"Sanjaya said, 'Then Drona's son began to cause a great carnage amongst his foes in that battle, like the Destroyer himself at the end of the Yuga. Slaying his enemies by means of his broad-headed arrows, Aswatthaman soon piled a mountain there of the dead. The standards of cars formed its trees; and weapons its pointed summits; the lifeless elephants formed its large rocks; the steeds, its Kimpurushas; and bows, its creepers and plants. And it resounded with the cries of all carnivorous creatures, that constituted its feathery population. And the spirits that walked there formed its Yakshas 1. Then roaring aloud, O bull of Bharata's race, Aswatthaman once more repeated his vow in the hearing of thy son, thus, 'Since Kunti's son, Yudhishthira, assuming only the outward garb of virtue, had caused the preceptor who was (righteously) engaged in battle to lay aside his weapons, I shall, in his very sight, rout and destroy his army. Having mangled all his troops, I shall, then, slay the sinful prince of the Panchalas. Indeed, I shall slay all of them, if they contend with me in battle. I tell thee truly, therefore, rally thou thy troops.' Hearing these words of Aswatthaman, thy son rallied the troops, having dispelled their fears with a loud leonine, roar. The encounter, then, O king, that once more took place between the Kuru and the Pandava armies, became as terrible as that of two oceans at full tide. The terrified Kauravas had their fears dispelled by Drona's son. The Pandus and the Panchalas had become fierce in consequence of Drona's slaughter. Great was the violence of that collision, on the field of battle, between those warriors, all of whom were cheerful and filled with rage and inspired with certain hopes of victory. Like a mountain, striking against a mountain, or an ocean against an ocean, O monarch, was that collision between the Kurus and the Pandavas. Filled with joy, the Kuru and the Pandava warriors beat thousands of drums. The loud and stunning uproar that arose from among those troops resembled that of the ocean itself while churned (of old by the gods and the Danavas). Then Drona's son, aiming at the host of the Pandavas and the Panchalas, invoked the weapon called Narayana. Then thousands of arrows with blazing mouths appeared in the welkin, resembling snakes of fiery mouths, that continued to agitate the Pandavas. In that dreadful battle, those shafts, O king, like the very rays of the sun in a moment
shrouded all the points of the compass, the welkin, and the troops. Innumerable iron balls also, O king, then appeared, like resplendent luminaries in the clear firmament. Sataghnis, some equipped with four and some with two wheels, and innumerable maces, and discs, with edges sharp as razor and resplendent like the sun, also appeared there. Beholding the welkin densely shrouded with those weapons, O bull of Bharata's race, the Pandavas, the Panchalas, and the Srinjayas, became exceedingly agitated. In all those places, O ruler of men, where the great car-warriors of the Pandavas contended in battle, that weapon became exceedingly powerful. Slaughtered by the Narayana weapon, as if consumed by a conflagration, the Pandava troops were exceedingly afflicted all over the field in that battle. Indeed, O lord, as fire consumeth a heap of dry grass in summer, even so did that weapon consume the army of the Pandus. Beholding that weapon filling every side, seeing his own troops destroyed in large numbers, king Yudhishthira the just, O lord, became inspired with great fright. Seeing his army in course of flight and deprived of its senses, and beholding Parthas standing indifferent, Dharma's son said these words, 'O Dhrishtadyumna, fly away with your Panchala troops. O Satyaki, you also go away, surrounded by the Vrishnis and the Andhakas. Of virtuous soul, Vasudeva will himself seek the means of his own safety. He is competent to offer advice to the whole world. What need is there of telling him what he should do? We should not any longer fight. I say so unto all the troops. As regards myself, I will, with all my brothers ascend a funeral pile. Having crossed the Bhishma and the Drona oceans in this battle, that are incapable of being crossed by the timid, shall I sink with all my followers in the vestige, represented by Drona's son, of a cow's hoof? Let the wishes of king Duryodhana be crowned with success today, for I have today slain in battle the preceptor, that always cherished such friendly feelings towards us, that preceptor, who, without protecting, caused that child unacquainted with battle, viz., the son of Subhadra, to be slain by a multitude of wicked warriors, that preceptor, who with his son, sat indifferently, without answering, when Krishna in such distress, dragged into the assembly and sought to be made a slave, asked him to say the truth, that preceptor, who, white all the other warriors were fatigued, cased Duryodhana in invulnerable armour when the latter desired to slay Phalguna and who, having cased him so, appointed him to protect Jayadratha, who, being acquainted with the Brahma weapon, scrupled not to exterminate the Panchalas, headed by Satyajit, that had exerted themselves for my victory, that preceptor, who, whilst we were being unrighteously exiled from our kingdom, freely told us to go into the woods although he had been solicited by our friends to withhold his permission 1. Alas, that great friend of our hath been slain! For his sake, I will, with my friends, lay down my life. After Kunti's son, Yudhishthira had said
