Dhritarashtra said, "Beholding my sons, so many in number, O Sanjaya, slain by a single person, what did Bhishma and Drona and Kripa do in battle? 2 Day after day, O Sanjaya, my sons are being slain. I think, O Suta, that they are completely overtaken by evil destiny, inasmuch as my sons never conquer but are always vanquished. When my sons staying in the midst of those unretreating heroes, viz., Drona and Bhishma, and the high-souled Kripa, and Somadatta's heroic son and Bhagadatta, and Aswatthaman also, O son, and other brave warriors, are being still slain in battle, what can it be said save the result of fate? 3 The wicked Duryodhana did not comprehend (our) words before, though admonished by me, O son, and by Bhishma and Vidura. (Though forbidden) always by Gandhari, too, from motives of doing him good, Duryodhana of wicked understanding awoke not before from folly. 4 That (conduct) hath now borne
fruit, inasmuch as Bhimasena, excited with wrath, despatcheth, day after day in battle, my insensate sons to the abode of Yama."
Sanjaya said, "Those excellent words of Vidura, uttered for thy good, but which thou didst not then understand, have now come to be realised. Vidura had said, 'Restrain thy sons from the dice.' Like a man whose hour is come refusing the proper medicine, thou didst not then listen to the words of well-wishing friends counselling thee (for thy good). Those words uttered by the righteous have now been realised before thee. Indeed, the Kauravas are now being destroyed for having rejected those words, deserving of acceptance, of Vidura and Drona and Bhishma and thy other well-wishers. These very consequences happened even then when thou declinedst to listen to those counsels. Hear now, however, to my narration of the battle exactly as it has happened. 1 At midday the battle became exceedingly awful and fraught with great carnage. Listen to me, O king, as I describe it. Then all the troops (of the Pandava army), excited with rage, rushed, at the command of Dharma's son, against Bhishma alone from desire of slaying him. Dhrishtadyumna and Sikhandin, and the mighty car-warrior Satyaki, accompanied, O king, by their forces, proceeded against Bhishma alone. And those mighty car-warriors, viz., Virata and Drupada, with all the Somakas, rushed in battle against Bhishma alone. And the Kaikeyas, and Dhrishtaketu, and Kuntibhoja, equipped in mail and supported by their forces, rushed, O king, against Bhishma alone. And Arjuna, and the sons of Draupadi, and Chekitana of great prowess, proceeded against all the kings under the command of Duryodhana. And the heroic Abhimanyu, and that mighty car-warrior, viz., the son of Hidimva, and Bhimasena excited with wrath, rushed against the (other) Kauravas. (Thus) the Pandavas, divided into three bodies began to slaughter the Kauravas. And similarly the Kauravas also, O king, began to slaughter their foes. 2 That foremost of car-warriors, viz., Drona excited with wrath, rushed against the Somakas and the Srinjayas, desirous of sending them to the abode of Yama. Thereupon loud cries of woe arose among the brave Srinjayas while they were being slaughtered. O king, by Bharadwaja's son bow in hand. Large numbers of Kshatriyas, struck down by Drona, were seen to all convulsing like persons writhing in the agony of disease. All over the field were continuously heard moans and shrieks and groans resembling those of persons afflicted with hunger. And so the mighty Bhimasena, excited with wrath, and like unto a second Yama, caused a terrible carnage amongst the Kaurava troops. There in that dreadful battle, in consequence of the warriors slaying one another, a terrible river began to flow whose billowy current consisted of blood. 3 And that battle, O king, between the
[paragraph continues] Kurus and the Pandavas, becoming fierce and awful, began to swell the population of Yama's kingdom. Then in that battle Bhima excited with wrath, fell with great impetuosity upon the elephant division (of the Kauravas) and began to send many to the regions of Death. Then, O Bharata, struck with Bhima's shafts, some of those beasts fell down, some were paralysed, some shrieked (in pain), and some ran away in all directions. Huge elephants, their trunks cut off and limbs mangled, screaming like cranes, began, O king, to fall down on the earth. Nakula and Sahadeva fell upon the (Kaurava) cavalry. Many steeds with garlands of gold on their heads and with their necks and breasts adorned with ornaments of gold, were seen to be slain in hundreds and thousands. The earth, O king, was strewn with fallen steeds. And some were deprived of their tongues; and some breathed hard; and some uttered low moans, and some were void of life. The earth looked beautiful, O chief of men, with those steeds of such diverse kinds. At the same time, O Bharata, she looked fiercely resplendent, O monarch, with a large number of kings slain by Arjuna in that battle. And strewn with broken cars and rent banners and brilliant umbrellas, with torn chamaras and fans, and mighty weapons broken into fragments, with garlands and necklaces of gold, with bracelets, with heads decked with ear-rings, with head-gears loosened (from off heads), with standards, with beautiful bottoms of cars, O king, and with traces and reins, the earth shone as brightly as she does in spring when strewn with flowers. And it was thus, O Bharata, that the Pandava host suffered destruction when Bhishma the son of Santanu, and Drona that foremost of car-warriors, and Aswatthaman, and Kripa, and Kritavarman, were inflamed with wrath. And similarly thy army also suffered the same kind of destruction when the other side, viz., the Pandava heroes were excited with rage."
221:2 The last word of this verse in the Bengal text is Sanjaya; in the Bombay text, it is Samyuge. The latter seems to be the true reading, for after Sanjaya in the first line, its repetition in the second is useless.
221:3 The last word of the 4th verse is anivartinam. In the Bengal texts it is sumahatmanam.
221:4 The last word of the first line of 8 is Vichetasa and not (as in the Bengal texts, including the Burdwan edition) Viseshatas which would scarcely have any meaning.
222:1 I have expanded the first line of 13, as a closely literal version would scarcely be intelligent to the general reader. The sense is that the evil consequences, that have now overtaken thee, arose even then when the beneficial counsels of Vidura were first rejected.
222:2 The Bengal reading Dwidhabhutais is incorrect. It should be, as in the Bombay text, tridhabhutais.
222:3 In the Bengal texts, tava in the first line is incorrect. It should be tatra (Bombay).