Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Mahabharata  Index  Previous  Next 

p. 310


"Sanjaya said,--'After the night had passed away, O monarch, all the kings, the Pandavas and the Dhartarashtras, repaired to the grandsire, Those Kshatriyas then saluted that bull of their order, that foremost one among the Kurus, that hero lying on a hero's bed, and stood in his presence. Maidens by thousands, having repaired to that place, gently showered over Santanu's son powdered sandal wood and fried paddy, and garlands of flowers. And women and old men and children, and ordinary spectators, all approached Santanu's son like creatures of the world desirous of beholding the Sun. And trumpets by hundreds and thousands, and actors, and mimes, and skilled mechanics also came to the aged Kuru grandsire. And ceasing to fight, putting aside their coats of mail, and lying aside their weapons, the Kurus and the Pandavas, united together, came to the invincible Devavrata, that chastiser of foes. And they were assembled together as in days of old, and cheerfully addressed one another according to their respective ages. And that conclave full of Bharata kings by hundreds and adorned with Bhishma, looked beautiful and blazing like a conclave of the gods in heaven. And that conclave of kings engaged in honouring the son of Ganga looked as beautiful as a conclave of the celestials engaged in adorning their Lord, viz., the Grandsire (Brahman). Bhishma, however, O bull of Bharata's race, suppressing his agonies with fortitude though burning with the arrows (still sticking to his body), was sighing like a snake. His body burning with these arrows, and himself nearly deprived of his senses in consequence of his weapon-wounds, Bhishma cast his eyes on those kings and asked for water. Then those Kshatriyas, O king, brought thither excellent viands and several vessels of cold water. Beholding that water brought for him, Santanu's son said,--I cannot, O sire, now use any article of human enjoyment! I am removed from the pale of humanity. I am lying on a bed of arrows. I am staying here, expecting only the return of the Moon and the Sun! Having spoken these words and thereby rebuked those kings, O Bharata, he said,--I wish to see Arjuna!--The mighty-armed Arjuna then came there, and reverentially saluting the grandsire stood with joined hands, and said,--What shall I do?--Beholding then that son of Pandu, O monarch, thus standing before him after having offered him respectful salutations, Bhishma of righteous soul cheerfully addressed Dhananjaya, saying,--Covered all over with thy shafts, my body is burning greatly! All the vital parts of my body are in agony. My mouth is dry. Staying as I am with body afflicted with agony, give me water, O Arjuna! Thou art a great bowman! Thou art capable of giving me water duly!--The valiant Arjuna then saying,--So be it,--mounted on his car, and striking his Gandiva with force, began to stretch it. Hearing the twang of his bow and the slap of his palms which resembled the roar of the thunder, the troops and the kings were all inspired with fear. Then that foremost of car-warriors, mounted on his car, circumambulated that prostrate

