The Mahabharata 9
Category: Hindu
10:55 h
The Mahābhārata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Rāmāyaṇa. It narrates the struggle between two groups of cousins in the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kaurava and the Pāṇḍava princes and their succession. Along with the Rāmāyaṇa, it forms the Hindu Itihasa.

The Mahabharata

Book 9: Shalya Parva

Kisari Mohan Ganguli, tr.

Section 1

Om! Having bowed down unto Narayana and Nara, the most exalted of male beings, and the goddess Sarasvati, must the word Jaya be uttered.

Janamejaya said, “After Karna had thus been slain in battle by Savyasaci, what did the small (unslaughtered) remnant of the Kauravas do, O regenerate one? Beholding the army of the Pandavas swelling with might and energy, what behaviour did the Kuru prince Suyodhana adopt towards the Pandavas, thinking it suitable to the hour? I desire to hear all this. Tell me, O foremost of regenerate ones, I am never satiated with listening to the grand feats of my ancestors.”

Vaishampayana said, “After the fall of Karna, O king, Dhritarashtra’s son Suyodhana was plunged deep into an ocean of grief and saw despair on every side. Indulging in incessant lamentations, saying, ‘Alas, oh Karna! Alas, oh Karna!’ he proceeded with great difficulty to his camp, accompanied by the unslaughtered remnant of the kings on his side. Thinking of the slaughter of the Suta’s son, he could not obtain peace of mind, though comforted by those kings with excellent reasons inculcated by the scriptures. Regarding destiny and necessity to be all-powerful, the Kuru king firmly resolved on battle. Having duly made Shalya the generalissimo of his forces, that bull among kings, O monarch, proceeded for battle, accompanied by that unslaughtered remnant of his forces. Then, O chief of Bharata’s race, a terrible battle took place between the troops of the Kurus and those of the Pandavas, resembling that between the gods and the Asuras. Then Shalya, O monarch, having made a great carnage in battle at last lost a large number of his troops and was slain by Yudhishthira at midday. Then king Duryodhana, having lost all his friends and kinsmen, fled away from the field of battle and penetrated into the depths of a terrible lake from fear of his enemies. On the afternoon of that day, Bhimasena, causing the lake to be encompassed by many mighty car-warriors, summoned Duryodhana and having obliged him to come out, slew him speedily, putting forth his strength. After Duryodhana’s slaughter, the three car-warriors (of the Kuru side) that were still unslain (Ashvatthama and Kripa and Kritavarma), filled with rage, O monarch, slaughtered the Pancala troops in the night. On the next morning Sanjaya, having set out from the camp, entered the city (the Kuru capital), cheerless and filled with grief and sorrow. Having entered the city, the Suta Sanjaya, raising his arms in grief, and with limbs trembling, entered the palace of the king. Filled with grief, O tiger among men, he wept aloud, saying, ‘Alas, O king! Alas, all of us are ruined by the slaughter of that high-souled monarch. Alas, Time is all-powerful, and crooked in his course, since all our allies, endued with might equal to that of Shakra himself, have been slain by the Pandavas.’ Seeing Sanjaya come back to the city, O king, in that distressful plight, all the people, O best of kings, filled with great anxiety, wept loudly, saying, ‘Alas, O king! The whole city, O tiger among men, including the very children, hearing of Duryodhana’s death, sent forth notes of lamentation from every side. We then beheld all the men and women running about, deeply afflicted with grief, their senses gone, and resembling people that are demented.’ The Suta Sanjaya then, deeply agitated, entered the abode of the king and beheld that foremost of monarchs, that lord of men, having wisdom for his eyes. Beholding the sinless monarch, that chief of Bharata’s race, seated, surrounded by his daughters-in-law and Gandhari and Vidura and by other friends and kinsmen that were always his well-wishers, and engaged in thinking on that very subject--the death of Karna--the Suta Sanjaya, with heart filled with grief, O Janamejaya, weepingly and in a voice choked with tears, said unto him, ‘I am Sanjaya, O tiger among men. I bow to thee, O bull of Bharata’s race. The ruler of the Madras, Shalya, hath been slain. Similarly, Subala’s son Shakuni, and Uluka, O tiger among men, that valiant son of the gamester (Shakuni), have been slain. All the Samsaptakas, the Kambojas together with the Sakas, the Mlecchas, the Mountaineers, and the Yavanas, have also been slain. The Easterners have been slain, O monarch, and all the Southerners. The Northerners have all been slain, as also the Westerners, O ruler of men. All the kings and all the princes have been slain, O monarch. King Duryodhana also has been slain by the son of Pandu after the manner he had vowed. With his thighs broken, O monarch, he lieth now on the dust, covered with blood. Dhrishtadyumna also hath been slain, O king, as also the vanquished Shikhandi. Uttamauja and Yudhamanyu, O king, and the Prabhadrakas, and those tiger among men, the Pancalas, and the Cedis, have been destroyed. The sons have all been slain as also the (five) sons of Draupadi, O Bharata. The heroic and mighty son of Karna, Vrishasena, hath been slain. All the men that had been assembled have been slain. All the elephants have been destroyed. All the car-warriors, O tiger among men, and all the steeds, have fallen in battle. Very few are alive on thy side, O lord. In consequence of the Pandavas and the Kauravas having encountered each other, the world, stupefied by Time, now consists of only women. On the side of the Pandavas seven are alive, they are the five Pandava brothers, and Vasudeva, and Satyaki and amongst the Dhartarashtras three are so, Kripa, Kritavarma, and Drona’s son, that foremost of victors. These three car-warriors, O monarch, are all that survive, O best of kings, of all the akshauhinis mustered on thy side, O ruler of men. These are the survivors, O monarch, the rest have perished. Making Duryodhana and his hostility (towards the Pandavas) the cause, the world, it seems, hath been destroyed, O bull of Bharata’s race, by Time.’”

Vaishampayana continued, “Hearing these cruel words, Dhritarashtra, that ruler of men, fell down, O monarch, on the earth, deprived of his senses. As soon as the king fell down, Vidura also, of great fame, O monarch, afflicted with sorrow on account of the king’s distress, fell down on the earth. Gandhari also, O best of kings, and all the Kuru ladies, suddenly fell down on the ground, hearing those cruel words. That entire conclave of royal persons remained lying on the ground, deprived of their senses and raving deliriously, like figures painted on a large piece of canvas. Then king Dhritarashtra, that lord of earth, afflicted with the calamity represented by the death of his sons, slowly and with difficulty regained his life-breaths. Having recovered his senses, the king, with trembling limbs and sorrowful heart, turned his face on every side, and said these words unto Kshattri (Vidura). ‘O learned Kshattri, O thou of great wisdom, thou, O bull of Bharata’s race, art now my refuge. I am lordless and destitute of all my sons.’ Having said this, he once more fell down, deprived of his senses. Beholding him fallen, all his kinsmen that were present there sprinkled cold water over him and fanned him with fans. Comforted after a long while, that lord of earth, afflicted with sorrow on account of the death of his sons, remained silent, sighing heavily, O monarch, like a snake put into a jar. Sanjaya also wept aloud, beholding the king so afflicted. All the ladies too, with Gandhari of great celebrity, did the same. After a long while, O best of men, Dhritarashtra, having repeatedly swooned, addressed Vidura, saying, ‘Let all the ladies retire, as also Gandhari of great fame, and all these friends. My mind hath become greatly unsettled.’ Thus addressed, Vidura, repeatedly trembling, slowly dismissed the ladies, O bull of Bharata’s race. All those ladies retired, O chief of the Bharatas, as also all those friends, beholding the king deeply afflicted. Then Sanjaya cheerlessly looked at the king, O scorcher of foes, who, having recovered his senses, was weeping in great affliction. With joined hands, Vidura then, in sweet words, comforted that ruler of men who was sighing incessantly.’”

Section 2

Vaishampayana said, “After the ladies had been dismissed, Dhritarashtra, the son of Ambika, plunged into grief greater than that which had afflicted him before, began, O monarch, to indulge in lamentations, exhaling breaths that resembled smoke, and repeatedly waving his arms, and reflecting a little, O monarch, he said these words.

