Virata Parva

Created by Jijith Nadumuri at 30 Mar 2010 03:04 and updated at 30 Mar 2010 03:04


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Section 54

LIV Vaisampayana said, Having disorganised the hostile host by force and having recovered the kine, that foremost of bowmen, desirous of fighting again, proceeded towards Duryodhana. And beholding the kine running wild towards the city of the Matsyas, the foremost warriors of the Kurus regarded Kiritin to have already achieved success. And all of a sudden they fell upon Arjuna who was advancing towards Duryodhana. And beholding their countless divisions firmly arrayed in order of battle with countless banners waving over them, that slayer of foes, addressing the son of the king of the Matsyas, said, Urge on, to the best of their speed by this road, these white steeds decked with golden bridles. Strive thou well, for I would approach this crowd of Kuru lions. Like an elephant desiring an encounter with another, the Suta's son of wicked soul eagerly desireth a battle with me. Take me, O prince, to him who hath grown so proud under the patronage of Duryodhana. Thus addressed, the son of Virata by means of those large steeds endued with the speed of the wind and furnished with golden armour, broke that array of cars and took the Pandava into the midst of the battle-field. And seeing this those mighty car-warriors, Chitrasena and Sangramajit and Satrusaha and Jaya, desirous of aiding Karna, rushed with arrows and long shafts, towards the advancing hero of Bharata's race. Then that foremost of men, inflamed with wrath, began to consume by means of fiery arrows shot from his bow, that array of cars belonging to those bulls among the Kurus, like a tremendous conflagration consuming a forest.

Then, when the battle began to rage furiously, the Kuru hero, Vikarna, mounted on his car, approached that foremost of car-warriors, Partha, the younger brother of Bhima, showering upon him terrible shafts thick and long. Then cutting Vikarna's bow furnished with a tough string and horns overlaid with gold, Arjuna cut off his flagstaff. And Vikarna, beholding his flagstaff cut off, speedily took to flight. And after Vikarna's flight, Satruntapa, unable to repress his ire, began to afflict Partha, that obstructer of foes and achiever of super-human feats, by means of a perfect shower of arrows. And drowned, as it were, in the midst of the Kuru-array, Arjuna, pierced by that mighty car-warrior, king Satruntapa, pierced the latter in return with five and then slew his car-driver with ten shafts, and pierced by that bull of the Bharata race with an arrow capable of cleaving the thickest coat of mail, Satruntapa fell dead on the field of battle, like a tree from a mountain-top torn up by the wind. And those brave bulls among men, mangled in battle by that braver bull among men, began to waver and tremble like mighty forests shaken by the violence of the wind that blows at the time of the universal dissolution. And struck in battle by Partha, the son of Vasava, those well-dressed heroes among men, those givers of wealth endued with the energy of Vasava, defeated and deprived of life, began to measure their lengths on the ground, like full-grown Himalayan elephants clad in mails of black steel decked with gold. And like unto a raging fire consuming a forest at the close of summer, that foremost of men, wielding the Gandiva, ranged the field in all directions, slaying his foes in battle thus. And as the wind rangeth at will, scattering masses of clouds and fallen leaves in the season of spring, so did that foremost of car-warriors, Kiritin, ranged in that battle, scattering all his foes before him. And soon slaying the red steeds yoked unto the car of Sangramajit, the brother of Vikatana's son, that hero decked in diadem and endued with great vigour then cut off his antagonist's head by a crescent-shaped arrow.

And when his brother was slain, Vikartana's son of the Suta caste, mustering all his prowess, rushed at Arjuna, like a huge elephant with out-stretched tusks, or like a tiger at a mighty bull. And the son of Vikarna quickly pierced the son of Pandu with twelve shafts and all his steeds also in every part of their bodies and Virata's son too in his hand. And rushing impetuously against Vikarna's son who was suddenly advancing against him, Kiritin attacked him fiercely like Garuda of variegated plumage swooping down upon a snake. And both of them were foremost of bowmen, and both were endued with great strength, and both were capable of slaying foes. And seeing that an encounter was imminent between them, the Kauravas, anxious to witness it, stood aloof as lookers on. And beholding the offender Karna, the son of Pandu, excited to fury, and glad also at having him, soon made him, his horses, his car, and car-driver invisible by means of a frightful shower of countless arrows. And the warriors of the Bharatas headed by Bhishma, with their horses, elephants, and cars, pierced by Kiritin and rendered invisible by means of his shafts, their ranks also scattered and broken, began to wail aloud in grief. The illustrious and heroic Karna, however counteracting with numberless arrows of his own those shafts by Arjuna's hand, soon burst forth in view with bow and arrows like a blazing fire. And then there arose the sound of loud clapping of hands, with the blare of conchs and trumpets and kettle-drums made by the Kurus while they applauded Vikartana's son who filled the atmosphere with the sound of his bow-string flapping against his fence. And beholding Kiritin filling the air with the twang of Gandiva, and the upraised tail of the monkey that constituted his flag and that terrible creature yelling furiously from the top of his flagstaff, Karna sent forth a loud roar.

And afflicting by means of his shafts, Vikartana's son along with his steeds, car and car-driver, Kiritin impetuously poured an arrowy shower on him, casting his eyes on the grandsire and Drona and Kripa. And Vikartana's son also poured upon Partha a heavy shower of arrows like a rain-charged cloud. And the diadem-decked Arjuna also covered Karna with a thick down-pour of keen-edged shafts. And the two heroes stationed on their cars, creating clouds of keen-edged arrows in a combat carried on by means of countless shafts and weapons, appeared to the spectators like the sun and the moon covered by clouds, and the light-handed Karna, unable to bear the sight of the foe, pierced the four horses of the diadem-decked hero with whetted arrows, and then struck his car-driver with three shafts, and his flagstaff also with three. Thus struck, that grinder of all adversaries in battle, that bull of the Kuru race, Jishnu wielding the Gandiva, like a lion awaked from slumber, furiously attacked Kama by means of straight-going arrows. And afflicted by the arrowy shower of Karna, that illustrious achiever of super-human deeds soon displayed a thick shower of arrows in return. And he covered Karna's car with countless shafts like the sun covering the different worlds with rays. And like a lion attacked by an elephant, Arjuna, taking some keen crescent-shaped arrows from out of his quiver and drawing his bow to his ear, pierced the Suta's son on every part of his body. And that grinder of foes pierced Karna's arms and thighs and head and forehead and neck and other principal parts of his body with whetted shafts endued with the impetuosity of the thunderbolt and shot from the Gandiva in battle. And mangled and afflicted by the arrows shot by Partha the son of Pandu, Vikartana's son, quitted the van of battle, and quickly took to flight, like one elephant vanquished by another

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