Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya: Chapter 27: Part 1

  • 1) Later King Duryodhana took the consent of the son of Drona and appointed Karna as the commander-in-chief. Karna put on his Kavacha and proceeded to battle.
  • 2) Under the commandership of Karna, an extremely terrible battle took place between the Kauravas and Pandavas. Bhima came to the battlefield appearing like the rising pristine Sun on an elephant that was like the Udayadri mountain.
    • Note: Udayadri mountain – mountain/hill on the eastern side behind which the Sun rises.
  • 3) Kshemadhoorti approached Bhima as the latter was hurting all the Kings. He killed Bhima’s elephant. Facing that King who had swelled with pride over his strength, Bhima immediately dispatched him to the abode of Yama.
  • 4) Having killed him, Maruti cut off the heads of the young fighters in the enemy camp. He put the enemy army into great turmoil, just as a lion does to a pack of jackals.
  • 5) When that army was in such a tumultuous situation, Ashwathama climbed his chariot and faced Bhima. The battle between them was unprecedented, having never taken place between any two warriors before. It was terrifying and amazing.
  • 6) As soon as they witnessed this battle, the Devatas, Gandharvas and Munis spoke – “We have never seen such a great battle before. Neither will such a duel take place in future. All other battles are not equal to even one sixteenth of this one”.
  • 7) “Such wealth of knowledge and strength is not present in anyone apart from Vayu and Shiva. Where else can these two get together? The strength of knowledge and prowess – both these have complete presence in these two”.
  • 8) Even as the Devatas spoke thus, Bhima and Ashwathama, the best amongst men and excellent fighters, filled all directions and the sky with their arrows. The other great warriors in that battlefield became frightened seeing this.
  • 9) When Bhima cut off Ashwathama’s bow, he rained many great astras at Bhima. The son of Vayu, being a powerful one himself, did not get perturbed and extinguished them with great astras of his own.
  • 10) Once again, the two of them fought each other with arrows in the most amazing manner. Ashwathama then, being hurt badly by Bhima’s arrows, fell deeply unconscious.
  • 11) As Ashwathama departed from there after being unconscious, Bhimasena, who was only mildly tired, immediately recovered from battle fatigue and picked up his bow. Letting out a leonine roar that echoed from all directions, he proceeded to battle the elephant army.
  • 12) When Bhimasena was destroying the elephants, Duryodhana went against Yudhishthira in battle. The two Kings fought against each other for a long time.
  • 13) Yudhishthira quickly ensured Duryodhana was left chariot-less. Duryodhana then picked up a big mace. Bhima picked up his own mace and went after him.
  • 14) Seeing Bhima, Krupa made Duryodhana climb his chariot and left from there. Thereafter Karna and Nakula started fighting forcefully with arrows.
  • 15) Karna rendered Nakula chariot-less and, when the latter started running away, chased him speedily and jabbed at his neck with his bow.
  • 16) Berating him with acerbic words, Karna let go off Nakula out of respect for his promise to Kunti, and went against others.
  • 17) The terrifying fighter Satyaki faced Vinda and Anuvinda. He started raining them with numerous excellent arrows. An intense battle took place between him and the two of them.
    • Note: These two, named Vinda and Anuvinda, were the Kings of Kekaya country.
  • 18) Being stopped by the two of them, Satyaki quickly decapitated Anuvinda. After that Vinda fought against him. In that excellent battle, the two of them destroyed each other’s chariots.
  • 19) Later those two experts in warfare held swords and shields in their hands and started fighting, like hawks in the sky. Destroying each other’s shields they held excellent swords in their hands and rushed simultaneously at each other.
  • 20) Satyaki then, with his hands, caused the head of Vinda that was (decorated) with ear-rings to fly in battle (i.e. decapitated him). Having killed the two of them, he was greatly worshipped by his folks and he proceeded further, causing tremors amongst the enemies.
  • 21) Dhrishtadyumna saw Krupa approaching him and realized that he could hurt him with his taposhakti and took refuge in Bhima.
