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Chapter 3

Mahabharata English - SHALYA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘Hear, O king, with attention, how that great carnage ofthe Kurus and the Pandavas occurred when they encountered each other.After the Suta’s son had been slain by the illustrious son of Pandu, andafter thy troops had been repeatedly rallied and had repeatedly fledaway, and after a terrible carnage had taken place, O foremost of men, ofhuman beings in battle subsequent to Karna’s death, Partha began to utterleonine roars. At that time a great fear entered the hearts of thy sons.Indeed, after Karna’s death, there was no warrior in thy army who couldset his heart upon rallying the troops or displaying his prowess. Theythen looked like ship-wrecked merchants on the fathomless ocean without araft to save themselves. When their protector was slain by thediadem-decked Arjuna, they were like persons on the wide sea desirous ofreaching some shore of safety. Indeed, O king, after the slaughter of theSuta’s son, thy troops, struck with panic and mangled with arrows, werelike unprotected men desirous of a protector or like a herd of deerafflicted by a lion. Vanquished by Savyasaci, they retired in the eveninglike bulls with broken horns or snakes shorn of their fangs. Theirforemost of heroes slain, themselves thrown into confusion and mangledwith keen arrows, thy sons, O king, upon the slaughter of the Suta’s son,fled away in fear. Deprived of weapons and coats of mail, all of themlost their senses and knew not in which direction to fly. Casting theireyes on all sides in fear, many of them began to slaughter one another.Many fell down or became pale, thinking, “It is me whom Vibhatsu ispursuing!” “It is me whom Vrikodara is pursuing!” Some riding on fleetsteeds, some on fleet cars, and some on fleet elephants, many greatcar-warriors fled away from fear, abandoning the foot-soldiers. Cars werebroken by elephants, horsemen were crushed by great car-warriors, andbands of foot-soldiers were smashed and slain by bodies of horses asthese fled away from the field. After the fall of the Suta’s son, thytroops became like stragglers from a caravan in a forest abounding withrobbers and beasts of prey. Some elephants whose riders had been slain,and others whose trunks had been cut off, afflicted with fear, beheld thewhole world to be full of Partha. Beholding his troops flying awayafflicted with the fear of Bhimasena Duryodhana then, with cries of “Oh!”and “Alas!” addressed his driver, saying, “If I take up my post at therear of the army, armed with my bow, Partha then will never be able totransgress me. Urge the steeds, therefore, with speed. When I will putforth my valour in battle, Dhananjaya the son of Kunti will not ventureto transgress me like the ocean never venturing to transgress itscontinents. Today, slaying Arjuna with Govinda, and the proud Vrikodara,and the rest of my foes, I will free myself from the debt I owe toKarna.” Hearing these words of the Kuru king, so becoming a hero and anhonourable man, his driver slowly urged those steeds adorned withtrappings of gold. At that time many brave warriors deprived of elephantsand steeds and cars, and 25,000 foot-soldiers, O sire, proceeded slowly(for battle). Then Bhimasena, filled with wrath, and Dhrishtadyumna theson of Prishata, encompassing those troops with the assistance of fourkinds of forces, destroyed them with shafts. All of them foughtvigorously with Bhima and Prishata’s son. Many amongst them challengedthe two Pandava heroes, mentioning their names. Surrounded by them inbattle, Bhima became enraged with them. Quickly descending from his car,he began to fight, armed with his mace. Relying on the might of his ownarms, Vrikodara the son of Kunti, who was on his car, observant of therules of fair fight, did not fight with those foes who were on theground. Armed then with that heavy mace of his that was made entirely ofiron and adorned with gold and equipped with a sling, and that resembledthe Destroyer himself as he becomes at the end of Yuga, Bhima slew themall like Yama slaughtering creatures with his club. Those foot-soldiers,excited with great rage, having lost their friends and kinsmen, wereprepared to throw away their lives, and rushed in that battle towardsBhima like insects towards a blazing fire. Indeed, those warriors, filledwith rage and invincible in battle, approaching Bhimasena, suddenlyperished like living creatures at the glance of the Destroyer. Armed withsword and mace, Bhima careered like a hawk and slaughtered those 25,000warriors of thine. Having slain that brave division, the mighty Bhima, ofprowess incapable of being baffled, once more