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 20 - Description of Mahāprayāṇa

1. The Sun-god slowly reached to the Northern direction by leaving the Southern direction. Who can impress the two heroines together, if both of them are at different places at the same time?

2. At that time King Yudhiṣṭhira gave up food being pained by understanding it to be the proposed time of death of Bhīṣma Pitāmaha as the Sun was moving from the zodiac sign Capricorn i.e. completing Dakṣiṇāyana.

3. And he commanded to accumulate all the necessary goods for the concluding ceremony of him. On that night the king Yudhiṣṭhira could not sleep as his mind was constantly thinking of Bhīṣma Pitāmaha.

4. The next day, having completed regular rites, the king Yudhiṣṭhira reached to Bhīṣma Pitāmaha along with his purohitas, relatives, fire and the necessary goods for pyre.

5. There he firstly bowed down to Bhīṣma Pitāmaha who was surrounded by royal saints, great sages and divine ascetics as well as who was served by the kings and people. And then he paid homage to sages and others.

6. Thereafter he informed about his presence to Bhīṣma Pitāmaha who was then prepared to give up his life. At that moment tranquil minded Bhīṣma Pitāmaha slowly opened his eyes.

7. Bhīṣma Pitāmaha was extremely happy and satisfied in by looking at the king Yudhiṣṭhira in front of him only; and then assuming the sun to be on the Northen equator he spoke like a pilgrim leaving his place.

8. Son! The sun has turned to Northern equator; the month is also Māgha;and the Pakṣa is also Śukla i.e. bright fifteen days of a month. Therefore I wish to give up my last breath. You are not supposed to lament after my death.

9. O sinless! You always protect and nurture all your subjects and relatives righteously. So that the happiness would lie in the family and in the kingdom who suffered in war in every way.

10. I am sure that you will protect and serve your subjects very well and in that way you will become more popular. (Because) The hot rays never come on the earth from the orbit of the moon.

11. By saying so to the king Yudhiṣṭhira, Bhīṣma Pitāmaha, the son of Gaṅgā, said to Dhṛtarāṣṭra, the son of Ambikā, Dhṛtarāṣṭra! Now leaving aside all your worries (you) accept these Pāṇḍavas as your own.

12. Those who do not control their children; who spoil their children and make them rebellious by caressing (fondling) them; suffer everywhere like people sitting on the seat of gone astray horses.

13. O son! Wicked sons become the cause of destruction for the society. Therefore parents are expected to bear their children with proper training and proper code of conduct from time to time.

14. A foliage made on an unbaked earthen pot sufficiently beautifies the pot by becoming very firm when baked on the pot. But if they are made on the baked pots, then not only they cannot be made on them but they also destroy the pots while they are made of them.

15. The sad Dhṛtarāṣṭra with bent head spoke to Bhīṣma Pitāmaha, the son of Kuru race, O father! Now my affection for my sons has disappeared. I understood that I have given birth to a slur on the fair name of a family, and not to the sons. Therefore I pray you to forgive me.

16. My inner soul gets ashamed today by remembering all those knaveries of my mind and for not listening to your valuable advices due to affection for chidren.

17. From today onwards I shall always consider these Pāṇḍavas Yudhiṣṭhira as my sons only. For any person should not remember (recall) the broken pieces of the glasses on receiving the pearls.

18. Bhīṣma Pitāmaha on hearing and understanding the feelings of Dhṛtarāṣṭra became calm for confirming peace on earth. Thereafter tranquil minded Bhīṣma Pitāmaha, who has decided to leave this body and looking at Lord Kṛṣṇa standing in front of his eyes, spoke to him.

19. O Śrīkṛṣṇa! The Sun has moved to the Northern equator. Therefore I wish to abandon my life breath now. O Mādhava! Please forgive me for my offences; and allow me to leave this world.

20. O Lord! I beseech forgiveness from you with these my joined hands for any offence done mentally, physically or orally under the influence of greed, attachment or arrogance.

21. I wish that on the earth this race, this nation and these Pāṇḍavas get support from you; all kinds of prosperity may reside with everyone; and may all the calamities get ended from all the sides.

22. I know that you have descended on the earth in the Dvāparayuga in order to destroy unrighteousness on the earth; and by destroying unrighteousness and establishing righteousness on earth you are being glorified presently on the earth.

23. O Lord! There is no doubt that even a small lump of earth becomes a mountain on passing the time; and that only becomes the reason of constant sorrow, by thinking this O Kṛṣṇa! I have become tensed.

24. I have been polluted by the contact with unrighteousness. Therefore I am praying you for my purification. O Lord! Please make me pure through the sacred water in the form of your compassion; and please have mercy on me.

25. Saints and sages moving in the space say that even the sight of (river) Gaṅgā makes a person pure and sacred. (Then) Will these your two steps, who have given birth to her (Gaṅgā), not make me pure on being remembered and seen by me? I think they will surely make me pure.

26. When the Sun and the Moon, though staying differently, are indeed able to remove the darkness, then cannot You, making the Sun and the Moon your eyes together, remove this darkness of my sin? I think You can indeed remove them.

27. Lovable to your devotees! Expert in burning the forest which is in the form of (this) world, O Lord! O Kṛṣṇa! O Nātha! Forgiving me for all my faults, please make me out of this sea of sorrow.

