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Chapter 123

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

“Sanjaya said,–‘After the night had passed away, O monarch, all thekings, the Pandavas and the Dhartarashtras, repaired to the grandsire,Those Kshatriyas then saluted that bull of their order, that foremost oneamong the Kurus, that hero lying on a hero’s bed, and stood in hispresence. Maidens by thousands, having repaired to that place, gentlyshowered over Santanu’s son powdered sandal wood and fried paddy, andgarlands of flowers. And women and old men and children, and ordinaryspectators, all approached Santanu’s son like creatures of the worlddesirous of beholding the Sun. And trumpets by hundreds and thousands,and actors, and mimes, and skilled mechanics also came to the aged Kurugrandsire. And ceasing to fight, putting aside their coats of mail, andlying aside their weapons, the Kurus and the Pandavas, united together,came to the invincible Devavrata, that chastiser of foes. And they wereassembled together as in days of old, and cheerfully addressed oneanother according to their respective ages. And that conclave full ofBharata kings by hundreds and adorned with Bhishma, looked beautiful andblazing like a conclave of the gods in heaven. And that conclave of kingsengaged in honouring the son of Ganga looked as beautiful as a conclaveof the celestials engaged in adorning their Lord, viz., the Grandsire(Brahman). Bhishma, however, O bull of Bharata’s race, suppressing hisagonies with fortitude though burning with the arrows (still sticking tohis body), was sighing like a snake. His body burning with these arrows,and himself nearly deprived of his senses in consequence of hisweapon-wounds, Bhishma cast his eyes on those kings and asked for water.Then those Kshatriyas, O king, brought thither excellent viands andseveral vessels of cold water. Beholding that water brought for him,Santanu’s son said,–I cannot, O sire, now use any article of humanenjoyment! I am removed from the pale of humanity. I am lying on a bed ofarrows. I am staying here, expecting only the return of the Moon and theSun! Having spoken these words and thereby rebuked those kings, OBharata, he said,–I wish to see Arjuna!–The mighty-armed Arjuna thencame there, and reverentially saluting the grandsire stood with joinedhands, and said,–What shall I do?–Beholding then that son of Pandu, Omonarch, thus standing before him after having offered him respectfulsalutations, Bhishma of righteous soul cheerfully addressed Dhananjaya,saying,–Covered all over with thy shafts, my body is burning greatly!All the vital parts of my body are in agony. My mouth is dry. Staying asI am with body afflicted with agony, give me water, O Arjuna! Thou art agreat bowman! Thou art capable of giving me water duly!–The valiantArjuna then saying,–So be it,–mounted on his car, and striking hisGandiva with force, began to stretch it. Hearing the twang of his bow andthe slap of his palms which resembled the roar of the thunder, the troopsand the kings were all inspired with fear. Then that foremost ofcar-warriors, mounted on his car, circumambulated that prostrate chief ofthe Bharatas, that foremost of all wielders of weapons. Aiming then ablazing arrow, after having inspired it with Mantras and identified itwith the Parjanya weapon, in the very sight of the entire army, the sonof Pandu, viz., Partha, pierced the Earth a little to the south of whereBhishma lay. Then there arose a jet of water that was pure, andauspicious, and cool, and that resembling the nectar itself, was ofcelestial scent and taste. And with that cool jet of water Parthagratified Bhishma, that bull among the Kurus, of godlike deeds andprowess. And at that feat of Partha who resembled Sakra himself in hisacts, all those rulers of Earth were filled with great wonder. Andbeholding that feat of Vibhatsu implying superhuman prowess, the Kurustrembled like kine afflicted with cold. And from wonder all the kingsthere present waved their garments (in the air). And loud was the blareof conchs and the beat of drums that were then heard all over the field.And Santanu’s son, his thirst quenched, then addressed Jishnu, O monarch,and said, applauding him highly in the presence of all those