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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa

SECTION LXI
“Vaisampayana said, ‘Having defeated Vikartana’s son, Arjuna said unto the son of Virata, ‘Take me towards that division where yonder device of a golden palmyra is seen. There our grandfather, Santanu’s son, like unto a celestial, waiteth, desirous of an encounter with me.’ Thereupon, beholding that mighty host thronged with cars and horses and elephants, Uttara, sorely pierced with arrows, said, ‘O hero, I am no longer able to guide thy excellent steeds. My spirits droop and my mind is exceedingly bewildered. All the directions seem to be whirling before my eyes in consequence of the energy of the celestial weapons used by thee and the Kurus. I have been deprived of my senses by the stench of fat and blood and flesh. Beholding all this, from terror my mind is, as it were, cleft in twain. Never before had I beheld such a muster of horses in battle. And at the flapping of fences, and the blare of conchs, the leonine roars made by the warriors and the shrieks of elephants, and the twang of the Gandiva resembling the thunder, I have, O hero, been so stupefied that I have been deprived of both hearing and memory. And, O hero, beholding thee incessantly drawing to a circle, in course of the conflict, the Gandiva which resembleth a circle of fire, my sight faileth me and my heart is rent asunder.

And seeing thy fierce form in battle, like that of the wielder of the Pinaka while inflamed with wrath, and looking also at the terrible arrows shot by thee, I am filled with fear. I fail to see when thou takest up thy excellent arrows, when thou fixest them on the bow-string, and when thou lettest them off. And though all this is done before my eyes, yet, deprived of my senses, I do not see it. My spirits are drooping and earth itself seems to be swimming before me. I have no strength to hold the whip and the reins.’ Hearing these words, Arjuna said, ‘Do thou not fear. Assure thyself. Thou also hast, on the field of battle performed, O bull among men, wonderful feats. Blessed be thou, thou art a prince and born in the illustrious line of Matsyas. It behoveth thee not to feel dispirited in chastising thy foes. Therefore, O prince, stationed on my car, muster all thy fortitude and hold the reins of my steeds, O slayer of foes, when I once more become engaged in battle.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Having said this unto Virata’s son, that best of men and foremost of car-warriors, the mighty-armed Arjuna, again addressed the son of Virata, saying. ‘Take me without delay to the van of Bhishma’s division. I will cut off his very bow-string in the battle. Thou shalt behold today the celestial weapons of blazing beauty, shot by me, look like flashes of lightning disporting amid the clouds in the sky. The Kauravas shall behold the gold decked back of my Gandiva today, and assembled together the foe shall dispute, saying,–By which hand of his, the right or the left, doth he should? And I shall cause a dreadful river (of death) to flow today towards the other world with blood for its waters and cars for its eddies, and elephants for its crocodiles. I shall today, with my straight arrows, extirpate the Kuru forest having hands and feet and heads and backs and arms for the branches of its trees. Alone, bow in hand, vanquishing the Kuru host, a hundred paths shall open before me like those of a forest in conflagration. Struck by me thou shalt today behold the Kuru army moving round and round like a wheel (unable to fly off the field). I shall show thee today my excellent training in arrows and weapons. Stay thou on my car firmly, whether the ground be smooth or uneven.

I can pierce with my winged arrows even the mountain of Sumeru that stands touching the very heavens. I slew of old, at Indra’s command, hundreds and thousands of Paulomas and Kalakhanjas in battle. I have obtained my firmness of grasp from Indra, and my lightness of hand from Brahman, and I have learnt various modes of fierce attack and defence amid crowds of foes from Prajapati. I vanquished, on the other side of the great ocean, sixty thousands of car-warriors–all fierce archers–residing in Hiranyapura. Behold, now I defeat the multitudinous host of the Kurus like a tempest scattering a heap of cotton. With my fiery arrows I shall today set the Kuru-forest to fire, having banners for its trees, the foot-soldiers for its shrubs, and the car-warriors for its beasts of prey. Like unto the wielder of the thunderbolt overthrowing the Danavas, alone I shall, with my straight arrows, bring down from the chambers of their cars the mighty warrior of the Kuru army stationed therein and struggling in the conflict to the best of their power. I have obtained from Rudra the Raudra, from Varuna the Varuna from Agni the Agneya, from the god of Wind the Vayava, and from Sakra the thunderbolt and other weapons. I shall certainly exterminate the fierce Dhartarashtra-forest though protected by many leonine warriors. Therefore, O Virata’s son, let thy fears be dispelled.’


“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Thus assured by Savyasachin, the son of Virata penetrated into that fierce array of cars protected by Bhishma. The son of Ganga, however, of fierce deeds, cheerfully withstood the mighty-armed hero advancing from desire of vanquishing the heroes in battle. Jishnu, then, confronting Bhishma, cut off his standard clean off at the roots by shooting a gold-decked arrow pierced by which it fell to the ground. And at this, four mighty warriors, Dussasana and Vikarna and Dussaha and Vivingsati, skilled in weapons and endued with great energy, and all decked with handsome garlands and ornaments, rushed towards that terrible bowman. And advancing towards Vibhatsu–that fierce archer, these all encompassed him around.

Then the heroic Dussasana pierced the son of Virata with a crescent-shaped arrow and he pierced Arjuna with another arrow in the breast. And Jishnu, confronting Dussasana, cut off by means of a sharp-edged arrow furnished with vulturine wings his adversary’s bow plaited with gold, and then pierced his person in the breast by means of five arrows. And afflicted by the arrows of Partha. Dussasana fled, leaving the combat. Then Vikarna, the son of Dhritarashtra, pierced Arjuna–that slayer of hostile heroes, by means of sharp and straight arrows furnished with vulturine wings. But the son of Kunti within a moment hit him also in the forehead with straight shafts. And pierced by Arjuna, he fell down from his car. And at this, Dussaha, supported by Vivingsati, covered Arjuna with a cloud of sharp arrows, impelled by the desire of rescuing his brother. Dhananjaya, however, without the least anxiety, pierced both of them almost at the same instant by means of couple of keen-edged arrows and then slew the steeds of both. And there upon, both those sons of Dhritarashtra, deprived of their steeds and their bodies mangled were taken away by the warrior behind them who had rushed forward with other cars. Then the unvanquished Vibhatsu, the mighty son of Kunti, decked with diadem and sure of aim, simultaneously attacked all sides with his arrows.’”

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