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Chapter 70

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

Sanjaya said, “Then Bhishma the son of Santanu fought fiercely,[394]desirous of protecting the sons from the fear of Bhimasena. And thebattle that then took place between the kings of the Kaurava and thePandava armies was awful in the extreme and destructive of great heroes.And in that general engagement, so fierce and terrible, tremendous wasthe din that arose, touching the very heavens. And in consequence of theshrieks of huge elephants and the neigh of steeds and the blare ofconches and beat of drums, the uproar was deafening. Fighting for thesake of victory, the mighty combatants endued with great prowess roaredat one another like bulls in a cow-pen. And heads cut off in that battlewith keen-edged shafts, incessantly falling, created, O bull of Bharata’srace, the appearance of a stony shower in the welkin. Indeed, O bull ofBharata’s race, innumerable were the heads lying on the field of battle,decked with ear-rings and turbans and resplendent with ornaments of gold.And the earth was covered with limbs cut off with broad-headed shafts,with heads decked with ear-rings, and with arms adorned with ornaments.And in a moment the whole field was strewn over with bodies cased inmail, with arms decked with ornaments, with faces beautiful as the moonand having eyes with reddish corners, and with every limb, O king, ofelephants, steeds and men. And the dust (raised by the warriors) lookedlike a thick cloud, and the bright implements of destruction, likeflashes of lightning. And the noise made by the weapons resembled theroar of thunder. And that fierce and awful passage-at-arms, O Bharata,between the Kurus and the Pandavas caused a very river of blood to flowthere. And in that terrible, fierce, and awful battle causing the hairstand on end, Kshatriya warriors incapable of defeat incessantly pouredtheir arrowy showers. And the elephants of both thy army and the enemy’s,afflicted with those arrowy showers, shrieked aloud and ran hither andthither in fury. And in consequence of (the twang of) bows, endued withgreat energy, of fierce and heroic warriors excited with fury, and offlapping of their bow-strings against their leathern fences, nothingcould be distinguished.[395] And all over the field which looked like alake of blood, headless trunks stood up, and the kings bent upon slayingtheir foes, rushed to battle. And brave warriors of immeasurable energyand possessed of arms resembling stout bludgeons, slew one another witharrows and darts and maces and scimitars. And elephants, pierced witharrows and deprived of riders to guide them with hooks, and steedsdestitute of riders, wildly ran in all directions. And many warriors, Obest of the Bharatas, belonging to both thy army and that of the foe,deeply pierced with shafts jumped up and fell down. And in that encounterbetween Bhima and Bhishma, heaps of arms and heads, as also of bows andmaces and spiked clubs and hands and thighs, of legs and ornaments andbracelets, were seen lying over the field. And here and there over thefield, O king, were seen large bodies of unretreating elephants andsteeds and cars. And the Kshatriya warriors, urged on by fate, slew oneanother with maces, swords, lances, and straight shafts. And othersendued with great heroism and accomplished in fight, encountered oneanother with their bare arms that resembled spiked clubs made of iron.And other heroic warriors of thy army, engaged with the combatants of thePandava host, fought on slaying one another with clenched fists andknees, and slaps and blows, O king. And with the fallen and fallingwarriors and those weltering in agony on the ground, the field of battleeverywhere became, O king, terrible to behold, and car-warriors, deprivedof the cars and grasping excellent swords, rushed at one another,desirous of slaughter. Then king Duryodhana, surrounded by a largedivision of Kalingas, and placing Bhishma ahead, rushed towards thePandavas. And so the Pandava combatants also, supporting Vrikodara, andowning fleet animals, rushed, excited with rage, against Bhishma.”

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