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THE GREAT KURUKSHETRA WAR - SIXTH DAY

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The sixth day of the great Mahabharatha war was marked by a prodigious slaughter. Drona caused immeasurable loss of life on the Pandava side. The formations of both the armies were broken.

sixthday war
On the sixth day, the Pandava army was arrayed in the shape of a crocodile while the Kaurava army was arrayed in the heron formation. Arjuna and the Panchala King stood at the head. The twins formed the two eyes. Bhimasena stood at the trunk, Ghatotkacha and Satyaki at the sides. The rest formed the body. In the Krauncha or heron formation of the Kauravas, Bhishma stood at the nose, along with the preceptor. Kripa and Asvatthama formed the eyes, and Kritavarma the head. Kings of Bahlika and Kambhoja were at the throat. Suyodhana and the brothers formed the belly. Vinda, Anyvinda and Susarma were at the left and the right wings. Srutayu and Bhurisrava wear at the rear. Drona led the attack from the Kaurava side; Bhima opposed him from the Pandava side. Drona hit Bhima nine times and Bhima killed the charioteer of Drona, who fought piloting the chariot by himself. The Kaurava forces began to retreat at the onslaught of Bhima. Bhishma and Drona exhorted the soldiers to stand form and led the counter attack. Within a short time, both the armies where in an utter disarray and promiscuous fighting raged unabated on all the sectors. Everywhere, lay scattered on the battlefield, dead bodies and soldiers, debris of the chariots, and weapons of all kinds including broken swords and shields.

Taking advantage of the confusion and chaos prevailing in both the sides, the Kaurava brothers, Duhsasana and Durvishaha, Durmada and Duhsaha, Jaya and Jayatsena, Vikarna and Chitrasena, Charuchitra and Suvarna, planned a concerted drive to isolate Bhima and kill him. Duhsasana exhorted his brothers exclaiming, "This is a golden opportunity. Now or never. Let us surround and slay the ferocious pest." Vrikodara did not confine himself to the chariot. He said to his charioteer, " My dear Visoka, the Kaurava brothers are surrounding our chariot with so many of their chariots. My freedom of movement will be circumscribed if I remain on my chariot. I am getting down to fight with my mace. I can wreck their chariots in quick succession. Do not be afraid. Please bide your time and come to me at the appropriate time."

Bhima, jumped from his chariot, with the iron mace and advanced forward wrecking the chariots and killing the elephants on his way. Whenever there was confusion, the attention of the Pandava leaders turned towards Bhima, who was know for his adventurous spirit. Dhrishtayumna went in search of Bhima. When he found Bhima's chariot unoccupied, Dhrishtayumna's anxiety reached its zenith. He enquired in consternation, "Visoka, where is Bhimasena, Why are you sitting idle? I am worried about his welfare. I love him more than my life." Visoka stood up in military salute and replied in cool tones, "Generalissimo, he has instructed me to stay here and went forward with the mace in hands anticipating a concerted attack by the Kaurava brothers. I think there is no cause for worry."


bhishma death
Dhrishtayumna went in search of Bhima. He could locate the route taken by Bhima as it was strewn with the carcasses of elephants and the wreckage of the chariots. He found Bhima surrounded by the Kaurava brothers. Bhima dashed forth into the enemy forces with the mobility of a serpent and the strength of a monster. Dhrishtayumna was overjoyed to find Bhimasena safe and he requested him to get into the chariot of Kekaya. Bhima got into the chariot of Kekaya and Dhrishtayumna attacked the Kauravas brothers. Yudhisthira directed, Dhristaketu and Abhimanyu to go forth in support of Dhrishtayumna, Kekaya and Bhimasena. Drona rushed to the support of the Kaurava princes and attacked Dhrishtayumna. In the fight the bow of Dhrishtayumna was broken many a time. Drona killed Dhrishtayumna's charioteer and smashed the chariot together with the horses. Abhimanyu gave a lift to Dhrishtayumna into his chariot. A new chariot was procured and Dhrishtayumna got into it and renewed the fighting with the preceptor. Meanwhile, Visoka arrived with the chariot and Bhima got into it. Duryodhana came to the spot and attacked Bhima, together with his brothers. Bhima was sorry that he missed a good opportunity to kill the Dhartarashtras who in turn were disappointed at the failure of the concerted drive. The fight continued for a long time indecisively.

At one point, Duryodhana and Bhima came face to face and exchanged hot words and hotter arrows. Bhima brought down the standard of Duryodhana, killed his charioteer and smashed the chariot to pieces. Duryodhan swooned on the wreckage of his chariot. Kripa rushed to the scene, put him into his chariot and rendered him first aid. Duryodhana was hit at a number of places and Kripa removed the shafts from his armour carefully. Dhrishtayumna continued to fight with the Kaurava Princes and hurled at them the stupor missile, which was given to him by Drona. The Kaurava princes fell on their chariots, unconscious and seemed quite lifeless. There was consternation in the Kaurava camp. Drona immediately came to the spot and brought back the princes to consciousness with the help of the anti stupor missile.

Bhishma and Arjuna continued their fight in another sector till sunset. Bhishma promptly announced the suspension of hostilities for the day. Bhishma took pity on Duryodhana and exhorted him, "You need not be disheartened. In life as well as war, vicissitudes are as common as waves in the ocean. You are now the Lord of the greatest army that the world has ever known. The strength of the Pandava army has been depleted considerably. In fact there is a cause for the Pandavas to worry. Your army is in tact. Duryodhana was heartened at the encouragement given by Bhishma and went to his residence and slept peacefully.