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Chapter 60

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

Sanjaya said,–“When the night passed away, O Bharata, the high-souledBhishma, with wrath engendered, supported by a large force, and stationedat the head of the Bharata army, proceeded against the foe. And Drona andDuryodhana and Valhika, and also Durmarshana and Chitrasena, the mightyJayadratha, and other royal warriors, supported by large divisionsaccompanied, surrounding him all sides. And surrounded by those great andmighty car-warriors endued with great prowess and energy, O king, heshone, O best of monarchs, in the midst of those foremost of royalwarriors, like the chief of the celestials in the midst of the gods. Andthe magnificent standards on the backs of the elephants stationed infront of those ranks, of diverse colours, viz., red, yellow, black andbrown, waving in the air, looked exceedingly beautiful. And that armywith the royal son of Santanu and other mighty car-warriors and withelephants and steeds, looked resplendent like a mass of clouds chargedwith lightning, or like the firmament, in the season of rains, withgathering clouds.[374] And then the fierce army of the Kurus, bent onbattle and protected by Santanu’s son, rushed impetuously towards Arjunalike the fierce current of the ocean-going Ganga.[375] Pervaded bydiverse kinds of forces possessed of great strength, and having in itswings elephants, steeds, infantry, and cars in profusion, that array thehigh-souled (Arjuna) having the prince of apes on his banner beheld froma distance to resemble a mighty mass of clouds.[376] That high-souledhero, that bull among men, upon his car furnished with tall standard andunto which were yoked white steeds, at the head of his (own) division andsurrounded by a mighty force, proceeded against the whole hostile army.And all the Kauravas with thy sons, beholding that ape-bannered (warrior)with his excellent standard and handsome car-shaft wrapped (in costlycover), accompanied by that bull of Yadu’s race, his charioteer inbattle, were filled with dismay. And thy army beheld that best of arrays,which was protected by that mighty car-warrior of the world, viz.,Kiritin, with weapons upraised to have at each of its corners fourthousand elephants. Like the array which was formed on the day before bythat best of Kurus viz., king Yudhishthira the just, and like of whichhad never been seen or heard before by human beings, was this one oftoday (that the Pandavas formed). Then on the field of battle thousand ofdrums were loudly beaten, and there arose from all the divisions the loudblare of conches and the notes of trumpets and many leonine shouts. Then(innumerable) bows of loud twang, stretched by heroic warriors with shaftfixed on the bowstrings, and the blare of conches, silenced that uproarof drums and cymbals. And the entire welkin filled with that blare ofconches was diffused with an earthly dust that made it wonderful tobehold. And with that dust the sky looked as if a vast canopy were spreadoverhead. And beholding that canopy the brave warriors all rushedimpetuously (to battle). And car-warriors, struck by car-warriors, wereoverthrown with charioteers, steeds, cars, and standards. And elephants,struck by elephants, fell down, and foot-soldiers struck byfoot-soldiers. And rushing horsemen, struck down by rushing horsemen withlances and swords, fell down with frightful countenances. And all thisseemed exceedingly wonderful. And excellent shields decked with goldenstars and possessed of solar effulgence, broken by (strokes of)battle-axes, lances and swords dropped on the field.[377] And manycar-warriors mangled and bruised by the tusks and the strong trunks ofelephants, fell down with their charioteers. And many bulls amongcar-warriors struck by bulls among car-warriors with their shafts, felldown on the ground. And many persons hearing the wails of horsemen andfoot-soldiers struck with the tusks and other limbs of elephants orcrushed by the impetus of those huge creatures rushing in close ranks,fell down on the field of battle.[378]

“Then when cavalry and foot-soldiers were falling fast, and elephants andsteeds and cars were flying away in fear, Bhishma, surrounded by manymighty car-warriors, obtained sight of him who had the prince of apes onhis standard. And the palmyra-bannered warrior, viz. the son of Santanu,having five palmyras on his standard, then rushed against thediadem-decked (Arjuna) whose car, in consequence of the fleetness of theexcellent steeds attached to it was endued with wonderful energy andwhich blazed like the very lightning in consequence of the energy of hismighty weapons. And so against that son of Indra who was like unto Indrahimself, rushed many (other) warriors headed by Drona and Kripa and Salyaand Vivinsati and Duryodhana and also Somadatta’s son, O king. Then theheroic Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna, conversant with all weapons andcased in a handsome and golden coat of mail, rushing out of the ranks,quickly proceeded against all those warriors. And that son of Krishna offeats incapable of being borne, baffling the mighty weapons of all thosewarriors of great strength, looked resplendent like the adorable Agnihimself, on the sacrificial altar, of blazing flames, invoked with highmantras. Then Bhishma of mighty energy, creating in that battle a veryriver whose waters were the blood of foes, and quickly avoidingSubhadra’s son, encountered that mighty car-warrior, viz., Parthahimself. Then Arjuna decked with diadem and garlands with his Gandiva ofwonderful mien and twang loud as the roar of the thunder, shootingshowers of arrows, baffled that shower of mighty weapons (shot byBhishma). And that high-souled warrior having the prince of apes on hisbanner, of feats incapable of being borne, then poured in return uponBhishma, that best of all wielders of bows a shower of sharp-edged arrowsand polished shafts of broad heads. And so thy troops also beheld thatshower of mighty weapons shot by him who had the prince of apes on hisbanner, opposed and dispersed by Bhishma like the maker of day dispelling(the gloom of night). And the Kurus and the Srinjayas, and all the peoplethere, beheld that single combat between those two foremost of men, viz.,Bhishma and Dhananjaya, proceeding thus steadily and thus distinguishedby the terrible twang of the bows of both.”

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