Ugrasravasa (Sooti) told Saint Sounaka and other sages and saints, the story of Maha Bharata in Naimisaaranya, as told by Saint Vaisampaayana to Janamejaya.

On hearing about the death of Saindhava, Dhritarashtra was very much frightened. He asked Sanjaya to narrate what had happened afterwards. Sanjaya told thus:

“O King Dhritarasthra! Beholding the death of Saindhava, Pandavas were joyous and jubilant. Their army entered the battle field with renewed vigour.

Asvathama and Kripacharya, under the influence of wrath, covered Arjuna with dense shower of arrows. Arjuna cut those arrows and again showered arrows on both of them. Kripacharya, afflicted with the arrows of Arjuna, lost consciousness. His charioteer drove the chariot out of the battle field. Asvathama also accompanied the chariot of Kripacharya.

Beholding that Kripacharya lost consciousness, afflicted with his arrows, Arjuna lamented for himself. Krishna consoled Arjuna thus: “O Arjuna! It is not possible even for Devendra, to fight with the mighty Kourava army. But you vanquished them single-handedly. Your vigour and valour is most appreciable. Besides that, you caused the death of Vridhakshatra by skilfully throwing the head of his son, Saindhava, on his lap. Now Karna alone remains. Karna is equipped with Sakti, the blazing dart, given by Indra. Karna is keeping that Sakti for your sake. Vanquish Karna and get eternal name and fame. Whatelse I desire, except your name and fame.” said Krishna.

“O Krishna! in this mission, nothing is done by me.I acted according to your tunes and got this victory. I am only instrumental. The entire credit goes to you. Without your blessings, I cannot do anything.” said Arjuna.

Krishna smiled. “Arjuna! Dharmaja is waiting for us. Let us go and meet Dharmaja” said Krishna. Arjuna and Krishna, accompanied by Bhimasena, Satyaki, Uttamouja proceeded towards Dharmaja.

It was sunset at that time. Both sides stopped war for that day and proceeded to their resepctive places of stay. Krishna blew Panchajanya. On hearing the sound of Panchajanya, Dharmaja came out of his residence and hugged Krishna and Arjuna and shed tears of joy.

“Arjuna! I never thought that you accomplish your promise and meet me again. With the blessings of Krishna only, we got out of this great trouble.” said Dharmaja.

“Dharmaja! The wrath you bear against Kouravas is the main reason for our victory. None can withstand such wrath of virtuous people like you.” said Krishna. Meanwhile Bhima and Satyaki arrived there and saluted Dharmaja. Dharmaja hugged both of them with great joy.

While Pandavas and their friends and relatives were in a joyous and jubilant mood, the Kouravas’ hearts were filled with great grief, mournig the death of Saindhava. Suyodhana was thinking for himself.
“If Arjuna is filled with anger, even the celestial bodies cannot vanquish him. Karna and Drona are no match to him. Today it is made clear as Drona and Karna could not save Saindhava from the wrath of Arjuna.Whatever are the efforts of Karna and Drona to save Saindhava, they proved themselves helpless and useless. Now, what should be done. Who is our saviour?” thought Suyodhana.

He proceeded towards the place of stay of Drona. “O Preceptor Drona! not only today, every day we are being defeated and Pandavas are gaining victory. Including several of my brothers, several Kourava warriors slain. At the hands of Sikhandi, Bhishma had fallen. We lost seven Akshouhini army. Today we lost Saindhava. Several kings who have come here to fight on my behalf, have lost their lives.

The only task remained before me is either to kill Dharmaja and his brothers and rule this entire earth or to die in the battle and attain Veera Svarga. If there is any third method, kindly tell me. I will follow. I know Arjuna is your dearest student. Hence you are not killing him, even though he is within your reach. In our army, the only warrior remained is Karna. He can fight to his might but he knows no skills in warfare and get victory. You have got such skills. But you are not helping us. Though, Karna tried his level best to save Saindhava, he could not. Having got the skill and capacity in abundance to save Saindhava, you did not. I do not know what to do.” said Suyodhana.

Drona was very much annoyed with his arrow-like words. “Suyodhana why you are speaking like that, paining my heart. As long as Krishna is by the side of Arjuna, none can vanquish him. Bhishma, who was incapable of being defeated even by Indra, was actually slain by Arjuna. Simply because I am fighting on your behalf, that does not mean that I can vanquish Arjuna. Just to avoid humilialtion at your hands, I am fighting with Arjuna.

By playing dice game, you played with the life of Arjuna. Those dice are playing with you in the form of powerful arrows. None can stop those arrows. Inspite of repeated rebukes by Vidura, all of you dragged their wife to the open assembly and insulted her.Those wicked acts will never go in waste. They will take revenge upon you and your men. On that day, in open assembly, yourself, Dussaasana, Karna and Sakuni, insulted Pandavas and their wife.

Suyodhana! inspite of all your wicked and wretched acts and insults, Pandavas kept quiet, abiding by the word of Dharmaja.They remained in forests for twelve years.They remained in exile for one year.With great humility, they earnestly requested for their due share in the kingdom. Without any compassion, you rejected their offer.

Inspite of all your wicked and wretched acts, I am fighting on your behalf. Can I be called as a virtuous Brahmin?

Suyodhana! I will ask you one thing. I was guarding the entrance of Sakata Vyooha and restraining Pandava army from entering into the Vyooha. Yourself, Karna and other great warriors were guarding Saindhaya. What were you doing? Why you did not protect him and save him from the wrath of Arjuna? Why you are not insulting your men with your arrow like words. Why you are questioning me like this? Are they related to you? Am I a stranger to you? In the course of war, Pandavas and their army were striking me with their sharp and powerful arrows. After the war, you are piercing me with your wordy shafts. Is it just and proper on your part.
Suyodhana! let us forget the past. Tomorrow, all of you fight with great prowess with Pandavas. I will massacre Panchala army. Instil confidence in our troops and make them to fight vigorously.You also exhibit your vigour and valour.

Suyodhana! Tomorrow I will not put off my armour without massacring the entire Panchala army. My son Avasthaama could not control himself if anything happens to me. You tell him these words as my last words. “O Asvathama! observe all the instructions you have received from your father. Be firm in acts of humility, in self-restraint, in truth and righteousness. Be devoted towards Brahins, respect elders and lead virtuous life. Asvathama! Kill all the Panchala troops, left by me. These are my last words.”

Suyodhana, kindly pass on these words to my son, Asvathaama. Leave me alone” said Drona in choked voice.

Suyodhana patiently heard all these words and remained silent. Suyodhana returned back to Karna.

“Karna! have you heard the words of our preceptor, Drona. Though he arrayed our troops in the form of an Sakata Vyooha which cannot be entered by our enemy without his consent, Drona let off Arjuna, Satyaki and Bheema into the vyooha without any resistance. I doubt that Drona is not in our favour and he is causing harmto us. How can Arjuna, single-handedly, enter Sakata vyooha and kill those warriors whom we kept to protect Saindhava. That means, Drona could not resist Arjuna and stop him from killing Saindhava. How can we believe it?

Because Drona promised us that he will save Saindhava, we brought him to the battle field. Otherwise, he would have taken shelter somewhere else. We would not have lost so much of army for the sake of Saindhava. Karna! Drona likes more Arjuna than me.What can I do? How far it is safe to fight with Pandavas, trusting Drona?” said Suyodhana.

Karna heard those words with patience. “O King Suyodhana! Why should we blame Drona? Drona is fighting according to his might. But he could not kill Arjuna. We also tried several times, in several ways, since their child hood, to kill Pandavas. But we could not. It is nothing but fate. Fate, however, baffled all our exertions. Success depends on fate. Arjuna is unconquerable. But we should not loose courage. We have to fight without sparing any efforts and leave the result to Almighty. We have done what all we can do to save Saindhava. Why should we feel for his death?” said Karna.

Armies on both sides were ready for war. The war began. Filled with great wrath at the slaughter of Saindhava, and resolved to lay down his own life, Suyodhana penetrated into Pandava army and was fighting with them. He shot ten arrows against Bhimasena, three arrows against Nakula, one hundred arrows against Sikhandi, seventy arrows against Dhrushtadyumna, five arrows each against Dharmaja and Satyaki, 60 arrows against Ghatotkacha, innumerable arrows against Kekaya Kings .

Dharmaja was also enraged with wrath. He cut the bow of Suyodhana and shot arrows against Suyodhana, as a result of which Suyodhana lost consciousness and fell on the chariot. A wild rumour was spread that Suyodhana was killed byDharmaja. Panadava troops blew their conches and the noise of trumpets and horns rose to the sky.

Beholding this, Drona attacked Pandava troops and began to massacre them. Meanwhile, Suyodhana regained consciousness. He again rushed against Dharmaja. With renewed vigour, Kourava troops attacked Pandava troops .There was a fiercest battle between them.

Pandavas, Satyaki, yadava kings, King Drupada, King Virata, sons of Droupadi (upa pandavas) joined together and attacked Drona and covered him with arrowy showers. Blood was flowing into canals. Drona killed so many Kekaya warriors and the sons of Dhrushtadyuman.

King Sibi attacked Drona and killed the charioteer of Drona and shot 30 steep arrows against Drona. Drona was enraged with great wrath. With six Bhalla arrows, Drona killed the horses and charioteer of King Sibi and with another arrow, Drona cut the head of King Sibi.

Meanwhile, the son of Bhanumanta opposed Bhimasena in battle and covered Bhimasena with showers of shafts. Bhimasena dashed the chariot of son of Bhanumantha, with his chariot. Bhimasena jumped on to the chariot of son of Bhanumanta and kicked him with his leg and delivered a heavy blow on his head. With that blow, son of Bhanumanta died.

The troops of Panchala roared like lions. Dhruva and Jayaratha, brothers of King Kalinga, opposed Bhimasena. Bhimasena jumed on to the chariot of Dhruva and kicked him with hands and legs and killed him. Then he jumed on the chariot of Jayaratha and also killed him.

Karna launched Sakti on Bhimasena. Bhimasena caught that Sakti with his hand and threw it against Karna. Sakuni cut that Sakti with his Bhalla arrow.

Meanwhile your sons Durmada and Dushkarma surrounded Bhimasena. Bhimasena jumped on the chariot of Durmada and killed his charioteer. Durmada jumped upon the chariot of his brother, Dushkarma. Both of them showered arrows on Bhimasena and broke the chariot of Bhimasena. Bhimasena kicked away his chariot and mounted the chariot of Dushkarma. Bhimasena kicked Durmada and Dushkarma with hands and legs and made them as balls of flesh.

