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 19 - Description of Mokṣadharma

1. After this the next day by coming there all the people bowed down to Bhīṣma Pitāmaha and paid homage; now they, willing to know about salvation, sat at their own places.

2. At that time understanding the will of all, Yudhiṣṭhira with joined hands prayed to Bhīṣma Pitāmaha thus! We all pray you that you show us the path of salvation.

3. By listening to that request of Yudhiṣṭhira related to the salvation, Bhīṣma Pitāmaha thought for few moments and thus spoke affectionately.

4. Son! There live so many people in this world. But all are not good; all good are not scholars; and all scholars are not wise.

5. And on this earth not only devout people stay, but there live atheist people too. And the purpose of their lives in the world is ‘Eat, drink and enjoy’ and not the achievement of salvation.

6. These atheist people during their lifetime always remain engaged in liquor, youth and worldly pleasure; and show the salvation as the flower of the sky; and they never fear from the other world too.

7. They are naturalistic and neglect their righteousness for the sake of earning and sensual pleasure. Therefore informing about salvation to these people go in vain. (Because) A lute is not played for buffaloes.

8. They, always involved in bodily attachment, never know the difference between the body and the soul. Though being suffered by the heavy tides of the sea which is in the form of this world, they do not wish freedom from it.

9. And o son! And those who are devout on this earth, most of them are seeking happiness. Therefore the people earn merit by performing worship of gods, pilgrims etc. in order to gain happiness.

10. They people, keeping attachment for both the worlds i.e. here and hereafter, perform various kinds of sacrifices in order to achieve different kinds of happiness; and also observe different kinds of fasts and vows.

11. As a result they always experience the happiness of this world and the next. While staying in the heaven due to the decay of their merits they again take birth on earth and by earning merits they again go to heaven.

12. They, being impressed by the prosperity of gods and being attached to the happiness, do not desire the salvation. Attached people do not walk on the path of liberation; and devotee people never give up devotion.

13. Amongst such devout, some are devoid of means, intransitive; and are devoid of knowledge-detachment. Therefore they do not get any means of happiness for not doing meritorious deeds, and being important they are not eligible for salvation.

14. In this way people generally get engaged in the adoration of dharma, artha and kāma; and get happy or sad accordingly. They do not know the chief goal of human race; and therefore they experience happiness and misery of the world.

15. There are very few in this world who knows the path of salvation. And very few amongst them wish to follow this path of salvation.

16. Those who wish to follow the path of salvation, there are very few who are strongly determined to walk on it by giving up everything. And they are very rare who cross the river which is in the form of despair and dejection amongst those who follow the path of salvation.

17. And those wise people are indeed fortunate who constantly walk on this path of salvation. And by the fire of detachment they burnt up their pile of deeds (which is in the form of pile of cotton) and thus achieve an imperishable state of salvation.

18. In that state of salvation there is neither any tension nor enmity; neither sense of aversion nor jealous; neither partiality nor any cheating; nor any disrespect. That world is extremely pleasing.

19. There is neither pain of taking birth nor sorrow of death;neither fear of death nor doubt of back-biting; there is neither betrayal nor any tension of livelihood. That world is extremely pleasing.

20. There is neither self-interest nor any greed; neither any frustration nor malice; neither any arrogance nor lust; neither any fascination nor sorrow, nor there is demon in the form of anger. That world is indeed beautiful.

21. There is never any dispute of language nor any dualism, neither any controversy of region nor religion; neither casticism nor alley of accumulation. That world is indeed beautiful and always pleased by mind.

22. There is neither any physical disease nor any mental anguish;neither fear from wicked persons nor from natural calamities, nor there is any possibility of world war. Therefore, that world is exceedingly beautiful.

23. O Son! Those who reside in such rare, pleasant and delighted world of salvation, never experience any sort of sorrow in their lives at any time. I do not doubt in this matter.

24. Those, who are the followers of the world of salvation, never go a single step ahead without renunciation. (This) Renunciation indeed helps them. That only protects them from getting away from this path.

25. An intelligent and wise person, having experienced three puruṣārthas viz., dharma, artha and kāma, should go into the forest; and by serving a better preacher and making him happy he should become his disciple. He should perform penance in order to purify his body and should always perform noble and virtuous conduct.

26. Like a good disciple he should acquire the knowledge of Sāṅkhya philosophy from his teacher; and slowly he should practise Yogāsanas so that the journey of salvation can be successfully completed.

27. The body becomes sacred by the knowledge of Sāṅkhya philosophy as well as by the constant practice of Yogāsanas; the actions of five gross elements and of sense organs become clean. Then mind and intelligence too becomes pure. As a result that soul starts enlightening.

28. A devotee should take initiation to achieve the salvation as soon as he experiences his soul to be enlightened in his heard. Then renouncing all the feelings and emotions of this world, he should be an ascetic.

