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Chapter 143

Mahabharata English - DRONA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘Hearing the twang, resembling the loud call of Deathhimself or the frightful peal of Indra’s thunder, of Dhananjaya’s bow,while he stretched it, that host of thine, O king, anxious with fear andexceedingly agitated, became like the waters of the sea with fishes andmakaras within them, ruffled into mountain-like waves and lashed intofury by the hurricane that arises at the end of the Yuga. ThenDhananjaya, the son of Pritha, careered in battle in such a way that hewas seen at the same time to be present in all directions, displaying hiswonderful weapons. Indeed, so light-handed was the son of Pandu that wecould not mark when he took out his shafts, O king, when he fixed them onthe bow-string, when he stretched the bow, and when he let them off. Thenthe mighty-armed one, O king, excited with wrath, invoked into existencethe invincible Aindra weapon, frightening all the Bharatas. Hundreds andthousands of blazing shafts of fiery mouths, inspired by mantras with theforce of celestial weapons, flowed from it. With those shafts resemblingfire or the rays of the sun, coursing with fierce impetuosity, the welkinbecame incapable of being gazed at, as if filled with flashing meteors.Then that darkness which had been caused by the Katirava with theirarrows, which was incapable of being dispersed even in imagination byothers, the son of Pandu, careering around and displaying his prowess,destroyed by means of those shafts of his that were inspired by means ofmantras with the force of celestial weapons, like the sun himselfspeedily dispersing at dawn of day the darkness of night by means of hisrays. Then the puissant Arjuna, with those blazing shafts of his, suckedthe lives of thy warriors like the summer sun sucking with his hot raysthe waters of tanks and lakes. Indeed, showers of shafts endued with theforce of celestial weapons, (shot by Arjuna) covered the hostile armylike the rays of the sun covering the earth. Other arrows of fierceenergy, sped (by Dhananjaya), quickly entered the hearts of (hostile)heroes, like dear friends. Indeed, those brave warriors that came in thatbattle before Arjuna, all perished like insects approaching a blazingfire. Thus crushing the lives of his foes and their fame, Partha careeredin that battle like Death in embodied form. Heads decked with diadems,massive arms, adorned with Angadas, and ears with ear-rings of the foes,Partha, cut off with his shafts. The arms, with spears, ofelephant-riders; those, with lances, of horsemen; those, with shields, offoot-soldiers; those with bows, of car-warriors; and those, with whipsand goads, of charioteers the son of Pandu cut off. Indeed, Dhananjayalooked resplendent with his shafts of blazing points that seemed toconstitute his rays, like a blazing fire with incessant sparks and risingflames. The hostile kings, mustering all their resolution, could not evengaze at Dhananjaya, that foremost of all bearers of arms, that hero equalto the chief of the gods himself, that bull among men, seen at the sametime in all directions on his car, scattering his mighty weapons, dancingin the tract of his car, and producing deafening sounds with hisbowstring and palms, and resembling the midday sun of scorching rays inthe firmament. Bearing his shafts of blazing points, the diadem-deckedArjuna looked beautiful like a mighty mass of rain-charged clouds in theseason of rains decked with a rainbow. When that perfect flood of mightyweapons was set in motion by Jishnu, many bulls among warriors sank inthat frightful and unfordable flood. Strewn with infuriated elephantswhose trunks or tusks had been cut off, with steeds deprived of hoofs ornecks, with cars reduced to pieces, with warriors having their entrailsdrawn out and others with legs or other limbs cut off, with bodies lyingin hundreds and thousands that were either perfectly still or movingunconsciously, we beheld the vast field, on which Partha battled,resembled the coveted arena of Death, O king, enhancing the terrors ofthe timid, or like the sporting ground of Rudra when he destroyedcreatures in days of old. Portions of the field, strewn with the trunksof elephants