Mahabharata – Adi Parva 226-234
– 226 –
Khandavadaha Parva – Continued
1Vaishampayana said: Then those two foremost of car warriors (Krishna and Arjuna), riding on their cars and placing themselves each on one side of the burning forest, began a great slaughter of all creatures.
2Wherever and whenever they saw any creature, any dweller of the Khandava, escaping from the fire, those two great heroes immediately shot it down.
3There cars moved so fast round the forest that the creatures dwelling in it saw not the smallest space between the two rushing cars (so that they might escape by that way). Those two excellent cars seemed to be one car and those two heroes also seemed as if they were one man.
4When the Khandava was on fire, hundreds and thousands of living creatures, uttering fearfiil yells, ran in all directions.
5Some had their limbs burnt, some were scorched with the excessive heat, some had their eyes burst out, some were withered away and some ran about in fear.
6Some died calmly within the forest clasping their children and some their parents and brothers; they were unable to abandon those that were dear to them out of excessive affection.
7Many rose high upwards, biting their nether lips, but they soon again fell below whirling into the blazing fire.
8Some were seen rolling on the ground with their wings, eyes and feet scorched and burnt. They were soon after found to be dead.
9The tanks and the ponds that lay within that forest were heated with the fire and they began to boil. The fishes and tortoises that were in their waters were all seen to perish.
10In that great massacre of creatures in that forest, the burning bodies of various animals looked as if Agni had assumed to many forms.
11The birds that took to their wings to escape from that fire were soon pierced by Arjuna’s arrows; and being cut down to pieces, they again fell into the burning fire.
12Being pierced by Arjuna’s arrows the flying birds again fell into the Khandava with great speed and uttering loud cries.
13Being pierced by the arrows, the dwellers of that forest begin to cry and the noise they made was like the fearful noise that rose at the churning of the ocean.
14The great flame of the blazing fire rose to the sky and created a great anxiety in the minds of the dwellers of heavens the Devas.
15Thereupon all the illustrious celestial went in a body to their chief of one hundred sacrifices and one thousands eyes the grinder of the Asuras, Indra.
16The Celestial said: O lord of the immortals, who does Agni bum all the creatures below? Has the time for the destruction of the world come?
17Vaishampayana said: Having heard this and himself seeing what Agni was doing, the slayer of Vitra (Indra) set out to save the creatures from the fire.
18The lord of the celestial, Vasava soon covered the sky with masses of clouds of various kinds; he then began to pour fain.
19As soon as commanded by the king of the celestial, those hundreds and thousands of clouds begin to shower on the Khandava forest in as thick drops as the flag-staffs of warchariots.
20But the showers were all dried up even in the sky by the heat of the fire; and they could not reach the fire below.
21The slayer of Namuchi (Indra) becoming very angry with Agni, again collected many more masses of clouds and made them shower a heavy downpour.
22Then the flames fought with that heavy shower and those masses of clouds overhead. The forest, being filled with smoke and lightings, became fearful to look at.