Bhisma Parva, Mahabharata/Book VI Chapter 18

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Mahabharata - Bhisma Parva

Mahabharata Book VI Chapter 18:English

describes the large armies of the Kurus and the Pandavas ready for war.

Sanjaya said,--"When the night had passed away, loud became the noise made by the kings, all exclaiming, Array! Array! 'With the blare of conches and the sound of drums that resembled leonine roars, O Bharata, with the neigh of steeds, and the clatter of car-wheels, with the noise of obstreperous elephants and the shouts, clapping of arm-pits, and cries of roaring combatants, the din caused everywhere was very great. The large armies of the Kurus and the Pandavas, O king, rising at sunrise, completed all their arrangements. Then when the Sun rose, the fierce weapons of attack and defence and the coats of mail of both thy sons and the Pandavas, and the large and splendid armies of both sides, became fully visible. There elephants and cars, adorned with gold, looked resplendent like clouds mingled with lightning. The ranks of cars, standing in profusion, looked like cities. And thy father, stationed there, shone brilliantly, like the full moon. And the warriors armed with bows and swords and scimitars and maces, javelins and lances and bright weapons of diverse kinds, took up their positions in their (respective) ranks. And resplendent standards were seen, set up by thousands, of diverse forms, belonging to both ourselves and the foe. And made of gold and decked with gems and blazing like fire, those banners in thousands endued with great effulgence, looked beautiful like heroic combatants cased in mail

p. 37: gazed at those standards, longing for battle. 1 And many foremost of men, with eyes large as those of bulls endued with quivers, and with hands cased in leathern fences, stood at the heads of their divisions, with their bright weapons upraised. And Suvala's son Sakuni, and Salya, Jayadratha and the two princes of Avanti named Vinda and Anuvinda, and the Kekaya brothers, and Sudakshina the ruler of the Kambojas and Srutayudha the ruler of the Kalingas, and king Jayatsena, and Vrihadvala the ruler of the Kosalas, and Kritavarman of Satwata's race,--these ten tigers among men, endued with great bravery and possessing arms that looked like maces,--these performers of sacrifices with plentiful gifts (to Brahmanas), stood each at the head of an Akshauhini of troops. These and many other kings and princes, mighty car-warriors conversant with policy, obedient to the commands of Duryodhana, all cased in mail, were seen stationed in their respective divisions. All of them, cased in black deer-skins, endued with great strength, accomplished in battle, and cheerfully prepared, for Duryodhana's sake, to ascend to the region of Brahma, 2 stood there commanding ten efficient Akshauhinis. The eleventh great division of the Kauravas, consisting of the Dhartarashtra troops, stood in advance of the whole army. There in the van of that division was Santanu's son. With his white head-gear, white umbrella, and white mail, O monarch, we beheld Bhishma of unfailing prowess look like the risen moon. His standard bearing the device of a palmyra of gold himself stationed on a car made of silver, both the Kurus and the Pandavas beheld that hero looking like the moon encircled by white clouds. The great bowmen amongst the Srinjayas headed by Dhrishtadyumna, (beholding Bhishma) looked like little animals when they would behold a mighty yawning lion. Indeed, all the combatants headed by Dhrishtadyumna repeatedly trembled in fear. These, O king, were the eleven splendid divisions of thy army. So also the seven divisions belonging to the Pandavas were protected by foremost of men. Indeed, the two armies facing each other looked like two oceans at the end of the Yuga agitated by fierce Makaras, and abounding with huge crocodiles. Never before, O king, did we see or hear of two such armies encountering each other like these of the Kauravas.'


37:1 Literally, "in Indra's abodes," i.e. Amaravati.

37:2 A Kshatriya failing bravely in fight at once goes to the highest regions of bliss.


