Chapter 112 — Catalogue of Fleeing Foreign Foes

Vasishta continued:—

The Chedis of Deccan, who were as thickly crowded as the sandalwood of their country, and clothed with girdles resembling the snakes about those trees, were felled by battle axes and driven far away south to the Indian Ocean. The Persians fled like the flying leaves of trees. Striking against one another in their madness, they fell like vanjula leaves in the forest. Then the demon-like Daradas, who dwell in the caverns of the distant Dardura Mountains, were pierced in their breasts and fled from the field with their heart-rending sorrow.

Winds blew away the clouds of weapons that poured down torrents of missile arms, shattering the armor of warriors, glittering like twisting lightning. Elephants fell upon one another, piercing their bodies and goring each other to death with their tusks. They became heaps of flesh like the lumps of food with which they filled their bellies.

Another people of the Raivata Mountains, fleeing from the battlefield by night, were waylaid by fierce pisacha ghosts who tore their bodies and devoured them with a huge appetite. Those who fled to palm and spice forests, and to the old woods on the banks of Dasarna River, were caught by crouching lions and tigers and were throttled to death under their feet. The Yavanas living on the coasts of the western ocean, and those in the land of coconut trees, were caught and devoured by sharks in the course of their flight. Sakas warriors, unable to endure the painful touch of black iron arrows, fled in all directions. Ramatha people were blown away and broken down like a lotus bed by blowing winds. 10 Routed enemy flying to Mahendra Mountain covered its three peaks with their armor of black metal-link plates, making them appear as if covered by the dark clouds of rainy weather. 11 Legions of these hostile forces, broken down by the arms of the king, were first plundered of their clothing by highway robbers, then killed and devoured by the night cannibals and demons of the desert.

12 The surface of the land was converted to the face of the sky with broken fragments of weapons glistening like the stars of heaven twinkling in large multitudes above. 13 The caverns of the earth, resounding to the noise of the clouds above, were like a grand orchestra sounding the victory of the king both in earth and heaven. 14 Peoples inhabiting islands lost their lives under whirling discs, as those dwelling in watery marshes perish on dry lands for want of rain. 15 The defeated islanders fled to the Sahya Mountains and, having halted there for a week, departed slowly to their respective places. 16 Many took shelter in the Gandhamadana Mountains, while multitudes took refuge in the Punnaga forests.

Retreating gandharvas became refugees in the sanctuaries of vidyadhara maidens. 17 Huns, Chinese and Kiratas had their heads struck off by the king’s flying discuses. These were blown away by opposing winds like lotus flowers by the blast. 18 The Nilipa people remained as firm as trees in a forest, and as fixed in their places as thorns on stalks and brambles.

19 Beautiful pastures of antelopes, woodlands and hilly tracts on all sides were desolated by showers of weapons and the rush and crush of the forces. 20 Thorny deserts became the asylum of robbers after they deserted their homes to be overgrown by thorns and thistles. 21 Persians who were abundant in number got over to the other side of the sea. They were blown away by the hurricane, like stars blasted by the storm of final desolation. 22 Winds blew as on the last day of destruction, breaking down woods and forests all about and disturbing the sea by shaking its hidden rocks below. 23 The dirty waters of the deep rose on high with a gurgling noise. The sky was invisible from the clouds of weapons which hid its face on all sides. 24 Howling winds raised a clapping and flapping sound all about. Showers of snow also fell which flowed on earth like the waters of the sea.

25 The charioteers of Vidura country fell down from their cars with the loud noise of waves and were driven to fall into the waters of the lake, like bees from lotuses. 26 Defeated foot soldiers were as numerous as the dust of the earth and well armed from head to foot. They were so overpowered under the showers of arrows and discs that they were blinded by the tears of their eyes, unable to beat their retreat. 27 Huns were buried with their heads and heels in their flight over the sandy deserts of the north. Others were as muddied as dirty iron from being stuck in the swampy shores of northern seas. 28 The Sakas were driven to a cardamom forest on the bank of the eastern shores. There they were confined for some time, then released without being dispatched to the regions of death. 29 The Madrasis were repulsed to the Mahendra mountains, from where they lightly descended on the ground as if fallen from heaven. There they were protected by great sages who preserved them there with care as tender as they bear for the deer of their hermitage.

30 Fugitives flying to the refuge of the Sahya Mountains instead found their imminent destruction in the underground cell, the twofold gain of their present and future good. Thus it comes to pass that many times good issues out of evil where it was least expected. 31 Soldiers flying to Dasarna, at the meeting of the ten rivers, fell into Dardura Forest like the fallen leaves of trees. There they lay dead all about by eating the poisonous fruits there. 32 The Haihayas who fled to the Himalayas drank the juice of visalya-karani pain-killing plants by mistake, and thereby became as violent as vidyadharas and flew to their country.

33 Then the people of Bengal, who are as weak as faded flowers, showed their backs to the field and fled to their homes, from which they dare not stir even to this day, but remain like pisacha ghosts all along. 34 But the people of Anga or Bihar who live upon the fruits of their country are as strong as vidyadharas and play with their mates as if in heavenly bliss.

35 The Persians, defeated in their bodies, fell into palm and spice forests where, by drinking their intoxicating extracts, they became as giddy as drunk men. 36 The light and swift spirited elephants of the dark skinned Kalingas pushed against their fourfold armies in the field of battle, where all lay slain in haphazard heaps. 37 The Salwas, passing under the arrows and stones of the enemy, fell into the waters which encircled their city. They perished there with the whole of their hosts that are still lying there in the form of heap of rocks.

38 There were numbers of hosts that fled to different countries in all directions. Many were driven to distant seas where they drowned and were carried away by the waves. 39 But who can count the countless hosts that fled and lay dead unnoticed in every part of the wide earth and sea, on fields and plains, in forests and woods, on land and water, on mountains and valleys, on shores and coasts and on the hills and cliffs. So there is nobody who can tell what numbers of living beings are dying every moment, in their homes in cities and villages, in caves and dens, and everywhere in the world.