Chapter 60

Mahabharata English - KARNA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘Meanwhile Krishna, pointing out king Yudhishthira thejust, unto Kunti’s son Partha, addressed him in these words: “Yonder, Oson of Pandu, your brother (Yudhishthira) is being pursued by many mightyand great bowmen amongst the Dhartarashtras, all inspired with the desireof slaughtering him. The mighty Pancalas, difficult of defeat in battle,are proceeding after the high-souled Yudhishthira from desire of rescuinghim. Yonder, Duryodhana, O Partha, the king of the whole world, clad inmail and accompanied by a large car force, is pursuing the Pandava king.Impelled by the desire of slaughtering his rival, the mighty Duryodhana,O tiger among men, is pursuing him, accompanied by his brothers, thetouch of whose weapons is as fatal as that of poisonous snakes and whoare all conversant with every mode of warfare. Those Dhartarashtraelephants and horses and car-warriors and foot-soldiers are advancing toseize Yudhishthira like poor men after a precious gem. Behold, checked bySatyaki and Bhima, they have again been stupefied, like the Daityas, thatdesired to take away the Amrita, made motionless by Sakra and Agni. Themighty car-warriors (of the Kuru army), however, in consequence of thevastness of their numbers, are again proceeding towards Yudhishthira likea vast quantity of water in the season of rains rushing towards theocean. Those mighty bowmen are uttering leonine roars, blowing theirconchs, and shaking their bows. I regard Kunti’s son Yudhishthira, thusbrought under the influence of Duryodhana, to be already within the jawsof Death or already poured as a libation on the sacrificial fire. Thearmy of Dhritarashtra’s son, O Pandava, is arrayed and equipped duly.Sakra himself, coming within the range of its arrows, can scarcelyescape. Who will in battle bear the impetuosity of the heroic Duryodhanawho shoots showers of arrows with the greatest celerity and who, whenangry, resembles the Destroyer himself? The force of the heroicDuryodhana’s shafts, or Drona’s son’s or Kripa’s or Karna’s would breakdown the very mountains. That scorcher of foes, viz., king Yudhishthira,was once compelled by Karna to turn his back upon the field. The son ofRadha is endued with great might and great lightness of hand. Possessedof great skill, he is accomplished in battle. He is competent to afflictthe eldest son of Pandu in fight, specially when he is united with themighty and brave son of Dhritarashtra. Of rigid vows, when the son ofPritha (Yudhishthira) had been engaged in battle with all those warriors,other great car-warriors had struck him and contributed to his defeat.The king, O best of the Bharatas, is exceedingly emaciated in consequenceof his fasts. He is endued with Brahma-force, but the puissant one is notendued with much of Kshatriya-might. Assailed, however, by Karna, theroyal son of Pandu, Yudhishthira, that scorcher of foes, hath been placedin a situation of great peril. I think, O Partha, that king Yudhishthirahas fallen. Indeed, since that chastiser of foes, the wrathful Bhimasena,coolly heareth the leonine roars of the frequently shoutingDhartarashtra’s longing for victory and blowing their conchs, I think, Obull among men, that Pandu’s son Yudhishthira is dead. Yonder Karna urgesforward the mighty car-warriors of the Dhartarashtras towards the son ofPritha with the weapons called Sthunakarna, Indrasjaha and Pasupata, andwith clubs and other weapons. The king, O Bharata, must be deeplyafflicted and exceedingly weakened, because the Pancalas and thePandavas, those foremost of all wielders of weapons, are seen to proceedwith great speed towards him at a time when speed is of the highestmoment like strong men rushing to the rescue of a person sinking in abottomless sea. The king’s standard is no longer visible. It has probablybeen struck down by Karna with his shafts. In the very sight of thetwins, O Partha, and of Satyaki and Shikhandi, and Dhrishtadyumna andBhima and Satanika, O lord, as also of all the Pancalas and the Cedis, OBharata, yonder Karna is destroying the Pandava division with his arrows,like an elephant destroying an assemblage of lotuses. There, thosecar-warriors of thy army, O son of Pandu, are flying away. See, see, OPartha, how those great warriors are retreating. Those elephants, OBharata, assailed by Karna in battle, are flying away in all directions,uttering cries of pain. There those crowds of car-warriors, routed inbattle, O