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Chapter 136

Mahabharata English - DRONA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘Then Karna, O king, piercing Bhima with three arrows,poured countless beautiful arrows upon him. The mighty-armed Bhimasena,the son of Pandu, though thus struck by the Suta’s son, showed no signsof pain but stood immovable like a hill pierced (with arrows). In return,O sire, in that battle, he deeply pierced Karna in the ear with a barbedarrow, rubbed with oil, of great keenness, and of excellent temper. (Withthat arrow) he felled on the earth the large and beautiful ear-ring ofKarna. And it felled down, O monarch, like a blazing luminary of greateffulgence from the firmament. Excited with wrath, Vrikodara, then,smiling the while, deeply pierced the Suta’s son in the centre of thechest with another broad-headed arrow. And once again, O Bharata, themighty-armed Bhima quickly shot in that battle ten long shafts thatlooked like snakes of virulent poison just freed from their sloughs. Shotby Bhima, those shafts, O sire, striking Karna’s forehead, entered itlike snakes entering an ant-hill. With those shafts sticking to hisforehead, the Suta’s son looked beautiful, as he did before, while hisbrow had been encircled with a chaplet of blue lotuses. Deeply pierced bythe active son of Pandu, Karna, supporting himself on the Kuxara of hiscar, closed his eyes. Soon, however, regaining consciousness, Karna, thatscorcher of foes, with his body bathed in blood, became mad withrage.[163] Infuriated with rage in consequence of his being thusafflicted by that firm bowman Karna, endued with great impetuosity,rushed fiercely towards Bhimasena’s car. Then, O king, the mighty andwrathful Karna, maddened with rage, shot at Bhimasena, O Bharata, ahundred shafts winged with vulturine feathers. The son of Pandu, however,disregarding his foe and setting at nought his energy, began to shootshowers of fierce arrows at him. Then Karna, O king, excited with rage, Oscorcher of foes, struck the son of Pandu, that embodiment of wrath withnine arrows in the chest. Then both those tigers among men (armed witharrows and, therefore), resembling a couple of tigers with fierce teeth,poured upon each other, in that battle, their arrowy showers, like twomighty masses of clouds. They sought to frighten each other in thatbattle, with sounds of their palms and with showers of arrows of diversekinds. Excited with rage, each sought in that battle to counteract theother’s feat. Then that slayer of hostile heroes, viz., the mighty-armedBhima, O Bharata, cutting off, with a razor-faced arrow, the bow of theSuta’s son, uttered a loud shout. Casting off that broken bow, the Suta’sson, that mighty car-warrior, took up another bow that was stronger andtougher. Beholding that slaughter of the Kuru, the Sauvira, and theSindhu heroes, and marking that the earth was covered with coats of mailand standards and weapons lying about, and also seeing the lifeless formsof elephants, foot-soldiers and horsemen and car-warriors on all sides,the body of the Suta’s son, from wrath, blazed up with effulgence.Stretching his formidable bow, decked with gold, Radha’s son, O king,eyed Bhima with wrathful glances. Infuriated with rage, the Suta’s son,while shooting his arrows, looked resplendent, like the autumnal sun ofdazzling rays at mid-day. While employed with his hands in taking up anarrow, fixing it on the bow-string, stretching the string and letting itoff, none could notice any interval between those acts. And while Karnawas thus engaged in shooting his arrows right and left, his bowincessantly drawn to a circle, like a terrible circle of fire. The keenpointed arrows, equipped with wings of gold, shot from Karna’s bow,covered, O king, all the points of the compass, darkening the very lightof the sun. Countless flights were seen, in the welkin, of those shaftsequipped with wings of gold, shot from Karna’s bow. Indeed, the shaftsshot from the bow of Adhiratha’s son, looked like rows of cranes in thesky. The arrows that Adhiratha’s son shot were all equipped withvulturine feathers, whetted on stone, decked with gold, endued with greatimpetuosity, and furnished with blazing points. Impelled by the force ofhis bow, those arrows urged by Karna, while coursing in thousands throughthe welkin looked beautiful like successive flights