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Drona Parva


Chapter One

The Eleventh Day of Rivalry;

Dronacharya Becomes Commander


Dhritarastra inquired: O Sanjaya, after the Kauravas had lamented the fall of the renowned Bhishma, what did my sons do, urged on by their fate? Indeed, the grandsire Bhishma was invincible and without a second on the front line of the army. Who did my son next chose to lead these famed divisions?

Sanjaya said: O King, after Bhishma had fallen on the battlefield, Duryodhana inquired from Karna, "Bhishma was our commander for ten days. He achieved lasting fame and killed thousands upon thousands of men. This was all done fairly. Now that he is about to ascend to the higher regions, who, O Karna, should be the commander in chief of our troops? Without a leader, this army, which is like a boat without a captain, will sink into the Pandava Ocean. Who, now, is capable to lead my forces to victory?"

Karna replied, "Anyone of the maharathis is certainly qualified to lead your forces. All of them are proficient in weaponry and are expert in arraying large armies. If one among them is chosen, then the others will feel offended. However, the preceptor Drona is senior and is the most revered. Among all the Kings and princes, there is not one who will not accept the leadership of this esteemed bowman. He is also your preceptor and worthy of your worship."

Agreeing with Karna's advice, Duryodhana went to Dronacharya who was standing in the midst of the troops. Offering obeisances to his preceptor, Duryodhana requested, "O sire, among our forces, you are senior by birth. You are born of noble parentage and are superior to us in learning and intelligence. By your ascetic penances, you have realized the eternality of Brahman. Your prowess on the battlefield exceeds all others in my army. With you as its protector, we will feel confident that we will cross the great Pandava ocean. O sinless one, take command of these eleven akshauhini divisions and, fighting in the forefront of my army, lead us to victory."

Drona said, "I am acquainted with the six branches of Veda, and I also know the science of Varnashrama. I possess the divine astras and know how to array large divisions. I will display all these virtues, for you are desiring victory. However, I will not be able to kill the Pandavas or Drupada's son, Dhristadyumna, for he is born to slay me."

After agreeing to take command of the huge divisions, Drona was formally installed in that position. He then prepared for the day's battle, and arranged the divisions in the form of a cart called Sakata. The Pandavas arranged their army in the formation of a crane called Kraunca. Before the battle began, Duryodhana went to Drona and requested a boon, "If you are inclined to give me a benediction, then I request that you capture Yudhisthira alive and bring him to me."

Drona replied, "Why do you want Yudhisthira alive? Would you not be content with his death? It is wonderful that no one wishes to see his death, and therefore, he is known as Ajatashatru. Even you bear this affection for him."

Duryodhana said, "If Yudhisthira were killed, I would still not be victorious. If Ajatashatru were slain, then Arjuna would annihilate my whole army. All of them cannot be killed even by the heavenly gods united. If Yudhisthira is brought here alive, then I will challenge him again at dice and send him to the forest for another thirteen years."

Understanding the vile intention of Gandhari's son, Drona said, "If Yudhisthira were not protected by Arjuna, then it is possible to capture him. However, Arjuna has become too powerful. It is true that I was his martial preceptor, but since that time he has received all the divine astras. He has even acquired celestial weapons from Lord Shiva and Indra. Therefore, he has become invincible. If Arjuna can be lured away from Yudhisthira, then it will be possible to capture the King. If Arjuna can be taken to another part of the battlefield, then without doubt, I will abduct Yudhisthira."

When Drona had agreed to this proposal, Duryodhana thought that victory was his. However, through spies, Yudhisthira learned of Duryodhana's plan and assembled his brothers as well as the other Kings that supported him. In their presence he requested Arjuna, "You have heard Duryodhana's plan which Drona will try to accomplish. This ruse cannot be carried out as long as you are close by. Therefore, always stay near me and protect me at all costs."

Arjuna replied, "Just as Drona's death will never happen at my hands, so, O King, I will never allow you to be captured by the enemy. The stars in the sky may disappear, or the earth may split into fragments, but still I will not allow Drona to seize you. Even if Indra himself leads Duryodhana's army, I will never allow you to be captured. As long as I am alive, O great King, you have no need to fear Drona. I have never spoken an untruth, nor have I ever made a vow that I could not keep."

After Arjuna had pledged Yudhisthira's protection, the army was made ready for combat. When the Kaurava host attacked the Pandava army, there was a great bloodbath on both sides. The invincible Drona began to afflict the Pandava sea with arrows that resembled thunderbolts of lightning. Coming up to challenge him was Yudhisthira supported by his vast army of rathis and maharathis. They challenged the preceptor Drona who rode on his golden chariot drawn by red horses.

While this encounter was taking place, Shakuni assaulted Sahadeva. He pierced the chariot, the standard and the charioteer with many sharp arrows. Laughing at the deceitful gambler's lack of prowess, Sahadeva cut the bow from Shakuni's hands, felled his standard and killed his charioteer. He then pierced the Gandhara King with sixty arrows. Shakuni jumped from his chariot, mace in hand and killed Sahadeva's chariot driver. Sahadeva also stepped down from his chariot with his mace and began to fight with the son of Suvala.

Meanwhile King Paurava attacked Abhimanyu and covered him with a curtain of arrows. Abhimanyu countered and pierced Paurava with seven shafts, felled his banner and pierced the chariot driver with three shafts. Then Arjuna's son placed on his bowstring an arrow capable of killing his enemy. However, Kritavarman cut the arrow and the bow from Abhimanyu's hands. Throwing aside the broken bow and arrow, the son of Arjuna took up a sword and shield, and descending from his chariot, ran at Paurava. Whirling his sword and shield, he jumped onto Paurava's chariot and knocked him unconscious. Abhimanyu raised the King up by his hair and was about to kill him. Seeing Paurava about to be slain, Jayadratha jumped from his chariot with sword and shield, challenging the son of Arjuna. Abhimanyu then left Paurava and jumped to the ground. Many warriors then released lances, arrows and scimitars to encompass the death of Subhadra's son. However, Abhimanyu cut all those weapons to pieces with his sword. There then ensued a battle between Jayadratha and the son of Arjuna that was fierce and wonderful. Those two warriors encircled each other and whittled at each others body thirsting for victory. When Jayadratha struck Abhimanyu's shield with his sword, it broke. With no weapon to fight with, the Sindhu King ran from the battlefield. Ascending his chariot, the son of Arjuna then began to scorch the Kaurava divisions.

Witnessing Jayadratha's defeat, Salya took up a deadly dart and threw it with all his strength at Abhimanyu. However, Arjuna's son caught that weapon in the air. Releasing that same weapon, it killed Salya's chariot driver and knocked Salya to the chariot floor. All the Pandavas cheered at Abhimanyu's victory and exclaimed, "Well done!, Well done!"

Salya then stepped down from his chariot and challenged Abhimanyu. Abhimanyu also stepped down from his chariot and rushed at Salya. However, Bhima appeared on the scene and asked Abhimanyu to step aside. Then those two bulls amongst the kshatriyas began to whirl their maces, which looked like streaks of lightning. Both iron maces had the power to slay hundreds of warriors at a time. Both warriors were extremely bitter, and both began to beat each other with fury. Although both managed to hit the other with their upraised maces, still neither appeared injured. Highly provoked they rushed at each other, and with all their might, they struck each other at the same time. Battered by a blow from Bhima's mace, Salya fell senseless to the earth. Bhima also fell from the blow of Salya's mace. At that time the revered chariot fighter, Kritavarman, appeared and took Salya on his chariot. Bhima then stood up and prepared once again to fight. Dismayed at the loss of Salya, that division of the Kaurava army retreated in fear.

Beholding the army broken, the son of Karna, Vrishasena, single handedly protected it. He released thousands of arrows and began to kill the Pandava chariot fighters and horsemen. Nakula's son Satanika assaulted Vrishasena and pierced him with ten arrows. The son of Karna, however, cut the royal banner and bow of Satanika. When this happened, the other sons of Draupadi challenged Vrishasena and covered him with weapons. Coming up to protect Karna's son was Ashvatthama. He quickly stopped the assault of Draupadi's sons. The Pandavas, with a desire to protect their sons, also came up to fight with Ashvatthaman. Both armies met and the battle was wonderful. Gradually the Pandava army began to break the front lines of the Kaurava host, and the warriors on Duryodhana's side began to flee the battlefield. Drona rebuked them, "Heroes do not run away. I will give you protection." Encouraged by the preceptor's words, that multitude of soldiers returned for battle.

Drona then ripped into the Pandava ranks and killed thousands of soldiers. Having penetrated deep into the Pandava army, Drona was looking for the opportunity to seize Yudhisthira. Kumara, a powerful warrior who was protecting Yudhisthira's chariot, stopped the advance of the preceptor by releasing a thousand arrows. Not tolerating that action, Drona severed the great warrior's head. As Drona was coming closer to Yudhisthira's chariot, Virata, Drupada, Satyaki, Singhasena and Vyaghradatta, the Panchala Prince attacked him. Vyaghradatta pierced Drona with fifty arrows and Singhasena also attacked him. However, Drona released from his mighty bow two broadheaded shafts that severed those warrior's heads. With no one to oppose him, Drona assaulted Yudhisthira. At this time loud cries were heard from the troops, "The King is slain! Today, Drona will surely capture Yudhisthira.!"

These exclamations were heard by Arjuna who quickly appeared on the scene filling the sky with the sound of his Gandiva bow. He was mowing down the Kaurava ranks causing a great carnage. Arjuna suddenly came upon Drona's division, and with his celestial weapons, he pierced every warrior which threw them into confusion. Intent on saving his elder brother, Arjuna was releasing arrows so fast that no one could tell when he pulled the arrow from the quiver, or when it was released from his bow. All this happened as fast as lightning. Seeing Arjuna's anger, both Drona and Duryodhana ordered the troop withdrawal for the day. The Shrinjayas and the Panchalas, filled with joy over Arjuna's triumph, began to blow on their conchshells and beat on drums.

In the Kaurava's camp, Duryodhana assembled all the kings to assess the day's events. In that assembly, Drona said, "I have told you that when Arjuna is near Yudhisthira, it will be impossible for me to capture him. Although all the great warriors fell upon Arjuna, our attempts were frustrated. Do not doubt what I say; Krishna and Arjuna are undefeatable. If, however, Arjuna can be separated from the King, then I will surely be able to seize him. Let someone challenge Arjuna and draw him to another part of the battlefield. The son of Kunti will not return till he has defeated his enemy. Meanwhile, while Partha is fighting with his opponent, I will take the opportunity to capture Yudhisthira. In Dhristadyumna's presence, I will bring King Yudhisthira under my control. This scheme will prove more fruitful than the defeat of the whole Pandava army."

Hearing Drona's plot, the Trigarta King, Susharman, volunteered, "In the past, we have been humiliated by Arjuna. My brothers and I have never injured him, yet he always seeks to kill us. Our hearts burn in anger, and we are not able to sleep at night. Tomorrow we will challenge him and take him to another part of the battlefield. We take this vow today that either we will kill Arjuna, or he will kill us. We will never retreat in battle. Myself, along with my brothers, Satyaratha, Satyavarman, Satyavrata and Satyeshu, will challenge Arjuna in battle and slay him. This is our promise!" Having made their resolutions, those great kings rested for the night and waited for dawn when they could fulfill their vows.


Thus Ends the First Chapter of the Drona Parva, Entitled, The Eleventh Day of Rivalry; Drona Becomes Commander.


Chapter Commentary


It has become apparent to Duryodhana that he cannot defeat the Pandava army by fair means. Therefore, in his usual conniving way he is trying to defeat them by other methods. He took their kingdom by foul play in the gambling match, and now he wants to capture Yudhisthira and force him to gamble again. Drona, also, has taken the same mentality. Although Drona is a good man, by bad association he has become contaminated. Association is like a mirror. Whoever we associate with we will become like. If we associate with saintly persons, we become saintly, and if we associate with evil persons, we become evil. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness has be set up by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada to give common persons association with sadhus or saintly persons. By such association common persons can give up their bad habits and lead a pure life. It is stated by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, sadhu sanga, sadhu sanga-sarva shastre kaya, lava matra sandhu sanga, sarva siddhi haya, "The verdict of all revealed scriptures is that by even a moment's association with a pure devotee, one can attain all success." (Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya 22.54)

Conversely, by lingering with evil hearted persons, one becomes contaminated. By too much association with Duryodhana, Drona has taken a similar mentality.



Chapter Two

The Twelfth Day at Kurukshetra;

The Fall of King Bhagadatta


Dhritarastra said: O Sanjaya, my army seems incapable of bearing the Gandiva bow. That chariot, which has Vishnu for its driver and Dhananjaya for its warrior, cannot be conquered by the gods and asuras combined. How can the Pandavas meet defeat when they are protected by the wielder of the Sarnga bow (Krishna)? O Suta, the divine feats of Vasudeva are unequaled by anyone on earth. While Krishna was being brought up in Nanda Maharaja's home, He made the might of His arms known to the world. He killed the rakshasi Putana while still a small child. In His infancy He also killed Kamsa's friend, Trinavarta, and slew the Keshi demon on the Yamuna bank. This horse was equal to the celestial steed Uchaishravas. In His childhood He also slew a great asura in the form of a bull. The divine son of Devaki has also killed Pralamba, Naraka, Jambha and Mura who were the terror of the heavenly gods. And also Kamsa, who was protected by Jarasandha, was slain by Krishna with His bare hands. Krishna then slew the Surasena King, Sunaman, who retained a full akshauhini division. Lord Krishna caused Jarasandha's death, who had elephant-like strength. He also hurled into the sea the demoniac city of Saubha which was owned by the great Shalva. He has defeated the Angas, the Vangas, the Kalingas, the Magadhas, the Kasis, the Koshalas, the Vatsyas, the Gargyas, the Karushas, and the Paundras. He, who has lotus petal eyes, has also defeated the Avantis, the Southerners, the Mountaineers, the Kambhojas, the Pandyas, the Trigartas, the Malavas, as well as the Yavanas. He has defeated the great Indra and Varuna in battle, and He has bewildered the creator of this universe, Lord Brahma. We have never heard of any king who was able to defeat Him. O Sanjaya, we personally experienced Krishna's universal form in our royal court before these hostilities began. O Suta, there can be no end to the infinite prowess of Hrishikesha. Will that Vasudeva, who the rishis describe as the Father of all, fight for the Pandavas? Will that Supreme Lord call upon His family members to assist Him? Will the heroic Samba, Pradyumna, Gada, Akrura, Carudeshna and Sarana take their weapons and fight with my sons? Will the Yadu host and Vrishni houses bring their wrath against my wicked son? Will Balarama, the carrier of the mace and plough, come to the Pandava's assistance? If this does happen, then my sons will be in greater danger. O Sanjaya, if Vasudeva puts on His armor, there will none amongst us who can withstand Him. Where there is Krishna, there will certainly be victory and fame. Krishna and Arjuna are none other than Narayana and Nara. O Suta, please tell me how the battle progressed, and how ultimately the great Drona fell from his chariot.

Sanjaya said: O King, I can see everything with my inner vision. Listen as I describe how the preceptor Drona was slain by the invincible Dhristadyumna in the presence of all warriors. When the night had passed, Drona arrayed the troops in the formation called Garuda. In Garuda's mouth was the powerful preceptor himself. The head of Garuda was Duryodhana supported by the remnants of his brothers. Kritavarman and Kripa formed the two eyes of that gigantic bird. Bhurishrava, Salya, Somadatta, and Bahlika, surrounded by a full akshauhini division, became the right wing of that formation. Vinda and Anuvinda, Sudakshina, the Kambhoja ruler, and Ashvatthama formed the left wing of the huge bird. In the midst of that army stood Bhagadatta, the King of Pragjyotishapura. He was riding on his invincible elephant, Supritika. He was surrounded by many Kings from the mountainous regions. The Samsaptakas, so named because they took a vow to either conquer or die, were arrayed in a formation like a half moon. They were headed by King Susharman and his brothers. They were intent on killing Arjuna or dying in the attempt. Seeing this impenetrable formation, Yudhisthira arrayed his troops in a half circle.

When the day's combat commenced, the Trigartas challenged Arjuna to battle. When the Samsaptakas saw Arjuna coming toward them, they were filled with joy and sent up loud shouts. The whole sky was filled with their vibrations, and they rushed at Arjuna's beautiful chariot which was driven by the lotus-eyed Lord Krishna. Smiling all the while, Arjuna said to Krishna, "Just see, O son of Devaki, the Trigarta brothers, who are about to be slain in battle. They are joyous at a time when they should be lamenting." After saying this, Arjuna took up his conch, the Devadatta, and blew it forcefully. Terrified, the Samsaptakas no longer wore a cheerful smile, but stood paralyzed and motionless. All their animals stopped, and with wide open eyes they passed stool and urine simultaneously. After the Samsaptakas had regained their proper consciousness, they attacked Arjuna. They released thousands of arrows to encompass Arjuna's death. The son of Kunti, however, cut those arrows to pieces, and with a broad headed arrow cut off the leather gloves of Susharman's brother Suvahu. In return, Sudharman, Sudhanvan, and Suvahu pierced Arjuna with ten arrows each. Enraged, Arjuna killed Sudhanvan's horses, and then he cut off his head that was graced with a beautiful turban. With the fall of that hero, the rest of the warriors fled away in fear.

King Susharman quickly rallied his troops and reminded them of their vow. They once more returned to challenge Arjuna. Seeing their heroic attempt, Arjuna said to Hrishikesha, "Urge the horses, O Krishna, towards the Samsaptakas. They will not give up the battle without dying. Today, I will kill all these warriors like a forest fire consumes trees." Approaching Arjuna, that multitude of warriors released thousands of arrows covering the chariot of Krishna and Arjuna. Arjuna again blew on his conch, and released a weapon called Tvashtra. This weapon created the illusion of many thousands of Krishna's and Arjuna's. Confused by the illusion, the Samsaptakas began to kill each other thinking that they were Krishna and Arjuna. They pierced each other saying, "There is Arjuna! This one is Krishna!" Uttering such loud shouts, they killed each other. When the illusion disappeared, the remnants of the army rushed at Arjuna like moths entering fire. When their weapons filled the sky, Krishna questioned Arjuna, "Because of this dense darkness, O Partha, I cannot see you. Are you alive, O slayer of the enemy?" Not responding to Lord Krishna, Arjuna invoked the Vayavya astra that blew away those large numbers of weapons. This weapon presided over by the wind god then began to carry away vast numbers of horses, elephants and chariot drivers like the wind carries away dry leaves. While in that state, Arjuna severed their heads, arms and legs. So great was the carnage that blood flowed like a river, and the foot soldiers were ankle deep in bloody mud.

Meanwhile, Drona was also causing a great slaughter of the Pandava troops. When Yudhisthira saw Drona coming near him, he informed Dhristadyumna, "O son of Drupada, here comes Drona who is intent on capturing me. Take precaution that he will not abduct me." Dhristadyumna replied, "O King, you will never be touched by the preceptor. Today, I shall check his progress and slay his followers. As long as I am alive, you will not need to feel any anxiety. I have taken birth for Drona's death, and under no circumstances will he defeat me."

Having made this promise, Drupada's son assaulted Drona, scattering his mighty arrows. Seeing Drona checked, Durmuka came up to challenge Dhristadyumna and overpowered him with many weapons. While those two heroes were fighting, Drona began to crush Yudhisthira's divisions with his celestial weapons. Then Yudhisthira, seeing Drona near him, released hundreds of arrows to stop his progress. Satyajit, whom Arjuna had appointed to protect Yudhisthira, released a celestial weapon that pierced Drona in many parts of his body. He then lacerated the preceptor's chariot driver with five arrows and his horses with seven. With his powerful weapons Satyajit cut the royal insignia from Drona's chariot and sent up a loud roar. Beholding the feats of the mighty Satyajit, Drona decided that the Panchala prince should be sent to the other world. Drona shattered his bow and arrows and pierced him with ten shafts. Taking up another bow, Satyajit struck Drona with thirty arrows. The mighty car warrior Vrika then pierced Drona in the chest with sixty arrows. Not tolerating this impudence, Drona shattered the bows from the hands of Vrika and Satyajit. With a broad headed shaft, Drona killed Vrika, and with a crescent shaped arrow, he severed Satyajit's head. Drona began to slaying the foremost Pandava chariot fighters one after another. With nine arrows, Drona overthrew Dridhasena, and with another twenty arrows, he killed Kshema, the leader of a chariot division. Making his way toward Yudhisthira, he killed the mighty Kshatradeva and another Pandava general name Vasudeva. Seeing the Pandava heroes vanquished one after another, King Yudhisthira fled to another part of the battlefield to avoid capture.

While this was going on, Duryodhana rushed against Bhima. Seeing his arch enemy coming toward him, surrounded by his elephant divisions, Bhima licked his lips. Assaulting the elephant army, Bhima began to penetrate the bodies of those huge beasts with his powerful arrows. Covered with hundreds of arrows, those mighty creatures either fled or fell to the ground dead. Not tolerating Bhima's success, Duryodhana struck him with many sharp arrows. Bhima in turn shattered his bow and royal banner, and sent up a loud roar like a lion. Coming up to protect Duryodhana was the Anga King riding on his elephant. With a long shafted arrow, Bhima split the elephant's head between his two eyes. Passing through the elephants head and body, that arrow entered the earth. Stopped in his tracks, the elephant fell to the earth deprived of its life. As the elephant was falling, Bhima cut off the head of the Mleccha king with a crescent shaped arrow. Witnessing Bhima's display of power, the elephant army broke and ran from the battlefield.

When those troops had been broken by Vrikodara, the ruler of Pragjyotishapura, Bhagadatta, advanced against Bhima. He was riding on his white elephant Supritika and was furious. Seeing him coming Bhima got down from his chariot. Within a twinkling of an eye, that mighty elephant crushed, with his two front legs, Bhima's chariot and horses. Bhima ran under the elephant and began to pound it with his bare arms. The elephant, pained by Bhima blows, began to whirl around trying to trample Bhima with his feet. The son of Kunti then came from underneath that huge creature and stood facing it. Supritika grabbed Bhima around the neck with his trunk and threw him down to the ground. Upon being picked up again, Bhima freed himself, and once more ran under the elephant. This elephant was not ordinary. It seemed invincible and could not be slain even by Bhima. Bhima then ran out from underneath the elephant to a distant place waiting for the arrival of his own elephant army. Soon, the King of the Dasarnas, riding on his mammoth elephant, came forward and attacked Supritika. Supritika, whirling around, ripped open the elephant's flank and killed it outright. Then Bhagadatta, with seven lances, killed the Dasarna King as he fell with his elephant.

Witnessing the King's death, Yudhisthira surrounded Bhagadatta with his foremost chariot fighters and began to afflict that elephant with many arrows. The ruler of Pragjyotishapura was unmoved by the large number of maharathis that surrounded him. He urged his elephant toward the chariot of Satyaki. The gigantic elephant pushed his way out of the circle of chariots, and with his trunk seized the car of Satyaki. Satyaki quickly jumped to safety, but the elephant raised his chariot high in the sky and smashed it to the ground horses and all. The mighty elephant then began to grab the chariot fighters and throw them to the ground. Bhima once again attacked the huge elephant, rushing toward it on his beautiful chariot. However, Supritika covered the horses with water from his trunk, and the horses reared and took Bhima away from the battlefield. The son of Kriti, Ruchiparvan, mounted on his chariot, quickly assaulted Bhagadatta, scattering arrows in all directions. However, King Bhagadatta dispatched that great warrior to Yamaraja's abode with a single shaft. Endeavoring to stop Supritika were Abhimanyu, the sons of Draupadi, Chekitana, Dhristaketu and Yuyutsu. When those great warriors came within reach of the elephant, Supritika stepped on Yuyutsu's horses, crushing them into a heap of bones, flesh and blood. The gigantic elephant then grabbed the chariot driver and dashed him to the ground, instantly killing him. Yuyutsu ran away to a distant place completely helpless.

Beholding in the distance a huge dust cloud, and hearing the wailing of the troops, Arjuna spoke to the lotus eyed Krishna, "O slayer of Madhu, it appears the ruler of Pragjyotishapura has created a great slaughter among our troops. I think that he is the foremost elephant warrior in this world. His elephant appears to be divine, and no other elephant can compete with it. It seems to be immune to all weapons, and fire cannot harm it. Without doubt it will destroy our army if not stopped. Except for us there is no one who is capable of subduing that creature. Go quickly to Bhagadatta for I will kill him and his great white elephant also."

Following His devotee's order, Lord Krishna began to guide the chariot in the direction of King Bhagadatta. However, the Samsaptakas again challenged Arjuna to battle and would not let him go. Arjuna decided to finish the task of killing the Samsaptakas, and he invoked the Brahma weapon, upon which hundreds of thousands of arrows began to rain from the heavens. Piercing those soldiers, it severed their arms, legs, and heads. Falling from their chariots, their horses and their elephants, those warriors were deprived of their lives. Such was the power of this weapon. Gigantic elephants as huge as hills were seen prostrated on the battlefield with their sides and heads split open and gushing with flesh and blood. Having killed thousands upon thousands of warriors with his celestial weapons, Arjuna ordered Lord Krishna, "Go towards Bhagadatta!"

Lord Krishna then urged the horses toward Bhagadatta, but again Arjuna was challenged by Susharman. In perplexity, Arjuna inquired from the lotus eyed Lord, "O thou of unfading glory, this Susharman again challenges me to battle. Our army is being broken to the north by Drona and again by Bhagadatta. Shall I slay the Samsaptakas or save my divisions from further danger." Without answering Arjuna, Lord Krishna turned the chariot around and directed the horses toward the Samsaptakas. Arjuna pierced Susharman, the Trigarta King, in the chest with seven arrows. Susharman countered by releasing a dart at Arjuna and a lance at Lord Krishna. Arjuna quickly shattered the dart, and the lance and then with his celestial weapons caused a downpour of weapons upon Susharman's chariot knocking him senseless. He then scattered the Samsaptaka forces, and turning his chariot toward the north, he made his way toward Bhagadatta.

