Chapter 34

Mahabharata English - DRONA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘Hearing these words of the intelligent Yudhishthira, theson of Subhadra, O Bharata, urged his charioteer towards Drona’s array.The charioteer, urged by him with the words, ‘Proceed, Proceed,’ repliedunto Abhimanyu, O king, in these words, ‘O thou that art blest withlength of days, heavy is the burthen that hath been placed upon thee bythe Pandavas! Ascertaining by thy judgment as to whether thou art able tobear it or not, thou shouldst then engage in battle. The preceptor Dronais a master of superior weapons and accomplished (in battle). Thou,however, hast been brought up in great luxury and art unused to battle.’
“Hearing these words, Abhimanyu replied unto his charioteer, saying witha laugh, ‘O charioteer, who is this Drona? What, again, is this vastassemblage of Kshatriyas? Sakra himself on his Airavata and aided by allthe celestials, I would encounter in battle. I do not feel the slightestanxiety about all these Kshatriyas today. This hostile army doth not comeup to even a sixteen part of myself. O son of a Suta, getting my maternaluncle Vishnu himself, the conqueror of the universe or my sire, Arjuna,as an antagonist in battle, fear would not enter my heart.’ Abhimanyuthen, thus disregarding those words of the charioteer, urged the latter,saying, ‘Go with speed towards the army of Drona.’ Thus commanded, thecharioteer, with a heart scarcely cheerful, urged Abhimanyu’s three-yearold steeds, decked with golden trappings. Those coursers, urged bySumitra towards Drona’s army, rushed towards Drona himself, O king, withgreat speed and prowess. Beholding him coming (towards them) in that way,al! the Kauravas, headed by Drona, advanced against him, as, indeed, thePandavas followed him behind. Then Arjuna’s son, superior to Arjuna’sself eased in golden mail and owning an excellent standard that bore thedevice of a Karnikara tree, fearlessly encountered, from desire ofbattle, warriors headed by Drona, like a lion-cub assailing a herd ofelephants. Those warriors then, filled with joy, began to strikeAbhimanyu while he endeavoured to pierce their array. And for a moment anagitation took place there, like to the eddy that is seen in the oceanwhere the current of the Ganga mingles with it. The battle, O king, thatcommenced there, between those struggling heroes striking one another,became fierce and terrible. And during the progress of that awful battle,Arjuna’s son, in the very sight of Drona, breaking that array, penetratedinto it. Then large bodies of elephants and steeds and cars and infantry,filled with joy, encompassed that mighty warrior after he had thuspenetrated into the midst of the foe, and commenced to smite him.[Causing the earth to resound] with noise of diverse musical instruments,with shouts and slaps of arm-pits and roars, with yells and leonineshouts, with exclamations of ‘Wait, Wait,’ with fierce confused voiceswith cries of, ‘Do not go, Wait, Come to me’, with repeated exclamationsof, ‘This one, It is I, The foe,’ with grunt of elephants, with thetinkling of bells and ornaments, with bursts of laughter, and the clatterof horse-hoofs and car-wheels, the (Kaurava) warriors rushed at the sonof Arjuna. That mighty hero, however, endued with great lightness ofhands and having a knowledge of the vital parts of the body, quicklyshooting weapons capable of penetrating into the very vitals, stew thoseadvancing warriors. Slaughtered by means of sharp shafts of diversekinds, those warriors became perfectly helpless, and like insects fallingupon a blazing fire, they continued to fall upon Abhimanyu on the fieldof battle. And Abhimanyu strewed the earth with their bodies and diverselimbs of their bodies like priests strewing the altar at a sacrifice withblades of Kusa grass. And Arjuna’s son cut off by thousands the arms ofthose warriors. And some of these were eased in corslets made of iguanaskin and some held bows and shafts, and some held swords or shields oriron hooks and reins; and some, lances of battle axes. And some heldmaces or iron balls or spears and some, rapiers and crow-bars and axes.And some grasped short arrows, or spiked maces, or darts, or Kampanas.And some had goads and prodigious conchs; and some bearded darts andKachagrahas. And some had mallets and some other kinds of missiles. Andsome had nooses, and some heavy clubs, and some brickbats. And all thosearms were decked with armlets and laved with delightful perfumes andunguents. And with those arms dyed with gore and looking bright the fieldof battle became beautiful, as if strewn, O sire, with five-headed snakesslain by Garuda. And Phalguni’s son also scattered over the field ofbattle countless heads of foes, heads graced with beautiful noses andfaces and locks, without pimples, and adorned with ear-rings. Bloodflowed from those heads copiously, and the nether-lips in all were bitwith wrath. Adorned with beautiful garlands and crowns and turbans andpearls and gems, and possessed of splendour equal to that of the sun orthe moon, they seemed to be like lotuses severed from their stalks.Fragrant with many perfumes, while life was in them, they could speakwords both agreeable and beneficial. Diverse cars, well-equipped, andlooking like the vapoury edifices in the welkin, with shafts in front andexcellent bamboo poles and looking beautiful with the standards set up onthem, were deprived of their Janghas, and Kuvaras, and Nemis, andDasanas, and wheels, and standards and terraces. And the utensils of warin them were all broken.[64] And the rich clothes with which they wereoverlaid, were blown away, and the warriors on them were slain bythousands. Mangling everything before him with his shafts, Abhimanyu wasseen coursing on all sides. With his keen-edged weapons, he cut intopieces elephant-warriors, and elephants with standards and hooks andbanners, and quivers and coats of mail, and girths and neck-ropes andblankets, and bells and trunks and tusks as also the foot-soldiers thatprotected those elephants from behind. And many steeds of the Vanayu, thehilly, the Kamvoja, and the Valhika breeds, with tails and ears and eyesmotionless and fixed, possessed of great speed, well-trained, and riddenby accomplished warriors armed with swords and lances, were seen to bedeprived of the excellent ornaments on their beautiful tails. And manylay with tongues lolling out and eyes detached from their sockets, andentrails and livers drawn out. And the riders on their backs lay lifelessby their sides. And the rows of bells that adorned them were all torn.Strewn over the field thus, they caused great delight to Rakshasas andbeasts of prey. With coats of mail and other leathern armour (casingtheir limbs) cut open, they weltered in excreta ejected by themselves.Thus slaying many foremost of steeds of thy army, Abhimanyu lookedresplendent. Alone achieving the most difficult feat, like theinconceivable Vibhu himself in days of old, Abhimanyu crushed thy vasthost of three kinds of forces (cars, elephants, and steeds), like thethree-eyed (Mahadeva) of immeasurable energy crushing the terrible Asurahost. Indeed, Arjuna’s son, having achieved in battle feats incapable ofbeing borne by his foes, everywhere mangled large divisions offoot-soldiers belonging to thy army. Beholding then thy host extensivelyslaughtered by Subhadra’s son single-handed with his whetted shafts likethe Asura host by Skanda (the celestial generalissimo), thy warriors andthy sons cast vacant looks on all sides. Their mouths became dry; theireyes became restless; their bodies were covered with sweat; and theirhairs stood on their ends. Hopeless of vanquishing their foe, they settheir hearts on flying away from the field. Desirous of saving theirlives, called one another by their names and the names of their families,and abandoning their wounded sons and sires and brothers and kinsmen andrelatives by marriage lying around on the field, they endeavoured to flyaway, urging their steeds and elephants (to their utmost speed).'”

Chapter 35
Chapter 33
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