Sanjaya said, Meanwhile Arjuna, O monarch, having slain the four kinds of forces of the enemy, and having obtained a sight of the angry son of the Suta in that dreadful battle, caused a river of blood to flow there that was tawny with flesh and marrow and bones. Human heads constituted its rocks and stones. Elephants and steeds formed its banks. Full of the bones of heroic combatants, it resounded with the cries of ravens and vultures. Umbrellas were its swans or rafts. And that river ran, bearing away heroes like trees along its current. Even necklaces constituted its assemblage of lotuses, and head-gears formed its excellent foam. Bows and shafts constituted its fishes; and the crowns of crushed men floated on its surface. Shields and armour were its eddies, and cars were the rafts with which it teemed. And it could be easily forded by persons desirous of victory, while to those that were cowards it was unfordable.
Having caused that river to flow, Vibhatsu, that slayer of hostile heroes and bull among men, addressing Vasudeva said, Yonder, O Krishna, the standard of the Suta's son is visible. There, Bhimasena and others are fighting with that great car-warrior. There, the Pancalas, afraid of Karna, are flying away, O Janardana. Yonder, king Duryodhana, with the white umbrella over his head, along with Karna, looketh exceedingly resplendent as he is engaged in routing the Pancalas. There Kripa, and Kritavarma, and Drona's son, that mighty car-warrior, are protecting king Duryodhana, themselves protected by the Suta's son. There, O Krishna, Shalya, well conversant with holding the reins, looketh exceedingly resplendent as, seated on the terrace of Karna's car, he guideth that vehicle. Bear me to that mighty car-warrior, for even such is the wish cherished by me. Without slaying Karna in this battle I will never return. Otherwise, the son of Radha, O Janardana, will, in my sight, exterminate the mighty car-warriors of the Parthas and the Srinjayas Thus addressed, Keshava quickly proceeded on his car, towards the mighty bowman Karna, for causing a single combat to take place between Karna and Savyasaci.
Indeed, the mighty-armed Hari, at the command of Pandu's son, proceeded on his car, assuring by that very act all the Pandava troops. The rattle then of Arjuna's vehicle rose loud in that battle, resembling, O sire, the tremendous peal of Vasu's thunder. Beholding Arjuna of white steeds and having Krishna for his driver thus advance, and seeing the standard of that high-souled one, the king of the Madras, addressing Karna, said, There cometh that car-warrior having white steeds yoked unto his vehicle and having Krishna for his driver, slaying his foes in battle. There cometh he about whom thou wert enquiring, holding his bow Gandiva. If thou canst slay him today, great good may then be done to us. He cometh, O Karna, desirous of an encounter with thee, slaying, as he cometh, our chief warriors. Do thou proceed against that hero of Bharata's race. Avoiding all our warriors, Dhananjaya advanceth with great speed, for, as I think, an encounter with thee, judging by his form swelling with rage and energy. Blazing with wrath, Partha will not stop from desire of battle with anybody else save thee, especially when Vrikodara is being so much afflicted by thee. Learning that king Yudhishthira the just hath been exceedingly mangled and made carless by thee, and seeing the plight of Shikhandi, and Satyaki, and Dhrishtadyumna, the son of Prishata, and the five sons of Draupadi, and Yudhamanyu, and Uttamauja, and the brothers, Nakula and Sahadeva, that scorcher of foes, Partha, advanceth impetuously on a single car against thee.
Without doubt, he is advancing with speed against us, avoiding other combatants. Do thou, O Karna, proceed against him, for there is no other bowman among us that can do so. I do not behold any arrangements made for his protection, either on his flanks or at his rear. He advanceth alone against thee. Look after thy success now. Thou alone art able to encounter the two Krishnas in battle. Proceed, therefore, against Dhananjaya. Thou art the equal of Bhishma, of Drona, of Drona's son, of Kripa. Do thou resist in this great battle the advancing Savyasaci. Indeed, O Karna, slay this Dhananjaya that resembles a snake frequently darting out its tongue, or a roaring bull, or a tiger in the forest.
There, those kings, those mighty car-warriors of the Dhritarashtra's army, through fear of Arjuna, are quickly flying away, regardless of one another. Save thee, O Suta's son, there is no other man, O hero, that can, in battle, dispel the fears of those retreating combatants. All those Kurus, O tiger among men, obtaining thee as their refuge in this battle, stand depending on thee and desirous of thy protection. Mustering thy great prowess, O mighty-armed one, proceed against Vrishni's race, who is always gratified by the diadem-decked Arjuna Karna said, Thou seemest now to be in thy usual frame of mind and thou art now agreeable to me. Do not, O mighty-armed one, entertain any fear of Dhananjaya. Behold the might of my arms today, and behold my skill. Single-handed, I will today destroy the mighty host of the Pandavas, as also those two lions among men, the two Krishnas! I say this truly unto thee. I will never return from the field today without slaying two heroes.
