Thursday, 21 June 2012

The eighteenth day of war! Mahabharata 162

Shalya leaves the battle ground with Karna's body, while pandavas celebrate the death of Karna, with shouts of victory, blow the conch and beat the drums. Duryodhana leads the despondent karuavas back to the camp. Shalya praises Karna and consoles Duryodhana, 'Fate is helping pandavas and destiny is against us, what can we do?'

Arjuna prostrates before Yudhisthira and his brother lifts him up and embraces him. Brothers congratulate each other and embrace. Krishna tells Yudhisthira, 'With Karna's death, we can take it that kauravas and the kings supporting them are also gone! While it would not have been possible to kill Karna, even if the three worlds were fighting him, he is dead because of your anger.'

Yudhisthira replies, 'Govinda, it is because of  your calmness, kindness that we were able to defeat the great and very successful warrior Karna. I am able to sleep well and without worries tonight because of this.' Krishna says, 'Yudhisthira, I am only a means to your happiness.  Bheema, Arjuna and the rest of your heroic brothers, Dhristadhyumna and many other relatives and friends are the real reasons for your happiness. You will always enjoy my trust and confidence.'  

After Karna dies Kripaacharya suggests a truce with pandavas. But Duryodhana does not agree. He decides to continue with the war and appoints Shalya as his army commander. The next day  Shalya chooses the सर्वतोभद्र (safe from all directions!) formation. Shalya occupies the front of the formation and Krithavarma is on the left and Krupa on the right. Ashwatthama is at the back. Duryodhana is in the middle!

On Krishna's advice, Yudhisthira takes command of the army and faces Shalya. They decide that Arjuna will face Krithavarma and Bheema takes on Krupa. It is the eighteenth day of the war and the last day! The day starts with Nakula killing, Chitrasena, Susharma and Satyasena, children of Karna. Bheema, Satyaki, Nakula and Sahadeva converge on Shalya from four sides to help Yudhisthira and begin shooting arrows. Yudhisthira invokes Shaktayuda and uses it against Shalya. Blood spurts out from Shalya's eyes, ears, nose and mouth and Shalya falls off from his chariot and dies.

Seeing that their commander is dead, Kaurava soldiers disperse, running in all directions. Duryodhana stops them, takes over and giving them encouragement begins to fight. But the bravery of Arjuna nullifies this effort. Satyaki kills Salva and defeats Krithavarma.  Dhristadhymna defeats Duryodhna and runs him out of the battle field. As he goes out of sight, Krupa, Krithavarma and Ashwatthama go looking for Duryodhana.

Dhrishtadhyumna later starts demolishing the remaining karurava army. Bheema seeks out the surviving younger brothers of Duryodhana and beats them all to death. Sahadeva kills Shakuni and Ulaka. After Shakuni's fall, the soldiers helping him attack Sahadeva. Bheema and Arjuna go to help,  defeats and kills them all. Kaurava army is practically destroyed on that day. Duryodhana reappears and collects the remaining soldiers and orders them to kill Dhristadhyumna. They obey, but are  killed in no time. Thus kaurava eleven akshohini army, thousands of kings all die and only Duryodhana remains.

Duryodhana looks around and sees total emptiness, there is no one to fight along with him. He sees the pandavas celebrating all round. He looses his confidence. In just a few days, a man who had eleven akshohini army, now has nothing. There is no one to accompany him, there are no chariots, even his horse is dead. Duryodhana lifts up his mace and starts walking towards east. He nears a tank and applies his knowledge of जलस्तम्भ, enters the tank and hides in it.

1 comment:

Raghunath said...

This an example of exponential decay at the end of war. If you have read descriptions of the last stages of the II World War the state of the German army was similar. The only difference is that here the enemy is annhilated.

Look forward to the killing of Duryodhana by Bheema and the night attack by Ashwatthama.