Beholding the fate of his brothers, Suyodhana could not attack Bhimasena. None in the Kourava army could stand before Bhimasena. Then Drona attacked Bhimasena. Karna and others were helping Drona. All of them surrounded Bhima sena and covered him with showers of steep shafts. Dharmaja, Nakula, Sahadeva, Drupada, Virata, Satyaki were fighting with Drona along with Bhimasena.

Somadatta accosted Satyaki: “O Satyaki! stand there. Is it a heroic deed to kill un-armed--Bhoorisravasa! Is it a virtue, fit for Kshatriya! Now you are killed at my hands.” so saying Somadatta rushed against Satyaki.

“Somadatta! It may or may not be a virtuous deed to kill unarmed Bhoorisravasa. By killing you now, I will prove what would be a virtuous deed fit for Kshatriya.” said Satyaki.

Meanwhile, Suyodhana, along with his troops, stood by the side of Somadatta. Beholding that Satyaki was fighting alone, Dhrishtadyumna, along with his mighty army, joined Saltyaki. Somadatta shot nine most power ful arrows against Satyaki. Satyaki shot nine arrows against Somadatta. Somadatta fell unconscious. The charioteer of Somadatta drove away the chariot out of the battle field.
Meanwhile, Ghatotkacha attacked Asvathama along with his Rakshasa army. Being frightened, Suyodhana and Karna skulked away from that place. It was evening time. At that time, Rakshasas gain power and strength. Hence, most power ful warriors in Kourava army could not stand before Ghatotkacha. Asvathama alone could withstand the wrath of Ghatotkacha and was fighting with him.

Asvathama shot most powerful arrows aiming at the chest of Ghatotkacha. Ghatotkacha launched Chakrayudha ( disc like weapon) against Asvathama. Asvathama cut that Chakrayudha in the middle.

Anjanaparva son of Ghatotkacha, opposed Asvathama in battle and covered him with showers of shafts. Asvathama cut the bow of Anjanaparva and broke his chariot. Anjanaparva took his long sword and jumed upon Asvathama. Asvathama broke that sword. That Rakshasa warrior rose to the sky and showered arrows on him. Asvathama broke those arrows into pieces. In retaliation, Asvathama pierced most sharp arrows through his entire body. Unable to bear that pain, Anjanaparva came down and mounted his chariot and shot most powerful arrows on Asvathama. Asvathama,with one sharp arrow, cut the head of Anjanaparva son of Ghatotkacha.

Asvathama started to massacre the Pandava army mercilissly. Beholding the death of his son, Ghatotkacha was enraged with wrath. He attacked Asvathama with his Asuric illusions and miracles. Asvathama retaliated those illusions and beat Ghatotkacha with Vajrasthra. Ghatotkacha transformed into a huge cloud. Asvathama launched Vayavyaastra and scattered that cloud. Then Ghatotkacha transformed into a monster with huge body. His companions also transformed into such monsters with huge bodies and were massacring the troops of Suyodhana. Suyodhana was very much distressed. Suyodhana was about to attack Ghatotkacha himself.

Asvathama stopped him and said: “O King Suyodhana! Are you required to fight with this Asura. I am here to attack Ghatotkacha.” said Asvathama and attacked Ghatotkacha.

Suyodhana told Sakuni: “Uncle Sakuni! Feel no fear. Asvathama will kill Ghatotkacha and his army. Proclaim that we are victorious. Uncle! yourself, Kripacharya and Karna and other warriors will help Asvathama in this mission .” said Suyodhana.
Sakuni, Karna and Kripacharya along with their respective troops, proceeded to help Asvathama.

Ghatotkacha broke the bow of Asvathama. Asvathama took up another bow and massacred the Rakshasa troops in a moment. In this manner, while Asvathama was massacring the troops of Ghatotkacha, Pandava warriors were in perplexed position. They were unable to oppose Asvathama. Ghatotkacha hurled one Parigha weapon against Asvathama. Asvatha caught that weapon and again threw it upon Ghatotkacha. To ward off that blow, Ghatotkacha jumed upon the chariot of Dhrushtadyumna. Ghatotkacha and Dhrushtadyumna were fighting together from one chariot.

Meanwhile Bhimasena along with his troops joined them. Asvathama was showering shafts on all those three warriors. The entire battle field was filled with dead bodies of troops on both sides. The dead bodies of horses and elephants were seen everywhere. Blood was flowing in streams. Broken chariots are heaped up everywhere. In that manner, Asvathama massacred one Akshouhini army on single day.

Beholding this, the sons of Drupada, viz., Suradha, Satrunjaya, Balaaneeka, Prushadhrudha, Jayaaneeka, Jaya, and Chandrasena rushed against Asvathama and showered steep shafts upon him. In the next moment, Asvathama consigned all of them to the abode of Yama by cutting their heads with sharp shafts.

Asvathama shot one most powerful arrow upon Ghatotkacha. Ghatotkacha fell down on his chariot and lost consciousness. Asvathama roared like a lion. After regaining consciousness, Ghatotkacha again attacked Asvathama. All the Pandava troops, under the leadership of Dharmaja, arrayed into a vyooha and surrounded Asvathama. Beholding this, all the Kourava troops keeping Somadatta and Bahlima in their forefront, began to fight with Pandava troops.

Satyaki struck Somadatta with one sharp edged shaft. Ghatotkacha beat Somadatta with Mudgara. As a result of those blows, Somadatta fainted. Somadatta’s father, Bahlika was also beaten by Bhima with sharp edged weapons. Bahlika launched Sakti weapon on Bhimasena, as a result, Bhimasena lost consciousness but regained consciousness in no time. Bhimasena broke the head of Bahlika with Mudgara. Bahlika died instantaneously.

Beholding the death of Bahlika, Ten brothers of Suyodhana (your sons) surrounded Bhimasena. Bhimasena killed all of them with ten sharp edged arrows. Looking at this, Vrikaradha, brother of Karna, rushed against Bhima. Having allowed him to come within his reach, Bhimasena delivered a blow on his head, as a result, Vrikaradha died ont he spot.

Meanwhile, brothers of Sakuni, numbering 12, attacked Bhimasena and they were all killed by Bhimasena in the next moment. Any warrior who faced Bhimasena was not allowed to live in the next moment. That was the prowess of Bhimasena.

Beholding this, the forces of Kingdoms of Trigartha, Soorasena, Vasati, Malava, Bahlika surrounded Bhimasena from all sides. Dharmaja came to the rescue of Bhimasena. Dharmaja, Bhimasena together began to massacre the Kourava army. Kourava forces were diminishing hour to hour.

Suyodhana rushed to Drona and told him about the massacre done by Bhimasena. Immediately Drona rushed to that spot and attacked Dharmaja and lunched all divine astras on Dharmaja. But Dharmaja broke them into pieces. Drona launched Indra Astra on Dharmaja. Dharmaja also launched the same Astra. Both of them were neutralized. When Drona launched Brahma Astra, Dharmaja also launched Brahma Astra. Both of them hit one against the other and fell down.

Meanwhile, Dhrushtadyumna attacked Drona. But Drona ignored Dhrushtadyumna and turned towards Panchala Army and drove them away. Beholding this, Bhima and Arjuna attacked Drona. At the same time, troops of Matsya, Kekaya surrounded Kourava army. All of them were chasing Kourava army.

Suyodhana approached Karna and requested him to exbibit his prowess.

“Suyodhana! After all, Arjuna and Bhimasena are nothing before me. I myself will kill them in a moment and make you to feel happy.” said Karna.

Kripacharya overheard their conversation. Kripacharya told Karna: “Karna! Well said Karna. I suppose you will kill Pandavas and perform the coronation ceremony of Suyodhana today itself. But, At the time of Ghosha Yatra and Uttara Gograhana, where have you hidden this prowess, vigour and valour. Karna, boasting yourself is not desired. Show your prowess in battle. I have never seen you fighting with Arjuna, or for that matter, any of the Pandavas. Without fighting with Pandavas, how can you vanquish them. You know pretty well how many times we were defeated at the hands of Arjuna. Now Arjuna is not alone. He is supported by Dharmaja, Bhimasena, Ghatotkacha, leave alone Satyaki. Can you alone vanquish all these heroes? Think for yourself!” said Kripacharya.

Karna’s heart was filled with haughty. “Kripacharya! I will never fail in discharging my promise. I will stand by my word. I will certainly vanquish all Pandavas. But, except praising our enemy, you are doing nothing. You are always discouraging our warriors and their troops. Do you mean to say that Pandavas are only the warriors on the earth. What about myself, Drona, Asvathama, Salya and other Atiradha and Maharadhas on our side. You are making them hostile with your words. Why? I tolerated you all the while, because you are Brahmin. If you speak one more word, I will cut your tongue into pieces. Take care!” cautioned Karna.

Kripacharya was no other than the maternal uncle of Asvathama. (Mother of Asvathama is the own sister of Kripacharya.) On hearing the ill-spoken words of Karna, Asvathama was enraged with wrath. He took out a knife and rushed against Karna to kill him. Suyodhana tried to pacify him. Kripacharya also stopped Asvathama and pulled him back.

“Asvathama! Be peaceful. Wrath will not workout alwlays.” said Kripacharya.

“Asvathama! The only task before us is to vanquish the enemy and be triumph. Therefore, we have to strive hard for victory on our enemy but not fighting among ourselves. I am seeking apology on behalf of Karna. I request you all to kindly pardon Karna.” requested Suyodhana.

With these words, Asvathama remained peaceful and entered the battle field. Karna also was ready to fight. Beholding Karna entering the battle field, all the kings fighting on behalf of Pandavas shouted: “Karna is the root cause for all the woes of Pandavas. Surround him. Kill him.” So shouting, all of them surrounded Karna at a time. Karna also was fiercely massacring Pandava army.

Arjuna attacked Karna and shot 30 powerful arrows against him. The bow slipped from his hand. Karna picked up another bow and poured arrowyshowers upon him. Only with one arrow, Arjuna broke the bow of Karna and killed the charioteer and horses and pierced the body of Karna with sharp edged arrows. Karna shamelessly jumped on the chariot of Kripacharya and took shelter. The charioteer drove away the chariot from that place.In this manner, Karna fled away from the battle field.

