Mahabharata Bhishma Parva Chapter 17:2

Mahabharata Bhishma Parva (Bhagavat-Gita Parva) Chapter 17:2

And Srutayudha and Chitrasena and Purumitra and Vivinsati, and Salya and Bhurisravas, and that mighty car-warrior Vikarna,—these seven mighty bowmen on their carts and cased in excellent mail, followed Drona's son behind but in advance of Bhishma. The tall standards of these warriors, made of gold, beautifully set up for adorning their excellent cars, looked highly resplendent. The standard of Drona, the foremost of preceptors, bore the device of a golden altar decked with a water-pot and the figure of a bow. The standard of Duryodhana guiding many hundreds and thousands of divisions bore the device of an elephant worked in gems. Paurava and the ruler of the Kalingas, and Salya, these Rathas took up their position in Duryodhana's van. On a costly car with his standard bearing the device of a bull, and guiding the very van (of his division), the ruler of the Magadhas marched against the foe.[1] That large force of the Easterners looking like the fleecy clouds of autumn[2] was (besides) protected by the chief of the Angas (Karna's son Vrishaketu) and Kripa endued with great energy. Stationing himself in the van of his division with his beautiful standard of silver bearing the device of the boar, the famous Jayadratha looked highly resplendent. A hundred thousand cars, eight thousand elephants, and sixty thousand cavalry were under his command.[3] Commanded by the royal chief of the Sindhus, that large division occupying the very van (of the army) and abounding with untold cars, elephants, and steeds, looked magnificent. With sixty thousand cars and ten thousand elephants, the ruler of the Kalingas, accompanied by Ketumat, went out. His huge elephants, looking like hills, and adorned with Yantras,[4] lances, quivers and standards, looked exceedingly beautiful. And the ruler of the Kalingas, with his tall standard effulgent as fire, with his white umbrella, and golden cuirass, and Chamaras (wherewith he was fanned), shone brilliantly. And Ketumat also, riding on an elephant with a highly excellent and beautiful hook, was stationed in battle, O King, like the Sun in the midst of (black) clouds. And king Bhagadatta, blazing with energy and riding on that elephant of his, went out like the wielder of the thunder. And the two princes of Avanti named Vinda and Anuvinda, who were regarded as equal to Bhagadatta, followed Ketumat, riding on the necks of their elephants.

And, O king, arrayed by Drona and the royal son of Santanu, and Drona's son, and Valhika, and Kripa, the (Kaurava) Vyuha[5] consisting of many divisions of cars was such that the elephants formed its body; the kings, its head; and the steeds, its wings. With face towards all sides, that fierce Vyuha seemed to smile and ready to spring (upon the foe).



  1. The Bengal editions read 'Magadhascha ripum yayau. The Bombay text reads 'Magadhasya Kripo-yayau.' If the latter reading be adopted, the meaning would be "and guiding the very van of the Magadha troops Kripa went."
  2. The Bengal reading is Saradabhraghana-prakshyam. The Bombay reading is 'Sharadamvudhara-prakshyam.'
  3. Vasavartinas is nominative, masculine, plural, referring to cars, &c.; the Burdwan Pundits take it as a genitive singular qualifying tasya, and they render it, therefore, as "of that subordinate of Duryodhana." This is evidently incorrect.
  4. Machines, perhaps catapults.
  5. 'Vyuha' is an array of troops in a certain form. Many such will be spoken of in this and the other 'parvas' devoted to the battle.