Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya: Chapter 27: Part 2

  • 41) Noticing Bhima approaching, Shalya stopped him with relevant justification and said – “Do not cause the vow of the son of Indra to go waste. Therefore O Bhima! Do not cut Karna’s tongue”.
    • Note: Sri Vadiraja Tirtha explains that cutting the tongue of a Kshatriya like Karna would be equivalent to killing him since his self-pride would be destroyed.
  • 42) Saying thus, Shalya drove off Karna, in front of everyone, away from Bhima to a distance.
  • 43) Having defeated Karna, Bhimasena started scattering away the Kaurava army that included Duryodhana and Ashwathama.
  • 44) Bhima had by then quickly destroyed three akshouhinis. At the same time, Ashwathama tore into the Pandava army.
  • 45) Ashwathama destroyed the Pandava army and rendered Dharmaraja chariot-less. Facing Dhrishtadyumna, Nakula-Sahadeva, Satyaki and the sons of Draupadi, he quickly destroyed all their chariots and made them weapon-less.
  • 46-47) Ashwathama started filling the sky with arrows even as Yudhishthira and the others, their ego damaged, started retreating. Dharmaraja asked him – “Why are you, one is practicing Paradharma, causing pain to those of us Kshatriyas who are engaged in Swadharma? Do not harm us in this way”. When Dharmaraja spoke thus, Ashwathama laughed loudly and proceeded to where Sri Achyuta and Arjuna were present.
  • 48) Once there, even as Arjuna, the son of Indra and great hero, was fighting the Samshaptakas, Ashwathama held up his arrow-wielding shoulders that were like a great snake and invited him to battle.
  • 49) Arjuna, who was fighting the group of war-mongering Samshaptakas, asked Sri Krishna what his duty was when Ashwathama invited him. Sri Krishna drove the horses towards Ashwathama.
    • Note: Arjuna was put in a quandary when two sets of people desired to engage him in battle. He was fighting the Samshaptakas already when Ashwathama invited him. Hence he took refuge in the wisdom of Sri Krishna.
  • 50) Arjuna and Ashwathama, the chief amongst knowers of astras, immensely powerful and ones who swayed with pride, caused darkness in all directions with their arrows in that battle.
  • 51) Ashwathama then rained such a shower of arrows that they came out relentlessly from the chariot, hairs of the horses, his own hair strands, flag and the bow. He then tied Arjuna in a cage of arrows.
    • Note: Ashwathama was firing so many arrows that it appeared, to onlookers, as if arrows were emanating from the chariot, hair of the horses and the hairs on Ashwathama’s body.
  • 52) When Arjuna was tied up thus, Sri Krishna, one who cannot be comprehended, advised him. He also gave him a hug that increased his strength. Arjuna came out of it and started executing great astras.
  • 53) Ashwathama relieved those astras with excellent astras of his own and cut off the string of the Gandiva. He showered many arrows too at Arjuna. Immediately, a new string appeared on the Gandiva and Arjuna tied the same.
  • 54) After that, an angry Arjuna caused the head of Ashwathama’s charioteer to fly by aiming a sharp arrow at him. Ashwathama then started charioteering his own vehicle.
  • 55) Releasing arrows, while simultaneously riding the vehicle, Ashwathama once again tied up Arjuna with a cluster of arrows.
  • 56) Sri Krishna once again hugged Arjuna and gave him strength that could destroy enemies. Arjuna came out of that entrapment and picked up his bow and arrows.
  • 57) Arjuna, the destroyer of enemies, once again rained arrows on Ashwathama. In turn, Ashwathama once again cut off Gandiva’s string. Arjuna tied it back again and cut off the ropes that were holding Ashwathama’s horses.
  • 58) Without the ropes (to contain), Ashwathama’s horses ran away afar being tormented by Arjuna’s arrows. Ashwathama brought them under control again and thought to himself – “It is not possible to go more than this against Arjuna”.
