Thursday, December 17, 2015

Kurukshetra war day 1 part 1 the morning before battle


The warriors woke before sunrise and prepared for battle in various ways. I feel at this point it may be necessary to speak a little about the living situation and conditions for the warriors. From what can be ascertained from the Mahabharata (which I shall use as the sole source of information) the armies lived in a large encampment. I believe it was divided by rank and importance of the Kings princes and other nobility who were fighting in the battle. I come to this conclusion based on the fact that the warrior caste in general places a great deal of pains to order and absolutely everything being divided in its proper place. They hold very rigidly to a chain of command and it is a form of respect that when a group of people join forces the higher ranking warriors are given there due respect as respect is the bread and butter of the warrior caste. There was a place where specifically the royal and high ranking Ksatrias lived and then there was areas for camp followers servants and priests. We find in the Drona-Parva that the royal personalities had various morning rituals which followed almost mystic significance in there order. After Bath they were shown various auspicious symbols to meditate and then given things to smell and then things to touch. I find this significant. The meaning is that they were attempting to purify there senses so that there mind could be free to act in the proper way. In the early morning before sunrise all the warriors of the Kuru and Pandava army began to gather on the field of battle.

The commanders all began to shout “assemble together” and the great Kuru division began to form. The sound of all the soldiers horses and elephants getting into position was so loud and made such a great shaking that people thought the earth would split open. The Kuru’s were the first to gather there formation and were complete by the time the first rays of the sun began to come over the horizon.

As the sun began to rise over the field the size and scope of the kuru army could be seen. All the golden weapons and armor could begin to be seen shining amidst the ranks of the Kuru’s. As the light began to increase it illuminated the standards and
flags of the Kuru’s which were all the colors of Indra’s rainbow and which were made of gold and covered in gems and shone like fire.
Sakuni, Salya, Jayadratha, the two princes of Avanti named
Vinda and Anuvinda, the Kekaya brothers, Sudakshina ,Srutayudha, Jayatsena,Vrihadballa and Kritavarman, were all the commanders of 10 divisions. Bhisma was the commander of the Kuru division as well as the army.
Bhisma was standing on a silver chariot wearing silver armor and had a silver helmet. His umbrella was white as well as his horses. On his flag was a large gold palm tree with five stars. The entire kuru division stood before all the others and at the
head of that was Bhisma who looked like a full moon surrounded by clouds.
Turning to face the Kuru army Bhisma began a pre battle speech by which he intended to enliven the army

Bhisma said. “ All you warriors listen to me. A wide door now stands before you which is open to you for entering heaven. If you go through it you will enter the region of Sakra (Indra) or Brahman.(liberation) The sages of olden times have showed us this eternal path. Honor yourselves by engaging in this battle with an attentive mind. Great kings such as Nabhaga, Yayati, Mandhatri, Nahusa, and Nriga, were crowned with success and obtained the highest region of bliss by actions such as these. To die of disease at home is a low thing for a Kshatriya. The death he meets with in battle is his eternal duty.”
This speech by Bhisma is significant, he is explaining how rare it is in this world that people can actually get a chance to face the time of death prepared. Death is such a random thing and it also is so scary to most people that they avoid thinking about it completely. However the warriors on that field not only could see the door to the next world wide open to them, they also had been given the great benediction that they could face it and die in a way which would be fulfilling to them. Fear is a great impediment for anything in life and death may be considered among the greatest of fears. However the warriors assembled there were trained from birth to be prepared for death and it was also there desire and fulfillment of purpose to fight in battle. Therefore they were extremely fortunate to be on the field. There whole life was free from the fear and they therefore enjoyed it completely and now they would either conquer and win a great kingdom or die and go to heaven and enjoy an honorable afterlife.
After Bhisma was done talking all the generals situated themselves at the heads of there respective armies, except for Karna and his relations out of spite for Bhisma. All the kings on the Kuru side proceeded, making the ten points of the horizon resound with their leonine roars. And their divisions shone brightly, with white umbrellas, banners, standards, elephants, steeds, cars, and foot-soldiers. The Earth was agitated with the sounds of drums and tabors and cymbals, and the clatter of car-wheels. The mighty car-warriors, decked with their bracelets and armlets of gold and with their bows (variegated with gold), looked resplendent like hills of fire. And with his large palmyra-standard decked with five stars, Bhishma, the Senapati of the Kuru army, looked like the resplendent Sun himself.