cut off with razor-headed arrows, looked as if strewn withsnakes. Portions, again, covered with the cut-off heads of warriors,looked as if strewn with garlands of lotuses. Variegated with beautifulhead-gear and crowns, Keyuras and Angadas and car-rings with coats ofmail decked with gold, and with the trappings and other ornaments ofelephants and steeds, and scattered over with hundreds of diadems, lyinghere and there, and the earth looked exceedingly beautiful like a newbride. Dhananjaya then caused a fierce and terrible river full of fearfulobjects and enhancing the fear of the timid, to flow resembling theVaitarani itself. The marrow and fat (of men and animals) formed itsmire. Blood formed its current. Full of limbs and bones, it wasfathomless in depth. The hairs of creatures formed its moss and weeds.Heads and arms formed the stones on its shores. It was decked withstandards and banners that variegated its aspect. Umbrellas and bowsformed the waves. And it abounded with bodies of huge elephants deprivedof life, and it teemed with cars that formed hundreds of rafts floatingon its surface. And the carcases of countless steeds formed its banks.And it was difficult to cross in consequence of wheels and yokes andshafts and Akshas and Kuveras of cars, and spears and swords and dartsand battle-axes and shafts looking like snakes. And ravens and kankasformed its alligators. And jackals, forming its Makaras, made interrible. And fierce vultures formed its sharks. And it became frightfulin consequence of the howls of jackals. And it abounded with caperingghosts and Pisachas and thousands of other kinds of spirits. And on itfloated countless bodies of warriors destitute of life. Beholding thatprowess of Arjuna whose visage then resembled that of the Destroyerhimself, a panic, such as had never occurred before, possessed the Kuruson the field of battle. The son of Pandu, then, baffling with his weaponsthose of the hostile heroes, and engaged in achieving fierce feats, gaveall to understand that he was a warrior of fierce feats. Then Arjunatransgressed all those foremost of car-warriors, like the midday sun ofscorching rays in the firmament, no one amongst the creatures there couldeven look at him. The shafts issuing out of the bow Gandiva of thatillustrious hero in that battle, seemed to us to resemble a row of cranesin the welkin. Baffling with his own the weapons of all those heroes, andshowing by the terrible achievements in which he was engaged that he wasa warrior of fierce feats. Arjuna, desirous of slaying Jayadratha,transgressed all those foremost of car-warriors, stupefying them all bymeans of his shafts. Shooting his shafts on all sides, Dhananjaya, havingKrishna for his charioteer, presented a beautiful sight by careering withgreat speed on the field of battle. The shafts in the welkin, by hundredsand thousands, of that illustrious hero, seemed to course incessantlythrough the sky. We never could notice when that mighty bowman took outhis shafts, when indeed, that son of Pandu aimed them, and when he letthem off. Then, O king, filling all the points of the compass with hisshafts and afflicting all the car-warriors in battle, the son of Kuntiproceeded towards Jayadratha and pierced him with four and sixty straightarrows. Then the Kuru warriors, beholding the son of Pandu proceededtowards Jayadratha, all abstained from battle. In fact, those heroesbecame hopeless of Jayadratha’s life. Every one amongst thy warriors thatrushed in that fierce battle against the son of Pandu, had his bodydeeply pierced, O lord, with a shaft of Arjuna. The mighty car-warriorArjuna, that foremost of victorious persons, with his shafts blazing asfire made thy army teem with headless trunks.