neither pain nor wonder. Then Drona’s son,
catching hold of Duryodhana’s hand, and adopting a soothing tone,
addressed thy son, saying, “Be gratified, O Duryodhana! Make peace with
the Pandavas. There is no need for quarrel. Fie on war! The preceptor,
conversant with the mightiest of weapons and like unto Brahma itself,
hath been slain. Other bulls among men, headed by Bhishma, have also been
slain. As regards myself, I am unslayable, as also my maternal uncle.
Rule the kingdom for ever, (sharing it) with the sons of Pandu. Dissuaded
by me, Dhananjaya will abstain. Janardana also doth not desire
hostilities. Yudhishthira is always engaged in the good of all creatures.
Vrikodara is obedient to him. So also are the twins. Peace being made
between thee and the Parthas, all creatures will be benefited, through,
as it would seem, thy desire. Let the kings that are still alive go back
to their homes. Let the troops abstain from hostilities. If thou dost not
listen to my words, O king, struck by foes in battle, thou wilt have to
burn with grief. Thou hast beheld, as well as the universe, what has been
achieved by the single-handed Arjuna decked with diadem and garlands. The
slayer of Vala himself could not achieve its like, nor the Destroyer, nor
Prachetas, nor the illustrious king of the Yakshas. Dhananjaya, as
regards his merits, is even much greater than that. He will never
transgress whatever I say unto him. He will always follow thee. Be thou
gratified, O king, for the benefit of the universe. Thou always honourest
me greatly. I, too, bear a great friendship for thee. It is for this that
I say so unto thee. I shall dissuade Karna also, provided thou art
inclined to peace. Discerning persons say that there are four kinds of
friends, viz., those that are naturally so, those that are made so by
conciliation, those that become so through wealth, and lastly those
brought under subjection by the exercise of power. All these elements are
owned by thee with regard to the sons of Pandu. The Pandavas, O hero, are
naturally thy friends. Obtain them again as friends for certain by
conciliation. If upon thyself being gratified, they agree to become
friends, do thou, O king of kings, act in that way.” These beneficial
words having been said unto him by his friends, Duryodhana reflected for
some time. Drawing deep breaths, he then, with a cheerless heart, said,
“It is as thou, O friend, hast said. Listen, however, to the words that I
would say unto thee. The wicked-hearted Vrikodara, having slain
Duhshasana like a tiger, spoke words that still dwell in my heart. Thou
also heardest the same. How then can there be peace? Arjuna again will
not be able to bear Karna in battle, like a tempest whose force is
weakened when encountering the mighty mountains of Meru. Nor will the
sons of Pritha have the least confidence in me, thinking of the many acts
of forceful hostility (done by me towards them). Nor, O preceptor’s son
of unfading glory, doth it behove thee to say unto Karna now ‘Abstain
from battle!’ Phalguna is exceedingly tired today. Karna will soon slay
him”. Having with humility said these words repeatedly unto the
preceptor’s son, thy son commanded his own troops, saying, “Armed with
arrows, rush against and slay these foes. Why stand ye inactive?”‘”

89

Sanjaya said, “Then when the blare of conchs and the peal of drums became
very loud, those two foremost of men, both owning white steeds, the
suta’s son Vikartana and Arjuna, encountered each other in consequence, O
king, of thy son’s evil policy. Those two heroes endued with great
impetuosity, Dhananjaya and Adhiratha’s son, closed with each other like
two infuriated Himalayan elephants, both of full-grown tusks, fighting
with each other for the sake of a she-elephant in her season. Like a mass
of clouds encountering another mass, or a mountain encountering a
mountain, those two warriors, both pouring showers of arrows, encountered
each other, their bows loudly twanging the while, and the wheels of their
cars producing a deafening clatter, and their bow-strings and palms
emitting loud sounds. Like two mountains, both endued with tall cliffs
and abounding in trees and creepers and herbs and both teeming with the
diverse other denizens that are natural to them, moving towards each
other for an encounter, those two mighty warriors encountered each other,
each striking the other with mighty weapons.

The combat between the two heroes became furious like that between the
chief of the celestials and Virocana’s son in days of yore. Incapable of
being endured by others and marked by a river whose distasteful water
consisted of blood, the limbs of those two heroes, as also their drivers
and animals, became exceedingly mangled. Like two large lakes, both
teeming with lotuses of diverse kinds and fish and tortoises, and echoing
with the voices of diverse kinds of fowl, and softly stirred by the wind,
approaching each other, those two cars graced with standards approached
each other. Both endued with prowess equal to that of the great Indra,
both resembling the great Indra himself, those two mighty car-warriors
struck each other with shafts that resembled the great Indra’s thunder,
like the great Indra himself and (the asura) Vritra.

Both the armies consisting of cars and elephants and steeds and
foot-soldiers, all equipped with beautiful armour and ornaments and robes
and weapons, and those also that were in the welkin, were inspired with
fear upon beholding that encounter of wonderful aspect between Arjuna and
Karna. Others among the spectators, filled with joy and uttering leonine
shouts, raised their arms, waving their fingers or the pieces of cloth
they held, when Arjuna rushed against the son of Adhiratha, from desire
of slaughter, like one infuriated elephant rushing against another.

The Somakas then loudly shouted to Partha, saying, “Be quick, O Arjuna,
go and pierce Karna. Cut off his head without delay, and (with it) the
desire of Dhritarashtra’s son for kingdom.” Similarly many warriors of
ours that were there, said unto Karna, “Proceed, proceed, O Karna, and
slay Arjuna with keen shafts. Let the sons of Pritha once more go to the
woods forever.”

Then Karna first pierced Partha in that encounter, with ten mighty
shafts. Arjuna pierced him in return with ten keen-pointed shafts, shot
with great vigour, in the centre of the chest. Indeed, the suta’s son and
Arjuna then mangled each other with many shafts equipped with goodly
wings. Desirous of obtaining advantage of each other’s lapses in that
dreadful encounter, with cheerful hearts they rushed against each other
fiercely.

Rubbing his two arms and the string also of gandiva, that fierce bowman,
Arjuna, then sped showers of cloth-yard shafts, and nalikas and arrows
equipped with heads like boar’s ears and razors, and anjalikas, and
crescent-shaped arrows. Those arrows of Partha, O king, spread over the
welkin, penetrated into Karna’s car like flights of birds, with heads
bent down, penetrating in the evening into a tree for roosting there in
the night. All those arrows, however, O king, that Arjuna, that victor
over all foes, with furrowed brow and angry glances, sped at Karna, all
those successive showers of shafts shot by the son of Pandu, were cut off
by the suta’s son with his own arrows.

The son of Indra then sped at Karna a fiery weapon capable of slaying all
foes. Covering the earth and the welkin and the ten points of the compass
and the very course of the sun with its effulgence, it caused his own
body also to blaze up with light. The robes of all the warriors took
fire, at which they fled away. Loud sounds also arose there, like what is
heard when a forest of bamboos in a wilderness is on fire. Beholding that
fiery weapon acting on all sides, the suta’s son Karna of great valour
shot in that encounter the varunastra for quenching it. That
conflagration then, in consequence of Karna’s weapon, became quenched.

A large mass of clouds quickly caused all the points of the compass to be
enveloped with darkness. Those clouds whose extremities presented the
aspect of mountains, surrounding every side, flooded the earth with
water. That fierce conflagration, though it was such, was still quenched
by those clouds in a trice. The entire welkin and all the directions,
cardinal and subsidiary, were shrouded by clouds. Thus shrouded by
clouds, all the points of the compass became dark and nothing could be
seen.

