Chapter 47

Mahabharata English - KARNA PARVA

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘When the two armies, duly arrayed, thus mingledwith each other for battle, O Sanjaya, how did Partha assail thesamsaptakas, and how Karna assail the Pandavas? Tell me the incidents ofthe battle in detail, for thou art skilled in narration. Listening to theaccounts of the prowess of heroes in battle, I am never satiated.’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Observing the vast hostile force stationed in thatmanner, Arjuna arrayed his troops in proper form, in consequence of theevil policy of thy son. The vast Pandava force then, teeming withhorsemen and elephants and foot-soldiers and cars, and headed byDhrishtadyumna, looked exceedingly magnificent. With his steeds white aspigeons, the son of Prishata, equal in splendour to the Sun or the Moon,armed with bow, looked resplendent like Death himself in embodied form.The sons of Draupadi, desirous of battle, stood by the side of the son ofPrishata. They were clad in excellent coats of mail, and armed withexcellent weapons, and all of them were endued with the prowess oftigers. Possessed of effulgent bodies, they followed their maternal unclelike the stars appearing with the Moon. Beholding the samsaptakasstanding in array, Arjuna, with wrath excited, rushed against them,drawing his bow Gandiva. The samsaptakas then, desirous of slayingArjuna, rushed against Partha, firmly resolved on victory, and makingdeath their goal. That brave host of heroes, teeming with men, steeds,infuriate elephants, and cars, began very quickly to afflict Arjuna.Their encounter with Kiritin (Arjuna) became exceedingly furious. Thatencounter resembled the one that took place between Arjuna and theNivatakavachas, as we have heard. Partha cut off cars and steeds andstandards and elephants and foot-soldiers engaged in fight, with shaftsand bows and swords and discs and battle axes, and uplifted arms withweapons in grasp, and the heads also of foes, by thousands uponthousands. The samsaptakas, regarding the car of Partha sunk in that deepvortex of warriors, uttered loud roars. Partha, however, slaying all hisfoes in front, slew those that stood further off, and then those thatwere on his right and his back, like Rudra himself in rage slaughteringall created things endued with life. The encounter that took place whenthe Pancalas, the Cedis, and the Srinjayas faced thy troops wasexceedingly fierce. Kripa and Kritavarma, and Shakuni the son of Subala,those heroes difficult of defeat in battle, accompanied by troops thatwere all cheerful, themselves filled with rage, and capable of smitingdown thick ranks of cars, fought with the Koshalas, the Kasis, theMatsyas, the Karusas, the Kaikayas, and the Surasenas, all of whom werepossessed of great courage. That battle fraught with great slaughter anddestructive of body, life and sins, became conducive to fame, heaven, andvirtue, in respect of the Kshatriya, the Vaishya, and the Shudra heroesthat were engaged in it. Meanwhile the Kuru king Duryodhana with hisbrothers, O bull of Bharata’s race, and supported by many Kuru heroes andmany mighty Madraka car-warriors, protected Karna while the latter wasengaged in battle with the Pandavas, the Pancalas, the Cedis, andSatyaki. Destroying that vast division with his sharp arrows, andcrushing many foremost of car-warriors Karna succeeded in afflictingYudhishthira. Cutting off the armour, the weapons, and the bodies ofthousands of foes and slaying his foes by thousands and sending them toheaven and making them earn great fame, Karna caused his friends greatjoy. Thus, O sire, that battle destructive of men, steeds, and cars,between the Kurus and the Srinjayas, resembled the battle between thegods and the Asuras of old.'”

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