Partha, by Karna, that crusher of foes, are flying away in alldirections. Behold, O Partha, that foremost of standards, of the Suta’sson, on his car, bearing the device of the elephant’s rope, is seen tomove all over the field. There, the son of Radha is now rushing againstBhimasena, scattering hundreds of shafts as he proceeds and slaughteringthy army therewith. There, those mighty car-warriors of the Pancalas arebeing routed (by Karna) even as the Daityas had been routed by Sakra indreadful battle. There, Karna, having vanquished the Pancalas, thePandus, and the Srinjayas, is casting his eyes on all sides, I think, forseeking thee. Behold, O Partha, Karna, as he beautifully draws hisforemost of bows, looketh exceedingly beautiful even as Sakra in themidst of the celestials, after vanquishing his foes. There the Kauravas,beholding the prowess of Karna, are roaring and inspiring the Pandus andthe Srinjayas with fear on every side. There, Karna himself, terrifyingthe Pandus with his whole soul, in dreadful battle, is addressing all thetroops, O giver of honours, saying, ‘Blessed be ye, advance, ye Kauravasand rush with such speed that no Srinjaya may, in this battle escape withlife. United together, do this all of you. As regards ourselves, we willfollow behind you.’ Saying these words, he is advancing behind (histroops), scattering his shafts. Behold Karna, adorned with his whiteumbrella in this battle and looking like the Udaya hills adorned by themoon. With his beautiful umbrella of a hundred ribs, resembling the moonin full, held over his head, O Bharata, in this battle, Karna, O prince,is casting his glances after thee. Without doubt, he will, in thisbattle, come hither, with great speed. Behold him, O mighty-armed one, ashe shaketh his formidable bow and shooteth, in this dreadful battle, hisshafts resembling snakes of virulent poison. There, the son of Radhaturneth towards this direction, beholding thy banner bearing the ape, anddesiring, O Partha, an encounter with thee, O scorcher of foes. Indeed,he cometh for his own destruction, even like an insect into the mouth ofa lamp. Wrathful and brave, he is ever engaged in the good ofDhritarashtra’s son. Of wicked understanding, he is always unable to putup with thee. Beholding Karna alone and unsupported, Dhritarashtra’s son,O Bharata, turneth towards him with great resolution, accompanied by hiscar-force, for protecting him. Let that wicked-souled one, along with allthose allies of his, be slain by thee, putting forth thy vigour, fromdesire of winning fame, kingdom and happiness. Both of you are enduedwith great strength. Both of you are possessed of great celebrity. Whenencountering each other in battle, O Partha, like a celestial and aDanava in the great battle between the gods and the Asuras, let all theKauravas behold thy prowess. Beholding thee filled with great rage andKarna also excited to fury, O bull of Bharata’s race, Duryodhana in wrathwill not be able to do anything. Remembering thyself to be of purifiedsoul, O bull of Bharata’s race, and remembering also that the son ofRadha harboureth a great animosity for the virtuous Yudhishthira, achievethat, O son of Kunti, which should now be achieved. Righteously settingthy heart on battle, advance against that leader of car-warriors. There,five hundred foremost of car-warriors, O thou best of car-warriors, thatare endued with great might and fierce energy, and 5,000 elephants, andtwice as many horses, and innumerable foot-soldiers, all united together,O son of Kunti, and protecting one another, O hero, are advancing againstthee. Show thyself, of thy own will, unto that great bowman, viz., theSuta’s son. Advance, O bull of Bharata’s race, towards him with greatspeed. There, Karna, filled with great wrath is rushing against thePancalas. I see his standard approaching towards the car ofDhrishtadyumna. I think he will exterminate the Pancalas. I will tellthee, O bull of Bharata’s race, some good news, O Partha. KingYudhishthira the just is living. There, the mighty-armed Bhima, havingreturned, is stationed at the head of the army, supported by theSrinjayas and by Satyaki, O Bharata. There, the Kauravas are beingslaughtered with keen shafts by Bhimasena, O son of Kunti, and thehigh-souled Pancalas. The troops of Dhritarashtra’s son, with their facesturned from the field, and with blood streaming down from their wounds,are speedily flying away from battle, struck by Bhima with his shafts.Bathed in blood, the Bharata army, O