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Chapter 11

Mahabharata English - SHALYA PARVA

Sanjaya said, “When the troops, slaughtered by one another, were thusagitated, when many of the warriors fled away and the elephants began toutter loud cries, when the foot-soldiers in that dreadful battle began toshout and wail aloud, when the steeds, O king, ran in diverse directions,when the carnage became awful, when a terrible destruction set in of allembodied creatures, when weapons of various kinds fell or clashed withone another, when cars and elephants began to be mangled together, whenheroes felt great delight and cowards felt their fears enhanced, whencombatants encountered one another from desire of slaughter, on thatawful occasion of the destruction of life, during the progress of thatdreadful sport, that is, of that awful battle that enhanced thepopulation of Yama’s kingdom, the Pandavas slaughtered thy troops withkeen shafts, and, after the same manner, thy troops slew those of thePandavas.

During that battle inspiring the timid with terror, indeed, during theprogress of the battle as it was fought on that morning about the hour ofsunrise, the Pandava heroes of good aim, protected by the high-souledYudhishthira, fought with thy forces, making death itself their goal. TheKuru army, O thou of the race of Kuru, encountering the proud Pandavasendued with great strength, skilled in smiting, and possessed of surenessof aim, became weakened and agitated like a herd of she-deer frightenedat a forest conflagration.

Beholding that army weakened and helpless like a cow sunk in mire,Shalya, desirous of rescuing it, proceeded against the Pandava army.Filled with rage, the ruler of the Madras, taking up an excellent bow,rushed for battle against the Pandava foes. The Pandavas also, O monarch,in that encounter, inspired with desire of victory, proceeded against theruler of the Madras and pierced him with keen shafts. Then the ruler ofthe Madras, possessed of great strength, afflicted that host with showersof keen arrows in the very sight of king Yudhishthira the just.