When King Bhagadatta saw the chariot of Lord Krishna and Arjuna, he greeted them with a shower of weapons. Pulling back the string of the Gandiva bow, Arjuna released arrows that pulverized those weapons before they could reach him. Bhagadatta urged his elephant forward to trample the chariot of Lord Krishna and Arjuna. Beholding that elephant coming toward him, Lord Keshava quickly moved the chariot out of the way. Although Arjuna had the opportunity to kill the King and his elephant from the back, he did not do so, remembering the rules of warfare. Supritika then came upon other elephants and chariots and decimated them all. Arjuna could not tolerate this and again attacked Bhagadatta. The king of Pragjyotishapura then pierced Lord Krishna with iron tipped arrows decorated with golden feathers. They appeared like meteors blazing through the sky. Those arrows, released from Bhagadatta's bow, pierced the transcendental body of Lord Krishna and entered the earth. Of course, no weapon of this material world can harm the transcendental body of the Lord for His body is made of sat cid ananda or eternality, knowledge and bliss. Playing the part of an ordinary living being, the Lord allowed His body to be pierced, but since the spiritual body of the Lord is not under the influence of the material laws, there is no question of pain or death coming to the Lord.

Arjuna then severed Bhagadatta's bow and killed the men that were protecting the elephant's legs. King Bhagadatta then released fourteen javelins that were as bright as the rays of the sun. However, Arjuna cut each of those into three pieces, and then Kunti's son shattered the armor in which the elephant was encased. The King of Pragjyotishapura quickly released an iron dart that was decked with gold. Arjuna cut it in two. He then cut off the king's royal umbrella and banner, and pierced him with ten arrows. Bhagadatta became enraged and released two lances that knocked Arjuna's crown slightly from his head. Arjuna then placed his crown on his head properly and yelled at Bhagadatta, "Take a last look at this world, O great King!" Enraged at Arjuna's words, Bhagadatta took up a golden bow and released hundreds of arrow against Lord Krishna and Arjuna. Before those arrows reached the chariot, Partha shattered them and the bow, and pierced Bhagadatta with seventy-two arrows. Overcome with excessive pain, the Pragjyotishapura ruler was furious. Using celestial mantras, he turned his elephant hook into a Vaishnava weapon and hurled it to finish Arjuna's life. However, Lord Krishna rose up in the chariot, and the weapon hit His chest turning into a garland of flowers. Arjuna then chided the lotus eyed Lord, "O Hrishikesha, you are only to guide my horses and not take part in this battle. Why are You not keeping Your vow? If I am in a dangerous situation, You may protect me, but not when I am competent to defeat the enemy. You know well that I am able to destroy the hosts of gods and demons."

"Listen, O Partha," Lord Krishna replied, "to the history and secret behind this weapon. Once upon a time Mother Earth came to Me seeking a benediction for her son, the demon Narakasura. She asked for the benediction of the Vaishnava weapon by which her son could not be slain, even by the gods and demons united. Agreeing to her proposal, I handed over that invincible weapon by which Naraka was able to conquer the three worlds. This Narakasura or Bhaumasura took the earrings of Aditi and conquered Indra. He also conquered a portion of heavenly mount Meru. He then went to Varuna and conquered him, taking his very valuable umbrella. When complaints came to me in Dvaraka, I went to Pragjyotishapura and killed this Bhaumasura. That Vaishnava weapon has been handed down to Bhagadatta, and he has released it to kill you. No one can defeat that weapon except Myself. It is for this reason that I have baffled it breaking my promise. Now that Bhagadatta has been deprived of his weapon, his elephant can now be slain, and also you can kill the King as I killed his father for the benefit of the world."

Understanding the situation, Arjuna smiled and then rained upon Bhagadatta a shower of arrows. With a long shafted arrow, Arjuna pierced Supritika's frontal globe splitting his head in two. Although repeatedly urged by Bhagadatta, the elephant wouldn't move. With his limbs paralyzed, he fell down to the earth deprived of life. As the elephant fell, the son of Kunti released a crescent headed arrow that pierced Bhagadatta's chest. When struck by this weapon, the ruler of Pragjyotishapura loosened from his grasp his bow and arrow, and fell from his elephant. The turban that was decorating his head fell off like a lotus petal falling from the lotus flower. While laying on the ground, decorated with golden garlands, beautiful clothes and ornaments, Bhagadatta's dead body looked wonderful. Arjuna then descended from his chariot and circumambulated the great hero. He offered his obeisances to him, and then ascending the chariot once again began to afflict the Kaurava ranks.

After Bhagadatta had been killed, two of Shakuni's brothers attacked Arjuna. They were Vrishaka and Achala. One brother released arrows in front of Arjuna, and the other released arrows from behind. Arjuna killed the horses and charioteer of Vrishaka and then killed five hundred Gandhara warriors rushing toward him with upraised weapons. The mighty Vrishaka then mounted Achala's chariot, and together they began to assault Arjuna. When those warriors were standing side by side on their chariot, Arjuna killed them both with a single arrow. Having seen Lord Krishna and Arjuna at the last moments of their lives, they attained a divine destination.

Not tolerating his brothers' death, Shakuni came to fight with Arjuna. He was adept in mystic illusion, and caused thousands upon thousands of clubs, iron balls, rocks, Sataghnis, darts, maces, bludgeons, scimitars, lances, mallets, axes, razors and arrows to fall upon Lord Krishna and Arjuna's chariot. Arjuna then saw asses, camels, buffaloes, tigers, lions, carnivorous deer, leopards, bears, wolves, vultures and Rakshasas rushing at him. Releasing his celestial weapons, Partha pierced all those animals, and they fell to the earth screaming in terror. Then a darkness covered the chariot of Lord Krishna and Arjuna, from which loud voices chastised the son of Kunti. However, Jishnu released the Jyotisha weapon which sent out light in all directions. When the darkness was gone, huge tidal waves appeared. To dry up those waters, Arjuna released the Aditya weapon. When those illusions were dispelled, Shakuni, having no more mystic powers to display, fled the battlefield.

Meanwhile, the renowned Drona was causing a great slaughter. Coming up to challenge him were Dhristadyumna, Satyaki and Bhima. Shattering those great warrior's bows, Drona continued to kill thousands upon thousands of men. Arjuna was gradually making his way toward Drona to challenge him. He was leaving a path of destruction wherever he went. The back of the Kaurava army was broken, and they all sent up screams of anguish.

Hearing the wails of the troops, Karna came up to challenge Arjuna. Karna invoked the Agneya weapon and released it at Arjuna, but Partha countered that weapon and released his own arrows. Dhristadyumna, Satyaki and Bhima also rushed at Karna, but Karna baffled their progress and pierced them with three arrows each. Those warriors then released darts at Radha's son, but Karna cut those arrows to pieces with his own weapons. Arjuna then pierced Karna with seven arrows, and with six more arrows, he killed one of Karna's brothers named Satrunjaya. He then killed two more brothers of Karna, one of which was named Vipatha. Arjuna severed his head in the very sight of Karna. With sword in hand Bhima jumped down from his chariot, and killed ten chariot fighters that supported Karna. Mounting his chariot, Bhima then pierced Karna with ten arrows. Dhristadyumna, taking up a sword, killed the ruler of the Naishadas, Vrihatkshatra. He also killed a king named Charmavarman. Satyaki, taking up another bow, pierced Karna with ten arrows and cut his bow from his hand. Trying to save Karna from certain death, Duryodhana, Drona and Jayadratha came to fight with Satyaki.

The fighting became fierce, and all the combatants fought reckless of their lives. Infantry soldiers fought with infantry soldiers, and chariot fighters fought with chariot fighters. Those fighting on elephants also fought with chariot fighters, and also foot soldiers fought with horsemen. Soon the slaughter became too great to behold. The whole battlefield became a bloody nightmare as the bodies of horses, elephants and men lay everywhere. Heads with bulged out eyes lay here and there with their teeth pressed to their lips in rage. The battlefield was so thick with dead bodies that it became impassable, and the chariots, instead of riding on the ground, began to ride upon slain warriors. When both armies were badly mangled and extremely tired, the sun set on the horizon, and with it the sounds of the conchshell indicating the end of the day's engagement. Slowly both armies retired to their tents and rested for the night.


Thus Ends the Second Chapter of the Drona Parva, Entitled, The Twelfth Day at Kurukshetra; the Fall of Bhagadatta.


Chapter Commentary


Arjuna and the Samsaptakas fought a fierce battle. Whenever Susharman, the Trigarta King, challenged Arjuna, Arjuna would not turn his back. This was the quality of warriors in the Vedic age. The rules of warfare were there for those who wanted to attain a higher destination after this life. One may question, "Who is witness of my activities?" The answer is that the demigods are witnesses to our activities, and they testify to that in the court of Yamaraja after one leaves this body. If one dies following the rules of combat, one is elevated to the heavenly realm, and if one has cheated on the rules, he does not attain heaven, but is punished by Yamaraja, the justice of death. It is a shame that today's armies don't follow the rules of Vedic warfare. If the heads of state challenge each other and fight in a secluded place away from the general populace, then innocent lives are saved, and if a president dies facing the enemy on the battlefield, then he will be elevated to a higher destination.


Chapter Three

The Thirteenth Day at Kurukshetra;

The Death of Abhimanyu


Dhritarastra said: After the fall of the great Bhagadatta, O Sanjaya, what was the state of my troops? I think that Dhananjaya himself is sufficient to destroy my army. Tell me, O Suta, what happened on the thirteenth day of the great battle.

Sanjaya said: O King, your troops, broken by Arjuna's prowess and not able to capture Yudhisthira, were considered defeated. As they retired for the night they could only remember the countless merits of Arjuna and his friendship with the lotus eyed Krishna. They rested that night as if cursed and spoke little to each other. When the morning came, Duryodhana went to Drona and spoke harhly, "O best of the brahmanas, behold the great slaughter of my troops by the sons of Pritha. Allowing this to happen, surely you have marked us down as men to be destroyed. Even though you had the opportunity, still, you did not seize Yudhisthira. Without doubt, one who falls within your sight, cannot escape even if aided by the heavenly lords combined, much less the insignificant Pandavas. You have promised me a benediction, but you could not fulfill it. One of noble character like yourself is always truthful to his vow in all circumstances."

Thus chided by Duryodhana, Bharadvaja's son felt greatly ashamed. Replying to the King, he said, "O Duryodhana, I have endeavored to my best ability to capture Yudhisthira. However, as long as the Pandava army is protected by Arjuna, it cannot be defeated by the combined forces of the world. Wherever there is Lord Krishna, the creator of this universe, and wherever there is Arjuna, the son of Kunti, there has not been one, nor is there one now, nor will there be one in the future, who can defeat them. Truly I have always told you this, and it shall not be otherwise. Today, I can promise you that one of the adhirathas on the Pandava's side will die. I will form an array that even devas cannot penetrate. It is known as the Chakravyuha. It will be successful only if Arjuna is taken away from the battlefield. Arjuna knows the art of penetrating this formation, and it will not succeed as long as he is present."

Sanjaya continued: After Drona had spoken these words, the Samsaptakas challenged Arjuna, taking him to the southern side of the battlefield. In Arjuna's absence, Drona arrayed the troops in the form of a Chakra (wheel). Abhimanyu, at Yudhisthira's command, penetrated the formidable arrangement and killed thousands of your troops. Having achieved the most difficult feats, at last he was surrounded by six great maharathis. In the end he was extremely fatigued due to battle and was slain by Duhshasana's son. With this great victory, your troops withdrew for the night.

Dhritarastra said: O Sanjaya, hearing of the unfair slaughter of Arjuna's son, my heart breaks. Cruel, indeed, are the duties of the kshatriyas in that cowardly men desiring sovereignty unfairly killed a young boy with their mighty weapons. O Sanjaya, tell me how this fearless youth was defeated by my forces by entering into the chakravyuha.

Sanjaya said: O King, I will describe to you in detail what you are asking me. Listen, O Monarch, with attention as I describe how Arjuna's son, Abhimanyu, fought with the great maharathis as as if they were toys, but in the end was slain by them. Be still, O King, I shall speak to you of the great slaughter of your kinsmen.

Sanjaya continued: The Pandavas are invincible and are above all fatigue. In righteousness, in actions, in family tradition, in intelligence, in achievements, in fame, in prosperity, there never was and there never will be a King such as Yudhisthira. In the front line of the battle, the powerful Lord Shiva, the son of Jamadagni, Parashurama, and the second son of Kunti, Bhima are spoken of as equals. As far the wielder of the Gandiva bow, Arjuna, is concerned, I do not see an equal to him anywhere on earth or in heaven. Six qualities are ever present in the son of Madri, Nakula: reverence for superiors, worship of the brahmanas, humility, self control, handsome features and heroism. In knowledge of the scriptures, gravity, sweetness of temper, righteousness and prowess, the heroic Sahadeva is equal to the Asvini-kumara demigods.

All the good qualities that are found in Lord Krishna and the Pandavas are found in Abhimanyu alone. In firmness, he was equal to Yudhisthira; in good conduct, he was equal to Lord Krishna; in achievements, he was equal to Bhimasena; in knowledge of the scriptures, in prowess with the bow and arrow, and in beauty of person, he was equal to Dhananjaya. In humility, he was equal to Nakula and Sahadeva.

Sanjaya continued: O King, the preceptor then arranged his forces in the array known as chakravyuha. The petals of that formation were the invincible maharathis such as Drona, Karna, Salya, Kripa, Ashvatthama, Duryodhana, Jayadratha, Duhshasana and Bhurishrava. Protecting those division leaders were millions upon millions of troops.

The Pandavas headed by Bhima then approached that impenetrable array protected by Bharadwaja's son. Assisting him were Satyaki, Chekitana, Dhristadyumna, Kuntibhoja, Drupada, Abhimanyu, Kshatradharman, Vrihatkshatra, Dhristaketu, Nakula and Sahadeva, Ghatotkacha, the powerful Yudhamanyu, the undefeated Shikhandi, Uttamaujas, Virata and the five sons of Draupadi. All came forward to fight with the preceptor Drona, but all were pushed back like the waves of the ocean attacking the beech. The Pandavas were unable to stand before him as he released his deadly arrows. The strength of Drona's arms was unbearable, and he was defeating them separately and all together. Regarding Drona as invincible, Yudhisthira put a heavy burden on Abhimanyu. Addressing Abhimanyu, who was not inferior to Vasudeva, the King requested, "O child, fight in such a way that Arjuna will not rebuke us upon returning from battle with the Samsaptakas. None of the warriors here know how to break this circular formation which is about to devour my divisions. Only Krishna, Arjuna, Pradyumna and yourself know how to pierce that array. O mighty armed one, there is no fifth person that can be found to accomplish such a feat. O Abhimanyu, grant us this benediction. Take up your arms and destroy this formation before Arjuna's return."

"I will penetrate this chakravyuha formed by Drona," Abhimanyu replied, "and gain victory for my father and my uncles. My father, Arjuna, has taught me the key to penetrate this array. However, I do not know how to escape from it if I fall into danger."

"O foremost of all warriors," Yudhisthira requested, "break this formation just once. We will follow you and give you protection. Have no fear for once inside that great formation, we will shatter it to pieces."

"Today," Abhimanyu replied, "I will penetrate Drona's invincible formation, and you shall behold large divisions slain by me, a mere boy. If anyone, encountering me, escapes with his life, I shall not regard myself as Arjuna's son. Today I will destroy the whole Kaurava army."

Abhimanyu then ordered his charioteer to proceed toward Drona. His charioteer, Sumitra, then advised the intelligent son of Arjuna, "A heavy burden has been placed upon you by the Pandavas. You should carefully ascertain whether or not you can bear such a burden. The preceptor Drona is a master of superior weapons and mature in battle. You are still a youth and have been brought up in luxury unaccustomed to the front lines of battle."

Laughing all the while, Abhimanyu said to his charioteer, "O Sumitra, who is this Drona? Who are any of these warriors of mortal frame. I have the courage to encounter Indra himself what to speak of all these common warriors assembled here. Endowed with the vitality and strength of my uncle Krishna and my father Arjuna, I do not waver at the thought of challenging anyone." Disregarding the words of his charioteer, Abhimanyu ordered, "Maneuver this chariot towards the preceptor Drona!"

Thus commanded, the charioteer urged the horses toward the front line of the battle. The Pandavas followed behind him desiring also to enter that powerful formation. Beholding him coming towards them, the Kauravas sent up loud roars and attacked him with all their strength. Arjuna's son was encased in golden mail, and his royal insignia bore the sign of a Karnikara tree. He fearlessly encountered Drona like a lion attacks a herd of elephants. The Kaurava warriors tried desperately to stop Abhimanyu, but within Drona's sight, Subhadra's son pierced that powerful formation and split it open. Endeavoring to close the open gap, large divisions of elephants, chariots and horsemen challenged Arjuna's son. They shouted loudly at him, "Wait, Wait! Stand and fight!" However, the aggressive Abhimanyu, coursing the battlefield, killed all those warriors who challenged him. With his mighty weapons, Arjuna's son cut off their heads, arms and legs as they approached him. Although the enemy rushed at him with great speed and were armed with every kind of weapon, their approach was like moths coming close to fire. Abhimanyu was severing the heads of the leading chariot fighters, and their empty chariots were running wild over the battlefield. Elephant divisions were slaughtered together and fell upon the infantry crushing their ranks. These huge beasts then formed a barrier between Abhimanyu and the enemy force, so great was the slaughter. Severed heads littered the ground, their eyes bulging from their sockets. Armless and headless trunks were lying here and there covered with blood and dust. There were countless fallen heroes who were covered with golden armor, garlands, sandalwood paste and fragrant oils. Many heroes lay with their tongues rolling out, and their eyes detached from their sockets, and others lay with their intestines and livers drawn out by Abhimanyu's arrows. Abhimanyu crushed the Kaurava ranks and caused them to flee from the battlefield.

Upon witnessing the rout of his army, Duryodhana was furious and assaulted Subhadra's son. Knowing that the King could not defeat this young boy, Drona ordered Ashvatthama, Kripa, Salya, Karna, Kritavarman, Shakuni, Brihadvala, Bhurishrava, Sala, Paurava and Vrishasena to protect Duryodhana. Rushing at Arjuna's son, they released their shower of arrows and quickly took away the King. They took him away like one trying to snatch a food morsel from a hungry lion. Abhimanyu challenged each of those warriors and covered them with his arrows. He then sent up a loud roar of victory. Not tolerating such action, all the great warriors released their weapons intending to kill Arjuna's son. However, Abhimanyu shattered those arrows before they reached him. Failing in the attempt to pierce him, all the great maharathis covered him with more arrows hoping to frighten him away. Abhimanyu, however, countered those weapons and pierced each of the great warriors with three arrows.

The son of King Asmaka was able to come within close range of Abhimanyu and pierce him with ten arrows. Abhimanyu countered those arrows, and with ten arrows of his own killed his enemies horses and charioteer. Abhimanyu then cut off the arms and head of that powerful hero. When Karna came within reach, Abhimanyu pierced his armor with his blood sucking arrows. Penetrating his body, they entered the earth. Karna, struck senseless, fell to the floor of his chariot. Abhimanyu covered the battlefield with great speed, challenging the great warriors and defeating them all. He came upon the ruler of Madras, Salya, and covered him with golden arrows. Struck in this way, the ruler of Madras fainted away and was taken from the battlefield.

Witnessing Abhimanyu's victory, the demigods, the Pitris, the Charanas and the Siddhas sang his glories from the heavens. Meanwhile, Salya's brother assaulted Abhimanyu like a tempest. He covered him with many arrows and sent up a loud roar. In return, Abhimanyu released hundreds of arrows that killed his horses and charioteer, severed his royal standard, cut off the wheels and canopy of that car, and shattered all his weapons to pieces. Abhimanyu then severed the head of Salya's brother, and with this action all the supporting troops fled away in fear.

After rallying the troops, many great warriors rushed at Abhimanyu screaming, "Today, you shall not escape with your life!" Smiling all the while, Arjuna's son tormented those warriors with the weapons he had received from Krishna and Arjuna. Disregarding the heavy burden placed upon him by Yudhisthira, he fearlessly released his arrows. Like Arjuna, his bow was constantly drawn in a circle. No one could tell when he drew the arrow from the quiver and when it was released from the bow. Witnessing Abhimanyu's prowess, the other Pandavas took no part in the battle, but acted only as spectators.

Duryodhana was maddened to see the rout of his army. He urged the great maharathis as follows, "The preceptor, Drona, out of affection does not wish to kill Arjuna's son. No one can escape Drona's wrath when he is provoked. Arjuna is the preceptor's disciple, and this is Arjuna's son. Drona looks upon him with pride and does not wish to kill him. It is for this reason that this foolish boy is victorious. I order all of you to crush him."

When ordered in this way, Duhshasana said to his brother, "O monarch, I take an oath that I will slay Arjuna's son within the very sight of the Pandavas. I will devour Abhimanyu like Rahu devours the sun. When the two Krishnas hear of Abhimanyu's death, they will also die out of lamentation. Once they are dead, it will be easy to defeat the rest of the Pandavas. With the death of this one person, we will attain victory."

Saying this much, Duhshasana assaulted Abhimanyu, covering him with his mighty weapons. Seeing him coming, Abhimanyu taunted him, "It is by good luck that today I am able to behold you, who are the embodiment of a braggart and a fool. In the king's assembly at Hastinapura, you insulted Draupadi as well as my father and my uncles. O wicked person, today you shall receive the fruit of such actions. I shall today chastise you in front of the whole army. Today, I shall free myself from the debts I owe to the angry Krishna, and to my father, who always looks for the opportunity to challenge you. O Kaurava, I shall today free myself from the debt I owe to Bhima. Only if you run away from the battlefield, will you escape with your life."

Having spoken these words, Abhimanyu invoked a radiant celestial weapon. Releasing that arrow endowed with lightning speed, it pierced Duhshasana's shoulder joint up to the feathers. He then released twenty-five more arrows that resembled fire. Severely pained, Duhshasana sat down on the chariot floor and fell into a deadly swoon. He was then taken away from the battlefield. Beholding this, the Pandavas were filled with joy and caused the battlefield to resound with conches, drums and bugles.

Karna again came forward to challenge Abhimanyu. He pierced Abhimanyu with many arrows stretching his bow to it's fullest extent. The son of Phalguna felt no pain and released his deadly arrows that killed Karna's horses and charioteer. Abhimanyu the cut the royal standard from his chariot and shattered his bow to pieces. Beholding Karna in the grip of death, his younger brother proceeded quickly against Arjuna's son. He roared loudly, and stretching his bow, he released ten arrows that pierced Abhimanyu's royal banner, umbrella, charioteer and horses. With this action, the Kaurava heroes sent up loud shouts. However, with a cool and calm mind, Abhimanyu, with a single shaft, cut off the head of Karna's brother, and the smiling faces of the Kauravas changed to one of disbelief. Karna ascended another chariot, and in great anger, eager to avenge his brother's death, he assaulted Abhimanyu. However, Abhimanyu shattered his bow and countered his weapons, causing him to run from the battlefield.

Having routed the Kaurava army, no one stood before Abhimanyu except Jayadratha, the Sindhu ruler. That bull amongst the kshatriyas, Abhimanyu, then blew upon his conchshell and roared loudly bringing great joy to his uncles.

Sanjaya continued: The Pandavas accompanied by Satyaki, Shikhandi, Dhristadyumna, Virata, Drupada, and Dhristaketu followed the path of destruction left by Dhananjaya's son. They were hopeful to rescue him from the Kaurava ocean. Seeing them coming, your son-in- law, Jayadratha, the ruler of the Sindhus, stopped them from going any further. The powerful son of Vriddhakshatra, invoking his celestial weapons, resisted the advance of those great heroes, thus closing the gap in the great formation.

Dhritarastra said: A heavy burden was placed upon Jayadratha, inasmuch as he alone had to stop their advance. What benedictions had he received to single-handedly impede those great warriors?

Sanjaya replied: While the Pandavas were living in the forest, Jayadratha insulted Draupadi and was beaten almost to death by Bhimasena. When humiliated in this way, Jayadratha began to perform austerities, reducing his body to skin and bones. Jayadratha, trying to please Lord Shiva, ate little and slept little. When Lord Shiva was pleased with him, he appeared to Jayadratha in a dream and asked him what he wanted. With folded palms, Jayadratha asked for a boon by which he could defeat the Pandavas once. Lord Shiva granted the benediction saying, "You may defeat all of the Pandavas, except Arjuna." Now with this benediction he is standing before them like a maddened lion.

Sanjaya continued: Listen, O King, as I describe in detail how Jayadratha defeated the sons of Pandu. Jayadratha rode on a beautiful chariot drawn by Sindhu horses. His royal banner bore the device of a large silver boar. Drawing his bow to a full stretch, he released death dealing arrows obstructing the Pandava army from advancing further. He pierced Satyaki with three arrows and Bhima with eight. He struck Dhristadyumna with sixty shafts, Shikhandi with ten and Drupada with five. He pieced Yudhisthira with seventy and covered the Pandava army with his celestial weapons. Yudhisthira quickly cut Jayadratha's bow, but the Sindhu King quickly took up another and pierced Yudhisthira with ten arrows. Bhima then shattered Jayadratha's bow, cut off his royal standard as well as the beautiful umbrella that adorned his car. The mighty Jayadratha took up another bow and destroyed Bhima's chariot and horses. Bhima quickly got down from his chariot and ascended Satyaki's. With this action the Kaurava army cheered and rushed forward to fill up the gap made by Abhimanyu. Although the Pandavas and their divisions tried desperately to follow Abhimanyu, they were halted by the Sindhu King on account of Lord Shiva's benediction.

Non the less, Abhimanyu was mowing down the divisions that opposed him. The son of Karna, Vrishasena, attacked Abhimanyu with full force, but Arjuna's son shattered his bow, killed his charioteer and felled his standard from the chariot. Injured, Vrishasena was taken away from the battlefield by his unbridled horses. The leader of a chariot division, Vasatiya, then assaulted Abhimanyu releasing hundreds of arrows. He pierced Arjuna's son and screamed, "As long as I am alive, you shall not escape with your life!" Before he could finish what he had to say, Abhimanyu pierced the braggart's armor and sent him to death's abode.

Then the Kaurava host came in thousands to fight with Phalguna's son. As they approached him, they were sent in thousands to the other world. Salya's son, Rukmaratha, desired to save the Kaurava army from the ocean of Abhimanyu. He spoke to his forces, "Have no fear from this son of Arjuna! I will capture this one alive and hand him over to you as a present." Having taken this oath, Salya's son assaulted Abhimanyu and pierced him in the chest with three arrows, and in the right and left arms with three arrows. He then uttered a loud roar. Abhimanyu, however, severed his right and left arms as well as the hero's head. With the death of Salya's son, thousands of his friends rushed at Abhimanyu. They made Abhimanyu invisible with their shower of weapons, and they all thought that he was dead. Enraged and desiring their death, Abhimanyu invoked the Gandharva weapon received from his father. That weapon caused great confusion among Rukmaratha's troops and while in that state, Abhimanyu killed them all.