Then Arjuna dispelled those clouds caused by Karna, by means of the
vayavyastra. After this, Dhananjaya, incapable of being over-mastered by
foes inspired gandiva, its string, and his shafts, with mantras, and
invoked into existence another weapon that was the favourite of the chief
of the celestials and that resembled the thunder in energy and prowess.
Then razor-headed arrows, and anjalikas, and crescent-shaped shafts, and
nalikas, and cloth-yard shafts and those equipped with heads like the
boar’s ear, all keen and sharp, issued from gandiva in thousands, endued
with the force and impetuosity of the thunder. Possessed of great might
and great energy, those impetuous and keen shafts equipped with vulturine
feathers piercing all the limbs, the steeds, the bow, the yoke, the
wheels, and the standard of Karna, quickly penetrated into them like
snakes frightened by Garuda penetrating into the earth. Pierced all over
with arrows and bathed in blood, (the high-souled) Karna then, with eyes
rolling in wrath, bending his bow of enduring string and producing a
twang as loud as the roar of the sea, invoked into existence the Bhargava
weapon. Cutting off Partha’s showers of shafts proceeding from the mouth
of that weapon of Indra (which Arjuna had shot), Karna, having thus
baffled his antagonist’s weapon with his own, destroyed cars and
elephants and foot-soldiers (of the Pandava army). Unable to endure the
feats of Arjuna in that fierce battle, the mighty car-warrior Karna did
this, through the energy of the Bhargava weapon. Filled with wrath and
possessed of great activity, the Suta’s son, that foremost of men,
laughing at the two Krishnas, pierced the foremost of Pancala warriors
with well shot arrows in that battle. Then the Pancalas and the Somakas,
O king, thus afflicted by Karna with showers of shafts in that encounter,
became filled with wrath and uniting together pierced the Suta’s son with
keen arrows from every side. Quickly cutting off those arrows with his
own, the Suta’s son, vigorously agitating them in that battle, afflicted
with many shafts the cars, the elephants, and the steeds of the Pancalas.
Their bodies pierced with those shafts of Karna, they fell down, deprived
of life, on the earth, making loud sounds, like mighty elephants slain by
an angry lion of terrible strength. Having slain those foremost of
warriors, those heroes endued with great strength, those leaders of the
Pancala forces who had always challenged him (to battle), Karna, O king,
as he shot his arrows, looked beautiful, like a mass of clouds pouring
torrents of rain. Then thy warriors, thinking that Karna had won the
victory, clapped loudly and uttered leonine roars. O chief of the Kurus,
all of them then regarded the two Krishnas as brought by Karna under his
power, seeing that valour, incapable of being borne by foes, of the
mighty car-warrior Karna. Beholding that weapon of Dhananjaya frustrated
by Karna in the midst of battle, the angry son of the Wind-god, with eyes
blazing with wrath, began to squeeze his hands. Indeed, the wrathful
Bhima, his anger being provoked, drew deep breaths and addressing Arjuna
of true aim, said, “How, O Jishnu, could this wretch fallen off from
virtue, this Suta’s son, putting forth his might in battle, slay so many
foremost of Pancala warriors, in thy sight? Before now thou couldst not
be conquered by the very gods or the Kalakeyas. Thou receivedst the touch
of the arms of Sthanu himself. How, then, O diadem-decked Arjuna, could
the Suta’s son pierce thee first with ten long shafts such as are used by
car-warriors? That the Suta’s son should today have succeeded in baffling
the arrows shot by thee seems to me to be very amazing. Recollect the
woes of Krishna, and those disagreeable, keen, and cutting words that
this wicked-souled and fearless son of a Suta used towards us, viz.,
‘Sesame seeds without kernel!’ Recollecting all this, O Savyasaci,
quickly slay the wretched Karna in battle today. Why, O diadem-decked
Arjuna, dost thou show such indifference (towards this act)? This is not
the time for showing thy indifference to Karna’s slaughter. That patience
with which thou didst vanquish all creatures and feed Agni at Khandava,
with that patience, slay thou the Suta’s son. I also will crush him with
my mace.” Then Vasudeva, beholding Partha’s shafts baffled by Karna, said
unto the former, “What is this, O diadem-decked Arjuna, that Karna should
succeed in crushing thy weapons today with this? Why dost, thou, O hero,
lose thy wits? Markest thou not that the Kauravas, (standing behind
Karna), are even now shouting in joy? Indeed, all of them know that thy
weapons are being baffled by Karna with his. That patience with which,
Yuga after Yuga, thou hadst slain persons having the quality of darkness
for their weapons, as also terrible Kshatriyas, and Asuras born of pride,
in many a battle–with that patience do thou slay Karna today. Putting
forth thy might, strike off the head of that foe of thine with this
Sudarsana, of edge keen as a razor, that I give unto thee, like Sakra
striking off the head of his foe Namuci, with the thunderbolt. That
patience with which thou didst gratified the illustrious deity Mahadeva
in the guise of a hunter, summoning that patience once again, O hero,
slay the Suta’s son with all his followers. After that, bestow upon king
Yudhishthira the earth with her belt of seas, her towns and villages, and
wealth, and from off whose surface all foes will have been removed. By
that act, O Partha, do thou also win unrivalled fame.” Thus addressed (by
Krishna), the high-souled Partha of exceeding might set his heart upon
the slaughter of the Suta’s son. Indeed, urged by Bhima and Janardana,
and recollecting (his woes), and taking an internal survey of himself,
and calling to mind the object for which he had come to this world, he
addressed Keshava, saying, “I will now invoke into existence a mighty and
fierce weapon for the good of the world and the destruction of the Suta’s
son. Let me have thy permission, as also Brahman’s and Bhava’s, and of
all those that are conversant with Brahma.” Having said these words unto
the holy Keshava, Savyasaci of immeasurable soul bowed unto Brahman and
invoked into existence that excellent irresistible weapon called
brahmastra which could be applied by the mind alone. Baffling that
weapon, however, Karna looked beautiful as he continued, like a cloud
pouring torrents of rain, to shoot his shafts. Beholding that weapon of
the diadem-decked Arjuna baffled in the midst of battle by Karna, the
wrathful and mighty Bhima, blazing up with rage, addressed Arjuna of sure
aim and said, “People say that thou art a master of the high brahmastra,
that mighty means (for achieving the destruction of foes). Do thou then,
O Savyasaci, use another weapon of the same kind.” Thus addressed by his
brother, Savyasaci used a second weapon of the kind. With that, Partha of
abundant energy shrouded all the points of the compass, cardinal and
subsidiary, with arrows sped from gandiva that resembled fierce snakes
and were like the blazing rays of the sun. Created by that bull of
Bharata’s race, those arrows of golden wings, in hundreds upon hundreds,
endued with the effulgence of the yuga fire or the sun, in a moment
shrouded the car of Karna. Thence also issued long darts and battle-axes
and discs and cloth-yard shafts in hundreds, all of awful forms, at which
hostile warriors all around began to be deprived of life. The head of
some hostile warrior, severed from his trunk, fell down on the field of
battle. Another, beholding his fallen comrade, fell down dead on the
earth, through fear. The (right) arm of a third, large and massive as the
trunk of an elephant, cut off (by Partha), fell down with the sword in
grasp. The left arm of a fourth, cut off with a razor-headed arrow, fell
down with the shield in it. Even thus, Partha, decked with diadem and
garlands, wounded and slew all the foremost warriors of Duryodhana’s army
with his terrible and death-dealing shafts. Vaikartana also, in the midst
of that battle, shot thousands of arrows. These, with a loud whizz, fell
upon the son of Pandu like torrents of rain poured from the clouds. Then
piercing Bhimasena and Janardana and the diadem-decked Arjuna of
superhuman feats, each with three arrows Karna of terrible might uttered
a loud awful roar. Struck with Karna’s shafts, the diadem-decked Arjuna,
beholding Bhima and Janardana, became unable to endure (the feats of his
antagonist). Once more, therefore, Partha shot eight and ten arrows.
Piercing the beautiful standard of Karna with one of those arrows, he
pierced Shalya with four and Karna himself with three. With ten other
well-shot shafts he then struck the Kaurava warrior Sabhapati, clad in
golden mail. Thereupon that prince, deprived of head and arms and steeds
and driver and bow and standard, fell down, wounded and dead, from his
foremost of cars, like a Sala tree cut down with an axe. Once more
piercing Karna with three, eight, twelve, four, and ten arrows, Partha
slew 400 elephants equipped with many weapons, and 8000 car-warriors, and
1,000 steeds with riders, and 8,000 brave foot-soldiers. And soon Partha
made Karna with his driver and car and steeds and standard invisible with
straightly coursing shafts. Then the Kauravas, thus slaughtered by
Dhananjaya, loudly addressed Adhitratha’s son, saying, “Shoot thy arrows
and slay the son of Pandu. Already, he has begun to exterminate the Kurus
with his shafts!” Thus urged, Karna, with his best endeavours,
incessantly shot many arrows. Capable of cutting the very vitals, those
blood-drinking shafts, well sped by Karna, slew large numbers of the
Pandavas and the Pancalas. Thus those two foremost of all bowmen, those
two warriors of great strength that were capable of bearing all foes,
those two heroes acquainted with weapons, struck the warriors opposed to
them, as also each other, with mighty weapons. Then Yudhishthira, clad in
golden mail, his arrows having been extracted and himself made sound with
mantras and drugs by foremost of surgeons well-disposed towards him,
quickly came to that spot for witnessing (the encounter between Arjuna
and Karna). Beholding king Yudhishthira the just arrived there like the
resplendent full Moon freed from the jaws of Rahu and risen in the
firmament, all creatures became filled with delight. Beholding those two
foremost of warriors, those two first of heroes and slayers of foes,
viz., Karna and Partha, engaged in fight, the spectators, both celestial
and terrestrial, restraining the animals they rode or that were yoked
unto their vehicles, stood motionless. As the two heroes, O king, struck
each other with many foremost of arrows, O king, the sounds caused by the
bows, bow-strings, and palms, of both Dhananjaya and Adhiratha’s son,
became tremendous and their well-sped arrows also caused a deafening
whizz. Then the bow-string of the son of Pandu, stretched with force,
broke with a loud noise. During the interval thus offered, the Suta’s son
pierced Partha with a hundred small arrows, keen and steeped in oil,
winged with the feathers of birds, and resembling snakes freed from their
sloughs. He then quickly pierced Vasudeva with sixty shafts, and then
Phalguna again with eight. Surya’s son then pierced Bhima with thousands
upon thousands of mighty arrows. Having pierced Krishna and Partha’s
standard, Karna felled many amongst the Somakas that followed Partha.
These, however, in return shrouded Karna with showers of straight shafts
like masses of clouds shrouding the sun in the welkin. Accomplished in
the use of weapons, the Suta’s son, stupefying those advancing warriors
with his shafts and baffling all the weapons shot by them, destroyed
their cars and steeds and elephants. And the Suta’s son, O king, also
afflicted with his arrows many foremost of warriors among them. Their
bodies pierced with Karna’s shafts, they fell down on the ground,
deprived of life and making a loud noise as they fell. Indeed, those
mighty combatants, afflicted by Karna of terrible strength, perished like
a pack of dogs afflicted by an angry lion. And once more many foremost of
combatants among the Pancalas and many such (among the Kauravas) fell
down after this, slain by Karna and Dhananjaya. Deprived of life by the
mighty Karna with well-aimed arrows shot with great force, many fell
down, purging the contents of their stomachs. Then thy troops, regarding
the victory to be already theirs, clapped furiously and uttered loud
leonine roars. Indeed, in that dreadful encounter, all of them regarded
the two Krishnas to have been brought by Karna under his power. Then
quickly bending his bow-string and baffling all those shafts of
Adhiratha’s son, Partha, filled with rage in consequence of his limbs
having been mangled with Karna’s arrows, assailed the Kauravas. Rubbing
his bow-string, he clapped his palms and suddenly caused a darkness there
with the showers of shafts he shot. The diadem-decked Arjuna pierced
Karna and Shalya and all the Kurus with those arrows. The welkin having
been darkened by means of that mighty weapon, the very birds were unable
to range in their element, a delicious wind then blew, bearing fragrant
odours. Laughing the while, Partha forcibly struck Shalya’s armour with
ten arrows. Piercing Karna next with a dozen shafts, he struck him once
more with seven. Deeply struck with those winged arrows of fierce energy
shot with great force from Partha’s bow, Karna, with mangled limbs and
body bathed in blood, looked resplendent like Rudra at the universal
destruction, sporting in the midst of crematorium at noon or eve, his
body dyed with blood. The son of Adhiratha then pierced Dhananjaya who
resembled the chief of the celestials himself (in energy and might) with
three arrows, and he caused five other blazing arrows resembling five
snakes to penetrate the body of Krishna. Shot with great force, those
arrows, decked with gold, pierced through the armour of that foremost of
beings and passing out of his body fell upon the earth. Endued with great
energy, they entered the earth with great force and having bathed (in the
waters of the Bhogavati in the nether region) coursed back towards Karna.
Those shafts were five mighty snakes that had adopted the side of
Takshaka’s son (Aswasena whose mother Partha had slain at Khandava). With
ten broad-headed arrows shot with great force, Arjuna cut off each of
those five snakes into three fragments whereupon they fell down on the
earth. Beholding Krishna’s limbs thus mangled with those snakes
transformed into arrows sped from Karna’s arms, Arjuna, decked with
diadem and garlands, blazed up with wrath like a fire engaged in burning
a heap of dry grass. He then pierced Karna in all his vital limbs with
many blazing and fatal shafts shot from the bow-string stretched to the
very ear. (Deeply pierced), Karna trembled in pain. With the greatest
difficulty he stood, summoning all his patience. Dhananjaya having been
filled with wrath, all the points of the compass, cardinal and
subsidiary, the very splendour of the Sun, and Karna’s car, O king, all
became invisible with the showers shot by him. The welkin seemed as if it
were shrouded by a thick forest. Then that slayer of foes, that bull of
Kuru’s race, that foremost of heroes, viz., Savyasaci, O king, soon slew
in that battle 2,000 foremost of Kuru warriors, with their cars and
steeds and drivers, forming the protectors of Karna’s car-wheels and
wings and his van-guard and rear-guard and who constituted the very pick
of Duryodhana’s car-force, and who, urged by Duryodhana, had been
fighting with great energy. Then thy sons and the Kauravas that were
still alive fled away, deserting Karna, and abandoning their dying and
wounded, and their wailing sons and sires. Beholding himself abandoned by
the terrified Kurus and seeing the space around him empty, Karna felt no
agitation, O Bharata, but, on the other hand, rushed at Arjuna, with a
cheerful heart.'”

