Śrīmad Bhāgavatam|Canto 10 Chapter 76
The Battle Between Śālva and the Vṛṣṇis
athānyad api kṛṣṇasya
śṛṇu karmādbhutaṁ nṛpa
yathā saubha-patir hataḥ
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca — Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; atha — now; anyat — another; api — yet; kṛṣṇasya — of Lord Kṛṣṇa; śṛṇu — please hear; karma — deed; adbhutam — wonderful; nṛpa — O King; krīḍā — for playing; nara — humanlike; śarīrasya — whose body; yathā — how; saubha-patiḥ — the lord of Saubha (Śālva); hataḥ — killed.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Now please hear, O King, another wondrous deed performed by Lord Kṛṣṇa, who appeared in His humanlike body to enjoy transcendental pastimes. Hear how He killed the master of Saubha.
yadubhir nirjitaḥ saṅkhye
śiśupāla-sakhaḥ — a friend of Śiśupāla’s; śālvaḥ — named Śālva; rukmiṇī-udvāhe — to Rukmiṇī’s wedding; āgataḥ — having come; yadubhiḥ — by the Yadus; nirjitaḥ — defeated; saṅkhye — in battle; jarāsandha-ādayaḥ — Jarāsandha and others; tathā — as well.
Śālva was a friend of Śiśupāla’s. When he attended the wedding of Rukmiṇī, the Yadu warriors defeated him in battle, along with Jarāsandha and the other kings.
śālvaḥ pratijñām akaroc
ayādavāṁ kṣmāṁ kariṣye
pauruṣaṁ mama paśyata
śālvaḥ — Śālva; pratijñām — a promise; akarot — made; śṛṇvatām — as they listened; sarva — all; bhū-bhujām — the kings; ayādavām — devoid of Yādavas; kṣmām — the earth; kariṣye — I will make; pauruṣam — prowess; mama — my; paśyata — just see.
Śālva swore in the presence of all the kings: “I will rid the earth of Yādavas. Just see my prowess!”
iti mūḍhaḥ pratijñāya
devaṁ paśu-patiṁ prabhum
ārādhayām āsa nṛpaḥ
pāṁśu-muṣṭiṁ sakṛd grasan
iti — with these words; mūḍhaḥ — the fool; pratijñāya — having vowed; devam — the lord; paśu-patim — Śiva, the protector of animallike men; prabhum — his master; āradhayām āsa — worshiped; nṛpaḥ — the King; pāṁśu — of dust; muṣṭim — a handful; sakṛt — once (daily); grasan — eating.
Having thus made his vow, the foolish King proceeded to worship Lord Paśupati [Śiva] as his deity by eating a handful of dust each day, and nothing more.
vareṇa cchandayām āsa
śālvaṁ śaraṇam āgatam
saṁvatsara — of a year; ante — at the end; bhagavān — the great lord; āśu-toṣaḥ — he who is quickly pleased; umā-patiḥ — the master of Umā; vareṇa — with a benediction; chandayām āsa — had him choose; śālvam — Śālva; śaraṇam — for shelter; āgatam — approached.
The great Lord Umāpati is known as “he who is quickly pleased,” yet only at the end of a year did he gratify Śālva, who had approached him for shelter, by offering him a choice of benedictions.
abhedyaṁ kāma-gaṁ vavre
sa yānaṁ vṛṣṇi-bhīṣaṇam
deva — by demigods; asura — demons; manuṣyāṇām — and humans; gandharva — by Gandharvas; uraga — celestial serpents; rakṣasām — and Rākṣasa spirits; abhedyam — indestructible; kāma — at will; gam — traveling; vavre — chose; saḥ — he; yānam — a vehicle; vṛṣṇi — for the Vṛṣṇis; bhīṣaṇam — terrifying.
Śālva chose a vehicle that could be destroyed by neither demigods, demons, humans, Gandharvas, Uragas nor Rākṣasas, that could travel anywhere he wished to go, and that would terrify the Vṛṣṇis.
puraṁ nirmāya śālvāya
prādāt saubham ayas-mayam
tathā — so be it; iti — having thus said; giri-śa — by Lord Śiva; ādiṣṭaḥ — ordered; mayaḥ — Maya Dānava; para — of the enemy; puram — the cities; jayaḥ — who conquers; puram — a city; nirmāya — constructing; śālvāya — to Śālva; prādāt — he gave; saubham — named Saubha; ayaḥ — of iron; mayam — made.
