80.THE DEATH OF ABHIMANYU
THE Pandavas, proceeding according to plan, had closely followed Abhimanyu when he broke into the Kaurava formation. But Dhritarashtra's son-in-law Jayadratha, the gallant king of the Sindhus, swooped down upon the Pandavas with all his forces and enabled the breach in the formation to be effectively and solidly closed up, so that the Pandavas found it impossible to force their way in. Yudhishthira hurled a javelin and cut Jayadratha's bow. But in an instant, the Saindhava took up another bow and sent unerring shafts at Dharmaputra. Bhimasena's arrows made deadly work, crashing down the canopy and flagstaff of Jayadratha's car. But the Saindhava, was alert and rearmed himself, each time his equipment was broken. He killed Bhima's chariot horses, and the latter had to go into Satyaki's car. In this manner, Jayadratha, with stubborn valor, prevented the Pandavas from entering in Abhimanyu's wake. The young hero was thus isolated and surrounded by the Kaurava forces. The son of Subhadra was however undaunted. He attacked all the warriors around him and slew them in great number. Like rivers losing themselves in the ocean, the soldiers that went to attack him, disappeared before his arrows. The Kaurava army reeled under Abhimanyu's onslaughts. Duryodhana's son Lakshmana, a gallant young warrior, then charged on Abhimanyu. When they saw this, retreating soldiers came back and supported Lakshmana, showering arrows on Abhimanyu, like rain falling on a hill. Still, Arjuna's son was undaunted and, his shaft came swift and shining, like a serpent fresh-sloughed, and pierced Lakshmana.