Chapter 142

Mahabharata English - DRONA PARVA

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘After the Kuru warrior Bhurisravas had been slainunder those circumstances, tell me, O Sanjaya, how proceeded the battle.’

“Sanjaya said, ‘After Bhurisravas had proceeded to the other world, OBharata, the mighty-armed Arjuna urged Vasudeva, saying, “Urge thesteeds, O Krishna, to greater speed for taking me to the spot where kingJayadratha is. O sinless one, the sun is quickly proceeding towards theAsta hills. O tiger among men, this great task should be achieved by me.The ruler of the Sindhus is, again, protected by many mighty car-warriorsamong the Kuru army. Urge thou the steeds, therefore, O Krishna, in sucha way that I may, by slaying Jayadratha before the sun sets, make my vowtrue.’ Then the mighty-armed Krishna conversant with horse-lore, urgedthose steeds of silvery hue towards the car of Jayadratha. Then, O king,many leaders of the Kuru army, such as Duryodhana and Karna andVrishasena and the ruler of the Sindhus himself, rushed with speed, Oking, against Arjuna whose shafts were never baffled and who wasproceeding, on his car drawn by steeds of great fleetness. Vibhatsu,however, getting at the ruler of the Sindhus who was staying before him,and casting his glances upon him, seemed to scorch him with his eyesblazing with wrath. Then, king Duryodhana, quickly addressed the son ofRadha. Indeed, O monarch, thy son Suyodhana said unto Karna, ‘O son ofVikartana, that time of battle hath come at last. O high-souled one,exhibit now thy might. O Karna, act in such a way that Jayadratha may notbe slain by Arjuna! O foremost of men, the day is about to expire, strikenow the foe with clouds of shafts! If the day expire, O foremost of men,victory, O Karna, will certainly be ours! If the ruler of the Sindhus canbe protected till the setting of the sun, then Partha, his vow beingfalsified, will enter into blazing fire. O giver of honours, thebrothers, then, of Arjuna, with all their followers, will not be able tolive for even a moment in a world that is destitute of Arjuna! Upon thedeath of the sons of Pandu, the whole of the earth, O Karna, with hermountains and waters and forests, we will enjoy without a thorn on ourside! O giver of honours, it seems that Partha, who without ascertainingwhat is practicable and what is impracticable, made this vow in battle,was afflicted by destiny itself, his judgment having taken a misdirectedcourse! Without doubt, O Karna, the diadem-decked son of Pandu must havemade this vow about the slaughter of Jayadratha for his own destruction!How, O son of Radha, when thou art alive will Phalguna succeed in slayingthe ruler of the Sindhus before the sun goes to the Asta hills? How willDhananjaya slay Jayadratha in battle when the latter is protected by theking of the Madras and by the illustrious Kripa? How will Vibhatsu, whoseems to have been urged on by Fate, get at the ruler of the Sindhus whenthe latter if protected by Drona’s son, by myself, and Duhsasana? Manyare the heroes engaged in fight. The sun is hanging low in the sky.Partha will not even get at Jayadratha in battle, O giver of honours. Dothou therefore, O Karna, with myself and other brave and mightycar-warriors, with Drona’s son and the ruler of the Madras and Kripafight with Partha in battle, exerting thyself with the greatest firmnessand resolution.’ Thus addressed by thy son, O sire, the son of Radhareplied unto Duryodhana, that foremost one among the Kurus, in thesewords, ‘Deeply hath my body been pierced in battle by the brave bowmanBhimasena, capable of striking vigorously with repeated showers ofarrows. O giver of honours, that I am yet present in battle is becausethat one like me should be present here. Scorched with the powerfulshafts of Bhimasena, every limb of mine is suffering from torturing painI shall, however, for all that, fight to the best of my powers. My lifeitself is for thee. I shall strive my best so that this foremost one ofthe sons of Pandu may not succeed in slaying the ruler of the Sindhus. Aslong as I shall fight, shooting my whetted shafts, the heroic Dhananjaya,capable of drawing the bow with even his left hand, will not succeed ingetting at the ruler of the Sindhus. All that a person, bearing love andaffection to thee and always solicitous of thy good, may do, shall bedone by me, O thou of Kuru’s race! As regards victory, that depends ondestiny. I shall in battle today exert myself to my utmost for the sakeof the ruler of the Sindhus, and for achieving thy good. O king, victory,however, is dependent on destiny. Relying on my manliness, I shall fightwith Arjuna today for thy sake, O tiger among men! Victory, however, isdependent on destiny. O chief of the Kurus, let all the troops beholdtoday the fierce battle, making the very hair stand on end, that takesplace between myself and Arjuna.’ While Karna and the Kuru king were thustalking to each other in battle, Arjuna began, with his keen arrows, toslaughter thy host. With his broad-headed arrows of great sharpness hebegan to cut off in that battle the arms, looking like spiked clubs orthe trunks of elephants, of unreturning heroes. And the mighty-armed heroalso cut off their heads with whetted shafts. And Vibhatsu also cut offthe trunks of elephants and the necks of steeds and the Akshas of carsall around, as also blood-dyed horsemen, armed with spears and lances,with razor-faced arrows into two or three fragments. And steeds andforemost of elephants and standards and umbrellas and bows and Yalk-tailsand heads fell fast on all sides. Consuming thy host like a blazing fireconsuming a heap of dry grass, Partha soon caused the earth to be coveredwith blood. And the mighty and invincible Partha, of prowess incapable ofbeing baffled, causing an immense slaughter in that army of thine, soonreached the ruler of the Sindhus. Protected by Bhimasena and by Satwata,Vibhatsu, O chief of the Bharatas, looked resplendent like a blazingfire. Beholding Phalguna in that state, the mighty bowmen of thy army,those bulls among men, endued with wealth of energy, could not brook him.Then Duryodhana and Karna and Vrishasena and the ruler of the Madras, andAswatthaman and Kripa and the ruler of the Sindhus himself, excited withwrath and fighting for the sake of the Sindhu king, encompassed thediadem-decked Arjuna on all sides. All those warriors, skilled in battle,placing the ruler of the Sindhus at their back, and desirous of slayingArjuna and Krishna, surrounded Partha, that hero conversant with battle,who was then dancing along the track of his car, producing fierce soundswith the bowstring and his palms and resembling the Destroyer himselfwith wide-opened mouth. The sun then had assumed a red hue in the sky.Desirous of his (speedy) setting, the Kaurava warriors, bending theirbows with arms, resembling the (tapering) bodies of snake sped theirshafts in hundreds towards Phalguna, resembling the rays of the sun.Cutting off those shafts thus sped towards him, into two, three, or eightfragments the diadem-decked Arjuna, invincible in battle, pierced themall in that encounter. Then Aswatthaman, bearing on his banner the markof a lion’s tail, displaying his might, began, O king, to resist Arjuna.Indeed, the son of Saradwata’s daughter piercing Partha with ten shaftsand Vasudeva with seven, stayed in the track of Arjuna’s car, protectingthe ruler of the Sindhus. Then, many foremost ones among the Kurus, greatcar-warriors, all encompassed Arjuna, on all sides with a large throng ofcars. Stretching their bows and shooting countless shafts, they began toprotect the ruler of the Sindhus, at the command of thy son. We thenbeheld the prowess of the brave Partha as also the inexhaustiblecharacter of his shafts, and the might, too, of his bow Gandiva. Bafflingwith his own weapons those of Drona’s son and Kripa, he pierced every oneof those warriors with nine shafts. Then, Drona’s son pierced him withfive and twenty arrows, and Vrishasena with seven, and Duryodhana piercedhim with twenty, and Karma and Salya each with three. And all of themroared at him and continued to pierce him frequently, and shaking theirbows, they surrounded him on all sides. And soon they caused their carsto be drawn up in a serried line around Arjuna. Desirous of the (speedy)setting of the sun, those mighty car-warriors of the Kaurava army, enduedwith great activity, began to roar at Arjuna, and shaking their bows,covered him with showers of keen arrows like cloud pouring rain on amountain. Those brave warriors, with arms resembling heavy clubs, alsodischarged on that occasion, O king, on Dhananjaya’s body celestialweapons. Having caused an immense slaughter in thy army, the mighty andinvincible Dhananjaya, of prowess incapable of being baffled came uponthe ruler of the Sindhus. Karna, however, O king, with his arrows,resisted him in that battle in the very sight, O Bharata, of Bhimasenaand Satwata. The mighty-armed Partha, in the very sight of all thetroops, pierced the Suta’s son, in return, with ten arrows, on the fieldof battle. Then Satwata, O sire, pierced Karna with three arrows. AndBhimasena pierced him with three arrows, and Partha himself, once more,with seven. The mighty car-warrior, Karna, then pierced each of thosethree warriors with sixty arrows. And thus, O king, raged that battlebetween Karna alone (on one side) and the many (on the other). Theprowess, O sire, that we then beheld of the Suta’s son was wonderful inthe extreme, since, excited with wrath in battle, he singly resistedthose three great car-warriors. Then the mighty-armed Phalguna, in thatbattle, pierced Karna, the son of Vikartana, in all his limbs with ahundred arrows. All his limbs bathed in blood, the Suta’s son of greatprowess and bravery, pierced Phalguna in return with fifty arrows.Beholding that lightness of hand displayed by him in battle, Arjunabrooked it not. Cutting off his bow, that hero, viz., Dhananjaya, the sonof Pritha, quickly pierced Karna in the centre of