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Chapter 25

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

([This where is the Bhagavad Gita proper starts. I have added the chapterheadings to aid in comparison with other translations, they are not partof the original Ganguli text.–John Bruno Hare])

Dhritarashtra said,–“Assembled together on the sacred plain ofKurukshetra from desire of fighting what did my sons and the Pandavas do.O Sanjaya.”

“Sanjaya said,–“Beholding the army of the Pandavas arrayed, kingDuryodhana, approaching the preceptor (Drona) said these words: Behold, Opreceptor, this vast army of the son of Pandu, arrayed by Drupada’s son(Dhrishtadyumna), thy intelligent disciple. There (in that army) are manybrave and mighty bowmen, who in battle are equal to Bhima and Arjuna.(They are) Yuyudhana, and Virata, and that mighty car-warrior Drupada,and Dhrishtaketu, and Chekitana, and the ruler of Kasi endued with greatenergy; and Purujit, and Kuntibhoja, and Saivya that bull among men; andYudhamanyu of great prowess, and Uttamaujas of great energy; andSubhadra’s son, and the sons of Draupadi, all of whom are mightycar-warriors. Hear, however, O best of regenerate ones, who are thedistinguished ones among us, the leader of army. I will name them to theefor (thy) information. (They are) thyself, and Bhishma, and Karna, andKripa who is ever victorious; and Aswatthaman and Vikarna, andSaumadatta, and Jayadratha.[124] Besides these, are many heroic warriors,prepared to lay down their lives for my sake, armed with diverse kinds ofweapons, and all accomplished in battle. Our army, therefore, protectedby Bhishma, is insufficient. This force, however, of these (thePandavas), protected by Bhima, is sufficient.[125] Stationing yourselvesthen in the entrances of the divisions that have been assigned to you,all of you protect Bhishma alone.–(Just at this time) the valiant andvenerable grandsire of the Kurus, affording great joy to him (Duryodhana)by loudly uttering a leonine roar, blew (his) conch. Then conches anddrums and cymbals and horns were sounded at once and the noise (made)became a loud uproar. Then Madhava and Pandu’s son (Arjuna), bothstationed on a great car unto which were yoked white steeds, blew theircelestial conches. And Hrishikesha blew (the conch called) Panchajanyaand Dhananjaya (that called) Devadatta; and Vrikodara of terrible deedsblew the huge conch (called) Paundra. And Kunti’s son king Yudhishthirablew (the conch called) Anantavijaya; while Nakula and Sahadeva, (thoseconches called respectively) Sughosa and Manipushpaka.[126] And thatsplendid bowman, the ruler of Kasi and that mighty car-warrior,Sikhandin, Dhrishtadyumna, Virata, and that unvanquished Satyaki, andDrupada, and the sons of Draupadi, and the mighty-armed son ofSubhadra–all these, O lord of earth, severally blew their conches. Andthat blare, loudly reverberating through the welkin, and the earth, rentthe hearts of the Dhartarashtras. Then beholding the Dhartarashtra troopsdrawn up, the ape-bannered son of Pandu, rising his bow, when, thethrowing of missiles had just commenced, said these words, O lord ofearth, to Hrishikesha.[127]

“Arjuna said,–‘O thou that knoweth no deterioration, place my car (once)between the two armies, so that I may observe these that stand heredesirous of battle, and with whom I shall have to contend in the laboursof this struggle.[128] I will observe those who are assembled here andwho are prepared to fight for doing what is agreeable in battle to theevil-minded son of Dhritarashtra.'”

Sanjaya continued,—‘Thus addressed by Gudakesa, O Bharata, Hrishikesa,placing that excellent car between the two armies, in view of Bhishma andDrona and all the kings of the earth, said,–‘Behold, O Partha theseassembled Kurus,–And there the son of Pritha beheld, standing (his)sires and grandsons, and friends, and father-in-law and well-wishers, inboth the armies. Beholding all those kinsmen standing (there), the son ofKunti, possessed by excessive pity, despondingly said (these words).

“Arjuna said,–‘Beholding these kinsmen, O Krishna, assembled togetherand eager for the fight, my limbs, become languid, and my mouth becomesdry. My body trembles, and my hair stands on end. Gandiva slips from myhand, and my skin burns. I am unable to stand (any longer); my mind seemsto wander. I behold adverse omens, too, O Kesava. I do not desirevictory, O Krishna, not sovereignty, nor pleasures. Of what use wouldsovereignty be to us, O Govinda, or enjoyments, or even life, since they,for whose sake sovereignty, enjoyments, and pleasures are desired by us,are here arrayed for battle ready to give up life and wealth, viz.,preceptors, sires, sons and grandsires, maternal uncles, father-in-laws,grandsons, brother-in-laws, and kinsmen. I wish not to slay these thoughthey slay me, O slayer of Madhu, even for the sake of the sovereignty ofthe three worlds, what then for the sake of (this) earth?[129] Whatgratification can be ours, O Janardana, by slaying the Dhartarashtras?Even if they be regarded as foes,[130] sin will overtake us if we slaythem. Therefore, it behoveth us not to slay the sons of Dhritarashtra whoare our own kinsmen.[131] How, O Madhava can we be happy by killing ourown kinsmen? Even if these, with judgments perverted by avarice, do notsee the evil that ariseth from the extermination of a race, and the sinof internecine quarrels, why should not we, O Janarddana, who see theevils of the extermination of a race, learn to abstain from that sin? Arace being destroyed, the eternal customs of that race are lost; and uponthose customs being lost, sin overpowers the whole race. From thepredominance of sin, O Krishna, the women of that race become corrupt.And the women becoming corrupt, an intermingling of castes happeneth, Odescendant of Vrishni. This intermingling of castes leadeth to hell boththe destroyer of the race and the race itself. The ancestors of thosefall (from heaven), their rites of pinda and water ceasing. By these sinsof destroyers of races, causing intermixture of castes, the rules ofcaste and the eternal rites of families become extinct. We have heard, OJanarddana, that men whose family rites become extinct, ever dwell inhell. Alas, we have resolved to perpetrate a great sin, for we are readyto slay our own kinsmen from lust of the sweets of sovereignty. Betterwould it be for me if the sons of Dhritarashtra, weapon in hand, shouldin battle slay me (myself) unavenging unarmed.–‘”

Sanjaya continued,–“Having spoken thus on the field of battle, Arjuna,his mind troubled with grief, casting aside his bow and arrows, sat downon his car.”

[Here ends the first lesson entitled "Survey of Forces”[132] in thedialogue between Krishna and Arjuna of the Bhagavadgita, the essence ofreligion, the knowledge of Brahma, and the system of Yoga, comprisedwithin the Bhishma Parva of the Mahabharata of Vyasa containing onehundred thousand verses.]
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