"Dhritarashtra said, 'Alas, O Suta, the intelligence is fraught with great grief that I hear from thee, that the Pandavas are all safe and have suffered no loss in battle. Without doubt, my hard heart is made of the essence of thunder, since it breaketh not upon hearing of the fall of my sons. Thinking of their ages, O Sanjaya, and of their sports in childhood, and learning today that all of them have perished, my heart seems to break into pieces. Although in consequence of my blindness I never saw their forms, still I cherished a great love for them in consequence of the affection one feels for his children. Hearing that they had passed out of childhood and entered the period of youth and then of early manhood, I became exceedingly glad, O sinless one. Hearing today that have been slain and divested of prosperity and energy, I fail to obtain peace of mind, being overwhelmed with grief on account of the distress that has overtaken them. Come, come, O king of kings (Duryodhana) to me that am without a protector now! Deprived of thee, O mighty-armed one, what will be my plight? Why, O sire, abandoning all the assembled kings dost thou lie on the bare ground, deprived of life, like an ordinary and wretched king? Having been, O monarch, the refuge of kinsmen and friends, where dost thou go now, O hero, abandoning me that am blind and old? Where now, O king, is that compassion of thine, that love, and that respectfulness? Invincible as thou wert in battle, how, alas, hast thou been slain by the Parthas? Who will now, after I will have waked from sleep at the proper hour, repeatedly address me in such endearing and respectful words as, "O father, O father," "O great king," "O Lord of the world" and affectionately clasping my neck with moistened eyes, will seek my orders, saying, "Command me, O thou of Kuru's race." Address me, O son, in that sweet language once more. O dear child, I heard even these words from thy lips, "This wide earth is as much ours as it is of Pritha's son. Bhagadatta and Kripa and Shalya and the two princes of Avanti and Jayadratha and Bhurishrava and Sala and Somadatta and Bahlika and Ashvatthama and the chief of the Bhojas and the mighty prince of Magadha and Vrihadvala and the ruler of the Kasi and Shakuni the son of Subala and many thousands of Mlecchas and Sakas and Yavanas, and Sudakshina the ruler of the Kambojas and the king of the Trigartas and the grandsire Bhishma and Bharadwaja's son and Gotama's son (Kripa) and Srutayush and Ayutayush and Satayush of great energy, and Jalasandha and Rishyasringa's son and the Rakshasa Alayudha, and the mighty-armed Alambusa and the great car-warrior Subala--these and numerous other kings, O best of monarchs, have taken up arms for my sake, prepared to cast away their very lives in great battle, stationed on the field amidst these, and surrounded by my brothers, I will fight against all the Parthas and the Pancalas and the Cedis, O tiger among kings, and the sons of Draupadi and Satyaki and Kunti-Bhoja and the rakshasa Ghatotkaca. Even one amongst these, O king, excited with rage, is able to resist in battle the Pandavas rushing towards him. What need I say then of all these heroes, every one of whom has wrong to avenge on the Pandavas, when united together? All these, O monarch, will fight with the followers of the Pandavas and will slay them in battle. Karna alone, with myself, will slay the Pandavas. All the heroic kings will then live under my sway. He, who is their leader, the mighty Vasudeva, will not, he has told me, put on mail for them, O king." Even in this way, O Suta, did Duryodhana often use to speak to me. Hearing what he said, I believed that the Pandavas would be slain in battle. When, however, my sons stationed in the midst of those heroes and exerting themselves vigorously in battle have all been slain, what can it be but destiny? When that lord of the world, the valiant Bhishma, having encountered Shikhandi, met with his death like a lion meeting with his at the hands of a jackal, what can it be but destiny? When the Brahmana Drona, that master of all weapons offensive and defensive, has been slain by the Pandavas in battle, what can it be but destiny? When Bhurishrava has been slain in battle, as also Somadatta and king Bahlika, what can it be but destiny? When Bhagadatta, skilled in fight from the backs of elephants, has been slain, and when Jayadratha hath been slain, what can it be but destiny? When Sudakshina has been slain, and Jalasandha of Puru's race, as also Srutayush, and Ayutayush, what can it be but destiny? When the mighty Pandya, that foremost of all wielders of weapons, has been slain in battle by the Pandavas, what can it be but destiny? When Vrihadvala has been slain and the mighty king of the Magadhas, and the valiant Ugrayudha, that type of all bowmen; when the two princes of Avanti (Vinda and Anuvinda) have been slain, and the ruler also of the Trigartas, as also numerous Samsaptakas, what can it be but destiny? When king Alambusa, and the Rakshasas Alayudha, and Rishyasringa's son, have been slain, what can it be but destiny? When the Narayanas have been slain, as also the Gopalas, those troops that were invincible in battle, and many thousands of Mlecchas, what can it be but destiny? When Shakuni, the son of Subala, and the mighty Uluka, called the gamester's son, that hero at the head of his forces, have been slain, what can it be but destiny? When innumerable high-souled heroes, accomplished in all kinds of weapons offensive and defensive and endued with prowess equal to that of Shakra himself, have been slain, O Suta, when Kshatriyas hailing from diverse realms, O Sanjaya, have all been slain in battle, what can it be but destiny? Endued with great might, my sons and grandsons have been slain, as also my friends and brethren, what can it be but destiny? Without doubt, man takes his birth, subject to destiny. That man who is possessed of good fortune meets with good. I am bereft of good fortune, and, therefore, am deprived of my children, O Sanjaya. Old as I am, how shall I now submit to the sway of enemies? I do not think anything other than exile into the woods to be good for me, O lord. Deprived of relatives and kinsmen as I am, I will go into the woods. Nothing other than an exile into the woods can be better for me who am fallen into this plight and who am shorn of my wings, O Sanjaya. When Duryodhana had been slain, when Shalya has been slain, when Duhshasana and Vivingsati and the mighty Vikarna have been slain, how shall I be able to bear the roars of that Bhimasena who hath alone slain a hundred sons of mine in battle? He will frequently speak of the slaughter of Duryodhana in my hearing. Burning with grief and sorrow, I shall not be able to bear his cruel words.'"

Vaishampayana continued, “Even thus that king, burning with grief and deprived of relatives and kinsmen, repeatedly swooned, overwhelmed with sorrow on account of the death of his sons. Having wept for a long while, Dhritarashtra, the son of Ambika, breathed heavy and hot sighs at the thought of his defeat. Overwhelmed with sorrow, and burning with grief, that bull of Bharata’s race once more enquired of his charioteer Sanjaya, the son of Gavalgana, the details of what had happened.

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘After Bhishma and Drona had been slain, and the Suta’s son also overthrown, whom did my warriors make their generalissimo? The Pandavas are slaying without any delay everyone whom my warriors are making their generalissimo in battle. Bhishma was slain at the van of battle by the diadem-decked Arjuna in the very sight of all of you. Even thus was Drona slain in the sight of all of you. Even thus was the Suta’s son, that valiant Karna, slain by Arjuna in the sight of all the kings. Long before, the high-souled Vidura had told me that through the fault of Duryodhana the population of the Earth would be exterminated. There are some fools that do not see things even though they cast their eyes on them. Those words of Vidura have been even so unto my foolish self. What Vidura of righteous soul, conversant with attributes of everything, then said, hath turned out exactly, for the words he uttered were nothing but the truth. Afflicted by fate, I did not then act according to those words. The fruits of that evil course have now manifested themselves. Describe them to me, O son of Gavalgana, once more! Who became the head of our army after Karna’s fall? Who was that car-warrior who proceeded against Arjuna and Vasudeva? Who were they that protected the right wheel of the ruler of the Madras in battle? Who protected the left wheel of that hero when he went to battle? Who also guarded his rear? How, when all of you were together, could the mighty king of the Madras, as also my son, be slain, O Sanjaya, by the Pandavas? Tell me the details of the great destruction of the Bharatas. Tell me how my son Duryodhana fell in battle. Tell me how all the Pancalas with their followers, and Dhrishtadyumna and Shikhandi and the five sons of Draupadi, fell. Tell me how the (five) Pandavas and the two Satwatas (Krishna and Satyaki), and Kripa and Kritavarma and Drona’s son, have escaped with life. I desire to hear everything about the manner in which the battle occurred and the kind of battle it was. Thou art skilled, O Sanjaya, in narration. Tell me everything.’”

Section 3

“Sanjaya said, ‘Hear, O king, with attention, how that great carnage of the Kurus and the Pandavas occurred when they encountered each other. After the Suta’s son had been slain by the illustrious son of Pandu, and after thy troops had been repeatedly rallied and had repeatedly fled away, and after a terrible carnage had taken place, O foremost of men, of human beings in battle subsequent to Karna’s death, Partha began to utter leonine 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 could set his heart upon rallying the troops or displaying his prowess. They then looked like ship-wrecked merchants on the fathomless ocean without a raft to save themselves. When their protector was slain by the diadem-decked Arjuna, they were like persons on the wide sea desirous of reaching some shore of safety. Indeed, O king, after the slaughter of the Suta’s son, thy troops, struck with panic and mangled with arrows, were like unprotected men desirous of a protector or like a herd of deer afflicted by a lion. Vanquished by Savyasaci, they retired in the evening like bulls with broken horns or snakes shorn of their fangs. Their foremost of heroes slain, themselves thrown into confusion and mangled with 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 them lost their senses and knew not in which direction to fly. Casting their eyes 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 is pursuing!” “It is me whom Vrikodara is pursuing!” Some riding on fleet steeds, some on fleet cars, and some on fleet elephants, many great car-warriors fled away from fear, abandoning the foot-soldiers. Cars were broken by elephants, horsemen were crushed by great car-warriors, and bands of foot-soldiers were smashed and slain by bodies of horses as these fled away from the field. After the fall of the Suta’s son, thy troops became like stragglers from a caravan in a forest abounding with robbers and beasts of prey. Some elephants whose riders had been slain, and others whose trunks had been cut off, afflicted with fear, beheld the whole world to be full of Partha. Beholding his troops flying away afflicted with the fear of Bhimasena Duryodhana then, with cries of “Oh!” and “Alas!” addressed his driver, saying, “If I take up my post at the rear of the army, armed with my bow, Partha then will never be able to transgress me. Urge the steeds, therefore, with speed. When I will put forth my valour in battle, Dhananjaya the son of Kunti will not venture to transgress me like the ocean never venturing to transgress its continents. Today, slaying Arjuna with Govinda, and the proud Vrikodara, and the rest of my foes, I will free myself from the debt I owe to Karna.” Hearing these words of the Kuru king, so becoming a hero and an honourable man, his driver slowly urged those steeds adorned with trappings of gold. At that time many brave warriors deprived of elephants and steeds and cars, and 25,000 foot-soldiers, O sire, proceeded slowly (for battle). Then Bhimasena, filled with wrath, and Dhrishtadyumna the son of Prishata, encompassing those troops with the assistance of four kinds of forces, destroyed them with shafts. All of them fought vigorously with Bhima and Prishata’s son. Many amongst them challenged the two Pandava heroes, mentioning their names. Surrounded by them in battle, Bhima became enraged with them. Quickly descending from his car, he began to fight, armed with his mace. Relying on the might of his own arms, Vrikodara the son of Kunti, who was on his car, observant of the rules of fair fight, did not fight with those foes who were on the ground. Armed then with that heavy mace of his that was made entirely of iron and adorned with gold and equipped with a sling, and that resembled the Destroyer himself as he becomes at the end of Yuga, Bhima slew them all like Yama slaughtering creatures with his club. Those foot-soldiers, excited with great rage, having lost their friends and kinsmen, were prepared to throw away their lives, and rushed in that battle towards Bhima like insects towards a blazing fire. Indeed, those warriors, filled with rage and invincible in battle, approaching Bhimasena, suddenly perished like living creatures at the glance of the Destroyer. Armed with sword and mace, Bhima careered like a hawk and slaughtered those 25,000 warriors of thine. Having slain that brave division, the mighty Bhima, of prowess incapable of being baffled, once more stood, with Dhrishtadyumna before him. Meanwhile, Dhananjaya of great energy proceeded towards the car-division (of the Kurus). The twin sons of Madri and the mighty car-warrior Satyaki, all endued with great strength, cheerfully rushed against Shakuni with great speed from desire of slaying him. Having slain with keen shafts the numerous cavalry of Shakuni, those Pandava heroes quickly rushed against Shakuni himself, whereupon a fierce battle was fought there. Then Dhananjaya, O king, penetrated into the midst of the car-division of the Kauravas, stretching his bow Gandiva celebrated over the three worlds. Beholding that car having white steeds yoked unto it and owning Krishna for its driver coming towards them, with Arjuna as the warrior on it, thy troops fled away in fear. Deprived of cars and steeds and pierced with shafts from every side, 25,000 foot-soldiers proceeded towards Partha and surrounded him. Then that mighty car-warrior amongst the Pancalas (Dhrishtadyumna) with Bhimasena at his head, speedily slew that brave division and stood triumphant. The son of the Pancala king, the celebrated Dhrishtadyumna, was a mighty bowman possessed of great beauty and a crusher of large bands of foes. At sight of Dhrishtadyumna unto whose car were yoked steeds white as pigeons and whose standard was made of a lofty Kovidara, the troops fled away in fear. The celebrated sons of Madri, with Satyaki among them, engaged in the pursuit of the Gandhara king who was quick in the use of weapons, speedily appeared to our view. Chekitana and the (five) sons of Draupadi, O sire, having slain a large number of thy troops, blew their conchs. Beholding all the troops flying away with their faces from the field, those (Pandava) heroes pursued and smote them like bulls pursuing vanquished bulls. Then the mighty Savyasaci, the son of Pandu, beholding a remnant of thy army still keeping their ground, became filled with rage, O king. Suddenly, O monarch, he shrouded that remnant of thy forces with arrows. The dust, however, that was then raised enveloped the scene, in consequence of which we could not see anything. Darkness also spread over the scene, and the field of battle was covered with arrows. Thy troops, O monarch, then fled away in fear on all sides. When his army was thus broken, the Kuru king, O monarch, rushed against both friends and foes. Then Duryodhana challenged all the Pandavas to battle, O chief of Bharata’s race, like the Asura Vali in days of yore challenging all the celestials. The Pandavas then, uniting together and filled with rage, upbraiding him repeatedly and shooting diverse weapons, rushed against the roaring Duryodhana. The latter, however, fearlessly smote his foes with shafts. The prowess that we then saw of thy son was exceedingly wonderful, since all the Pandavas together were unable to transgress him. At this time Duryodhana beheld, staying at a little distance from him, his troops, exceedingly mangled with shafts, and prepared to fly away. Rallying them then, O monarch, thy son, resolved on battle and desirous of gladdening them, addressed those warriors, saying, “I do not see that spot on plain or mountain whither, if you fly, the Pandavas will not slay you. What is the use then in flight? The Pandava army hath now been reduced to a small remnant. The two Krishnas have been exceedingly mangled. If all of us make a stand here, we are certain to have victory. If, however, you fly away, breaking your array, the Pandavas, pursuing your sinful selves, will slay all of you. Death in battle, therefore, is for our good. Death in the field of battle while engaged in fight according to Kshatriya practices is pleasant. Such death produces no kind of grief. By encountering such a death, a person enjoys eternal happiness in the other world. Let all the Kshatriyas assembled here listen to me. It were better that they should even submit to the power of the angry Bhimasena than that they should abandon the duties practised by them from the days of their ancestors. There is no act more sinful for a Kshatriya than flight from battle. You Kauravas, there is not a better path to heaven than the duty of battle. The warrior acquires in a day regions of bliss (in the other world) that take many long years for others to acquire.” Fulfilling those words of the king, the great Kshatriya car-warriors once more rushed against the Pandavas, unable to endure their defeat and firmly resolved to put forth their prowess. Then commenced a battle once more, that was exceedingly fierce, between thy troops and the enemy, and that resembled the one between the gods and the Asuras. Thy son Duryodhana then, O monarch, with all his troops, rushed against the Pandavas headed by Yudhishthira.’”

