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...
1. The mental inclinations of the king Śāntanu gradually left running after their subjects. Now he was not experiencing happiness in any other activities than serving the feet of Lord.
2. Thereupon, the king Śāntanu’s complete lust in the form of water dried out in the same way by the fire of detachment always increasing due to selfrealization, as the drops of perspiration dry out due to the blow of air.
3. Therefore, his intellect in the form of fertile land became infertile like that of Mountain land. As a result, the king Śāntanu’s deeds in the form of seeds did not get sprouted in it.
4. Now, the mind of the king Śāntanu was roving neither in the objects of enjoyment, nor in his sons or in his wife Satyavatī. The sense of detachment was increasing day by day in his mind.
5. When the king Śāntanu did not find any benefit in nourishing his physical body, then one day at the time of twilight he called his elder son Bhīṣma and told him thus.
6. O son! My wish for living life is constantly decreasing. Therefore, I think (that), I shall not live for a long. This world is not stable. One who has come here, will surely go.
7. You are only more prudent and considerable. Today I am handing over this popular creeper of race in your hands only by thinking of all these.
8. I know that you will execute your two younger brothers, your mother Satyavatī, race, people, state and country according to the codes and conducts of our race.
9. And, when there will be any crisis, you will only try to overcome it. If you will not to do so, then O son! This race will surely fall in the sea of devastation in front of you only.
10. Now, I am not going to live for more days. But, son! You do not repent after me. Since the almighty God does not make the body of any creature permanent.
11. At that time, Bhīṣma got drowned into a deep pit of the river of pathos like that of a river by hearing his father’s talks of detachment and affection and with the doubt of his future departure.
12. Thereafter, he, coming out, spoke- “O father! You do not bother about it. The shining popularity of your race and state will always remain bright on the earth.
13. “As long as I hold my life-breath, so long I shall always try for the growth of popularity of our race.” By listening to the words of Bhīṣma and thinking thus Bhīṣma never speaks untrue, the king Śāntanu became relaxed.
14. Few days passed away consequently. And one day his wish of living life got completely finished. As a result, he met to the Highest Reality by leaving aside all his relatives crying after him.
15. At that time, Bhīṣma consoled his mother Satyavatī, crying with tears in her eyes and his two brothers who have reached to the state of misery; and with patience he righteously performed the concluding ceremony of his father.
16. Thereafter, open-hearted queen Satyavatī told to Bhīṣma (that), ‘O son! Today I make you free from the bondage of an old condition. Therefore, you get the possession of this state which is acquired through the tradition of race. Since, O son! I am also your mother as that of Citrāṅgada and Vicitravīrya.
17. And, O son! You are only venerable both by status and qualities. So, in my opinion you are only liable to be a king. If you are not made a king, then it will be an insult of good qualities, which will be ominous.
18. My father was a great imposter. So you should not follow his condition. If the dexterity and the gallantry of a lion will be successful, then this world will be ruined.
19. O son! At that time, I was under him; but now I am independent and therefore I am breaking the condition which was made by him. I know the fact very-well that you are affectionate towards your brothers. So you only become the king.
20. Bhīṣma, listening to this talk of Satyavatī, told her in this way–‘O mother! Because of your affection for me (only) you are telling me this by disregarding my duty as a kṣatriya.
21. The resolution made by those born in kṣatriya caste is very firm. They do not break their pledges under the influence of greed, lust, fear and any other reason.
22. Again (but) my pledge will not be untrue, even if the moon becomes the sun. The sun becomes the Moon; and the world though gets shuffled.
23. My younger brother Citrāṅgada by name is alike (our) father in virtues and valour on the earth. My opinion is that he will surely and justly protect this state which is gained legally.
24. O mother! With my bent head I request you that you will never force me to accept this state. O mother! Do not destroy that popularity, which is gained by giving it up.
25. Righteous Satyavatī, listening to this talk of Bhīṣma, could not force him in this matter. Any person does not become able to change the decision which is fixed in the mind of a strongly determined person in this world.
26. And after this, Bhīṣma makes his younger brother Citrāṅgada the king. As a result, the popularity of Bhīṣma along with the splendour of Citrāṅgada amongst the mass of people, also got adorned.
27. Citrāṅgada, acquiring the state, started believing all other kings like a bit of the stalk of grass. He has become haughty (arrogant) for his strength. So, he could not wield modesty after acquiring the state. In it there was the hand of almighty God too.
28. During his ruling, the arrogance grown because of his strength gradually destroyed his popularity. Power and position are pleasant for a gentle man; but for an arrogant person it only becomes painful (dulorous).
29. After few days, one day very powerful Gandharvarāja of his name only i.e. Citrāṅgada by name came into the city of Hastināpura and spoke to him (i.e. the king Citrāṅgada), the son of the king Śāntanu, that you cannot have my name without conquering me.
31. Bhīṣma, seeing this and having got angry, challenged that Gandharvarāja to fight a war with him. But he did not get ready to fight with him; and he immediately went to his Yakṣaloka.
