Mahabharata (English)

by Kisari Mohan Ganguli | 2,566,952 words | ISBN-10: 8121505933

The English translation of the Mahabharata is a large text describing ancient India. It is authored by Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa and contains the records of ancient humans. Also, it documents the fate of the Kauravas and the Pandavas family. Another part of the large contents, deal with many philosophical dialogues such as the goals of life. Book...

Section XLV

Sanjaya said,

"On the forenoon of that awful day, O king, the terrible battle that mangled the bodies of (so many) kings commenced. And the loud shouts, resembling leonine roars of the Kurus and the Srinjayas, both desirous of victory in battle, made both the welkin and the earth resound therewith. And a tumultuous uproar was heard mingled with the flaps of leathern fences and the blare of conches. And many were the leonine roars that rose there of men shouting against one another. And, O bull of Bharata’s race, the sound of bowstrings stretched by (hands cased in) fences, the heavy tread of infantry, the furious neigh of chargers, the falling of sticks and iron hooks (on the beads of elephants), the clash of weapons, the jingle of bells of elephants rushing against one another, and the clatter of cars resembling the roar of clouds, mingled together, produced a loud uproar making one’s hair stand on end.

And all the Kuru warriors, reckless of their very lives and with cruel intentions, rushed, with standards upraised, against the Pandavas. And Santanu’s son himself, taking up a terrible bow that resembled the rod of Death, rushed, O king, on the field of battle, against Dhananjaya. And Arjuna also, endued with great energy, taking up the bow Gandiva celebrated overall the world, rushed, on the field of battle, against Ganga’s son. And both those tigers among the Kurus became desirous of slaying each other. The mighty son of Ganga however, piercing in battle the son of Pritha could not make him waver.

And so, O king, the son of Pandu also could not make Bhishma waver in battle. And the mighty bowman Satyaki rushed against Kritavarman. And the battle between these two was fierce in the extreme and made the hair (of onlookers) stand on end. And Satyaki afflicted Kritavarman, and Kritavarman afflicted Satyaki, with loud shouts and each weakened the other. And pierced all over with arrows those mighty warriors shone like two blossoming Kinsukas in spring adorned with flowers. And the mighty bowman Abhimanyu battled with Vrihadvala. Soon, however, in that encounter, O king, the ruler of Kosala cut off the standard and overthrew the charioteer of Subhadra’s son. The son of Subhadra then upon the overthrow of his charioteer, was filled with wrath and pierced Vrihadvala, O king, with nine shafts, and with a couple of sharp arrows that grinder of foes also cut off (Vrihadvala’s) standard, and with one (more) cut off one of the protectors of his car-wheels and with the other his charioteer.[1] And those chastisers of foes continued to weaken each other with sharp arrows. And Bhimasena struggled in battle with your son Duryodhana, that mighty car-warrior, proud and inflated, who had injured (the sons of Pandu). Both of those foremost (princes) among the Kurus, are tigers among men and mighty car-warriors. And they covered each other, on the field of battle, with their arrowy showers.

And beholding those high-souled and accomplished warriors conversant with all modes of warfare, all creatures were filled with amazement of Bharata. And Dussasana, rushing against that mighty car-warrior Nakula, pierced him with many sharp arrows capable of penetrating into the very vitals. The son of Madri, then, laughing the while, cut off, with sharp arrows (of his), adversary’s standard and bow, and then he struck him with five and twenty small-headed arrows. Your son, however, then, who can with difficulty be vanquished, slew in that fierce encounter the steeds of Nakula and cut off his standard. And Durmukha rushing against the mighty Sahadeva battling in that terrific encounter, pierced him with a shower of arrows. The heroic Sahadeva then, in that fearful battle, overthrew Durmukha’s charioteer with an arrow of great sharpness. Both of them, irrepressible in fight, approaching each other in combat, and each attacking the other and desirous of warding off the other’s attack, began to strike terror into each other with terrible shafts. And king Yudhishthira himself encountered the ruler of the Madras. The chief of the Madras then in his very sight cut off in twain Yudhishthira’s bow. Thereupon the son of Kunti, throwing aside that broken bow, took up another that was stronger and capable of imparting a greater velocity.

