Sanjaya continued, “Though thus addressed by his brothers, O son of Kuru’s race, Yudhishthira of restrained speech said nothing but continued to proceed. Unto them (then), the high-souled Vasudeva of great wisdom smilingly said,—His object is known to me. Having paid his respects to all his superiors (such as) Bhishma, Drona, and Kripa, and Salya also, he will fight the foe. It is heard in histories of olden times that he who, having paid his respects according to the ordinance unto his preceptors, revered in years and his kinsmen, fighteth with those that are his superiors, is sure to obtain victory in battle. Even that is my opinion.—When Krishna was saying this, among the ranks of Dhritarashtra’s son, a loud uproar of Alas, and Oh arose, but the other (army) remained perfectly still. Beholding Yudhishthira, the heroic warriors of Dhritarashtra’s Son conversed with one another saying,—’This one is an infamous wretch of his race. It is plain that this king is coming in terror towards Bhishma’s side. Yudhishthira, with his brothers, hath become a seeker after (Bhishma’s) shelter. When Dhananjaya, however, is (his) protector, and Pandu’s son Vrikodara, and Nakula, and Sahadeva also, why doth the (eldest) son of Pandu come (hither) in fear? Though celebrated in the world, this one, however, could never have been born in the Kshatriya order, since he is weak and his bosom is filled with fear (at the prospect) of battle.’ Then those warriors all praised the Kauravas. And all of them, becoming rejoiced, with cheerful hearts waved their garments. And, O monarch, all the warriors there (then) censured Yudhishthira with all his brothers and along with Kesava too. Then the Kaurava army, having said Fie to Yudhishthira, soon again, O monarch, became perfectly still,—What will this king say? What will Bhishma say in reply? What will Bhima boastful of his powers in battle, (say), and what Krishna and Arjuna? What, indeed, hath (Yudhishthira) to say?—Great was the curiosity then, O king, of both the armies in respect of Yudhishthira. The king (meanwhile), penetrating the hostile array bristling with arrows and darts, proceeded quickly towards Bhishma, surrounded by his brothers. Seizing his feet with his two hands, the royal son of Pandu then said unto Santanu’s son Bhishma who was there ready for battle, (these words).
“Yudhishthira said, ’I salute thee, O invincible one. With thee we will do battle. Grant (us) thy permission in that matter. Give (us) also (thy) blessing.”
“Bhishma said, ’If, O lord of the earth, thou hadst not, in this battle come to me thus, I would have, O great king, cursed thee, O Bharata, for bringing about thy defeat. I am gratified (with thee), O son. Do battle, and obtain victory, O son of Pandu, What else may be desired by thee, obtain thou in battle. Solicit also the boon, O son of Pritha, which thou desirest to have from us. If it happens so, O great king, then defeat will not be thine. A man is the slave of wealth, but wealth is no one’s slave. This is very true, O king. I have been bound by the Kauravas with (their) wealth. It is for this, O son of Kuru’s race, that like a eunuch I am uttering these words, viz.,—Bound I am by the Kauravas with wealth. Battle excepted, what dost thou desire?’