Chapter 50 — The Death of Viduratha

Vasishta said:—

As the tide of war was rolling violently with a general massacre on both sides, the belligerent monarchs thought on the means of saving their own forces from the impending ruin. The magnanimous King of Sindhu, who was armed with patience, called to his mind the Vaishnava weapon, which was the greatest of arms and as powerful as Shiva himself. He hurled the Vaishnava weapon using his best judgment (mantra). Immediately it emitted a thousand sparks of fire from its flaming blade on all sides. These sparks became large balls as big and bright as to shine like hundreds of suns in the sky, and others flew like the lengthy shafts of cudgels in the air. Some of them filled the wide field of the sky with thunderbolts as thick as the blades of grass, and others spread over the lake of heaven with battle axes like a bed of lotuses. These poured forth showers of pointed arrows spreading like a net in the sky, and fired dark sword blades scattered like tree leaves in the air.

At this time, the rival king Viduratha sent forth another Vaishnava weapon for repelling the former, and removing the reliance of his foe in his weakness. It sent forth a stream of weapons counteracting those of the other, and overflowing in currents of arrows and pikes, clubs and axes and missiles of various kinds. These weapons struggled with and jostled against one another. They split the vault of heaven with their clattering, and cracked like loud thunder claps cleaving mountain cliffs. 10 The arrows pierced rods and swords, and the swords hewed down axes and lances to pieces. The malls and mallets drove the missiles, and the pikes broke the spears. 11 The mallets like Mandara rocks, broke and drove away the rushing arrows as waves of the sea, and the resistless swords broke to pieces by striking at the maces. 12 The lances revolved like the halo of the moon, repelling the black sword blades as darkness, and the swift missiles flashed as the destructive fires of Yama. 13 The whirling discs were destroying all other weapons. They stunned the world by their noise, and broke mountains by their strokes. 14 The clashing weapons were breaking one another in numbers, and Viduratha defeated the arms of Sindhu, like a steadfast mountain defies the thunders of Indra. 15 The truncheons were blowing away the curved swords, and the pikes were warding off the stones fired by slings. The crowbars broke down the pointed heads of the pikes. 16 The iron rods of the enemy were broken by tridents of Shiva, and the enemy arms were falling down and crushing one another to pieces. 17 The clattering shots stopped the course of the heavenly stream, and the combustion of powder filled the air with smoke. 18 The clashing of dashing weapons lit the sky like lightning, their clattering cracked the worlds like thunderclaps, and their shock split and broke the mountains like thunderbolts. 19 Thus the warring weapons were breaking one another by their impacts, and protracting the engagement by their mutual overthrow.

20 As Sindhu was standing still in defiance of the prowess of his adversary, Viduratha lifted his own fire-arm, and fired it with a thundering sound. 21 It set Sindhu’s war chariot on fire like a heap of hay on the plain, while the Vaishnava weapons filled the ethereal sphere with their meteoric blaze. 22 The two kings were thus engaged in fierce fighting with each other, the one firing his weapons like drops of raging rain, and the other hurling his arms like currents of a deluging river. 23 The two kings were thus harassing each other like two brave champions in their contest, when the chariot of Sindhu was reduced to ashes by its flame. 24 He then fled to the woods like a lion from its cavern in the mountain, and repelled the fire that pursued him by his aqueous weapons. 25 After losing his car and alighting on the ground, he brandished his sword and cut off the hoofs and heels of the horses of his enemy’s chariot in the twinkling of an eye. 26 He hacked everything that came before him like the lean stalks of lotuses. Then Viduratha also left his chariot with his sword in hand.

27 Both were equally brave and matched to one another in their skill in warfare. They turned about in their rounds, and scraped their swords into saws by striking against the other. 28 With their jagged weapons, they tore the bodies of their enemies like fish crushed under teeth, when Viduratha dropped down his broken sword, and threw his javelin against his enemy. 29 It fell with a rattling noise on the bosom of Sindhu like a flaming meteor falls rumbling in the breast of the sea. 30 But the weapon fell back having hit his breast plate, like a maiden flies back from the embrace of a lover deemed an unfit match for her. 31 Its shock made Sindhu throw out a flood of blood from his lungs, resembling the water spout an elephant let outs from its trunk.

32 Seeing this, the second Leela cried with joy to her sister Leela, “See here the demon Sindhu killed by our lion-like husband. 33 Sindhu is slain by the javelin of our lion-like lord, like the wicked demon by the nails of the lion-god Narasimha, and he is spouting forth his blood like the stream of water, thrown out by the trunk of an elephant from a pool. 34 But alas! This Sindhu is trying to mount on another car, although bleeding so profusely from his mouth and nostrils, as to raise a wheezing sound.”

35 “Look there! Our lord Viduratha is breaking down the golden mountings of his car with the blows of his mallet, like the thundering clouds Pushkara and Avarta break down the gold peaks of Sumeru. 36 See this Sindhu now mounting on another carriage, which is now brought before him, and decorated like the splendid seat of a gandharva. 37 Alas! Our lord is now made the mark of Sindhu’s mallet hurled like a thunder bolt against him. But lo! How he flies off and avoids the deadly blow of Sindhu. 38 Hurrah! How nimbly he has got up upon his own car. But sorrow is to me that Sindhu has overtaken him in his flight. 39 He mounts on his car like a hunter climbs on a tree, and pierces my husband, like a bird-catcher with his pointed arrow does a parrot hidden in its hollow. 40 Behold his car is broken down and its flags flung aside. His horses are hurt and the driver is driven away. His bow is broken and his armor is shattered, and his whole body is full of wounds. 41 His strong breast-plate is broken by slabs of stone and his big head is pierced by pointed arrows. Behold him thrown down on earth, all mangled in blood.”

42 “Look with what difficulty he is restored to his senses, and seated in his seat with his arm cut off and bleeding under Sindhu’s sword. 43 See him weltering in blood gushing out profusely from his body, like a red stream issuing from a hill of rubies. Sorrow is me, and cursed be the sword of Sindhu that has brought this misery on us. 44 It has severed his thighs like they cut a tree with a saw, and has lopped off his legs like the stalks of trees. 45 Ah! It is I who am so struck and wounded and killed by the enemy. I am dead and gone and burnt away with my husband’s body.”

46 Saying so, the second Leela began to shudder with fear at the sorrowful sight of her husband, and fell unconscious on the ground like a vine cut off by an axe.

47 Viduratha though thus mutilated and disabled, was rising to smite the enemy in his rage, when he fell down from his car like an uprooted tree, and was replaced there by his charioteer ready to make his retreat. 48 At this instant, the tribal Sindhu struck a saber on his neck, and pursued the car in which the dying monarch was borne back to his tent.

49 The body of Padma (alias Viduratha) was placed like a lotus in the presence of Saraswati, shining with the splendor of the sun. But the elated Sindhu was kept from entering that place, like a giddy fly from a flame. 50 The enemy returned to his camp and the charioteer entered the apartment and placed the body on its death-bed in the presence of the goddess. The body was all mangled and besmeared with blood seeping from the pores of the severed neck.