THE MAHABHARATA (CONDENSED) -VOW OF BHISHMA

THE MAHABHARATA
                           CONDENSED IN THE POET’S OWN WORDS
                              By PANDIT A. M. SRINIVASACHARIAR
         Translated By Dr V, Raghavan M.A.,
Ph.D. & Published By G.A. Natesan & Co., Madras
                                       
            आद्यं पुरुषमीशानं पुरुहूतं पुरुष्टुतम्।
            नमस्कृत्य हृषीकेशं चराचरगुरुं हरिम्।
            प्रवक्ष्यामि मतं कृत्स्नं व्यासस्याद्भुतकर्मणः
    
Having made obeisance unto Hari, the primeval Being,
the Master who is invoked and praised by many, the lord of our senses and the
father of all that moves and all that moves not, I shall expound the whole of
the thought of Vyasa of wonderful deeds.
         नमो भगवते तस्मै व्यासायामिततेजसे।
         यस्य प्रसादात् वक्ष्यामि नारायणकथामिमाम्॥
Obeisance unto the divine Vyasa of immense splendour
by whosegrace I shall relate the story of Narayana.
         जयो नामेतिहासोऽयं श्रोतव्यो विजिगीषुणा।
This Epic named Jaya must be listened to by him who is
desirous of success
                    
——–       
                ॥    आदिपर्व   ॥
            भीष्मप्रतिज्ञा (Vow of Bhishma)
       
        भरतानां महज्जन्म महाभारतमुच्यते।
        भरताद् भरती किर्तिः येनेदं भारतं कुलम्|
The great
nativity and the life of the Bharatas is called the Mahabharata.  Through Bharata is the glory of the Bharatas;
And after
Bharata is this lineage named Bhaarata.
        भरतस्यान्वये जाता देवकल्पा महारथाः।
        तेषां प्रतीपो राजाऽऽसीत् सर्वभूतहितस्सदा ॥
Warriors who were almost gods, were born in the line
of Bharata.
Of them was king Pratipa, always good to all beings.
        तपस्तेपे सुतस्यार्थे सभार्यः [कुरुनन्दन]
        शान्तस्य जज्ञे सन्तानस्तस्मादासीत्स शान्तनुः॥
He, along with his wife, performed penance, for the
sake of a son.  To the Santa (Pratipa in
quietude) was born a son to continue the race; and so the son came to be called
Santanu.
         स्वे च राज्येऽभिषिच्यैनं वनं राजा विवेश ह ।
Crowning Santanu in his kingdom, the king (Pratipa)
retired into the forest.
         स राजा शान्तनुर्धीमान् क्षत्रधर्मविशेषवित्।
         वशे चक्रे महीमेको विजित्य वसुधाधिपान्॥
That wise king Santanu, who knew the kingly code of
detail, conquered all kings single-handed, and brought the world under his
control.
         वयोरूपेण संपन्नः पौरुषेण बलेन च।
         स हस्तिनाम्नि धर्मात्मा विहरन् कुरुनन्दनः।
         चचार मृगयाशीलश्शान्तनुर्वनगोचरः॥
Endowed with beauty and youth, manliness and strength,
the virtuous Santanu, the descendant of Kuru, living happily in Hastinapura,
roved (often) hunting in the forests.
         स कदाचित् [महाराज] ददर्श परमां स्त्रियम्।
         यशस्विनी च साऽगच्छान्तनोर्भूतये सदा ॥
He once saw a most excellent woman. That illustrious
woman (Ganga) came at that time for Santanu’s weal.
         गङ्गा –
       
         भविष्यामि महीपाल महिषी ते वशानुगा।
         वारिता विप्रियं चोक्ता त्यजेयं त्वामसंशयम्।
         एष मे समयो राजन् भज मां त्वं यथेप्सितम्॥
Ganga – “King, I shall become thine obedient queen; if
I am crossed or told unpleasant words, I will undoubtedly leave you; this is my
condition, king!  Have me as you desire.”
         प्रतिज्ञाय तु तत्तस्यास्तथेति मनुजाधिपः।
         आसाद्य शान्तनुश्श्रीमान् मुमुदे योषितां वराम् ॥
Promising her that it shall be so, the handsome king
Santanu rejoiced, having obtained the best of women.
        अष्टावजनयत्पुत्रांस्तस्मादमरसन्निभान्।
        जातं जातं च सा पुत्रं क्षिपत्यंभसि [भारत]।
        शान्तनुर्धर्मभङ्गाच्च नापृच्छत्तां कथञ्चन ॥
Eight godlike sons she bore to Santanu.  As each son was born, she cast him on the
water. Lest he should break (his) promise, Santanu questioned her not in any
manner.
     अष्टमं तु जिघांसन्त्यां चुक्षुभे शान्तनोर्धृतिः।
     अब्रवीत् भरतश्रेष्ठो वाक्यं परमदुःखितः।
     ’पुत्रघ्नि सुमहत्पापं संप्राप्तं ते सुगर्हितम्’॥
But as she was about to kill the eighth, Santanu’s
firmness was shaken..  Greatly dejected,
that chief of the Bharatas spoke the words: Muderess of sons! A very great and
despicable sin hath come upon you””
     गङ्गा-
     
