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Chapter 129

Mahabharata English - DRONA PARVA

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘What, indeed, O Sanjaya, did Duryodhana say when hesaw that Karna turning away from the field upon whom my sons had reposedall their hopes of victory? How, indeed, did the mighty Bhima, proud ofhis energy, fight? What also, O son, did Karna do after this, beholdingBhimasena in that battle resemble a blazing fire?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Mounting upon another car that was duly equipped Karnaonce more proceeded against the son of Pandu, with the fury of the Oceantossed by the tempest. Beholding Adhiratha’s son excited with rage, thysons, O king, regarded Bhimasena to be already poured as a libation onthe (Karna) fire. With furious twang of bowstring and terrible sounds Ofhis palms, the son of Radha shot dense showers of shafts towardsBhimasena’s car. And once more, O monarch, a terrible encounter tookPlace between the heroic Karna and the high-souled Bhima. Both excitedwith wrath, both endued with mighty arms, each desirous of slaying theother, those two warriors looked at each other, as if resolved to burneach O her with their (wrathful) glances. The eyes of both were red inrage, and both breathed fiercely, like a couple of snakes. Endued withgreat heroism, those two chastisers of foes approached and mangled eachother. Indeed, they fought with each other like two hawks endued withgreat activity, or like two Sarabhas excited with wrath. Then thatchastiser of foes, viz., Bhima recollecting all the woes suffered by himon the occasion of the match at dice, and during his exile in the woodsand residence in Virata’s city, and bearing in mind the robbing of theirkingdom swelling with prosperity and gems, by thy sons, and the numerousother wrongs inflicted on the Pandavas by thee and the Suta’s son andremembering also the fact that thou hadst conspired to burn innocentKunti with her sons, and calling to his memory the sufferings of Krishnain the midst of the assembly at the hands of those wretches, as also theseizure of her tresses by Duhsasana, and the harsh speeches uttered, OBharata, by Karna, to the effect, ‘Take thou another husband, for all thyhusbands are dead: the sons of Pritha have sunk into hell and are likesesamum seeds without kernel,’–remembering also those other words, O sonof Kuru, that the Kauravas uttered in thy presence, add the fact alsothat thy sons had been desirous of enjoying Krishna as a slave, and thoseharsh words that Karna spoke to the sons of Pandu when the latter,attired in deer-skins were about to be banished to the woods, and the joyin which thy wrathful and foolish son, himself in prosperity, indulged,thinking the distressed sons of Pritha as veritable straw, the virtuousBhima that slayer of foes, remembering these and all the woes he hadsuffered since his childhood, became reckless of his very life.Stretching his invincible and formidable bow, the back of whose staff wasdecked with gold, Vrikodara, that tiger of Bharata’s race, utterlyreckless of his life, rushed against Karna. Shooting dense showers ofbright arrows whetted on stone, Bhima shrouded the very light of the sun.Adhiratha’s son, however, smiling the while, quickly baffled, by means ofhis own winged arrows whetted on stone, that arrowy downpour ofBhimasena. Endued with great strength and mighty arms, that mightycar-warrior, the son of Adhiratha, then pierced Bhima with nine keenarrows. Struck with those arrows, like an elephant struck with the hook.Vrikodara fearlessly rushed against the Suta’s son. Karna, however,rushed against that bull among the Pandavas who was thus rushing towardshim with great impetuosity and might, like an infuriated elephant againstan infuriated compeer. Blowing his conch then, whose blast resembled thesound of a hundred trumpets, Karna cheerfully agitated the force thatsupported Bhima, like the raging sea. Beholding that force of hisconsisting of elephants and steeds and cars and foot-soldiers, thusagitated by Karna, Bhima, approaching the former, covered him witharrows. Then Karna caused his own steeds of the hue of swans to bemingled with those of Bhimasena’s of the hue of bears, and shrouded theson of Pandu with his shafts. Beholding those steeds of the hue of bearsand fleet as the wind, mingled with those of the hue of swans, cries ofoh and alas arose from among the troops of thy sons. Those steeds, fleetas the wind, thus mingled together, looked exceedingly beautiful likewhite and black clouds, O monarch, mingled together in the firmament.Beholding Karna and Vrikodara to be both excited with wrath, greatcar-warriors of thy army began to tremble with fear. The field of battlewhere they fought soon became awful like the domain of Yama. Indeed, Obest of Bharatas, it became as frightful to behold as the city of thedead. The great car, warriors of thy army, looking upon that scene, as ifthey were spectators of a sport in an arena, beheld not any of the two togain any advantage over the other in that dreadful encounter. They onlybeheld, O king, that mingling and clash of the mighty weapons of thosetwo warriors, as a result, O monarch, of the evil policy of thyself andthy son. Those two slayers of foes-continued to cover each other withtheir keen shafts. Both endued with wonderful prowess, they filled thewelkin with their arrowy downpours. Those two mighty car-warriorsshooting at each other keen shafts from desire of taking each other’slife, became exceedingly beautiful to behold like two clouds pouringtorrents of rain. Those two chastisers of foes, shooting gold-deckedarrows, made the welkin look bright, O king, as if with blazing meteors.Shafts equipped with vulturine feathers, shot by those two heroes, lookedlike rows of excited cranes in the autumn sky. Meanwhile, Krishna andDhananjaya, those chastisers of foes, engaged in battle with the Suta’sson, thought the burthen too great for Bhima to bear. As Karna and Bhimafor baffling each other’s shafts, shot these arrows at each other, manyelephants and steeds and men deeply struck therewith, fell down deprivedof life. And in consequence of those falling and fallen creaturesdeprived of life counting by thousands, a great carnage, O king, tookplace in the army of thy sons. And soon, O bull of Bharata’s race, thefield of battle became covered with the bodies of men and steeds andelephants deprived of life.'”

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