Mahabharata Bhishma Parva Chapter 109:2

Mahabharata Bhishma Parva (Bhagavat-Gita Parva) Chapter 109:2

Dhritarashtra said, "Tell me, O Sanjaya, what the valiant Bhishma, excited with rage, did in battle, upon beholding my host afflicted by the Parthas. O sinless one, tell me how that hero, that chastiser of foes, rushed against the Pandavas in battle, and slaughtered the Somakas.

Sanjaya said, "I will tell thee, O king, what thy sire did when thy sons' host was afflicted by the Pandavas and the Srinjayas. With cheerful hearts, the brave sons of Pandu, O elder brother of Pandu, encountered thy son's host, slaughtering (all whom they met). That carnage, O chief of men, of human beings, elephants and steeds, that destruction by the foe of thy army in battle, Bhishma could not brook. That invincible and great bowman, then, reckless of his very life poured upon the Pandavas, the Panchalas, and the Srinjayas, showers of long shafts and calf-toothed and crescent-shaped arrows. And with weapons, O monarch, he checked with his shafts and with showers of other weapons, both offensive and defensive, all sped with energy and wrath, the five foremost of mighty car-warriors of the Pandavas, who had been struggling vigorously in battle. Excited with wrath, he slaughtered in that battle countless elephants and steeds. And that bull among men, O monarch, throwing down many car-warriors from their cars,[1] and horsemen from their horses, and crowds of foot soldiers, and elephant-warriors from the backs of the beasts they rode, struck terror into the foe. And the Pandava warriors all rushed together upon Bhishma singly, upon that mighty car-warrior struggling in battle with great activity, like the Asuras rushing together upon him with the thunderbolt in hand. Shooting on all sides his whetted arrows whose touch resembled that of Indra's thunder, he seemed to the enemy to have assembled a terrible visage. While fighting in that battle, his large bow, resembling that of Sakra himself, seemed to be always drawn to a circle. Beholding those feats in battle, thy sons, O monarch, filled with exceeding wonder, worshipped the grandsire. The Parthas cast their eyes, with cheerless hearts, upon thy heroic sire struggling in battle, like the celestials upon (the Asura) Viprachitti (in days of old).[2] They could not resist that warrior who then resembled the Destroyer himself with wide-open mouth. In that battle on the tenth day, Bhishma, with his sharp shafts, consumed the division of Sikhandin like a conflagration consuming a forest. Him resembling an angry snake of virulent poison, or the Destroyer urged by Death himself, Sikhandin pierced with three shafts in the centre of the chest. Deeply pierced therewith, Bhishma saw that it was Sikhandin (who was piercing him). Excited with wrath, but unwilling (to fight with Sikhandin) Bhishma laughingly said, 'Whether thou choosest to strike me or not, I will never fight with thee. Thou art that Sikhandin still which the Creator had made thee first'.[3] Hearing these words of his, Sikhandin, deprived of his senses by wrath, and licking the corners of his mouth addressed Bhishma in that battle, saying, 'I know thee, O mighty-armed one, to be the exterminator of the Kshatriya race.



  1. The adjective Vahu in the first line of 32 qualifies rathinas in the second line. The last of the verse is a nom. sing. and not a vocative.
  2. The Bengal texts read mahasuram in the second line of the verse. This seems to be vicious. A latter reading would be mahasuram (the great Asura). The Bombay text reads rane suram. I adopt the last.
  3. i.e. Thou art still a woman though the sex hath been changed.