Mahabharata Bhishma Parva Chapter 120:5

Mahabharata Bhishma Parva (Bhagavat-Gita Parva) Chapter 120:5

Then that great bowman, Partha, stationed at the head of his troops, broke the centre of the Kuru army. Ourselves then, afraid of Kunti's son Dhananjaya having white steeds attached to his car, and afflicted by him with polished weapons, fled away from the battle. The Sauviras, the Kitavas, the Easterners, the Westerners, the Northerners, the Malavas, the Abhishahas, the Surasenas, the Sivis, the Vasatis, the Salwas, the Sayas, the Trigartas, the Amvashthas, and the Kaikeyas.[1]—these and many other illustrious warriors,—afflicted with arrows and pained by their wounds, abandoned Bhishma in that battle while he was fighting with the diadem-decked (Arjuna). Then a great many warriors, surrounding that single warrior on all sides, defeated the Kurus (that protected him) and covered him with shower of arrows. Throw down, Seize, Fight, Cut into pieces,—this was the furious uproar, O king, heard in the vicinity of Bhishma's car. Having slain in that battle, O monarch, (his foes) by hundreds and thousands, there was not in Bhishma's body space of even two fingers' breadth that was not pierced with arrows. Thus was thy sire mangled with arrows of keen points by Phalguni in that battle.

And then he fell down from his car with his head to the east, a little before sunset, in the very sight of thy sons. And while Bhishma fell, loud cries of alas and oh, O Bharata, were heard in the welkin uttered by the celestials and the kings of the earth. And beholding the high-souled grandsire falling down (from his car), the hearts of all of us fell with him. That foremost of all bowmen, that mighty-armed hero, fell down, like an uprooted standard of Indra, making the earth tremble the while.[2] Pierced all over with arrows, his body touched not the ground. At that moment, O bull of Bharata's race, a divine nature took possession of that great bowman lying on a bed of arrows. The clouds poured a (cool) shower (over him) and the Earth trembled. While falling he had marked that the Sun was then in the southern solstice. That hero, therefore, permitted not his senses to depart, thinking of that (inauspicious) season (of death). And all around in the welkin he heard celestial voices saying, 'Why, Oh why, should Ganga's son, that foremost of all warriors of weapons, yield up his life during the southern declension?' Hearing these words, the son of Ganga answered, 'I am alive!' Although fallen upon the earth, the Kuru grandsire Bhishma, expectant of the northern declension, suffered not his life to depart. Ascertaining that to be his resolve, Ganga, the daughter of Himavat, sent unto him the great Rishis in swanlike form. Then those Rishis in the forms of swans inhabiting the Manasa lake, quickly rose up, and came together, for obtaining a sight of the Kuru grandsire Bhishma, to that spot where that foremost of men was lying on his bed of arrows. Then those Rishis in swanlike forms, coming to Bhishma, beheld that perpetuator of Kuru's race lying on his bed of arrows.



  1. Instead of "the Salwas, the Sayas, and the Trigartas," the Bombay text reads, "the Trigartas depending on (king) Salwa." I have not, however, met with any Trigartas under Salwa's rule, that race having, at this time, Susarman for their ruler.
  2. Indraddhwaja was a pole, decked with banners, created in honour of Indra. The festival attracted considerable crowds.