Drona Parva 3 - Arjuna’s Vow
The victorious Kauravas left the battlefield as the sun set while Yudhishtira grieved terribly. Arjuna, meanwhile, had defeated the Samashapatakas and was returning. He was worried seeing the lack of celebrations and feared the worst. Seeing his dead son, Arjuna lamented and was in deep grief.
When Yudhishtira explained how Jayadratha had stopped him and his army from joining Abhimanyu in the Vyuha, Arjuna was furious. He took an oath to kill Jayadratha the next day before sunset or give up his life. Krishna and Arjuna then blew their conches, and the soldiers sounded the drums in preparation for the next day’s great battle.
When their spies informed the Kauravas about Arjuna’s vow, Jayadratha was in a panic. He wanted to leave the battlefield but Duryodhana stopped him, promising to protect him. Drona decided to place Jayadratha at the end of the Suchi Vyuha (needle formation) with a Padmyavyuha and Shakatavyuha in front. Karna, Ashwatthama, Bhurisharava, Vrishasena, Kripa, and Shalya were assigned to protect the king of Sindhu.
The night was a terrible one, and neither Krishna nor Arjuna could sleep. Krishna went to Subhadra’s house and consoled her on her terrible loss. Subhadra lamented along with Uttara, who lost consciousness. Krishna consoled all the womenfolk and returned. He told his charioteer Daruka to be ready with his chariot so he could fight if Arjuna lost.
In their minds, Krishna and Arjuna traveled to Kailasa, where they met Mahadeva. Arjuna got his blessings and was instructed on the use of the Pashupata weapon.
The next day, the battle began fiercely with Arjuna determined to break through the Vyuhas of Drona and kill Jayadratha. The vyuha formed by Drona stretched over 48 miles long. At the entrance of the vyuha stood Drona. To reach the vyuha, Arjuna first had to defeat Dushasana. He did it easily, slaughtering thousands of elephants. Drona then blocked Arjuna.
A fierce fight ensued between the teacher and the student. Krishna then reminded Arjuna of the goal and warned that him he could not defeat Drona so easily. Bowing to Drona, Arjuna stopped fighting and moved ahead. With him were his two chariot protectors, Uttamaujas and Yudhamanyu.
Arjuna fought with King Sudakshina of Kamboja and killed him. Shrutaya and Achyutaya launched a severe attack against Arjuna, and his arrows hurt him badly, causing him to reel and clutch his flag post for support. Arjuna then counterattacked and soon the two warriors lay dead.
Thousands of elephant warriors and mlecchas, with knowledge of illusion, attacked Arjuna. None could stand against him as he slaughtered thousands and thousands of opponents as he raced towards his target.
Duryodhana complained to Drona, who told him he could not go as fast as Arjuna and hence would try to capture Yudhishtira. He asked Duryodhana to attack Arjuna and gave him a powerful armour that was used by Indra in his war against the demon Vritra.
…. to be continued