Battle of Kurukshetra day 1 (part 2)

The armies assemble there formations

9/12/20226 min read

Both armies, when arrayed, were equally joyful. Both armies looked equally beautiful, assuming the aspect of blossoming woods, and both armies were full of elephants, cars and horses. Both armies were vast and terrible in aspect; and so also, none of them could tolerate the other. Both of them were arrayed for conquering the very heavens and both of them consisted of excellent persons.

The Kauravas belonging to the Dhritarashtra party stood facing the west, while the Parthas stood facing the east, armed for battle. The troops of the Kauravas looked like the army of the chief of the Danavas, while that of the Pandavas looked like the army of the celestials. The wind began to blow from behind the Pandavas (against the face of the Dhartarashtras), and the beasts of prey began to yell against the Dhartarashtras. The elephants belonging to thy sons could not bear the strong odour of the temporal juice emitted by the huge elephants (of the Pandavas).

Duryodhana rode on an elephant of the complexion of the lotus, with rent temples, graced with a golden Kaksha (on its back), and cased in an armour of steel net-work. He was in the very centre of the Kurus and was adored by eulogists and bards. And a white umbrella of lunar effulgence was held over his head graced with a golden chain. Him Sakuni, the ruler of the Gandharas, followed with the vicious mountain dwelling tribes of Gandhara (Afghanistan) placed all around. The venerable Bhishma was at the head of all the troops, with a white umbrella held over his head, armed with bow and sword, with a white headgear, with a white banner (on his car), and with white steeds (yoked thereto), and altogether looking like a white mountain. In Bhishma's division were all the sons of Dhritarashtra, and also Sala who was a countryman of the Valhikas, and also all those Kshatriyas called Amvastas, and those called Sindhus, (Pakistan) and those also that are called Sauviras, and the heroic dwellers of the country of the five rivers. And on a golden car unto which were yoked red steeds, the high-souled Drona, bow in hand and with never-failing heart, the preceptor of almost all the kings, remained behind all the troops, protecting them like Indra. And Saradwat's son, Kripacarya that fighter in the van, that high-souled and mighty bowman, called also Gautama, conversant with all modes of warfare, accompanied by the Sakas, the Kiratas, the Yavanas, (Greece and Turkey) and the Pahlavas, took up his position at the northern point of the army. That large force which was well protected by mighty car-warriors of the Vrishni and the Bhoja races, (Narayani Sena: Krsnas personal army)as also by the warriors of Surashtra well-armed and well-acquainted with the uses of weapons, and which was led by Kritavarman, proceeded towards the south of the army. Ten thousand cars of theSamasaptakas who were created for either the death or the fame of Arjuna, and who, accomplished in arms, intended to follow Arjuna at his heels all went out as also the brave Trigartas. In the army, were thousands of elephants of the foremost fighting powers. Unto each elephant was assigned 100 chariots; unto each chariot, a hundred horsemen; unto each horseman, ten bowmen; and unto each bowman ten combatants armed with sword and shield. Thus, O Bharata, were the divisions arrayed by Bhishma. The Senapati Bhishma, the son of Santanu, as each day dawned, sometimes disposed thy troops in the human army, sometimes in the celestial, sometimes in the Gandharva, and sometimes in the Asura. Thronged with a large number of Maharathas, and roaring like the very ocean, the Dhartarashtra army, arrayed by Bhishma, stood facing the west for battle. Illimitable as the army was, it looked terrible; but the army of the Pandavas, although it was not such (in number), yet seemed to me to be very large and invincible since Kesava and Arjuna were its leader.