29. He should remain equal in happiness and sadness. He should not have attachment or aversion with any person. He should move on the entire earth being noble minded without thinking and worrying about cold and heat.

30. He should always have equality amongst people of higher castes and that of lower castes as well as amongst humans and animals. He should never be afraid of hunger and thirst; and should never stay at one place.

31. He should see gold and dust equally (i.e. he should keep equal sight in gold and dust); should have equal feelings for friend and enemy; must understand own respect and disrespect as the same; and should make himself free from the feelings of reactions.

32. He should not have attachment for any object; and should not have the sense of doing himself (i.e. arrogance) in any of his deed. He should look at the bad and the good as the same; and should have detachment towards the means of happiness.

33. Having subdued his passions, he should get control over six enemies viz., desire, anger, greed, allurement, arrogance and envy; and should never come under the influence of these enemies. For that he should always remain alert from them. (Because) A defeated enemy always attacks stealthily.

34. He should eat less and should be temperate in speech (reticent);he should be away from the devil which is in the form of thirst; and he should renounce his body by constantly meditating upon pure-conscious Brahma, as an elephant easily renounces an old garland from his neck.

35. Since the fire of knowledge being ignited by the air of detachment buns to ashes the seeds of all his deeds at that time, therefore he undoubtedly gets the entry into the world of salvation.

36. Because of that fire of knowledge only, his water in the form of lust gets burnt slowly from his intellectual ground. As a result, that intellectual ground of him gets barren and his seed in the form of his deed could not get sprouted in it.

37. It is a matter of grief that this water in the form of lust gets dried after many births because of its having in abundance in some devotee; the only condition is that he remains a desirer of salvation in all his births; and does not commit any kind of mistake.

38. The destruction of thirst, the sense of detachment, and the activities of renunciation, equanimity, unselfish actions and constant thinking of a substance–these together become the cause of an acquirement of salvation.

39. The path of salvation is very difficult. But the state of salvation itself is the constant source of happiness. Therefore extremely wise person should neglect the sufferings coming in the path of salvation. In this matter he should follow the conduct of that person who digs the well.

40. Son! You people are really fortunate that you always get into the company of Lord Kṛṣṇa. He is the Lord of salvation; and He is living here for the welfare of this world.

41. King Yudhiṣṭhira, all assembly members and all people become doubtless in the matter of the form of salvation and the method of achieving it by such sermon of Bhīṣma Pitāmaha. Then they all, with the folded hands, did the worship of Bhīṣma Pitāmaha.

42. After this, Bhīṣma Pitāmaha having thought something said to Yudhiṣṭhira who has become calm–O son! If you wish to ask something else then ask that too.

43. Listening this word of him, Yudhiṣṭhira with folded hands and bent head spoke to him, ‘O Grandsire! I have known everything from you. Now I do not find anything to be asked.’

44. This moment I expect from the core of my heart good blessings for my future. I think that by such blessings only I would be able to protect people and the kingdom.

45. To Yudhiṣṭhira who was speaking like this, Bhīṣma Pitāmaha, the son of Gaṅgā, spoke affectionately thus–Son! My hearty blessings are always with you.

46. You are endowed with those qualities which are worthy of a king. Therefore it is my faith that you will indeed be proved to be a noble king. In your rulings neither children nor weak women nor any frail person will be afflicted.

47. (Because) Lord Kṛṣṇa’s blessings are with you, you will never become the subject (victim) of tension or worry; and your popularity will always remain in this country as well as in foreign countries too.

48. Now leave aside all your worries, go with your brothers and rule the kingdom; and nourish your subjects. Son! Now I also wish to meditate upon the Supreme Reality, the Creator of all, by wielding quiescence.

49. When this sun moves towards the Northern equator (i.e. Uttarāyaṇa), then come to me to perform my concluding ceremony. And son! Do not have sorrow for me. (Because) The death of the body which is the physical form of the soul is indeed ascertained only.

50. After this Bhīṣma Pitāmaha prayed to Lord Kṛṣṇa who is a rower of the boat which is in the form of ocean of this world, thus, O Kṛṣṇa! Please fulfil my last desire by bestowing upon me.

51. O Śrī Kṛṣṇa! It is my wish that at the time of death you only stay in front of my eyes; and it is my faith that you will surely fulfil this my last desire.

52. Lord Kṛṣṇa, gently understanding the essence of speech given by Bhīṣma Pitāmaha, too got most pleased on him;and at that time He gave him enough assurance. This situation of both of them at that time cannot be described in words.

53. Thereafter, five Pāṇḍavas along with Lord Kṛṣṇa and all the people, with the permission of Bhīṣma Pitāmaha, keeping patience, with the emotion in their minds that in this world there is nothing permanent; and by bowing down to him (Bhīṣma Pitāmaha) went away from there.

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