The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said,--Then the king Yudhishthira hastily ran after Sisupala and spoke unto him sweetly and in a conciliating tone the following words,--'O lord of earth, what thou hast said is scarcely proper for thee. O king, it is highly sinful and needlessly cruel. Insult not Bhishma, O king, by saying that he doth not know what virtue is. Behold, these many kings, older than thou art, all approve of the worship offered unto Krishna. It behoveth thee to bear it patiently like them. O ruler of Chedi, Bhishma knoweth Krishna truly. Thou knowest him not so well as this one of the Kuru race.'"
"Bhishma also, after this, said,--He that approveth not the worship offered unto Krishna, the oldest one in the universe, deserveth neither soft words nor conciliation. The chief of warriors of the Kshatriya rare who having overcome a Kshatriya in battle and brought him under his power, setteth him free, becometh the guru (preceptor or master) of the vanquished one. I do not behold in this assembly of kings even one ruler of men who hath not been vanquished in battle by the energy of this son of the Satwata race. This one (meaning Krishna) here, of undefiled glory, deserveth to be worshipped not by ourselves alone, but being of mighty arms, he deserveth to be worshipped by the three worlds also. Innumerable warriors among Kshatriyas have been vanquished in battle by Krishna. The whole universe without limit is established in him of the Vrishni race. Therefore do we worship Krishna amongst the best and the oldest, and not others. It behoveth thee not to say so. Let thy understanding be never so. I have, O king, waited upon many persons that are old in knowledge. I have heard from all those wise men, while talking; of the numerous much-regarded attributes of the accomplished Sauri. I have also heard many times all the acts recited by people that Krishna of great intelligence hath performed since his birth. And, O king of Chedi, we do not from caprice, or keeping in view our relationship or the benefits he may confer on us, worship Janarddana who is worshipped by the good on earth and who is the source of the happiness of every creature. We have offered unto him the first worship because of his fame, his heroism, his success. There is none here of even tender years whom we have not taken into consideration. Passing over many persons that are foremost
for their virtues, we have regarded Hari as deserving of the first worship. Amongst the Brahmanas one that is superior in knowledge, amongst the Kshatriyas one that is superior in strength, amongst the Vaisyas one that is superior in possessions and wealth, and amongst the Sudras one that is superior in years, deserveth to be worshipped. In the matter of the worship offered unto Govinda, there are two reason, viz., knowledge of the Vedas and their branches, and also excess of strength. Who else is there in the world of men save Kesava that is so distinguished? Indeed, liberality, cleverness, knowledge of the Vedas, bravery, modesty, achievements, excellent intelligence, humility, beauty, firmness, contentment and prosperity--all dwell for ever in Achyuta. Therefore, ye kings; it behoveth ye to approve of the worship that hath been offered unto Krishna who is of great accomplishments, who as the preceptor, the father, the guru, is worthy of the Arghya and deserving of (everybody's) worship. Hrishikesa is the sacrificial priest, the guru, worthy of being solicited to accept one's daughter in marriage, the Snataka, the king, the friend: therefore hath Achyuta been worshipped by us. Krishna is the origin of the universe and that in which the universe is to dissolve. Indeed, this universe of mobile and immobile creatures hath sprung into existence from Krishna only. He is the unmanifest primal cause (Avyakta Prakriti), the creator, the eternal, and beyond the ken of all creatures. Therefore doth he of unfading glory deserve highest worship. The intellect, the seat of sensibility, the five elements, air, heat, water, ether, earth, and the four species of beings (oviparous, viviparous, born of filthy damp and vegetal) are all established in Krishna. The sun, the moon, the constellations, the planets, all the principal directions, the intermediate directions, are all established in Krishna. As the Agnihotra is the foremost among all Vedic sacrifices, as the Gayatri is the foremost among metres, as the king is the foremost among men, as the ocean is the foremost among all rivers, as the moon is the foremost among all constellations, as the sun is the foremost among all luminous bodies, as the Meru is the foremost among all mountains, as Garuda is the foremost among all birds, so as long as the upward, downward, and sideway course of the universe lasteth, Kesava is the foremost in all the worlds including the regions of the celestials. This Sisupala is a mere boy and hence he knoweth not Krishna, and ever and everywhere speaketh of Krishna thus. This ruler of Chedi will never see virtue in that light in which one that is desirous of acquiring high merit will see it. Who is there among the old and the young or among these illustrious lords of earth that doth not regard Krishna as deserving of worship or that doth not worship Krishna? If Sisupala regardeth this worship as undeserved, it behoveth him to do what is proper in this matter.'"
Next: Section XXXVIII