The great bowmen amongst the Srinjayas headed by Dhrishtadyumna, (beholding Bhishma) looked like little animals when they would behold a mighty yawning lion. Indeed, all the combatants headed by Dhrishtadyumna repeatedly trembled in fear. Indeed, the two armies facing each other looked like two oceans at the end of the Yuga agitated by fierce Makaras, and abounding with huge crocodiles. Never before, did was seen or heard of two such armies encountering each other like these of the Kauravas and Pandavas.

Seeing the Dhritarashtra divisions arrayed in order of battle, Pandu's son of virtuous soul, king Yudhishthira the just, addressed Dhananjaya, saying,--'Men are informed from the words of that great Rishi Brihaspati that the few must be made to fight by condensing them, while the many may be extended according to pleasure. In encounters of the few with the many, the array to be formed should be the needle-mouthed one. Our troops compared with the enemy's are few. Keeping in view this precept of the great Rishi, array our troops, O son of Pandu.'

Hearing this, Arjuna answered king Dharmaraj, saying,” --That immovable array known by the name of Vajra, which was designed by Indra,--that invincible array is the one that I will make for you, O best of kings.

He who is like the bursting tempest, he who is incapable of being borne in battle by the foe, that Bhima the foremost of smiters, will fight at our head. That foremost of men, conversant with all the appliances of battle, becoming our leader, will fight in the van, crushing the energy of the foe. That foremost of smiters, viz., Bhima, beholding whom all the hostile warriors headed by Duryodhana will retreat in panic like smaller animals beholding the lion, all of us, our fears dispelled, will seek his shelter as if he were a wall, like the celestial seeking the shelter of Indra. The man breathes not in the world who would bear to cast his eyes upon that bull among men, Vrikodara of fierce deeds, when he is angry.'

Even this, was what Vibhatsu said, pointing out the mighty Bhimasena (to Yudhishthira). While Partha was saying so, all the troops, worshipped him on the field of battle with congratulatory words. King Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, took up his position in the center of his army, surrounded by huge and furious elephants resembling moving hills. The high-souled Yajnasena, the king of the Panchalas, endued with great prowess, stationed himself behind Virata with an Akshauhini of troops for the sake of the Pandavas. And on the cars of those kings, were tall standards bearing diverse devices, decked with excellent ornaments of gold, and endued with the effulgence of the Sun and the Moon. 

Transcending the huge standards on all the cars on the Kuru side and that of the Pandavas, was the one gigantic ape on Arjuna's car. Foot-soldiers, by many hundreds of thousands, and armed with swords, spears, and scimitars, proceeded ahead for protecting Bhimasena. And ten thousand elephants with (temporal) juice trickling down their cheek and mouth, and resembling (on that account) showering clouds,endued with great courage, blazing with golden armour, huge hills, costly, and emitting the fragrance of lotuses, followed the king behind like moving mountains. The high-souled and invincible Bhimasena, whirling his fierce mace that resembled the rod of death seemed to crush the large army of the Kurus. Incapable of being looked at like the Sun himself, and scorching as it were, the hostile army (like fire), none of the combatants on the Kuru side could bear to even look at him from any point. And this array, fearless and having its face turned towards all sides called Vajra, having bows for its lightning,and extremely fierce, was protected by the wielder of Gandiva. Who was none other than the Amsha of Indra. Disposing their troops in this counter-array against the Kuru army, the Pandavas waited for battle. And protected by the Pandavas, that array became invincible in the world of men.

As (both) the armies stood at dawn of day waiting for sunrise, a wind began to blow with drops of water (falling), and although there were no clouds, the roll of thunder was heard. And dry winds began to blow all around, bearing a shower of pointed pebbles along the ground. And as thick dust arose, covering the world with darkness. And large meteors began to fall east-wards, and striking against the rising Sun, broke in fragments with loud noise. When the troops stood arrayed, the Sun rose divested of splendour, and the Earth trembled with a loud sound, and cracked in many places, with loud noise. The roll of thunder was heard frequently on all sides. So thick was the dust that arose that nothing could be seen. The tall standards (of the combatants), furnished with strings of bells, decked with golden ornaments, garlands of flowers, and rich drapery, graced with banners and resembling the Sun in splendor, being suddenly shaken by the wind, gave a loud jingling noise like that of a forest of palm trees (when moved by the wind)It was thus that those tigers among men, the sons of Pandu, ever taking delight in battle, stood having disposed their troops in counter-array against the army of the Kurus, and sucking as it were, the marrow, of the Kuru warriors who casting their eyes on Bhimasena stationed at the head, mace in hand.