Sanjaya said,--"Soon after, O king, a loud uproar, causing the heart to tremble was heard, made by the combatants ready for the fight. Indeed, with the sounds of conches and drums, the grunts of elephants, and the clatter of car-wheels, the Earth seemed to rend in twain. And soon the welkin and the whole Earth was filled with the neigh of chargers and the shouts of combatants. O irresistible one, the troops of thy sons and of the Pandavas both trembled when they encountered each other. There (on the field of battle) elephants and cars, decked in gold, looked beautiful like clouds decked with lightning. And standards of diverse forms, O king, belonging to the combatants on thy side, and adorned with golden rings, looked resplendent like fire. And those standards of thy side and theirs, resembled, O Bharata, the banners of Indra in his celestial mansions. And the heroic warriors all accoutred and cased in golden coats of mail endued with the effulgence of the blazing Sun, themselves looked like blazing fire or the Sun. All the foremost warriors amongst the Kurus, O king, with excellent bows, and weapons upraised (for striking), with leathern fences on their hands, and with standards,--those mighty bowmen, of eyes large as those of bulls, all placed themselves at the heads of their (respective) divisions. And these amongst thy sons, O king, protected Bhishma from behind, viz.. Dussasana, and Durvishaha, and Durmukha, and Dussaha and Vivinsati, and Chitrasena, and that mighty car-warrior Vikarna.

p. 41

[paragraph continues] And amongst them were Satyavrata, and Purumitra, and Jaya, and Bhurisravas, and Shala. And twenty thousand car-warriors followed them. The Abhishahas, the Surasenas, the Sivis, and the Vasatis, the Shalvas, the Matsyas, the Amvashtas, the Trigartas, and the Kekayas, the Sauviras, the Kitavas, and the dwellers of the Eastern, Western, and the Northern countries,--these twelve brave races were resolved to fight reckless of the lives. And these protected the grandsire with a multitudinous array of cars. And with a division that consisted of ten thousand active elephants, the king of Magadha followed that large car division. They that protected the wheels of the cars and they that protected the elephants, numbered full six millions. And the foot-soldiers that marched in advance (of the army), armed with bows, swords, and shields, numbered many hundreds of thousands. And they fought also using their nails and bearded darts. And the ten and one Akshauhinis of thy son, O Bharata, looked, O mighty king, like Ganga separated from Yamuna. 1"


41:1 The Bombay edition reads Yamunantara for Yamunantare of the Bengal texts. The difference in meaning is not very material.

Mahabharata Book VI Chapter 18:Sanskrit

 1  [स]
     ततॊ मुहूर्तात तुमुलः शब्थॊ हृथयकम्पनः
     अश्रूयत महाराज यॊधानां परयुयुत्सताम
 2 शङ्खथुन्थुभिनिर्घॊषैर वारणानां च बृंहितैः
     रदानां नेमिघॊषैश च थीर्यतीव वसुंधरा
 3 हयानां हेषमाणानां यॊधानां तत्र गर्जताम
     कषणेन खं थिशश चैव शब्थेनापूरितं तथा
 4 पुत्राणां तव थुर्धर्षे पाण्डवानां तदैव च
     समकम्पन्त सैन्यानि परस्परसमागमे
 5 तत्र नागा रदाश चैव जाम्बूनथविभूषिताः
     भराजमाना वयथृश्यन्त मेघा इव स विथ्युतः
 6 धवजा बहुविधाकारास तावकानां नराधिप
     काञ्चनाङ्गथिनॊ रेजुर जवलिता इव पावकाः
 7 सवेषां चैव परेषां च समथृश्यन्त भारत
     महेन्थ्र केतवः शुभ्रा महेन्थ्र सथनेष्व इव
 8 काञ्चनैः कवचैर वीरा जवलनार्कसमप्रभैः
     संनथ्धाः परत्यथृश्यन्त गरहाः परज्वलिता इव
 9 उथ्यतैर आयुधैश चित्रैस तलबथ्धाः पताकिनः
     ऋषभाक्षा महेष्वासाश चमूमुखगता बभुः
 10 पृष्ठगॊपास तु भीष्मस्य पुत्रास तव नराधिप
   दुःशासनॊ दुर्विषहॊ दुर्मुखॊ दुःसहस तदा
11 विविंशतिश चित्रसेनॊ विकर्णश च महारदः
    सत्यव्रतः पुरुमित्रॊ जयॊ भूरिश्रवाः शलः
12 रदा विंशतिसाहस्रास तदैषाम अनुयायिनः
    अभीषाहाः शूरसेनाः शिबयॊ ऽद वसातयः
13 शाल्वा मत्स्यास तदाम्बष्ठास तरिगर्ताः केकयास तदा
    सौवीराः कितवाः पराच्याः परतीच्यॊथीच्यमालवाः
14 थवाथशैते जनपथाः सर्वे शूरास तनुत्यजः
    महता रदवंशेन ते ऽभयरक्षन पितामहम
15 अनीकं थशसाहस्रं कुञ्जराणां तरस्विनाम
    माघथॊ येन नृपतिस तथ्रदानीकम अन्वयात
16 रदानां चक्ररक्षाश च पाथप्रक्षाश च थन्तिनाम
    अभूवन वाहिनीमध्ये शतानाम अयुतानि षट
17 पाथाताश चाग्रतॊ ऽगच्छन धनुश चर्मासि पाणयः
    अनेकशतसाहस्रा नखरप्रासयॊधिनः
18 अक्षौहिण्यॊ थशैका च तव पुत्रस्य भारत
    अथृश्यन्त महाराज गङ्गेव यमुनान्तरे

