Mahabharata Bhishma Parva Chapter 14

Mahabharata Bhishma Parva (Bhagavat-Gita Parva) Chapter 14

Dhritarashtra said,—'How hath Bhishma, that bull among the Kurus, been slain by Sikhandin? How did my father, who resembled Vasava himself, fall down from his car? What became of my sons, O Sanjaya, when they were deprived of the mighty Bhishma who was like unto a celestial, and who led life of Brahmacharya for the sake of his father?[1] Upon the fall of that tiger among men who was endued with great wisdom, great capacity for exertion, great might and great energy, how did our warriors feel? Hearing that bull amongst the Kurus, that foremost of men, that unwavering hero is slain, great is the grief that pierceth my heart. While advancing (against the foe), who followed him and who proceeded ahead? Who stayed by his side? Who proceeded with him? What brave combatants followed behind (protecting his rear) that tiger among car-warriors, that wonderful archer, that bull among Kshatriyas, while he penetrated into the divisions of the foe?[2] While seizing the hostile ranks, what warriors opposed that slayer of foes resembling the luminary of thousand rays, who spreading terror among the foe destroyed their ranks like the Sun destroying darkness, and who achieved in battle amongst the ranks of Pandu's sons feats exceedingly difficult of accomplishment? How, indeed, O Sanjaya, did the Pandavas oppose in battle the son of Santanu, that accomplished and invincible warrior when he approached them smiting? Slaughtering the (hostile) ranks, having arrows for his teeth, and full of energy, with the bow for his wide-open mouth, and with the terrible sword for his tongue, and invincible, a very tiger among men, endued with modesty, and never before vanquished, alas, how did Kunti's son overthrow in battle that unconquered one, undeserving as he was of such a fate,[3]—that fierce bowman shooting fierce shafts, stationed on his excellent car, and plucking off the heads of foes (from their bodies)—that warrior, irresistible as the Yuga-fire, beholding whom addrest for battle the great army of the Pandavas always used to waver? Mangling the hostile troops for ten nights, alas, that slayer of ranks hath set like the Sun, having achieved feats difficult of achievement. He who, scattering like Sakra himself and inexhaustible shower of arrows, slew in battle a hundred millions of warriors in ten days, that scion of Bharata's race, now lieth, although he deserveth it not, on the bare ground, in the field of battle, deprived of life, a mighty tree uprooted by the winds, as a result of my evil counsels! Beholding Santanu's son Bhishma of terrible prowess, how indeed, could the army of the Pandavas[4] succeed in smiting him there? How did the sons of Pandu battle with Bhishma? How is it, O Sanjaya, that Bhishma could not conquer when Drona liveth? When Kripa, again, was near him, and Drona's son (Aswatthaman) also, how could Bhishma, that foremost of smiters be slain? How could Bhishma who was reckoned as an Atiratha and who could not be resisted by the very gods, be slain in battle by Sikhandin, the prince of Panchala?



  1. The first half of the first line, in the Bengal texts, is read as 'Kathamascha me putra', the Bombay text reads 'Kathamascha me Yoddha'. If the latter reading be adopted, the meaning would be—"Tell me how my warriors were," etc. etc.
  2. In the second line of sloka 3, for 'kim na asinmanastada' (what was the state of mind of our men) the Bombay text reads 'Kimu asinmanastava' (what was the state of your mind)?
  3. The Plural pronouns 'ye' in the second line of the 8th sloka (changed into 'ya' by rule of Sandhi because coming before tenam) is read 'ke' (or 'ka') by the Burdwan Pundits. I think the correction a happy one. Nilakantha would take 7 and 8 and the first half of 9 as a complete sentence reading 'Asya twama antike' (thou wert near him) for 'Asyaram antike' (smiting or shooting arrows near).
  4. Some of the Bengal texts have Panchalanam for Pandavanam.