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Chapter 57

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

Sanjaya said, “After the ranks of thy army and theirs had been disposedin battle-array, that mighty car-warrior, Dhananjaya, felling in thatconflict leaders of car-divisions with his arrows, caused a greatcarnage, O Bharata, among the car-ranks. The Dhartarashtras, (thus)slaughtered in battle by Pritha’s son, like the Destroyer himself at theend of the Yuga, still fought perseveringly with the Pandavas. Desirous.of (winning) blazing glory and (bent upon) making death (the only groundfor) a cessation of the fight, with minds undirected to anything else,they broke the Pandava ranks in many places and were also themselvesbroken. Then both the Pandava and the Kaurava troops broke, changedpositions, and fled away. Nothing could be distinguished. An earthly dustarose, shrouding the very sun. And nobody there could distinguish, eitherthe cardinal or the subsidiary directions. And everywhere the battleraged, O king, the combatants being guided by the indications afforded bycolours, by watch-words, names and tribal distinctions. And the array ofthe Kauravas, O king, could not be broken, duly protected as it was byBharadwaja’s son, O sire.[371] And so the formidable array of the Pandavaalso, protected by Savyasachin, and well-guarded by Bhima, could not bebroken. And the cars and elephants in close ranks, O king, of both thearmies, and other combatants, coming out of their respective arrays,engaged in conflict. And in that fierce battle cavalry soldiers felledcavalry soldiers, with polished swords of sharp edges and long lances.And car-warriors, getting car-warriors (within reach) in that fierceconflict, felled them with shafts decked with golden wings. Andelephant-riders, of thy side and theirs, felled large numbers ofelephant-riders in close ranks, with broad-headed shafts and arrows andlances. And large bodies of infantry, inspired with wrath towards oneanother, cheerfully felled combatants of their own class with shortarrows and battle-axes. And car-warriors, O king, getting elephant-riders(within reach) in that conflict, felled them along with their elephants.And elephant-riders similarly felled car-warriors. And, O bull ofBharata’s race, the cavalry soldier with his lance felled the car-warriorin that conflict, and the car-warrior also felled the cavalry soldier.And both the armies the foot-soldier, felled the car-warrior in thecombat, and the car-warrior felled the foot-soldiers, with sharp weapons.And elephant-riders felled horse-riders, and horse-riders felled warriorson the backs of elephants. And all this appeared exceedingly wonderful.And here and there foot-soldiers, were felled by foremost ofelephant-riders, and elephant-riders were seen to be felled by theformer. And bands of foot-soldiers, by hundreds and thousands, were seento be felled by horse-riders and horse-riders by foot-soldiers. Andstrewn with broken standards and bows and lances and housings ofelephants, and costly blankets and bearded darts, and maces, and clubsfurnished with spikes, and Kampanas, and darts, and variegated coats ofmail and Kunapas, and iron hooks, and polished scimitars, and shaftsfurnished with golden wings, the field, O best of Bharata’s race, shoneas if with floral wreaths. And the earth, miry with flesh and blood,became impassable with the bodies of men and steeds and elephants slainin that dreadful battle. And drenched with human blood, the earthy dustdisappeared. And the cardinal points, all around, became perfectly clear,O Bharata. And innumerable headless trunks rose up all around indicating,O Bharata, of the destruction of the world. And in that terrible andawful battle, car-warriors were seen to run away in all directions. ThenBhishma and Drona, and Jayadratha, the ruler of the Sindhus andPurumitra, and Vikarna, and Sakuni the son of Suvala-these warriorsinvincible in battle and possessed of leonine prowess-staying in battlebroke the ranks of the Pandavas. And so Bhimasena and the RakshasaGhatotkacha, and Satyaki, and Chekitana, and the sons of Draupadi, OBharata, supported by all the kings (on their side), began to grind thytroops and thy sons stationed in battle, like the gods grinding theDanavas. And those bulls among Kshatriyas, striking one another inbattle, became terrible to behold and covered with blood shone likeKinsukas. And the foremost warriors of both armies, vanquishing theiropponents, looked, O king, like the planetary luminaries in thefirmament. Then thy son Duryodhana, supported by a thousand cars, rushedto battle with the Pandavas and the Rakshasa. And so all the Pandavas,with a large body of combatants rushed in battle against those chastisersof foes, the heroic Bhishma and Drona. And the diadem-decked (Arjuna)also, excited with rage rushed against the foremost of kings. AndArjuna’s son (Abhimanyu), and Satyaki, both advanced against the forcesof Suvala’s son. And then commenced once more a fearful battle, makingthe hair to stand on end, between thine and the enemy’s troops bothdesirous of vanquishing each other.”

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