Both armies, when arrayed, were equally joyful. Both armies looked equally beautiful, assuming the aspect of blossoming woods, and both armies were full of elephants, cars and horses. Both armies were vast and terrible in aspect; and so also, none of them could tolerate the other. Both of them were arrayed for conquering the very heavens and both of them consisted of excellent persons.

The Kauravas belonging to the Dhritarashtra party stood facing the west, while the Parthas stood facing the east, armed for battle. The troops of the Kauravas looked like the army of the chief of the Danavas, while that of the Pandavas looked like the army of the celestials.

The wind began to blow from behind the Pandavas (against the face of the Dhartarashtras), and the beasts of prey began to yell against the Dhartarashtras. The elephants belonging to thy sons could not bear the strong odour of the temporal juice emitted by the huge elephants (of the Pandavas).

Duryodhana rode on an elephant of the complexion of the lotus, with rent temples, graced with a golden Kaksha (on its back), and cased in an armour of steel net-work. He was in the very centre of the Kurus and was adored by eulogists and bards. And a white umbrella of lunar effulgence was held over his head graced with a golden chain. Him Sakuni, the ruler of the Gandharas, followed with the vicious mountain dwelling tribes of Gandhara (Afghanistan) placed all around. The venerable Bhishma was at the head of all the troops, with a white umbrella held over his head, armed with bow and sword, with a white headgear, with a white banner (on his car), and with white steeds (yoked thereto), and altogether looking like a white mountain. In Bhishma's division were all the sons of Dhritarashtra, and also Sala who was a countryman of the Valhikas, and also all those Kshatriyas called Amvastas, and those called Sindhus, (Pakistan) and those also that are called Sauviras, and the heroic dwellers of the country of the five rivers. And on a golden car unto which were yoked red steeds, the high-souled Drona, bow in hand and with never-failing heart, the preceptor of almost all the kings, remained behind all the troops, protecting them like Indra. And Saradwat's son, Kripacarya that fighter in the van, that high-souled and mighty bowman, called also Gautama, conversant with all modes of warfare, accompanied by the Sakas, the Kiratas, the Yavanas, (Greece and Turkey) and the Pahlavas, took up his position at the northern point of the army. That large force which was well protected by mighty car-warriors of the Vrishni and the Bhoja races, (Narayani Sena: Krsnas personal army)as also by the warriors of Surashtra well-armed and well-acquainted with the uses of weapons, and which was led by Kritavarman, proceeded towards the south of the army. Ten thousand cars of theSamasaptakas who were created for either the death or the fame of Arjuna, and who, accomplished in arms, intended to follow Arjuna at his heels all went out as also the brave Trigartas.
In the army, were thousands of elephants of the foremost fighting powers. Unto each elephant was assigned 100 chariots; unto each chariot, a hundred horsemen; unto each horseman, ten bowmen; and unto each bowman ten combatants armed with sword and shield. Thus, O Bharata, were the divisions arrayed by Bhishma. The Senapati Bhishma, the son of Santanu, as each day dawned, sometimes disposed thy troops in the human army, sometimes in the celestial, sometimes in the Gandharva, and sometimes in the Asura.
Thronged with a large number of Maharathas, and roaring like the very ocean, the Dhartarashtra army, arrayed by Bhishma, stood facing the west for battle. Illimitable as the army was, it looked terrible; but the army of the Pandavas, although it was not such (in number), yet seemed to me to be very large and invincible since Kesava and Arjuna were its leader.
