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 5 - Acquirement of Divine Weapons

1. Then, next day the sage Paraśurāma thought of teaching the science of archery to the prince Devavrata. Any intelligent man never delays in a virtuous act.

2. Sage Paraśurāma, the son of Reṇukā, started teaching the Dhanurveda to the prince, who has prayed the Lord after his bath and who has bowed down to his feet.

3. As any auspicious activity begins with the worship of Lord Gaṇeśa first, so sage Paraśurāma too with this intension started teaching him archery by imparting on him the teaching of ‘Gaṇeśāstra’ only.

4. He himself remembering the Lord Gaṇeśa in his mind gave him the knowledge of ‘Gaṇeśāstra’ by imparting on him the training of how to target it, how to drive it, how to divert it and how to understand its magnificence.

5. He systematically gave the training of the ‘Śaktibāṇa’ to Devavrata by which Goddess Dūrgā destroyed the frightful demons named Śumbha and Niśumbha and which cannot be stopped without destruction of enemy troops.

6. Then sage Paraśurāma happily taught him the ‘Vāruṇāstra’ by operating which it starts raining heavily and terribly on enemy troops.

7. The sage Paraśurāma taught him the terrible ‘Samīraṇastra’ by operating which there raises a deathly storm and it can destroy the elephant-troops and horse-troops of enemy army.

8. The sage Paraśurāma duly taught him the horrible ‘Sarpāstra’ by operating which there starts the rain of serpents on enemy army.

9. After that he trained the prince in the use of ‘Mayūrāstra’ by employing which the ‘Sarpāstra’ is pacified. (Because) The peacocks are by nature enemies and eaters of the serpents in this world.

10. Then, the sage Paraśurāma, the son of Reṇukā, happily taught Devavrata, the son of Śāntanu, the ‘Niśāstra’ by operating which there becomes the night destroying the strength of birds, even during the day.

11. Then, the sage Paraśurāma, the son of Jamadagni, gave prince the training of how to drive and how to pacify the weapon ‘Aindavāstra’ which removes the darkness.

12. In this way the prince Devavrata was experiencing delight in his mind by learning divine weapons everyday; and his devotion and faith towards his teacher Paraśurāma became stronger.

13. In this world that knowledge which cannot be gained by spending money, or by strength, or by severe penance too, can be obtained by sincere service.

14. With this thought only, the prince Devavrata was in service of the sage Paraśurāma day and night. A person who sprinkles water to the roots of a tree does not remain devoid of its fruits.

15. The sage Paraśurāma’s mind was always remaining pleased on prince for his service to him. Therefore he did not hesitate in giving him the entire training of divine weapons.

16. The sage Paraśurāma duly gave the prince. who was self-controlled and faithful, the training of ‘Āgneyāstra’, which was made by Lord Agni in ancient time and which is capable of burning enemies to ashes.

17. The sage Paraśurāma, affectionate towards his disciple, duly taught him ‘Aindrāstra’ by operating which the arrows like that of Vajra of Indra forcibly start falling and piercing the enemies.

18. Then he taught him ‘Vaiṣṇavāstra’, the use of which is known for oppressing the enemies and by operating which the arrows like that of disc start moving in all directions and cut the enemies from all sides.

19. Then the sage Paraśurāma, the best among the archers and who has decided to follow the rules of a guru, taught the prince ‘Yamāstra’–the destroyer of the society, whose operation never fails.

20. He with blessings gave the prince ‘Raudrāstra’ which gives victory and by operating which the enemies are indeed defeated in war and which does not have any offence.

21. The sage Paraśurāma happily gave the pure hearted prince the training of a wonderful ‘Brahmāstra’ which was created by Lord Brahmā himself by practising Atharvaveda and to which all the gods and demons pay their homage.

22. Apart from these, the sage Paraśurāma gave him the training of those divine weapons which were given in due training to Śrī Rāmacandra considering the whole world a family by saints viz., Agastya, Viśvāmitra and Vasiṣṭha.

23. As the reflection of an object is easily gained by putting it in front of clear mirror, so Devavrata easily grasped the training of all divine weapons given by his teacher.

24. Prince Devavrata was completely drenched in the ocean of happiness by his training of divine weapons. At that time his mind was full of gratefulness for his teacher sage Paraśurāma and thus was always involved in him like a black-bee.

