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Chapter 121

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

Dhritarashtra said, ‘Alas, what was the state of (my) warriors, OSanjaya, when they were deprived of the mighty and god-like Bhishma whohad become a Brahmacharin for the sake of his reverend sire? Even then Iregarded the Kurus and all the others as slain by the Pandavas whenBhishma, despising the son of Drupada, struck him not. Wretch that I am,also, I hear today of my sire’s slaughter. What can be a heavier sorrowthan this? My heart assuredly, O Sanjaya, is made of adamant, since itbreaketh not into a hundred fragments on hearing of Bhishma’s death! Tellme, O thou of excellent vows, what was done by that lion among the Kurus,viz., the victory-desiring Bhishma when he was slain in battle. I cannotat all brook it that Devavrata should be slain in battle. Alas, he thatwas not slain by Jamadagni’s son himself in days of old by means of evenhis celestial weapons, alas, he hath now been slain by Drupada’s sonSikhandin, the prince of Panchala!–

‘Sanjaya said,–“Slain in the evening the Kuru grandsire Bhishma saddenedthe Dhartarashtras and delighted the Panchalas. Falling down on theearth, he lay on his bed of arrows without however, touching the earthwith his body. Indeed, when Bhishma, thrown down from his car fell uponthe surface of the earth, cries of Oh and Alas were heard among allcreatures. When that boundary-tree of the Kurus, viz., the evervictorious Bhishma, fell down, fear entered the hearts, O king, of theKshatriyas of both the armies. Beholding Bhishma, the son of Santanu,with his standard overthrown and his armour cut open, both the Kurus andthe Pandavas were inspired, O monarch, with sentiments of cheerlessness.And the welkin was enveloped with a gloom and the Sun himself became dim.The Earth seemed to utter loud shrieks when the son of Santanu was slain.This one is the foremost of those conversant with the Vedas! This one isthe best of those that are conversant with the Vedas!–Even thus didcreatures speak of that bull among men as he lay (on his bed ofarrows).This one, formerly, ascertaining his sire Santanu to be afflictedby Kama, this bull among men, resolved to draw up his vital steed!–Eventhus did the Rishis together with the Siddhas and the Charanas said ofthat foremost one of the Bharatas as he lay on his bed of arrows. WhenSantanu’s son Bhishma, the grandsire of the Bharatas, was slain, thysons, O sire, knew not what to do. Their faces wore an expression ofgrief. The splendour of their countenances seemed to abandon them, OBharata! All of them stood in shame, hanging down their heads. ThePandavas, on the other hand, having, won the victory, stood at the headof their ranks. And they all blew their large conchs decked with gold.And when in consequence of their joys thousands of trumpets, O sinlessone, were blown there, we beheld O monarch, the mighty Bhimasena, the sonof Kunti, sporting in great glee, having quickly slain many hostilewarriors endued with great strength. And a great swoon overtook all theKurus. And Karna and Duryodhana repeatedly drew long breaths. When theKuru grandsire Bhishma fell down, thus, cries of sorrow were heard allround, and the greatest confusion prevailed (among the Kuru army).Beholding Bhishma fallen, thy son Dussasana, with great speed, enteredthe division commanded by Drona. That hero, clad in mail and at the headof his own troops, had been placed by his elder brother (for theprotection of Bhishma). That tiger among men now came, plunging thetroops he had commanded into grief. Beholding him coming towards them,the Kauravas surrounded prince Dussasana, desirous, O monarch, of hearingwhat he had to say. Then Dussasana of Kuru’s race informed Drona ofBhishma’s slaughter. Drona then, hearing those evil tidings, suddenlyfell down from his car. Then the valiant son of Bharadwaja, quicklyrecovering his senses, forbade the Kuru army, sire, to continue thefight. Beholding the Kurus desist from battle, the Pandavas also, throughmessengers on fleet horses, forbade their orders, ceased to fight, thekings of both armies, putting off their armour, all repaired to Bhishma.Desisting from the fight, thousands of (other) warriors then, proceededtowards the high-souled Bhishma like the celestials towards the Lord ofall creatures. Approaching Bhishma who was then, O bull of Bharata’srace, lying (on his bed of arrows), the Pandavas and the Kurus stoodthere, having offered him their salutations. Then Santanu’s son Bhishmaof righteous soul addressed the Pandavas and the Kurus who havingreverenced him thus, stood before him. And he said,–Welcome to you, yehighly blessed ones! Welcome to you, ye mighty car-warriors! Gratified amI with your sight, ye that are the equals of the very gods.–Thusaddressing them with his head hanging down, he once more said,–‘My headis hanging down greatly. Let a pillow be given to me!–The kings(standing there) then fetched many excellent pillows that were very softand made of very delicate fabrics. The grandsire, however, desired themnot. That tiger among men then said unto those kings with alaugh,–These, ye kings, do not become a hero’s bed.–Beholding them thatforemost of men, that mightiest of car-warriors in all the worlds, viz.,the mighty-armed Dhananjaya the son of Pandu, he said,–O Dhananjaya, Othou of mighty arms, my head hangeth down, O sire! Give me a pillow suchas thou regardest to be fit!–‘”

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