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Chapter 93

Mahabharata English - KARNA PARVA

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘What was the aspect of the Kuru and the Srinjayahost on that awful day while it was crushed with arrows and scorched(with weapons) in that encounter between Karna and Arjuna and while itwas flying away from the field?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Hear, O king, with attention how that awful and greatcarnage of human beings and elephants and steeds occurred in battle.When, after Karna’s fall Partha uttered leonine shouts, a great frightentered the hearts of thy sons. Upon the fall of Karna no warrior of thyarmy set his heart on rallying the troops or putting forth his prowess.Their refuge having been destroyed by Arjuna, they were then likeraftless merchants, whose vessels have wrecked on the fathomless ocean,desirous of crossing the uncrossable main. After the slaughter of theSuta’s son, O king, the Kauravas, terrified and mangled with shafts,masterless and desirous of protection, became like a herd of elephantsafflicted by lions. Vanquished by Savyasaci on that afternoon, they fledaway like bulls with broken horns or snakes with broken fangs. Theirforemost of heroes slain, their troops thrown into confusion, themselvesmangled with keen arrows, thy sons, after the fall of Karna, O king, fledaway in fear. Divested of weapons and armour, no longer able to ascertainwhich point of the compass was which, and deprived of their senses, theycrushed one another in course of their flight and looked at one another,afflicted with fear. “It is me that Vibhatsu is pursuing with speed!” “Itis me that Vrikodara is pursuing with speed!”–thought every one amongthe Kauravas who became pale with fear and fell down as they fled. Someon horses, some on cars, some on elephants, and some on foot, mightycar-warriors, endued with great speed, fled away in fear. Cars werebroken by elephants, horsemen were crushed by great car-warriors, andbands of foot-soldiers were trodden down by bodies of horsemen, as thesefled in fear. After the fall of the Suta’s son, thy warriors became likepeople without protectors in a forest teeming with beasts of prey androbbers. They were then like elephants without riders and men withoutarms. Afflicted with fear, they looked upon the world as if it were fullof Partha. Beholding them fly away afflicted with the fear of Bhimasena,indeed, and seeing his troops thus leave the field in thousands,Duryodhana, uttering cries of “Oh!” and “Alas!” addressed his driver,saying, “Partha will never be able to transgress me standing bow in hand.Urge my steeds slowly behind all the troops. Without doubt, if I fightstanding in the rear of the army, the son of Kunti will never be able totransgress me even as the vast deep is unable to transgress itscontinents. Slaying Arjuna and Govinda and the proud Vrikodara and therest of my foes, I will free myself from the debt I owe to Karna.”Hearing these words of the Kuru king that were so worthy of a hero andhonourable man, the charioteer slowly urged his steeds adorned withtrappings of gold. Then 25,000 warriors on foot, belonging to thy army,without cars and cavalry and elephants among them, prepared for battle.Bhimasena, filled with wrath, and Dhrishtadyumna the son of Prishata,encompassed them with four kinds of forces and began to strike them withtheir shafts. In return, those warriors fought with Bhima and Prishata’sson. Some amongst them challenged the two heroes by name. Then Bhimasenabecame filled with rage. Alighting from his car, mace in hand, he foughtwith those warriors arrived for battle. Observant of the rules of fairfight, Vrikodara, the son of Kunti, came down from his car, and relyingupon the might of his arms, began to fight on foot with those foes of histhat were on foot. Taking up his massive mace adorned with gold, he beganto slaughter them all, like the Destroyer armed with his bludgeon. TheKaurava warriors on foot, filled with rage and becoming reckless of theirlives, rushed against Bhima in that battle like insects upon a blazingfire. Those infuriated combatants, difficult of being defeated in battle,approaching Bhimasena, perished in a trice like living creatures uponseeing the Destroyer. The mighty Bhima, armed with a mace, careered likea hawk and destroyed all those 25,000 combatants. Having slain thatdivision of heroic warriors, Bhima, of prowess incapable of being baffledand of great might, once more stood, with Dhrishtadyumna before him.Possessed of great energy, Dhananjaya proceeded