Chapter 160

Mahabharata English - DRONA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘During the progress of that fierce and terrible battle,when the world was enveloped with darkness and dust, O king, thecombatants, as they stood on the field, could not see one another. Thoseforemost of Kshatriyas fought with each other, guided by conjectures andthe personal and other names (they uttered). And during the progress, Olord, of that terrible carnage of car-warriors and elephants and steedsand foot-soldiers[212], those heroes, viz., Drona and Karna and Kripa,and Bhima and Prishata’s son and Satwata, afflicted one another and thetroops of either party, O bull of Bharata’s race. The combatants of botharmies, oppressed all around by those foremost of car-warriors, duringthe hour of darkness, fled away on all sides. Indeed, the warriors, brokeand fled away in all directions with hearts perfectly cheerless. And asthey fled away in all directions, they underwent a great carnage.Thousands of foremost car-warriors also, O king, slaughtered one anotherin that battle. Unable to see anything in the dark, the combatants becamedeprived of their senses. All this was the result of the evil counsels ofthy son. Indeed, at that hour when the world was enveloped in darkness,all creatures, O Bharata, including even the foremost of warriors,overcome with panic, were deprived of their senses in that battle.'[213]

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘What became the state of your mind then when,afflicted by that darkness, ye all were deprived of your energy andfuriously agitated by the Pandavas! How also, O Sanjaya, when everythingwas enveloped in darkness, did the Pandava troops as also mine once morebecame visible?’

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Then the remnant of the army (of the Katirava),under the orders of their leaders, were once more disposed in (compact)array. Drona placed himself at the van, and Salya at the rear. AndDrona’s son and Sakuni, the son of Suvala, placed themselves on the rightand the left flanks. And king Duryodhana himself, O monarch, on thatnight, busied himself in protecting all the troops. Cheering all thefoot-soldiers, O king, Duryodhana said unto them, ‘Laying aside yourgreat weapons, take ye all blazing lamps in your hands.’ Thus commandedby that best of kings, the foot-soldiers joyfully took up burning lamps.The gods and Rishis, Gandharvas and celestial Rishis, and the diversetribes of Vidyadharas and Apsaras, and Nagas and Yakshas and Uragas andKinnaras, stationed on the welkin also joyfully took up blazing lamps.Many lamps, filled with sweet-scented oil, were seen to fall from theRegents of the cardinal and the subsidiary points of the compass. ForDuryodhana’s sake, many such were seen to come from Narada and Parvata inespecial, lighting up that darkness. The (Kaurava) army then, disposed incompact array, looked resplendent, on that night with the light of thoselamps, the costly ornaments (on the persons of combatants), and theblazing celestial weapons as those were shot or hurled by it. On each carwere placed five lamps, and on each infuriated elephant three.[214] Andupon each horse was placed a large lamp. Thus was that host lighted up bythe Kuru warriors.[215] Set in their places within a short time, thoselamps speedily lighted up thy army. Indeed, all the troops, thus maderadiant by the foot-soldiers with oil-fed lamps in their hands, lookedbeautiful like clouds in the nocturnal sky illumined by flashes oflightning. When the Kuru host had thus been illuminated, Drona, enduedwith the effulgence of fire, scorching everything around, looked radiant,O king, in his golden armour, like the midday sun of blazing ray. Thelight of those lamps began to be reflected from the golden ornaments, thebright cuirasses and bows, and the well-tempered weapons of thecombatants. And maces twined with strings, and bright Parighas, and carsand shafts and darts, as they coursed along, repeatedly created, OAjamidha, by their reflection myriads of lamps. And umbrellas andyak-tails and scimitars and blazing brands, O king, and necklaces ofgold, as these were whirled or moved, reflecting that light, lookedexceedingly beautiful. Illuminated by the light of those lamps andirradiated by the reflection from weapons and ornaments, that host, Oking, blazed up with splendour. Well-tempered and beautiful weapons, redwith blood, and whirled by heroes, created a blazing effulgence there,like flashes of lightning in the sky at the end of summer. The faces ofwarriors, impetuously pursuing foes for striking them down and themselvestrembling in the ardour of the rush, looked beautiful like masses ofclouds urged on by the wind. As the splendour of the sun becomes fierceon the occasion of the conflagration of a forest full of trees, even soon that terrible night became the splendour of that fierce andilluminated host. Beholding that host of ours illumined, the Parthasalso, with great speed, stirring up the foot-soldiers throughout theirarmy, acted like ourselves. On each elephant, they placed seven lamps; oneach car, ten; and on the back of each steed they placed two lamps; andon the flanks and rear (of their cars) and on their standard also, theyplaced many lamps. And on the flanks of their host, and on the rear andthe van, and all around and within, many other lamps were lighted. TheKurus having done the same, both the armies were thus lighted. Throughoutthe host, the foot-soldiers became mingled with elephants and cars andcavalry. And the army of Pandu’s son was also illuminated by others (thanfoot-soldiers) standing with blazing torches in their hands.[216] Withthose lamps that host became fiercely effulgent, like a blazing fire madedoubly resplendent by the dazzling rays of the maker of day. Thesplendour of both the armies, over-spreading the earth, the welkin, andall the points of the compass, seemed to increase. With that light, thyarmy as also theirs became distinctly visible. Awakened by that lightwhich reached the skies, the gods, the Gandharvas, the Yakshas, theRishis and other crowned with (ascetic) success, and the Apsaras, allcame there. Crowded then with gods and Gandharvas, and Yakshas, andRishis crowned with (ascetic) success, and Apsaras, and the spirits ofslain warriors about to enter the celestial regions, the field of battlelooked like a second heaven. Teeming with cars and steeds and elephants,brilliantly illumined with lamps, with angry combatants and horses slainor wandering wildly, that vast force of arrayed warriors and steeds andelephants looked like the arrays of the celestials and the Asuras in daysof old. The rush of darts formed the fierce winds; great cars, the cloud;the neigh and grunt of steeds and elephants, the roars; shafts, theshowers; and the blood of warriors and animals, the flood, of thattempest like nocturnal encounter between those god-like men. In the midstof that battle, that foremost of Brahmanas, viz., the high-souledAswatthaman, scorching the Pandavas, O ruler of men, resembled the middaysun at the end of the season of rains, scorching everything with hisfierce ray.'”[217]

Chapter 161
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