“Sanjaya said, ‘The Parthas then, headed by Bhimasena, approached thatinvincible array protected by Bharadwaja’s son. And Satyaki, andChekitana, and Dhrishtadyumna. the son of Prishata, and Kuntibhoja ofgreat prowess, and the mighty car-warrior Drupada. and Arjuna’s son(Abhimanyu), and Kshatradharman, and the valiant Vrihatkshatra, andDhrishtaketu, the ruler of the Chedis, and the twin sons of Madri, (viz.,Nakula and Sahadeva), and Ghatotkacha, and the powerful Yudhamanyu andthe unvanquished Sikhandin, and the irresistible Uttamaujas and themighty car-warrior Virata, and the five sons of Draupadi,–these allexcited with wrath, and the valiant son of Sisupala, and the Kaikeyas ofmighty energy, and the Srinjayas by thousands,–these and others,accomplished in weapons and difficult of being resisted in battle,suddenly rushed, at the head of their respective followers, againstBharadwaja’s son, from a desire of battle. The valiant son of Bharadwaja,however, fearlessly checked all those warriors, as soon as they camenear, with a thick shower of arrows. Like a mighty wave of waters comingagainst an impenetrable hill, or the surging sea itself approaching itsbank, those warriors were pushed back by Drona. And the Pandavas, O king,afflicted by the shafts shot from Drona’s bow, were unable to stay beforehim. And the strength of Drona’s arms that we saw was wonderful in theextreme, inasmuch as the Panchalas and the Srinjayas failed to approachhim. Beholding Drona advancing in rage. Yudhishthira thought of diversemeans for checking his progress. At last, regarding Drona incapable ofbeing resisted by any one else, Yudhishthira placed that heavy andunbearable burden on the son of Subhadra. Addressing Abhimanyu, thatslayer of hostile heroes, who was not inferior to Vasudeva himself andwhose energy was superior to that of Arjuna, the king said, ‘O child, actin such a way that Arjuna, returning (from the Samsaptakas), may notreprove us. We do not know how to break the circular array. Thyself, orArjuna or Krishna, or Pradyumna, can pierce that array. O mighty-armedone, no fifth person can be found (to achieve that teat). O child, itbehoveth thee, O Abhimanyu, to grant the boon that thy sires, thymaternal uncles, and all these troops ask of thee. Taking up thy armsquickly, destroy this array of Drona, else Arjuna, returning from thefight, will reprove us all.’
“Abhimanyu said, ‘Desiring victory to my sires, soon shall I in battlepenetrate into that firm, fierce and foremost of arrays formed by Drona.I have been taught by my father the method of (penetrating and) smitingthis kind of array. I shall not be able, however, to come out if any kindof danger overtakes me.’
“Yudhishthira said, ‘Break this array once, O foremost of warriors, andmake a passage for us. All of us will follow thee in the track by whichthou wilt go. In battle, thou art equal to Dhananjaya himself. Seeingthee enter, we shall follow thee, protecting thee on all sides.’
“Bhima said, ‘I myself will follow thee, and Dhrishtadyumna and Satyaki,and the Panchalas, and the Prabhadrakas. After the array once is brokenby thee, will enter it repeatedly and slay the foremost warriors withinit.’
“Abhimanyu said, ‘I will penetrate into this invincible array of Drona,like an insect filled with rage entering a blazing fire. Today, I will dothat which will be beneficial to both races (viz., my sire’s and mymother’s). I will do that which will please my maternal uncle as also mymother. Today all creatures will behold large bodies of hostile soldierscontinually slaughtered by myself, an unaided child. If anybody,encountering me, escapes today with life, I shall not then regard myselfbegotten by Partha and born of Subhadra. If on a single car I cannot inbattle cut off the whole Kshatriya race into eight fragments, I will notregard myself the son of Arjuna.'
“Yudhishthira said, ‘Since protected by these tigers among men, thesegreat bowmen endued with fierce might, these warriors that resemble theSadhyas, the Rudras, or the Maruts, or are like the Vasus, or Agni orAditya himself in prowess, thou venturest to pierce the invincible arrayof Drona, and since thou speakest so, let thy strength, O son of Subhadrabe increased.’
“Sanjaya continued, ‘Hearing these words of Yudhishthira, Abhimanyuordered his charioteer, Sumitra, saying, Quickly urge the steeds towardsDrona’s army.'”