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From: M K Sudarshan (
Date: Sun Jul 13 1997 - 22:40:41 PDT

srimathE lakshmi-nrsumha parabrahmaNE namaha
sri vedanta guravE namaha

Dear "bhAgavatOttamA-s", 

On the 9th day of the Kurukshetra battle BhishmachArya led the Kaurava
forces against the Pandava armies with a ferocity that was unmatched by any
warrior in the history of warfare of those times. 

To borrow a famous Churchillian phrase, "never before in the history of
human warfare had one man caused so much devastation with such little effort" !

He led from the front and mobilized his forces into a battle-formation that
outflanked and outmanoevered the enemy troops at every juncture. 

He himself personally led the assault on the Pandava cavalry, artillery and
infantry and skittled them with whizzing missiles and arrows. It is recorded
that he slaughtered thousands of Pandava soldiers and officers with an
unparalleled display of awesome archery.

The Pandava generals, including Arjuna, Yudhishtra and Bhima, were
dumb-struck by the savagery with which the mighty "pita-mahar" went about
decimating their hapless squadrons which all collapsed like a heap of pins
in a bowling alley.

They saw, and for the first time, the true magnificence of Bhishma's skills
as a consummate and fearsome warrior; and, what they saw sent a chill of icy
fear into their collective spines.

In mid-battle, it is narrated in the epic, the Pandavas commissioned a
so-called "crack commando corps" -- a super-elite fighting force -- called
the "sOmAyakA-s" to target and attack Bhishma personally. The force was
several thousands strong and they began to amass against Bhishma by trying
to cut him off from his station in the main, impregnable battle-formation
deep inside the Kaurava ranks.

It is written Bhishma saw through their perfidious scheme and forthwith let
loose a horrible counter-offensive against the "sOmayakA-s".

Almost single-handedly he took on the commando-corps and mercilessly
annihilated several thousands of them in the space of a few hours before
battle ended at dusk that day !

The routed Pandavas were utterly demoralised that evening. It was an abysmal
"wash-out" for them that day !

Duryodhana and his generals, on the other hand, were overjoyed ....although
they had all been forced by Bhishma to "eat" their own words spoken so
mockingly of the mighty old warrior the previous night!

Karna, too, realized how wrong they'd all been in slighting Bhishma and to
have doubted his splendorous martial valour and skills. 

In a single session of savage warfare Bhishma had put them all their shabby
places. Compared to him, they realized --- all the Pandava and Kaurava
men-of-war put together -- they realized were mere tyros still learning the
ropes at officer training-school in a military academy !

So completely did Bhishma put all warriors, of either camp in Kurukshetra,
to utter shame that day ... in many more ways than one !

Next post.

srimathe srivan satagopa sri narayana yathindra mahadesikaya namaha