kings, thesewords, viz.,–O thou of mighty arms, this is not wonderful in thee, O sonof Kuru’s race! O thou of immeasurable effulgence, even Narada spoke ofthee as an ancient Rishi! Indeed, with Vasudeva as thy ally, thou wiltachieve many mighty feats which the chief of the celestials himself withall the gods, of a certainty, will not venture to achieve! They that haveknowledge of such things know thee to be the destroyer of the wholeKshatriya race! Thou art the one bowman among the bowmen of the world!Thou art the foremost among men. As human beings are, in this world,foremost of all creatures, as Garuda is the foremost of all wingedcreatures; as the Ocean is the foremost among all receptacles of waterand the cow among all quadrupeds; as the Sun is the foremost amongst allluminous bodies and Himavat among all mountains; as the Brahmana is theforemost among all castes, art thou the foremost of all bowmen!Dhritarashtra’s son (Duryodhana) listened not to the words repeatedlyspoken by me and Vidura and Drona and Rama and Janardana and also bySanjaya. Reft of his senses, like unto an idiot, Duryodhana placed noreliance on those utterances. Past all instructions, he will certainlyhave to lie down for ever, overwhelmed by the might of Bhima!–Hearingthese words of his, the Kuru king Duryodhana became of cheerless heart.Eyeing him, Santanu’s son said,–Listen, O king! Abandon thy wrath! Thouhast seen, O Duryodhana how the intelligent Partha created that jet ofcool and nectar-scented water! There is none else in this world capableof achieving such feat. The weapons appertaining to Agni, Varuna, Soma,Vayu, and Vishnu, as also those appertaining to Indra, Pasupati, andParamesthi, and those of Prajapati, Dhatri, Tashtri, Savitri, andVivaswat, all these are known to Dhananjaya alone in this world of men!Krishna, the son of Devaki, also knoweth them. But there is none elsehere that knoweth them. This son of Pandu, O sire, is incapable of beingdefeated in battle by even the gods and the Asuras together. The feats ofthis high-souled one are superhuman. With that truthful hero, thatornament of battle, that warrior accomplished in fight, let peace, Oking, be soon made! As long as the mighty-armed Krishna is not possessedby wrath, O chief of the Kurus, it is fit, O sire, that peace should bemade with the heroic Parthas! As long as this remnant of thy brothers isnot slain, let peace, O monarch, be made! As long as Yudhishthira witheyes burning in wrath doth not consume thy troops in battle, let peace, Osire, be made! As long as Nakula, and Sahadeva, and Bhimasena, the sonsof Pandu, do not, O monarch, exterminate thy army, it seems to me thatfriendly relations should be restored between thee and the heroicPandavas! Let this battle end with my death, O sire! Make peace with thePandavas, Let these words that are uttered to thee by me be acceptable tothee, O sinless one! Even this is what I regard to be beneficial both forthyself and the race (itself of Kuru)! Abandoning thy wrath, let peace bemade with Parthas. What Phalguni hath already done is sufficient. Letfriendly relations be restored with the death of Bhishma! Let thisremnant (of warriors) live! Relent, O king! Let half the kingdom be givento the Pandavas. Let king Yudhishthira the just, go to Indraprastha. Ochief of the Kurus, do not achieve a sinful notoriety among the kings ofthe earth by incurring the reproach of meanness, becoming a fomentor ofintestine dissensions! Let peace come to all with my death! Let theserulers of earth, cheerfully mix with one another! Let sire get back theson, let sister’s son get back the maternal uncle! If from want ofunderstanding and possessed by folly thou dost not harken to those timelywords of mine thou wilt have to repent greatly! What I say is true.Therefore, desist even now! Having, from affection, said these words untoDuryodhana in the midst of the kings, the son of the ocean-going (Ganga)became silent. Though his vital limbs were burning with the arrow-wounds,yet, prevailing over his agonies, he applied himself to yoga.

“Sanjaya continued–‘Having heard these beneficial and peaceful wordsfraught with both virtue and profit, thy son, however, accepted them not,like a dying man refusing medicine.”

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