Section 4

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding the fallen boxes of cars, as also the cars of high-souled warriors, and the elephants and foot-soldiers, O sire, slain in battle, seeing the field of battle assume an aspect as awful as that of the sporting ground of Rudra, observing the inglorious end obtained by hundreds and thousands of kings, witnessing also the prowess of Partha after the retreat of thy son with grief-stricken heart and when thy troops, filled with anxiety and fallen into great distress, O Bharata, were deliberating as to what they should next do, hearing also the loud wails of the Kaurava warriors that were being crushed, and marking the displayed and disordered tokens of great kings, the Kuru leader Kripa of great energy, possessed of years and good conduct and filled with compassion, and endued with eloquence, approached king Duryodhana, and angrily said these words unto him, “O Duryodhana, listen, O Bharata, to these words that I will say unto thee. Having heard them, O monarch, do thou act according to them, O sinless one, if it pleases thee. There is no path, O monarch, that is better than the duty of battle. Having recourse to that path, Kshatriyas, O bull of the Kshatriya order, engage in battle. He who lives in the observance of Kshatriya practices fights with son, sire, brother, sister’s son, and maternal uncle, and relatives, and kinsmen. If he is slaughtered in battle, there is great merit in it. Similarly, there is great sin in it if he flies from the field. It is for this that the life of a person desirous of living by the adoption of Kshatriya duties is exceedingly terrible. Unto thee, as regards this, I will say a few beneficial words. After the fall of Bhishma and Drona and the mighty car-warrior Karna, after the slaughter of Jayadratha and thy brothers, O sinless one, and thy son Lakshmana, what is there now for us to do? They upon whom we had rested all burdens of sovereignty we had been enjoying, have all gone to regions of blessedness attainable by persons conversant with Brahma, casting off their bodies. As regards ourselves, deprived of those great car-warriors possessed of numerous accomplishments, we shall have to pass our time in grief, having caused numerous kings to perish. When all those heroes were alive, even then Vibhatsu could not be vanquished. Having Krishna, for his eyes, that mighty-armed hero is incapable of being defeated by the very gods. The vast (Kaurava) host, approaching his Ape-bearing standard that is lofty as an Indra’s pole (set up in the season of spring) and that is effulgent as Indra’s bow, hath always trembled in fear. At the leonine roars of Bhimasena and the blare of Panchajanya and the twang of Gandiva, our heart will die away within us. Moving like flashes of lightning, and blinding our eyes, Arjuna’s Gandiva is seen to resemble a circle of fire. Decked with pure gold, that formidable bow as it is shaken, looks lightning’s flash moving about on every side. Steeds white in hue and possessed of great speed and endued with the splendour of the Moon or the Kasa grass, and that run devouring the skies, are yoked unto his car. Urged on by Krishna, like the masses of clouds driven by the wind, and their limbs decked with gold, they bear Arjuna to battle. That foremost of all persons conversant with arms, Arjuna, burned that great force of thine like a swelling conflagration consuming dry grass in the forest in the season of winter. Possessed of the splendour of Indra himself, while penetrating into our ranks, we have seen Dhananjaya to look like an elephant with four tusks. While agitating thy army and inspiring the kings with fear, we have seen Dhananjaya to resemble an elephant agitating a lake overgrown with lotuses. While terrifying all the warriors with the twang of his bow, we have again seen the son of Pandu to resemble a lion inspiring smaller animals with dread. Those two foremost of bowmen in all the worlds, those two bulls among all persons armed with the bow, the two Krishnas, clad in mail, are looking exceedingly beautiful. Today is the seventeenth day of this awful battle, O Bharata, of those that are being slaughtered in the midst of this fight. The diverse divisions of thy army are broken and dispersed like autumnal clouds dispersed by the wind. Savyasaci, O monarch, caused thy army to tremble and reel like a tempest-tossed boat exposed on the bosom of the ocean. Where was the Suta’s son, where was Drona with all his followers, where was I, where wert thou, where was Hridika’s son, where thy brother Duhshasana accompanied by his brothers (when Jayadratha was slain)? Upon beholding Jayadratha and finding him within the range of his arrows, Arjuna, putting forth his process upon all thy kinsmen and brothers and allies and maternal uncles, and placing his feet upon their heads, slew king Jayadratha in the very sight of all. What then is there for us to do now? Who is there among thy troops now that would vanquish the son of Pandu? That high-souled warrior possesses diverse kinds of celestial weapons. The twang, again, of Gandiva robbeth us of our energies. This army of thine that is now without a leader is like a night without the Moon, or like a river that is dried up with all the trees on its banks broken by elephants. The mighty-armed Arjuna of white steeds will, at his pleasure, career amid this thy masterless host, like a blazing conflagration amid a heap of grass. The impetuosity of those two, Satyaki and Bhimasena, would split all the mountains or dry up all the oceans. The words that Bhima spoke in the midst of the assembly have all been nearly accomplished by him, O monarch. That which remains unaccomplished will again be accomplished by him. While Karna was battling before it, the army of the Pandavas, difficult to be defeated, was vigorously protected by the wielder of Gandiva. You have done many foul wrongs, without any cause, unto the righteous Pandavas. The fruits of those acts have now come. For the sake of thy own objects thou hadst, with great care, mustered together a large force. That vast force, as also thyself, O bull of Bharata’s race, have fallen into great danger. Preserve thy own self now, for self is the refuge of everything. If the refuge is broken, O sire, everything inhering thereto is scattered on every side. He that is being weakened should seek peace by conciliation. He that is growing should make war. This is the policy taught by Brihaspati. We are now inferior to the sons of Pandu as regards the strength of our army. Therefore, O lord, I think, peace with the Pandavas is for our good. He that does not know what is for his good, or (knowing) disregards what is for his good, is soon divested of his kingdom and never obtains any good. If, by bowing unto king Yudhishthira sovereignty may still remain to us, even that would be for our good, and not, O king, to sustain through folly defeat (at the hands of the Pandavas). Yudhishthira is compassionate. At the request of Vichitravirya’s son and of Govinda, he will allow you to continue as king. Whatever Hrishikesa will say unto the victorious king Yudhishthira and Arjuna and Bhimasena, all of them will, without doubt, obey. Krishna will not, I think, be able to transgress the words of Dhritarashtra of Kuru’s race, nor will the son of Pandu be able to transgress those of Krishna. A cessation of hostilities with the sons of Pritha is what I consider to be for thy good. I do not say this unto thee from any mean motives nor for protecting my life. I say, O king, that which I regard to be beneficial. Thou wilt recollect these words when thou wilt be on the point of death (if thou neglectest them now).” Advanced in years, Kripa the son of Saradwat said these words weepingly. Breathing long and hot breaths, he then gave way to sorrow and almost lost his senses.’”

