"Bhimasena, Yudhishthira is your charge.
Be vigilant," said Satyaki, and went to
Satyaki met with violent resistance as he
proceeded to dash through the Kaurava
forces. But he cut his way through bearing
down all opposition. But the resistance
was very stiff and his progress was slow.
When Drona saw Satyaki part from
Yudhishthira, he began to assault the
Pandava formation without rest or
interval, until it began to break and retreat.
Yudhishthira was greatly agitated.
85. YUDHISHTHIRA'S FOND HOPE
"ARJUNA has not returned, nor has
Satyaki, who was sent after him. Bhima,
my fear grows. I hear the Panchajanya,
but not the twang of Arjuna's bowstring.
Satyaki, that bravest and most loyal of
friends, has not come back with any
tidings. My anxiety is increasing every
moment," said Yudhishthira to Bhima in
great perplexity of mind.
"I have never seen you so agitated,"
replied Bhimasena. "Do, not let your
fortitude grow less. Command me as you
please. Do not let the wheels of your mind
stick in the mud of anxiety."
"Dearest Bhima, I fear your brother has
been slain, and it seems to me Madhava
has now himself taken up arms. I hear the
conch of Madhava but I hear not the
resounding twang of Gandiva. I fear
Dhananjaya, the unrivalled hero, in whom
were centerd all our hopes, has been
killed. My mind is confused. If you would
do as I tell you, go at once to where
Arjuna is. Join him and Satyaki, and do
what needs to be done, and come back.
Satyaki, under orders from me, pierced
the Kaurava ranks and proceeded in the
direction of Arjuna. You go now, and do
likewise and, if you indeed see them alive,
I shall know it by your lion-roar."
"My Lord, do not grieve. I shall go and let
you know they are safe," said Bhima, and
immediately turning to Dhrishtadyumna
said: "Panchala, you know very well that
Drona is seeking, by some means or other,
to seize Dharmaputra alive. Our foremost
duty is to protect the King. But I must also
obey him and fulfil his command. And so
I go, trusting him to your care."
"Bhima, do not be concerned. Go with an
assured mind. Drona cannot take
Yudhishthira without first killing me,"
said the heroic son of Drupada, sworn
enemy of Drona. And Bhima hurried
The Kauravas surrounded Bhima in full
force and vowed to prevent him from
going to Arjuna's relief. But like a lion
scattering less noble beasts he put his
enemies to flight, killing no less than
eleven of the sons of Dhritarashtra. Bhima
then approached Drona himself. "Stop,"
cried Drona. "Here I am, your enemy.
You cannot proceed further without
defeating me. Your brother Arjuna went
in with my consent. But I cannot let you
go." Drona spoke thus believing that he
would receive the same courtesy from
Bhima as he did from Arjuna. But Bhima
was furious at hearing these words of
Drona, and answered scornfully.
"Oh brahmana, it was not with your
permission that Arjuna went. He broke
your resistance and pierced your battle
lines fighting his way through, but he did
not hurt you out of pity. But I shall not,
like Arjuna, show mercy to you. I am your
enemy. Once upon a time, you were our
preceptor and were like a father to us. We
respected you as such. Now, you have
yourself said you are our enemy. May it
be so!" Saying this, Bhima aimed his
mace at Drona's chariot that crumbled to
pieces. And Drona had to take to another
The second chariot too was broken to
pieces. And Bhima forced his way
through overcoming all opposition. Drona
lost eight chariots that day. And the army
of the Bhojas, that tried to stop Bhima,
was completely destroyed.
He proceeded mowing down all
opposition and reached where Arjuna was
fighting Jayadratha's forces.
As soon as he saw Arjuna, Bhima roared
like a lion. Hearing that roar, Krishna and
Arjuna were exceedingly pleased and
raised yells of joy. Yudhishthira heard
these roars and, relieved of his doubts and
anxieties, he pronounced blessings on
Arjuna. And he thought within himself:
"Before the sun sets today, Arjuna's oath
will be fulfilled. He will slay the man who
caused Abhimanyu's death and will return
in triumph. Duryodhana may sue for
peace after Jayadratha's death. Seeing so
many of his brothers slain, it is possible
that foolish Duryodhana may see light.