Dhritarastra said: O Sanjaya, this victory of Subhadra's son is indeed wonderful and almost impossible for an ordinary human to accomplish. After Duryodhana was defeated and the hundred princes slain, what did my army do against Subhadra's son?

Sanjaya said: Beholding the army broken and fleeing from the battlefield, Drona, Ashvatthama, Brihadvala, Kripa, and Duryodhana rushed at Abhimanyu releasing their powerful weapons. However, they were all beaten back, and the only one left to challenge Abhimanyu was Lakshman, Duryodhana's son. He was young, proficient in weaponry and inexperienced in warfare. Still, he challenged Abhimanyu, and released his selected arrows hoping to kill his opponent. Anxious about his son, Duryodhana followed him close behind. Other chariot fighters came up to protect Duryodhana, and they all began to shower their weapons upon Abhimanyu. Lakshman struck Abhimanyu the chest and arms. He roared loudly encouraging the retreating troops. Abhimanyu then spoke to Lakshman, "Look one last time upon your kinsmen, for in the presence of your father, I will despatch you to Yamaraja's abode." Saying this, Abhimanyu pulled out a broad headed arrow resembling a snake and released it at Duryodhana's son. Scorching through the sky, it severed Lakshman's head. Beholding Lakshman slain, Duryodhana was furious and ordered Drona, Kripa, and Karna with the words, "Slay this wretched person." Nevertheless, Abhimanyu beat them all off though they had encircled him desiring his death. Arjuna's son then began to cover the battlefield like the wind, and soon came upon the divisions of Jayadratha.

Coming up to challenge him were Drona, Karna, Kripa, Brihadvala, the mighty Kosala King, Kritavarman and Ashvatthama. Abhimanyu greeted them with a shower of arrows. He pierced Drona with fifty and Brihadvala with twenty. He pierced Kritavarman with eight and Kripa with sixty. He struck Ashvatthama with ten arrows and with a barbed arrow, he pierced Karna in the ear. He then killed Kripa's horses and the chariot warriors that were protecting his chariot. He then killed the brave Vrindaraka who was very dear to the Kaurava generals.

Not tolerating Abhimanyu's success, the ruler of the Koshalas, Brihadvala, pierced Abhimanyu with a barbed arrow, and sent up a loud roar. King Brihadvala had brought a akshauhini division to fight against the Pandavas, and he was a mighty maharathi, one of Duryodhana's top generals. However, Abhimanyu pierced the King in the chest with a long shafted arrow and split his heart in two. Having slain the great warrior, Arjuna's son raced across the battlefield leaving a path of total destruction wherever he went.

Abhimanyu could not be stopped. Again Karna came up to challenge him, but Arjuna's son quickly killed Karna's six counselors that protected his chariot. Abhimanyu then killed the son of Jayatsena, the ruler of Magadha, and with six shafts he killed the great warrior Asvaketu. With a razor headed arrow, Arjuna's son then killed the Bhoja prince Martikavata. With this action, Abhimanyu sent up a loud roar frightening the Kaurava army.

When Shakuni had been defeated by Abhimanyu, he went to Duryodhana with an evil plan, "In single combat there is none of us that can kill him. Let all six of us challenge him at once and grind him." Hearing this cowardly plan, all the six maharathis, Drona, Karna, Kripa, Kritavarman, Ashvatthama and Shakuni discussed how to slay Abhimanyu. Karna then inquired from Drona, "Abhimanyu is invincible and cannot be killed by any of us. Tell us the means by which he may be slain."

"I am also not able to stand in front of this foremost chariot driver as he courses the battlefield." Drona replied. "The same lightness of hand and knowledge of weapons that is in Arjuna, is also in this boy. He is piercing me deeply and causing me much pain. Abhimanyu is young, and his prowess is magnificent. His coat of mail is impenetrable. The only way to stop him is to cut his bow string, kill his horses and slay the protectors of his wheels when he is not looking. If we all attack him at once, we will succeed."

Agreeing with this sinful plan, Karna quickly proceeded to the spot where Abhimanyu was fighting. While he was engaged with another warrior, Karna cut his bowstring when he wasn't looking. Kritavarman then killed his horses, and Kripa killed the protectors of his wheels. Defeated unfairly in battle, Abhimanyu was incited with wrath. The handsome son of Arjuna descended from his chariot, sword in hand, and ran toward the six great warriors to kill them. Quickly Drona shattered the sword, and Karna shattered his shield. Abhimanyu then picked up a chariot wheel and rushed at Drona to kill him. The other Kings, however, tore the wheel to pieces. That great chariot fighter then took up a mace and ran at Ashvatthama with the speed of the wind. Ashvatthama quickly descended from his chariot and ran in the opposite direction. The son of Arjuna killed Ashvatthama's horses, and the warriors that were protecting his chariot. While this was happening, those cowardly so-called Kings were piercing Abhimanyu with their arrows as he walked on foot. He was so covered with arrows that he looked like a porcupine. Abhimanyu then killed Shakuni's son, Kalikeya, along with seventy Gandhara followers. He then killed ten elephants and ten car warriors, and proceeded towards Duhshasana's son. By this time Abhimanyu was tired and hopeless of life. Still, he fought on as only the son of Arjuna could. The son of Duhshasana descended from his chariot mace in hand and rushed at Abhimanyu saying, "Wait, Wait!" Rushing at each other, they were determined to kill the other. Raising their weapons, they struck each other at the same time. They both feel to the earth, and as Abhimanyu was rising, Duhshasana's son struck him on the head, shattering his crown and depriving him of his life. As he lay there on the Kurukshetra plain, he appeared like a wild elephant slain by cowardly hunters. All the warriors gathered round and began to cheer and shout loudly their victory. In the heavens were heard this sound, "Alas, Abhimanyu was killed by six maharathis unfairly. This is an unrighteous act."

Hearing the unembodied voice, the Pandava warriors began to shed tears. Yudhisthira fainted away, and with great effort was brought back to consciousness. All the famed warriors then gathered around Yudhisthira, and contemplated that youth with a beautiful smile and thought of his prowess in battle. In the absence of Krishna and Arjuna, this injustice had taken place. Withdrawing to their tents for the night, they did not know what to say to Arjuna upon his return. Thus they sat around the son of Dharma sunk in the depths of grief.


Thus Ends the Third Chapter of the Drona Parva, Entitled, The Thirteenth Day at Kurukshetra; the Death of Abhimanyu.


Chapter Commentary


Because Duryodhana could not defeat Abhimanyu fairly, he had to resort to cheating methods and relied on his old sinister friend, Shakuni. It was Shakuni's idea to attack Abhimanyu from behind. Demons cannot fight by fair means. The very nature of the demoniac mentality is cheating. Duryodhana had been cheating the Pandavas since they were little boys, and he wasn't about to stop. Whatever would further his cause, he would accept even if it meant attacking Abhimanyu from behind, which is against the rules of warfare. Duryodhana could not understand that every previous member of the Kuru dynasty was a spotless exalted king who earned their name and fame by performing good deeds. Unfortunately, he did not have the mentality of a rajarshi, or saintly king, and thus his name would go down in history among demoniac kings like Ravana, Vena, Jarasandha, Kamsa, Shishupala, Shalva, Dantavakra etc.





Chapter Four

Arjuna Vows to Kill Jayadratha


Dhritarastra inquired: After the great chariot fighter, Abhimanyu, had fallen in battle, unfairly slain by the six great warriors, what did the sons of Pandu do after lamenting the loss of their son?

Sanjaya said: Listen, O King, as I describe in detail the oath that Arjuna took in an assembly of Kings and princes that brought great joy to Pandava warriors. After the slaughter of the Adhiratha, Abhimanyu, who was but a mere boy, the Pandava warriors returned to their camps. They put aside their bows and armor, and sat surrounding King Yudhisthira. Yudhisthira, overwhelmed with grief, lamented in the following words, "Alas, Abhimanyu, desiring my welfare, pierced the chakravyuha that was formed by the preceptor Drona. While in that formation, the heroic son of Arjuna fought and killed many of the celebrated Kaurava warriors. That youth with lotus like eyes was then slain unfairly by six maharathis. Alas, what shall I say to Arjuna or to the blessed mother Subhadra? He, who was only a child, sacrificed himself instead of refusing to do my bidding. Alas, we shall also lay down our lives when pierced by the wrathful glances of Arjuna. Enraged at his son's slaughter, Partha will now exterminate the Kauravas. It is evident that the cruel minded Duryodhana is desiring the extinction of his army in that he sanctioned the death of that young boy."

Sanjaya continued: While King Yudhisthira was lamenting in this way, the great sage Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa came to him. Yudhisthira immediately arranged worship of the great Rishi, and after seating him comfortably, King Yudhisthira poured out his heart, "O great sage, what can I say to you about our welfare? While battling with great chariot fighters of wicked mind, the son of Subhadra was slain. He fought in battle against overwhelming odds and was unfairly killed. On my orders he opened the preceptor, Drona's, formidable array and fearlessly entered it. While endeavoring to protect him, we were stopped by the ruler of the Sindhus, Jayadratha. Abhimanyu, who was but a child in years, was butchered by those evil minded Kauravas. I lament the loss of that great hero."

Vyasadeva then consoled the King, "O King Yudhisthira, O thou of great wisdom who is conversant with the Vedas, persons like your self never lament for the dead bodies of others. It is known to you that the soul is eternal and can never be slain. This brave youth, having killed innumerable warriors, has ascended to the spiritual world. Indeed, that person for whom you lament acted like one mature in years. He has attained a destination that great yogis fail to attain after performing thousands of years of penances and austerities. O Bharata, death takes away the life of all living entities. This is the law of material nature, and no one can transgress it. Abhimanyu has now taken a spiritual body just befitting an inhabitant of the spiritual world. He now stands radiant in his own splendor. Therefore, O Ajatashatru, you should not grieve for one who has achieved perfection. It has already been decided that a great slaughter of the earth's warriors will take place on this Kurukshetra plain. It has been ordained by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and no one can change that. Just become an instrument in this great battle. Fight with your enemy and attain great glory." After speaking these words of wisdom, the great sage left that place and returned to his own ashrama.

After receiving enlightenment from Vyasadeva, the grandfather of the Pandavas, Yudhisthira derived some consolation over Abhimanyu's death. However, in the next instant he thought to himself, "What shall we say to Dhananjaya?" Thinking like this, they waited for the return of Lord Krishna and Arjuna.

After the sun had set and the evening twilight still illuminated the sky, Arjuna proceeded toward his tent having slain a large number of Samsaptakas. Noticing evil omens in all directions, he spoke to Lord Krishna, "O Keshava, my speech falters, and my heart is fearful. My limbs are weak and thoughts of disaster plague my mind. These are all indications of a great calamity. Certainly the death of a great warrior has taken place. Let us go quickly and inquire about Yudhisthira."

Causing the horses to proceed at a faster pace, Lord Krishna, acting as his devotee's servant, soon brought the chariot to where the Kings and princes had gathered. Beholding the warriors in a dejected mood and everything in confusion, Vibatsu spoke to the Supreme Lord Krishna, "O Janardana, I do not hear the auspicious sounds of the trumpets, drums and conches. I do not hear the sweet sound of the vina and the clapping of hands. The warriors do not rush to me to tell me of their achievements. Alas, my son, Abhimanyu, who is always cheerful, does not come with his brothers to receive me after returning from battle."

When Krishna and Arjuna entered the camp, they saw the Pandava warriors cheerless and plunged into grief. Not seeing his son, Arjuna inquired, "All your faces are pale, and there are no sounds of victory. Where is my son Abhimanyu? Why does he not come to congratulate me? I have heard that the preceptor Drona arrayed his troops in the formation of a Chakra. There is none amongst you who could pierce that array except my young boy, Abhimanyu. Did you, out of hopelessness, cause that boy to enter that formation alone? Alas, has that heroic youth with lotus eyes pierced that great formation, and upon fighting with numerous warriors give up his life? What warrior deprived of his senses has slain my dearest son, that favorite of Draupadi and Keshava and dearly beloved of Kunti? What shall I say to Subhadra upon returning without her son? What shall I say unto Uttara, his dear wife, upon returning to the palace? Alas, it would be better for me to enter Yamaraja's abode than look upon the crying faces of those ladies."

Unto the lamenting son of Kunti, the lotus eyed Lord Krishna said, "O son of Pandu, do not yield to sorrow. Abhimanyu has taken the path that all brave heroes follow. He has attained the regions reserved for exalted ascetics. Death is certain for one who does not retreat in battle. Do not grieve, O tiger among men. Those who know the Vedas have declared that the highest merit a kshatriya can attain is death on the battlefield while fighting the enemy. O best of the Bharatas, your brothers are cheerless upon seeing you plunged into grief. Knowing that the soul never dies and that your son has achieved perfection, give comfort to your brothers and friends."

In reply to Lord Krishna, Arjuna said, "O Lord of the earth, I now desire to hear how Abhimanyu fought with the wicked Kauravas. You will see how I exterminate those who killed my son. I will slay them along with their friends and their kinsmen. All of the great warriors here were competent to save my son. Therefore, how could you have allowed him to be killed. If I had known that the Pandavas and the Panchalas could not have protected my son, then I would have protected him myself. Alas, all of you have no manliness nor prowess, since in the very sight of all of you, Abhimanyu was killed. Perhaps, I should chastise myself, for knowing that all of you were weak, cowardly and irresolute, I went away. Alas, do you wear your coats of mail and fine weapons for decoration only? How is it that you could not give my son protection?" Arjuna then sat down overcome by grief and anger. He was holding his bow and fine sword. No one could look upon him or speak to him. None could address him save Yudhisthira or Lord Krishna.

When there was complete silence, King Yudhisthira explained how the Kauravas unfairly killed Abhimanyu, "O might armed hero, after you had encountered the Samsaptakas, the preceptor Drona endeavored to capture me. We succeeded in resisting Drona at all points. However, the circular formation was too formidable to penetrate, and without you, our army would have been annihilated. Approaching Abhimanyu, we requested him to break the formation and lead all the great warriors to victory. Agreeing to the proposal and equipping himself with weapons that he had received from you, he penetrated the chakravyuha. We also followed close behind desiring to protect that lotus eyed youth. However, the wretched Sindhu King, having obtained a benediction from Lord Shiva, defeated us in battle. While we were struggling with the sinful Jayadratha, that formation closed on us, and Abhimanyu was surrounded by six great maharathis. They were Drona, Kripa, Karna, Asvatthama, Kritavarman and Brihadvala, the King of the Koshalas. These cowardly men deprived Abhimanyu of his chariot and weapons. While fighting on foot, he was finally killed by the son of Duhshasana. Your son fought bravely, killing eight thousand chariot fighters, two thousand princes and nine hundred elephants. He killed King Brihadvala as well as Lakshman, the son of Duryodhana. Dying in great glory, he has ascended to the spiritual world."

Arjuna was furious. He was wringing his hands, and tears were falling from his lotus petal eyes. Casting his glances like a mad man, he took an oath, "Truly do I swear that tomorrow I will kill Jayadratha! This despicable person is the cause of my child's slaughter. Whoever desires to protect this vile person, I will cut them to pieces with my deadly arrows. Whether it be Drona, Kripa or Karna, I will defeat all of them and kill the Sindhu King. I promise that I will enter the hellish regions reserved for sinful persons if I do not sever the head of that vain king. If tomorrow the sun sets without my having killed Jayadratha, then I will enter blazing fire. Let the Kauravas, the demigods, the Asuras, the Rishis, whoever there may be, try to protect that sinful person, still, I will cut off the head of Abhimanyu's enemy." Having said these words, Arjuna began to stretch his Gandiva bow with both arms. The sound of the Gandiva bow ascended to the sky and touched the heavens. After Arjuna had taken this oath, Janardana blew his conchshell the Panchajanya, and Arjuna blew his the Devadatta. When Arjuna had taken that vow, the sounds of thousands of musical instruments were heard rising from the Pandava camp.

Sanjaya continued speaking to Dhritarastra: When Duryodhana's spies informed their master of the cause of excitement in the Pandava camp, Jayadratha became overwhelmed with fear. He said to the assembly of Kings, "Arjuna has taken a vow to kill me. I shall, therefore, give up my weapons and return home to save my life. O foremost of the kshatriya race, protect me by the force of your weapons. Listen, you brave heroes, Partha seeks to slay me. Please render me fearless. Drona, Kripa, Karna, Duryodhana, Bahlika, Salya, and Duhshasana are capable of protecting a person who is on the point of death. When I am threatened by Phalguna, won't all of you joined together protect me? Having heard the joyous shouts of the Pandavas, my limbs are trembling in fear. Without doubt, the wielder of the Gandiva, has taken a vow to take my life. Who is there who can withstand Partha in battle? Who amongst you is competent to defeat that best among men? Even the very gods themselves cannot defeat him. Therefore, I take your permission to leave the battlefield. I will hide myself so that no one can find me."

While Jayadratha was indulging in such lamentations, King Duryodhana consoled him, "Do not fear, O tiger among men. No one will seek to encounter you while you remain in the midst of the great heroes on our side. Myself, Karna, Drona, Bhurishravas, Salya, Sudakshina, Vikarna, Duhshasana, Vinda and Anuvinda, Ashvatthama and Shakuni--these and many more will face Arjuna and protect you. These eleven akshauhinis of troops that I own will be carefully arrayed for your protection. Dispell your fear!"

After hearing these reassuring words from Duryodhana, the Sindhu King went to Drona and inquired, "O illustrious preceptor, I wish to know the difference between myself and Arjuna. I wish to know in truth the chances I have to survive in battle against him."

"As far as instructions from a teacher are concerned," Drona replied, "you are both equal. In consideration of ascetic merit and the qualities of righteousness, he is superior to you. However, you should not fear Partha, O Jayadratha. Without doubt I will protect you from this fear. The demigods themselves cannot defeat he who is protected by my arms. I will form an array that even Phalguna will not be able to penetrate. Do not allow death to be an object of terror to you. All men meet with death, taking with them the deeds of this life. The Kauravas, the Pandavas, the Vrishnis and all men are mortal and short lived. Act according to the duties of a brave kshatriya and fight your enemy." When Drona had banished Jayadratha's fear of Arjuna, Jayadratha set his heart on battle. Thus the joyful sounds of drums and kettledrums were heard in the Kaurava's camp.

After Partha had taken a vow to kill the ruler of the Sindhus, Jayadratha, the mighty armed Lord Krishna addressed Arjuna, "Without consulting Me, you have taken a vow to kill Jayadratha. How will you fulfill this oath? You have taken a great burden upon your shoulders which will be difficult to lift. I have heard from spies, that upon learning of your vow, the Kaurava warriors have taken precautions to save Jayadratha. They have three formations planned. The first will be the Shakata formation, the second will be a needle formation, and the third will be a Chakravyuha formation. From the front line of the battle to the point where Jayadratha will be stationed will be many many miles. Guarding Jayadratha will be six great maharathis: Drona, Kripa, Karna, Asvatthama, Bhurishrava and Vrishasena. The prowess of these six car warriors, O Partha, will, without doubt, be difficult to defeat."

"These six chariot warriors, whom you have mentioned, are not equal to half my prowess," Arjuna replied. "You will see, O slayer of Madhu, the weapons of all these warriors cut to pieces, and myself heading in the direction of Jayadratha. In the presence of Drona and all the great warriors, I will kill Jayadratha. Even if the demigods and asuras combined were to help them, I will still cut off the head of the Sindhu King. I will use all the celestial weapons at my disposal-those obtained by Yamaraja, Kuvera, Varuna, Indra and Lord Shiva. Do not think lightly of the might of my arms and my weapons. When I have vowed Jayadratha's death, know that he is already slain. Besides this, I know that because I have You as my friend and chariot driver, it will be easy to conquer all the soldiers in the universe."

After speaking to Lord Krishna, Arjuna requested Him, "O Janardana, I cannot bear to see the face of Subhadra, who has just lost her son. I have no words to console her with. Please go and comfort her so that she will not grieve so much over the death of Abhimanyu. Also give solace to Abhimanyu's wife Uttara, and also give comfort to Draupadi who loved Abhimanyu as one of her own sons." Agreeing to the requests of His devotee, Lord Krishna then went to Upaplavya to console the aggrieved relatives.

Upon reaching the city of Virata, Lord Krishna entered the palace where Subhadra and the other ladies were staying. Seeing His sister lamenting crying over the loss of her son, He began to give her instructions about the eternality of the soul, "O lady of the Vrishni race, do not grieve for the loss of your son. All living entities have but one end as ordained by eternal time. The end your son met was the pride of any kshatriya. Having vanquished thousands of chariot fighters, your son has attained the spiritual world. He has gone to that place where great yogis attain only after long observance of penances and austerities. Dispel your sorrow, and do not grieve. Tomorrow, that wretched King of the Sindhus, who caused your son's death, will die on the field of battle. Arjuna has vowed to end the life of Jayadratha before the sun sets tomorrow. Therefore, do not shed any more tears."

After consoling his sister, Subhadra, Lord Krishna returned to Kurukshetra and entered Arjuna's tent. At that time Arjuna offered his daily worship to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He brought all kinds of auspicious articles and worshiped the Lord to his full satisfaction. After smearing His body with scented oils and adorning Him with flower garlands, Arjuna sat down beside his dear friend. Krishna then said, "Lay down and sleep soundly for tomorrow there will be a great battle. I will now go to My own tent." Saying this much Lord Krishna went to take rest for the night. He was accompanied by His chariot driver Daruka.

When half the night had passed, Lord Krishna was still awake talking with Daruka. He said, "O Daruka, Arjuna has vowed to kill Jayadratha before the sun sets tomorrow. For protecting Jayadratha, Drona will arrange the troops in such a way that it will be impossible to come near him. It will be difficult to slay one who is protected by Dronacharya. Therefore, I will, if necessary, do the needful so that Arjuna can fulfill his vow. I will not be able to live on earth without Arjuna. Taking up my weapons, I will kill Karna and Duryodhana along with all their forces. He who hates Arjuna, hates Me, and he that is a friend to Arjuna, is also a friend to Me. O Daruka, when the morning comes, equip My chariot with the Kamodaki mace, the Sarnga bow and My Sudarshana discus. Also yoke My horses, Sugriva, Meghapuspa, Balahaka and Saivya to My chariot and make sure they are cased in golden mail. Upon hearing the blast of My Panchajanya conchshell on the Rishava note, you will come to Me quickly. I will then proceed to kill Jayadratha in the presence of all the Kauravas." Daruka replied, "Arjuna will be certainly victorious tomorrow for You, my Lord, are is his charioteer. However, I will do as You have commanded me and ready Your chariot."

Meanwhile, as Arjuna lay on his bed, he was contemplating the next days activities. As he thought deeply of Lord Krishna, he fell asleep. He then had a dream, and in that dream, Lord Krishna came to him. "You possess the weapon given by Lord Shiva," He said. "It is called the Pashupatra astra. However, you do not know how to use this weapon. Let us go together to Lord Shiva's abode and receive instructions on how this weapon may be implored to kill Jayadratha." Taking Arjuna by the hand, Lord Krishna took him to Kailasa. Passing through many beautiful regions, those two heroes, Nara and Narayana, finally came to the abode of Lord Shiva. Upon seeing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna, Lord Shiva offered his obeisances. Lord Krishna is the source of all the devas including Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma. After offering his worship to Lord Krishna, Lord Shiva inquired from them, "You are both welcome here. Please tell me the reason for your journey, for I will satisfy your desires, and grant whatever you wish."

"You have previously given me the celestial weapon Pashupatra astra," Arjuna replied. "I now desire to learn how to use this powerful weapon."

 Hearing Arjuna's desire, Lord Shiva said, "I will grant your request. Just near here is a lake full of amrita (nectar). This is where I keep my celestial bow and arrows. Go there and bring them to me."

Lord Krishna and Arjuna then went to the lake, and in the water they saw two snakes spitting fire and poison. They approached those snakes chanting prayers to Lord Shiva. As they came closer, the two snakes turned into a bow and arrow. Arjuna then took the bow and arrow and returned to Lord Shiva. While glancing at the bow, Lord Shiva produced a brahmachary from the sides of his body. That brahmachary, who was bluish in complexion, then took the bow and strung it. Placing his feet properly and chanting the proper hymns to invoke the astra, the brahmachary released the arrow into the lake nearby. After releasing the arrow, he then threw the bow into the lake. Then Lord Shiva called for the bow and arrow and gave it to Arjuna, and also gave him the benediction that he would fulfill his vow. Arjuna and Lord Krishna, fully satisfied with the worship of Lord Shiva, returned to Kurukshetra and to their own tents. Thus through that dream Arjuna learned how to use the weapon owned by Lord Shiva.

When the morning came all the Pandavas rose from their nightly rest and offered their morning prayers. In the presence of all the assembled Kings, Yudhisthira said to Lord Krishna, "O Krishna, relying on You alone, we seek victory and eternal life. You, O Lord, are aware of the loss of our kingdom at the hands of these vile sinners. O Lord of lords, You are compassionate to Your devotees who rely on You for their very existence. O slayer of Madhu, please help Arjuna to realize his vow. O descendent of Vrishni, become the boat that will take us across this vast ocean of the Kauravas. I offer my respectful obeisances unto You who are the eternal Lord, the Supreme Destroyer. O eternal Vishnu, O Hari, O Vaikunthanatha, Narada has described You to be the Supreme Lord, Narayana, who carries the Sarnga bow and who wields the Sudarshana cakra. O Lord of all creatures, please be merciful to us and do not allow Arjuna to enter fire at the end of the day. O Lord, may his vow be fulfilled."

To these prayers, Lord Krishna replied, "O Yudhisthira, in all the three worlds, there is no bowman who compares to Arjuna. He is the possessor of great weapons and wields the prowess of thousands of warriors. Treading over the heads of his enemies, he will certainly fulfill his oath. This very day you will see that sinful person, Jayadratha, laying on the Kurukshetra plain and his soul entering Yamaraja's abode. Today, vultures and jackals will feast on the flesh of his dead body. Even if all the demigods united become Jayadratha's protectors, that ruler of the Sindhus will not live. Dispell all your anxiety and lamentation."

While Lord Krishna and Yudhisthira were speaking, Arjuna came into their presence. Yudhisthira, rising from his seat, embraced Arjuna and smelt his head. He then addressed him, "It is evident from your smiling face that victory awaits you today. With the full blessings of our eternal well wisher, Lord Krishna, I shall see you here at the end of the day with you vows fulfilled."

Arjuna then described to all present his dream of the previous night. He described how Lord Shiva had instructed him to use the Pashupatra astra. He also told them that Lord Shiva blessed him with the fulfillment of his desires. Hearing this excellent story, all were struck with wonder and exclaimed, "Excellent! Excellent!" Then with joyous hearts they proceeded to the battlefield to make preparations for the day's battle.


