“’Karna said I know this, O thou of mighty arms! All this without doubt, is (as thou sayest)! As thou tellest me, O, Bhishma, I am Kunti’s son, and not the son of a Suta! I was, however, abandoned by Kunti, and I have been reared by a Suta. Having (so long) enjoyed the wealth of Duryodhana, I dare not falsify it now. Like Vasudeva’s son who is firmly resolved for the sake of the Pandavas, I also, O thou that makest profuse presents to Brahmanas, am prepared to cast away my possessions, my body itself, my children, and my wife, for Duryodhana’s sake! Death from disease, O thou of Kuru’s race, doth not become a Kshatriya! Relying upon Suyodhana I have always offended the Pandavas! This affairs is destined to take its course. It is incapable of being prevented. Who was there that would venture to overcome Destiny by exertion? Various omens indicating the destruction of the Earth. O grandsire, were noticed by thee and declared in the assembly. It is well known to me that the son of Pandu, and Vasudeva, are incapable of being conquered by other men. Even with them we venture to fight! I will vanquish the son of Pandu in battle! Even this is my firm resolve! I am not capable, of casting off this fierce animosity (that I cherish against the Pandavas)! With a cheerful heart, and keeping the duties of my order before my eye, I will contend against Dhananjaya. Firmly resolved that I am on battle, grant me thy permission, O hero! I will fight. Even this is my wish. It behoveth thee to forgive me also any harsh words that I may have at any time uttered against thee or any act that I may have done against thee from anger or inconsiderateness!—”
“’Bhishma said,—If, indeed, thou art unable to cast off this fierce animosity, I permit thee, O Karna! Fight, moved by the desire of heaven! Without anger and without vindictiveness, serve thou the king according to thy power and according to thy courage and observant of the conduct of the righteous! Have then my permission, O Karna! Obtain thou that which thou seekest! Through Dhananjaya thou wilt obtain all those regions (hereafter) which are capable of being had by fulfilling the duties of a Kshatriya! Freed from pride, and relying on thy (own) might and energy, engage in battle, since a Kshatriya cannot have a (source of) greater happiness than a righteous battle. For a long while I made great efforts for bringing about peace! But I succeeded not, O Karna, in the task! Truly do I say this unto thee!—”
“’Sanjaya continued,—’After the son of Ganga had said this, Radha’s son (Karna) having saluted Bhishma and obtained his forgiveness, got up on his car and proceeded towards (the quarters of) thy son.’
The End of Bhishma Parva
1. Tapas-kshetra because Kuru, the common ancestor of the rival houses, performed his ascetic austerities there. Since Kuru’s time, many ascetics took up their abode there.