Beholding this, the Kourava army was fleeing away. Suyodhana was trying to stop them but in vain. He himself rushed against Arjuna. Observing this situation, Kripacharya approached Asvathama. “Asvathama! Suyodhana was rushing against Arjuna, without knowing his own strength. Suyodhana will certainly be defeated by Arjuna. We have to save Suyodhana. Kindly proceed towards Suyodhana and save him.” said Kripacharya.

Accordingly, Asvathaama rushed towards Suyodhana and stopped him: “Suyodhana! Why you take this much of trouble. I am here. I will fight with Arjuna. You go back” said Asvathama.

. “O son of my preceptor! Yourself and your father always regard Arjuna with more affection than us. Both of you will never fight against Arjuna wholeheartedly and kill him. So far, I lost most of my brothers and army. I request you not to look at Pandavas and their army. I will fight with them. You fight with other army belonging to their allys.” said Suyodhana.

“Suyodhana! No doubt, myself and my father got highest regard and affection towards Arjuna. But once we enter battle field, there is no place for relations, friends, affections etc. Many a time you have seen me and my father fighting with Arjuna and other Pandavas. We never spare any of our efforts. You never believe us. You never believe anybody. You never believe even yourself. Leave it. I am rushing against enemy troops and drive away Dhrushtadyumna and their army.” so saying Asvathama entered the Pandava army.

Beholding this, the troops of Kekaya, Panchala surrounded Asvathama. Asvathama covered them with showers of arrows. Unable to withhold the prowess of Asvathama, Panchala troops fled away.

Dhrishtadyumna opposed Asvathama. “O Asvathama! doyou know who am I? I was born with the avowed object of killing Drona, your father. I will kill your father and you also.” so shouting Dhrushtadyumna fell upon Asvathama.

“Come on Dhrushtadyumna! So far I have been waiting for your arrival. Today you are caught in my clutches.I will dispatch you to the abode of Yama.” shouted Asvathama.

“Oh. Is it. First I will kill you and then cut your father’s head.” so saying Dhrushtadyumna shot numerous arrows upon Asvathama. Asvathama cut the flag post of Dhrushtadyumna and killed his charioteer and horses. Asvathama also killed 100 body guards of Dhrushtadyumna and his wheel protectors and roared like a lion.

Beholding this, Suyodhana was very happy. None in Pandava army was dare enough to stand before Asvathama. Panchala army was scattered. Dharmaja and Bhimasena along with their respective troops rushed to that spot to help Dhrishtadyumna. Arjuna with his sharp edged arrows massacred the troops of Magadha, Madra and Vanga kingdoms. Bhima was massacring the troops of Ambashta and Sibi kingdoms.

Beholding this, Drona could not control his anger. He launched Vavyaastra on Pandava army, with the influence of which, Pandava troops were scattered like dries leaves. Arjuna and Bhimasena attacked Drona from both sides and poured arrowy showers upon him. Unperturbed Drona was chasing Pandava troops. Suyodhana joined Drona. Somadatta also attacked Pandava Army.

Somadatta with only one arrow cut the bow of Satyaki and pierced 35 sharp arrows into his body. Satyaki took up anotherbow and cut the flag of Somadatta and broke his bow. Somadatta tookup another bow. Bhimasena attacked Somadatta. Ghatotkacha hurled Paridha upon Somadatta. Somadatta cut that Parigha into two pieces. Satyaki killed the charioteer and horses of Somadatta.With another arrow he cut the head of Somadatta.

Beholding the death of Somadatta, Kourava troops rushed against Satyaki at a time. Dharmaja came there and replaced Satyaki. Satyaki skulked away. Dharmaja was fighting with Drona. Drona cut the bow and flag of Dharmaja. Drona shot numerous sharp arrows piercing the entire body of Dharmaja. Dharmaja was enraged with great wrath. He took another bow and pierced sharp edged arrows into the body of Drona. Drona fainted and fell on his chariot.

After regaining consciousness, Drona launched Vavya Astra on Pandava army. Dharmaja also launched Vavya astra and neutralized it. Beholding this Krishna came near Dharmaja. “O Dharmaja! Have you forgotten the promise of Drona to catch you alive. Knowing fully well about that promise, why you are taking risk? Go away from that place.” shouted Krishna. As per the advice of Krishna, Dharmaja went away.

Drona was fighting with Panchala Army. Dharmaja joined Bhimasena. Dharmaja, Bhimasena, Dhrushtadyumna and Satyaki were jointly massacring Kourava troops. Kripacharya, Karna and Drona opposed Dharmaja, Bhima, Dhrushtadyumna and Satyaki. There was a dreadful battle between those mighty warriors. The dust rose to the sky covered even the sun. Darkness plunged in everywhere. One could not see the other.

On the spot, Drona arrayed a Vyooha and stood at the forefront of that Vyooha. On either side of the vyooha stood Asvathama and Salya. In the middle, Sakuni stood. Suyodhana was going round the vyooha. Suyodhana ordered to lit torches. On the spot, torches were supplied to all the warriors. Five torches for each chariot, three toches for each elephant, one torch for each horse. In the forefront of vyooha, all the soldiers stood holding torches.

Likewise, Pandava troops also were holding equal number of torches for each chariot, elephant, horse etc. Suyodhana gave directions to his brothers.
“You should see that Dhrushtadyumna should not approach Drona at any point of time. Drona will fight with others except Dhrushtadyumna. Karna will first kill Dhrushtadyumna and then vanquish Arjuna. I will fight with Bhima and kill him.” said Suyodhana and waved his hand giving signal to his troops to charge against Pandava troops.

When Dharamaja was about to attack Drona, Kritavarma intervened. Dharmaja was fighting with Kritavarma. Satyaki with King Bhoori, Sahadeva with Karna, Bhima with Suyodhana, Nakula with Sakuni, Sikhandi with Kripacharya, Prativindhya with Dussaasana, Ghatotkacha with Asvathaama, Drupada with Vrishasena, King Virata with Salya, Sataaneeka with Chitrasena, Arjuna with Asura warrior Alambasa, were fighting in the battle.

All the Kourava warriors were guarding Drona while fighting with others. While the great warriors in Pandava army were about to rush towards Drona, Kourava warriors were trying to restrain them from proceeding towards Drona. Drona was fighting with Somaka army and massacred them.

At that time, Dhrushtadyumna rushed against Drona. There was a fiercest fight between them. Kritavarma cut the bow of Dharmaja. Dharmaja picked up another bow and cut the bow of Kritavarma. Immediately Dharmaja launched Sakti upon Kritavarma. That Sakti cut the fore hand of Kritavarma. Kritavarma picked up another bow and killed the charioteer and horses of Dharmaja and cut his bow. Dharmaja hurled one Tomara against Kritavarma who broke that Tomara into pieces. Kritavarma shot another arrow penetrating into the armour of Dharmaja. Unable to fight with Kritavarma, Dharmaja left that spot.

Satyaki was fighting with King Bhoori of Kuru dynasty. Satyaki cut his bow. King Bhoori picked up another bow and cut the bow of Satyaki into pieces. Satyaki launched Sakti upon King Bhoori which cut the head of King Bhoori.

Beholding the death of King Bhoori, Asvathama attacked Satyaki. Meanwhile, Ghatotkacha rushed against Asvathama and hit him with ten sharp arrows. Asvathama fainted and fell on his chariot but immediately recovered. Asvathama shot numerous arrows hitting the chest of Ghatotkacha. Ghatotkacha also fainted. The charioteer of Ghatotkacha drove his chariot out of the battle field.

At another front, Suyodhana and Bhima were fighting with each other. Bhimasena cut the bow of Suyodhana into pieces and cut his flag also. Bhimasena shot numerous arrows piercing into his body. Suyodhana took up another bow and cut the bow of Bhimasena. Bhimasena picked up another bow and shot seven sharp arrows against Suyodhana and injured him. He also cut the bow of Suyodhana. While Suyodhana picked up another bow, Bhimasena cut that bow also. In that manner, Bhimasens cut four bows picked up by Suyodhana. Bhimasena killed the horses and the charioteer of Suyodhana. Suyodhana was very much frightened. Suyodhana skulked away from that spot. Bhimasena roared like a lion.
As Suyodhana was not seen in the battle field, Kourava troops thought that he was killed by Bhimasena. Jubilant atmosphere prevailed in Pandava troops. Meanwhile, Suyodhana arrived there on another chariot. Kourava forces had a sigh of relief.

At another front, Karna and Sahadeva were fighting with each other. Sahadeva shot Karna with nine arrows. Karna shot 100 arrows throughout the body of Sahadeva. Sahadeva took up another bow. Karna killed the charioteer and horses of Sahadeva. Sahadeva picked up a long sword and shield which were cut into pieces by Karna. Sahadeva hurled a mace against Karna which was cut by Karna into two pieces. Sahadeva launched Sakti weapon upon Karna which was cut into fragments by Karna. As a last resort, Sahadeva picked up a chariot wheel and hurled it upon Karna. Karna broke it out. Unable to fight with Karna, Sahadeva tried to skulk away from battle field.

Karna chased Sahadeva and caught him . Karna was about to cut the head of Sahadeva. At that juncture, he remembered the word given to his mother Kunti, that he will not kill any of her sons except Arjuna, even if they are within his reach. Hence he let off Sahadeva without killing him. But Karna insulted him saying: “O Sahadeva! You better fight with your enemy only after knowing your strength and the enemy strength. It is foolish to fight with an enemy who is more stronger than you. Dont repeat this hereinafter. You can go.” said Karna. Suffering with such an insult, Sahadeva got into another chariot and left that place.

At another front, King Virata was fighting with Salya. Salya killed the horses tied to the chariot of King Virata. King Virata showered arrows on Salya. Sataaneeka, brother of Virata arrived there to help Virata. Virata climbed the chariot of Sataaneeka. Both were fighting with Salya. Salya killed Sataaneeka with a sharp edged arrow. Beholding the death of his brother, Virata frightened but attacked Salya gathering some courage. Salya, shot numerous sharp edged arrows against Virata, as a result, Virata lost consciousness. The charioteer of Virata drove away the chariot out of the field. The Matsya troops tried to flee. Beholding this, Arjuna came to that spot and stopped Matsya troops from fleeing.

Meanwhile, the Asura King, Alambasa, attacked Arjuna. Arjuna cut the bow of Alambasa and destoryed his flag. Arjuna killed the horses. Alambas picked up a sword and attacked Arjuna. Arjuna broke that sword into pieces. With four sharp arrows, Arjuna hit Alambasa. Unable to stand before Arjuna, Alambas ran away.

