Chapter 48 — Supernatural Weapons

Vasishta said:—

King Viduratha, finding the high shouldered king of Sindhu before him, was enraged like the raging sun, in his midday fury. The twanging of his bow resounded in the air on all sides, and growled as loudly as the howling of winds in the caverns of mountains. He drew his arrows from his dark quiver and shot them like the rays of the sun rising from the womb of night. Each arrow flung from the bowstring flew like thousands in the air, and fell like millions on the ground. The King of Sindhu was equally expert in his archery, as both of these archers owed their skill with bows to the favor of Vishnu.

Some of these darts were called bolts which blocked the aerial passages, like door bolts do their doors, the fell down on the ground with the loud roar of thunderbolts. Others decorated with gold flew hissing as if blown by the winds, and after shining like stars in the sky, fell like blazing meteors on the ground. Showers of shafts poured forth constantly from the hands of Viduratha, like the ceaseless torrents of rivers, or billows of the sea, or the endless radiation of solar rays. Shells and bullets were flying about like sparks of fire struck out of the balls of red-hot iron, and falling like flowers of forests blown away by gusts of wind. 10 They fell like showers of rainwater, and like the rush of water-falls, and as plentifully as the sparks of fire that flew from Viduratha’s burning city. 11 The jarring sound of their bowstrings hushed the clamor of the two armies, like a calm quiets the roaring of the raging sea. 12 The course of arrows, was as the stream of Ganges (the milky path) in heaven, running towards the King of Sindhu, as the river runs to meet the sea (Sindhu). 13 The shower of arrows flying from the golden bow of the king was like a flood of rain falling under the variegated rainbow in the sky.

14 Then from the window, the Leela who was the native of that city saw the darts of her husband rushing like the currents of the Ganges against the Sindhu forces resembling a sea. 15 She understood the flight of those darts to promise victory to her lord, and then spoke gladly to Saraswati, with her lotus-like mouth. 16 “Be victorious O goddess, and behold victory waiting on the side of my lord whose darts are piercing the rocks and breaking them to pieces.” 17 As she was uttering these words full of affection, the goddesses eyed her sideways and smiled at her womanish tenderness of heart.

18 The flaming fire of Sindhu swallowed the raging sea of Viduratha’s arrows like an undersea fire consumes water, and like Jahnu drank the stream of Ganges. 19 The Sindhu missile weapons thwarted the thickening arrows of his adversary, and drove them back broken and flying as dust in the empty air. 20 As an extinguished lamp loses its light in the air, so the flashes of the fire arms disappeared in the sky, and nobody knew where they fled.

21 Having thus dispelled the shower of arrows, the Sindhu king sent a thick cloud of his weapons, appearing as hundreds of dead bodies flying in the air. 22 Viduratha repelled them quickly by means of his better bolts, as a hurricane disperses the frightening clouds in the air. 23 Both kings, baffled in their aims by opposing arms let indiscriminately loose against each another, laid hold on more powerful missiles.

24 Sindhu let fly his magic missile that was gift from a gandharva. It kept the army of his enemy all spell-bound except Viduratha himself. 25 Struck with this weapon, the soldiers became as mute as moonstruck, staring in their looks, and appearing as dead bodies or as pictures in a painting. 26 As the soldiers of Viduratha remained spellbound within their files, King Viduratha employed his instruments of a counter-charm to remove the spell. 27 This awakened the senses of his men like morning twilight reveals a bed of lotuses, and the rising sun opens their closed petals to light.

The Sindhu king fired his rage at them like the raging. 28 He flung his serpentine weapons upon them, which bound like a band around all their bodies, encircling the battle ground and air like snakes wrapped round crags and rocks. 29 The ground was filled with snakes like a lake with the spreading stalks of lotuses, and the bodies of gigantic warriors were bound by them like hills by huge and horrible hydras. 30 Everything was overpowered by the sharp power of the poison, and the inhabitants of the hills and forests were benumbed by the venomous infection. 31 The smart poison spread a fiery heat all around, and the frozen snows like fire-brands sent forth their burning particles which were blown by the hot winds in the air.

32 The fully armed Viduratha, equally skilled in arms, then had recourse to his garuda (divine eagle) anti-serpent weapons. They fired like mountain eagles to all sides. 33 Their golden wings spread in the sky on all sides, and embroidered the air with purple gold. The flapping of their wings wheezed like a breeze that blew the poisonous vapor far away into the air. 34 It made the snakes breathe out of their nostrils with a hissing, resembling the gurgling of waters in a whirlpool in the sea. 35 The flying garuda weapons devoured the land-creeping serpents with a whistling noise, like that of the waters being sucked up by Agastya. 36 The face of the ground, delivered from its covering of these reptiles, again appeared to view like the surface of the earth reappears to light after its deliverance from the waters of the deluge. 37 Afterwards the army of garudas disappeared from sight like a line of lamps put out by the wind, and like an assembly of clouds vanishes in autumn. 38 They fled like flying mountains fearing the bolts of thundering Indra, and vanished like the impermanent world seen in a dream, or as like a castle in the sky built by fancy.

39 Then King Sindhu shot his shots of dark smoke that darkened the scene like the dark cave under the ground. 40 It hid the face of the earth and sky like flood waters reaching to the sky’s face. It made the army appear like a shoal of fishes, and the stars like gems shining in the deep. 41 The spreading darkness appeared like a sea of ink or dark mud, or like the particles of Anjana Hill blown by the breeze over the face of nature. 42 All beings seemed to be immersed in the sea or darkness, and to lose their energies as in the deep gloom of midnight.

