Thursday, July 3, 2008

PDE Mahabharata: Ghatotkacha

Reading Guide. After Arjuna's loses his son Abhimanyu, Bhima will be next, losing his rakshasa son, the mighty warrior Ghatotkacha.

Source. Indian Myth and Legend by Donald A. Mackenzie (1913). [300 words]

Abhimanyu | 64. Ghatotkacha | Drona's Death

Night fell, but the fighting was renewed. In the darkness and confusion men slew their kinsmen, fathers cut down their sons, and brothers fought against brothers. Yudhishthira sent men with torches to light up the blood-red plain, and the battle was waged for many hours. Swords were splintered and spears were lost, and warriors threw great boulders and chariot wheels against one another. All men were maddened with the thirst for blood, and the night was filled with horrors.

At length Arjuna called for a truce, and it was agreed that the warriors should sleep on the battlefield. So all lay down, the charioteer in his chariot, the horseman on his steed, and the driver of the elephant on his elephant's back.

Duryodhana reproached Drona because that he did not slay the Pandavas in their sleep. "Let Karna," he said, "lead the hosts to victory."

Said Drona, "Thou art reaping the red harvest of thy sins. But know now that on the morrow either Arjuna will fall or I will be slain by him."

When the bright moon rose in the heavens the conflict was renewed. Many fell on that awful night. Ghatotkacha, the rakshasa son of Bhima, was foremost in the fray, and he slaughtered numerous Kaurava warriors. At length Karna went against him, and then the air was filled with blazing arrows. Each smote the other with powerful weapons, and for a time the issue hung in the balance.

Ghatotkacha created illusions, but Karna kept his senses in that great fight, even after his steeds had been slain; he leapt to the ground, then flung a celestial dart, the gift of Indra, and Ghatotkacha, uttering terrible cries, fell down and breathed his last breath. The Kauravas shouted with gladness, and the Pandavas shed tears of sorrow.

Abhimanyu | Ghatotkacha | Drona's Death

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