  • 59-60) “Sri Krishna is his charioteer. Hanuman sits in his mast. His bow is Gandiva. His quivers never get exhausted. Similarly his horses cannot be killed and his chariot cannot be destroyed. Therefore, although capable, I shall not proceed against Arjuna (any further) now”.
  • 61) Thinking thus, Ashwathama entered the Pandava formation. The King of Pandya came to face him. An amazing great battle took place between them. Both of them showered terrible clusters of arrows.
  • 62) Ashwathama, in one eighth of the day, released arrows that were carried over eight carriages each driven by eight oxen.
    • Note: Ashwathama was so furious in war on that day that he exhausted arrows that had been carried in eight carriages, each of which were pulled by eight oxen. And he exhausted all these arrows in just one eighth of the day!
  • 63) After that, Ashwathama, rendering him chariot-less, broke his bow and cut off his head that was resplendent with a crown and ear-rings.
  • 64) Ashwathama started disintegrating the Pandava army with his arrows. Arjuna then killed one of the Kings of Magadha country by name Dandadhara.
  • 65) Watching his army being chased away by Ashwathama, Dhrishtadyumna came there hurriedly. Ashwathama said to him – “I shall kill you in battle today for you are a great sinner, having killed the Guru”.
  • 66) When he said thus, Dhrishtadyumna showed him his excellent sword and said – “This sword which killed your father shall answer you”.
  • 67) Replying thus, Dhrishtadyumna picked up his bow and showered many arrows. An hair-raising duel took place between them on equal terms.
  • 68-69) Ashwathama quickly rendered Dhrishtadyumna chariot-less and weapon-less. He shot many arrows at Dhrishtadyumna, wanting to kill him, but they did not even cut his skin. Ashwathama picked up a sword and pounced on him. Even with the sword and other weapons, his skin did not suffer any wounds. He then dragged him on to the ground and started pulling him with his bow.
  • 70) Seeing Dhrishtadyumna being pulled in that manner, Partha and Bhima, impelled by Sri Krishna, started hitting him (Ashwathama) from both sides.
  • 71) Being hit by the two of them with arrows that were hard as diamonds, Ashwathama let go off Dhrishtadyumna and climbed his chariot again.
  • 72) Ashwathama proceeded elsewhere from there. Dhrishtadyumna too climbed another chariot and, lifting his bow, went against Krutavarma.
  • 73) The duel between Dhrishtadyumna and Krutavarma was amazing to watch. In that fight, Dhrishtadyumna, without much exertion, rendered Krutavarma weapon-less and chariot-less. Krupa took Krutavarma elsewhere from there.
  • 74) Thereafter Duryodhana fought against Nakula and Sahadeva from his chariot. An amazing and terrifying battle took place between them. Without much effort, Duryodhana destroyed the chariots of those two.
  • 75) King Yudhishthira then himself faced Duryodhana, who destroyed his horses, charioteer and flags in battle.
  • 76) The brave Bhimasena faced Karna, who returned by then, and proceeded further. Right in front of him (Karna) Bhima rendered Duryodhana chariot-less.
  • 77) Bhima stopped Karna with his arrows and cut the head of his son Sushena, who fell down on the Earth near his father. Similarly, Satyasena was also killed by him.
  • 78) In the battle at night (on the 14th day) two brothers of Karna were similarly killed by Bhima in front of him. Seeing his son being killed, Karna became furious and, leaving Bhima, went on to destroy the (Pandava) army. He went against Dharmaraja, who was seated on another chariot that had excellent horses.
  • 79) Satyaki, Dhrishtadyumna and the sons of Draupadi, along with the Panchala army, stopped Karna. He destroyed all of their chariots and faced Yudhishthira, who was with Nakula and Sahadeva.
  • 80) Karna killed Yudhishthira’s horses in battle. He rendered Nakula and Sahadeva weapon-less. When the three of them came together in a single chariot, he hurt them with his arrows and cruel words.

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