In another front, Sataaneeka, son of Nakula, was fighting with Chitrasena brother of Suyodhana. Sataaneeka broke the armour of Chitasena and cut his bow and flag post. Chitrasena picked up another bow and shot numerous arrows on Sataaneeka. But Sataaneeka killed the horses and also the charioteer of Chitrasena. Chitrasena shot 25 sharp edged arrows piercing the body of Sataaneeka. Sataaneeka again broke the bow of Chitrasena and broke his chariot. Chitrasena jumped down from his chariot and mounted the chariot of Hardikya and ran away.

On another side, King Drupada was fighting with Vrishasena, son of Karna. Vrishasena gained upper hand upon Drupada. Beholding the helplessness of Drupada, Panchala troops stood in front of Drupada and were fighting with Vrishasena. But they could not withstand the arrowy showers poured by Vrishasena. Panchala troops fled away.

Dharmaja’s son, Prativindhya was fighting with Dussaasana. Dussaasana cut the flag post and the bow of Prativindhya and killed the horses and the charioteer. Meanwhile, brothers of Prativindhya joined and attacked Dussaasana. Prativindhya got into the chariot of Srutasena son of Bhimasena.Prativindhya picked up another bow and was fighting with Dussaasana.

Nakula was fighting with Sakuni. Sakuni hit Nakula with a sharp-edged arrow. Nakula fainted and fell on his chariot but regained consciousness immediately. Nakula cut the bow, flagpost of Sakuni and also shot numerous arrows piercing through the body of Sakuni. Sakuni fainted. His charioteer drove the chariot out of the field.

Kripacharya was fighting with Sikhandi. Sikhandi broke the bow of Kripacharya. Kripacharya picked up another bow and launched a powerful Sakti on Sikhandi. Sikhandi with another Sakti neutralized it. Kripacharya with another powerful shaft hit Sikhandi. Sikhandi lost consciousness. With a view to kill Sikhandi, Kripacharya was about to release another powerful arrow . Meanwhile panchala warriors intervened and began to fight with Kripacharya. Sikhandi was saved.

` On that day, in the light of torches, the war was going on. Dhrishtadyumna shot five arrows against Drona. Drona cut the bow of Dhrishtadyumna. Dhrishtadyumna picked up another bow and launched Agneyastra. Karna intervened and cut that Agneyastra. Meanwhile, Suyodhana, Dussaasana and Salya arrived there. Dhrishtradyumna alone was fighting with all those warriors.

Drumasena opposed Karna. With only one arrow, Karna killed Drumasena. Dhrishtadyumna was enraged with wrath. He cut the bow of Karna. Karna picked up another bow. Meanwhile Satyaki intervened and attacked Karna. While Satyaki and Karna were fighting with each other, Vrishasena, son of Karna, intervened and attacked Satyaki. Satyaki with only one arrow hit Vrishasena, as a result of which he fainted. Karna thought that his son was dead. Enraged with wrath, Karna covered Satyaki with arrowy showers. Meanwhile Vrishasena regained consciousness. Along with his father, Karna, Vrishasena was fighting with Saltyaki.

Arjuna blew his conche Devadatta. On hearing that sound Kanra told Suyodhana thus: “Siyodhana! Arjuna is arriving here. If we are able to restrain Arjuna from joining Satyaki, we can kill Satyaki here. Do you agree for this? If we do like this, we can kill Satyaki as we killed Abhimanyu. This will be first step for our glorious victory. On hearing that Saltyaki is killed, in the next moment Arjuna will come here. Hence, we should see that Arjuna shall not have knowledge about the death of Satyaki. Therefore, send some warriors to restrain Arjuna.” said Karna.

Suyodhana agreed for the proposal of Karna. Suyodhana asked Sakuni: “Uncle Sakuni! Along with 10,000 elephant force and 10,000 chariots, you oppose Arjuna and restrain him from proceeding this side. My brothers Dussasana, Subahu, Dushpradarshana, Durvishahu will accompany you.” said Suyodhana. Acccordingly, Sakuni along with his nephews proceeded towards Arjuna.

Karna was fighting with Saltyaki. But kourava troops could not stand before Satyaki. Suyodhana rushed against Satyaki and was fighting with Satyaki. Saltyaki killed the charioteer and the horses of Suyodhana and cut his bow. Suyodhana jumed down and boarded another chariot. Beholding the defeat of Suyodhana, Kourava troops ran away.

Sakuni was fighting with Arjuna.Ulooka, son of Sakuni also was fighting with Arjuna along with his father. Ulooka showered arrows on Arjuna and Krishna. First Arjuna killed the charioteer and the horses of Sakuni. Then he cut the bow and chariot of Sakuni. Sakuni boarded the chariot of his son, Ulooka and again fought with Arjuna. But he could nto resist the arrowy showers released from Gaandeeva. The forces accompanied Sakuni fled away. Sakuni and his son remained helpless.

At another front, Dhrushtadyumna was fighting with Dronacharya. Dhrishtadyumna cut the bow of Drona. Drona picked up another bow and shot powerful shafts against Dhrushtadyumna. In this manner, Satyaki, Arjuna and Dhrushtadyumna were massacring the Kourava troops. Kourava troops fled away. Arjuna, Krishna blew Devadatta and Panchajanya respectively.

Beholding this, Karna was enraged with wrath. He was massacring Pandava troops. Dharmaja told Arjuna: “Arjuna! look at Karna. He is mercilessly killing our troops. He is shining like a midday sun in this mid night. If we keep quiet, he will vanquish the entire Pandava army during this night. Restrain him first.” said Dharmaja.

“Krishna! my brother Dharamaja is frightening beholding the fate of our troops. Karna and Drona are chasing our forces. I will first attack Karna. Then I will think about Drona. Drive our chariot against Karna” said Arjuna.

“Arjuna! this is night time. Asuras will have more power during nights.Hence, you send Ghatotkacha against Karna. We will attack Drona” said Krishna.

As per the advice of Krishna, Arjuna called Ghatotkacha and said: “Kumar Ghatotkacha! Look at that side. Unable to withstand the wrath of Karna, our troops are fleeing away. You have to save our troops. Karna is not wellversed in night war. You are an expert in miracle war. Karna cannot fight with you.Hence, fight with Karna.” said Arjuna. Ghatotkacha saluted Arjuna and proceeded against Karna.

At the same time, Alambasa son of Jatasura, an Asura warrior, approached Suyodhana and said: “O King Suyodhana! From the beginning I am ill-disposed towards Pandavas. If you permit me, I will kill Pandavas” said Alambasa. Suyodhana felt very happy. Immediately, he gave permission to Alambasa to fight with Pandavas. Alambasa attakced Ghatotkacha.
Both the Asura warriors, first fought with bow and arrows.Then they both resorted to miracles and illusions. If one transforms into serpant, the other into Garuda. If one transforms into huge elephant, the other into a lion. They both were fighting in a fiercest manner. At last, they both resorted to wrestling, kicking each other with hands and legs. Ghatotkacha caught Alambasa, lifted him up, threw him down, and put his leg on his chest and severed his head from the body. Ghatotkacha threw the head of Alambasa upon the chariot of Suyodhana.

Beholding this, Suyodhana was astonished. “O Suyodhana! that is the head of your friend, Alambasa. Within few moments, head of Karna will be hurled on your chariot. When your turn comes, I will threw your head also like this. Do you know who am I? Ghatotkacha, son of Bhimasena. Take care” said Ghatotkacha.

Next moment, Ghatotkacha ran towards Karna. Beholding Ghatotkacha, running towards him, Karna covered him with showers of powerful shafts. Ghatotkacha also retaliated the attack of Karna. Karna launched one Divine Astra upon Ghatotkacha. Ghatotkacha caught it and threw it back. Karna was giving a fitting reply to Ghatotkacha, by showering powerful arrows on him.

Ghatotkacha resorted to miracle war. He created an illusory army with different kinds of weapons. That illusory army was launching different kinds of strange weapons. Kourava warriors never saw such kind of weapons. Hence they were frightened and fled away. Ghatotkacha hurled Chakrayudha (disc like weapon) upon Karna. Karna cut it into two. Ghatotkacha hurled his huge mace upon Karna. Karna cut it into small fragments.

Ghatotkacha rose to the sky and was throwing huge rocks, boulders, trees, like rain. Karna was destroying them with his powerful arrows. Ghatotkacha came down to earth and mounted his chariot. Karna killed the charioteer and horses of Ghatotkacha and broke his chariot. Karna shot most powerful arrows piercing into the body of Ghatotkacha. But Ghatotkacha opened his mouth like a huge cave and was swallowing all the arrows shot by Karna. Then Ghatotkacha killed the horses tied to the chariot of Karna and broke his bow.

Meanwhile, one Alaayudha, brother of Bakasura, inview of his previous enmity with Bhimasena, as his brother Bakasura was killed by Bhimasena at Ekacakrapura, came down to Suyodhana along with his Asura troops and said: “O Suyodhana! Bhimasena killed by brother, Bakasura. I want to take revenge upon Bhimasena. Kindly permit me to fight with Bhimasena” prayed Alayudha.

Suyodhana thought for a while. For the present, Ghatotkacha is gaining upper hand upon Karna. Even the great warriors like Drona, Asvathama, Kripacharya also were staring at the battle between Karna and Ghatotkacha. All of them lost hopes on Karna. Now it is desirable to permit Alayudha to fight with Ghatotkacha.” thought Suyodhana.

“Alayudha! for the present you can fight with Ghatotkacha, son of your enemy, Bhimasena. Later you can fight with Bhimasena and other Pandavas and take revenge.” said Suyodhana. Alayudha rushed against Ghatotkacha along with his Asura troops. There was a fiercest battle between Ghatotkacha and Alayudha. Both those Asura warriors are equals. One is fighting with other with equal vigour. Karna slipped from that place and began to fight with Bhimasena. But Bhimasena ignored Karna and went to help his son Ghatotkacha.

At that juncture, all the Asura warriors surrounded Bhimasena. Bhimasena killed all of them in no time. Alayudha was fighting alone with Ghatotkacha and sent his remaining asura troops to fight with Panchala army.

