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 16 - Descriptions of Regret and Despair

1. Pāṇḍavas with the help of Lord Śrīkṛṣṇa won all their enemies. When the Lord of the entire World affectionately helps one, then tell me, what object becomes unavailable in this world? In my opinion no object of course.

2. After acquiring the state, the Pāṇḍavas remembered the valour of the Grandsire Bhīṣma Pitāmaha;together they also remembered his gratefulness towards them. As a result, they even though being eager to see him, could not collect the strength of going in front of him, because of committing offence towards him.

3. The thoughts of Bhīṣma Pitāmaha arose again and again even in the mind of Lord Śrīkṛṣṇa at that time. As a result, He immediately went off along with all the Pāṇḍavas to see him.

4. He, reaching there, saw tranquil-minded Bhīṣma Pitāmaha meditating upon the almighty God of the entire Universe and lying on the bed of arrows in the protected area of the battle-field and surrounded by high-ranked sages and saints.

5. He (meaning Lord Kṛṣṇa) respectfully bowed down Bhīṣma Pitāmaha along with Pāṇḍavas; and He sat besides him only. And thinking something, He immediately removed the entire pain of the body of Bhīṣma Pitāmaha through His Yoga-vidyā;.

6. Devavrata Bhīṣma with the consciousness increased due to the destruction of the pain of his body, bowed down Lord Śrīkṛṣṇa with his speech on knowing Him arrived there.

7. Then, Lord Kṛṣṇa to know the state of his mind asked him in his sweet speech thus, O Grandsire Bhīṣma! Are you happy? And, does your mind is happy?

8. And is this bed of arrows which you yourself have assented pleasant to you? And does your intellect for the welfare of the people of country is awakened?

9. Does your penance has got over now? Does the result of your deed has turned in your favour now? And are you happy on your Pāṇḍavas, who are working for the welfare and protection of humanity?

10. Intelligent Bhīṣma Pitāmaha, hearing these utterances of Lord Śrīkṛṣṇa, laughed and spoke to him, O Lord! O Nārāyaṇa! O the slayer of Kaṃsa! O Kṛṣṇa! I first of all ask you to pardon me.

11. I have, being illusionised, attacked on your body who has ably drove the chariot of Arjuna, for those all, O Lord of the Universe! O Lord! Please forgive me who has become fool because of eating stigmatic food of Duryodhana and who has become away from you.

12. That Duryodhana, who has become the fire of the wood stick of own family, has infatuated me for his victory. O Lord! Apart from this, defiled vanity of the best knowledge of my archery also made my intellect deformed.

13. Theredore, I stayed on the side of unrighteousness; and I am really painful for the fact that I constantly accumulated sins by fighting in the battle from the side of sinners. O Lord! In these days, I am atoning for the same; therefore you also forgive me now.

14. And Pāṇḍavas have not committed any offence even by attacking on me in the Great War. Rather I have become an offender by disregarding their virtuous wife in the royal court.

15. I have surely made a great sin by neglecting that righteous lady who was being badly insulted by mean sinners like Duryodhana etc. in front of my eyes, trapped in the difficulty, and asking for my help to protect her from that difficulty.

16. That man is reproached who though being able does not protect a lady by taking the help of objectivity. I have the grief that I have also become a person of regret because of eating defiled food.

17. And again, I have protected those mean sinners only, insulting the female, in the battle, Alas! O Kṛṣṇa! By thinking this all I am very painful; whether the history of country India will forgive me?

18. As I have not mashed the offence like serpents of Duryodhana as soon as they were born, that was indeed my mistake; and today I am suffering from the result of it only.

19. I am being scorched these days by remembering the fact that I, though being full of eyes, have served that blind king Dhṛtrāṣṭra, the giver of birth to the wicked sons like Duryodhana etc., and who has vanished his own intelligence in his bewilderment only.

20. Lord Śrīkṛṣṇa, seeing Bhīṣma Pitāmaha being scorched himself in that way at that time, spoke in his sweet speech, O Bhīṣma! Do not experience this kind of regret in your mind. These Pāṇḍavas wish your affection.

21. In my opinion, the death you accepted in the battle-field by always remaining distressed for protecting the unrighteous party, the cleansing of all these sins have been made at that time only.

22. Experiencing little happiness from this utterance of Lord Śrīkṛṣṇa, Bhīṣma Pitāmaha spoke in a very serious tone, O Śrīkṛṣṇa! I have committed even a greater offence than this once in my life.

23. That girl Ambā by name, the daughter of Kāśinareśa, being insulted because of not accepted as a wife by my former enemy King Śālva, being motivated with the sentiment of taking revenge against me, and because of my ill-luck, and being showed the path by some great sages, went to my revered teacher Paraśurāma with my complaints.

24. At that time, they, with an intension of doing good of that girl, ordered me to give up the vow of not marrying; put a proposal of fighting in a war. O Lord! Then I fought a war only with my respected teacher for the protection of my speech (to keep my word).

25. O Lord! I am really painful. One who has given me the entire knowledge of archery and one who imparted on me the entire knowledge of divine weapons; alas, I angrily fought with that dignified teacher only.

26. At that time, I have neglected half of the command of my revered teacher; and for the fulfilment of half of the command, I fought a war with him. In this way, I have insulted the command of my revered teacher in both the ways viz., by accepting as well as by rejecting.