Thus Ends the Fourth Chapter of the Drona Parva, Entitled, Arjuna Vows to Kill Jayadratha.


Chapter Commentary


Upon the death of Abhimanyu there was much lamentation in the camp of the Pandavas, so much so that Vyasadeva had to appear and preach to King Yudhisthira. He fell into illusion much similar to the way Arjuna fell into illusion before the battle of Kurukshetra. One can be under the Yogamaya potency (divine potency of the Lord) or the Mahamaya potency (deluding potency of the Lord). The difference being that one under Mahamaya falls into deeper separation from the Lord when calamities appear, and one who has fallen under Yogamaya potency increase his attachment for the Lord when disaster happens. Through this whole episode we will see how the Pandavas increase their attachment for Lord Krishna. There was some temporary despondency at the death of Abhimanyu, but this only caused the Pandavas to increase their service attitude toward the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Pandavas were only instruments for the Lord's purpose of decreasing the burden of the earth. To fulfill the Lord's desire, Arjuna had to increase his anger toward the sinners. The unfair death of Abhimanyu was the catalyst to fulfill the Lord's desire.

In this chapter Lord Krishna again stated his loving attachment for Arjuna. He told His charioteer, Daruka, "I cannot live on Earth without Arjuna. If necessary I will take up weapons against the Kauravas so Arjuna can keep his vow." By serving Lord Krishna one gradually increases his attachment for the Lord so much so that the Lord agrees to carry what we lack. Before the battle Lord Krishna told Arjuna, ananyas cintayanto mam, ye janah paryupasate, tesam nityabhiyuktanam, yoga-kshemam vahamy aham, "But those who worship Me with devotion, meditating on My transcendental form-to them I carry what they lack and preserve what they have." (B.g. 9.22) Always thinking of Krishna is the best insurance policy we could have. He is our eternal father and the protector of His devotees.




Chapter Five

The Fourteenth Day at Kurukshetra;

Arjuna Makes His Way Toward Jayadratha



Dhritarastra inquired: After the death of Abhimanyu, what did the Pandavas do to avenge his death? Knowing the prowess of Savyasachin (Arjuna), how could the Kauravas remain fearless on the front line of battle? Beholding the ape bannered son of Kunti in the forefront of the army, how did my sons react to his presence. A dark cloud of gloom has overcome the Kaurava camp, for no longer are heard the sounds of music and singing. The soldiers no longer talk of their day's achievements or listen to the Vedic hymns. I think today a great calamity will overcome Duryodhana and his followers. O Sanjaya, please relate to me all that happened on that fourteenth day of the great battle.

Sanjaya said: O King, I will tell you everything for I can see the Kurukshetra field with divine vision. Listen calmly, for these calamities are your fault. If you had formerly restrained Yudhisthira and your sons from playing at dice, this tragedy would have never come. Again, before the battle, when the peace proposals were being considered, if you had restrained both sides, then this great slaughter of kinsmen would have never happened. If you had encouraged the Kurus to bind and slay the sinful Duryodhana, then this disaster to your dynasty would have never taken place. If you had done any one of these, then world peace would have been in your grip. Formerly Lord Krishna showed more respect toward you than to Yudhisthira. However, since you have fallen from the duties of a Godly king, the divine son of Devaki no longer looks toward you as a king capable of upholding religious principles. There is no need to indulge in various lamentations this late in the war. The reaction to your indifference will be the loss of your kinsmen. Listen as I describe in detail the slaughter of the Kauravas on the fourteenth day of the great war.

After the night had passed away and the dawn had arrived, Dronacharya arrayed the massive divisions in three formations. The first formation was in the form of a cart known as Sakata. The second array was the formation known as Chakravyuha. Within the Chakravyuha was the formation known as Suchimukha or the needle point formation, in which Jayadratha was protected by many soldiers and maharathis. The front line of the battlefield measured a full forty eight miles tapering off to a twenty mile width at the rear of the formations. From the front line of the battle to the point where Jayadratha was stationed was a full twelve miles.

 After arranging the troops according to his desire, Drona went to Jayadratha and spoke encouraging words, "O ruler of the Sindhus, there should be no fear within your heart. I have arranged our great divisions in such a way that even the demigods will not be able to penetrate them. Bhurishrava, Karna, Ashvatthama, Salya, Vrishasena and Kripa will be near to give you protection. In front of you, in the form of a needle, will be a hundred thousand horsemen, sixty thousand chariot fighters, forty thousand elephants, and one hundred and twenty thousand foot soldiers. From the front line of the battle to your point of protection will be a distance of twelve miles. There is no need to fear Arjuna. If the heavenly gods headed by Indra cannot pierce this formation what will the mortal Pandavas do?"

Comforting Jayadratha in this way, Drona then took up his position at the opening to the Chakravyuha. Within the Chakravyuha was the Suchimukha (needle) formation. At the point of that needle array was Kritavarman and next to him was the ruler of the Kambhojas and Jalasandha. Next to those stood Duryodhana and Karna. At the very front line of the battle stood Durmarshana, and behind him stood Duhshasana and Vikarna. Seeing this powerful formation arrayed by the preceptor Dronacharya, the heavenly denizens and rishis were filled with wonder.

Sanjaya continued: O King, your troops rejoiced at the thought that Arjuna would have to enter fire at the end of the day. They beat on drums and sounded their conches giving joy to the whole army. Standing in the forefront of the Pandava divisions was Dhananjaya, who desired to slay Jayadratha. He also blew his conch, the Devadatta, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead blew upon His, the Panchajanya. The son of the wind god, Hanuman, who was riding on the banner, also roared loudly. His loud voice, mixing with the conch sounds of Nara and Narayana, caused fear to enter the minds of the Kaurava troops. Their hearts trembled, and their hair stood on end. The elephants and horses passed stool and urine simultaneously, and the infantry troops were terrified. Some lost their strength, and some lost their senses.

Then Arjuna, the carrier of the Gandiva bow, requested Hrishikesha in these words, "O Krishna, urge the horses toward Durmashana's division. I will penetrate this Sakata formation at that point and make my way to Jayadratha."

Thus ordered by Arjuna, Lord Keshava drove the horses to the spot where Duryodhana's brother was releasing his mighty weapons. Unleashing arrows like a downpour of water, Arjuna began a great slaughter of the Kaurava army. He began to sever the heads of many esteemed chariot fighters. The sound of the severed heads falling to the ground sounded like the falling of ripened fruits from a tree shaken by an elephant. Very soon the battlefield became a nightmare of headless trunks, dead horses and elephants. Angered by his son's death, Arjuna was killing soldiers in tens of thousands. Using his celestial weapons, Arjuna was making a path of destruction. No one could stand before him, and no one could come near him. He was carving a path through the enemy ranks hundreds of yards wide. Cutting through the elephant army, Arjuna caused ten thousand of those huge beasts to lie on the ground deprived of life. Routing the the division of Durmashana, Arjuna continued making his way through the Sakata formation. Cut up by Arjuna's arrows, the soldiers that supported Durmashana broke and fled for their lives. Huge elephants, full of fear, retreated into the divisions of foot soldiers crushing thousands of men as they went.

Dhritarastra inquired: O Sanjaya, when the van of my army was broken by the son of Kunti, who were the heroes that came to oppose him? How did the preceptor Drona manage to stop the forward progress of that mighty hero?

Sanjaya replied: The next division to attack Arjuna was Duhshasana. Your son was followed by thousands upon thousands of angry elephants. They speedily came upon Arjuna, and seemed capable of devouring the whole earth. Quickly rushing towards them, Arjuna began to slay that elephant army with his powerful shafts. Heads began to fall from the warriors who were riding those elephants. Sometimes Arjuna would pierce, with a single arrow, as many as two or three men riding on the same elephant, and they would fall to the ground hooked together by that arrow. Elephants were roaming the battlefield with armless and headless trunks hanging off their sides. Blood and flesh, flowing from the elephants and decapitated soldiers, created a ghastly scene that few could witness. Duhshasana was not able to ward of Arjuna's forceful weapons. Within a very short time thousands upon thousands of elephants littered the battlefield like huge barriers in a maze. Some of them had been pierced with one arrow and others with thousands. Some had their heads cut off, and others had their skulls spit open, gushing forth flesh and blood. Some of the huge beasts were completely cut in two and lay on the ground deprived of life. Some were only partially killed and lay on the ground shrieking in agony. Some of the elephants, upon falling to the ground, crushed foot soldiers and horsemen that were protecting them. The whole battlefield became a nightmare as Phalguna completely routed the huge division of elephants. Fleeing the battlefield, the remnants of that army sought Drona as its protector.

Sanjaya continued: O Monarch, completely routing your son's army, the mighty chariot fighter, Dhananjaya, proceeded against the division of Drona. Coming upon his preceptor, Arjuna solicited him, "Give me your blessings, O brahmana. Through your grace, I will penetrate this formation and fulfill the vows I have taken. You are to be worshiped by me even as I worship Yudhisthira or Krishna. Truly I tell you that even as you protect Ashvatthama you should also protect me. O foremost brahmana, stand aside for I desire to slay the ruler of the Sindhus. I request that you assist me in accomplishing my vow."

Thus requested by Arjuna, the preceptor smilingly replied to him, "O Vibhatsu, without defeating me, you will not be able to kill Jayadratha." Saying this much, Drona covered Arjuna with a thick shower of arrows. As Arjuna rushed forward, he struck his martial guru with nine arrows. Drona then drew the string of his bow to his ear and released many arrows resembling fire and poison. Those arrows pierced Krishna and Arjuna inflicting extreme pain. Drona then cut the string of Arjuna's bow. Stringing his bow again, the son of Kunti released six hundred arrows as if he had released only one. He then released seven hundred, then a thousand, then ten thousand. All these arrows killed the troops that were protecting Drona. Not tolerating Arjuna's victory, Drona released a long shafted arrow that struck Arjuna forcefully. Trembling from that arrow, Arjuna sat down on his chariot. Pulling out the arrow and rising once again, Phalguna pierced his preceptor with many winged shafts.

Not wanting to waste time in this duel, Lord Krishna advised Arjuna, "O Partha, we should not waste time. We must proceed avoiding Drona. It will not be long before the sun sets, and there is still a great distance to cover." Responding to the wisdom of Lord Krishna, Arjuna ordered that the horses be taken to the right of Drona. When Drona saw that Arjuna was avoiding him, the preceptor spoke angrily, "Where are you going, O son of Pandu? You should not continue on till you have defeated your enemy."

 "You are not my enemy," Arjuna replied, "but my beloved preceptor. I am your disciple, and therefore, like a son. Besides, I do not see a warrior in the whole world who can subdue you in battle."

Sanjaya continued speaking to Dhritarastra: Saying these words, the mighty-armed son of Kunti proceeded on penetrating deep into the Chakravyuha formation. He was followed by Yudhamanyu and Uttamaujas who protected his chariot wheels. The army in front of Arjuna was a thick mass of chariots, infantry, calvary and elephants. Carving a path hundreds of yards on both sides of his chariot, that great hero cut open the Kaurava army and caused it to bleed profusely. Arjuna's chariot rose above the ground, because of the mass of dead men, horses and broken weapons. It was a scene of devastation as Arjuna mowed down the Kaurava ranks with his celestial weapons. Chariots, without fighter or charioteer, were running wild all over the battlefield. Horses were running here and there with the decapitated trunks of their riders caught in the stirrups. There was a stream of hot blood flowing from the trunks of these dead warriors. The blood of the elephants mixed with the blood of the horses and soldiers caused a river to flow on the field of battle. Men were struggling ankle deep in bloody mud. Wild elephants with no rider bolted and were trampling their own soldiers to death.

Arjuna was being quickly pursued by the preceptor Drona. Catching up to his disciple, Drona struck Arjuna with twenty five arrows. When Drona released his most formidable weapon, Arjuna invoked the Brahma weapon and baffled the shower of arrows released by his teacher. Drona managed to pierce Krishna with seventy arrows and Arjuna with twenty five. Not wanting to waste his time battling with the invincible Drona, Arjuna penetrated the army between the divisions of Kritavarman and Sudakshina, the ruler of the Kambhojas. When Kritavarman saw Arjuna coming, he released ten arrows at him. Countering those arrows, Arjuna pierced him with a hundred arrows. Arjuna then shattered his bow and struck him in the chest with nine arrows.

Lord Krishna, not wanting to waste time in duels, told Arjuna, "Do not show any mercy to Kritavarman because he is My relative. Immediately crush and slay him!" Then Arjuna released a long shafted arrow that hit Kritavarman in the chest, causing him to fall to the floor of his chariot. By the time Kritavarman had regained consciousness, Arjuna had penetrated deep into the Kaurava army. Kritavarman then began to fight with Yudhamanyu and Uttamaujas. Yudhamanyu quickly shattered Kritavarman's bow and pierced him with five arrows. Kritavarman countered and cut the bows of both Yudhamanyu and Uttamaujas. Taking up stronger bows, they fought on trying to follow Arjuna's path. However, Kritavarman would not allow them to proceed further.

Beholding the lotus-eyed Arjuna coming toward him, King Srutayudha pierced him with three arrows and Krishna with seventy. Not tolerating the impudence of Srutayudha, Arjuna quickly killed his horses and his charioteer. Abandoning his chariot, Srutayudha ran at Arjuna with an upraised mace. The heroic Srutayudha was the son of Varuna and his mother was the river Parnasa. To protect her son, she begged Varuna, "Let my son be immortal on earth."

"No man is immortal in this world," Varuna replied. "However, I will bestow upon him a celestial weapon by which no earthly person may kill him. Therefore, you will have no fear for your son's life." Varuna then gave Srutayudha an invincible mace, and instructed him, "This mace should not be hurled at one who is not engaged in warfare. If hurled at such a person, it will come back and kill you." As Srutayudha came toward Lord Krishna and Arjuna, he released that powerful mace at Lord Krishna. Disobeying his father's instructions, he brought death upon his head. The mace bounced of Krishna and came back to Srutayudha causing his own death. When Srutayudha fell on the field of battle, all the troops that were supporting him broke and fled.

Next came Sudakshina, the ruler of the Kambhojas. He had brought with him an akshauhini division of troops for the sake of Duryodhana. He was a powerful maharathi and was undefeated in battle. Sudakshina pierced Arjuna with seven shafts and Lord Krishna with three. Phalguna then countered and released seven arrows that passed through Sudakshina's body and entered into the earth. Becoming enraged, the Kambhoja King released ten arrows that pierced Arjuna in the chest. Greatly angered, Arjuna cut his enemy's bow and standard. Sudakshina then picked up an iron dart that was covered with jewels and gold. Aiming it carefully, he released it with all his might. That dart, blazing through the sky, pierced Arjuna's armor and entered into the earth. Arjuna then fell into a swoon and sat down on his chariot. Licking his lips and flaming up in rage, Arjuna decided to put an end to this King's life. Releasing hundreds of Arrows, Partha shattered the King's chariot and killed his horses. Arjuna then released a single golden shafted arrow that struck the Kambhoja King in the chest. Piercing his armor, it deprived him of his life, and he then fell from his chariot to the earth. With the death of this maharathi, all the warriors that were supporting him fled in great fear.

The next great warriors to approach Arjuna were Shrutayus and Achutayus. Rushing toward the son of Kunti, Shrutayus released a javelin that pierced Arjuna's armor, causing him to fall into a deadly swoon. At the same time Achyutayus forcibly struck Partha with a javelin also. Deeply pierced by both javelins, Arjuna supported himself by seizing his flag staff. All the troops that supported those two warriors roared in triumph thinking that Arjuna had been slain. Then those foremost chariot fighters poured upon Lord Krishna and Arjuna a shower of arrows. Coming to his senses and drawing out both javelins, Arjuna saw thousands of arrows coming toward him. He quickly invoked a weapon named Sakra and from one arrow came tens of thousands. Piercing those two warriors as well as their troops, he deprived them of their legs, arms, heads and their very lives. All the supporting warriors of those two generals were also slain leaving a ghastly scene of devastation.

Ripping open the ranks of the Kauravas, Arjuna continued to make his way toward Jayadratha. There was a solid mass of soldiers in front of him, but the son of Kunti blew them all away with his Vayavaya weapon. Picking them up like the wind picks up leaves, that weapon blew elephants, chariots, horses and infantry into the air landing them a great distance away.

While thus proceeding, Srutayus, the king of the Amvashthas, resisted him. Arjuna, quickly, killed the horses that were drawing his chariot. He then shattered his bow and killed his charioteer. Srutayus picked up a mace and descended from his chariot. With his weapon upraised, he ran at Krishna and Arjuna, stopping the progress of their chariot. He struck Lord Krishna on the head, but the divine son of Devaki did not budge an inch nor was He affected. Arjuna immediately cut the mace in two with his arrows. Quickly, Srutayus picked up another mace from the ground and hit Arjuna with all his strength. Before Srutayus could strike him again, Arjuna cut off his arms with a couple of broad headed arrows. Then with another arrow, he severed his head that was decorated with a crown and glittering earrings. With the death of this great warrior, the supporting troops in his division fled out of fear.


Thus Ends the Fifth Chapter of the Drona Parva, Entitled, The Fourteenth Day at Kurukshetra; Arjuna Makes His Way Toward Jayadratha.



Chapter Six

Arjuna Continues His Path of Destruction


Dhritarastra inquired: O Sanjaya, after Partha had slain the ruler of the Kambhojas, Sudakshina, what did that mighty warrior do, who was desiring to kill the Sindhu King, Jayadratha?

Sanjaya said: O King, after that great adhiratha, Phalguna had cut open the the first two formations, your son Duryodhana went to the preceptor Drona and prodded him as follows, "O best of the brahmanas, you are the sole refuge to save us from the forest fire of Dhananjaya. It was settled before the day's battle that Arjuna would not be able circumvent your position and open the formation. It seems that my troops have lost their power. O brahmana, are you devoted to the Pandava's cause? I was not aware that you were a razor dipped in honey. If I had known that you could not fulfill your vow to protect Jayadratha, then I would have allowed the ruler of the Sindhus to return to his homeland. Before the sun sets on the horizon, make the necessary arrangements that Jayadratha is not slain by the third son of Kunti."

Pierced to the core of his heart by Duryodhana's harsh words, Drona replied, "O child, I do not find fault in your immature vision. Believe me when I say that you are as dear to me as Ashvatthama. However, you must now act according to my instructions. Of all charioteers, Krishna is the foremost. His horses are divine and cannot be slain. Did you not see that today Arjuna was releasing arrows a full two miles behind his chariot? Overcome with the passing of time, I cannot keep up with him. The Pandava divisions are now penetrating the forefront of our army, and Yudhisthira is close by. I will now try to capture that great King. As for yourself, you can defeat Arjuna. You are both the same age, and both of you belong to the same dynasty. You are also equal in great achievements. You are the ruler of the world and a great King. O brave hero, you should go yourself and challenge Dhananjaya and by so doing achieve lasting fame."

"O preceptor," Duryodhana replied, "how will it be possible for me to withstand Partha in battle. After he has defeated Kritavarman and your very self, what can I do to withstand Arjuna's onslaught? Do you think that I am competent to fight with that mighty armed son of Pandu? I am dependent on you like a slave is to his master. Protect my fame."

"Arjuna is certainly undefeatable in battle," Drona said. "But today the world shall witness how you will check him in battle. Here I have a golden coat of armor that cannot be pierced by the weapons of the demigods. I will fasten this to your body in such a way that Arjuna will not be able to penetrate it. Today you will not need to fear the wrath of Arjuna for this armor will give you full protection."

Drona then uttered certain mantras and attached the golden armor to Duryodhana's body. It was tied together by Vedic mantras and was impenetrable. Having blessed the King with victory, Drona sent him into battle with Arjuna. The puffed up King then proceeded with confidence to the spot where the son of Pandu was battling the Kaurava army.

After sending Duryodhana to fight with Arjuna, Drona began to contend with the Pandava army. He fought a fierce duel with Dhristadyumna in which the horses of both chariots were tangled. Dhristadyumna descended from his chariot with a sword and shield. As he moved toward Drona, Drona could not find an opportunity to kill him. When Dhristadyumna came out from the cover of the horses and ran at Drona, Drona shattered his shield and sword with special arrows. He then took an arrow out of his quiver capable of killing Drupada's son. However, Satyaki cut that arrow to pieces before it could be released. He then took Dhristadyumna on his chariot and proceeded to another part of the battlefield.

Meanwhile, Arjuna was making his way toward Jayadratha causing a tremendous massacre of men. He was releasing his arrows a full two miles in all directions. When Arjuna released his arrows ahead of the chariot, by the time the arrow pierced his enemy, Krishna and Arjuna had arrived there on that spot. The horses of Arjuna's chariot where as white as the milk ocean and traveled at the speed of the wind. Indeed, those horses traveled by Arjuna's desire. After penetrating many miles into the Kaurava divisions, those celestial horses became tired and drew the chariot with great difficulty.

Understanding that the horses of Krishna and Arjuna were tired, the Kings of Avantipura, Vinda and Anuvinda, assaulted the son of Pandu confident of victory. They pierced Arjuna with sixty four shafts and Krishna with seventy. They then covered Arjuna's tired horses with a hundred arrows. Encouraged by their victory, they sent up loud shouts and rushed again with great force. Arjuna, not tolerating their stupidity, cut off their bows as they closed in. Taking up stronger bows, they released deadly arrows and fought with all their strength. With a cool and calm mind, Arjuna cut off their bows again and then killed their horses and chariot drivers. He also killed the supporting soldiers of those two mighty kings.

 Vinda and Anuvinda were related to Lord Krishna as brothers-in-law. Krishna had forcefully taken their very beautiful sister Mitravinda from the svayamvara in which she was to chose her husband. Since that time, Vinda and Anuvinda became avowed enemies of Lord Krishna. They had brought an akshauhini division of soldiers to fight with the Pandavas. Not caring for family relationships, Arjuna cut off Vinda's head with an arrow as sharp as a razor. Beholding his elder brother killed, Anuvinda took up a mace and ran at the chariot of Lord Krishna and Arjuna. Filled with rage, Anuvinda struck Lord Krishna on the head with all his might. Lord Krishna did not waver in the least, but sat on the chariot like a mountain. Then Arjuna pulled six arrows from his quiver and cut off the legs and arms of that great hero. As he was falling, Arjuna cut off his head with a crescent shaped arrow. Upon seeing Vinda and Anuvinda slain, a huge force of elephants, chariot fighters and horsemen rushed at Arjuna. However, without the slightest difficulty, Arjuna sent all those warriors the the abode of Yamaraja.

Arjuna then spoke to Hrishikesha these words, "The ruler of the Sindus is still a great distance away, and our horses are very tired. What do you think is our best course of action? O Krishna, You are the personification of wisdom. The Pandavas have You for their eyes, and You for their ears. Please guide us in all circumstances."

"I shall unbridle the horses and remove these arrows," Lord Krishna replied. "I will give them water and rest them."

"O Hrishikesha," Arjuna said, "I will hold the whole army in check with my powerful weapons. Do what is necessary so that the horses may continue with full strength."

Sanjaya continued speaking to Dhritarastra: O King, descending from the chariot, Arjuna stood fearlessly with his Gandiva bow in hand. Taking this as their golden opportunity, thousands of chariot fighters rushed at the son of Kunti desiring to slay him. They rushed at him as the ocean covers the beech. Releasing his infallible arrows, Arjuna was able to keep them at bay. Meanwhile Lord Krishna informed Arjuna, "There is no well from which these horses may drink water and feel refreshed."

Understanding Lord Krishna's desire, Arjuna released an arrow into the ground creating a lake that was filled with fish, lotus flowers and beautiful birds. Witnessing Arjuna's mystic power, the heavenly denizens were struck with wonder. They had never seen a lake created in the middle of a battlefield. Even the great sage Narada came to see the lake created by Arjuna's arrows. To the amazement of all, Arjuna then created a protective house out of arrows from which the horses could drink the water. Seeing this, Lord Krishna exclaimed, "Excellent! Excellent!" Vasudeva then unyoked the horses and lead them to that house made of arrows. Lord Krishna plucked out their arrows and rubbed His transcendental hand over their wounds relieving them of all fatigue and pain. He then lead them to the water where they drank as much as they desired. All this was done in the thickest of fighting. Lord Krishna, acting as if He were in an assembly of women, calmly took the horses back to the chariot and bridled them in their proper positions. To all who witnessed this action, it seemed highly wonderful. After yoking the horses to the chariot, Lord Krishna and Arjuna proceeded further into the Kaurava ranks. After penetrating the divisions of Drona and the divisions of Kritavarman, Arjuna was coming closer to the place where Jayadratha was being protected.

Meanwhile, Duryodhana caught up with the chariot of Krishna and Arjuna. Seeing him coming, Lord Krishna spoke to Arjuna, "Behold Dhritarastra's son coming towards us. Providence has offered an opportunity to fight with this great hero. Remembering the offenses this sinful person has made against your brothers and your wife, you should kill him immediately. By deceit he has taken away your kingdom and sent you into the forest. Therefore, remembering the offenses this person committed, send him to the court of Yamaraja today."

When Duryodhana was rushing toward the chariot of Krishna and Arjuna, the Kaurava host thought that the King would now be slain. Understanding their mentality, Duryodhana encouraged them, "Let your fears be dispelled. I will kill both Krishna and Arjuna and cause them to enter death's abode." After reassuring the troops, Duryodhana then challenged Partha, "O son of Kunti, If you have been actually begotten by the great King Pandu, then fight with me using all the weapons you have received from the demigods. I want to see your display of prowess. You always speak of achievements that we have never seen. You may now show me those feats by which you have won your fame."

After speaking these boastful words, King Duryodhana pierced Arjuna with three arrows, Krishna with ten and the horses with sixteen. He then cut off the whip that the lotus-eyed Lord Krishna was holding. Countering those arrows, Arjuna released fourteen at the King, but they were repelled by Duryodhana's armor. Arjuna then shot twenty nine arrows, but those also proved fruitless. Arjuna then said to Lord Krishna, "O Hrishikesha, I think the armor that Duryodhana is wearing has been put on him by Drona. That armor cannot be penetrated by any weapon. Only Drona knows how to apply it, and from that best among men, I have also learned it. However, Duryodhana does not know what to do with the armor. He wears it like a woman. Behold now, O Janardana, the strength of my arms and bow, as I vanquish this wretched person."