90

“Sanjaya said, ‘Flying away in consequence of the falling of Arjuna’s
arrows, the broken divisions of the Kauravas, staying at a distance,
continued to gaze at Arjuna’s weapon swelling with energy and careering
around with the effulgence of lightning. Then Karna, with showers of
terrible shafts, baffled that weapon of Arjuna while it was still
careering in the welkin and which Arjuna had shot with great vigour in
that fierce encounter for the destruction of his foe. Indeed, that weapon
(of Partha) which, swelling with energy, had been consuming the Kurus,
the Suta’s son now crushed with his shafts winged with gold. Bending then
his own loud-sounding bow of irrefragable string, Karna shot showers of
shafts. The Suta’s son destroyed that burning weapon of Arjuna with his
own foe-killing weapon of great power which he had obtained from Rama,
and which resembled (in efficacy) an Atharvan rite. And he pierced Partha
also with numerous keen shafts. The encounter then, O king, that took
place between Arjuna and the son of Adhiratha, became a very dreadful
one. They continued to strike each other with arrows like two fierce
elephants striking each other with their tusks. All the points of the
compass then became shrouded with weapons and the very sun became
invisible. Indeed, Karna and Partha, with their arrowy downpours, made
the welkin one vast expanse of arrows without any space between. All the
Kauravas and the Somakas then beheld a wide-spread arrowy net. In that
dense darkness caused by arrows, they were unable to see anything else.
Those two foremost of men, both accomplished in weapons, as they
incessantly aimed and shot innumerable arrows, O king, displayed diverse
kinds of beautiful manoeuvres. While they were thus contending with each
other in battle, sometimes the Suta’s son prevailed over his rival and
sometimes the diadem-decked Partha prevailed over his, in prowess and
weapons and lightness of hands. Beholding that terrible and awful
passage-at-arms between those two heroes each of whom was desirous of
availing himself of the other’s lapses, all the other warriors on the
field of battle became filled with wonder. The beings in the welkin, O
king, applauded Karna and Arjuna. Indeed, many of them at a time, filled
with joy, cheerfully shouted, sometimes saying, “Excellent, O Karna!” and
sometimes saying, “Excellent, O Arjuna!” During the progress of that
fierce encounter, while the earth was being pressed deep with the weight
of cars and the tread of steeds and elephants, the snake Aswasena, who
was hostile to Arjuna, was passing his time in the nether region. Freed
from the conflagration at Khandava, O king, he had, from anger,
penetrated through the earth (for going to the subterranean region). That
brave snake, recollecting the death of his mother and the enmity he on
that account harboured against Arjuna, now rose from the lower region.
Endued with the power of ascending the skies, he soared up with great
speed upon beholding that fight between Karna and Arjuna. Thinking that
that was the time for gratifying his animosity towards, as he thought,
the wicked-souled Partha, he quickly entered into Karna’s quiver, O king,
in the form of an arrow. At that time a net of arrows was seen, shedding
its bright arrows around. Karna and Partha made the welkin one dense mass
of arrows by means of their arrowy downpours. Beholding that wide-spread
expanse of arrows, all the Kauravas and the Somakas became filled with
fear. In that thick and awful darkness caused by arrows they were unable
to see anything else. Then those two tigers among men, those two foremost
of all bowmen in the world, those two heroes, fatigued with their
exertions in battle, looked at each other. Both of them were then fanned
with excellent and waving fans made of young (palm) leaves and sprinkled
with fragrant sandal-water by many Apsaras staying in the welkin. And
Sakra and Surya, using their hands, gently brushed the faces of those two
heroes. When at last Karna found that he could not prevail over Partha
and was exceedingly scorched with the shafts of the former, that hero,
his limbs very much mangled, set his heart upon that shaft of his which
lay singly within a quiver. The Suta’s son then fixed on his bow-string
that foe-killing, exceedingly keen, snake-mouthed, blazing, and fierce
shaft, which had been polished according to rule, and which he had long
kept for the sake of Partha’s destruction. Stretching his bow-string to
his ear, Karna fixed that shaft of fierce energy and blazing splendour,
that ever-worshipped weapon which lay within a golden quiver amid sandal
dust, and aimed it at Partha. Indeed, he aimed that blazing arrow, born
in Airavata’s race, for cutting off Phalguna’s head in battle. All the
points of the compass and the welkin became ablaze and terrible meteors,
and thunderbolts fell. When that snake of the form of an arrow was fixed
on the bow-string, the Regents of the world, including Sakra, set up loud
wails. The Suta’s son did not know that the snake Aswasena had entered
his arrow by the aid of his Yoga powers. Beholding Vaikartana aim that
arrow, the high-souled ruler of the Madras, addressing Karna, said, “This
arrow, O Karna, will not succeed in striking off Arjuna’s head. Searching
carefully, fix another arrow that may succeed in striking off thy enemy’s
head.” Endued with great activity, the Suta’s son, with eyes burning in
wrath, then said unto the ruler of the Madras, “O Shalya, Karna never
aimeth an arrow twice. Persons like us never become crooked warriors.”
Having said these words, Karna, with great care, let off that shaft which
he had worshipped for many long years. Bent upon winning the victory, O
king, he quickly said unto his rival, “Thou art slain, O Phalguna!” Sped
from Karna’s arms, that shaft of awful whizz, resembling fire or the sun
in splendour, as it left the bow-string, blazed up in the welkin and
seemed to divide it by a line such as is visible on the crown of a woman
dividing her tresses. Beholding that shaft blazing in the welkin, the
slayer of Kamsa, Madhava, with great speed and the greatest ease, pressed
down with his feet that excellent car, causing it to sink about a cubit
deep. At this, the steeds, white as the rays of the moon and decked in
trappings of gold, bending their knees, laid themselves down on the
ground. Indeed, seeing that snake (in the form of an arrow) aimed by
Karna, Madhava, that foremost of all persons endued with might, put forth
his strength and thus pressed down with his feet that car into the earth,
whereat the steeds, (as already said) bending down their knees, laid
themselves down upon the earth when the car itself had sank into it. Then
loud sounds arose in the welkin in applause of Vasudeva. Many celestial
voices were heard, and celestial flowers were showered upon Krishna, and
leonine shouts also were uttered. When the car had thus been pressed down
into the earth through the exertions of the slayer of Madhu, the
excellent ornament of Arjuna’s head, celebrated throughout the earth, the
welkin, heaven, and the waters, the Suta’s son swept off from the crown
of his rival, with that arrow, in consequence of the very nature of that
snaky weapon and the great care and wrath with which it had been shot.
That diadem, endued with the splendour of the sun or the moon or fire or
a planet, and adorned with gold and pearls and gems and diamonds, had
with great care been made by the puissant Self-born himself for
Purandara. Costly as its appearance indicated, it was inspiring terror in
the hearts of foes, contributing to the happiness of him that wore it,
and shedding a fragrance, that ornament had been given by the chief of
the celestials himself with a cheerful heart unto Partha while the latter
had proceeded to slaughter the foes of the gods. That diadem was
incapable of being crushed by Rudra and the Lord of waters and Kuvera
with Pinaka and noose and thunderbolt and the very foremost of shafts. It
could not be endured by even the foremost ones among the gods. Vrisha,
however, now broke it forcibly with his snake-inspired shaft. Endued with
great activity, that wicked-natured snake of fierce form and false vows,
falling upon that diadem-decked with gold and gems, swept it away from
Arjuna’s head. That snake, O king, forcibly tore it away from Partha’s
head, quickly reducing into fragments that well-made ornament set over
with many a gem and blazing with beauty, like the thunderbolt riving a
mountain summit decked with lofty and beautiful trees graced with
flowers. Crushed by that excellent weapon, possessed of splendour, and
blazing with the fire of (the snake’s) poison, that beautiful and
much-liked diadem of Partha fell down on the earth like the blazing disc
of the Sun from the Asta hills. Indeed, that snake forcibly swept away
from Arjuna’s head that diadem adorned with many gems, like the thunder
of Indra felling a beautiful mountain summit adorned with lofty trees
bearing budding leaves and flowers. And the earth, welkin, heaven, and
the waters, when agitated by a tempest, roar aloud, O Bharata, even such
was the roar that arose in all the worlds at that time. Hearing that
tremendous noise, people, notwithstanding their efforts to be calm,
became extremely agitated and reeled as they stood. Reft of diadem, the
dark complexioned and youthful Partha looked beautiful like a blue
mountain of lofty summit. Binding then his locks with a white cloth,
Arjuna stood perfectly unmoved. With that white gear on his head, he
looked like the Udaya hill illumined with the rays of the sun. Thus that
she-snake (whom Arjuna had killed at Khandava) of excellent mouth,
through her son in the form of an arrow, sped by Surya’s son, beholding
Arjuna of exceeding energy and might standing with his head at a level
with the reins of the steeds, took away his diadem only, that well-made
ornament (formerly) owned by Aditi’s son and endued with the effulgence
of Surya himself. But Arjuna also (as will appear in the sequel) did not
return from that battle without causing the snake to succumb to the power
of Yama. Sped from Karna’s arms, that costly shaft resembling fire or the
sun in effulgence, viz., that mighty snake who from before had become the
deadly foe of Arjuna, thus crushing the latter’s diadem, went away.
Having burnt the gold-decked diadem of Arjuna displayed on his head, he
desired to come to Arjuna once more with great speed. Asked, however, by
Karna (who saw him but knew him not), he said these words, “Thou hadst
sped me, O Karna, without having seen me. It was for this that I could
not strike off Arjuna’s head. Do thou quickly shoot me once again, after
seeing me well. I shall then slay thy foe and mine too.” Thus addressed
in that battle by him, the Suta’s son said, “Who are you possessed of
such fierce form?” The snake answered, saying, “Know me as one that has
been wronged by Partha. My enmity towards him is due to his having slain
my mother. If the wielder of the thunderbolt himself were to protect
Partha, the latter would still have to go to the domains of the king of
the pitris. Do not disregard me. Do my bidding. I will slay thy foe.
Shoot me without delay.” Hearing those words, Karna said, “Karna, O
snake, never desires to have victory in battle today by relying on
another’s might. Even if I have to slay a hundred Arjunas, I will not, O
snake, still shoot the same shaft twice.” Once more addressing him in the
midst of battle, that best of men, viz., Surya’s son, Karna, said, “Aided
by the nature of my other snaky weapons, and by resolute effort and
wrath, I shall slay Partha. Be thou happy and go elsewhere.” Thus
addressed, in battle, by Karna, that prince of snakes, unable from rage
to bear those words, himself proceeded, O king, for the slaughter of
Partha, having assumed the form of an arrow. Of fierce form, the desire
he ardently cherished was the destruction of his enemy. Then Krishna,
addressing Partha in that encounter, said into him, “Slay that great
snake inimical to thee.” Thus addressed by the slayer of Madhu, the
wielder of Gandiva, that bowman who was always fierce unto foes, enquired
of him, saying, “Who is that snake that advanceth of his own accord
against me, as if, indeed he advanceth right against the mouth of
Garuda?” Krishna replied, “Whilst thou, armed with bow, wert engaged at