     ’पुत्रकाम न ते हन्मि पुत्रं पुत्रवतां वर।
     जीर्णस्तु  मम वासोऽयं यथा स समयः कृतः ।
     स्वस्ति तेऽस्तु गमिष्यामि पुत्रं पाहि महाव्रतम् ॥’     
            
 Ganga-
“ You who are desirous of a son!  You, the best of fathers! I do not kill
(this) son of yours; but, according to the condition, this life of mine has
come to an end; well be with you’ I will go’ protect (this) son who will
observe a great vow””
      एतदाख्याय सा देवी तत्रैवान्तरधीयत।
      स तु देवव्रतो नाम गाङ्गेय इति चाभवत् ।
Having said this, that divine lady disappeared at that
very place. That son was Devavrata, also known as Gangeya, (the son of Ganga).        
 
       तयैवं समनुज्ञातः पुत्रमादाय शान्तनुः।
       गुणवन्तं महात्मानं यौवराज्येऽभ्यषेचयत् ॥
Thus permitted by her, Santanu took his son and
installed that great and gifted person as heir-apparent.
       स तथा सह पुत्रेण रममाणो महीपतिः।
       वर्तयामास वर्षाणि चत्वार्यमितविक्रमः ॥
Living thus happily with his son, the king of immense
heroism spent four years.   
       स कदाचिद्वनं यातो यमुनामभितो नदीम्।
       समीक्ष्य राजा दाशेयीं कामयामास शान्तनुः ॥
Once, going to the forest adjoining the river Yamuna,
the king (Santanu) saw a fisherman’s daughter and fell in love (with her).
       पर्यपृच्छत्ततस्तस्याः पितरं सोऽऽत्मकारणात्।
       स च तं प्रत्युवाचेदं दाशराजो महीपतिम् ॥
For his own sake, he then asked her father (for her hand);
and the chief of the fishermen replied to the king:
       समयेन प्रदद्यां ते कन्यामहमिमां नृप।
       न हि मे त्वत्समः कश्चिद् वरो जातु भविष्यति।
       अस्यां जायेत यः पुत्रस्स राजा पृथिवीपते ॥
        
“ O King!, I will give this daughter to you on one
condition; I can never have a son-in-law equal to you; (but) king! the son born
to this woman must be the king”
       नाकामयत तं दातुं वरं दाशाय शान्तनुः।
       प्रत्ययाद्धस्तिनपुरं कामोपहतचेतनः॥
Santanu did not like to grant the fisherman that boon.  Love-mad, he returned to Hastinapura.
       विवर्तुं नाशकत्तस्य पिता पुत्रस्य शान्तनुः।
       ततस्स पितुराज्ञाय मतं सम्यगवेक्ष्य च।
       उच्चैः श्रवसमागम्य कन्यां वव्रे पितुस्स्वयम्॥
Santanu, the father, could not disclose (his love) to
his son.  Having (however) learnt his
father’s intention and having thought about it deeply, the son came to Ucchaishravas,
the fisherman, and himself requested his daughter for (Santanu) his father.
      ”अद्यप्रभृति मे दाश ब्रह्मचर्यं भविष्यति।
       अपुत्रस्यापि मे लोका भविष्यन्त्यक्षया दिवि।
       ऊर्ध्वरेता भविष्यामि दाश सत्यं ब्रवीमि ते ॥“
“ Fisherman, from today I will be a celibate.  Though I become issueless, the imperishable
worlds in heaven shall be mine. I tell you in truth, fisherman, I will remain
continent”
       ददानीत्येव तं दाशो धर्मात्मा प्रत्यभाषत ।
“I shall give (her)” replied the righteous fisherman.
       ततोऽन्तरिक्षेऽप्सरसो देवास्सर्षिगणास्तदा।
       अभ्यवर्षन्त कुसुमैः भीष्मोऽयमितिचाब्रुवन् ॥
From heaven at that time, the celestial damsels, the
gods and assemblage of sages showered flowers and said : “This man is
Bhishma  – the terrible one.””
      अधिरोह रथं मातर्गच्छावस्स्वगृहानिति।
      एवमुक्त्वा तु भीष्मस्तां रथमारोप्य भामिनीम्।
      आगम्य हास्तिनपुरं शान्तनोस्सन्न्यवेदयत् ॥
“Mother, asceend the chariot, we shall proceed to our
mansion.”  Having said so, Bhishma took
her in the chariot, reached Hastinapura and offered her to Santanu.
      स तेन कर्मणा सूनोः प्रीतस्तस्मै वरं ददौ।
      ’त्वत्तो ह्यनुज्ञां संप्राप्य मृत्युः प्रभविताऽनघ’ ॥
Pleased with that act of his son, Santanu gave him a
boon: “ Impeccable soul!  Only after
obtaining your permission shall Death prevail upon you”.
 
              
  

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