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Chapter 55

Mahabharata English - KARNA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘Meanwhile the son of Drona (Ashvatthama), beholdingYudhishthira protected by the grandson of Sini (Satyaki) and by theheroic sons of Draupadi, cheerfully advanced against the king, scatteringmany fierce arrows equipped with wings of gold and whetted on stone, anddisplaying diverse manoeuvres of his car and the great skill he hadacquired and his exceeding lightness of hands. He filled the entirewelkin with shafts inspired with the force of celestial weapons.Conversant with all weapons, Drona’s son encompassed Yudhishthira in thatbattle. The welkin being covered with the shafts of Drona’s son, nothingcould be seen. The vast space in front of Ashvatthama became one expanseof arrows. The welkin then, thus covered with that dense shower of arrowsdecked with gold, looked beautiful, O chief of the Bharatas, as if acanopy embroidered with gold had been spread there. Indeed, thefirmament, O king, having been covered with that bright shower of arrows,a shadow, as that of the clouds, appeared there on the occasion.Wonderful was the sight that we then beheld when the sky had thus becomeone expanse of arrows, for not one creature ranging the sky could coursethrough his element. Then Satyaki, though struggling resolutely, andPandu’s son king Yudhishthira the just, as also all the other warriors,could not display their prowess. Beholding the great lightness of handsdisplayed by the son of Drona, the mighty car-warriors (of the Pandavaarmy) were filled with wonder. All the kings became incapable of evenlooking at Ashvatthama, O monarch, who then resembled the scorching Sunhimself in the sky. While the Pandava troops were thus being slaughtered,those mighty car-warriors, viz., the sons of Draupadi, and Satyaki, andking Yudhishthira the just, and the Pancala warriors, all unitingtogether, cast off their fears of death and rushed against the son ofDrona. Then Satyaki, piercing the son of Drona with seventy arrows, oncemore pierced him with seven long shafts decked with gold. AndYudhishthira pierced him with three and seventy arrows, and Prativindyawith seven, and Srutakarman pierced him with three arrows and Srutakirtiwith five. And Sutasoma pierced him with nine arrows, and Satanika withseven. And many other heroes pierced him with many arrows from everyside. Filled then with rage and breathing, O king, like a snake ofvirulent poison, Drona’s son pierced Satyaki in return with five andtwenty arrows whetted on stone. And he pierced Srutakirti with ninearrows and Sutasoma with five, and with eight arrows he piercedSrutakarman, and Prativindya with three. And he pierced Satanika withnine arrows, and Dharma’s son (Yudhishthira) with five. And each of theother warriors he pierced with a couple of shafts. With some keen arrowshe then cut off the bow of Srutakirti. The latter then, that greatcar-warrior, taking up another bow, pierced Drona’s son, first with threearrows and then with many others equipped with sharp points. Then, Omonarch, the son of Drona covered the Pandava troops, O sire, with thickshowers of arrows, O bull of Bharata’s race. Of immeasurable soul, theson of Drona, next smiling the while, cut off the bow of kingYudhishthira the just, and then pierced him with three arrows. The son ofDharma then, O king, taking up another formidable bow, pierced Drona’sson with seventy arrows in the arms and the chest. Then Satyaki, filledwith rage in that battle, cut off the bow of Drona’s son, that greatsmiter, with a sharp crescent-shaped arrow and uttered a loud roar. Hisbow cut off, that foremost of mighty men viz., the son of Drona, quicklyfelled Satyaki’s driver from his car with a dart. The valiant son ofDrona then, taking up another bow, covered the grandson of Sini, OBharata, with a shower of arrows. His driver having been slain, Satyaki’ssteeds were seen to run hither and thither, O Bharata, in that battle.Then the Pandava warriors headed by Yudhishthira, shooting sharp shafts,all rushed with impetuosity towards Drona’s son, that foremost of allwielders of weapons. That scorcher of foes, however, viz., the son ofDrona, beholding those warriors wrathfully advancing against him receivedthem all in that dreadful battle. Then like a fire in the forestconsuming heaps of dry grass and straw, that mighty car-warrior, viz.,Drona’s son, having showers of arrows for his flames, consumed thePandava troops in that battle, who resembled a heap of dry grass andstraw. That army of Pandu’s son, thus scorched by the son of Drona,became exceedingly agitated, O chief of the Bharatas, like the mouth of ariver by a whale. People then, O monarch, beholding the prowess ofDrona’s son, regarded all the Pandavas as already slain by him. ThenYudhishthira, that great car-warrior and disciple of Drona, filled withrage and the desire to retaliate, addressed Drona’s son, saying “O tigeramong men, thou hast no affection, thou hast no gratitude, since thoudesirest to slay me today. The duties of a Brahmana are asceticism andgift and study. The bow should be bent by the Kshatriya only. It seems,therefore, that thou art a Brahmana in name only. In thy very sight,however. O thou of mighty arms, I will vanquish the Kauravas in battle.Do what thou canst in battle. I tell thee that thou art a wretch amongstBrahmanas.” Thus addressed, the son of Drona. smiling, and reflectingupon what was proper and true, gave no reply. Without saying anything, hecovered the son of Pandu in that battle with a shower of arrows like thedestroyer himself in wrath while engaged in annihilating creatures. Thuscovered by Drona’s son. O sire, the son of Pritha quickly went away fromthat spot, leaving that large division of his. After Yudhishthira, theson of Dharma, had gone away, the high-souled son of Drona also, O king,left that spot. Then Yudhishthira, O king, avoiding the son of Drona inthat great battle proceeded against thy army, resolved to achieve thecruel task of slaughter.'”

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