The Second Day

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The Second Day

With the image of Bhishma still before their eyes, the Pandavas deployed their troops in the form called krauncha, deeming it more effective in countering his action. Seeing this, Duryodhana became alarmed and went to Drona and Kripa, who encouraged him with wise words.

And the two armies found themselves again in front of the other.

The death scenario was no less terrible than the previous day: in a few minutes the massacre was repeated in a bloody way. The blood began to flow in streams, the human bodies to pile up one on top of the other, together with those of the horses and elephants and over the field, waiting to begin their meal, flew hawks, vultures and crows.

When they saw Bhishma approaching, a large number of Pandava heroes, including Abhimanyu, Bhima and Satyaki converged in that direction, trying in vain to stop him and drive him back; but the elder looked more like a supernatural being than a man, and there was no way to arrest him. It was like a tornado that leaves only destruction as it passes.

The son of Indra, having heard the deafening din of that devastation, turned to Krishna and said:

“Hear these tremendous roars: they are produced by the celestial weapons of Bhishma. And the cries belong to our fleeing soldiers. And listen to these hisses: they are his arrows seeking lives to put out. O Krishna, take me immediately to the great son of Ganga, or he will incinerate our army in seconds.”

When they arrived there, Arjuna could not help but stop for a moment to admire Bhishma. If it weren’t for the fact that he was losing so many good soldiers, he would never get tired of watching him fight. But then he decided to act and threw himself at him.

Seeing Arjuna approaching, Bhishma abandoned the cruel massacre of all those soldiers who, despite their great military prowess, were truly defenseless before him, and prepared to receive the one whom only he, Drona and Karna could face.

And the fantastic duel began.

The arrows that sprang from their bows were so numerous that the sun was obscured, because those, shot with supernatural mastery, collided in the sky, shooting sparks. Sometimes Arjuna deflected a hundred of Bhishma’s with an arrow, and at other times the elder was able to break a hundred of his opponent’s with only one: the result was a marvelous sight. Many warriors even suspended the ongoing duels to watch the two unveil their human and divine martial repertoires.

At a certain moment Bhishma began to get the worst of it. But realizing that the commander of his troops was being violently pressed, Duryodhana, followed by Drona, Vikarna and Jayadratha rushed to his aid. The Pandava, whose bow looked like a circle of fire emanating deadly weapons, kept them all away. Immediately Satyaki and other brave ones also ran to the aid of the master and it was possible to conceive with great ease what could have caused a centralization of forces of such magnitude. Arjuna and Krishna seemed to be present in several places at once, and wherever they were seen the result was always the same: death and destruction.

The feats of Bhishma of the previous day were repeated by the Pandava in that single morning; in the face of an increasingly shocked and unable to react Duryodhana, Kunti’s third son destroyed a large portion of the Kaurava army.

Terrified, Duryodhana ran to Bhishma.

“From the way things are going, it seems that this combination of Krishna and Arjuna will cause our total dissolution, and this is happening because you and the others don’t want to fight to the best of your ability. If you just wanted to, you could kill him in a moment, but you love him too much to do that. Ah, if only I had Karna here with me. Please join Drona and the others and stop them”.

Stung by those words and disgusted by the attitude of his nephew, Bhishma, cursing that he was born Kshatriya, advanced in the direction of Arjuna and the duel between the two was as fascinating as that of Indra against the greatest asuras.


Meanwhile, in another part of the camp Drona and Drupada had found themselves facing each other after a long time and their old grudge exploded there, in Kurukshetra. Aided by Dhristadyumna, Drupada was already putting the acarya’s forces to the test when Bhima, seeing his general engaged in that bitter battle, leaving only death and devastation behind, rushed in and put Drona in dire straits.

But Duryodhana saw that the guru was beginning to falter under the blows of the enemy and sent the monarch of Kalinga with his troops to his aid. Bhima immediately left Drona, Virata, and Drupada and prepared to receive the new arrivals. As he descended alone against the troops, the Pandavas licked their lips: total destruction was achieved: the king of Kalinga, his sons and his troops were all slain by Bhima while the survivors, terrified at the mere hearing of those terrible roars, fled as far as possible, wherever there was no danger of meeting that god of death again.

Meanwhile Shikhandi, Dhristadyumna and Satyaki, seeing Bhima surrounded by enemies, had rushed to the area where he still danced like a mad lion, never satiated with victims: and the four, united, waved the enemy phalanxes like a stormy sea. At the sight of such an extermination, Bhishma intervened in an attempt to divide them; a javelin destroyed Bhima’s chariot and placed him in a disadvantageous position, but Satyaki intervened, killed Bhishma’s charioteer and forced him to retreat. The two congratulated each other on their successes.


It was noon.

In another part of the camp Asvatthama was causing serious trouble for the sons of Draupadi, but Abhimanyu ran and saved the cousins ​​from the Brahmana’s anger. He moved so gracefully and effectively on the battlefield that he looked like a second Arjuna.

Throughout the afternoon, father and son sowed terror wherever they were.


It was towards evening that Bhishma and Drona met, and both expressed serious concerns regarding the exploits of the Pandavas.

“Today Arjuna is so furious that he cannot contain himself,” said the first. “I can’t stop it either. Fortunately for us the sun is setting. We will order the retreat immediately; tomorrow we will see what to do.”

Evening fell, and everyone went back to their tents.


The Kaurava heroes were visibly worried, the ordinary soldiers terrified. The army had begun to lose the first greats: Kalinga, Sakradeva, Bhanuman and so many others had fallen, and almost the entire Kalinga army had been destroyed by Bhima.

Alone in his tent, disconsolated Duryodhana began to realize that this war would not end as quickly as he had imagined the previous evening. As in a nightmare, he could not erase the image of Arjuna and Bhima slaughtering his soldiers with unprecedented impetus. That evening for the first time he began to see truths in the words of Bhishma, Vidura and so many others, who had always tried to warn him about the strength of his cousins. But until that day he had never realized how strong they really were.

In the other camp there was a very different atmosphere. Everyone, especially the heroes of the day, namely Bhima, Arjuna and Abhimanyu, were in awe of how that day of fighting had gone.


This is a section of the book “Maha-bharata, Vol. 2”.

To buy the complete book, click above

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