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Chapter 45

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

Sanjaya said, “On the forenoon of that awful day, O king, the terriblebattle that mangled the bodies of (so many) kings commenced. And the loudshouts, resembling leonine roars of the Kurus and the Srinjayas, bothdesirous of victory in battle, made both the welkin and the earth resoundtherewith. And a tumultuous uproar was heard mingled with the flaps ofleathern fences and the blare of conches. And many were the leonine roarsthat rose there of men shouting against one another. And, O bull ofBharata’s race, the sound of bowstrings stretched by (hands cased in)fences, the heavy tread of infantry, the furious neigh of chargers, thefalling of sticks and iron hooks (on the beads of elephants), the clashof weapons, the jingle of bells of elephants rushing against one another,and the clatter of cars resembling the roar of clouds, mingled together,produced a loud uproar making one’s hair stand on end. And all the Kuruwarriors, reckless of their very lives and with cruel intentions, rushed,with standards upraised, against the Pandavas. And Santanu’s son himself,taking up a terrible bow that resembled the rod of Death, rushed, O king,on the field of battle, against Dhananjaya. And Arjuna also, endued withgreat energy, taking up the bow Gandiva celebrated overall the world,rushed, on the field of battle, against Ganga’s son. And both thosetigers among the Kurus became desirous of slaying each other. The mightyson of Ganga however, piercing in battle the son of Pritha could not makehim waver. And so, O king, the son of Pandu also could not make Bhishmawaver in battle. And the mighty bowman Satyaki rushed againstKritavarman. And the battle between these two was fierce in the extremeand made the hair (of onlookers) stand on end. And Satyaki afflictedKritavarman, and Kritavarman afflicted Satyaki, with loud shouts and eachweakened the other. And pierced all over with arrows those mightywarriors shone like two blossoming Kinsukas in spring adorned withflowers. And the mighty bowman Abhimanyu battled with Vrihadvala. Soon,however, in that encounter, O king, the ruler of Kosala cut off thestandard and overthrew the charioteer of Subhadra’s son. The son ofSubhadra then upon the overthrow of his charioteer, was filled with wrathand pierced Vrihadvala, O king, with nine shafts, and with a couple ofsharp arrows that grinder of foes also cut off (Vrihadvala’s) standard,and with one (more) cut off one of the protectors of his car-wheels andwith the other his charioteer.[323] And those chastisers of foescontinued to weaken each other with sharp arrows. And Bhimasena struggledin battle with thy son Duryodhana, that mighty car-warrior, proud andinflated, who had injured (the sons of Pandu). Both of those foremost(princes) among the Kurus, are tigers among men and mighty car-warriors.And they covered each other, on the field of battle, with their arrowyshowers. And beholding those high-souled and accomplished warriorsconversant with all modes of warfare, all creatures were filled withamazement of Bharata. And Dussasana, rushing against that mightycar-warrior Nakula, pierced him with many sharp arrows capable ofpenetrating into the very vitals. The son of Madri, then, laughing thewhile, cut off, with sharp arrows (of his), adversary’s standard and bow,and then he struck him with five and twenty small-headed arrows. Thy son,however, then, who can with difficulty be vanquished, slew in that fierceencounter the steeds of Nakula and cut off his standard. And Durmukharushing against the mighty Sahadeva battling in that terrific encounter,pierced him with a shower of arrows. The heroic Sahadeva then, in thatfearful battle, overthrew Durmukha’s charioteer with an arrow of greatsharpness. Both of them, irrepressible in fight, approaching each otherin combat, and each attacking the other and desirous of warding off theother’s attack, began to strike terror into each other with terribleshafts. And king Yudhishthira himself encountered the ruler of theMadras. The chief of the Madras then in his very sight cut off in twainYudhishthira’s bow. Thereupon the