Chapter 62

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

Dhritarashtra said,–“I regard destiny to be superior to exertion, OSanjaya, inasmuch as the army of my son is continually slaughtered by thearmy of the Pandavas. Thou always speakest, O suta, of my troops as beingslaughtered, and thou always speakest of the Pandavas as both unslain andcheerful. Indeed, O Sanjaya, thou speakest of mine as deprived ofmanliness, felled and falling, and slaughtered, although they arebattling to the best of their powers and striving hard for victory. Thoualways speakest to me of the Pandavas as obtaining victory and mine asbecoming weaker and weaker. O child, I am incessantly hearing ofcountless cause of unbearable and poignant grief on account ofDuryodhana’s doing. I do not see, O Sanjaya, the means by which thePandavas, may be weakened and sons of mine may obtain the victory inbattle.

Sanjaya said, “This mighty evil hath proceeded from thee, O king. Listennow with patience to the great slaughter of men, elephants, steeds andcar-warriors. Dhrishtadyumna, afflicted by Salya with nine shafts,afflicted in return the ruler of Madras with many shafts made of steel.And then we beheld the prowess of Prishata’s son to be highly wonderfulinasmuch as he speedily checked Salya that ornament of assemblies. Thebattle between them lasted for only a short space of time. While angrilyengaged in combat, none beheld even a moment’s rest taken by any of them.Then, O king, Salya in that battle cut off Dhrishtadyumna’s bow with abroad-headed shaft of sharp edge and excellent temper. And he alsocovered him, O Bharata, with a shower of arrows like rain charged cloudspouring their drops on the mountain breast during the season of rains.And while Dhrishtadyumna was being thus afflicted, Abhimanyu, excitedwith wrath, rushed impetuously towards the car of the ruler of theMadras. Then the wrathful son of Krishna, of immeasurable soul, obtainingthe car of the ruler of the Madras (within shooting distance), piercedArtayani with three sharp shafts.[379] Then the warriors of thy army, Oking, desirous of opposing the son of Arjuna in battle, speedilysurrounded the car of the ruler of Madras. And Duryodhana, and Vikarna,and Dussasana, and Vivinsati and Durmarshana, and Dussala, andChitrasena, and Durmukha, and Satyabrata, blessed be thou, and Purumitra,O Bharata,–these, protecting the car of the ruler of the Madras,stationed themselves there. Then Bhimasena, excited with wrath, andDhrishtadyumna. of Prishata’s race, and the five sons of Draupadi, andAbhimanyu, and the twin sons of Madri and Pandu,–these ten opposed thoseten warriors of the Dhritarashtra army shooting, O king, diverse kinds ofweapons. And they approached and encountered one another in battledesirous of slaying one another, in consequence, O king, of thy wickedpolicy. And when those ten car-warriors, excited with wrath, engaged withthe ten others in that awful battle, the other car-warriors of both thyarmy and of the foe all stood as spectators. And those mightycar-warriors, shooting diverse kinds of weapons and roaring at oneanother, smote one another fiercely. With wrath engendered in theirbreasts, desirous of slaying one another, they uttered fierce shouts,challenging one another. And jealous of one another, O king, thosekinsfolk united together, encountered one another wrathfully, shootingmighty weapons. And wonderful to say, Duryodhana, excited with rage,pierced Dhrishtadyumna in that battle with four sharp shafts. AndDurmarshana pierced him with twenty, and Chitrasena with five, andDurmukha with nine, and Dussaha with seven, and Vivinsati with five, andDussasana with three shafts. Then, O great king, that scorcher of foes,viz., Prishata’s son, pierced each of them in return with five and twentyshafts, displaying his lightness of hand. And Abhimanyu, O Bharata,pierced Satyavrata and Purumitra each with ten shafts. Then the son ofMadri, those delighters of their mother, covered their uncle with showersof sharp arrows. And all this seemed wonderful. Then, O monarch, Salyacovered his nephews, those two foremost of car-warriors desirous ofcounteracting their uncle’s feats, with arrows, but the sons of Madriwavered not. Then the mighty Bhimasena, the son of Pandu, beholdingDuryodhana and desirous of ending the strife, took up his mace. Andbeholding the mighty-armed Bhimasena with upraised mace and looking likethe crested Kailasa mount, thy sons fled away in terror. Duryodhana,however, excited with wrath, urged