Chapter 19

Mahabharata English - SHALYA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘Upon the fall of that great king and mighty car-warrior,that invincible hero (Shalya) in battle, thy troops as also thy sonsalmost all turned away from the fight. Indeed, upon the slaughter of thathero by the illustrious Yudhishthira, thy troops were like ship-wreckedmerchants on the vast deep without a raft to cross it. After the fall ofthe Madra king, O monarch, thy troops, struck with fear and mangled witharrows, were like masterless men desirous of a protector or a herd ofdeer afflicted by a lion. Like bulls deprived of their horns or elephantswhose tusks have been broken, thy troops, defeated by Ajatasatru, fledaway at midday. After the fall of Shalya, O king, none amongst thy troopsset his heart on either rallying the army or displaying his prowess. Thatfear, O king, and that grief, which had been ours upon the fall ofBhishma, of Drona, and of the Suta’s son, O Bharata, now became ours oncemore, O monarch. Despairing of success upon the fall of the mightycar-warrior Shalya, the Kuru army, with its heroes slain and exceedinglyconfused, began to be cut down with keen shafts. Upon the slaughter ofthe Madra king, O monarch, thy warriors all fled away in fear. Some onhorse-back, some on elephants, some on cars, great car-warriors withgreat speed, and foot-soldiers also fled away in fear. 2,000 elephants,looking like hills, and accomplished in smiting fled away, after Shalya’sfall, urged on with hooks and toes. Indeed, O chief of the Bharatas, thysoldiers fled on all sides. Afflicted with arrows, they were seen to run,breathing hard. Beholding them defeated and broken and flying away indejection, the Pancalas and the Pandavas, inspired with desire ofvictory, pursued then hotly. The whiz of arrows and other noises, theloud leonine roars, and the blare of conchs of heroic warriors, becametremendous. Beholding the Kaurava host agitated with fear and flyingaway, the Pancalas and the Pandavas addressed one another, saying, “Todayking Yudhishthira, firm in truth, hath vanquished his enemies. TodayDuryodhana hath been divested of his splendour and kingly prosperity.Today, hearing of his sons’ death, let Dhritarashtra, that king of men,stupefied and prostrate on the Earth, feel the most poignant anguish. Lethim know today that the son of Kunti is possessed of great might amongall bowmen. Today that sinful and wicked-hearted king will censure hisown self. Let him recollect today the time and beneficial words ofVidura. Let him from this day wait upon the Parthas as their slave. Letthat king today experience the grief that had been felt by the sons ofPandu. Let that king know today the greatness of Krishna. Let him heartoday the terrible twang of Arjuna’s bow in battle, as also the strengthof all his weapons, and the might of his arms in fight. Today he willknow the awful might of the high-souled Bhima when Duryodhana will beslain in battle even as the Asura Vali was slain by Indra. Save Bhima ofmighty strength, there is none else in this world that can achieve thatwhich was achieved by Bhima himself at the slaughter of Duhshasana.Hearing of the slaughter of the ruler of the Madras who was incapable ofdefeat by the very gods, that king will know the prowess of the eldestson of Pandu. After the slaughter of the heroic son of Subala and all theGandharas he will know the strength, in battle, of the two sons of Madriby Pandu. Why will not victory be theirs that have Dhananjaya for theirwarrior, as also Satyaki, and Bhimasena, and Dhrishtadyumna the son ofPrishata, and the five sons of Draupadi, and the two sons of Madri, andthe mighty bowman Shikhandi, and king Yudhishthira? Why will not victorybe theirs that have for their protector Krishna, otherwise calledJanardana, that protector of the universe? Why will not victory be theirsthat have righteousness for their refuge? Who else than Yudhishthira theson of Pritha, who hath Hrishikesa, the refuge of righteousness and fame,for his protector, is competent to vanquish in battle Bhishma and Dronaand Karna and the ruler of the Madras and the other kings by hundreds andthousands?” Saying these words and filled with joy, the Srinjayas pursuedthy troops in that battle who had been exceedingly mangled with shafts.Then Dhananjaya of great valour proceeded against the car-division of thefoe. The two sons of Madri and the mighty carwarrior Satyaki proceededagainst Shakuni. Beholding them all flying with speed in fear ofBhimasena, Duryodhana as if smiling the while, addressed his driver,saying, “Partha, stationed there with his bow, is transgressing me. Takemy steeds to the rear of the whole army. Like the ocean that cannottransgress its continents, Kunti’s son Dhananjaya will never venture totransgress me, if I take up my stand in the rear. Behold, O driver, thisvast host that is pursued by the