Mahabharata Karna Parva - Translation by KM Ganguly

Mahabharata Adiparva


"Sanjaya said, 'The handsome Arjuna then, on that foremost car of his, unto which were yoked white steeds, and which was urged by Narayana himself, appeared on the scene. Like the tempest agitating the ocean, Vijaya, O foremost of kings, in that battle, agitated that host of thine teeming with horsemen. When the white-steeded Arjuna was otherwise engaged, thy son Duryodhana, filled with rage and surrounded by half his troops, approached suddenly, and encompassed the advancing Yudhishthira inspired with the desire of revenge. The Kuru king then pierced the son of Pandu with three and seventy razor-headed arrows. At this, Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, became inflamed with ire, and quickly struck thy son with thirty broad-headed arrows. The Kaurava troops then rushed impetuously for seizing Yudhishthira. Understanding the wicked intentions of the enemy, the great car-warriors of the Pandava army, uniting together, rushed towards Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, for rescuing him. Indeed, Nakula and Sahadeva and Dhrishtadyumna, the son of Prishata, surrounded by a full Akshauhini of troops, thus proceeded towards Yudhishthira. Bhimasena also, in that battle, crushing the great car-warriors of thy army, proceeded towards the king surrounded by foes. Karna, otherwise called Vaikartana, O king, shooting dense showers of arrows, checked, single-handed, all those mighty bowmen thus advancing (to the rescue). Though they shot dense showers of arrows and hurled innumerable lances, fighting with determination, yet they were unable even to look at the son of Radha. Indeed, the son of Radha, that master of all weapons offensive and defensive, by shooting dense showers of shafts checked all those great bowmen. The high-souled Sahadeva, however, quickly approaching (the spot where Duryodhana was), and invoking without loss of time a (celestial) weapon, pierced Duryodhana with twenty arrows. Thus pierced by Sahadeva, the Kuru king, covered with blood, looked beautiful, like a huge elephant of split temples. Beholding thy son deeply pierced with many arrows of great energy, that foremost of car-warriors, viz., the son of Radha, filled with rage, rushed to that spot. Seeing Duryodhana reduced to that plight, Karna, invoking his weapons quickly, began to slaughter the troops of Yudhishthira and Prishata's son. Thus slaughtered by the high-souled Karna, Yudhishthira's troops, O king, afflicted with the arrows of the Suta's son, soon fled away. Showers of shafts fell together. Indeed, those sped subsequently from the bow of the Suta's son touched with their heads the wings of those sped before. In consequence of those falling showers, of shafts, O monarch, colliding with one another, a conflagration seemed to blaze forth in the welkin. Soon Karna shrouded the ten points of the compass, O king, with arrows capable of piercing the bodies of foes, as if with advancing flights of locusts. Displaying the highest weapons, Karna began to wave with great force his two arms smeared with red sandal-paste and adorned with jewels and gold. Then stupefying all sides, O king, with his shafts, Karna deeply afflicted Yudhishthira the just. Filled with rage at this, Dharma's son Yudhishthira struck Karna with fifty keen shafts. In consequence then of the darkness caused by those showers of arrows, the battle became awful to look at. Loud cries of woe arose from among thy troops, O monarch, whilst they were being slaughtered by Dharma's son, O sire, with diverse kinds of keen shafts equipped with Kanka feathers and whetted on stone, with numerous broad-headed arrows, and with diverse kinds of darts and swords and clubs. Thither where Pandu's son of virtuous soul cast his eyes with the desire of producing evil, thither thy army broke, O bull of Bharata's race. Inflamed with great rage, Karna also, of immeasurable soul, inspired with the desire of retaliating, his face flushed in anger, rushed in that battle against Pandu's son, king Yudhishthira the just, shooting cloth-yard shafts and crescent-shaped arrows and those equipped with heads like the calf's tooth. Yudhishthira also pierced him with many whetted arrows equipped with wings of gold. As if smiling the while, Karna pierced the royal son of Pandu in the chest with three broad-headed arrows, whetted on stone, and equipped with Kanka feathers. Deeply afflicted therewith, king Yudhishthira the just, sitting down on the terrace of his car, ordered his driver to retreat. Thereupon all the Dhartarashtras, with their king, set up a loud shout, saying, "Seize! Seize!" and all of them then pursued the (Pandava) king. Then seventeen hundred Kekaya troops, skilled in smiting, united with a body of the Pancala troops, O king, checked the Dhartarashtras. During the progress of that fierce and terrible battle, Duryodhana and Bhima, those two warriors endued with great might, encountered each other.'"