this, he of Dasarha's race, (viz., Kesava) quickly forbidding the troops, by motion of his arms, to fly away said these words, Speedily lay down your weapons, all of you, and alight from your vehicles. Even this is the means ordained by the illustrious one, (viz., Narayana himself) for baffling this weapon. Come down on the earth, all of you from your elephants and steeds and cars. If you stand weaponless on the earth, this weapon will not slay you. In those places where you will fight for quelling the force of this weapon the Kauravas will become more powerful than you. Those men, however, that will throw down their weapons and alight from their vehicles, will not in this battle, be slain by this weapon. They, however, that will, even in imagination, contend against this weapon, will all be slain even if they seek refuge deep beneath the earth'. The warriors of the Pandava army, hearing, O Bharata, these words of Vasudeva, threw their weapons and drove away from their hearts all desire of battle. Then Bhimasena, the son of Pandu, beholding the warriors about to abandon their weapons, said these words, O king, gladdening them all: 'None should lay down his weapons here. I shall, with my shafts, oppose this weapon of Drona's son. With this heavy mace of mine, that is decked with gold, I shall career in this battle like the Destroyer himself, quelling this weapon of Drona's son. There is no man here that is equal to me in prowess, even as there is no luminary in the firmament that is equal to the sun. Beholding these two strong arms of mine like unto the trunks of a couple of mighty elephants, capable of pulling down the mountain of Himavat. I am the one person here that possesses the might of the thousand elephants. I am without a peer, even as Sakra is known to be in heaven among the celestials. Let people witness today the prowess of these two arms of my broad-chested self, while engaged in baffling the bright and blazing weapon of Drona's son. If there be none (else) capable of contending against the Narayana weapon, even I shall contend against it today in the very sight of all the Kurus and the Pandavas. O Arjuna, O Vibhatsu, thou shouldst not lay Gandiva aside. A stain will then attach to thee like that of the moon.' Thus addressed Bhima, Arjuna said, O Bhima, even this is my great vow, viz., that my Gandiva shall not be used against the Narayana weapon, kine, and Brahmanas. Thus answered by Arjuna, Bhima, that chastiser of foes, riding on his car of solar effulgence, whose rattle, besides, resembled the roar of the clouds, rushed against the son of Drona. Endued with great energy and prowess, the son of Kunti, in consequence of his extreme lightness of hand, within the twinkling of an eye, covered Aswatthaman with a shower of weapons. Then Drona's son, smiling at the rushing Bhima and addressing him (in proper words) covered him with arrows, inspired with mantras and equipped with blazing points. Shrouded with those shafts that vomited fire and resembled snakes of blazing mouths, as if covered with sparks of gold. The form, O king, of Bhimasena in that battle looked like that of a mountain in the evening when covered with fire. That weapon of Drona's son, directed against Bhimasena increased in energy and might,
[paragraph continues] O king, like a conflagration assisted by the wind. Beholding that weapon of terrible energy thus increasing in might, a panic entered the hearts of all the combatants of the Pandava army with the exception of Bhima. Then all of them, throwing down their weapons on the earth, alighted from their cars and steeds. After they had thrown their weapons and alighted from their vehicles, that weapon of exceeding energy fell upon the head of Bhima. All creatures, especially the Pandavas, uttered cries of Oh and Alas, beholding Bhimasena overwhelmed by the energy of that weapon.'"
469:1 Kimpurushas were fabled creatures, half men and steeds. Not a mountain but had its Kimpurushas, according to the Hindu belief. Yakshas were a sort of superhuman beings inhabiting inaccessible halls and mountains.
470:1 I adopt the Bombay reading of the 2nd line of 35 and think that Nilakantha explains it correctly.