Section 5

“Sanjaya said, ‘Thus addressed by the celebrated grandson of Gotama, the king (Duryodhana), breathing long and hot breaths, remained silent, O monarch. Having reflected for a little while, the high-souled son of Dhritarashtra, that scorcher of foes, then said these words unto Saradwat’s son Kripa, “Whatever a friend should say, thou hast said unto me. Thou hast also, whilst battling, done everything for me, without caring for thy very life. The world has seen thee penetrate into the midst of the Pandava divisions and fight with the mighty car-warriors of the Pandavas endued with great energy. That which should be said by a friend hast been said by thee. Thy words, however, do not please me, like medicine that ill pleases the person that is on the point of death. These beneficial and excellent words, fraught with reason, that thou, O mighty-armed one, hast said do not seem acceptable to me, O foremost of Brahmanas. Deprived by us of his kingdom (on a former occasion), why will the son of Pandu repose his trust on us? That mighty king was once defeated by us at dice. Why will he again believe my words? So also, Krishna, ever engaged in the good of the Parthas, when he came to us as an envoy, was deceived by us. That act of ours was exceedingly ill-judged. Why then, O regenerate one, will Hrishikesa trust my words? The princess Krishna, while standing in the midst of the assembly, wept piteously. Krishna will never forget that act of ours, nor that act, the deprivation of Yudhishthira by us of his kingdom. Formerly, it was heard by us that the two Krishnas have the same heart between them and are firmly united with each other. Today, O lord, we have seen it with our eyes. Having heard of the slaughter of his sister’s son, Keshava passeth his nights in sorrow. We have offended him highly. Why will he forgive us then? Arjuna also, in consequence of Abhimanyu’s death, hath become very miserable. Even if solicited, why will he strike for my good? The second son of Pandu, the mighty Bhimasena, is exceedingly fierce. He has made a terrible vow. He will break but not bend. The heroic twins, breathing animosity against us, when clad in mail and armed with their swords, resemble a pair of Yamas. Dhrishtadyumna and Shikhandi have drawn their swords against me. Why will those two, O best of Brahmanas, strive for my good? While clad in a single raiment and in her season, the princess Krishna was treated cruelly by Duhshasana in the midst of the assembly and before the eyes of all. Those scorchers of foes, the Pandavas, who still remember the naked Draupadi plunged into distress, can never be dissuaded from battle.

“‘“Then again, Krishna, the daughter of Drupada, is in sorrow, undergoing the austerest of penances for my destruction and the success of the objects cherished by her husbands, and sleepeth every day on the bare ground, intending to do so till the end of the hostilities is attained. Abandoning honour and pride, the uterine sister of Vasudeva (Subhadra) is always serving Draupadi as veritable waiting woman. Everything, therefore, hath flamed up. That fire can never be quenched. Peace with them hath become impossible in consequence of the slaughter of Abhimanyu. Having also enjoyed the sovereignty of this earth bounded by the ocean, how shall I be able to enjoy, under favour of the Pandavas, a kingdom in peace? Having shone like the Sun upon the heads of all the kings, how shall I walk behind Yudhishthira like a slave? Having enjoyed all enjoyable articles and shown great compassion, how shall I lead a miserable life now, with miserable men as my companions? I do not hate those mild and beneficial words that thou hast spoken. I, however, do not think that this is the time for peace. To fight righteously is, O scorcher of foes, what I regard to be good policy. This is not the time for acting like a eunuch. On the other hand, that is time for the battle. I have performed many sacrifices. I have given away Dakshinas to Brahmanas, I have obtained the attainment of all my wishes. I have listened to Vedic recitations. I have walked upon the heads of my foes. My servants have all been wellcherished by me. I have relieved people in distress. I dare not, O foremost of regenerate ones, address such humble words to the Pandavas. I have conquered foreign kingdoms. I have properly governed my own kingdom. I have enjoyed diverse kinds of enjoyable articles. Religion and profit and pleasure I have pursued. I have paid off my debt to the Pitris and to Kshatriya duty. Certainly, there is no happiness here. What becomes of kingdom, and what of good name? Fame is all that one should acquire here. That fame can be obtained by battle, and by no other means. The death that a Kshatriya meets with at home is censurable. Death on one’s bed at home is highly sinful. The man who casts away his body in the woods or in battle after having performed sacrifices, obtains great glory. He is no man who dies miserably weeping in pain, afflicted by disease and decay, in the midst of crying kinsmen. Abandoning diverse objects of enjoyment, I shall now, by righteous battle, proceed to the regions of Shakra, obtaining the companionship of those that have attained to the highest end. Without doubt, the habitation of heroes of righteous behaviour, who never retreat from battle, who are gifted with intelligence and devoted to truth, who are performers of sacrifices, and who have been sanctified in the sacrifice of weapons, is in heaven. The diverse tribes of Apsaras, without doubt, joyfully gaze at such heroes when engaged in battle. Without doubt, the Pitris behold them worshipped in the assembly of the gods and rejoicing in heaven, in the company of Apsaras. We will now ascend the path that is trod by the celestials and by heroes unreturning from battle, that path which has been taken by our venerable grandsire, by the preceptor endued with great intelligence, by Jayadratha, by Karna, and by Duhshasana. Many brave kings, who had exerted themselves vigorously for my sake in this battle, have been slain. Mangled with arrows and their limbs bathed in blood, they lie now on the bare Earth. Possessed of great courage and conversant with excellent weapons, those kings, who had, again, performed sacrifices as ordained in the scriptures, having cast off their life breaths in the discharge of their duties, have now become the denizens of Indra’s abode. They have paved the way (to that blessed region). That road will once more be difficult in consequence of the crowds of heroes that will hurry along it for reaching that blessed goal. Remembering with gratitude the feats of those heroes that have died for me, I desire to pay off the debt I owe them, instead of fixing my heart upon kingdom. If, having caused my friends and brothers and grandsires to be slain, I save my own life, the world will without doubt, censure me. What kind of sovereignty will that be which I will enjoy, destitute of kinsmen and friends and well-wishers, and bowing down unto the son of Pandu? I, who have lorded it over the universe in that way, will now acquire heaven by fair fight. It will not be otherwise.” Thus addressed by Duryodhana, all the Kshatriyas there applauded that speech and cheered the king, saying, “Excellent, Excellent.” Without at all grieving for their defeat, and firmly resolved upon displaying their prowess, all of them, being determined to fight, became filled with enthusiasm. Having groomed their animals, the Kauravas, delighting at the prospect of battle, took up their quarters (for the night) at a spot a little less than two Yojanas distant from the field. Having reached the Sarasvati of red waters on the sacred and beautiful table-land at the foot of Himavat, they bathed in that water and quenched their thirst with it. Their spirits raised by thy son, they continued to wait (on their resting ground). Once more rallying their own selves as well as one another, all those Kshatriyas, O king, urged by fate, waited (in their encampment).’”

Section 6

“Sanjaya said, ‘On that table land at the foot of Himavat, those warriors, O monarch, delighting at the prospect of battle and assembled together, passed the night. Indeed, Shalya and Chitrasena and the mighty car-warrior Shakuni and Ashvatthama and Kripa and Kritavarma of the Satwata race, and Sushena and Arishtasena and Dhritasena of great energy and Jayatsena and all these kings passed the night there. After the heroic Karna had been slain in battle, thy sons, inspired with fright by the Pandavas desirous of victory, failed to obtain peace anywhere else than on the mountains of Himavat. All of them then, O king, who were resolved on battle, duly worshipped the king and said unto him, in the presence of Shalya, these words, “It behoveth thee to fight with the enemy, after having made some one the generalissimo of thy army, protected by whom in battle we will vanquish our foes.” Then Duryodhana, without alighting from his car (proceeded towards) that foremost of car-warriors, that hero conversant with all the rules of battle (Ashvatthama), who resembled the Destroyer himself in battle. Possessed of beautiful limbs, of head well covered, of a neck adorned with three lines like those in a conch shell, of sweet speech, of eyes resembling the petals of a full blown lotus, and of a face like that of the dignity of Meru, resembling the bull of Mahadeva as regards neck, eyes, tread, and voice, endued with arms that were large, massive, and well-joined, having a chest that was broad and well-formed, equal unto Garuda or the wind in speed and might, gifted with a splendour like that of the rays of the Sun, rivalling Usanas himself in intelligence and the Moon in beauty and form and charms of face, with a body that seemed to be made of a number of golden lotuses, with well-made joints, of well-formed thighs and waist and hips, of beautiful fingers, and beautiful nails, he seemed to have been made by the Creator with care after collecting one after another all the beautiful and good attributes of creation. Possessed of every auspicious mark, and clever in every act, he was an ocean of learning. Ever vanquishing his foes with great speed, he was incapable of being forcibly vanquished by foes. He knew, in all its details, the science of weapons consisting of four padas and ten angas. He knew also the four Vedas with all their branches, and the Akhyanas as the fifth. Possessed of great ascetic merit, Drona, himself not born of woman, having worshipped the Three-eyed deity with great attention and austere vows, begat him upon a wife not born of woman. Approaching that personage of unrivalled feats, that one who is unrivalled in beauty on Earth, that one who has mastered all branches of learning, that ocean of accomplishments, that faultless Ashvatthama, thy son told him these words, “Thou, O preceptor’s son, art today our highest refuge. Tell us, therefore, who is to be the generalissimo of my forces now, placing whom at our head, all of us, united together, may vanquish the Pandavas?”

“’(Thus addressed), the son of Drona answered, “Let Shalya become the leader of our army. In descent, in prowess, in energy, in fame, in beauty of person, and in every other accomplishment, he is superior. Mindful of the services rendered to him, he has taken up our side, having abandoned the sons of his own sister. Owning a large force of his own, that mighty-armed one is like a second (Kartikeya, the) celestial generalissimo. Making that king the commander of our forces, O best of monarchs, we will be able to gain victory, like the gods, after making the unvanquished Skanda their commander.” After Drona’s son had said these words, all the kings stood, surrounding Shalya, and cried victory to him. Having made up their minds for battle, they felt great joy. Then Duryodhana, alighting from his car, joined his hands and addressing Shalya, that rival of Drona and Bhishma in battle, who was on his car, said these words, “O thou that art devoted to friends, that time has now come for thy friends when intelligent men examine persons in the guise of friends as to whether they are true friends or otherwise. Brave as thou art, be thou our generalissimo at the van of our army. When thou wilt proceed to battle, the Pandavas, with their friends, will become cheerless, and the Pancalas will be depressed.”

“‘Shalya answered, “I will, O king of the Kurus, accomplish that which thou askest me to accomplish. Everything I have--my life breath, my kingdom, my wealth--is at thy service.”

“‘Duryodhana said, “I solicit thee with offer of the leadership of my army, O maternal uncle. O foremost of warriors, protect us incomparably, even as Skanda protected the gods in battle. O foremost of kings, thyself cause thy own self to be installed in the command as Pavaka’s son Kartikeya in the command of (the forces of) the celestials. O hero, slay our foes in battle like Indra slaying the Danavas.”’”