The lives of numerous kings and great
warriors have been sacrificed on the field
of battle and even the stubborn and
narrow-visioned Duryodhana may now
see his fault and ask for peace. Will this
indeed happen? The great grandsire
Bhishma has been offered as a sacrifice.
Will this wicked enmity end with it and
shall we be saved from further cruel
While thus Yudhishthira was fondly
hoping and dreaming of peace, the battle
was raging with great fury where Bhima,
Satyaki and Arjuna were engaging the
Only the Lord knows through what travail
the world must evolve. His ways are
86. KARNA AND BHIMA
ARJUNA had left Yudhishthira behind to
repel Drona's attacks and had gone to
make good his word that before sunset
Jayadratha would lie dead on the field of
Jayadratha had been the main cause of
Abhimanyu's death. He it was who had
effectively prevented the relief of
Abhimanyu by the Pandavas, and thereby
caused Abhimanyu to be isolated,
overpowered and slain.
We have seen how Yudhishthira in his
anxiety sent first Satyaki and then Bhima
to join Arjuna in his battle against
Jayadratha. Bhima reached where Arjuna
was engaged and sounded his simhanada
(lion-roar). Dharmaputra heard the lion-
roar of Bhima and knew that Arjuna was
It was the fourteenth day and the battle
raged fiercely at many points, between
Satyaki and Bhurisravas at one place,
between Bhima and Karna at another and
between Arjuna and Jayadratha at a third.
Drona remained at the main front resisting
the attack of the Panchalas and the
Pandavas, and leading a counter-offensive
Duryodhana arrived with his forces at the
sector where Arjuna attacked Jayadratha,
but was soon defeated and turned back.
The battle thus raged long and furiously
on more than one front. The armies were
so deployed that each side was exposed to
danger in its rear.
Duryodhana was speaking to Drona:
"Arjuna, Bhima and Satyaki have treated
us with contempt and proceeded
successfully to Jayadratha's sector and
they are pressing hard on the Sindhu king.
It is indeed strange that, under your
command, our battle array should have
been broken and our plans completely
foiled. Everyone asks how it is that the
great Drona with all his mastery of the
science of war has been so badly
outmaneuvered. What answer shall I
make? I have been betrayed by you."
Duryodhana thus, once again, bitterly
"Duryodhana, your accusations are as
unworthy as they are contrary to truth.
There is nothing to be gained by talking
about what is past and beyond repair.
Think of what is to be done now."
"Sir, it is for you to advise me. Tell me
what should be done. Give your best
consideration to the difficulties of the
situation and decide and let us do it
quickly." Puzzled and perplexed, thus did
Drona replied: "My son, the situation is no
doubt serious. Three great generals have
advanced, outmanoeuvring us. But they
have as much reason to be anxious as we,
for their rear is now left as open to attack
as ours. We are on both sides of them and
their position is not therefore safe. Be
heartened, go up to Jayadratha again, and
do all you can to support him. It is of no
avail to dishearten oneself by dwelling on
past defeats and difficulties. It is best I
stay here and send you reinforcements as
and when required. I must keep the
Panchalas and Pandava army engaged
here. Otherwise, we shall be wholly
Accordingly, Duryodhana went with fresh
reinforcements again to where Arjuna was
directing his attack on Jayadratha.
The narrative of the fourteenth day's
fighting at Kurukshetra shows that, even
in the Mahabharata times, the modern
tactics of turning and enveloping
movements was not unknown.
The advantages and risks of such strategy
appear to have been fully understood and
discussed even in those days. Arjuna's
flanking manoeuvres perplexed his
enemies greatly. The story of that day's
battle between Bhima and Karna reads
very much like a chapter from the
narrative of a modern war.