Beholding this, Krishna told Arjuna: “Arjuna! Asuras gain strength during night time. You sent Satyaki, Nakula and Sahadeva to fight with Asuras. You send Sikhandi and Dhrishtadyumna to fight with Karna. You fight with Drona.” said Krishna. At that time, Alayudha broke the bow of Bhimasena into pieces. By the time Bhimasena picks up another bow, Alayudha killed the charioteer and the horses of Bhimasena. Bhimasena took his mace and jumped upon Alayudha. Alayudha also took up another mace and attacked Bhimasena. While they were fighting with their maces, they were broken. They both picked up the broken chariots, chariot wheels, chariot chasis and hurling them, one upon the other.

Bhimasena was verymuch tired. Observing this, Krishna called Ghatotkacha and said: “Kumara Ghatotkacha! Your father is verymuch tired. You go and attack Alayudha.” said Krishna. Ghatotkacha left Karna and rushed against Alayudha. Nakula and other Pandava warriors drove away the Asura troops. Karna was fighting with Panchala Army. Bhima attacked Karna.

Alayudha hurled a Parigha weapon upon Ghatotkacha. Ghatotkacha fainted and fell down but regained consciousness immediately. He took up his mace, and hurled it upon Alayudha. That mace killed the charioteer and horses of Alayudha. That mace also broke his chariot and flat post. Alayudha transformed into a huge cloud and showered blood from the sky. Ghatotkacha also rose to the sky and neutralized the illusion of Alayudha. They both came down to earth and were fighting with huge rocks and big trees. Alayudha picked up a long sword and jumped upon Ghatotkacha. Ghatotkacha took up another sword. Both were fighting with swords. Ghatotkacha caught hold of Alayudha, threw him down on ground and cut his head and roared like a lion. Pandava army were jubilant and joyous. The sounds of trumpets rose to sky. Ghatotkacha hurled the head of Alayudha on the chariot of Suyodhana. Suyodhana was very much distressed.

While Ghatotkacha was killing Alayudha, Karna was massacring Pandava troops. Beholding this, Ghatotkacha attacked Karna. Karna killed the steeds of Ghatotkacha. Ghatotkacha along with his chariot made himself invisible. Kourava troops were frightened, not knowing upon whom Ghatotkacha will fall. Ghatotkacha was transformed into a huge black cloud and was showering arrows, swords, mudgaras and parighas upon Kourava army, due to the fall of which, kourava soldiers were dying in huge numbers. Due to the fall of large rocks from the sky, kourava soldiers and their chariots were being crushed under them.

But Karna was fighting courageously. Karna was vanquishing the illusions of Asuras with his divine astras. The black cloud showering rocks from sky was scattered. Kourava warriors praised the prowess of Karna. All of them requested Karna thus:

“O Karna! You are the only warrior who can fight against these Asuric illusions. But you have to save yourself. As long as Ghatotkacha is alive, you are not safe. You have to launch that A Divine Sakti was given to you by Indra at the time of taking your natural armour as charity. Now you have to launch that Divine Sakti upon Ghatotkacha and kill him. This is the proper time to launch that Divine Sakti. For whom you preserve that Sakti? It is foolish to preserve that Divine Sakti to kill Arjuna. If we are able to come out of this trouble now , we can think about Arjuna later. Therefore, launch your Divine Sakti against Ghatotkacha and kill him immediately.” thus kourava warriors brought pressure on Karna.

At that time, Ghatotkacha was rushing against Karna to kill him. Ghatotkacha broke the chariot of Karna with his mace and also killed his charioteer and steeds. Karna was standing on the ground in a helpless condition. Ghatotkacha up-raised his mace to kill Karna. Having found no other alternative, Karna determined to launch Divine Sakti upon Ghatotkacha.

That Divine Sakti given by Indra was a terrible weapon. It will kill only one person upon whom it is launched and go back to Indra. Hence, Karna kept it to kill Arjuna. Now it has become inevitable for Karna to launch it upon Ghatotkacha. Having found no other alternative, Karna launched Divine Sakti aiming at Ghatotkacha.

Beholding that Sakti, Ghatotkacha was verymuch frightened. It pierced into the chest of Ghatotkacha and killed him. Ghatotkacha fell on the ground and died. Kourava troops acclaimed the courage of Karna. They made leonine roars. Suyodhana was very happy and jubilant. All of them praised Karna for his vigour and valour. Suyodhana came down to Karna running and hugged him.

While Pandavas were mourning for the death of Ghatotkacha, strangely, Krishna was standing on his chariot and was dancing and singing in a joyous mood. He was roaring like a lion. He blew his conche as a mark of victory.

Arjuna was very much astonished, beholding the strange behaviour of Krishna. He shouted. “Krishna! stop this nonsense. What is this! While all of us were mourning for the death of Ghatotkacha, why you are jumping with joy. Stop it. Everybody will laugh at us.” said Arjuna. But Krishna did not stop his dancing and laughing. He was still jubilant.

Arjuna thought for a while. “Krishna! you know everything, past and future. There must be a strong reason for your strange behaviour. Would you mind telling me about it?” asked Arjuna. Krishna stopped his dance and singing and told Arjuna thus:

“Arjuna! Your father, Indra, keeping your welfare in mind, approached Karna and received his natural armour and ear rings as charity. In return, Indra gave Karna a marvellous power, called Indra Sakti, which can be used only once. Karna preserved that Sakti only to kill you. Today Karna used it to kill Ghatotkacha. Hereinafter, Karna could not kill you. Hence I am happy and jubilant.

Arjuna! Karna is not an ordinary warrior. He got divine power. As long as that Indra Sakti was with him, either your Gandeeva or my Sudarsana are useless. Had your father not taken away the natural armour and ear rings from Karna, not only you but even the entire world also cannot even look at him nor vanquish him. By giving away those armour and ear rings as charity, he is now an ordinary warrior. So far he is preserving that Indra Sakti. Now it is not there. You can now conquer Karna easily. Is it not a jubilant occasion for me?

I will tell you one more thing. For your sake only, Jarasandha, Sisupala and Ekalavya were killed. Are they alive now, Suyodhana might have brought all of them for his help. If all are united, you cannot even look at them. There is one more thing you should know. Ghatotkacha was born in Asura race. Though he is the son of Bhima, but he belongs to Asura race.By birth, Asuras are opposed to Hari and virtues. It is digested in their blood. If he is alive, he will certainly oppose me in future. Even then, he has to die in my hands. On my behalf, Karna finished that job. Above all, Arjuna, you are my friend, relative. Your welfare is most important to me. Now, you will never die at the hands of Karna. That is the reason for my strange behaviour. Arjuna, all our troops are very much tired. Encourage them with your soft and lovely words and make them ready for war.” said Krishna.

In this manner, Sanjaya told Dhritarashtra about the death of Ghatotkacha. Dhritarashtra entertained a doubt in his mind. “Sanjaya! Though Karna was having such a powerful Indra Sakti in his hand, why he kept quiet without killing Arjuna. Besides that, Karna knows that it will kill only one person. Did he not remember about that Indra Sakti. Had Karna killed Arjuna on the first day of war, Pandavas would have put an end to the war on that day itself. My son would have become the Emperor of this Universe. Had Karna invited Arjuna for war, he would have fought with Karna. Karna would have easily killed Arjuna by launching this divine astra, Indra Sakti. Why Karna acted foolishly like this? At least my son Suyodhana would have reminded him? You are also there all the time. At least you would have reminded Karna about this Astra. It is nothing but keeping a sweet mango in hand and ignoring it without eating it. Now Karna unnecessarily used that Sakti to kill Ghatotkacha. Sanjaya! is there any special reason for this.?” asked Dhritarashtra.

“O King Dhritarashtra! How can we keept quiet without reminding Karna about that Sakti. Myself, your son Suyodhana, Dussaasana, on every previous night of war, were reminding Karna about killing Arjuna with the help of Sakti. Daily Karna promises that he will kill Arjuna on the next day. Soon after he enters the battle field, surprisingly, all of us forget about it. We all remember it only during nights. It is nothing but a divine miracle.
Not only this, O King Dhritarashtra! we also told Karna thus: “O Karna! if you kill Arjuna, Krishna will kill all of us with his Sudarsana and give the kingdom to the surviving heir in kuru dynasty. If you kill Krishna with the help of this Indra Sakti, Suyodhana will be the king and emperor of the entire earth.”.

Karna agreed for our proposal and promised that he will Krishna next day. But, next day, he forgets everything.” said Sanjaya.

Sanjaya continued to say: “O King Dhritarashtra! having seen that Krishna danced on his chariot after the death of Ghatotkacha, I proceeded to the Pandava camp, invisibly, to find out the facts. I heard them talking about it. On being asked by Arjuna about the reason for his strange behaviour, Krishna was telling about it. Satyaki intervened and asked Krishna: “Brother Krishna! All these days, why Karna did not utilise that Sakti to kill Arjuna?” asked Satyaki.

Krishna smiled and said: “Satyaki! I know that Suyodhana and others were requesting Karna to launch Indra Sakti and kill Arjuna. Karna says ‘yes’. But, next day, when he enters the battle field, I keep him under the influence of my illusion, so that he does not remember about his promise. Hence, Karna did not launch Sakti either upon me or Arjuna. Satyaki! I like Arjuna....I Love Arjuna.... more than you, Dhrishtadyumna and other Pandavas. He is my life. He is my heart. All these days, I suspected danger to the life of Arjuna from that Divine Sakti. I spent many sleepless nights. Today, that suspicion is vanished. Today I will sleep happily.” said Krishna.

Having heard the words of Sanjaya, Dhritarashtra said: “Sanjaya! while misfortune is running behind Suyodhana, what can we do? Tell me what had happened after the death of Ghatotkacha. Sanjaya continued to say:

On hearing about the death of Ghatotkacha, Dharmaja, with great distress, fell on his chariot and was weeping. Krishna consoled Dharmaja: “Dharmaja! are you mad? Dying in war is quite natural for warriors.Why should you lament like this? If you feel like this, what about your brothers? Get up. Be ready for war.” said Krishna.

“Krishna! don’t you know about Ghatotkacha and about his help during our Aranya Vasa period. Ghatotkacha respects me very much. I am also so affectionate towards him more than Sahadeva. Krishna! Karna is the root cause for all these woes. On that day, he broke the bow of Abhimanyu and got him killed by many. Today he killed Ghatotkacha. I want to take revenge on Karna. Not only Karna, I will kill Drona also who helped Karna in this regard.” so saying Dharmaja drove his chariot towards Karna.

