by Kisari Mohan Ganguli | 1,056,585 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...
And addressing Vasava in the midst of battle, he said these words,
'Without doubt, the high-souled Vidura of great wisdom had before seen (with his mind’s eye) this awful destruction of the Kurus and the Pandavas. It was for this that he forbade king Dhritarashtra. In this battle, O slayer of Madhu, many other heroes have been slain by the Kaurava and many amongst the Kauravas have similarly been slain by ourselves. O best of men, for the sake of wealth vile acts are being done.
Fie upon that wealth for the sake of which such slaughter of kinsmen is being perpetrated. For him that has no wealth, even death would be better than the acquisition of wealth by the slaughter of kinsmen. What, O Krishna, shall we gain by slaying our assembled kinsmen? Alas, for Duryodhana’s, fault, and also of Sakuni the son of Suvala, as also through the evil counsels of Karna, the Kshatriya race is being exterminated, O slayer of Madhu, I now understand, O mighty-armed one, that the king acted wisely by begging of Suyodhana only half the kingdom, or, instead, only five villages.
Alas, even that was not granted by that wicked-souled wight. Beholding so many brave Kshatriyas lying (dead) on the field of battle, I censure myself, (saying) fie upon the profession of a Kshatriya. The Kshatriyas will regard me powerless in battle. For this alone, I am battling. Else, O slayer of Madhu, this battle with kinsmen is distasteful to me. Urge the steeds on with speed towards the Dhartarashtra army, I will, with my two arms, reach the other shore of this ocean of battle that is so difficult to cross. There is no time, O Madhava, to lose in action'.
Thus addressed by Partha, Kesava, that slayer of hostile heroes, urged those steeds of white hue endued with the speed of the wind. Then, O Bharata, loud was the noise that was heard among your troops, resembling that of the ocean itself at full tide when agitated by the tempest.
In the afternoon, O king, the battle that ensued between Bhishma and the Pandavas was marked by noise that resembled the roar of the clouds. Then, O king, your sons, surrounding Drona like the Vasus surrounding Vasava, rushed in the battle against Bhimasena. Then Santanu’s son, Bhishma, and that foremost of car-warriors, viz., Kripa, and Bhagadatta, and Susarman, all went towards Dhananjaya. And Hridika’s son (Kritavarman) and Valhika rushed towards Satyaki. And king Amvashta placed himself before Abhimanyu. And other great car-warriors, O king, encountered other great car-warriors. Then commenced a fierce battle that was terrible to behold. Bhimasena then, I O king, beholding your sons, blazed up with wrath in that battle, like fire with (a libation of) clarified butter. Your sons, however, O monarch, covered that son of Kunti with their arrows like the clouds drenching the mountain-breast in the season of rains. While being (thus) covered in diverse ways by your sons, O king, that hero, possessed of the activity of the tiger, licked the corners of his mouth.
Then, O Bharata, Bhima felled Vyudoroska with a sharp horse-shoe-headed arrow. Thereupon that son of thine was deprived of life. With another broad-headed arrow, well-tempered and sharp, he then felled Kundalin like a lion overthrowing a smaller animal. Then, O sire, getting your (other) sons (within reach of his arrows), he took up a number of shafts, sharp and well-tempered, and with careful aim speedily shot these at them. Those shafts, sped by that strong bowman, viz., Bhimasena, felled your sons, those mighty car-warriors, from their vehicles. (These sons of thine that were thus slain were) Anadhriti, and Kundabhedin, and Virata, and Dirghalocana, and Dirghavahu, and Suvahu, and Kanykadhyaja. While falling down (from their cars), O bull of Bharata’s race, those heroes looked resplendent like falling mango trees variegated with blossoms in the spring. Then your other sons, O monarch, fled away, regarding the mighty Bhimasena as Death himself.
Then like the clouds pouring torrents of rain on the mountain breast, Drona in that battle covered with arrows from every side that hero who was thus consuming your sons. The prowess that we then beheld of Kunti’s son was exceedingly wonderful, for though held in check by Drona, he still slew your sons. Indeed, as a bull bears a shower of rain falling from above. Bhima cheerfully bore that shower of arrows shot by Drona. Wonderful, O monarch, was the feat that Vrikodara achieved there, for he slew your sons in that battle and resisted Drona the while. Indeed, the elder brother of Arjuna sported amongst those heroic sons o thine, like a mighty tiger, O king, among a herd of deer. As a wolf, staying in the midst of a herd of deer, would chase and frighten those animals, so did Vrikodara, in that battle chase and frighten your sons.
"Meanwhile, Ganga’s son, and Bhagadatta, and that mighty car-warrior, viz., Gautama, began to resist Arjuna, that impetuous son of Pandu. That Atiratha, baffling with his weapons the weapons of those adversaries of his in that battle, despatched many prominent heroes of your army to the abode of Death. Abhimanyu also, with his shafts, deprived that renowned and foremost of car-warriors, viz., king Amvashta, of his car. Deprived of his car and about to be slain by the celebrated son of Subhadra, that king quickly jumped down from his car in shame, and hurled his sword in that battle at the high-souled Abhimanyu. Then, that mighty monarch got up on the car of Hridika’s son, conversant with all movements in battle, Subhadra’s son, that slayer of hostile heroes, beholding that sword coursing towards him, baffled it by the celerity of his movements.