of locusts. Thearrows shot from the bow of Adhiratha’s son, as they coursed through thewelkin, looked like one long continuously drawn arrow in the sky. Like acloud covering a mountain with torrents of rain, Karna in rage, coveredBhima with showers of arrows. Then thy sons, O Bharata, with theirtroops, beheld the might, energy, prowess and perseverance of Bhima, forthe latter, disregarding that arrowy downpour, resembling the raging sea,rushed in wrath against Karna, Bhima, O monarch, was armed with aformidable bow, the back of whose staff was decked with gold. Hestretched it so quickly that it seemed, like a second bow of Indra,incessantly drawn to a circle. Shafts issued continuously from it seemedto fill the welkin. With those straight arrows, equipped with wings ofgold, shot by Bhima, a continuous line was made in the sky that lookedeffulgent like a garland of gold. Then those showers of (Karna’s) arrowsspread in the welkin, struck by Bhimasena with his shafts, were scatteredin portions and fell down on the earth. Then the sky was covered withthose showers of gold-winged and swiftly-coursing arrows, of both Karnaand Bhimasena, that produced sparks of fire as they clashed against eachother. The very sun was then shrouded, and the very wind ceased to blow.Indeed, when the welkin was thus covered with those arrowy showers,nothing could be seen. Then the Suta’s son, disregarding the energy ofthe high-souled Bhima, completely shrouded Bhima with other arrows andendeavoured to prevail over him. Then, O sire, those arrowy showers shotby both of them, seemed to clash against each other like two oppositecurrents of wind. And in consequence of that clash of the arrowy showersof those two lions among men, a conflagration, O chief of the Bharatas,seemed to be generated in the sky. Then Karna, desirous of slaying Bhima,shot at him in rage many whetted arrows equipped with wings of gold andpolished by the hands of the smith. Bhima, however, cut off with his ownshafts every one of those arrows into three fragments, and prevailingover the Suta’s son, he cried out, ‘Wait, Wait.’ And the wrathful andmighty son of Pandu, like an all-consuming conflagration, once more shotin rage showers of fierce shafts. And then in consequence of theirleathern fences striking against their bow-strings, loud sounds weregenerated. And loud also became the sound of their palms, and terribletheir leonine shouts, and fierce the rattle of their car-wheels and thetwang of their bow-strings. And all the combatants, O king, ceased tofight, desirous of beholding the prowess of Karna and of the son ofPandu, each of whom was desirous of slaying the other. And the celestialRishis and Siddhas and Gandharvas, applauded them, saying, “Excellent,Excellent!’ And the tribes of Vidyadharas rained flowery showers uponthem. Then the wrathful and mighty-armed Bhima of fierce prowess,baffling with his own weapons the weapons of his foe, pierced the Suta’sson with many shafts. Karna also, endued with great might, baffling theshafts of Bhimasena, sped at him nine long shafts in that battle. Bhima,however, with as many arrows, cut off those shafts of Suta’s son in thewelkin and addressed him, saying, ‘Wait, Wait!’ Then the mighty-armed andheroic Bhima, excited with rage, shot at Adhiratha’s son an arrowresembling the rod of Yama or Death himself. Radha’s son, however,smiling, cut off that arrow, O king, of Pandu’s son, however, of greatProwess, with three arrows of his, as it coursed towards him through thewelkin. The son of Pandu then once more shot showers of fierce shafts.Karna, however, fearlessly received all those arrows of Bhima. Thenexcited with rage, the Suta’s son, Karna, by the power of his weapons,with his straight arrows, cut off in that encounter the couple of quiversand the bow-string of fighting Bhima, as also the traces of his steeds.And then slaying his steeds also, Karna pierced Bhima’s charioteer withfive shafts. The charioteer, quickly running away, proceeded toYudhamanyu’s car. Excited with rage, the son of Radha then, whosesplendour resembled that of the Yuga-fire, smiling the while, cut off theflag-staff of Bhima and felled his banner. Deprived of his bow, themighty-armed Bhima then seized a dart, such as car-warriors may use.Excited with wrath, he whirled it in his hand and then hurled it withgreat force at Karna’s car. The son of Adhiratha then, with ten shafts,cut off, as it coursed towards him with the effulgence of a large meteor,the gold-decked dart thus hurled (by Bhima).