  • 22) Arjuna went against Karna who was slaughtering the soldiers from all sides. He swiftly rendered Karna chariot-less, who then withdrew his army.
  • 23) Karna, having been defeated by Arjuna, held Duryodhana’s hand and said – “Arjuna defeated me when my mind was elsewhere”.
  • 24) “Parashurama has given me the chariot and divine indestructible bows that I need. However I do not have a charioteer like Krishna. If Shalya becomes my charioteer then I can kill your enemy”.
  • 25) When Karna spoke thus, Duryodhana requested Shalya to assume the charioteer-ship of Karna. Shalya acted as if he was angry. Duryodhana calmed him down, describing the greatness of charioteers over those who ride them.
  • 26) “Only he who is better in intellect, strength, knowledge and courage than a rider should become the charioteer. Just like Krishna is to Arjuna and just as Brahma was to Shiva when the latter went to destroy Tripura”.
  • 27) Shalya acted as if he was convinced with those and other words (of Duryodhana) and became the charioteer of Karna. Along with him, Karna placed his army in a vyuha.
  • 28) While on the way to battle, Karna boasted out of pride and said – “I shall become pleased with anyone who shows me Arjuna and shall grant him unlimited wealth”.
  • 29) When Karna said thus, Shalya ridiculed him and said – “The Nivatakavachas have been killed by Arjuna. The Khandava was burnt (by him). Which human can win against such a person? All of you have seen him during the Uttara-gograhana also”.
    • Note: At the end of the thirteenth year of exile, Arjuna went with Uttara and rescued the cows of Virata, when the Kauravas had captured the cows on the northern side of Virata (Uttara-gograhana). At that time, he had single handedly defeated Bhishma, Drona, Karna, Krupa, Duryodhana and the rest.
  • 30) “Like crows and jackals against Hamsa and Lions, do not go against Arjuna in battle. Do not get killed by him and reach Yamaloka” – when Shalya said thus Karna started incessantly berating the people of Madra country.
  • 31) Shalya then replied saying every country has people who are low, average and excellent in nature. Keeping Arjuna’s well being in mind, he started charioteering Karna.
  • 32) After that, Karna, being seated in the chariot driven by Shalya, reached the Pandava army and started hurting them from all sides with his arrows. Duryodhana, Krupa and the others and Ashwathama, that excellent knower of great astras, protected Karna in that battle.
  • 33) The Pandava army, well protected by Bhima, Dhrishtadyumna and Satyaki, fought against Karna, showering him with arrows. Destroying that army with excellent arrows, Karna started hurting Yudhishthira badly with sharp arrows.
  • 34) Karna quickly rendered Dharmaraja chariot-less and stuck his bow in his neck. He spoke cruel words against him in a loud voice. Seeing this, Bhima immediately caused Duryodhana to lose his chariot and also disarmed him. He started tormenting Duryodhana greatly.
  • 35-36) Seeing Duryodhana in danger of losing his life, Shalya showed him to Karna and said – “For whom are you fighting this war? That person for whom you and your army exist is getting ready to go to Yama’s abode. Protect him immediately from Bhima’s torment. What is the purpose of such useless hurting of Yudhishthira?”. Listening to his words, Karna left Dharmaraja and rushed to protect the King.
  • 37-38) As soon as he saw Karna, Bhima came against him like he was going to burn him in anger. Possessing immense radiance, Bhima sent Dhrishtadyumna and Satyaki to protect Yudhishthira. When he rushed towards Karna, he appeared like Narasimha who swallows Shiva, after the latter has caused the destruction of the entire world during Pralaya. The Earth shook vigorously due to his speed and the enemy soldiers lost direction and ran away.
  • 39) When he was hit by a cluster of arrows from Karna, Bhimasena picked up an arrow that was as hard as a diamond and released it against him. Hit by that arrow, Karna fell down like a corpse. Bhima picked up a sword and went towards Karna on foot.
  • 40) It was Bhima’s vow that he would cut off the tongue of the person who condemned Sri Hari, even if it was done indirectly. Therefore, he went towards Karna to cut his tongue.

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