Khandava in gratifying the god Agni, this snake was then in the sky, his
body ensconced within his mother’s. Thinking that it was only a single
snake that was so staying in the sky, thou killedest the mother.
Remembering that act of hostility done by thee, he cometh towards thee
today for thy destruction. O resister of foes, behold him coming like a
blazing meteor, falling from the firmament!'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Then Jishnu, turning his face in rage, cut off, with
six keen shafts, that snake in the welkin as the latter was coursing in a
slanting direction. His body thus cut off, he fell down on the earth.
After that snake had been cut off by Arjuna, the lord Keshava himself, O
king, of massive arms, that foremost of beings, raised up with his arms
that car from the earth. At that time, Karna, glancing obliquely at
Dhananjaya, pierced that foremost of persons, viz., Krishna, with ten
shafts whetted on stone and equipped with peacock feathers. Then
Dhananjaya, piercing Karna with a dozen well-shot and keen arrows
equipped with heads like the boar’s ear, sped a cloth-yard shaft endued
with the energy of a snake of virulent poison and shot from his
bow-string stretched to his ear. That foremost of shafts, well shot by
Arjuna, penetrated through Karna’s armour, and as if suspending his life
breaths, drank his blood and entered the earth, its wings also having
been drenched with gore. Endued with great activity, Vrisha, enraged at
the stroke of the shaft, like a snake beaten with stick, shot many mighty
shafts, like snakes of virulent poison vomiting venom. And he pierced
Janardana with a dozen shafts and Arjuna with nine and ninety. And once
more piercing the son of Pandu with a terrible shaft, Karna laughed and
uttered a loud roar. The son of Pandu, however, could not endure his
enemy’s joy. Acquainted with all the vital parts of the human body,
Partha, possessed of prowess like that of Indra, pierced those vital
limbs with hundreds of arrows even as Indra had struck Vala with great
energy. Then Arjuna sped ninety arrows, each resembling the rod of Death
at Karna. Deeply pierced with those shafts, Karna trembled like a
mountain riven with thunder. The head-gear of Karna, adorned with costly
gems and precious diamonds and pure gold, as also his earrings, cut off
by Dhananjaya with his winged arrows, fell down on the earth. The costly
and bright armour also of the Suta’s son that had been forged with great
care by many foremost of artists working for a long time, the son of
Pandu cut off within a moment in many fragments. After thus divesting him
of his armour, Partha then, in rage, pierced Karna with four whetted
shafts of great energy. Struck forcibly by his foe, Karna suffered great
pain like a diseased person afflicted by bile, phlegm, wind, and fever.
Once more Arjuna, with great speed, mangled Karna, piercing his very
vitals, with numerous excellent shafts, of great keenness, and sped from
his circling bow with much force and speed and care. Deeply struck by
Partha with those diverse arrows of keen points and fierce energy, Karna
(covered with blood) looked resplendent like a mountain of red chalk with
streams of red water running adown its breast. Once more Arjuna pierced
Karna in the centre of the chest with many straight-coursing and strong
shafts made entirely of iron and equipped with wings of gold and each
resembling the fiery rod of the Destroyer, like the son of Agni piercing
the Krauncha mountains. Then the Suta’s son, casting aside his bow that
resembled the very bow of Sakra, as also his quiver, felt great pain, and
stood inactive, stupefied, and reeling, his grasp loosened and himself in
great anguish. The virtuous Arjuna, observant of the duty of manliness,
wished not to slay his enemy while fallen into such distress. The younger
brother of Indra then, with great excitement, addressed him, saying,
“Why, O son of Pandu, dost thou become so forgetful? They that are truly
wise never spare their foes, however weak, even for a moment. He that is
learned earneth both merit and fame by slaying foes fallen into distress.
Lose no time in precipitately crushing Karna who is always inimical to
thee and who is the first of heroes. The Suta’s son, when able, will once
more advance against thee as before. Slay him, therefore, like Indra
slaying the Asura Namuci.” Saying, “So be it, O Krishna!” and worshipping
Janardana, Arjuna, that foremost of all persons in Kuru’s race once more
quickly pierced Karna with many excellent arrows like the ruler of
heaven, piercing the Asura, Samvara. The diadem-decked Partha, O Bharata,
covered Karna and his car and steeds with many calf-toothed arrows, and
putting forth all his vigour he shrouded all the points of the compass
with shafts equipped with wings of gold. Pierced with those arrows
equipped with heads like the calf’s tooth, Adhiratha’s son of broad chest
looked resplendent like an Asoka or Palasa or Salmali decked with its
flowery load or a mountain overgrown with a forest of sandal trees.
Indeed, with those numerous arrows sticking to his body, Karna, O
monarch, in that battle, looked resplendent like the prince of mountains
with its top and glens overgrown with trees or decked with flowering
Karnikaras. Karna also shooting repeated showers of arrows, looked, with
those arrows constituting his rays, like the sun coursing towards the
Asta hills, with disc bright with crimson rays. Shafts, however, of keen
points, sped from Arjuna’s arms, encountering in the welkin the blazing
arrows, resembling mighty snakes, sped from the arms of Adhiratha’s son,
destroyed them all. Recovering his coolness, and shooting many shafts
that resembled angry snakes, Karna then pierced Partha with ten shafts
and Krishna with half a dozen, each of which looked like an angry snake.
Then Dhananjaya desired to shoot a mighty and terrible arrow, made wholly
of iron, resembling the poison of snake or fire in energy, and whose
whizz resembling the peal of Indra’s thunder, and which was inspired with
the force of a high (celestial) weapon. At that time, when the hour of
Karna’s death had come, Kala, approaching invisibly, and alluding to the
Brahmana’s curse, and desirous of informing Karna that his death was
near, told him, “The Earth is devouring thy wheel!” Indeed, O foremost of
men, when the hour of Karna’s death came, the high brahmastra that the
illustrious Bhargava had imparted unto him, escaped from his memory. And
the earth also began to devour the left wheel of his car. Then in
consequence of the curse of that foremost of Brahmanas, Karna’s car began
to reel, having sunk deep into the earth and having been transfixed at
that spot like a sacred tree with its load of flowers standing upon an
elevated platform. When his car began to reel from the curse of the
Brahmana, and when the high weapon he had obtained from Rama no longer
shone in him through inward light, and when his terrible snake-mouthed
shaft also had been cut off by Partha, Karna became filled with
melancholy. Unable to endure all those calamities, he waved his arms and
began to rail at righteousness saying, “They that are conversant with
righteousness always say that righteousness protects those that are
righteous. As regards ourselves, we always endeavour, to the best of our
ability and knowledge to practise righteousness. That righteousness,
however, is destroying us now instead of protecting us that are devoted
to it. I, therefore, think that righteousness does not always protect its
worshippers.” While saying these words, he became exceedingly agitated by
the strokes of Arjuna’s arrows. His steeds and his driver also were
displaced from their usual position. His very vitals having been struck,
he became indifferent as to what he did, and repeatedly railed at
righteousness in that battle. He then pierced Krishna in the arm with
three terrible arrows, and Partha, too, with seven. Then Arjuna sped
seven and ten terrible arrows, perfectly straight and of fierce
impetuosity, resembling fire in splendour and like unto Indra’s thunder
in force. Endued with awful impetuosity, those arrows pierced Karna and
passing out of his body fell upon the surface of the earth. Trembling at
the shock, Karna then displayed his activity to the utmost of his power.
Steadying himself by a powerful effort he invoked the brahmastra.
Beholding the brahmastra, Arjuna invoked the Aindra weapon with proper
mantras. Inspiring gandiva, its string, and his shafts also, with
mantras, that scorcher of foes poured showers like Purandara pouring rain
in torrents. Those arrows endued with great energy and power, issuing out
of Partha’s car, were seen to be displayed in the vicinity of Karna’s
vehicle. The mighty car-warrior Karna baffled all those shafts displayed
in his front. Seeing that weapon thus destroyed, the Vrishni hero,
addressing Arjuna, said, “Shoot high weapons, O Partha! The son of Radha
baffles thy shafts.” With proper mantras, Arjuna then fixed the
brahmastra on his string, and shrouding all the points of the compass
with arrows, Partha struck Karna (with many) arrows. Then Karna, with a
number of whetted shafts endued with great energy, cut off the string of
Arjuna’s bow. Similarly he cut off the second string, and then the third,
and then the fourth, and then the fifth. The sixth also was cut off by
Vrisha, and then the seventh, then the eighth, then the ninth, then the
tenth, and then at last the eleventh. Capable of shooting hundreds upon
hundreds of arrows, Karna knew not that Partha had a hundred strings to
his bow. Tying another string to his bow and shooting many arrows, the
son of Pandu covered Karna with shafts that resembled snakes of blazing
mouths. So quickly did Arjuna replace each broken string that Karna could
not mark when it was broken and when replaced. The feat seemed to him to
be exceedingly wonderful. The son of Radha baffled with his own weapons
those of Savyasaci. Displaying also his own prowess, he seemed to get the
better of Dhananjaya at that time. Then Krishna, beholding Arjuna
afflicted with the weapons of Karna, said these words unto Partha:
“Approaching Karna, strike him with superior weapons.” Then Dhananjaya,
filled with rage, inspiring with mantras another celestial weapons that
looked like fire and that resembled the poison of the snake and that was
as hard as the essence of adamant, and uniting the Raudra weapon with it,
became desirous of shooting it at his foe. At that time, O king, the
earth swallowed up one of wheels of Karna’s car. Quickly alighting then
from his vehicle, he seized his sunken wheel with his two arms and
endeavoured to lift it up with a great effort. Drawn up with force by
Karna, the earth, which had swallowed up his wheel, rose up to a height
of four fingers’ breadth, with her seven islands and her hills and waters
and forests. Seeing his wheel swallowed, the son of Radha shed tears from
wrath, and beholding Arjuna, filled with rage he said these words, “O
Partha, O Partha, wait for a moment, that is, till I lift this sunken
wheel. Beholding, O Partha, the left wheel of my car swallowed through
accident by the earth, abandon (instead of cherishing) this purpose (of
striking and slaying me) that is capable of being harboured by only a
coward. Brave warriors that are observant of the practices of the
righteous, never shoot their weapons at persons with dishevelled hair, or
at those that have turned their faces from battle, or at a Brahmana, or
at him who joins his palms, or at him who yields himself up or beggeth
for quarter or at one who has put up his weapon, or at one whose arrows
are exhausted, or at one whose armour is displaced, or at one whose
weapon has fallen off or been broken! Thou art the bravest of men in the
world. Thou art also of righteous behaviour, O son of Pandu! Thou art
well-acquainted with the rules of battle. For these reasons, excuse me
for a moment, that is, till I extricate my wheel, O Dhananjaya, from the
earth. Thyself staying on thy car and myself standing weak and languid on
the earth, it behoveth thee not to slay me now. Neither Vasudeva, nor
thou, O son of Pandu, inspirest me with the slightest fear. Thou art born
in the Kshatriya order. Thou art the perpetuator of a high race.
Recollecting the teachings of righteousness, excuse me for a moment, O
son of Pandu!”‘”

