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Chapter 23

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

Sanjaya said,–“Beholding the Dhartarashtra army approach for fight,Krishna said these words for Arjuna’s benefit.”

“The holy one said,–‘Cleansing thyself, O mighty-armed one, utter on theeve of the battle thy hymn to Durga for (compassing) the defeat of thefoe.”

Sanjaya continued.–Thus addressed on the eve of battle by Vasudevaendued with great intelligence, Pritha’s son Arjuna, alighting from hiscar, said the following hymn with joined hands.

“Arjuna said,–‘I bow to thee, O leader of Yogins, O thou that artidentical with Brahman, O thou that dwellest in the forest of Mandara, Othou that art freed from decrepitude and decay, O Kali, O wife of Kapala,O thou that art of a black and tawny hue, I bow to thee. O bringer ofbenefits to thy devotees, I bow to thee, O Mahakali, O wife of theuniversal destroyer, I bow to thee. O proud one, O thou that rescuestfrom dangers, O thou that art endued with every auspicious attribute. Othou that art sprung from the Kata race, O thou that deservest the mostregardful worship, O fierce one, O giver of victory, O victory’s self, Othou that bearest a banner of peacock plumes, O thou that art decked withevery ornament, O thou that bearest an awful spear, O thou that holdest asword and shield, O thou that art the younger sister of the chief ofcow-herds, O eldest one, O thou that wert born in the race of the cowherdNanda! O thou that art always fond of buffalo’s blood, O thou that wertborn in the race of Kusika, O thou that art dressed in yellow robes, Othou that hadst devoured Asuras assuming the face of a wolf[120], I bowto thee that art fond of battle! O Uma,[121] Sakambhari, O thou that artwhite in hue, O thou that art black in hue, O thou that hast slain theAsura Kaitabha, O thou that art yellow-eyed, O thou that artdiverse-eyed, O thou of eyes that have the colour of smoke, I bow tothee. O thou that art the Vedas, the Srutis, and the highest virtue, Othou that art propitious to Brahmanas engaged in sacrifice, O thou thathast a knowledge of the past, thou that art ever present in the sacredabodes erected to thee in cities of Jamvudwipa, I bow to thee. Thou artthe science of Brahma among sciences, and thou that art that sleep ofcreatures from which there is no waking. O mother of Skanda, O thou thatpossessest the six (highest) attributes, O Durga, O thou that dwellest inaccessible regions, thou art described as Swaha, and Swadha,[122] asKala, as Kashta, and as Saraswati, as Savitra the mother of the Vedas,and as the science of Vedanta. With inner soul cleansed, I praise thee. Ogreat goddess, let victory always attend me through thy grace on thefield of battle. In inaccessible regions, where there is fear, in placesof difficulty, in the abodes of thy worshippers and in the nether regions(Patala), thou always dwellest. Thou always defeatest the Danavas. Thouart the unconsciousness, the sleep, the illusion, the modesty, the beautyof (all creatures). Thou art the twilight, thou art the day, thou artSavitri, and thou art the mother. Thou art contentment, thou art growth,thou art light. It is thou that supportest the Sun and the Moon and thatmakes them shine. Thou art the prosperity of those that are prosperous.The Siddhas and the Charanas behold thee in contemplation.[123]'”

Sanjaya continued,–Understanding (the measure of) Partha’s devotion,Durga who is always graciously inclined towards mankind, appeared in thefirmament and in the presence of Govinda, said these words.

‘”The goddess said,–‘Within a short time thou shalt conquer thy foes, OPandava. O invincible one, thou hast Narayana (again) for aiding thee.Thou art incapable of being defeated by foes, even by the wielder of thethunderbolt himself.’

‘”Having said this, the boon-giving goddess disappeared soon. The son ofKunti, however, obtaining that boon, regarded himself as successful, andthe son of Pritha then mounted his own excellent car. And then Krishnaand Arjuna, seated on the same car, blew their celestial conches. The manthat recites this hymn rising at dawn, hath no fear any time fromYakshas, Rakshasas, and Pisachas. He can have no enemies; he hath nofear, from snakes and all animals that have fangs and teeth, as also fromkings. He is sure to be victorious in all disputes, and if bound, he isfreed from his bonds. He is sure to get over all difficulties, is freedfrom thieves, is ever victorious in battle and winneth the goddess ofprosperity for ever. With health and strength, he liveth for a hundredyears.

“I have known all this through the grace of Vyasa endued with greatwisdom. Thy wicked sons, however, all entangled in the meshes of death,do not, from ignorance, know them to be Nara and Narayana. Nor do they,entangled in the meshes of death, know that the hour of this kingdom hatharrived. Dwaipayana and Narada, and Kanwa, and the sinless Rama, had allprevented thy son. But he did not accept their words. There whererighteousness is, there are glory and beauty. There where modesty is,there are prosperity and intelligence. There where righteousness is,there is Krishna; and there where Krishna is, there is victory.”

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