Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Mahabharata  Index  Previous  Next 


"Dhritarashtra said, 'After having obtained the command of the army, and after he had been addressed by the king himself in those sweet and brotherly words, and after he had ordered the troops to be arrayed at the hour of sunrise, tell me, O Sanjaya, what did Vikartana's son Karna do?'

"Sanjaya said, 'Having learnt Karna's wishes, thy sons, O bull of Bharata's race, ordered the troops to be arrayed with joyful music. While it still wanted a long period for the coming of the dawn, a loud noise of "Array, Array!" O king, suddenly arose among thy troops. And the uproar that arose, became tremendous and touched the very heavens, of foremost of elephants and fenced cars while under process of equipment, of foot-soldiers and steeds, O monarch, while putting on their armour or in course of being harnessed, and of combatants moving with activity and shouting unto one another! Then the Suta's son bearing a gold-backed bow appeared (on the field) in his car possessed of the splendour of the radiant Sun, crowned with many banners, equipped with a white standard, with steeds of the hue of cranes, bearing the device of the elephants' rope, filled with a hundred quivers, furnished with mace and wooden fence, freighted with shataghnis and rows of bells and darts and lances and spears, and supplied with many bows. And the Suta's son appeared on the field, blowing his conch, O king; decorated with a net-work of gold, and shaking his formidable bow adorned with pure gold. Beholding the mighty bowman Karna, that foremost of car-warriors, seated on his car, difficult of approach and resembling the risen Sun that destroys the gloom, none amongst the Kauravas, O tiger among men, recked, O sire, the loss of Bhishma or Drona or other men! Speeding the warriors, O sire, with the blasts of his conch, Karna caused the vast army of the Kauravas to be drawn out. Having arrayed the troops in the makara array, that mighty bowman, that scorcher of foes, viz., Karna, proceeded against the Pandavas from desire of victory. In the tip of the beak of that makara, O king, was stationed Karna himself. In the two eyes were the brave Shakuni and the mighty car-warrior Uluka. In the head was Drona's son and in the neck were all the uterine brothers. In the middle was king Duryodhana supported by a large force. In the left foot, O monarch, was stationed Kritavarma accompanied by the Narayana troops, and those invincible warriors, the gopalas. In the right foot, O king, was Gotama's son of prowess incapable of being baffled, surrounded by those mighty bowmen viz., the Trigartas and by the Southerners. In the left hind-foot was stationed Shalya with a large force raised in the country of Madras. In the right (hind-foot), O monarch, was Sushena of true vows, surrounded by a 1,000 cars and 300 elephants. In the tail were the two royal brothers of mighty energy, viz., Citra and Citrasena surrounded by a large force.

"'When, O great king, that foremost of men, Karna, thus came out, king Yudhishthira the just, casting his eyes on Arjuna, said these words: "Behold, O Partha, how the Dhartarashtra force, O hero, in this battle, protected by heroes and mighty car-warriors, hath been arrayed by Karna! This vast Dhartarashtra force hath lost its bravest warriors. They that remain, O mighty-armed one, are feeble, equal, as I think, to straw! Only one great bowman, viz., the Suta's son, shineth in it! That foremost of car-warriors is incapable of being vanquished by the three worlds with their mobile and immobile creatures, including the gods, Asuras and Gandharvas, and the Kinnaras and great serpents! If thou slayest him today, O mighty-armed one, the victory will be thine, O Phalguna! The thorn also which for twelve years hath been planted in my heart will then be plucked out! Knowing this, O thou of mighty arms, form thou the array that thou wishest!" Hearing those words of his brother, that Pandava of the white steeds disposed his army in counter array after the form of the half moon. On the left side was stationed Bhimasena, and on the right was stationed the great bowman Dhrishtadyumna. In the middle of the array were the king and Dhananjaya the son of Pandu. Nakula and Sahadeva were at the rear of king Yudhishthira the just. The two Pancala princes, Yudhamanyu and Uttamauja, became the protectors of (Arjuna's) car wheels. Protected by the diadem-decked Arjuna himself, they did not quit Arjuna for a moment. The remaining kings, possessed of great courage, clad in mail, stood in the array, each in the position assigned to him, according to the measure of his enthusiasm and resolution, O Bharata. Having thus formed their great array, O Bharata, the Pandavas, and the mighty bowmen of thy army set their hearts on battle. Beholding thy army disposed into battle array by the Suta's son in battle Duryodhana with all his brethren regarded the Pandavas to be already slain. Similarly Yudhishthira, O king, beholding the Pandava army disposed in array, regarded the Dhartarashtras with Karna to be already slain. Then conches, and kettle-drums, and tabours, and large drums, and cymbals, and Dindimas, and Jharjharas, were loudly blown and beaten on all sides! Indeed, those loud-sounding instruments were blown and beaten, O king, among both the armies. Leonine roars also arose, uttered by brave warriors for victory. And there also arose, O king, the noise of neighing steeds and grunting elephants, and the fierce clatter of car-wheels. None, O Bharata, (in the Kaurava army), at that time, felt the loss of Drona, seeing the great bowman Karna clad in mail and stationed at the head of the array. Both armies, O monarch, teeming with joyous men, stood, eager for battle and (ready) to destroy each other without delay. There, the two heroes, viz., Karna and the son of Pandu, excited with wrath at sight of each other, and both firmly resolved, stood or careered, O king, through their respective divisions. The two armies, as they advanced to meet each other, seemed to dance (in joy). From the wings and the side-wings of both, warriors desirous of battle came forth. Then commenced the battle, O monarch, of men, elephants, steeds, and cars, engaged in destroying one another.'"

Next: Section 12