son of Kunti, throwing aside thatbroken bow, took up another that was stronger and capable of imparting agreater velocity. The king then, with straight arrows, covered the rulerof the Madras, and in great wrath said, ‘wait, wait’. And Dhrishtadyumna,O Bharata rushed against Drona. And Drona, then, in great wrath, cut offin that encounter the hard bow of the high-souled prince of Panchala thatwas capable of always taking the lives of foes. And at the same time heshot in that conflict a terrible arrow that was like a second rod ofDeath. And the arrow shot penetrated the body of the prince. Taking upthen another bow and fourteen arrows, the son of Drupada pierced Drona inthat encounter. And enraged with each other, they battled on fiercely.And the impetuous Sankha encountered Somadatta’s son who was equallyimpetuous in battle and addressed him, O king, saying ‘wait, wait’. Andthat hero then pierced his (adversary’s) right arm in that combat. Andthereupon the son of Somadatta struck Sankha on the shoulders. And thebattle that ensued between those two proud heroes, O king, soon became asterrible as a combat between the gods and the Danavas. And that mightycar-warrior Dhrishtaketu of immeasurable soul, with wrath excited, rushedin battle, O king, against Valhika, the very embodiment of wrath.Valhika, then, O king, setting up a leonine roar, weakened the wrathfulDhrishtaketu with innumerable arrows. The king of the Chedis, however,exceedingly provoked, quickly pierced Valhika in that encounter with ninearrows. Like an infuriate elephant against an infuriate elephant, in thatcombat they roared against each other repeatedly, both exceedinglyenraged. And they encountered each other with great wrath and looked likethe planets Angaraka and Sukra.[324] And Ghatotkacha of cruel deedsencountered the Rakshasa Alamvusha of cruel deeds like Sakra(encountering) Vala in battle. And Ghatotkacha, O Bharata, pierced thatinfuriate and powerful Rakshasa with ninety keen-edged shafts. AndAlamvusha also in that combat pierced the mighty son of Bhimasena in manyplaces with straight arrows (of his). And mangled with arrows they shonein that encounter like the mighty Sakra and the powerful Vala in thecombat (of old) between the celestials and the Asuras. The powerfulSikhandin, O king, rushed against Drona’s son, Aswatthaman, howeverdeeply piercing the angry Sikhandin stationed (before him) with akeen-edged shaft, caused him to tremble, Sikhandin also, O king, smoteDrona’s son with a sharp-whetted shaft of excellent temper. And theycontinued in that encounter to strike each other with various kinds ofarrows. And against the heroic Bhagadatta in battle, Virata, thecommander of a large division, rushed impetuously, O king, and thencommenced (their) combat. Virata, exceedingly provoked, poured onBhagadatta an arrowy shower like, O Bharata, the clouds showering rain onthe mountain breast. But Bhagadatta, that lord of the earth, speedilyenveloped Virata in that encounter (with arrows) like the cloudsenveloping the risen sun. Kripa, the son of Saradwat, rushed againstVrihadkshatra, the ruler of the Kaikeyas. And Kripa, O Bharata, envelopedhim with a shower of arrows. Vrihadkshatra also shrouded the infuriateson of Gautama with an arrowy downpour. And those warriors, then, havingslain each other’s steeds and cut off each other’s bows, were bothdeprived of their cars. And exceedingly enraged, they then approachedeach other for fighting with their swords. And the combat which then tookplace between them was terrible in aspect and unparalleled. Thatchastiser of foes, king Drupada, then, in great wrath rushed againstJayadratha, the ruler of the Sindhus, cheerfully waiting (for battle).The ruler of the Sindhus pierced Drupada in that combat with threeshafts, and Drupada pierced him in return. And the battle that took placebetween them was terrible and fierce, and productive of satisfaction inthe hearts of all the spectators and resembling a conflict between theplanets Sukra and Angaraka. And Vikarna, son to thee, with fleet steeds,rushed against the mighty Sutasoma and the combat between them commenced.Vikarna, however, although he pierced Sutasoma with many arrows, failedto