The king then, with straight arrows, covered the ruler of the Madras, and in great wrath said, 'wait, wait'. And Dhrishtadyumna, O Bharata rushed against Drona. And Drona, then, in great wrath, cut off in that encounter the hard bow of the high-souled prince of Pancala that was capable of always taking the lives of foes. And at the same time he shot in that conflict a terrible arrow that was like a second rod of Death. And the arrow shot penetrated the body of the prince. Taking up then another bow and fourteen arrows, the son of Drupada pierced Drona in that encounter. And enraged with each other, they battled on fiercely. And the impetuous Sankha encountered Somadatta’s son who was equally impetuous in battle and addressed him, O king, saying 'wait, wait'. And that hero then pierced his (adversary’s) right arm in that combat.

And thereupon the son of Somadatta struck Sankha on the shoulders. And the battle that ensued between those two proud heroes, O king, soon became as terrible as a combat between the gods and the Danavas. And that mighty car-warrior Dhrishtaketu of immeasurable soul, with wrath excited, rushed in battle, O king, against Valhika, the very embodiment of wrath. Valhika, then, O king, setting up a leonine roar, weakened the wrathful Dhrishtaketu with innumerable arrows.

The king of the Chedis, however, exceedingly provoked, quickly pierced Valhika in that encounter with nine arrows. Like an infuriate elephant against an infuriate elephant, in that combat they roared against each other repeatedly, both exceedingly enraged. And they encountered each other with great wrath and looked like the planets Angaraka and Sukra.[2] And Ghatotkacha of cruel deeds encountered the Rakshasa Alamvusha of cruel deeds like Sakra (encountering) Vala in battle. And Ghatotkacha, O Bharata, pierced that infuriate and powerful Rakshasa with ninety keen-edged shafts. And Alamvusha also in that combat pierced the mighty son of Bhimasena in many places with straight arrows (of his). And mangled with arrows they shone in that encounter like the mighty Sakra and the powerful Vala in the combat (of old) between the celestials and the Asuras.

The powerful Sikhandin, O king, rushed against Drona’s son, Asvatthaman, however deeply piercing the angry Sikhandin stationed (before him) with a keen-edged shaft, caused him to tremble, Sikhandin also, O king, smote Drona’s son with a sharp-whetted shaft of excellent temper. And they continued in that encounter to strike each other with various kinds of arrows. And against the heroic Bhagadatta in battle, Virata, the commander of a large division, rushed impetuously, O king, and then commenced (their) combat. Virata, exceedingly provoked, poured on Bhagadatta an arrowy shower like, O Bharata, the clouds showering rain on the mountain breast. But Bhagadatta, that lord of the earth, speedily enveloped Virata in that encounter (with arrows) like the clouds enveloping the risen sun. Kripa, the son of Saradvat, rushed against Vrihadkshatra, the ruler of the Kaikeyas. And Kripa, O Bharata, enveloped him with a shower of arrows. Vrihadkshatra also shrouded the infuriate son of Gautama with an arrowy downpour.

And those warriors, then, having slain each other’s steeds and cut off each other’s bows, were both deprived of their cars. And exceedingly enraged, they then approached each other for fighting with their swords. And the combat which then took place between them was terrible in aspect and unparalleled. That chastiser of foes, king Drupada, then, in great wrath rushed against Jayadratha, the ruler of the Sindhus, cheerfully waiting (for battle).

The ruler of the Sindhus pierced Drupada in that combat with three shafts, and Drupada pierced him in return. And the battle that took place between them was terrible and fierce, and productive of satisfaction in the hearts of all the spectators and resembling a conflict between the planets Sukra and Angaraka. And Vikarna, son to you, with fleet steeds, rushed against the mighty Sutasoma and the combat between them commenced. Vikarna, however, although he pierced Sutasoma with many arrows, failed to make him waver. Neither could Sutasoma make Vikarna waver. And that appeared wonderful (to all). And against Susarman, that mighty car-warrior and tiger among men, viz., Chekitana of great prowess, rushed in exceeding wrath for the sake of the Pandavas. And Susarman also, O great king, in that encounter checked the advance of that mighty car-warrior Chekitana with plentiful shower of arrows. And Chekitana also, greatly provoked, showered on Susarman, in that terrible conflict, a shower of arrows like a mighty mass of clouds showering rain on the mountain breast. And Sakuni, endued with great prowess, rushed, O king, against Prativindhya[3] of great prowess, like a lion against an infuriate elephant.

Thereupon the son of Yudhishthira, in exceeding wrath, mangled Suvala’s son in that combat, with sharp arrows, like Maghavat[4] (mangling) a Danava. And Sakuni also, in that fierce conflict, pierced Prativindhya in return and mangled that warrior of great intelligence with straight arrows. And Srutakarman rushed in battle, O great king, against that mighty car-warrior Sudakshina of great prowess, the ruler of the Kamvojas. Sudakshina, however, O great king, piercing that mighty car-warrior, viz., the son of Sahadeva, failed to make him waver (for he stood) like the Mainaka mountain (against the assaults of Indra).

