Mahabharata Karna Parva - Translation by KM Ganguly

Mahabharata Adiparva


"Sanjaya said, 'Then, O king, Dhananjaya, desirous of rescuing Kunti's son Bhima who, assailed by many, foremost of warriors of the Kuru army, seemed to sink (under that attack), avoided, O Bharata, the troops of the Suta's son and began, with his shafts, to despatch those hostile heroes (that were opposed to Bhima) to the regions of death. Successive showers of Arjuna's shafts were seen overspread on the sky, while others were seen to slay thy army. Filling the welkin with his shafts that resembled dense flights of feathery creatures, Dhananjaya, O monarch, at that time, became the very Destroyer unto the Kurus. With his broad-headed arrows, and those equipped with heads flat and sharp as razors, and cloth-yard shafts of bright polish, Partha mangled the bodies of his foes and cut off their heads. The field of battle became strewn with falling warriors, some with bodies cut and mangled, some divested of armour and some deprived of heads. Like the great Vaitarani (separating the regions of life from those of the dead), the field of battle, O king, became uneven and impassable and unsightly and terrible, in consequence of steeds and cars and elephants, which struck with Dhananjaya's shafts, were mangled and crushed and cut off in diverse ways. The earth was also covered with broken shafts and wheels and axles, and with cars that were steedless or that had their steeds and others that were driverless or that had their drivers. Then four hundred well-trained and ever-furious elephants, excited with wrath, and ridden by warriors cased in mail of golden hue and adorned with ornaments of gold, and urged by fierce guides with pressure of heels and toes, fell down, struck by the diadem-decked Arjuna with his shafts, like loosened summits, peopled with living creatures, of gigantic mountains. Indeed, the earth became covered with (other) huge elephants struck down by Dhananjaya with his arrows. Like the sun piercing through masses of clouds, Arjuna's car passed through dense bodies of elephants with juicy secretions flowing down their bodies and looking like masses of clouds. Phalguna caused his track to be heaped up with slain elephants and steeds, and with cars broken in diverse ways, and with lifeless heroes deprived of weapons and engines and of armour, as also with arms of diverse kinds loosened from hands that held them. The twang of Gandiva became tremendously loud, like the peal of thunder in the welkin. The (Dhartarashtra) army then, smitten with the shafts of Dhananjaya, broke, like a large vessel on the bosom of the ocean violently lashed by the tempest. Diverse kinds of fatal shafts, sped from Gandiva, and resembling burning brands and meteors and thunderbolts, burnt thy army. That mighty host, thus afflicted with Dhananjaya's shafts, looked beautiful like a blazing forest of bamboos on a mountain in the night. Crushed and burnt and thrown into confusion, and mangled and massacred by the diadem-decked Arjuna with his arrows, that host of thine then fled away on all sides. Indeed, the Kauravas, burnt by Savyasaci, dispersed on all sides, like animals in the great forest frightened at a forest conflagration. The Kuru host then (that had assailed Bhimasena) abandoning that mighty-armed hero, turned their faces from battle, filled with anxiety. After the Kurus had been routed, the unvanquished Vibhatsu, approaching Bhimasena, stayed there for a moment. Having met Bhima and held a consultation with him, Phalguna informed his brother that the arrows had been extracted from Yudhishthira's body and that the latter was perfectly well.

"'With Bhimasena's leave, Dhananjaya then proceeded (once more against his foes), causing the earth and the welkin, O Bharata, to resound with the rattle of his car. He was then surrounded by ten heroic and foremost of warriors, viz., thy sons, all of whom were Duhshasana's juniors in age. Afflicting Arjuna with their shafts like hunters afflicting an elephant with burning brands, those heroes, with outstretched bow, seemed to dance, O Bharata, (on their cars). The slayer of Madhu then, guiding his, car placed all of them to his right. Indeed, he expected that Arjuna would very soon send all of them to Yama's presence. Beholding Arjuna's car proceeding in a different direction, those heroes rushed towards him. Soon, however, Partha, with a number of cloth-yard shafts and crescent-shaped arrows, cut off their standards and steeds and bows and arrows, causing them to fall down on the earth. Then with some broad-headed arrows he cut off and felled their heads decked with lips bit and eyes blood-red in rage. Those faces looked beautiful like an assemblage of lotuses. Having slain those ten Kauravas cased in golden mail, with ten broad-headed shafts endued with great, impetuosity and equipped with wings of gold that slayer of foes, Arjuna continued to proceed.'"