(Khandava-daha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Then those foremost of car-warriors (Krishna and Arjuna), riding in their cars and placing themselves on opposite sides of that forest, began a great slaughter, on all sides, of the creatures dwelling in Khandava. At whatever point any of the creatures residing in Khandava could be seen attempting to escape, thither rushed those mighty heroes (to prevent its flight). Indeed those two excellent cars seemed to be but one, and the two warriors also therein but one individual. And while the forest was burning, hundreds and thousands of living creatures, uttering frightful yells, began to run about in all directions. Some had particular limbs burnt, some were scorched with excessive heat, and some came out, and some ran about from fear. And some clasping their children and some their parents and brothers, died calmly without, from excess of affection, being able to abandon these that were dear to them. And many there were who biting their nether lips rose upwards and soon fell whirling into the blazing element below. And some were seen to roll on the ground with wings, eyes, and feet scorched and burnt. These creatures were all seen to perish there almost soon enough. The tanks and ponds within that forest, heated by the fire around, began to boil; the fishes and the tortoises in them were all seen to perish. During that great slaughter of living creatures in that forest, the burning bodies of various animals looked as if fire itself had assumed many forms. The birds that took wings to escape from that conflagration were pierced by Arjuna with his shafts, and cut into pieces, they fell down into the burning element below. Pierced all over with Arjuna's shafts, the birds dropped down into the burning forest, uttering loud cries. The denizens of the forest, struck with those shafts, began to roar and yell. The clamour they raised was like unto the frightful uproar heard during the churning of the ocean (in days of yore). The mighty flames of the blazing fire reaching the firmament, caused great anxiety to the celestials themselves. Then all the illustrious dwellers in heaven went in a body unto him
of a hundred sacrifices and thousand eyes, viz., their chief, that grinder of Asuras. Approaching Indra, the celestial said, 'Why, O lord of immortals, doth Agni burn these creatures below? Hath the time come for the destruction of the world?'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of the gods, and himself beholding what Agni was doing, the slayer of Vritra set out for the protection of the forest of Khandava. And Vasava, the chief of the celestials soon covering the sky with masses of clouds of every kind began to shower upon the burning forest. Those masses of clouds by hundreds and thousands, commanded by Indra began to pour rain upon Khandava in showers thick as the flag-staffs of battle-cars. But the showers were all dried up in the sky itself by the heat of the fire and could not, therefore, reach the fire at all! Then the slayer of Namuchi, getting angry with Agni, collected huge masses of clouds and caused them to yield a heavy downpour. Then with the flames contending with those heavy showers, and with masses of clouds overhead, that forest, filled with smoke and flashes of lightning, became terrible to behold.'"