Karna Parva

Created by Jijith Nadumuri at 02 Apr 2010 03:55 and updated at 02 Apr 2010 03:55


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Section 21

Dhritarashtra said, When Pandya had been slain and when that foremost of heroes, viz, Karna was employed in routing and destroying the foe, what, O Sanjaya, did Arjuna do in battle? That son of Pandu is a hero, endued with great might, attentive to his duties, and a complete master of the science of arms.

The high-souled Sankara himself hath made him invincible among all creatures. My greatest fears proceed from that Dhananjaya, that slayer of foes. Tell me, O Sanjaya, all that Partha achieved there on that occasion' Sanjaya said, After Pandya's fall, Krishna quickly said unto Arjuna these beneficial words, I do not behold the King. The other Pandavas also have retreated. If the Parthas had returned, the vast force of the enemy would have been broken. In fulfilment of purposes entertained by Ashvatthama, Karna is slaying the Srinjayas. A great carnage is being made by that warrior of steeds and car-warriors and elephants Thus the heroic Vasudeva represented everything unto the diadem-decked Arjuna. Hearing of and beholding that great danger of his brother Yudhishthira, Partha quickly addressed Krishna, saying, Urge the steeds, O Hrishikesha

Then Hrishikesha proceeded on that irresistible car. The encounter then that once more took place became exceedingly fierce. The Kurus and the Pandavas once more fearlessly closed with each other, that is, the Parthas headed by Bhimasena and ourselves headed by the Suta's son. Then, O best of kings, there once more commenced a battle between Karna and the Pandavas that swelled the population of Yama's kingdom. With bows and arrows and spiked clubs and swords and lances and axes and short clubs and Bhushundis and darts and rapiers and battle-axes and maces and spears and polished Kuntas, and short shafts and hooks, the combatants quickly fell upon one another, desirous of taking one another's life. Filling the welkin, the cardinal points of the compass, the subsidiary ones, the firmament, and the Earth, with the whizz of arrows, the twang of bow-strings, the sound of palms, and the clatter of car-wheels, foes rushed upon foes. Gladdened by that loud noise, heroes, fought with heroes desirous of reaching the end of the hostilities. Loud became the noise caused by the sound of bow-strings and fences and bows, the grunt of elephants, and the shouts of foot-soldiers and falling men. Hearing the terrible whizz of arrows and the diverse shouts of brave warriors, the troops took fright, became pale, and fell down. Large numbers of those foes thus employed in shouting and shooting weapons, the heroic son of Adhiratha crushed with his arrows.

With his shafts Karna then despatched to Yama's abode twenty car-warriors among the brave Pancala heroes, with their steeds, drivers, and standards. Then many foremost of warriors of the Pandava army, endued with great energy and quick in the use of weapons, speedily wheeling round, encompassed Karna on all sides. Karna agitated that hostile force with showers of weapons like the leader of an elephantine herd plunging into a lake adorned with lotuses and covered with swans. Penetrating into the midst of his foes, the son of Radha, shaking his best of bows, began to strike off and fell their heads with his sharp shafts. The shield and coats of mail of the warriors, cut off, fell down on the Earth. There was none amongst them that needed the touch of a second arrow of Karna's. Like a driver striking the steeds with the whip, Karna, with his shafts capable of crushing coats of mail and bodies and the life that quickened them, struck the fences of his foes perceivable only by their bow-strings. Like a lion grinding herds of deer, Karna speedily grinded all those Pandus and Srinjayas and Pancalas that came within range of his arrows. Then the chief of the Pancalas, and the sons of Draupadi, O sire, and the twins, and Yuyudhana, uniting together, proceeded against Karna. When those Kurus, and Pancalas and Pandus were thus engaged in battle, the other warriors, reckless of their very lives, began to strike at one another.

Well-cased in armour and coats of mail and adorned with head-gears, combatants endued with great strength rushed at their foes, with maces and short clubs and spiked bludgeons looking like uplifted rods of the Destroyer, and jumping, O sire, and challenging one another, uttered loud shouts. They struck one another, and fell down, assailed by one another with blood rising from their limbs and deprived of brains and eyes and weapons. Covered with weapons, some, as they lay there with faces beautiful as pomegranates, having teeth-adorned mouths filled with blood, seemed to be alive. Others, in that vast ocean of battle, filled with rage mangled or cut or pierced or overthrew or lopped off or slew one another with battle-axes and short arrows and hooks and spears and lances. Slain by one another they fell down, covered with blood and deprived of life like sandal trees cut down with the axe falling down and shedding as they fall their cool blood-red juice. Cars destroyed by cars, elephants by elephants, men by men, and steeds by steeds, fell down in thousands. Standards, and heads, and umbrellas, and elephants, trunks, and human arms, cut off with razor-faced or broad-headed or crescent-shaped arrows, fell down on the Earth. Large numbers also of men, and elephants, and cars with steed yoked thereto, were crushed in that battle. Many brave warriors, slain by horsemen, fell down, and many tuskers, with their trunks cut off, and banners and standards on their bodies, fell down like fallen mountains. Assailed by foot-soldiers, many elephants and cars, destroyed or in course of destruction, fell down on all sides.

Horsemen, encountering foot-soldiers with activity, were slain by the latter. Similarly crowds of foot-soldiers, slain by horsemen, laid themselves down on the field. The faces and the limbs of those slain in that dreadful battle looked like crushed lotuses and faded floral wreaths. The beautiful forms of elephants and steeds and human beings, O king, then resembled cloths foul with dirt, and became exceedingly repulsive to look at

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