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Chapter 12

Mahabharata English - SHALYA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘Seeing his driver fallen, Shalya, O king, quickly took uphis mace made wholly of iron and stood immovable as a bull. Bhima,however, armed with his mighty mace, rushed impetuously towards Shalyawho then looked like the blazing Yuga-fire, or the Destroyer armed withthe noose, or the Kailasa mountain with its formidable crest, or Vasavawith his thunder, or Mahadeva with his trident, or an infuriate elephantin the forest. At that time the blare of thousands of conchs and trumpetsand loud leonine roars arose there, enhancing the delight of heroes. Thecombatants of both armies, looking at those two foremost of warriors fromevery side, applauded them both, saying, “Excellent, Excellent! Save theruler of the Madras, or Rama, that delighter of the Yadus, there is noneelse that can venture to endure the impetuosity of Bhima in battle.Similarly, save Bhima, there is no other warrior that can venture toendure the force of the mace of the illustrious king of the Madras inbattle.” Those two combatants then, Vrikodara and the ruler of theMadras, roaring like bulls, careered in circles, frequently jumping up inthe air. In that encounter between those two lions among men, nodifference could be noticed between them either in respect of theircareering in circles or of their wielding the mace. The mace of Shalya,wrapped round with a resplendent cloth of gold that looked like a sheetof fire, inspired the spectators with dread. Similarly, the mace of thehigh-souled Bhima, as the latter careered in circles, looked likelightning in the midst of the clouds. Struck by the ruler of the Madraswith his mace, the mace of Bhima, O king, produced sparks of fire in thewelkin which thereupon seemed to be ablaze. Similarly, struck by Bhimawith his mace, the mace of Shalya produced a shower of blazing coalswhich seemed exceedingly wonderful. Like two gigantic elephants strikingeach other with their tusks, or two huge bulls striking each other withtheir horns, those two heroes began to strike each other with theirforemost of maces, like a couple of combatants striking each other withiron bound clubs. Their limbs being struck with each other’s mace, theysoon became bathed in blood and looked handsomer in consequence like twoflowering Kinsukas. Struck by the ruler of the Madras on both his leftand right, the mighty-armed Bhimasena stood immovable like a mountain.Similarly, though struck repeatedly with the force of Bhima’s mace,Shalya, O king, moved not, like a mountain assailed by an elephant withhis tusks. The noise made by the blows of the maces of those two lionsamong men was heard on all sides like successive peals of thunder. Havingceased for a moment, those two warriors of great energy once more began,with uplifted maces, to career in closer circles. Once more the clashtook place between those two warriors of superhuman feats, each havingadvanced towards the other by eight steps, and each assailing the otherwith his uplifted iron club. Then, wishing to get at each other, theyonce more careered in circles. Both accomplished (in the use of the mace)they began to display their superiority of skill. Uplifting theirterrible weapons, they then again struck each other like mountainsstriking each other with their crests at the time of an earthquake.Exceedingly crushed with each other’s mace in consequence of each other’sstrength, both those heroes fell down at the same time like a couple ofpoles set up for Indra’s worship. The brave combatants then of botharmies, at that sight, uttered cries of “Oh!” and “Alas!” Struck withgreat force in their vital limbs, both of them had become exceedinglyagitated. Then the mighty Kripa, taking up Shalya, that bull among theMadras, on his own car, quickly bore him away from the field of battle.Within, however, the twinkling of an eye, Bhimasena, rising up, and stillreeling as if drunk, challenged, with uplifted mace, the ruler of theMadras. Then the heroic warriors of thy army, armed with diverse weapons,fought with the Pandavas, causing diverse musical instruments to be blownand beat. With uplifted arms and weapons and making a loud noise, Omonarch, thy warriors headed by Duryodhana rushed against the Pandavas.Beholding the Kaurava host, the sons of Pandu, with leonine roars, rushedagainst those warriors headed by Duryodhana. Then thy son, O bull ofBharata’s race, singling out Chekitana amongst those rushing heroes,pierced him deeply with a lance in the chest. Thus assailed by thy son,Chekitana fell down on the terrace of his car, covered with blood, andovercome with a deep swoon. Beholding Chekitana slain, the greatcar-warriors among the Pandavas incessantly poured their arrowy showers(upon