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Chapter 177

Mahabharata English - DRONA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘Having slain Alayudha, the Rakshasa Ghatotkacha becamefilled with delight. Standing at the head of the army he began to utterdiverse kinds of shouts. Hearing those loud roars of his that madeelephants tremble, a great fear, O monarch, entered into the hearts ofthy warriors. Beholding the mighty son of Bhimasena engaged withAlayudha, the mighty-armed Karna rushed against the Panchalas. He piercedDhrishtadyumna and Sikhandin, each with ten strong and straight shaftssped from his bow drawn to its fullest stretch. With a number of otherpowerful shafts, the Suta’s son then caused Yudhamanyu and Uttamaujas,and the great car-warrior Satyaki to tremble. The bows of those warriorsalso, O king, while they were engaged in striking Karna from all sides,were seen to be drawn into circles. On that night, the twang of theirbow-strings and the rattle of their car-wheels (mingling together),became loud and deep as the roar of the clouds at the close of summer.The nocturnal battle, O monarch, resembled a gathering mass of clouds.The twang of bow-string and the rattle of car-wheels constituted itsroar. The bows (of warriors) constituted its lightning flashes; andshowers of shafts formed its downpour of rain. Standing immovable like ahill and possessed of the strength of a prince of mountains, that grinderof foes, viz., Vikartana’s son, Karna, O king, destroyed that wonderfulshower of arrows shot at him. Devoted to the good of thy sons, thehigh-souled Vaikartana, in the battle, began to strike his foes withlances endued with the force of thunder, and with whetted shafts,equipped with beautiful wings of gold. Soon the standard of some werebroken and cut down by Karna, and the bodies of others pierced andmangled by him with keen arrows; and soon some were deprived of drivers,and some of their steeds. Exceedingly afflicted by the Suta’s son in thatbattle, many of them entered the force of Yudhishthira. Beholding thembroken and compelled to retreat, Ghatotkacha became mad with rage.Mounted on that excellent car of his that was decked with gold andjewels, he uttered a leonine roar and approaching Vikartana’s son, Karna,pierced him with shafts endued with the force of thunder. Both of thembegan to cover the welkin with barbed arrows, and cloth-yard shafts, andfrog-faced arrows, and Nalikas and Dandas and Asanis and arrows bearingheads like the calf’s tooth or the boar’s ear, and broad-headed shafts,and shafts pointed like horns, and others bearing heads like razors. Thewelkin, covered with that arrowy shower, looked, in consequence of thosegold-winged shafts of blazing splendour coursing horizontally through it,as if hung with garland of beautiful flowers. Each endued with prowessequal to that of the other, they struck each other equally with powerfulweapons. None could, in that battle, find any mark of superiority ineither of those excellent heroes. Indeed, that battle between the son ofSurya and Bhima’s son, characterised by a thick and heavy shower ofweapons, looked exceedingly beautiful and presented almost an unrivalledsight like the fierce encounter between Rahu and Surya in the welkin.’

“Sanjaya continued, ‘When Ghatotkacha, O king, that foremost of allpersons conversant with weapons, found that he could not prevail overKarna, he invoked into existence a fierce and mighty weapon. With thatweapon, the Rakshasa first slew the steeds of Karna and then the latter’sdriver. Having achieved that feat, Hidimva’s son quickly made himselfinvisible.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘When the Rakshasa fighting by deceitful means thusdisappeared, tell me, O Sanjaya, what the warriors of my army thought.’

