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Chapter 54

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

Dhritarashtra said, “How did the ruler of the Kalingas, that commander ofa large division, urged by my son, and supported by his troops, fight inbattle with the mighty Bhimasena of wonderful feats, that hero wanderingover the field of battle with his mace like Death himself club in hand?”

Sanjaya said, “Thus urged by thy son, O great king, the mighty king ofthe Kalingas, accompanied by a large army advanced towards Bhima’s car.And Bhimasena, then, O Bharata, supported by the Chedis, rushed towardsthat large and mighty army of the Kalingas, abounding with cars, steeds,and elephants, and armed with mighty weapons, and advancing towards himwith Ketumat, the son of the king of the Nishadas. And Srutayus also,excited with wrath, accoutred in mail, followed by his troops inbattle-array, and, accompanied by king Ketumat, came before Bhima inbattle. And the ruler of the Kalingas with many thousands of cars, andKetumat with ten thousand elephants and the Nishadas, surroundedBhimasena, O king, on all sides. Then the Chedis, the Matsyas, andKarushas, with Bhimasena at their head, with many kings impetuouslyrushed against the Nishadas. And then commenced the battle, fierce andterrible, between the warriors rushing at one another from desire ofslaughter. And terrific was the battle that suddenly took place betweenBhima and his foes, resembling the battle, O great king, between Indraand the mighty host of Diti’s sons. And loud became the uproar, OBharata, of that mighty army struggling in battle, that resembled thesound of the roaring ocean. And the combatants, O king, cutting oneanother, made the whole field resemble a crematorium strewn with fleshand blood. And combatants, impelled by the desire of slaughter could notdistinguish friend from foe. And those brave warriors, incapable of beingeasily defeated in battle, even began to strike down their own friend.And terrific was the collision that took place between the few and many,between the Chedis (on the one side) and the Kalingas and the Nishadas, Oking, (on the other). Displaying their manliness to the best of theirpower, the mighty Chedis, abandoning Bhimasena, turned back, and when theChedis ceased to follow him, the son of Pandu, encountering all theKalingas, did not turn back, depending upon the might of his own arms.Indeed, the mighty Bhimasena moved not, but from the terrace of his carcovered the division of the Kalingas with showers of sharp arrows. Thenthat mighty bowman, the king of the Kalingas, and that car-warrior, hisson known by the name of Sakradeva, both began to strike the son of Panduwith their shafts. And the mighty-armed Bhima, shaking his beautiful bow,and depending on the might of his own arms, fought with Kalinga, andSakradeva, shooting in that battle innumerable arrows, slew Bhimasena’ssteeds with them. And beholding that chastiser of foes Bhimasena deprivedof his car, Sakradeva rushed at him, shooting sharp arrows. And uponBhimasena, O great king, the mighty Sakradeva showered arrowy downpourslike the clouds after summer is gone. But the mighty Bhimasena, stayingon his car whose steeds had been slain, hurled at Sakradeva a mace madeof the hardest iron. And slain by that mace, O king, the son of the rulerof the Kalingas, from his car, fell down on the ground, with his standardand charioteer. Then that mighty car-warrior, the king of the Kalingasbeholding his own son slain, surrounded Bhima on all sides with manythousands of cars. Then the mighty-armed Bhima endued with greatstrength, abandoning mace, took up a scimitar, desirous of achieving afierce feat. And that bull among men also took up, O king, crescents madeof gold. And the ruler of the Kalingas also, excited with wrath, andrubbing his bowstring, and taking up a terrible arrow (deadly) as poisonof the snake, shot it at Bhimasena, desirous at that monarch was ofslaying (the Pandava). That sharp arrow, thus shot and coursingimpetuously, Bhimasena, O king, cut in twain with his huge sword. Andfilled with delight he set up a loud shout, terrifying the troops. Andthe ruler of the Kalingas, excited with rage in that combat withBhimasena, quickly hurled at him fourteen bearded darts whetted on