Book 1: Chapter 9
Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 1: Chapter 9: Verses 1-16
Suta went on : Thus afraid of the wrongs perpetrated against humanity, king Yudhisthira thereafter proceeded to Vinasana (the battle-field of Kuruksetra)-where Devavrata (Bhisma) lay (on his bed of arrows), seeking enlightenment about all sacred duties. Thereupon all his celebrated brothers (Bhima and others) followed him, O holy Brahmanas, in chariots decked with gold and driven by excellent horses, as also the sages Vyasa, Dhaumya (the family priest of Yudhisthira) and others. Lord Sri Krsna Himself, O Saunaka, rode in a chariot along with Dhananjaya (Arjuna, so-called because of his having fetched as a tribute from his enemies untold riches for Yudhisthira, thereby enabling him to perform his famous Rajasuya sacrifice, which earned him the title of Emperor). Accompanied by them, king Yudhisthira shone brightly like Kubera (the Chief of the Yaksas, a class of demigods) in the midst of Guhyakas (Yaksas). Perceiving Bhisma lying on the ground like a god fallen from heaven, the Pandavas and their attendants as well as Sri Krsna made obeisance to him. At that time, O Saunaka, Brahmana sages, celestial sages and royal sages, all had assembled there in order to see Bhisma (the foremost of the Bharatas). Parvata, Narada, Dhaumya, the divine Badarayana (Vedavyasa), Brhadaswa, Bharadwaja, Parasurama (the son of Renuka) with his pupils, Vasistha, Indrapramada, Trita, Grtsamada, Asita, Kaksivan, Gautama and Atri, Viswamitra (a scion of Kusika), Sudarsana and other holy sages like Brahmarata (Suka) and even so Kasyapa, Angirasa and others arrived with their pupils, O Saunaka. Seeing those highly blessed souls assembled there, Bhisma  (the foremost of the Vasus, a class of gods) who was well-versed in the principles of right conduct paid his respect to them with due regard to the occasion and place. Bhisma was also acquainted with the glory of Sri Krsna, the Lord of the universe, who had sat before him in a personal form assumed through Maya, and was also enthroned in his heart, and he paid his homage to Him.
Eyes blinded with tears of affection, Bhisma looked at the sons of Pandu, who sat beside him, full of modesty and love, and spoke to them as follows :-- "How painful and how unjust it has been that you, the progeny of righteousness, and votaries of the Brahmanas, Dharma (goodness) and Lord Acyuta (Sri Krsna) should have lived a life of suffering, which you surely did not deserve. When the great warrior Pandu breathed his last, you were all tender of age, and my daughter-in-law, Prtha, along with you, her children, had to suffer many hardships on your account more than once. I believe that all your unwelcome experiences were attributable to Time (Providence); for the whole world with its guardian deities is ruled over by Time even as the clouds are by the wind. Where king Yudhisthira, the son of Dharma was the ruler, Bhima held the mace in his hand, Arjuna was the archer and Gandiva the bow, and where Sri Krsna was the friend and well-wisher,to think of adversity even there ! Indeed no man, O king, can ever discover the intention of Sri Krsna; even seers get bewildered in their seeking to find it out.
- The Mahabharata tells us that Bhisma was an incarnation of Dyauh, the formost of the eight Vasus.