“Sanjaya said, Seeing the Rakshasa disappear, all the Kauravas loudlysaid, Appearing next, the Rakshasa, fighting deceitfully, will certainlyslay Karna.’ Then Karna, endued with wonderful lightness in the use ofweapons, covered all sides with showers of shafts. The welkin beingcovered with the darkness caused by that thick arrowy shower, allcreatures became invincible. So great was the lightness of hand displayedby the Suta’s son, that none could mark when he touched his quivers withhis fingers, when he fixed his arrows on the bowstring, and when he aimedand sped them off. The entire welkin seemed to be shrouded with hisarrows. Then a fierce and terrible illusion was invoked into existence bythe Rakshas in the welkin. We beheld in the sky what appeared to us to bea mass of red clouds resembling the fierce flame of a blazing fire. Fromthat cloud issued flashes of lightning, and many blazing brands, O Kuruking! And tremendous roars also issued therefrom, like the noise ofthousands of drums beat at once. And from it fell many shafts winged withgold, and darts, lances and heavy clubs, and other similar weapons, andbattle-axes, and scimitars washed with oil, and axes of blazing edges,and spears, and spiked maces emitting shining rays, and beautiful macesof iron, and long darts of keen points, and heavy maces decked with goldand twined round with string’s, and Sataghnis, all around. And largerocks fell from it, and thousands of thunderbolts with loud report, andmany hundreds of wheels and razors of the splendour of fire. Karnashooting showers of shafts, failed to destroy that thick and blazingdownpour of darts and lances and clubs. Loud became the uproar then offalling steeds slain by those shafts, and mighty elephants struck withthunder, and great car-warriors deprived of life by other weapons.Afflicted by Ghatotkacha with that terrible shower of arrows all around,that host of Duryodhana was seen to wander in great pain over the field.With cries of Oh and Alas, and exceedingly cheerless, that wandering hostseemed on the point of being annihilated. The leaders, however, inconsequence of the nobility of their hearts, fled not away with facesturned from the field. Beholding that exceedingly frightful and awfulshower of mighty weapons, caused by the Rakshasa’s illusion, failing uponthe field, and seeing their vast army incessantly slaughtered, the sonsbecame inspired with great fear. Hundreds of jackals with tongues blazinglike fire and terrible yells, began to cry. And, O king, the (Kaurava)warriors beholding the yelling Rakshasas, became exceedingly distressed.Those terrible Rakshasas with fiery tongues and blazing mouths and sharpteeth, and with forms huge as hills, stationed in the welkin, with dartsin grasp looked like clouds pouring torrents of rain. Struck and crushedwith those fierce shafts and darts and lances and maces and spiked clubsof blazing splendour; and thunder-bolts and Pinakas and Asanis and disciand Sataghnis, the (Kaurava) troops began to fall down. The Rakshasasbegan to pour upon the warriors of thy son long darts, and treacle andSataghnis, and Sthunas made of black iron and twined with strings ofjute. Then all the combatants became stunned. Brave warriors, withweapons broken or loosened from their grasp, or deprived of heads, orwith fractured limbs began to fall down on the field. And in consequenceof the failing rocks, steeds and elephants and cars began to be crushed.Those Yatudhanas of terrible forms created by Ghatotkacha with the aid ofhis powers of illusion pouring that thick shower of mighty weapons sparedneither those that were terrified nor those that begged for quarter.During that cruel carnage of Kuru heroes, brought on by Death himself,during that extermination of Kshatriyas the Kaurava warriors suddenlybroke and fled with speed, crying aloud, ‘Fly, ye Kauravas! All is lost!The gods Indra at their head are slaying us for the sake of thePandavas!’ At that time there was none that could rescue the sinkingBharata troops. During that fierce uproar and rout and extermination ofthe Kauravas, the camps losing their distinctive features, the partiescould not be distinguished from each other. Indeed, during that terriblerout in which the soldiers showed no regard for one another, every sideof the field, when looked at, seemed to be empty. Only Karna, O king,could be seen there, drowned in that shower of weapons. Then Karnacovered the welkin with his shafts, contending with that celestialillusion of the Rakshasa. The Suta’s son, endued with modesty andachieving the most difficult and noble feats, did not lose his senses inthat battle. Then, O king, all the Saindhavas and Valhikas affrightedlylooked at Karna who kept his senses in that fight. And they allworshipped him, while they looked at the triumph of the Rakshasa. Then aSataghni equipped with wheels, hurled by Ghatotkacha, slew the foursteeds of Karna simultaneously. These. dropped down on the ground, ontheir knees, deprived of life, teeth, eyes, and tongues. Then jumpingdown from his steedless car and seeing the Kauravas flying away, andbeholding his own celestial weapon baffled by the Rakshasa illusion,Karna, without losing his senses, turned his mind inwards and began toreflect on what he should next do. At that time all the Kauravas,beholding Karna and that terrible illusion (of the Rakshasa) cried outsaying, ‘O Karna, slay the Rakshasa soon with thy dart. These Kauravasand the Dhartarashtras are on the point of being annihilated. What willBhima and Arjuna do to us? Slay this wretched Rakshasa at dead of night,who is consuming us all. They that will escape from this dreadfulencounter to-day will fight with the Parthas in battle. Therefore, slaythis terrible Rakshas now with that dart given thee by Vasava. O Karna,let not these great warriors, the Kauravas, these princes that resembleIndra himself, be all destroyed in this nocturnal battle.’ Then Karna,seeing the Rakshasa alive at dead of night, and the Kuru army struck withfear, and hearing also the loud wails of the latter set his heart uponhurling his dart. Inflamed with rage like a wrathful lion and unable tobrook the assaults of the Rakshasa, Karna took up that foremost ofvictory-giving and invincible darts, desirous of compassing thedestruction of Ghatotkacha. Indeed, that dart, O king, which he had keptand adored for years for (achieving) the slaughter of Pandu’s son inbattle, that foremost of darts which Sakra himself had given to theSuta’s son in exchange for the latter’s ear-rings, that blazing andterrible missile twined with strings and which seemed to thirst forblood, that fierce weapon which looked like the very tongue of theDestroyer or the sister of Death himself, that terrible and effulgentdart, Naikartana, was now hurled at the Rakshasa. Beholding thatexcellent and blazing weapon capable of piercing the body of every foe,in the hands of the Suta’s son, the Rakshasa began to fly away in fearassuming a body gigantic as the foot of the Vindhya mountains. Indeed,seeing that dart in Karna’s hand, all creatures in the sky, O king,uttered loud cries. Fierce winds began to blow, and thunders with loudreport began to fall on the earth. Destroying that blazing illusion ofGhatotkacha and piercing right through his breast that resplendent dartsoared aloft in the night and entered a starry constellation in thefirmament. Having fought, using diverse beautiful weapons, with manyheroic Rakshasa and human warriors, Ghatotkacha, then uttering diverseterrible roars, fell, deprived of life with that dart of Sakra. This alsois another exceedingly wonderful feat that the Rakshasa accomplished forthe destruction of his foes, that at a time when his heart was pierced bythat dart, he shone resplendent, O king, like a mighty mountain or a massof clouds. Indeed, having assumed that terrible and awful form,Bhimasena’s son of frightful deeds fell down. When dying, O king, he fellupon a portion of thy army and pressed those troops down by the weight ofhis own body. Quickly falling down, the Rakshasa with his gigantic andstill increasing body, desirous of benefiting the Pandavas, slew a fullAkshauhini of thy troops while he himself breathed his last. Then a louduproar arose there made up of leonine shouts and blare of conchs and thebeat of drums and cymbals. The Kauravas indeed, beholding the illusion ofthe Rakshasa destroyed and the Rakshasa himself slain uttered loud shoutsof joy. Then Karna, worshipped by the Kurus as Sakra had been by theMaruts upon the slaughter of Vritra, ascended behind the car of thy son,and becoming the observed of all, entered the Kuru host.'”

Chapter 178
Chapter 176
🙏 धर्म और आध्यात्म को जन-जन तक पहुँचाने में हमारा साथ दें| 🙏