1) After Bhishma, Duryodhana appointed Drona, who was the teacher of weapons for all Kings, the best amongst chariot-warriors, an excellent scholar and the best student of the lord of the world Sri Parashurama, as the commander of the army.
2) Karna too, having not held the bow till Bhishma was around having been insulted by him, got ready for battle after taking Bhishma’s permission. He climbed the chariot and followed Drona.
3) Duryodhana asked Drona to capture Yudhishthira and hand him over. He gave his word agreeing to do so. The Pandavas got to know of this and came ready to battle. A terrible war took place between them.
4) Using a bow that was pulled together as a circle, Drona released arrows powered by mantras and caused distraught amongst the enemies. Immediately Vrikodara let out a leonine roar and faced him. Ashwathama, Krupa and Shalya came to battle him (Bhima).
5-6) Bhimasena, the foremost in battle, pushed all of them back and faced Drona. Following him, Abhimanyu too faced the enemies. King Shalya stopped him. Shalya picked up a mace. A great battle took place between the two of them. Bhima faced him holding a mace. A (wonderful) battle took place between them. Both of them hadn’t tasted defeat and were excellent in using the mace. Both of them were very powerful. They were the best amongst the strongest.
7) The two of them fought, causing amazement and surprise to those watching them. The whole world saw their battle, in which their diamond like strong bodies bore the marks of the maces, caused when they hit each other.
8) Due to Bhima’s hit with the mace, King Shalya fell unconscious. Out of anger, Vrikodara moved his legs and rested on his knees. He then immediately got up.
Note: Bhima’s blows caused Shalya to fall unconscious while Shalya’s attack resulted in Bhima resting on his knees for a moment.
9) Even as the people around were watching Shalya falling unconscious and Bhima inviting him for battle, Krupa got Shalya inside his chariot and drove away.
Note: In the moola Mahabharata, Sri Vyasa says it was Krutavarma who carried Shalya away.
10) Maruti (Bhima), having defeated the King of Madra, let out a lion-like roar and returned to his chariot. Releasing a shower of arrows, he started hurting and chasing away the army of the enemies, right in front of Drona.
11) When Vrikodara chased away the Kauravas quickly, Drona defeated Abhimanyu, Satyaki and the others and rushed towards Yudhishthira in order to capture him. Arjuna, being seated in his chariot, faced him.
12) Arjuna, being in the chariot controlled by Sri Krishna, appeared to the world as the one causing the flow of the river of blood due to the destruction of elephants, horses and chariots using body-damaging, sharp arrows.
13) When Dharmaraja became safe and relieved from danger as the army (of the Kauravas) was destroyed greatly by Arjuna, Drona withdrew his army that was being destroyed by Bhima and Arjuna as nightfall came about, and returned.
14) At night, the son of Dhritharashtra condemned Drona with cruel words for having failed to capture Yudhisthira. Drona said – “Draw Arjuna away from the battlefield. I shall then capture the son of Dharma”.
15) Susharma, along with the Samshaptakas including great many warriors, was then appointed by Duryodhana to draw Arjuna away afar from the battlefield. He said “Yes”.
16) All of them invited Arjuna to the north-eastern side (of Kurukshetra) for battle. Arjuna went there and started fighting them. Over here, Bhima started destroying the elephant-army.
17) When Bhima started to kill elephants from all directions, due to which (many) Kings started running away after defeat, Bhagadatta, being requested by Duryodhana, rushed there along with (his elephant) Suprateeka, wielding a bow.
18) Bhima’s horses, being scared by that elephant, could not stand there. Later, Satyaki, Abhimanyu and the others faced that elephant. It picked them up along with their chariots and threw them into the sky.
19) Satyaki and the others, rendered chariot-less, jumped to the ground with great difficulty and stood up. Bhima brought the horses under control and got ready to battle. Sri Krishna noticed this.
20) “Bhagadatta, getting into trouble, may invoke the Vaishnavastra against Bhima. Therefore, I shall go there with Arjuna and receive that astra which cannot be borne by others due to the boon”.
Note: The Vaishnavastra, due to Sri Vishnu’s boon, could not be withstood by anyone else.
21) Thinking thus, Sri Krishna proceeded there with Arjuna. Then, the Trigartas stopped Arjuna from going. The brave Arjuna released the Sammohanastra against them.