27. There will be no ungrateful person like me, who tries to kill his own teacher alive in the battle-field. O Lord! By remembering this formidable incident my mind becomes bewildered.

28. At that time, looking at the shadow of grief on the face of Bhīṣma Pitāmaha, Lord Śrīkṛṣṇa smilingly spoke, O Grandsire! I am seeing the end of the result of your strict conduct.

29. Since you always fought with him after bowing down him faithfully; therefore he always remained pleased on you. I do not doubt in the fact that by the small sparks of merits, the great pile of sins like that of cotton can also be burnt.

30. And again O Grandsire! All your offences have been washed away far from you by the penance you made day and night while lying on this bed of arrows in the same manner as the darkness disappears completely during the day by the light of the sun.

31. This time you have become free from the eclipse and look like a lustrous sun. You have become sinless and you are endowed with the splendour of your penance. Therefore, O Grandsire! Now you consider all your physical pains to be ended; and also give up your grief.

32. Hearing the utterances of Lord Śrīkṛṣṇa, sinless Bhīṣma Pitāmaha, when concentrated on himself, then he experienced an unending flow of happiness in his mind; and found his body completely free from all pains.

33. Being pleased by that realisation, Bhīṣma Pitāmaha spoke to Lord Śrīkṛṣṇa, the Lord of the Universe thus–O Śrīkṛṣṇa! This moment my entire grief has got over by your compassion and I am extremely happy.

34. Now I do not have any pain, nor any allurement; neither any kind of humbleness; nor any kind of egotism. O Śrīkṛṣṇa! Now I am always wishing for the welfare of all only.

35. This time, the sense of serenity is being exalted in my heart. All the parts of my body have become totally fresh; now my mind has become stable; and even intellect is becoming more and more elevated. O Śrīkṛṣṇa! I bow down to you.

36. O Lord! O Śrīkṛṣṇa! Now I only wish that all people on this earth become happy; all become disease free; and all the kings be desisted from the wars.

37. Now Lord Śrīkṛṣṇa became extremely happy within understanding the mentality of Bhīṣmapitāmaha to be auspicious one; and then he, having a due sense of time and place, understanding that time to be appropriate for telling his statesments, spoke to Bhīṣma Pitāmaha modestly.

38. O Grandsire! At this moment, we are experiencing the sense of happiness born out of satisfaction by seeing you painless, endowed with knowledge and being pleased in the same manner as the students experience on seeing their scholar teachers happy and healthy.

39. As thirsty persons approach the wells, and as the persons afflicted by heat go near tress; in the same way, O Grandsire! We people, being illusioned by many fold duties, have come to you.

40. These your grandsons viz. Yudhiṣṭhira etc. also wish your blessings. They are also feeling a sense of remorse together having attacked on your body with a desire to win in the battle.

41. And your eldest Pāṇḍava Yudhiṣṭhira has been caught in a dilemma. His intellect does not appear attaching to the kingly duties. Even though explained very well, that (mind) is progressing more towards detachment.

42. O Grandsire! Since you are the most influential, and you are the knower of dharma-like sea from all the sides; therefore I pray you to convince sadhearted Yudhiṣṭhira for the welfare of all others.

43. You know all the kingly duties; you know all the duties of persons belonging to all four different castes as well as all four āśramas;and you have the knowledge of transient and intransient duties of a race, state, nation and time.

44. Due to this great Mahābhārata war, apart from Yudhiṣṭhira in the hearts of some kings and people, there arose a great doubt in the matter of duty. Therefore, O knower of duty! You please explain the real form of duty in order to remove the doubt arose in the matter of duty.

45. Then, ascetic Bhīṣma Pitāmaha, hearing the utterances of Lord Śrīkṛṣṇa, affectionately called the Pāṇḍavas including Yudhiṣṭhira sitting with bent head etc. near him and said.

46. Sons! I have experienced a deep sense of satisfaction due to your victory in the war. The dharma is indeed protected by this your victory. In this world, I do not like anything more than this i.e. the protection of dharma.

47. Sons! Do not lament over me nor worry about me nor give any space to repentance. I do not doubt in the fact that I have acquired the result of my good or bad deeds only.

48. My good wishes are for you all. You all righteously govern the state/nation for the protection of dharma; and always respect the utterances of Lord Śrīkṛṣṇa. I wish that your popularity spread in all three worlds.

49. Saying so that ascetic immediately made all the five Pāṇḍavas happy; and keeping the command of Lord Śrīkṛṣṇa in mind, he i.e. Bhīṣma Pitāmaha started telling to Yudhiṣṭhira.

50. O Son Yudhiṣṭhira! Whatever doubts are arising in your mind due to misunderstanding, you bravely and consequently ask the questions in that matter. I shall answer you for all the questions.

51. Son! Lord Śrīkṛṣṇa’s grace is on me. As a result, there is no more pain in my body. Therefore, O Son! You ask all your questions to me. Not only that but for the welfare of the entire world also, you ask me all the questions.

52. At that time, the eldest Pāṇḍava could hardly ask any question to Bhīṣma Pitāmaha, when affectionately asked by him. Thereafter, with his joined hands and shivering lips, he humbly tried to express his thoughts.

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