Mahabharata Bhishma Parva Chapter 48:4

Mahabharata Bhishma Parva (Bhagavat-Gita Parva) Chapter 48:4

Beholding Bhishma, that foremost of heroes in all the world, checked in battle by Sweta, the king (Duryodhana) became greatly troubled, and great also became the distress of thy whole army. And beholding the heroic Bhishma checked and mangled by Sweta with his arrows, all thought that Bhishma, having succumbed to Sweta, was slain by him. Then thy sire Devavrata, yielding to anger, and beholding his (own) standard overthrown and the (Dhartarashtra) army checked, shot a great many arrows, O king, at Sweta. Sweta, however, that foremost of car-warriors, baffling all those arrows of Bhishma, once more cut off, with a broad-headed shaft, thy sire's bow. Throwing aside that bow, O king, Ganga's son, senseless with anger, taking up another bow larger and stronger, and aiming seven large broad-headed arrows whetted on stone, slew with four arrows the four steeds of the generalissimo Sweta, cut off his standard with two and with the seventh shaft that warrior of great prowess, exceedingly provoked, cut off his charioteer's head. Thereupon, that mighty car-warrior, jumping down from his car whose steeds and charioteer had been slain[1] and yielding to the influence of wrath, became exceedingly troubled. The grandsire, beholding Sweta that foremost of car-warriors, deprived of car, began to smite him on all sides with showers of arrows. And smitten in that combat with arrows shot from Bhishma's bow, Sweta, leaving his bow on his (abandoned) car took up a dart decked with gold and taking up that terrible and fierce dart[2] which resembled the fatal rod of Death and was capable of slaying Death's self. Sweta then, in great wrath, addressed Bhishma the son of Santanu in that combat, saying,—'Wait a little, and behold me, O best of men,'—And having said this unto Bhishma in battle, that great bowman of exceeding prowess and immeasurable soul, hurled the dart resembling a snake, displaying his valour for the sake of the Pandavas and desiring to achieve thy evil. Then loud cries of 'Oh' and 'Alas' arose among thy sons, O king, upon beholding that terrible dart resembling the rod of Death in splendour. And hurled from Sweta's arms, (that dart), resembling a snake that had just cast off its slough, fell with great force, O king, like a large meteor from the firmament. Thy sire Devavrata then, O king, without the slightest fear, with eight sharp and winged arrows, cut off into nine fragments, that dart decked with pure gold and which seemed to be covered with flames of fire, as it coursed ablaze through the air. All thy troops then, O bull of Bharata's race, set up loud shouts of joy. The son of Virata, however, beholding his dart cut off into fragments, became senseless with anger, and like one whose heart was overcome by (the arrival of) his hour, could not settle what to do. Deprived of his senses by anger, O king, the son of Virata, then, smiling, joyfully took up a mace for Bhishma's slaughter, with eyes red in wrath, and resembling a second Yama armed with mace, he rushed against Bhishma like a swollen torrent against the rocks.



  1. In the first line of 71st verse, the word is not 'Laghu' but 'alaghu', the initial 'a' being only silent according to the rule of Sandhi. Though omitted in the Bengal texts, it occurs in the Bombay edition.
  2. Ghoram', 'ugram', 'mahabhayam', are pleonastic.