The Mahabharata (English)

by Kisari Mohan Ganguli | 1,056,585 words | ISBN-10: 8121505933

The English translation of the Mahabharata is a large text describing ancient India. It is authored by Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa and contains the records of ancient humans. Also, it documents the fate of the Kauravas and the Pandavas family. Another part of the large contents, deal with many philosophical dialogues such as the goals of life. Book...

Section XLIII

"Bhishma said,—

The will under which the ruler of Chedi summons you to fight though you are of strength that knows no deterioration, is scarcely his own intention.

Assuredly, this is the purpose of Krishna himself, the lord of the universe.

O Bhima, what king is there on earth that would dare abuse me thus, as this wretch of his race, already possessed by Death, has done to-day?

This mighty-armed one is, without doubt, a portion of Hari’s energy.

And surely, the Lord desires to take back unto himself that energy of his own. In consequence of this, O tiger of the Kuru race, this tiger-like king of Chedi, so wicked of heart, roars in such a way caring little for us all."

"Vaisampayana continued,—"Hearing these words of Bhishma, the king of Chedi could bear no more, He then replied in rage unto Bhishma in these words.—

'Let our foes, O Bhishma, be endued with that prowess which this Kesava has, whom you like a professional chanter of hymns praisest, rising repeatedly from your seat.

If your mind, O Bhishma, delights so in praising others, then praise you these kings, leaving off Krishna. Praise you this excellent of kings, Darada, the ruler of Valhika, who rent this earth as soon as he was born.

Praise you, O Bhishma, this Karna, the ruler of the territories of Anga and Vanga,
who is equal in strength unto him of a thousand eyes, who draws a large bow,
who endued with mighty arms owns celestial ear-rings of heavenly make with which he was born and this coat of mail possessing the splendour of the rising sun,
who vanquished in a wrestling encounter the invincible Jarasandha equal unto Vasava himself,
and who tore and mangled that monarch.

O Bhishma, praise Drona and Asvatthaman, who both father and son, are mighty warriors, worthy of praise, and the best of Brahmanas, and either of whom, O Bhishma, if enraged could annihilate this earth with its mobile and immobile creatures, as I believe. I do not behold, O Bhishma, the king that is equal in battle unto Drona or Asvatthaman.

Why wishest you not to praise them?

Passing over Duryodhana, that mighty-armed king of kings, who is unequalled in whole earth girt with her seas
and king Jayadratha accomplished in weapons and endued with great prowess,
and Druma the preceptor of the Kimpurushas and celebrated over the world for prowess,
and Saradvata’s son, old Kripa, the preceptor of the Bharata princes and endued with great energy,
why dost you praise Kesava?

Passing over that foremost of bowmen—that excellent of kings, Rukmin of great energy, why praisest you Kesava?

Passing over Bhishmaka of abundant energy,
and king Dantavakra, and Bhagadatta known for his innumerable sacrificial stakes,
and Jayatsena the king of the Magadha,
and Virata and Drupada, and Sakuni and Vrihadvala,
and Vinda and Anuvinda of Avant Pandya,
Sveta Uttama Sankhya of great prosperity,
the proud Vrishasena, the powerful Ekalavya,
and the great charioteer Kalinga of abundant energy,
why dost you praise Kesava?

And, O Bhishma, if your mind is always inclined to sing the praises of others, why dost you not praise Salya and other rulers of the earth?

O king, what can be done by me when (it seems) you have not heard anything before from virtuous old men giving lessons in morality?

Hast you never heard, O Bhishma, that reproach and glorification, both of self and others, are not practices of those that are respectable?

There is no one that approves your conduct, O Bhishma, in unceasingly praising with devotion, from ignorance alone, Kesava so unworthy of praise.

How dost you, from your wish alone, establish the whole universe in the servitor and cowherd of Bhoja (Kansa)? Perhaps, O Bharata, this your inclination is not conformable to your true nature, like to what may be in the bird Bhulinga, as has already been said by me.

There is a bird called Bhulinga living on the other side of the Himavat.

O Bhishma, that bird ever utters words of adverse import. Never do anything rash,—this is what she always says, but never understands that she herself always acts very rashly. Possessed of little intelligence that bird picks from the lion’s mouth the pieces of flesh sticking between the teeth, and at a time when the lion is employed in eating.

Assuredly, O Bhishma, that bird lives at the pleasure of the lion. O sinful wretch, you always speakest like that bird.

And assuredly, O Bhishma, you are alive at the pleasure only of these kings. Employed in acts contrary to the opinions of all, there is none else like you!"

"Vaisampayana continued,—Hearing these harsh words of the ruler of Chedi, Bhishma, O king, said in the hearing of the king of Chedi,—

'Truly am I alive at the pleasure of these rulers of earth. But I do regard these kings as not equal to even a straw.'

As soon as these words were spoken by Bhishma, the kings became inflamed with wrath. And the down of some amongst them stood erect and some began to reprove Bhishma.

And hearing those words of Bhishma, some amongst them, that were wielders of large bows exclaimed,

'This wretched Bhishma, though old, is exceedingly boastful. He deserves not our pardon. Therefore, you kings, incensed with rage as this Bhishma is, it is well that this wretch were slain like an animal, or, mustering together, let us burn him in a fire of grass or straw.'

Hearing these words of the monarchs, Bhishma the grand-sire of the Kurus, endued with great intelligence, addressing those lords of earth, said,—

'I do not see the end of our speeches, for words may be answered with words. Therefore, you lords of earth, listen you all unto what I say. Whether I be slain like an animal or burnt in a fire of grass and straw, thus do I distinctly place my foot on the heads of you all.

Here is Govinda, that knows no deterioration. Him have we worshipped. Let him who wishes for speedy death, summon to battle Madhava of dark hue and the wielder of the discus and the mace; and falling enter into and mingle with the body of this god!"

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