the Magadha division consisting of tenthousand elephants of great activity. Accompanied by that elephantdivision and placing the ruler of Magadha before him, king Duryodhanaadvanced towards Bhimasena. Beholding that elephant division advancingtowards him, Vrikodara, mace in hand, jumped down from his car, utteringa loud roar like that of a lion. And armed with that mighty mace whichwas endued with great weight and strength of adamant, he rushed towardsthat elephant division, like the Destroyer himself with wide open mouth.And the mighty-armed Bhimasena endued with great strength, slayingelephants with his mace, wandered over the field, like the slayer ofVritra among the Danava host. And with the loud shouts of the roaringBhima, shouts that made the mind and the heart to tremble with fear, theelephants, crouching close, lost all power of motion. Then the sons ofDraupadi, and that mighty car-warrior, the son of Subhadra, and Nakulaand Sahadeva, and Dhrishtadyumna of Prishata’s race, protecting Bhima’srear, rushed behind him, checking all by scattering their arrowy showerslike the very clouds pouring rain on the mountain breast. And thosePandava warriors struck off the heads of their foes battling from thebacks of elephants, with well-tempered and keen-edged shafts of diverseforms.[380] And the heads (of elephant-riders), and arms decked withornaments, and hands with iron-hooks in grasp, falling fast, resembled astony shower. And the headless trunk of elephant-riders on the necks ofthe beasts they rode, looked like headless trees on mountain summits. Andwe beheld mighty elephants felled and falling, slain by Dhrishtadyumna,the high-souled son of Prishata. Then the ruler of the Magadhas, in thatbattle, urged his elephant resembling Airavata himself, towards the carof Subhadra’s son. Beholding that mighty elephant advancing towards him,that slayer of hostile heroes, the brave son of Subhadra, slew it with asingle shaft. And when the ruler of the Magadhas was thus deprived of hiselephant, that conqueror of hostile cities viz., the son of Krishna, thenstruck off that king’s head with a broad-headed shaft with silver wings.And Bhimasena, the son of Pandu, having penetrated that elephantdivision, began to wander over the field, crushing those beasts aroundhim like Indra himself crushing the mountains. And we beheld elephantsslain in that battle by Bhimasena, each with only one stroke (of hismace), like hills riven by thunder. And many elephants, huge as hills,were slain there, having their tusks broken or temples, or bones, orbacks, or frontal globes. And others, O king, deprived of life, lay therewith foaming mouths. And many mighty elephants, with frontal globescompletely smashed, vomited large quantities of blood. And some, fromfear, laid themselves down on the ground like (so many) hillocks. Andsmeared with the fat and blood (of elephants) and almost bathed in theirmarrow, Bhima wandered over the field like the Destroyer himself, club inhand. And Vrikodara, whirling that mace of his which was wet with theblood of elephants, became terrible and awful to behold, like the wielderof Pinaka armed with Pinaka.[381] And those huge tuskers, while (thus)crushed by the angry Bhima, suddenly fled away, afflicted, crushing thyown ranks. And these mighty bowmen and car-warriors, headed by Subhadra’sson (all the while) protected that battling hero whirling his gorymace[382] wet with the blood of elephants, like the celestials protectingthe wielder of the thunder-bolt. Of terrible soul, Bhimasena then lookedlike the Destroyer. himself. Indeed, O Bharata, putting forth hisstrength on all sides, mace in arms, we beheld Bhimasena then to resembleSankara himself dancing (at the end of the Yuga), and his fierce, heavy,and sounding mace to resemble the club of Yama and possessed of the soundof Indra’s bolt. And that gory mace of his, smeared with marrow and hair,resembled (also) the angry Rudra’s Pinaka while he is engaged indestroying all creatures. As a herdsman chastises his herd of cattle witha goad, so did Bhima smite that elephant division with that mace of his.And while thus slaughtered by Bhima with his mace and with shafts (bythose that protected his rear), the elephants ran on all sides, crushingthe cars of thy own army. Then driving away those elephants from thefield like a mighty wind driving away masses of clouds, Bhima stood therelike wielder of the trident on a crematorium.”

Chapter 63
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