Bhima did not desire to fight Karna or
remain long engaged with him. He was
eager to reach where Arjuna was. But
Radheya would, by no means, permit him
to do this. He showered his arrows on
Bhimasena and stopped him from
The contrast between the two warriors
was striking. Karna's handsome lotus-like
face was radiant with smiles when he
attacked Bhima saying: "Do not show
your back," "Now, do not flee like a
coward," and so on.
Bhima was all anger when taunted in this
manner. He was maddened by Karna's
smiles. The battle was fierce but Karna
did everything with a smiling air of ease
whereas Bhima's face glowed with rage
and his movements were violent.
Karna would keep at a distance and send
his well-aimed shafts but Bhima would
disregard the arrows and javelins failing
thick upon him and always try to close
Radheya did everything he did, calmly
and with graceful ease, whereas
Bhimasena fumed and fretted with
impatience, as he showed his amazing
strength of limb.
Bhima was red with bleeding wounds all
over and presented the appearance of an
Asoka tree in full blossom. But he minded
them not, as he attacked Karna cutting
bows in twain and smashing his chariot.
When Karna had to run for a fresh chariot,
there was no smile on his face. For anger
rose in him, like the sea on a full moon
day, as he attacked Bhima. Both showed
the strength of tigers and the speed of
eagles and their anger was now like that
of serpents in a fury.
Bhima brought before his mind all the
insults and injuries which he and his
brothers and Draupadi had suffered, and
fought desperately, caring not for life.
The two cars dashed against each other
and the milk white horses of Karna's
chariot and Bhimasena's black horses
jostled in the combat like clouds in a
Karna's bow was shattered and his
charioteer reeled and fell. Karna then
hurled a javelin at Bhima. But Bhima
parried it and continued pouring his
arrows on Karna, who had taken up a
Again and again did Karna lose his
chariot. Duryodhana saw Karna's plight
and calling his brother Durjaya said: "This
wicked Pandava will kill Karna. Go at
once and attack Bhima and save Karna's
Durjaya went as ordered and attacked
Bhima who, in a rage sent seven shafts
which sent Durjaya's horses and his
charioteer to the abode of Yama and
Durjaya himself fell mortally wounded.
Seeing his bleeding body wriggling on the
ground like a wounded snake, Karna was
overwhelmed with grief and circled round
the hero, paying mournful honor to the
Bhima did not stop but continued the fight
and greatly harassed Karna. Karna once
again had to find a fresh chariot. He sent
well aimed shafts and hit Bhima who in a
fury hurled his mace at Karna and it
crashed on Karna's chariot and killed his
charioteer and horses and broke the
flagstaff. Karna now stood on the ground
with bent bow.
Duryodhana now sent another brother to
accordingly and took Karna on his chariot.
Seeing yet another son of Dhritarashtra
come to offer himself up to death, Bhima
licked his lips in gusto and sent nine
shafts on the newly arrived enemy. And,
even as Karna climbed up to take his seat
in the chariot, Durmukha's armor was
broken and he fell lifeless.
When Karna saw the warrior bathed in
blood and lying dead by his side, he was
again overwhelmed with grief and stood
motionless for a while.
Bhima relentlessly continued his attack on
Karna. His sharp arrows pierced Karna's
coat of armor and he was in pain.
But he too at once returned the attack and
wounded Bhima all over.
Still the Pandava would not stop and
attacked Karna furiously. The sight of so
many of Duryodhana's brothers dying for
his sake one after another was too much
This, and the physical pain of his own
wounds made him lose courage and he
turned away defeated. But, when Bhima
stood up on the field of battle red with
wounds all over like a flaming fire and
emitted a triumphant yell, he could not
brook it but returned to the combat.
87. PLEDGE RESPECTED
DHRITARASHTRA, hearing of the
slaughter of his sons and the check
received by Karna, was desolate. "O
Sanjaya, like moths falling in the fire, my
sons are being destroyed. The stubborn
Duryodhana has led the lads Durmukha
and Durjaya, to their doom. Alas, I have
lost these boys! The fool said: 'Karna,
unrivalled among men for courage and the
accomplishment of war, is on our side.