[175] Indeed, O king, thuscreating a perfect confusion in thy host consisting of four kinds offorces, the son of Kunti proceeded towards Jayadratha, And he pierced theson of Drona. with fifty shafts and Vrishasena with three. And the son ofKunti mildly struck Kripa with nine arrows, and he struck Salya withsixteen arrows and Karna with two and thirty. And piercing the ruler ofthe Sindhus then with four and sixty arrows, he uttered a leonine shout.The ruler of the Sindhus, however, thus pierced by the wielder of Gandivawith his arrows, became filled with rage and unable to brook it, like anelephant when pierced with the hook. Bearing the device of the boar onhis banner, he quickly sped towards Phalguna’s car many straight shaftsequipped with vulturine feathers, resembling angry snakes of virulentpoison, well-polished by the hands of the smith, and shot from his bowdrawn to the fullest stretch. Then piercing Govinda with three shafts, hestruck Arjuna with six. And then he pierced the steeds of Arjuna witheight arrows and his standard also with one. Then Arjuna, baffling thekeen arrows sped by the ruler of the Sindhus, cut off at the same time,with a pair of shafts, the head of Jayadratha’s driver and thewell-decked standard also of Jayadratha. Its stay cut off and itselfpierced and struck with arrows, that standard fell down like a flame offire. Meanwhile, the sun was going down quickly. Janardana then quicklyaddressed the son of Pandu and said, ‘Behold, O Partha, the ruler of theSindhus hath, by six mighty and heroic car-warriors, been placed intheir-midst! Jayadratha also, O mighty-armed one, is waiting there infear! Without vanquishing those six car-warriors in battle, O bull amongmen, thou wilt never be able to slay the ruler of the Sindhus even ifthou exertest thyself without intermission. I shall, therefore, resort toYoga for shrouding the sun. Then the ruler of the Sindhus will (inconsequence) behold the sun to have set. Desirous of life, O lord,through joy that wicked wight will no longer, for his destruction,conceal himself. Availing yourself of that opportunity, thou shouldstthen, O best of the Kurus, strike him. Thou shouldst not give up theenterprise, thinking the sun to have really set.’ Hearing these words,Vibhatsu replied unto Kesava, saying, ‘Let it be so.’ Then Krishnaotherwise called Hari, possessed of ascetic powers, that lord of allascetics, having taken recourse to Yoga, created that darkness. Thywarriors, O king, thinking the sun to have set were filled with delightat the prospect of Partha’s laying down his life. Indeed, thy warriors,not seeing the sun, were filled with gladness. All of them stood, withheads thrown backwards. King Jayadratha also was in the same attitude.And while the ruler of the Sindhus was thus beholding the sun, Krishna,once more addressing Dhananjaya said these words, ‘Behold, the heroicruler of the Sindhus is now looking at the sun, casting off his fear ofthee, O foremost one among the Bharatas! This is the hour, O mighty-armedone, for the slaughter of that wicked-souled wretch. Speedily cut off thehead and make thy vow true.’ Thus addressed by Kesava the valiant son ofPandu began to slaughter thy host with his arrows resembling the sun orfire in splendour. And he pierced Kripa with twenty arrows and Karna withfifty. And he struck Salya and Duryodhana each with six. And he piercedVrishasena with eight arrows and the ruler of the Sindhus himself withsixty. And the mighty-armed son of Pandu, O king, deeply piercing withhis arrows the other warriors of thy host, rushed against Jayadratha.Beholding him in their presence like a swelling fire with its tongue offlame outstretched, the protectors of Jayadratha were sorely puzzled.Then all the warriors, O king, desirous of victory bathed the son ofIndra in that battle with torrents of arrows. Shrouded with incessantshowers of arrows, the son of Kunti, that mighty-armed and unvanquisheddescendant of Kuru, became filled with rage. Then that tiger among men,viz., the son of Indra, desirous of slaughtering thy host, created athick net of arrows. Then those warriors of thine, O king, thusslaughtered in battle by that hero, abandoned the ruler of the Sindhus infear and fled away. And they fled away in such a manner that no twopersons could be seen flying together. The prowess that we then beheld ofKunti’s son was extremely wonderful. Indeed, the like of what thatillustrious warrior then did had never been nor will ever be. Like Rudrahimself slaughtering creatures, Dhananjaya slaughtered elephants andelephant-riders, horses and horse-riders, and (car-warriors and)car-drivers. I did not in that battle, O king, see a single elephant orsteed or human warrior that was not struck with Partha’s shafts. Theirvision blurred by dust and darkness, thy warriors became