Sanjaya said, "During the progress, O king, of that fierce battle fraught with the slaughter of great heroes, Sakuni the glorious son of Suvala, rushed against the Pandavas. And so also, O monarch, Hridika's son of the Satwata race, that slayer of hostile heroes, rushed in that battle against the Pandava ranks. And smiling the while, (several warriors on thy side), with a large number of steeds consisting of the best of the Kamvoja breed as also of those born in the country of the Rivers, and of those belonging to Aratta and Mahi and Sindhu, and of those of Vanayu also that were white in hue, and lastly those of hilly countries, surrounded (the Pandava army). 1
[paragraph continues] And so also with horses, exceedingly swift, fleet as the very winds, and belonging to the Tittri breed, (others encompassed that army). And with many horses, clad in mail and decked with gold, the foremost of their class and fleet as the winds the mighty son of Arjuna (viz., Iravat), that slayer of foes, approached the (Kaurava) force. This handsome and valiant son of Arjuna, named Iravat, was begotten upon the daughter of the king of the Nagas by the intelligent Partha. Her husband having been slain by Garuda, she became helpless, and of cheerless soul. Childless as she was, she was bestowed (upon Arjuna) by the high-souled Airavat. Partha accepted her for wife, coming to him as she did under the influence of desire. It was thus that that son of Arjuna was begotten upon the wife of another. 1 Abandoned by his wicked uncle from hatred of Partha, he grew up in the region of the Nagas, protected by his mother. And he was handsome and endued with great strength, possessed of diverse accomplishments, and of prowess incapable of being baffled. Hearing that Arjuna had gone to the region of Indra, he speedily went thither. And the mighty-armed Iravat, possessed of prowess incapable of being baffled, approaching his sire, saluted him duly, standing before him with joined hands. And he introduced himself to the high-souled Arjuna, saying, 'I am Iravat. blessed be thou, and I am thy son, O lord'. And he reminded Arjuna of all the circumstances connected with the latter's meeting with his mother. And thereupon the son of Pandu recollected all those circumstances exactly as they happened. Embracing his son then who resembled himself in accomplishments, Partha, in Indra's abode, was filled with joy. The mighty-armed Iravat then, O king, in the celestial regions was, O Bharata, joyfully commanded by Arjuna, with regard to his own business, (in these words), 'When the battle takes place, assistance should be rendered by thee'. Saying 'Yes', O lord, he went away. And now at the time of battle he presented himself. O king, accompanied with a large number of steeds of great fleetness and beautiful colour. And those steeds, decked with ornaments of gold, of various colours and exceeding fleetness, suddenly coursed over the field, O king, like swans on the bosom of the vast deep. And those steeds failing upon thine of exceeding swiftness, struck their chests and noses against those of thine. Afflicted by their own impetuous clash (against thine), they suddenly fell down, O king, on the earth. And in consequence of those steeds as also of thine occasioned by that clash, loud sounds were heard resembling what occurs at Garuda's swoop. And the rider of those steeds, O king, thus dashing against one another in that battle, began to slay one another fiercely. And during that general engagement which was fierce and terrible, the chargers of both sides (escaping from press of battle) ran wildly away over the field. Weakened by one another's shafts, brave warriors, with their horses killed under them, and themselves worn out with exertion, perished fast sabring one another. Then when those cavalry divisions were thinned and a remnant only
survived, the Younger brothers of Suvala's son, Possessed of great wisdom, rode out, O Bharata (from the Kaurava array) to the van of battle, mounted On excellent charges that resembled the tempest itself in both fleetness and the violence of their dash and that were well-trained and neither old nor young. 