Lord Śiva said, “So be it.” On his order, Maya Dānava, who conquers his enemies’ cities, constructed a flying iron city named Saubha and presented it to Śālva.
sa labdhvā kāma-gaṁ yānaṁ
yayas dvāravatīṁ śālvo
vairaṁ vṛṣṇi-kṛtaṁ smaran
saḥ — he; labdhvā — obtaining; kāma-gam — moving at his will; yānam — the vehicle; tamaḥ — of darkness; dhāma — abode; durāsadam — unapproachable; yayau — went; dvāravatīm — to Dvārakā; śālvaḥ — Śālva; vairam — the enmity; vṛṣṇi-kṛtam — shown by the Vṛṣṇis; smaran — remembering.
This unassailable vehicle was filled with darkness and could go anywhere. Upon obtaining it, Śālva went to Dvārakā, remembering the Vṛṣṇis’ enmity toward him.
nirudhya senayā śālvo
udyānāni ca sarvaśaḥ
vihārān sa vimānāgryān
pracaṇḍaś cakravāto ’bhūd
nirudhya — besieging; senayā — with an army; śālvaḥ — Śālva; mahatyā — large; bharata-ṛṣabha — O best of the Bharatas; purīm — the city; babhañja — he broke up; upavanān — the parks; udyanāni — gardens; ca — and; sarvaśaḥ — all around; sa-gopurāṇi — with towers; dvārāṇi — and gateways; prāsāda — mansions; aṭṭāla — observatories; tolikāḥ — and surrounding walls; vihārān — recreational areas; saḥ — he, Śālva; vimāna — of airships; agryāt — from the best; nipetuḥ — there fell; śastra — of weapons; vṛṣṭayaḥ — torrents; śilā — stones; drumāḥ — and trees; ca — also; aśanayaḥ — thunderbolts; sarpāḥ — snakes; āsāra-śarkarāḥ — and hailstones; pracaṇḍaḥ — fierce; cakravātaḥ — a whirlwind; abhūt — arose; rajasā — with dust; ācchādditāḥ — covered; diśaḥ — all the directions.
Śālva besieged the city with a large army, O best of the Bharatas, decimating the outlying parks and gardens, the mansions along with their observatories, towering gateways and surrounding walls, and also the public recreational areas. From his excellent airship he threw down a torrent of weapons, including stones, tree trunks, thunderbolts, snakes and hailstones. A fierce whirlwind arose and blanketed all directions with dust.
ity ardyamānā saubhena
kṛṣṇasya nagarī bhṛśam
nābhyapadyata śaṁ rājaṁs
tri-pureṇa yathā mahī
iti — thus; ardyamānā — tormented; saubhena — by the airplane Saubha; kṛṣṇasya — of Lord Kṛṣṇa; nagarī — the city; bhṛśam — terribly; na abhyapadyata — could not have; śam — peace; rājan — O King; tri-pureṇa — by the three aerial cities of the demons; yathā — as; mahī — the earth.
Thus terribly tormented by the airship Saubha, Lord Kṛṣṇa’s city had no peace, O King, just like the earth when it was attacked by the three aerial cities of the demons.
pradyumno bhagavān vīkṣya
bādhyamānā nijāḥ prajāḥ
ma bhaiṣṭety abhyadhād vīro
pradyumnaḥ — Pradyumna; bhagavān — the Lord; vīkṣya — seeing; bādhyamānāḥ — being harassed; nijāḥ — His own; prajāḥ — subjects; mā bhaiṣṭa — do not fear; iti — thus; abhyadhāt — addressed; vīraḥ — the great hero; ratha — on His chariot; ārūḍhaḥ — mounted; mahā — immense; yaśāḥ — whose glory.
