Bheeshma Parva 3 - The war begins – first 3 days
Yudhishtira then went to Bheeshma after keeping his weapons down. He was joined by his brothers and Krishna. He sought permission from Bheeshma to start the war and asked for his blessings. Bheeshma blessed him with victory and asked him to seek a boon. Yudhishtira asked him how they could defeat him. Bheeshma said no one could defeat him and the time for his death had not yet come.
Similarly, Yudhishtira took the blessings of Drona, Kripa, and Shalya. Drona told him that where there is Krishna, there is Dharma and where there is Dharma, there is victory. Krishna went to Karna and asked him to join the Pandavas, since he promised not to fight under Bheeshma. Karna denied saying he had given his life for Duryodhana’s welfare.
Yudhishtira then loudly announced that whoever chooses the Pandavas will be considered an ally. Yuyutsu, the son of Dhritarashtra born through a maid, changed sides and joined the Pandavas.
The conches and drums were sounded and the two sides clashed, causing the earth to shake and creating a huge cloud of dust. Bheeshma fought with Arjuna, Satyaki with Kritavarma, Abhimanyu with Vrihadvala, and Bheema with Duryodhana. The two demons who knew the art of illusion, Ghatotkacha and Alamvusha fought with each other.
Protected by warriors, Bheeshma slaughtered thousands of Pandava soldiers. Abhimanyu then cut off Bheeshma’s standard and fought with the grandsire bravely and was joined by Bheema. Uttara attacked Shalya but was brutally killed by the Madra king with a spear that tore into his heart. Shanka the son of Virat, then attacked the Kauravas.
Bheeshma released thousands of arrows that caused chaos in the Pandava ranks leading to thousands of deaths. The first day ended with the Pandavas being dispirited but were comforted by Krishna.
On the advice of Arjuna, Dhrishtadyumna set up the Krauncha (crane) formation the next day with Arjuna at the head. Arjuna then fought with Bheeshma. Drona, Kripa and others came to Bheeshma’s aid. Satyaki, Dhrishtadyumna and Abhimanyu came to Arjuna’s help. Bheema launched a terrible attack on the Kalinga army and killed the crown prince.
Bheema massacred thousands of Kalinga soldiers and then killed Bheeshma’s charioteer, forcing Bheeshma out of the battle. Abhimanyu fought fiercely with Lakshmana who was forced to get help from his father Duryodhana. Arjuna then launched a fierce attack, killing the Kaurava soldiers by the thousands. The day ended with the Pandavas seizing the advantage.
On the third day, the Kauravas arranged their formation in the Garuda Vyuha. Dhrishtadyumna and Arjuna created the Ardha Chandra or half-moon formation, to counter the Kauravas. Arjuna charged at the Kaurava army, shooting thousands of arrows. He killed many of the Kauravas, making them run in fear.
In a fierce battle with Duryodhana, Bheema struck him with an arrow in his chest, causing him to faint. Many Kaurava soldiers ran from the battlefield fearing the attack of Bheema and Arjuna. Duryodhana questioned Bheeshma for not stopping the attack. Bheeshma told Duryodhana that with Krishna on their side, none could defeat them, but he would try.
… to be continued