Seeing that sword thus baffled in that battle by Subhadra’s son, loud cries of 'well done' 'well done' were, O king, heard among the troops.
Other warriors headed by Dhrishtadyumna battled with your troops, while your troops, also, all battled with those of the Pandavas. Then, O Bharata, fierce was the engagement that took place between thine and theirs, that combatants smiting one another with great force and achieving the most difficult feats. Brave combatants, O sire, seizing one another by the hair, fought using their nails and teeth, and fists and knees, and palms and swords, and their well-proportioned arms. And seizing one another’s laches, they despatched one another to the abode of Yama. Sire slew son, and son slew sire. Indeed, the combatants fought with one another, using every limb of theirs. Beautiful bows with golden staves, O Bharata, loosened from the grasp of slain warriors, and costly ornaments, and sharp shafts furnished with wings of pure gold or silver and washed with oil, looked resplendent (as they lay scattered on the field), the latter resembling, in particular, snakes that had cast off their slough.
And swords furnished with ivory handles decked with gold, and the shield also of bowmen, variegated with gold, lay on the field, loosened from their grasp. Bearded darts and axes and swords and javelins, all decked with gold, beautiful coats of mail, and heavy and short bludgeons, and spiked clubs, and battle-axes, and short arrows, O sire, and elephants' housings of diverse shapes, and yak tails, and fans, lay scattered on the field. And mighty car-warriors lay on the field with diverse kinds of weapons in their hands or beside them, and looking alive, though the breath of life had gone.
And men lay on the field with limbs shattered with maces and heads smashed with clubs, or crushed by elephants, steeds, and cars. And the earth, strewn in many places with the bodies of slain steeds, men, and elephants, looked beautiful, O king, as if strewn with hills. And the field of battle lay covered with fallen darts and swords and arrows and lances and scimitars and axes and bearded darts and iron crows and battle-axes, and spiked clubs and short arrows and Sataghnis and bodies mangled with weapons.
And, O slayer of foes, covered with blood, warriors lay prostrate on the field, some deprived of life and therefore, in the silence of death, and others uttering low moans. And the earth, strewn with those bodies, presented a variegated sight. And strewn with the arms of strong warriors smeared with sandal paste and decked with leathern fences and bracelets, with tapering thighs resembling the trunks of elephants, and with fallen heads, graced with gems attached to turbans and with earrings of large-eyed combatants, O Bharata, the earth assumed a beautiful sight. And the field of battle, overspread with blood, dyed coats of mail and golden ornaments of many kinds, looked exceedingly beautiful as if with (scattered) fires of mild flames. And with ornaments of diverse kinds fallen off from their places, with bows lying about, with arrows of golden wings scattered around, with many broken cars adorned with rows of bells, with many slain steeds scattered about covered with blood and with their tongues protruding, with bottoms of cars, standards, quivers, and banners, with gigantic conches, belonging to great heroes, of milky whiteness lying about, and with trunkless elephants lying prostrate, the earth looked beautiful like a damsel adorned with diverse kinds of ornaments. And there, with other elephants pierced with lances and in great agony, and frequently uttering low moans with their trunks, the field of battle looked beautiful as if with moving hills.
With blankets of diverse hue, and housings of elephants, with beautiful hooks falling about having handles decked with stones of lapis lazuli, with bells lying about that had adorned gigantic elephants, with clean and variegated cloths as also skins of the Ranku deer, with beautiful neck-chains of elephants, with gold-decked girths, with broken engines of diverse kinds, with bearded darts decked with gold, with embroidered housings of steeds, embrowned with dust, with the lopped off arms of cavalry soldiers, decked with bracelets and lying about, with polished and sharp lances and bright swords, with variegated head-gears fallen off (from heads) and scattered about, with beautiful crescent-shaped arrows decked with gold, with housings of steeds, with skins of the Ranku deer, torn and crushed, with beautiful and costly gems that decked the head-gears of kings, with their umbrellas lying about and yak tails and fans, with faces, bright as the lotus or the moon, of heroic warriors, decked with beautiful ear-rings and graced with well-cut beards, lying about and radiant with other ornaments of gold, the earth looked like the firmament besmangled with planets and stars.
Thus, O Bharata, the two armies, viz., thine and theirs, encountering each other in battle, crushed each other. And after the combatants had been fatigued, routed, and crushed, O Bharata, dark night set in and the battle could no longer be seen. Thereupon both the Kurus and the Pandavas withdrew their armies, when that awful night of pitchy darkness came. And having withdrawn their troops, both the Kurus and the Pandavas took rest for the night, retiring to their respective tents.
Footnotes and references:
in the first line of the 3rd verse, the Bengal reading is bhayam. The true reading, however, is khayam.
In the second line of 8th, for the Bengal reading, vacaymasa yodhanam, the Bombay reading is yachtacha Suyodhanam. This is better. The Bengal reading has no meaning.
Literally, "when its impetuosity is stirred up by the wind."
In the first line of 54, the Bombay reading pragrihya is better than the Bengal reading visrijya.
Literally, hundred-slayers; supposed to be a kind of rockets.