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Chapter 118

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

Sanjaya said,–Sikhandin, O bull among men, approaching Bhishma inbattle, struck him in the centre of the chest with ten broad-headedarrows The son of Ganga, however, O Bharata, only looked at Sikhandinwith wrath and as if consuming the Panchala prince with that look.Remembering his femininity, O king, Bhishma, in the very sight of all,struck him not. Sikhandin, however, understood it not. Then Arjuna, Omonarch, addressed Sikhandin, saying,–‘Rush quickly and slay thegrandsire. What needst thou say, O hero? Slay the mighty car-warriorBhishma. I do not see any other warrior in Yudhishthira’s army who iscompetent to fight with Bhishma in battle, save thee, O tiger among men.I say this truly.’ Thus addressed by Partha, Sikhandin, O bull ofBharata’s race, quickly covered the grandsire with diverse kinds ofweapons. Disregarding those shafts, thy sire Devavrata began, with hisshafts, to check the angry Arjuna only in that battle. And that mightycar-warrior, O sire, began also to despatch, with his shafts of keenpoints, the whole army of the Pandavas to the other world. The Pandavasalso, O king, after the same manner, supported by their vast host, beganto overwhelm Bhishma like the clouds covering the maker of day. O bull ofBharata’s race, surrounded on all sides, that Bharata hero consumed manybrave warriors in that battle like a raging conflagration in the forest(consuming numberless trees). The prowess that we then beheld there ofthy son (Dussasana) was wonderful, inasmuch as he battled with Partha andprotected the grandsire at the same time. With that feat of thy sonDussasana, that illustrious bowman, all the people there were highlygratified. Alone he battled with all the Pandavas having Arjuna amongstthem; and he fought with such vigour that the Pandavas were unable toresist him. Many car-warriors were in that battle deprived of their carsby Dussasana. And many mighty bowmen on horseback and manymighty-warriors, elephants, pierced with Dussasana’s keen shafts, felldown on the earth. And many elephants, afflicted with his shafts, ranaway in all directions. As a fire fiercely blazeth forth with brightflames when fed with fuel, so did thy son blaze forth, consuming thePandava host. And no car-warrior, O Bharata, of the Pandava host venturedto vanquish or even proceed against that warrior of gigantic proportions,save Indra’s son (Arjuna) owning white steeds and having Krishna for hischarioteer. Then Arjuna also called Vijaya, vanquishing Dussasana inbattle, O king, in the very sight of all the troops, proceeded againstBhishma. Though vanquished, thy son, however, relying upon the might ofBhishma’s arms, repeatedly comforted his own side and battled with thePandavas with great fierceness. Arjuna, O king, fighting with his foes inthat battle, looked exceedingly resplendent.[482] Then Sikhandin, in thatbattle, O king, pierced the grandsire with many arrows whose touchresembled that of the bolts of heaven and which were as fatal as thepoison of the snake. These arrows, however, O monarch, caused thy sirelittle pain, for the son of Ganga received them laughingly. Indeed, as aperson afflicted with heat cheerfully receives torrents of rain, even sodid the son of Ganga received those arrows of Sikhandin. And theKshatriyas there, O king, beheld Bhishma in that great battle as a beingof fierce visage who was incessantly consuming the troops of thehigh-souled Pandavas.