Beholding the vast Dhartarashtra army ready for battle, king Yudhisthira, the son of Kunti, gave way to grief. Seeing that impenetrable array formed by Bhishma and regarding it as really impenetrable, the king became pale and addressed Arjuna, saying,--O, mighty-armed Dhananjaya, how shall we be able to fight in battle with the Dhartarashtras who have the Grandsire for their (chief) combatant? Immovable and impenetrable is this array that hath been designed, according to the rules laid down in the scriptures, by that grinder of foes, Bhishma, of transcendent glory. With our troops we have become doubtful (of success), O grinder of foes. How, indeed, will victory be ours in the face of this mighty array?'--
Thus addressed, that slayer of foes Arjuna answered Yudhisthira, the son of Pritha, who had been plunged into grief at sight, O king, of the Kuru army, in these words,--Hear, O king, how soldiers that are few in number may vanquish the many that are possessed of every quality. Thou art without malice; I shall, therefore, tell thee means, O king. The Rishi Narada knows it, as also both Bhishma and Drona. Referring to this means, the Lord Bramha himself in days of old on the occasion of the battle between the Gods and the Asuras said unto Indra and the other celestials.--They that are desirous of victory do not conquer by might and energy so much as by truth, compassion, righteousness and energy. Discriminating then between righteousness, and unrighteousness, and understanding what is meant by covetousness and having recourse to exertion fight without arrogance, for victory is there where righteousness is.--For this know, O king, that to us victory is certain in (this) battle. Indeed, as Narada said,--There is victory where Krishna is.--Victory is inherent to Krishna. Indeed, it followeth Madhava. And as victory is one of its attributes, so humility is his another attribute. Govinda is possessed of energy that is infinite. Even in the midst of immeasurable foes he is without pain. He is the most eternal of male beings. And there victory is where Krishna is. Even he, indestructible and of weapons incapable of being baffled, appearing as Hari in olden days, said in a loud voice unto the Gods and the Asuras,--Who amongst you would be victorious?--Even the conquered who said.--With Krishna in the front we will conquer. --And it was through Hari's grace that the three worlds were obtained by the mighty Indra. I do not, therefore, behold the slightest cause of sorrow for you, that has the Sovereign of the Universe and the Lord himself of the celestials for wishing victory to yourself."
king Yudhishthira, disposing his own troops in counter array against the divisions of Bhishma, urged them on, saying,--'The Pandavas have now disposed their forces in counter array agreeably to what is laid down (in the scriptures). O sinless ones, fight fairly, desirous of (entering) the highest heaven'.--In the centre (of the Pandava army) was Sikhandin and his troops, protected by Arjuna. And Dhristadyumna moved in the van, protected by Bhima. The southern division (of the Pandava army) was protected. O king, by that mighty bowman, the handsome Yuyudhana, that foremost combatant of the Satwata race, resembling Indra himself. Yudhisthira was stationed on a car that was worthy of bearing the king of heaven himself, adorned with an excellent standard, variegated with gold and gems, and furnished with golden traces (for the steeds), in the midst of his elephant divisions.  His pure white umbrella with ivory handle, raised over his head, looked exceedingly beautiful; and many great Rishis walked around the king  uttering words in his praise. And many priests, and regenerate Rishis and Siddhas, uttering hymns in his praise wished him, as they walked around, the destructions of his enemies, by the aid of Japas, and Mantras, efficacious drugs, and diverse propitiatory ceremonies. That high-souled chief of the Pandavas, then giving away unto the Brahmanas kine and fruits and flowers and golden coins along with cloths proceeded like the mighty Indra, the chief of the celestials.
The car of Arjuna, furnished with a hundred bells, decked with Jamvunada gold of the best kind, endued with excellent wheels, possessed of the effulgence of fire, and unto which were yoked white ghandarva steeds, looked exceedingly brilliant like a thousand suns.  And on that ape-bannered car the reins of which were held by Kesava, stood Arjuna with Gandiva and arrows in hand--a bowman whose peer exists not on earth, nor ever will.

