Chapter 85

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

Sanjaya said, “Then when the sun attained the meridian, kingYudhishthira, beholding Srutayush, urged on his steeds. And the kingrushed at Srutayush, that chastiser of foes, striking him with ninestraight shafts of keen points. That great bowman, viz., king Srutayushthen, checking in that battle those arrows shot by the son of Pandu,struck Yudhishthira with seven shafts. These penetrating through hisarmour, drank his blood in that battle, as if sucking the very vitalenergies dwelling in the body of that high-souled one.[418] The son ofPandu then, though deeply pierced by that high-souled king, pierced kingSrutayush (in return), at the latter’s heart, with an arrow shaped as theboar’s ear. And that foremost of car-warriors, viz., the son of Pritha,with another broad-headed arrow, quickly felled on the earth the standardof the high-souled Srutayush from his car. Beholding his standardoverthrown, king Srutayush then, O monarch, pierced the son of Pandu withseven sharp shafts. Thereupon Yudhishthira, the son of Dharma, blazed upwith wrath, like the fire that blazeth forth at the end of the Yuga forconsuming creatures. Beholding the son of Pandu excited with rage, thegods, the Gandharvas, and the Rakshasas, trembled, O king, and theuniverse became agitated. And even this was the thought that arose in theminds of all creatures, viz., that that king, excited with rage, wouldthat day consume the three worlds. Indeed, when the son of Pandu was thusexcited with wrath, the Rishis and the celestials prayed for the peace ofthe world. Filled with wrath and frequently licking the corners of hismouth, Yudhishthira assumed a terrible expression looking like the sunthat riseth at the end of the Yuga. Then all thy warriors, O king, becamehopeless of their lives, O Bharata. Checking, however, that wrath withpatience, that great bowman endued with high renown then cut offSrutayush’s bow at the grasp. And then, in the very sight of all thetroops, the king in that battle pierced Srutayush whose bow had been cutoff, with a long arrow in the centre of the chest. And the mightyYudhishthira then, O king, speedily slew with his arrows the steeds ofSrutayush and then, without losing a moment, his charioteer. Beholdingthe prowess of the king, Srutayush leaving that car whose steeds had beenslain, quickly fled away from battle. After that great bowman had beenvanquished in combat by the son of Dharma, all the troops of Duryodhana,O king, turned their faces. Having, O monarch, achieved this feat,Yudhishthira, the son of Dharma, began to slay thy troops like Deathhimself with wide-open mouth.

“Chekitana of the Vrishni race, in the very sight of all the troops,covered with his shafts Gautama, that foremost of car-warriors. Bafflingall those arrows, Kripa the son of Saradwat, pierced Chekitana in returnwho was fighting with great care, O king, with arrows in that battle.Then, O Bharata, with another broad-headed arrow he cut off Chekitana’sbow, and endued with great lightness of hand, he also felled with anotherbroad-headed arrow the former’s charioteer. Kripa then, O monarch, slewChekitana’s steeds, as also both the warriors that protected the latter’swings. Then Chekitana of the Satwata race, quickly jumped down from hiscar, and took up a mace. The foremost of all wielders of the mace,Chekitana, with that hero-slaying mace of his, slew the steeds of Gautamaand then felled his charioteer. Then Gautama, standing on the ground,shot sixteen arrows at Chekitana. Those arrows, piercing through thathero of the Satwata race, entered the earth. Thereat, Chekitana excitedwith rage, once more hurled his mace, desirous of slaying Gautama, likePurandara desirous of slaying Vritra. Then Gautama with many thousands ofarrows checked that huge mace, endued with the strength of adamant, thatwas coursing towards him. Then Chekitana, O Bharata, drawing his sabrefrom the sheath, rushed with great speed towards Gautama. ThereuponGautama also, throwing away his bow, and taking up a polished sabre,rushed with great speed towards Chekitana. Both of them possessed ofgreat strength, and both armed with excellent sabres, began to strikeeach other with those sharp-edged weapons of theirs. Then those bullsamong men, struck with the force of each other’s sabres, fell down on theearth, that (common) element of all creatures. Exhausted by the effortsthey had made, the limbs of both were motionless in a swoon. ThenKarakarsha impelled by friendship, quickly rushed to that spot. And thatinvincible warrior, beholding Chekitana in that plight, took him up onhis car in the very sight of all troops. And so also the brave Sakuni,thy brother-in-law, O monarch, speedily caused Gautama, that foremost ofcar-warriors, to mount on his car.

“The mighty Dhrishtaketu, excited with wrath, speedily pierced the son ofSomadatta, O king, with ninety shafts in the chest. And the son ofSomadatta looked highly resplendent with those shafts on his chest, likethe sun, O king, with his rays at mid-day. Bhurisravas, however, in thatbattle, with his excellent shafts, deprived Dhrishtaketu, that mightycar-warrior, of his car, slaying his charioteer and steeds. And beholdinghim deprived of his car, and his steeds and charioteer slain, Bhurisravascovered Dhrishtaketu in that combat with a thick shower of arrows. Thehigh-souled Dhrishtaketu then. O sire, abandoning that car of his,mounted upon the vehicle of Satanika. Chitrasena, and Vikarna, O king,and also Durmarshana,–these car-warriors cased in golden mail,–allrushed against the son of Subhadra. Then a fierce battle took placebetween Abhimanyu and those warriors, like the battle of the body, Oking, with wind, bile, and phlegm.[419] That tiger among men, however,(viz., Abhimanyu), having, O king, deprived thy sons of their cars, slewthem not, remembering Bhima’s words.[420] Then during the progress of thefight, Kunti’s son (Arjuna), of white steeds, beholding Bhishma, who wasincapable of being vanquished by very gods, proceeding to rescue thy sonsin view of Abhimanyu–a boy and alone though a mighty car-warrior,addressed Vasudeva and said these words, ‘Urge the steeds, O Hrishikesa,to that spot where are those numerous car-warriors. They are many innumber, brave, accomplished in arms, invincible in battle. Guide thehorses so, O Madhava, that the foe may not be able to slay our troops.’Thus urged by Kunti’s son of immeasurable energy, he of Vrishni’s racethen drove that car, unto which were yoked white steeds, to battle. WhenArjuna, excited with rage, thus proceeded towards thy army, a louduproar, O sire, arose among thy troops.[421] The son of Kunti then,having come up to those kings that were protecting Bhishma, (first)addressed Susarman, O king, and said these words, ‘I know thee to beforemost in battle, and a dire enemy (of ours) of old. Behold to-day theterrible fruit of that evil behaviour (of thine).[422] I will today causethee to visit the manes of thy ancestors.’ That leader of car-divisions,Susarman, however, hearing these harsh words uttered by that slayer offoes viz., Vibhatsu, told him nothing (in reply), well or ill. (But)approaching the heroic Arjuna, with a large number of kings in his train,and surrounding him in that battle, he covered him aided by thy sons, Osinless one, with arrows from all sides, viz., front, rear, and flanks,like the clouds covering the maker of day. Then, O Bharata, a dreadfulbattle took place between thy army and the Pandavas, in which blood ranlike water.”

Chapter 86
Chapter 84
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