Mahabharata Bhishma Parva Chapter 96:2

Mahabharata Bhishma Parva (Bhagavat-Gita Parva) Chapter 96:2

They were Bhimasena, and Abhimanyu and the Rakshasa Ghatotkacha; and the sons of Draupadi, and Satyadhriti, and Kshatradeva, O sire, and the rulers of the Chedis, and Vasudana, and the king of the Dasarnas. Bhagadatta then, on his elephant named Supratika, rushed against them. Then commenced a fierce and awful battle between the Pandavas and Bhagadatta, that increased the population of Yama's kingdom. Shafts of terrible energy and great impetuosity, shot by car-warriors, fell, O king, on elephants and cars. Huge elephants with rent temples and trained (to the fight) by their guides, approaching fell upon one another fearlessly. Blind (with fury) in consequence of the temporal juice trickling down their bodies, and excited with rage, attacking one another with their tusks resembling stout bludgeons, they pierced one another with the points of those weapons.[1] Graced with excellent tails, and ridden by warriors armed with lances, steeds, urged by those riders fell fearlessly and with great impetuosity upon one another.

And foot-soldiers, attacked by bodies of foot-soldiers with darts and lances, fell down on the earth by hundreds and thousands. And car-warriors upon their cars, slaughtering heroic adversaries in that battle by means of barbed arrows and muskets and shafts, uttered leonine shouts.[2] And during the progress of the battle making the hair stand on end, that great bowman, viz., Bhagadatta, rushed towards Bhimasena, on his elephant of rent temples and with juice trickling down in seven currents and resembling (on that account) a mountain with (as many) rillets flowing down its breast after a shower. And he came, O sinless one, scattering thousands of arrows from the head of Supratika (whereon he stood) like the illustrious Purandara himself on his Airavata. King Bhagadatta afflicted Bhimasena with that arrowy shower like the clouds afflicting the mountain breast with torrents of rain on the expiry of summer. That mighty bowman Bhimasena, however, excited with rage, slew by his arrowy showers the combatants numbering more than a hundred, that protected the flanks and rear of Bhagadatta.[3] Beholding them slain, the valiant Bhagadatta, filled with rage, urged his prince of elephants towards Bhimasena's car.

That elephant, thus urged by him, rushed impetuously like an arrow propelled from the bowstring towards Bhimasena, that chastiser of foes. Beholding that elephant advancing, the mighty car-warriors of the Pandava army, placing Bhimasena at their head, themselves rushed towards it. Those warriors were the (five) Kekaya princes, and Abhimanyu, and the (five) sons of Draupadi and the heroic ruler of the Dasarnas, and Kshatradeva also, O sire, and the ruler of the Chedis, and Chitraketu. And all these mighty warriors came, inflamed with anger, and exhibiting their excellent celestial weapons. And they all surrounded in anger that single elephant (on which their adversary rode). Pierced with many shafts, that huge elephant, covered with gore flowing from his wounds, looked resplendent like a prince of mountain variegated with (liquified) red chalk (after a shower). The ruler of the Dasarnas then, on an elephant that resembled a mountain, rushed towards Bhagadatta's elephant.



  1. The first line is evidently pleonastic. Sanskrit, however, being very copious, repetitions can scarcely be marked at the first glance. Literally rendered, the original is—"Juice-blind and excited with rage." 'Juice-blind,' I have explained elsewhere.
  2. The word I render "muskets" is nalika sometime ago the Bharata (a Bengali periodical of Calcutta edited by Babu Dwijendra Nath Tagore) in a paper on Hindu weapons of warfare from certain quotations from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, argued that the nalika must have been some kind of musket vomiting bullets of iron in consequence of some kind of explosive force. The Rishis discouraged use of nalika, declaring them to be barbarous and fit only for kings that would come in the Kali age.
  3. Padarakshan lit., those that protected the feet (for any warrior of note). These always stood at the flanks and rear of the warrior they protected. In the case of car-warriors these were called chakra-rakshas (protectors of the wheels). So we have Parshni-rakshas and Prishata-rakshas, &c.