the Kauravas). Indeed, the Pandavas, inspired with desire ofvictory, O monarch, careered beautifully on all sides amongst thydivisions. Kripa, and Kritavarma, and the mighty son of Subala, placingthe ruler of the Madras before them, fought with king Yudhishthira thejust. Duryodhana, O monarch, fought with Dhrishtadyumna, the slayer ofBharadwaja’s son, that hero endued with abundant energy and prowess.3,000 cars, O king, despatched by thy son and headed by Drona’s son,battled with Vijaya (Arjuna). All those combatants, O king, had firmlyresolved to win victory and had cast off fear with life itself. Indeed, Oking, thy warriors penetrated into the midst of the Pandava army likeswans into a large lake. A fierce battle then took place between theKurus and the Pandavas, the combatants being actuated with the desire ofslaughtering one another and deriving great pleasure from giving andreceiving blows. During the progress, O king, of that battle which wasdestructive of great heroes, an earthly dust, terrible to behold, wasraised by the wind. From only the names we heard (of the Pandavawarriors) that were uttered in course of that battle and from those (ofthe Kuru warriors) that were uttered by the Pandavas, we knew thecombatants that fought with one another fearlessly. That dust, however, Otiger among men, was soon dispelled by the blood that was shed, and allthe points of the compass became once more clear when that dusty darknesswas driven away. Indeed, during the progress of that terrible and awfulbattle, no one among either thy warriors or those of the foe, turned hisback. Desirous of attaining to the regions of Brahman and longing forvictory by fair fight, the combatants displayed their prowess, inspiredwith the hope of heaven. For paying off the debt they owed to theirmasters on account of the sustenance granted by the latter, or firmlyresolved to accomplish the objects of their friends and allies, thewarriors, with hearts fixed on heaven, fought with one another on thatoccasion. Shooting and hurling weapons of diverse kinds, greatcar-warriors roared at or smote one another. “Slay, pierce, seize,strike, cut off!” These were the words that were heard in that battle,uttered by the warriors and those of the foe. Then Shalya, O monarch,desirous of slaying him, pierced king Yudhishthira the just, that mightycar-warrior with many sharp arrows. Conversant with what are the vitallimbs of the body, the son of Pritha, however, O monarch, with thegreatest ease, struck the ruler of the Madras with four and tencloth-yard shafts, aiming at the latter’s vital limbs. Resisting the sonof Pandu with his shafts, Shalya of great fame, filled with rage anddesirous of slaying his adversary, pierced him in that battle withinnumerable arrows equipped with Kanka feathers. Once more, O monarch, hestruck Yudhishthira with a straight shaft in the very sight of all thetroops. King Yudhishthira the just, possessed of great fame and filledwith rage, pierced the ruler of the Madras with many keen arrows equippedwith feathers of Kankas and peacocks. The mighty car-warrior then piercedCandrasena with seventy arrows and Shalya’s driver with nine, andDrumasena with four and sixty. When the two protectors of his car-wheelswere (thus) slain by the high-souled son of Pandu, Shalya, O king, slewfive and twenty warriors among the Cedis. And he pierced Satyaki withfive and twenty keen arrows, and Bhimasena with seven, and the two sonsof Madri with a hundred, in that battle. While Shalya was thus careeringin that battle, that best of kings, the son of Pritha, sped at him manyshafts that resembled snakes of virulent poison. With a broad-headedarrow, Yudhishthira the son of Kunti then cut off from his car thestandard top of his adversary as the latter stood in his front. We sawthe standard of Shalya, which was thus cut off by the son of Pandu inthat great battle, fall down like a riven mountain summit. Seeing hisstandard fallen and observing the son of Pandu standing before him, theruler of the Madras became filled with rage and shot showers of shafts.That bull amongst Kshatriyas, Shalya of immeasurable soul, poured overthe Kshatriyas in that battle dense showers of arrows like the deity ofthe clouds pouring torrents of rain. Piercing Satyaki and Bhimasena andthe twin sons of Madri by Pandu, each with five arrows, he afflictedYudhishthira greatly. We then, O monarch, beheld a net of arrows spreadbefore the chest of Pandu’s son like a mass of risen clouds. The mightycar-warrior Shalya, in that battle, filled with rage, shroudedYudhishthira with straight shafts. At this, king Yudhishthira afflictedwith those showers of shafts, felt himself deprived of his prowess, evenas the Asura Jambha had become before the slayer of Vritra.'”

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