Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Mahabharata  Index  Previous  Next 


Sanjaya said,--"That arrowy shower, difficult of being borne by even the Danavas, king Duryodhana, however, (quietly) bore in that battle, like a gigantic elephant bearing a shower (from the blue). 1 Then filled with anger and sighing like a snake, thy son, O bull of Bharata's race, was placed in a position of great danger. He then shot five and twenty sharp arrows of keen points. These, O king, fell with great force on that bull among

p. 230

[paragraph continues] Rakshasas, like angry snakes of virulent poison on the breast of Gandhamadana. Pierced with those shafts, blood trickled down the Rakshasa's body and he looked like an elephant with rent temples. 1 Thereupon that cannibal set his heart upon the destruction of the (Kuru) king. And he took up a huge dart that was capable of piercing even a mountain. Blazing with light, effulgent as a large meteor, it flamed with radiance like the lightning itself. And the mighty-armed Ghatotkacha, desirous of slaying thy son, raised that dart. Beholding that dart upraised, the ruler of the Vangas mounting upon an elephant huge as a hill, drove towards the Rakshasa. On the field of battle, with the mighty elephant of great speed, Bhagadatta placed himself in the very front of Duryodhana's car. And with that elephant he completely shrouded the car of thy son. Beholding then the way (to Duryodhana's car) thus covered by the intelligent king of the Vangas, the eyes of Ghatotkacha, O king, became red in anger. And he ruled that huge dart, before upraised, at that elephant. Struck, O king, with that dart hurled from the arms of Ghatotkacha, that elephant, covered with blood and in great agony, fell down and died. The mighty king of the Vangas, however, quickly jumping down from that elephant, alighted on the ground. Duryodhana then beholding the prince of elephants slain, and seeing also his troops broken and giving way, was filled with anguish. From regard, however, for a Kshatriya's duty 2 as also his own pride, the king, though defeated, stood firm like a hill. Filled with wrath and aiming a sharp arrow that resembled the Yuga fire in energy, he sped it at that fierce wanderer of the night. Beholding that arrow, blazing as Indra's bolt, thus coursing towards him, the high-souled Ghatotkacha baffled it by the celerity of his movements. With eyes red in wrath, he once more shouted fiercely, frightening all thy troops, like the clouds that appear at the end of the Yuga. Hearing those fierce roars of the terrible Rakshasa, Bhishma the son of Santanu, approaching the preceptor, said these words, 'These fierce roars that are heard, uttered by Rakshasas, without doubt indicate that Hidimva's son is battling with king Duryodhana. That Rakshasa is incapable of being vanquished in battle by any creature. Therefore, blessed be ye, go thither and protect the king. The blessed Duryodhana hath been attacked by the high-souled Rakshasa. Therefore, ye chastisers of foes, even this is our highest duty. 3' Hearing those words of the grandsire, those mighty car-warriors without loss of time and with the utmost speed, proceeded to the spot when the king of the Kurus was. They met Duryodhana and Somadatta and Valhika and Jayadratha; and Kripa and Bhurisravas and Salya, and the two princes of Avanti along with Vrihadvala, and Aswatthaman and Vikarna, and Chitrasena and Vivinsati. And many thousands of other car-warriors, including all those that followed them, proceeded, desirous of rescuing thy son Duryodhana who had been hotly

p. 231

pressed. Beholding that invincible division protected by those mighty car-warriors, coming towards him with hostile intentions, that best of Rakshasas, viz., the mighty-armed Ghatotkacha, stood firm like the Mainaka mountain, with a huge bow in hand, and surrounded by his kinsmen armed with clubs and mallets and diverse other kinds of weapons. Then commenced a fierce battle, making the hair stand on end, between those Rakshasas on the one side and that foremost of Duryodhana's divisions on the other. And the loud noise of twanging bows in that battle was heard, O king, on all sides resembling the noise made by burning bamboos. And the din produced by the weapons falling upon the coats of mail of the combatants resembled, O king, the noise of splitting hills. And the lances, O monarch, hurled by heroic arms, while coursing through the welkin, looked like darting snakes. Then, excited with great wrath and drawing his gigantic bow, the mighty-armed prince of the Rakshasas, uttering a loud roar, cut off, with a crescent-shaped arrow, the preceptor's bow in a rage. And overthrowing, with another broad-headed arrow, the standard of Somadatta, he uttered a loud yell. And he pierced Valhika with three shafts in the centre of the chest. And he pierced Kripa with one arrow, and Chitrasena with three. And with another arrow, well-armed and well-sped from his bow drawn to its fullest stretch, he struck Vikarna at the shoulder-joint. Thereupon the latter, covered with gore, sat down on the terrace of his car. Then that Rakshasa of immeasurable soul, excited With rage, O bull of Bharata's race, sped at Bhurisravas five and ten shafts. These, penetrating through the latter's armour, entered the earth. He then struck the chariot of Vivingsati and Aswatthaman. These fell down on the front of their cars, relinquishing the reins of the steeds. With another crescent-shaped shaft he overthrew the standard of Jayadratha bearing the device of a boar and decked with gold. And with a second arrow he cut off the latter's bow. And with eyes red in wrath, he slew with four shafts the four steeds of the high-souled king of Avanti. And with another arrow, O king, well-tempered and sharp, and shot from his bow drawn to its fullest stretch, he pierced king Vrihadvala. Deeply pierced and exceedingly pained, the latter sat down on the terrace of his car. Filled with great wrath and seated on his car, the prince of the Rakshasas then shot many bright arrows of keen points that resembled snakes of virulent poison. These, O king, succeeded in piercing Salya accomplished in battle."


229:1 The last word of the second line is variously read. The Bengal reading is Mahadwijas Probably implying Garuda, the prince of birds. I have adopted the Bombay reading.

230:1 i.e., with temporal juice trickling down.

230:2 The duty consisted in not retreating from the field.

230:3 i.e., the rescue of the king.

Next: Section XCIV