chief of Bharata’s race, presents anexceedingly cheerless aspect like that of the Earth when divested ofcrops. Behold, O son of Kunti, Bhimasena, that foremost of combatants,filled with rage like a snake of virulent poison, and engaged in routingthe (Kaurava) host. Yellow and red and black and white banners, adornedwith stars and moons and suns as also many umbrellas, O Arjuna, liescattered about. Made of gold or silver or brass and other metals,standards are lying about, and elephants and steeds also, scattered allover the field. There, those car-warriors are falling from their cars,deprived of life by the unreturning Pancalas with shafts of diversekinds. There the Pancalas of great speed, O Dhananjaya, are rushingagainst the riderless Dhartarashtra elephants and steeds and cars.Reckless of their very lives, O chastiser of foes, those warriors,difficult of defeat in battle aided by the might of Bhimasena arecrushing, O tiger among men, the hostile force. There, the Pancalas areuttering loud roars and blowing their conchs as they are rushing againsttheir foes and crushing them with their shafts in battle. Behold theirgreat energy and power. Through sheer valour, the Pancalas areslaughtering the Dhartarashtras like angry lions slaying elephants.Unarmed they are snatching the weapons of their armed foes and with thoseweapons thus snatched, they are slaying their foes that are effectualsmiters, and uttering loud roars. The heads and arms of their foes arebeing struck off and felled on the field. The Pancala cars and elephantsand horses are all worthy of the highest praise. Like swans of greatspeed leaving the Manasa lake and rushing into the Ganga, the Pancalasare rushing against the Kauravas, and every part of the vastDhartarashtra force is assailed by them. Like bulls resisting bulls, theheroic Kripa and Karna and other leaders are putting forth all theirvalour for resisting the Pancalas. The Pancala heroes headed byDhrishtadyumna are slaying thousands of their foes, viz., the greatcar-warriors of the Dhartarashtra army already sinking in the ocean ofBhima’s weapons. Beholding the Pancalas overwhelmed by their foes, thefearless son of the Wind-god, assailing the hostile force, is shootinghis shafts and uttering loud roars. The greater portion of the vastDhartarashtra army has become exceedingly frightened. Behold thoseelephants, pierced by Bhima with his cloth-yard shafts, are falling downlike mountain summits riven by the thunderbolt of Indra. There, thosehuge elephants, deeply pierced with the straight shafts of Bhimasena areflying away, crushing their own ranks. Dost thou not recognise theunbearable leonine shouts, O Arjuna, of the terribly-roaring Bhimasenainspired with desire of victory in battle? There, the prince of theNishadas, filled with rage, is coming against the son of Pandu, on hisforemost of elephants, from desire of slaying him with his lances, evenlike Destroyer himself armed with his bludgeon. Struck by Bhima with tenkeen cloth-yard shafts endued with the splendour of the fire or the Sun,the two arms of the roaring prince, with lances in grasp, are lopped off.Staying the prince, Bhima proceedeth against other elephants looking likemasses of blue clouds and ridden by riders guiding them with skill.Behold those riders striking Vrikodara with darts and lances inprofusion. Slaying with his keen shafts those elephants, seven at a time,their triumphal standards also, O Partha, are cut down by thy elderbrother. As regards those other elephants, each of them is being slainwith ten shafts by him. The shouts of the Dhartarashtras are no longerheard, now that Bhima, O bull of Bharata’s race, who is equal toPurandara himself, is engaged in battle. Full three akshauhinis ofDuryodhana’s soldiers had been assembled together (in front of Bhima).They have all been checked by that lion among men, Bhimasena, in wrath.'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Behold that feat, difficult of accomplishment,achieved by Bhimasena. Arjuna, with his keen shafts, destroyed theremnant of his foes. The mighty samsaptakas, O lord, slaughtered inbattle and routed (by Arjuna), fled away in all directions, overcome withfear. Many amongst them (that fell) became the guests of Shakra andattained to great happiness. As regards Partha, that tiger among men, hecontinued, with his straight shafts, to slaughter the Dhartarashtra hostconsisting of four kinds of forces.'”

Chapter 1
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