Section 7

“Sanjaya said, ‘Hearing these words of the (Kuru) king, the valiant monarch (Shalya), O king, said these words unto Duryodhana in reply, “O mighty-armed Duryodhana, listen to me, O foremost of eloquent men. Thou regardest the two Krishnas, when on their car, to be the foremost of car-warriors. They are not, however, together equal to me in might of arms. What need I say of the Pandavas? When angry, I can fight, at the van of battle, with the whole world consisting of gods, Asuras, and men, risen up in arms. I will vanquish the assembled Parthas and the Somakas in battle. Without doubt, I will become the leader of thy troops. I will form such an array that our enemies will not be able to overmaster it. I say this to thee, O Duryodhana. There is no doubt in this.” Thus addressed (by Shalya), king Duryodhana cheerfully poured sanctified water, without losing any time, O best of the Bharatas, on the ruler of the Madras, in the midst of his troops, according to the rites ordained in the scriptures, O monarch. After Shalya had been invested with the command, loud leonine roars arose among thy troops and diverse musical instruments also, O Bharata, were beat and blown. The Kaurava warriors became very cheerful, as also the mighty car-warriors among the Madrakas. And all of them praised the royal Shalya, that ornament of battle, saying, “Victory to thee, O king. Long life to thee! Slay all the assembled foes! Having obtained the might of thy arms, let the Dhartarashtras endued with great strength, rule the wide Earth without a foe. Thou art capable of vanquishing in battle the three worlds consisting of the gods, the Asuras, what need be said of the Somakas and the Srinjayas that are mortal?” Thus praised, the mighty king of the Madrakas obtained great joy that is unattainable by persons of unrefined souls.

“‘Shalya said, “Today, O king, I will either slay all the Pancalas with the Pandavas in battle, or, slain by them, proceed to heaven. Let the world behold me today careering (on the field of battle) fearlessly. Today let all the sons of Pandu, and Vasudeva, and Satyaki, and the sons of Draupadi, and Dhrishtadyumna, and Shikhandi, and all the Prabhadrakas, behold my prowess and the great might of my bow, and my quickness, and the energy of my weapons, and the strength of my arms, in battle. Let the Parthas, and all the Siddhas, with the Charanas behold today the strength that is in my arms and the wealth of weapons I possess. Beholding my prowess today, let the mighty car-warriors of the Pandavas, desirous of counteracting it, adopt diverse courses of action. Today I will rout the troops of the Pandavas on all sides. Surpassing Drona and Bhishma and the Suta’s son, O lord, in battle, I will career on the field, O Kauravas, for doing what is agreeable to thee.”’

“Sanjaya continued, ‘After Shalya had been invested with the command, O giver of honours, no one among thy troops, O bull of Bharata’s race, any longer felt any grief on account of Karna. Indeed, the troops became cheerful and glad. They regarded the Parthas as already slain and brought under the power of the ruler of the Madras. Having obtained great joy, thy troops, O bull of Bharata’s race, slept that night happily and became very cheerful. Hearing those shouts of thy army, king Yudhishthira, addressing him of Vrishni’s race, said these words, in the hearing of all the Kshatriyas, “The ruler of the Madras, Shalya, that great bowman who is highly regarded by all the warriors hath, O Madhava, been made the leader of his forces by Dhritarashtra’s son. Knowing this that has happened, do, O Madhava, that which is beneficial. Thou art our leader and protector. Do that which should next be done.” Then Vasudeva, O monarch, said unto that king, “I know Artayani, O Bharata, truly. Endued with prowess and great energy, he is highly illustrious. He is accomplished, conversant with all the modes of warfare, and possessed of great lightness of hand. I think that the ruler of the Madras is in battle equal to Bhishma or Drona or Karna, or perhaps, superior to them. I do not, O ruler of men, even upon reflection, find the warrior who may be a match for Shalya while engaged in fight. In battle, he is superior in might to Shikhandi and Arjuna and Bhima and Satyaki and Dhrishtadyumna, O Bharata. The king of the Madras, O monarch, endued with the prowess of a lion or an elephant, will career fearlessly in battle like the Destroyer himself in wrath amongst creatures at the time of the universal destruction. I do not behold a match for him in battle save thee, O tiger among men, that art possessed of prowess equal to that of a tiger. Save thee there is no other person in either heaven or the whole of this world, who, O son of Kuru’s race, would be able to slay the ruler of the Madras while excited with wrath in battle. Day after day engaged in fight, he agitates thy troops. For this, slay Shalya in battle, like Maghavat slaying Samvara. Treated with honour by Dhritarashtra’s son, that hero is invincible in battle. Upon the fall of the ruler of the Madras in battle, thou art certain to have victory. Upon his slaughter, the vast Dhartarashtra host will be slain. Hearing, O monarch, these words of mine now, proceed, O Partha, against that mighty car-warrior, the ruler of the Madras. Slay that warrior, O thou of mighty arms, like Vasava slaying the Asura Namuchi. There is no need of showing any compassion here, thinking that this one is thy maternal uncle. Keeping the duties of a Kshatriya before thee, slay the ruler of the Madras. Having crossed the fathomless oceans represented by Bhishma and Drona and Karna, do not sink, with thy followers, in the print of a cow’s hoof represented by Shalya. Display in battle the whole of thy ascetic power and thy Kshatriya energy. Slay that car-warrior.” Having said these words, Keshava, that slayer of hostile heroes, proceeded to his tent in the evening, worshipped by the Pandavas. After Keshava had gone, king Yudhishthira the just, dismissing all his brothers and the Somakas, happily slept that night, like an elephant from whose body the darts have been plucked out. All those great bowmen of the Pancalas and Pandavas, delighted in consequence of the fall of Karna, slept that night happily. Its fever dispelled, the army of the Pandavas, abounding with great bowmen and mighty car-warriors having reached the shore as it were, became very happy that night, in consequence of the victory, O sire, it had won by the slaughter of Karna.’”

Section 8

“Sanjaya said, ‘After that night had passed away, king Duryodhana then, addressing all thy soldiers, said, “Arm, you mighty car-warriors!” Hearing the command of the king, the warriors began to put on their armour. Some began to yoke their steeds to their cars quickly, others ran hither and thither. The elephants began to be equipped. The foot-soldiers began to arm. Others, numbering thousands, began to spread carpets on the terraces of cars. The noise of musical instruments, O monarch, arose there, for enhancing the martial enthusiasm of the soldiers. Then all the troops, placed in their proper posts, were seen, O Bharata, to stand, clad in mail and resolved to make death their goal. Having made the ruler of the Madras their leader, the great car-warriors of the Kauravas, distributing their troops, stood in divisions. Then all thy warriors, with Kripa and Kritavarma and Drona’s son and Shalya and Subala’s son and the other kings that were yet alive, met thy son, and arrived at this understanding, that none of them would individually and alone fight with the Pandavas. And they said, “He amongst us that will fight, alone and unsupported, with the Pandavas, or he that will abandon a comrade engaged in fight, will be stained with the five grave sins and all the minor sins.” And they said, “All of us, united together, will fight with the foe.” Those great car-warriors, having made such an understanding with one another placed the ruler of the Madras at their head and quickly proceeded against their foes. Similarly, all the Pandavas, having arrayed their troops in great battle, proceeded against the Kauravas, O king, for fighting with them on every side. Soon, O chief of the Bharatas, that host, whose noise resembled that of the agitated ocean, and which seemed to be wonderful in consequence of its cars and elephants, presented the aspect of the vast deep swelling with its surges.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘I have heard of the fall of Drona, of Bhishma and of the son of Radha. Tell me now of the fall of Shalya and of my son. How, indeed, O Sanjaya, was Shalya slain by king Yudhishthira the just? And how was my son Duryodhana slain by Bhimasena of great might?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Hear, O king, with patience, of the destruction of human bodies and the loss of elephants and steeds, as I describe (to thee) the battle. The hope became strong, O king, in the breasts of thy sons that, after Drona and Bhishma and the Suta’s son had been overthrown, Shalya, O sire, would slay all the Parthas in battle. Cherishing that hope in his heart, and drawing comfort from it, O Bharata, thy son Duryodhana, relying in battle upon that mighty car-warrior, the ruler of the Madras, regarded himself as possessed of a protector. When after Karna’s fall the Parthas had uttered leonine roars, a great fear, O king, had possessed the hearts of the Dhartarashtras. Assuring him duly, the valiant king of the Madras, having formed, O monarch, a grand array whose arrangements were auspicious in every respect, proceeded against the Parthas in battle. And the valiant king of the Madras proceeded, shaking his beautiful and exceedingly strong bow capable of imparting a great velocity to the shafts sped from it. And that mighty car-warrior was mounted upon the foremost of vehicles, having horses of the Sindhu breed yoked unto it. Riding upon his car, his driver made the vehicle look resplendent. Protected by that car, that hero, that brave crusher of foes (Shalya), stood, O monarch, dispelling the fears of thy sons. The king of the Madras, clad in mail, proceeded at the head of the array, accompanied by the brave Madrakas and the invincible sons of Karna. On the left was Kritavarma, surrounded by the Trigartas. On the right was Gautama (Kripa) with the Sakas and the Yavanas. In the rear was Ashvatthama surrounded by the Kambojas. In the centre was Duryodhana, protected by the foremost of the Kuru warriors. Surrounded by a large force of cavalry and other troops, Subala’s son Shakuni, as also the mighty car-warrior Uluka, proceeded with the others. The mighty bowmen amongst the Pandavas, those chastisers of foes, dividing themselves, O monarch, into three bodies, rushed against thy troops. Dhrishtadyumna and Shikhandi and the mighty car-warrior Satyaki proceeded with great speed against the army of Shalya. Then king Yudhishthira, accompanied by his troops, rushed against Shalya alone, from desire of slaughtering him, O bull of Bharata’s race. Arjuna, that slayer of large bands of foes, rushed with great speed against that great bowman Kritavarma and the Samsaptakas. Bhimasena and the great car-warriors among the Somakas rushed, O monarch, against Kripa, desirous of slaughtering their foes in battle. The two sons of Madri, accompanied by their troops, proceeded against Shakuni and the great car-warrior Uluka at the head of their forces. Similarly, thousands upon thousands of warriors of thy army, armed with diverse weapons and filled with rage, proceeded against the Pandavas in that battle.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘After the fall of the mighty bowmen Bhishma and Drona and the great car-warrior Karna, and after both the Kurus and the Pandavas had been reduced in numbers, and when, indeed, the Parthas, possessed of great prowess, became once more angry in battle, what, O Sanjaya, was the strength of each of the armies?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Hear, O king, how we and the enemy both stood for battle on that occasion and what was then the strength of the two armies. 11,000 cars, O bull of Bharata’s race, 10,700 elephants, and full 200,000 horses, and three millions of foot, composed the strength of thy army. 6,000 cars, 6,000 elephants, 10,000 horses, and one million of foot, O Bharata, were all that composed the remnant of the Pandava force in the battle. These, O bull of Bharata’s race, encountered each other for battle. Having distributed their forces in this way, O monarch, ourselves, excited with wrath and inspired with desire of victory, proceeded against the Pandavas, having placed ourselves under the command of the ruler of the Madras. Similar, the brave Pandavas, those tigers among men, desirous of victory, and the Pancalas possessed of great fame, came to battle. Even thus, O monarch, all those tigers among men, desirous of slaughtering their foes, encountered one another at dawn of day, O lord. Then commenced a fierce and terrible battle between thy troops and the enemy, the combatants being all engaged in striking and slaughtering one another.’”

