Chapter 128

Mahabharata English - DRONA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘During the progress, O monarch, of that battle, makingthe hair stand on end, and when all the combatants were filled withanxiety and greatly afflicted, the son of Radha. O bull of Bharata’srace, proceeded against Bhima for battle, like an infuriated elephant inthe forest proceeding against another infuriated elephant.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘How raged that battle, in the neighbourhood ofArjuna’s car, between those two mighty car-warriors, viz., Bhima andKarna, both of whom are endued with great strength? Once before Karna hadbeen vanquished by Bhimasena in battle. How, therefore, could the mightycar-warrior Karna again proceed against Bhima? How also could Bhimaproceed against the Suta’s son, that mighty warrior who is reckoned asthe greatest of car-warriors on earth? Yudhishthira, the son of Dharma,having prevailed over Bhishma and Drona, did not fear anybody else somuch as the bowman Karna. Indeed, thinking of the mighty car-warriorKarna, he passeth his nights sleeplessly from fear. How, then, couldBhima encounter that Suta’s son in battle? Indeed, O Sanjaya, how couldBhima fight with Karna, that foremost of warriors, that hero devoted tothe Brahmanas endued with energy and never retreating from battle? How,indeed, did those two heroes, viz., the Suta’s son and Vrikodara, fightwith each other in that encounter which took place in the vicinity ofArjuna’s car? Informed before of his brotherhood (with the Pandavas), theSuta’s son is again, compassionate. Remembering also his words to Kunti,how could he fight with Bhima? As regards Bhima also, remembering all thewrongs formerly inflicted on him by the Suta’s son, how did that herofight with Karna in battle? My son Duryodhana, O Suta, hopeth that Karnawill vanquish all the Pandavas in battle. Upon whom my wretched sonresteth his hope of victory in battle, how did he fight with Bhimasena ofterrible deeds? That Suta’s son, relying upon whom my sons chosehostilities with those mighty car-warriors (viz., the sons of Pandu), howdid Bhima fight with him? Indeed, remembering the diverse wrongs andinjuries done by him, how did Bhima fight with that son of Suta? Howindeed, could Bhima fight with that son of a Suta, who, endued with greatvalour, had formerly subjugated the whole earth on a single car? How didBhima fight with that son of a Suta, who was born with a (natural) pairof ear-rings? Thou art skilled in narration, O Sanjaya! Tell me,therefore, in detail how the battle took place between those two, and whoamongst them obtained the victory?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Leaving Radha’s son, that foremost of car-warriorsBhimasena, desired to proceed to the place where those two heroes, viz.,Krishna and Dhananjaya were. The son of Radha, however, rushing towardshim as he proceeded, covered him, O king, with dense showers of arrows,like a cloud pouring, torrents of rain on a mountain. The mighty son ofAdhiratha, his face beautiful as a full-blown lotus, lighted up with asmile, challenged Bhimasena to battle, as the latter was proceeding. AndKarna said, ‘O Bhima, I dreamt not that thou knowest how to fight. Whythen dost thou show me thy back from desire of meeting with Arjuna? Odelighter of the Pandavas, this is scarcely fit for a son of Kunti.Staying, therefore, where thou art, cover me with thy arrows.’ Bhimasena,hearing that challenge of Karna, brooked it not, but wheeling his car alittle, began to fight with the Suta’s son. The illustrious Bhimasenashowered clouds of straight shafts. Desiring also to arrive at the end ofthose hostilities by slaying Karna, Bhima began to weaken that heroconversant with every weapon and clad in mail, and staying before him forengaging in a single combat. Then mighty Bhima, that scorcher of foes,that wrathful son of Pandu, having slain numerous Kauravas, shot diverseshowers of fierce shafts at Karna, O sire! The Suta’s son, endued withgreat strength, swallowed, by means of the power of his own weapons, allthose showers of arrows shot by that hero, possessed