Mahabharata Bhishma Parva Chapter 19:3

Mahabharata Bhishma Parva (Bhagavat-Gita Parva) Chapter 19:3

Transcending the huge standards on all the cars on thy side and that of the enemy, was the one gigantic ape on Arjuna's car. Foot-soldiers, by many hundreds of thousands, and armed with swords, spears, and scimitars, proceeded ahead for protecting Bhimasena. And ten thousand elephants with (temporal) juice trickling down their cheek and mouth, and resembling (on that account) showering clouds, endued with great courage, blazing with golden armour, huge hills, costly, and emitting the fragrance of lotuses, followed the king behind like moving mountains.[1] And the high-souled and invincible Bhimasena, whirling his fierce mace that resembled a parigha[2] seemed to crush the large army (of thy son). Incapable of being looked at like [3]the Sun himself, and scorching as it were, the hostile army (like fire), none of the combatants could bear to even look at him from any near point. And this array, fearless and having its face turned towards all sides called Vajra, having bows for its lightning sign,[4] and extremely fierce, was protected by the wielder of Gandiva. Disposing their troops in this counter-array against thy army, the Pandavas waited for battle. And protected by the Pandavas, that array became invincible in the world of men.

And as (both) the armies stood at dawn of day waiting for sunrise, a wind began to blow with drops of water (falling), and although there were no clouds, the roll of thunder was heard. And dry winds began to blow all around, bearing a shower of pointed pebbles along the ground. And thick dust arose, covering the world with darkness. And large meteors began to fall east-wards, O bull of Bharata's race, and striking against the rising Sun, broke in fragments with loud noise. When the troops stood arrayed, O bull of Bharata's race, the Sun rose divested of splendour, and the Earth trembled with a loud sound, and cracked in many places, O chief of the Bharatas, with loud noise. And the roll of thunder, O king, was heard frequently on all sides. So thick was the dust that arose that nothing could be seen. And the tall standards (of the combatants), furnished with strings of bells, decked with golden ornaments, garlands of flowers, and rich drapery, graced with banners and resembling the Sun in splendour, being suddenly shaken by the wind, gave a loud jingling noise like that of a forest of palmyra trees (when moved by the wind). It was thus that those tigers among men, the sons of Pandu, ever taking delight in battle, stood having disposed their troops in counter-array against the army of thy son, and sucking as it were, the marrow, O bull of Bharata's race, of our warriors, and casting their eyes on Bhimasena stationed at their head, mace in hand.



  1. The Bombay reading is certainly faulty here. For Chalanta iva parvatas it reads Jimuta iva varashikas, although it makes the previous line begin Ksharantaiva Jimuta.
  2. A parigha is a thick club mounted with iron. The comparison is very feeble, for Bhima's mace, in the popular estimation, is much heavier and stouter than any parigha manufactured for human combatants. Prachakarsha is, lit. dragged. I think, however, the root krish must be taken here in the sense of crush.
  3. Literally, "with rent cheeks and mouth."
  4. The name Vajra implies either a hard needle for boring diamonds and gems, or the thunder-bolt. In this sloka the word Vajra is used as associated with the thunder and therefore, as thunder is accompanied by lightning so the bows of the warriors are the lightning-marks of this particular Vajra.