perfectlycheerless and unable to distinguish one another. Urged on by fate andwith their vital limbs cut open and mangled with shafts, they began towander or, limp, or fall down. And some amongst them, O Bharata, becameparalysed and some became deathly pale. During that terrible carnageresembling the slaughter of creatures at the end of the Yuga, in thatdeadly and fierce battle from which few could escape with life, the earthbecame drenched with gore and the earthy dust that had arisen disappearedin consequence of the showers of blood that fell and the swift currentsof wind that blew over the field. So deep was that rain of blood that thewheels of cars sank to their naves. Thousands of infuriated elephantsendued with great speed, O king, of thy army, their riders slain andlimbs mangled, fled away, uttering cries of pain and crushing friendlyranks with their tread. Steeds destitute of riders and foot-soldiersalso, O king, fled away, O monarch, from fear, struck with the shafts ofDhananjaya. Indeed, thy soldiers, with dishevelled hair and deprived oftheir coats of mail, with blood streaming out of their wounds, fled awayin terror, leaving the field of battle. And some, deprived of the powerof motion as if their lower limbs had been seized by alligators, remainedon the field. And others concealed themselves behind and under the bodiesof slain elephants Routing thy host thus, O king, Dhananjaya began tostrike with terrible shafts the protectors of the ruler of the Sindhuswith his arrowy showers, Karna and Drona’s son and Kripa and Salya andVrishasena and Duryodhana. So quick was he in the use of weapons that noone could mark when Arjuna took out his arrows, when he fixed them on thebowstring, when he stretched—the bow and let them off. Indeed, whilestriking the foe, his bow was seen incessantly drawn to a circle. Hisarrows also were seen incessantly issuing out of his bow and scattered inall directions. Then cutting off Karna’s bow as also of Vrishasena’s,Arjuna felled Salya’s driver from his niche in the car, with abroad-headed arrow. With many arrows that foremost of victors, viz.,Dhananjaya, then deeply pierced in that battle Kripa and Aswatthaman,related as uncle and nephew to each other. Sorely afflicting those mightycar-warriors of thy army thus, the son of Pandu took up a terrible arrowof fiery splendour. Looking like the thunderbolt of Indra, and inspiredwith divine mantras, that formidable arrow was capable of bearing anystrain. And it had been always worshipped with incense and garlands offlowers. Duly inspiring it (by mantras) with the force of thethunderbolt, that descendant, of Kuru, viz., the mighty-armed Arjuna,fixed it on Gandiva. When that arrow of fiery effulgence was fixed on thebowstring, loud shouts, O king, were heard in the welkin. Then Janardana,once more addressing Arjuna, quickly said, ‘O Dhananjaya, quickly cut offthe head of the wicked-souled ruler of the Sindhus! The sun is about toget at the mountain of Asta. Listen, however, to the words I say aboutthe slaughter of Jayadratha. The father of Jayadratha is Vriddhakshatraknown all over the world. It was after a long time that he gotJayadratha, that slayer of foes, for his son. (At the birth of the son)an incorporeal and invisible voice, deep as that of the clouds or of thedrum, said unto king Vriddhakshatra. ‘This thy son, O lord, amongst menin this world will become worthy of the two races (viz., the Solar andthe Lunar) in respect of blood, behaviour, self-restraint and the otherattributes. He will become one of the foremost of Kshatriyas, and willalways be worshipped by heroes. But while struggling in battle, some bullamong the Kshatriyas, some conspicuous person in the world, excited withwrath, will cut off this one’s head.’ That chastiser of foes, viz., the(old) ruler of the Sindhus, hearing these words, reflected for sometime.Overwhelmed with affection for his son, he summoned all his kinsmen andsaid, ‘That man who will cause the head of my son to fall on the earthwhile the latter, struggling in battle, will be bearing a great burthen,I say that the head of that man will certainly crack into a hundredpieces.’ Having spoken these words and installed Jayadratha on thethrone, Vriddhakshatra, repairing to the woods, devoted himself toascetic austerities. Endued with great energy, he is still engaged in theobservance of the austerest of penances outside this verySamantapanchaka, O ape-bannered one! Therefore, cutting off Jayadratha’shead in this dreadful battle, thou, O slayer of foes, shouldst, OBharata, by thy fierce celestial weapon of wonderful feats, quickly throwthat head decked with car-rings upon the lap of Vriddhakshatra himself, Oyounger brother of the son of the Wind-god! If thou fellest Jayadratha’shead on the earth, thy own head, then, without doubt, will crack into ahundred fragments. Aided by thy celestial weapon, do thee deed in such away that the lord of earth viz., the old Sindhu king, may not know thatit is done. Truly, O Arjuna, there is nothing in the three worlds whichthou canst not achieve or do, O son of Vasava!’ Hearing these words (ofKrishna), Dhananjaya, licking the corners of his mouth, quickly shot thatarrow which he had taken up for Jayadratha’s slaughter, that arrow, viz.,whose touch resembled that of Indra’s thunder, which was inspired withmantras and converted into a celestial weapon, which was capable ofbearing any strain, and which had always been worshipped with incense andgarlands. That shaft, sped from Gandiva, coursing swiftly, snatchedJayadratha’s head away, like a hawk snatching away a smaller bird fromthe top of a tree. Dhananjaya, then, with his shafts, sent that headalong in the welkin (without allowing it to fall down). For grieving hisfoes and gladdening his friends, the son of Pandu, by shooting his shaftsrepeatedly at it, sent that head outside the limits of Samantapanchaka.Meanwhile, king Vriddhakshatra, the father of thy son-in-law, endued withgreat energy, was, O sire, engaged in his evening prayers. Decked withblack locks and adorned with ear-rings, that head of Jayadratha wasthrown upon Vriddhakshatra’s lap, as the latter was saying his prayers ina sitting posture. Thus thrown on his lap, that head decked withcar-rings, O chastiser of foes, was not seen by king Vriddhakshatra. Asthe latter, however, stood up after finishing his prayers it suddenlyfell down on the earth. And as the head of Jayadratha fell down on theearth, the head of Vriddhakshatra, O chastiser of foes, cracked into ahundred pieces. At the sight of this, all creatures were filled withwonder. And all of them applauded Vasudeva and the mighty Vibhatsu.

“After, O king, the ruler of the Sindhus had been slain by thediadem-decked Arjuna, that darkness, O bull of Bharata’s race, waswithdrawn by Vasudeva. Thy sons with their followers, O king, thus, cameto know subsequently that the darkness, they had seen, had all been anillusion produced by Vasudeva. Even thus, O king, was thy son-in-law, theruler of the Sindhus, having caused eight Akshauhinis to be slaughtered,himself slain by Partha of inconceivable energy. Beholding Jayadratha,the ruler of the Sindhus slain, tears of sorrow fell from the eyes of thysons. After Jayadratha, O king, had been slain by Partha, Kesava blew hisconch and that scorcher of foes, viz., the mighty-armed Arjuna also blewhis; Bhimasena also, in that battle, as if for sending a message toYudhishthira, filled the welkin with a tremendous leonine shout.Yudhishthira, the son of Dharma, bearing that tremendous shout understoodthat the ruler of the Sindhus had been slain by the high-souled Phalguna.With sounds of drums and other instruments he gladdened the warriors ofhis own army, and proceeded against the son of Bharadwaja from desire ofbattle. Then commenced, O king, after the sun had set, a fierce battlebetween Drona and the Somakas, that made the very hair stand on end.Desirous of slaying him, those mighty car-warriors after the fall ofJayadratha, fought with the son of Bharadwaja, exerting themselves totheir utmost. Indeed, the Pandavas, having got the victory by slaying theruler of the Sindhus fought with Drona, intoxicated with success. Arjuna,also, O king, having slain king Jayadratha, fought with many mightycar-warriors of thy army. Indeed, that hero decked with diadem andgarlands, having accomplished his former vow, began to destroy his foeslike the chief of the celestials destroying the Danavas, or the sundestroying darkness.’

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