Bhishma-vadha Parva (Chapters: 43–124) - 9th Day of the WAR

The next day, Bhishma disposes his troops in an array called Sarvatobhadra (square). Abhimanyu afflicts and routs a large army, frightening them.

Duryodhana sends Alamvusha. Alamvusha slaughters and routs a host of the Pandavas, and the Pandavan army flees away in panic. He meets the sons of Draupadi and battles against them.

They pierce Alamvusha, rendering him senseless; but regaining consciousness and excited with wrath, he cuts off their weapons, destroys their cars, and pierces each of them deeply. Beholding them afflicted, the son of Arjuna rushes at him. Both pierce each other, but Abhimanyu pushes him back.

Then Rakshasa, exhibiting his great powers of illusion, causes a thick darkness to set in, dimming visibility.

Abhimanyu however, invokes into existence the blazing solar weapon, making everything visible once more, neutralizing the illusion. He conjures other diverse illusions, but the son of Phalguni neutralizes them all with his magical weapons.

Rakshasa seeing his illusion destroyed and himself struck, flees in great fear. Bhishma battles Subhadra's son. Satyaki rushes in battle towards Drona's son, who cuts his bow in twain. Satyaki, taking up another bow, pierces him, making him sit on his car.

Drona's son later damages his car. Drona comes there but Arjuna meets him in battle. Duryodhana dispatches an army to aid Drona.

Arjuna engages them and shoots the Vayavya weapon against their division, causing a wind to arise that destroys their cars. Beholding the fierce Vayavya weapon, Drona shoots the Saila weapon, abating the wind.

Bhagdatta surrounds Bhima with an elephant division. Bhima, taking up his mace, quickly jumps down from his car, and afflicts those elephant division, seizing and breaking some of their tusks, and slaughtering some with his mace, causing the elephant division to flee with other troops.

Bhishma causes great carnage. Dhrishtadyumna, Sikhandin, Virata ,and Drupada come to stop him.

He pierces all except Sikhandin and cuts off Drupada's bow. Five sons of Draupadi, Satyaki, headed by Yudhishthira, with troops, come to protect them. Bhishma's troops surrounds him to protect him, and there happened a fierce general engagement between both sides. Arjuna slaughters a large host.

Drona afflicts Drupada, making him retreat. Satyaki battles Bhishma; and Yudhishthira, with his troops, surrounds Bhishma. Again a fierce battle commences. Duryodhana sends Dussasana with a large force to protect Bhishma. Bhishma pierces all surrounding him; and Drona, too, pierces his foes. Surrounded on all sides, yet unvanquished, Bhishma slaughters his foes. Afflicted by the shafts of Bhishma, all flee away.

Vasudeva encourages Vibhatsu to overthrow Bhishma. Yudhishthira, with a large host, rallies, and comes again to the fight, seeing Partha proceeding for an encounter with Bhishma. Partha, with his celestial bow, twice cuts Bhishma's bow into fragments by means of his sharp shafts and is praised by Bhishma.

Bhishma mangles both Partha and Vasudeva. Krishna, filled with anger and scolding Arjuna for not fighting wholeheartedly, jumps down from the car and rushes towards Bhishma, whip in hand, desirous of slaying him. Arjuna seizes Krishna and reminds him of his promise not to fight, only to drive Arjuna's chariot, or else people will call him a liar. Krishna returns, in anger, and mounts his car. Then both sides slaughter each other's army.

Pandavas troops flee when they faced Bhishma, who was grinding his foes. Sunset, with withdrawal from the field. By the end of 9th day, over 100 million have been slaughtered including many key personages of the Epic. Each night, either Duryodhana or Yudhishthira is depressed by the massive losses of their men and key generals. Embedded in the parva are treatises on war – on various ways to arrange and advance armies, various forms of attack and defense, and war logistics. The parva also describes the efforts by Pandavas and Bhishma to reach a negotiated peace, even while the war was in progress.

These efforts fail. The Pandavas lose faith in peace and discuss ways to kill Bhishma – the commander-in-chief of the Kauravas. Krishna says he will slay Bhishma in battle, if they ask. Yudhishthira refuses, for his own glorification, to falsify his words; but he wishes to slay him, the sire of his sire.

When they cannot figure it out, they decide to ask Bhishma. They approach his tent, unarmed. Bhishma welcomes them. Yudhishthira asks after the means of his death, as he is the obstacle to their victory. Bhishma said, that as long he is alive, victory cannot be theirs in battle, and with weapons, he is difficult of being killed because he had the boon of icchamrityu.

Bhishma suggests that the Pandavas should place Sikhandi in front of Arjuna, as he has taken an oath to never fight anyone who was once female; they should then destroy his weapons, only then, can they kill him. All return to their tents.