Jarāsandha and all the other princes were very angry at Kṛṣṇa for having kidnapped Rukmiṇī. Struck by Rukmiṇī’s beauty, they had fallen from the backs of their horses and elephants, but now they began to stand up and properly arm themselves. Picking up their bows and arrows, they began to chase Kṛṣṇa on their chariots, horses and elephants. To check their progress, the soldiers of the Yadu dynasty turned and faced them. Thus terrible fighting began between the two belligerent groups. The princes opposing Kṛṣṇa, who were led by Jarāsandha and were all expert in fighting, shot their arrows at the Yadu soldiers just as a cloud splashes the face of a mountain with torrents of rain. Gathered on the face of a mountain, a cloud does not move very much, and therefore the force of rain is much more severe on a mountain than anywhere else.
The opposing princes were determined to defeat Kṛṣṇa and recapture Rukmiṇī from His custody, and they fought with Him as severely as possible. Rukmiṇī, seated by the side of Kṛṣṇa, saw arrows raining from the opposing party onto the faces of the Yadu soldiers. In a fearful attitude, she looked upon Kṛṣṇa’s face, expressing her gratefulness that He had taken such a great risk for her sake only. Her eyes moving, she appeared sorry, and Kṛṣṇa, who could immediately understand her mind, encouraged her with these words: “My dear Rukmiṇī, don’t worry. Please rest assured that the soldiers of the Yadu dynasty will kill all the opposing soldiers without delay.”
As Kṛṣṇa was speaking with Rukmiṇī, the commanders of the Yadu dynasty’s soldiers, headed by Lord Balarāma, who is also known as Saṅkarṣaṇa, as well as by Gada, not tolerating the defiant attitude of the opposing soldiers, began to strike their horses, elephants and chariots with arrows. As the fighting progressed, the princes and soldiers of the enemy began to fall from their horses, elephants and chariots. Within a short time, millions of severed heads, decorated with helmets and earrings, had fallen on the battlefield. The soldiers’ hands were severed along with their bows and arrows and clubs; arms were piled upon arms, thighs upon thighs, and horses upon horses. Similarly, other animals, such as camels, elephants and asses, as well as infantry soldiers, all fell with severed heads.
When the enemy, headed by Jarāsandha, found that they were gradually being defeated by the soldiers of Kṛṣṇa, they thought it unwise to risk losing their armies in the battle for the sake of Śiśupāla. Śiśupāla himself should have fought to rescue Rukmiṇī from the hands of Kṛṣṇa, but when the soldiers saw that Śiśupāla was not competent to fight with Kṛṣṇa, they decided not to lose their armies unnecessarily; therefore they ceased fighting and dispersed.
Some of the princes, as a matter of etiquette, appeared before Śiśupāla. They saw that Śiśupāla was discouraged, like one who has lost his wife. His face appeared dried up, he had lost all his energy, and all the luster of his body had disappeared. They addressed Śiśupāla thus: “Our dear Śiśupāla, don’t be discouraged in this way. You belong to the royal order and are the chief amongst the fighters. There is no question of distress or happiness for a person like you because neither of these conditions is everlasting. Take courage. Don’t be disappointed by this temporary reversal. After all, we are not the final actors; as puppets dance in the hands of a magician, we are all dancing by the will of the Supreme, and according to His plan alone we suffer distress or enjoy happiness. We should therefore be equipoised in all circumstances.”