At that time diverse portents appeared to the view. The Earth herself,with her mountains, trembled, making a loud noise. Meteors, with keenpoints bright as those of lances equipped with handles, piercing the air,fell upon the Earth from the firmament. Deer and buffaloes and birds, Omonarch, in large numbers, placed thy army to their right, O king. Theplanets Venus and Mars, in conjunction with Mercury, appeared at the rearof the Pandavas and to the front of all the (Kaurava) lords of Earth.Blazing flames seemed to issue from the points of weapons, dazzling theeyes (of the warriors). Crows and owls in large numbers perched upon theheads of the combatants and on the tops of their standards. Then a fiercebattle took place between the Kaurava and the Pandava combatants,assembled together in large bodies. Then, O king, the Kauravas, musteringall their divisions, rushed against the Pandava army. Of soul incapableof being depressed, Shalya then poured dense showers of arrows onYudhishthira, the son of Kunti like the thousand-eyed Indra pouring rainin torrents. Possessed of great strength, he pierced Bhimasena, and thefive sons of Draupadi and Dhristadyumna, the two sons of Madri by Pandu,and the grandson of Sini, and Shikhandi also, each with ten arrowsequipped with wings of gold and whetted on stone. Indeed, he began topour his arrows like Maghavat (Indra) pouring rain at the close of thesummer season. Then the Prabhadrakas, O king, and the Somakas, were seenfelled or falling by thousands, in consequence of Shalya’s arrows.Multitudinous as swarms of bees or flights of locusts, the shafts ofShalya were seen to fall like thunderbolts from the clouds. Elephants andsteeds and foot-soldiers and car-warriors, afflicted with Shalya’sarrows, fell down or wandered or uttered loud wails. Infuriate with rageand prowess, the ruler of the Madras shrouded his foes in that battlelike Destroyer at the end of the Yuga. The mighty ruler of the Madrasbegan to roar aloud like the clouds. The Pandava army, thus slaughteredby Shalya, ran towards Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti (for protection).Possessed of great lightness of hand, Shalya, having in that battlecrushed them with whetted arrows, began to afflict Yudhishthira with adense shower of shafts. Beholding Shalya impetuously rushing towards himwith horsemen and foot-soldiers, king Yudhishthira, filled with wrath,checked him with keen shafts, even as an infuriate elephant is checkedwith iron-hooks. Then Shalya sped a terrible arrow at Yudhishthira thatresembled a snake of virulent poison. Piercing through the high-souledson of Kunti, that arrow quickly fell down upon the Earth. ThenVrikodara, filled with wrath, pierced Shalya with seven arrows, andSahadeva pierced him with five, and Nakula with ten. The (five) sons ofDraupadi poured upon that foe-slaying hero, the impetuous Artayani(Shalya), showers of arrows like a mass of clouds pouring rain upon amountain. Beholding Shalya struck by the Parthas on every side, bothKritavarma and Kripa rushed in wrath towards that spot. Uluka also ofmighty energy, and Shakuni the son of Subala, and the mighty car-warriorAshvatthama with smiles on his lips, and all thy sons protected Shalya byevery means in that battle. Piercing Bhimasena with three arrows,Kritavarma, shooting a dense shower of shafts, checked that warrior whothen seemed to be the embodiment of wrath. Excited with rage, Kripastruck Dhrishtadyumna with many arrows. Shakuni proceeded against thesons of Draupadi, and Ashvatthama against the twins. That foremost ofwarriors, Duryodhana, possessed of fierce energy, proceeded, in thatbattle, against Keshava and Arjuna, and endued with might, he struck themboth with many arrows. Thus hundreds of combats, O monarch, that werefierce and beautiful, took place between thy men and the enemy, ondiverse parts of the field. The chief of the Bhojas then slew the brownsteeds of Bhimasena’s car in that encounter. The steedless son of Pandu,alighting from his car, began to fight with his mace, like the Destroyerhimself with his uplifted bludgeon. The ruler of the Madras then slew thesteeds of Sahadeva before his eyes. Then Sahadeva slew Shalya’s son withhis sword. The preceptor Gautama (Kripa) once more fearlessly fought withDhrishtadyumna, both exerting themselves with great care. The preceptor’sson Ashvatthama, without much wrath and as if smiling in that battle,pierced each of the five heroic sons of Draupadi with ten arrows. Oncemore the steeds of Bhimasena were slain in that battle. The steedless sonof Pandu, quickly alighting from his car, took up his mace like theDestroyer taking his bludgeon. Excited with wrath, that mighty herocrushed the steeds and the car of Kritavarma. Jumping down from hisvehicle, Kritavarma then fled away. Shalya also, excited with rage, Oking, slaughtered many Somakas and Pandavas, and once more afflictedYudhishthira with many keen shafts. Then the valiant Bhima, biting hisnether lip, and infuriate with rage, took up his mace in that battle, andaimed it at Shalya for the latter’s destruction. Resembling the verybludgeon of Yama, impending (upon the head of the foe) like kala-ratri(Death Night), exceedingly destructive of the lives of elephants andsteeds and human beings, twined round with cloth of gold, looking like ablazing meteor, equipped with a sling, fierce as a she-snake, hard asthunder, and made wholly of iron, smeared with sandal-paste and otherunguents like a desirable lady, smutted with marrow and fat and blood,resembling the very tongue of Yama, producing shrill sounds inconsequence of the bells attached to it, like unto the thunder of Indra,resembling in shape a snake of virulent poison just freed from itsslough, drenched with the juicy secretions of elephants, inspiringhostile troops with terror and friendly troops with joy, celebrated inthe world of men, and capable of riving mountain summits, that mace, withwhich the mighty son of Kunti had in Kailasa challenged the enraged Lordof Alaka, the friend of Maheshvara, that weapon with which Bhima, thoughresisted by many, had in wrath slain a large number of proud Guhyakasendued with powers of illusion on the breasts of Gandhamadana for thesake of procuring Mandara flowers for doing what was agreeable toDraupadi, uplifting that mace which was rich with diamonds and jewels andgems and possessed of eight sides and celebrated as Indra’s thunder, themighty-armed son of Pandu now rushed against Shalya. With that mace ofawful sound, Bhima, skilled in battle, crushed the four steeds of Shalyathat were possessed of great fleetness. Then the heroic Shalya, excitedwith wrath in that battle, hurled a lance at the broad chest of Bhima anduttered a loud shout. That lance, piercing through the armour of Pandu’sson, presented into his body. Vrikodara, however, fearlessly plucking outthe weapon, pierced therewith the driver of Shalya in the chest. Hisvitals pierced, the driver, vomiting blood, fell down with agitatedheart. At this, the ruler of the Madras came down from his car andcheerlessly gazed at Bhima. Beholding his own feat thus counteracted,Shalya became filled with wonder. Of tranquil soul, the ruler of theMadras took up his mace and began to cast his glances upon his foe.Beholding that terrible feat of his in battle, the Parthas, with cheerfulhearts, worshipped Bhima who was incapable of being tired with exertion.'”

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