[Page 291] "Vaisampayana continued, 'Beholding the Pandavas and the son of Dhritarashtra accomplished in arms, Drona thought the time had come when he could demand the preceptorial fee. And, O king, assembling his pupils one day together, the preceptor Drona asked of them the fee, saying,
'Seize Drupada, the king of Panchala in battle and bring him unto me.
That shall be the most acceptable fee.'
Those warriors then answering, 'So be it', speedily mounted up on their chariots, and for bestowing upon their preceptor the fee he had demanded, marched out, accompanied by him.
Those bulls among men, smiting the Panchalas on their way, laid siege to the capital of the great Drupada. And Duryodhana and Karna and the mighty Yuyutsu, and Duhsasana and Vikarna and Jalasandha and Sulochana, — these and many other foremost of Kshatriya princes of great prowess, vied with one another in becoming the foremost in the attack.
And the princes, riding in first class chariots and following the cavalry, entered the hostile capital, and proceeded along the streets.
"Meanwhile, the king of Panchala, beholding that mighty force and hearing its loud clamour, came out of his palace, accompanied by his brothers. Though king Yajnasena was well-armed, the Kuru army assailed him with a shower of arrows, uttering their war-cry.
Yajnasena, however, not easy to be subdued in battle, approaching the Kurus upon his white chariot, began to rain his fierce arrows around.
"Before the battle commenced, Arjuna, beholding the pride of prowess displayed by the princes, addressed his preceptor, that best of Brahmanas, Drona, and said,
'We shall exert ourselves after these have displayed their prowess.
The king of Panchala can never be taken on the field of the battle by any of these.'
Having said this, the sinless son of Kunti surrounded by his brothers, waited outside the town at a distance of a mile from it.
Meanwhile Drupada beholding the Kuru host, rushed forward and pouring a fierce shower of arrows around, terribly afflicted the Kuru ranks. And such was his lightness of motion on the field of battle that, though he was fighting unsupported on a single chariot, the Kurus from panic supposed that there were many Drupadas opposed to them.
And the fierce arrows of that monarch fell fast on all sides, till conchs and trumpets and drums by thousands began to be sounded by the Panchalas from their houses (giving the alarm). Then there arose from the mighty Panchala host a roar terrible as that of the lion, while the twang of their bow-strings seemed to rend the very heavens.
Then Duryodhana and Vikarna, Suvahu and Dirghalochana and Duhsasana becoming furious, began to shower their arrows upon the enemy. But the mighty bowman, Prishata's son, invincible in battle, though very much pierced with the arrows of the enemy, instantly began, O Bharata, [Page 292] to afflict the hostile ranks with greater vigour. And careering over the field of battle like a fiery wheel, king Drupada with his arrows smote Duryodhana and Vikarna and even the mighty Karna and many other heroic princes and numberless warriors, and slaked their thirst for battle.
Then all the citizens showered upon the Kurus various missiles like clouds showering rain-drops upon the earth. Young and old, they all rushed to battle, assailing the Kurus with vigour. The Kauravas, then, O Bharata, beholding the battle become frightful, broke and fled wailing towards the Pandavas.
"The Pandavas, hearing the terrible wail of the beaten host, reverentially saluted Drona and ascended their chariots. Then Arjuna hastily bidding Yudhishthira not to engage in the fight, rushed forward, appointing the sons of Madri (Nakula and Sahadeva) the protectors of his chariot-wheels, while Bhimasena ever fighting in the van, mace in hand, ran ahead.
The sinless Arjuna, thus accompanied by his brothers, hearing the shouts of the enemy, advanced towards them, filling the whole region with the rattle of his chariot-wheels. And like a Makara entering the sea, the mighty-armed Bhima, resembling a second Yama, mace in hand, entered the Panchala ranks, fiercely roaring like the ocean in a tempest.
And Bhima, mace in hand, first rushed towards the array of elephants in the hostile force, while Arjuna, proficient in battle, assailed that force with the prowess of his arms.
And Bhima, like the great Destroyer himself, began to slay those elephants with his mace. Those huge animals, like unto mountains, struck with Bhima's mace, had their heads broken into pieces. Covered with stream of blood, they began to fall upon the ground like cliffs loosened by thunder.
And the Pandavas prostrated on the ground elephants and horses and cars by thousands and slew many foot-soldiers and many car-warriors. Indeed, as a herdsman in the woods driveth before him with his staff countless cattle with ease, so did Vrikodara drive before him the chariots and elephants of the hostile force.
"Meanwhile, Phalguna, impelled by the desire of doing good unto Bharadwaja's son, assailed the son of Prishata with a shower of arrows and felled him from the elephant on which he was seated.
And, O monarch, Arjuna, like unto the terrible fire that consumeth all things at the end of the Yuga, began to prostrate on the ground horses and cars and elephants by thousands. The Panchalas and the Srinjayas, on the other hand, thus assailed by the Pandava, met him with a perfect shower of weapons of various kinds. And they sent up a loud shout and fought desperately with Arjuna.
The battle became furious and terrible to behold.