stood, with Dhrishtadyumnabefore him. Meanwhile, Dhananjaya of great energy proceeded towards thecar-division (of the Kurus). The twin sons of Madri and the mightycar-warrior Satyaki, all endued with great strength, cheerfully rushedagainst Shakuni with great speed from desire of slaying him. Having slainwith keen shafts the numerous cavalry of Shakuni, those Pandava heroesquickly rushed against Shakuni himself, whereupon a fierce battle wasfought there. Then Dhananjaya, O king, penetrated into the midst of thecar-division of the Kauravas, stretching his bow Gandiva celebrated overthe three worlds. Beholding that car having white steeds yoked unto itand owning Krishna for its driver coming towards them, with Arjuna as thewarrior on it, thy troops fled away in fear. Deprived of cars and steedsand pierced with shafts from every side, 25,000 foot-soldiers proceededtowards Partha and surrounded him. Then that mighty car-warrior amongstthe Pancalas (Dhrishtadyumna) with Bhimasena at his head, speedily slewthat brave division and stood triumphant. The son of the Pancala king,the celebrated Dhrishtadyumna, was a mighty bowman possessed of greatbeauty and a crusher of large bands of foes. At sight of Dhrishtadyumnaunto whose car were yoked steeds white as pigeons and whose standard wasmade of a lofty Kovidara, the troops fled away in fear. The celebratedsons of Madri, with Satyaki among them, engaged in the pursuit of theGandhara king who was quick in the use of weapons, speedily appeared toour view. Chekitana and the (five) sons of Draupadi, O sire, having slaina large number of thy troops, blew their conchs. Beholding all the troopsflying away with their faces from the field, those (Pandava) heroespursued and smote them like bulls pursuing vanquished bulls. Then themighty Savyasaci, the son of Pandu, beholding a remnant of thy army stillkeeping their ground, became filled with rage, O king. Suddenly, Omonarch, he shrouded that remnant of thy forces with arrows. The dust,however, that was then raised enveloped the scene, in consequence ofwhich we could not see anything. Darkness also spread over the scene, andthe field of battle was covered with arrows. Thy troops, O monarch, thenfled away in fear on all sides. When his army was thus broken, the Kuruking, O monarch, rushed against both friends and foes. Then Duryodhanachallenged all the Pandavas to battle, O chief of Bharata’s race, likethe Asura Vali in days of yore challenging all the celestials. ThePandavas then, uniting together and filled with rage, upbraiding himrepeatedly and shooting diverse weapons, rushed against the roaringDuryodhana. The latter, however, fearlessly smote his foes with shafts.The prowess that we then saw of thy son was exceedingly wonderful, sinceall the Pandavas together were unable to transgress him. At this timeDuryodhana beheld, staying at a little distance from him, his troops,exceedingly mangled with shafts, and prepared to fly away. Rallying themthen, O monarch, thy son, resolved on battle and desirous of gladdeningthem, addressed those warriors, saying, “I do not see that spot on plainor mountain whither, if you fly, the Pandavas will not slay you. What isthe use then in flight? The Pandava army hath now been reduced to a smallremnant. The two Krishnas have been exceedingly mangled. If all of usmake a stand here, we are certain to have victory. If, however, you flyaway, breaking your array, the Pandavas, pursuing your sinful selves,will slay all of you. Death in battle, therefore, is for our good. Deathin the field of battle while engaged in fight according to Kshatriyapractices is pleasant. Such death produces no kind of grief. Byencountering such a death, a person enjoys eternal happiness in the otherworld. Let all the Kshatriyas assembled here listen to me. It were betterthat they should even submit to the power of the angry Bhimasena thanthat they should abandon the duties practised by them from the days oftheir ancestors. There is no act more sinful for a Kshatriya than flightfrom battle. You Kauravas, there is not a better path to heaven than theduty of battle. The warrior acquires in a day regions of bliss (in theother world) that take many long years for others to acquire.” Fulfillingthose words of the king, the great Kshatriya car-warriors once morerushed against the Pandavas, unable to endure their defeat and firmlyresolved to put forth their prowess. Then commenced a battle once more,that was exceedingly fierce, between thy troops and the enemy, and thatresembled the one between the gods and the Asuras. Thy son Duryodhanathen, O monarch, with all his troops, rushed against the Pandavas headedby Yudhishthira.'”

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