Thereupon Srutakarman, exceedingly provoked, weakened that mighty car-warrior of the Kamvojas with innumerable arrows and mangled him in every part of his body. And Iravan, that chastiser of foes, in great wrath and exerting carefully, rushed in battle against the wrathful Srutayush. The powerful son of Arjuna, that mighty car-warrior, then slaying the steeds of his adversary, set up a loud roar, and thereupon, O king, all the warriors (who saw the feat) praised him greatly. And Srutasena also, exceedingly provoked, slew in that conflict the steeds of Phalguni’s son with a powerful mace, and the battle between them continued. And Vinda and Anuvinda, those two princes of Avanti, approached in battle that mighty car-warrior the heroic Kuntibhoja at the head of his troops accompanied by his son.

And wonderful was the prowess we beheld of those two princes on that occasion, for they fought on very cooly though battling with a large body of troops. And Anuvinda hurled a mace at Kuntibhoja, but Kuntibhoja quickly covered him with a shower of arrows. And the son of Kuntibhoja pierced Vinda with many arrows, and the latter also pierced him in return. And the combat (between them) looked very wonderful. And the Kekaya brothers, O sire, at the head of their troops, encountered in battle the five Gandhara princes with their troops. And your son Viravahu battled with that best of car-warriors Uttara, the son of Virata and pierced him with nine arrows. And Uttara also pierced that hero with sharp-edged arrows.

And the ruler of the Chedis, O king, rushed in battle against Uluka. And he pierced Uluka with a shower of arrows, and Uluka also pierced him with sharp arrows furnished with excellent wing. And the combat that took place between them, O king, was fierce in the extreme, for unable to vanquish each other, they mangled each other terribly. And thus in that general engagement thousands of single combats took place between men on car, warriors on elephants and horsemen, and foot-soldiers, of their side and thine. For a short while only that engagement offered a beautiful sight. Soon, however, O king, it became furious and nothing could be discovered.

In the battle (that ensued) elephants rushed against elephants, car-warriors against car-warriors, steed against steed and foot-soldier against foot-soldier. The conflict then became confused and fierce in the extreme, of heroes rushing against each other in the melee. And the celestial Rishi, and Siddhas and Charanas, that were present there, beheld that terrific battle to resemble the combat of the gods and the Asuras. And elephants in thousands, and cars also in thousands, and vast bodies of infantry, O sire, seemed to alter their character.[5] And, O tiger among men, it was seen that cars and elephants and steeds and infantry fought with each other repeatedly on the same places.[6]

Footnotes and references:


With two Bhallas Abhimanyu cut off his adversary’s standard; with one, one of the protectors of his car-wheels: and with another, his charioteer. Thus Nilakantha. A Parshni is altogether a different person from a Sarathi. Hence Nilakantha is assuredly right.


'Angaraka' is the planet Mars, and 'Sukra' i.e. Venus.


Prativindhya was Yudhishthira’s son by Draupadi.


Maghavat is Indra, the chief of the celestials.


The word used in the original is Viparitam lit. contrary. The sense seems to be that car men fought on foot, cavalry soldiers on elephants, warriors on elephants from horseback, &c. The very character of the forces was altered.


i.e., though repulsed, these frequently rallied, and occupied the same ground as before.


This concludes Section XLV of Book 6 (Bhishma Parva) of the Mahabharata, of which an English translation is presented on this page. This book is famous as one of the Itihasa, similair in content to the eighteen Puranas. Book 6 is one of the eighteen books comprising roughly 100,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

FAQ (frequently asked questions):

Which keywords occur in Section XLV of Book 6 of the Mahabharata?

The most relevant definitions are: Bharata, Drona, Drupada, Kuru, Kuntibhoja, Virata; since these occur the most in Book 6, Section XLV. There are a total of 81 unique keywords found in this section mentioned 159 times.

What is the name of the Parva containing Section XLV of Book 6?

Section XLV is part of the Bhagavat-Gita Parva which itself is a sub-section of Book 6 (Bhishma Parva). The Bhagavat-Gita Parva contains a total of 112 sections while Book 6 contains a total of 3 such Parvas.

Can I buy a print edition of Section XLV as contained in Book 6?

Yes! The print edition of the Mahabharata contains the English translation of Section XLV of Book 6 and can be bought on the main page. The author is Kisari Mohan Ganguli and the latest edition (including Section XLV) is from 2012.

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