Chapter 60

Mahabharata English - ASWAMEDHA PARVA

“Vasudeva said, ‘O thou of Vrishni’s race, I have repeatedly heard menspeaking of the wonderful battle (between the Kurus and the Pandavas).Thou, however, O mighty-armed one, hast witnessed it with thy own eyes.Do thou, therefore, O sinless one, describe the battle in detail. Indeed,tell me how that battle took place between the high-souled Pandavas (onthe one side) and Bhishma and Karna and Kripa and Drona and Salya andothers (on the other side), between, in fact, numerous other Kshatriyaswell-skilled in aims, differing from one another in mien and attire, andhailing from diverse realms.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Thus addressed by his sire, he of eyes likelotus-petals narrated, in the presence of his mother also, how theKaurava heroes had been slain in battle.’

“Vasudeva said, ‘The feats were highly wonderful that were achieved bythose high-souled Kshatriyas. In consequence of their large number, theyare incapable of being enumerated in even hundreds of years. I shallhowever, mention only the foremost of them. Do thou listen, therefore, tome as I mention in brief those feats achieved by the kings of Earth. Othou of godlike splendour. Bhishma of Kuru’s race became thegeneralissimo, having eleven divisions of the Kaurava princes under hiscommand, like Vasava of the celestial forces.[176] Sikhandin of greatintelligence, protected by the blessed Arjuna, became the leader of theseven divisions of the sons of Pandu. The battle between the Kurus andthe Pandavas (under these leaders) raged for ten days. It was so fierceas to make one’s hair stand on its end. Then Sikhandin, in great battle,aided by the wielder of Gandiva, slew, with innumerable arrows, the sonof Ganga fighting bravely. Lying on a bed of arrows, Bhishma waited likean ascetic till the sun leaving his southward path entered on hisnortherly course when that hero gave up his life-breaths. Then Drona,that foremost of all persons conversant with arms, that greatest of menunder Duryodhana, like Kavya himself of the lord of the Daityas, becamegeneralissimo.[177] That foremost of regenerate persons, ever boasting ofhis prowess in battle, was supported by the remnant of the Kaurava forceconsisting then of nine Akshauhinis, and protected by Kripa and Vrishaand others. Dhrishtadyumna conversant with many mighty weapons, andpossessed of great intelligence, became the leader of the Pandavas. Hewas protected by Bhima like Varuna protected by Mitra. That high-souledhero, always desirous of measuring his strength with Drona, supported bythe (remnant of the) Pandava army, and recollecting the wrongs inflicted(by Drona) on his sire (Drupada, the king of the Panchalas), achievedgreat feats in battle. In that encounter between Drona and the son ofPrishata, the kings assembled from diverse realms were nearlyexterminated. That furious battle lasted for five days. At the conclusionof that period, Drona, exhausted, succumbed to Dhrishtadyumna. Afterthat, Karna became the generalissimo of Duryodhana’s forces. He wassupported in battle by the remnant of the Kaurava host which numberedfive Akshauhinis. Of the sons of Pandu there were then three Akshauhinis.After the slaughter of innumerable heroes, protected by Arjuna, they cameto battle. The Suta’s son Karna, though a fierce warrior, encounteringPartha, came to his end on the second day, like an insect encountering ablazing fire. After the fall of Karna, the Kauravas became dispirited andlost all energy. Numbering three Akshauhinis, they gathered round theruler of the Madras. Having lost many car-warriors and elephants andhorsemen, the remnant of the Pandava army, numbering one Akshauhini andpenetrated with cheerlessness, supported Yudhishthira (as their leader).The king Yudhishthira, in the battle that ensued, achieved the mostdifficult feats and slew, before half the day was over, the king of theMadras. After the fall of Salya, the high-souled Sahadeva of immeasurableprowess slew Sakuni, the man who had brought about the quarrel (betweenthe Pandavas and the Kurus). After the fall of Sakuni, the royal son ofDhritarashtra, whose army had suffered an extensive carnage and who onthat account had become exceedingly cheerless, fled from the field, armedwith his mace. Then Bhimasena of great prowess, filled with wrath,pursued him and discovered him within the waters of the Dwaipayana lake.With the remnant of their army, the Pandavas surrounded the lake and,filled with joy, encountered Duryodhana concealed within the waters.Their wordy shafts, penetrating through the waters, pierced Duryodhana.Rising up from the lake, the latter approached the Pandavas, armed withhis mace, desirous of battle. Then, in the great battle that ensued, theroyal son of Dhritarashtra was slain by Bhimasena who put forth his greatprowess, in the presence of many kings. After this the remnant of thePandava army, as it slept in the camp, was slaughtered at night time byDrona’s son who was unable to put up with the slaughter of his father (atthe hands of Dhrishtadyumna). Their sons slain, their forces slain, onlythe five sons of Pandu are alive with myself and Yuyudhana. With Kripaand the Bhoja prince Kritavarman, the son of Drona represents the unslainremnant of the Kaurava army. Dhritarashtra’s son Yuyutsu also escapedslaughter in consequence of his having adopted the side of the Pandavas.Upon the slaughter of the Kaurava king (Suyodhana) with all his followersand allies, Vidura and Sanjaya have come to the presence of kingYudhishthira the just. Even thus did that battle occur, O lord, for eightand ten days. Many kings of Earth, slain therein, have ascended toHeaven.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘The Vrishnis, as they heard, O king, thatdreadful account became filled with grief and sorrow and pain.’

Chapter 61
Chapter 59
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