Krishna was very much annoyed. “Arjuna! look. Dharmaja is going towards Karna. Follow him.” so saying Krishna drove the chariot towards that side. While Dharmaja was driving his chariot with great speed towards Karna, Saint Veda Vyasa came there. Dharmaja stopped there and bowed before Vyasa, saluting him. “Dharmaja! Karna preserved Sakti given by Indra only to kill Arjuna. Now it is used to kill Ghatotkacha. Had it been used against Arjuna, what would be the amount of grief you will suffer.This grief is smaller than that. Dont enrage yourself with wrath unnecessarily. Be cool. I will tell you the future. On the fifth day from today, the entire earth will be yours.” so saying Vyasa departed. Dharmaja returned back and joined Arjuna and other brothers.

Dharmaja called Dhrushtadyumna. “Dhrushtadyumna! you were born only to kill Drona. You take Sikhandi and Panchala troops and fight with Drona only. O King Virata! O King Drupada! O Satyaki! Nakula, Sahadeva! Upa Pandavas! Our main aim is to kill Drona. Arjuna will lead all of you.” said Dharmaja.

By that time, all the troops on both sides were very much tired. As they were continously fighting one day and one night, they were all feeling drowsy. Arjuna observed this. He addressed all the army personnel: “You are all very much tired and feeling drowsy. Take rest for some time. Within few hours, moon will be sighted. In that moon light we will fight again. Till then take rest.” said Arjuna. The army on both sides were very much pleased for the compassionate behaviour of Arjuna. The army chief of Kourava army also agreed for this proposal. The entire army was taking rest whereever they are. They all slept till the arrival of moon. In that moon light both sides were making preparations for war for the rest of the night.

At this juncture, Suyodhana approached Drona and said: “O preceptor Dronacharya! You are a great personality. You are a great warrior. None can stand before you. But you are not killing pandavas because you favour them as they are your dearest students. What can I do? It is my ill luck.” said Suyodhana.

Drona grew angry with these words. “Suyodhana! what are you talking. Am I leaving them without killing because they are my favourite students?

At the time of agni consuming Khandava forest, did Indra left Arjuna because he was my student?

At the time of Ghosha Yatra, while you were caught byChitrasena, the Gandharva, did the Gandharva King, Chitra sena left Arjuna, because he was my student?

Kalakeya and other asuras were killed by Arjuna because he was my student?

Knowing fully well about the prowess of Arjuna, you are talking like this. It is not proper.” said Drona in a firm voice.

“Acharya! whenever there is an opportunity, you have been praising Arjuna always. You keep praising Arjuna I do not mind. Atleast, during war, please leave pandavas to me. Myself, Karna, Dussaasana and Sakuni will kill all of them. You fight with those whom you like.” said Suyodhana.

“Suyodhana! You all go and attack Arjuna. You may vanquish Arjuna. I am happy as you have removed the doubt from my mind that I will be killed by Arjuna. It is enough for me.” said Drona.

Without saying another word, Drona proceeded towards Panchala troops for war. It was dawn at that time. Suyodhana, Karna, Dussaasana and Sakuni surrounded Arjuna and poured arrowy showers on him. Every body was feeling strange as Drona, a Maha Radha, was fighting with ordinary soldiers, ignoring his equals. Some are feeling it a plelasure that they will be killed by a great hero, Drona.

Meanwhile, King Virata, King Drupada, their grand children, Kekaya kings along with their troops attacked Drona. Drona with his sharp edged arrowsand divine astras was massacring Panchala and Matsya troops. Drona killed the three grand children of Drupada. Drona cut the heads of all Kekaya kings.
Beholding this, King Virata and King Drupada impetuously attacked Drona. Drona killed both the Kings, King Virata and King Drupada, each with one sharp edged arrow. King Drupada and King Virata were killed by Drona. Beholding the death of his father, Drupada, at the hands of Drona, Dhrushtadyumna was very much annoyed. “Unless I kill Drona, I will be failing in my duty for which I was born.” he thought. Immediately, Dhrushtadyumna attacked Drona along with his army. Suyodhana and Karna intervened and were fighting with Dhrushtadyumna.

Meanwhile Bhimasena intervened and ruhsed against Drona. It was sun rise at that time. Both the army stopped for a while for answering their natural calls. Again they began to fight with other. Suyodhana was fighting with Nakula, Dussaasana with Sahadeva, Drpona with Arjuna, and Karna with Bhima. Sahadeva killed the charioteer of Dussaasana. Dussaasaana was fighting with Sahadeva, driving his chariot for himself. Sahadeva injured the horses of Dussaasana with his arrows.. The wounded horses dragged the chariot waywardly.

Bhimasena and Karna were at first fought with bow and arrows. Then they fought with their maces. Karna again picked up his bow and broke the chariot of Bhimasena with his sharp edged shafts. Bhima jumped on the chariot of Sahadeva.

Drona and Arjuna were launching divine astras one upon the other.Drona tried to launch Brahma Astra. After chanting necessary Mantras, he launched Brahma Astra .The entire Universe trembeld for a moment. Arjuna also launched Brahma Astra and neutralized the Brahma Astra launched by Drona. Then Drona began to fight with Panchala Forces and Arjuna began to fight with Kourava forces.

Dussaasana was fighting with Dhrushtadyumna. Unable to bear his wrath, Dussaasana fled away. Dhrushtadyumna, accompanied by Nakula and Sahadeva attacked Drona.

In another front, Suyodhana and Satyaki came one against the other. Suyodhana and Satyaki were child hood friends. For a moment they forgot their enmity.They stopped their chariots side by side and began to chat with each other. Suyodhana enquired about the welfare of Satyaki. They talked about their childhood activities and both felt happy remembering their childhood. “Satyaki! Though we are friends from childhood, we are fighting with each other as per Raja Dharma. What can we do let us fight.” Then they began to fight with each other. Satyaki broke the bow of Suyodhana and shot numerous arrows piercing his body. Suyodhana was very much tired and retired from the battle field. After taking some rest, he again resumed fighting with Satyaki.

Karna also joined Karna and was fighting with Satyaki. Bhimasena began to fight with Karna. Karna shot a powerful shaft with which the charioteer of Bhimasena fainted. Karna broke the bow of Bhimasena. Bhimasena picked up his mace and whirled it and threw it upon the chariot of Karna. That mace broke the head of the charioteer and the chariot of Karna into pieces. Karna mounted another chariot.

Dharmaja along with Matsya and Panchala troops was ready to fight with Drona. At that time, it was about midday. Nakula, Sahadeva and Bhima told Arjuna: “ Arjuna! Drona was massacring the Pandava troops.You drive away the Kourava forces. Drona will be alone. Panchala forces will kill Drona.”

But Drona was massacring Pandava troops indiscriminately and was forging ahead. Drona was killing thousands of soldiers. Nakula, Sahadeva, Dharmaja and Bhimasena were beholding that massacre helplessly.

“If we allow Drona like this, today itself the entire Pandava Army will be reduced to ashes. He will kill us also.None can resist him. Arjuna is evading to kill Drona on the pretext that Drona is his preceptor. What to do” they thought for themselves.

Krishna understood their anxiety. To the hearing of Dharmaja and others, Krishna spoke to Arjuna: “Arjuna! as long as bow and arrows are in the hands of Drona, none can resist him. The only way to kill Drona is that he should shed his bow and arrows. For that, there is only one way. One should tell Drona that his son Asvathama is dead.”

On hearing these words, Bhimasena ran into the midst of the battle field. King of Malava is having an elephant, named Asvathama. Bhimasena killed that elephant. He speedily returned back, went near Drona and said “Acharya! Asvathama is killed in the battle”.

Dronacharya’s mind was perturbed for a moment. But he knows about the vigour and valour of Asvathama. He did not believe the words of Bhimasena. Still, a suspicion is lingering in his mind. Still, he was fighting withDhrushtadyumna, showering arrows on him. He killed ten thousand Panchala forces at a time. He broke 500 chariots in Matsya forces. He killed ten thousand elephants and equal number of horses in Matsya forces. He was shining like a midday sun.

Meanwhile, Visvamitra, Jamadagni, Bharadwaja, Goutama, Kasyapa, Vasishta and other great sages and saints in divine form arrived there. “O Bharadwaja! You were born in Brahmin community. You have read Vedas and other scriptures. Is it a virtuous deed to fight like this, adopting Kshatra Dharma. You have done enough. Put an end to this massacre. Your life has come to an end. Shed your arms. Adopt peace.” so saying they disappeared.

Drona stood for a minute standstill. He once again remembered the words of Bhimasena that Asvathama was killed. He lifted his head. Opposite to him, Dhrishtadyumna was standing, waiting for an opportunity to kill him. Drona’s mind was verymuch disturbed. To clatify his doubt lingering in his mind he asked Dharmaja whether Asvathama is alive or dead. Drona strongly believe that Dharmaja never speak falsehood.

Krishna told Dharmaja. “Dharmaja! If you spare Drona now, by today evening entire pandava troops will be vanished. Now it is your responsibility to save all of us from the wrath of Drona. Several scriptures echoed that “telling a lie to save the lives of thousands is not a sin.” Therefore, tell Drona that Asvathama is dead.” said Krishna.

On hearing these words, Bhimasena told Dharmaja: “Brother Dharmaja! I killed one elephant called Asvathama. I told Drona that Asvathama is dead. He is not trusting my words. You also tell the same thing. Regard the words of Krishna who is our well wisher. If you say like this, Drona will stop fighting.” said Bhimasena.

The words of Krishna and Bhimasena are strongly working in his mind. The desire to grab the entire kingdom suppressed the fear of telling a falsehood. Immediately, Dharmaja went near the chariot of Drona and shouted : “O Acharya! Asvathama was killed........ but it is an elephant” said in low voice.

After hearing the quite unpleasant words that “Asvathama was killed”, Drona did not hear the other words. He sat down on his chariot. He thought that he committed great sin towards Pandavas. The words of those great sages and saints are ringing in his ears. “I killed thousands of innocent soldiers. I am a sinner.”Drona thought for himself.

Though Dhrushtadyumna was standing before him, he was not inclined to fight with him. His bow and arrows were dropped from his hands. His vigour, valour, prowess, courage, are vanished. All his limbs are retracted. Drona sat down on his chariot.

