Mahabharata Bhishma Parva Chapter 120:4

Mahabharata Bhishma Parva (Bhagavat-Gita Parva) Chapter 120:4

Then Bhishma, deeply and excessively pierced by the wielder of Gandiva with keen-pointed shafts, once more addressed Dussasana with a smile and said, 'These arrows coursing towards me in one continuous line, whose touch resembleth that of heaven's bolt, have been shot by Arjuna. These are not Sikhandin's. Cutting me to the quick, piercing through even my hard coat of mail, and striking me with the force of mushalas, these arrows are not Sikhandin's. Of touch as hard as that of the Brahmana's rod (of chastisement),[1] and of impetus unbearable as that of the thunder-bolt, these arrows are afflicting my vital forces. These are not Sikhandin's. Of the touch of maces and spiked bludgeons, those arrows are destroying my vital forces like messengers of Death commissioned (by the grim king himself). These are not Sikhandin's. Like angry snakes of virulent poison, projecting their tongues out, these are penetrating into my vitals. These are not Sikhandin's these that cut me to the quick like the cold of winter cutting kine to the quick. Save the heroic wielder of Gandiva, viz., the ape-bannered Jishnu, even all other kings united together cannot cause me pain.' Saying these words, Bhishma, the valiant son of Santanu, as if for the object of consuming the Pandavas, hurled a dart at Partha. Partha, however, caused that dart to drop down, cutting it into three fragments with three shafts, in the very sight, O Bharata, of all the Kuru heroes of thy army. Desirous of obtaining either death or victory, the son of Ganga then took up a sword and a shield decked with gold. Before, however, he could come down from his car, Arjuna cut off by means of his arrows, that shield into a hundred fragments. And that feat of his seemed exceedingly wonderful. Then the king Yudhishthira urged his own troops, saying, 'Rush ye at Ganga's son. Do not entertain the slightest fear'.

Then, armed with bearded darts, and lances, and arrows, from all sides, with axes, and excellent scimitars, and long shafts of great sharpness, with calf-toothed arrows, and broad-headed shafts, they all rushed at that single warrior. Then arose from among the Pandava host a loud shout. Then thy sons also, O king, desirous of Bhishma's victory, surrounded him and uttered leonine shouts. Fierce was the battle fought there between thy troops and those of the enemy on that the tenth day, O king, when Bhishma and Arjuna met together. Like unto the vortex that occurs at the spot where the Ganga meets the Ocean, for a short while a vortex occurred there where the troops of both armies met and struck one another down. And the Earth, wet with gore, assumed a fierce form. And the even and the uneven spots on her surface could no longer be distinguished. Although Bhishma was pierced in all his vital limbs, yet on that the tenth day he stayed (calmly) in battle, having slain ten thousand warriors.



  1. Brahma-danda literally means a Brahmana's rod—bamboo-stick. In consequence of the Brahmana's ascetic power, this thin rod (symbolical of the Brahmana's power of chastisement) is infinitely more powerful than even Indra's bolt. The latter can strike only one, but the former can smite whole countries, and entire races from generation to generation. With only his Brahma-danda Vasishtha baffled all the mighty and celestial weapons of Viswamitra vide, Ramayana, section 56, Valakanda.