Seeing His subjects so harassed, the glorious and heroic Lord Pradyumna told them, “Do not fear,” and mounted His chariot.
sātyakiś cārudeṣṇaś ca
sāmbo ’krūraḥ sahānujaḥ
hārdikyo bhānuvindaś ca
gadaś ca śuka-sāraṇau
apare ca maheṣv-āsā
niryayur daṁśitā guptā
sātyakiḥ cārudeṣṇaḥ ca — Sātyaki and Cārudeṣṇa; sāmbaḥ — Sāmba; akrūraḥ — and Akrūra; saha — with; anujaḥ — younger brothers; hārdikyaḥ — Hārdikya; bhānuvindaḥ — Bhānuvinda; ca — and; gadaḥ — Gada; ca — and; śuka-sāraṇau — Śuka and Sāraṇa; apare — others; ca — also; mahā — eminent; iṣv-āsāḥ — archers; ratha — of chariot (warriors); yūtha-pa — of the leaders; yūtha-pāḥ — the leaders; niryayuḥ — they went out; daṁśitāḥ — wearing armor; guptāḥ — protected; ratha — by (soldiers on) chariots; ibha — elephants; aśva — and horses; padātibhiḥ — and by foot soldiers.
The chief commanders of the chariot warriors — Sātyaki, Cārudeṣṇa, Sāmba, Akrūra and his younger brothers, along with Hārdikya, Bhānuvinda, Gada, Śuka and Sāraṇa — went out of the city with many other eminent bowmen, all girded in armor and protected by contingents of soldiers riding on chariots, elephants and horses, and also by companies of infantry.
tataḥ pravavṛte yuddhaṁ
śālvānāṁ yadubhiḥ saha
tataḥ — then; pravavṛte — began; yuddham — a battle; śālvānām — of the followers of Śālva; yadubhiḥ saha — with the Yadus; yathā — just like; asurāṇām — of the demons; vibudhaiḥ — with the demigods; tumulam — tumultuous; loma-harṣaṇam — making bodily hair stand on end.
A tumultuous, hair-raising battle then commenced between Śālva’s forces and the Yadus. It equaled the great battles between the demons and demigods.
tāś ca saubha-pater māyā
kṣaṇena nāśayām āsa
naiśaṁ tama ivoṣṇa-guḥ
tāḥ — those; ca — and; saubha-pateḥ — of the master of Saubha; māyāḥ — the magic illusions; divya — divine; astraiḥ — with weapons; rukmiṇī-sutaḥ — the son of Rukmiṇī (Pradyumna); kṣaṇena — in an instant; nāśayām āsa — destroyed; naiśam — of the night; tamaḥ — the darkness; iva — as; uṣṇa — warm; guḥ — whose rays (the sun).
With His divine weapons Pradyumna instantly destroyed all of Śālva’s magic illusions, in the same way that the warm rays of the sun dissipate the darkness of night.
daśabhir daśabhir netṝn
vāhanāni tribhis tribhiḥ
vivyādha — He shot; pañca — five; viṁśatyā — plus twenty; svarṇa — gold; puṅkhaiḥ — whose shafts; ayaḥ — iron; mukhaiḥ — whose heads; śālvasya — of Śālva; dhvajinī-pālam — the commander-in-chief; śaraiḥ — with arrows; sannata — level; parvabhiḥ — whose joints; śatena — with one hundred; atāḍayat — He struck; śālvam — Śālva; eka-ekena — with one each; asya — his; sainikān — officers; daśabhiḥ daśabhiḥ — with ten each; netṝn — the chariot drivers; vāhanāni — the carriers; tribhiḥ tribhiḥ — with three each.
Lord Pradyumna’s arrows all had gold shafts, iron heads and perfectly smooth joints. With twenty-five of them He struck down Śālva’s commander-in-chief [Dyumān], and with one hundred He struck Śālva himself. Then He pierced Śālva’s officers with one arrow each, his chariot drivers with ten arrows each, and his horses and other carriers with three arrows each.
tad adbhutaṁ mahat karma
dṛṣṭvā taṁ pūjayām āsuḥ
tat — that; adbhutam — amazing; mahat — mighty; karma — feat; pradyumnasya — of Pradyumna; mahā-ātmanaḥ — the great personality; dṛṣṭvā — seeing; tam — Him; pūjayām āsuḥ — honored; sarve — all; sva — of His own side; para — and of the enemy side; sainikāḥ — the soldiers.
