72.THE NINTH DAY
Bhishma fought furiously
and beat the Pandavas back.
The Pandava forces were thoroughly
demoralised and were flying hither and
thither, like cattle that had lost their way
in the forest.
Krishna halted the chariot and said to
Arjuna: "Partha, you and your brothers
were looking forward to this day, after
thirteen years. Do not hesitate to kill the
grandsire. Remember the duty of a
Arjuna bent his head down and, without
looking up, replied: "I would much rather
have continued to be an exile in the forest
than kill the grandsire and the teachers
whom I love, but I shall obey you. Drive
Arjuna's heart was not in the fight.
Unwillingly and in great distress of mind,
he proceeded to the combat. Bhishma, on
the other hand, burnt fiercely like the
When the army saw Arjuna's chariot
proceed towards Bhishma, it regained
courage and order once again prevailed.
Bhishma's arrows came thick and fast and
covered the advancing chariot so
completely that neither horses nor
vehicles could be seen.
Krishna was unperturbed and drove on
with circumspection and skill. Arjuna's
shafts hit Bhishma's bow and shattered it
many times. But the grandsire went on
renewing his weapon.
"You are not fighting, Arjuna, as you
should!" exclaimed Krishna, and jumped
down in a rage from the chariot and,
taking up his discus, he advanced towards
Bhishma saw Vasudeva approaching.
"Hail, O Lotus-eyed One!" he cried.
"Blessed am I to be separated from the
body by you! Come, come!"
Arjuna jumped down from the chariot
and, rushing forward overtook and held
Krishna, casting both his arms around
him. "Stop, Krishna," he cried. "Do not
break your pledge. You have promised not
to use weapons in this battle. This is my
work. I shall not fail. I shall send my
arrows and kill the beloved grandsire
myself. Pray, mount the car and take the
Arjuna took Krishna back and the battle
was resumed. The Pandava forces had
been handled roughly, but now the sun
was down in the west and the fighting
ended for the day.