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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,884 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 1.
inclination is not conformable to thy true nature, like to what may be in the bird Bhulinga, as hath already been said by me.  There is a bird called Bhulinga living on the other side of the Himavat.  O Bhishma, that bird ever uttereth words of adverse import.  Never do anything rash,—­this is what she always sayeth, but never understandeth that she herself always acteth very rashly.  Possessed of little intelligence that bird picketh from the lion’s mouth the pieces of flesh sticking between the teeth, and at a time when the lion is employed in eating.  Assuredly, O Bhishma, that bird liveth at the pleasure of the lion.  O sinful wretch, thou always speakest like that bird.  And assuredly, O Bhishma, thou art alive at the pleasure only of these kings.  Employed in acts contrary to the opinions of all, there is none else like thee!”

“Vaisampayana continued,—­Hearing these harsh words of the ruler of Chedi, Bhishma, O king, said in the hearing of the king of Chedi,—­’Truly am I alive at the pleasure of these rulers of earth.  But I do regard these kings as not equal to even a straw.’  As soon as these words were spoken by Bhishma, the kings became inflamed with wrath.  And the down of some amongst them stood erect and some began to reprove Bhishma.  And hearing those words of Bhishma, some amongst them, that were wielders of large bows exclaimed, ’This wretched Bhishma, though old, is exceedingly boastful.  He deserveth not our pardon.  Therefore, ye kings, incensed with rage as this Bhishma is, it is well that this wretch were slain like an animal, or, mustering together, let us burn him in a fire of grass or straw.’  Hearing these words of the monarchs, Bhishma the grand-sire of the Kurus, endued with great intelligence, addressing those lords of earth, said,—­’I do not see the end of our speeches, for words may be answered with words.  Therefore, ye lords of earth, listen ye all unto what I say.  Whether I be slain like an animal or burnt in a fire of grass and straw, thus do I distinctly place my foot on the heads of ye all.  Here is Govinda, that knoweth no deterioration.  Him have we worshipped.  Let him who wisheth for speedy death, summon to battle Madhava of dark hue and the wielder of the discus and the mace; and falling enter into and mingle with the body of this god!”

SECTION XLIV

“Vaisampayana said,—­Hearing these words of Bhishma, the ruler of Chedi endued with exceeding prowess, desirous of combating with Vasudeva addressed him and said,—­O Janarddana, I challenge thee.  Come, fight with me until I slay thee today with all the Pandavas.  For, O Krishna, the sons of Pandu also, who disregarding the claims of all these kings, have worshipped thee who art no king, deserve to be slain by me along with thee.  Even this is my opinion, O Krishna, that they who from childishness have worshipped thee, as if thou deservest it, although thou art unworthy of worship, being only a slave and

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