Dhrushtadyumna has been observing these developments. Desire to kill Drona is becoming stronger in his mind. Dhrushtadyumna poured arrowy showers on Drona. Though Drona wanted to retaliate, he was unable to do it. His power of rememberance failed. Mechanically, he was warding off the arrows coming upon him. Drona cut the flag post and chariot of Dhrushtadyumna. He killed the charioteer and horses of Dhrushtadyumna. Dhrushtadyumna jumped down and took out his mace. Dropna broke that mace into two pieces. Drona is simply defending himself.

Dhrushtadyumna pickedup a long sword and shield and jumped on the chariot of Drona and killed the horses and charioteer. Drona cut the sword and shield with his arrows. Satyaki observed this from a distance while he was fighting with Karna, Kripacharya and Kritavarma. Immediately, Satyaki shot ten sharp arrows upon Drona. Bhimasena arrived there and picked up Dhrishtadyumna on his chariot. Drona did not chase him. Drona ignored Dhrishtadyumna.

Now the mind of Dronacharya was very peaceful. He sat on his chariot in deep meditation. O King Dhitarashtra! after the fall of Bhishma, Drona fought for four days and one night and only 20 Ghadiyas (approximately 5 hours) on the next day. In this short time of five hours, Drona killed 21,000 soldiers. With this the Saka of Drona is over. He attained peace.

He looked around amd shouted “O Karna! O Kripacharya! You will always be accusing me that I refrain from doing war. I have done what all I can do. Now I will attain the Higher regions peacefully. I am shedding my bow and arrows. Atleast, you become wiser hereinafter and behave like humans.”

Drona kept his bow and arrows by his side on the chariot. He sat in deep meditation. His body was shining like sun. At that time, Dhrishtadyumna, with a long sword in hand, was walking towards Drona. Both armies thought that Dhrishtadyumna was going to kill Drona. All of them raised hue and cry.

By that time, Drona breathed his last breath and left this mortal body and attained immortality. His soul rested in peace.

Meanwhile, Dhrishtadyumna jumped on the chariot of Drona, caught the tuft of Drona and raised his sword to cut his head. Arnuja, Dharmaja were shouting from a distance not to commit such a heinous act as it is sin, against virtues and violation of war principles. Dhrishtadyumna did not care for their shoutings. Dhrushtadyumna severed the head of the dead body of Drona and kicked the head and the dead body of Drona, out.

O King Dhritarashtra! in this manner, the great preceptor Drona who has almost completed 100 years of age, succumbed to your sons’s greediness, covetousness, and aggrandizement.

Beholding the death of Drona, Pandava army surrounded Kourava army and started massacring them mercilessly. Kourava army without leader fled away. Your sons also fled away. Suyodhana, Karna, Kritavarma, Sakuni were retreating from the battle field looking back.

Asvathama, son of Drona was not aware of all these developments. He was fighting with one segment of Pandava army at a distance. Beholding the fleeing away of Kourava army, he was astonished. Immediately, he came down to Suyodhana and asked him what had happened. Suyodhana’s eyes were filled with tears. He could not speak anything out of grief. He does not know how to convey Asvathama about the demise of his father. He looked at Kripacharya.

“Asvathama! while your father, Drona, was massacring the Panchala troops in large number, Pandavas planned to kill your father. Bhimasena informed your father that you are dead. Your father did not believe his words. He continued to fight with Panchala Army. To clear off the doubt, you father enquired Dharmaja trusting that he will always tell the truth. As one elephant named Asvathama was alreday killed by Bhimasena, Dharmaja informed your father that Asvathama is dead but an elephant.

On hearing those unpleasant words, your father shed his bow and arrows, sat on his chariot and went into deep meditation. At that time, Dhrushtadyumna jumed upon your father and caught hold of your father’s tuft and cut his head, without paying heed to the shoutings of Dharmaja and Arjuna not to do such heinous deed. Beholding the death of Drona, our troops are fleeing away. We are also standing dumbfounded.This is nothing but a game got played by Krishna. Bhima is not such a intelligent man to play a game of this type and Dharmaja will never resort to such a mischievous and heinous act. This is all what had happened.” said Kripacharya.

Asvathama heard these words with a peaceful mind. “Uncle Kripacharya! Every mortal should die. It is the law of the nature. I am not lamenting for the death of my father.But the way he was killed is most cruel and unworthy of credit. My father is a great preceptor, worshipped by one and all. It is painful that while my father shed down his bow and arrows and was in deep meditation, a wretch cut his head by holding his tuft. Either the divine astras possessed by me or my father’s archery skills could not save him. I could not stop my father being subjected to such a miserable death.

Suyodhana! Dharmaja is responsible for all this. He is praised by one and all that he is the embodiment of truth and virtues. He always tells lies. Unless he is killed, my father’s soul will never rest in peace. Inspite of any resistance offered either by all divine forces or even by Krishna, I will kill Pandavas. This is my promise.

Suyodhana! my father worshipped Sri Maha Vishnu and got Narayanastra. My father never used it. He gave it to me. If I launch that Naraayana Astra, it will create great havoc. I will launch Narayana Astra upon Pandavas and vanquish them” said Asvathama.

On hearing those words, Suyodhana felt very happy. He encouraged all his warriors by blowing his conche as a mark of victory. The Kourava army was ready for war. Dharmaja also made his troops ready for war.

But Dharmaja entertained a doubt. He told Arjuna: “Arjuna! With the demise of their leader, Drona, the entire Kourava army was scattered. Surprisingly, in no time, they have all gathered together and made themselves ready forwar. What would be the reason? That too, jubilant atmosphere is prevailing in Kourava army. With the wrath that we killed Drona, whether Devendra along with his divine army, has come down to help Suyodhana? I am unable to understand” said Dharmaja.

“Brother Dharmaja! Will Asvathama keep quiet without killing Dhrushtadyumna who killed his father mercilessly, while he was in deep meditation, after shedding his bow and arrows? Asvathama is endowed with treasure of divine astras. He himself is a great warrior, named for his vigour and valour. With his strong support only, Kourava army is provoking us for war in a short time. It is very difficult, at this stage, to attack Asvathama.

Brother Dharmaja! Trusting you that you are a virtuous personality and you never tell a lie, my preceptor asked you about his son’s death. Conversely, you told him a blatant lie. Brother Dharmaja! Is it necessary to acquire this kingdom at the cost of my preceptor, Drona and also telling lies and harming Dharma. Will this kingdom and riches, acquired by such nefarious means, bring us any prosperity? Will not the entire world abuse us and eschew us? Inspite of my shouting that it is unworthy, why should Dhrushtadyumna cut the head of my preceptor? Does he not aware that his act will cause harm to Dharma? When we committed such wretched deeds, will his son, Asvathama keep quiet. Look. Asvathama is rushing towards us like a hungry lion out of den to massacre us. It is very difficult to save Dhrushtadyumna from his wrath.” said Arjuna.

On hearing the words of Arjuna, Bhimasena, filled with wrath, said thus: “Arjuna! are you a warrior or a saint consuming vegetables in forest. I know you did not kill Drona all these days because he is your preceptor. When once we enter the war field, we should not discriminate enemies as preceptors, friends and foes.You are speaking sermons as if you are not transgressed Dharma. Are Kouravas fighting according to Dharma? Thou we were inclined to adopt the path of virtue, your kingdom was snatched most unrighteously. By dragging Droupadi to the open assembly, your foes insulted her. All of us were exiled to forests. Is it Raja Dharma? For those who resort to unrighteousness, we have to follow the same path to subdue them and we will not be inflicted with any sin. Arjuna! while we are thinking about the ways and means to attack the enemy, you are telling these cowardly sermons.

Arjuna! Suyodhana knows about me and about my prowess. I also know what they are. If they are dare enough to come upon us, I will massacre them. I will cause total destruction.” said Bhimasena with anger.

Dhrushtadyumna also censured Arjuna for his untimely words. “Arjuna!You are talking as if Drona, your Guru, is a most righteous personality. Did he not resort to Adharma? Did he not massacre thousands of innocent Panchala soldiers who are not armed with any Divine Astras and Sastras? Is it a righteous act? Arjuna! I was born only to Kill Drona. I killed him. I never consider it a sin.

Arjuna! what you have done? Have you not killed Bhagadatta? Have you not caused the death of Bhishma, by keeping Sikhandi in front of you.? Are they not unrighteous acts? Is Killing those unarmed warriors who refrained from war, a righteous act? Is Killing Drona who is massacring Panchala troops an unrighteous act?

Arjuna! Listen me. Dharmaja has not done any unrighteous act or never tell a lie. Because Bhimasena killed an elephant named Asvathama, he informed the same to Drona. I also never transgressed Dharma.I killed a preceptor who deceived his own students. I saved my army. Dont unnecessarily blame us. With the death of Drona, your task has become easier. Kill the enemy and acquire the triumph.” said Dhrushtadyumna

While lamenting for the death of Drona, on hearing the words of Dhrishtadyumna, Arjuna was verymuch annoyed. “Dhrushtadyumna! stop that nonsensical and wicked talk. Having done a wretched deed, are you still supporting your acts?” said Arjuna.

Satyaki intervened with great anger and said: “Dhrushtadyumna! What you have done is unrighteous. Because you are before Dharmaja, I could not cut your tongue for speaking such harsh words against Arjuna. If you speak one more word, I will do what I said. Sikhandi was born to kill Bhishma.He killed Bhishma. Arjuna was just by his side. Bhishma desired to have his death at the hands of Arjuna. Accordingly, Dharmaja directed Sikhandi and Arjuna to kill Bhishma. They followed those directions.Everything was done as per the desire of Bhishma.

Dhrushtadyumna! having born in Panchala clan, yourself and Sikhandi defamed that clan.” said Satyaki.

Dhrishtadyumna smiled at Satyaki. “O Satyaki! are you teaching sermons to me. Everybody knows about you. After Arjuna cut the hand of Bhoorisravasa, you killed him. You are such a great hero. Is it a war principle, senseless fellow?
When Bhoorisravasa pushed you down and put his leg on your chest, what were you doing? Is it your prowess? Having his hand being cut by Arjuna, while Bhoorisravasa was in deep meditation, you killed him. What do you say for this wicked act? First know your fault and then critisize others. How many times Drona chased us along with our army? What were you doing at that time? Why did not you attack Drona? How you have killed Bhoorisravasa, in the same manner I killed Drona. If yours is a sinless act, mine also is a sinless act. Instead of praising me for killing such a great hero, Drona, why you are cursing me? Satyaki! you are unnecessarily interfering with my affairs. If you speak one more word, I will break your head. Take care. We have come to fight on behalf of Dharmaja. Let us fight together unitedly.” said Dhrushtadyumna.

