Chapter 104

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

Sanjaya said, “At mid-day, O king, happened a fierce battle, fraught withgreat carnage, between Bhishma and the Somakas. That foremost ofcar-warriors, viz., Ganga’s son began to consume the ranks of thePandavas with keen shafts by hundreds and thousands. Thy sire Devavratabegan to grind those troops like a herd of bulls grinding (with theirtread) a heap of paddy sheaves. Then Dhrishtadyumna and Sikhandin andVirata and Drupada, falling upon Bhishma in that battle, struck thatmighty car-warrior with numerous arrows. Bhishma then, having piercedDhrishtadyumna and Virata each with three arrows, sped a long shaft, OBharata, at Drupada. Thus pierced in battle by Bhishma, that grinder offoes, those great bowmen became filled with wrath O king, like snakestrod upon (by human feet). Then Sikhandin pierced the grandsire of theBharatas (with many shafts). Of unfading glory, Bhishma, however,regarding his foe as a female struck him not. Dhrishtadyumna then, inthat battle, blazing up with wrath like fire, struck the grandsire withthree shafts in his arms and chest. And Drupada pierced Bhishma with fiveand twenty shafts, and Virata pierced him with ten, and Sikhandin withfive and twenty. Deeply pierced (with those shafts) he became coveredwith blood, and looked beautiful like a red Asoka variegated withflowers. Then the son of Ganga pierced, in return, each of them withthree straight shafts. And then, O sire, he cut off Drupada’s bow with abroad-headed arrow. The latter then, taking up another bow, piercedBhishma with five shafts. And he pierced Bhishma’s charioteer also withthree sharp shafts on the field of battle. Then the five sons ofDraupadi, and the five Kaikeya brothers and Satyaki also of the Satwatarace, headed by Yudhishthira, all rushed towards Ganga’s son, desirous ofprotecting the Panchalas headed by Dhrishtadyumna. And so all thewarriors of thy army also, O king, prepared to protect Bhishma, rushed atthe head of their troops against the Pandava host. And then happenedthere a fierce general engagement between thy army of men and steeds andtheirs, that increased the population of Yama’s kingdom. And car-warriorsfalling upon car-warriors despatched one another to Yama’s abode. And somen and elephant-riders and horse-riders, falling upon others (of theirclass), despatched them to the other world with straight shafts And hereand there on the field, O monarch, cars, deprived of riders andcharioteers by means of diverse kinds of fierce shafts, were in thatbattle dragged on all sides over the field. And those cars, O king,crushing large numbers of men and steeds in battle, were seen to resemblethe wind itself (in speed) and vapoury edifices in the firmament (fortheir picturesque forms). And many car-warriors cased in mail and enduedwith great energy, decked with ear-rings and head-gears and adorned withgarlands and bracelets, resembling the children of the celestials, equalto Sakra himself for prowess in battle, surpassing Vaisravana in wealthand Vrishaspati in intelligence, ruling over extensive territories, andpossessed of great heroism, O monarch, deprived of their cars, were seento run hither and thither like ordinary men. Huge tuskers also, O chiefof men, deprived of their skilled riders, ran, crushing friendly ranks,and fell down with loud shrieks. Prodigious elephants looking likenewly-risen clouds and roaring also like the clouds, were seen to run inall directions, deprived of their coats of mail. And, O sire, theirChamaras and variegated standards, their umbrellas with golden staves,and the bright lances (of their riders), lay scattered about.[468] Andelephant-riders, O king, deprived of their elephants, belonging both ofthy army and theirs, were seen to run (on foot) amid that awful press.And steeds from diverse countries, decked with ornaments of gold, wereseen, by hundreds and thousands, to run with the speed of the wind. Andhorse-riders, deprived of their horses, and armed with swords were inthat battle seen to run, or made to run (by others assailing them).Elephant, meeting with a flying elephant in that dreadful battle,proceeded, quickly crushing foot-soldiers and steeds. And, similarly, Oking those prodigious creatures crushed many cars in that battle, andcars also, coming upon fallen steeds crushed them (in their course). Andsteeds too, in the press of battle, crushed many foot-soldiers, O king(with their hoofs). And thus, O monarch, they crushed one another indiverse ways.[469] And in that fierce and awful battle there flowed aterrible river of bloody current. And heaps of bows obstructed itsstraight course, and the hair (of slain warriors) formed its moss. And(broken) cars formed its lakes, and arrows its eddies. And steeds formedits fishes. And heads (severed from trunks) formed its blocks of stone.And it abounded with elephants that formed its crocodiles. And coats ofmail and head-gears formed its froth. And bows (in the hands of thewarriors) constituted the speed of its current, and swords its tortoises.And banners and standards in profusion formed the trees on its banks. Andmortals constituted its banks which that river continually ate away. Andit abounded with cannibals that formed its swans. And that stream(instead of swelling the ocean with its discharge) swelled the populationof Yama’s kingdom. And brave Kshatriyas,–mighty car-warriors,–castingoff all fear, O king, sought to cross that river with the aid of cars,elephants, and steeds that played the part of rafts and boats. And as theriver Vaitarani beareth all departed spirits towards the domains of theKing of the Dead, so that river of bloody current bore away all timid mendeprived of their senses in a swoon. And the Kshatriyas, beholding thatawful carnage, all exclaimed, saying, ‘Alas, through Duryodhana’s faultthe Kshatriyas are being exterminated. Why, Oh, Dhritarashtra of sinfulsoul, deluded by avarice, harboured envy for the sons of Pandu, who aregraced with numerous virtues.’ Diverse exclamations of this kind wereheard there, made by one another, fraught with the praises of thePandavas and censure of thy sons. Hearing then these words uttered by allthe combatants, thy son Duryodhana, that offender against all, addressedBhishma and Drona and Kripa and Salya, O Bharata, saying, ‘Fight yewithout boastfulness. Why tarry ye at all?’ Then the battle was resumedbetween the Kurus and the Pandavas, that fierce battle, O king, caused bythe match at dice and marked by an awful slaughter. Thou beholdest now, Oson of Vichitravirya, the dreadful fruit of that rejection by thee (ofthe counsels of thy friends) though warned against it by many illustriouspersons. Neither the sons of Pandu, O king, nor their troops, nor theythat follow them, nor the Kauravas, show the least regard for their livesin battle. For this reason, O tiger among men, a dreadful destruction ofkinsmen is taking place, caused either by Destiny or by thy evil policy,O king.”

Chapter 105
Chapter 103
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