Mahabharata Bhishma Parva Chapter 87

Mahabharata Bhishma Parva (Bhagavat-Gita Parva) Chapter 87

Sanjaya said,—"Approaching then thy son Chitrasena of great energy who had thus been deprived of his car, thy son Vikarna caused him to mount on his car. And during the progress of that general engagement, so fierce and dreadful, Bhishma, the son of Santanu, impetuously rushed at Yudhishthira. Then the Srinjayas with their cars, elephants, and horses, trembled. And they regarded Yudhishthira to be already within the jaws of Death. The lord Yudhishthira, however, of Kuru's race, accompanied by the twins, proceeded towards that mighty bowman, that tiger among men viz., Bhishma. Then the son of Pandu, shooting in that battle thousands of arrows, shrouded Bhishma like the clouds shrouding the sun. And those numberless arrows, well shot by Yudhishthira, were received by the son of Ganga in distinct sets by hundreds and thousands.[1] And so also, O sire, innumerable were the arrows shot by Bhishma (in return), which looked like flights of insects coursing through the air. In half the time taken up by a wink of the eye, Bhishma, the son of Santanu, in that battle, made Kunti's son invisible by means of his numberless shafts shot in sets. Then king Yudhishthira, excited with rage, sped at the high-souled Kaurava a long arrow resembling a snake of virulent poison. That mighty car-warrior, Bhishma, however, O king, cut off in that combat, with a horse-shoe (headed) arrow, that shaft shot from Yudhishthira's bow before it could reach him. Having cut off that long arrow resembling Death himself, Bhishma then slew in that battle the steeds, decked with gold, of that prince of Kuru's line.

Then Yudhishthira the son of Pandu, abandoning that car whose steeds had been slain, quickly mounted upon the car of the high-souled Nakula. Then Bhishma that subjugator of hostile cities, excited with rage, and coming upon the twins in that battle, covered them with arrows. Beholding those two (brothers), O king, thus afflicted, with the arrows of Bhishma, Yudhishthira began to reflect earnestly desirous, O monarch, of (compassing) Bhishma's destruction. Then Yudhishthira, O king, urged his friends and the rulers (on his side), saying,—'Slay Bhishma the son of Santanu, uniting together.' Then all those rulers, hearing these words of Pritha's son, surrounded the grandsire with a large number of cars. Thy sire Devavrata then, thus surrounded on all sides, began to sport, O king, with his bow, felling (all the while) many mighty car-warriors. Him of Kuru's race, thus careering over the field of battle, the Pandavas beheld resembling a young lion in the forest amid a herd of deer. Uttering a loud roar in that battle and striking fear into the hearts of brave warriors by means of his shafts, the Kshatriyas beholding him, O king, were all struck with fear, like inferior animals upon seeing a lion. Indeed the Kshatriyas beheld the movements of that lion of Bharata's race in battle to resemble those of a conflagration aided by the wind while consuming a heap of dry grass. And Bhishma in that battle felled the heads of car-warriors like a skilful man felling (with stones) ripe (palmyra) fruits from trees that bear them.



  1. The meaning seems to be that the arrows shot by Yudhishthira were cut off by Bhishma, in numberless distinct sets, taking each set at a time.