against the (remnant ofthe) car-force (of the Kauravas). The two sons of Madri, and Satyaki,filled with joy, rushed with speed against Shakuni and slaughtered thetroops of Subala’s son. Having slain with keen shafts his cavalry andelephants in that encounter, they rushed impetuously against Shakunihimself, upon which a great battle took place. Meanwhile Dhananjaya, Olord, proceeding against thy car-force, twanged his bow Gandivacelebrated over the three worlds. Beholding that car having white steedsyoked unto it and owning Krishna for its driver, and seeing that Arjunawas the warrior standing on it, thy troops fled away in fear. 25,000soldiers on foot, deprived of cars and mangled with shafts, had perished(at the hands of Bhima and Dhrishtadyumna). Having slain them, that tigeramong men, that great car-warrior among the Pancalas, viz., thehigh-souled Dhrishtadyumna the son of the Pancala king, soon showedhimself, with Bhimasena before him. That slayer of foes and mighty bowmanappeared exceedingly handsome. Beholding Dhrishtadyumna’s car which hadsteeds white as pigeons yoked unto it and whose lofty standard was madeof the trunk of a Kovidara, the Kauravas fled away in great fear. Thetwins (Nakula and Sahadeva) of great fame, and Satyaki, having pursuedwith great speed the king of the Gandharvas who was possessed oflightness of hands in the use of weapons, re-appeared (amid the Pandavaranks). Chekitana and Shikhandi and the (five) sons of Draupadi, O sire,having slaughtered thy vast army, blew their conchs. All those heroes,although they saw thy troops flying away with faces turned from thefield, still pursued them, like bulls pursuing angry bulls aftervanquishing them. Pandu’s son Savyasaci of great might, O king, beholdinga remnant of thy army still standing for battle, became filled withwrath. Possessed of great energy, Dhananjaya, rushed against thatcar-force, drawing his bow Gandiva celebrated over the three worlds.Suddenly he shrouded them with showers of arrows. The dust that wasraised darkened the scene and nothing could any longer be distinguished.When the earth was thus shrouded with dust and when darkness coveredeverything, thy troops, O king, fled on all sides from fear. When theKuru army was thus broken, the Kuru king, O monarch, viz., thy son,rushed against all his foes advancing against him. Then Duryodhanachallenged all the Pandavas to battle, O chief of Bharata’s race, likethe Asura Vali in days of yore challenging the gods. At this, all thePandava heroes, uniting together, rushed against the advancingDuryodhana, shooting and hurling at him diverse weapons and upbraidinghim repeatedly. Duryodhana, however, filled with rage, fearlesslyslaughtered those enemies of his in hundreds and thousands, with keenshafts. The prowess that we then beheld of thy son was exceedinglywonderful, for alone and unsupported, he fought with all the Pandavasunited together. Duryodhana then beheld his own troops who, mangled witharrows, had set their hearts on flight, gone not far from the field.Rallying them then, O monarch, thy son who was resolved to maintain hishonour, gladdening those warriors of his, said these words unto them: “Ido not see that spot in the earth or on the mountains, whither if ye fly,the Pandavas will not slay you! What use then in flying away? Small isthe force that the Pandavas now have. The two Krishnas also areexceedingly mangled. If all of us stay for battle, victory will certainlybe ours. If we fly in disunion, the sinful Pandavas, pursuing us, willcertainly slay all of us. For this, it is better that we should die inbattle. Death in battle is fraught with happiness. Fight, observant ofthe Kshatriya’s duty. He that is dead knows no misery. On the other hand,such a one enjoys eternal bliss hereafter. Listen, ye Kshatriyas, ay, allof you, that are assembled here! When the destroyer Yama spareth neitherthe hero nor the coward, who is there so foolish of understanding,although observant of a Kshatriya’s vow like us, that would not fight.Would ye place yourselves under the power of the angry foe Bhimasena? Itbehoveth you not to abandon the duty observed by your sires andgrandsires. There is no greater sin for a Kshatriya than flight frombattle. There is no more blessed path for heaven, ye Kauravas, than theduty of battle. Slain in battle, ye warriors, enjoy heaven withoutdelay.'”

“Sanjaya continued, ‘While even these words were being uttered by thyson, the (Kaurava) warriors, exceedingly mangled, fled away on all sides,regardless of that speech.'”

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