Pandavas. Behold this cloud of dust thathas arisen on all sides in consequence of the motion of the troops. Hearthose diverse leonine roars that are so awful and loud! Therefore, Odriver, proceed slowly and take up thy position in the rear. If I stay inbattle and fight the Pandavas, my army, O driver, will rally and comeback with vigour to battle.” Hearing these words of thy son that werejust those of a hero and man of honour, the driver slowly urged thosesteeds in trappings of gold. 21,000 foot-soldiers, deprived of elephantsand steeds and car-warriors, and who were ready to lay down their lives,still stood for battle. Born in diverse countries and hailing fromdiverse towns, those warriors maintained their ground, desirous ofwinning great fame. The clash of those rushing warriors filled with joybecame loud and exceedingly terrible. Then Bhimasena, O king, andDhrishtadyumna the son of Prishata resisted them with four kinds offorces. Other foot-soldiers proceeded against Bhima, uttering loud shoutsand slapping their armpits, all actuated by the desire of going toheaven. Those Dhartarashtra combatants, filled with rage and invinciblein battle, having approached Bhimasena, uttered furious shouts. They thenspoke not to one another. Encompassing Bhima in that battle, they beganto strike him from all sides. Surrounded by that large body of warriorson foot and struck by them in that battle, Bhima did not stir from wherehe stood fixed like Mainaka mountain. His assailants, meanwhile, filledwith rage, O monarch, endeavoured to afflict that mighty car-warrior ofthe Pandavas and checked other combatants (that tried to rescue him).Encountered by those warriors, Bhima became filled with fury. Quicklyalighting from his car, he proceeded on foot against them. Taking up hismassive mace adorned with gold, he began to slay thy troops like theDestroyer himself armed with his club. The mighty Bhima, with his mace,crushed those 21,000 foot-soldiers who were without cars and steeds andelephants. Having slain that strong division, Bhima, of prowess incapableof being baffled, showed himself with Dhrishtadyumna in his front. TheDhartarashtra foot-soldiers, thus slain, lay down on the ground, bathedin blood, like Karnikaras with their flowery burthens laid low by atempest. Adorned with garlands made of diverse kinds of flowers, anddecked with diverse kinds of earrings, those combatants of diverse races,who had hailed from diverse realms, lay down on the field, deprived oflife. Covered with banners and standards, that large host offoot-soldiers, thus cut down, looked fierce and terrible and awful asthey lay down on the field. The mighty car-warriors, with theirfollowers, that fought under Yudhishthira’s lead, all pursued thyillustrious son Duryodhana. Those great bowmen, beholding thy troops turnaway from the battle, proceeded against Duryodhana, but they could nottransgress him even as the ocean cannot transgress its continents. Theprowess that we then beheld of thy son was exceedingly wonderful, sinceall the Parthas, united together, could not transgress his single self.Then Duryodhana, addressing his own army which had not fled far butwhich, mangled with arrows, had set its heart on flight, said thesewords, “I do not see the spot on plain or mountain, whither, if ye fly,the Pandavas will not pursue and slay ye! What is the use then of flight?The army of the Pandavas hath been reduced in numbers. The two Krishnasare exceedingly mangled. If all of us make a stand, victory will becertainly ours! If you fly away, losing all order, the sinful Pandavas,pursuing you will slay you all! If, on the other hand, we make a stand,good will result to us! Listen, all you Kshatriyas that are assailedhere! When the Destroyer always slays heroes and cowards, what man isthere so stupid that, calling himself a Kshatriya, will not fight? Goodwill result to us if we stay in the front of the angry Bhimasena! Deathin battle, while struggling according to Kshatriya practices, is fraughtwith happiness! Winning victory, one obtains happiness here. If slain,one obtains great fruits in the other world! You Kauravas, there is nobetter path to heaven than that offered by battle! Slain in battle, youmay, without delay, obtain all those regions of blessedness.” Hearingthese words of his, and applauding them highly, the (Kuru) kings oncemore rushed against the Pandavas for battling with them. Seeing themadvancing with speed, the Parthas, arrayed in order of battle, skilled insmiting, excited with rage, and inspired with desire of victory, rushedagainst them. The valiant Dhananjaya, stretching his bow Gandivacelebrated over the three worlds, proceeded on his car against the foe.The two sons of Madri, and Satyaki, rushed against Shakuni, and the other(Pandava) heroes, smiling, rushed impetuously against thy forces.'”

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