The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said, 'The slayer of Madhu, retiring to his bed, slept happily. Awaking when half a Yama was wanting to usher in the day, he addressed himself to contemplation. Fixing all his senses, he meditated on the eternal Brahma. Then a batch of well-trained and sweet-voiced persons, conversant with hymns and the Puranas, began to utter the praises of Vasudeva, that lord of all creatures and creator of the universe. Others, marking time by clapping of hands, began to recite sweet hymns, and vocalists began to sing. Conch-shells and drums were blown and beaten by thousands. The delightful sound of Vinas, Panavas, and bamboo flutes was heard. The spacious mansion of Krishna, in consequence thereof, seemed to laugh with music. In the palace of king Yudhishthira also sweet voices were heard, uttering auspicious wishes, and the sound of songs too and musical instruments. Then he of Dasarha's race performed his ablutions. Joining his hands, the mighty-armed hero of unfading glory silently recited his secret mantras, and kindling a fire poured libations of clarified butter upon it. Giving away a thousand kine unto a thousand Brahmanas all of whom were fully conversant with the four Vedas, he caused them to utter benedictions upon him. Touching next diverse kinds of auspicious articles and beholding himself in a clear mirror, Krishna addressed Satyaki, saying, 'Go, O descendant of Sini, and repairing to Yudhishthira's abode, ascertain whether that king of great energy is dressed for visiting Bhishma.' At these words of Krishna, Satyaki, proceeding quickly to the royal son of Pandu, said unto him, 'The foremost of cars, belonging to Vasudeva of great intelligence, stands ready, O king, for Janardana will go to see Ganga's son. O righteous king of great splendour, he is waiting for thee. It behoveth thee now to do what should be done next.' Thus addressed, Dharma's son Yudhishthira answered as follows.'
"Yudhishthira said, 'O Phalguna of unrivalled splendour, let my foremost of cars be made ready. We should not be accompanied (today) by the soldiers, but we shall proceed ourselves. That foremost of righteous persons, Bhishma, should not be vexed. Let the guards, therefore, O Dhananjaya, stop today. From this day Ganga's son will speak of things that are great mysteries. I do not therefore, O son of Kunti, wish that there should be a miscellaneous gathering (in Bhishma's presence).'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of the king, Kunti's son Dhananjaya, that foremost of men (went out and coming back) represented unto him that his best of cars stood harnessed for him. King Yudhishthira, and the twins, and Bhima and Arjuna, the five resembling the five elements, then proceeded towards Krishna's abode. While the high-souled
[paragraph continues] Pandavas were coming, Krishna of great intelligence, accompanied by the grandson of Sini, mounted on his car. Saluting one another from their cars and each enquiring of the other whether the night had been passed happily by him, those bulls among men proceeded, without stopping on those foremost of cars whose rattle resembled the roar of the clouds. Krishna's steeds, viz., Valahaka and Meghapushpa and Saivya and Sugriva were urged by Daruka. The animals, urged by him, O king, proceeded, indenting the earth with their hoofs. Endued with great strength and great speed, they flew onwards, devouring the very skies. Traversing the sacred field of Kuru, the princes proceeded to that spot where the puissant Bhishma on his bed of arrows was lying, surrounded by those great Rishis, like Brahman himself in the midst of the gods. Then Govinda and Yudhishthira and Bhima and the wielder of Gandiva and the twins and Satyaki, alighting from their vehicles, saluted the Rishis by raising their right hands. Surrounded by them, king Yudhishthira like the moon in the midst of the stars approached Ganga's son like Vasava proceeding towards Brahman. Overcome with fear, the king timidly cast his eyes on the mighty-armed hero lying on his bed of arrows like the Sun himself dropped from the firmament.'"
Next: Section LIV