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 6 - Acquirement of the Art of Archery

1. After that, a messenger came and told to extremely intelligent king Śāntanu, sitting alone in the first part (Prahara) of the night of one day, about the education of the prince thus.

2. O king! Your son prince Devavrata, having acquired the knowledge of divine weapons from the world famous teacher Paraśurāma, the son of Jamadagni, has become like the fire to burn the ocean of the army of enemy;and he will arrive here in five to six days.

3. That prince, for whom are you waiting eagerly for his arrival receiving honour at different places on the way being greeted by people and kings; and with an intense desire to see you, is arriving.

4. Wishing the welfare of the earth, fulfilling the wishes of the people coming in the way; and making them happy, he is coming to you like a monsoon approaching towards the Himālaya.

5. The happiness acquired the form of horripilation in the body of the King by listening to the message of the spy which was like nectar to the ear.

6. The king Śāntanu, experiencing the unbounded bliss, gave own necklace to that spy who delivered such a good news.

7. The king Śāntanu, having awarded and sent off that spy;experiencing the happiness all the time; affectionate towards his son, thought of preparing the welcome function for him.

8. Then he, expressing own happiness by standing, ordered his servant to light up lamps everywhere in the city; our prince is coming; and right now he is on the way.

9. Saying so he gave to that servant his silky shawl and went away to bow down his family Goddess. Family Goddess worshipped and pleased on time indeed brings prosperity to the family.

10. Having completed all the works on its proper time when the King Śāntanu reached to his bed, suddenly the recollection of his beloved wife came into his tender mind.

11. In the special condition of happiness and sorrow, a person as much remembers his beloved wife, as not his son nor daughter; not his brother nor sister; and not his mother nor father.

12. At that time the Goddess of sleep, to serve the King like a second virtuous wife and who was acquainted since long, arrived there; and King immediately and easily moved in her lap.

13. The next day he informed in detail all the members in the assembly that Devavrata, having acquired the learning from Paraśurāma, is returning; I have received such news.

14. Right now he is on the way with the dignity a prince deserves. But I have the information that he will surely arrive in Hastināpura in five days.

15. Therefore, the entire city, all the roads, all the streets as well as each and every house should be variously decorated to welcome him. All the expenses for this should be born from the royal treasure.

16. Even outside the city he should be greeted beautifully and auspiciously.

Respect expressed towards wise persons always increases the quality of respect amongst people.

17. Understanding my desire, immediately prepare for the welcome function of the prince. The scholars have declared that the officers’ laziness in their duty towards nation is never good.

18. The chief minister said to the King Śāntanu, who was ordering thus and was affectionate towards son, O King! You do not worry. All arrangements would be made to welcome the prince.

19. O king! I do not doubt in the fact that this news of prince’s arrival will please the minds of people. The king who behaves appropriately towards people, people also live accordingly with him.

20. After that, the next day Hastināpura, well-decorated and fulfilled with happiness, was as much eager to see the prince, as well-clothed and well prepared heroine becomes eager to see his hero on getting the news of his arrival.

21. Every moment getting more and more beautiful, looking at the beauty of that (Hastināpura) city, Amarāvatī, the city of Gods became unhappy. Any woman does not become happy on seeing some other woman more beautiful than her.

22. The beautiful tent was established near the city; and the organisers have completely arranged the programme of greeting the prince.

23. And the day came which was being awaited. The prince Devavrata arrived there in the chariot. People started shouting slogans like ‘May prince be victorious one’, ‘May prince live long’.

24. At that time only, chief-minister, all the four commanders of the army, Brahmins, reciters of the Vedas, as well as people serially welcomed and greeted him.

25. The mind of prince Devavrata became extremely happy on seeing him so greeted. He thanked all of them for it. Thereafter, he happily joined his own welcome banquet on being told by the chief-minister.

26. After this, the chariot of the prince, well-decorated and moving amidst the army and people, was looking extremely beautiful. And at that time there was constant announcement of slogans, touching the sky and like that of clouds, ‘May prince be victorious one’, ‘May prince be victorious one’.

27. By listening to the announcements which were reaching to their ears ‘An opportunity has come to see the elegance of prince’ such intentional and blissful news; all the persons, staying in the city and leaving aside their works, became eager to see the prince.

28. Experiencing that ‘Prince Devavrata is coming’, all the curious persons of all the castes of the city, all men and women; started taking their places with the desire to see him.

29. One lady expert in cooking tasty food also dropped salt in a dish of rice and milk (khīra) as well sugar in vetch (dāla), on being anxious to see the prince quickly.

30. Another lady, keeping a griddle in the throat and the garland of flowers on her waist, completing her make up, came out with an intense desire to see the prince. At that time she has become the target for people to laugh.

31. Similarly another woman quickly put her mark in her hair-do and sticked a crest on her forehead; and immediately she ran towards the window.

32. One lady, leaving aside her work of rubbing the red lac-solution on her legs incompletely and running to get the space at the window, prepared the row of lotuses only on the clean floor.

33. Somewhere, a woman of a dignified family, having the desire to see the prince, did not feel ashamed on being seen by people also at the window wearing her incomplete sārī;.

34. Some other woman of a dignified family reached to the window by pasting lipstick on her eyes and collyrium on her lips. At that time people misunderstood her as the lady of a jester.

35. At this time to see the prince, restless women of dignified families disregarded their fathers-in-law, mothers-in-law, husbands and children; similarly girls disregarded their parents and brothers; and they all came on the road crowded by the people.