1 Those six brothers endued with great strength, viz., Gaya, Gavaksha, Vrishava, Charmavat, Arjava, and Suka dashed out of the mighty (Kaurava) array, supported by Sakuni and by their respective forces of great valour, themselves clad in mail, skilled in battle, fierce in mien, and possessed of exceeding might. Breaking through that invincible cavalry division (of the Pandavas), O thou of mighty arms, those Gandhara warriors who could with difficulty be vanquished, supported by a large force, desirous of heaven, longing for victory, and filled with delight, penetrated into it. Beholding them filled with joy, the valiant Iravat, addressing his own warriors decked with diverse ornaments and weapons, said unto them, 'Adopt such contrivances in consequence of which these Dhritarashtra warriors with their weapons and animals may all be destroyed.' Saying 'Yes', all those warriors of Iravat began to slay those mighty and invincible Dhartarashtra soldiers. Beholding that their own warriors were thus overthrown by Iravat's division, those sons of Suvala being unable to beat it coolly, all rushed at Iravat and surrounded him on all sides. And commanding (all their followers) to attack those of Iravat with lances, those heroes swept over the field, creating a great confusion. And Iravat, pierced with lances by those high-souled warriors, and bathed in blood that trickled down (his wounds), looked like an elephant pierced with the hook. Wounded deeply on the chest, back, and flanks, singly encountering the many, he did not yet, O king, swerve from his (natural) firmness. Indeed, Iravat, excited with rage, deprived all those adversaries of their senses, piercing them, in that battle, with sharp shafts. And that chastiser of foes, tearing those lances from off his body, struck with them the sons of Suvala in battle. Then unsheathing his polished sword and taking a shield, he rushed on foot, desirous of slaying Suvala's sons in that combat. The sons of Suvala, however, recovering their senses, once more rushed at Iravat, excited with wrath. Iravat, however, proud of his might, and displaying his lightness of hand, proceeded towards all of them, armed with his sword. Moving as he did with great activity, the sons of Suvala, although they moved about on their fleet steeds, could not find an opportunity for striking that hero (on foot). Beholding him then on foot, his foes surrounded him closely and wished to take him captive. Then that crusher of foes, seeing them contiguous to himself, struck off, with his sword, both their right and left arms, and mangled their other limbs. Then those arms of theirs adorned with gold, and their weapons, fell down on the earth, and they themselves, with limbs mangled,
fell down on the field, deprived of life. Only Vrishava, O king, with many wounds on his person, escaped (with life) from that dreadful battle destructive of heroes. Beholding them lying on the field of battle, thy son Duryodhana, excited with wrath said unto that Rakshasa of terrible mien, viz., Rishyasringa's son (Alamvusha), that great bowman versed in illusion, that chastiser of foes, who bore feelings of animosity against Bhimasena in consequence of the slaughter of Vaka, these words: "Behold, O hero, how the mighty son of Phalguni, versed in illusion, hath done me a severe injury by destroying my forces. Thou also, O sire, art capable of going everywhere at will and accomplished in all weapons of illusion. Thou cherishest animosity also for Partha. Therefore, do thou slay this one in battle.' Saying 'Yes', that Rakshasa of terrible mien proceeded with a leonine roar to that spot where the mighty and youthful son of Arjuna was. And he was supported by the heroic warriors of his own division, accomplished in smiting, well-mounted, skilled in battle and fighting with bright lances. Accompanied by the remnant of that excellent cavalry division (of the Kauravas), he proceeded, desirous of slaying in battle the mighty Iravat. That slayer of foes, viz., the valiant Iravat, excited with rage, and advancing speedily from desire of slaying the Rakshasa, began to resist him. Beholding him advance, the mighty Rakshasa speedily set himself about for displaying his powers of illusion. The Rakshasa then created a number of illusive chargers which were riden by terrible Rakshasas armed with spears and axes. Those two thousand accomplished smiters advancing with rage, were however, soon sent to the regions of Yama, (falling in the encounter with Iravat's forces). And when the forces of both perished, both of them, invincible in battle, encountered each other like Vritra and Vasava. Beholding the Rakshasa, who was difficult of being vanquished in battle, advancing towards him, the mighty Iravat, excited with rage, began to check his onset. And when the Rakshasa approached him nearer, Iravat with his sword quickly cut off his bow, as also each of his shafts into five fragments. Seeing his bow cut off, the Rakshasa speedily rose up into the welkin, confounding with his illusion the enraged Iravat. Then Iravat also, difficult of approach, capable of assuming any form at will, and having a knowledge of what are the vital limbs of the body, rising up into the welkin, and confounding with his illusion the Rakshasa began to cut off the latter's limbs in that battle and thus were the limbs of the Rakshasa repeatedly cut into several pieces. 1 (Rakshasa ceases to be italicized at this point for a couple of pages.--JBH) Then the Rakshasa, however, O king, was re-born, assuming a youthful appearance. Illusion is natural with them, and their age and form are both dependent on their will. And the limbs of that Rakshasa, O king, cut into pieces, presented a beautiful sight. Iravat, excited with rage, repeatedly cut that mighty Rakshasa with his sharp axe. 'The brave Rakshasa, thus cut into pieces like a tree by the mighty Iravat, roared fiercely'. And those roars of his became deafening. Mangled with the axe, the Rakshasa began to pour
