The day before the war Duryodhana talks to his commanders about the need to protect Bheeshma and ensure that he is not killed, as he alone is capable of destroying the pandava army. They must aim to kill Shikandi as Bheeshma will not fight him. Accordingly the next day, as Bheeshma leads the army, he is surrounded by many valiant warriors in chariots who are not afraid of death, hundreds of thousands of soldiers and a large army of elephants to protect him.
Pandavas with a smaller army adopt a diamond formation and are lead by Dhristadhyumna along with Bheema, Nakula and Sahadeva. While Arjuna concentrates on protecting Bheeshma's enemy Shikandi.
Early in the morning as the armies face the sun and offer prayers to Surya, a loud thunder is heard and there is lightening, even though the sky is cloudless. There is a strong wind; hailstorm; dust rises and it becomes dark. The earth shakes and cracks appear. As a dull sun appears over the horizon, a screeching meteor strikes the rising sun.
Duryodhana looks at the pandava sena in formation and worried, goes to Dronacharya and requests, 'Acharya, we have with us, like you, many brave men ready to die, even then I feel we do not have enough strength. Please take extra care to protect Bheeshma.'
Soon Bheeshma's conch is heard and the other warriors blow on their own conch. In reply pandavas, Arjuna and Krishna sound theirs. The sound fills the sky and creates a tremor in kauravs heart. Arjuna expresss a wish to see both the armies and Krishna brings the chariot to the center.