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Chapter 97

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

Sanjaya said, “Hearing that his son Iravat had been slain, Dhananjaya wasfilled with great grief and sighed like a snake. And addressing Vasava inthe midst of battle, he said these words, ‘Without doubt, the high-souledVidura of great wisdom had before seen (with his mind’s eye) this awfuldestruction of the Kurus and the Pandavas. It was for this that heforbade king Dhritarashtra.[456] In this battle, O slayer of Madhu, manyother heroes have been slain by the Kaurava and many amongst the Kauravashave similarly been slain by ourselves. O best of men, for the sake ofwealth vile acts are being done. Fie upon that wealth for the sake ofwhich such slaughter of kinsmen is being perpetrated. For him that hathno wealth, even death would be better than the acquisition of wealth bythe slaughter of kinsmen. What, O Krishna, shall we gain by slaying ourassembled kinsmen? Alas, for Duryodhana’s, fault, and also of Sakuni theson of Suvala, as also through the evil counsels of Karna, the Kshatriyarace is being exterminated, O slayer of Madhu, I now understand, Omighty-armed one, that the king acted wisely by begging of Suyodhana[457]only half the kingdom, or, instead, only five villages. Alas, even thatwas not granted by that wicked-souled wight. Beholding so many braveKshatriyas lying (dead) on the field of battle, I censure myself,(saying) fie upon the profession of a Kshatriya. The Kshatriyas willregard me powerless in battle. For this alone, I am battling. Else, Oslayer of Madhu, this battle with kinsmen is distasteful to me. Urge thesteeds on with speed towards the Dhartarashtra army, I will, with my twoarms, reach the other shore of this ocean of battle that is so difficultto cross. There is no time, O Madhava, to lose in action’. Thus addressedby Partha, Kesava, that slayer of hostile heroes, urged those steeds ofwhite hue endued with the speed of the wind. Then, O Bharata, loud wasthe noise that was heard among thy troops, resembling that of the oceanitself at full tide when agitated by the tempest.[458] In the afternoon,O king, the battle that ensued between Bhishma and the Pandavas wasmarked by noise that resembled the roar of the clouds. Then, O king, thysons, surrounding Drona like the Vasus surrounding Vasava, rushed in thebattle against Bhimasena. Then Santanu’s son, Bhishma, and that foremostof car-warriors, viz., Kripa, and Bhagadatta, and Susarman, all wenttowards Dhananjaya. And Hridika’s son (Kritavarman) and Valhika rushedtowards Satyaki. And king Amvashta placed himself before Abhimanyu. Andother great car-warriors, O king, encountered other great car-warriors.Then commenced a fierce battle that was terrible to behold. Bhimasenathen, I O king, beholding thy sons, blazed up with wrath in that battle,like fire with (a libation of) clarified butter. Thy sons, however, Omonarch, covered that son of Kunti with their arrows like the cloudsdrenching the mountain-breast in the season of rains. While being (thus)covered in diverse ways by thy sons, O king, that hero, possessed of theactivity of the tiger, licked the corners of his mouth.[459] Then, OBharata, Bhima felled Vyudoroska with a sharp horse-shoe-headed arrow.Thereupon that son of thine was deprived of life. With anotherbroad-headed arrow, well-tempered and sharp, he then felled Kundalin likea lion overthrowing a smaller animal. Then, O sire, getting thy (other)sons (within reach of his arrows), he took up a number of shafts, sharpand well-tempered, and with careful aim speedily shot these at them.Those shafts, sped by that strong bowman, viz., Bhimasena, felled thysons, those mighty car-warriors, from their vehicles. (These sons ofthine that were thus slain were) Anadhriti, and Kundabhedin, and Virata,and Dirghalochana, and Dirghavahu, and Suvahu, and Kanykadhyaja. Whilefalling down (from their cars), O bull of Bharata’s race, those heroeslooked resplendent like falling mango trees variegated with blossoms inthe spring. Then thy other sons, O monarch, fled away, regarding themighty Bhimasena as Death himself. Then like the clouds pouring torrentsof rain on the mountain breast, Drona in that battle covered with arrowsfrom every side that hero who was thus consuming thy sons. The prowessthat we then beheld of Kunti’s son was exceedingly wonderful, for thoughheld in check by Drona, he still slew thy sons. Indeed, as a bull bearetha shower of rain falling from above. Bhima cheerfully bore that shower ofarrows shot by Drona. Wonderful, O monarch, was the feat that Vrikodaraachieved there, for he slew thy sons in that battle and resisted Dronathe while. Indeed, the elder brother of Arjuna sported amongst thoseheroic sons o thine, like a mighty tiger, O king, among a herd of deer.As a wolf, staying in the midst of a herd of deer, would chase andfrighten those animals, so did Vrikodara, in that battle chase andfrighten thy sons.

