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Chapter 55

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

Sanjaya said, “When the forenoon of that day had passed away, O Bharata,and when the destruction of cars, elephants, steeds, foot-soldiers andhorse-soldiers, proceeded on, the prince of Panchala engaged himself inbattle with these three mighty car-warriors, viz., Drona’s son, Salya,and the high-souled Kripa. And the mighty heir of Panchala’s king withmany sharp shafts, slew the steeds of Drona’s son that were celebratedover all the world. Deprived then of his animals, Drona’s son quicklygetting up on Salya’s car, showered his shafts on the hair of thePanchala king. And beholding Dhrishtadyumna engaged in battle withDrona’s son, the son of Subhadra, O Bharata, quickly came up scatteringhis sharp arrows. And, O bull of Bharata’s race, he pierced Salya withfive and twenty, and Kripa with nine arrows, and Aswatthaman with eight.Drona’s son, however, quickly pierced Arjuna’s son with many wingedarrows, and Salya pierced him with twelve, and Kripa with three sharparrows. Thy grandson Lakshmana then, beholding Subhadra’s son engaged inbattle, rushed at him, excited with rage. And the battle commencedbetween them. And the son of Duryodhana, excited with rage, piercedSubhadra’s son with sharp shafts in that combat. And that (feat), O king,seemed highly wonderful. The light-handed Abhimanyu then, O bull ofBharata’s race, excited with rage, quickly pierced his cousin with fivehundred arrows. Lakshmana also, with his shafts, then cut off his(cousin’s) bow-staff at the middle, at which, O monarch, all the peoplesent forth a loud shout. Then that slayer of hostile heroes, the son ofSubhadra, leaving aside that broken bow, took up another that wasbeautiful and tougher.[367] And thereupon those two bulls among men, thusengaged in combat and desirous of counteracting each other’s feats,pierced each other with sharp shafts. King Duryodhana then, O monarch,beholding his mighty son thus afflicted by thy grandson (Abhimanyu),proceeded to that spot. And when thy son turned (towards that spot), allthe kings surrounded the son of Arjuna on every side with crowds of cars.Incapable of being defeated in battle and equal in prowess unto Krishnahimself, that hero, O king, thus surrounded by those heroes, was notagitated in the least. Then Dhananjaya, beholding Subhadra’s son engagedin battle, rushed to that spot, excited with wrath, desirous of rescuinghis own son. Thereupon the kings (on the Kuru side), headed by Bhishmaand Drona and with cars, elephants and steeds, rushed impetuously atSavyasachin. Then a thick earthly dust, suddenly raised by foot-soldiersand steeds and cars and cavalry troopers, covering the sky appeared onthe view. And those thousands of elephants and hundreds of kings, whenthey came within reach of Arjuna’s arrows, were all unable to make anyfurther advance. And all creatures there set up loud wails, and thepoints of the compass became dark. And then the transgression of theKurus assumed a fierce and dreadful aspect as regards its consequences.Neither the welkin, nor the cardinal points of the compass nor the earth,nor the sun, could be distinguished, O best of men, in consequence of thearrows shot by Kiritin.[368] And many were the elephants there deprivedof the standards (on their backs), and many car-warriors also, deprivedof their steeds. And some leaders of car divisions were seen wandering,having abandoned their cars. And other car-warriors, deprived of theircars, were seen to wander hither and thither, weapon in hand and theirarms graced with Angadas. And riders of steeds abandoning their steedsand of elephants abandoning their elephants from fear of Arjuna, O king,fled away in all directions. And kings were seen felled or falling fromcars and elephants and steeds in consequence of Arjuna’s shafts. AndArjuna, assuming a fierce countenance, cut off with his terrible shafts,the upraised arms of warriors, mace in grasp, and arms bearing swords, Oking, or darts, or quivers, or shafts, or bows, or hooks, or standards,all over the field. And spiked maces broken in fragments, and mallets, Osire, and bearded darts, and short arrows, and swords also, in thatbattle, and sharp-edged battle-axes, and lances, O Bharata, and shieldsbroken into pieces, and coats of mail also, O king,[369] and standards,and weapons of all kinds thrown away and umbrellas furnished with goldenstaves, and iron hooks also, O Bharata, and goads and whips, and tracesalso, O sire, were seen strewn over the field of battle in heaps. Therewas no man in thy army, O sire, who could advance against the heroicArjuna in battle. Whoever, O king, advanced against Pritha’s son inbattle, pierced by sharp shafts was despatched to the other world. Whenall these combatants of thine broke had fled away, Arjuna and Vasudevablew their excellent conches. Thy sire Devavrata then, beholding the(Kuru) host routed, smilingly addressed the heroic son of Bharadwaja inthe battle and said, “This mighty and heroic son of Pandu, viz.,Dhananjaya, accompanied by Krishna, is dealing with (our) troops as healone is competent to deal with them. He is incapable of being vanquishedin battle today by any means, judging by his form that we see now so likeunto that of the Destroyer himself at the end of the Yuga. This vast hostagain (of ours) is incapable of being rallied. Behold, looking at oneanother, our troops are flying away. Yon Sun, robbing in every way thevision of the whole world, is about to reach that best of mountainscalled Asta.[370] For this, O bull among men, I think that the hour iscome for the withdrawal (of the army). The warriors, who have all beentired and struck with panic, will never fight. Having said this untoDrona that best of preceptors, Bhishma, that mighty car-warrior, causedthy army to be withdrawn. And then when the sun set, the withdrawal ofboth thy army and theirs took place, O sire, and twilight set in.”

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