Mahabharata Book VI Chapter 18:Transliteration

 1  [s]
     tato muhūrtāt tumulaḥ śabdo hṛdayakampanaḥ
     aśrūyata mahārāja yodhānāṃ prayuyutsatām
 2 śaṅkhadundubhinirghoṣair vāraṇānāṃ ca bṛṃhitaiḥ
     rathānāṃ nemighoṣaiś ca dīryatīva vasuṃdharā
 3 hayānāṃ heṣamāṇānāṃ yodhānāṃ tatra garjatām
     kṣaṇena khaṃ diśaś caiva śabdenāpūritaṃ tadā
 4 putrāṇāṃ tava durdharṣe pāṇḍavānāṃ tathaiva ca
     samakampanta sainyāni parasparasamāgame
 5 tatra nāgā rathāś caiva jāmbūnadavibhūṣitāḥ
     bhrājamānā vyadṛśyanta meghā iva sa vidyutaḥ
 6 dhvajā bahuvidhākārās tāvakānāṃ narādhipa
     kāñcanāṅgadino rejur jvalitā iva pāvakāḥ
 7 sveṣāṃ caiva pareṣāṃ ca samadṛśyanta bhārata
     mahendra ketavaḥ śubhrā mahendra sadaneṣv iva
 8 kāñcanaiḥ kavacair vīrā jvalanārkasamaprabhaiḥ
     saṃnaddhāḥ pratyadṛśyanta grahāḥ prajvalitā iva
 9 udyatair āyudhaiś citrais talabaddhāḥ patākinaḥ
     ṛṣabhākṣā maheṣvāsāś camūmukhagatā babhuḥ
 10 pṛṣṭhagopās tu bhīṣmasya putrās tava narādhipa
    duḥśāsano durviṣaho durmukho duḥsahas tathā
11 viviṃśatiś citraseno vikarṇaś ca mahārathaḥ
    satyavrataḥ purumitro jayo bhūriśravāḥ śalaḥ
12 rathā viṃśatisāhasrās tathaiṣām anuyāyinaḥ
    abhīṣāhāḥ śūrasenāḥ śibayo 'tha vasātayaḥ
13 śālvā matsyās tathāmbaṣṭhās trigartāḥ kekayās tathā
    sauvīrāḥ kitavāḥ prācyāḥ pratīcyodīcyamālavāḥ
14 dvādaśaite janapadāḥ sarve śūrās tanutyajaḥ
    mahatā rathavaṃśena te 'bhyarakṣan pitāmaham
15 anīkaṃ daśasāhasraṃ kuñjarāṇāṃ tarasvinām
    māghado yena nṛpatis tadrathānīkam anvayāt
16 rathānāṃ cakrarakṣāś ca pādaprakṣāś ca dantinām
    abhūvan vāhinīmadhye śatānām ayutāni ṣaṭ
17 pādātāś cāgrato 'gacchan dhanuś carmāsi pāṇayaḥ
    anekaśatasāhasrā nakharaprāsayodhinaḥ
18 akṣauhiṇyo daśaikā ca tava putrasya bhārata
    adṛśyanta mahārāja gaṅgeva yamunāntare


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