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Chapter11

The day dawned bright and early with a sure prospect of vigorous fighting. Refreshed soldiers took their places. On the Kaurava side mood was upbeat as they had taken a heavy toll of Pandava army on the thirteenth day and with out Abhimanyu, Pandava army appeared demoralized.

Arjuna went to Yudhistra and sought his blessings. Yudhistra hugged Arjuna and rubbed his shoulders displaying his affection to a loving younger brother. He blessed Arjuna saying, “ Let your power grow today. With Krishna at your side, your victory is certain. Remember that Acharya is going to make your task very difficult. Keep track of time and let Krishna sound me through his panchajanya for any reinforcement” Yudhishtira also spoke to Krishna and mentioned that Arjuna needed his guidance more than ever. You have stood by him always and I am very grateful”.

Arjuna then had a mini conference with Bheema, Satyaki and Drishtadyumna explaining his strategy, “Today I will go after Jayadratha, so will not be able to run back and forth. Acharya will try to take advantage of my preoccupation with Jayadratha, to trap our king Yudhistra. You all must be on guard and protect him“. They all wished him success and Krishna sent his chariot racing towards Drona.

Drona had deployed his forces in a combination of vyuha designed to delay all advances. Up front it had a needle formation suitable for essentially attacking moves. The needle formation was followed by Chakra vyuha and thereafter was half Padma. Jayadratha was buried deep inside Padma vyuha. The entire formation was stretched over a 65-mile long battlefield so that anybody wanting to reach Jayadratha would have to fight his way through vast forces deployed over a large area making progress through the formation very slow. Powerful warriors were positioned at the head of every formation to ensure that attacker had to wade through huge army of elephants, horsemen and foot soldiers. It was going to a punishing march for any one wanting to reach Jayadratha. Krishna groaned on seeing the formation and Arjuna said it was going to test his skills and stamina and there was no easy option.

Arjuna moved towards Drona wanting to go past him without fighting him, but the Acharya held his position and attacked Arjuna rejecting his appeal to bypass to reach Jayadratha and avenge Abhimanyu’s death. Acharya reminded Arjuna that in war do not expect concessions. Abhimanyu fought well but we overwhelmed him, by first tiring him and then making him run out of arms by relentless fighting. This brought an angry burst of fighting. Drona compared his disciple’s skills with that of the fallen hero and marvelled at Arjuna‘s will power. Arjuna concentrated hard and worked his way around the Acharya in a tricky fighting that helped him to get past Drona without wasting too much time or armoury. Before Drona realized what was happening Arjuna had gone past him.

He ran into Duryodhana who had donned Drona’s impenetrable Armour. He was brave and needled Arjuna about Abhimanyu’s death saying that at the end it was so easy for Duchchasana’s son to kill Abhimanyu. Arjuna would meet the same fate and he would be standing in the front row witnessing his self immolation, Krishna warned Arjuna not to take to heart anything uttered by Duryodhana as it was part of overall strategy to tire him mentally as well as physically. Arjuna kept a calm face and dealt with Duryodhana displaying skills that made him such a great warrior. Duryodhana could not last in front of such expert fighting, having lost his chariot and horses. Duryodhana was hit all around his Armour, sharp arrows hitting soft parts of body and inflicting terrible pain. Seeing their king in distress Kripa, Ashwattama, Karna and Salya rushed to rescue Duryodhana. Arjuna kept him in his sights while expertly keeping others at distance. It took some very aggressive fighting from ASHWATTAMA to get Duryodhana out of Arjuna’s clutches. A savage multi cornered fight kept all Kaurava warriors at bay. Krishna conducted his chariot expertly as Arjuna made clearances for him by destroying the on rushing Kaurava army.

The princes of Avanti Vindha and Anuvindha, two brothers stood in the way fighting resolutely. They were well known for their courage and skills. Together they held up Arjuna for sometime with some fine shooting of arrows. Krishna was getting impatient urging Arjuna cut short shadow boxing. Arjuna took the hint and shut off their chariots in a heavy barrage of arrows and killing them. Kaurava army was now rattled at the fall of Avanti princess.

Krishna‘s chariot rolled on with Arjuna mowing down the army on either side.

In another part of the battle scene, Drona was attempting to capture Yudhistra. All his efforts were systematically thwarted by the combined skills of Drishtadyumna, Satyaki and Bheema. Yudhishtira himself fought with unusual ferocity, once even over powering the ACHARYA. Drona found that the Pandavas had worked out their defensive action very well and every attacking move from his side resulted in huge loss of manpower at the hands of Bheema. Yudhistra kept one ear tuned for the sounds from Krishna’s Panchajanya and slapping sounds of Gandiva’s bow string and was ready to play his cards. There was a period, when he could not hear anything from the direction of Arjuna, which caused him some worry. He quickly called Satyaki and urged him go up front to help Arjuna. Satyaki informed Yudhishtira that Arjuna did not need help from him and his own primary duty was to guard Yudhistra and tackle Drona. Arjuna had clearly advised him not to leave his post and weaken the defense. Yudhistra explained, “look, we have just beaten the Acharya and that will keep him busy to regroup. This is best time to move ahead and draw Drona deep inside his own army, as he will be bound to stop help reaching Arjuna. This way we will keep Acharya confused. Do not worry about my defence; Bheema and Drishtadyumna will be on hand for my protection. Satyaki thought that Yudhistra had thought up a good way to keep the Acharya busy. He agreed to move ahead with fresh horses and more weapons. Satyaki moved up to Bheema and explained the new move, took his permission to switch form defensive position to attacking mode. Bheema smiled his approval marvelling at the keen intellect of Yudhistra in making moves in a decisive way.