of the tread of aninfuriated elephant. Duly favoured by knowledge, that great bowman, viz.,Karna, began in that battle, O monarch, to career like a preceptor (OfMilitary science). The wrathful son of Radha, smiling the while, seemedto mock Bhimasena as the latter was battling with great fury. The son ofKunti brooked not that smile of Karna in the midst of many brave warriorswitnessing from all sides that fight of theirs. Like a driver striking ahuge elephant with a hook, the mighty Bhima, excited with rage, piercedKarna whom he had obtained within reach, with many calf-toothed shafts inthe centre of the chest. And once more, Bhimasena pierced the Suta’s sonof variegated armour with three and seventy well-shot and keen arrowsequipped with beautiful wings and eased in golden armour, each with fiveshafts. And soon, within the twinkling of the eye, was seen a network ofshafts about Bhima’s car caused by Karna. Indeed, O monarch, those shaftsshot from Karna’s bow completely shrouded that car with its standard anddriver and the Pandava himself. Then Karna pierced the impenetrablearmour of Bhima with four and sixty arrows. And excited with rage he thenpierced Partha himself with many straight shafts capable of penetratinginto the very vitals. The mighty-armed Vrikodara, however, disregardingthose shafts shot from Karna’s bow fearlessly struck the Suta’s son.Pierced with those shafts, resembling snakes of virulent poison, shotfrom Karna’s bow, Bhima, O monarch, felt no pain in that battle. Thevaliant Bhima then, in that encounter, pierced Karna with two and thirtybroad-headed shafts of keen points and fierce energy, Karna, however,with the greatest indifference, covered, in return, with his arrows, themighty-armed Bhimasena who was desirous of Jayadratha’s slaughter.Indeed, the son of Radha, in that encounter, fought mildly with Bhima,while Bhima, remembering his former wrongs, fought with him furiously.The wrathful Bhimasena could not brook that disregard by Karna. Indeed,that slayer of foes quickly shot showers of arrows at Radha’s son. Thosearrows, sped in that encounter by Bhimasena, fell on every limb of Karnalike cooing birds. Those arrows equipped with golden wings and keenpoints, shot from Bhimasena’s bow, covered the son of Radha like a flightof insects covering a blazing fire. Karna, however, O king, shot showersof fierce shafts in return, O Bharata. Then Vrikodara cut off, with Manybroad-headed arrows, those shafts resembling thunderbolts, shot by thatornament of battle, before they could come at him. That chastiser offoes, viz., Karna, the son of Vikartana, once more, O Bharata, coveredBhimasena with his arrowy showers. We then, O Bharata, beheld Bhima sopierced in that encounter with arrows as to resemble a porcupine with itsquilts erect on its body.[155] Like the sun holding his own rays, theheroic Bhima held in that battle all those shafts, whetted on stone andequipped with wings of gold, that were shot from Karna’s bow. All hislimbs bathed in blood, Bhimasena looked resplendent like an Asoka tree inspring adorned with its flowery burthen. The mighty-armed Bhima could notbrook that conduct, in battle, of the mighty-armed Karna. Rolling hiseyes ill wrath, he pierced Karna with five and twenty long shafts.Thereupon, Karna looked like a white mountain with many snakes ofvirulent poison (hanging from its sides). And once more, Bhimasena,endued with the prowess of a celestial, pierced the Suta’s son who wasprepared to lay down his life in battle, with six and then with eightarrows. And, again, with another arrow, the valiant Bhimasena quickly cutoff Karna’s bow, smiling the while. And he slew also with his shafts thefour steeds of Karna and then his charioteer, and then pierced Karnahimself in the chest with a number of long shafts endued with theeffulgence of the sun. Those winged shafts, piercing through Karna’sbody, entered the earth, like the rays of the sun piercing through theclouds. Afflicted with arrows and his bow cut off, Karna, though proud ofhis manliness, felt great pain and proceeded to another car.'”

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