32. Bhīṣma became very much sad on an accidental death of his younger brother; and he made the cremation of his dead body by understanding the will of an almighty God to be unavoidable.
33. Thereafter, he, discussing with his mother Satyavatī, made his second younger brother Vicitravīrya to be the king; and he started helping him at every step (everywhere) by thinking of his young age.
34. In those days, people again started experiencing happiness and peace in the rule of the king Vicitravīrya under the guidance of Bhīṣma. The poison does not emanate from the moon.
35. In his kingdom, no weak person was insulted; and no powerful person was haughty. No teacher was exploiting the disciple; and no disciple was looking at the faults of a teacher.
36. No father was neglecting (ignoring) his son; and no son was harassing his father. In those days, in the ruling of the king Vicitravīrya no one was disrespected by anyone in any form.
37. After sometime, Bhīṣma, having seen the attractive state of youth of his younger brother king Vicitravīrya, thought of his marriage for the growth of their race.
38. After this, great soul Bhīṣma received an invitation from the King of Kāśī about Svayaṃvara (an ancient custom wherein a bride chose her husband of her own accord) of his three daughters Ambā, Ambikā and Ambālikā by name. As a result, Bhīṣma thought of arranging marriage of Vicitravīrya with these brides.
39. He discussed with mother Satyavatī in this matter and with her permission left for Kāśī alone in his chariot; and he entered into a canopied along with his chariot as that Svayaṃvara was to begin.
40. As long as the sounds like ‘Who is this archer? Where does he come from? Does he not count us even as a bit of the stalk of grass also?’ came out at that time, till then that great archer Bhīṣma abducted the three daughters of the king of Kāśī.
41. Having made those three daughters of Kāśīnareśa seated in his chariot, Bhīṣma told to the princes present in that canopied of Svayaṃvara thus–O princes! I am Bhīṣma, the protector of Kuru race. You must have heard my name.
42. The king Vicitravīrya is my younger brother. He is young and presently celibate. Therefore, having abducted these princesses, I am taking away them in front of you people for their marriage.
43. Deliberate and champion Bhīṣma, saying thus to all the present kings in that canopied of celibate and holding bow and arrows in his own hand, started moving from there. Seeing this, some kings, sitting there, got angry; some got happy; and some got frightened.
44. Having got angry, some self-esteemed kings could not tolerate such insult of them. Therefore, they took their weapons in their hands and forcefully started attacking with the arrows on Bhīṣma in order to take revenge of their insult.
45. But, Bhīṣma, the destroyer of his enemies, conquered all of them immediately in the battle-field on the strength of his divine weapons; and in few days he entered into the apartment of his mother Satyavatī along with those three daughters of Kāśīnareśa tactfully.
46. He bowed down to mother Satyavatī with bent head; and handed over the three daughters of Kāśīnareśa to her. Therefore, they decided to arrange the marriage ceremony of Vicitravīrya with these three daughters on some auspicious day.
47. On knowing this thought of Bhīṣma, princess Ambā, the eldest daughter of Kāśīnareśa, spoke to Bhīṣma, “O Bhīṣma! I have heard that even great scholars also give validity to your opinion while making the decision of what is right and what is wrong i.e. the sat and asat”.
48. “My love towards the king Śālva is firm; and I wish to make him my husband. In this situation you only tell me, is it appropriate for a lady belonging to a good family should be the wife of a person whom she does not know and by leaving a person whom she loves?”
49. “King Śālva also wishes to make me his wife for the growth of his race. In this situation, O Bhīṣma! You only make the decision from your intelligent mind and tell me, what should I do now being abducted by you?”
50. Learned Bhīṣma, listening to the talk of princess Ambā, made a decision (that), O princess! Listen (to me); if you and Śālva are attached with each other from the very beginning, then your marriage with Vicitravīrya is not proper.
51. And therefore, O sinless, auspicious one! I understand that king Śālva should be only your husband. Since deprivation of love is the cause of calamity, the wise persons do not speak of it as propitious one.
52. The daughter of Kāśīrāja became happy on hearing this unbiased decision of Bhīṣma. At last, she praised Bhīṣma very much. It is true that the grandeur (greatness) of humanity is supreme.
53. Thereafter, Bhīṣma respectfully bid farewell to that princess by making her to sit in the chariot for sending her to King Śālva. This fantastic contemplative character of him set an example in the society.
54. After this, he graciously arranged the marriage function of the rest two sisters, who were not attached to anyone, with Vicitravīrya on some auspicious day.
55. The king Vicitravīrya, having forgotten all other works, and having acquired those two princesses, who were extremely beautiful than even Rati, the wife of Kāmadeva, in the form of his wives, started remaining absorbed always in sexual pleasure.
56. Both the princess also became extremely happy on acquiring wellformed, devoted to wife, the master of sexual-activities and thus mindblowing king Vicitravīrya as their husband.
57. The king Vicitravīrya of Bharata clan, full of water in the form of lust, mind-pleaser due to the waves of sexual activities, involved in the body of a lovely woman, in the sea of happiness acquired due to intercourse, having become Ratātmā; though being self-controlled, constantly started wandering in an aphrodisiac boat always.