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Chapter 86

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

Sanjaya said, “Then the mighty Dhananjaya, struck with those shafts anddrawing long breaths like a trodden snake, cut off, with great force, bymeans of his successive shafts, the bows of those mighty car-warriors.Cutting off in a moment, O king, the bows of those powerful monarchs inthat battle, the high-souled Arjuna, desiring to exterminate them piercedall of them simultaneously with his shafts. Struck (thus) by Indra’s son,O king, some of them fell down on the field, covered with blood. And somehad their limbs mangled, and some had their heads struck off. And someperished with bodies mangled and coats of mail cut through. And afflictedby the arrows of Partha, many of them, falling down on the earth,perished together. Beholding then those princes slain in battle, theruler of the Trigartas advanced on his car. And two and thirty othersamongst those car-warriors, they who had been protecting the rear of theslain combatants also fell upon Partha. These all, surrounding Partha,and drawing their bows of loud twang, poured on him a thick shower ofarrows like the clouds pouring torrents of water on the mountain breast.Then Dhananjaya afflicted with that arrowy down-pour in that battle,became excited with wrath, and with sixty arrows steeped in oil hedespatched all those protectors of the rear. Having vanquished in battlethose sixty car-warriors, the illustrious Dhananjaya became cheerful atheart. And having slain also the forces of those kings, Jishnu sped forBhishma’s slaughter. Then the ruler of the Trigartas, beholding hisfriends those mighty car-warriors slain, speedily advanced upon Partha,with a number of (other) kings in his van, for slaying him. Then thePandava warrior headed by Sikhandin, beholding those combatants advancingupon Dhananjaya that foremost of all conversant with arms, proceeded withwhetted weapons in hand, desirous of protecting the car of Arjuna. Parthaalso beholding those brave men advanced towards him with the ruler of theTrigartas, mangled them in battle with arrows shot from Gandiva. Thenthat distinguished bowman, desirous of approaching Bhishma beheldDuryodhana and other kings headed by the ruler of the Sindhus. Fightingwith great energy for a moment and checking those warriors that weredesirous of protecting Bhishma, the heroic Arjuna of great valour andinfinite prowess avoiding Duryodhana and Jayadratha and others,–thatwarrior of mighty strength and great mental vigour,–at last proceeded,bow and arrow in hand, towards the son of Ganga in battle. Thehigh-souled Yudhishthira also, of fierce prowess and infinite renown,avoiding in battle the ruler of the Madras who had been assigned to hisshare, quickly proceeded, with excited wrath and accompanied by Bhima andthe sons of Madri towards Bhishma, the son of Santanu, for battle.Conversant with all modes of warfare the high-souled son of Ganga andSantanu, though attacked in battle by all the sons of Pandu unitedtogether, wavered not at all. Of fierce might and great energy kingJayadratha of sure aim, advancing in battle, forcibly cut off with hisown excellent bow the bows of all those mighty car-warriors. And theillustrious Duryodhana also with excited wrath and having wrath for hisposition, struck Yudhishthira and Bhimasena and the twins and Partha,with arrows resembling flames of fire. Pierced with arrows by Kripa andSala and Chitrasena, O lord, the Pandavas, inflamed with rage, resembledthe gods pierced with arrows by the united Daityas (in days of old). KingYudhishthira then, beholding Sikhandin flying away, having had his weaponcut off by Santanu’s son became filled with anger. The high-souledAjatasatru, angrily addressing Sikhandin in that battle, said thesewords, ‘Thou saidst at that time, in the presence of thy sire, untome–Even I shall slay Bhishma of high vows with my shafts of the hue ofthe effulgent sun. Truly do I say this.–Even this was thy oath. Thatoath of thine thou dost not fulfil inasmuch as thou dost not slayDevavrata in battle. O hero, be not a person of unfulfilled vow. Takecare of thy virtue, race, and fame. Behold Bhishma of terribleimpetuosity scorching all my troops with his innumerable arrows of fierceenergy and destroying everything in a moment like Death himself. With thybow cut off avoiding the battle, and vanquished by the royal son ofSantanu, whither dost thou go, forsaking thy kinsmen and brothers? Thisdoth not become thee. Beholding Bhishma of infinite prowess, and our armyrouted and flying away, thou art assuredly, O son of Drupada, frightened,since the colour of thy face is pale. Unknown to thee, O hero, Dhananjayahath engaged in the dreadful battle. Celebrated over the whole world, whyO hero, art thou afraid today of Bhishma.[423]’–Hearing these words ofking, Yudhishthira the just, that were harsh, though fraught with soundreason, the high-souled Sikhandin, regarding them as good counsel,speedily set himself about slaying Bhishma.[424] And while Sikhandin wasproceeding to battle with great impetuosity for falling upon Bhishma,Salya began to resist him with terrible weapons that were difficult ofbeing baffled. The son of Drupada, however, O king, of prowess equal tothat of Indra himself, beholding those weapons effulgent as the fire thatblazeth forth at the hour of universal dissolution (thus) displayed, wasnot confounded in the least. Checking those weapons by means of his ownshafts, that mighty bowman, viz., Sikhandin, stayed there without moving.And then he took up another weapon, viz., the fierce Varuna weapon forbaffling (those fiery weapons of Salya). Then the celestials staying inthe firmament, and the kings of the earth also, all beheld Salya’sweapons baffled by that Varuna weapon of Sikhandin. Meanwhile, thehigh-souled and heroic Bhishma, O king, in that battle, cut off the bowand the variegated standard also of Pandu’s son, king Yudhishthira of theAjamida race. Thereupon casting aside his bow and arrows upon beholdingYudhishthira overwhelmed with fear, and taking up a mace in that battle,Bhimasena rushed, on foot, at Jayadratha. Then Jayadratha, with fivehundred terrible arrows of keen points and each resembling the rod ofDeath, pierced Bhimasena from every side who was thus rushing impetuouslyat him, mace in hand. Disregarding those arrows, the impetuous Vrikodara,with heart filled with rage, slew in that battle all the steeds, born inAratta, of the king of the Sindhus. Then beholding Bhimasena on foot, thyson (Chitrasena) of unrivalled prowess and resembling the chief of thecelestials himself, quickly rushed at him on his car, with upraisedweapons, for giving him his quietus. Bhima also, roaring and uttering aloud shout, rushed at him impetuously, mace in hand. Thereupon theKauravas all around beholding that upraised mace resembling the rod ofDeath, forsaking thy brave son, fled away, desirous of avoiding its fall(amongst them). In that fierce and awful crush (of men), O Bharata,confounding the senses, Chitrasena, however, beholding that mace coursingtowards him, was not deprived of his senses. Taking up a bright scimitarand a shield, he forsook his car and became a warrior on foot in thefield, for jumping down (from his vehicle) like a lion from the top of acliff he came down upon the level ground. Meanwhile that mace, failingupon that beautiful car and destroying the vehicle itself with its steedsand charioteer in that battle, dropped on the ground like a blazingmeteor, loosened from the firmament, failing upon the earth. Then thytroops, O Bharata, beholding that highly wonderful feat became filledwith joy, and all of them together set up a loud shout over the field ofbattle. And the warriors all applauded thy son (for what they witnessed).”

Chapter 87
Chapter 85
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