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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 2,413 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3.

SECTION LIV

“Janamejaya said, ’When that tiger among men, of righteous soul and great energy, firmly adhering to truth and with passions under complete control, viz., the son of Santanu and Ganga, named Devavrata or Bhishma of unfading glory, lay on a hero’s bed with the sons of Pandu sitting around him, tell me, O great sage, what converse ensued in that meeting of heroes after the slaughter of the troops.’

“Vaisampayana said, ’When Bhishma that chief of the Kurus, lay on his bed of arrows, many Rishis and Siddhas, O king, headed by Narada, came to that spot.  The unslain remnant of the (assembled) kings with Yudhishthira at their head, and Dhritarashtra and Krishna and Bhima and Arjuna and the twins also came there.  Those high-souled persons, approaching the grandsire of the Bharatas who looked like the Sun himself dropped from the firmament, indulged in lamentations for him.  Then Narada of godlike features reflecting for a short while, addressed all the Pandavas and the unslain remnant of the kings saying, ’The time, I think, has come for you to question Bhishma (on subject of morality and religion), for Ganga’s son is about to expire like the Sun that is on the point of setting.  He is about to cast off his life-breaths.  Do you all, therefore, solicit him to discourse to you?  He is acquainted with the varied duties of all the four orders.  Old in years, after abandoning his body he will obtain high regions of bliss.  Solicit him, therefore, without delay, to clear the doubts that exists in your minds.’  Thus addressed by Narada, those princes approached Bhishma, but unable to ask him anything, looked at one another.  Then Yudhishthira the son of Pandu, addressing Hrishikesa said, “There is no one else than Devaki’s son that can question the grandsire.  O foremost one of Yadu’s race, do thou, therefore, O slayer of Madhu, speak first.  Thou, O sire, art the foremost of us all and thou art conversant with every duty and practice.”  Thus addressed by the son of Pandu, the illustrious Kesava of unfading glory, approaching the unconquerable Bhishma, spoke unto him as follows.’

“Vasudeva said, ’Hast thou, O best of kings, passed the night happily?  Has thy understanding become unclouded?  Does thy knowledge, O sinless one, shine in thee by inward light?  I hope thy heart no longer feels pain and thy mind is no longer agitated.’

“Bhishma said, ’Burning, stupefaction, fatigue, exhaustion, illness, and pain, through thy grace, O thou of Vrishni’s race, have all left me in a single day.  O thou of incomparable splendour, all that is past, all that is future, and all that is present, I behold as clearly as a fruit placed in my hands.  All the duties declared in the Vedas, all those laid down in the Vedantas, I behold clearly, O thou of unfading glory, in consequence of the boon thou hast granted to me.  The duties that have been declared by persons of learning and righteous

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