A Summary of the Shalya Parva

Duryodhana appointing King Shalya as the commander-in-chief of his army

Note: The Shalya Parva is the 9th parva of the Mahabharata. It describes the events of the last day of the Mahabharata war when Shalya was the commander-in-chief of the Kaurava army.

This great Vyasa wrote 3220 shlokas (verses) divided into 59 sections, in this parva. 

After all the great warriors (Bhishma, Drona, and Karna) had been slain, Duryodhana appointed King Shalya as the commander-in-chief of his army.

The parva begins with a description of encounters between various warriors on the last day of the war. These encounters also include the battle between Yudhishthira the just and King Shalya of Madra in which Shalya met his end at the hands of Yudhishthira.

This was followed by a battle between Shakuni and Sahadev in which Shakuni lost his life.

With almost the entire Kaurava army vanquished, a battle-worn Duryodhana went to a lake and stretched there to calm his mind for some time. However, Duryodhana was spotted by some bird-hunters who reported the matter to Bhima.

Having learnt the whereabouts of Duryodhana, the intelligent Yudhishthira went to the lake and began calling out to Duryodhana with harsh and insulting words. Duryodhana, who was not accustomed to being addressed rudely, became angry and came out of the lake. 

This was followed by a battle between Duryodhana and Bhima. Both warriors fought with clubs.

Very soon, Krishna’s brother Balarama (who was also a friend of Duryodhana) arrived at the place where the two warriors were engaged in a terrible battle of clubs.

The sacredness of Saraswati is narrated at this time.

The fierce encounter between Bhima and Duryodhana finally ended when Bhima threw his mace with all his might on Duryodhana’s thighs and mortally wounded the latter.

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