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Chapter 48

Mahabharata English - DRONA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘Having thus slain one of their foremost warriors, andhaving been afflicted with their arrows, we came back to our encampmentin the evening, covered with blood. Steadfastly gazed at by the enemy, weslowly left, O monarch, the field of battle, having sustained a severeloss and nearly deprived of our senses. Then came that wonderful hourintervening between day and night. Inauspicious howls of jackals wereheard. The sun, with the pale-red hue of the filaments of thelotus,–sank low in the horizon, having approached the western hills. Andhe took away with him the splendour of our swords and darts, rapiers andcar-fences, and shields and ornaments. Causing the firmament and theearth to assume the same hue, the sun assumed his favourite form of fire.The field of battle was strewn with the motionless bodies of innumerableelephants deprived of life, Looking like crests of cloud-capped hillsriven by the thunder, and lying about with their standards and hooks andriders fallen from their backs. The earth looked beautiful with largecars crushed to pieces, and with their warriors and charioteers andornaments and steeds and standards and banners crushed, broken and torn.Those huge cars, O king, looked like living creatures deprived of theirlives by the foe with his shafts. The field of battle assumed a fierceand awful aspect in consequence of large number of steeds and riders alllying dead, with costly trappings and blankets of diverse kinds scatteredabout, and tongues and teeth and entrails and eyes of those creaturesbulging out of their places. Men decked with costly coats of mail andornaments and robes and weapons, deprived of life, lay with slain steedsand elephants and broken cars, on the bare ground, perfectly helpless,although deserving of costly beds and blankets. Dogs and jackals, andcrown and cranes and other carnivorous birds, and wolves and hyenas, andravens and other food-drinking creatures, all diverse tribes ofRakshasas, and large number of Pisachas, on the field of battle, tearingthe skins of the corpse and drinking their fat, blood and marrow, beganto eat their flesh. And they began to suck also the secretions of rottencorpses, while the Rakshasas laughed horribly and sang aloud, draggingdead bodies numbering thousands. An awful river, difficult to cross, likethe Vaitarani itself, was caused there by foremost of warriors. Itswaters were constituted by the blood (of fallen creatures). Carsconstituted the rafts (or, which to cross it), elephants formed itsrocks, and the heads of human beings, its smaller stones. And it was mirywith the flesh (of slain steeds and elephants and men). And diverse kindsof costly weapons constituted the garlands (floating on it or lying onits banks). And that terrible river flowed fiercely through the middle ofthe field of battle, wafting living creatures to the regions of the dead.And large numbers of Pisachas, of horrible and repulsive forms, rejoiced,drinking and eating in that stream. And dogs and jackals and carnivorousbirds, all eating of the same food, and inspiring living creatures withterror, held their high carnival there. And the warriors, gazing on thatfield of battle which, enhancing the population of Yama’s domain,presented such an awful sight, and where human corpses rising up, beganto dance, slowly left it as they beheld the mighty car-warrior Abhimanyuwho resembled Sakra himself, lying on the field, his costly ornamentsdisplaced and fallen off, and looking like a sacrificial fire on thealtar no longer drenched with clarified butter.'”

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