"Bhishma said, 'I then smilingly addressed Rama stationed for battle, saying,--Myself on my car, I do not wish to fight with thee that art on the earth! Mount on a car, O hero, and case thy body in mail, O mighty-armed one, if indeed, O Rama, thou wishest to fight me in battle!--Then Rama smilingly replied unto me on that field of battle, saying, 'The Earth, O Bhishma, is my car, and Vedas, like good steeds, are the animals that carry me! The wind is my car-driver, and my coat of mail is constituted by those mothers in the Vedas (viz., Gayatri, Savitri and Saraswati). Well-covered by these in battle, O son of Kuru's race, I will fight!' Having said this, O Gandhari's son. Rama of prowess incapable of being baffled, covered me on all sides with a thick shower of arrows. I then beheld Jamadagni's son stationed on a car equipped with every kind of excellent weapons! And the car he rode was exceedingly handsome and was of wonderful appearance. And it had been created by a fiat of his will, and it was beautiful like a town. And celestial steeds were yoked unto it, and it was well-protected by the necessary defences. And it was decked all over with ornaments of gold. And it was well-covered with tough skins all around, and bore the device of the sun and the moon. Rama was armed with bow and equipped with a quiver, and with fingers cased in leathern fences! Akritavrana, the dear friend of Bhargava, well-versed in the Vedas, did the duties of a car-driver for that warrior. And he, of Bhrigu's race, repeatedly summoning me to battle, saying,--Come, come,--gladden my heart. And I then, myself, singly obtained for my adversary that invincible and mighty exterminator of the Kshatriya race, viz., Rama risen like the sun himself in splendour, desirous (on his part) of fighting singly! And after he
had poured three showers of arrows on me curbing my steeds, I came down from my car and placing my bow aside I proceeded on foot to that best of Rishis. And arriving before him, I worshipped the best of Brahmanas with reverence. And having saluted him duly, I told him these excellent words,--O Rama, whether thou art equal or superior to me, I will fight with thee, my virtuous preceptor, in battle! O lord, bless me, wishing me victory!'
"Rama, thus addressed, said, 'O foremost one of Kuru's race, he that desires prosperity should act even thus! O thou of mighty arms, they that fight with warriors more eminent than themselves, have this duty to perform. O king, I would have cursed thee if thou hadst not approached me thus! Go, fight carefully and summoning all thy patience, O thou of Kuru's race! I cannot, however, wish thee victory, for I myself stand here to vanquish thee! Go, fight fairly! I am pleased with thy behaviour!--Bowing unto him, I then speedily came back, and mounting on my car, I once more blew my conch decked with gold, And then, O Bharata, the combat commenced between him and me. And it lasted for many days. each of us, O king, having been desirous of vanquishing the other. And in that battle, it was Rama who struck me first with nine hundred and sixty straight arrows furnished with vulturine wings. And with that arrowy shower, O king, my four steeds and charioteer were completely covered! Notwithstanding all this, however, I remained quiet in that encounter, accoutred in my coat of mail! Bowing unto the gods, and especially unto the Brahmanas, I then smilingly addressed Rama stationed for battle, saying,--Although thou hast shown little regard for me, yet I have fully honoured thy preceptorship! Listen again, O Brahmana, to some other auspicious duty that should be discharged if virtue is to be earned! The Vedas that are in thy body, and the high status of Brahmana that is also in thee, and the ascetic merit thou hast earned by the severest of austerities, I do not strike at these! I strike, however, at that Kshatriyahood which thou, O Rama, hast adopted! When a Brahmana taketh up weapons, he becometh a Kshatriya. Behold now the power of my bow and the energy of my arms! Speedily shall I cut off that bow of thine with a sharp shaft!--Saying this I shot at him, O bull of Bharata's race, a sharp broad-headed arrow, And cutting off one of the horns of his bow with it. I caused it to drop on the ground. I then shot at Jamadagni's car a hundred straight arrows winged with vulturine feathers. Piercing through Rama's body and borne along by the wind, those arrows coursing through space seemed to vomit blood (from their mouths) and resembled veritable snakes. Covered all over with blood and with blood issuing out of his body. Rama, O king, shone in battle, like the Sumeru mountain with streams of liquid metal rolling down its breast, or like the Asoka tree at the advent of spring, when covered with red bunches of flowers, or, O king, like the Kinsuka tree when clad in its flowery attire! Taking up then another bow, Rama, filled with wrath, showered upon
me numerous arrows of excessive sharpness, furnished with golden wings. And those fierce arrows of tremendous impetus, resembling snakes, or fire, or poison, coming at me from all sides, pierced my very vitals and caused me to tremble. Summoning all my coolness then addressed myself for the encounter, and filled with rage I pierced Rama with a hundred arrows. And afflicted with those hundred blazing shafts resembling either fire, or the sun or looking like snakes of virulent poison, Rama seemed to lose his senses! Filled, O Bharata, with pity (at the sight), I stopped of my own accord and said,--Oh, fie on battle! Fie on Kshatriya practices! And overwhelmed, O king, with grief, I repeatedly said,--Alas, great is the sin committed by me through observance of Kshatriya practices, since I have afflicted with arrows my preceptor who is a Brahmana endued with a virtuous soul!--After that, O Bharata, I ceased striking Jamadagni's son any more. At this time, the thousand-rayed luminary, having heated the earth with his rays, proceeded at the close of day to his chambers in the west and the battle also between us ceased.'"