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Chapter 122

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

“Sanjaya said,–‘Stringing then his large bow and reverentially salutingthe grandsire, Arjuna, with eyes filled with tears, said these words, Oforemost one among the Kurus, O thou that art the first among allwielders of weapons, command me, O invincible one, for I am thy slave!What shall I do, O grandsire!–Unto him Santanu’s son said,–My head, Osire, hangeth down!–O foremost one among the Kuru’s O Phalguni, get me apillow! Indeed, give me one without delay O hero, that would become mybed! Thou O Partha, art competent, thou art the foremost of all wieldersof bows! Thou art conversant with the duties of Kshatriyas and thou artendued with intelligence and goodness!–Then Phalguni, saying,–So beit–desired to do Bhishma’s bidding. Taking up Gandiva and a number ofstraight shafts, and inspiring them with mantras, and obtaining thepermission of that illustrious and mighty car-warrior of Bharata’s race,Arjuna then, with three keen shafts endued with great force, supportedBhishma’s head. Then that chief of the Bharatas, viz., Bhishma ofvirtuous soul, conversant with the truths of religion, seeing thatArjuna, having divined his thought, had achieved that feat, became highlygratified. And after that pillow had thus been given to him, he applaudedDhananjaya. And casting his eyes upon all the Bharatas there, headdressed Kunti’s son Arjuna, that foremost of all warriors, thatenhancer of the joys of his friends and said,–Thou hast given me, O sonof Pandu, a pillow that becometh my bed! If thou hadst acted otherwise, Iwould have cursed thee, from wrath! Even thus, O mighty-armed one, shoulda Kshatriya, observant of his duties, sleep on the field of battle on hisbed of arrows!–Having addressed Vibhatsu thus, he then said unto allthose kings and princes that were present there, these words:–Behold yethe pillow that the son of Pandu hath given me! I will sleep on this bedtill the Sun turneth to the northern solstice! Those king that will thencome to me will behold me (yield up my life)! When the Sun on his car ofgreat speed and unto which are yoked seven steeds, will proceed towardsthe direction occupied by Vaisravana, verily, even then, will I yield upmy life like a dear friend dismissing a dear friend! Let a ditch be dughere around my quarters ye kings! Thus pierced with hundreds of arrowswill I pay my adorations to the Sun? As regards yourselves, abandoningenmity, cease ye from the fight, ye kings–

‘Sanjaya continued,–“Then there came unto him some surgeons well trained(in their science) and skilled in plucking out arrows, with all becomingappliances (of their profession). Beholding them, the son of Ganga saidunto thy son,–‘Let these physicians, after proper respect being paid tothem, be dismissed with presents of wealth. Brought to such a plight,what need have I now of physicians? I have won the most laudable and thehighest state ordained in Kshatriya observances! Ye kings, lying as I doon a bed of arrows, it is not proper for me to submit now to thetreatment of physicians. With these arrows on my body, ye rulers of men,should I be burnt!’–Hearing these words of his, thy son Duryodhanadismissed those physicians, having honoured them as they deserved. Thenthose kings of diverse realms, beholding that constancy in virtuedisplayed by Bhishma of immeasurable energy, were filled with wonder.Having given a pillow to thy sire thus, those rulers of men, those mightycar-warriors, viz., the Pandavas and the Kauravas, united together, oncemore approached the high-souled Bhishma lying on that excellent bed ofhis. Reverentially saluting that high-souled one and circumambulating himthrice, and stationing guards all around for his protection, thoseheroes, with bodies drenched in blood, repaired for rest towards theirown tents in the evening, their hearts plunged into grief and thinking ofwhat they had seen.

Then at the proper time, the mighty Madhava, approaching the Pandavas,those mighty car-warriors cheerfully seated together and filled with joyat the fall of Bhishma, said unto Dharma’s son Yudhishthira thesewords,–“By good luck victory hath been thine, O thou of Kuru’s rare! Bygood luck hath Bhishma been overthrown, who is unslayable by men, and isa mighty car-warrior of aim incapable of being baffled! Or, perhaps, asdestiny would have it, that warrior who was master of every weapon,having obtained thee for a foe that canst slay with thy eyes alone, hathbeen consumed by thy wrathful eye!–Thus addressed by Krishna, kingYudhishthira the just, replied unto Janardana, saying,–Through Thy graceis Victory, through Thy wrath is Defeat! Thou art dispeller of the fearsof those that are devoted to thee. Thou art our refuge! It is notwonderful that they should have victory whom Thou always protectest inbattle, and in whose welfare Thou art always engaged, O Kesava! Havinggot Thee for our refuge, I do not regard anything as wonderful! Thusaddressed by him, Janardana answered with a smile,–O best of kings,these words can come from thee alone!”

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