“Vaisampayana said, ‘Asked by Dhritarashtra to give his opinion, Bhishmareplied, ‘O Dhritarashtra, a quarrel with the Pandavas is what I cannever approve of. As thou art to me, so was Pandu without doubt. And thesons of Gandhari are to me, as those of Kunti.
I should protect them aswell as I should thy sons, O Dhritarashtra! And, O king, the Pandavas areas much near to me as they are to prince Duryodhana or to all the otherKurus. Under these circumstances a quarrel with them is what I neverlike. Concluding a treaty with those heroes, let half the land be givenunto them. This is without doubt, the paternal kingdom of those foremostones of the Kuru race. And, O Duryodhana, like thee who lookest upon thiskingdom as thy paternal property, the Pandavas also look upon it as theirpaternal possession. If the renowned sons of Pandu obtain not thekingdom, how can it be thine, or that of any other descendant of theBharata race? If thou regardest thyself as one that hath lawfully comeinto the possession of the kingdom, I think they also may be regarded tohave lawfully come into the possession of this kingdom before thee. Givethem half the kingdom quietly. This, O tiger among men, is beneficial toall. If thou actest otherwise, evil will befall us all. Thou too shall becovered with dishonour. O Duryodhana, strive to maintain thy good name. Agood name is, indeed, the source of one’s strength. It hath been saidthat one liveth in vain whose reputation hath gone. A man, O Kaurava,doth not die so long as his fame lasteth. One liveth as long as one’sfame endureth, and dieth when one’s fame is gone. Follow thou, O son ofGandhari, the practice that is worthy of the Kuru race. O thou of mightyarms, imitate thy own ancestors. We are fortunate that the Pandavas havenot perished. We are fortunate that Kunti liveth. We are fortunate thatthe wretch Purochana without being able to accomplish his purpose hathhimself perished. From that time when I heard that the sons ofKuntibhoja’s daughter had been burnt to death, I was, O son of Gandhari,ill able to meet any living creature. O tiger among men, hearing of thefate that overtook Kunti, the world doth not regard Purochana so guiltyas it regardeth thee. O king, the escape, therefore, of the sons of Panduwith life from that conflagration and their re-appearance, do away withthy evil repute. Know, O thou of Kuru’s race, that as long as thoseheroes live, the wielder of the thunder himself cannot deprive them oftheir ancestral share in the kingdom. The Pandavas are virtuous andunited. They are being wrongly kept out of their equal share in thekingdom. If thou shouldst act rightly, if thou shouldst do what isagreeable to me, if thou shouldst seek the welfare of all, then give halfthe kingdom unto them.'”