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Chapter 77

Mahabharata English - ASWAMEDHA PARVA

“Vaisampayana said, ‘There occurred a great battle between thediadem-decked Arjuna and the hundreds of Saindhavas who still lived afterthe slaughter of their clan (on the field of Kurukshetra). Hearing thathe of white steeds had entered their territories, those Kshatriyas cameout against him, unable to bear that foremost one of Pandu’s race. Thosewarriors who were as terrible as virulent poison, finding the horsewithin their dominion, seized it without being inspired with any fear ofPartha who was the younger brother of Bhimasena. Advancing againstVibhatsu who waited on foot, armed with his bow, upon the sacrificialsteed, they assailed him from a near point. Defeated in battle before,those Kshatriyas of mighty energy, impelled by the desire of victory,surrounded that foremost of men. Proclaiming their names and families andtheir diverse feats, they showered their arrows on Partha. Pouringshowers of arrows of such fierce energy as were capable of impeding thecourse of hostile elephants, those heroes surrounded the son of Kunti,desirous of vanquishing him in battle. Themselves seated on cars, theyfought Arjuna of fierce feats who was, on foot. From every side theybegan to strike that hero, that slayer of the Nivatakavachas, thatdestroyer of the Samasaptakas, that killer of the king of the Sindhus.Surrounding him on every side as within a cage by means of a thousandcars and ten thousand horses, those brave warriors expressed theirexaltation. Recollecting the slaughter by Dhananjaya of Jayadratha inbattle, O thou of Kuru’s race, they poured heavy showers of arrows onthat hero like a mass of clouds showering a heavy downpour. Over-whelmedwith that arrowy shower, Arjuna looked like the sun covered by a cloud.That foremost son of Pandu, in the midst of that cloud of arrows,resembled a bird in the midst of an iron cage, O Bharata. Seeing the sonof Kunti thus afflicted with shafts, cries of Oh and Alas were uttered bythe three worlds and the Sun himself became shorn of his splendour. Then,O king, a terrible wind began to blow, and Rahu swallowed up both the Sunand the Moon at the same time. Many meteors struck the solar disc andthen shot in different directions. The prince of mountains, viz.,Kailasa, began to tremble. The seven (celestial) Rishis, as also theother Rishis of Heaven, penetrated with fear, and afflicted with griefand sorrow, breathed hot sighs. Piercing through the welkin, thosemeteors fell on the lunar disc as well. All the points of the compassbecame filled with smoke and assumed a strange aspect. Reddish clouds,with flashes of lightning playing in their midst and the bow of Indrameasuring them from side to side, suddenly covered the welkin and pouredflesh and bloods on the Earth. Even such was the aspect which all natureassumed when that hero was overwhelmed with showers of shafts. Indeed,when Phalguna, that foremost one among the Bharatas, was thus afflicted,those marvels were seen. Overwhelmed by that dense cloud of arrows,Arjuna became stupefied. His bow, Gandiva, fell down from his relaxedgrip and his leathern fence also slipped down. When Dhananjaya becamestupefied, the Saindhava warriors once more shot at that senselesswarrior, without loss of time, innumerable other shafts. Understandingthat the son of Pritha was deprived of consciousness, the deities, withhearts penetrated by fear, began to seek his welfare by uttering diversebenedictions. Then the celestial Rishis, the seven Rishis, and theregenerate Rishis, became engaged in silent recitations from desire ofgiving victory to Pritha’s son of great intelligence. When at last theenergy of Partha blazed forth through those acts of the denizens ofHeaven, that hero, who was conversant with celestial weapons of highefficacy, stood immovable like a hill. The delighter of the Kurus thendrew his celestial bow. And as he repeatedly stretched the bowstring, thetwang that followed resembled the loud sound of some mighty machine. LikePurandara pouring rain, the puissant Arjuna then, with that bow of his,poured incessant showers of shafts on his foes. Pierced by those shaftsthe Saindhava warriors with their chiefs became invisible like trees whencovered with locusts. They were frightened at the very sound of Gandiva,and afflicted by fear they fled away. In grief of heart they shed tearsand uttered loud lamentations. The mighty warrior moved amidst that hostof foes with the celerity of a fiery wheel, all the time piercing thosewarriors with his arrows. Like the great Indra, the wielder of thethunder-bolt, that slayer of foes, viz., Arjuna, shot from his bow inevery direction that shower of arrows which resembled a sight produced bymagic (instead of any human agency). The Kaurava hero, piercing thehostile host with showers of arrows, looked resplendent like the autumnalSun when he disperses the clouds with his powerful rays.'”

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