“Meanwhile, Ganga’s son, and Bhagadatta, and that mighty car-warrior,viz., Gautama, began to resist Arjuna, that impetuous son of Pandu. ThatAtiratha, baffling with his weapons the weapons of those adversaries ofhis in that battle, despatched many prominent heroes of thy army to theabode of Death. Abhimanyu also, with his shafts, deprived that renownedand foremost of car-warriors, viz., king Amvashta, of his car. Deprivedof his car and about to be slain by the celebrated son of Subhadra, thatking quickly jumped down from his car in shame, and hurled his sword inthat battle at the high-souled Abhimanyu. Then, that mighty monarch gotup on the car of Hridika’s son, conversant with all movements in battle,Subhadra’s son, that slayer of hostile heroes, beholding that swordcoursing towards him, baffled it by the celerity of his movements. Seeingthat sword thus baffled in that battle by Subhadra’s son, loud cries of’well done’ ‘well done’ were, O king, heard among the troops. Otherwarriors headed by Dhrishtadyumna battled with thy troops, while thytroops, also, all battled with those of the Pandavas. Then, O Bharata,fierce was the engagement that took place between thine and theirs, thatcombatants smiting one another with great force and achieving the mostdifficult feats. Brave combatants, O sire, seizing one another by thehair, fought using their nails and teeth, and fists and knees, and palmsand swords, and their well-proportioned arms. And seizing one another’slaches, they despatched one another to the abode of Yama. Sire slew son,and son slew sire. Indeed, the combatants fought with one another, usingevery limb of theirs. Beautiful bows with golden staves, O Bharata,loosened from the grasp of slain warriors, and costly ornaments, andsharp shafts furnished with wings of pure gold or silver and washed withoil, looked resplendent (as they lay scattered on the field), the latterresembling, in particular, snakes that had cast off their slough. Andswords furnished with ivory handles decked with gold, and the shield alsoof bowmen, variegated with gold, lay on the field, loosened from theirgrasp. Bearded darts and axes and swords and javelins, all decked withgold, beautiful coats of mail, and heavy and short bludgeons, and spikedclubs, and battle-axes, and short arrows, O sire, and elephants’ housingsof diverse shapes, and yak tails, and fans, lay scattered on the field.And mighty car-warriors lay on the field with diverse kinds of weapons intheir hands or beside them, and looking alive, though the breath of lifehad gone.[460] And men lay on the field with limbs shattered with macesand heads smashed with clubs, or crushed by elephants, steeds, and cars.And the earth, strewn in many places with the bodies of slain steeds,men, and elephants, looked beautiful, O king, as if strewn with hills.And the field of battle lay covered with fallen darts and swords andarrows and lances and scimitars and axes and bearded darts and iron crowsand battle-axes, and spiked clubs and short arrows and Sataghnis[461] andbodies mangled with weapons. And, O slayer of foes, covered with blood,warriors lay prostrate on the field, some deprived of life and therefore,in the silence of death, and others uttering low moans. And the earth,strewn with those bodies, presented a variegated sight. And strewn withthe arms of strong warriors smeared with sandal paste and decked withleathern fences and bracelets, with tapering thighs resembling the trunksof elephants, and with fallen heads, graced with gems attached to turbansand with earrings of large-eyed combatants, O Bharata, the earth assumeda beautiful sight. And the field of battle, overspread with blood, dyedcoats of mail and golden ornaments of many kinds, looked exceedinglybeautiful as if with (scattered) fires of mild flames. And with ornamentsof diverse kinds fallen off from their places, with bows lying about,with arrows of golden wings scattered around, with many broken carsadorned with rows of bells, with many slain steeds scattered aboutcovered with blood and with their tongues protruding, with bottoms ofcars, standards, quivers, and banners, with gigantic conches, belongingto great heroes, of milky whiteness lying about, and with trunklesselephants lying prostrate, the earth looked beautiful like a damseladorned with diverse kinds of ornaments. And there, with other elephantspierced with lances and in great agony, and frequently uttering low moanswith their trunks, the field of battle looked beautiful as if with movinghills. With blankets of diverse hue, and housings of elephants, withbeautiful hooks falling about having handles decked with stones of lapislazuli, with bells lying about that had adorned gigantic elephants, withclean and variegated cloths as also skins of the Ranku deer, withbeautiful neck-chains of elephants, with gold-decked girths, with brokenengines of diverse kinds, with bearded darts decked with gold, withembroidered housings of steeds, embrowned with dust, with the lopped offarms of cavalry soldiers, decked with bracelets and lying about, withpolished and sharp lances and bright swords, with variegated head-gearsfallen off (from heads) and scattered about, with beautifulcrescent-shaped arrows decked with gold, with housings of steeds, withskins of the Ranku deer, torn and crushed, with beautiful and costly gemsthat decked the head-gears of kings, with their umbrellas lying about andyak tails and fans, with faces, bright as the lotus or the moon, ofheroic warriors, decked with beautiful ear-rings and graced with well-cutbeards, lying about and radiant with other ornaments of gold, the earthlooked like the firmament besmangled with planets and stars. Thus, OBharata, the two armies, viz., thine and theirs, encountering each otherin battle, crushed each other. And after the combatants had beenfatigued, routed, and crushed, O Bharata, dark night set in and thebattle could no longer be seen. Thereupon both the Kurus and the Pandavaswithdrew their armies, when that awful night of pitchy darkness came. Andhaving withdrawn their troops, both the Kurus and the Pandavas took restfor the night, retiring to their respective tents.

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