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Chapter 46

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

Sanjaya said,–“O king, I will now describe to thee the combats ofhundreds and thousands of foot-soldiers. O Bharata, in utterforgetfulness of all consideration due to others. There the sonrecognised not the sire, the sire (recognised not) the son of his loins,the brother (recognised not) the brother, the sister’s son (recognisednot) the maternal uncle. The maternal uncle (recognised not) the sister’sson, the friend not the friend. The Pandavas and the Kurus fought as ifthey were possessed by demons. Some tigers among men, fell with cars intopieces. And the shafts of cars broke clashing against shafts, and thespikes of car-yokes against spikes of car-yokes. And some (warriors)united together encountered others that were united together, alldesirous of taking one another’s life-And some cars, obstructed by cars,were unable to move. And huge-bodied elephants with rent temples, fallingupon huge elephants, angrily tore one another in many places with theirtusks. Others, O king, encountering impetuous and huge ones of theirspecies with arched edifices and standards (on their backs) and trainedto the fight struck with their tusks, shrieked in great agony.[329]Disciplined by training and urged on by pikes and hooks, elephants not inrut rushed straight against those that were in rut.[330] And some hugeelephants, encountering compeers in rut, ran, uttering cries like thoseof cranes, in all directions. And many huge elephants, well-trained, andwith juice trickling down from rent temples and mouth, mangle withswords, lances, and arrows, and pierced in their vital parts, shriekedaloud and falling down expired. And some, uttering frightful cries, ranin all directions. The foot-soldiers that protected the elephants, enduedwith broad chests, and capable of smiting effectually, with wrathexcited, and armed with pikes and bows, and bright battle-axes, and withmaces and clubs, and short arrows, and lances, and with shafts, and stoutbludgeons mounted with iron spikes and swords, well-grasped of thebrightest polish, ran hither and thither, O king, and seemed resolved totake one another’s life. And the sabres of brave combatants rushingagainst one another steeped in human blood, seemed to shine brightly. Andthe whiz of swords whirled and made to descend by heroic arms and fallingupon the vital parts (of the bodies) of foes, became very loud. And theheart-ending wails of combatants in multitudinous hosts, crushed withmaces and clubs, and cut off with well-tempered swords, and pierced withthe tusks of elephants, and grained by tuskers, calling upon one another,were heard, O Bharata, to resemble the wails of those that are doomed tohell. And horsemen, on chargers of exceeding speed and furnished withoutstretched tails resembling (the Plumes of) swans, rushed against oneanother. And hurled by them, long-bearded darts adorned with pure gold,fleet, and polished, and sharp-pointed, fell like snakes.[331] And someheroic horsemen, on coursers of speed, leaping high, cut off the heads ofcar-warriors from their cars.[332] And (here and there) a car-warrior,getting bodies of cavalry within shooting distance, slew many withstraight shafts furnished with heads. And many infuriate elephantsadorned with trapping of gold, and looking like newly-risen clouds,throwing down steed, crushed them with their own legs. And some elephantsstruck on their frontal globes and flanks, and mangled by means oflances, shrieked aloud in great agony. And many huge elephants, in thebewildering of the melee, crushing steeds with their riders, threw themdown. And some elephants, overthrowing with the points of their tusks,steeds with their riders, wandered, crushing cars with their standards.And some huge male elephants, from excess of energy and with the temporaljuice gushing down in large quantities, slew steeds along with theirriders by means of their trunks and legs. Fleet arrows polished andsharp-pointed and resembling snakes fell upon the heads, the temples, theflanks, and the limbs of elephants. And polished javelins of terriblemien, and looking like large meteoric flashes, hurled by heroic arms,felt hither and thither, O king, piercing through the bodies of men andhorses, and cutting through coats of mail. And many taking out theirpolished sabres from sheaths made of the skins of leopards and tigers,slew the combatants opposed to them in battle. And many warriors, thoughthemselves attacked and had the flanks of their bodies cut open, yetangrily fell upon (their foes) with swords, shields and battle-axes. Andsome elephants dragging down and overthrowing cars with their steeds bymeans of their trunks, began to wander in all directions, guided by thecries of those behind them. And hither and thither some pierced byjavelins, and some cut asunder by battle-axes, and some crushed byelephants and others trod down by horses, and some cut by car-wheels, andsome by axes, loudly called upon their kinsmen, O king. And some calledupon their sons, and some upon their sires, and some upon brother andkinsmen. And some called upon their maternal uncles, and some upon theirsister’s sons. And some called upon others, on the field of battle. And avery large number of combatants, O Bharata, lost their weapons, or hadtheir thighs broken. And other with arms torn off or sides pierced or cutopen, were seen to wail aloud, from desire of life. And some, endued withlittle strength, tortured by thirst, O king, and lying on the field ofbattle on the bare ground, asked for water. And some, weltering in poolsof blood and excessively weakened, O Bharata, greatly censured themselvesand thy sons assembled together for battle. And there were braveKshatriyas, who having injured one another, did not abandon their weaponsor set up any wails, O sire, On the other hand, lying in those placeswhere they lay, roared with joyful hearts, and biting from wrath withtheir teeth their own lips, looked at one another with faces renderedfierce in consequence of the contraction of their eyebrows. And othersendued with great strength and tenacity in great pain, afflicted byarrows and smarting under their wounds, remained perfectly silent. Andother heroic car-warriors, deprived, in the encounter, of their own carsand thrown down and wounded by huge elephants, asked to be taken up onthe cars of others. And many, O king, looked beautiful in their woundslike blossoming Kinsukas. And in all the divisions were heard terrificcries, countless in number. And in that awful combat destructive ofheroes, the sire slew the son, the son slew the sire, the sister’s sonslew the maternal uncle, the maternal uncle slew the sister’s son, friendslew friend, and relatives slew kinsmen. Even thus the slaughter tookplace in that encounter of the Kurus with the Pandavas. And in thatfrightful and terrible battle in which no consideration was shown (byanybody for anybody), the divisions of the Pandavas, approaching Bhishma,began to waver. And, O bull of Bharata’s race, the mighty-armed Bhishma,O king, with his standard which was made of silver and graced with thedevice of the palmyra with five stars, setting upon his great car, shonelike the lunar orb under the peak of Meru.”

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