Who then can defeat us? Even the gods
cannot win a battle against me when
Karna is on my side. What can these
Pandavas do to me?' But now he has seen
Karna beating a retreat when Bhimasena
attacked him. Has he seen wisdom at least
now? Alas, Sanjaya, my son has earned
the undying hatred of the son of Vayu,
Bhima, who has the strength of the god of
death! We are indeed ruined!"
Sanjaya replied: "O king, was it not you
who brought about this unquenchable
hatred, listening to the words of your
foolish and stubborn son? To you indeed
must be traced this greater disaster. You
are now but reaping the fruit of your
discarding the advice of Bhishma and the
other elders. Blame yourself, king. Do not
blame Karna and the brave warriors who
have done their best in battle."
After thus admonishing the blind king,
Sanjaya proceeded to tell him what
happened. Five sons of Dhritarashtra,
Durmarsha, Dussaha, Durmata, Durdhara
and Jaya, when they saw Karna put to
flight by Bhima at once rushed on the
When Karna saw this, he was heartened
and turned back to resume his attack.
Bhimasena at first ignored the sons of
Dhritarashtra and concentrated on Karna.
But they became so violent in their assault
that Bhima got incensed and, turning his
attentions on them, disposed of all five of
them. They lay dead on the field, with
their horses and their charioteers.
The young warriors with their bleeding
wounds presented the appearance of a
forest with trees, uprooted by a strong
wind and lying flat on the ground with
their beautiful red blossoms.
When Karna saw another batch of princes
slaughtered for his sake he fought more
grimly than ever before. Bhima too was
more violent than before, thinking of all
the evil that Karna had wrought against
He used his bow so as to disarm Karna
completely. His horses and charioteer
were also laid low. Karna now jumped
down from his chariot and hurled his
mace at Bhima.
But Bhima warded it off with shafts from
his powerful bow and covered Karna with
a shower of arrows and forced him to turn
back and walk on foot.
Duryodhana, who watched this combat,
was greatly grieved and sent seven of his
brothers Chitra, Upachitra, Chitraksha,
Charuchitra, Sarasana, Chitrayudha and
Chitravarman, to relieve Radheya.
They gave battle to Bhima displaying
great skill and energy. But fell dead one
after another, for Bhima's passion was
roused and his attack was irresistible.
When Karna saw so many of the sons of
Dhritarashtra sacrificing themselves for
him, his face was wet with tears and he
mounted a fresh chariot and began to
attack Bhima with deadly effect.
The two combatants clashed like clouds in
a thunderstorm. Kesava, Satyaki and
Arjuna were filled with admiration and
joy as they watched Bhima fighting.
Bhurisravas, Kripacharya, Aswatthama,
Salya, Jayadratha and many other warriors
of the Kaurava army also broke into
exclamations, astonished at the way in
which Bhima fought.
Duryodhana was stung to the quick and
burned with anger. Karna's plight caused
him extreme anxiety. He feared Bhima
would kill Radheya that day, and sent
seven more of his brothers directing them
to surround Bhima and attack him
The seven brothers sent by Duryodhana
attacked Bhima. But fell one after another,
struck down by his arrows. Vikarna, who
was killed last, was beloved of all.
When Bhima saw him fall dead after a
brave fight, he was deeply moved and
exclaimed: "Alas, O Vikarna, you were
just and knew what was dharma! You
fought in loyal obedience to the call of
duty. I had to kill even you. Indeed this
battle is a curse upon us wherein men like
you and the grandsire Bhishma have had
to be slaughtered."
Seeing Duryodhana's brothers, who came
to help him, slain one after another in this
manner, Karna was overwhelmed by
anguish. He leant back on his seat in the
chariot and closed his eyes unable to bear
Then recovering control over his emotions
he hardened his heart and began again his
attack on Bhima. Bow after bow was
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested