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Chapter 101

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

Sanjaya said, “Then the noble Abhimanyu of great energy, borne by hissteeds of a tawny hue, rushed at the mighty host of Duryodhana,scattering his arrowy showers like the clouds pouring torrents of rain. Oson of Kuru’s race, thy warriors, in that battle, were unable to resistthat slayer of foes, viz., Subhadra’s son, who, excited with wrath andpossessed of wealth of arms, was then immersed in that inexhaustibleocean of (Kaurava) forces. Death-dealing shafts, O king, shot by him inthat battle, despatched many heroic Kshatriyas to the regions of the kingof the departed spirits. Indeed, excited with wrath Subhadra’s son inthat battle shot fierce and blazing arrows in profusion that resembledsnakes of virulent poison or rods of death himself. And Phalguni’s sonspeedily split into fragments car-warriors with their cars, steeds withtheir riders, and elephant-warriors along with the huge animals theyrode. And the rulers of the earth, filled with joy, applauded thosemighty feats in battle and praised him also that achieved them. And theson of Subhadra, O Bharata, tossed those divisions (of the Kaurava army)like the tempest tossing a heap of cotton on all sides in the welkin.Routed by him, O Bharata, the troops failed to find a protector, likeelephants sunk in a slough. Then, O best of men, having routed alltroops, Abhimanyu stood, O king, like a blazing fire without a curl ofsmoke. Indeed, O king, thy warriors were incapable of bearing that slayerof foes, like insects impelled by fate unable to bear a blazing fire.That mighty car-warrior and great bowman, having struck all the foes ofthe Pandavas, looked at that moment like Vasava himself armed with thethunder. And his bow, the back of whose staff was decked with gold, as itmoved on every side, seemed, O king, like the lightning’s flash as itspotted amid the clouds. And well-tempered and sharp shafts came from hisbow-string in that battle like flights of bees, O king, from blossomingtrees in the forest. And as the high-souled son of Subhadra careered onthe field on his car whose limbs were decked with gold, people wereincapable of finding an opportunity (for striking him). Confounding Kripaand Drona and mighty son of Drona, as also the ruler of the Sindhus, thegreat bowman moved on the field of battle with great activity and skill.As he consumed thy troops, O Bharata, I beheld his bow incessantly drawnto a circle and resembling on that account the circular halo of lightthat is sometimes seen around the Sun. Brave Kshatriyas, beholding himendued with such activity and scorching the foe thus, thought, inconsequence of those feats, that the world contained two Phalgunis.Indeed, O king, the vast host of the Bharatas, afflicted by him, reeledhither and thither like a woman drunk with wine. Routing that large armyand causing many mighty car-warriors to tremble, he gladdened his friends(like Vasava gladdening the celestials) after vanquishing Maya. And whilebeing routed by him in that battle, thy troops uttered loud exclamationsof woe that resembled the roar of the clouds. Hearing that awful wail thytroops, O Bharata, that resembled the roar of the very sea at full tidewhen agitated by the winds, Duryodhana then, O king, addressed the son ofRishyasringa and said, ‘This Abhimanyu singly, O thou of mighty arms,like a second Phalguni, routeth from rage (my) army like Vritra routingthe celestial host. I do not see any other efficacious medicine for himin battle than thyself, O best of Rakshasas, that art well-skilled inevery science. Therefore, go speedily and slay the heroic son of Subhadrain battle. As regards ourselves, headed by Bhishma and Drona, we willslay Partha himself.’ Thus addressed, the mighty and valiant Rakshasaspeedily went to battle at the command of thy son, uttering loud roarslike the clouds themselves in the season of rains. And in consequence ofthat loud noise, O king, the vast host of the Pandavas trembledthroughout like the ocean when agitated by the wind. And many combatants,O king, terrified by those roars, giving up dear life, fell prostrate onthe earth. Filled with joy and taking up his bow with arrow fixed on thestring, and apparently dancing on the terrace of his car, that Rakshasaproceeded against Abhimanyu himself. Then the angry Rakshasa, having inthat battle got Arjuna’s son within reach, began to rout his ranks,–eventhose that stood not far from him. Indeed, the Rakshasa rushed in battleagainst that mighty Pandava host which he began to slaughter, like Valarushing against the celestial host. Attacked in battle by that Rakshasaof terrible mien, the slaughter was very great, O sire, that took placeamongst those troops. Exhibiting his prowess, the Rakshasa began to routthat vast force of the Pandavas, with thousands of arrows. Thusslaughtered by that Rakshasa of terrible visage, the Pandava army fledaway from excess of fear. Grinding that army like an elephant grindinglotus-stalks, the mighty Rakshasa then rushed in battle against the sonsof Draupadi. Then those great bowmen, accomplished in fighting, viz., thesons of Draupadi, rushed towards the Rakshasa in battle like five planetsrushing against the Sun. That best of Rakshasa then was afflicted bythose brothers endued with great energy, like the Moon afflicted by thefive planets of the awful occasion of the dissolution of the world. Thenthe mighty Prativindhya quickly pierced the Rakshasa with whetted shafts,sharp as battle-axes and furnished with points capable of penetratingevery armour. Thereupon that foremost of Rakshasas, with his armourpierced through, looked like a mass of clouds penetrated by the rays ofthe Sun. Pierced with these shafts furnished with golden wings,Rishyasringa’s son, O king, looked resplendent like a mountain withblazing crests. Then those five brothers in that great battle, piercedthat foremost of Rakshasas with many whetted shafts of golden wings.Pierced with those terrible shafts resembling angry snakes, Alamvusha, Oking, became inflamed with rage like the king of the serpents himself.Deeply pierced, O king, within only a few moments, O sire, by those greatcar-warriors, the Rakshasa, much afflicted, remained senseless for a longwhile. Regaining his consciousness then, and swelling through rage totwice his dimensions, he cut off their arrows and standards and bows. Andas if smiling the while he struck each of them with five arrows. Thenthat mighty Rakshasa and great car-warrior, Alamvusha, excited withwrath, and as if dancing on the terrace of his car, quickly slew thesteeds, and then the charioteers, of those five illustrious adversariesof his. And burning with rage he once more pierced them with sharp arrowsof diverse shades by hundreds and thousands. Then that wanderer of thenight, viz., the Rakshasa Alamvusha, having deprived those great bowmenof their cars, rushed impetuously at them, wishing to despatch them toYama’s abode. Beholding them (thus) afflicted in battle by thatwicked-souled Rakshasa, the son of Arjuna rushed at him. Then the battlethat took place between him and the cannibal resembled that betweenVritra and Vasava. And the mighty car-warriors of thy army, as also ofthe Pandavas, all became spectators of that engagement. Encountering eachother in fierce battle, blazing with wrath, endued with great might, andwith eyes red in rage, each beheld the other in that battle to resemblethe Yuga fire. And that engagement between them became fierce and awfullike that between Sakra and Samvara in days of old in the battle betweenthe gods and Asuras.”

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