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Chapter 73

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

Sanjaya said, “King Virata then pierced that mighty car-warrior, viz.,Bhishma, with three shafts. And that great car-warrior pierced his(antagonist’s) steeds also with three shafts furnished with golden wings.And that terrible bowman and mighty car-warrior of firm hand, viz.,Drona’s son, pierced with six shafts the wielder of Gandiva between histwo breasts. Thereupon that grinder of foes, viz., Phalguni, that slayerof hostile heroes, cut off Aswatthaman’s bow and deeply pierced him inreturn with five shafts. Deprived of his senses by anger, and unable tobear the cutting off of his bow in that battle, Drona’s son, taking upanother bow that was tougher, pierced Phalguni, O king, with ninetysharp-shafts, and Vasudeva also with seventy fierce arrows. Then, witheyes red in wrath, Phalguni, with Krishna, breathing long and hotbreaths, reflected for a moment. Firmly grasping the bow with his lefthand, that grinder of foes, viz., the wielder of gandiva excited withrage, fixed on his bowstring a number of fierce shafts, sharp andperfectly straight, and capable of taking (the foe’s) life. And thatforemost of mighty men speedily pierced Drona’s son, in that battle, withthose arrows. And those arrows, penetrating through his armour, drank hislife-blood. But though thus pierced by the wielder of Gandiva, Drona’sson wavered not. Shooting in return similar arrows at Partha, he stayedunperturbed, in that battle, desirous, O king, of protecting Bhishma ofhigh vows. And that feat of his was applauded by the foremost warriors ofthe Kuru army, consisting, as it did, of his having encountered the twoKrishnas united together. Indeed, Aswatthaman daily battled fearlesslyamid the forces, having obtained from Drona all weapons with the methodsalso of their withdrawal. This one is the son of my preceptor. He isagain the dear son of Drona. He is especially a Brahmana, and, therefore,worthy of my regard. Thinking so, that scorcher of foes, the heroicVibhatsu, that foremost of car-warriors, showed mercy to the son ofBharadwaja. Avoiding the son of Drona, Kunti’s son endued with greatprowess and having white steeds (yoked unto his car), began to fight,displaying great quickness of arms and causing a great carnage of thytroops. Duryodhana then pierced that great bowman Bhima with ten shaftswinged with vulturine feathers, adorned with gold, and whetted on stone.Thereupon Bhimasena, excited with wrath, took up a tough and well-adornedbow capable of taking the life of the foe, and also ten sharp shafts. Andsteadily aiming those sharp-pointed shafts of fierce energy and impetuousvelocity, and drawing the bow-string to his ear, he deeply pierced theking of the Kurus in his wide chest. Thereupon the gem hanging on hisbreast on threads of gold, surrounded by those shafts, looked beautifullike the Sun in the firmament surrounded by the planets. Thy son,however, endued with great energy, thus struck by Bhimasena, could notbear it (coolly), like a snake unable to bear the sounds of a man’s slap.Excited with wrath and desirous of protecting his army, he then piercedBhima in return, O king, with many shafts whetted on stone and enduedwith golden wings. Thus struggling in battle and mangling each otherfiercely, those two mighty sons of thine looked like a pair of celestials.

“That tiger among men and slayer of hostile heroes, viz., the son ofSubhadra, pierced Chitrasena with many sharp shafts and Purumitra alsowith seven shafts. And piercing Satyavrata too with seventy shafts, thathero resembling Indra himself in battle, began as it were to dance on thefield, and caused us much pain. Chitrasena then pierced him in returnwith ten shafts, and Satyavrata with nine, and Purumitra with seven. Thenthe son of Arjuna, thus pierced, while yet covered with blood, cut offthe large and beautiful bow of Chitrasena that was capable of checkingfoes. And cutting through his coat of mail he pierced his antagonist’sbreast with a shaft. Then the princes of thy army, all heroic and mightycar-warriors, excited with wrath and united together in that conflict,pierced him with sharp arrows. And Abhimanyu, acquainted with themightiest weapons, smote them all with keen shafts. Beholding that featof his, thy sons then surrounded the son of Arjuna, who was consuming thyarmy in that conflict like a swelling fire of blazing flames consuming aheap of dry grass in summer. And the son of Subhadra, while smiting thytroops (thus), seemed to glow in splendour. Seeing that conduct of his,thy grandson Lakshmana then, O monarch, quickly fell upon the son ofSubhadra. Thereupon that mighty car-warrior Abhimanyu, excited withwrath, pierced Lakshmana graced with auspicious marks, as also hischarioteer, with six sharp arrows. But Lakshmana also, O king, piercedSubhadra’s son with many keen shafts. And that feat, O king, seemed to behighly wonderful. Then that mighty car-warrior, viz., Abhimanyu, slayingthe four steeds as also the charioteer of Lakshmana with sharp shafts,rushed towards the latter. Thereupon Lakshmana, that slayer of hostileheroes, staying on that car of his whose steeds had been slain, andexcited with wrath, hurled a dart towards the car of Subhadra’s son.Abhimanyu, however, with his sharp arrows, cut off that irresistible dartof fierce mien, resembling a snake, and coming impetuously towards him.Then Kripa, taking Lakshmana up on his own car, bore him away from theconflict, in the very sight of all the troops. Then when that awfulconflict became general, the combatants rushed against one another,desirous of taking another’s life. And the mighty bowmen of thy army andthe great car-warriors of the Pandava host, prepared to lay down theirlives in battle, slew one another. With hair dishevelled, divested oftheir coats of mail, deprived of their cars, and their bows broken, theSrinjayas fought with the Kurus with their bare arms. Then themighty-armed Bhishma, endued with great strength, and excited with wrath,slew with his celestial weapons the troops of the high-souled Pandavas.And the earth became covered with the fallen bodies of elephants deprivedof their guides of men and steeds and car-warriors and cavalry-soldiers.”

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