Mahabharata Bhishma Parva - Translation by KM Ganguly

Mahabharata Adiparva

Section XX

Dhritarashtra said,--"When the Sun rose, O Sanjaya, of my army led by Bhishma and the Pandava army led by Bhima, which first cheerfully approached the other, desirous of fight? To which side were the Sun, the Moon and the wind hostile, and against whom did the beasts of prey utter inauspicious sounds? Who were those young men, the complexions of whose faces were cheerful? Tell me all these truly and duly."

Sanjaya said,--"Both armies, when arrayed, were equally joyful, O king. Both armies looked equally beautiful, assuming the aspect of blossoming woods, and both armies were full of elephants, cars and horses. Both armies were vast and terrible in aspect; and so also, O Bharata, none of them could bear the other. Both of them were arrayed for conquering the very heavens, and both of them consisted of excellent persons. The Kauravas belonging to the Dhritarashtra party stood facing the west, while the Parthas stood facing the east, addrest for fight. The troops of the Kauravas looked like the army of the chief of the Danavas, while that of the Pandavas looked like the army of the celestials. The wind began to blow from behind the Pandavas (against the face of the Dhartarashtras), and the beasts of prey began to yell against the Dhartarashtras. The elephants belonging to thy sons could not bear the strong odour of the temporal juice emitted by the huge elephants (of the Pandavas). And Duryodhana rode on an elephant of the complexion of the lotus, with rent temples, graced with a golden Kaksha (on its back), and cased in an armour of steel net-work. And he was in the very centre of the Kurus and was adored by eulogists and bards. And a white umbrella of lunar effulgence was held over his head graced with a golden chain. Him Sakuni, the ruler of the Gandharas, followed with mountaineers of Gandhara placed all around. And the venerable Bhishma was at the head of all the troops, with a white umbrella held over his head, armed with bow and sword, with a white headgear, with a white banner (on his car), and with white steeds (yoked thereto), and altogether looking like a white mountain. In Bhishma's division were all the sons of Dhritarashtra, and also Sala who was a countryman of the Valhikas, and also all those Kshatriyas called Amvastas, and those called Sindhus, and those also that are called Sauviras, and the heroic dwellers of the country of the five rivers. And on a golden car unto which were yoked red steeds, the high-souled Drona, bow in hand and with never-failing heart, the preceptor of almost all the kings, remained behind all the troops, protecting them like Indra. And Saradwat's son, that fighter in the van, 1 that high-souled and mighty bowman, called also Gautama, conversant with all modes of warfare, accompanied by the Sakas, the Kiratas, the Yavanas, and the Pahlavas, took up his position at the northern point of the army. That large force which was well protected by mighty car-warriors of the Vrishni and the Bhoja races, as also by the warriors of Surashtra well-armed and well-acquainted with the uses of weapons, and which was led by Kritavarman, proceeded towards the south of the army. Ten thousand cars of the Samasaptakas who were created for either the death or the fame of Arjuna, and who, accomplished in arms, intended to follow Arjuna at his heels 2 all went out as also the brave Trigartas. In thy army, O Bharata, were a thousand elephants of the foremost fighting powers. Unto each elephant was assigned a century of cars; unto each car, a hundred horsemen; unto each horseman, ten bowmen; and unto each bowman ten combatants armed with sword and shield. Thus, O Bharata, were thy divisions arrayed by Bhishma. Thy generalissimo Bhishma, the son of Santanu, as each day dawned, sometimes disposed thy troops in the human army, sometimes in the celestial, sometimes in the Gandharva, and sometimes in the Asura. Thronged with a large number of Maharathas, and roaring like the very ocean, the Dhartarashtra army, arrayed by Bhishma, stood facing the west for battle. Illimitable as thy army was, O ruler of men, it looked terrible; but the army of the Pandavas, although it was not such (in number), yet seemed to me to be very large and invincible since Kesava and Arjuna were its leader."