Mahabharata Bhishma Parva Chapter 14:2

Mahabharata Bhishma Parva (Bhagavat-Gita Parva) Chapter 14:2

He, who always regarded himself as the equal of the mighty son of Jamadagni in battle, he whom Jamadagni's son himself could not vanquish, he who resembled Indra himself in prowess,—alas, O Sanjaya, tell me how that hero, Bhishma, born in the race of Maharathas, was slain in battle, for without knowing all the particulars I cannot regain my equanimity. What great bowmen of my army, O Sanjaya, did not desert that hero of unfading glory? What heroic warriors, again, at Duryodhana's command, stood around that hero (for protecting him)? When all the Pandavas placing Sikhandin in their van advanced against Bhishma, did not all the Kurus,[1] O Sanjaya, stay by the side of that hero of unfading prowess? Hard as my heart is, surely it must be made of adamant, for it breaketh not on hearing the death of that tiger among men, viz., Bhishma! In that irresistible bull of Bharata's race, were truth, and intelligence, and policy, to an immeasurable extent. Alas, how was he slain in battle? Like unto a mighty cloud of high altitude, having the twang of his bowstring for its roar, his arrows for its rain-drops, and the sound of his bow for its thunder, that hero showering his shafts on Kunti's sons with the Panchalas and the Srinjayas on their side, smote hostile car-warriors like the slayer of Vala smiting the Danavas. Who were the heroes that resisted, like the bank resisting the surging sea, that chastiser of foes, who was a terrible ocean of arrows and weapons, an ocean in which shafts were the irresistible crocodiles and bows were the waves, an ocean that was inexhaustible, without an island, agitated and without a raft to cross it, in which maces and swords were like sharks and steeds and elephants like eddies, and foot-soldiers like fishes in abundance, and the sound of conches and drums like its roar, and ocean that swallowed horses and elephants and foot-soldiers quickly, an ocean that devoured hostile heroes and that seethed with wrath and energy which constituted its Yadava-fire?[2] When for Duryodhana's good, that slayer of foes, Bhishma, achieved (terrible) feats in battle, who were then in his van? Who were they that protected the right wheel of that warrior of immeasurable energy? Who were they that, mustering patience and energy, resisted hostile heroes from his rear? Who stationed themselves in his near front for protecting him? Who were those heroes that protected the fore-wheel of that brave warrior while he battled (with the foe)? Who were they that stationing themselves by his left wheel smote the Srinjayas? Who were they that protected the irresistible advance ranks of his van? Who protected the wings of that warrior who hath made the last painful journey? And who, O Sanjaya, fought with hostile heroes in the general engagement? If he was protected by (our) heroes, and if they were protected by him, why could he not then speedily vanquish in battle the army of the Pandavas, invincible though it be? Indeed, O Sanjaya, how could the Pandavas succeed even in striking Bhishma who was like Parameshti himself, that Lord and creator of all creatures?[3]



  1. The form of the 2nd line is a negative interrogative, implying,—'I hope the Kurus did not abandon him.'
  2. This comparison, lengthy as it is, is not sustained throughout with the usual felicity of Vyasa. In several parts it is undoubtedly faulty. Slight variation of reading also occur here and there, without affecting the sense materially.
  3. Gachchhato durgam gatim. The Bombay edition reads Gachchhanto etc., etc. The meaning then would be—"who protected the wings, themselves making the last painful journey?"