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Chapter 47

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

Sanjaya said,–“After the great part of the forenoon of that awful dayhad worn out, in that terrific engagement, O king, that was (so)destructive of foremost of men[333], Durmukha and Kritavarman, and Kripa,and Salya, and Vivinsati, urged by thy son, approached Bhishma and beganto protect him. And protected by those five mighty car-warriors. O bullof Bharata’s race, that great car-warrior penetrated the Pandava host.And the palmyra standard of Bhishma was seen to glide continually, OBharata, through the Chedis, the Kasis, the Karushas, and the Panchalas.And that hero, with broad-headed shafts of great swiftness which wereagain perfectly straight, cut off the heads (of foes) and their cars withyokes and standards. And, O bull of Bharata’s race, Bhishma seemed todance on his car as it coursed along its track. And some elephants,struck (by him) in their vital parts, shrieked in agony. Then Abhimanyuin great wrath, stationed on his car unto which were yoked excellentsteeds of a tawny hue, rushed towards Bhishma’s car. And with hisstandard adorned with pure gold and resembling a Karnikara tree, heapproached Bhishma and those (five) foremost of car-warriors. Andstriking with a keen-edged shaft the standard of the palmyra-bannered(warrior), that hero engaged in battle with Bhishma and those othercar-warriors that protected him.[334] Piercing Kritavarman with onearrow, and Salya with five, he weakened his great-grandsire with ninearrows. And with one arrow well shot from his bow drawn to its fulleststretch, he cut off (his adversary’s) standard adorned with pure gold.And with one broad-headed shaft capable of penetrating every cover, whichwas perfectly straight, he cut off from his body the head of Durmukha’scharioteer. And with another keen-edged arrow he cut in twain thegold-decked bow of Kripa. And them also, with many sharp-pointed shafts,that mighty car-warrior smote in great wrath, seeming to dance (thewhile). And beholding his lightness of hand, the very gods weregratified. And in consequence of Abhimanyu’s sureness of aim, all thecar-warriors headed by Bhishma regarded him to be possessed of thecapacity of Dhananjaya himself.[335] And his bow, emitting a twang likethat of Gandiva, while stretched and re-stretched, seemed to revolve likea circle of fire.[336] Bhishma then, that slayer of hostile heroes,rushing on him impetuously, speedily pierced the son of Arjuna in thatcombat with nine arrows. And he also, with three broad-headed shafts, cutoff the standard of that warrior of great energy. Of rigid vows, Bhishmaalso struck his (adversary’s) charioteer. And Kritavarman, and Kripa, andSalya also, O sire, piercing Arjuna’s son, all failed to make him waver,for he stood firm like the Mainaka mountain. And the heroic son ofArjuna, though surrounded by those mighty car-warriors of theDhartarashtra army, still showered on those five car-warriors arrowydownpours. And baffling their mighty weapons by his arrowy showers, andpouring on Bhishma his shafts, the powerful son of Arjuna set up loudshout. And struggling in the battle thus and afflicting Bhishma with(his) arrows, the strength we saw of his arms then was very great. Butthough endued with such prowess Bhishma also shot his arrows at him. Buthe cut off in that combat the arrows shot from Bhishma’s bow. And thenthat heroic warrior of arrows that were never lost, cut off with ninearrows, in that combat, the standard of Bhishma. And at that feat thepeople there set up a loud shout. Decked with jewels and made of silver,that tall standard bearing the device of the palmyra, cut off, O Bharata,by the shafts of Subhadra’s son, fell down on the earth. And beholding, Obull of Bharata’s race, that standard failing in consequence of theshafts of Subhadra’s son, the proud Bhima set up a loud shout forcheering the son of Subhadra. Then in fierce combat, the mighty Bhishmacaused many celestial weapons of great efficacy to appear. And the greatgrandsire of immeasurable soul then covered Subhadra’s son with thousandsof arrows. And at this, ten great bowmen and mighty car-warriors of thePandavas, quickly rushed on their cars for protecting the son ofSubhadra. And those were Virata with his son, and Dhrishtadyumna ofPrishata’s race, and Bhima, the five Kekaya brothers, and Satyaki also, Oking. And as they were falling upon him with great impetuosity, Bhishmathe son of Santanu, in that conflict, pierced the prince of Panchala withthree arrows, and Satyaki with ten. And with one winged arrow, whettedand sharp-edged as a razor, and shot from his bow drawn to its fulleststretch, he cut off the standard of Bhimasena. And, O best of men, thestandard of Bhimasena, made of gold and bearing the device of a lion, cutoff by Bhishma, fell from the car. And Bhima then, piercing Santanu’s sonBhishma in that combat with three arrows, pierced