Karna Parva

Created by Jijith Nadumuri at 02 Apr 2010 04:30 and updated at 02 Apr 2010 04:30


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Section 77

Sanjaya said, Hearing the roars of cars and the leonine shouts of the warriors in battle, Arjuna addressed Govinda, saying, Urge the steeds to greater speed Hearing these words of Arjuna, Govinda said unto him, I am proceeding with great speed to the spot where Bhima is stationed Then many lions among men belonging to the Kaurava army, excited with wrath and accompanied by a large force of cars and horse and elephants and foot-soldiers and making the earth resound with the whizz of their arrows, the rattle of their car wheels, and the tread of their horses' hoofs, advanced against Jaya Arjuna as the latter proceeded for victory, borne by his steeds white as snow or conchs and decked in trappings of gold and pearls and gems like the chief of the celestials in great wrath proceeding, armed with the thunder, against the asura Jambha for slaying him. Between them and Partha, O sire, occurred a great battle destructive of body, life, and sin, like the battle between the asuras and the god Vishnu, that foremost of victors for the sake of the three worlds. Alone, Partha, decked with diadem and garlands, cut off the mighty weapons sped by them, as also their heads and arms in diverse ways, with his razor-faced and crescent-shaped and broad-headed arrows of great keenness. Umbrellas, and yak-tails for fanning, and standards, and steeds, and cars, and bands of foot-soldiers, and elephants, fell down on the earth, mutilated in diverse ways, like a forest broken down by a tempest. Huge elephants, decked in caparisons of gold and equipped with triumphal standards and warriors on their backs, looked resplendent, as they were pierced with shafts of golden wings, like mountains ablaze with light. Piercing elephants and steeds and cars with excellent shafts resembling Vasava's thunder, Dhananjaya proceeded quickly for the slaughter of Karna, even as Indra in days of yore for riving the asura Vala.

Then that tiger among men, that mighty-armed chastiser of foes, penetrated into thy host like a makara into the ocean. Beholding the son of Pandu, thy warriors, O king, accompanied by cars and foot-soldiers and a large number of elephants and steeds, rushed against him. Tremendous was the din made by them as they advanced against Partha, resembling that made by the waters of the ocean lashed into fury by the tempest. Those mighty car-warriors, resembling tigers in prowess all rushed in that battle against that tiger among men, abandoning all fear of death. Arjuna, however, routed the troops of those leaders of the Kurus as they advanced, shooting at him showers of weapons, like a tempest driving off masses of congregated clouds. Those great bowmen, all skilled in smiting, united together and proceeded against Arjuna with a large number of cars and began to pierce him with keen shafts. Then Arjuna, with his shafts, despatched to Yama's abode several thousands of cars and elephants and steeds. While those great car-warriors in that battle were thus struck with shafts sped from Arjuna's bow, they were filled with fear and seemed to disappear one after another from their cars. In all, Arjuna, with his sharp arrows, slew four hundred of those heroic car-warriors exerting themselves vigorously in battle. Thus struck in that battle with sharp shafts of diverse kinds, they fled away on all sides, avoiding Arjuna.

Tremendous was the uproar made at the van of the army by those warriors as they broke and fled, like that made by the surging sea when it breaks upon a rock. Having routed with his arrows that army struck with fright, Pritha's son Arjuna then proceeded, O sire, against the division of the Suta's son. Loud was the noise with which Arjuna faced his foes, like that made by Garuda in days of yore when swooping down for snakes. Hearing that sound, the mighty Bhimasena, desirous as he had been of obtaining a sight of Partha, became filled with joy. As soon as the valiant Bhimasena heard of Partha's arrival, he began, O monarch, to grind thy troops, reckless of his very life. Possessed of prowess equal to that of the wind, the valiant Bhima, the son of the Wind-god, began to career in that battle like the wind itself. Afflicted by him, O monarch, thy army, O king, began to reel like a wrecked vessel on the bosom of the sea. Displaying his lightness of hands, Bhima began to cut and mangle that host with his fierce arrows and despatch large numbers to the abode of Yama. Beholding on that occasion the superhuman might of Bhima, O Bharata, like that of the Destroyer at the end of the Yuga, thy warriors became filled with fright. Seeing his mightiest soldiers thus afflicted by Bhimasena, O Bharata, king Duryodhana addressed all his troops and great bowmen, O bull of Bharata's race, commanding them to slay Bhima in that battle, since upon Bhima's fall he would regard the Pandava troops already exterminated.

Accepting that command of thy son, all the kings shrouded Bhima with showers of shafts from every side. Innumerable elephants, O king, and men inspired with desire of victory, and cars, and horse, O monarch, encompassed Vrikodara. Thus encompassed by those brave warriors on all sides, O king, that hero, that chief of Bharata's race, looked resplendent like the Moon surrounded by the stars. Indeed, as the Moon at full within his corona looks beautiful, even so that best of men, exceedingly handsome, looked beautiful in that battle. All those kings, with cruel intent and eyes red in wrath, inflicted upon Vrikodara their arrowy downpours, moved by the desire of slaying him. Piercing that mighty host with straight shafts, Bhima came out of the press like a fish coming out of a net, having slain unretreating elephants, men, O Bharata, and horses, and a hundred car-warriors. Having slaughtered these, Bhima caused a river of blood to flow there. Blood constituted its water, and cars its eddies; and elephants were the alligators with which it teemed. Men were its fishes, and steeds its sharks, and the hair of animals formed its woods and moss. Arms lopped off from trunks formed its foremost of snakes.