Satyaki now shining like Aditya was moving fast into Kaurava army. He had fresh horses and a very good charioteer. Drona saw him rushing towards Arjuna’s general direction and decided to challenge him Satyaki expected this move and attacked. Two skillful warriors, expert marksmen faced each other. Satyaki handled Drona‘s attack, with a flourish and when he attacked Drona lost his bow and charioteer. The Acharya held the rains in his mouth while fighting with his hands. Duryodhana sent a new charioteer to help Acharya, but could not stop Satyaki disable Drona. Satyaki moved ahead triumphantly while Drona frantically tried to readjust his position.

Then Jalasandha, Kritavarma, duryodhana and his brothers challenged Satyaki. Satyaki killed Jalasandha after fierce fighting. Duryodhana was overwhelmed and Kritavarma held on. It took all Satyaki’s skills to get past Kritavarma. Then he was at Arjuna’s side.

Arjuna had stopped to give a breather for the horses. With his yogic powers he created a small lake in the middle of the battlefield for the horses to get fresh water. He also rested his body in the cool waters and was soon ready for his fighting. He was not very happy to see his friend SATYAKI DESERTING Yudhistra‘ side. But Krishna felt happy because Satyaki could keep some of the kauravas leaders from Arjuna’s back. Soon he saw Purishrava heading towards Satyaki. The two families had a running feud and Purishrava hailed Satyaki’s arrival as god sent opportunity to fulfill long cherished desire for killing Satyaki. Satyaki relished the challenge and met Poorishrava’s assault head on. They fought like tigers inflicting terrible punishment on each other. The fighting was so thrilling that every body stopped their own fighting to see this fight. Slowly Satyaki was tiring and Poorishrava was gaining an upper hand. He quickly destroyed Satyaki’s horses and made him stand on ground. Wanting to fight on same level, Poorishrava jumped out of his own chariot and rushed at Satyaki with a sword in hand Satyaki defended himself very well but in sword fighting Poorishrava had no equal. He went on to maul Satyaki. Now Satyaki was lying on his back on the ground with out a weapon in his hand. Poorishrava held Satyaki by his hair dragging him all over the battle field shouting to every one that he was going to snuff the life out of Satyaki. Krishna was telling Arjuna to go to help of Satyaki but Arjuna was bound by ethics not to intervene in a fight where he was not a party. Krishna pointed out that Satyaki was sent by Yudhistra to help him and a friend should not be allowed to be slaughtered. Arjuna was not able to make his mind. He saw poorishrava raise his sword arm to cut Satyaki’s head. At that moment Arjuna screamed a warning at Poorishrava and with an arrow cut off the arm holding the sword. By now Satyaki had fainted. Poorishrava was surprised by the attack coming from the direction of Arjuna and wondered how he was going to justify interfering in another man’s fighting. “You must have acted on Krishna’s prompting because Satyaki came from Krishna’s army.” Arjuna retorted, ”You, Poorishrava have lost your sense. It did not take much courage to kill a soldier who had lost his weapon and fainted. That is how you all killed young Abhimanyu, As long as I have a bow in my hand I am duty bound to protect my people fighting for me, in my quarter.” Mention of Abhimanyu‘s name brought a sense of shame to Poorishrava who sat down on the ground. With his left hand he saluted Arjuna, spread his arrows around him and withdrew himself into a state of DHYANA. Satyaki regained consciousness and saw his enemy sitting. His rage and hatred for his prime enemy made him blind. Without thinking, he grabbed a sword from the ground and pounced on AN INERT Poorishrava and beheaded him even before Krishna and Arjuna could stop him. The kauravas criticized Satyaki but he justified his action by saying that any one who could drag a fallen opponent by his hair and wanting to kill could be killed in whatever state he was. The murder of Poorishrava demoralized a large section of Kaurava army.

Krishna called Tharuka to the battlefield and Satyaki was allowed to use his chariot for further Fighting. Satyaki now refreshed and in possession of celestial chariot driven by Tharuka, was now in a position to fight side by side with Arjuna, to reach Jayadratha

Krishna was unhappy at the rate at which they were advancing towards Jayadratha as he was aware that time frames for completion of their main objective of killing Jayadratha was getting tighter and tighter. Drona had mastered the art of stonewalling to prevent rapid advance by Arjuna. He wished Bheema also would join them so that they would have sufficient fire power to shatter the stubborn resistance by forces guarding Jayadratha. Just then, they saw looming in front of them the giant frame of Bheema with a giant size mace over his shoulder. Even though he appeared tired and badly bruised Krishna was very happy that he had arrived.

தொடரும்...

Chapter 09









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