“Then thy son (Duryodhana), addressing all his warriors, said unto them,’Rush ye against Phalguni from all sides. Bhishma, acquainted with theduties of a commander, will protect you’. Thus addressed, the Kauravatroops casting off all fear, fought with the Pandavas. (And once more,Duryodhana said unto them). ‘With his tall standard bearing the device ofthe golden palmyra, Bhishma stayeth, protecting the honour and the armourof all the Dhartarashtra warriors. The very gods, striving vigorously,cannot vanquish the illustrious and mighty Bhishma. What need be said,therefore, of the Parthas who are mortals? Therefore, ye warriors, flynot away from the field, getting Phalguni for a foe. I myself, strivingvigorously, will today fight with the Pandavas.. uniting with all of you,ye lords of earth, exerting yourselves actively.’ Hearing these words, Omonarch, of thy son with bow in hand, many mighty combatants, excitedwith rage, belonging to the Videhas, the Kalingas, and the diverse tribesof the Daserkas, fell upon Phalguni. And many combatants also, belongingto the Nishadas, the Sauviras, the Valhikas, the Daradas, the Westerners,the Northerners, the Malavas, the Abhighatas, the Surasenas, the Sivis,the Vasatis, the Salwas, the Sakas, the Trigartas, the Amvashthas, andthe Kekayas, similarly fell upon Partha, like flights of insects upon afire. The mighty Dhananjaya, otherwise called Vibhatsu, then, O monarch,calling to mind diverse celestial weapons and aiming them at those greatcar-warriors at the heads of their respective divisions,[483] quicklyconsumed them all, by means of those weapons of great force, like fireconsuming a flight of insects. And while that firm bowman was (by meansof his celestial weapons) creating thousands upon thousands of arrows,his Gandiva looked highly resplendent in the welkin. Then thoseKshatriyas, O monarch, afflicted with those arrows with their tallstandards torn and overthrown, could not even together, approach theape-bannered (Partha). Car-warriors fell down with their standards, andhorsemen with their horses, and elephant-riders with their elephants,attacked by Kiritin with his shafts. And the earth was soon covered allon all sides with the retreating troops of those kings, routed inconsequence of the shafts shot from Arjuna’s arms. Partha then, Omonarch, having routed the Kaurava army, sped many arrows at Dussasana.Those arrows with iron heads, piercing thy son Dussasana through, allentered the earth like snakes through ant-hills. Arjuna then slewDussasana’s steeds and then felled his charioteer. And the lord Arjuna,with twenty shafts, deprived Vivingsati of his car, and struck him fivestraight shafts. And piercing Kripa and Vikarna and Salya with manyarrows made wholly of iron, Kunti’s son owning white steeds deprived allof them of their cars. Thus deprived of their cars and vanquished inbattle by Savyasachin, Kripa and Salya, O sire, and Dussasana, andVikarna and Vivingsati, all fled away. Having vanquished those mightycar-warriors, O chief of the Bharatas, in the forenoon, Partha blazed upin that battle like a smokeless conflagration. Scattering his shafts allaround like the Sun shedding rays of light, Partha felled many otherkings, O monarch. Making those mighty car-warriors turn their backs uponthe field by means of his arrowy showers, Arjuna caused a large river ofbloody current to flow in that battle between the hosts of the Kurus andthe Pandavas, O Bharata. Large numbers of elephants and steeds andcar-warriors were slain by car-warriors. And many were the car-warriorsslain by elephants, and many also were the steeds slain by foot-soldiers.And the bodies of many elephant-riders and horsemen and car-warriors, cutoff in the middle, as also their heads, fell down on every part of thefield. And the field of battle, O king, was strewn with (slain)princes,–mighty car-warriors,–falling or fallen, decked with ear-ringsand bracelets. And it was also strewn with the bodies of many warriorscut off by car-wheels, or trodden down by elephants. And foot-soldiersran away, and horsemen also with their horses. And many elephants andcar-warriors fell down on all sides. And many cars, with wheels and yokesand standards broken, lay scattered all about on the field. And the fieldof battle, dyed with the gore of large numbers of elephants, steeds, andcar-warriors, looked beautiful like a red cloud, in the autumnal sky.Dogs, and crows, and vultures, and wolves, and jackals, and many otherfrightful beasts and birds, set up loud howls, at the sight of the foodthat lay before them. Diverse kinds of winds blew along all directions.And Rakshasas and evil spirits were seen there, uttering loud roars. Andstrings, embroidered with gold, and costly banners, were seen to wave,moved by the wind. And thousands of umbrellas and great cars withstandards attached to them, were seen lying scattered about on the field.Then Bhishma, O king, invoking a celestial weapon, rushed at the son ofKunti, in the very sight of all the bowmen. Thereupon Sikhandin, clad inmail, rushed at Bhishma who was dashing towards Arjuna. At this, Bhishmawithdrew that weapon resembling fire (in effulgence and energy).Meanwhile Kunti’s son owning white steeds slaughtered thy troops,confounding the grandsire.[484]”

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