43 Viduratha the best of the most skilful in ballistics, fired his sun-bright shot which like the sun illumined the vault of the sky. 44 It rose high amidst the spreading darkness like the sun with his effulgent beams, and dispelled the shades of darkness, as autumn does the rainy clouds. 45 The sky being cleared of its veil of darkness, manifested itself with its reddish clouds that resembled the ruddy bodices of maidens before the king.

46 Now the landscape appeared in full view, like the understanding of men coming in full play after the extinction of their greed. 47 The enraged Sindhu then laid hold on his dreadful demon rakshasa weapon, which he instantly flung on his enemy with its bedeviled darts. 48 These horrid and destructive darts flew on all sides in the air, and roared like the sea and the gigantic dark clouds of heaven. 49 They were like the flames of bright fire, with their long licking tongues and ash-colored and smoky curls rising like white hairs on the head, and making a chat-chat sound like that of moist fuel burning. 50 They wheeled round in circles in the air with a horrible tang-tang noise, now flaming as fire and now fuming as smoke, and then flying about as sparks of fire. 51 With mouths beset by rows of sprouting teeth like lotus stalks, and faces defaced by dirty and moldy eyes, their hairy bodies were like stagnate pools full of moss and weeds. 52 They flew about and flashed and roared aloud like dark clouds, while the locks of hairs on their heads glared like lightning in the midway sky.

53 At this instant Viduratha, Leela’s husband, sent forth his Narayana weapon that had the power to suppress wicked spirits and demons. 54 The appearance of this magic weapon made the bodies of the rakshasa demons disappear like darkness at sunrise. 55 This entire army of fiends was lost in the air, like the dark clouds of the rainy season vanish into nothing at the approach of autumn.

56 Then Sindhu discharged his fire arms which set fire to the sky, and began to burn down everything like the all destroying conflagration of the last day. 57 They filled all the sides of air with clouds of smoke that seemed to hide the face of heaven under the darkness of hell. 58 They set fire to the woods in the hills which burned like mountains of gold, while the trees appeared to bloom with yellow plumeria flowers all around. 59 All the sides of the sky above, and the hills, woods and groves below, were enveloped in the flames, as if they were covered under the red powder of Holi with which Yama, the God of the underworld, was playing over the plain. 60 The heaven-spreading flame burnt legions into a heap of ashes like an undersea fire consumes entire ships and fleets in the sea.

61 As Sindhu continued to dart his fire arms against his defeated adversary, Viduratha let off his watery arms with reverential regard. 62 Filled with water, these flew forward likes the shades of darkness from their hidden cells. They spread up and down and on all sides like a melted mountain gushing in a hundred cataracts. 63 They stretched like mountainous clouds or like a sea in the air, and fell in showers of watery arrows and stones on the ground. 64 They flew up like large tamara trees, and gathered in groups like the shades of night, appeared as the thick gloom beyond the polar mountains. 65 They gave the sky the appearance of subterraneous caves, emitting a gurgling sound like the loud roaring of elephants. 66 These waters soon drank the spreading furious fire, like the shades of the dark night swallow the surrounding red tints of the evening. 67 Having swallowed the fires above, the waters flooded the ground and filled it with a humidity which served to weaken all bodies, as the power of sleep numbs everybody in death-like torpidity.

68 In this manner both the kings were throwing their enchanted weapons against each other, and found them equally quelling and repelling one another. 69 The heavy armed soldiers of Sindhu and the captains of his regiments were swept away by the flood, together with the war-cars that floated upon it.

70 At this moment, Sindhu thought upon his thermal weapons which possessed the miraculous power of preserving his people from the water. He hurled them in the air. 71 These absorbed the waters like the sun sucks up the moisture of the night, and dried up the land and revived the soldiers, except those that were already dead and gone. 72 Their heat chased the coldness like the rage of the illiterate against the learned, and made the moist ground as dry as when sultry winds strew the forest land with dried leaves. 73 It decorated the face of the ground with a golden color, like when the royal dames adorn themselves with yellow paint. 74 It put the soldiers on the opposite side in a state of feverish fainting, like when the tender leaves of trees are scorched by the warmth of a wild fire in summer heat.

75 Viduratha, in his war-like rage, took up his bow, bent it to a curve, and let fly his cloudy arms on his enemy. 76 They sent forth columns of clouds as thick as the dark shades of night, which flying upward like a forest of dark tamara trees, spread a shelter heavy with water on high. 77 They lowered under the weight of their water, stood still by their massive thickness, and roared aloud in their circles all over the sky. 78 Then blew the winds dropping the dewdrops from the icy store they bore on their wings. Showers of rain fell quickly from the clouds collected on high. 79 Then fiery lightning flashed from the clouds like golden serpents, or rather like side glances from the eyes of heavenly apsara nymphs. 80 The roaring of the clouds rebounded in the mountainous caverns of the sky, and the quarters of heaven echoed with the sound like the hoarse noise of elephants, the roaring of lions, and the growling of tigers and bears. 81 Showers of rain fell in floods with drops as big as mallets and with flashes of lightning that threatened like stern glances from the god of death. 82 Huge mists rose up in the form of vapors of the earth and were carried aloft into the sky by the heated air. They seemed like demons rising from the infernal regions.

83 The mirage of the warfare ceased after a while, like worldly desires subside to rest upon tasting the sweet joys attending on divine knowledge. 84 The ground became full of mud and mire and was impassable everywhere. The forces of Sindhu were flooded by the watery deluge, like the Sindhu River (Indus) or the sea.

85 He then hurled his airy weapon that filled the vault of heaven with winds, and raged in all their fury like the bhairava spirits on the last day of resurrection. 86 The winds blew on all sides of the sky, with darts falling like thunder bolts, and hailstones now piercing and then crushing all bodies as if by the last blast of nature on the dooms-day.