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Chapter 28

Mahabharata English - KARNA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘King Duryodhana, O monarch, himself fearlessly receivedYudhishthira, as the latter was engaged in shooting large numbers ofshafts. The royal Yudhishthira the just, speedily piercing thy son, thatmighty car-warrior, as the latter was rushing towards him withimpetuosity, addressed him, saying, “Wait, Wait.” Duryodhana, however,pierced Yudhishthira, in return, with nine keen arrows, and filled withgreat wrath, struck Yudhishthira’s driver also with a broad-headed shaft.Then king Yudhishthira sped at Duryodhana three and ten arrows equippedwith wings of gold and whetted on stone. With four shafts that mightycar-warrior then slew the four steeds of his foe, and with the fifth hecut off from his trunk the head of Duryodhana’s driver. With the sixtharrow he felled the (Kuru) king’s standard on the Earth, with the seventhhis bow, and with the eighth his scimitar. And then with five more shaftsking Yudhishthira the just deeply afflicted the Kuru monarch. Thy son,then, alighting from that steedless car, stood on the Earth in imminentdanger. Beholding him in that situation of great peril, Karna and Drona’sson and Kripa and others rushed suddenly towards the spot, desirous ofrescuing the king. Then the (other) sons of Pandu, surroundingYudhishthira, all proceeded to the encounter, upon which, O king, afierce battle was fought. Thousands of trumpets then were blown in thatgreat engagement, and a confused din of myriad voices arose there, Oking. There where the Pancalas engaged the Kauravas, in battle, menclosed with men, and elephants with foremost of elephants. Andcar-warriors closed with car-warriors, and horse with horse. And thevarious couples of battling men and animals, of great prowess and armedwith diverse kinds of weapons and possessed of great skill presented abeautiful sight, O king, over the field. All those heroes endued withgreat impetuosity and desirous of compassing the destruction of oneanother, fought beautifully and with great activity and skill. Observingthe (sanctioned) practices of warriors, they slew one another in battle.None of them fought from behind others. For only a very short time thatbattle presented a beautiful aspect. Soon it became an encounter of madmen, in which the combatants showed no regard for one another. Thecar-warrior, approaching the elephant, pierced the latter with keenshafts and despatched it to Yama’s presence by means of straight arrows.Elephants, approaching steeds, dragged down many of them in that battle,and tore them (with their tusks) most fiercely in diverse places. Largenumbers of horsemen also, encompassing many foremost of steeds, made aloud noise with their palms, and closed with them. And those horsemenslew those steeds as they ran hither and thither, as also many hugeelephants as these wandered over the field, from behind and the flanks.Infuriate elephants, O king, routing large numbers of steeds, slew themwith their tusks or crushed them with great force. Some elephants, filledwith wrath pierced with their tusks horses with horsemen. Others seizingsuch with great force hurled them to the ground with violence. Manyelephants, struck by foot-soldiers availing of the proper opportunities,uttered terrible cries of pain and fled away on all sides. Among thefoot-soldiers that fled away in that great battle throwing down theirornaments, there were many that were quickly encompassed on the field.Elephant-warriors, riding on huge elephants, understanding indications ofvictory, wheeled their beasts and causing them to seize those beautifulornaments, made the beasts to pierce them with their tusks. Otherfoot-soldiers endued with great impetuosity and fierce might, surroundingthose elephant-warriors thus engaged in those spots began to slay them.Others in that great battle, thrown aloft into the air by elephants withtheir trunks, were pierced by those trained beasts with the points oftheir tusks as they fell down. Others, suddenly seized by otherelephants, were deprived of life with their tusks. Others, borne awayfrom their own divisions into the midst of others, were, O king, mangledby huge elephants which rolled them repeatedly on the ground. Others,whirled on high like fans, were slain in that battle. Others, hither andthither on the field, that stood full in front of other elephants hadtheir bodies exceedingly pierced and torn. Many elephants were deeplywounded with spears and lances and darts in their cheeks and frontalglobes and parts between their tusks. Exceedingly afflicted by fiercecar-warriors and horsemen stationed on their flanks, many elephants,ripped open, fell down on the Earth. In that dreadful battle manyhorsemen on their steeds, striking foot-soldiers with their lances,pinned them down to the Earth or crushed them with great force. Someelephants, approaching mail-clad car-warriors, O sire, raised them aloftfrom their vehicles and hurled them down with great force upon the Earthin that fierce and awful fight. Some huge elephants slain by means ofcloth-yard shafts, fell down on the Earth like mountain summits riven bythunder. Combatants, encountering combatants, began to strike each otherwith their fists, or seizing each other by the hair, began to drag andthrow down and mangle each other. Others, stretching their arms andthrowing down their foes on the Earth, placed their feet on their chestsand with great activity cut off their heads. Some combatant, O king,struck with his feet some foe that was dead, and some, O king, struck offwith his sword, the head of a falling foe, and some thrust his weaponinto the body of a living foe. A fierce battle took place there, OBharata, in which the combatants struck one another with fists or seizedone another’s hair or wrestled with one another with bare arms. In manyinstances, combatants, using diverse kinds of weapons, took the lives ofcombatants engaged with others and, therefore, unperceived by them.During the progress of that general engagement when all the combatantswere mangled in battle, hundreds and thousands of headless trunks stoodup on the field. Weapons and coats of mail, drenched with gore, lookedresplendent, like cloths dyed with gorgeous red. Even thus occurred thatfierce battle marked by the awful clash of weapons. Like the mad androaring current of the Ganga it seemed to fill the whole universe withits uproar. Afflicted with shafts, the warriors failed to distinguishfriends from foes. Solicitous of victory, the kings fought on becausethey fought that fight they should. The warriors slew both friends andfoes, with whom they came in contact. The combatants of both the armieswere deprived of reason by the heroes of both the armies assailing themwith fury. With broken cars, O monarch, the fallen elephants, and steedslying on the ground, and men laid low, the Earth, miry with gore andflesh, and covered with streams of blood, soon became impassable, Karnaslaughtered the Pancalas while Dhananjaya slaughtered the Trigartas. AndBhimasena, O king, slaughtered the Kurus and all the elephant divisionsof the latter. Even thus occurred that destruction of troops of both theKurus and the Pandavas, both parties having been actuated by the desireof winning great fame, at that hour when the Sun had passed themeridian.'”

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