Chapter 46

Mahabharata English - DRONA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘Phalguni’s son once more pierced Karna in the car with abarbed arrow, and for angering him still further, he pierced him withfifty other shafts. The son of Radha pierced Abhimanyu in return with asmany shafts. Covered all over with arrows, Abhimanyu, then, O sire,looked exceedingly beautiful. Filled with rage, he caused Karna also tobe bathed in blood. Mangled with arrows and covered with blood, the braveKarna also shone greatly.[79] Both of them pierced with arrows, bothbathed in blood, those illustrious warriors then resembled a couple offlowering Kinsukas. The son of Subhadra then slew six of Karna’s bravecounsellors, conversant with all modes of warfare, with their steeds andcharioteers and cars. As regards other great bowmen Abhimanyu fearlesslypierced each of them in return, with ten arrows. That feat of his seemedhighly wonderful. Slaying next the son of the ruler of the Magadhas,Abhimanyu, with six straight shafts, slew the youthful Aswaketu with hisfour steeds and charioteer. Then slaying, with a sharp razor-headedarrow, the Bhoja prince of Martikavata, bearing the device of an elephant(on his banner), the son of Arjuna uttered a loud shout and began toscatter his shafts on all sides. Then the son of Duhsasana pierced thefour steeds of Abhimanyu with four shafts, his charioteer with one andAbhimanyu himself with ten. The son of Arjuna, then, piercing Duhsasana’sson with ten fleet shafts, addressed him in a loud tone and with eyes redin wrath, said, ‘Abandoning the battle, thy sire hath fled like a coward.It is well thou knowest how to fight. Thou shalt not, however, escapetoday with life.’ Saying these words unto him, Abhimanyu sped a longarrow, well polished by smith’s hand, at his foe. The son of Drona cutthat arrow with three shafts of his own. Leaving Aswatthaman alone,Arjuna’s son struck Salya, in return, fearlessly pierced him in the chestwith highly nine shafts, equipped with vulture’s feathers. That featseemed highly wonderful. The son of Arjuna then cut off Salya’s bow andslew both his Parshni charioteers. Abhimanyu then pierced Salya himselfwith six shafts made wholly of iron. Thereupon, the latter, leaving thatsteedless car, mounted another. Abhimanyu then slew five warriors., namedSatrunjaya, and Chandraketu, and Mahamegba, and Suvarchas, andSuryabhasa. He then pierced Suvala’s son. The latter piercing Abhimanyuwith three arrows, said unto Duryodhana, ‘Let us all together grind thisone, else, fighting singly with us he will slay us all. O king, think ofthe means of slaying this one, taking counsel with Drona and Kripa andothers.’ The Karna, the son of Vikartana, said unto Drona, ‘Abhimanyugrindeth us all. Tell us the means by which we may slay him.’ Thusaddressed, the mighty bowman, Drona, addressing them all, said,’Observing him with vigilance, have any of you been able to detect anydefeat in this youth? He is careening in all directions. Yet have any ofyou been able to detect today the least hole in him? Behold the lightnessof hand and quickness of motion of this lion among men, this son ofArjuna. In the track of his car, only his bow drawn to a circle can beseen, so quickly is he aiming his shafts and so quickly is he lettingthem off. Indeed, this slayer of hostile heroes, viz., the son ofSubhadra, gratifieth me although he afflicteth my vital breath andstupefieth me with shafts. Even the mightiest car-warriors, filled withwrath, are unable to detect any flaw in him. The son of Subhadra,therefore, careering on the field of battle, gratifieth me greatly. I donot see that in battle there is any difference between the wielder ofGandiva himself and this one of great lightness of hand, filling all thepoints of the horizon with his mighty shafts.’ Hearing these words,Karna, afflicted with the shafts of Arjuna’s son, once more said untoDrona, ‘Exceedingly afflicted with the shafts of Abhimanyu, I am stayingin battle, only because (as a warrior) I should stay here. Indeed, thearrows of this south of great energy are exceedingly fierce. Terrible asthey are and possessed of the energy of fire, these arrows are weakeningmy heart.’ The preceptor then, slowly and with a smile, said unto Karna,’Abhimanyu is young, his prowess is great. His coat of mail isimpenetrable. This one’s father had been taught by me the method ofwearing defensive armour. This subjugator of hostile towns assuredlyknoweth the entire science (of wearing armour). With shafts well shot,you can, however, cut off his bow, bow-string, the reins of his steeds,the steeds themselves, and two Parshni charioteers. O mighty bowman, Oson of Radha, if competent, do this. Making him turn back from the fight(by this means), strike him then. With his bow in hand he is incapable ofbeing vanquished by the very gods and the Asuras together. If you wish,deprive him of his car, and divest him of his bow.’. Hearing these wordsof the preceptor, Vikartana’s son Karna quickly cut off, by means of hisshafts, the bow of Abhimanyu, as the latter was shooting with greatactivity. He, of Bhoja’s race (viz., Kritavarman) then slew his steeds,and Kripa slew his two Parshni charioteers. The others covered him withshowers of arrows after he had been divested of his bow. Those six greatcar-warriors, with great speed, when speed was so necessary, ruthlesslycovered that carless youth, fighting single-handed with them, withshowers of arrows. Bowless and carless, with an eye, however, to his duty(as a warrior), handsome Abhimanyu, taking up a sword and a shield,jumped into the sky. Displaying great strength and great activity, anddescribing the tracks called Kausika and others, the son of Arjunafiercely coursed through the sky, like the prince of winged creatures(viz., Garuda.). ‘He may fall upon me sword in hand,’ with such thoughts,those mighty bowmen, were on the lookout for the laches of Abhimanyu, andbegan to pierce him in that battle, with their gaze turned upwards. ThenDrona of mighty energy, that conqueror of foes with a sharp arrow quicklycut off the hilt, decked with gems, of Abhimanyu’s sword. Radha’s sonKarna, with sharp shafts, cut off his excellent shield. Deprived of hissword and shield thus, he came down, with sound limbs, from the welkinupon the earth. Then taking up a car-wheel, he rushed in wrath againstDrona. His body bright with the dust of car-wheels, and himself holdingthe car-wheel in his upraised arms, Abhimanyu looked exceedinglybeautiful, and imitating Vasudeva (with his discus), became awfullyfierce for a while in that battle. His robes dyed with the blood flowing(from his wounds), his brow formidable with the wrinkles visible thereon,himself uttering loud leonine roars, lord Abhimanyu of immeasurablemight, staying in the midst of those kings, looked exceedinglyresplendent on the field of battle.'”

Chapter 47
Chapter 45
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