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Chapter 21

Mahabharata English - SHALYA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘After the heroic Salwa, that ornament of assemblies, hadbeen slain, thy army speedily broke like a mighty tree broken by theforce of the tempest. Beholding the army broken, the mighty car-warriorKritavarma, possessed by heroism and great strength, resisted the hostileforce in that battle. Seeing the Satwata hero, O king, standing in battlelike a hill pierced with arrows (by the foes), the Kuru heroes, who hadfled away, rallied and came back. Then, O monarch, a battle took placebetween the Pandavas and the returned Kurus who made death itself theirgoal. Wonderful was that fierce encounter which occurred between theSatwata hero and his foes, since he resisted the invincible army of thePandavas. When friends were seen to accomplish the most difficult feats,friends, filled with delight, uttered leonine shouts that seemed to reachthe very heavens. At those sounds the Pancalas, O bull of Bharata’s race,became inspired with fear. Then Satyaki, the grandson of Sini, approachedthat spot. Approaching king Kshemakirti of great strength, Satyakidespatched him to Yama’s abode, with seven keen shafts. Then the son ofHridika, of great intelligence, rushed with speed against that bull ofSini’s race, that mighty armed warrior, as the latter came, shooting hiswhetted shafts. Those two bowmen, those two foremost of car-warriors,roared like lions and encountered each other with great force, both beingarmed with foremost of weapons. The Pandavas, the Pancalas, and the otherwarriors, became spectators of that terrible encounter between the twoheroes. Those two heroes of the Vrishni-Andhaka race, like two elephantsfilled with delight, struck each other with long arrows and shaftsequipped with calf-toothed heads. Careering in diverse kinds of tracks,the son of Hridika and that bull of Sini’s race soon afflicted each otherwith showers of arrows. The shafts sped with great force from the bows ofthe two Vrishni lions were seen by us in the welkin to resemble flightsof swiftly coursing insects. Then the son of Hridika, approaching Satyakiof true prowess, pierced the four steeds of the latter with four keenshafts. The long-armed Satyaki, enraged at this, like an elephant struckwith a lance, pierced Kritavarma with eight foremost of arrows. ThenKritavarma pierced Satyaki with three arrows whetted on stone and spedfrom his bow drawn to its fullest and then cut off his bow with anotherarrow. Laying aside his broken bow, that bull of Sini’s race quickly tookup another with arrow fixed on it. Having taken up that foremost of bowsand stringed it, that foremost of all bowmen, that Atiratha of mightyenergy and great intelligence and great strength, unable to endure thecutting of his bow by Kritavarma, and filled with fury, quickly rushedagainst the latter. With ten keen shafts that bull of Sini’s race thenstruck the driver, the steeds, and the standard of Kritavarma. At this, Oking, the great bowman and mighty car-warrior Kritavarma, beholding hisgold-decked car made driverless and steedless, became filled with rage.Uplifting a pointed lance, O sire, he hurled it with all the force of hisarm at that bull of Sini’s race, desirous of slaying him. Satyaki,however, of the Satwata race, striking that lance with many keen arrows,cut it off into fragments and caused it to fall down, stupefyingKritavarma of Madhu’s race (with his activity and prowess). With anotherbroad-headed arrow he then struck Kritavarma in the chest. Made steedlessand driverless in that battle by Yuyudhana, skilled in weapons,Kritavarma came down on the Earth. The heroic Kritavarma having beendeprived of his car by Satyaki in that single combat, all the (Kaurava)troops became filled with great fear. A great sorrow afflicted the heartof thy sons, when Kritavarma was thus made steedless and driverless andcarless. Beholding that chastiser of foes made steedless and driverless,Kripa, O king, rushed at that bull of Sini’s race, desirous ofdespatching him to Yama’s abode. Taking Kritavarma upon his car in thevery sight of all the bowmen, the mighty-armed Kripa bore him away fromthe press of battle. After Kritavarma had been made carless and thegrandson of Sini had become powerful on the field, the whole army ofDuryodhana once more turned away from the fight. The enemy, however, didnot see it, for the (Kuru) army was then shrouded with a dusty cloud. Allthy warriors fled, O monarch, except king Duryodhana. The latter,beholding from a near point that his own army was routed, quicklyrushing, assailed the victorious enemy, alone resisting them all.Fearlessly that invincible warrior, filled with rage, assailed with keenarrows all the Pandus, and Dhrishtadyumna the son of Prishta, andShikhandi, and the sons of Draupadi, and the large bands of the Pancalas,and the Kaikeyas, O sire, and the Somakas! With firm determination thymighty son stood in battle, even as a blazing and mighty fire on thesacrificial platform, sanctified with mantras. Even thus, king Duryodhanacareered all over the field, in that battle. His foes could not approachhim then, like living creatures unable to approach the Destroyer. Thenthe son of Hridika came there, riding on another car.'”

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