Having said these words, Arjuna invoked a celestial weapon that was capable of piercing Duryodhana's celestial armor. However, Ashvatthama cut off the weapon while it was still on the Gandiva bowstring. Seeing his weapon frustrated, Arjuna spoke to Krishna, "This weapon cannot be invoked twice, for if it is, it will slay myself as well as my troops." While speaking to Lord Krishna, Duryodhana pierced him with nine more arrows. Looking over Duryodhana's body, Arjuna saw that there was not a part that was not covered by that protective armor. Still Arjuna, enraged at the King's vanity, killed his four horses and charioteer. He then killed the supporting troops that protected the King. Stretching his bow to full length, Arjuna cut up Duryodhana's royal chariot into fragments and then pierced his palms with many arrows. Seeing the distressful situation the Kuru King had fallen into, Duryodhana's troops rushed at Arjuna in thousands. However, as they approached Krishna and Arjuna, they were all slain.

Meanwhile, in the front line of the battle, Drona was striving to fulfill his promise to capture Yudhisthira. When Drona came upon the divisions of Yudhisthira, there was a terrible battle that insued. Drona shattered Yudhisthira's bow and pierced his horses with many arrows. Yudhisthira, however, countered and cut off Drona's bow. Enraged, Drona then killed Yudhisthira's horses and charioteer. Yudhisthira then released a celestial dart with all his strength. As it came towards Drona, the preceptor invoked the Brahma weapon and reduced the weapon to dust. As the Brahma weapon continued toward the King, that first son of Kunti baffled it with his own weapons. Drona then released a mace at Yudhisthira, but the King also released a mace, and the two collided creating a great flash of light. Now that Yudhisthira was weaponless and carless, Drona rushed to capture him. However, Yudhisthira was taken onto Sahadeva's chariot and those horses bore him away from the battlefield.

In a great duel King Brihatkshatra fought with Kshemadhruti and severed his head with a crescent shaped arrow. King Dhrishtaketu, who had brought an akshauhini division of troops for Yudhisthira's cause, was engaged in fighting with and prince named Viradhanwan. Dhrishtaketu pierced Prince Viradhanwan's armor with a powerful dart and thus took his life. Sahadeva was engaged in combat with Durmuka, the son of Dhritarastra. In that fight Sahadeva killed Durmukha's horses as well as his charioteer. Durmukha then mounted the chariot of Niramitra. However, Sahadeva killed Niramitra with a broad headed shaft.

Satyaki was engaged with a Trigarta prince named Vyaghradatta. Satyaki pierced his golden armor and deprived him of life. Satyaki then began to mow down the ranks of the Trigartas. The sons of Draupadi were engaged in fighting with the son of Somadatta. The son of Arjuna quickly killed his horses, the son of Bhima cut off his bow, the son of Yudhisthira cut off his standard, and the son of Nakula killed his charioteer. Seeing him about to leave the battlefield, the son of Sahadeva cut off his head with a razor faced arrow. With the death of all these great generals, the Kaurava army broke and fled in all directions.

Coming to the front line of the battle was the great Rakshasa Alambusha. He attacked Bhima and killed thirty chariot fighters that were supporting him. Bhima, laughing all the while, pierced the Rakshasa with nine arrows. Uttering a loud and awful sound, Alambusha pierced Bhimasena with five arrows and destroyed four hundred chariots that were assisting him. Bhima fell down to the floor of his chariot senseless. Quickly recovering, he pierced the Rakshasa with many sharp pointed arrows. Remembering how Bhima had killed his brother Baka, Alambhusha challenged the second son of Pandu, "Stand before me in battle, O son of Pritha. I am now remembering how you killed my brother, Baka, when I was not present. It is true that you killed him, and now I will kill you." Boasting these words, he covered Bhima with a hundred shafts. The Rakshasa then became invisible, and from the sky began to pour thousands of arrows at the Pandava army. When the Rakshasa became invisible, Bhima filled the heavens with thousands of arrows greatly afflicting the powerful Rakshasa. Alambusha then entered the earth by his mystic power, and very soon, he was seen again in the sky assuming many hideous forms. He was sometimes large and sometimes small. He uttered frightful cries that echoed in all directions. He then caused thousands of arrows, darts, scimitars, lances, spiked maces and battle axes to fall from the sky upon the Pandava army. Hundreds of Pandava warriors were literally cut up into thousands of pieces by those weapons. Not tolerating the Rakshasa's victory, Bhima invoked the Tvashtri weapon that produced thousands of weapons destroying the Rakshasa's mystic illusions. Struck in every part of his body, Alambusha fled the battlefield.

Alambusha then went to another part of the battlefield and began to destroy the ranks of the oncoming enemy. While he was battling with the foremost Pandava warriors, he came upon the son of Bhima, Ghatotkacha. The son of Bhima pierced Alambusha with nine arrows and again with twenty. Those two mystic Rakshasas then began to throw up mystic illusions to slay the other in battle. Alambusha destroyed the mystic illusions of Ghatotkacha and produced his own to kill the son of Bhima. Seeing this, the other Pandavas came to the aid of Ghatotkacha and hemmed in the gigantic Rakshasa Alambusha. They covered him on all sides with thousands of arrows. Baffling that shower of arrows with his mystic illusions, he then freed himself from that encirclement of chariots. All of the Pandavas, Bhima, Yudhisthira, Nakula and Sahadeva as well as Ghatotkacha pierced the Rakshasa with hundreds of arrows. The Rakshasa Alambusha did not waver in the least and began to pierce those great warriors with his own arrows. He released countless arrows at Ghatotkacha piercing him deeply. Then the Pandavas, the sons of Draupadi and Ghatotkacha all rushed at Alambusha releasing their powerful weapons. Seeing them all coming with such great anger, Alambusha did not know what to do. Ghatotkacha came near the chariot of Alambusha and jumped upon it. He took the mystic Rakshasa by the hair and threw him from the chariot. Raising him up in the air and whirling him about, he dashed him to the ground with great force. With all his limbs smashed and blood flowing from the pours of his body, Alambusha gave up his life. The Pandava warriors sent up loud roars and blew their conches announcing Ghatotkacha's victory. With great enthusiasm, they again rushed against the Kaurava army killing them in thousands.


Thus Ends the Sixth Chapter of the Drona Parva, Entitled, Arjuna Continues His Path of Destruction.



Chapter Seven

Satyaki Follows the Path of Arjuna


Dhritarastra inquired: O Sanjaya, what happened to my forces after the great Rakshasa Alambusha was killed? Did Drona succeed in capturing King Yudhisthira? What happened to the son of Kunti, Arjuna, who took a unattainable vow to kill Jayadratha before the sun set on the horizon?

Sanjaya replied: O King, for the offences your son committed against the Pandavas, one great maharathi after another was killed. The fructification of the cruel deeds in the gambling match took place in the form of the death of your kinsmen. Listen, as I describe the slaughter of your forces by the great Adhirathas, Arjuna, Satyaki and Bhima.

Beholding the great maharathis slain one after another, Drona flared up in anger. He rushed at Satyaki, and a mighty battle ensued between those foremost chariot fighters. In the course of the duel Drona began to gain the upper hand, and it appeared as if Satyaki would be devoured by the great ocean of the preceptor Drona. Seeing the situation, Yudhisthira ordered Dhristadyumna to assist the esteemed hero of the Vrishni race. He requested Drupada's son, "Drona is rushing at Satyaki like Rahu rushes toward the sun and moon. Dronacharya is a great bowman and is playing with Satyaki like a boy plays with his toys. All of you headed by Bhimasena should fight with the preceptor and save Satyaki from the jaws of death."

While Drona was resisting the Pandava forces, Yudhisthira heard the sound of the Panchajanya conchshell. Not hearing the sound of the Gandiva bow, the King became worried. The son of Pandu repeatedly thought, "All is not going well with Arjuna, for I hear the loud shouts of the Kauravas, but I do not hear the sound of the Gandiva bow."

After contemplating what to do, Kunti's first son requested Satyaki, "O grandson of Sini, it is now time to relieve our distress. O descendent of Vrishni, I will now lay a great burden upon you. Arjuna is your friend and preceptor, and I think that he may have fallen into great trouble. Alone he has penetrated the great divisions of Drona and is now proceeding toward the divisions of Jayadratha. I can hear in the distance the loud roars of the Kauravas engaged in fighting with Arjuna. I have just heard the sound of the Panchajanya conchshell, but not the sound of the Gandiva. I know that Lord Krishna is with Arjuna, and there should be no need to fear, but still I want to see Arjuna given all protection. I do not want to see him drown in the Kaurava ocean. Among all the chariot fighters of the Vrishni race two are regarded as adhirathas. They are Pradyumna and yourself. Therefore I request you to enter this vast army of the Kurus and assist Arjuna in achieving his goals. I know that you have been chosen to protect me from Drona, but there are many great warriors here to safeguard me such as Bhima and Dhristadyumna. I now order you to enter this vast Kaurava ocean and attain lasting glory."

Hearing Yudhisthira's command, Satyaki replied, "O great hero, these words befit a great King concerned for those who are committed to him. As for myself, I am prepared to cast away my life for the sake of Dhananjaya. What is there to say about the force of the Kauravas? I am prepared to fight with all the demigods and asuras united. Truly I vow to you that I can reach Arjuna in safety and again return. However, I was strongly ordered by Arjuna to protect you from Drona. Without leaving you in the hands of someone competent, how can I follow Arjuna as you have requested?"

"O mighty armed one," Yudhisthira said, "I think that Bhima will give me protection in your absence. Also there is Dhristadyumna who was born from the sacrificial fire for Drona's death. There are also many others such as the five sons of Draupadi, Virata, Drupada, Shikhandin, Ghatotkacha, Dhristaketu, as well as my other brothers, Nakula and Sahadeva. All these are here to protect me like the beech resisting the sea. Therefore, go, O grandson of Sini, and with an easy heart, free from anxiety, aid Arjuna in his attempt to kill Jayadratha."

After being ordered by the great King Yudhisthira, Satyaki readied himself for the task ahead of him. His horses were sufficiently fed and watered. Their arrows were plucked out, and their bodies decorated with golden mail and chains. All this was done by the younger brother of Daruka who was expert in guiding horses in battle. Satyaki's chariot was then filled with enough weapons to carve his way to the presence of Arjuna. There were many bows and thousands of arrows. Satyaki had access to all the celestial weapons, and they were also present in his chariot. Satyaki then worshiped the brahmanas and gave away in charity many valuable presents. He also worshiped the lotus feet of the King and then ascended his chariot. Proceeding towards the Kaurava host, he appeared like the sun in the sky dissipating the early morning fog. As he rushed at the Kaurava army, Yudhisthira, surrounded by his forces, followed Satyaki to help him penetrate the great array.

When Satyaki came upon the preceptor Drona, a fierce battle ensued in which neither of the great heroes could gain the upper hand. Both warriors fought to their best ability, and both covered the other with hundreds of arrows. While the fighting was going on, Drona spoke to Satyaki, "Your teacher, like a coward, avoided me while I was fighting with him. O descendent of Vrishni, if you stand before me for a little while, you will not escape with your life."

"At the command of King Yudhisthira," Satyaki replied, "I will follow the path taken by my preceptor. O great brahmana, I will lose time if I fight with you, and besides a disciple should follow the example set down by his martial guru."

Having said this much, the grandson of Sini proceeded on avoiding Drona. Satyaki then spoke to his charioteer, "Listen to my orders and proceed carefully. O suta, just in front of us is the division of the Avantis and next to them is the host of the Southerners. Beyond them are the Balhikas and beyond them is the division of Karna. All these great divisions are supporting each other. Take me to the point where the Southerners and the Balhikas are arrayed. Between them on the left is an open space. Guide the horses to that point for there I will pierce this Chakravyuha."

While Satyaki was heading in the direction of the Kaurava army, Drona chased him from behind releasing his deadly arrows. When Satyaki came to the point where he intended to penetrate the great formation, the Kaurava soldiers broke and fled. Seeing this, Kritavarman came forward to resist Satyaki. The grandson of Sini quickly killed his four horses and pierced Kritavarman with many arrows. Furious that he was hit with arrows, Kritavarman released an arrow that pierced the Satyaki's body and entered into the earth. He then shattered the bow and arrows of that great hero. Satyaki was not affected, but quickly killed Kritavarman's charioteer and covered him with hundreds of arrows. He then proceeded on piercing through the Chakravyuha. Kritavarman was outraged by his defeat. He ascended another chariot, but before he could proceed, Satyaki was out of sight. Drona placed him at the gate of the large formation and then he, himself set out to challenge Satyaki.

Meanwhile the Pandavas headed by Bhima fell upon Kritavarman's forces. The son of Hridika, Kritavarman, was enraged that Satyaki had defeated him, and he fought with superhuman force. He pierced Bhima with many shafts and caused him to fall down to the floor of his chariot in a deadly swoon. To protect their brother, Yudhisthira, Nakula and Sahadeva covered Kritavarman with hundreds of arrows. Recovering consciousness, Bhima picked up a dart and hurled it with all his strength. However, before it could reach him, Kritavarman cut it to pieces. Kritavarman was then attacke by many of the great Pandava generals. Shikhandin came forward to assist in the fight as well the sons of Draupadi and Dhristadyumna. Shikhandin released a mighty sword at Kritavarman that shattered his bow and arrows. Kritavarman quickly picked up another large bow and pierced all his opponents. He caused Shikhandin to fall to the floor of his chariot, and to save his life, Shikhandin's charioteer bore him away from the battlefield. The Pandavas headed by Bhima then came forward to fight with Kritavarman, but the son of Hridika kept them all in check.

When Satyaki heard the fierce uproar that was taking place behind<N>him, he ordered his charioteer to turn back. He then rushed at Kritavarman and killed his four horses and charioteer, shattered his bow and pierced him with many shafts. After vanquishing him in battle, he proceeded on his way. He then came upon the divisions of Drona. Satyaki said to his charioteer, "Behold, O Suta, the vast divisions of Drona. Its leader is the great chariot fighter Rukmaratha. It is filled with huge elephants and many chariots. The Trigartas also lie within this vast division. Head in that direction for I will subjugate them in the very sight of the preceptor."

Satyaki, also known as Yuyudhana, then rushed at Drona's divisions which were filled with elephants. Coming up to challenge him was the powerful Jalasandha, the ruler of the Magadhas. He quickly cut Satyaki's bow and pierced him with many arrows. Satyaki then countered by taking up a stronger bow and pierced Jalasandha and also shattered his bow. Jalasandha then picked up a lance and threw it with all his might, lacerating Satyaki's arm and entering the earth. Not affected by the King's javelin, Satyaki pierced him again and sent up a loud roar. Jalasandha then took up a huge scimitar and hurled it with full force at Satyaki. That sword cut Satyaki's bow and arrows, and fell to the earth like a circle of fire. Smiling all the while, Satyaki took up another bow and with a couple of razor faced arrows cut off the arms of the Magadha King. Those two arms fell off either side of the elephant, and while his enemy was still alive, he cut off his head with a third arrow. After Jalasandha was killed, Satyaki pierced the huge elephant on which the Magadha Monarch was riding. Bolting in the opposite direction, the elephant trampled chariots, horses and infantry in hundreds. After the fall of the Magadha King, Satyaki continued to make his way toward Arjuna.

Satyaki then came upon Duryodhana and defeated him easily. He killed his horses, charioteer and smashed his chariot. Duryodhana, not being able to fight with Satyaki, ran away like a coward. Kritavarman came again to fight with the grandson of Sini, but Kritavarman was defeated in his attempt. Satyaki, with an intense desire to find Arjuna, quickly pierced Kritavarman's armor with many arrows. Falling into a swoon, Kritavarman was taken from the battlefield.

Drona, who was following Satyaki from behind, caught up to him and began to afflict him with many arrows. A duel then ensued which caused great wonder to enter the minds of the Kaurava soldiers. Finally, in the end, Satyaki killed Drona's charioteer, and Drona's horse ran wild across the battlefield. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Satyaki continued making his way through the Kaurava host hoping to find his Martial Guru.

Satyaki then came upon a valiant King named Sudarshana. Sudarshana desired to stop Satyaki from achieving his goals. He covered Satyaki with hundreds of arrows and sent up a loud roar. Satyaki returned arrows as fast as lightning killing Sudarshana's horses. Then with a long shafted arrow, he severed his head.

Traveling through the Kaurava host like a meteor, the grandson of Sini killed the prominent division leaders. At Duryodhana's command, one thousand chariot fighters, one hundred rathas, two thousand elephants, and countless foot soldiers rushed at Satyaki to kill him. Seeing them approaching him, Satyaki sent them all to the abode of Yamaraja. Every warrior without exception was slain. Enraged at the complete rout of that mighty force, Duhshasana ordered the mountaineers to fight against Satyaki. The mountaineers were expert in throwing huge boulders at the oncoming enemy. Some soldiers carried boulders as big as elephant heads. They all ran at Satyaki and released their boulders with lightning force. Seeing the mass of boulders coming, the grandson of Sini cut them into fragments with his celestial weapons. The stone fragments lit up like meteors and fell back upon the mountaineers slaughtering great numbers of them. Those warriors fell down to the ground shrieking in agony.

Seeing Duhshasana hesitating to fight with Satyaki, Drona spoke harshly, "Why, O Duhshasana, are these chariot fighters fleeing from battle, and why are you hesitating to fight? Don't you remember the gambling match where you tried to disrobe the beautiful Draupadi. Having been the cause of this great war, why do you flee the battlefield like a coward? Where is your pride now, and where is your boastful tongue? All these warriors are fleeing because you are afraid to engage the enemy. This is only one warrior, and here there are many. What will you do when you come face to face with the wielder of the Gandiva bow? The arrows of Satyaki are not equal to the powerful arrows of Phalguna. Before the Pandavas kill all your brothers in battle, make peace with the Pandavas. Formerly Bhishma warned you that the Pandavas were undefeatable in battle, but your ignorant brother would not listen. Therefore, set your heart on combat. Go quickly and engage the enemy before he destroys the whole army."

Sanjaya said to Dhritarastra: When chastised by Drona, your son, O King, did not reply, but headed into battle with Satyaki, pretending not to hear the preceptor's words.

Dronacharya then engaged in battle with the Panchalas, the Somakas and the Shrinjayas. He came upon a son of Drupada named Viraketu. A fierce encounter arose between those two renowned warriors, catching the attention of all on the battlefield. In the end, however, Drona invoked a celestial weapon that resembled blazing fire. Released with a meteor's speed, and piercing the Panchala prince, it deprived him of his life. Then four of Viraketu's brothers rushed at Drona to avenge his death. Drona very easily stupefied them and cut off their heads like one picking flowers from a tree.

Dhristadyumna could not tolerate the death of his step brothers. He rushed at Drona and struck him with many shafts. Deeply pierced, Drona fell to the floor of his chariot in a swoon. Taking the opportunity, Dhristadyumna descended from his chariot and rushed at him with sword in hand. He quickly ran to Drona's chariot desiring to sever his head. Drona regained consciousness as Dhristadyumna was approaching. Taking up his bow, he pierced him with short range arrows. Dhristadyumna was weakened and retreated to his own chariot to engage Drona in battle. In the end Drona killed his charioteer, and the horses, lacking a driver, ran uncontrolled over the battlefield.

Sanjaya continued relating the activities of the battle to the the blind King Dhritarastra. He said: O King, your son Duhshasana then assaulted Satyaki with the intention of killing him. He was surrounded by five hundred mighty chariot warriors who covered Satyaki's chariot with hundreds of arrows. Within a short span of time, Satyaki killed every heroic fighter that was supporting Duhshasana. Greatly enraged, Duhshasana pierced Satyaki with nine arrows and then again with three. Satyaki countered by killing the charioteer and horses of your son. He then cut off the wheels of his chariot and killed the soldiers protecting those wheels. Duhshasana quickly ascended the chariot of the King of the Trigartas and fled away. Satyaki did not endeavor to kill him remembering Bhima's oath.

Sanjaya continued: In the afternoon of that day, O King, a dreadful battle took place between Drona and the foremost Pandava heroes. The five Keykaya brothers headed by Vrihatkshatra attacked the preceptor Drona. Drona released fifteen arrows at the Kekaya Prince but they were shattered by Vrihatkshatra's arrows. Drona then invoked the Brahma weapon which issued from Drona's bow like lightning. However, Vrihatkshatra released a Brahma weapon of his own that baffled Drona's weapon. Drona, stretching his bow to its fullest extent, pierced Vrihatkshatra's armor. The Kekaya Prince was furious with Drona and pierced him with many shafts. He also killed his chariot driver. Dronacharya then killed Vrihatkshatra's horses, and with a single arrow, the preceptor pierced his heart, taking the prince's life.

Upon the death of the Vrihatkshatra, Dhristaketu, the son of Shisupala, came forward to fight with Drona. He had brought to Pandava's cause an akshauhini division of soldiers. After the Rajasuya sacrifice, when Shisupala had been killed by Lord Krishna, Dhristaketu was enthroned as King, and he became a subordinate ruler to the Pandavas. He was one of the seven commanders on the Pandava's side and was a great maharathi. He soon came upon Drona and lacerated him with many shafts. He then hit the horses and charioteer of the preceptor with flaming arrows. Smiling all the while, Drona quickly killed his four horses and with a single shaft severed his charioteer's head. He then pierced Dhristaketu with twenty five arrows. The King of the Chedis descended from his chariot and released a mace with all his strength. Drona countered that weapon by striking it with hundreds of arrows. The sounds of the colliding weapons echoed all over the battlefield. Dhristaketu then released an iron javelin and then a dart covered in gold. Drona cut up the javelin with five arrows and the dart with four. Having no mercy upon his enemy, Drona released a long shafted arrow that pierced Dhristaketu in the chest, causing him to fall to the ground mortally wounded. With the death of that great maharathi, the supporting soldiers fled in different directions.

There then came to fight with Drona the son of Jarasandha, Sahadeva. After Jarasandha's death by Bhima, Lord Krishna enthroned Sahadeva as King of Magadha. He became a subordinate King under Yudhisthira. When it came time for the Kurukshetra war, he brought to the Pandava's cause one akshauhini division, consisting of chariot fighters, calvary, elephant warriors, and infantry. Sahadeva was a respected fighter like his father, but unlike his father he was very affectionate toward the Pandavas. He rushed toward the preceptor Drona like a fly rushing towards a fire. He covered Drona with many arrows and uttered a loud roar. However, within a twinkling of an eye, Drona killed the son of Jarasandha within the sight of all bowmen. Drona then became like Yamaraja himself killing all who opposed him. He began to kill thousands of elephants, horses and men. The Chedis, the Panchalas, the Matsyas and the Shrinjayas then rushed at Drona, exclaiming, "Drona is slain! Drona is slain!" They fell upon him fighting with their greatest effort.

The son of Dhristadyumna, Ksatradharman, then came upon Dronacharya releasing his formidable weapons. He quickly cut off Drona's bow and pierced him in the chest with five arrows. Not minding those arrows, Drona picked up another bow and pierced Ksatradharman in the chest with a single arrow depriving him of his life. The great preceptor then made a mountain of heads around his chariot as the hosts of the Panchalas came forward to fight with him. Indeed, Drona roamed in the midst of the Pandava forces causing the annihilation of thousands upon thousands of men. Soon the battlefield became like a nightmare as if Drona had been appointed by Yamaraja himself to take away the lives of all living creatures.


Thus Ends the Seventh Chapter of the Drona Parva, Entitled, Satyaki Follows the Path of Arjuna.




Chapter Eight

Bhima Endeavors to Find Arjuna


After Satyaki had entered the Chakravyuha, Yudhisthira could no longer hear Satyaki's bow, and fearing that he might have met with some calamity, he decided to send Bhima into the Kaurava army to protect Satyaki. Finding the place where Bhima was slaughtering the Kaurava troops, Yudhisthira requested him, "O Bhima, I do not see Arjuna's banner, nor do I hear the Gandiva bow. Fearing for Arjuna's life, I have sent Satyaki into the Kaurava host. Now I can no longer hear Satyaki's bow or Arjuna's. I can only hear the Panchajanya conchshell and this leads me to believe that Arjuna has been slain, and Krishna is fighting with the Kauravas single handedly. I am in great fear that Yuyudhana (Satyaki) has also been swallowed in the Kuru ocean headed by Drona. Dispel my fears by going forward and protecting those two heroes who fight against great odds."

"I do not see any danger that can come to Krishna and Arjuna," Bhima replied. "However, reverently taking your command on my head, I will search out the place where those two heroes are releasing their arrows. After finding them in safety, I will return and inform you of their welfare." Bhimasena then ordered Dhristadyumna to protect the King in his absence and prepared to follow the path of Arjuna and Satyaki. He gave charity to the brahmanas, and the brahmanas gave their blessings for Bhima's victory. Bhima then prepared his chariot with all kinds of weapons and allowed his horses to rest. He put on a black coat of iron mail bedecked with golden design work. He appeared like a cloud charged with lightning.

When Bhima was ready to enter into the Kaurava army, he heard the loud sounds of Lord Krishna's Panchajanya conchshell. Hearing the blasts of that king of conches, Yudhisthira said to Bhima, "Undoubtedly Arjuna has fallen into distress, and Krishna, the bearer of the discus and mace, is battling with all the Kurus. Go quickly to the place where Dhananjaya is fighting."

Following his older brother's orders, Bhima sounded his conchshell and send up loud shouts, frightening Duryodhana's troops. He then set out against his enemy. His horses were able to travel at the velocity of wind, and they were guided by Vishoka. The son of the wind god began to stretch his bow to its full length causing destruction to the Kaurava's front line. He soon came upon Drona and showered him with arrows. Drona, with a desire to fight with Bhima, challenged him in the following words, "O Bhimasena, you will not be able to enter the Kaurava host, without vanquishing me in battle. Krishna and Arjuna have penetrated this formation with my permission only, but you will never succeed in doing so."

Hearing the challenge of his preceptor, Bhima said to him, "O worst of the brahmanas, I know that Arjuna has entered this great formation by the speed of his chariot. If he offered you worship, while passing, it was only to give you honor. However, I am not compassionate like Arjuna. Considering you our enemy, I will subjugate you in the presence of your assembled forces." Saying this much and whirling a mace in the air, he hurled it at Drona. To save his life, Drona stepped down from his chariot. That mace thrown with massive force, smashed the Preceptor's chariot and horses and entered into the earth. Drona quickly mounted another chariot and took up his position at the gateway of the formation.