stone.The mighty-armed son of Pandu, however, with that best of scimitars,fearlessly cut into fragments in a trice, O king, those darts whilecoursing through the welkin and before they could reach him. And havingin that battle (thus) cut off those fourteen darts Bhima, that bull amongmen, beholding Bhanumat, rushed at him. Bhanumat then covered Bhima witha shower of arrows, and set up a loud shout, making the welkin resoundwith it. Bhima, however, in that fierce battle, could not bear thatleonine shout. Himself endued with a loud voice, he also shouted veryloudly. And at these shouts of his, the army of the Kalingas becamefilled with fear. In that battle they no longer regarded Bhima, O bullamong men, as a human being. Then, O great king, having uttered a loudshout, Bhima, sword in hand impetuously jumping on (Bhanumat’s) excellentelephant aided by the latter’s tusks, gained, O sire, the back of thatprince of tuskers, and with his huge sword cut Bhanumat, dividing him inthe middle. That chastiser of foes, then, having (thus) slain in battlethe prince of the Kalingas, next[363] made his sword which was capable ofbearing a great strain, to descend upon the neck of that elephant. Hishead cut off, that prince of elephants fell down with a loud roar, like acrested mountain (whose base is) eaten away by the impetuous (surges ofthe) sea. And jumping down, O Bharata, from that failing elephant, theprince of Bharata’s race, of undepressed soul, stood on the ground, swordin hand and accoutred in mail (as before). And felling numerous elephantson all sides, he wandered (over the field), making many paths (forhimself). And then he seemed to be like a moving wheel of fireslaughtering whole divisions of cavalry, of elephants, and cars, andlarge bodies of infantry. And that lord among men, the mighty Bhima, wasseen to move over the field with the activity of the hawk, quicklycutting off in that battle, with his sharp-edged sword, their bodies andheads, as also those of the combatants on elephant. And combatant onfoot, excited with rage, all alone, and like Yama at the season ofuniversal dissolution, he struck terror into his foes and confoundedthose brave warriors. Only they that were senseless rushed with loudshouts at him wandering in that great battle with impetuosity, sword inhand. And that grinder of foes, endued with great strength, cutting offthe shafts and yokes of warriors on their cars, slew those warriors also.And Bhimasena was seen, O Bharata, to display diverse kinds of motionsthere. He wheeled about, and whirled about on high, and, madeside-thrusts, and jumped forward, and ran above, and leapt high. And, OBharata, he was also seen to rush forward and rush upward. And somemangled by the high-souled son of Pandu by means of his excellent sword,shrieked aloud, struck at their vitals or fell down deprived of life. Andmany elephants, O Bharata, some with trunks and the extremities of theirtusks cut off, and others having their temporal globes cut open, deprivedof riders, slew their own ranks and fell down uttering loud cries. Andbroken lances, O king, and the head of elephant drivers, and beautifulhousings of elephants, and chords resplendent with gold, and collars, anddarts and mallets and quivers, diverse kinds of machines, and beautifulbows, short arrows with polished heads, with hooks and iron crows forguiding elephants, bells of diverse shape, and hilts decked with gold,were seen by us falling down or (already) fallen along with riders ofsteeds. And with elephants (lying down) having the fore parts and hindparts of their bodies and their trunks cut off, or entirely slain, thefield seemed to be strewn with fallen cliffs. That bull among men, havingthus crushed the huge elephants, next crushed the steeds also. And, OBharata, that hero also felled the foremost of cavalry soldiers. And thebattle, O sire, that took place between him and them was fierce in theextreme. And hilts and traces, and saddle girths resplendent with gold,and covers for the back of steeds, and bearded darts, and costly swords,and coats of mail, and shields, and beautiful ornaments, were seen by usstrewn over the ground in that great battle. And he caused the earth tobe strewn over (with blood) as if it were variegated with lilies. And themighty son of Pandu, jumping