Bhishma Charitra

by Kartik Pandya | 2011 | 48,028 words | ISBN-10: 8171101966

The English translation of the Bhishma Charitra, an important Mahakavya (epic poem) consisting of 20 cantos. This book details the life and legends of Devavrata Bhishma: a major character in the Mahabhara and relative to both the Pandavas and Kauravas. The Bhisma Charitra (Bhismacaritam) was written by Dr. Hari Narayan Dikshit, an important author...

Canto 4 - The Acquirement of a Special Teacher

1. Prince Devavrata, having completed his education, became powerful like gods and thus started staying happily with his father Śāntanu.

2. He has become very reputed after learning all the sciences thoroughly just in twelve years. Therefore having such a brilliant son, the king Śāntanu became free from all worries and started living happily.

3. Prince Devavrata in a very short time established the sense of respect and decorum in the form of good conduct of a son towards his father by expressing his faith, respect, honour and affection towards his father.

4. People observed the union of three qualities viz., character, valour and beauty in him; and thus they assumed themselves and their country secure and brighter.

5. If the leaves are soft, that tree indeed grows. Qualities are companions of beauty; and the valour protects the persons endowed with qualities.

6. Prince Devavrata was keeping his father by serving the society for its welfare. (Even) A small offshoot of a sandalwood tree also spreads its fragrance which satisfies the minds.

7. The king Śāntanu assumed his kingdom secure and unobstructed by hearing his son’s expertise in the science of politics, dexterity in war-fare, popularity amongst people and his sweet-spoken speech.

8. After few days, Sage Devala, Devavrata’s teacher of archery, went to the king Śāntanu with a wish of telling something which was beneficial for Devavrata but not pleasant.

9. Having stood up, the King bowed down him, asked him to sit on the seat and having known all about his welfare, asked the purpose of his arrival there.

10. He became happy on being welcomed and honoured by the king Śāntanu, and immediately started telling him without any fear thus:

11. O King! I understand your son as my son only. I always wish his welfare and prosperity, and for this reason I have come to you at this moment.

12. Intelligent and wise persons always listen to the beneficial words though bitter. Sick persons also drink the (bitter) juice of the margosa tree with patience to get cured.

13. O King! You should also listen to my words with the peaceful-mind. It is not necessary that all the beneficial words please our mind.

14. I know that your son, having learnt the art of archery, has become a popular archer on the earth now-a-days. It is indeed true that no archer can defeat him in the war of archery.

15. Still O king! I understand that he has not mastered this art of archery completely. Therefore the way is still left for his special training.

16. Sage Paraśurāma has indeed the entire knowledge of archery. In my opinion there is no any other successful teacher of the art of archery like him in this world.

17. If he with his grace teaches all the specialities of this art of archery to your son Devavrata, then your son will indeed become the best archer by being a great danger for his enemies.

18. O king! Therefore my suggestion is that you send your son to him;and let prince start serving him by going to him. The service to wise persons is indeed beneficial.

19. By being pleased by his service, he will give him the training of divine weapons. On being pleased, a teacher teaches even his secret knowledge also to his disciple.

20. In the world, learning (knowledge) is acquired either by serving a teacher or by wealth or by teaching something in return. Apart from these three ways I do not see any fourth option. But among these three ways the first one is considered to be the best one.

21. Sage Paraśurāma, the son of sage Jamadagni, does not want wealth; and now nothing is left for him to be studied. Therefore he can be pleased by the service only. The service gives happiness only to all.

22. The king Śāntanu, having listened to and understood the proposal of the teacher of archery, peacefully and determinedly said–O teacher! By such a great advice you have bestowed blessings upon me immensely.

23. I thank you very much for making me alert by telling me an important fact which does no doubt dislike. The person like you is rare in this world.

24. Now I shall surely send my son Devavrata to sage Paraśurāma for his special training in the art of archery; and I am confident that my son will become the best among all the archers by pleasing that sage.

25. Sage Devala, having listened to the king’s decision and having got happy, went to his home. Then the king passed whole night by thinking of the same.

26. The next day King Śāntanu told his suggestions along with those of sage Devala to the prince Devavrata. Devavrata became so happy after listening it that he asked and prayed his father to send him quickly to the sage Paraśurāma.