p. 311

chief of the Bharatas, that foremost of all wielders of weapons. Aiming then a blazing arrow, after having inspired it with Mantras and identified it with the Parjanya weapon, in the very sight of the entire army, the son of Pandu, viz., Partha, pierced the Earth a little to the south of where Bhishma lay. Then there arose a jet of water that was pure, and auspicious, and cool, and that resembling the nectar itself, was of celestial scent and taste. And with that cool jet of water Partha gratified Bhishma, that bull among the Kurus, of godlike deeds and prowess. And at that feat of Partha who resembled Sakra himself in his acts, all those rulers of Earth were filled with great wonder. And beholding that feat of Vibhatsu implying superhuman prowess, the Kurus trembled like kine afflicted with cold. And from wonder all the kings there present waved their garments (in the air). And loud was the blare of conchs and the beat of drums that were then heard all over the field. And Santanu's son, his thirst quenched, then addressed Jishnu, O monarch, and said, applauding him highly in the presence of all those kings, these words, viz.,--O thou of mighty arms, this is not wonderful in thee, O son of Kuru's race! O thou of immeasurable effulgence, even Narada spoke of thee as an ancient Rishi! Indeed, with Vasudeva as thy ally, thou wilt achieve many mighty feats which the chief of the celestials himself with all the gods, of a certainty, will not venture to achieve! They that have knowledge of such things know thee to be the destroyer of the whole Kshatriya race! Thou art the one bowman among the bowmen of the world! Thou art the foremost among men. As human beings are, in this world, foremost of all creatures, as Garuda is the foremost of all winged creatures; as the Ocean is the foremost among all receptacles of water and the cow among all quadrupeds; as the Sun is the foremost amongst all luminous bodies and Himavat among all mountains; as the Brahmana is the foremost among all castes, art thou the foremost of all bowmen! Dhritarashtra's son (Duryodhana) listened not to the words repeatedly spoken by me and Vidura and Drona and Rama and Janardana and also by Sanjaya. Reft of his senses, like unto an idiot, Duryodhana placed no reliance on those utterances. Past all instructions, he will certainly have to lie down for ever, overwhelmed by the might of Bhima!--Hearing these words of his, the Kuru king Duryodhana became of cheerless heart. Eyeing him, Santanu's son said,--Listen, O king! Abandon thy wrath! Thou hast seen, O Duryodhana how the intelligent Partha created that jet of cool and nectar-scented water! There is none else in this world capable of achieving such feat. The weapons appertaining to Agni, Varuna, Soma, Vayu, and Vishnu, as also those appertaining to Indra, Pasupati, and Paramesthi, and those of Prajapati, Dhatri, Tashtri, Savitri, and Vivaswat, all these are known to Dhananjaya alone in this world of men! Krishna, the son of Devaki, also knoweth them. But there is none else here that knoweth them. This son of Pandu, O sire, is incapable of being defeated in battle by even the gods and the Asuras together. The feats of this high-souled one are superhuman. With that truthful hero, that ornament of battle, that warrior accomplished in fight,

p. 312

let peace, O king, be soon made! As long as the mighty-armed Krishna is not possessed by wrath, O chief of the Kurus, it is fit, O sire, that peace should be made with the heroic Parthas! As long as this remnant of thy brothers is not slain, let peace, O monarch, be made! As long as Yudhishthira with eyes burning in wrath doth not consume thy troops in battle, let peace, O sire, be made! As long as Nakula, and Sahadeva, and Bhimasena, the sons of Pandu, do not, O monarch, exterminate thy army, it seems to me that friendly relations should be restored between thee and the heroic Pandavas! Let this battle end with my death, O sire! Make peace with the Pandavas, Let these words that are uttered to thee by me be acceptable to thee, O sinless one! Even this is what I regard to be beneficial both for thyself and the race (itself of Kuru)! Abandoning thy wrath, let peace be made with Parthas. What Phalguni hath already done is sufficient. Let friendly relations be restored with the death of Bhishma! Let this remnant (of warriors) live! Relent, O king! Let half the kingdom be given to the Pandavas. Let king Yudhishthira the just, go to Indraprastha. O chief of the Kurus, do not achieve a sinful notoriety among the kings of the earth by incurring the reproach of meanness, becoming a fomentor of intestine dissensions! Let peace come to all with my death! Let these rulers of earth, cheerfully mix with one another! Let sire get back the son, let sister's son get back the maternal uncle! If from want of understanding and possessed by folly thou dost not harken to those timely words of mine thou wilt have to repent greatly! What I say is true. Therefore, desist even now! Having, from affection, said these words unto Duryodhana in the midst of the kings, the son of the ocean-going (Ganga) became silent. Though his vital limbs were burning with the arrow-wounds, yet, prevailing over his agonies, he applied himself to yoga.

"Sanjaya continued--'Having heard these beneficial and peaceful words fraught with both virtue and profit, thy son, however, accepted them not, like a dying man refusing medicine."

Next: Section CXXIV