Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Gurus of Hastinapur - Part 18

The Samshaptakas organized themselves in the shape of the crescent moon as they bravely drove on towards Arjuna and challenged him to the battle. Arjuna looked at his elder brother and bowed to him and signaled Krishna to move towards the Samshaptakas. The entire Kaurava army watched with delight as Arjuna followed the Samshaptakas, away from Yudhishtara.
Arjuna picked up his conch and blew loudly as he started his battle. It is said that the sound of the conch was so terrible that it could drive the enemies senseless, which was exactly what happened to the Samshaptakas.
The soldiers clutched their ears unable to move as their heart filled with terrors from their worst nightmares. And before they could recover, Arjuna started his attack. Krishna was moving in so swiftly that Arjuna killed the soldiers before any of them could offer any good defence. In fact in the first few minutes, Arjuna was even able to kill a warrior leader of a division whose name of Sudhanwan. The minute the leader of the division fell dead, the soldiers of Sudhanwan's division ran back to the main Kaurava army. All the soldiers were sure that none of them could face Arjuna.
It was at this time that the king of the Trigarthas rallied his troops together. 'Come back, you fools!' he shouted as he drove before the running soldiers. 'You are all sworn to either conquer or die! Running back will bring you the greatest shame! Is that the life you wish for yourself?' he asked the soldiers loudly.
Slowly the words of the king sank in the minds of the soldiers. They realized that they were here for Arjuna and they had only two options – win or die. The soldiers looked at the angry king of the Trigarthas and having no other choice, turned towards Arjuna. They were all ready to face the two invincible Krishnas....
As the soldiers turned and saw Arjuna, they all fired their various weapons at Arjuna, who cut them off before it could reach him, without much effort. 
Arjuna fired the Twashtra weapon. The weapon caused a powerful illusion in the minds of the victims. The group of the Samshaptakas soldiers on whom the weapon was fired suddenly saw Arjuna and Krishna everywhere.
'Arjuna is here!' One of the Samshaptakas soldiers screamed as he fired the arrow and unfortunately killed one of his own.
Another soldier saw Krishna near him and tried to impale him with his sword, only to discover that the person was none other than another solider from his own division.
Arjuna put his knowledge of divine weapons to devastating effect as the Samshaptaka soldiers were killing each other. As the effect of the weapon was wearing off, Arjuna killed the remaining soldiers...
However the king of the Trigarthas and the Mallekas were also warriors. They rallied their soldiers and by sheer numbers, they were able to overwhelm the two warriors. There was a time when the stream of arrows was so continuous that the place where both Krishna and Arjuna were there, there was nothing but a dark cloud of arrows visible.
Arjuna tried cutting down the arrows, but then it was just too many of them. One of the arrows went past Arjuna's defence and pierced Krishna...
A loud cheer rose up from the Samshaptakas because they all thought that Krishna was down....
'Partha! I cannot see!' Krishna winced as he pulled out the arrow from his body. 'I...I feel...'
'KRISHNA!' Arjuna shouted as he hastily pulled out the Vayavya astra (Weapon of the Wind). Arjuna used so much force that the weapon of the Wind, not only drove away the weapons, but also the soldiers who were near them....
The air around the two warriors was cleared as the Samshaptakas saw the two warriors emerging majestically from the dark cloud of arrows and the worst part....Arjuna was still firing the arrows as if nothing had happened....
Meanwhile back in the main battlefield, Dronacharya had exactly what he wanted – Yudhishtara without Arjuna by his side. Smiling grimly, Dronacharya ordered his troops in the Garuda formation. Yudhishtara immediately countered it by arranging his own troops in a semi-circular formation.
Watching Drona come forward, Yudhishtara was filled with sudden fear. 
Dhrishtadyumna who was near Yudhishtara shook his head. 'I am meant to kill that man! I will go and stop him, my king! Do not fear!'
And Dhrishtadhyumna fell on Drona's troops. And he fought like a man possessed. Dhrishtadhyumna fought so well that Drona was finding it increasingly difficult to face him. Durmukha, one of the brothers of Duryodhana realizing that his teacher could not fight Dhrishtadhyumna, intervened and challenged Dhrishtadhyumna and led him away to another part of the field.
Now with Dhrishtadhyumna gone, Drona focused his attention back to Yudhishtara. That was when Satyajit, the Panchala prince and presumably, another brother of Druapadi came forward.
The battle between Drona and Satyajit was magnificent, but short.
For a very short while, Satyajit did all the right things, repeatedly countering all the weapons that Drona used. But then Drona showed his true capabilities....Drona beheaded Satyajit as the entire Pandava army watched....
Watching this, Yudhishtara was filled with sudden dread. Satyajit's death and his teacher's face reminded him of Arjuna's words...Even if the entire Pandava army was there, if Satyajit fell....

Yudhishtara did what he had promised Arjuna. He fled from the battlefield....

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