28. O Lord! You show your expertise in protecting your duty by assimilating me. I am completely in your shelter. Therefore, You make an assignment to a better abode of mine in the post-death existence as per Your religion.

29. I wish to have your blessings in my long journey, so that agony cannot pain us more; and I can reach to the destination easily.

30. By listening to the heart-rending words of that Bhīṣma, though staying in that condition also and endowed with the best power of thoughts, compassionate Lord Kṛṣṇa completely melted on him, like a milky cow on its calf.

31. Thereafter, Lord Kṛṣṇa, the remover of the social trauma, by taking Bhīṣma’s hand in His own and by making him to drink nectar drink of compassion, spoke to him in His grave speech.

32. O Grandsire! You do not bother. You are worthy to be worshipped even by the great souls. During your lifetime, ineffable penance you did that is enough for your welfare at this moment.

33. O Bhīṣma! I know you from the beginning. You do not carry a single trace of sin. Therefore O Grandsire! You be very sure. This long journey will be for your betterment.

34. You also do not worry for “You have helped Duryodhana”, because your insight has always taken the side of righteousness.

35. Staying on the side of unrighteousness, you have not left the righteousness. The fragrance of a lotus never goes stale by staying even in mud.

36. By bearing unrighteous conduct of his (Duryodhana) and by fighting the war from his side, whatever kind of little sin you might have acquired, you have already burnt it in the fire of death expected by yourself.

37. O Grandsire! By accepting your death as per your wish, in this war, you have protected the Dharma. At that time, by your fall on the earth, the dust assembled to the roots of a tree of unrighteousness has moved away.

38. O son of Gaṅgā! I am finding you sinless from all sides. Therefore you give up tensions; and look at me. I am sure that you will be worshipped in the other world. The talk of Lord Kṛṣṇa will not be untrue.

39. Wise and metaphysician persons will always praise you. Any thoughtful person will never scorn (censure) you in this as well as in the other world.

40. O Bhīṣma! You become sure from all the sides. The deities of Vasuloka are waiting for you. I also wish (you) that you always see your welfare.

41. By listening to such word of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Devavrata Bhīṣma Pitāmaha immediately came out of the trap of tensions which was in the form of creeper. Does a person fear from the darkness after getting the help of morning Sun-rise? Never.

42. Then after Devavrata Bhīṣma Pitāmaha mentally bowed down Lord Kṛṣṇa again and again; and assuming that time to be auspicious, he decided to give up his body.

43. The knower of the essence of Yoga, that Bhīṣma Pitāmaha, by controlling the mental-inclinations like a Yogī in front of Lord Kṛṣṇa only, lifted upside his vital-breath, which was controlled till then, serially from Mūlādhiṣṭhāna.

44. At that time his vital breath as soon as lifted upside for the suture on the top of the skull (Brahmarandhra), the arrows of Arjuna and their wounds immediately disappeared from those parts.

45. The five air viz., Prāṇa, Apāna, Samāna, Vyāna and Udāna i.e. vitalbreath of his body when reached to his suture on the top of the skull crossing the six places viz., Mūlādhāra, Adhiṣṭhāna, Maṇipūra, Anāhata, Viśuddha and Ājñā;, at that time his entire body became absolutely free from all the arrows and wounds.

46. At that time, there was seen neither any arrow nor any wound. By seeing this, all assembled people started looking at him so seriously.

47. At that time, the nine passages of his own body meaning mouth, a pair of ears, a pair of eyes, a pair of nostrils, the anus and the genitals;which were restrained by the vital-breath of Bhīṣma suddenly breaking his suture on the top of the skull and sparkling within a moment.

48. Being watched by all people, his sparkling vital-breath immediately entered into the sky. At that time, there started the sound of kettle-drums in the sky; and the rain of flowers by the gods.

49. At that time, there started being heard the auspicious speeches of humans on the earth and that of gods in the sky for Bhīṣma. In my opinion, that scene of the final journey of Bhīṣma Pitāmaha is matchless even today.

50. And now I am feeling sad to say that the Sun in the form of Bhīṣmapitāmaha sinked thus. As a result, the darkness in the form of grief spread everywhere within a moment due to his absence. Because of it the lotus in the form of faces that of wise persons withered; and that of Pāṇḍavas especially.

51. And there slowly spread quietude; and for the passed soul there flooded the faith in the hearts of all. After the passing of few moments, there came the idea of putting his body on fire in the minds of people.

52. And then Lord Kṛṣṇa said to the king Yudhiṣṭhira after consoling all the relatives that, O Patient one! Leave aside all your sorrows and to imbibe the quality of patience; and prepare the fire alter for Bhīṣma Pitāmaha.

53. Hearing such words of Lord Śrīkṛṣṇa, that King Yudhiṣṭhira, the eldest amongst Pāṇḍava brothers, holding patience in his mind, thinking everything to be non-eternal and looking at the body of Bhīṣma Pitāmaha, taking deep breath because of getting unhappy, ordered his brothers and family members to prepare for funeral ceremony.

54. Thereafter, remembering the qualities of Bhīṣma Pitāmaha having become his devotee, having become patient; all the brothers, all the relatives and all the kinsmen along with the king Yudhiṣṭhira faithfully and traditionally performed his concluding ceremony in a royal pomp.

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