On the 14th day, the battle between Bhimasena and Karna raged on, even as Karna kept getting humiliated with repeated defeats. Karna’s false, but undiminishing, belief that he could take on and defeat Bhima, coupled with the tragic fate of multiple of Duryodhana’s brothers, led to Vaikartana’s numerous returns to the battlefield to face Bhima.
Seeing five of the Kaurava brothers dead on the ground, Karna experienced a mix of sorrow and anger. Gathering his senses back, he rushed at Bhima and discharged five and then seventy sharp arrows at him. In turn, Vrikodara not only discharged a hundred pointed arrows at Karna, but also released a bhalla and broke Karna’s bow. Karna quickly resorted to a new bow.
तस्य भीमो हयान् हत्वा विनिहत्य च सारथिम् |
प्रजहास महाहासं कृते प्रतिकृतं पुनः ||
Bhima killed his horses and his charioteer, and laughing loudly, responded back in kind to whatever he did.
Vrikodara soon broke the second new bow of Karna too. Frustrated, Karna got down from his chariot and threw a mace at Bhima. Even as both the armies kept looking, Bhima destroyed the mace mid-air with his arrows. It was Karna’s time to face the music as he was showered with a thousand arrows.
The battle between the two of them continued. Duryodhana, watching this amazing duel from a distance, was worried for Karna’s safety. He asked the great warriors around him to rush to Karna’s defence. Hearing the call of their elder brother – seven Kauravas went after Bhima. They were Chitra, Upachitra, Chitraksha, Charuchitra, Sharasana, Chitrayudha and Chitravarma.
Bhima took them on all together. Each of their chariots was hit by a barrage of arrows from him. Soon each of them lost their horses, charioteer and chariot. A sharp arrow each and in a moment the seven of them reached the abode of Yama.
It was as if seven trees had been caught in a typhoon and were swept away.
दृष्ट्वा विनिहतान् पुत्रांस्तव राजन् महारथान् |
अश्रुपूर्णमुखः कर्णः कश्मलं समपद्यत ||
O King! Seeing the killing of your sons, who were maharathas, Karna felt great sorrow and had tears in his eyes.
Gathering his courage yet again, Karna climbed a new chariot and resumed battle. Bhima dispatched several arrows that broke Karna’s kavacha. The two of them fought with each other like two elephants in mast. Like water filled clouds showering rain on a mountain, Bhima showered hundreds of arrows at Karna. Sri Krishna, Arjuna and Satyaki, who were nearby, witnessed this extra ordinary display of warfare by Bhimasena and were overjoyed.
The attack of Bhima was so intense that Karna came out of Bhima’s range in the battlefield for one muhurtha. In other words, Karna fled the scene again. After some time, he gathered his breath and went back to where Bhima was still raging.
Another long battle between the two ensued. This was one of the most intense phases of engagement between the two. The two armies around them, along with the prominent warriors, stopped fighting and stood there admiring their battle.
भूरिश्रवाः कृपो द्रौणिर्मद्रराजो जयद्रथः |
उत्तमौजा युधामन्युः सात्यकिः केशवार्जुनौ ||
कुरुपाण्डवानां प्रवरा दश राजन् महारथाः |
साधु साध्विति वेगेन सिंहनादमथानदन् ||
O King! Bhurishrava, Kripa, Ashwathama, Shalya the King of Madra, Jayadratha, Uttamauja, Yudhamanyu, Satyaki, Sri Krishna and Arjuna – these ten best amongst the warriors of Kurus and the Pandavas roared then, cheering them saying “Excellent! Excellent!”
Yet again Duryodhana got anxious regarding his dear friend. He sensed another defeat for Radheya. He picked seven of his brothers and sent them to protect Karna.
They approached Bhima and started irritating him with their arrows. It was like the time of Pralaya when Chandra is troubled by the seven planets.
Bhima picked seven special arrows and released them, one by one, against the seven brothers. Each arrows pierced one Kaurava and then flew into the sky (such was the force behind them). Each one of them fell down from their chariots.
Thus, seven more brothers of Duryodhana – Shatrunjaya, Shatrusaha, Chitra, Chitrayudha, Dhrudha, Chitrasena and Vikarna – were killed by Vrikodara.
The vow taken by Bhima (about killing all hundred Kauravas) was slowly on its way to getting fulfilled.
He let out a leonine roar that reached the ears of Yudhisthira, whose joy knew no bounds.
The fourteenth day of the war had seen thirty-two brothers of Duryodhana being killed. The prince of the Kurus was reminded of all the sins they had committed against the Pandavas. He thought of all the warnings Vidura had given them. He thought to himself – “The result of all those words and deeds are here to be seen by me”.
Thus Karna became a reason, and a mute spectator, in the killing of many Kauravas.