36. Some women were standing at their windows; and some have climbed on the roofs. They have put their eyes on the road to see their prince.

37. The fair and slightly dark complexioned faces of women standing near the windows, being seen from the windows, were looking as graceful as someone might have kept the bunch of white and blue lotuses.

38. Those women, who have climbed on the roofs and who have kept their faces downside to see the prince with beautiful form were looking like celestial damsels who have come out of the heaven and who have turned their faces towards the earth to see the prince.

39. Those women, walking on the royal path as they have neither found the space to stand near windows nor on the roofs, walking like small lotuses, were attracting the minds of people like that of black-bees towards them.

40. One woman, being disturbed by the breast of some other one, was telling to a woman standing behind her that, O Shameless! If you wish to stop itching of your breast, then go and stand amongst men.

41. Due to their inclinations towards the prince, women were not aware of their garlands, griddles being broken and moved due to their automatic physical conduct, it is surprise.

42. At that time, the crowd, flooded on the main royal path, agitated by the prince who is in the form of the moon and gathered in between the path for prince’s departure, held the form of the Rāmeśvara-bridge made by Lord Śrīrāma.

43. Thereafter, the prince, riding on the physical chariot as well as on the imaginary chariot of people’s wishes; being shouted ‘May prince be victorious one’ by people on both the sides of the royal path and being worshipped by the rain of flowers, is seen coming.

44. The women happily showered on the prince, who was coming, the flowers, parched pappies and the lotuses in the form of lamp-black eyes while singing heart-ravishing welcome songs like celestial damsels on Jayanta.

45. In whatever direction prince Devavrata was moving, there was having the rain of flowers. At that time the gods did not feel jealous of him on seeing him being welcomed in that way.

46. The prince Devavrata moving ahead, bowing down to all the people and accepting their good wishes, has become the abode of the eyes of women which were in the form of black-bees as his parts of the body have won the beauty of lotuses.

47. There was neither any house which was devoid of a beautiful lady, (and) there was neither any beautiful lady who was not eager to see the prince;there was neither any curious woman who has not seen the prince; and there was neither any woman who has not praised the prince after seeing him.

48. There was neither any person who has not become happy; there was neither any happiness which was not being seen on the face; there was neither any face which was not praising the prince; there was neither any praise which was not increasing his popularity.

49. The prince Devavrata, being greeted again and again in different ways with an eagerness to see the feet of his father, being a sea of happiness while walking, reached to an entry gate of the royal palace.

50. That entry gate, with the Vedic chanting, sounds of beautiful music instruments, flowers, pearl-garlands and other beautiful garlands attracting the minds towards it and resounding by the welcome songs of women, was looking more elegant due to the presence of the king Śāntanu.

51. The king Śāntanu, experiencing unbounded happiness, stood up from his seat on seeing his son coming nearer with an intention to welcome and greet him like Raghu for Dilīpa.

52. As soon as the prince saw the face of his father, he immediately, leaving aside the chariot and running towards him, put his head in the feet of his father.

53. The king Śāntanu, happy-minded and affectionate towards son, embraced his dear son by making him stand who was bent in his feet; and he completely took bath in the sea of happiness being closely attentive.

54. The prince Devavrata being greeted by the priests, royal officers and women entered into the well-decorated royal court with his father.

55. The royal court members, expert in giving speeches, portrayed the prince Devavrata as the best archer through their speeches and proved the future of the nation and its people safe and secure like that of the present.

56. On the command of the king Śāntanu, the prince Devavrata gave his speech thus in that beautiful royal court filled by the presence of residing kings and people who were eager to know about his learning.

57. O members present in the court! Great persons assembled! And Respected persons of the city! I express my thankfulness to you for welcoming me (in this way).

58. There is no doubt in it that the special knowledge of an art of archery I received from the great sage Paraśurāma, it is indeed the result of sacred deeds performed by my father.

59. (Because) Without the strength of the merits of his father, son can never achieve success even by working very hard. To prove this fact, is that example not sufficient that ‘hard working man does not always become successful’?

60. (Because) There is no doubt in it too that the king and his family progresses due to the meritorious deeds of the people, therefore you have also helped me directly or indirectly in this endeavour.

61. O Gentlemen! Listen (to me)! I shall always serve my father and you all countrymen by the knowledge of archery I received from the sage Paraśurāma.

62. On saying thus and sitting of the prince, there started gurgling due to the clapping of people on getting happy for his speech. Thereafter, the king Śāntanu, on seeing the excellence of his son and getting happy on him, gave his speech by standing from his seat thus.

63. Respected court members! People! And all the officers of our state! Today my inner-self has got very happy to see my son endowed with the virtues.

64. I heartily bow down to the sage Paraśurāma who has made my son the best archer. There is no doubt that he has obliged this nation and the King of it.

65. The prince Devavrata is endowed with kingly virtues and he will foster the subjects like his own child; this trust which is making me happy has become firm in my mind.

66. Therefore, my mind, for the welfare of my subjects, wishes to enthrone my dear son as a prince who is endowed with royal virtues, loving his subjects and wishing the welfare of them.

67. As soon as the king said thus the entire court was resounded by the sound of clapping. All the assembled members with good thoughts supported the king’s above proposal happily.

68. After that the king Śāntanu having asked to an astrologer declared the auspicious date and time also; having invited all the court members for food, and having thanked them all, he dispersed that royal gathering.

69. The king Śāntanu, having gathered the happiness in his mind, holding the arm of his son and with the royal court members behind him, entered into a variously decorated canopied for a meal like Lord Indra.

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