27. Prince Devavrata, being sent by his father in auspicious time, having the desire of acquiring the knowledge, being extremely happy for this opportunity and having climbed on the chariot, left to reach near sage Paraśurāma.

28. Without seeing his teacher Paraśurāma but with faith in his heart, having the desire to serve him fully and with the wish to learn the art of archery from him, prince started his journey towards south direction.

Pair (Couple)

29-30. Prince Devavrata reached near to the mountain Mahendra alike he reached to his desired goal, becoming happy by looking at the beauty of farms of wheat somewhere, looking at the forest of honey, somewhere, looking at the forest of oranges somewhere, visiting or seeing the different parts of country India and praising its (India’s) beauty from the core of his heart.

31. A beautiful river with clean water was flowing in the foothill of that mountain. Due to the singing of birds on its bank, it was looking like standing to welcome the prince.

32. By taking bath in the sacred water of that river, the prince immediately forgot all his fatigue. By being in contact with ascetic people even nonliving objects too start following altruism.

33. The prince, understanding the possibility of sage Paraśurāma’s hermitage to be nearby only, sent back his chariot with the charioteer and continued his journey on his feet.

34. With the singing of the birds and with the flowers falling from trees, that mountain Mahendra by name welcomed the prince.

35. Because of fallen leaves, pollens and flowers the earth was looking so beautiful like that was covered by a big carpet. The union of shade and sunlight was removing the pain of cold and heat.

36. The falling stream of pure water from the mountain Mahendra by name, the wandering deers freely and somewhere parrot-she parrot speaking mutually won the heart of the prince.

37. The creepers, having the mouth like flower, the breasts like fruits, the hair like bees, bent by the air-current and wearing sārī; like delicate leaves, (there) bowed down to the prince like the maids of the royal palace.

38. No tree was devoid of branches on that mountain; nor any branch was devoid of flowers; nor any flower was devoid of fruits; nor was any fruit devoid of taste.

39. The prince’s mind was pleased by looking those trees completely grown there. By walking forward he suddenly saw a beautiful and natural lake.

40. He drank its cold and scented water; and touched it again and again. At that time he thought that this lake is indeed of nectar.

41. There the dancing of peacocks, the singing of cuckoos and the buzzing of black-bees entertained him. A noble person gets happiness even in forest.

42. His five senses viz., the eyes by looking the beautiful lotuses, the tongue by eating the sweet fruits, the ears by hearing the songs of cuckoos, the skin by the sensation of air and the nose by smelling different fragrances, became satisfied.

43. After this looking here and there, prince Devavrata saw a beautiful hermitage like Kāmadhenu fulfilling his desire on the west cost of that beautiful lake.

44. He walked to that direction with the delighted mind by thinking that this hermitage is indeed that of sage Paraśurāma only; like a thirsty person approaches to the bank of the river.

45. By reaching there he saw an ascetic, bright like Lord Śaṅkara, sitting under the tree near the hermitage and holding a bow and a spade.

46. That intelligent prince bowed him down with devotion thinking him surely to be sage Paraśurāma by looking at his dress-code; and told his desire after introducing himself when being asked by him.

47. My heart says, you are that teacher only under whom I wish to study. The prince became full of happiness when he received the positive reply in the form of acceptance from him.

48. Then prince Devavrata prayed him, “O Kindhearted! Please make me expert in the science of archery. I have come in your refuge. And by telling this he put his head in his feet.”

49. “I have come here by trusting you on your kindness. Make me your disciple. I shall always follow your instructions; and I shall never neglect you or your instructions.”

50. “I have remained present here with the intension of keeping my mind in you only. There is no other person except you who can fulfil my desires.

Please train me in the science of archery. I shall always be grateful to you.”

51. Sage Paraśurāma became happy on prince by hearing his words of devotion towards him and by keeping his hand on his head said him happily, O Son! Do not worry. I shall teach you the science of archery. A faithful person always becomes successful in the completion of his desired tasks.

52. Prince Devavrata became extremely happy on hearing his words. He assumed this auspicious moment as the result of his merits of previous birth. At this moment of union between obedient disciple and a competent teacher, the gods of the space appreciated again and again the Lord of the world for such a nice union.

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