91

“Sanjaya said, ‘Then Vasudeva, stationed on the car, addressed Karna,
saying, “By good luck it is, O son of Radha, that thou rememberest
virtue! It is generally seen that they that are mean, when they sink into
distress, rail at Providence but never at their own misdeeds. Thyself and
Suyodhana and Duhshasana and Shakuni, the son of Subala, had caused
Draupadi, clad in a single piece of raiment, to be brought into the midst
of the assembly. On that occasion, O Karna, this virtue of thine did not
manifest itself. When at the assembly Shakuni, an adept in dice,
vanquished Kunti’s son Yudhishthira who was unacquainted with it, whither
had this virtue of thine gone? When the Kuru king (Duryodhana), acting
under thy counsels, treated Bhimasena in that way with the aid of snakes
and poisoned food, whither had this virtue of thine then gone? When the
period of exile into the woods was over as also the thirteenth year, thou
didst not make over to the Pandavas their kingdom. Whither had this
virtue of thine then gone? Thou didst set fire to the house of lac at
Varanavata for burning to death the sleeping Pandavas. Whither then, O
son of Radha, had this virtue of thine gone? Thou laughedest at Krishna
while she stood in the midst of the assembly, scantily dressed because in
her season and obedient to Duhshasana’s will, whither, then, O Karna, had
this virtue of thine gone? When from the apartment reserved for the
females innocent Krishna was dragged, thou didst not interfere. Whither,
O son of Radha, had this virtue of thine gone? Thyself addressing the
princess Draupadi, that lady whose tread is as dignified as that of the
elephant, in these words, viz., ‘The Pandavas, O Krishna, are lost. They
have sunk into eternal hell. Do thou choose another husband!’ thou
lookedest on the scene with delight. Whither then, O Karna, had this
virtue of thine gone? Covetous of kingdom and relying on the ruler of the
Gandharvas, thou summonedest the Pandavas (to a match of dice). Whither
then had this virtue of thine gone? When many mighty car-warriors,
encompassing the boy Abhimanyu in battle, slew him, whither had this
virtue of thine then gone? If this virtue that thou now invokest was
nowhere on those occasions, what is the use then of parching thy palate
now, by uttering that word? Thou art now for the practice of virtue, O
Suta, but thou shalt not escape with life. Like Nala who was defeated by
Pushkara with the aid of dice but who regained his kingdom by prowess,
the Pandavas, who are free from cupidity, will recover their kingdom by
the prowess of their arms, aided with all their friends. Having slain in
battle their powerful foes, they, with the Somakas, will recover their
kingdom. The Dhartarashtras will meet with destruction at the hands of
those lions among men (viz., the sons of Pandu), that are always
protected by virtue!'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Thus addressed, O Bharata, by Vasudeva, Karna hung
down his head in shame and gave no answer. With lips quivering in rage,
he raised his bow, O Bharata, and, being endued with great energy and
prowess, he continued to fight with Partha. Then Vasudeva, addressing
Phalguna, that bull among men, said, “O thou of great might, piercing
Karna with a celestial weapon, throw him down.” Thus addressed by the
holy one, Arjuna became filled with rage. Indeed, remembering the
incidents alluded to by Krishna, Dhananjaya blazed up with fury. Then, O
king, blazing flames of fire seemed to emanate from all the pores of the
angry Partha’s body. The sight seemed to be exceedingly wonderful.
Beholding it, Karna, invoking the brahmastra, showered his shafts upon
Dhananjaya, and once more made an effort to extricate his car. Partha
also, by the aid of the brahmastra, poured arrowy downpours upon Karna.
Baffling with his own weapon the weapon of his foe, the son of Pandu
continued to strike him. The son of Kunti then, aiming at Karna sped
another favourite weapon of his that was inspired with the energy of
Agni. Sped by Arjuna, that weapon blazed up with its own energy. Karna,
however, quenched that conflagration with the Varuna weapon. The Suta’s
son also, by the clouds he created, caused all the points of the compass
to be shrouded with a darkness such as may be seen on a rainy day. The
son of Pandu, endued with great energy, fearlessly dispelled those clouds
by means of the Vayavya weapon in the very sight of Karna. The Suta’s son
then, for slaying the son of Pandu, took up a terrible arrow blazing like
fire. When that adored shaft was fixed on the bow-string, the earth, O
king, trembled with her mountains and waters and forests. Violent winds
began to blow, bearing hard pebbles. All the points of the compass became
enveloped with dust. Wails of grief, O Bharata, arose among the gods in
the welkin. Beholding that shaft aimed by the Suta’s son, O sire, the
Pandavas, with cheerless hearts, gave themselves up to great sorrow. That
shaft of keen point and endued with the effulgence of Sakra’s thunder,
sped from Karna’s arms, fell upon Dhananjaya’s chest and penetrated it
like a mighty snake penetrating an ant-hill. That grinder of foes, viz.,
the high-souled Vibhatsu, thus deeply pierced in that encounter, began to
reel. His grasp became loosened, at which his bow Gandiva dropped from
his hand. He trembled like the prince of mountains in an earthquake.
Availing himself of that opportunity, the mighty car-warrior Vrisha,
desirous of extricating his car-wheel that had been swallowed up by the
earth, jumped down from his vehicle. Seizing the wheel with his two arms
he endeavoured to drag it up, but though possessed of great strength, he
failed in his efforts, as destiny would have it. Meanwhile the
diadem-decked and high-souled Arjuna, recovering his senses, took up a
shaft, fatal as the rod of Death, and called anjalika. Then Vasudeva,
addressing Partha, said, “Cut off with thy arrow the head of this enemy
of thine, viz., Vrisha, before he succeeds in getting upon his car.”
Applauding those words of the lord Vasudeva, and while the wheel of his
enemy was still sunk, the mighty car-warrior Arjuna took up a
razor-headed arrow of blazing effulgence and struck the standard (of
Karna) bearing the elephant’s rope and bright as the spotless sun. That
standard bearing the device of the costly elephant’s rope, was adorned
with gold and pearls and gems and diamonds, and forged with care by
foremost of artists excelling in knowledge, and possessed of great
beauty, and variegated with pure gold. That standard always used to fill
thy troops with high courage and the enemy with fear. Its form commanded
applause. Celebrated over the whole world, it resembled the sun in
splendour. Indeed, its effulgence was like that of fire or the sun or the
moon. The diadem-decked Arjuna, with that razor-headed shaft, exceedingly
sharp, equipped with wings of gold, possessed of the splendour of fire
when fed with libations of clarified butter, and blazing with beauty, cut
off that standard of Adhiratha’s son, that great car-warrior. With that
standard, as it fell, the fame, pride, hope of victory, and everything
dear, as also the hearts of the Kurus, fell, and loud wails of “Oh!” and
“Alas!” arose (from the Kuru army). Beholding that standard cut off and
thrown down by that hero of Kuru’s race possessed of great lightness of
hand, thy troops, O Bharata, were no longer hopeful of Karna’s victory.
Hastening then for Karna’s destruction, Partha took out from his quiver
an excellent Anjalika weapon that resembled the thunder of Indra or the
rod of fire and that was possessed of the effulgence of the
thousand-rayed Sun. Capable of penetrating the very vitals, besmeared
with blood and flesh, resembling fire or the sun, made of costly
materials, destructive of men, steeds, and elephants, of straight course
and fierce impetuosity, it measured three cubits and six feet. Endued
with the force of the thousand-eyed Indra’s thunder, irresistible as
Rakshasas in the night, resembling Pinaka or Narayana’s discus, it was
exceedingly terrible and destructive of all living creatures. Partha
cheerfully took up that great weapon, in the shape of an arrow, which
could not be resisted by the very gods, that high-souled being which was
always adored by the son of Pandu, and which was capable of vanquishing
the very gods and the Asuras. Beholding that shaft grasped by Partha in
that battle, the entire universe shook with its mobile and immobile
creatures. Indeed, seeing that weapon raised (for being sped) in that
dreadful battle, the Rishis loudly cried out, “Peace be to the universe!”
The wielder of Gandiva then fixed on his bow that unrivalled arrow,
uniting it with a high and mighty weapon. Drawing his bow Gandiva, he
quickly said, “Let this shaft of mine be like a mighty weapon capable of
quickly destroying the body and heart of my enemy, if I have ever
practised ascetic austerities, gratified my superiors, and listened to
the counsels of well-wishers. Let this shaft, worshipped by me and
possessed of great sharpness, slay my enemy Karna by that Truth.” Having
said these words Dhananjaya let off that terrible shaft for the
destruction of Karna, that arrow fierce and efficacious as a rite
prescribed in the Atharvan of Angiras, blazing with effulgence, and
incapable of being endured by Death himself in battle. And the
diadem-decked Partha, desirous of slaying Karna, with great cheerfulness,
said, “Let this shaft conduce to my victory. Shot by me, let this arrow
possessed of the splendour of fire or the sun take Karna to the presence
of Yama.” Saying these words, Arjuna, decked with diadem and garlands,
cherishing feelings of hostility towards Karna and desirous of slaying
him, cheerfully struck his foe with that foremost of shafts which was
possessed of the splendour of the sun or the moon and capable of
bestowing victory. Thus sped by that mighty warrior, that shaft endued
with the energy of the sun caused all the points of the compass to blaze
up with light. With that weapon Arjuna struck off his enemy’s head like
Indra striking off the head of Vritra with his thunder. Indeed, O king,
with that excellent Anjalika weapon inspired with mantras into a mighty
weapon, the son of Indra cut off the head of Vaikartana in the afternoon.
Thus cut off with that Anjalika, the trunk of Karna fell down on the
earth. The head also of that commander of the (Kaurava) army, endued with
splendour equal to that of the risen sun and resembling the meridian sun
of autumn, fell down on the earth like the sun of bloody disc dropped
down from the Asta hills. Indeed, that head abandoned with great
unwillingness the body, exceedingly beautiful and always nursed in
luxury, of Karna of noble deeds, like an owner abandoning with great
unwillingness his commodious mansion filled with great wealth. Cut off
with Arjuna’s arrow, and deprived of life, the tall trunk of Karna endued
with great splendour, with blood issuing from every wound, fell down like
the thunder-riven summit of a mountain of red chalk with crimson streams
running down its sides after a shower. Then from that body of the fallen
Karna a light passing through the welkin penetrated the sun. This
wonderful sight, O king, was beheld by the human warriors after the fall
of Karna. Then the Pandavas, beholding Karna slain by Phalguna, loudly
blew their conchs. Similarly, Krishna and Dhananjaya also, filled with
delight, and losing no time, blew their conchs. The Somakas beholding
Karna slain and lying on the field, were filled with joy and uttered loud
shouts with the other troops (of the Pandava army). In great delight they
blew their trumpets and waved their arms and garments. All the warriors,
O king, approaching Partha, began to applaud him joyfully. Others,
possessed of might, danced, embracing each other, and uttering loud
shouts, said, “By good luck, Karna hath been stretched on the earth and
mangled with arrows.” Indeed, the severed head of Karna looked beautiful
like a mountain summit loosened by a tempest, or a quenched fire after
the sacrifice is over, or the image of the sun after it has reached the
Asta hills. The Karna-sun, with arrows for its rays, after having
scorched the hostile army, was at last caused to be set by the mighty
Arjuna-time. As the Sun, while proceeding towards the Asta hills, retires
taking away with him all his rays, even so that shaft (of Arjuna) passed
out, taking with it Karna’s life breaths. The death hour of the Suta’s
son, O sire, was the afternoon of that day. Cut off with the Anjalika
weapon in that battle, the head of Karna fell down along with his body.
Indeed, that arrow of Arjuna, in the very sight of the Kaurava troops,
quickly took away the head and the body of Karna. Beholding the heroic
Karna thrown down stretched on the earth, pierced with arrows and bathed
in blood, the king of the Madras, went away on that car deprived of its
standard. After the fall of Karna, the Kauravas, deeply pierced with
shafts in that battle, and afflicted with fear, fled away from the field,
frequently casting their eyes on that lofty standard of Arjuna that
blazed with splendour. The beautiful head, graced with a face that
resembled a lotus of a 1,000 petals, of Karna whose feats were like those
of the thousand-eyed Indra, fell down on the earth like the
thousand-rayed sun as he looks at the close of day.'”

