Mahabharata Bhishma Parva Chapter 90

Mahabharata Bhishma Parva (Bhagavat-Gita Parva) Chapter 90

Dhritarashtra said, "Beholding my sons, so many in number, O Sanjaya, slain by a single person, what did Bhishma and Drona and Kripa do in battle?[1] Day after day, O Sanjaya, my sons are being slain. I think, O Suta, that they are completely overtaken by evil destiny, inasmuch as my sons never conquer but are always vanquished. When my sons staying in the midst of those unretreating heroes, viz., Drona and Bhishma, and the high-souled Kripa, and Somadatta's heroic son and Bhagadatta, and Aswatthaman also, O son, and other brave warriors, are being still slain in battle, what can it be said save the result of fate?[2] The wicked Duryodhana did not comprehend (our) words before, though admonished by me, O son, and by Bhishma and Vidura. (Though forbidden) always by Gandhari, too, from motives of doing him good, Duryodhana of wicked understanding awoke not before from folly.[3] That (conduct) hath now borne fruit, inasmuch as Bhimasena, excited with wrath, despatcheth, day after day in battle, my insensate sons to the abode of Yama.

Sanjaya said, "Those excellent words of Vidura, uttered for thy good, but which thou didst not then understand, have now come to be realised. Vidura had said, 'Restrain thy sons from the dice.' Like a man whose hour is come refusing the proper medicine, thou didst not then listen to the words of well-wishing friends counselling thee (for thy good). Those words uttered by the righteous have now been realised before thee. Indeed, the Kauravas are now being destroyed for having rejected those words, deserving of acceptance, of Vidura and Drona and Bhishma and thy other well-wishers. These very consequences happened even then when thou declinedst to listen to those counsels. Hear now, however, to my narration of the battle exactly as it has happened.[4] At midday the battle became exceedingly awful and fraught with great carnage. Listen to me, O king, as I describe it. Then all the troops (of the Pandava army), excited with rage, rushed, at the command of Dharma's son, against Bhishma alone from desire of slaying him. Dhrishtadyumna and Sikhandin, and the mighty car-warrior Satyaki, accompanied, O king, by their forces, proceeded against Bhishma alone. And those mighty car-warriors, viz., Virata and Drupada, with all the Somakas, rushed in battle against Bhishma alone. And the Kaikeyas, and Dhrishtaketu, and Kuntibhoja, equipped in mail and supported by their forces, rushed, O king, against Bhishma alone. And Arjuna, and the sons of Draupadi, and Chekitana of great prowess, proceeded against all the kings under the command of Duryodhana.



  1. The last word of this verse in the Bengal text is Sanjaya; in the Bombay text, it is Samyuge. The latter seems to be the true reading, for after Sanjaya in the first line, its repetition in the second is useless.
  2. The last word of the 4th verse is anivartinam. In the Bengal texts it is sumahatmanam.
  3. The last word of the first line of 8 is Vichetasa and not (as in the Bengal texts, including the Burdwan edition) Viseshatas which would scarcely have any meaning.
  4. I have expanded the first line of 13, as a closely literal version would scarcely be intelligent to the general reader. The sense is that the evil consequences, that have now overtaken thee, arose even then when the beneficial counsels of Vidura were first rejected.