Chapter 52

Mahabharata English - KARNA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘Those Kshatriyas, O monarch, harbouring feelings ofanimosity against one another and longing to take one another’s life,began to slay one another in that battle. Throngs of cars, and largebodies of horses, and teeming divisions of infantry and elephants inlarge numbers mingled with one another, O king, for battle. We beheld thefalling of maces and spiked bludgeons and Kunapas and lances and shortarrows and rockets hurled at one another in that dreadful engagement.Arrowy showers terrible to look at coursed like flights of locusts.Elephants approaching elephants routed one another. Horsemen encounteringhorsemen in that battle, and car-warriors encountering car-warriors, andfoot-soldiers encountering foot-soldiers, and foot-soldiers meeting withhorsemen, and foot-soldiers meeting with cars and elephants, and carsmeeting with elephants and horsemen, and elephants of great speed meetingwith the three other kinds of forces, began, O king, to crush and grindone another. In consequence of those brave combatants striking oneanother and shouting at the top of their voices, the field of battlebecame awful, resembling the slaughter-ground of creatures (of Rudrahimself). The Earth, O Bharata, covered with blood, looked beautiful likea vast plain in the season of rains covered with the red coccinella.Indeed, the Earth assumed the aspect of a youthful maiden of greatbeauty, attired in white robes dyed with deep red. Variegated with fleshand blood, the field of battle looked as if decked all over with gold.Large numbers of heads severed from trunks and arms and thighs andearrings and other ornaments displaced from the bodies of warriors, OBharata, and collars and cuirasses and bodies of brave bowmen, and coatsof mail, and banners, lay scattered on the ground. Elephants comingagainst elephants tore one another with their tusks, O king. Struck withthe tusks of hostile compeers, elephants looked exceedingly beautiful.Bathed in blood, those huge creatures looked resplendent like movinghills decked with metals, down whose breasts ran streams of liquid chalk.Lances hurled by horsemen, or those held horizontally by hostilecombatants, were seized by many of those beasts, while many amongst themtwisted and broke those weapons. Many huge elephants, whose armour hadbeen cut off with shafts, looked, O king, like mountains divested ofclouds at the advent of winter. Many foremost of elephants pierced witharrows winged with gold, looked beautiful like mountains, O sire, whosesummits are lighted with blazing brands. Some of those creatures, huge ashills, struck by hostile compeers, fell down in that battle, like wingedmountains (when clipped of their wings). Others, afflicted with arrowsand much pained by their wounds, fell down touching the Earth, in thatdreadful battle, at their frontal globes or the parts between theirtusks. Others roared aloud like lions. And many, uttering terriblesounds, ran hither and thither, and many, O king, uttered cries of pain.Steeds also, in golden trappings, struck with arrows, fell down, orbecame weak, or ran in all directions. Others, struck with arrows andlances or dragged down, fell on the Earth and writhed in agony, makingdiverse kinds of motion. Men also, struck down, fell on the Earth,uttering diverse cries of pain, O sire; others, beholding their relativesand sires and grandsires, and others seeing retreating foes, shouted toone another their well-known names and the names of their races. The armsof many combatants, decked with ornaments of gold, cut off, O king, byfoes, writhed on the ground, making diverse kinds of motions. Thousandsof such arms fell down and sprang up, and many seemed to dart forwardlike five-headed snakes. Those arms, looking like the tapering bodies ofsnakes, and smeared with sandal paste, O king, looked beautiful, whendrenched with blood, like little standards of gold. When the battle,becoming general, raged so furiously on all sides, the warriors foughtwith and slew one another without distinct perceptions of those theyfought with or struck. A dusty cloud overspread the field of battle, andthe weapons used fell in thick showers. The scene being thus darkened,the combatants could no longer distinguish friends from foes. Indeed,that fierce and awful battle proceeded thus. And soon there began to flowmany mighty rivers of the bloody currents. And they abounded with theheads of combatants that formed their rocks. And the hair of the warriorsconstituted their floating weeds and moss. Bones formed the fishes withwhich they teemed, and bows and arrows and maces formed the rafts bywhich to cross them. Flesh and blood forming their mire, those terribleand awful rivers, with currents swelled by blood, were thus formed there,enhancing the fears of the timid and the joy of the brave. Those awfulrivers led to the abode of Yama. Many plunged into those streamsinspiring Kshatriyas with fear, and perished. And in consequence ofvarious carnivorous creatures, O tiger among men, roaring and yelling onall sides, the field of battle became terrible like the domains of theking of the dead. And innumerable headless trunks rose up on all sides.And terrible creatures, gorging on flesh and drinking fat, and blood, OBharata, began to dance around. And crows and vultures and cranes,gratified with fat and marrow and other animals relishing flesh, wereseen to move about in glee. They, however, O king, that were heroes,casting off all fear which is so difficult of being cast off, andobserving the vow of warriors, fearlessly did their duty. Indeed, on thatfield where countless arrows and darts coursed through the air, and whichwas crowded with carnivorous creatures of diverse kinds, brave warriorscareered fearlessly, displaying their prowess. Addressing one another, OBharata, they declared their names and families. And many amongst them,declaring the names of their sires and families, O lord, began to crushone another, O king, with darts and lances and battle-axes. During theprogress of that fierce and awful battle, the Kaurava army becamestrengthless and unable to bear up any longer like a foundered vessel onthe bosom of the ocean.'”

Chapter 51
Chapter 53
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