high and dragging some car-warriors downwith his sword felled them along with (their) standards. Frequentlyjumping up or rushing on all sides, that hero endued with great activity,wandering along many routes, caused the combatants to be amazed. And somehe slew by his legs, and dragging down others he pressed them down underthe earth. And others he cut off with his sword, and others he frightenedwith his roars. And others he threw down on the ground by the force ofhis thighs (as he ran). And others, beholding him, fled away in terror.It was thus that that vast force of the Kalingas endued with greatactivity, surrounding the terrible Bhimasena in battle, rushed at him.Then, O bull of Bharata’s race, beholding Srutayush at the head ofKalinga troops, Bhimasena rushed at him. And seeing him advancing theruler of the Kalingas, of immeasurable soul, pierced Bhimasena betweenhis breasts with nine arrows. Struck with those shafts shot by the rulerof the Kalingas, like an elephant pierced with the hook, Bhimasena blazedup with wrath like fire fed with fuel. Then Asoka, that best ofcharioteers, bringing a car decked with gold, caused Bhima to mount onit. And thereupon that slayer of foes, the son of Kunti, speedily mountedon that car. And then he rushed at the ruler of the Kalingas,saying,–‘Wait, Wait’. And then the mighty Srutayush excited with wrath,shot at Bhima many sharp arrows, displaying his lightness of hand, andthat mighty warrior, Bhima, forcibly struck with those nine sharp arrowsshot by Kalinga from his excellent bow, yielded to great wrath, O king,like a snake struck with a rod. Then that foremost of mighty men, Bhima,the son of Pritha, excited with rage and drawing his bow with greatstrength, slew the ruler of the Kalingas with seven shafts made wholly ofiron. And with two shafts he slew the two mighty protectors of thecar-wheels of Kalinga. And he also despatched Satyadeva and Satya to theabode of Yama. Of immeasurable soul, Bhima also, with many sharp arrowsand long shafts, caused Ketumat to repair unto Yama’s abode. Then theKshatriyas of the Kalinga country, excited with rage and supported bymany thousands of combatants, encountered the wrathful Bhimasena inbattle. And armed with darts and maces and scimitars and lances andswords and battle-axes, the Kalingas, O king, hundreds upon hundredssurrounded Bhimasena. Baffling that risen shower of arrows, that mightywarrior then took up his mace and jumped down (from his car) with greatspeed.[364] And Bhima then despatched seven hundred heroes to Yama’sabode. And that grinder of foes despatched, in addition, two thousandKalingas to the region of death. And that feat seemed highly wonderful.And it was thus that the heroic Bhima of terrible prowess repeatedlyfelled in battle large bands of the Kalingas. And elephants deprived byPandu’s son, in that battle, of their riders, and afflicted with arrowswandered on the field, treading down their own ranks and uttering loudroars like masses of clouds driven by the wind. Then the mighty-armedBhima, scimitar in hand, and filled with delight, blew his conch ofterrible loudness. And with that blare he caused the hearts of all theKalinga troops to quake with fear. And, O chastiser of foes, all theKalingas seemed at the same time to be deprived of their senses. And allthe combatants and all the animals shook with terror. And in consequenceof Bhimasena wandering in that battle through many paths or rushing onall sides like a prince of elephants, or frequently jumping up, a tranceseemed to be engendered there that deprived his foes of their senses. Andthe whole (Kalinga) army shook with terror of Bhimasena, like a largelake agitated by an alligator. And struck with panic in consequence ofBhima of wonderful achievements, all the Kalinga combatants fled away inall directions. When, however, they were rallied again, the commander ofthe Pandava army (Dhrishtadyumna), O Bharata, ordered his own troops,saying,–‘Fight’. Hearing the words of their commander, many leaders (ofthe Pandava army) headed by Sikhandin approached Bhima, supported by manycar-divisions accomplished in smiting. And Pandu’s son, king Yudhishthirathe just, followed all of them with a large elephant force of the colourof the clouds. And thus urging all his divisions, the son of Prishata,surrounded by many excellent warriors, took upon himself the protectionof one of the wings of Bhimasena.