Beholding the vast Dhartarashtra army ready for battle, king Yudhisthira, the son of Kunti, gave way to grief. Seeing that impenetrable array formed by Bhishma and regarding it as really impenetrable, the king became pale and addressed Arjuna, saying,--O, mighty-armed Dhananjaya, how shall we be able to fight in battle with the Dhartarashtras who have the Grandsire for their (chief) combatant? Immovable and impenetrable is this array that has been designed, according to the rules laid down in the scriptures, by that grinder of foes, Bhishma, of transcendent glory. With our troops we have become doubtful (of success), O grinder of foes. How, indeed, will victory be ours in the face of this mighty array?'--

Thus addressed, that slayer of foes Arjuna answered Yudhisthira, the son of Pritha, who had been plunged into grief at sight, O king, of the Kuru army, in these words,--Hear, O king, how soldiers that are few in number may vanquish the many that are possessed of every quality. you are without malice; I shall, therefore, tell you means, O king. The Rishi Narada knows it, as also both Bhishma and Drona. Referring to this means, the Lord Bramha himself in days of old on the occasion of the battle between the Gods and the Asuras said unto Indra and the other celestials.--They that are desirous of victory do not conquer by might and energy so much as by truth, compassion, righteousness and energy. Discriminating then between righteousness, and unrighteousness, and understanding what is meant by covetousness and having recourse to exertion fight without arrogance, for victory is there where righteousness is.--For this know, O king, that to us victory is certain in (this) battle. Indeed, as Narada said,--There is victory where Krishna is.--Victory is inherent to Krishna. Indeed, it follows Madhava. And as victory is one of its attributes, so humility is his another attribute. Govinda is possessed of energy that is infinite. Even in the midst of immeasurable foes he is without pain. He is the most eternal of male beings. And there victory is where Krishna is. Even he, indestructible and of weapons incapable of being baffled, appearing as Hari in olden days, said in a loud voice unto the Gods and the Asuras,--Who amongst you would be victorious?--Even the conquered who said.--With Krishna in the front we will conquer. --And it was through Hari's grace that the three worlds were obtained by the mighty Indra. I do not, therefore, behold the slightest cause of sorrow for you, that has the Sovereign of the Universe and the Lord himself of the celestials for wishing victory to yourself."

king Yudhishthira, disposing his own troops in counter array against the divisions of Bhishma, urged them on, saying,--'The Pandavas have now disposed their forces in counter array agreeably to what is laid down (in the scriptures). O sinless ones, fight fairly, desirous of (entering) the highest heaven'.--In the centre (of the Pandava army) was Sikhandin and his troops, protected by Arjuna. And Dhristadyumna moved in the van, protected by Bhima. The southern division (of the Pandava army) was protected. O king, by that mighty bowman, the handsome Yuyudhana, that foremost combatant of the Satwata race, resembling Indra himself. Yudhisthira was stationed on a car that was worthy of bearing the king of heaven himself, adorned with an excellent standard, variegated with gold and gems, and furnished with golden traces (for the steeds), in the midst of his elephant divisions. His pure white umbrella with ivory handle, raised over his head, looked exceedingly beautiful; and many great Rishis walked around the king uttering words in his praise. And many priests, and regenerate Rishis and Siddhas, uttering hymns in his praise wished him, as they walked around, the destructions of his enemies, by the aid of Japas, and Mantras, efficacious drugs, and diverse propitiatory ceremonies. That high-souled chief of the Pandavas, then giving away unto the Brahmanas kine and fruits and flowers and golden coins along with cloths proceeded like the mighty Indra, the chief of the celestials. The car of Arjuna, furnished with a hundred bells, decked with Jamvunada gold of the best kind, endued with excellent wheels, possessed of the effulgence of fire, and unto which were yoked white ghandarva steeds, looked exceedingly brilliant like a thousand suns. And on that ape-bannered car the reins of which were held by Kesava, stood Arjuna with Gandiva and arrows in hand--a bowman whose peer exists not on earth, nor ever will.

For crushing the Kuru troops he who assumes the most awful form,--who, divested of weapons, with only his bare hands, pounds to dust men, horses, and elephants,--that strong-armed Bhimasena, otherwise called Vrikodara, accompanied by the twins, became the protector of the heroic car-warriors (of the Pandava) army. Like unto a furious prince of lions of sportive gait, or like the great Indra himself with (earthly) body on the Earth, beholding that invincible Vrikodara, like unto a proud leader of an elephantine herd, stationed in the van (of the army), the warriors on thy side, their strength weakened by fear, began to tremble like elephants sunk in mire.