Sanjaya continued: O King, Bhima entered the formation and came upon your sons headed by Duhshasana. Enraged, Duhshasana hurled a dart at Bhima, but Vrikodara cut it in two with his powerful arrows. Bhima then killed your sons Vrindaraka, Abhaya, Raudrakarman, Durvimochana, Vinda, Anuvinda, Suvarman and Sudarshana. He killed them like a tiger kills a herd of deer. Your other sons fled out of fear, but Bhima pursed them with great speed. He took up his mace and hurled it at them sending up a great roar. Overcome with fear, your sons fled away from that spot and the mace descended on your army killing many chariot fighters.

While Bhima was engaged in thinning the enemy ranks, Dronacharya again came to fight with Bhima. He killed hundreds of Bhima's supporting troops and also pierced Bhima with many arrows. Jumping down from his chariot with mace in hand, Bhima ran at his preceptor, his eyes red hot with anger. The second son of Kunti easily bore the deluge of arrows from Drona's bow, and reaching Drona's chariot, he picked it up by its shaft and smashed it to the ground, horses and all. Falling from the chariot, Drona mounted another and proceeded toward the gateway of the formation.

Bhima then proceeded against the huge army destroying it like a hurricane destroys trees. Indeed, Bhima resisted the Kaurava divisions like a mountain resists the ocean. He passed through the division of Kritavarman and the divisions of the Kambhojas and the Mlecchas. Seeing in the distance the chariots of Arjuna and Satyaki, Bhima sent up a loud roar that sounded like the rumble of clouds during the rainy season. Those sounds were heard by Lord Krishna and Arjuna as well as by Yudhisthira. The King could understand that Bhima had sighted Arjuna and Satyaki, and that they were fighting victoriously in battle.

Dhritarastra inquired: O Sanjaya, while the mighty armed Bhimasena was engaged in battle, who among our troops was brave enough to challenge him? I do not see the warrior, O Sanjaya, who could stand in front of the son of the Wind god as he wielded that terrible mace on the field of battle. I do not fear Arjuna or Krishna or Satyaki as much as I fear Bhima who appeared like a blazing fire. Tell me, O Sanjaya, who amongst our troops dared to fight with that mighty son of Pandu.

Sanjaya replied: While Bhima was uttering his mighty roars, Karna was unable to tolerate them. He rushed at Bhima stretching his bow to full length. A great duel then ensued in which thousands upon thousands of arrows were released by those two combatants. Smiling all the while, Bhima cut Karna's bowstring and then killed his charioteer and his horses. Karna descended from his chariot and got onto the chariot of his son Vrishasena. Bhima then roared loudly, and the sound was heard by all the Pandava warriors. Hearing the loud shouts of Bhima, Yudhisthira became enlivened and blew upon his conchshell bringing joy to the other Pandava troops.

With Karna's defeat, Duryodhana prodded Dronacharya with the following words, "O foremost brahmana, Arjuna, Bhima and Satyaki have succeeded in penetrating our formations, and they are now making their way toward Jayadratha. All the soldiers are asking how it is possible for these warriors to defeat you in battle. The destruction of my army is surely at hand. O great preceptor, Arjuna is coming nearer to Jayadratha, and you have promised him protection. What is our next course of action?"

Dronacharya replied, "As of yet only three great warriors have penetrated our formation. However, we have as much to fear from the Pandava army as from these three. Our greatest fear is from Arjuna since it is he who has vowed to slay Jayadratha. Our first duty in to protect Jayadratha from Arjuna's arrows. You should know that our defeat has come about by the deceitfulness of your gambling match. Those dice, which Shakuni threw in the great assembly hall, have now been taken by the Pandavas and turned into deadly arrows. The wager in today's play is the Sindhu Monarch, Jayadratha. There was never victory or defeat in that gambling match, but here at Kurukshetra there will be victory or defeat. Go quickly to Jayadratha and give him all protection. I will stay here and check the advancement of the Pandava army."

Thus commanded by the preceptor, Duryodhana went quickly to the aid of Jayadratha. As he was proceeding, he came upon Yudhamanyu and Uttamaujas, who previously protected Arjuna's chariot wheels. They were still trying to pierce the formation, and Duryodhana engaged both of them in battle. Duryodhana cut off Yudhamanyu's royal standard and also his bow. He also killed his horses and charioteer. Yudhamanyu ascended the chariot of his brother Uttamaujas, and together they managed to kill Duryodhana's horses as well as his charioteer. Greatly enraged, Duryodhana descended from his chariot and ran at both brothers with an upraised mace. Yudhamanyu and Uttamaujas quickly got down from the chariot while Duryodhana smashed it to pieces. Duryodhana was then picked up by Salya, the King of Madras, and Yudhamanyu and Uttamaujas, ascending other chariots, continued on their way to Arjuna.

Dhritarastra inquired: O Sanjaya, Once before Karna had been defeated by Bhimasena. How, therefore, could the Suta's son again come face to face with the son of Kunti. Now that Karna has been informed of his brotherhood with the Pandavas, has he now become compassionate upon them? O Sanjaya, you are expert in narrating events outside our vision. Tell me truly what happened when those two bulls among the kshatriyas again engaged in battle.

Sanjaya said: O monarch, not tolerating Bhima's victory, Karna came forward to engage in battle again. He covered the son of Kunti with arrows like a cloud covers a mountain with rain. He challenged Bhima with these words, "O Bhima, I did n't know that you knew how to fight. Why are you now proceeding into battle showing me your back? You want to make your way to Krishna and Arjuna, but first you must fight with me and defeat me in battle."

Enraged at Karna's words, Bhima turned on him and covered him with numerous arrows. He became like an angry cobra someone purposely stepped on. Both warriors began to release their mighty weapons trying to achieve the other's death. Both warriors began to look like porcupines as they released their weapons with lightning force. Finally Bhima cut Karna's bow, killed his horses and charioteer, and then pierced him in the chest with arrows as effulgent as the sun. Those arrows passed through Karna's body and entered into the earth. Afflicted like a trampled snake, Karna ascended another chariot and proceeded again toward the second son of Pandu.

When Bhima saw Karna again coming for battle, he covered him with thousands of arrows. Both were furious and released their selected weapons seeking to kill the other. In the end Bhima cut Karna's bow and killed his horses. Karna picked up a huge dart and threw it forcefully at Bhima. Bhima, however, shattered it with eight arrows. The second son of Kunti then killed Karna's charioteer and sent up a loud roar. Karna became confused by the shower of weapons and did not know what to do.

Seeing him in that state, Duryodhana ordered Durjaya, "Go, O Durjaya, and save Karna from certain death at the hands of Bhima." Responding to his brother's order, Durjaya came upon Bhima and pierced him with nine arrows, his charioteer with seven and his horses with eight. Rising up like a cobra, Bhima pierced him with ten arrows that entered his body and stuck out of his back. Becoming senseless, he fell to the ground deprived of life. Overcome with grief, Karna descended from his chariot and circumambulated Durjaya's dead body, weeping all the while. When Bhima had made Karna weaponless and carless, he covered him with arrows and made him look like a forested mountain.

Karna then quickly ascended another chariot and again began to fight with Bhima. The battle was fierce, but the son of the wind god again deprived him of his chariot by means of a mace. Fighting from the ground, Karna was able to check Bhima's advance as he came rushing forward. Duryodhana, seeing the situation, ordered his brother, Durmukha, "The son of Radha has been deprived of his chariot and is now fighting on foot in desperation with Bhima. Go quickly and take him on your chariot." Following the orders of the King, Durmukha quickly assaulted Bhima and covered him with many arrows. Bhima responded by rushing towards Durmukha and ignoring Karna. Bhima, stretching his bow to full length, released nine arrows that took Durmukha's life. All this happened as Duryodhana and Karna looked on. Fallen from his chariot, Durmukha lay on the ground writhing like a snake. With tears in his eyes, Karna circumambulated Durmukha and then ascended his chariot. That great adhiratha Bhima had now defeated Karna for the third time.

Sanjaya continued: O King, beholding Karna routed, five of your sons then rushed at Bhima to kill him. They were Durmarshana, Duhshaha, Durmada, Durdhara and Jaya. These five heroic sons surrounded Bhima and covered him with numerous arrows. Karna also came to their support. Bhima proceeded against Karna piercing him with arrows on all sides. In the presence of the Suta's son, Vrikodara killed those five sons. They fell from their chariots like trees falling upon the earth. With the fall of these five sons, five other of your sons whose names were Chitra, Upachitra, Charuchitra, Sarasan, Chitrayudha, and Chitravarman rushed at Bhima and surrounded him with their chariots. Although fighting to the best of their ability, they were no match for Bhima. The second son of Pandu pierced each of them with a single shaft and sent them to the abode of Yamaraja. With the death of these great heroes, Karna shed tears and recollected Vidura's words of wisdom.

As he was grieving for the loss of these dear friends, six other brothers of Duryodhana came forward to fight with Bhima. They were Satrunjaya, Satrusaha, Chitra, Chitrayudha, Dridha, Chitrasena and Vikarna. Seeing them coming, Bhima took out seven arrows furnished with wings of gold. Stretching his bow to full length, he pierced each of those heroes in the chest. Those arrows passed through their bodies and continued into the sky. Falling from their chariots, they were deprived of their lives. Bhima momentarily felt aggrieved for Vikarna's death for it was he who stood up in their defense at the gambling match in Hastinapura. It was he who said that Draupadi was not a slave. It was he who was always thinking of the Pandava's welfare. However, due to Bhima's vow, that great hero also met the fate of his brothers. Bhima had now killed thirty one of Duryodhana's brothers, and Duryodhana, overcome with lamentation, also recollected Vidura's words that were filled with wisdom.

Witnessing the death of all these friends, Karna rushed at Bhimasena to kill him. Another great battle ensued in which all of Bhima's weapons became exhausted. Karna was able to kill Bhima's horses and drive his charioteer from his chariot. When all of Bhima's bows had been broken, he picked up a dart and hurled it at Karna with full strength. The son of Radha then shattered the weapon with his forceful arrows. Desiring either victory or death, Bhima picked up a sword and shield. Karna quickly shattered the shield to pieces with five arrows. Enraged, Bhima threw the huge sword and broke Karna's bow. Karna quickly strung another bow and began to pierce Bhima as he stood in his chariot. Bhima jumped up into the air shouting loudly and ran at Karna to kill him. Karna slumped down to hide himself from the onrushing son of Pandu. Bhima tore off the royal flagstaff on Karna's chariot and waited for him to descend and fight according to kshatriya code. Karna, however, stayed on his chariot, and taking up his bow, began to pierce Bhima as he moved on foot. The son of Kunti was obliged to turn back because he had no weapons. He ran into the midst of many elephants that had been slain by Arjuna earlier. This impeded Karna's chariot which could not proceed further because those huge beasts were lying there in great number. Bhima then picked up one of the elephants and threw it at Karna's chariot. However, Karna cut the dead animal to pieces as it flew threw the air. Bhima picked up more elephants, horses, chariots and other objects and threw them with great force at Karna's chariot. The son of Radha then cut up those animals and objects as they came toward him. Bhima then thought of slaying Karna with his bare fists, but he remembered the vow that Arjuna had taken to slay the Suta's son. Karna then came near Bhima and touched him with the horn of his bow. Bhima quickly grabbed the bow and smashed it over Karna's head. Blood began to flow from Karna's head, and Karna was furious. "Beardless Eunuch! Ignorant fool and glutton!" Karna shouted at Bhima, "You are but a child, and your profession should be cooking. Or rather you should again go to the forest and live the life of a muni." Laughing loudly, Karna again yelled to him, "You may fight in battle with others but not with me. Go to Krishna and Arjuna for they will give you protection. Go to them like a child seeks his father."

Bhima also began laughing and scornfully said to the Suta's son, "O wicked person, I have repeatedly routed you, and I have forced you to run away from the battlefield. How can you indulge in such boastful words. You have defeated me only once, but still I have not run away. Even as I have slain the mighty Kichaka, I will also slay you if you stand in front of me for a while."

While Karna and Bhima were taunting each other, Lord Krishna and Arjuna appeared on the scene, and Arjuna began to pierce Karna with many arrows. This proved to be too much for Karna, and he fled from Bhima's presence. As Karna was running away, Arjuna took out a celestial weapon and empowered it with the force of a thunderbolt. He then released the weapon at Karna, but it was cut up in mid air by the weapons of Ashvatthama. Ashvatthama, fearing Arjuna, quickly entered a Kaurava division and hid himself among the elephants. Arjuna then began to engage the Kaurava army in combat slaughtering their ranks in thousands.


Thus Ends the Eighth Chapter of the Drona Parva, Entitled, Bhima Endeavors to Find Arjuna.



Chapter Nine

The Death of Jayadratha


Dhritarastra inquired: O Sanjaya, When the sun headed toward the western horizon, what did the mighty son of Pandu do, desiring to kill the ruler of the Sindhus, Jayadratha.

Sanjaya said: O King, when Partha and Krishna saw that Satyaki was making his way toward them, Krishna informed Arjuna, "O Partha, in the distance is the grandson of Sini, Satyaki. This disciple and good friend of yours has vanquished renowned chariot fighters in his endeavor to assist you. He has defeated the preceptor Drona and conquered the mighty Kritavarman. Certainly he has been sent by Yudhisthira to help subjugate the great maharathis ahead of us."

"O Keshava," Arjuna replied, "I am not happy that Satyaki has left the King unprotected. I will now have to worry about Yudhisthira as well as Satyaki. Here comes Bhurishravas to challenge Satyaki. The grandson of Sini appears to be tired, his weapons are exhausted, and his horses are also tired. On the other hand Bhurishravas has not yet engaged any opponent in battle, and his horses and supply of weapons are fresh. I do not know what will be the outcome of this duel."

Sanjaya continued: When Bhurishravas came within range of Satyaki, he uttered the following harsh words, "By good luck, you have come within my vision. Today, I will obtain the wish that my father has cherished for so many years. I will gladden King Duryodhana's heart by killing you in the presence of Krishna and Arjuna. After your death, I will wipe away the tearful eyes of the wives of whose husbands you have killed in battle."

"I have never been overwhelmed by fear in battle," Satyaki replied, "and you will not succeed in terrifying me. What is the use of such boastful words? You will have to accomplish what you have vowed. Hearing you foolish statements, I cannot contain my laughter. By killing you in the presence of all your followers, I will satisfy my preceptor Arjuna, and bring great joy to his heart."

Having said this much, Satyaki engaged in battle with the powerful son of Somadatta. They fought like two elephants, roaring and thirsting for victory. They covered each other with a deluge of arrows, looking for an opportunity to slay the other. Satyaki managed to kill Bhurishrava's horses and Somadatta's son also managed to kill Satyaki's horses. When each became carless, they took up swords and shields and opposed each other like two bulls fighting for the sake of a cow. They struck each other and made graceful revolutions, lacerating each other's arms, head and chest. Finally Bhurishravas struck Satyaki and knocked him to the ground. He picked him up by the hair and kicked him in the chest. He then raised his sword and was prepared to cut off Satyaki's head. Seeing this Lord Krishna said to Arjuna, "O Arjuna, behold, Bhurishravas has defeated Satyaki. Having come a long distance and overcome with exhaustion, Satyaki is about to be slain by the mighty Kuru warrior. Do not allow this to happen."

 "The Kuru prince is dragging Satyaki by the hair" Arjuna replied, "and is about to slay him. To save Satyaki's life, I will stop Bhurishravas."

Having vowed Satyaki's safety, Arjuna pulled out a razor faced arrow and placed it on the Gandiva bow. As Bhurishravas raised his sword to kill Satyaki, Arjuna released his weapon, severing the arm that held the sword. Casting his wrathful glance upon Arjuna, Bhurishravas yelled at him, "O son of Kunti, you have performed a cowardly act in as much as while I was fighting with another, you have cut off my arm. What will you say about your defense in an assembly of mighty warriors. You are of royal descent and have been trained by the mighty preceptors Drona and Kripa. You have received instructions from Indra and Lord Shiva, so how is it that you have committed such a unscrupulous act. This unfair deed has been performed, undoubtedly, with Krishna's approval, since this is His relative who is about to be slain. The Vrishnis and the Andakas are certainly crooked by nature, and by their association, you have been influenced to preform coldhearted acts of cowardice."

Replying to Bhurishravas, Arjuna said, "Out of ignorance, O son of Somadatta, you are chastising Krishna and myself for an act that is not sinful in the least. Knowing the rules of warfare, I would never perform a immoral act on the field of battle. The kshatriyas fight in battle surrounded by their kinsmen and friends. These mighty warriors fight with the help of those who support them. Satyaki has engaged in battle, with me as his support, and it is my duty to protect him. If I had allowed Satyaki to be slain, then sin would have overcome me due to negligence. You wanted to kill Satyaki at a time when he was weakened due to battling single handedly with thousands of the Kuru host. Having come upon him in that state, you have easily defeated him. You should rebuke yourself since you did not take precaution for your own protection. Indeed, O hero, how would you have behaved towards one who was your own dependent?"

Thus chastised by Arjuna, the Kuru general, Bhurishravas, left Satyaki and sat down in yoga meditation to give up his body. He spread a seat of arrows with his left hand and sat down there intending to give up his mortal frame. All the warriors who witnessed his activities spoke highly of Somadatta's son, and they derided the action of Krishna and Arjuna. Not tolerating those critical words, Arjuna spoke loudly to all present, "Everyone here is acquainted with my great vow, that no one shall succeed in slaying anybody on the side of the Pandavas who is within the reach of my arrows. Remembering this, O Bhurishravas, you should not find fault with me. The fact that I have cut off your arm while you were combating Satyaki is not contrary to morality. What morality was there when my son Abhimanyu was unfairly defeated by six great warriors. He was carless and weaponless, but still you pierced him with your arrows." Not replying to Arjuna statements of truth, Bhurishravas sat in meditation determined to give up his life. Arjuna again spoke to him, "O son of Somadatta, you are a member of our family, and you are very dear to me. I love you as much as I do my own brothers. You may now attain that destination which is only obtainable by the meditation of great mystic yogis."

"O Bhurishravas," Lord Krishna said, "I am also pleased with you. You have constantly performed sacrifices and Agnihotras (fire sacrifices). You may now ascend to My spiritual abode that is free from the contamination of this material world. That destination is desired by the foremost heavenly god, Lord Brahma, and is the ultimate objective of life. When your soul leaves your body, my carrier Garuda will take you to the spiritual world."

Sanjaya continued: O King, when Satyaki had regained consciousness, he stood up and drew his sword, desiring to cut off Bhurishravas's head. Although all the warriors forbid him to do so, he raised his sword to kill the sinless son of Somadatta, who was sitting in meditation. Krishna, Arjuna, Bhima, Uttamaujas and Yudhamanyu also forbid Satyaki from performing this apparently mercenary act. While all the soldiers were calling out in disapproval, Satyaki cut off Bhurishravas's head who was preparing to enter the spiritual world. None of the warriors approved of Satyaki's act, and the devas, who were watching from the heavens, expressed their disapproval of the way the great Kuru warrior was slain.

Then the Kaurava heroes spoke amongst themselves, "This is actually no fault of the Vrishni hero for this is a predestined act. It has been decided by higher authorities that Bhurishravas be slain by Satyaki. There is no use passing judgement on whether it is wrong or right."

Satyaki then sharply chastised the Kaurava warriors, "All of you are sinful persons wearing the garb of righteous men. Where was your righteousness when Abhimanyu, while fighting on foot, was killed by seven great warriors. I have already taken a vow that any man who strikes me with his foot will be slain even if he be engaged in the practice of asceticism. That which is ordained by providence must happen."

Sanjaya continued: O King, after Satyaki had spoken these words, none of the warriors on either side said anything, but within their minds, they glorified the heroic son of Somadatta.

Dhritarastra inquired: Satyaki had defeated Drona, Karna and Kritavarman in battle. Having crossed the Kaurava ocean, how is it that the Vrishni hero had been thrown to the ground by the Kuru warrior Bhurishravas?

Sanjaya said: Hear from me, O King, how this predestined activity came about in the form of a benediction offered by Lord Shiva to the Kuru descendent Somadatta. In the Yadu race there was a great hero named Surasena. He had many sons out of which two, Sini and Vasudeva were very famous. During Devaki's Svayamvara ceremony, Sini abducted Devaki and vanquished all the Kings that opposed him. It so happened that Somadatta could not tolerate that action and challenged Sini to combat. A battle then ensued which lasted half a day, and in the end Sini was able to throw Somadatta to the ground and kick him with his foot. Sini kicked Somadatta in the chest in the presence of thousands of warriors. Out of compassion Sini let the Kuru hero live and sent him away with his life. Humiliated, Somadatta went to the forest and performed very severe austerities to solicit Lord Shiva. When the great Mahadeva was pleased with Somadatta, he appeared before him and asked him to take a benediction. Somadatta requested, "O lord, please give me the benediction of a son who can defeat Sini's son in combat and strike him with his foot in the midst of thousands of warriors." Lord Shiva granted the benediction, and as a result Bhurishravas took birth as Somadatta's son, and Satyaki took birth as the descendent of Sini. The Vrishni heroes can never be defeated in battle for their prowess exceeds all on earth. This has happened due to the benediction offered by Lord Shiva.

Dhritarastra inquired: O Sanjaya, after the great maharathi, Bhurishravas had been slain, what happened to Krishna and Arjuna as the sun began to set on the horizon.

Sanjaya replied: O descendent of Bharata, after the Kuru general Bhurishravas had ascended to the spiritual world, the mighty armed Arjuna spoke unto the Lord Vasudeva saying, "O Krishna, take me to the place where the King of the Sindus, Jayadratha, is positioned. The sun is about to set on the western horizon. Jayadratha is being protected by many heroic chariot fighters, and he will be difficult to kill. Urge the horses toward his chariot for I will defeat the Kuru host and kill Jayadratha."

Following the instructions of His devotee, Lord Krishna drove the celestial chariot of Arjuna towards the Suchimukha formation in which Jayadratha was carefully guarded. Seeing him coming, King Duryodhana urged Karna as follows, "O Karna, the time for battle has now come at last. Protect Jayadratha, and prevent Arjuna from fulfilling his vow. If Jayadratha can be protected, then Arjuna will have to enter fire, and with his death, victory will be in our grasp. With Arjuna's death, the other Pandavas will be slain easily, and then we can rule this world, with its oceans and islands, with a contented at heart. In this formation there is Ashvatthama, Kripa, Kritavarman, Duhshasana, Salya, yourself and myself. How then will it be possible for Arjuna to defeat us?"

"O King," Karna replied, "my body has been deeply pierced by Bhima's arrows, and every limb suffers with pain. However, I shall fight to my best ability for I have surrendered my life to you. As long as I shall fight, the heroic Dhananjaya will not be able to kill Jayadratha. Let all the forces witness the duel between myself and Vibhatsu. Regarding victory, that will depend on destiny."

As Karna and the King were talking, Arjuna penetrated the Kaurava host and began slaughtering the ranks in his effort to kill Jayadratha. The foot soldiers, the horsemen, the chariot fighters and those riding on elephants rushed at Arjuna to impede his progress. They were like moths entering fire as they came face to face with Arjuna's celestial weapons. Those who died appreciating the wonderful deeds of Lord Krishna and Arjuna were elevated to the Vaikuntha planetary system in the spiritual world. Those who saw, at the last moment of their lives, Lord Krishna with a bridal whip in His right hand and the reins in His left, moving swiftly across the battlefield, never returned to this material world. Those who meditated on the beautiful lotus like face of Lord Krishna with His black curling hair and dazzling jeweled crown bedecked with a peacock feather, never returned again to inhabit a mortal fram. The Lord appeared to be working hard as He drove the chariot of His devotee. There were beads of sweat on His brow and blood flowed from the arrow wounds on His transcendental body. This enhanced His beauty all the more. By driving Arjuna's chariot, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna, was assuring the liberation of all who died in front of Him. Such was His causeless mercy.

Arjuna cut into the Kaurava army and caused a massacre of men. Rushing at Arjuna was Duryodhana, Karna, Vrishasena, Salya, Ashvatthama and Kripa. All those warriors were placed in front of Jayadratha for his protection. They released hundreds of arrows and covered the chariot of Krishna and Arjuna so that it could not be seen. However, Arjuna countered and pierced each of the great warriors with numerous shafts. Bhimasena and Satyaki were close behind assisting Arjuna in his fight with the great Kaurava warriors. Arjuna pierced Karna with a hundred arrows and caused blood to flow from each wound. Karna then released fifty arrows that pierced Phalguna and ten arrows that pierced Krishna. Greatly enraged, Arjuna cut up Karna's bow and penetrated his chest with nine arrows. He then took out a celestial weapon of solar radiance and released it at Karna. However, Ashvatthama shattered it in mid air as it came upon Karna with the speed of a meteor. Karna then took up another bow and began to rain upon Arjuna hundreds of arrows. Roaring like bulls, those two warriors filled the sky with their arrows. Arjuna then cut off the head of Karna's charioteer and caused his horses to run wild. Ashvatthama quickly appeared and took Karna upon his chariot, and they both continued fighting against Partha. Salya pierced Arjuna with thirty arrows and Kripa pierced Lord Krishna with twenty. Arjuna countered and pierced Salya with a hundred and Kripa with twenty. As the fighting was becoming more intense, Arjuna invoked the Varuna weapon causing panic striken fear to enter the hearts of Duryodhana's army. However, realizing their duty to protect Jayadratha, they all rushed at Arjuna with greater speed. The the cardinal directions were filled with weapons as the Kaurava army approached the son of Kunti. Foot soldiers released their javelins and battle axes. Some threw their maces, and others ran at Arjuna's chariot with upraised swords. However, all met with death as the son of Pandu shattered their weapons and severed their limbs from their body. The sound of the Gandiva bow exactly resembled the peal of thunder in a rain cloud, and Arjuna's arrows exactly resembled lightning bolts as they were released from the Gandiva bow. Arjuna then invoked the Aindra weapon, and from His bow came thousands upon thousands of arrows that were blazing with fire. Inspired with the force of a celestial weapon, those arrows took away the lives of thousands upon thousands of infantrymen, horsemen, and chariot fighters. Hundreds of huge elephants fell to the earth as the son of Kunti made his way toward Jayadratha.

The sun and the horizon were meeting together in the distance and that combination caused the sky to turn red. Krishna was driving Arjuna's chariot with greater speed, and finally Arjuna caught sight of Jayadratha. His flagstaff was marked with the sign of a boar. Arjuna quickly pierced him with sixty four arrows and sent up a loud shout. Not tolerating that action, Jayadratha flamed up with anger and pierced Arjuna with six arrows that resembled venomous serpents. He also pierced Lord Krishna with three arrows. The whole Kaurava army surrounded Arjuna and began to shower their weapons. Lord Krishna found that it was difficult driving the chariot through the mass of dead soldiers. All the great Kaurava warriors attacked Arjuna at once, but not minding them, he quickly severed the head of Jayadratha's charioteer and felled his standard with a single arrow.