[365] There exists nobody on earth, saveBhima and Satyaki, who to the prince of the Panchalas is dearer than hisvery life. That slayer of hostile heroes, the son of Prishata, beheld themighty-armed Bhimasena, that slayer of foes, wandering among theKalingas. He set up many shouts, O king, and was filled with delight, Ochastiser of foes. Indeed, he blew his conch in battle and uttered aleonine roar. And Bhimasena also, beholding the red standard ofDhrishtadyumna on his car decked with gold and unto which were yokedsteeds white as pigeons, became comforted.[366] And Dhrishtadyumna ofimmeasurable soul, beholding Bhimasena encountered by the Kalingas rushedto the battle for his rescue. And both those heroes. Dhrishtadyumna andVrikodara, endued with great energy, beholding Satyaki at a distance,furiously encountered the Kalingas in battle. And that bull among men,the grand son of Sini, that foremost of victorious warriors, quicklyadvancing to the spot took up the wing of both Bhima and Prishata’s son.Bow in hand creating a great havoc there and making himself fierce in theextreme, he began to slay the enemy in battle. And Bhima caused a riverto flow there of bloody current, mingled with the blood and flesh of thewarriors born in Kalinga. And beholding Bhimasena then, the troops criedaloud, O king, saying. ‘This is Death himself that is fighting in Bhima’sshape with the Kalingas.’ Then Santanu’s son Bhishma, hearing those criesin battle, quickly proceeded towards Bhima, himself surrounded on allsides with combatants in army. Thereupon, Satyaki and Bhimasena andDhrishtadyumna of Prishata’s race, rushed towards that car of Bhimadecked with gold. And all of them quickly surrounding Ganga’s son inbattle, pierced Bhishma, each with three terrible shafts, without losinga moment. Thy sire Devavrata, however, in return pierced each of thosemighty bowmen striving (in battle) with three straight shafts. Andchecking those mighty car-warriors, with thousands of arrows he Slew withhis shafts the steeds of Bhima decked with golden armour. Bhima, however,endued with great energy, staying on that car whose steeds had beenslain, with great impetuosity hurled a dart at Bhishma’s car. Thy sireDevavrata then, in that battle, cut off that dart in twain before itcould reach him, and thereupon it fell down on the earth. Then that bullamong men, Bhimasena, taking up a heavy and mighty mace made of Saikyairon speedily jumped down from his car. And Dhrishtadyumna quickly takingup that foremost of car-warriors on his own car, took away, in the verysight of all the combatants, that renowned warrior. And Satyaki then fromdesire of doing what was agreeable to Bhima, felled with his shaft thecharioteer of the reverend Kuru grand-sire. Upon his charioteer beingslain, that foremost of car-warriors, Bhishma, was borne away from thefield of battle by his steeds with the speed of the wind. And when thatmighty car-warrior was (thus) taken away from the field, Bhimasena then,O monarch, blazed up like a mighty fire while consuming dry grass. Andslaying all the Kalingas, he stayed in the midst of the troops, and none,O bull of Bharata’s race, of thy side ventured to withstand him. Andworshipped by the Panchalas and the Matsyas, O bull of Bharata’s race, heembraced Dhrishtadyumna and then approached Satyaki. And Satyaki, thetiger among the Yadus, of prowess incapable of being baffled, thengladdening Bhimasena, said unto him, in the presence of Dhrishtadyumna,(these words). ‘By good luck the king of the Kalingas, and Ketumat, theprince of the Kalingas, and Sakradeva also of that country and all theKalingas, have been slain in battle. With the might and prowess of thyarms, by thee alone, hath been crushed the very large division of theKalingas that abounded with elephants and steeds and cars, and with noblewarriors, and heroic combatants.’ Having said this, the long-armedgrandson of Sini, that chastiser of foes, quickly getting upon his car,embraced the son of Pandu. And then that mighty car-warrior, coming backto his own car, began to slay thy troops excited with rage andstrengthening (the hands of) Bhima.

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