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Chapter 110

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

Dhritarashtra said, “How did Sikhandin the prince of the Panchalas,excited with wrath, rushed in battle against the grandsire, viz., Ganga’sson of righteous soul and regulated vows. What mighty car-warriors of thePandavas army, upraised weapons, desirous of victory, and exertingthemselves with activity, protected Sikhandin on that occasion whichrequired great activity? How also did Bhishma the son of Santanu, enduedwith great energy, fight on that tenth day of battle with the Pandavasand the Srinjayas? I cannot brook the idea of Sikhandin encounteringBhishma in battle. (Indeed, when Sikhandin attacked Bhishma), wasBhishma’s car or his bow broken?”

Sanjaya said, “While fighting in that battle, O bull of Bharata’s race,neither the bow nor the car of Bhishma had suffered any injury. He wasthen slaying the foe with straight shafts. Many thousands of mightycar-warriors belonging to thy army, as also elephants, O king, and steedswell harnessed, proceeded for battle, with the grandsire in the van.Agreeably to his vow, O thou of Kuru’s race, the ever-victorious Bhishmawas incessantly engaged in slaughtering the troops of the Parthas. ThePanchalas and the Pandavas were unable to bear that great bowman battling(with them) and slaying his foes with his shafts. When the tenth daycame, the hostile army was torn into pieces by Bhishma with his shafts byhundreds and thousands. O elder brother of Pandu, the sons of Pandu wereincapable of defeating in battle the great bowman Bhishma who resembledthe Destroyer himself armed with the lance.

“Then, O king, the unvanquished Vibhatsu or Dhananjaya, who was capableof drawing the bow with even the left hand, came to that spot,frightening all the car-warriors. Roaring loudly like a lion, andrepeatedly drawing the bow-string, and scattering showers of arrows,Partha careered on the field of battle like Death himself. Frightened atthose roars of his, thy warriors, O bull of Bharata’s race, fled away interror, like smaller animals, O king, at the sound of the lion. Beholdingthe son of Pandu crowned with victory and thus afflicting that host,Duryodhana, himself under the influence of terror addressed Bhishma andsaid, ‘You son of Pandu, O sire, with white steeds (yoked unto his car),and having Krishna for his charioteer, consumeth all my troops like aconflagration consuming a forest. Behold, O son of Ganga, all troops,slaughtered by Pandu’s son in battle, are, O foremost of warriors,fleeing away. Indeed, as the herdsman belaboureth his cattle in theforest, even so, O scorcher of foes is my army being belaboured. Brokenand driven away on all sides by Dhananjaya with his shafts, theinvincible Bhima is also routing that (already broken) host of mine. AndSatyaki, and Chekitana, and the twin sons of Madri, and the valiantAbhimanyu,–these also are routing my troops. The brave Dhrishtadyumna,and the Rakshasa Ghatotkacha also, are vigorously breaking and drivingaway my army in this fierce conflict. Of these troops that are beingslaughtered by all those mighty car-warriors, I do not see any otherrefuge in the matter of their staying and fighting on the field, OBharata, save thee, O tiger among men, that art possessed of prowessequal to that of the celestials, Therefore, receive thou those greatcar-warriors without delay, and be thou the refuge of these afflictedtroops. Thus addressed by him, O king, thy sire Devavrata, the son ofSantanu, reflecting for a moment and settling what he should do, saidthese words unto thy son, comforting him (therewith), ‘O Duryodhana,listen calmly to what I say, O king, O thou of great might, formerly Ivowed before thee that slaying every day ten thousand high-souledKshatriyas, I would come back from the battle. I have fulfilled that vow,O bull of Bharata’s race! O thou of great might, today I will achieveeven a great feat. Today I will either sleep myself being slain, or, Iwill slay the Pandavas. O tiger among men, I will today free myself fromthe debt I owe thee,–the debt, O king, arising out of the food, thougavest me,–by casting away my life at the head of thy army.’ Having saidthese words, O chief of the Bharatas, that invincible warrior, scatteringhis shafts among the Kshatriyas, attacked the Pandava host. And thePandavas then, O bull of Bharata’s race, began to resist the son of Gangastaying in the midst of his forces and excited with wrath like a snake ofvirulent poison. Indeed, O king, on that tenth day of the battle,Bhishma, displaying his might, slew, O son of Kuru’s race, hundreds ofthousands. And he drained the energies of those royal and mightycar-warriors that were the foremost among the Panchalas, like the Sunsucking up the moisture (of the earth) with his rays. Having slain tenthousand elephants of great activity and ten thousand steeds also, Oking, along with their riders, and full two hundred thousands offoot-soldiers, that best of men, viz., Bhishma, shone resplendent inbattle like a fire without a curl of smoke. And no one amongst thePandavas was capable of even looking at him who then resembled theburning Sun staying in the northern solstice. The Pandavas, however,though afflicted in battle by that great bowman, still rushed,accompanied by the mighty car-warriors of the Srinjayas, for slaughteringhim. Battling with myriads upon myriads around him, Santanu’s son Bhishmathen looked like the cliff of Meru covered on all sides with masses ofclouds. Thy sons, however, stood, surrounding Bhishma on all sides with alarge force (for protecting him). Then commenced a fierce battle (betweenthe Kurus and the Pandavas).”

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