When they saw the glorious Pradyumna perform that amazing and mighty feat, all the soldiers on both sides praised Him.
dṛśyate na ca dṛśyate
durvibhāvyaṁ parair abhūt
bahu — with many; rūpa — forms; eka — with one; rūpam — form; tat — that (Saubha airship); dṛśyate — is seen; na — not; ca — and; dṛśyate — is seen; māyā-mayam — magical; maya — by Maya Dānava; kṛtam — made; durvibhāvyam — impossible to find; paraiḥ — by the enemy (the Yādavas); abhūt — it became.
At one moment the magic airship built by Maya Dānava appeared in many identical forms, and the next moment it was again only one. Sometimes it was visible, and sometimes not. Thus Śālva’s opponents could never be sure where it was.
kvacid bhūmau kvacid vyomni
giri-mūrdhni jale kvacit
saubhaṁ tad duravasthitam
kvacit — at one moment; bhūmau — on the earth; kvacit — at one moment; vyomni — in the sky; giri — of a mountain; mūrdhni — on the top; jale — in the water; kvacit — at one moment; alāta-cakra — a whirling firebrand; vat — like; bhrāmyat — wandering; saubham — Saubha; tat — that; duravasthitam — never remaining in one place.
From one moment to the next the Saubha airship appeared on the earth, in the sky, on a mountain peak or in the water. Like a whirling, flaming baton, it never remained in any one place.
śālvas tatas tato ’muñcañ
yatra yatra — wherever; upalakṣyeta — would appear; sa-saubhaḥ — with Saubha; saha-sainikaḥ — with his soldiers; śālvaḥ — Śālva; tataḥ tataḥ — in each of those locations; amuñcan — they released; śarān — their arrows; sātvata — of the Yadus; yūtha-pāḥ — the chiefs of the army.
Wherever Śālva would appear with his Saubha ship and his army, there the Yadu commanders would shoot their arrows.
śālvo ’muhyat pareritaiḥ
śaraiḥ — by the arrows; agni — like fire; arka — and like the sun; saṁsparśaiḥ — whose contact; āśī — of a snake; viṣa — like the poison; durāsadaiḥ — intolerable; pīḍyamāna — distressed; pura — whose aerial city; anīkaḥ — and whose army; śālvaḥ — Śālva; amuhyat — became bewildered; para — by the enemy; īritaiḥ — shot.
Śālva became bewildered upon seeing his army and aerial city thus harassed by his enemy’s arrows, which struck like fire and the sun and were as intolerable as snake venom.
na tatyajū raṇaṁ svaṁ svaṁ
śālva — of Śālva; anīka-pa — of the leaders of the army; śastra — of weapons; oghaiḥ — by floods; vṛṣṇi-vīrāḥ — the heroes of the Vṛṣṇi clan; bhṛśa — extremely; arditāḥ — pained; na tatyajuḥ — they did not abandon; raṇam — the places on the battlefield; svam svam — each their own; loka — the worlds; dvaya — two; jigīṣavaḥ — wishing to conquer.
Because the heroes of the Vṛṣṇi clan were eager for victory in this world and the next, they did not abandon their assigned posts on the battlefield, even though the downpour of weapons hurled by Śālva’s commanders tormented them.
śālvāmātyo dyumān nāma
pradyumnaṁ prak prapīḍitaḥ
āsādya gadayā maurvyā
vyāhatya vyanadad balī
śālva-amātyaḥ — Śālva’s minister; dyumān nāma — named Dyumān; pradyumnam — Pradyumna; prāk — previously; prapīḍitaḥ — hurt; āsādya — confronting; gadayā — with his club; maurvyā — made of carbonized iron; vyāhatya — striking; vyanadat — roared; balī — powerful.
Śālva’s minister Dyumān, previously wounded by Śrī Pradyumna, now ran up to Him and, roaring loudly, struck Him with his club of black steel.
pradyumnaṁ gadayā sīrṇa-
apovāha raṇāt sūto
pradyumnam — Pradyumna; gadayā — by the club; śīrṇa — shattered; vakṣaḥ-sthalam — whose chest; arim — of enemies; damam — the subduer; apovāha — removed; raṇāt — from the battlefield; sūtaḥ — His chariot driver; dharma — of his religious duty; vit — the expert knower; dāruka-ātmajaḥ — the son of Dāruka (Lord Kṛṣṇa’s driver).