Or, slain by those two, I shall today sleep on the field of battle. Victory is uncertain in battle. Slaying or slain, I shall today achieve my purpose Shalya said, All great car-warriors, O Karna, say that this foremost of car-warriors, Arjuna, even when alone, is invincible. When again, he is protected by Krishna, who will venture to vanquish him Karna said, As far as I have heard, such a superior car-warrior has never been born on earth! Behold my prowess, since I will contend in battle with even that Partha who is such. This prince of Kuru's line, this foremost of car-warriors, careers in battle, borne by his steeds white in hue. Perhaps he will despatch me to Yama's abode today. Know, however, that with Karna's death, these all will be exterminated.
The two arms of this prince are never covered with sweat. They never tremble. They are massive and covered with cicatrices. Firm in the use of weapons, he is possessed of great skill and endued with great lightness of hands. Indeed, there is no warrior equal to the son of Pandu. He taketh a large number of arrows and shooteth them as if they were one. Quickly fixing them on the bow-string, he propelleth them to the distance of two miles. They always fall on the foe. What warriors is there on earth that is equal to him? That Atiratha, endued with great activity, with Krishna as his ally, gratified the god Agni at Khandava.
There, on that occasion, the high-souled Krishna obtained his discus, and Savyasaci, the son of Pandu, obtained his bow Gandiva. There that mighty-armed one, endued with might that knows no decay, also obtained his terrible car unto which are yoked those white steeds, as also his two great celestial and inexhaustible quivers, and many celestial weapons, from the God of Fire. In the region of Indra he obtained his conch Devadatta and slew innumerable Daityas, and all the Kalakeyas. Who is there on earth that is superior to him? Possessed of greatness of soul, he gratified Mahadeva himself in fair fight, and obtained from him the terrible and mighty weapon Pasupata that is capable of destroying the three worlds. The several Regents of the world, united together gave him their weapons of immeasurable energy, with which that lion among men quickly destroyed in battle those united Asuras, the Kalakhanjas. So also, in Virata's city, moving on a single car he vanquished all of us, and snatched from us that wealth of kine, and took from all the foremost of car-warriors portions of their garments. Challenging that foremost of Kshatriyas, that hero having him of Vrishni's race for his ally, that warrior who is endued with such energy and such attributes, I regard myself, O Shalya, to be the foremost of persons in all the world in point of courage. He is, again, protected by that Keshava of great energy, who is Narayana himself and who is without a rival, that high-souled Vasudeva, that ever-victorious Vishnu armed with conch, discus, and mace, whose attributes all the world united together, cannot in narrating exhaust in years. Beholding the two Krishnas together on the same car, fear entereth my heart together with courage.
Partha is the foremost of all bowmen, while Narayana is unrivalled in encounters with the discus. Even such are Vasudeva, and the son of Pandu. Indeed, the mountains of Himavat may move from the spot where they stand but not the two Krishnas. Both of them are heroes, possessed of great skill, firm in the use of weapons, and mighty car-warriors. Both of them have adamantine frames. Who else, O Shalya, save myself, would proceed against Phalguna and Vasudeva that are even such? The desire cherished by me today, viz, that of a battle with the son of Pandu, O ruler of the Madras, will be fulfilled without delay. Soon will that wonderful and matchless and beautiful battle take place. Either I will overthrow those two in battle today, or the two Krishnas will today overthrow me Saying these words unto Shalya, Karna, that slayer of foes, began to utter loud roars in that battle, like those of the clouds.
Approaching then thy son, that foremost one among the Kurus, and saluted respectfully by him, Karna said unto that prince as also unto those two mighty-armed warriors, Kripa and the Bhoja chief Kritavarma, and the ruler of the Gandharvas with his son, and the preceptors and his own younger brothers, and all the foot-soldiers and horsemen and elephant-riders, these words, Rush towards Acyuta and Arjuna and close up their path all around, and cause them to be tired with exertion, so that, ye lords of the earth, I may easily slay those two after ye all will have mangled them deeply Saying, So be it those foremost of heroes, desirous of slaying Arjuna, speedily proceeded against him. Those mighty car-warriors then, obeying the behest of Karna, began to strike Dhananjaya with innumerable arrows in that battle. Like the great ocean containing a vast quantity of water receiving all rivers with their tributaries Arjuna received all those warriors in battle. His foes could not notice when he fixed his excellent arrows on the bow-string and when he let them off. All that could be seen was that men and steeds and elephants, pierced with the arrows sped by Dhananjaya, continually fell down, deprived of life. Like men with diseased eyes that are unable to gaze at the sun, the Kauravas on that occasion could not gaze at Jaya who seemed to be possessed of the energy of the all-destroying Sun that rises at the end of the Yuga, having arrows for his rays, and Gandiva for his beautiful circular disc. Smiling the while, Partha with his own showers of arrows cut off the excellent arrows sped at him by those mighty car-warriors. In return, he struck them with innumerable arrows, drawing his bow Gandiva to a complete circle.