forth blood in torrents. Then (Alamvusha), the mighty son of Rishyasringa, beholding his foe blazing forth with energy, became infuriate with rage and himself put forth his prowess in that combat. Assuming a prodigious and fierce form, he endeavoured to seize the heroic son of Arjuna, viz., the renowned Iravat. In the sight of all the combatants there present, beholding that illusion of the wicked Rakshasa in the van of battle, Iravat became inflamed with rage and adopted steps for himself having recourse to illusion. And when that hero, never retreating from battle, became inflamed with wrath, a Naga related to him by his mother's side, came to him. Surrounded on all sides, in that battle by Nagas, that Naga, O king, assumed a huge form mighty as Ananta himself. With diverse kinds of Nagas then he covered the Rakshasa. While being covered by those Nagas, that bull among Rakshasas reflected for a moment, and assuming the form of Garuda, he devoured those snakes. When that Naga of his mother's line was devoured through illusion, Iravat became confounded. And while in that state, the Rakshasa slew him with his sword, Alamvusha felled on the earth Iravat's head decked with ear-rings and graced with a diadem and looking beautiful like a lotus or the moon.
"When the heroic son of Arjuna was thus slain by the Rakshasa, the Dhartarashtra host with all the kings (in it) were freed from grief. In that great battle that was so fierce, awful was the carnage that occurred among both the divisions. Horses and elephants and foot-soldiers entangled with one another, were slain by tuskers. And many steeds and tuskers were slain by foot-soldiers. And in that general engagement bodies of foot-soldiers and cars, and large numbers of horses belonging both to thy army and theirs, were slain. O king, by car-warriors. Meanwhile, Arjuna, not knowing that the son of his loins had been slaughtered, slew in that battle many kings who had been protecting Bhishma. And the warriors, O king, of thy army and the Srinjayas, by thousands, poured out their lives as libations (on the fire of battle), striking one another. And many car-warriors, with dishevelled hair, and with swords and bows fallen from their grasp fought with their bare arms, encountering one another. The mighty Bhishma also, with shafts capable of penetrating into the very vitals, slew many mighty car-warriors and caused the Pandava army to tremble (the while). By him were slain many combatants in Yudhishthira's host, and many tuskers and cavalry-soldiers and car-warriors and steeds. Beholding, O Bharata, the prowess of Bhishma in that battle, it seemed to us that it was equal to that of Sakra himself. And the prowess of Bhimasena, as also that of Parshata, was hardly less, O Bharata, (than that of Bhishma). And so also the battle fought by that great bowman (viz., Satyaki) of Satwata's race, was equally fierce. Beholding, however, the prowess of Drona, the Pandavas were struck with fear. Indeed they thought, 'Alone, Drona can slay us with all our troops. What then should be said of him when he is surrounded by a large body of warriors who for their bravery are renowned over the world? Even this, O king, was what the Partha said, afflicted by Drona. During the progress of that fierce battle, O bull of Bharata's race,
the brave combatants of neither army forgave their adversaries of the other. O sire, the mighty bowmen of both thy army and that of the Pandavas, inflamed with wrath, fought furiously with one another, as if they were possessed of by the Rakshasas and demons. Indeed, he did not see any one in the battle which was so destructive of lives and which was considered as a battle of the demons, to take of life."
223:1 Steeds that are described as Nadijas would literally mean "those born in rivers." The Punjab, or some other country watered by many rivers is meant.
224:1 Literally, "in soil belonging to another." The original is parakshetre.
225:1 Vayuvega-samsparsam, literally, "the contact (of whose dash or collision) resembles that of the wind in force." The meaning, therefore, is that those chargers dashed against hostile division with the fury of the tempest.
226:1 In the first line of 64, the true reading is Survamarmajna, and not Sarvadharmajna.