Chapter 20

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

“Vasudeva said, ‘When Salwa had left the city of the Anarttas, I returnedto it, O king, on the completion of thy great Rajasuya sacrifice! On myarrival I found Dwaraka shorn of its splendour, and, O great monarch,there were not sounds of Vedic recitation or sacrificial offering, Andthe excellent damsels were all destitute of ornaments, and the gardenswere devoid of beauty. And alarmed by the aspect, I asked the son ofHridika saying, ‘Why is it that the men and women of the city of theVrishnis are so woe-begone, O tiger among men?’ O thou best of kings thusasked the son of Hridika (Kritavarman) relate to me in detail theinvasion of the city by Salwa, and his subsequent departure from it. And,O thou foremost of Bharatas, hearing all, even then I made up my mind toslay Salwa. And encouraging the citizens, O best of Bharatas, Icheerfully addressed king Ahuka, and Anakdundhuvi, and the chief heroesof the Vrishni race, saying, ‘Do ye, O bulls among the Yadavas, stay inthe city, taking every care, and know that I go to slay Salwa! I returnnot to the city of Dwaravati without slaying him. I will again come to yehaving compassed the destruction of Salwa together with his car ofprecious metals. Do ye strike up the sharp and middle and flat notes ofthe Dundhuvi so dreadful to foes!’ And O thou bull of the Bharata race,thus adequately encouraged by me, those heroes cheerfully said unto me,’Go and slay the enemies!’ And thus receiving the benedictions of thosewarriors with glad hearts, and causing the Brahmanas to utter auspiciouswords and bowing down to the best of the regenerate ones, and to Sivaalso, I set out on my car unto which were yoked the horses Saivya, andSugriva, filling all sides with the clatter (of my wheels) and blowingthat best of conchs, the Panchajanya! And, O king, O tiger among men,accompanied by my redoubted and victorious army consisting of the fourkinds of the forces so persevering in battle, I set out. And leaving manycountries, and mountains, crowned with trees, and pieces of water, andstreams, I at last arrived at the country of Matrikavarta. It is there, Othou tiger among men, that I heard that Salwa was coursing on his car ofprecious metals near the ocean, and I followed in his pursuit. And, Othou slayer of thy foes, having reached the main, Salwa on his car ofcostly metals was in the midst of the deep heaving with billows! And onseeing me from a distance, O Yudhishthira, that one of wicked soulhimself challenged me repeatedly to the fight. And many arrows capable ofpiercing to the quick, discharged from my bow reached not his car. And atthis I was wroth! And, O king, that essentially sinful wretch of aDaitya’s son of irrepressible energy, on his part began to shoot thousandupon thousands of arrows in torrents! And, O Bharata, he rained shaftsupon my soldiers and upon my charioteer and upon my steeds! But withoutthinking of the shafts, we continued the conflict. Then the warriorsfollowing Salwa poured on me straight arrows by thousands. And the Asurascovered my horses and my car and Daruka with arrows capable of piercingthe very vitals. And, O hero, I could not at that time see either myhorses, or my car, or my charioteer Daruka! And I with my army wascovered with weapons. And, O son of Kunti, superhumanly skilled inweapons, I also let fly from my bow arrows by tens of thousands,inspiring them with mantras! But as that car of costly metals was in thesky, full two miles off, it could not, O Bharata, be seen by my troops.They could therefore only remaining on the field of battle look on likespectators in a place of amusement, cheering me on by shouts loud as theroar of the lion, and also by the sound of their clapping. And the tintedarrows shot by the fore-part of hand penetrated into the bodies of theDanavas like biting insects. And then arose cries in the car of preciousmetals from those that were dying of wounds by those sharp arrows andfalling into the waters of the mighty ocean. And the Danavas deprived oftheir arms, necks, and wearing the form of Kavandhas,–fell, sending uptremendous roars. And as they fell they were devoured by animals livingin the waters of the ocean. And then I powerfully blew the Panchajanyaobtained from the waters and graceful as the lotus-stalk and white asmilk or the Kunda flower or the moon or silver. And seeing his soldiersfall, Salwa the possessor of the car of precious metals, began to fightwith the help of illusion. And then he began to ceaselessly hurl at memaces, and ploughshares, and winged darts and lances, and javelins, andbattle-axes, and swords and arrows blazing like javelins andthunderbolts, and nooses, and broad swords, and bullets from barrels, andshafts, and axes, and rockets. And permitting them to come towards me, Isoon destroyed them all by counter-illusion. And on this illusion beingrendered ineffectual, he began the contest with mountain peaks. And, OBharata, then there was darkness and light alternately, and the day wasnow fair, and now gloomy, and now hot, and now cold. And there was aperfect shower of coals, and ashes, and weapons. And creating suchillusion the enemy fought with me. And ascertaining it I destroyed hisillusion by counter-illusion. And in the due time I showered arrows allround. And then, O mighty king, the dome of heaven blazed as with ahundred suns, and, O son of Kunti with one hundred moons, and thousandsand ten thousands of stars! And then none could ascertain whether it wasday or night, or distinguish the points of the horizon. And, becomingbewildered, I fixed on my bowstring the weapon called Pragnastra. And, Oson of Kunti, the weapon went like unto flakes of pure cotton blown awayby the winds! And a great fight took place, calculated to make the downon one’s body stand on end. And O best of monarchs, having regained,light, I again fought with the enemy!'”

Chapter 19
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