[164] Thereupon, that dartfell down, cut off into ten fragments by those sharp shafts of the Suta’sson, Karna, that warrior conversant with every mode of warfare, thenbattling for the sake of his friends. Then, the son of Kunti took up ashield decked with gold and a sword, desirous of obtaining either deathor victory, Karna, however, O Bharata, smiling the while, cut off thatbright shield of Bhima with many fierce shafts. Then, car-less, Bhima, Oking, deprived of his shield, became mad with rage. Quickly, then, hehurled his formidable sword at Karna’s car. That large sword, cutting offthe stringed bow of the Suta’s son, fell down on the earth, O king, likean angry snake from the sky. Then Adhiratha’s son, excited with rage inthat battle, smilingly took up another bow destructive of foes, having astronger string, and tougher than the one he had lost. Desirous ofslaying the son of Kunti, Karna then began to shoot thousands of arrows,O king, equipped with wings of gold and endued with great energy. Struckby those shafts shot from Karna’s bow, the mighty Bhima leaped into thesky, filling Karna’s heart with anguish. Beholding the conduct of Bhima,in battle desirous of victory, the son of Radha beguiled him byconcealing himself in his car. Seeing Karna concealing himself with anagitated heart on the terrace of his car, Bhima catching hold of Karna’sflagstaff, waited on the earth. All the Kurus and the Charanas highlyapplauded that attempt of Bhima of snatching Karna away from his car,like Garuda snatching away a snake. His bow cut off, himself deprived ofhis car, Bhima, observant of the duties of his order, stood still forbattle, keeping his (broken) car behind him. The son of Radha, then, fromrage, in that encounter, proceeded against the son of Pandu who waswaiting for battle. Then those two mighty warriors, O king, challengingas they approached each other, those two bulls among men, roared at eachother, like clouds at the close of summer. And the passage-at-arms thatthen took place between those two engaged lions among men that could notbrook each other in battle resembled that of old between the gods and theDanavas. The son of Kunti, however, whose stock of weapons was exhausted,was (obliged to turn back) pursued by Karna. Beholding the elephants,huge as hills that had been slain by Arjuna, lying (near), unarmedBhimasena entered into their midst, for impeding the progress of Karna’scar. Approaching that multitude of elephants and getting into the midstof that fastness which was inaccessible to a car, the son of Pandu,desirous of saving his life, refrained from striking the son of Radha.Desirous of shelter, that subjugator of hostile cities viz., the son ofPritha, uplifting an elephant that had been slain by Dhananjaya with hisshafts, waited there, like Hanumat uplifting the peak ofGandhamadana.[165] Karna, however, with his shafts, cut off that elephantheld by Bhima. The son of Pandu, thereupon, hurled at Karna the fragmentsof that elephant’s body as also car-wheels and steeds. In fact, allobjects that he saw lying there on the field, the son of Pandu, excitedwith rage, took up and hurled at Karna. Karna, however, with his sharparrows, cut off every one of those objects thus thrown at him. Bhimaalso, raising his fierce fists that were endued with the force of thethunder, desired to slay the Suta’s son. Soon, however, he recollectedArjuna’s vow. The son of Pandu, therefore, though competent, spared thelife of Karna, from desire of not falsifying the vow that Savyasachin hadmade. The Suta’s son, however, with his sharp shafts, repeatedly causedthe distressed Bhima, to lose the sense. But Karna, recollecting thewords of Kunti, took not the life of the unarmed Bhima. Approachingquickly Karna touched him with the horn of his bow. As soon, however, asBhimasena was touched with the bow, excited with rage and sighing like asnake, he snatched the bow from Karna and struck him with it on the head.Struck by Bhimasena, the son of Radha, with eyes red in wrath, smilingthe while, said unto him repeatedly these words, viz., ‘Beardless eunuch,ignorant fool and glutton.’ And Karna said, ‘Without skin in weapons, donot fight with me. Thou art but a child, a laggard in battle! There, sonof Pandu, where occurs a profusion of eatables and drink, there, Owretch, shouldst thou be but never in battle. Subsisting on roots,flowers, and observant of vows and austerities, thou, O Bhima, shouldstpass thy days in the woods for thou art unskilled in battle. Great is thedifference between battle and the austere mode of a Muni’s life.Therefore, O Vrikodara, retire into the woods. O child, thou art not fitfor being engaged in battle. Thou hast an aptitude for a life in thewoods. Urging cooks and servants and slaves in the house to speed, thouart fit only for reproving them in wrath for the sake of thy dinner, OVrikodara! O Bhima, O thou of a foolish understanding, betaking thyselfto a Muni’s mode of life, gather thou fruits (for thy food). Go to thewoods, O son of Kunti, for thou art not skilled in battle. Employed incutting fruits and roots or in waiting upon guests, thou art unfit, Ithink, to take a part, O Vrikodara, in any passage-at-arms.’ And, Omonarch, all the wrongs done to him in his younger years, were alsoreminded by Karna in harsh words. And as he stood there in weakness,Karna once more touched him with the bow. And laughing loudly, Vrishaonce more told Bhima those words, ‘Thou shouldst fight with others, Osire, but never with one like me. They that fight with persons like ushave to undergo this and else! Go thither where the two Krishnas are!They will protect thee in battle. Or, O son of Kunti, go home, for, achild as thou art, what business hast thou with battle?’ Hearing thoseharsh words of Karna, Bhimasena laughed aloud and addressing Karna saidunto him these words in the hearing of all, ‘O wicked wight, repeatedlyhast thou been vanquished by me. How canst thou indulge, then, in suchidle boast? In this world the ancients witnessed the victory and defeatof the great Indra himself. O thou of ignoble parentage, engage thyselfwith me in an athletic encounter with bare arms. Even as I slew themighty Kichaka of gigantic frame, I would then slay thee in the verysight of all kings.’ Understanding the motives of Bhima, Karna, thatforemost of intelligent men, abstained from that combat in the very sightof all the bowmen. Indeed, having made Bhima carless, Karna, O king,reproved him in such boastful language in the sight of that lion amongthe Vrishnis (viz., Krishna) and of the high-souled Partha. Then theape-bannered (Arjuna), urged by Kesava, shot at the Suta’s son, O king,many shafts whetted on stone. Those arrows adorned with gold, shot byPartha’s arms and issuing out of Gandiva, entered Karna’s body, likecranes into the Krauncha mountains. With those arrows shot from Gandivawhich entered Karna’s body like so many snakes, Dhananjaya drove theSuta’s son from Bhimasena’s vicinity. His bow cut off by Bhima, andhimself afflicted with the arrows of Dhananjaya, Karna quickly fled awayfrom Bhima on his great car. Bhimasena also, O bull among men, mountingupon Satyaki’s car, proceeded in that battle in the wake of his brotherSavyasachin, the son of Pandu. Then Dhananjaya, with eyes red in wrath,aiming at Karna, quickly sped a shaft like the Destroyer urging forwardDeath’s self. That shaft shot from Gandiva, like Garuda in the welkin inquest of a mighty snake, quickly coursed towards Karna. The son of Drona,however, that mighty car-warrior, with a winged arrow of his, cut it offin mid-air, desirous of rescuing Karna from fear of Dhananjaya. ThenArjuna, excited with wrath, pierced the son of Drona with four and sixtyarrows, O king, and addressing him, said, ‘Do not fly away, O Aswathaman,but wait a moment.’ Drona’s son, however, afflicted with the shafts ofDhananjaya, quickly entered a division of the Kaurava army that aboundedwith infuriated elephants and teemed with cars. The mighty son of Kunti,then, with the twang of Gandiva, drowned the noise made in that battle byall other twangings of bows, of shafts decked with gold. Then, the mightyDhananjaya followed from behind the son of Drona who had not retreated toa great distance, frightening him all the way with his shafts. Piercingwith his shafts, winged with the feathers of Kankas and peacocks, thebodies of men and elephants and steeds, Arjuna began to grind that force.Indeed, O chief of the Bharatas, Partha, the son of Indra, began toexterminate that host teeming with steeds and elephants and men.'”

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