Innumerable jewels and gems were carried along by the current. Thighs constituted its gravels, and marrow its mire. And it was covered with heads forming its rocks. And bows and arrows constituted the rafts by which men sought to cross that terrible river, and maces and spiked bludgeons formed its snakes. And umbrellas and standards formed its swans, and head-gears its foam. Necklaces constituted its lotuses, and the earthy dust that arose formed its waves. Those endued with noble qualities could cross it with ease, while those that were timid and affrighted found it exceedingly difficult to cross. Warriors constituting its crocodiles and alligators, it ran towards the region of Yama. Very soon, indeed, did that tiger among men cause that river to flow. Even as the terrible Vaitarani is difficult of being crossed by persons of unrefined souls, that bloody river, terrible and enhancing the fears of the timid, was difficult to cross.

Thither where that best of car-warriors, the son of Pandu, penetrated, thither he felled hostile warriors in hundreds and thousands. Seeing those feats achieved in battle by Bhimasena, Duryodhana, O monarch, addressing Shakuni, said, Vanquish, O uncle, the mighty Bhimasena in battle. Upon his defeat the mighty host of the Pandavas may be regarded as defeated Thus addressed, O monarch, the valiant son of Subala, competent to wage dreadful battle, proceeded, surrounded by his brothers. Approaching in that battle Bhima of terrible prowess, the heroic Shakuni checked him like the continent resisting the ocean. Though resisted with keen shafts, Bhima, disregarding them all, proceeded against the sons of Subala. Then Shakuni, O monarch, sped a number of cloth-yard shafts equipped with wings of gold and whetted on stone, at the left side of Bhima's chest. Piercing through the armour of the high-souled son of Pandu, those fierce shafts, O monarch, equipped with feathers of Kankas and peacocks, sunk deep into his body. Deeply pierced in that battle, Bhima, O Bharata, suddenly shot at Subala's son a shaft decked with gold. The mighty Shakuni however, that scorcher of foes, O king, endued with great lightness of hands, cut off into seven fragments that terrible arrow as it coursed towards him.

When his shaft fell down on the earth, Bhima, O king, became highly enraged, and cut off with a broad-headed arrow the bow of Subala's son with the greatest ease. The valiant son of Subala then, casting aside that broken bow, quickly took up another and six and ten broad-headed arrows. With two of those straight and broad-headed arrows, O monarch, he struck Bhima himself, with one he cut off Bhima's standard, and with two, his umbrella. With the remaining four, the son of Subala pierced the four steeds of his antagonist. Filled with rage at this, the valiant Bhima, O monarch, hurled in that battle a dart made of iron, with its staff adorned with gold. That dart, restless as the tongue of a snake, hurled from Bhima's arms, speedily fell upon the car of the high-souled son of Subala. The latter then, filled with wrath, O monarch, took up that same gold-decked dart and hurled it back at Bhimasena. Piercing through the left arm of the high-souled son of Pandu, it fell down on the earth like lightning flashed down from the sky. At this, the Dhartarashtras, O monarch, set up a loud roar all around. Bhima, however, could not bear that leonine roar of his foes endued with great activity.

The mighty son of Pandu then, quickly taking up another stringed bow, in a moment, O monarch, covered with shafts the soldiers of Subala's son in that battle, who were fighting reckless of their very lives. Having slain his four steeds, and then his driver, O king, Bhima of great prowess next cut off his antagonist's standard with a broad-headed arrow without losing a moment. Abandoning with speed that steedless car, Shakuni, that foremost of men, stood on the ground, with his bow ready drawn in his hands, his eyes red like blood in rage, and himself breathing heavily. He then, O king, struck Bhima from every side with innumerable arrows. The valiant Bhima, baffling those shafts, cut off Shakuni's bow in rage and pierced Shakuni himself, with many keen arrows. Deeply pierced by his powerful antagonist, that scorcher of foes, O king, fell down on the earth almost lifeless. Then thy son, O monarch, seeing him stupefied, bore him away from battle on his car in the very sight of Bhimasena. When that tiger among men, Shakuni was thus taken up on Duryodhana's car, the Dhartarashtra troops, turning their faces from battle, fled away on all sides inspired with fear on that occasion of great terror due to Bhimasena. Upon the defeat of Subala's son, O king, by that great bowman, Bhimasena, thy son Duryodhana, filled with great fright, retreated, borne away by his fleet steeds, from regard for his maternal uncle's life. Beholding the king himself turn away from the battle, the troops, O Bharata, fled away, from the encounters in which each of them had been engaged.

Seeing all the Dhartarashtra troops turn away from battle and fly in all directions, Bhima rushing impetuously, fell upon them, shooting many hundreds of shafts. Slaughtered by Bhima, the retreating Dhartarashtras, O king, approaching the spot where Karna was, once more stood for battle, surrounding him. Endued with great might and great energy, Karna then became their refuge. Finding Karna, O bull of Bharata's race, thy troops became comforted and stood cheerfully, relying upon one another, like shipwrecked mariners, O tiger of men, in their distressful plight, when at last they reach an island. They then, once more, making death itself their goal, proceeded against their foes for battle

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