Satyaki took his mace and rushed against Dhrushtadyumna saying “Dhrushtadyumna! no more words. Come on. I myself will break your head”. Hearing this conversation with a smiling face, Krishna sent Bhimasena to stop Satyaki. Bhima caught hold of Satyaki.

Sahadeva intervened and said: “O Satyaki! Dhrushtadyumna! why are you quarrelling with each other. Yadavas and Panchalas are our nearest relatives. Please be friends.” said Sahadeva.

“Bhimasena! dont stop Satyaki. Let him come. I will see what he will do. I am not Bhoorisravasa to be killed by him. I will see his end.” said Dhrushtadyumna.

At last Krishna and Dharmaja intervened and pacified the matter. Meanwhile both sides were ready for war. The war began.

Asvathaama launched Naraytanastra. With the influence of Narayanastra, earth trembled, seas overflowed. There was chaos everywhere. Several weapons sprouted out of Narayanastra and were killing Pandava Army. Pandava warriors were resisting them but in vain. Narayanastra was massacring Pandava troops. Dharmaja looked at Arjuna. Arjuna and Krishna were standing silently with folded hands, shedding down their arms. Dharamaja was very much annoyed. To the hearing of Arjuna, Dharmaja told Satyaki thus:

“Satyaki! Drona was so cruel that he did not utter a single word while Droupadi was insulted in open assembly. He was the root cause for the death of Abhimanyu.While Arjuna was searching Saindhava to kill him, Drona resisted us from joining Arjuna. Ofcourse, he is more righteous in his own way. In our own way, let us run away from the battle fields like cowards to save our lives from Narayanastra. Arjuna will feel happy. We do not know what Krishna will do. It is his will. ” said Dharmaja sarcastically.

Krishna could not control himself. He stood on his chariot. He addressed all the Pandava Army: “O soldiers! listen! Dont fear. You get down from all your chariots, elephants and horses, shed down your arms, bows and arrows. stand on the earth with folded hands. Narayanastra will never do any harm to you as you are unarmed. This is only remedy for Narayanastra.” shouted Krishna.

All the soldiers were following the words of Krishna meticulously. Bhimasena could not control himself. “O mighty soldiers! you are not cowards. Dont shed your arms. Fight with Kourava army. I am here. I will launch Maha Astras. I will kill all Kourava soldiers with my mace” shouted Bhimasena. He proceeded on his chariot along his mace towards Asvathama. The entire Pandava army, without heeding the words of Bhimasena, shed down their arms, got down from their vehicles and stood on the ground, unarmed.
Asvathaama changed the direction of Narayanastra towards Bhimasena. Narayanastra ignored all the Pandavas and Pandava forces and was chasing Bhimasena alone. Bhimasena launched Varunastra against Narayanastra. Asvathama increased the power of Narayanastra. With the power of Narayanastra, Varunastra was nullified. Again Narayanastra began to chase Bhimasena.

As per the word of Krishna, except Bhimasena, none were resisting Narayanastra. Terrible flames surrounded Bhimasena Narayanastra was whirling round Bhimasena and was about to consume him. Krishna and Arjuna rushed towards Bhimasena. Both of them climbed the chariot of Bhimasena and tried to push him down. But Bhimasena foolishly resisted.

Krishna told Bhimasena: “O Bhimasena! Listen to me! Even Asvathama is incapable of retrieving this Astra. The only remedy is getting down the chariot, shedding down arms and keeping quiet. Kindly get down the chariot please.” requested Krishna. Krishna snatched away forcibly the bow arrows from his hand. Then Arjuna and Krishna kicked him down the chariot. Bhimasena fell down unarmed. Narayanastra, finding none in Pandava army ready for war with arms, remained peaceful and returend back to Asvathama. Krishna had a sigh of relief.

Next moment Krishna ordered all the soldiers to restore to their original positions with arms, bows and arrows and be ready for war. Pandava troops rushed against Kourava army. Suyodhana hurriedly asked Asvathama to launch Narayanastra again upon Pandava army.

“Sorry Suyodhana. Narayanastra will be launched only once. If it is launched again, it will destroy those who launched it again. This was condition imposed by Srimannarayana while presenting it to my father..Getting down from the chariots and shedding down bows and arrows and arms is equivalent to death. Hence Narayanastra could not kill Pandava Army. Krishna knows this secret. Hence they are all saved. What can we do” said Asvathaama.

“Asvathama! let it be. We got more Astras with us. Let us launch them and destroy Pandava troops” said Suyodhana. Asvathama drove his chariot towards Pandava troops. Dhrushtadyumna came against him. Asvathama was enraged with wrath. Asvathama killed the charioteer, and horses of Dhrushtadyumna. Asvathama cut his bow and his flag post.

Satyaki came to the rescue of Dhrushtadyumna. Asvathama shot one powerful arrow, with which Satyaki fainted. Asvathama roared like a lion Beholding this, Bhima and Arjuna attacked Asvathama. Sudarsana, grand son of Sisupala and Vridhakshatra joined them. Asvathama, with his sharp edged arrows, cut the heads of Sudarsana and Vridhakshatra. Asvathama, driving around the entire battle field like a whirlwind , appearing at all places, was massacring the troops of Pandavas. Unable to bear his prowess, Pandava troops were fleeing away. Bhima and Arjuna were trying to rally their troops for war.

Asvathama launched Agneyastra upon Arjuna. Agneyastra, sparkling wild flames, was rushing against Arjuna. In a moment, most of the Pandava troops were consumed by wild flames emitted by Agneyastra. Most of the warriors in Pandava army thought that Arjuna and Krishna were burnt away in those flames. But, Arjuna launched Brahmastra against Agneyastra. Agneyastra was neutralized by the power of Brahma Astra. Arjuna and Krishna blew their conches. Pandava army acclaimed and gave great applause by beating drums and blowing horns.

Beholding this, kourava troops fled away. Asvathama bowed his head, unable to look at the face of Suyodhana. He threw down his bow and arrows. He realised that the divine astras possessed by him have no power to vanquish Pandavas. He got down his chariot and left the battle field by walk. After walking for some distance, he found that Saint Vyasa was coming opposite to him. Asvathama bowed before him, touched his feet. Vyasa blessed him with long life.

“O Saint Vyasa! I got a doubt. Kindly clarify. The Agneyastra, launched by me, was most powerful. Even divine beings, asuras, Gandharvas etc. could not resist. But it could not cause any harm to Krishna and Arjuna, who are ordinary human beings. What is the reason?” asked Asvathama.

Vyasa replied thus: “In the ancient past, Maha Vishnu took birth as Saint Narayana and went to Mainaka mountain for Tapassu. He performed Tapassu about Maha Siva. Having satisfied with his Tapassu, Maha Siva appeared before Saint Narayana. He praised Maha Siva and prayed him to make himself all powerful. Maha Siva blessed him:

“O Saint Narayana! You can vanquish humans, divine forces, Gandharvas, Kinnaras, Garudas, Uragas etc. and will remain most powerful and with great glory. You will not be killed or pained by any Astras, Sastras, fire, water, Vajrayudha, with wet material, dry material, moveables, immoveables etc. etc.” blessed Maha Vishnu. Hence Narayana remained unconquerable. While Narayana was doing penance, Nara was born out of his splendour. They both were known as Nara and Narayana. Both were born out of Vishnu Amsa. They are great saints. Narayana was moving around the earth exhibiting his miracles. Nara and Narayana will be taking births to instal Dharma on earth, whenever necessary. Those Nara and Narayana are no other than Arjuna and Krishna. Narayana is Sri Krishna and Nara is Arjuna.

Asvathama! You are also not an ordinary human being. But, I will tell the difference between you and Nara and narayana. In your previous birth, you worshipped Lord Siva in idol form. But Nara and Narayana worshipped Lord Siva in Linga form. In fact, God can be worshipped in any manner, in any form. But worshipping Maha Siva in Linga form is thousand times better than worshipping in idol form. Therefore, Nara and Narayana remained unconquerable. You cannot defeat them. This difference arose out of the ways of worship done by you in your previous births.” said Vyasa.

On hearing those words, Asvathama was very much surprised. He saluted Maha Siva in his mind. He also prostrated before Vyasa. Vyasa went away. Asvathama returned back to his chariot. As it was already sunset, Asvathama asked Suyodhana to stop the war for that day. Both sides returned back to their respective camps. While Pandava troops were returning in joyous and jubilant mood, Kourava troops returned with great agony and grief for the death of Drona.

After leaving Asvathama, Veda Vyasa arrived at Arjuna. Arjuna saluted Vyasa and offered him Arghyam and Paadyam. One doubt was lingering in his mind. Arjuna asked Veda Vyasa:

“O Saint Veda Vyasa! while I was fighting in the battle field, I found one human form, shining like fire, with a spear in his hand, was proceeding in front of my chariot, killing the enemy troops, even before I kill them. Afterwards, I killed those who were alrelady killed by that wonderful form. I am thinking that I myself killed them. In fact, I never killed anybody. Who is that great personality? Why he is acting like that? Kindly tell me.” asked Arjuna.

Veda Vyasa replied thus: “O Arjuna! He is no other than the creator of this entire Universe. Omnipresent, omnipotent, All -pervasive. Leader of this entire Universe. Deity having third eye. Husband of Goddess Parvati. Maha Siva. He will alwlays be moving in the hearts of great sages and saints. He will never be succumbed to these worldly plealsures. He is the nature and he is the Purusha.

If anybody worships him with plain heart, he will always be in his heart. That Maha Siva, is moving in front of your chariot and he is killing those, whom you intend to kill. Lord Siva blessed you. Having satisfied with your penance, he has given you Pasupatha Astra. Not satisfied with that, he is always protecting you. You worship that Maha Siva keeping Him always in your heart. You will be blessed with good health, wealth and prosperity. All your desires will be accomplished.” said Vyasa.

Arjuna’s heart was filled with joy. He saluted Maha Siva in his heart. Then he prostrated before Veda Vyasa. After blessing Arjuna, Veda Vyasa went away.

In this manner, Ugrasravasu (Soothi) told Maha Bharata to Sounaka and other sages and saints assembled in Naimisaaranya, on account of SatraYaga, as told by Saint Vaisampayana to Janamejaya.

Om Tatsat Om Tatsat Om Tatsat.