make him waver. Neither could Sutasoma make Vikarna waver. And thatappeared wonderful (to all). And against Susarman, that mightycar-warrior and tiger among men, viz., Chekitana of great prowess, rushedin exceeding wrath for the sake of the Pandavas. And Susarman also, Ogreat king, in that encounter checked the advance of that mightycar-warrior Chekitana with plentiful shower of arrows. And Chekitanaalso, greatly provoked, showered on Susarman, in that terrible conflict,a shower of arrows like a mighty mass of clouds showering rain on themountain breast. And Sakuni, endued with great prowess, rushed, O king,against Prativindhya[325] of great prowess, like a lion against aninfuriate elephant. Thereupon the son of Yudhishthira, in exceedingwrath, mangled Suvala’s son in that combat, with sharp arrows, likeMaghavat[326] (mangling) a Danava. And Sakuni also, in that fierceconflict, pierced Prativindhya in return and mangled that warrior ofgreat intelligence with straight arrows. And Srutakarman rushed inbattle, O great king, against that mighty car-warrior Sudakshina of greatprowess, the ruler of the Kamvojas. Sudakshina, however, O great king,piercing that mighty car-warrior, viz., the son of Sahadeva, failed tomake him waver (for he stood) like the Mainaka mountain (against theassaults of Indra). Thereupon Srutakarman, exceedingly provoked, weakenedthat mighty car-warrior of the Kamvojas with innumerable arrows andmangled him in every part of his body. And Iravan, that chastiser offoes, in great wrath and exerting carefully, rushed in battle against thewrathful Srutayush. The powerful son of Arjuna, that mighty car-warrior,then slaying the steeds of his adversary, set up a loud roar, andthereupon, O king, all the warriors (who saw the feat) praised himgreatly. And Srutasena also, exceedingly provoked, slew in that conflictthe steeds of Falguni’s son with a powerful mace, and the battle betweenthem continued. And Vinda and Anuvinda, those two princes of Avanti,approached in battle that mighty car-warrior the heroic Kuntibhoja at thehead of his troops accompanied by his son. And wonderful was the prowesswe beheld of those two princes on that occasion, for they fought on verycooly though battling with a large body of troops. And Anuvinda hurled amace at Kuntibhoja, but Kuntibhoja quickly covered him with a shower ofarrows. And the son of Kuntibhoja pierced Vinda with many arrows, and thelatter also pierced him in return. And the combat (between them) lookedvery wonderful. And the Kekaya brothers, O sire, at the head of theirtroops, encountered in battle the five Gandhara princes with theirtroops. And thy son Viravahu battled with that best of car-warriorsUttara, the son of Virata and pierced him with nine arrows. And Uttaraalso pierced that hero with sharp-edged arrows. And the ruler of theChedis, O king, rushed in battle against Uluka. And he pierced Uluka witha shower of arrows, and Uluka also pierced him with sharp arrowsfurnished with excellent wing. And the combat that took place betweenthem, O king, was fierce in the extreme, for unable to vanquish eachother, they mangled each other terribly. And thus in that generalengagement thousands of single combats took place between men on car,warriors on elephants and horsemen, and foot-soldiers, of their side andthine. For a short while only that engagement offered a beautiful sight.Soon, however, O king, it became furious and nothing could be discovered.In the battle (that ensued) elephants rushed against elephants,car-warriors against car-warriors, steed against steed and foot-soldieragainst foot-soldier. The conflict then became confused and fierce in theextreme, of heroes rushing against each other in the melee. And thecelestial Rishi, and Siddhas and Charanas, that were present there,beheld that terrific battle to resemble the combat of the gods and theAsuras. And elephants in thousands, and cars also in thousands, and vastbodies of infantry, O sire, seemed to alter their character.[327] And, Otiger among men, it was seen that cars and elephants and steeds andinfantry fought with each other repeatedly on the same places.[328]

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