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Chapter 151

Mahabharata English - DRONA PARVA

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Having said all those words unto my son,Duryodhana, who is ever disobedient to my commands, when that mightybowman endued with great strength, viz., the preceptor Drona, penetratedin wrath into the Pandava host, and when that hero, stationed on his car,careered over the field, how did the Pandavas check his course? Whoprotected the right wheel of the preceptor’s car in that dreadful battle?Who also protected his left when he fiercely slaughtered the foe? Whowere those brave warriors that followed that fighting hero at his back?Who were those, then, that stood in front of that car-warrior? When thatunvanquished and great bowman, that foremost of all bearers of weapons,dancing along the track of his car, entered the Pandavas host, I think,his foes felt an excessive and unseasonable cold. I think, they trembledlike kine exposed to wintry blasts. How did that bull among car-warriors,who consumed all the troops of the Panchalas like a raging conflagration,meet with his death?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Having slain the ruler of the Sindhus in the evening,Partha, after his meeting with Yudhishthira and the great bowman, viz.,Satyaki, both proceeded towards Drona. Then Yudhishthira, and Bhimasena,the son of Pandu, each with a separate division of the army, quicklyproceeded against Drona. Similarly, the intelligent Nakula, and theinvincible Sahadeva, and Dhrishtadyumna with his own division, andVirata, and the ruler of the Salwas, with a large force, proceededagainst Drona in battle. Similarly, king Drupada, the father ofDhrishtadyumna, protected by the Panchalas proceeded, O king, againstDrona. And the sons of Draupadi, and the Rakshasa Ghatotkacha,accompanied by their forces, proceeded against Drona of great splendour.The Prabhadraka-Panchalas also six thousand strong, and all effectualsmiters, proceeded against Drona placing Sikhandin at their head. Otherforemost of men and mighty car-warriors among the Pandavas, unitingtogether, O bull among men, proceeded against Drona. When those heroicwarriors, O bull among the Bharatas, proceeded to battle, the nightbecame pitch dark, enhancing the terrors of the timid. And during thathour of darkness, O king, many were the warriors that laid down theirlives. And that night also proved the death of many elephants and steedsand foot-soldiers. On that night of pitch darkness, yelling jackalseverywhere inspired great fear with their blazing mouths. Fierce owls,perching on the standards of Kauravas and hooting therefrom, forebodedfears. Then, O king, a fierce uproar arose among the troops. Minglingwith the loud beat of drums and cymbals, grunts of elephants, neighingsof steeds, and stampings of horse-hoofs, that uproar spread everywhere.Then, in that hour of evening, fierce was the battle that took placebetween Drona, O king, and all of the Srinjayas. The world having beenenveloped in darkness, nothing could be noticed. The welkin was coveredwith the dust raised by the combatants. Blood of man and horse andelephant mingled together. The earthy dust then disappeared. All of usbecame perfectly cheerless. During that night, like the sounds of aburning forest of bamboos on a mountain, frightful sounds were heard ofclashing weapons. With the sounds of Mridangas and Anakas and Vallakisand Patahas,[192] with the shouts (of human beings) and the neigh (ofsteeds), a dreadful confusion set in everywhere, O lord! When the fieldof battle was enveloped in darkness, friends, O king, could not bedistinguished from foes. All were possessed with a madness in that night.The earthen dust that had arisen, O king, was soon allayed with showersof blood. Then, in consequence of golden coats of mail and the brightornaments of the warriors, that darkness was dispelled. The Bharata hostthen, adorned with gems and gold (and abounding with darts andstandards), looked like the firmament in the night, O bull of Bharata’srace, bespangled with stars. The field of battle then resounded with theyells of jackals and the cawings of crows, with the grunts of elephants,and the shouts and cries of the warriors. Those sounds, minglingtogether, produced a loud uproar, making the hair stand on end. Thatuproar filled all the points of the compass like the report of Indra’sthunder. At dead of night, the Bharata host seemed illuminated with theAngadas, the ear-rings, the cuirasses, and the weapons of combatants.There elephants and cars, adorned with gold, looked in that night likeclouds charged with lightning. Swords and darts and maces and scimitarsand clubs and lances and axes, as they fell, looked like dazzling flashesof fire. Duryodhana was the gust of wind that was the precursor (of thattempest-like host). Cars and elephants constituted its dry clouds. Theloud noise of drums and other instruments formed the peal of itsthunders. Abounding with standards, bows formed to lightning flashes.Drona and the Pandavas formed its pouring clouds. Scimitars and darts andmaces constituted its thunders. Shafts formed its downpour, and weapons(of other kinds) its incessant gusts of wind. And the winds that blewwere both exceedingly hot and exceedingly cold. Terrible, stunning andfierce, it was destructive of life. There was nothing that could affordshelter from it.[193] Combatants, desirous of battle entered into thatfrightful host on that dreadful night resounding with terrible noises,enhancing the fears of the timid and the delight of heroes. And duringthe progress of that fierce and dreadful battle in the night, the Pandusand the Srinjayas, united together, rushed in wrath against Drona. Allthese, however, O king, that advanced right against the illustriousDrona, were either obliged to turn back or despatched to the abode ofYama. Indeed, on that night, Drona alone pierced with his shafts,elephants in thousands and cars in tens of thousands and millions ofmillions of foot-soldiers and steeds.'”

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