Section 9

“Sanjaya said, ‘Then commenced the battle between the Kurus and the Srinjayas, O monarch, that was as fierce and awful as the battle between the gods and the Asuras. Men and crowds of cars and elephants, and elephant-warriors and horsemen by thousands, and steeds, all possessed of great prowess, encountered one another. The loud noise of rushing elephants of fearful forms was then heard there resembling the roars of the clouds in the welkin, in the season of rains. Some car-warriors, struck by elephants, were deprived of their cars. Routed by those infuriate animals other brave combatants ran on the field. Well-trained car-warriors, O Bharata, with their shafts, despatched large bodies of cavalry and the footmen that urged and protected the elephants, to the other world. Well-trained horsemen, O king, surrounding great car-warriors, careered on the field, striking and slaying the latter with spears and darts and swords. Some combatants armed with bows, encompassing great car-warriors, despatched them to Yama’s abode, the many unitedly battling against individual ones. Other great car-warriors, encompassing elephants and foremost warriors of their own class, slew some mighty one amongst that fought on the field, careering all around. Similarly, O king, elephants, encompassing individual car-warriors excited with wrath and scattering showers of shafts, despatched them to the other world. Elephant-warrior rushing against elephant-warrior and car-warrior against car-warrior in that battle slew each other with darts and lances and cloth-yard shafts, O Bharata. Cars and elephants and horses, crushing foot-soldiers in the midst of battle, were seen to make confusion worse confounded. Adorned with yak-tails, steeds rushed on all sides, looking like the swans found on the plains at the foot of Himavat. They rushed with such speed that they seemed ready to devour the very Earth. The field, O monarch, indented with the hoofs of those steeds, looked beautiful like a beautiful woman bearing the marks of (her lover’s) nails on her person. With the noise made by the tread of heroes, the wheels of cars, the shouts of foot-soldiers, the grunts of elephants, the peal of drums and other musical instruments, and the blare of conchs, the Earth began to resound as if with deafening peals of thunder. In consequence of twanging bows and flashing sabres and the glaring armour of the combatants, all became so confused there, that nothing could be distinctly marked. Invulnerable arms, lopped off from human bodies, and looking like the tusks of elephants, jumped up and writhed and moved furiously about. The sound made, O monarch, by heads falling on the field of battle, resembled that made by the falling fruits of palmyra trees. Strewn with those fallen heads that were crimson with blood, the Earth looked resplendent as if adorned with gold-coloured lotuses in their season. Indeed, with those lifeless heads with upturned eyes, that were exceedingly mangled (with shafts and other weapons), the field of battle, O king, looked resplendent as if strewn with full blown lotuses. With the fallen arms of the combatants, smeared with sandal and adorned with costly Keyuras, the earth looked bright as if strewn with the gorgeous poles set up in Indra’s honour. The field of battle became covered with the thighs of kings, cut off in that battle and looking like the tapering trunks of elephants. Teeming with hundreds of headless trunk and strewn with umbrellas and yak-tails, that vast army looked beautiful like a flowering forest. Then, on the field of battle, O monarch, warriors careered fearlessly, their limbs bathed in blood and therefore looking like flowering Kinsukas. Elephants also, afflicted with arrows and lances, fell down here and there like broken clouds dropped from the skies. Elephant divisions, O monarch, slaughtered by high-souled warriors, dispersed in all directions like wind-tossed clouds. Those elephants, looking like clouds, fell down on the Earth, like mountains riven with thunder, O lord, on the occasion of the dissolution of the world at the end of the Yuga. Heaps upon heaps, looking like mountains, were seen, lying on the ground, of fallen steeds with their riders. A river appeared on the field of battle, flowing towards the other world. Blood formed its waters and cars its eddies. Standards formed its trees, and bones its pebbles. The arms (of combatants) were its alligators, bows its current, elephants its large rocks, and steeds its smaller ones. Fat and marrow formed its mire, umbrellas its swans, and maces its rafts. Abounding with armour and head-gears, banners constituted its beautiful trees. Teeming with wheels that formed its swarms of Chakravakas, it was covered with Trivenus and Dandas. Inspiring the brave with delight and enhancing the fears of the timid, that fierce river set in, whose shores abounded with Kurus and Srinjayas. Those brave warriors, with arms resembling spiked bludgeons, by the aid of their vehicles and animals serving the purposes of rafts and boats, crossed that awful river which ran towards the region of the dead. During the progress of that battle, O monarch, in which no consideration was shown by anybody for anyone, and which, fraught with awful destruction of the four kinds of forces, therefore, resembled the battle between the gods and the Asuras in days of old, some among the combatants, O scorcher of foes, loudly called upon their kinsmen and friends. Some, called upon by crying kinsmen, returned, afflicted with fear. During the progress of that fierce and awful battle, Arjuna and Bhimasena stupefied their foes. That vast host of thine, O ruler of men, thus slaughtered, swooned away on the field, like a woman under the influence of liquor. Having stupefied that army, Bhimasena and Dhananjaya blew their conchs and uttered leonine roars. As soon as they heard that loud peal, Dhrishtadyumna and Shikhandi, placing king Yudhishthira at their head, rushed against the ruler of the Madras. Exceedingly wonderful and terrible, O monarch, was the manner in which those heroes, unitedly and as separate bodies, then fought with Shalya. The two sons of Madri, endued with great activity, accomplished in weapons, and invincible in battle, proceeded with great speed against thy host, inspired with desire of victory. Then thy army, O bull of Bharata’s race, mangled in diverse ways with shafts by the Pandavas eager for victory, began to fly away from the field. That host, thus struck and broken by firm bowmen, O monarch, fled away on all sides in the very sight of thy sons. Loud cries of “Oh!” and “Alas!” O Bharata, arose from among thy warriors, while some illustrious Kshatriyas among the routed combatants, desirous of victory, cried out saying, “Stop, stop!” For all that, those troops of thine, broken by the Pandavas, fled away, deserting on the field their dear sons and brothers and maternal, uncles and sister’s sons and relatives by marriage and other kinsmen. Urging their steeds and elephants to greater speed, thousands of warriors fled away, O bull of Bharata’s race, bent only upon their own safety.’”

Section 10

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding the army broken, the valiant king of the Madras, addressed his driver, saying, “Quickly urge these steeds endued with the fleetness of thought. Yonder stays king Yudhishthira, the son of Pandu, looking resplendent with the umbrella held over his head. Take me thither with speed, O driver, and witness my might. The Parthas are unable to stand before me in battle.” Thus addressed, the driver of the Madra king proceeded to that spot where stood king Yudhishthira the just of true aim. Shalya fell suddenly upon the mighty host of the Pandavas. Alone, he checked it like the continent checking the surging sea. Indeed, the large force of the Pandavas, coming against Shalya, O sire, stood still in that battle, like the rushing sea upon encountering a mountain. Beholding the ruler of the Madras standing for battle on the field, the Kauravas returned, making death their goal. After they had returned, O king, and separately taken up their positions in well-formed array, an awful battle set in, in which blood flowed freely like water.

