The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said, 'Hearing these words of Krishna fraught with Morality and profit, Santanu's Bhishma, answered him in the following words.
"Bhishma said, 'O master of all the worlds, O mighty-armed one, O Siva, O Narayana, O thou of unfading glory, hearing the words spoken by thee I have been filled with joy. But what words (of instruction), O master of speech, can I say in thy presence, when especially in all the subjects of speech have been dealt with in the speech? 1 Whatever in either world should be done or is done, proceeds from thy intelligent self, O god! That person who is competent to discourse on the subject of heaven in the presence of the chief of the gods himself is competent to discourse on the interpretation of morality and pleasure and profit and salvation in thy presence. My mind, O slayer of Madhu, is exceedingly agitated by the pain of arrow-wounds. My limbs are weak. My understanding is not clear. I am so afflicted, O Govinda, by these shafts resembling poison or fire that I have not power to utter anything. My strength is abandoning me. My life-breaths are hastening to leave me. The very vitals of my body are burning. My understanding is clouded. From weakness my utterance is becoming indistinct. How then can I venture to speak? O enhancer of (the glory of) Dasarha's race, be gratified with me. O mighty-armed one, I will not say anything. Pardon me (for my unwillingness). The very master of speech (Vrihaspati), in speaking in thy presence, will be overcome by hesitation. I cannot any longer distinguish the points of the compass, nor the sky from the earth! Through thy energy, O slayer of Madhu, I am only barely alive. Do thou, therefore, thyself speak for the good of king Yudhishthira the just, for thou art the ordainer of all the ordinances. How, O Krishna, when thou, the eternal creator of the universe, art present, can one like me speak (on such subjects) like a disciple in the presence of the preceptor?'
"Vasudeva said, 'The words spoken by thee are worthy of thee that art the foremost one of Kuru's race, thee that art endued with great energy, thee that art of great soul, and thee that art possessed of great patience and
conversant with every subject. Regarding what hast thou said unto me about the pain of thy arrow-wounds, receive, O Bhishma, this boon that I grant thee, O puissant one, from my grace. Discomfort and stupefaction and burning and pain and hunger and thirst shall not, O son of Ganga, overcome thee, O thou of unfading glory! Thy perceptions and memory, O sinless one, shall be unclouded. 1 The understanding shall not fail thee. The mind, O Bhishma, freed from the qualities of passion and darkness, will always be subject to the quality of goodness, like the moon emerged from the clouds. Thy understanding will penetrate whatever subject connected with duty, morality, or profit, thou wilt think upon. O tiger among kings, obtaining celestial vision, thou wilt, O thou of immeasurable prowess, succeed in beholding the four orders of created things. Endued with the eye of knowledge, thou wilt, O Bhishma, behold, like fishes in a limpid stream, all created things that thou mayst endeavour to recollect!'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then those great Rishis, with Vyasa amongst them, adored Krishna with hymns from the Richs, the Yajuses, and the Samans. A celestial shower of flowers belonging to every season fell on that spot where he of Vrishni's race, with Ganga's son and the son of Pandu were. Celestial instruments of every kind played in the welkin and the tribes of Apsaras began to sing. Nothing of evil and no portent of any evil kind were seen there. An auspicious, pleasant, and pure breeze, bearing every kind of fragrance, began to blow. All the points of the compass became clear and quiet, and all the animals and birds began to rove in peace. Soon after, like a fire at the extremity of a great forest, the divine Surya of a thousand rays was seen to descend to the west. The great Rishis then, rising up, saluted Janardana and Bhishma and king Yudhishthira. Upon this, Kesava, and the sons of Pandu, and Satyaki, and Sanjaya, and Saradwata's son Kripa, bowed in reverence to those sages. Devoted to the practice of righteousness, those sages, thus worshipped by Kesava and others, speedily proceeded to their respective abodes, saying, 'We will return tomorrow.' After this, Kesava and the Pandavas, saluting Bhishma and circumambulating him, ascended their handsome cars. Those heroes then proceeded, accompanied by many other cars decked with golden Kuvaras, and infuriated elephants looking like mountains and steeds fleet as Garudas, and foot-soldiers armed with bows and weapons. That army, moving with great speed, proceeded in two divisions, one in the van and the other in the rear of those princes. The scene resembled the two currents of the great river Narmada at the point where it is divided by the Rikshavat mountains standing across it. Gladdening that great host, the divine Chandramas rose before it in the firmament, once more inspiring with moisture, by his own force, the terrestrial herbs and plants whose juice had been sucked up by the Sun. Then that bull of Yadu's race and the sons of Pandu, entering the (Kuru) city whose splendour resembled that of the city of Indra itself, proceeded
to their respective mansions like tired lions seeking their caves.'"
107:1 The Vedas constitute the speech of the Supreme Being. Everything about morality occurs in them.
108:1 Literally, 'Everything thou knowest shall appear to thee by inward light.'
Next: Section LIII