Hearing the enemy's shouts, the son of Indra was filled with wrath and assailing the hostile host with a thick shower of arrows, rushed towards it furiously afflicting it with renewed vigour. They who observed the illustrious Arjuna at that time could not mark any interval between his fixing the arrows on the bowstring and letting them off. Loud were the shouts that rose there, mingled with cheers of approval.
Then the king of the Panchalas, accompanied by (the generalissimo [Page 293] of his forces) Satyajit, rushed with speed at Arjuna like the Asura Samvara rushing at the chief of the celestials (in days of yore).
Then Arjuna covered the king of Panchala with a shower of arrows. Then there arose a frightful uproar among the Panchala host like unto the roar of a mighty lion springing at the leader of a herd of elephants.
And beholding Arjuna rushing at the king of Panchala to seize him, Satyajit of great prowess rushed at him. And the two warriors, like unto Indra and the Asura Virochana's son (Vali), approaching each other for combat, began to grind each other's ranks. Then Arjuna with great force pierced Satyajit with ten keen shafts at which feat the spectators were all amazed.
But Satyajit, without losing any time, assailed Arjuna with a hundred shafts. Then that mighty car-warrior, Arjuna, endued with remarkable lightness of motion, thus covered by that shower of arrows, rubbed his bow-string to increase the force and velocity of his shafts. Then cutting in twain his antagonist's bow, Arjuna rushed at the king of the Panchalas, but Satyajit, quickly taking up a tougher bow, pierced with his arrows Partha, his chariot, charioteer, and horses.
Arjuna, thus assailed in battle by the Panchala warrior, forgave not his foe.
Eager to slay him at once, he pierced with a number of arrows his antagonist's horses, flags, bow, clenched (left) fist, charioteer, and the attendant at his back. Then Satyajit, finding his bows repeatedly cut in twain and his horses slain, desisted from the fight.
"The king of the Panchalas, beholding his general thus discomfited in the encounter, himself began to shower his arrows upon the Pandava prince. Then Arjuna, that foremost of warriors, crowned with success, began to fight furiously, and quickly cutting his enemy's bow in twain as also his flagstaff which he caused to fall down, pierced his antagonist's horses, and charioteer also with five arrows.
Then throwing aside his bow Arjuna took his quiver, and taking out a scimitar and sending forth a loud shout, leaped from his own chariot upon that of his foe. And standing there with perfect fearlessness he seized Drupada as Garuda seizeth a huge snake after agitating the waters of the ocean.
At the sight of this, the Panchala troops ran away in all directions.
"Then Dhananjaya, having thus exhibited the might of his arm in the presence of both hosts, sent forth a loud shout and came out of the Panchala ranks. And beholding him returning (with his captive), the princes began to lay waste Drupada's capital. Addressing them Arjuna said,
'This best of monarchs, Drupada, is a relative of the Kuru heroes. Therefore, O Bhima, slay not his soldiers. Let us only give unto our preceptor his fee.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'O king, thus prevented by Arjuna, the mighty Bhimasena, though unsatiated with the exercise of battle, refrained from the act of slaughter.
And, O bull of the Bharata race, the princes then, taking Drupada with them after having seized him on the field of battle along with his friends and counsellors, offered him unto Drona.
And Drona beholding Drupada thus brought under complete control--humiliated and [Page 294] deprived of wealth--remembered that monarch's former hostility and addressing him said,
'Thy kingdom and capital have been laid waste by me. But fear not for thy life, though it dependeth now on the will of thy foe. Dost thou now desire to revive thy friendship (with me)?'
Having said this, he smiled a little and again said,
'Fear not for thy life, brave king! We, Brahmanas, are ever forgiving.
And, O bull among Kshatriyas, my affection and love for thee have grown with me in consequence of our having sported together in childhood in the hermitage.
Therefore, O king, I ask for thy friendship again. And as a boon (unasked), I give thee half the kingdom (that was thine). Thou toldest me before that none who was not a king could be a king's friend.
Therefore is it, O Yajnasena, that I retain half thy kingdom. Thou art the king of all the territory lying on the southern side of the Bhagirathi, while I become king of all the territory on the north of that river.
And, O Panchala, if it pleaseth thee, know me hence for thy friend.'
"On hearing these words, Drupada answered,
'Thou art of noble soul and great prowess. Therefore, O Brahmana, I am not surprised at what thou doest. I am very much gratified with thee, and I desire thy eternal friendship.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'After this, O Bharata, Drona released the king of Panchala, and cheerfully performing the usual offices of regard, bestowed upon him half the kingdom.
Thenceforth Drupada began to reside sorrowfully in (the city of) Kampilya within (the province of) Makandi on the banks of the Ganga filled with many towns and cities. And after his defeat by Drona, Drupada also ruled the southern Panchalas up to the bank of the Charmanwati river.
And Drupada from that day was well-convinced that he could not, by Kshatriya might alone, defeat Drona, being very much his inferior in Brahma (spiritual) power. And he, therefore, began to wander over the whole earth to find out the means of obtaining a son (who would subjugate his Brahmana foe).
"Meanwhile Drona continued to reside in Ahicchatra.
Thus, O king, was the territory of Ahicchatra full of towns and cities, obtained by Arjuna, and bestowed upon Drona.'