Chapter 22

Mahabharata English - SHALYA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘That foremost of car-warriors, O monarch, thy son, ridingon his car and filled with the courage of despair, looked resplendent inthat battle like Rudra himself of great valour. With the thousands ofshafts shot by him, the Earth became completely covered. Indeed, hedrenched his enemies with showers of arrows like the clouds pouring rainon mountain breasts. There was then not a man amongst the Pandavas inthat great battle, or a steed, or an elephant, or a car, that was notstruck with Duryodhana’s arrows. Upon whomsoever amongst the warriors Ithen cast my eyes, O monarch, I beheld that every one, O Bharata, wasstruck by thy son with his arrows. The Pandava army was then covered withthe shafts of that illustrious warrior, even as a host is covered withthe dust it raises while marching or rushing to battle. The Earth then, Olord of Earth, seemed to me to be made one entire expanse of arrows bythy son Duryodhana, that bowman possessed of great lightness of hands.Amongst those thousands upon thousands of warriors on the field,belonging to thy side or that of the enemy, it seemed to me thatDuryodhana was then the only man. The prowess that we then beheld of thyson seemed to be exceedingly wonderful, since the Parthas, even unitingtogether, could not approach his single self. He pierced Yudhishthira, Obull of Bharata’s race, with a hundred arrows, and Bhimasena withseventy, and Sahadeva with seven. And he pierced Nakula with four andsixty, and Dhrishtadyumna with five, and the sons of Draupadi with seven,and Satyaki with three arrows. With a broad-headed arrow, he then, Osire, cut off the bow of Sahadeva. Laying aside that broken bow, thevaliant son of Madri, took up another formidable bow, and rushing againstking Duryodhana, pierced him with ten shafts in that battle. The greatbowman Nakula, possessed of courage, then pierced the king with nineterrible arrows and uttered a loud roar. Satyaki struck the king with asingle straight shaft; the sons of Draupadi struck him with three andseventy and king Yudhishthira struck him with five. And Bhimasenaafflicted the king with eighty shafts. Though pierced thus from everyside with numerous arrows by these illustrious warriors, Duryodhanastill, O monarch, did not waver, in the presence of all the troops whostood there as spectators. The quickness, the skill, and the prowess ofthat illustrious warrior were seen by all the men there to exceed thoseof every creature. Meanwhile the Dhartarashtras, O monarch, who had notfled far from that spot, beholding the king, rallied and returned there,clad in mail. The noise made by them when they came back becameexceedingly awful, like the roar of the surging ocean in the season ofrains. Approaching their unvanquished king in that battle, those greatbowmen proceeded against the Pandavas for fight. The son of Dronaresisted in that battle the angry Bhimasena. With the arrows, O monarch,that were shot in that battle, all the points of the compass becamecompletely shrouded, so that the brave combatants could not distinguishthe cardinal from the subsidiary points of the compass. As regardsAshvatthama and Bhimasena, O Bharata, both of them were achievers ofcruel feats. Both of them were irresistible in battle. The arms of bothcontained many cicatrices in consequence of both having repeatedly drawnthe bow-string. Counteracting each other’s feats, they continued to fightwith each other, frightening the whole Universe. The heroic Shakuniassailed Yudhishthira in that battle. The mighty son of Subala, havingslain the four steeds of the king, uttered a loud roar, causing all thetroops to tremble with fear. Meanwhile, the valiant Sahadeva bore awaythe heroic and vanquished king on his car from that battle. Then kingYudhishthira the just, riding upon another car (came back to battle), andhaving pierced Shakuni at first with nine arrows, once more pierced himwith five. And that foremost of all bowmen then uttered a loud roar. Thatbattle, O sire, awful as it was, became wonderful to behold. It filledthe spectators with delight and was applauded by the Siddhas and theCharanas. Uluka of immeasurable soul rushed against the mighty bowmanNakula, in that battle, shooting showers of arrows from every side. Theheroic Nakula, however, in that battle, resisted the son of Shakuni witha thick shower of arrows from every side. Both those heroes werewell-born and both were mighty car-warriors. They were seen to fight witheach other, each highly enraged with the other. Similarly Kritavarma, Oking, fighting with the grandson of Sini, that scorcher of foes, lookedresplendent, like Shakra battling with the Asura Vala. Duryodhana, havingcut off Dhrishtadyumna’s bow in that battle, pierced his bowlessantagonist with keen shafts. Dhrishtadyumna then, in that encounter,having taken up a formidable bow, fought with the king in the sight ofall the bowmen. The battle between those two heroes became exceedinglyfierce, O bull of Bharata’s race, like the encounter between two wild andinfuriate elephants with juicy secretions trickling down their limbs. Theheroic Gautama, excited with rage in that battle, pierced the mighty sonsof Draupadi with many straight shafts. The battle that took place betweenhim and those five, resembled that which takes place between an embodiedbeing and his (five) senses. It was awful and exceedingly fierce, andneither side showed any consideration for the other. The (five) sons ofDraupadi afflicted Kripa like the (five) senses afflicting a foolish man.He, on the other hand, fighting with them, controlled them with vigour.Even such and so wonderful, O Bharata, was that battle between him andthem. It resembled the repeated combats, O lord, between embodiedcreatures and their senses. Men fought with men, elephants withelephants, steeds with steeds and car-warriors with car-warriors. Oncemore, O monarch, that battle became general and awful. Here an encounterwas beautiful, there another was awful, and there another was exceedinglyfierce, O lord! Many and awful, O monarch, were the encounters that tookplace in course of that battle. Those chastisers of foes (belonging toboth armies), encountering one another, pierced and slew one another inthat dreadful engagement. A dense cloud of dust was then seen there,raised by the vehicles and the animals of the warriors. Thick also, Oking, was the dust raised by the running steeds, a dust that was carriedfrom one place to another by the wind. Raised by the wheels of cars andthe breaths of the elephants, the dust, thick as an evening cloud, roseinto the welkin. That dust having been raised and the sun himself havingbeen dimmed therewith, the Earth became shrouded, and the heroic andmighty car-warriors could not be seen. Anon that disappeared andeverything became clear when the Earth, O best of the Bharatas, becamedrenched with the blood of heroes. Indeed, that dense and awful cloud ofdust was allayed. Then, O Bharata, I could once more see the diversesingle combats that the combatants fought at noon of day, each accordingto his strength and his rank, all of which were exceedingly fierce. Theblazing splendour of those feats, O monarch, appeared full in view. Loudbecame the noise of falling shafts in that battle, resembling that madeby a vast forest of bamboo while burning on every side.'”

Chapter 21
Chapter 23
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