The Great War - Day 7

Bheeshma is up early on the seventh day and decides to deploy his troops in the Mandala Vyuha or the Circular formation. Dhristadyumna and Arjun decide to form the Vajra Vyuha. Both the vyuhas were well known for their quick maneuverability and impregnability. At the spinning perimeter of the mandala, Drona faces Virata and Drupada. Ashwathama faces Shikhandi. Duryodhana against Ashwathama, Nakula and Sahadeva against Shalya. Vinda and Anuvinda against Arjuna. Bheema is pitted against Kritavarma. Abhimanyu faces Chitrasena, Vikarna and Dusasana at the same time.

Ghatotkacha and Bhagadutta meet again. Alambusa, the Rakshasa, whom Satyaki had driven off the field, faces the Yadava once more. Bhoorisravas faces Dhristaketu. The Srutayas duel Yudhishtra while Chekitana faces Kripa.

Arjuna says to his sarathy that he wants to make the earth lighter by killing the Trigartas who look confident as they are inside the Mandala.

Krishna sets his horses on the Trigartas, with the twang of the Gandiva. Bheeshma's carefully woven vyuha is broken into pieces in minutes. Bheeshma rides up to Arjuna and challenges him. Duryodhana orders Susharma to protect the flank of the Pitamah. Both sides are now fighting witha protective enclave of warriors around them, to ensure that no foul play is involved, and the life of the Pitamah and Paartha are at danger.

The duel between Bheeshma and Arjuna lights up the battlefield. Both the warriors look as if they were glowing in the divinity of the astras they were unleashing. All fighting around the two warriors fades away into oblivion. Everybody is awestruck at the battle that is ensuing. Drona tries to attack Virata, but Virata is quick for the Brahmana. He quickly cuts the bowstring of the Acharya. Drona kills the sarathy of Virata swiftly. Virata's son, Sankha, quickly acts as the sarathy of Virata. The two fight the acharya together. Drona finds the son of Virata to be a formidable enemy and he lets loose an astra, that kills Sankha instantly.

This is the third son that Virata has lost to the war. Virata is heartbroken. Drona is constantly killing a hundred men every kshana. Ashwathama and Shikhandi engage themselves. Shikhandi lets loose three arrows at Ashwathama in quick succession that pierces his flesh. Howling in pain, Ashwathama, kills Shikhandi's sarathy and his horses. Shikhandi leaps down from his chariot and rushes towards Ashwathama. The acharya's son covers him in fire, but the 'fire-born' Dhristadyumna, cuts down every dart from Ashwathama. Shikhandi rides away in Satyaki's chariot.

Alambusa arrives to fight Satyaki. Alambusa uses his maya to fight the Yadava, who in turn uses an astra to light up the asura's body so that he cannot be invisible when he is fighting. Alambusa rises into the sky to fight Satyaki but the Vrishni unleashes an aindrastra. It blasts a score of barbed arrows at the asura every moment. Alambusa runs away, and Satyaki celebrates by killing a hundred Kaurava soldiers to celebrate. Duryodhana seeks out Dhristadyumna again. Dhristadyumna smashes Duryodhana's chariot wheels. Shakuni tries to help his nephew, but the fire-prince is too quick. The Kaurava turns away, fearing for his life.

Bheema is quiet from morning, and his silence is actually deafening. Kritavarma faces Bheema. Bheema kills his charioteer and his horses in a trice. But Shakuni saves Kritavarma. Now Bheema lets out a full throated roar, his first of the day. Like how the Ganga meets the sea and then quells itself, the Pandava army simply crushed the Kaurava legions.

Ghatotkacha faces Bhagadutta. The lord of Pragjyotishpura looks like Indra himself, atop the elephant. Bhagadutta kills Ghatotkacha's horses. The javelin which Bheema's son throws at the old warrior is cut into pieces. Realising that Bhagdutta was in his element today, Ghatotkacha gets off the battlefield.

Nakula and Sahadeva do not stay their hand, while facing their uncle Shalya. Shalya is only impressed with their valor. But even he does not stay his hand. Sahadeva casts a heavy lance at his uncle, and Shalya faints.

Yudhistra and Srutayus face each other. The gentle Pandava is now spewing forth venom. Strutayus is a gifted archer and he quickly cuts off the armour off the back of Yudhishtra. But Yudhishtra is quick to kill the sarathy of Srutayus and the Kaurava quickly goes off the field.

Elsewhere, Chekitana overwhelms Kripa and the acharya is carried off the field. Three of Duryodhana' brother try to overpower Abhimanyu. But he proves to be more than a match for the Kauravas. He has them at his mercy and is about to deport them to the realm of Yama when, he remembers his uncle Bheema's oath and restrains himself. He kills the sarathy's and the horses and cuts the strings off their bows.

Bheeshma runs to the princes' rescue. Arjuna says to Krishna that Bheeshma and Abhimanyu will absorb each other and that he must destroy the Kaurava legions. The trigartas headed by Susharma confront the Pandava. They cover him from every side, but it suddenly appears that Arjuna has a hundred hands and a hundred Gandivas in them. Half of Susharma's men are dead in the wink of an eye. Susharma retreats and Krishna turns his chariot towards Bheeshma. As if some inner voice was goading them, all the Pandavas come together to attach the Pitamah, including Shikhandi. If only they could kill him now, the war would be as good as over. But Bheeshma is too good for them. By the time, Duryodhana could rally forces for the Pitamah, he has already sent back his grandsons with an exhibition of some wonderful archery.

Shikhandi charges at Bheeshma's chariot but Duryodhana's warriors know about the oath of Amba. Quickly they engage Shikhandi. Bheema and Jayadratha duel nearby, but the Kaurava is no match for the Pandava. Bheeshma confronts Yudhishtra. The Grandson and Grandsire fight like old enemies. It is hard to believe that the same Yudhistra who worshipped his Grandsire is now fighting him like a snake fighting a mongoose. Today Bheeshma does not fight like a man one fourth of his age, but like Five Arjunas put together. As he holds up the Pandavas, he is also scattering their forces and strewing the Kurukshetra with the Pandava corpses.

The Trigartas surround Arjuna and attack, but Arjuna is too good a match for them. Suddenly twilight falls and conches announce the end of the day's war. Pandavas are happy that the war has gone their way today, though they've had more casualties than Kauravas. On the other side of the Saraswati, Duryodhana is as excited as a young boy. He was happy that the five Pandavas put together could not rout the Pitamah. He was of the opinion that this day had changed the course of war, and that he had made the right choice as the Senapati.

In the Pandava camp, when all are asleep,a strange transformation comes across Shikhandi. The spirit of Amba enters Shikhandi and he feels himself as he was a life ago. Amba longs to kill Bheeshma, but not with any hatred. Amba yearns to kill Bheeshma to set him free. She has always loved him,and she knows how much he suffers and she also knows that he has always loved her. Amba smiles. Her wait is almost over. Perhaps tomorrow, she can pierce his heart, with an arrow.

Thursday, September 2, 2010 by Hari
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