The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 2 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,984 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 2.

Sanjaya continued, “The Parthas then, having ascertained all this went back to their tents, saluting the Kuru grandsire, viz., the high-souled Bhishma.  After Ganga’s son, prepared to go to the other world, had said this, Arjuna. burning with grief and his face suffused in shame, said these words, ’How, O Madhava, shall I fight in battle with the grandsire who is my senior in years, who is possessed of wisdom and intelligence, and who is the oldest member of our race?  While sporting in days of childhood, O Vasudeva, I used to smear the body of this high-souled and illustrious one with dust by climbing on his lap with my own filthy body.  O elder brother of Gada, he is the sire of my sire Pandu.  While a child, climbing on the lap of this high-souled one I once called him father, I am not thy father but thy father’s father, O Bharata!—­even this is what he said to me (in reply) in my childhood.  He who said so, Oh, how can he be slain by me.  O, let my army perish.  Whether, it is victory or death that I obtain I will never fight that high-souled person. (Even this is what I think).  What dost thou think, O Krishna!’

“Vasudeva said, ’Having vowed the slaughter of Bhishma before, O Jishnu, how canst thou abstain from slaying him, agreeably to the duties of a Kshatriya?  Throw down from his car, O Partha, that Kshatriya who is invincible in battle.  Victory can never be yours without slaying Ganga’s son.  Even thus shall he go to the abode of Yama.  This hath been settled before by the gods.  That which hath been destined before, O Partha, must happen.  It cannot be otherwise.  None save thee, O invincible one, not even the wielder of the thunder-bolt himself, would be capable of fighting with Bhishma, who is like the Destroyer with wide-open mouth.  Slay Bhishma, without any anxiety.  Listen also to these words of mine that are what Vrihaspati of great intelligence had said unto Sakra in days of old.  One should slay even an aged person endued with every merit and worthy of reverence if he cometh as a foe, or, indeed any other who approacheth for destroying one’s self—­O Dhananjaya, this is the eternal duty sanctioned for the Kshatriya, viz., that they should fight, protect subjects, and perform sacrifices, all without malice.’

“Arjuna said, ’Sikhandin, O Krishna, will certainly be the cause of Bhishma’s death, for Bhishma, as soon as he beholds the prince of the Panchalas, abstains from striking.  Therefore, keeping Sikhandin before him and at our head, we will, by that means, overthrow the son of Ganga.  Even this is what I think.  I will hold in check other great bowmen with my shafts.  As regards Sikhandin, he will fight with Bhishma alone, that foremost of all warriors.  I have heard from that chief of the Kurus that he would not strike Sikhandin, for having been born before as a woman he subsequently became a male person.’

Sanjaya continued, “Having settled this with Bhishma’s permission, the Pandavas, along with Madhava, went away with rejoicing hearts.  And then those bulls among men retired to their respective beds.”

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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 2 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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