The word in the original is Muhurta equal to 48 minutes. Nilakantha points out very ingeniously that the night being the seventh of the dark fortnight, the moon would not rise till after 14 Dandas from the hour of sunset, a Danda being equal to 24 minutes. A Muhurta, therefore implies not 48 minutes exactly, but some time.
Vaisampayana continued, “Beholding Bhima casting his eyes on that tree like a mad elephant, the heroic king Yudhishthira the just spake unto his brother, saying, ’Do not, O Bhima, commit such a rash act. Let the tree stand there. Thou must not achieve such feats in a super-human manner by means of that tree, for if thou dost, the people, O Bharata, will recognise thee and say, This is Bhima. Take thou, therefore, some human weapon such as a bow (and arrows), or a dart, or a sword, or a battle-axe. And taking therefore, O Bhima, some weapon that is human, liberate thou the king without giving anybody the means of knowing thee truly. The twins endued with great strength will defend thy wheels. Fighting together, O child, liberate the king of the Matsyas!’”
Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed, the mighty Bhimasena endued with great speed, quickly took up an excellent bow and impetuously shot from it a shower of arrows, thick as the downpour of a rain-charged cloud. And Bhima then rushed furiously towards Susarman of terrible deeds, and assuring Virata with the words—O good king! said unto the lord of the Trigartas,—Stay! Stay! Seeing Bhima like unto Yama himself in his rear, saying, Stay! Stay! Do thou witness this mighty feat,—this combat that is at hand!—the bull among warriors, Susarman, seriously considered (the situation), and taking up his bow turned back, along with his brothers. Within the twinkling of an eye, Bhima destroyed those cars that sought to oppose him. And soon again hundreds of thousands of cars and elephants and horses and horsemen and brave and fierce bowmen were overthrown by Bhima in the very sight of Virata. And the hostile infantry also began to be slaughtered by the illustrious Bhima, mace in hand. And beholding that terrible onslaught, Susarman, irrepressible in fight, thought within himself, ’My brother seems to have already succumbed in the midst of his mighty host. Is my army going to be annihilated?’ And drawing his bow-string to his ear Susarman then turned back and began to shoot keen-edged shafts incessantly. And seeing the Pandavas return to the charge on their car, the Matsya warriors of mighty host, urging on their steeds, shot excellent weapons for grinding the Trigarta soldiers. And Virata’s son also, exceedingly exasperated began to perform prodigious fears of valour. And Kunti’s son Yudhishthira slew a thousand (of the foe), and Bhima showed the abode of Yama unto seven thousand. And Nakula sent seven hundred (to their last account) by means of his shafts. And powerful Sahadeva also, commanded