Mahabharata Bhishma Parva Chapter 22

Mahabharata Bhishma Parva (Bhagavat-Gita Parva) Chapter 22

Sanjaya said,—"Then, O bull of Bharata's race, king Yudhishthira, disposing his own troops in counter array against the divisions of Bhishma, urged them on, saying,—'The Pandavas have now disposed their forces in counter array agreeably to what is laid down (in the scriptures). Ye sinless ones, fight fairly, desirous of (entering) the highest heaven'.—In the centre (of the Pandava army) was Sikhandin and his troops, protected by Arjuna. And Dhristadyumna moved in the van, protected by Bhima. The southern division (of the Pandava army) was protected. O king, by that mighty bowman, the handsome Yuyudhana, that foremost combatant of the Satwata race, resembling Indra himself. Yudhishthira was stationed on a car that was worthy of bearing Mahendra himself, adorned with an excellent standard, variegated with gold and gems, and furnished with golden traces (for the steeds), in the midst of his elephant divisions.[1] His pure white umbrella with ivory handle, raised over his head, looked exceedingly beautiful; and many great Rishis walked around the king[2] uttering words in his praise. And many priests, and regenerate Rishis and Siddhas, uttering hymns in his praise[3] wished him, as they walked around, the destructions of his enemies, by the aid of Japas, and Mantras, efficacious drugs, and diverse propitiatory ceremonies. That high-souled chief of the Kurus, then giving away unto the Brahmanas kine and fruits and flowers and golden coins along with cloths[4] proceeded like Sakra, the chief of the celestials. The car of Arjuna, furnished with a hundred bells, decked with Jamvunada gold of the best kind, endued with excellent wheels, possessed of the effulgence of fire, and unto which were yoked white steeds, looked exceedingly brilliant like a thousand suns.[5] And on that ape-bannered car the reins of which were held by Kesava, stood Arjuna with Gandiva and arrows in hand—a bowman whose peer exists not on earth, nor ever will.[6] For crushing thy sons' troops he who assumeth the most awful form,—who, divested of weapons, with only his bare hands, poundeth to dust men, horses, and elephants,—that strong-armed Bhimasena, otherwise called Vrikodara, accompanied by the twins, became the protector of the heroic car-warriors (of the Pandava) army. Like unto a furious prince of lions of sportive gait, or like the great Indra himself with (earthly) body on the Earth, beholding that invincible Vrikodara, like unto a proud leader of an elephantine herd, stationed in the van (of the army), the warriors on thy side, their strength weakened by fear, began to tremble like elephants sunk in mire.

Unto that invincible prince Gudakesa staying in the midst of his troops, Janardana, O chief of Bharata's race, said—'He, who scorching us with his wrath, stayeth in the midst of his forces, he, who will attack our troops like a lion, he, who performed three hundred horse-sacrifices,—that banner of Kuru's race, that Bhishma,—stayeth yonder! Yon ranks around him on all sides great warriors like the clouds shrouding the bright luminary. O foremost of men, slaying yon troops, seek battle with yonder bull of Bharata's race.



  1. The Bengal texts read Kanchana-bhanda-yuktam. The Bombay reading is much better, being Kanchanabhanda-yoktam; again, for Nagakulasya the Bombay edition reads Nagapurasya, Nilakantha notices the latter reading.
  2. The Bengal reading is Mahindram (king of earth, or king); the Bombay reading is Mahendram (the great Indra). Without iva any word to that effect, Mahendram would be ungrammatical.
  3. The Bengal texts read, and as I think, correctly, Stutavanta enam. The Bombay reading is Srutavanta enam. In the case of regenerate Rishis and Siddhas it is scarcely necessary to say that they are conversant with the Srutis.
  4. The Bengal reading Sahasrani for Savastrani is correct. I adopt the latter.
  5. This is how I understand this verse, and I am supported by the Burdwan Pundits. Nilakantha, it seems, thinks that the car had a thousand wheels resembling a thousand suns.
  6. Verse 15 is read variously. As the last word of the first line, I read Achakarsha for raraksha, and accordingly I take that as a genitive and not an ablative particle.