Pradyumna’s driver, the son of Dāruka, thought that his valiant master’s chest had been shattered by the club. Knowing well his religious duty, he removed Pradyumna from the battlefield.
kārṣṇiḥ sārathim abravīt
aho asādhv idaṁ sūta
yad raṇān me ’pasarpaṇam
labdha — attaining; saṁjñaḥ — consciousness; muhūrtena — in a moment; kārṣṇiḥ — the son of Lord Kṛṣṇa; sārathim — to His chariot driver; abravīt — said; aho — ah; asādhu — improper; idam — this; sūta — O driver; yat — which; raṇāt — from the battlefield; me — My; apasarpaṇam — being taken away.
Quickly regaining consciousness, Lord Kṛṣṇa’s son Pradyumna said to His charioteer, “O driver, this is abominable — for Me to have been removed from the battlefield!
na yadūnāṁ kule jātaḥ
vinā mat klība-cittena
na — not; yadūnām — of the Yadus; kule — in the family; jātaḥ — one who was born; śrūyate — is heard of; raṇa — the battlefield; vicyutaḥ — who abandoned; vinā — except for; mat — Me; klība — like that of a eunuch; cittena — whose mentality; sūtena — because of the driver; prāpta — gotten; kilbiṣāt — stain.
“Except for Me, no one born in the Yadu dynasty has ever been known to abandon the battlefield. My reputation has now been stained by a driver who thinks like a eunuch.
kiṁ nu vakṣye ’bhisaṅgamya
yuddhāt samyag apakrāntaḥ
pṛṣṭas tatrātmanaḥ kṣamam
kim — what; nu — then; vakṣye — will I say; abhisaṅgamya — meeting; pitarau — with My fathers; rāma-keśavau — Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa; yuddhāt — from the battle; samyak — altogether; apakrāntaḥ — fled; pṛṣṭaḥ — questioned; tatra — in that case; ātmanaḥ — for My self; kṣamam — fitting.
“What will I say to My fathers, Rāma and Keśava, when I return to Them after having simply fled the battle? What can I tell Them that will befit My honor?
vyaktaṁ me kathayiṣyanti
klaibyaṁ kathaṁ kathaṁ vīra
tavānyaiḥ kathyatāṁ mṛdhe
vyaktam — certainly; me — My; kathayiṣyanti — will speak of; hasantyaḥ — laughing; bhrātṛ-jāmayaḥ — My brothers’ wives; klaibyam — unmanliness; katham — how; katham — how; vīra — O hero; tava — Your; anyaiḥ — by Your enemies; kathyatām — tell us; mṛdhe — in battle.
“Certainly My sisters-in-law will laugh at Me and say, ‘O hero, tell us how in the world Your enemies turned You into such a coward in battle.’”
kṛtam etan mayā vibho
sūtaḥ kṛcchra-gataṁ rakṣed
rathinaṁ sārathiṁ rathī
sārathiḥ uvāca — the driver said; dharmam — prescribed duty; vijānatā — by one who properly understood; āyuḥ-man — O long-lived one; kṛtam — done; etat — this; mayā — by me; vibho — O my Lord; sūtaḥ — a driver; kṛcchra — into difficulty; gatam — gone; rakṣet — should protect; rathinam — the master of the chariot; sārathim — his charioteer; rathī — the chariot owner.
The driver replied: O long-lived one, I have done this knowing full well my prescribed duty. O my Lord, the chariot driver must protect the master of the chariot when he is in danger, and the master must also protect his driver.
etad viditvā tu bhavān
mūrcchito gadayā hataḥ
etat — this; viditvā — knowing; tu — indeed; bhavān — You; mayā — by me; apovāhitaḥ — removed; raṇāt — from the battlefield; upasṛṣṭaḥ — hurt; pareṇa — by the enemy; iti — thus thinking; mūrcchitaḥ — unconscious; gadayā — by his club; hataḥ — struck.
With this rule in mind, I removed You from the battlefield, since You had been struck unconscious by Your enemy’s club and I thought You were seriously injured.