Kripa with one, andKritavarman with eight. And Uttara also, the son of Virata, on a tuskerwith upraised trunk, rushed against the ruler of the Madras. Salya,however, succeeded in checking the unparalleled impetuosity of thatprince of elephants rushing quickly towards his car. That prince ofelephants, in great wrath, placing his leg upon the yoke of (Salya’s)car, killed his four large steeds of excellent speed. The ruler of theMadras then, staying on that car whose steeds had been slain, hurled adart, all made of iron, and resembling a snake, for slaying Uttaraoutright. The latter’s coat of mail being cut through by that dart, hebecame totally deprived of his senses and fell down from his elephant’sneck, with the hook and the lance loosened from his grasp. And Salyathen, taking up his sword and jumping down from his excellent car, andputting forth his prowess, cut off the large trunk of that prince ofelephants. His coat of mail pierced all over with a shower of arrows, andhis trunk cut off, that elephant uttered a loud shriek and fell down andexpired. Achieving such a feat, O king, the ruler of the Madras speedilymounted on the splendid car of Kritavarman. And beholding his brotherUttara slain and seeing Salya staying with Kritavarman, Virata’s sonSweta blazed up in wrath, like fire (blazing up) with clarified butter.And that mighty warrior, stretching his large bow that resembled the bowof Sakra himself, rushed with the desire of slaying Salya the ruler ofthe Madras. Surrounded on all sides with a mighty division of cars, headvanced towards Salya’s car pouring an arrowy shower. And beholding himrush to the fight with prowess equal to that of an infuriate elephant,seven car-warriors of thy side surrounded him on all sides, desirous ofprotecting the ruler of Madras who seemed to be already within the jawsof Death. And those seven warriors were Vrihadvala the ruler of theKosalas, and Jayatsena of Magadha, and Rukmaratha, O king, who was thevalourous son of Salya, and Vinda and Anuvinda of Avanti, and Sudakshinathe king of the Kamvojas, and Jayadratha, the ruler of the Sindhus andthe kinsman of Vrihadkshatra. And the stretched bows of those high-souledwarriors, decorated with diverse colours, looked like the lightning’sflashes in the clouds. And they all poured on Sweta’s head ceaselessshowers of arrows like the clouds tossed by the wind dropping rain on themountain breast on the expiry of summer. That mighty bowman and commanderof the forces, enraged at this, with seven broad-headed arrows of greatimpetuosity, struck their bows, and then continued to grind them. Andthose bows we saw were cut off, O Bharata, and thereupon they all tookup, within half the time taken up in a wink of the eye, other bows. Andthey then shot at Sweta seven arrows. And once again that mighty-armedwarrior of immeasurable soul, with seven fleet shafts, cut off those(other) bows of these bowmen. Those warriors then, whose large bows hadbeen cut off, those mighty car-warriors swelling (with rage), grasping(seven) darts, set up a loud shout. And, O chief of the Bharatas, theyhurled those seven darts at Sweta’s car. And those blazing darts whichcoursed (through the air) like large meteors, with the sound of thunder,were all cut off, before they could reach him, that warrior conversantwith mighty weapons, by means of seven broad-headed arrows. Then takingup an arrow capable of penetrating into every part of the body, he shotit, O chief of the Bharatas, at Rukmaratha. And that mighty arrow,surpassing (the force of) the thunder-bolt, penetrated into the latter’sbody. Then, O king, forcibly struck by that arrow, Rukmaratha sat down onthe terrace of his car and fell into a deadly swoon. His charioteer then,without betraying any fear, bore him away, senseless and in a swoon, inthe very sight of all. Then taking up six other (arrows) adorned withgold, the mighty-armed Sweta cut off the standard-tops of his sixadversaries. And that chastiser of foes then, piercing their steeds andcharioteers also, and covering those six warriors themselves withceaseless shafts, proceeded towards the car of Salya. And beholding thatgeneralissimo of the (Pandava) forces proceeding quickly towards Salya’scar, a loud uproar of oh and alas arose in thy army, O Bharata. Then thymighty son, with Bhishma at the head, and supported by heroic warriorsand many troops, proceeded towards Sweta’s car.[337] And he (thus)rescued the ruler of the Madras who had already entered the jaws ofDeath. And then commenced a battle, terrific and making the hair stand onend, between thy troops and those of the enemy, in which cars andelephants all got mixed up in confusion. And upon Subhadra’s son andBhimasena, and that mighty car-warrior Satyaki, and upon the ruler of theKekayas, and Virata, and Dhrishtadyumna of Prishatas’ race, and upon theChedi troops, the old Kuru grandsire poured showers of arrows.[338]

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