92

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding the troops crushed with arrows in that
encounter between Karna and Arjuna, Shalya proceeded, filled with wrath,
on that car divested of equipment. Beholding his army deprived of the
Suta’s son and its cars and steeds and elephants destroyed, Duryodhana,
with eyes bathed in tears, repeatedly sighed the very picture of woe.
Desirous of beholding the heroic Karna, pierced with arrows and bathed in
blood, and stretched on the earth like the sun dropped from the skies at
will, the warriors came there and stood surrounding the fallen hero.
Amongst those belonging to the enemy and thy army that thus stood there,
some showed signs of joy, some of fear, some of sorrow, some of wonder,
and some gave themselves up to great grief, according to their respective
natures. Others amongst the Kauravas, hearing that Karna of mighty energy
had been slain by Dhananjaya, his armour, ornaments, robes, and weapons
having all been displaced, fled in fear like a herd of kine afflicted
with exceeding fear at losing its bull. Bhima then, uttering loud roars
and causing the welkin to tremble with those awful and tremendous shouts,
began to slap his armpits, jump, and dance, frightening the
Dhartarashtras by those movements. The Somakas and the Srinjayas also
loudly blew their conchs. All the Kshatriyas embraced one another in joy,
upon beholding the Suta’s son slain at that juncture. Having fought a
dreadful battle, Karna was slain by Arjuna like an elephant by a lion.
That bull among men, Arjuna, thus accomplished his vow. Indeed even thus,
Partha reached the end of his hostility (towards Karna). The ruler of the
Madras, with stupefied heart, quickly proceeding, O king, to the side of
Duryodhana, on that car divested of standard said in sorrow these words,
“The elephants, the steeds, and the foremost of car-warriors of thy army
have been slain. In consequence of those mighty warriors, and steeds, and
elephants huge as hills, having been slain after coming into contact with
one another, thy host looks like the domains of Yama. Never before, O
Bharata, has a battle been fought like that between Karna and Arjuna
today. Karna had powerfully assailed the two Krishnas today and all
others who are thy foes. Destiny, however, has certainly flowed,
controlled by Partha. It is for this that Destiny is protecting the
Pandavas and weakening us. Many are the heroes who, resolved to
accomplish thy objects have been forcibly slain by the enemy. Brave
kings, who in energy, courage, and might, were equal to Kuvera or Yama or
Vasava or the Lord of the waters, who were possessed of every merit, who
were almost unslayable, and who were desirous of achieving thy object,
have in battle been slain by the Pandavas. Do not, O Bharata, grieve for
this. This is Destiny. Comfort thyself. Success cannot be always
attained.” Hearing these words of the ruler of the Madras and reflecting
on his own evil doings. Duryodhana, with a cheerless heart, became almost
deprived of his senses and sighed repeatedly the very picture of woe.'”

93

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘What was the aspect of the Kuru and the Srinjaya
host on that awful day while it was crushed with arrows and scorched
(with weapons) in that encounter between Karna and Arjuna and while it
was flying away from the field?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Hear, O king, with attention how that awful and great
carnage of human beings and elephants and steeds occurred in battle.
When, after Karna’s fall Partha uttered leonine shouts, a great fright
entered the hearts of thy sons. Upon the fall of Karna no warrior of thy
army set his heart on rallying the troops or putting forth his prowess.
Their refuge having been destroyed by Arjuna, they were then like
raftless merchants, whose vessels have wrecked on the fathomless ocean,
desirous of crossing the uncrossable main. After the slaughter of the
Suta’s son, O king, the Kauravas, terrified and mangled with shafts,
masterless and desirous of protection, became like a herd of elephants
afflicted by lions. Vanquished by Savyasaci on that afternoon, they fled
away like bulls with broken horns or snakes with broken fangs. Their
foremost of heroes slain, their troops thrown into confusion, themselves
mangled with keen arrows, thy sons, after the fall of Karna, O king, fled
away in fear. Divested of weapons and armour, no longer able to ascertain
which point of the compass was which, and deprived of their senses, they
crushed one another in course of their flight and looked at one another,
afflicted with fear. “It is me that Vibhatsu is pursuing with speed!” “It
is me that Vrikodara is pursuing with speed!”–thought every one among
the Kauravas who became pale with fear and fell down as they fled. Some
on horses, some on cars, some on elephants, and some on foot, mighty
car-warriors, endued with great speed, fled away in fear. Cars were
broken by elephants, horsemen were crushed by great car-warriors, and
bands of foot-soldiers were trodden down by bodies of horsemen, as these
fled in fear. After the fall of the Suta’s son, thy warriors became like
people without protectors in a forest teeming with beasts of prey and
robbers. They were then like elephants without riders and men without
arms. Afflicted with fear, they looked upon the world as if it were full
of Partha. Beholding them fly away afflicted with the fear of Bhimasena,
indeed, and seeing his troops thus leave the field in thousands,
Duryodhana, uttering cries of “Oh!” and “Alas!” addressed his driver,
saying, “Partha will never be able to transgress me standing bow in hand.
Urge my steeds slowly behind all the troops. Without doubt, if I fight
standing in the rear of the army, the son of Kunti will never be able to
transgress me even as the vast deep is unable to transgress its
continents. Slaying Arjuna and Govinda and the proud Vrikodara and the
rest of my foes, I will free myself from the debt I owe to Karna.”
Hearing these words of the Kuru king that were so worthy of a hero and
honourable man, the charioteer slowly urged his steeds adorned with
trappings of gold. Then 25,000 warriors on foot, belonging to thy army,
without cars and cavalry and elephants among them, prepared for battle.
Bhimasena, filled with wrath, and Dhrishtadyumna the son of Prishata,
encompassed them with four kinds of forces and began to strike them with
their shafts. In return, those warriors fought with Bhima and Prishata’s
son. Some amongst them challenged the two heroes by name. Then Bhimasena
became filled with rage. Alighting from his car, mace in hand, he fought
with those warriors arrived for battle. Observant of the rules of fair
fight, Vrikodara, the son of Kunti, came down from his car, and relying
upon the might of his arms, began to fight on foot with those foes of his
that were on foot. Taking up his massive mace adorned with gold, he began
to slaughter them all, like the Destroyer armed with his bludgeon. The
Kaurava warriors on foot, filled with rage and becoming reckless of their
lives, rushed against Bhima in that battle like insects upon a blazing
fire. Those infuriated combatants, difficult of being defeated in battle,
approaching Bhimasena, perished in a trice like living creatures upon
seeing the Destroyer. The mighty Bhima, armed with a mace, careered like
a hawk and destroyed all those 25,000 combatants. Having slain that
division of heroic warriors, Bhima, of prowess incapable of being baffled
and of great might, once more stood, with Dhrishtadyumna before him.
Possessed of great energy, Dhananjaya proceeded against the (remnant of
the) car-force (of the Kauravas). The two sons of Madri, and Satyaki,
filled with joy, rushed with speed against Shakuni and slaughtered the
troops of Subala’s son. Having slain with keen shafts his cavalry and
elephants in that encounter, they rushed impetuously against Shakuni
himself, upon which a great battle took place. Meanwhile Dhananjaya, O
lord, proceeding against thy car-force, twanged his bow Gandiva
celebrated over the three worlds. Beholding that car having white steeds
yoked unto it and owning Krishna for its driver, and seeing that Arjuna
was the warrior standing on it, thy troops fled away in fear. 25,000
soldiers on foot, deprived of cars and mangled with shafts, had perished
(at the hands of Bhima and Dhrishtadyumna). Having slain them, that tiger
among men, that great car-warrior among the Pancalas, viz., the
high-souled Dhrishtadyumna the son of the Pancala king, soon showed
himself, with Bhimasena before him. That slayer of foes and mighty bowman
appeared exceedingly handsome. Beholding Dhrishtadyumna’s car which had
steeds white as pigeons yoked unto it and whose lofty standard was made
of the trunk of a Kovidara, the Kauravas fled away in great fear. The
twins (Nakula and Sahadeva) of great fame, and Satyaki, having pursued
with great speed the king of the Gandharvas who was possessed of
lightness of hands in the use of weapons, re-appeared (amid the Pandava
ranks). Chekitana and Shikhandi and the (five) sons of Draupadi, O sire,
having slaughtered thy vast army, blew their conchs. All those heroes,
although they saw thy troops flying away with faces turned from the
field, still pursued them, like bulls pursuing angry bulls after
vanquishing them. Pandu’s son Savyasaci of great might, O king, beholding
a remnant of thy army still standing for battle, became filled with
wrath. Possessed of great energy, Dhananjaya, rushed against that
car-force, drawing his bow Gandiva celebrated over the three worlds.
Suddenly he shrouded them with showers of arrows. The dust that was
raised darkened the scene and nothing could any longer be distinguished.
When the earth was thus shrouded with dust and when darkness covered
everything, thy troops, O king, fled on all sides from fear. When the
Kuru army was thus broken, the Kuru king, O monarch, viz., thy son,
rushed against all his foes advancing against him. Then Duryodhana
challenged all the Pandavas to battle, O chief of Bharata’s race, like
the Asura Vali in days of yore challenging the gods. At this, all the
Pandava heroes, uniting together, rushed against the advancing
Duryodhana, shooting and hurling at him diverse weapons and upbraiding
him repeatedly. Duryodhana, however, filled with rage, fearlessly
slaughtered those enemies of his in hundreds and thousands, with keen
shafts. The prowess that we then beheld of thy son was exceedingly
wonderful, for alone and unsupported, he fought with all the Pandavas
united together. Duryodhana then beheld his own troops who, mangled with
arrows, had set their hearts on flight, gone not far from the field.
Rallying them then, O monarch, thy son who was resolved to maintain his
honour, gladdening those warriors of his, said these words unto them: “I
do not see that spot in the earth or on the mountains, whither if ye fly,
the Pandavas will not slay you! What use then in flying away? Small is
the force that the Pandavas now have. The two Krishnas also are
exceedingly mangled. If all of us stay for battle, victory will certainly
be ours. If we fly in disunion, the sinful Pandavas, pursuing us, will
certainly slay all of us. For this, it is better that we should die in
battle. Death in battle is fraught with happiness. Fight, observant of
the Kshatriya’s duty. He that is dead knows no misery. On the other hand,
such a one enjoys eternal bliss hereafter. Listen, ye Kshatriyas, ay, all
of you, that are assembled here! When the destroyer Yama spareth neither
the hero nor the coward, who is there so foolish of understanding,
although observant of a Kshatriya’s vow like us, that would not fight.
Would ye place yourselves under the power of the angry foe Bhimasena? It
behoveth you not to abandon the duty observed by your sires and
grandsires. There is no greater sin for a Kshatriya than flight from
battle. There is no more blessed path for heaven, ye Kauravas, than the
duty of battle. Slain in battle, ye warriors, enjoy heaven without
delay.'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘While even these words were being uttered by thy
son, the (Kaurava) warriors, exceedingly mangled, fled away on all sides,
regardless of that speech.'”

94

“Sanjaya said, ‘The ruler of the Madras then, beholding thy son employed
in rallying the troops, with fear depicted on his countenance and with
heart stupefied with grief, said these words unto Duryodhana.

