“Vaisampayana said, ’Hearing these words of Krishna fraught with Morality and profit, Santanu’s Bhishma, answered him in the following words.
“Bhishma said, ’O master of all the worlds, O mighty-armed one, O Siva, O Narayana, O thou of unfading glory, hearing the words spoken by thee I have been filled with joy. But what words (of instruction), O master of speech, can I say in thy presence, when especially in all the subjects of speech have been dealt with in the speech? Whatever in either world should be done or is done, proceeds from thy intelligent self, O god! That person who is competent to discourse on the subject of heaven in the presence of the chief of the gods himself is competent to discourse on the interpretation of morality and pleasure and profit and salvation in thy presence. My mind, O slayer of Madhu, is exceedingly agitated by the pain of arrow-wounds. My limbs are weak. My understanding is not clear. I am so afflicted, O Govinda, by these shafts resembling poison or fire that I have not power to utter anything. My strength is abandoning me. My life-breaths are hastening to leave me. The very vitals of my body are burning. My understanding is clouded. From weakness my utterance is becoming indistinct. How then can I venture to speak? O enhancer of (the glory of) Dasarha’s race, be gratified with me. O mighty-armed one, I will not say anything. Pardon me (for my unwillingness). The very master of speech (Vrihaspati), in speaking in thy presence, will be overcome by hesitation. I cannot any longer distinguish the points of the compass, nor the sky from the earth! Through thy energy, O slayer of Madhu, I am only barely alive. Do thou, therefore, thyself speak for the good of king Yudhishthira the just, for thou art the ordainer of all the ordinances. How, O Krishna, when thou, the eternal creator of the universe, art present, can one like me speak (on such subjects) like a disciple in the presence of the preceptor?’
“Vasudeva said, ’The words spoken by thee are worthy of thee that art the foremost one of Kuru’s race, thee that art endued with great energy, thee that art of great soul, and thee that art possessed of great patience and conversant with every subject. Regarding what hast thou said unto me about the pain of thy arrow-wounds, receive, O Bhishma, this boon that I grant thee, O puissant one, from my grace. Discomfort and stupefaction and burning and pain and hunger and thirst shall not, O son of Ganga, overcome thee, O thou of unfading glory! Thy perceptions and memory, O sinless one, shall be unclouded. The understanding shall not fail thee. The mind, O Bhishma, freed from the qualities of passion and darkness, will always be subject to the quality of goodness, like the moon emerged from the clouds. Thy understanding will penetrate whatever subject connected with duty, morality, or profit, thou wilt think upon. O tiger among kings, obtaining celestial vision, thou wilt, O thou of immeasurable prowess, succeed in beholding the four orders of created things. Endued with the eye of knowledge, thou wilt, O Bhishma, behold, like fishes in a limpid stream, all created things that thou mayst endeavour to recollect!’