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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,319 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4.

“Bhishma said, ’O holy one, O god of all gods, O thou that art worshipped by all the deities and Asuras, O thou that didst cover the three worlds with three steps of thine, salutations to thee, O wielder of the conch, the discus, and the mace!  Thou art Vasudeva, thou art of golden body, thou art the one Purusha (or active agent), thou art the creator (of the universe), thou art of vast proportions.  Thou art Jiva.  Thou art subtle.  Thou art the Supreme and eternal Soul.  Do thou, O lotus-eyed one, rescue me, O foremost of all beings!  Do thou, give me permission, O Krishna, to depart from this world, O thou that art Supreme felicity, O foremost of all beings!  The sons of Pandu should ever be protected by thee.  Thou art, indeed, already their sole refuge.  Formerly, I spoke to the foolish Duryodhana of wicked understanding that thither is Righteousness where Krishna is, and that there is victory where Righteousness is.  I further counselled him that relying on Vasudeva as his refuge, he should make peace with the Pandavas.  Indeed, I repeatedly told him, ’This is the fittest time for thee to make peace!  The foolish Duryodhana of wicked understanding, however, did not do my bidding.  Having caused a great havoc on earth, at last, he himself laid down his life.  Thee, O illustrious one, I know to be that ancient and best of Rishis who dwelt for many years in the company of Nara, in the retreat of Vadari.  The celestial Rishi Narada told me this, as also Vyasa of austere penances.  Even they have said unto me that.  Thyself and Arjuna are the old Rishis Narayana and Nara born among men.  Do thou, O Krishna, grant me leave, I shall cast off my body.  Permitted by thee, I shall attain to the highest end!’

“Vasudeva said, ’I give thee leave, O Bhishma!  Do thou, O king, attain to the status of the Vasus, O thou of great splendour, thou hast not been guilty of a single transgression in this world.  O royal sage, thou art devoted to thy sire.  Thou art, therefore, like a second Markandeya!  It is for that reason that death depends upon thy pleasure even as thy slave expectant of reading thy pleasure!’

“Vaisampayana continued, ’Having said these words, the son of Ganga once more addressed the Pandavas headed by Dhritarashtra, and other friends and well-wishers of his, ’I desire to cast off my lifebreaths.  It behoveth you to give me leave.  Ye should strive for attaining to truth.  Truth constitutes the highest power.  Ye should always live with Brahmanas of righteous conduct, devoted to penances, ever abstaining from cruel behaviour, and who have their souls under control!’ Having said these words unto his friends and embraced them all, the intelligent Bhishma once more addressed Yudhishthira, saying, ’O king, let all Brahmanas, especially those that are endued with wisdom, let them who are preceptors, let those who are priests capable of assisting as sacrifices, be adorable in thy estimation.’”

SECTION CLXVIII

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