Mahabharata Drona Parva - Translation by KM Ganguly

Mahabharata Adiparva

Section CLXIX

"Sanjaya said, 'Against Nakula who was engaged in smiting thy host, Suvala's son (Sakuni) in wrath, rushed with great impetuosity and addressing him, said, 'Wait! Wait!' Each enraged with the other and each desirous of slaying the other, those two heroes struck each other with shafts sped from their bows drawn to their fullest stretch. Suvala's son in that encounter displayed the same measure of skill that Nakula displayed, O king, in shooting showers of arrows. Both pierced with arrows, O king, in that battle, they looked beautiful like a couple of porcupines with quills erect on their bodies. The armour of each cut off by means of shafts with straight points and golden wings, and each bathed in blood, those two warriors looked resplendent in that dreadful battle like two beautiful and brilliant Kalpa trees, or like two flowering Kinsukas on the field of battle. Indeed, O king, those two heroes in that encounter, both pierced with arrows, looked beautiful like a couple of Salmali trees with prickly thorns on them. Casting oblique glances at each other, with eyes expanded in rage, whose corners had become red, they seemed to scorch each other by those glances. Then thy brother-in-law, excited with wrath, and smiling the while, pierced Madri's son in the chest with a barbed arrow of keen point. Deeply pierced by that great bowman, viz., thy brother-in-law, Nakula sat down on the terrace of his car and swooned away. Beholding his proud foe, that mortal enemy of his in that plight, Sakuni uttered a roar loud as that of the clouds at the end of summer. Recovering consciousness, Nakula, the son of Pandu, once more rushed against Suvala's son, like the Destroyer himself of wide-open mouth. Inflamed with rage, O bull of Bharata's race, he pierced Sakuni with sixty arrows, and more with a hundred long shafts at the centre of his chest. He then cut off Sakuni's bow with arrow fixed thereon, into two fragments, at the handle. And then cutting off in a trice Sakuni's standard, he caused it to fall down on the earth. Piercing next Sakuni's thigh with keen, sharp, and well-tempered shafts, Nakula, the son of Pandu, caused him to fall down on the terrace of his car, clasping his flag-staff, like an amorous man clasping his mistress. Beholding that brother-in-law of thine laid low and deprived of consciousness, O sinless one, his driver quickly bore him away from the van of battle. The Parthas, then, and all their followers, uttered a loud roar. Having vanquished his foes, Nakula, that scorcher of foes, addressing his driver, said, 'Beat me to the host commanded by Drona.' Hearing these words of Madri's son, his driver proceeded to the spot, O king, where Drona was stationed.  Against mighty Sikhandin proceeding towards Drona, Kripa resolutely advanced with great impetuosity. That chastiser of foes, viz., Sikhandin, then, smiling the while, pierced with nine arrows the son of Gotama thus advancing against him towards the vicinity of Drona. Then the preceptor, Kripa, that benefactor of thy sons, piercing Sikhandin first with five arrows, once more pierced him with twenty. The combat that took place, O monarch, between them, was exceedingly dreadful, like that between Samvara and the chief of the celestials in the battle between the gods and the Asuras. Those heroic and mighty car-warriors, both invincible in battle, covered the welkin with their arrows, like clouds covering the welkin on the expiry or summer. Terrible of itself, that night, O chief of the Bharatas, became more terrible still to the heroic combatants engaged in battle. Indeed, of terrible aspects and inspiring all sorts of fear, that night became, as it were, death-night (of all creatures). Then Sikhandin, O king, cut off, with a crescent-shaped arrow, the large bow of Gotama's son and shot at the latter many whetted shafts. Inflamed with wrath, O monarch, Kripa then sped at his antagonist a fierce dart, equipped with a golden shaft and keen point, and polished by the hands of the smith. Sikhandin, however, cut it off with ten shafts as it coursed towards him. That dart, then, decked with gold (thus cut off), fell down on the earth. Then Gautama, foremost of men, taking up another bow, O king, covered Sikhandin with a large number of whetted shafts. Thus covered in that battle by the illustrious son of Gotama, Sikhandin, that foremost of car-warriors sank on the terrace of his car. Beholding him thus weakened, Kripa in that encounter, struck him with many arrows, from desire of slaying him, O Bharata! (Sikhandin then was borne away by his driver). Beholding that mighty car-warrior, viz., the son of Yajnasena retreating from battle, the Panchalas and the Somakas surrounded him on all sides (for rescuing him). Similarly, thy sons also surrounded that foremost of Brahmans, Kripa, with a large force. Then commenced a battle once more, between car-warriors, O king, that struck one another. The uproar that rose became loud as the roaring of clouds, O Bharata, caused by rushing horsemen and elephants, O monarch, smiting one another down. Then, O king, the field of battle looked exceedingly fierce. With the tread of rushing infantry the earth began to tremble, O monarch, like a lady shaken with fear. Car-warriors, mounting on their cars, rushed impetuously, attacking compeers by their thousands, O king, like crows seizing winged insects (in the air). Similarly, mighty elephants with winy exudation down their bodies, pursuing similar elephants, encountered them, O Bharata, furiously. So also, horsemen, coming upon horsemen, and foot-soldiers angrily encountered one another in that battle. At dead of night, the sound of retreating and the rushing of troops and of those coming again to the encounter became deafening. The blazing lamps also, placed on cars and elephants and steeds, seemed,

O king, large meteors falling from the firmament. That night, O chief of the Bharatas, lightened up by those lamps looked like day, O king, on the field of battle. As the sun, encountering the thick gloom, destroys it completely, even so the thick gloom of the battle was destroyed by those blazing lamps. Indeed, the welkin, the earth, the cardinal and the subsidiary points of the compass, enveloped by dust and darkness, became once more illuminated by that light. The splendour of weapons and coats of mail, and of the jewels of illustrious heroes, became overshadowed, by the light of those blazing lamps. During the progress of that fierce battle at night, none of the combatants, O Bharata, could know the warriors of his own side. Sire, O chief of the Bharatas, slew son, and son, from ignorance, slew sire, and friend slew friend. And relatives slew relatives, and maternal uncles slew sisters' sons, and warriors slew warriors of their own side, and foes slew their own men, in that battle, O Bharata. In that dreadful nocturnal encounter, O king, all fought furiously, ceasing to have any regard for one another.'"