As the sun of fierce rays between the months of Jyaishtha and Ashadha easily drieth up the waters of the earth, even so Arjuna, baffling the arrows of his foes, consumed thy troops, O king of kings! Then Kripa, and the chief of the Bhojas, and thy son himself shooting showers of shafts, rushed towards him. Drona's son also, that mighty car-warrior, rushed towards him, shooting his shafts. Indeed, all of them rained their arrows on him, like the clouds pouring torrents of rain on a mountain. The son of Pandu, however, with great activity and speed, cut off with his own shafts those excellent arrows sped at him with great care in that dreadful battle by those accomplished warriors desirous of slaying him, and pierced the chest of each of his adversaries with three shafts. Having arrows for his fierce rays, the Arjuna sun, with gandiva drawn to its fullest stretch constituting his corona, looked resplendent, as he scorched his foes, like the Sun himself between the months of Jyeshtha and Ashadha, within his bright corona. Then Drona's son pierced Dhananjaya with ten foremost of shafts, and Keshava with three, and the four steeds of Dhananjaya with four, and showered many shafts on the Ape on Arjuna's banner. For all that, Dhananjaya cut off the full drawn bow in his adversary's hand with three shafts, the head of his driver with a razor-faced arrow, and his four steeds with his four other shafts and his standard with three other arrows and felled him from his car. The son of Drona then, filled with wrath, took up another costly bow, bright as the body of Takshaka, and decked with gems and diamonds and gold, and resembling a mighty snake caught from the foot of a mountain. Stringing that bow as he stood on the earth, and bringing out one after another shafts and weapons, Drona's son, that warrior who excelled in many accomplishments, began to afflict those two unvanquished and foremost of men and pierce them from a near point with many shafts.
Then those mighty car-warriors, Kripa and Bhoja and thy son, standing at the van of battle, fell upon and shrouded that bull among the Pandavas, shooting showers of shafts, like clouds shrouding the dispeller of darkness. Possessed of prowess equal to that of the thousand-armed Kartavirya, Partha then showered his shafts on Kripa's bow with arrow fixed on it, his steeds, his standard, and his driver, like the wielder of the thunder in days of yore showering his shafts on the asura Vali. His weapons destroyed by Partha's shafts, and his standard also having been crushed in that great battle, Kripa was afflicted with as many thousands of arrows by Arjuna as Ganga's son Bhishma before them on the day of his fall by the same diademdecked warrior. The valiant Partha then, with his shafts, cut off the standard and the bow of thy roaring son. Destroying next the handsome steeds of Kritavarma, he cut off the latter's standard as well. He then began to destroy with great speed the elephants of the hostile force, as also its cars with their steeds and drivers and bows and standards. Thereupon that vast host of thine broke into a hundred parts like an embankment washed off by the waters. Then Keshava, quickly urging Arjuna's car, placed all his afflicted foes on his right side. Then other warriors, desirous of an encounter, with their well-equipped cars bearing lofty standards, followed Dhananjaya who was proceeding with great speed like Indra proceeding for the slaughter of Vritra. Then those mighty car-warriors, Shikhandi and Satyaki and the twins, proceeding in the direction of Dhananjaya, checked those foes and, piercing them with keen arrows, uttered terrible roars.
Then the Kuru heroes and the Srinjayas, encountering one another with rage, slew one another with straight shafts of great energy, like the Asuras and the celestials in days of yore in great battle. Elephant-warriors and horsemen and car-warriors, all chastisers of foes, inspired with desire of victory or impatient of proceeding to heaven, fell fast on the field. Uttering loud shouts, they pierced one another vigorously with well-shot arrows. In consequence of those high-souled warriors of great courage shooting their arrows at one another in that dreadful battle and by that means causing a darkness there, the points of the compass, cardinal and subsidiary became enveloped in gloom and the very effulgence of the sun became totally shrouded