“‘Shalya said, “Behold this awful field of battle, O hero, covered with
heaps of slain men and steeds and elephants. Some tracts are covered with
fallen elephants huge as mountains, exceedingly mangled, their vital
limbs pierced with shafts, lying helplessly, deprived of life, their
armour displaced and the weapons, the shields and the swords with which
they were equipped lying scattered about. These fallen animals resemble
huge mountains riven with thunder, with their rocks and lofty trees and
herbs loosened from them and lying all around. The bells and iron hooks
and lances and standards with which those huge creatures had been
equipped are lying on the ground. Adorned with housings of gold, their
bodies are now bathed in blood. Some tracts, again, are covered with
fallen steeds, mangled with shafts, breathing hard in pain and vomitting
blood. Some of them are sending forth soft wails of pain, some are biting
the earth with rolling eyes and some are uttering piteous neighs.
Portions of the field are covered with horsemen and elephant-warriors
fallen off from their animals, and with bands of car-warriors forcibly
thrown down from their cars. Some of them are already dead and some are
at the point of death. Covered also with the corpses of men and steeds
and elephants as also with crushed cars and other huge elephants with
their trunks and limbs cut off, the earth has become awful to look at
like the great Vaitarani (skirting the domains of Yama). Indeed, the
earth looketh even such, being strewn with other elephants, stretched on
the ground with trembling bodies and broken tusks, vomiting blood,
uttering soft cries in pain, deprived of the warriors on their backs,
divested of the armour that covered their limbs, and reft of the
foot-soldiers that protected their flank and rear, and with their quivers
and banners and standards displaced, their bodies adorned with housings
of gold struck deep with the weapons of the foe. The earth looked like
the cloud-covered welkin in consequence of being strewn with the fallen
bodies of elephant-warriors and horse-men and carwarriors, all of great
fame, and of foot-soldiers slain by foes fighting face to face, and
divested of armour and ornaments and attire and weapons. Covered with
thousands of fallen combatants mangled with arrows, fully exposed to
view, and deprived of consciousness, with some amongst them whose breaths
were returning slowly, the earth seemed as if covered with many
extinguished fires. With those foremost of heroes among both the Kurus
and the Srinjayas, pierced with arrows and deprived of life by Partha and
Karna, the earth seemed as if strewn with blazing planets fallen from the
firmament, or like the nocturnal firmament itself bespangled with blazing
planets of serene light. The shafts sped from the arms of Karna and
Arjuna, piercing through the bodies of elephants and steeds and men and
quickly stilling their lives, entered the earth like mighty snakes
entering their holes with heads bent downwards. The earth has become
impassable with heaps of slain men and steeds and elephants, and with
cars broken with the shafts of Dhananjaya and Adhiratha’s son and with
the numberless shafts themselves shot by them. Strewn with well-equipped
cars crushed by means of mighty shafts along with the warriors and the
weapons and the standards upon them, cars, that is, with their traces
broken, their joints separated, their axles and yokes and Trivenus
reduced to fragments, their wheels loosened, their Upaskaras destroyed,
their Anukarsanas cut in pieces, the fastenings of their quivers cut off,
and their niches (for the accommodation of drivers) broken, strewn with
those vehicles adorned with gems and gold, the earth looks like the
firmament overspread with autumnal clouds. In consequence of
well-equipped royal cars deprived of riders and dragged by fleet steeds,
as also of men and elephants and cars and horses that fled very quickly,
the army has been broken in diverse ways. Spiked maces with golden bells,
battle-axes, sharp lances, heavy clubs, mallets, bright unsheathed
swords, and maces covered with cloth of gold, have fallen on the field.
Bows decked with ornaments of gold, and shafts equipped with beautiful
wings of pure gold, and bright unsheathed rapiers of excellent temper,
and lances, and scimitars bright as gold, and umbrellas, and fans, and
conchs, and arms decked with excellent flowers and gold, and caparisons
of elephants, and standards, and car fences and diadems, and necklaces,
and brilliant crowns, and yak-tails lying about, O king, and garlands
luminous with corals and pearls, and chaplets for the head, and bracelets
for both the wrist and the upper arms, and collars for the neck with
strings of gold, and diverse kinds of costly diamonds and gems and
pearls, and bodies brought up in a great luxury, and heads beautiful as
the moon, are lying scattered about. Abandoning their bodies and
enjoyments and robes and diverse kinds of agreeable pleasures, and
acquiring great merit for the devotion they showed to the virtuous of
their order, they have speedily gone in a blaze of flame to regions of
bliss. Turn back, O Duryodhana! Let the troops retire! O king, O giver of
honours, proceed towards thy camp! There, the Sun is hanging low in the
welkin, O lord! Remember, O ruler of men, that thou art the cause of all
this!”

“‘Having said these words unto Duryodhana, Shalya, with heart filled with
grief, stopped. Duryodhana, however, at that time, deeply afflicted and
deprived of his senses, and with eyes bathed in tears, wept for the
Suta’s son, saying, “Karna! Oh Karna!” Then all the kings headed by
Drona’s son, repeatedly comforting Duryodhana, proceeded towards the
camp, frequently looking back at the lofty standard of Arjuna that seemed
to be ablaze with his fame. At that terrible hour when everything around
looked so resplendent, the Kauravas, all of whom had resolved to repair
to the other world, their features incapable of recognition owing to the
blood that covered them, beholding the earth, that was drenched with the
blood flowing from the bodies of men and steeds and elephants, looking
like a courtesan attired in crimson robes and floral garlands and
ornaments of gold, were unable, O king, to stand there! Filled with grief
at the slaughter of Karna, they indulged in loud lamentations, saying,
“Alas, Karna! Alas Karna!” Beholding the Sun assume a crimson hue, all of
them speedily proceeded towards their camp. As regards Karna, though
slain and pierced with gold-winged shafts whetted on stone and equipped
with feathers and dyed in blood and sped from gandiva, yet that hero,
lying on the ground, looked resplendent like the Sun himself of bright
rays. It seemed that illustrious Surya, ever kind to his worshippers,
having touched with his rays the gore-drenched body of Karna, proceeded,
with aspect crimson in grief, to the other ocean from desire of a bath.
Thinking so, the throngs of celestials and rishis (that had come there
for witnessing the battle) left the scene for proceeding to their
respective abodes. The large crowd of other beings also, entertaining the
same thought, went away, repairing as they chose to heaven or the earth.
The foremost of Kuru heroes also, having beheld that wonderful battle
between Dhananjaya and Adhiratha’s son, which had inspired all living
creatures with dread, proceeded (to their nightly quarters), filled with
wonder and applauding (the encounter). Though his armour had been cut off
with arrows, and though he had been slain in course of that dreadful
fight, still that beauty of features which the son of Radha possessed did
not abandon him when dead. Indeed, everyone beheld the body of the hero
to resemble heated gold. It seemed to be endued with life and possessed
of the effulgence of fire or the sun. All the warriors, O king, were
inspired with fright at sight of the Suta’s son lying dead on the field,
like other animals at sight of the lion. Indeed, though dead, that tiger
among men seemed ready to utter his commands. Nothing, in that
illustrious dead, seemed changed. Clad in beautiful attire, and possessed
of a neck that was very beautiful, the Suta’s son owned a face which
resembled the full moon in splendour. Adorned with diverse ornaments and
decked with Angadas made of bright gold, Vaikartana, though slain, lay
stretched like a gigantic tree adorned with branches and twigs. Indeed,
that tiger among men lay like a heap of pure gold, or like a blazing fire
extinguished with the water of Partha’s shafts. Even as a blazing
conflagration is extinguished when it comes in contact with water, the
Karna-conflagration was extinguished by the Partha-cloud in the battle.
Having shot showers of arrows and scorched the ten points of the compass,
that tiger among men, viz., Karna, along with his sons, was quieted by
Partha’s energy. He left the world, taking away with him that blazing
glory of his own which he had earned on earth by fair fight. Having
scorched the Pandavas and the Pancalas with the energy of his weapons,
having poured showers of arrows and burnt the hostile divisions, having,
indeed, heated the universe like the thousand-rayed Surya of great
beauty, Karna, otherwise called Vaikartana, left the world, with his sons
and followers. Thus fell that hero who was a Kalpa tree unto those swarms
of birds represented by suitors. Solicited by suitors he always said, “I
give” but never the words “I have not!” The righteous always regarded him
as a righteous person. Even such was Vrisha who fell in single combat.
All the wealth of that high-souled person had been dedicated to the
Brahmanas. There was nothing, not even his life, that he could not give
away unto the Brahmanas. He was ever the favourite of ladies, exceedingly
liberal, and a mighty car-warrior. Burnt by the weapons of Partha, he
attained to the highest end. He, relying upon whom thy son had provoked
hostilities, thus went to heaven, taking away with him the hope of
victory, the happiness, and the armour of the Kauravas. When Karna fell,
the rivers stood still. The Sun set with a pale hue. The planet Mercury,
the son of Soma, assuming the hue of fire or the Sun, appeared to course
through the firmament in a slanting direction. The firmament seemed to be
rent in twain; the earth uttered loud roars; violent and awful winds
began to blow. All the points of the horizon, covered with smoke, seemed
to be ablaze. The great oceans were agitated and uttered awful sounds.
The mountains with their forests began to tremble, and all creatures, O
sire, felt pain. The planet Jupiter, afflicting the constellation Rohini
assumed the hue of the moon or the sun. Upon the fall of Karna, the
subsidiary points also of the compass became ablaze. The sky became
enveloped in darkness. The earth trembled. Meteors of blazing splendour
fell. Rakshasas and other wanderers of the night became filled with joy.
When Arjuna, with that razor-faced shaft, struck off Karna’s head adorned
with a face beautiful as the moon, then, O king, loud cries of “Oh!” and
“Alas!” were heard of creatures in heaven, in the welkin, and on the
earth. Having in battle slain his foe Karna who was worshipped by the
gods, the gandharvas, and human beings, Pritha’s son Arjuna looked
resplendent in his energy like the deity of a 1,000 eyes after the
slaughter of Vritra. Then riding on that car of theirs whose rattle
resembled the roar of the clouds and whose splendour was like that of the
meridian sun of the autumnal sky, which was adorned with banners and
equipped with a standard incessantly producing an awful noise, whose
effulgence resembled that of the snow or the Moon or the conch or the
crystal, and whose steeds were like those of Indra himself, those two
foremost of men, viz., the son of Pandu and the crusher of Keshi, whose
energy resembled that of the great Indra, and who were adorned with gold
and pearls and gems and diamonds and corals, and who were like fire or
the sun in splendour, fearlessly careered over the field of battle with
great speed, like Vishnu and Vasava mounted on the same chariot. Forcibly
divesting the enemy of his splendour by means of the twang of gandiva and
the slaps of their palms, and slaying the Kurus with showers of shafts,
the Ape-bannered Arjuna, the Garuda-bannered Krishna, both of whom were
possessed of immeasurable prowess, those two foremost of men, filled with
joy, took up with their hands their loud-sounding conchs adorned with
gold and white as snow, and placing them against their lips, blew
simultaneously with those beautiful mouths of theirs, piercing the hearts
of their foes with the sound. The blare of pancajanya and that of
devadatta filled the earth, the sky, and heaven.

At the sound of the heroic Madhava’s conch as also at that of Arjuna’s,
all the Kauravas, O best of kings, became filled with fright. Those
foremost of men, causing the forests, the mountains, the rivers and the
points of the compass to resound with the blare of their conchs, and
filling the army of thy son with fright, gladdened Yudhishthira
therewith. As soon as the Kauravas heard the blare of those conchs that
were thus being blown, all of them left the field with great speed,
deserting the ruler of the Madras and the chief of the Bharatas, O
Bharata, viz., Duryodhana. Then diverse creatures, uniting together,
congratulated Dhananjaya, that hero shining resplendent on the field of
battle, as also Janardana, those two foremost of men who then looked like
a couple of risen suns. Pierced with Karna’s arrows, those two chastisers
of foes, Acyuta and Arjuna, looked resplendent like the bright and
many-rayed moon and the sun risen after dispelling a gloom. Casting off
those arrows, those two mighty warriors, both endued with unrivalled
prowess, surrounded by well-wishers and friends, happily entered their
own encampment, like the lords Vasava and Vishnu duly invoked by
sacrificial priests. Upon the slaughter of Karna in that dreadful battle,
the gods, gandharvas, human beings, caranas, great rishis, yakshas, and
great nagas, worshipped Krishna and Arjuna with great respect and wished
them victory (in all things). Having received all their friends then,
each according to his age, and applauded by those friends in return for
their incomparable feats, the two heroes rejoiced with their friends,
like the chief of the celestials and Vishnu after the overthrow of Vali.'”

