The Great War - Day 3

On the third day of the war, Bheeshma is up very early, trying to formulate a strategy to contain the Pandavas. He openly accepts the fact that the Krauncha Vyuha was a mistake. Apparently Dhristadyumna was a master in the Vyuha and hence the Pandavas had a field day in scattering the Kaurava forces and killing them by thousands. Bheeshma declared that today, they will be using the Garuda Vyuha, or the Eagle Strategy.

Bheeshma is the eagle's beak. Drona and Kritavarma are its eyes. Ashwathaama and Kripa are its head, the Trigartas and Jayadrath are its neck. Duryodhana is its heart and Brihadbala, the King of Kosalas is its tail. As Arjuna and his brother-in-law, Dhristadyumna survey the Kaurava strategy, Dhristadyumna immediately figures out that the Crescent or the Chandrakala was the best strategy for handling the Garuda.

Bheema is at the tip of the crescent. Drupada and Virata are the curving lengths of the crescent. At the crux of the crescent is Yudhishtra, with his army of elephants. Behind him are Satyaki and Draupadi's five sons, followed by Abhimanyu and his step brother, Iravan. One magical being has been summoned today. He is Ghatotkach. The magical son of Bheema and Hidimba. At the end of the crescent tip is Partha and his Sarathy.

The two Senapatis face each other in Battle. Bheeshma and Dhrishtadyumna, both blow their conches and symbolise the beginning of the day's war. Today, there are five warriors protecting Bheeshma, while he goes about annihilating the Pandava forces. But today, was Ghatotkacha's day. He falls like Yama on the Kaurava forces, making them run hither-thither. Duryodhana himself rallies to contain Ghatotkacha, though he very well knows that, he cannot be killed so easily, especially when so many arrows and the countless axes that have been hurled upon him, have simply bounced across his body.

Bheeshma wants to avenge the previous day. He is kaal for the Pandava forces. Arjuna
tries his best to control him, but Bheeshma still manages to engage him and yet kill hundreds of soldiers. At another place, Abhimanyu and Satyaki face Shakuni and his army. Shakuni is deceitful as usual, and he smashes the chariot of Satyaki's when he is not looking. Bheeshma realises that Arjuna is taking up much of his energy and is distracting him from routing his soldiers, he turns his attention to Yudhishtra and his legion of elephants, which was crushing a hundred Kaurava heads at any given point of time.

Meanwhile, Ghatotkacha has almost ravaged the chariot strike of Duryodhana. Duryodhana's men are unable to tell if the being before them was real, or was from their dreams. Duryodhana lets forth a torrent of astras to disarm Ghatotkacha only for some time. Bheema gets wild and sends a mace hurtling towards him at such great speed, that he loses consciousness.

On gaining consciouness, he goes back to Bheeshma and says that if it had been Karna, Arjuna would have been dead by now, and Yudhishtra, his prisoner. Bheeshma once again, roars in despair at this taunt and goes back into the battlefield. Not Arjuna or Bheema is as half as fearsome as Bheeshma is now. Arrows flare from his bow, and suddenly it appears as if he is everywhere.

Krishna, taunts Arjuna, saying, You had promised that you would kill Bheeshma and Drona. But going by the looks of it, it appears as if you are going to falter on your promise. Arjuna, with a grim face, asks Krishna, to take him to Bheeshma. As Krishna, maneuvers the horses towards Pitamah, Arjuna, in a trice, cuts the banner off the chariot of Bheeshma. Bheeshma roars in delight, Come let us fight Arjuna.

Once Bheeshma starts unleashing the arrows. Arjuna turns soft at once. Bheeshma's arrows are flames, but the Pandava seems to be content defending himself, when he should be attacking the grandsire. Krishna and Arjuna both are wounded. It suddenly appears Bheeshma will kill Arjuna, who would hardly resist him. Krishna suddenly roars. The roar of an angry Avatar. He says to Satyaki, Watch me kill Bheeshma. I had promised, that Yudhishtra will be the lord of the earth and Draupadi will have her revenge, but how will that happen, if Arjuna fights like this. In a split second, Krishna is Narayana, the destroyer on the field. Men stand rooted in terror of him. He now sports the Sudarshana Chakra, the Chakra now shines like the primordial lotus that sprouted from Vishnu's navel.

Bheeshma is not at all perturbed at the turn of events. He bows his head at the Avatar and says with a smile, 'Devadeva, I beg you to kill me with your hands. You know how I loathe my life and long for death. I request you to give me my freedom, and Greater glory."' Bheeshma raises his bow to fight. Arjuna is petrified. He jumps down from his chariot, and clutches the Avatara's hand. Krishna is still angry. Arjuna swears that he will fight as he wanted him to do. He swears on his son, Abhimanyu's head, that he will fight to kill them. Krishna, stands still for a long moment, contemplating the thought. Then, suddenly as the change had come, they go away. The chakra vanishes and the battlefield is bright once again. The blue glow also vanishes. Arjuna and Krishna walk hand in hand back to waiting chariot. Panchajanya and Devadutta are blown in resonance. Bheeshma sees this and is both delighted and depressed. Delighted, that he would get the chance to fight the famed Arjuna and depressed because death at the hands of the avatar has eluded him.

Arjuna now exudes the confidence of the Kshyatriya that he truly is. Bheeshma can no longer massacre Pandava forces now. He has to spend all his efforts on curbing Arjuna. Arjuna's archery, pushes back Bheeshma, and yet he kills a hundred Kaurava soldiers each moment. Krishna is delighted. It appears as if both want to finish the war in an evening. Arjuna invokes the Aindra Astra. Five thousand men fall. Bheeshma cries to Drona to sound the retreat. Arjuna finally seemed to have mastered his worst enemy, himself.

Across the Saraswathi, Duryodhana sits in silence. The unthinkable thought enters his mind. Were the Pandavas invincible? Had he made a mistake by taking them to war ? He had never seen Arjuna fight like he had done today. Was there anybody who could Indra's son ? Duryodhana is terrified, lest the answer is no.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 by Hari
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