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Chapter 71

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

Sanjaya said, “Beholding his brothers and the other kings engaged inbattle with Bhishma, Dhananjaya, with weapons upraised, rushed againstthe son of Ganga. Hearing the blare of Panchajanya and the twang of thebow Gandiva, and seeing also the standard of Pritha’s son, a great fearentered our hearts. And the standard that we behold, O king, of thewielder of Gandiva bore the device of lion’s tail and looked like ablazing mountain in the welkin. Beautiful and of celestial workmanship,it was variegated with diverse hues, and looking like a risen comet itcould not be obstructed by trees. And in that great battle, the warriorsbeheld Gandiva, the back of whose staff was decked with pure gold, andwhich looked beautiful like a flash of lightning in the midst of a massof clouds in the firmament. And while slaying the combatants of thy army,the shouts we heard uttered by Arjuna seemed to resemble the loud roarsof Indra himself, and the slaps also of his palms were frightfully loud.Like a roaring mass of clouds charged with lightning and aided by araging tempest, Arjuna incessantly poured his arrowy showers on allsides, completely shrouding the ten points of the compass. Dhananjayathen possessed of terrible weapons, quickly proceeded towards the son ofGanga. Deprived of four senses in consequence of his weapons, we couldnot then distinguish the East from the West. And thy warriors, then, Obull of Bharata’s race,–their animals tired, steeds slain, and heartsdepressed,–thoroughly confounded[396] and huddling close to one another,sought Bhishma’s protection along with all thy sons. And in that battleBhishma the son of Santanu became their protector. Struck with fear,car-warriors jumping down from their cars, cavalry soldiers jumping downfrom the backs of their steeds, and the foot-soldiers where they stood,all began to fall down on the earth. Hearing the twang of Gandiva thatresembled the roar of the thunder, all thy warriors were struck with fearand seemed, O Bharata, to melt away. Then, O king, with many huge andfleet steeds of the Kamvoja breed, and surrounded by many thousand ofGopas with a large Gopayana force and supported by the Madras, theSauviras, the Gandharas and the Trigartas, and surrounded by all theprincipal Kalingas, the king of the Kalingas, and king Jayadrathaaccompanied by all the kings and supported by a large force of diverseraces with Dussasana at their head, and fourteen thousand principalhorsemen, urged by thy son, surrounded the son of Suvala (for supportinghim). Then in that battle, all the Pandavas, united together, and ridingon separate cars and animals, began, O bull of Bharata’s race, toslaughter thy troops.[397] And the dust raised by car-warriors and steedsand foot-soldiers, looking like a mass of clouds, made the field ofbattle exceedingly awful. And with a large force consisting of elephants,steeds and cars, and armed with lances and bearded darts and broad-headedshafts, Bhishma engaged in battle with the diadem decked (Arjuna). Andthe king of Avanti engaged with the ruler of Kasi, and the ruler of theSindhus engaged with Bhimasena. And king Yudhishthira with his sons andcounsellors engaged with Salya, the famous chief of the Madras. AndVikarna engaged with Sahadeva, and Chitrasena with Sikhandin. And theMatsyas, O king, engaged with Duryodhana, and Sakuni; and Drupada andChekitana, and that mighty car-warrior Satyaki engaged in battle with thehigh-souled Drona aided by his son. And Kripa and Kritavarman both rushedagainst Dhrishtadyumna. And thus, all over the field, rushing bodies ofhorses, of elephants and cars, engaged with one another in battle. Andalthough there were no clouds in the sky, yet flashes of lightning wereseen. And all the points of the compass were covered with dust. And, Oking, fierce meteors were seen failing with thundering noise. And violentwinds blew and a shower of dust fell from above. And the sun, covered bythe dust raised by the troops, disappeared in the firmament. And all thewarriors, covered by that dust and battling with weapons, were deprivedof their senses. And the sound made by weapons, all capable ofpenetrating through every armour and hurled from heroic arms, became atremendous uproar. And, O bull of Bharata’s race, weapons hurled fromexcellent arms and possessed of stellar brightness, illumined the wholewelkin. And variegated shields made of bull’s hides and embossed withgold were strewn, O bull of Bharata’s race, all over the field. And headsand limbs were seen falling on all sides, cut off with swords andscimitars possessed of solar effulgence. And great car-warriors, thewheels, axles, and boxes of whose cars were broken, fell down on theground, their steeds slain and their tall standards tumbling down.[398]And many car-warriors having been slain, their steeds, mangled withweapons, fell down as they ran dragging the cars (to which they wereyoked). And, in many places over the field, excellent steeds, afflictedwith arrows, with limbs mangled, and with their traces on, ran, draggingthe car-yokes after them. And many car-warriors, with their charioteersand steeds, were seen, O king, to be crushed by single elephants enduedwith great strength.[399] And in that battle, in the midst of largeforces, many elephants, scenting the odour of the temporal juice of theircompeers, began to snuff the breeze repeatedly. And the whole field wasstrewn with slain elephants, deprived of life by means of broad-headedshafts and falling down with the wooden edifices and the guides on theirbacks. And many elephants, in, the midst of large forces crushed, withthe standards and warriors on their backs, by huge compeers urged bytheir guides, fell down on the field. And many car-shafts, O king, wereseen to be broken in that battle by huge elephants using their trunks,each of which resembled the trunk of the prince of elephants (calledAiravata). And many car-warriors also, in that conflict, the Jalas ofwhose cars had been broken, were like branches of trees dragged down bytuskers, seized by the hair of their heads and, thrashed violently on theground, were crushed into shapeless masses. And other huge elephants,dragging cars that were entangled with other cars, ran in all directionsshrieking loudly. And those elephants, thus dragging those cars, lookedlike others of their species dragging lotus-stalks growing in lakes. Andthus was that vast field of battle strewn over with cavalry soldiers andfoot-soldiers and great car-warriors and standards.”

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