25. Even the sage Paraśurāma’s mind was remaining happy on seeing his disciple’s expertise in learning. The mind of gardener always remains happy on seeing his own garden full of flowers from all sides.

26. At that time the disciple by looking at the good qualities of his teacher and the teacher by looking at the good qualities of his disciple; both were heartily appreciating each other. A virtuous person can understand the good qualities (of others) and not the wicked one.

27. Devavrata, the son of Gaṅgā, practised the mantras of divine weapons day and night under the guidance of his teacher sage Paraśurāma and in that he achieved his desired success. The students having faith and devotion towards their teacher never fail.

28. A disciple became equal to his teacher in brightness which can destroy the patience of enemies and in energy which hasten in destroying enemies, just like a lamp lightens up the second lamp too.

29. When the prince Devavrata became an expert in all the specializations of ‘Dhanurveda’, (then) sage Paraśurāma became happy. Then one day the best among all the learned sage Paraśurāma called prince and said thus.

30. I am extremely happy on you. You have gained the entire knowledge of the science of archery. Your desire is fulfilled. There is no doubt that your penance has become successful.

31. And O Son! My mind remains always happy by your service to me. The students, expert in studies as well as in serving their teachers too, are rare on this earth.

32. You should always serve your father in everyway after gaining your desired learning. I think you are the only support to him after the death of his wife (i.e. your mother).

33. You should help your father in protecting the nation while keeping your subjects happy. May your name become popular on the earth. My blessings are always with you.

34. The prince understood this journey of his to be successful on hearing these words of his teacher. He thought of giving dakṣiṇā; (honorarium paid in olden days to a preceptor by his pupil at the successful conclusion of his student career) to his teacher and therefore with joined hands he spoke to his teacher.

35. O revered Sir! I am very grateful to you for you have given me the training of very rare art of archery. I shall never forget this debt of yours and shall always remain indebted to you.

36. O Gurudeva! What and how much should I pay you as gurudakṣiṇā;, I am not able to decide. I am not finding any valuable object (which can be) like that of good learning and donation in this world.

37. The sage Paraśurāma told him, you should not worry about my gurudakṣiṇā;. By staying with me the service you did for me, there is no higher gurudakṣiṇā; than it.

38. Today with my grace, I am putting one more speciality in your arrows by the influence of which they will keep on increasing in order in the battlefield.

39. O Son! With my grace in the battle-field each arrow of your will become ten in number by reaching to your bow, becoming hundreds on the way, and will work on the body of enemy by becoming a thousand.

40. And o Son! I wish that you will always follow the path of justice and righteousness. (Because) The victory follows him who follows the path of justice and righteousness in this world.

41. Therefore you should always protect those females who ask for their protection; poor, miserable and distressed people; and wise people.

42. You should not support those who insult the ladies, who snatch away the properties of others through treachery and who are engaged in the activities which are condemned.

43. Son! You should never do such activities through which your teacher’s name is calumniated (defamed). The lamp of a temple illumines the home is never expected to be good in the society.

44. The wealth, strength and certain knowledge of noble persons is always used in good deeds. In the society those are considered to be virtuous deeds which fall in the category of humane.

45. Now you return to your father and always support him. In the society that son is considered to be good who makes his father happy by his virtuous deeds.

46. In the foothill of this Mahendra mountain you will find a chariot by riding on which you will easily reach your home. Son! Do not get surprised in the matter of acquiring this chariot. The will of ascetics never turns in vain.

47. The prince spoke–‘O revered teacher! I have put all your words (advice) in my heart. I shall never forget these (instructions) in my life. I shall always follow your instructions in my life extending my duty as a disciple.

48. O revered teacher! Please forgive me this moment for any mistake done by me anytime. By saying thus he touched the feet of his teacher.

49. The teacher said, ‘O son! You are uselessly finding faults in yourself. There never remains poison in the moon. O son! Listen; your remembrance will always please my mind.

50. May your path be propitious; may your life be auspicious; in all your deeds may you be benefited; now you serve your father learning aside all your worries about me. By saying so, the sage Paraśurāma sent his disciple prince Devavrata from his hermitage.

51. At that time the cultured mind of the prince Devavrata like a bee fell into dilemma for he was not willing to leave his father as he was equally eager to see and meet his father.

52. With the mind tide by the wishes of seeing his father, the prince Devavrata by bowing down to his teacher sage Paraśurāma with tears in his eyes anyhow stepped out of the hermitage.

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