the chest with ninearrows, Then Dhananjaya, with great speed at a time, when speed wasnecessary shot in that battle a shaft of solar effulgence for thedestruction of Karna. Drona’s son, however, with a crescent-shaped arrow,cut off that shaft as it coursed impetuously (towards Karna). Thus cutoff by Aswatthaman, that shaft fell down on the earth. Endued with greatprowess, the Suta’s son, then, O king, took up another bow, and coveredthe son of Pandu with several thousands of arrows. Partha, however, likethe wind dispersing flight of locusts, dispelled with his own arrows thatextraordinary shower of arrows issuing out of Karna’s bow. Then Arjuna,displaying his lightness of hands, covered Karna, in that battle, withhis arrows, in the very sight of all thy troops. Karna also, that slayerof hosts, desirous of counteracting Arjuna’s feat, covered Arjuna withseveral thousands of arrows. Roaring at each other like two bulls, thoselions among men, those mighty car-warriors, shrouded the welkin withclouds of straight shafts. Each rendered invisible by the other’s arrowyshowers, they continued to strike each other. And they roared at eachother and pierced each other with their wordy darts, saying, ‘I amPartha, wait’–or, ‘I am Karna, wait’, O Phalguna! Indeed these twoheroes fought with each other wonderfully, displaying great activity andskill. And the sight they presented was such that other warriors becamewitnesses of that battle. And applauded by Siddhas, Charnas and Pannagas,they fought with each other, O king, each desirous of slaying the other.Then Duryodhana, O king addressing thy warriors, said, ‘Carefully protectthe son of Radha! Without slaying Arjuna he would not abstain frombattle. Even this is what Vrisha told me.’ Meanwhile, O monarch,beholding the prowess of Karna, Arjuna, of white steeds, with four shaftsshot from the bow-string drawn to the ear, despatched the four steeds ofKarna to Yama’s domain. And he also felled with a broad-headed arrow,Karna’s charioteer from his niche in the car. And he covered Karnahimself with clouds of shafts in the very sight of thy son. Thus shroudedwith arrows the steedless and driverless Karna, stupefied by that arrowyshower, knew not what to do. Beholding him made carless, Aswatthaman, Oking, caused him to ride on his car, and continued to fight with Arjuna.Then the ruler of the Madras pierced the son of Kunti with thirty arrows.Saradwata’s son pierced Vasudeva with twenty arrows. And he struckDhananjaya also with a dozen shafts. And the ruler of the Sindhus piercedeach with four arrows, and Vrishasena also pierced each of them, O king,with seven arrows. Kunti’s son, Dhananjaya, pierced all of them inreturn. Indeed, piercing Drona’s son with four and sixty shafts, and theruler of the Madras with a hundred, and the Sindhu king with tenbroad-headed arrows, and Vrishasena with three arrows and Saradwata’s sonwith twenty, Partha uttered a loud shout. Desirous of baffling the vow ofSavyasachin, thy warriors, excited with wrath, quickly rushed atDhananjaya from all sides. Then Arjuna, frightening the Dhartarashtras,invoked into existence the Varuna weapon on all sides. The Kauravas,however, on their costly cars, pouring showers of arrows, advancedagainst the son of Pandu. But, O Bharata, in course of that stupefyingand fierce engagement, fraught with the greatest confusion, that price,viz., Arjuna, decked with diadem and gold chain never lost his senses. Onthe other hand, he continued to pour showers of arrows. Desirous ofrecovering the kingdom and recollecting all the wrongs he had sufferedfor twelve years in consequence of the Kurus, the high-souled andimmeasurable Arjuna darkened all the points of the compass with shaftsfrom Gandiva. The welkin seemed ablaze with meteors. Innumerable crows,alighting from the sky, perched on the bodies (of dead combatants).Meanwhile, Arjuna continued to slay the foe with his Gandiva, likeMahadeva slaying the Asuras with his Pinaka equipped with tawnystring.[174] Then the illustrious Kiritin, that subjugator of (hostile)ranks, dispersing the shafts of the foe by means of his own formidablebow, slaughtered with his arrows many foremost ones among the Kurus,mounted on their foremost of steeds and elephants. Then many kings,taking up heavy maces and clubs of iron and swords and darts and diverseother kinds of powerful weapons, assuming terrible forms, rushed suddenlyagainst Partha in that battle. Then Arjuna, bending with his arms hisformidable bow Gandiva which resembled the bow of Indra himself and whosetwang was as loud as the roar of the clouds congregating at the end ofthe Yuga, and laughing the while, went on consuming thy troops andincreasing the population of Yama’s kingdom. Indeed, that hero causedthose enraged warriors with their cars and elephants and with thefoot-soldiers and bowmen supporting them, to be deprived of their armsand lives and thus to swell the population of Yama’s domain.'”

Chapter 143
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