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Chapter 53

Mahabharata English - KARNA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘During the progress of that battle in which so manyKshatriyas sank down, the loud twang of Gandiva, O sire, was heard abovethe din on that spot, O king, where the son of Pandu was engaged inslaughtering the samsaptakas, the Kosalas, and the Narayana forces.Filled with rage and longing for victory, the samsaptakas, in thatbattle, began to pour showers of arrows on Arjuna’s head. The puissantPartha, however, quickly checking those arrowy showers, O king, plungedinto that battle, and began to slay many foremost of car-warriors.Plunging into the midst of that division of cars with the aid of hiswhetted shafts equipped with Kanka feathers, Partha came upon Susharma ofexcellent weapons. That foremost of car-warriors poured on Arjuna thickshowers of arrows. Meanwhile the samsaptakas also covered Partha withtheir shafts. Then Susharma, piercing Partha with ten shafts, struckJanardana with three in the right arm. With a broad-headed arrow then, Osire, he pierced the standard of Arjuna. Thereupon that foremost of apes,of huge dimensions, the handiwork of the celestial artificer himself,began to utter loud sounds and roared very fiercely, affrighting thytroops. Hearing the roars of the ape, thy army became inspired with fear.Indeed, under the influence of a great fear, that army became perfectlyinactive. That army then, as it stood inactive, O king, looked beautifullike the Citraratha forest with its flowery burthen of diverse kinds.Then those warriors, recovering their senses, O chief of the Kurus, beganto drench Arjuna with their arrowy downpours like the clouds drenchingthe mountains. Then all of them encompassed the great car of the Pandava.Assailing him, they uttered loud roars although all the while they werebeing struck and slaughtered with sharp shafts. Assailing his steeds, hiscar-wheels, his car-shaft, and every other limb of his vehicle, withgreat force, O sire, they uttered many leonine roars. Some among themseized the massive arms of Keshava, and some among them, O king, seizedPartha himself with great joy as he stood on his car. Then Keshava,shaking his arms on the field of battle, threw down all those that hadseized them, like a wicked elephant shaking down all the riders from hisback. Then Partha, encompassed by those great car-warriors, and beholdinghis car assailed and Keshava attacked in that manner became filled withrage, and overthrew a large number of car-warriors and foot-soldiers. Andhe covered all the combatants that were close to him with many arrows,that were fit for close encounters. Addressing Keshava then, he said,”Behold, O Krishna, O thou of mighty arms, these countless samsaptakasengaged in accomplishing a fearful task although slaughtered inthousands. O bull amongst the Yadus, there is none on Earth, save myself,that would be able to bear such a close attack on his car.” Having saidthese words, Vibhatsu blew his conch. Then Krishna also blew his conchfilling the welkin with its blare. Hearing that blare the army of thesamsaptakas began to waver, O king, and became inspired with greatfright. Then that slayer of hostile heroes, viz., the son of Pandu,paralysed the legs of the samsaptakas by repeatedly invoking, O monarch,the weapon called Naga. Thus tied with those foot-tying bands by thehigh-souled son of Pandu, all of them stood motionless, O king, as ifthey had been petrified. The son of Pandu then began to slay thosemotionless warriors like Indra in days of yore slaying the Daityas in thebattle with Taraka. Thus slaughtered in that battle, they set the carfree, and commenced to throw down all their weapons. Their legs beingparalysed, they could not, O king, move a step. Then Partha slew themwith his straight arrows. Indeed, all these warriors in that battle,aiming at whom Partha had invoked that foot-tying weapon, had their lowerlimbs encircled with snakes. Then the mighty car-warrior Susharma, Omonarch, beholding his army thus paralysed, quickly invoked the weaponcalled Sauparna. Thereupon numerous birds began to come down and devourthose snakes. The latter again, at the sight of rangers of the sky,began, O king, to fly away. Freed from that foot-tying weapon, theSamsaptaka force, O monarch, looked like the Sun himself giving lightunto all creatures, when freed from clouds. Thus liberated, thosewarriors once more shot their arrows, O sire, and hurled their weapons atArjuna’s car. And all of them pierced Partha with numerous weapons.Cutting off with his own arrowy downpour that shower of mighty weaponsVasava’s son, that slayer of hostile heroes, began to slaughter thosewarriors. Then Susharma, O king, with a straight arrow, pierced Arjuna inthe chest, and then he pierced him with three other shafts. Deeplypierced therewith, and feeling great pain, Arjuna sat down on the terraceof his car. Then all the troops loudly cried out, saying, “Partha isslain.” At this the blare of conchs, and the peal of drums, and the soundof diverse musical instruments, and loud leonine shouts, arose there.Recovering his senses, Partha of immeasurable soul, owning white steedsand having Krishna for his driver, speedily invoked the Aindra weapon.Then thousands of arrows, O sire, issuing from that weapon, were seen onall sides to slay kings and elephants. And steeds and warriors, inhundreds and thousands, were also seen to be slaughtered in that battle,with these weapons. Then while the troops were thus being slaughtered, agreat fear entered the hearts of all the samsaptakas and Gopalas, OBharata. There was no man amongst them that could fight with Arjuna.There in the very sight of all the heroes, Arjuna began to destroy thytroops. Beholding that slaughter, all of them remained perfectlyinactive, without putting forth their prowess. Then the son of Panduhaving slain full 10,000 combatants in that battle, looked resplendent, Omonarch, like a blazing fire without smoke. And then he slew full 14,000warriors, and 3,000 warriors, and 3,000 elephants. Then the samsaptakasonce more encompassed Dhananjaya, making death or victory their goal. Thebattle then that took place there between thy warriors and that mightyhero, viz., the diadem-decked son of Pandu became awful.'”

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