Mahabharata Bhishma Parva Chapter 52

Mahabharata Bhishma Parva (Bhagavat-Gita Parva) Chapter 52

Dhritarashtra said, "When mine and the hostile hosts were thus formed into battle array, how did the foremost of smiters begin to strike?

Sanjaya said, "When all the divisions were thus arrayed, the combatants waited, each cased in mail, and with their beautiful standards all upraised. And beholding the (Kuru) host that resembled the limitless ocean, thy son Duryodhana, O king, stationed within it, said unto all the combatants on thy side, 'Cased in mail (as ye are), begin ye the fight'. The combatants then, entertaining cruel intentions, and abandoning their very lives, all rushed against the Pandavas, with standards upraised. The battle that took place then was fierce and made the hair stand on end. And the cars and elephants all got mixed together. And shafts with beautiful feathers, and endued with great energy and sharp points, shot by car-warriors fell upon elephants and horses. And when the battle began in this way, the venerable Kuru grandsire, the mighty-armed Bhishma of terrible prowess, cased in mail, taking up his bow, and approaching them, showered an arrowy downpour on the heroic son of Subhadra, and the mighty car-warrior Arjuna, and the ruler of the Kekayas and Virata, and Dhrishtadyumna of Prishata's race, as also upon the Chedi and the Matsya warriors. And that mighty array (of the Pandavas) wavered at the onset of that hero. And terrific was the encounter that took place between all the combatants. And horse-men and car-warriors and foremost of steeds fell fast. And the car-divisions of the Pandavas began to fly away.

Then that tiger among men, Arjuna, beholding that mighty car-warrior Bhishma, angrily said unto him of Vrishni's race, 'Proceed to the place where the grandsire is. O thou of Vrishni's race, it is evident that this Bhishma, with wrath excited, will annihilate for Duryodhana's benefit my host. And this Drona, and Kripa and Salya and Vikarna, O Janardana, united with Dhritarashtra's sons headed by Duryodhana, and protected by this firm bowman, will slaughter the Panchalas. Even I, therefore, shall slay Bhishma for the sake of my troops, O Janardana.' Unto him Vasudeva then said, 'Be careful, O Dhananjaya, for I will soon take thee, O hero, towards the grandsire's car.' Having said this, O king, Saurin took that car, which was celebrated over the world, before the car of Bhishma. With numerous banners all waving, with steeds looking handsome like a flight of (white) cranes, with standard upraised on which was the ape roaring fiercely, upon his large car of solar effulgence and whose rattle resembled roar of the clouds, slaughtering the Kaurava divisions and the Surasenas also, the son of Pandu, that enhancer of the joys of friends speedily came to the encounter. Him (thus) rushing impetuously like an infuriate elephant and (thus) frightening in a battle brave combatants and felling them with his shafts, Bhishma the son of Santanu, protected by the warriors headed by Saindhava and by the combatants of the East and the Sauviras and the Kekayas, encountered with great impetuosity.