95

“Sanjaya said, ‘Upon the fall of Karna otherwise called Vaikartana, the
Kauravas, afflicted with fear, fled away on all sides, casting their eyes
on empty space. Indeed, hearing that the heroic Karna had been slain by
the foe, all thy troops, stupefied with fear, broke and fled in all
directions. Then, O king, the leaders, filled with anxiety, desirous of
withdrawing their troops, O Bharata, whose flight had been endeavoured to
be checked by thy son. Understanding their wishes, thy son, O bull of
Bharata’s race, acting according to the advice of Shalya, withdrew the
army. Then Kritavarma, O Bharata, surrounded by thy unslaughtered remnant
of thy Narayana troops of thy army, quickly proceeded towards the
encampment. Surrounded by a 1,000 gandharvas, Shakuni, beholding the son
of Adhiratha slain, proceeded quickly towards the encampment.
Sharadvata’s son, Kripa, O king, surrounded by the large elephant force
that resembled a mass of clouds, proceeded quickly towards the
encampment. The heroic Ashvatthama, repeatedly drawing deep breaths at
the sight of the victory of the Pandavas, proceeded quickly towards the
encampment. Surrounded by the unslaughtered remnant of the samsaptakas
which was still a large force, Susharma also, O king, proceeded, casting
his eyes on those terrified soldiers. King Duryodhana, deeply afflicted
and deprived of everything, proceeded, his heart filled with grief, and a
prey to many cheerless thoughts. Shalya, that foremost of car-warriors,
proceeded towards the camp, on that car deprived of standard, casting his
eyes on all sides. The other mighty car-warriors of the Bharata army,
still numerous, fled quickly, afflicted with fear, filled with shame, and
almost deprived of their senses. Indeed seeing Karna overthrown, all the
Kauravas fled away quickly, afflicted and anxious with fear, trembling,
and with voices choked with tears. The mighty car-warriors of thy army
fled away in fear, O chief of Kuru’s race, some applauding Arjuna, some
applauding Karna. Amongst those thousands of warriors of thy army in that
great battle, there was not a single person who had still any wish for
fight. Upon the fall of Karna, O monarch, the Kauravas became hopeless of
life, kingdom, wives, and wealth. Guiding them with care, O lord, thy
son, filled with grief and sorrow, set his heart upon resting them for
the night. Those great car-warriors also, O monarch, accepting his orders
with bent heads, retired from the field with cheerless hearts and pale
faces.'”

96

“Sanjaya said, ‘After Karna had thus been slain and the Kaurava troops
had fled away, he of Dasharha’s race, embracing Partha from joy, said
unto him these words: “Vritra was slain by thee. Men will talk (in the
same breath) of the slaughter of Vritra and Karna in awful battle. Vritra
was slain in battle by the deity of great energy with his thunder. Karna
hath been slain by thee with bow and sharp arrows. Go, O son of Kunti,
and represent, O Bharata, unto king Yudhishthira the just, this prowess
of thine that is capable of procuring thee great fame and that hath
become well-known in the world. Having represented unto king Yudhishthira
the just, this slaughter of Karna in battle for compassing which thou
hadst been endeavouring for a long course of years, thou wilt be freed
from the debt thou owest to the king. During the progress of the battle
between thyself and Karna, the son of Dharma once came for beholding the
field. Having, however, been deeply and exceedingly pierced (with
arrows), he could not stay in battle. The king, that bull among men, then
went back to his tent.” Partha answered Keshava, that bull of Yadu’s
race, saying, “So be it!’ The latter then cheerfully caused the car of
that foremost of car-warriors to turn back. Having said these words unto
Arjuna, Krishna addressed the soldiers, saying, “Blessed be ye, stand all
of you carefully, facing the foe!” Unto Dhrishtadyumna and Yudhamanyu and
the twin sons of Madri and Vrikodara and Yuyudhana, Govinda said, “Ye
kings, until we come back having informed the king of Karna’s slaughter
by Arjuna, stand ye here with care.” Having received the permission of
these heroes, he then set out for the quarters of the king. With Partha
in his company, Govinda beheld Yudhishthira, that tiger among kings,
lying on an excellent bed of gold. Both of them then, with great joy,
touched the feet of the king. Beholding their joy and the extraordinary
wounds on their bodies, Yudhishthira regarded the son of Radha to be dead
and rose quickly from his bed. That chastiser of foes, the mighty-armed
monarch, having risen from his bed, repeatedly embraced Vasudeva and
Arjuna with affection. That descendant of Kuru’s race then asked Vasudeva
(the particulars of Karna’s death). Then the sweet-speeched Vasudeva that
descendant of the Yadu race, spoke to him of Karna’s death exactly as it
had happened. Smiling then, Krishna, otherwise called Acyuta, joined his
palms and addressed king Yudhishthira whose foes had been killed saying,
“By good luck, the wielder of Gandiva, and Vrikodara, the son of Pandu,
and thyself, and the two sons of Madri, are all safe, having been freed
from this battle that has been so destructive of heroes and that made the
very hair of the body to stand on end. Do thou those acts, O son of
Pandu, which should next be done. The Suta’s son Karna, possessed of
great might and otherwise called Vaikartana, hath been slain. By good
luck, victory hath become thine, O king of kings. By good luck, thou
growest, O son of Pandu! The Earth drinketh today the blood of that
Suta’s son, that wretch among men, who had laughed at the dice-won
Krishna. That foe of thine, O bull of Kuru’s race, lieth today on the
bare ground, pierced all over with arrows. Behold that tiger among men,
pierced and mangled with shafts. O thou of mighty arms, rule now, with
care, this earth that is divested of all thy foes, and enjoy with us, all
kinds of enjoyable articles!'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Having heard these words of the high-souled Keshava,
Yudhishthira, with great joy, worshipped in return that hero of
Dasharha’s race. “Good luck, Good luck!” were the words, O monarch, that
he said. And he added, “It is not wonderful, O mighty-armed one, in thee,
O son of Devaki, that Partha, having obtained thee for his charioteer,
should achieve feats that are even super-human.” Then that chief of
Kuru’s race, that righteous son of Pritha, taking hold of Keshava’s right
arm adorned with Angadas, and addressing both Keshava and Arjuna, said,
“Narada told me that ye two are the gods Nara and Narayana, those ancient
and best of Rishis, that are ever employed in the preservation of
righteousness. Gifted with great intelligence, the master Krishna
Dvaipayana, the highly blessed Vyasa, also hath repeatedly told me this
celestial history. Through thy influence, O Krishna, this Dhananjaya the
son of Pandu, facing his foes, hath vanquished them, without ever turning
back from any of them. Victory, and not defeat, we are certain to have,
since thou hast accepted the drivership of Partha in battle.” Having said
these words, king Yudhishthira the just, that tiger among men, mounting
his car, adorned with gold and having steeds of ivory white and black
tails and fleet as thought harnessed unto it, and surrounded by many
Pandava troops, set out, conversing pleasantly with Krishna and Arjuna
along the way, for beholding the field of battle on which thousands of
incidents had taken place. Conversing with those two heroes, viz.,
Madhava and Phalguna, the king beheld Karna, that bull among men, lying
on the field of battle. Indeed, king Yudhishthira beheld Karna pierced
all over with arrows like a Kadamva flower with straight filaments all
around its body. Yudhishthira beheld Karna illuminated by thousands of
golden lamps filled with perfumed oil. Having beheld Karna with his son
slain and mangled with shafts sped from Gandiva, king Yudhishthira
repeatedly looked at him before he could believe his eyes. He then
applauded those tigers among men, Madhava and Phalguna, saying, “O
Govinda, today I have become king of the earth, with my brothers, in
consequence of thyself of great wisdom having become my protector and
lord. Hearing of the slaughter of that tiger among men, the proud son of
Radha, the wicked-souled son of Dhritarashtra will be filled with
despair, as regards both life and kingdom. Through thy grace, O bull
among men, we have acquired our objects. By good luck, victory hath been
thine, O Govinda! By good luck, the enemy hath been slain. By good luck,
the wielder of Gandiva, the son of Pandu, hath been crowned with victory.
Thirteen years we have passed in wakefulness and great sorrow. O thou of
mighty arms, through thy grace, we will sleep happily this night.” In
this way, O ruler of men, king Yudhishthira the just, praised Janardana
greatly as also Arjuna, O monarch!’

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Beholding Karna with his son slain with Partha’s
shafts, that perpetuator of Kuru’s race, Yudhishthira, regarded himself
as reborn. The kings (in the Pandava army), great car-warriors–all
filled with joy, approached Kunti’s son Yudhishthira and gladdened him
greatly. Nakula, and Sahadeva, and Vrikodara the son of Pandu, and
Satyaki, O king, that foremost of car-warriors among the Vrishnis, and
Dhrishtadyumna, and Shikhandi, and others among the Pandus, the Pancalas,
and the Srinjayas, worshipped the son of Kunti at the slaughter of the
Suta’s son. Extolling king Yudhishthira, the son of Pandu, those
delighters in battle, those effectual smiters, those heroes possessed of
sureness of aim and longing for victory, also praised those scorchers of
foes, viz., the two Krishnas, with speeches fraught with panegyrics. Then
those great car-warriors, filled with delight, proceeded towards their
own camp. Thus occurred that great carnage, making the hair stand on end,
in consequence, O king, of thy evil policy! Why dost thou grieve for it
now?'”

Vaishampayana continued, “Hearing those evil tidings, the Kuru king
Dhritarashtra suddenly fell down on the ground from his excellent seat.
Similarly, the royal lady Gandhari of great foresight fell down. She
indulged in diverse lamentations, for the slaughter of Karna in battle.
Then Vidura and Sanjaya both raised the fallen monarch and began to
console him. Similarly the Kuru ladies raised Gandhari. Thinking destiny
and necessity to be all powerful, that royal ascetic, under that great
grief, seemed to lose his senses. His heart filled with anxiety and
sorrow, the king, however, did not again swoon away. Comforted by them,
he remained silent, indulging in melancholy musing. He that reads of this
great battle, which is like unto a sacrifice, between the high-souled
Dhananjaya and Adhiratha’s son, so also he that hears the account of this
battle read, both obtain, O Bharata, the fruit of a great sacrifice duly
performed. The learned say that the holy and the eternal Vishnu is
Sacrifice, and each of those other gods, viz., Agni, Wind, Soma, and
Surya, is so. Therefore, he that will, without malice, hear or recite
this Parvan, will be happy and capable of attaining to every region of
bliss. Filled with devotion, men always read this sacred and first of
Samhitas. They that do, rejoice, obtaining wealth, and grain, and fame. A
man must, therefore, ever hear it without malice. He that does so will
obtain all kinds of happiness. With that foremost of persons, Vishnu, and
the illustrious Self-born, and Bhava also, become pleased. A Brahmana, by
reading it, would obtain the fruit of having studied the Vedas; a
Kshatriya obtains strength and victory in battle; Vaishyas would obtain
immense wealth, and Shudras would obtain health and freedom from disease.
Then again the illustrious Vishnu is eternal. And since it is that god
who hath been glorified in this Parvan, it is for this that the man
reading or hearing it becometh happy and acquireth all the objects of his
heart. These words of the great Rishi (Vyasa) can never the untrue! The
merit that may be attained by listening to the recitation of the Karna
Parvan is equal to his who giveth away unceasingly for a whole year good
cows with calves.”

The end of Karna Parv

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