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Chapter 70: The Seventh Day

DURYODHANA, wounded all over and suffering greatly, went to Bhishma and said:

"The battle had been going against us every day. Our formations are broken and our warriors are being slain in large numbers. You are looking on doing nothing."

The grandsire soothed Duryodhana with comforting words:

"Why do you let yourself be disheartened? Here are all of us, Drona, Salya, Kritavarma, Aswatthama, Vikarna, Bhagadatta, Sakuni, the two brothers of Avanti, the Trigarta chief, the king of Magadha, and Kripacharya. When these great warriors are here, ready to give up their lives for you, why should you feel downhearted? Get rid of this mood of dejection."

Saying this, he issued orders for the day.

"See there," the grandsire said to Duryodhana. "These thousands of cars, horses and horsemen, great war elephants, and those armed foot soldiers from various kingdoms are all ready to fight for you. With this fine army, you can vanquish even the gods. Fear not."

Thus cheering up the dejected Duryodhana, he gave him a healing balm for his wounds. Duryodhana rubbed it over his numerous wounds and felt relieved.

He went to the field, heartened by the grandsire's words of confidence. The army was that day arrayed in circular formation.

With each war elephant were seven chariots fully equipped.

Each chariot was supported by seven horsemen. To each horseman were attached ten shield bearers. Everyone wore armor.

Duryodhana stood resplendent like Indra at the center of this great and wellequipped army. Yudhishthira arrayed the Pandava army in vajravyuha. This day's battle was fiercely fought simultaneously at many sectors.

Bhishma personally opposed Arjuna's attacks. Drona and Virata were engaged with each other at another point.

Sikhandin and Aswatthama fought a big battle at another sector.

Duryodhana and Dhrishtadyumna fought with each other at yet another point.

Nakula and Sahadeva attacked their uncle Salya. The Avanti kings opposed Yudhamanyu, while Bhimasena opposed Kritavarma, Chitrasena, Vikarna and Durmarsha.

There were great battles between Ghatotkacha and Bhagadatta, between Alambasa and Satyaki, between Bhurisravas and Dhrishtaketu, between Yudhishthira and Srutayu and between Chekitana and Kripa.

In the battle between Drona and Virata, the latter was worsted and he had to climb into the chariot of his son Sanga, having lost his own chariot, horses and charioteer.

Virata's sons Uttara and Sveta had fallen in the first day's battle. On this seventh day, Sanga also was slain just as his father came up to his side. Sikhandin, Drupada's son, was defeated by Aswatthama.

His chariot was smashed and he jumped down and stood sword and shield in hand.

Aswatthama aimed his shaft at his sword and broke it. Sikhandin then whirled the broken sword and hurled it at Aswatthama with tremendous force, but it was met by Aswatthama's arrow.

Sikhandin, badly beaten, got into Satyaki's chariot and retired. In the fight between Satyaki and Alambasa, the former had the worst of it at first but later recovered ground and Alambasa had to flee.

In the battle between Dhrishtadyumna and Duryodhana, the horses of the latter were killed and he had to alight from his chariot. He, however, continued the fight, sword in hand. Sakuni came then and took the prince away in his chariot.

Kritavarma made a strong attack on Bhima but was worsted. He lost his chariot and horses and acknowledging defeat, fled towards Sakuni's car, with Bhima's arrows sticking all over him, making him look like a porcupine speeding away in the forest.

Vinda and Anuvinda of Avanti were defeated by Yudhamanyu, and their armies were completely destroyed.

Bhagadatta attacked Ghatotkacha and put to flight all his supporters.

But, alone, Ghatotkacha stood and fought bravely. But in the end, he too had to save himself by flight, which gladdened the whole Kaurava army.

Salya attacked his nephews. Nakula's horses were killed and he had to join his brother in the latter's chariot. Both continued the fight from the same car.

Salya was hit by Sahadeva's arrow and swooned. The charioteer skilfully drove the car away and saved Salya.

When the Madra king (Salya) was seen retreating from the field Duryodhana's army lost heart and the twin sons of Madri blew their conchs in triumph. Taking advantage of the situation, they inflicted heavy damage on Salya's forces.

At noon, Yudhishthira led an attack on Srutayu. The latter's well-aimed arrows intercepted Dharmaputra's missiles, and his armor was pierced and he was severely wounded.

Yudhishthira then lost his temper and sent a powerful arrow that pierced Srutayu's breast-plate. That day, Yudhishthira was not his normal self and burnt with anger.

Srutayu's charioteer and horses were killed and the chariot was smashed and he had to flee on foot from the field. This completed the demorahsation of Duryodhana's army.

In the attack on Kripa, Chekitana, losing his chariot and charioteer, alighted and attacked Kripa's charioteer and horses with mace in hand and killed them.

Kripa also alighted, and standing on the ground, discharged his arrows. Chekitana was badly hit. He then whirled his mace and hurled it at Kripacharya, but the latter was able to intercept it with his own arrow.

Thereupon they closed with each other, sword in hand. Both were wounded and fell on the ground, when Bhima came and took Chekitana away in his chariot.

Sakuni similarly took wounded Kripa away in his car.

Ninety-six arrows of Dhrishtaketu struck Bhurisravas. And the great warrior was like a sun radiating glory, as the arrows, all sticking in his breast-plate, shone bright around his radiant face. Even in that condition, he compelled Dhrishtaketu to admit defeat and retire. Three of Duryodhana's brothers attacked Abhimanyu who inflicted a heavy defeat on them but spared their lives, because Bhima had sworn to kill them. Thereupon, Bhishma attacked Abhimanyu.

Arjuna saw this and said to his illustrious charioteer: "Krishna, drive the car towards Bhishma."

At that moment, the other Pandavas also joined Arjuna. But the grandsire was able to hold his own against all five until the sunset, and the battle was suspended for the day. And the warriors of both sides, weary and wounded, retired to their tents for rest and for having their injuries attended to.

After this, for an hour, soft music was played, soothing the warriors to their rest.

That hour was spent, says the poet, without a word about war or hatred. It was an hour of heavenly bliss, and it was a glad sight to see. One can see herein what the great lesson of the Mahabharata is.