The sun was now being devoured by the horizon and seeing the situation, Lord Krishna spoke to Arjuna, "Just see, O son of Kunti, how Jayadratha has been carefully protected by the six great warriors. Without vanquishing those six maharathis, you will never be able to kill Jayadratha. I shall, therefore, cover the radiant sun with My Own potencies so that it appears the sun has set. At that time Jayadratha will no longer guard himself closely. Taking this opportunity, you should cut off his head with your arrows. Do not be afraid of the darkness; it is simply a display of My internal potency to aid you in killing Jayadratha."

Then the Supreme Personality of Godhead covered the sun with his mighty potencies and it appeared as if the sun had set on the horizon. All the Kaurava warriors including Jayadratha turned their heads in excitement toward the sun's path. They now thought that Arjuna would now have to enter fire. While Jayadratha was looking at the setting sun, Lord Krishna ordered Arjuna, "Just see how the Sindhu King is looking at the setting sun. He is joyful and has cast off all fear of you. Take the opportunity and cut off his head with the weapon Lord Shiva has given you."

Lord Krishna then drove the chariot with great speed toward Jayadratha. Arjuna began to lacerate each of the great warriors and drove them away from protecting Jayadratha. They were all extremely puzzled about Arjuna's actions. Although they tried to impede his progress, they were driven away by the force of his weapons. The battlefield was thick with soldiers and Arjuna had to carve his way closer to Jayadratha. Arjuna then took out the Pashupati astra given to him by Lord Shiva. As he set it on his bow, Lord Krishna again advised him, "O Dhananjaya, quickly cut off the head of the sinful Jayadratha. However, do not let the head touch the ground. It is known that the father of Jayadratha, Vriddhakshetra, protected his son with a benediction saying that anyone who caused his son's head to fall to the ground would have his own head crack into a hundred pieces. Vriddhakshetra has retired to the forest for meditation. He is just near here at Samanta-panchaka. After cutting off Jayadratha's head, you should guide the arrow and the head to the lap of Jayadratha's father. Vriddhakshetra will then throw the head to the ground, causing his own death."

Following the orders of the Lord of the universe, Arjuna drew the string of his bow to full length and released that mighty Pashupati astra. It pierced the air like a lightning bolt and snatched the head of Jayadratha from his body. It continued on toward the Samanta-panchaka pilgrimage site. King Vriddhakshetra was engaged in offering his evening prayers, and suddenly he saw a severed head in his lap, a head with black hair and glittering earrings. He at once threw the head to the ground causing his own head to crack into many pieces. At this sight the devas were filled with wonder and began to applaud the prowess of Lord Krishna and Arjuna.

When Jayadratha had been slain, the darkness that had been created by Lord Krishna was removed, and again the sun was seen on the horizon. The Kauravas then realized that the darkness had been created by Lord Krishna's mystic power, and they could also understand that as long as the Supreme Lord rode on Arjuna's chariot there was no possibility of their victory. That day Arjuna annihilated seven akshauhini divisions of soldiers. In other words Arjuna himself killed approximately two million men on that fourteenth day of the battle. Those men seeing Lord Krishna on Arjuna's chariot attained liberation from the path of birth and death. They entered either the impersonal brahmajyoti or the eternal kingdom of God. Such was the mercy of Lord Krishna.

Lord Krishna then blew His conchshell, the Panchajanya and Arjuna blew his, the Devadatta. That sound filled the heavens in all directions and was heard by Yudhisthira who was many miles away. King Yudhisthira could understand that Jayadratha had been killed, and the whole Pandava army roared with joy.

Meanwhile Krishna sounded his conchshell on the Rishava note. This was the signal that Daruka should bring Lord Krishna's chariot. Daruka quickly appeared on the scene and waited for instructions from his worshipable Lord. "Take Satyaki on this chariot," Lord Krishna ordered, "and help him in his rivalry against Karna."

Daruka quickly went to the spot where Satyaki was engaged in combat. Satyaki ascended Lord Krishna's chariot and waited as Karna came rushing towards him. Karna was incensed that Jayadratha had been killed, and he wanted revenge. He attacked Satyaki and fought with all his prowess, but in the end his horses and his chariot driver were killed. To save him from death Ashvatthama, Salya and Vrishasena encircled Satyaki and covered him with a curtain of arrows. Karna then quickly ascended Duryodhana's chariot. Satyaki quickly defeated Ashvatthama, Salya and Vrishasena, but refrained from killing Duryodhana's brothers remembering Bhima's vow. Satyaki's expertise in combat was unequaled amongst the Kuru warriors. He had defeated Drona, Karna and killed Jalasandha and Bhurishravas. Everyone on the battlefield considered that after Lord Krishna and Arjuna there was only one great bowman and that was Satyaki. Together on that single day, Arjuna, Satyaki and Bhima had destroyed eight akshauhini division of troops.

Dhritarastra said: After Jayadratha's death what did the second son of Kunti, Bhima do, his chariot having been destroyed?

Sanjaya replied: O King, after Bhimasena had been made carless, Arjuna came to him. Bhimasena then related everything that Karna had said to him calling him a fool, glutton, etc. Enraged Arjuna went near Karna and spoke to him in a loud voice, "O wicked son of a Suta, you are puffed up with false pride. You have been defeated many times by Bhima, and now by Satyaki, and still you think yourself great. You have uttered harsh words against Bhima, and you cut the string of my son's bow while he wasn't looking. My son Abhimanyu was killed unfairly in battle by cowards like yourself. For these offences you will die in battle along with your relatives and friends. I take a vow that I will kill your son Vrishasena even while you are looking on. After his death, I will kill you, and I will watch as Duryodhana sheds tears of lamentation."

After Arjuna had vowed the death of Karna and his son, the sun completed its descent into the western horizon. At that time Lord Krishna spoke to Arjuna, "By good luck, O Phalguna, you have fulfilled your vow. Many great chariot fighters have been slain, and Jayadratha has met his end according to his destiny. No other warrior could have completed this vow."

Replying to Lord Krishna, Arjuna said, "Through Your grace, O Janardana, have I completed this vow. O my Lord, when the Pandavas have You for their master, then victory does not seem wonderful. Through Your grace, Yudhisthira will obtain victory over Dhritarastra's sons and obtain sovereignty of the entire earth. This is Your victory, my Lord, and all our prosperity is due to You. O Slayer of Madhu, please accept us as Your surrendered servants and maintain us as You see fit."

Sanjaya continued: After the two Krishnas had spoken to each other, they then made their way to Yudhisthira. Coming to the King's presence, Lord Krishna said, "O King, by good luck your younger brother has kept his vow. The Sindhu King has been slain and victory is now within your grasp."

Thus informed of Arjuna's victory by Lord Krishna, the King descended from his chariot with tearful eyes. He affectionately embraced Arjuna and Krishna and spoke to them, "By God's grace, I can behold you today, O Arjuna. By good luck, the sinful Jayadratha has been slain and your vow fulfilled." Turning to Lord Krishna, Yudhisthira said, "O Vasudeva, You are the master of the three worlds, and they who have You for their preceptor will never meet with defeat in their struggle for life. O Govinda, You are the Lord of the three worlds and the master of Indra. O mighty armed one, You are the creator of this cosmic manifestation, and You are the Supersoul in everyone's heart. The Vedic mantras sing Your glories. O Hrishikesha, those who take shelter in You will obtain the highest prosperity in this material world."

"My dear King Yudhisthira," Lord Krishna replied, "I regard the Kauravas and their kinsmen to be already dead. O Slayer of the enemy, one who has offended My devotees can never have happiness in this world. Kingdom, family and wealth will be lost to those who have done harm to My pure devotees." As Lord Krishna was speaking, Satyaki and Bhima also appeared, and the King out of affection embraced both of them and congratulated them on their victory. All the warriors on the Pandava's side became joyful, and once more set their heart on battle.

Dhritarastra said: O Sanjaya, after the King of the Sindhus had been killed, what did my sons do having failed to keep their vow?

Sanjaya replied: O king, upon the fall of Jayadratha, Duryodhana went to the preceptor Drona and said, "Behold, my teacher, the immense slaughter of Kings who have supported me in battle. The mighty bowman Jalasandha has been killed by Satyaki. Also Sudakshina and Alambusha lay on this Kurukshetra plain killed by the enemy's arrows. Alas, Somadatta's son has been killed as well as Jayadratha to whom you have promised protection. Seven akshauhini divisions of troops were slain by Arjuna alone on this fourteenth day. In the absence of so many of my friends and relatives, I have no need for life. Today, I should enter those regions where these renowned warriors have gone for my sake. O preceptor of Pandu's sons, grant your permission in this matter."

"O sinful wretch," Drona replied, "why do you pierce my ears with you shaft like words! I have repeatedly told you that Arjuna cannot be slain. Shikhandi, backed by Phalguna, has killed Bhishma. When this happened, I knew that the Bharata host was doomed to death. It is only a matter of time for all of us. This frightful carnage of men has come about because you did not listen to Vidura's wisdom. In the presence of six great maharathis, why was Jayadratha slain? It is more that just physical strength that will win this war; it is righteousness and devotion to God. The Pandavas have Lord Krishna, who is none other that the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Arjuna has Him for his chariot driver, and this being the case, Arjuna alone is sufficient to reduce this whole army to ashes. What hope, then, do you have for success? Coming towards me now are the Shrinjayas and the Panchalas. I will not rest from battle until they are slain. My son will help me. You should now go and protect the troops. Both the Kurus and the Pandavas are extremely angry and will fight into the night. Go and prepare for battle." While the two were talking, the Pandava divisions appeared for combat.


Thus Ends the Ninth Chapter of the Drona Parva, Entitled, The Death of Jayadratha.




Chapter Ten

The Death of Ghatotkacha


Dhritarastra inquired: O Sanjaya, after Jayadratha's demise, what did the Kaurava army do, being headed by the invincible Drona? Certainly Drona could not tolerate the fact that his vow had been violated. Please relate everything that happened during the night battle at Kurukshetra.

Sanjaya said: O King, the Kaurava army headed by Dronacharya could not accept their defeat at the hands of Partha. Reforming their divisions, they marched against the Pandavas. Even though darkness had set in, they fought fiercely slaying each others ranks and causing a great carnage. The Somakas assaulted Drona in the darkness of night with a desire to end his life. King Shivi was leading a division of troops, and he came upon the preceptor with the might of a tempest. King Shivi pierced Drona in the chest with thirty arrows, and also killed his chariot driver. Seeing the situation, King Duryodhana sent to the preceptor another chariot driver. Rushing against King Shivi, Drona killed his four horses and then severed his head. Highly enraged, Drona then began to consume the Somaka's ranks with his celestial weapons.

The son of the Kalinga King supported by Kalinga warriors rushed at Bhimasena. Bhima had earlier killed his father, and the son, overcome with anger, sought Bhima's death. However, not tolerating this impudence, Bhima ran to his chariot and leaped into it. He raised the King's son with his hands and killed him with one blow of his fist. Kalinga's son fell to the earth, having all of his bones broken. After this Bhima proceeded to the chariot of Druva, the brother of the slain prince. He dragged him from his chariot, roaring all the while. He killed him with the repeated blows from his fist. Bhima then rushed at the chariot of Jayarata, and with one slap from his palm, he killed that mighty Kalinga hero. This was all done within Karna's sight. The son of Radha, not tolerating Bhima's prowess, took up a dart and threw it with all his might. Bhima caught the dart in his hand and threw it back at Karna, blazing like a meteor. However, Shakuni shattered it to pieces with his arrows.

Ascending his chariot, Bhima challenged the Kaurava warriors thirsting for battle. He came upon Duryodhana's brother, Durmada and killed his horses and charioteer. Durmada then ascended the chariot of his brother Dushkarna, and together they assaulted Bhima. In the very sight of Karna, Duryodhana, Somadatta, Bahlika and Ashvatthama, Bhima stomped on their chariot and smashed it into the ground. He then crushed those two brothers with his powerful fists. Indeed, there was no bone in their body that was not broken. Seeing Bhima's gruesome appearance, all Kuru warriors fled that spot.

The battle became fierce on both sides. It was as if Kurukshetra had become the domain of Yamaraja himself. Ghatotkacha, surrounded by an akshauhini division of Rakshasas, attacked Ashvatthama, imploring the illusions of mystic power. The son of Ghatotkacha was Anjanaparvan, and there arose a fierce duel between him and Drona's son. In the end Ashvatthama made him carless, and descending from his chariot, Anjanaparvan took up a scimitar and threw it at Ashvatthama. The son of Drona shattered it in mid air. Furious, the son of Ghatotkacha released a mace with full potency. Ashvatthama also cut up that weapon to pieces. Anjanaparvan then ascended into the sky, and by his Rakshasa illusion began to rain trees upon Drona's son. However, Ashvatthama killed him with his arrows as he fell to the earth.

Intensely angry, Ghatotkacha assaulted Ashvatthama surrounded by his akshauhini division of soldiers. All those distinguished warriors released their weapons at Ashvatthama's chariot. The sky was filled with arrows, javelins, darts, maces, battle axes and swords. Seeing that mass of weapons coming toward him, Drona's son invoked his celestial weapons, decimating them all. Ghatotkacha then released a celestial mace at Ashvatthama. Drona's son descended from his chariot and caught the weapon as it came upon him. Ashvatthama then released that weapon with full force, and coursing through the air it smashed Ghatotkacha's chariot. Bhima's son, unscathed, ascended Dhristadyumna's chariot and continued fighting with Drona's son. Taking out one of his celestial weapons, Ashvatthama slew one hundred thousand Rakshasa warriors as they assaulted him. With hundreds and thousands of arrows blazing through the sky, Ashvatthama reduced the size of that akshauhini division to nothing. With the massacre of that Rakshasa division, Ghatotkacha became enraged and fought with greater intensity.

Ashvatthama then killed one of King Drupada's sons, Suratha, as well as his brother Satrunjaya. He then killed the ten sons of King Kuntibhoja. Taking from his quiver an arrow that resembled the rod of death, Drona's son released it at the Ghatotkacha's chest. Passing through his chest, that arrow entered into the earth. Bhima's son then fell to the floor of Dhristadyumna's chariot, and fearing him dead, Dhristadyumna took him from the battlefield.

Sanjaya continued: O King, after Bhurishravas's death, his father Somadatta was looking for the opportunity to kill Satyaki. He came upon him in the dead of night, and they began to harass each other with their deadly weapons. Somadatta spoke to Satyaki, "Why, O Satyaki, have you taken to the practice of thieves. Why have you taken the life of my son who had given up his weapons. You are reputed to be a great chariot fighter, but today I shall cut off your head with my winged arrows."

"Stay in battle for a while" Satyaki replied, "and feel the pain caused by my weapons. I have already killed two of your sons and today, I will also kill you along with all of your kinsmen." The two mighty warriors then fought on releasing their lethal weapons. Bhima joined in the fight and released a wooden mallet at the Somadatta's head. Satyaki also released an arrow that blazed through the sky like lightning. Both weapons hit Somadatta at the same time, causing him to fall into a deadly swoon.

Beholding his son fallen in battle, Bahlika, the son of Pratipa and brother of Maharaja Shantanu, challenged Satyaki releasing his mighty weapons. Bahlika also released a dart at Bhima, causing him to fall unconscious to the floor of his chariot. Coming to his senses, Bhima took up a mace and hurled it at his grand uncle. That mace snatched off Bahlika's head and then entered the earth. The great grandsire of the Kuru dynasty then fell to the ground like a tree struck by lightning.

Sanjaya continued speaking to King Dhritarastra: Overcome with anger at this action, ten of your sons, O King, rushed at Bhima to kill him. Their names were Nagadatta, Dridharatha, Viravahu, Ayobhuja, Dridha, Suhasta, Viragas, Pramatha, and Ugrayayin. They challenged Bhima and surrounded him with their chariots. With ten arrows, Bhima quickly dispatched them to Yamaraja's abode. Bhima then killed a brother of Karna named Vrikaratha and five brothers of Shakuni named Gavaksha, Sarabha, Bibhu, Subhaga and Bhanudatta.

Seeing the Pandavas slaughtering the Kaurava host, Duryodhana requested Karna, "O Karna, our warriors are encircled on all sides by the Pandavas. O my friend, go now and save them from certain annihilation. The Pandavas are roaring with victory and penetrating our ranks. Smash their pride with your forceful arrows."

"Be cheerful, O descendent of Bharata." Karna replied. "Even if the great Indra were to come himself, still I would slay the Pandavas. I will kill Arjuna with Indra's shakti weapon and give you world sovereignty. While I am alive, O Kaurava, you will not have to indulge in any kind of lamentation."

Sanjaya continued: While Karna was uttering these boastful words, Kripacharya addressed the Suta's son, "If words alone, O Karna, could lead to victory, then certainly this army would be well protected. You are always boasting your glories, but we have not yet seen an exhibition of your prowess. Many times have we seen you encounter the sons of Pandu, and each time you have been defeated. While Duryodhana was being taken away by the Gandharvas in the Dvaitavana forest, who was the first to run away? Outside of Virata's city, the Kauravas united together and took away the cows. However, we were all vanquished by the mighty armed son of Kunti. I do not think that you are a fit match for any one of the Pandavas. Brave men never indulge in boasting, but prove their prowess on the field of battle. You are always building palaces in the air that are torn to pieces by the divine sons of Kunti."

"I will vanquish Arjuna," Karna replied, "with the dart given to me by Indra, the king of heaven. Upon Arjuna's death, the other Pandavas will be easily defeated. This earth will then become the sole property of the Kuru dynasty. Knowing all this, I speak with confidence about my prowess. As for yourself, you are a brahmana by birth and have now grown old. You are unskilled in battle, and your main fault is that you seek the Pandava's protection. O son of Saradwat, if you speak to me again in these words, I will cut out your tongue. Many great warriors headed by Bhishma have fallen in this battle, but all of these are greater than the Pandavas. It is, therefore, destiny that is defeating us and not the Pandavas. O lowest of men, I will continue to fight to my best ability, and in the end you will see Kunti's sons slain by my arrows."

Sanjaya continued: O Monarch, after hearing Karna's harsh words, Ashvatthama drew his scimitar and rushed at Karna to kill him. Duryodhana quickly seized Drona's son before he could harm Karna. Duryodhana then said, "O Ashvatthama, anger is never the sign of a brahmana. O sinless one, do not be angry with Karna who is trying to enliven us. Forgive him, and together let us engage in battle with the Pandava force." Suppressing their anger, both Kripa and Ashvatthama forgave Karna, but in their hearts they knew that the pride of the Suta's son would be vanquished when he met Arjuna face to face.

Thus forgiving each other and uniting in combat, those great maharathis began to grind the ranks of the Pandava host. When Karna came upon Arjuna, he assaulted him with full force. Those two warriors, who were actually brothers, began to cover each other with their mighty weapons. In the end, however, Arjuna smashed his chariot and horses and also killed his chariot driver. Karna was then taken upon the chariot of Kripa, and thus the vanity of that boastful person was smashed by Arjuna's weapons.

Satyaki then came upon Bahlika's son, Somadatta. Those two great heroes again fought desiring each others death. With the death of Somadatta's sons, Sala and Bhurishravas, Somadatta was always looking for the opportunity to fight with Satyaki. He pierced Satyaki with ten arrows and sent up a loud roar. Satyaki quickly cut off his bow and killed his horses. He then released an arrow of fiery effulgence that was as sharp as a razor. Falling upon the chest of the Kuru general, it deprived him of life. He fell from his chariot like a demigod falls to earth after the exhaustion of his pious activities. With this action the troops that were supporting him fled out of fear. The last son of Somadatta named Bhuri rushed at Satyaki intending to avenge his father's death. He fought with Satyaki for some time but in the end he was killed by a dart that pierced his chest.

In the darkness of night, the two armies ground each other in a war of attrition. When the darkness was so dense that no one could tell which side the other was on, Duryodhana ordered that the soldiers carry torches. Very soon the whole Kaurava army was seen under the light of these torches and lamps. The Pandava army also took up torches and lamps, and the fighting continued on. The celestial demigods using their mystic power created light in the heavens, and indeed, the battlefield of Kurukshetra looked wonderful.

Sahadeva encountered Karna and a fierce battle took place. Karna remembered his promise to his real mother Kunti, and for some time he played with Sahadeva as a cat plays with a mouse. The valiant son of Madri pierced Karna with twenty arrows. However, Karna quickly killed Sahadeva horses and charioteer. Descending from his chariot, Sahadeva took up a sword and shield and ran at Karna. The son of Radha shattered the effulgent sword and shield that were protecting the powerful son of Madri. Sahadeva then released a mace, but it was cut into fragments by Karna's arrows. Sahadeva then released with full force an effulgent golden dart. When that weapon was also baffled, Sahadeva hurled at his elder brother chariot wheels, limbs of elephants, dead horses and dead human bodies. All these, however, were cut to pieces by Karna's arrows. Having no weapons, Sahadeva retreated from battle. He was followed by Karna who touched him with the horn of his bow saying, "Do not fight in battle those who are superior to you. O son of Madri, fight with those who are your equals." Laughing all the while, Karna proceeded against the Panchalas, granting life to Sahadeva whom he could have killed if he desired.

Karna then began to consume the Pandava divisions with his celestial weapons. Men, slaughtered in thousands, littered the battle field creating a river of blood. Seeing the destruction of his troops, Yudhisthira went to Arjuna and informed him, "Just see the mighty bowman, Karna, stationed in the distance like Rudra himself. I cannot tolerate the wails of our troops. Go, O Phalguna, and do what is necessary for slaying the Suta's son, thus fulfilling your vow."

Hearing this order, Arjuna spoke to Hrishikesha, "Yudhisthira is afraid for the safety of the army. Karna appears like Yamaraja, who engages in the destruction of all living beings. O tiger of the Vrishni race, proceed, therefore, to the place where Karna is releasing his arrows. O slayer of Madhu, I will either slay him, or he will slay me."

"O son of Kunti," Lord Krishna replied, "I can see Karna covering the battlefield like a heavenly warrior. I do not think that the time is right for you to engage in a mighty duel. As long as he has Indra's Shakti weapon, it will be difficult to defeat him. Let Ghatotkacha challenge Karna. He is endowed with mystic powers and is a suitable combatant to fight against Radha's son."

Arjuna then called for Ghatotkacha and soon Bhima's son appeared. Lord Krishna requested him in these words, "Listen, O Ghatotkacha, to my order. You must now become the boat to save the Pandavas from the wrathful storms of Karna. Just near here the Suta's son is killing our troops in thousands. Go and quickly stop him from devouring our men."

"I am as much a match for Karna as I am for Drona," Ghatotkacha replied. "I will fight with Karna in such a way that the subject of this battle will be spoken of until the end of creation. Tonight I will spare none, even those that ask for mercy will receive none." Saying this much, Ghatotkacha headed into battle.

The son of Bhima had a copper face and a huge form. His belly was sunken and the hair on his body pointed upwards. The top of his head was green, and his ears were like arrows. His tongue was very long, and his mouth extended from ear to ear. His teeth were long and sharp, and his nose was thick. On his head he wore a beautiful crown arching over the top of his forehead. His earrings were bright, and he wore garlands of flowers mixed with gold. Opening his mouth wide and roaring loudly, he proceeded against Karna.

When both warriors met a fierce duel ensued. Both were expert in weapons, and both were highly provoked. They fought like two angry elephants over a she elephant in heat. Karna had to resort to his celestial weapons, and Ghatotkacha had to resort to his Rakshasa illusions. Ghatotkacha was surrounded by man eating Rakshasas of fierce proportions. There were thousands of them, and because it was night time, they became more powerful. They all rushed at Karna releasing a thick shower of stones and rocks. The supporting soldiers of Karna fled out of fear, and only Karna stood releasing his celestial weapons trying to destroy that illusion. Beholding the illusion destroyed by Karna, Ghatotkacha took up an effulgent chakra and released it with great force. That weapon, blazing through the sky, was then shattered by Karna's arrows. Greatly angered, Karna killed Ghatotkacha's horses and smashed his chariot. He then pierced Bhima's son with so many arrows that there was not two fingers breadth of space where there was not an arrow.

Roaring loudly, Ghatotkacha caused thousands upon thousands of arrows to fall from the sky. He himself then produced many heads that began to devour Karna's celestial weapons. At one point Bhima's son was seen lying on the battlefield as if dead, and at another time, he was seen assuming many hideous forms the size of mountains. He was then seen assuming a small form and piercing the earth. In the next moment, he was seen riding on a golden chariot wandering through the earth and sky. He came near Karna and said, "Stand before me for a while, O Suta's son. I will satisfy your desire for battle, and I will today feast on your flesh." Saying this much, the fierce Rakshasa rose up into the sky roaring with laughter. By his mystic power he produced a mountain, and from that mountain fell swords, lances, stones and boulders. Upon seeing that mountain in the heavens, Karna was not agitated in the least, but invoked a celestial weapon that destroyed the mystic illusion. Ghatotkacha then produced a huge rain cloud, and from that cloud fell stones, trees and lightning bolts. Karna invoked the Vayavya weapon that dispersed the huge cloud. By the mystic power of Bhima's son, Rakshasas were seen everywhere. Some were riding on elephants, some on chariots and some on horses. They filled the earth as well as the sky, and to any ordinary person, they would have caused great fear. Ghatotkacha then released an Anjalika weapon that shattered the strong bow of Karna. Taking up another bow, Karna destroyed the mystic illusion that was surrounding him. Ghatotkacha then took up an Asani weapon that was given to him by Rudra. The celestial weapon had eight chakras revolving on it and was the deadliest weapon. Descending from his chariot, the son of Bhima released it at Karna. However, Karna descended from his chariot and caught the weapon as it came to him. He then hurled it back at Ghatotkacha destroying his chariot and mules. Karna then pierced Ghatotkacha upon which the son of Bhima disappeared from sight like smoke rising into the sky. There then appeared on the battlefield lions, tigers, hyenas, snakes with fiery tongues, and birds with iron beaks. Wolves, leopards and many other animals endowed with hideous faces also appeared. They all screamed fiercely and approached Karna to devour him. However, the Suta's son pierced those animals, and then destroyed the mystic illusion with his mantra weapons.

At this time a Rakshasa named Alayudha came to the side of the Kauravas. His kinsmen had been Baka, Kirmira and Hidimva. He came to Kaurava's side hoping to engage Bhima in single combat and kill him. He was accompanied by numerous fierce Rakshasas, and they were all eager for battle. Duryodhana welcomed the Rakshasa Alayudha and requested him, "Just near here, Radha's son is engaged with the son of Bhima, Ghatotkacha. Go there and assist Karna so that the mighty Rakshasa will not kill him."

