Mahabharata Bhishma Parva Chapter 3:4

Mahabharata Bhishma Parva (Jamvu-khanda Nirmana Parva) Chapter 3:4

O thou that art invincible, of what value is that kingdom to thee which bringeth sin to thee? Take care of thy good name, thy virtue, and thy fame. Thou wilt then win heaven. Let the Pandavas have their kingdom, and let the Kauravas have peace.

While that best of Brahmanas was saying these words in a sorrowful tone, Dhritarashtra, the son of Ambika, accomplished in speech, once more addressed him, saying.—'My knowledge of life and death is similar to thine. The truth is known to me as regards these. Man, however, in what concerns his own interests, is deprived of judgment. O sire, know me to be one who is an ordinary person. Of immeasurable power thou art. I pray thee to extend thine towards us. Of soul under complete control, thou art our refuge and instructor. My sons are not obedient to me, O great Rishi. My understanding too is not inclined to commit sin.[1] Thou art the cause of the fame, the achievements, and the inclination for virtue, of the Bharatas. Thou art the reverend grandsire of both the Kurus and the Pandavas.

Vyasa said,—'O royal son of Vichitravirya, tell me freely what is in thy mind. I will remove thy doubts.

Dhritarashtra said,—'O holy one, I desire to hear from thee of all those indications that happen unto those that become victorious in battle.

Vyasa said,—'The (sacred) fire assumes a cheerful radiance. Its light ascends upwards. Its flame bends towards the right. It blazes up without being smoky. The libations poured on it yield a fragrant scent. It is said that these are the indications of future success. The conches and cymbals yield sounds that are deep and loud. The Sun as well as the Moon gives pure rays. It is said that these are the indications of future success. Crows, whether stationary or on their wings, utter cries that are agreeable. They again that are behind, urge the warriors to advance; while they that are ahead, forbid all advance.[2] Where vultures, swans, parrots, cranes, and wood-peckers utter delightful cries, and wheel towards the right, the Brahmanas say that their victory in battle is certain. They whose divisions, in consequence of ornaments, coats of mail, and standards, or the melodious neigh of their steeds, become resplendent and incapable of being gazed at, always conquer their foes. They who utter cheerful shouts, those warriors, O Bharata, whose energies are not damped and whose garlands do not fade, always cross the ocean of battle.



  1. Some of the Bengal texts read anugraham (making the initial a silent after maharshe, in the vocative case). There can be no doubt however, that this is incorrect. The true reading is nadharmam which I have adopted. The Bombay text reads na cha dharmam. The introduction of the article cha needlessly makes the line incorrect as to metre.
  2. The second line of the 67th sloka is very obscure. I have followed Nilakantha in translating it thus. The sense seems to be, that when crows hover behind an army, that is an auspicious sign; while it is an inauspicious sign if they are seen ahead. I am not sure that Nilakantha is right in taking the pronoun ye as referring to even crows.