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 15 - Description of Mahābhārata war

1. The next day morning, a blithering idiot, vainglorious, Duryodhana, the son of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, appointed Droṇācārya, the teacher of all the archers, as the commander-in-chief with a wish to vanish his enemies (Pāṇḍavas).

2. An army cannot achieve its goal (victory) without its commander-in-chief in the battle-field as a ferry-boat without its helmsman; this fact, Duryodhana, who has become the fire for the forest of Kauravas, was comprehending. Therefore, he made this appointment on the advice of Karṇa at that time.

3. Duryodhana did not accept the benevolent advice of not fighting a war and of returning to the Pāṇḍavas their right in share given by even his Grandsire Bhīṣma Pitāmaha, who is wishing welfare of all and who is laid down on the bed of arrows at that time. At the time of devastation, the mind of a person becomes dull.

4. Thereafter, the son of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, submerged in unrighteousness, being protected by the commander-in-chief Droṇācārya, being enthusiastic with a wish of acquiring victory, came in the battle-field for fighting a war by putting his life on stake.

5. That army of Kauravas, moving forward sometimes in the battle-field due to the valour of Droṇācārya; and sometimes moving backward on remembering the arrows of Arjuna, was behaving like a river flowing on zigzag way everywhere.

6. The army of Yudhiṣṭhira, remaining steady in the battle and protected by Arjuna also came in front of that Kaurava army like a range of mountains against a river.

7. Those both the armies, remaining routed in front of each other and being prepared to trample forcefully, was fortunately holding an unprecedented beauty of a range of Himālaya and that of Vindhya near each other. It means, it was looking like a range of mountains of Himālaya and that of Vindhyācala were fortunately standing in front of each other by seeing both the armies remaining rooted in front of each other.

8. There immediately started a terrible fight of those both the armies, wishing victory of their respective party, or wishing to see the heaven by achieving a heroic end, and understanding enemies the bit of stalk of grass.

9. The most surprising fact of this great battle was that a teacher attacked on his disciples, and disciples on their teacher, nephews attacked on their maternal-uncles and maternal-uncles on their nephews, brothers attacked on brothers and relatives on relatives fiercely.

10. There were seen the horse-riders fighting with the horse-riders, elephantriders with elephant-riders, chariot-riders with chariot-riders and soldiers on feet with the soldiers on feet.

11. In this great battle, a great warrior Droṇācārya could not achieve victory even though he showed his valour very much. Even a just and fair person cannot cross over the ferry boat of injustice.

12. As a result, he, showing his valour for five days in front of arrogant Kauravas only, submerged into the grief for his son and on his head being cut by Dhṛṣṭadyumna, the son of the king Drupada of Pāñcāla country, gave up his last breathe.

13. Thereafter, charioteer Karṇa, involved in many kinds of complexes, always staying in competition with Arjuna and increasing a mattock of injustice of Duryodhana, became the commander-in-chief of the Kaurava army in that battle.

14. Just at that time Bhīmasena, breaking the chest of Duḥśāsana in front of Kauravas like Karṇa, Duryodhana etc. only and killing him alive by drinking his blood, also over came his pledge.

15. That mighty Karṇa, having knowledge of scriptures and weapons, strength and full of valour and having showed his brilliance in the battlefield for two days, went to the heaven on getting his head cut by the arrow of Arjuna.

16. Duryodhana became more distressed on falling (the fall) of Bhīṣma Pitāmaha being wounded, on passing away of Droṇācārya, on killing of Duḥśāsana like a goat and on the death of Karṇa also in the battle-field.

17. Compassionate Kṛpācārya, seeing Duryodhana taking a long sigh again and again, trapped by difficulties and being grieved for all these warriors during night, thought of consoling Duryodhana for having affection towards Kuru race and a Kulaguru.

18. And, he said to him in this way, O son! Leaving aside your insistence, listen to my talk patiently and quietly; and O disciple one! Do not count me for otherwise; because O son! I always wish for your welfare.

19. O king! Today seventeen days are passed; but you could not control the Pāṇḍavas. All your great warriors, even though trying their best, have not been successful to win Arjuna.

20. Bhīṣma Pitāmaha is lying badly wounded;Droṇācārya is dead; your brothers like Duḥśāsana are dead; and your best support Karṇa is also dead today. In this way we are being defeated again and again.

21. O king! I believe that God is not in favour with you. Therefore, this defeat is happening. To me, God is seen sitting constantly and firmly with Pāṇḍavas only.

22. O son! The victory is under the influence of destiny in the battle-field; destiny is considered to be under the righteousness; and righteousness is shown to under the good-conduct. O king! Pāṇḍavas have served that conduct very much.

23. O son! Humans never win in the battle-field; and never do they get defeated. There righteousness always wins; and unrighteousness gets always defeated.

24. Just as the righteousness, served with intelligence, patience and ethics, protects its follower at the time of need, in the same manner, the unrighteousness, acquired by bad-mind and mischievous activities, destroys its followers at the time of need.

25. O Bhārata! There is no doubt in the fact that this war like tree has grown due to your deeds like seeds only; it is a matter of grief that you are becoming sad by eating the fruits of it at this moment.

26. O king! Bhīṣma Pitāmaha, Droṇācārya, your friend Karṇa, all your younger brothers, your sons and many other persons, on eating the fruits of a tree grown up by seed of your deeds only, fell into a deep check of lofty time in this battle-field.

