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Chapter 167

Mahabharata English - DRONA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘Against Nakula who was engaged in smiting thy host,Suvala’s son (Sakuni) in wrath, rushed with great impetuosity andaddressing him, said, ‘Wait! Wait!’ Each enraged with the other and eachdesirous of slaying the other, those two heroes struck each other withshafts sped from their bows drawn to their fullest stretch. Suvala’s sonin that encounter displayed the same measure of skill that Nakuladisplayed, O king, in shooting showers of arrows. Both pierced witharrows, O king, in that battle, they looked beautiful like a couple ofporcupines with quills erect on their bodies. The armour of each cut offby means of shafts with straight points and golden wings, and each bathedin blood, those two warriors looked resplendent in that dreadful battlelike two beautiful and brilliant Kalpa trees, or like two floweringKinsukas on the field of battle. Indeed, O king, those two heroes in thatencounter, both pierced with arrows, looked beautiful like a couple ofSalmali trees with prickly thorns on them. Casting oblique glances ateach other, with eyes expanded in rage, whose corners had become red,they seemed to scorch each other by those glances. Then thybrother-in-law, excited with wrath, and smiling the while, piercedMadri’s son in the chest with a barbed arrow of keen point. Deeplypierced by that great bowman, viz., thy brother-in-law, Nakula sat downon the terrace of his car and swooned away. Beholding his proud foe, thatmortal enemy of his in that plight, Sakuni uttered a roar loud as that ofthe clouds at the end of summer. Recovering consciousness, Nakula, theson of Pandu, once more rushed against Suvala’s son, like the Destroyerhimself of wide-open mouth. Inflamed with rage, O bull of Bharata’s race,he pierced Sakuni with sixty arrows, and more with a hundred long shaftsat the centre of his chest. He then cut off Sakuni’s bow with arrow fixedthereon, into two fragments, at the handle. And then cutting off in atrice Sakuni’s standard, he caused it to fall down on the earth. Piercingnext Sakuni’s thigh with keen, sharp, and well-tempered shafts, Nakula,the son of Pandu, caused him to fall down on the terrace of his car,clasping his flag-staff, like an amorous man clasping his mistress.Beholding that brother-in-law of thine laid low and deprived ofconsciousness, O sinless one, his driver quickly bore him away from thevan of battle. The Parthas, then, and all their followers, uttered a loudroar. Having vanquished his foes, Nakula, that scorcher of foes,addressing his driver, said, ‘Beat me to the host commanded by Drona.’Hearing these words of Madri’s son, his driver proceeded to the spot, Oking, where Drona was stationed.[226] Against mighty Sikhandin proceedingtowards Drona, Kripa resolutely advanced with great impetuosity. Thatchastiser of foes, viz., Sikhandin, then, smiling the while, pierced withnine arrows the son of Gotama thus advancing against him towards thevicinity of Drona. Then the preceptor, Kripa, that benefactor of thysons, piercing Sikhandin first with five arrows, once more pierced himwith twenty. The combat that took place, O monarch, between them, wasexceedingly dreadful, like that between Samvara and the chief of thecelestials in the battle between the gods and the Asuras. Those heroicand mighty car-warriors, both invincible in battle, covered the welkinwith their arrows, like clouds covering the welkin on the expiry orsummer. Terrible of itself, that night, O chief of the Bharatas, becamemore terrible still to the heroic combatants engaged in battle. Indeed,of terrible aspects and inspiring all sorts of fear, that night became,as it were, death-night (of all creatures). Then Sikhandin, O king, cutoff, with a crescent-shaped arrow, the large bow of Gotama’s son and shotat the latter many whetted shafts. Inflamed with wrath, O monarch, Kripathen sped at his antagonist a fierce dart, equipped with a golden shaftand keen point, and polished by the hands of the smith. Sikhandin,however, cut it off with ten shafts as it coursed towards him. That dart,then, decked with gold (thus cut off), fell down on the earth. ThenGautama, foremost of men, taking up another bow, O king, coveredSikhandin with a large number of whetted shafts. Thus covered in thatbattle by the illustrious son of Gotama, Sikhandin, that foremost ofcar-warriors sank on the terrace of his car. Beholding him thus weakened,Kripa in that encounter, struck him with many arrows, from desire ofslaying him, O Bharata! (Sikhandin then was borne away by his driver).Beholding that mighty car-warrior, viz., the son of Yajnasena retreatingfrom battle, the Panchalas and the Somakas surrounded him on all sides(for rescuing him). Similarly, thy sons also surrounded that foremost ofBrahmans, Kripa, with a large force. Then commenced a battle once more,between car-warriors, O king, that struck one another. The uproar thatrose became loud as the roaring of clouds, O Bharata, caused by rushinghorsemen and elephants, O monarch, smiting one another down. Then, Oking, the field of battle looked exceedingly fierce. With the tread ofrushing infantry the earth began to tremble, O monarch, like a ladyshaken with fear. Car-warriors, mounting on their cars, rushedimpetuously, attacking compeers by their thousands, O king, like crowsseizing winged insects (in the air). Similarly, mighty elephants withwiny exudation down their bodies, pursuing similar elephants, encounteredthem, O Bharata, furiously. So also, horsemen, coming upon horsemen, andfoot-soldiers angrily encountered one another in that battle. At dead ofnight, the sound of retreating and the rushing of troops and of thosecoming again to the encounter became deafening. The blazing lamps also,placed on cars and elephants and steeds, seemed, O king, large meteorsfalling from the firmament. That night, O chief of the Bharatas,lightened up by those lamps looked like day, O king, on the field ofbattle. As the sun, encountering the thick gloom, destroys it completely,even so the thick gloom of the battle was destroyed by those blazinglamps. Indeed, the welkin, the earth, the cardinal and the subsidiarypoints of the compass, enveloped by dust and darkness, became once moreilluminated by that light. The splendour of weapons and coats of mail,and of the jewels of illustrious heroes, became overshadowed, by thelight of those blazing lamps. During the progress of that fierce battleat night, none of the combatants, O Bharata, could know the warriors ofhis own side. Sire, O chief of the Bharatas, slew son, and son, fromignorance, slew sire, and friend slew friend. And relatives slewrelatives, and maternal uncles slew sisters’ sons, and warriors slewwarriors of their own side, and foes slew their own men, in that battle,O Bharata. In that dreadful nocturnal encounter, O king, all foughtfuriously, ceasing to have any regard for one another.'”

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