For crushing the Kuru troops he who assumes the most awful form,--who, divested of weapons, with only his bare hands, pounds to dust men, horses, and elephants,--that strong-armed Bhimasena, otherwise called Vrikodara, accompanied by the twins, became the protector of the heroic car-warriors (of the Pandava) army. Like unto a furious prince of lions of sportive gait, or like the great Indra himself with (earthly) body on the Earth, beholding that invincible Vrikodara, like unto a proud leader of an elephantine herd, stationed in the van (of the army), the warriors on thy side, their strength weakened by fear, began to tremble like elephants sunk in mire. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Day 1
The first day of battle ended with a slight victory for the kuru army. Bhisma showed his prowess on the battlefield by killing the great hero Sweta before sunset.
At the start of the day the armies got the first chance to see each other. The warriors of the pandavas were afraid at first of the kuru army due to its large size. Even some of the hero’s upon seeing Bhisma and Drona together on the field of battle started to shake. This fear however was soon dispelled when Arjuna went before all the troops and gave a speech to Yudhisthera about how Bhima would lead them to battle. He stated all the qualifications of Bhima and how he would be there shelter in the battle like how Indra is the shelter of the gods. The whole army started to celebrate and chant the name of Bhima in his glorification. Bhima along with other key hero’s went to the front and the army gathered behind him. At this point the fear now belonged to the kuru’s who seeing Bhima at the head of the army armed with his massive mace began to shake and could not even look at him.
While the army of Pandavas was forming Dhristadyumna met Duryodhana on the field and they discussed the various rules of
engagement. After this was over Dhristadyumna bluntly informed Duryodhana that he did not expect the kuru’s would hold to them
and that if the Kauravas cheated the Pandavas would respond in turn
Duryodhana was furious upon hearing this and went to Drona and spoke about the array of the Pandavas and how the Kuru’s should relay on Bhisma like how the Pandavas relay on Bhima.
Bhisma blew on his conch shell and the Pandavas returned with there own. It was at this point that the battle had officialy started.
Arjuna left his place in the formation and seeing his grandfather and other relatives was overcome with emotion. He began to cry and dropped his bow. Krsna and him spoke the Bagavad Gita for about an hour and Arjuna took up his bow and returned to the army
At this point Yudhistera took off his armor and went to his
seniors on the field of battle and asked there permission to
fight, which they granted. They all lamented that they had to
fight against Yudhistera and blamed the fact that they had to fight for Duryodhana on greed.
When Yudhistera returned into position the kuru army blew the conch shells and beat on drums once again. All the Pandavas responded by blowing on there own, except Bhima who’s roars rose above the sound of the instruments. Bhima roared like a angry bull and caused all the animals of the kuru army to cry in fear simply by the almost supernatural volume of his voice.
The two armies who had been waiting for the war a long time charged at each other with much anticipation and excitement. At the start there was a great chaos and the warriors hacked and shot each other with various weapons. Each of the main fighters for the Pandavas had a particular person which they were supposed to fight in the war. This was told to them at the start every day by Dhristadyumna who was general of the army. Many single combats ensued between particular great warriors. Protected by a group of key fighters Bhisma broke free from fighting Arjuna and started destroying the united forces from Kashi, Karusha, Chedi and Panchala. While Bhisma massacred the Pandava army one brave hero stepped forward to challenge him. Abhimanyu and Bhisma fought a great battle and many people feared for the life of Bhisma due to the fighting ability of Abhimanyu.
Soon Abhimanyu was fighting not only Bhisma but also all his protectors and suporting forces single handedly. Abhimanyu began to waver due to the large number of warriors he was fighting ,so
Bhima and some other pandava warriors joined to support Abhimanyu and the confrontation became general.
Bhumanjaya charged at Shalya from the back of his elephant and killed the horses of Shalya. Shalya responded by throwing a
iron dart at Bhumanjaya and killing him. Shalya then leapt from his chariot and cut the head off the elephant with a large sword.
Sweta was the brother of Bhumanjaya and was a great warrior. When he observed that his brother was slain he charged at Shalya
to kill him. Imediatly 7 kuru Maharaths intercepted him and began to fight him. Sweta single handedly out matched all them
destroying there various weapons and humiliating the lot of them. Bhisma then came forward to fight against sweta and a magnificent battle ensued. Bhisma and Sweta fired volleys of arrows wounding
not only there foe but also the troops supporting them. Bhisma caused huge piles of corpses to form on the feild. In a short span of time over 10,000 chariots, elephants and other warriors
were smashed to pieces. Not a single person in the surrounding area was left un-struck by Bhisma. Sweta also killed thousands of Kuru’s while firing at Bhisma. Duryodhana became worried about
Duryodhana due to the prowess that Sweta was showing and ordered a large number of Maharaths to support Bhisma. They all fired at Sweta a huge shower of arrows however he destroyed all there arrows and broke the bow of Bhisma and his standard. Bishma became enraged and killed the horses and chariot driver of sweta and broke his chariot. Sweta leapt from his chariot and tossed a flaming dart which Bhisma split in half with an arrow. Then Sweta took up a mace and threw it a Bhisma with great force. Bhisma could see that it was incapable of being countered so he jumped off his chariot just in time. His chariot and horses were completely destroyed and reduced to ashes. Bhisma got on a new chariot and shot a Bhramastra at Sweta which shot through his heart and killed him.

Saturday, October 17, 2015