22) Due to the effect of that astra, the Trigartas became disillusioned and started hitting each other confusing each other to be Sri Krishna and Arjuna. Then, Arjuna quickly proceeded towards Bhagadatta in order to kill him.
23) Bhagadatta quit the battle with Bhima and faced Arjuna, being seated on the elephant. He moved his elephant towards Arjuna’s chariot. Sri Krishna drove the chariot speedily around the elephant in the counter-clockwise direction.
24) Since Sri Krishna was driving that chariot in a circle at the speed of mind, the elephant could not catch it. Arjuna tormented Bhagadatta with extremely sharp arrows.
25) Arjuna and Bhagadatta, the two great warriors and best amongst the powerful, fought against each other with weapons and astras for a long time. Then, Arjuna cut off Bhagadatta’s bow. Bhagadatta invoked the Vaishnavastra in the (elephant’s) hook.
Note: The astra could be invoked on any object due to the power of the mantra. Bhagadatta did so on the hook used to control his elephant Suprateeka.
26) When Bhagadatta released that Vaishnavastra, Sri Krishna, the one with limitless valour, bore it. That astra adorned the shoulders of Sri Krishna, the one who bears all the worlds, in the form of a Vaijayanti mala.
Note: The astra became a garland of Vaijayanti flowers and adorned Sri Krishna’s shoulders.
27) Seeing that (astra) being borne by Sri Krishna, Arjuna asked him – “Why did you take it upon yourself?”. Sri Krishna, the bearer of all the worlds, said – “Is it not me who bears everything at all times?”
28) “There is none equal to me. How then can anyone be superior to me? I take four forms for the welfare of the world. Through them, I perform liberation, dissolution, maintenance and creation. Possessing those four forms viz Vasudeva and the rest, I reside in the hearts of everyone in the form of Aniruddha”.
29) “The four-formed me had earlier, in my form as Varaha, given this astra to Narakasura in order to please Bhudevi. I had also granted him and his son invincibility and freedom from death till the possession of the astra”
30) “Apart from me, there is no one else who can escape death from this weapon. Therefore, I received this astra. Now that he is without the astra, you slay him”.
31) Hearing those words of Sri Krishna, Arjuna discussed with him and released an arrow aimed at the chest of King of Pragjyotisha. He shot another arrow that hit the top of the forehead of that elephant.
32) Bhagadatta and his elephant, both being mountain like, fell down as if hit by the Vajrayudha of Mahendra. Arjuna, of terrible prowess, killed both of them and rejoiced greatly, being worshipped by his people.
33) Then, Arjuna killed Achala and Vrushaka, two brothers of Shakuni, using arrows. He caused pain to Shakuni as well with his arrows. Shakuni then created a maya. Arjuna released the vijnanastra and destroyed that maya.
34) That evil-doer Shakuni ran away from there when his maya was destroyed. Later Arjuna showered that army (of Shakuni) with arrows and chased them away. Ashwathama then killed Neela, the King of Mahishmati, in battle.
35) Bhima destroyed the horses of Ashwathama and started to scatter the Kaurava army. Seeing his army being destroyed by Bhima and Arjuna, Drona quickly withdrew his army (for the day).
Note: The war on the twelfth day came to an end thus.
36) Because of Bhagadatta’s killing and because Yudhishthira was not captured, Duryodhana became extremely downcast and went to Drona and chastised him with cruel words. Drona then told him.
37) “Tomorrow, when Arjuna goes afar, I shall capture Yudhishthira or kill another brave warrior equal to him” – undertaking an oath thus, Drona left, desiring battle on the next day.
38) Drona constructed a padma-vyuha that was impenetrable by enemies due to Sri Vishnu’s boon and started fighting. Apart from Arjuna, the other Pandavas faced Drona. Arjuna engaged in battle with the Samshaptakas.
39) Even though the Pandavas came near the vyuha and tried, they could not break it. Bhima, although he naturally knew the mantra that would allow it to be broken, did not chant the same as it was a kamya-karma.
Note: To break the padma-vyuha one had to chant a mantra. Chanting of mantras for material pursuits is forbidden for anyone following the shuddha-bhagavata-dharma. Bhima therefore did not chant the mantra.
40) Dharmaraja then spoke to Abhimanyu, who knew how to break that vyuha, and said – “Son! You penetrate this vyuha. We shall follow you”.