27. We are being constantly and badly defeated; Bhīmasena and Arjuna are achieving victory. O king! You cannot win Pāṇḍavas who are always protected by Lord Kṛṣṇa.

28. Therefore, O king! Now, you, following the statements of the persons of moral conduct, have collaboration with Pāṇḍavas;and righteously giving them the kingdom of their right, protect your body trickfully.

29. The experts of political science say that a king desirous of victory makes collaboration with his mighty enemy at the time of possibility of total destruction of his army.

30. By making collaboration, the protection of body is indeed secured; along with that other benefits are gained. Therefore, O king! The experts of political science have advocated the collaboration as the better option for a king who is in adverse time.

31. O king! At this time, my opinion is also that you protect yourself by making collaboration with the Pāṇḍavas. A person desirous of victory as well as that of kingly pleasures has to protect his body first of all.

32. Hearing the talks of Kṛpācārya also, that evil-minded Duryodhana did not give up his vanity and insistence; and he, making so many doubts on Pāṇḍavas through his evil thoughts and rejecting a proposal of a treaty given by Kṛpācārya, set his mind to continue his fight.

33. Thereafter, having discussed immediately with Aśvatthāmā, the son of late Droṇācārya, he appointed the king Śalya that of Madra country as the commander-in-chief;and once again he thought that Pāṇḍavas will be defeated in the battle-field.

34. And that eighteenth day also came which was said to be the last day of that great battle. That day they all together, setting their wish of victory on the gallantry of their commander-in-chief the king Śalya of Madra country, went out for a fight.

35. Even though the mental strength of the soldiers of the Kaurava army was not higher at that time still they started putting their efforts for their victory then without worrying about their lives. Since in the fire of valour of Bhīṣma and Arjuna, they immediately were burnt alive like insects.

36. At that time Yudhiṣṭhira became angry on the king Śalya of Madra country who was showing his valour in the battle-field; and he, acquiring motivation and courage from the utterance of Lord Kṛṣṇa, immediately killed him by fighting with him.

37. That day Bhīmasena, who has become water for the Kaurava like fire, alone killed forcefully all the younger brothers of Duryodhana who were not killed in the battle-field yet, and who have over come with their valiance.

38. A great warrior Śakuni, the king of Gāndhāra country, who has given birth to this great battle, the chief of knaves and the master in the game of dice, was also killed that day by the arrows of Sahadeva in the battle-field.

39. Duryodhana, seeing this defeat of his and being afraid of Yamarāja like Bhīmasena concealed himself by running away from the battle-field and diving in the deep water of some reservoir in order to protect himself.

40. Will he, after making fraud with his cousin brothers and trying to kill them by poison, fire etc; and insulting virtuous wife as well as a lady of good conduct always, be safe by concealing himself in water? Never.

41. A person, who gives shelter to the rascals in his home, makes them friends who are playing sycophant; and does not respect those who talk of well-being, cannot be safe even though by sinking in water.

42. Pāṇḍavas, having known the place of his hiding through their spies immediately reaching to the sore of that reservoir along with Śrīkṛṣṇa and by making him, who was hiding himself in the water, forced for fighting a war.

43. Thereafter, there was a terrible mace-fight of him with Bhīmasena. In this battle, horrible Bhīmasena like God of death, with a wish of fulfilling his oath, broke his ‘those’ both the thighs of him by an attack of his mace.

44. At that time, in the battle-field by the forceful attacks of mace like that of thunder-bolt made by horrible Bhīṣma. All the vital spots of the body of that Duryodhana of censured conduct completely became like lifeless.

45. Thereafter, leaving that dying mean enemy Duryodhana in the battlefield for his death, Pāṇḍavas returned to their tents that have become happy by the achievement of their victory.

46. Thereupon, it is a matter of great grief that Aśvatthāmā, the son of Droṇācārya, who was constantly and badly being charred by the fire of his strong desire of taking revenge of his father’s death, getting inspiration and permission from that dying mean Kaurava Duryodhana, killed the sleeping valiants of the army of Pāṇḍavas during the night.

47. Duryodhana, hearing the news of the slaughter of the sleeping army of Yudhiṣṭhira from the mouth of Aśvatthāmāhimself only who has killed them, experienced satisfaction within and give up his life-breath. The sinners accumulate the evil deeds even at the time of their death.

48. Thereupon, the next day in morning resolute and valiant Pāṇḍava, punishing even sinful Aśvatthāmā who has killed their sleeping sons, being completely victorious, by taking Lord Kṛṣṇa together, got present politely in front of Dhṛtarāṣṭra.

49. By the water in the form of preaching of Veda Vyāsa and Śrīkṛṣṇa, the anger like fire of Dhṛtarāṣṭra towards Pāṇḍavas was quenched; and ascetic mother Gāndhārī too became patient gradually.

50. Thereafter, the funeral pyres of the warriors of both the armies who have got heroic end in the battle were set to the fire. The atmosphere of that place at that time became extremely full of pathos by the lamentation of their respective ladies.

51. Thereupon, the grief and illusion arising in the mind of Dharmarāja Yudhiṣṭhira, the chief of Pāṇḍavas, became patient by the advice of sages like Veda Vyāsa etc. and Lord Śrīkṛṣṇa etc. As a result, after the war, he wished for the prosperity and happiness of all the subjects by delivering the respective duties to his younger brothers for the better governance of that entire kingdom which was gained after the battle.

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