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Chapter 18

Mahabharata English - SHALYA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘After the slaughter of Shalya, O king, the followers ofthe Madra king, numbering seventeen hundred heroic car-warriors,proceeded for battle with great energy. Duryodhana riding upon anelephant gigantic as a hill, with an umbrella held over his head, andfanned the while with yak-tails, forbade the Madraka warriors, saying,”Do not proceed, Do not proceed!” Though repeatedly forbidden byDuryodhana, those heroes, desirous of slaying Yudhishthira, penetratedinto the Pandava host. Those brave combatants, O monarch, loyal toDuryodhana, twanging their bows loudly, fought with the Pandavas.Meanwhile, hearing that Shalya had been slain and that Yudhishthira wasafflicted by the mighty car-warriors of the Madrakas devoted to thewelfare of the Madraka king, the great car-warrior Partha came there,stretching his bow Gandiva, and filling the Earth with the rattle of hiscar. Then Arjuna, and Bhima, and the two sons of Madri by Pandu, and thattiger among men, Satyaki, and the (five) sons of Draupadi, andDhrishtadyumna, and Shikhandi, and the Pancalas and the Somakas, desirousof rescuing Yudhishthira, surrounded him on all sides. Having taken theirplaces around the king, the Pandavas, those bulls among men, began toagitate the hostile force like Makaras agitating the ocean. Indeed, theycaused thy army to tremble like a mighty tempest shaking the trees. Likethe great river Ganges agitated by a hostile wind, the Pandava host, Oking, once more became exceedingly agitated. Causing that mighty host totremble, the illustrious and mighty car-warriors (the Madrakas), allshouted loudly, saying, “Where is that king Yudhishthira? Why are not hisbrave brothers, the Pandavas, to be seen here? What has become of thePancalas of great energy as also of the mighty car-warrior Shikhandi?Where are Dhrishtadyumna and the grandson of Sini and those greatcar-warriors, the (five) sons of Draupadi?” At this, those mightywarriors, the sons of Draupadi, began to slaughter the followers of theMadra king who were uttering those words and battling vigorously. In thatbattle, some amongst thy troops were seen slain by means of their loftystandards. Beholding, however, the heroic Pandavas, the brave warriors ofthy army, O Bharata, though forbidden by thy son, still rushed againstthem. Duryodhana, speaking softly, sought to prevent those warriors fromfighting with the foe. No great car-warrior, however, amongst them obeyedhis behest. Then Shakuni, the son of the Gandhara king, possessed ofeloquence, O monarch, said unto Duryodhana these words, “How is this thatwe are standing here, while the Madraka host is being slaughtered beforeour eyes? When thou, O Bharata, art here, this does not look well! Theunderstanding made was that all of us should fight unitedly! Why then, Oking, dost thou tolerate our foes when they are thus slaying our troops?”

“‘Duryodhana said, “Though forbidden by me before, they did not obey mybehest. Unitedly have these men penetrated in the Pandava host!”

“‘Shakuni said, “Brave warriors, when excited with rage in battle, do notobey the command of their leaders. It does not behove thee to be angrywith those men. This is not the time to stand indifferently. We shall,therefore, all of us, united together with our cars and horses andelephants, proceed, for rescuing those great bowmen, the followers of theMadra king! With great care, O king, we shall protect one another.”Thinking after the manner of Shakuni, all the Kauravas then proceeded tothat place where the Madras were. Duryodhana also, thus addressed (by hismaternal uncle) proceeded, encompassed by a large force, against the foe,uttering leonine shouts and causing the Earth to resound with that noise.”Slay, pierce, seize, strike, cut off!” These were the loud sounds thatwere heard then, O Bharata, among those troops. Meanwhile the Pandavas,beholding in that battle the followers of the Madra king assailing themunitedly, proceeded against them, arraying themselves in the form calledMadhyama. Fighting hand to hand, O monarch, for a short while thoseheroic warriors, the followers of the Madra king, were seen to perish.Then, whilst we were proceeding, the Pandavas, united together and enduedwith great activity, completed the slaughter of the Madrakas, and, filledwith delight, uttered joyous shouts. Then headless forms were seen toarise all around. Large meteors seemed to fall down from the sun’s disc.The Earth became covered with cars and broken yokes and axles and slaincar-warriors and lifeless steeds. Steeds fleet as the wind, stillattached to yokes of cars (but without drivers to guide them) were seento drag car-warriors, O monarch, hither and thither on the field ofbattle. Some horses were seen to drag cars with broken wheels, while someran on all sides, bearing after them portions of broken cars. Here andthere also were seen steeds that were hampered in their motions by theirtraces. Car-warriors, while falling down from their cars, were seen todrop down like denizens of heaven on the exhaustion of their merits. Whenthe brave followers of the Madra king were slain, the mighty car-warriorsof the Parthas, those great smiters, beholding a body of horse advancingtowards them, rushed towards it with speed from desire of victory.Causing their arrows to whiz loudly and making diverse other kinds ofnoise mingled with the blare of their conchs, those effectual smiterspossessed of sureness of aim, shaking their bows, uttered leonine roars.Beholding then that large force of the Madra king exterminated and seeingalso their heroic king slain in battle, the entire army of Duryodhanaonce more turned away from the field. Struck, O monarch, by those firmbowmen, the Pandavas, the Kuru army fled away on all sides, inspired withfear.’

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