“‘The invincible Nakula encountered Chitrasena. These two heroes, both of whom were excellent bowmen, approaching, drenched each other with showers of arrows in that battle, like two pouring clouds risen in the welkin on the south and the north. I could not mark any difference between the son of Pandu and his antagonist. Both of them were accomplished in weapons, both endued with might, and both conversant with the practices of car-warriors. Each bent upon slaying the other, they carefully looked for each other’s lapses. Then Chitrasena, O monarch, with a broad-headed shaft, well-tempered and sharp, cut off Nakula’s bow at the handle. Fearlessly then the son of Karna struck the bowless Nakula at the forehead with three shafts equipped with wings of gold and whetted on stone. With a few other keen arrows he then despatched Nakula’s steeds to Yama’s abode. Next, he felled both the standard and the driver of his antagonist, each with three arrows. With those three arrows sped from the arms of his foe sticking to his fore-head, Nakula, O king, looked beautiful like a mountain with three crests. Deprived of his bow and his cars, the brave Nakula, taking up a sword, jumped down from his vehicle like a lion from a mountain-summit. As, however, he rushed on foot, his antagonist poured a shower of arrows upon him. Possessed of active prowess, Nakula received that arrowy shower on his shield. Getting at the car then of Chitrasena, the mighty-armed hero, the son of Pandu, conversant with all modes of warfare and incapable of being tired with exertion, ascended it in the very sight of all the troops. The son of Pandu then cut off from Chitrasena’s trunk his diadem-decked head adorned with ear-rings, and graced with a beautiful nose and a pair of large eyes. At this, Chitrasena, endued with the splendour of the sun, fell down on the terrace of his car. Beholding Chitrasena slain, all the great car-warriors there uttered loud cries of praise and many leonine roars. Meanwhile, the two sons of Karna, Sushena and Satyasena, both of whom were great car-warriors, beholding their brother slain, shot showers of keen shafts. Those foremost of car-warriors rushed with speed against the son of Pandu like a couple of tigers, O king, in the deep forest rushing against an elephant from desire of slaying him. Both of them poured their keen shafts upon the mighty car-warrior Nakula. Indeed, as they poured those shafts, they resembled two masses of clouds pouring rain in torrents. Though pierced with arrows all over, the valiant and heroic son of Pandu cheerfully took up another bow after ascending on another car, and stood in battle like the Destroyer himself in rage. Then those two brothers, O monarch, with their straight shafts, cut off Nakula’s car into fragments. Then Nakula, laughing, smote the four steeds of Satyasena with four whetted and keen shafts in that encounter. Aiming a long shaft equipped with wings of gold, the son of Pandu then cut off, O monarch, the bow of Satyasena. At this, the latter, mounting on another car and taking up another bow, as also his brother Sushena, rushed against the son of Pandu. The valiant son of Madri fearlessly pierced each of them, O monarch, with couple of shafts at the van of battle. Then the mighty car-warrior Sushena, filled with wrath, cut off in that battle, laughing the while, the formidable bow of Pandu’s son with a razor-headed arrow. Then Nakula, insensate with rage, took up another bow and pierced Sushena with five arrows and struck his standard with one. Without losing a moment, he then cut off the bow and the leathern fence of Satyasena also, O sire, at which all the troops there uttered a loud shout. Satyasena, taking up another foe-slaying bow that was capable of bearing a great strain, shrouded the son of Pandu with arrows from every side. Baffling those arrows, Nakula, that slayer of hostile heroes, pierced each of his antagonists with a couple of shafts. Each of the latter separately pierced the son of Pandu in return with many straight-coursing shaft. Next they pierced Nakula’s driver also with many keen shafts. The valiant Satyasena then, endued with great lightness of hand, cut off without his brother’s help the shafts of Nakula’s car and his bow with a couple of arrows. The Atiratha Nakula, however, staying on his car, took up a dart equipped with a golden handle and a very keen point, and steeped in oil and exceedingly bright. It resembled, O lord, a she-snake of virulent poison, frequently darting out her tongue. Raising that weapon he hurled it at Satyasena in that encounter. That dart, O king, pierced the heart of Satyasena in that battle and reduced it into a hundred fragments. Deprived of his senses and life, he fell down upon the Earth from his car. Beholding his brother slain, Sushena, insensate with rage, suddenly made Nakula carless in that battle. Without losing a moment, he poured his arrows over the son of Pandu fighting on foot. Seeing Nakula carless, the mighty car-warrior Sutasoma, the son of Draupadi, rushed to that spot for rescuing his sire in battle. Mounting then upon the car of Sutasoma, Nakula, that hero of Bharata’s race, looked beautiful like a lion upon a mountain. Then taking up another bow, he fought with Sushena. Those two great car-warriors, approaching each other, and shooting showers of arrows, endeavoured to encompass each other’s destruction. Then Sushena, filled with rage, struck the son of Pandu with three shafts and Sutasoma with twenty in the arms and the chest. At this, the impetuous Nakula, O monarch, that slayer of hostile heroes, covered all the points of the compass with arrows. Then taking up a sharp shaft endued with great energy and equipped with a semi-circular head, Nakula sped it with great force at Karna’s son in that battle. With that arrow, O best of kings, the son of Pandu cut off from Sushena’s trunk the latter’s head in the very sight of all the troops. That feat seemed exceedingly wonderful. Thus slain by the illustrious Nakula, Karna’s son fell down like a lofty tree on the bank of a river thrown down by the current of the stream. Beholding the slaughter of Karna’s sons and the prowess of Nakula, thy army, O bull of Bharata’s race, fled away in fear. Their commander, however, the brave and valiant ruler of the Madras, that chastiser of foes, then protected, O monarch, those troops in that battle. Rallying his host, O king, Shalya stood fearlessly in battle, uttering loud leonine roars and causing his bow to twang fiercely. Then thy troops, O king, protected in battle by that firm bowman, cheerfully proceeded against the foe once more from every side. Those high-souled warriors, surrounding that great bowman, the ruler of the Madras, stood, O king, desirous of battling on every side. Then Satyaki, and Bhimasena, and those two Pandavas, the twin sons of Madri, placing that chastiser of foes and abode of modesty, Yudhishthira, at their head, and surrounding him on all sides in that battle, uttered leonine roars. And those heroes also caused a loud whizz with the arrows they shot and frequently indulged in diverse kinds of shouts. Smilingly, all thy warriors, filled with rage, speedily encompassed the ruler of the Madras and stood from desire of battle. Then commenced a battle, inspiring the timid with fear, between thy soldiers and the enemy, both of whom made death their goal. That battle between fearless combatants, enhancing the population of Yama’s kingdom, resembled, O monarch, that between the gods and the Asuras in days of yore. Then the ape-bannered son of Pandu, O king, having slaughtered the Samsaptakas in battle, rushed against that portion of the Kaurava army. Smiling, all the Pandavas, headed by Dhrishtadyumna, rushed against the same division, shooting showers of keen arrows. Overwhelmed by the Pandavas, the Kaurava host became stupefied. Indeed, those divisions then could not discern the cardinal point from the subsidiary points of the compass. Covered with keen arrows sped by the Pandavas, the Kaurava army, deprived of its foremost warriors, wavered and broke on all sides. Indeed, O Kaurava, that host of thine began to be slaughtered by the mighty car-warriors of the Pandavas. Similarly, the Pandava host, O king, began to be slaughtered in hundreds and thousands in that battle by thy sons on every side with their arrows. While the two armies, exceedingly excited, were thus slaughtering each other, they became much agitated like two streams in the season of rains. During the progress of that dreadful battle, O monarch, a great fear entered the hearts of thy warriors as also those of the Pandavas.’”

Section 11

Sanjaya said, “When the troops, slaughtered by one another, were thus agitated, when many of the warriors fled away and the elephants began to utter loud cries, when the foot-soldiers in that dreadful battle began to shout and wail aloud, when the steeds, O king, ran in diverse directions, when the carnage became awful, when a terrible destruction set in of all embodied creatures, when weapons of various kinds fell or clashed with one another, when cars and elephants began to be mangled together, when heroes felt great delight and cowards felt their fears enhanced, when combatants encountered one another from desire of slaughter, on that awful occasion of the destruction of life, during the progress of that dreadful sport, that is, of that awful battle that enhanced the population of Yama’s kingdom, the Pandavas slaughtered thy troops with keen shafts, and, after the same manner, thy troops slew those of the Pandavas.

During that battle inspiring the timid with terror, indeed, during the progress of the battle as it was fought on that morning about the hour of sunrise, the Pandava heroes of good aim, protected by the high-souled Yudhishthira, fought with thy forces, making death itself their goal. The Kuru army, O thou of the race of Kuru, encountering the proud Pandavas endued with great strength, skilled in smiting, and possessed of sureness of aim, became weakened and agitated like a herd of she-deer frightened at a forest conflagration.

Beholding that army weakened and helpless like a cow sunk in mire, Shalya, desirous of rescuing it, proceeded against the Pandava army. Filled with rage, the ruler of the Madras, taking up an excellent bow, rushed for battle against the Pandava foes. The Pandavas also, O monarch, in that encounter, inspired with desire of victory, proceeded against the ruler of the Madras and pierced him with keen shafts. Then the ruler of the Madras, possessed of great strength, afflicted that host with showers of keen arrows in the very sight of king Yudhishthira the just.

At that time diverse portents appeared to the view. The Earth herself, with her mountains, trembled, making a loud noise. Meteors, with keen points bright as those of lances equipped with handles, piercing the air, fell upon the Earth from the firmament. Deer and buffaloes and birds, O monarch, in large numbers, placed thy army to their right, O king. The planets Venus and Mars, in conjunction with Mercury, appeared at the rear of the Pandavas and to the front of all the (Kaurava) lords of Earth. Blazing flames seemed to issue from the points of weapons, dazzling the eyes (of the warriors). Crows and owls in large numbers perched upon the heads of the combatants and on the tops of their standards. Then a fierce battle took place between the Kaurava and the Pandava combatants, assembled together in large bodies. Then, O king, the Kauravas, mustering all their divisions, rushed against the Pandava army. Of soul incapable of being depressed, Shalya then poured dense showers of arrows on Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti like the thousand-eyed Indra pouring rain in torrents. Possessed of great strength, he pierced Bhimasena, and the five sons of Draupadi and Dhristadyumna, the two sons of Madri by Pandu, and the grandson of Sini, and Shikhandi also, each with ten arrows equipped with wings of gold and whetted on stone. Indeed, he began to pour his arrows like Maghavat (Indra) pouring rain at the close of the summer season. Then the Prabhadrakas, O king, and the Somakas, were seen felled or falling by thousands, in consequence of Shalya’s arrows. Multitudinous as swarms of bees or flights of locusts, the shafts of Shalya were seen to fall like thunderbolts from the clouds. Elephants and steeds and foot-soldiers and car-warriors, afflicted with Shalya’s arrows, fell down or wandered or uttered loud wails. Infuriate with rage and prowess, the ruler of the Madras shrouded his foes in that battle like Destroyer at the end of the Yuga. The mighty ruler of the Madras began to roar aloud like the clouds. The Pandava army, thus slaughtered by Shalya, ran towards Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti (for protection). Possessed of great lightness of hand, Shalya, having in that battle crushed them with whetted arrows, began to afflict Yudhishthira with a dense shower of shafts. Beholding Shalya impetuously rushing towards him with horsemen and foot-soldiers, king Yudhishthira, filled with wrath, checked him with keen shafts, even as an infuriate elephant is checked with iron-hooks. Then Shalya sped a terrible arrow at Yudhishthira that resembled a snake of virulent poison. Piercing through the high-souled son of Kunti, that arrow quickly fell down upon the Earth. Then Vrikodara, filled with wrath, pierced Shalya with seven arrows, and Sahadeva pierced him with five, and Nakula with ten. The (five) sons of Draupadi poured upon that foe-slaying hero, the impetuous Artayani (Shalya), showers of arrows like a mass of clouds pouring rain upon a mountain. Beholding Shalya struck by the Parthas on every side, both Kritavarma and Kripa rushed in wrath towards that spot. Uluka also of mighty energy, and Shakuni the son of Subala, and the mighty car-warrior Ashvatthama with smiles on his lips, and all thy sons protected Shalya by every means in that battle. Piercing Bhimasena with three arrows, Kritavarma, shooting a dense shower of shafts, checked that warrior who then seemed to be the embodiment of wrath. Excited with rage, Kripa struck Dhrishtadyumna with many arrows. Shakuni proceeded against the sons of Draupadi, and Ashvatthama against the twins. That foremost of warriors, Duryodhana, possessed of fierce energy, proceeded, in that battle, against Keshava and Arjuna, and endued with might, he struck them both with many arrows. Thus hundreds of combats, O monarch, that were fierce and beautiful, took place between thy men and the enemy, on diverse parts of the field. The chief of the Bhojas then slew the brown steeds of Bhimasena’s car in that encounter. The steedless son of Pandu, alighting from his car, began to fight with his mace, like the Destroyer himself with his uplifted bludgeon. The ruler of the Madras then slew the steeds of Sahadeva before his eyes. Then Sahadeva slew Shalya’s son with his sword. The preceptor Gautama (Kripa) once more fearlessly fought with Dhrishtadyumna, both exerting themselves with great care. The preceptor’s son Ashvatthama, without much wrath and as if smiling in that battle, pierced each of the five heroic sons of Draupadi with ten arrows. Once more the steeds of Bhimasena were slain in that battle. The steedless son of Pandu, quickly alighting from his car, took up his mace like the Destroyer taking his bludgeon. Excited with wrath, that mighty hero crushed the steeds and the car of Kritavarma. Jumping down from his vehicle, Kritavarma then fled away. Shalya also, excited with rage, O king, slaughtered many Somakas and Pandavas, and once more afflicted Yudhishthira with many keen shafts. Then the valiant Bhima, biting his nether lip, and infuriate with rage, took up his mace in that battle, and aimed it at Shalya for the latter’s destruction. Resembling the very bludgeon of Yama, impending (upon the head of the foe) like kala-ratri (Death Night), exceedingly destructive of the lives of elephants and steeds and human beings, twined round with cloth of gold, looking like a blazing meteor, equipped with a sling, fierce as a she-snake, hard as thunder, and made wholly of iron, smeared with sandal-paste and other unguents like a desirable lady, smutted with marrow and fat and blood, resembling the very tongue of Yama, producing shrill sounds in consequence of the bells attached to it, like unto the thunder of Indra, resembling in shape a snake of virulent poison just freed from its slough, drenched with the juicy secretions of elephants, inspiring hostile troops with terror and friendly troops with joy, celebrated in the world of men, and capable of riving mountain summits, that mace, with which the mighty son of Kunti had in Kailasa challenged the enraged Lord of Alaka, the friend of Maheshvara, that weapon with which Bhima, though resisted by many, had in wrath slain a large number of proud Guhyakas endued with powers of illusion on the breasts of Gandhamadana for the sake of procuring Mandara flowers for doing what was agreeable to Draupadi, uplifting that mace which was rich with diamonds and jewels and gems and possessed of eight sides and celebrated as Indra’s thunder, the mighty-armed son of Pandu now rushed against Shalya. With that mace of awful sound, Bhima, skilled in battle, crushed the four steeds of Shalya that were possessed of great fleetness. Then the heroic Shalya, excited with wrath in that battle, hurled a lance at the broad chest of Bhima and uttered a loud shout. That lance, piercing through the armour of Pandu’s son, presented into his body. Vrikodara, however, fearlessly plucking out the weapon, pierced therewith the driver of Shalya in the chest. His vitals pierced, the driver, vomiting blood, fell down with agitated heart. At this, the ruler of the Madras came down from his car and cheerlessly gazed at Bhima. Beholding his own feat thus counteracted, Shalya became filled with wonder. Of tranquil soul, the ruler of the Madras took up his mace and began to cast his glances upon his foe. Beholding that terrible feat of his in battle, the Parthas, with cheerful hearts, worshipped Bhima who was incapable of being tired with exertion.’”

