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Chapter 243

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

Vaisampayana said, “Then those Gandharvas decked in golden garlands andaccomplished in celestial weapons, showing their blazing shafts,encountered the Pandavas from every side. And as the sons of Pandu wereonly four in number and the Gandharvas counted by thousands, the battlethat ensued appeared to be extraordinary. And as the cars of Karna andDuryodhana had formerly been broken into a hundred fragments by theGandharvas, so were the cars of the four heroes attempted to be broken.But those tigers among men began to encounter with their showers ofarrows thousands upon thousands of Gandharvas rushing towards them. Thoserangers of skies endued with great energy, thus checked on all sides bythat arrowy down-pour, succeeded not in even coming near to the sons ofPandu. Then Arjuna whose ire had been provoked, aiming at the angryGandharvas, prepared to hurl against them his celestial weapons. And inthat encounter, the mighty Arjuna, by means of his Agneya weapon, sentten hundreds of thousands of Gandharvas to the abode of Yama. And thatmighty bowman, Bhima, also, that foremost of all warriors in battle,slew, by means of his sharp arrows, Gandharvas by hundreds. And themighty sons of Madri also, battling with vigour, encountered hundreds ofGandharvas, O king, and slaughtered them all. And as Gandharvas werebeing thus slaughtered by the mighty warriors with their celestialweapons, they rose up to the skies, taking with them the sons ofDhritarashtra. But Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, beholding them rise upto the skies, surrounded them on every side by a wide net of arrows. Andconfined within that arrowy net like birds within a cage, they showeredin wrath upon Arjuna maces and darts and broad-swords. But Arjuna who wasconversant with the most efficacious weapons, soon checked that shower ofmaces and darts and broad-swords, and in return began to mangle the limbsof the Gandharvas with his crescent-shaped arrows. And heads and legs andarms began to drop down from above resembling a shower of stones. And atthat sight, the foe was struck with panic. And as the Gandharvas werebeing slaughtered by the illustrious son of Pandu, they began to showerfrom the skies a heavy downpour of shafts upon Arjuna, who was on thesurface of the earth. But that chastiser of foes, Arjuna, endued withmighty energy checked that shower of arrows by means of his own weaponsand began, in return, to wound them. Then Arjuna of the Kuru race shothis well-known weapons called Sthunakarna, Indrajala, Saura, Agneya andSaumya. And the Gandharvas consumed by the fiery weapons of Kunti’s son,began to suffer heavily, like the sons of Diti, while being scorched bySakra’s thunder-bolt. And when they attacked Arjuna from above, they werechecked by his net of arrows. And while they attacked him from all sideson the surface of the earth, they were checked by his crescent-shapedarrows. And beholding the Gandharvas put in fear by Kunti’s son,Chitrasena rushed, O Bharata, at Dhananjaya, armed with a mace. And asthe king of the Gandharvas was rushing at Arjuna from above with thatmace in hand, the latter cut with his arrows that mace wholly made ofiron into seven pieces. And beholding that mace of his cut into manypieces by Arjuna of great activity, with his arrows, Chitrasena, by meansof his science, concealed himself from the view of the Pandava and beganto fight with him. The heroic Arjuna, however, by means of his owncelestial weapons checked all the celestial weapons that were aimed athim by the Gandharvas. And when the chief of the Gandharvas saw that hewas checked by the illustrious Arjuna with those weapons of his heentirely disappeared from sight by help of his powers of illusion. AndArjuna, observing that the chief of the Gandharvas was striking at himconcealed from sight, attacked his assailant with celestial weaponinspired with proper Mantras. And the multiform Dhananjaya filled withwrath, prevented the disappearance of his foe by means of his weaponknown by the name of Sabda-veda. And assailed with those weapons by theillustrious Arjuna, his dear friend, the king of the Gandharvas, showedhimself unto him. And Chitrasena said, ‘Behold in me thy friend battlingwith thee!’ And beholding his friend Chitrasena exhausted in the battle,that bull among the sons of Pandu withdrew the weapons he had shot. Andthe other sons of Pandu beholding Arjuna withdraw his weapons, checkedtheir flying steeds and the impetus of their weapons and withdrew theirbows. And Chitrasena and Bhima and Arjuna and the twins enquiring aboutone another’s welfare, sat awhile on their respective cars.”

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