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Chapter 161

Mahabharata English - DRONA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘When the field of battle which had before been envelopedin darkness and dust had thus become illuminated, heroic warriorsencountered one another, desirous of taking one another’s life.[218]Encountering one another in battle, O king, those combatants, armed withlances and swords and other weapons, gazed at one another under theinfluence of rage. With thousands of lamps blazing all around and withthe more blazing lamps of the gods and the Gandharvas, set upon goldenstands decked with jewels, and fed with fragrant oil, the field ofbattle, O Bharata, looked resplendent like the firmament bespangled withstars. With hundreds upon hundreds of blazing brands, the earth lookedexceedingly beautiful. Indeed, the earth seemed to be in a conflagration,like what happens at the universal destruction.[219] All the points ofthe compass blazed up with those lamps all around and looked like treescovered by fire-flies at an evening in the season of rains. Heroiccombatants, then, O king, engaged in battle with heroic rivals. Elephantsengaged with elephants, and horsemen with horsemen, and car-warriors withcar-warriors, filled with joy, on that fierce night at the command of thyson. The clash of the two armies both consisting of four kinds of forces,became terrible. Then Arjuna, O monarch, began, with great speed, todestroy the Kaurava ranks, weakening all the kings.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘When the invincible Arjuna, excited with wrath andunable to brook (the feats of the Kurus), penetrated into the army of myson, what became the state of your minds? Indeed, when that scorcher offoes entered into their midst, what did the soldiers think? What stepsalso did Duryodhana think fit to be adopted then? Who were thosechastisers of foes that proceeded in that battle against that hero?Indeed, when Arjuna, of white steeds, entered (our army), who were theythat protected Drona? Who guarded the right wheel and who the left wheelof Drona’s car? Who were those heroes that protected the rear of thatbattling hero? Indeed, when Bharadwaja’s son proceeded, slaying the foe(along his route), who were they that proceeded in his van? That mightyand invincible bowman who penetrated into the midst of the Panchalas,that tiger among men endued with great valour, who proceeded, as ifdancing, along the track of his car, and consumed large throngs ofPanchala cars by means of his shafts like a raging conflagration; alas,how did that Drona meet with his death? Thou always speakest of my foesas cool and unvanquished and cheerful and swelling with might in battle.Thou dost not, however, speak of mine in such words. On the other hand,thou describest them to be slain, pale, and routed, and thou speakest ofmy car-warriors, as always deprived of their cars in all the battles theyfight!’

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Understanding the wishes of Drona who was bent onbattle, Duryodhana, on that night, O king, addressing his obedientbrothers, viz., Vikarna and Chitrasena and Suparsva and Durdharsha andDirghavahu, and all those that followed them, said those words, ‘Yeheroes of great valour, struggling with resolution, all of you protectDrona from the rear. The son of Hridika will protect his right and Salahis left.’ Saying this, thy son then urged forward placing them at thevan, the remnant of the brave and mighty Trigarta car-warriors, saying,’The preceptor is merciful. The Pandavas are fighting with greatresolution.. While engaged in slaughtering the foe in battle, protect himwell, uniting together. Drona is mighty in battle; is endued with greatlightness of hand and great valour. He can vanquish the very gods inbattle,–what need then be said of the Pandavas and the Somakas? All ofyou, however, united together and struggling with great resolution inthis terrible battle, protect the invincible Drona from that mightycar-warrior, viz., Dhrishtadyumna. Except Dhrishtadyumna, I do not seethe man amongst all the warriors of the Pandavas that can vanquish Dronain battle. I, therefore, think that we should, with our whole soul,protect the son of Bharadwaja. Protected (by us), he is sure to slay theSomakas and the Srinjayas, one after another. Upon the slaughter of allthe Srinjayas at the head of the (Pandava) army, Drona’s son withoutdoubt, will slay Dhrishtadyumna in battle. Similarly, the mightycar-warrior Karna will vanquish Arjuna in battle. As regards Bhimasenaand others clad in mail, I will subjugate them all in fight. The rest ofthe Pandavas deprived of energy, will be easily defeated by the warriors.It is evident, my success then will last for ever. For these reasons,protect the mighty car-warrior Drona in battle.’ Having said these words,O chief of the Bharatas, thy son Duryodhana, urged his troops on thatnight of terrible darkness. Then commenced a battle, O chief of theBharatas, between the two hosts. O Monarch, both actuated by the desireof victory. Arjuna began to afflict the Kauravas, and the Kauravas beganto afflict Arjuna, with diverse kinds of weapons. Drona’s son coveredthe, ruler of the Panchalas, and Drona himself covered the Srinjaya, withshowers of straight shafts in that battle. And as the Pandava and thePanchala troops (on the one side) and the Kaurava troops (on the other),O Bharata, were engaged in slaughtering each other, there arose a furiousuproar on the field. The battle that took place on that night was soterrible and fierce that its like had never been previously witnessed byourselves or those gone before us.'”

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