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Chapter 25

Mahabharata English - SHALYA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘Dhananjaya, with his Gandiva, frustrated the purpose ofthose unreturning heroes struggling in battle and striking their foes.The shafts shot by Arjuna, irresistible and endued with great force andwhose touch was like that of the thunder, were seen to resemble torrentsof rain poured by a cloud. That army, O chief of the Bharatas, thusstruck by Kiritin, fled away in the very sight of thy son. Some desertedtheir sires and brothers, others deserted their comrades. Somecar-warriors were deprived of their animals. Others lost their drivers.Some had their poles or yokes or wheels broken, O king! The arrows ofsome were exhausted. Some were seen afflicted with arrows. Some, thoughunwounded, fled in a body, afflicted with fear. Some endeavoured torescue their sons, having lost all their kinsmen and animals. Some loudlycalled upon their sires, some upon their comrades and followers. Somefled, deserting their kinsmen, O tiger among men, and brothers and otherrelatives, O monarch! Many mighty car-warriors, struck with Partha’sshafts and deeply pierced therewith, were seen to breathe hard, deprivedof their senses. Others, taking them upon their own cars, and soothingthem for a while, and resting them and dispelling their thirst byoffering them drink, once more proceeded to battle. Some, incapable ofbeing easily defeated in battle, deserting the wounded, once moreadvanced to battle, desirous of obeying the behests of thy son. Some,having slaked their thirst or groomed their animals, and some, wearing(fresh) armour, O chief of the Bharatas, and some, having comforted theirbrothers and sons and sires, and placed them in camp, once more came tobattle. Some, arraying their cars in the order, O king, of superiors andinferiors, advanced against the Pandavas once more for battle. Thoseheroes (on their cars) covered with rows of bells, looked resplendentlike Daityas and Danavas intent on the conquest of the three worlds.Some, advancing with precipitancy on their vehicles decked with gold,fought with Dhrishtadyumna amid the Pandava divisions. The Pancala princeDhrishtadyumna, and the great car-warrior Shikhandi, and Satanika, theson of Nakula, fought with the car-force of the enemy. The Pancalaprince, then, filled with rage and supported by a large army, rushedagainst thy angry troops from desire of slaying them. Then thy son, Oruler of men, sped many showers of arrows, O Bharata, at the Pancalaprince thus rushing at him. Then, O king, Dhrishtadyumna was quicklypierced with many arrows in his arms and chest by thy son fighting withhis bow. Deeply pierced therewith like an elephant with pointed lances,that great bowman then despatched with his shafts the four steeds ofDuryodhana to the regions of death. With another broad-headed arrow henext cut off from his trunk the head of his enemy’s driver. Then thatchastiser of foes, king Duryodhana, having thus lost his car, rode onhorse-back and retreated to a spot not remote. Beholding his own armydestitute of prowess, thy son, the mighty Duryodhana, O king, proceededto the place where Subala’s son was. When the Kaurava cars were broken,3,000 gigantic elephants encompassed those car-warriors, the fivePandavas. Encompassed by that elephant force, O Bharata, the fivebrothers looked beautiful, O tiger among men, like the planets surroundedby the clouds. Then the mighty-armed and white-steeded Arjuna, O king, ofsureness of aim and having Krishna for his charioteer, advanced on hiscar. Surrounded by those elephants huge as hills, he began to destroythose animals with his keen and polished arrows. Each slain with a singlearrow, we beheld those huge elephants fallen or falling down, mangled bySavyasaci. The mighty Bhimasena, himself like an infuriated elephant,beholding those elephants, took up his formidable mace and rushed atthem, quickly jumping down from his car, like the Destroyer armed withhis club. Seeing that great car-warrior of the Pandavas with upliftedmace, thy soldiers became filled with fright and passed urine andexcreta. The whole army became agitated upon beholding Bhimasena armedwith mace. We then beheld those elephants, huge as hills, running hitherand thither, with their frontal globes split open by Bhima with his maceand all their limbs bathed in blood. Struck with Bhima’s mace, thoseelephants, running off from him, fell down with cries of pain, likewingless mountains. Beholding those elephants, many in number, with theirfrontal globes split open, running hither and thither or falling down,thy soldiers were inspired with fear. Then Yudhishthira also, filled withwrath, and the two sons of Madri, began to slay those elephant-warriorswith arrows equipped with vulturine wings. Dhrishtadyumna, after thedefeat of the (Kuru) king in battle, and after the flight of the latterfrom that spot on horse-back, saw that the Pandavas had all beensurrounded by the (Kaurava) elephants. Beholding this, O monarch,Dhrishtadyumna, the son of the Pancala king, proceeded towards thoseelephants, from desire of slaughtering them. Meanwhile, not seeingDuryodhana in the midst of the car-force. Ashvatthama and Kripa, andKritavarma of the Satwata race, asked all the Kshatriyas there, saying,’Where has Duryodhana gone?’ Not seeing the king in that carnage, thosegreat car-warriors all thought thy son to have been slain. Hence, withsorrowful faces, they enquired after him. Some persons told them thatafter the fall of his driver, he had gone to Subala’s son. OtherKshatriyas, present there, who had been exceedingly mangled with wounds,said, “What need is there with Duryodhana? See if he is yet alive! Do youall fight unitedly? What will the king do to you?” Other Kshatriyas, whowere exceedingly mangled, who had lost many of their kinsmen, and whowere still being afflicted with the arrows of the enemy, said these wordsin indistinct tones, “Let us slay these forces by whom we areencompassed! Behold, the Pandavas are coming hither, after having slainthe elephants!” Hearing these words of theirs, the mighty Ashvatthama,piercing through that irresistible force of the Pancala king, proceededwith Kripa and Kritavarma to the spot where Subala’s son was. Indeed,those heroes, those firm bowmen, leaving the car-force, repaired (insearch of Duryodhana). After they had gone away, the Pandavas, headed byDhrishtadyumna, advanced, O king, and began to slay their enemies.Beholding those valiant and heroic and mighty car-warriors cheerfullyrushing towards them, thy troops, amongst whom the faces of many hadturned pale, became hopeless of their lives. Seeing those soldiers ofours almost deprived of weapons and surrounded (by the foe). I myself, Oking, having only two kinds of forces, and becoming reckless of life,joined the five leaders of our army, and fought with the forces of thePancala prince, posting our men on that spot where Saradwat’s son wasstationed. We had been afflicted with the shafts of Kiritin.Nevertheless, a fierce battle took place between us and the division ofDhrishtadyumna. At last, vanquished by the latter, all of us retreatedfrom that encounter. I then beheld the mighty car-warrior Satyaki rushingagainst us. With four hundred cars that hero pursued me in battle. Havingescaped with difficulty from Dhrishtadyumna whose steeds had been tired,I fell among the forces of Madhava even as a sinner falleth into hell.There a fierce and terrible battle took place for a short while. Themighty-armed Satyaki, having cut off my armour, became desirous of takingme alive. He seized me while I lay down on the ground insensible. Thenwithin a short while that elephant-force was destroyed by Bhimasena withhis mace and Arjuna with his arrows. In consequence of those mightyelephants, huge as hills, falling down on every side with crushed limbs,the Pandava warriors found their way almost entirely blocked up. Then themighty Bhimasena, O monarch, dragging away those huge elephants, made away for the Pandavas to come out. Meanwhile, Ashvatthama and Kripa andKritavarma of the Satwata race, not seeing that chastiser of foes,Duryodhana, amid the car-division, sought for thy royal son, Abandoningthe prince of the Pancalas, they proceeded to the spot where Subala’s sonwas anxious to have a sight of the king during that terrible carnage.'”

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