Karna Parva 1 - Karna is Appointed the Commander
The beginning of the end under Karna’s generalship
Sanjaya arrived from the battlefield and, having met Dhritarashtra told him about the death of Karna. He blamed Dhritarashtra for disregarding the words of sages like Kanva and Narada and, as a result, now all the three great commanders of the Kaurava army were dead. Sanjaya then narrated the events of the war under Karna.
After Drona’s death, Duryodhana entrusted the army to Karna and asked him to be like the sun that scorches the enemy with its heat. Karna assured his friend that he would defeat the Pandavas along with Krishna.
The next day Karna stood at the head of the Kaurava forces looking like Skanda heading the Gods against the demons. Karna arranged the Makara vyuha. Seeing this, Yudhishtira asked Arjuna to kill Karna and uproot the stake that was struck in his heart. Arjuna then formed the Ardha Chandra vyuha stationing himself at the front with Bheema and Dhrishtadyumna at the two extreme ends.
Bheema seated on his elephant, charged at the Kaurava army. The King of Kuluta, Kshemadhurti attacked Bheema and struck his elephant. Bheema jumped down from his elephant and, picking up his mighty club struck Kshemadhurti’s elephant and then smashed the king to death.
Satyaki fought the Kekaya kings Vinda and Anuvinda. In the fierce battle, Satyaki sent a sharp arrow that cut off Anuvinda’s head. A furious Vinda charged at Satyaki. Both of them smashed into each other’s shields. Pulling out a sword, Satyaki charged at Vinda. Breaking through his defences, he severed Vinda’s head.
Arjuna’s son, Shrutakarma fought with King Chitravarma of Abhisara and beheaded him using a blazing arrow. Yudhishtira’s son Prativindhya used a javelin and killed King Chitra. Bheema then waged a battle with Ashwatthama. They shot hundreds of arrows at each other. It was like two Rudras or two Yamas fighting. Both the heroes struck each other and after being rendered senseless were taken away by their charioteers.
Arjuna then launched himself at the Samashapatakas, killing hundreds of them. Ashwatthama then attacked Arjuna and shot blazing arrows at both Krishna and Arjuna. The arrows injured both of them and the furious Arjuna cut the harnesses of Ashwatthama’s horses. He then struck the horses and they ran in panic, taking Ashwatthama away from the battle.
Dandadhara of Magadha then attacked Arjuna. After a fierce battle, Arjuna beheaded Dandadhara and killed his elephants. The Samashapatakas kept attacking Arjuna, and he kept on slaughtering them. The Pandya king Malaydhwaja then attacked Ashwatthama and the battle between the two of them lasted for a very long time.
Malaya hurled a spear that shattered Ashwatthama’s crown. A furious Ashwatthama then killed Malaya’s elephant and then cut off his arms. He then beheaded him, ending his life. Meanwhile, Karna was massacring thousands of soldiers belonging to the Pandava side.
Sahadeva fought with Dushasana and defeated him. Nakula took on Karna and fought with him. Karna broke Nakula’s bow. He picked up another bow and struck Karna in the chest. Karna then killed Nakula’s horses. He smashed Nakula’s chariot and, with no weapon, Nakula fled. Karna gave chase to Nakula and insulted him, saying that he should fight only with his equal.
… to be continued