Section 12

“Sanjaya said, ‘Seeing his driver fallen, Shalya, O king, quickly took up his mace made wholly of iron and stood immovable as a bull. Bhima, however, armed with his mighty mace, rushed impetuously towards Shalya who then looked like the blazing Yuga-fire, or the Destroyer armed with the noose, or the Kailasa mountain with its formidable crest, or Vasava with his thunder, or Mahadeva with his trident, or an infuriate elephant in the forest. At that time the blare of thousands of conchs and trumpets and loud leonine roars arose there, enhancing the delight of heroes. The combatants of both armies, looking at those two foremost of warriors from every side, applauded them both, saying, “Excellent, Excellent! Save the ruler of the Madras, or Rama, that delighter of the Yadus, there is none else that can venture to endure the impetuosity of Bhima in battle. Similarly, save Bhima, there is no other warrior that can venture to endure the force of the mace of the illustrious king of the Madras in battle.” Those two combatants then, Vrikodara and the ruler of the Madras, roaring like bulls, careered in circles, frequently jumping up in the air. In that encounter between those two lions among men, no difference could be noticed between them either in respect of their careering in circles or of their wielding the mace. The mace of Shalya, wrapped round with a resplendent cloth of gold that looked like a sheet of fire, inspired the spectators with dread. Similarly, the mace of the high-souled Bhima, as the latter careered in circles, looked like lightning in the midst of the clouds. Struck by the ruler of the Madras with his mace, the mace of Bhima, O king, produced sparks of fire in the welkin which thereupon seemed to be ablaze. Similarly, struck by Bhima with his mace, the mace of Shalya produced a shower of blazing coals which seemed exceedingly wonderful. Like two gigantic elephants striking each other with their tusks, or two huge bulls striking each other with their horns, those two heroes began to strike each other with their foremost of maces, like a couple of combatants striking each other with iron bound clubs. Their limbs being struck with each other’s mace, they soon became bathed in blood and looked handsomer in consequence like two flowering Kinsukas. Struck by the ruler of the Madras on both his left and right, the mighty-armed Bhimasena stood immovable like a mountain. Similarly, though struck repeatedly with the force of Bhima’s mace, Shalya, O king, moved not, like a mountain assailed by an elephant with his tusks. The noise made by the blows of the maces of those two lions among men was heard on all sides like successive peals of thunder. Having ceased for a moment, those two warriors of great energy once more began, with uplifted maces, to career in closer circles. Once more the clash took place between those two warriors of superhuman feats, each having advanced towards the other by eight steps, and each assailing the other with his uplifted iron club. Then, wishing to get at each other, they once more careered in circles. Both accomplished (in the use of the mace) they began to display their superiority of skill. Uplifting their terrible weapons, they then again struck each other like mountains striking each other with their crests at the time of an earthquake. Exceedingly crushed with each other’s mace in consequence of each other’s strength, both those heroes fell down at the same time like a couple of poles set up for Indra’s worship. The brave combatants then of both armies, at that sight, uttered cries of “Oh!” and “Alas!” Struck with great force in their vital limbs, both of them had become exceedingly agitated. Then the mighty Kripa, taking up Shalya, that bull among the Madras, on his own car, quickly bore him away from the field of battle. Within, however, the twinkling of an eye, Bhimasena, rising up, and still reeling as if drunk, challenged, with uplifted mace, the ruler of the Madras. Then the heroic warriors of thy army, armed with diverse weapons, fought with the Pandavas, causing diverse musical instruments to be blown and beat. With uplifted arms and weapons and making a loud noise, O monarch, thy warriors headed by Duryodhana rushed against the Pandavas. Beholding the Kaurava host, the sons of Pandu, with leonine roars, rushed against those warriors headed by Duryodhana. Then thy son, O bull of Bharata’s race, singling out Chekitana amongst those rushing heroes, pierced him deeply with a lance in the chest. Thus assailed by thy son, Chekitana fell down on the terrace of his car, covered with blood, and overcome with a deep swoon. Beholding Chekitana slain, the great car-warriors among the Pandavas incessantly poured their arrowy showers (upon the Kauravas). Indeed, the Pandavas, inspired with desire of victory, O monarch, careered beautifully on all sides amongst thy divisions. Kripa, and Kritavarma, and the mighty son of Subala, placing the ruler of the Madras before them, fought with king Yudhishthira the just. Duryodhana, O monarch, fought with Dhrishtadyumna, the slayer of Bharadwaja’s son, that hero endued with abundant energy and prowess. 3,000 cars, O king, despatched by thy son and headed by Drona’s son, battled with Vijaya (Arjuna). All those combatants, O king, had firmly resolved to win victory and had cast off fear with life itself. Indeed, O king, thy warriors penetrated into the midst of the Pandava army like swans into a large lake. A fierce battle then took place between the Kurus and the Pandavas, the combatants being actuated with the desire of slaughtering one another and deriving great pleasure from giving and receiving blows. During the progress, O king, of that battle which was destructive of great heroes, an earthly dust, terrible to behold, was raised by the wind. From only the names we heard (of the Pandava warriors) that were uttered in course of that battle and from those (of the Kuru warriors) that were uttered by the Pandavas, we knew the combatants that fought with one another fearlessly. That dust, however, O tiger among men, was soon dispelled by the blood that was shed, and all the points of the compass became once more clear when that dusty darkness was driven away. Indeed, during the progress of that terrible and awful battle, no one among either thy warriors or those of the foe, turned his back. Desirous of attaining to the regions of Brahman and longing for victory by fair fight, the combatants displayed their prowess, inspired with the hope of heaven. For paying off the debt they owed to their masters on account of the sustenance granted by the latter, or firmly resolved to accomplish the objects of their friends and allies, the warriors, with hearts fixed on heaven, fought with one another on that occasion. Shooting and hurling weapons of diverse kinds, great car-warriors roared at or smote one another. “Slay, pierce, seize, strike, cut off!” These were the words that were heard in that battle, uttered by the warriors and those of the foe. Then Shalya, O monarch, desirous of slaying him, pierced king Yudhishthira the just, that mighty car-warrior with many sharp arrows. Conversant with what are the vital limbs of the body, the son of Pritha, however, O monarch, with the greatest ease, struck the ruler of the Madras with four and ten cloth-yard shafts, aiming at the latter’s vital limbs. Resisting the son of Pandu with his shafts, Shalya of great fame, filled with rage and desirous of slaying his adversary, pierced him in that battle with innumerable arrows equipped with Kanka feathers. Once more, O monarch, he struck Yudhishthira with a straight shaft in the very sight of all the troops. King Yudhishthira the just, possessed of great fame and filled with rage, pierced the ruler of the Madras with many keen arrows equipped with feathers of Kankas and peacocks. The mighty car-warrior then pierced Candrasena with seventy arrows and Shalya’s driver with nine, and Drumasena with four and sixty. When the two protectors of his car-wheels were (thus) slain by the high-souled son of Pandu, Shalya, O king, slew five and twenty warriors among the Cedis. And he pierced Satyaki with five and twenty keen arrows, and Bhimasena with seven, and the two sons of Madri with a hundred, in that battle. While Shalya was thus careering in that battle, that best of kings, the son of Pritha, sped at him many shafts that resembled snakes of virulent poison. With a broad-headed arrow, Yudhishthira the son of Kunti then cut off from his car the standard top of his adversary as the latter stood in his front. We saw the standard of Shalya, which was thus cut off by the son of Pandu in that great battle, fall down like a riven mountain summit. Seeing his standard fallen and observing the son of Pandu standing before him, the ruler of the Madras became filled with rage and shot showers of shafts. That bull amongst Kshatriyas, Shalya of immeasurable soul, poured over the Kshatriyas in that battle dense showers of arrows like the deity of the clouds pouring torrents of rain. Piercing Satyaki and Bhimasena and the twin sons of Madri by Pandu, each with five arrows, he afflicted Yudhishthira greatly. We then, O monarch, beheld a net of arrows spread before the chest of Pandu’s son like a mass of risen clouds. The mighty car-warrior Shalya, in that battle, filled with rage, shrouded Yudhishthira with straight shafts. At this, king Yudhishthira afflicted with those showers of shafts, felt himself deprived of his prowess, even as the Asura Jambha had become before the slayer of Vritra.’”

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