Mahabharata Bhishma Parva Chapter 48:2

Mahabharata Bhishma Parva (Bhagavat-Gita Parva) Chapter 48:2

And in that tumultuous uproar making the hair stand on end, the name of the combatant uttered in the battle, while displaying his prowess, could not be heard. The sire could not recognise the son of his loins. One of the wheels being broken, or the yoke being torn off or one of the steeds being slain, the brave car-warrior was overthrown from his car, along with his charioteer, by means of straight arrows. And thus many heroic warriors, deprived of their cars, were seen to fly away.[1] He who was slain had cut off; he who was not slain, was struck at the very vitals: but unstruck there was none, when Bhishma attacked the foe. And in that terrific battle, Sweta caused a great slaughter of the Kurus. And he slew many noble princes by hundreds upon hundreds.[2] And he cut off, by means of his arrows, the heads of car-warriors by hundreds upon hundreds, and (their) arms decked with Angadas, and (their) bows all around. And car-warriors and car-wheels and others that were on cars, and the cars themselves, and standards both small and costly, O king, and large bodies of horses, and crowds of cars, and crowds of men, O Bharata's race, were destroyed by Sweta. Ourselves, from fear of Sweta, abandoning (Bhishma) that best of car-warriors, left the battle retreating to the rear and, therefore, do we (now) behold your lordship. And all the Kurus, O son of Kuru's race, beyond the range of arrows, and abandoning Bhishma the son of Santanu, in that battle, stood (as spectators though) armed for the combat. Cheerful in the hour of (universal) cheerlessness, that tiger among men Bhishma, alone of our army, in that terrible battle stood immovable like the mountain Meru. Taking the lives (of the foe) like the Sun at close of winter, he stood resplendent with the golden rays (of his car) like the Sun himself with his rays. And that great bowman shot clouds of arrows and struck down the Asuras.[3] And while being slaughtered by Bhishma in that dreadful combat, those warriors breaking away from their ranks, they all fled from him, as if from a fire fed by fuel.[4] Encountering the single warrior (Sweta), that slayer of foes, Bhishma, was the only one (amongst us) who was cheerful and whole. Devoted to the welfare of Duryodhana, he began to consume the Pandava (warrior). Reckless of his very life which is difficult of being cast off, and abandoning all fear he slaughtered, O king, the Pandava army in that fierce conflict.[5] And beholding the generalissimo (Sweta) smiting the (Dhartarashtra) divisions, thy father Bhishma, called also Devavrata, impetuously rushed against him. Thereupon, Sweta covered Bhishma with an extensive net-work of arrows. And Bhishma also covered Sweta with a flight of arrows. And roaring like a couple of bulls, they rushed, like two infuriate elephants of gigantic size or two raging tigers, against each other. Baffling each other's weapons by means of their weapons, those bulls among men, viz., Bhishma and Sweta fought with each other, desirous of taking each other's life.



  1. I adopt the Bombay reading of the 22nd verse.
  2. 'Swayam' in some of the Bengal texts is a misprint for 'Kshayam'
  3. Chakrapani is Vishnu armed with the discus.
  4. For 'Yuthan' which gives no meaning, I read 'Yodhas'. The Bengal reading 'muktvagnimiva daruna' is better than the Bombay reading 'muktam ripumishu darunam.'
  5. The Bombay reading 'jivitam dustyajam' is better than the Bengal reading 'jivam taduttham', if it has any meaning.