Abiding by Duryodhana's orders, the Rakshasa went into battle with Bhima's son. Suddenly Bhima appeared on the scene and supported his son in the fight against Alayudha. Alayudha, seeing Bhima present before him, left his fight with Ghatotkacha and rushed at Bhima releasing his mighty arrows. Bhima, stretching his bow to full length, released arrows the were as forceful as lightning. Alayudha cut up some of those arrows with his own, and others he caught in his hand. Bhima then threw a mace at the Rakshasa, but Alayudha released his own, and the two collided causing a great sound that made the very earth tremble. The Rakshasa Alayudha then killed Bhima's horses and caused him to descend from his chariot. Upon seeing this, Lord Krishna told Arjuna, "Let us go immediately to where these Rakshasas are harassing our army. It is night time, and they are fighting fiercely. Just see, Alayudha has made Bhima carless, and now Bhima is fighting on foot. Immediately send Ghatotkacha to fight with him." Following the instructions of his Lord and master, Arjuna ordered Ghatotkacha to engage Alayudha in battle.

Bhima's son then gave up his fight with Karna and attacked the brother of Baka. They fought with each other using mystic illusions and other weapons. They assaulted each other with arrows, swords, maces and lances, roaring all the while. They struck each other with their strong fists and pulled each other by the hair. Blood was flowing from both Rakshasas, and when they hit each other, blood splattered in all directions. Finally Ghatotkacha picked up Alayudha and dashed him on the ground. Taking out a large sword, he severed his head from his body. Rushing to the place where Duryodhana was, Bhima's son placed the severed head on his chariot saying, "No one should visit the King without bringing some present." Laughing loudly and opening his mouth from ear to ear, the mighty Rakshasa returned to his own chariot. Overcome with fear, the Kaurava army ran in all directions.

Ghatotkacha then engaged Karna in battle and began to shower him with his mystical powers. When Bhima's son found that he could not conquer Karna, he invoked into existence a highly powerful weapon. With that weapon, he killed the horses and charioteer of Karna. He then disappeared from sight. All thought that Karna would now be slain. To protect his life, Karna began to cover the sky with his celestial weapons. For a moment there was nothing but silence. Looking in all directions, Karna could not perceive where Ghatotkacha was. Suddenly in the sky appeared a huge red cloud spitting fire and blazing meteors. The huge cloud began to thunder shaking the whole earth. Fiery weapons were pouring out of the cloud heading in Karna's direction. Karna released his heavenly astras, but none could destroy the illusion produced by Ghatotkacha. Those blazing weapons fell upon the Kaurava army killing them in thousands. Screams of horror were heard from the troops as those blazing weapons descended from the sky upon the foremost Kaurava leaders. Rakshasas with horrendous forms, as well as man eating animals, came out of that cloud and began to devour the Kaurava troops. Indeed, from that cloud fell axes, lances, stones, boulders, maces and fiery chakras. All the weapons were blazing with fire and fell upon the Kaurava warriors piercing their bodies and severing their limbs. Suddenly the troops were overcome with panic and fled the battlefield screaming, "Run away! run away! All is lost! The demigods are slaying us for the Pandava's sake!"

Only Karna stood his ground contending with the mystic illusion. Then, with a huge mace equipped with chakras, Ghatotkacha killed Karna's four horses. Jumping down from his chariot and looking into the sky, Karna did not know what to do. The Kaurava warriors pleaded with the Suta's son, "O Karna, kill the Rakshasa soon before he destroys the whole army. Use your Shakti weapon given to you by Indra, the King of Heaven. This mystic illusion is not sparing even those running away from battle, or those who have no weapons. Without Arjuna this whole army is about to be destroyed."

Reflecting for a moment on the circumstances at hand, Karna decided to use his Shakti weapon. Picking it up from his chariot, he glanced upon it and remembered how it was given to him by Indra years before. He had exchanged it for his natural golden armor and earrings. It was meant to kill Arjuna. Not finding any other way to save the army from extermination, Karna picked up that dart and readied himself to release it. It could only be used once, and after being released, it would again return to Indra. Karna then released the mighty weapon in the direction of the mystic illusion. Fierce winds began to blow, and all creatures in the sky were overcome with intense fear. That dart soared through the sky, and piercing the mystic illusion, it struck Ghatotkacha in the chest depriving him of his life. While dying from the force of that weapon, Ghatotkacha wanted to do one last good deed for the Pandavas. By his mystic power, he increased his size to a gigantic form, and falling from the sky, he crushed a complete akshauhini division of troops.

The Kaurava army became joyous and approached the Suta's son to worship him. The Pandavas were overwhelmed with grief to see the gigantic dead form of Ghatotkacha. Bhima lamented the death of his son. Only Lord Krishna was joyous on the occasion. He uttered loud sounds of happiness and embraced Arjuna with great affection. Seeing this manifestation of happiness on the death of one of their distinguished heroes, Arjuna curiously inquired, "O Achyuta, you are showing signs of joy when the time is not appropriate. It is a time for lamentation over the death of one of our dearest nephews. Please tell me why you have lost your gravity on the death of a mighty hero."

"Listen to Me, O Dhananjaya!" Lord Vasudeva replied. "I know that Karna can now be killed, because he no longer has possession of that celestial dart. There is not a man on earth that could stand before Karna with that dart in his possession. Even with My Sudarshana discus, I could not defeat Karna with his Shakti weapon. Now that he is deprived of that dart, you, and only you, can kill him. When you approach him in battle and his chariot wheels become stuck in the mud, overcome by the brahmana's curse, then you will be able to slay him. I have, before this battle, caused the annihilation of many demoniac rulers. I have caused the death of Jarasandha, Shishupala, and Ekalavya, the ruler of the Nishadas. These Kings would have certainly joined the Kauravas and would have been difficult to conquer. Jarasandha was killed by Bhima, and I severed Shishupala's head in the Rajasuya sacrifice at Indraprastha. I have also killed Ekalavya who could not be slain by the demigods and asuras combined. I have also caused the death of Ghatotkacha by means of Karna's Shakti weapon. Out of affection for you, I did not slay him before. Being a Rakshasa, he was inimical to the brahmanas and Vaishnavas. If Karna had not slain him, then I would have killed him with My own weapons. Those who destroy religious principles will be killed, either by Myself or through My different energies. Do not be anxious about Karna's death; it will take place. Bhima will also fulfill his vow to kill Duryodhana."

After Ghatotkacha's death, Yudhisthira sat down on his chariot overcome with grief. In that condition, Lord Krishna consoled him, "O son of Kunti, do not grieve in this way. Such lamentation does not become one of high birth. Rise up, O King and fight. If the enemy sees you in this condition, then they will surely attain victory."

Yudhisthira replied, "O son of Devaki, when we were living in the forest Ghatotkacha came to us and rendered many services. While Arjuna was away in the heavenly planets, Ghatotkacha stayed with us for our protection. When we traveled great distances, he used to carry Draupadi upon his back and relieve her from fatigue. My affection for Ghatotkacha is twice what I feel for Sahadeva. I was dear to him, and he was dear to me. For offending Arjuna, the Sindhu King was slain, and for offending me, I will slay that sinful Karna. This act alone will console my grief."

Having spoken these words, Yudhisthira rushed against Karna with an anger like Yamaraja himself. While Yudhisthira was rushing into battle, Vyasadeva appeared and stopped him from any further action. He spoke to him affectionately, "By good luck, O Yudhisthira, Karna has used his Shakti weapon in battle. If this had not happened, then Arjuna would have been surely killed. How then would you have grieved? It is for your benefit that the Rakshasa has been slain. Do not lament, O son of Kunti. Death is the end to all creatures in this world. Ghatotkacha has attained the spiritual world and, and he has attained great fame in battle. On the fifth day from today, this entire earth will be yours. With a cheerful heart, unite with your brothers and defeat your enemies." Saying this much, Vyasadeva disappeared from sight.


Thus Ends the Tenth Chapter of the Drona Parva, Entitled, The Death of Ghatotkacha.




Chapter Ten

The Fifthteenth Day at Kurukshetra;

The Fall of the Preceptor, Drona


After Ghatotkacha's death in the middle of the night, the warriors on both sides fought on desiring victory. When the battle approached midnight, many warriors fell asleep where they were fighting. Some fell asleep while riding their elephants, while others fell asleep in their chariots. The horsemen fell asleep on their horses, and the infantry men fell asleep on the ground. Other warriors who were still awake began to slay those who had fallen unconscious due to fatigue. Seeing the situation, Vibatsu (Arjuna) ordered the troops on both sides, "All the heroic soldiers are exhausted and overcome with sleep. Therefore, take rest. When the moon appears toward the end of night, you may again rise and fight." Hearing these pleasing words, the Kauravas and Pandavas laid down for a few hours rest. Indeed, they all praised Arjuna for his compassion. Laying aside their weapons, they fell into the slumber of sleep. Complete silence overcame the battlefield as those brave soldiers forgot the fatigue of battle. A sweet breeze blew giving solace to those gallant heroes who had fought for so long.

Sanjaya continued: O King, After a couple of hours had passed, the moon appeared on the horizon casting its rays in all directions. Illuminating the battlefield, that lunar disc revealed the sleeping soldiers overcome with battle fatigue. The darkness that had protected the soldiers for some time was now dissipated by the effulgence of the full moon. The soldiers awoke and again readied themselves for battle. Desiring to enter the spiritual world, they faced each other with upraised weapons.

At this time the wicked King Duryodhana approached Drona and rebuked him, "No mercy should be shown to those who are still resting from the fatigue of battle. The rested Pandavas have now become stronger due to the energy received from sleep. You, O preceptor, are protecting the Pandavas and want them to prosper. All the celestial weapons including the Brahmastra are known to you. I request you to use these weapons to destroy the Pandava army. Indeed, even the heavenly gods will not be able to defeat you as you invoke your superhuman astras. The Pandavas are certainly afraid of you. However, your affection for them prevents you from fighting to your best ability."

Sanjaya continued: Thus chastised by his student, Drona felt anger in his heart. He spoke to Duryodhana, "Although I am old, O Duryodhana, I am fighting to my utmost ability. These soldiers do not know how to defend themselves against celestial weapons. If I use them to slay large numbers of men, where will be the merit? If, from a desire to gain sovereignty, I slaughter defenseless soldiers, where will be my peace of mind? However, I am forced to follow your orders, but after slaying the host of Panchalas, I will throw down my armor and give up this mortal body. Do you really think Arjuna has been overcome with battle fatigue? Do not be so stupid as to think that his energy is limited. That third son of Kunti has defeated Indra in battle as well as the Gandharvas in the Dvaitavana forest. He has killed sixty thousand Nivitakavachas who could not be slain by the devas united. How then can human beings overcome him? O monarch, you have already seen how Arjuna has destroyed half your army. Where is your intelligence?"

To these words of wisdom, Duryodhana replied, "Myself, Karna, Duhshasana and Shakuni shall take half the army and assaulting Krishna and Arjuna, we will slay them in battle. You may head up the other half and achieve your vow by slaughtering the Panchala warriors." Laughing at Duryodhana's immaturity, Drona said, "Blessings to you, O foremost of the fools! What kshatriya is there who would face one who is invincible in battle. Arjuna cannot be defeated, and even the heavenly gods have not been able to impede his progress. Only persons, who are destined to die, speak as you are speaking. You are sinful, arrogant, cruel, conceited and possess little wisdom. Just before you stands Arjuna. Go, now, along with Karna, Duhshasana and Shakuni. Being scorched by Phalguna's arrows, you will come running to me for assistance. Do not flee the battlefield, but fight to your best ability. Since I am not pleasing to you, you make take the task into your own hands."

With these words, the battle commenced and those brave warriors fought on desiring to enter the spiritual kingdom. When the end of the night came, the solar orb appeared on the horizon diminishing the splendor of the moon. All the soldiers descended from their chariots, horses and elephants and offered obeisances and prayers to the sun god as he made his appearance on the eastern horizon.

With the appearance of the sun, the warriors on both sides began to engage in combat. Taking half of the army, Drona began to grind the enemy ranks with his celestial weapons. The Preceptor then came upon Drupada and Virata. Those two Pandava generals began to release their selected weapons against their arch enemy, the son of Bharadvaja. Causing their weapons to be ineffectual, Drona cut off the bows of both Drupada and Virata. Enraged, Virata threw ten lances at Drona and sent up a loud roar. Drupada also released a terrible dart that flew through the sky like a meteor. Drona shattered those lances and the dart by means of his own arrows. The preceptor then took out a couple of broad headed shafts and pierced the chests of both heroes, depriving them of their lives. Witnessing the death of his father, Dhristadyumna took a vow to kill Dronacharya before the day had ended. He then went forward accompanied by a division of troops for keeping good his promise.

Meanwhile, Arjuna was engaged in battle with the mighty Preceptor. Beholding the encounter between teacher and student, all on the battlefield were struck with wonder. Drona could not find an opportunity to gain the upper hand over his disciple. He invoked the Aindra, the Pashupati, the Tvashtra, the Vayavya, and the Yamya weapons. As soon as these weapons were released from Drona's bow, they were destroyed by the mantra weapons of Arjuna. Drona was very pleased with his disciple's abilities, and within his heart he cheered Arjuna. The heavenly denizens were witnessing the duel with intense curiosity. The firmament was filled with the praises of both teacher and student. Drona then invoked the Brahmastra weapon which caused fierce winds to blow and the earth to tremble. Partha countered that weapon with a Brahma weapon of his own. When the two weapons met, they were withdrawn by Arjuna causing the agitation in nature to abate.

Drona then left Arjuna and began to exterminate the Panchalas and the Shrinjayas. With his superhuman weapons, he was destroying great numbers of men. It was obvious that Drona had given up all knowledge of morality for he was slaughtering troops who did not know how to defend themselves from the power of his weapons. Arjuna was reluctant to fight with his preceptor, and as a result there was no one who could oppose that mighty hero. Seeing the situation, Lord Krishna advised the Pandavas, "This esteemed bowman cannot be defeated even by the devatas. However, when he lays aside his weapons, he can be killed by any great hero. Let us tell him that his son Ashvatthama has been slain. Out of affection for his son, he will no longer fight, and thus this army will be saved."

Hearing this plan, Arjuna did not appreciate it nor did Yudhisthira. However, others approved of it, and Bhima immediately went and killed a huge elephant named Ashvatthama that belonged to a king on their side. He then approached Drona and exclaimed aloud, "Ashvatthama has been slain." He said it repeatedly and spoke of his son's death. Drona's arms weakened, and his weapons fell from his hands. Recollecting, however, his son's strength, Drona picked up his weapons thinking Bhima to be lying. He again attacked the Panchalas and began to carve away at their front line. Drona then invoked the Brahma weapon, causing the slaughter of tens of thousands of men at a time. With this weapon, he killed five hundred Matsya warriors, six thousand elephants, and ten thousand horsemen. Seeing Drona on the field of battle like Yamaraja himself, the demigods and sages who were witnessing the battle desired to take him to the heavenly planets. They then ordered him, "O great brahmana, you are fighting unrighteously. You are versed in all the Vedas and should know not to kill innocent men needlessly. Such acts do not become you. With the Brahmastra weapon, you are burning men who do not know how to counter such weapons. Your predestined time on earth has now come to an end. O Drona, lay aside your weapons and fix your mind on the Supreme Godhead, Narayana. Do not continue to engage in such cruel acts."

Hearing the sages advice, and seeing Dhristadyumna before him, Drona no longer desired to engage in battle. When Yudhisthira came near him, Drona inquired whether his son had been slain or not. Drona believed that Yudhisthira would never tell a lie even for the sake for the sovereignty of the universe. Previously Lord Krishna had advised the King in these words, "If Drona continues to fight using these celestial weapons, the whole army is destined for annihilation. You can save this needless slaughter of men by telling a lie. In this case falsehood is better that truth. There will be no sin incurred if you do so on My behalf. You should follow my instructions with firm faith."

Bhima then said to Yudhisthira, "I have killed a mighty elephant belonging to the King of the Malavas, Indravarman. The elephant's name was Ashvatthama. I then went to Drona and said that his son had been slain. However, the Preceptor did not believe my words. If you say that his son is dead, then he will lay aside his weapons. Because we are desiring victory, you should accept Krishna's advice."

Reflecting on the good counsel given by Lord Krishna and Bhima, Yudhisthira told Drona that his son had been killed, indistinctly adding the word elephant after the name. Before this Yudhisthira's chariot used to ride at a height of four fingers above the ground. However, since he hesitated to act on Lord Krishna's order, his chariot and horses touched the earth. Hearing that his son was dead, Drona's strength diminished and his celestial weapons would no longer come at his command. Remembering the great sage's advice, he cast aside his weapons and sat down in meditation. He fixed his mind on the Supreme Person, Lord Krishna and turned his thoughts completely away from battle. Perfecting his practice of yoga, he left his body in the presence of all. Only those endowed with spiritual vision were able to understand what was taking place.

Taking the opportunity given by providence, Dhristadyumna descended from his chariot with sword in hand. Arjuna called out loudly, "O son of Drupada, do not kill him, but bring him alive. A teacher should never be killed by his student." Paying little attention to Arjuna's advice, Dhristadyumna rushed at Drona's chariot, and raising his sword, he severed the Preceptor's head. No one appreciated this act against a defenseless person, and all rebuked Drupada's son for his cruelty. Arjuna melted with pity for his teacher and almost fell unconscious. Dhristadyumna, covered with Drona's blood, then took the head by the hair and showed it to all warriors. Overcome with great fear, the Kauravas ran away in all directions.

Beholding the troops retreating, Ashvatthama went to Duryodhana and inquired, "O descendent of Bharata, why are the troops flying away in fear, and why are you not trying to rally them? All the great warriors including Karna are fleeing. Has some great calamity overcome the army?"

 Duryodhana, unable to answer the question of Drona's son, said to Kripa, "Please tell him why the army is running away." Then Saradwat's son told Ashvatthama that his father had been slain by Dhristadyumna. Kripa told him in detail how his father had been killed. He told him of the deception and lie by Yudhisthira which caused Drona to throw away his weapons. He told him how Bhima had killed an elephant named Ashvatthama, and using this as a deception, lied to his father. Kripa also told Ashvatthama how Dhristadyumna had cut off his father's head as he was sitting in meditation. He also spoke of how Arjuna had tried to stop the sinful act.

Hearing of his father's slaughter, Ashvatthama became like a cobra someone stepped on. He blazed up like a red hot fire and began to grind his teeth and squeeze his hands. He thought of annihilating the whole Pandava army.

Dhritarastra inquired: O Sanjaya, when Drona's son heard of his father's death, what did he say and what did he do? He lived only to please his father, and the father lived only to please the son. What action did that bull among men take to avenge the unfair killing of the Preceptor?

Sanjaya replied: O King, after his father's death, Ashvatthama appeared like Yamaraja himself, capable of destroying the three worlds. In that angry mood, he spoke to Duryodhana, "I have now heard how my father has been cruelly slain. Without doubt my father has attained a destination meant for renowned heroes. I do not lament this. However, I cannot tolerate the fact that Dhristadyumna has seized his locks of hair and has displayed my father's head. Today, the earth shall drink the blood of Drupada's son as well as the wicked King Yudhisthira. Today I shall exterminate the whole Pandava army. Previously my father received a weapon from Lord Vishnu known as the Narayana astra. This weapon has the power to destroy even those that are considered unslayable. That weapon will destroy all who oppose it. No one shall escape with life today, having released that invincible weapon." With this resolution, Ashvatthama rallied the retreating troops.

Meanwhile the Pandavas witnessed with wonder the Kaurava army again assembled for battle. Arjuna informed his brothers and all present that that Ashvatthama had rallied the troops with the intention of killing Dhristadyumna. Arjuna did not approve of the way Dhristadyumna had killed his preceptor. However, both Bhima and Dhristadyumna defended themselves saying that Drona had turned away from the path of righteousness. Hearing Dhristadyumna's criticism of Drona, Satyaki trembled with anger and took up a mace to kill Dhristadyumna. However, he was stopped by Bhima who pacified him with affectionate words. Sahadeva also spoke to him, and thus his anger was quelled. Together they again prepared themselves to meet the oncoming enemy.

Drona's son then began a colossal carnage on the front line of battle. He piled up a mountain of heads from the Pandava army. Then touching water and invoking the Narayana astra, Ashvatthama aimed that invincible weapon at the Pandava army. The earth began to tremble and a great wind storm appeared on the Kurukshetra plain. In the heavens hundreds of thousands of celestial arrows appeared with flaming mouths. Maces, battle axes, Sataghnis, javelins and discs, effulgent as the sun, appeared in the sky, numbering tens of thousands. Coming down upon the Pandava army, those weapons began to destroy countless men. That divine weapon, owned by Lord Narayana, began to consume the Pandava army like a wild fire consumes dry grass.

Witnessing the slaughter of troops, all the Pandavas fell into anxiety, not knowing what to do. Lord Krishna, the protector of His devotees, then ordered the troops, "Lay down your weapons and descend from your chariots, horses and elephants. If you lay weaponless on the earth, this astra will not harm you. If you even think of battle within your mind, this weapon will kill you. Give up all thoughts of war and fix your minds in a peaceful state."

Hearing this advice, all the soldiers threw down their weapons and laid on the ground. However, Bhimasena, refused to surrender to the weapon. He yelled to all present, "None of the warriors should lay down their weapons. I shall oppose this astra. With my heavy mace, I shall stop the force of this weapon. O Arjuna, you should not lay down the Gandiva bow for a stain will come upon your glory."

Thus addressed by Bhima, Arjuna replied, "My vow is that this Gandiva bow shall not be used against women, cows, brahmanas and or any weapon owned by Lord Narayana." Bhima did not heed Lord Krishna's advice or the action of Arjuna. He rushed forward on his chariot to challenge Ashvatthama. Drona's son, smiling all the while, then began to direct the astra at Bhima. Indeed, that great weapon passed over all the soldiers and concentrated on Bhima's head. Suddenly Bhima appeared like a fiery mountain. Quickly Arjuna covered him with the Varuna weapon that cooled the blazing heat. He released that weapon so quickly that no one knew of it, not even Ashvatthama. The Narayana astra built up in strength, and the chariot of Bhima was blazing with fire. Seeing the certain death of Bhima, both Arjuna and Krishna rushed to save him. They jumped in his chariot, which was protected by the Varuna weapon and forced Bhima to the ground. Bhima was sighing like a snake and refused to part with his weapons. Then Lord Krishna pacified him, "O son of Pandu, although I have forbidden you, you have not thrown down your weapons. If Arjuna could have countered this weapon, then I would have never recommended the army stop fighting. Just see, all the warriors have given up their weapons. If you do not do the same, this weapon will destroy you." Bhima then reluctantly threw aside his weapons and laid down upon the ground. Thus pacified, the Narayana astra refrained from killing the Pandava troops.

When the heat of that weapon had cooled, sweet breezes began to blow and a fragrant aroma appeared in the wind. Beholding the pacification of the Narayana astra, the Pandavas again stood ready for battle. Duryodhana rushed to Ashvatthama and requested, "O foremost brahmana, release this weapon again for the Pandavas are forming their troops for victory."

"O King," Ashvatthama replied, "that weapon cannot be invoked again. If it is, it will undoubtedly slay the person who releases it. Vasudeva has baffled this weapon. I will, however, use my other weapons for slaughtering the Pandava host."

Making this resolution and seeing Lord Krishna and Arjuna present before him, Ashvatthama invoked the Agneya weapon which caused intense fire to appear. Arrows with intense flames fell upon the Pandava soldiers scorching their bodies. Ashvatthama then directed that weapon toward the chariot of Krishna and Arjuna. The Agneya weapon killed thousands upon thousands of chariot fighters, elephants and horsemen like a forest fire destroys trees. To save the Army, Arjuna invoked the Brahmastra weapon which countered the weapon released by Ashvatthama. When both weapons were withdrawn, the Pandavas saw that a full akshauhini division had been burnt by the weapon. So scorched were the soldiers that they could not be distinguished. Both armies thought that Krishna and Arjuna had been killed by the weapon, but upon seeing them in their chariot, the Pandava warriors cheered loudly and blew their conchshells.

When his astra had been baffled, Ashvatthama did not know what to do. He descended from his chariot and ran away from the fight. As he was leaving the battlefield, he came upon Vyasadeva. He offered his obeisances unto him and spoke to him with tearful eyes, "O great sage, why has my Narayana astra born no fruit? This fiery weapon has the power to destroy the whole Pandava army. Why then has it been pacified after the slaughter of only one akshauhini division of troops? O great muni, I desire to hear of this in detail."

"O son of Drona," Vyasa replied, "as you have been told before, Krishna is the Supreme Godhead, who is to be worshiped by all persons. Even the heavenly Lords, Brahma and Shiva, worship and meditate upon that Supreme Person. He is the cause of all cosmic manifestation, and therefore, He can never be slain, for His body is not material. He makes possible the birth of all creatures in this world, and He is, therefore, the father of all living beings. He has appeared in this world to reestablish the principles of religion, and He is appearing like an ordinary human being bewildering everyone by his internal potency. Arjuna is his eternal associate and can never be slain. There is no warrior on this battlefield that can equal him. The eternal Lord Krishna should be worshiped by all beings."

Hearing Vyasadeva's words of wisdom, Ashvatthama was pacified and ordered that the troops be withdrawn for the day. After the preceptor Drona had fallen, the Kaurava warriors became morose and entered their tents for nightly rest.


Thus Ends Chapter Eleven of the Drona Parva, Entitled, The Fifteenth Day at Kurukshetra; The Fall of the Preceptor Drona.


Thus Ends the Drona Parva.


Chapter Commentary


One may question the morality of Lord Krishna's instruction for Yudhisthira to tell a lie. Most persons are attached to mundane moral codes and laws put down for human society to follow. However, if God's order opposes morality, the highest morality is to follow the order of the Lord, even if it means breaking worldly laws. Yudhisthira had never told a lie in his life, but the Lord tested Yudhisthira's understanding of real surrender. One should not kill one's grandfather, but Lord Krishna ordered Arjuna to do it, because Bhishma had taken the wrong side. We must be attached to the order of the Lord or his representative and not to mundande laws.

Of course, this does not mean that one can ignore the laws of the government or the laws set down for man in such law books as the Manu samhita, the Torah, the Koran or the Bible. One should not act whimsically. One must follow these, but the Lord's order is supreme, and supercedes any law or rule in any scripture or passed by any government.