Pandavas and Somakas made an agreement and established rules for fighting.
the battle is fought and finished, there shall be mutual friendship between us.
Those who have gone out of the ranks shall never be killed. One mounted on a chariot shall be fought by
one on a chariot, one on an elephant with an elephant, one on a horse with a
horse, and a foot soldier only by a foot soldier. One engaged with another, one
inattentive, or disinclined to fight or one who was turned away from the field,
one who has lost his weapons and one without armour shall never be killed.”
Duryodhana ready for the battle, king Yudhishthira became worried and with a
pale face, said to Arjuna.
‘धनञ्जय कथं शक्यमस्माभिर्योद्धुमाहवे।
fight the warriors on Dhritarashtra’s side for whom (our) grandfather, Bhishma,
hearken how the inferior conquer even
those who are superior in knowledge, who are (greater) warriors, (more) endowed
with qualities and (greater) in numbers.”
who desire victory achieve it not so much by strength and valour as by their
(qualities of) truthfulness, benevolence, and effort which is strictly righteous.
yourselves on best Dharma, fight without egoism; where Dharma is, there victory
it, king, thus is victory certain for us in (this) battle; even as Narada said,
where Krishna is, there victory is.
Victory is an attribute of Krishna; it follows Him at His back.”
arrayed his army against Bhishma and directed it (to attack).
were the forces of Shikhandi protected by Arjuna, the archer who shoots with
chariot with its white horses and firm wheels, shone like fire, emitting a
corona of rays. On that chariot the reins of whose horses Krishna was holding,
was the monkey-bannered Arjuna with the Gandiva bow and arrows in his hands.
the battle-field) fathers, grandfathers, preceptors, uncles,
fathers-in-law and friends standing in both the armies. Seeing all those kinsmen standing (determined
for fighting), Arjuna was overcome by great compassion and he said (to Krishna,
his charioteer) in sorrow:
seeing these kinsmen of ours come with the desire to fight, my limbs fail, my
mouth becomes parched, the Gandiva slips from my hand, my skin burns and I am
not able to stand firm; my mind seems to whirl.
Krishna! I do not wish for victory, or kingdom, or happiness; of what
use is the kingdom to us, or pleasures or even life? How can we be happy,
Krishna, after killing our own kinsmen? Alas! we have resolved to commit a
great sin, we who are out to kill our own kinsmen through our avarice for the
pleasures of a kingdom.”
Arjuna added “I will not fight,” and kept quiet.
पार्थाऽस्ति कर्तव्यं वर्त एव च कर्मणि॥
said to Arjuna, laughing a little: “To a
Kshatriya, there is no other good than righteous warfare. In case you do not fight this righteous
battle, you neglect your duty, throw away fame and incur sin. Warriors will think that you have desisted from
the battle out of fear. If you are
killed you will attain to heaven, or if you win, you will enjoy the world. Viewing
alike happiness and misery, gain and loss, victory and defeat, you then get
ready for battle; doing thus you will not incur sin. To work alone you are entitled, never to
(its) fruits. Never does anybody stand
even a moment without doing an act.
There is nothing to be done for me still I am active. Offering up all acts to me with a spiritual
mind, without any wish and disinterested, fight without any mental fever. Though ill-performed, one’s own duty is
better than another’s duty well-performed.
He who does the act that ought to be done, without intent on the fruit
of the action, is the man of renunciation and the Yogin; not he who has left off
the worship of fire and not he who does not do anything.
without you, all these warriors who stand in the opposite ranks, will cease to
be; they have been already killed by
myself; you archer who shoots with either arm! be simply the apparent cause (of
the destruction of these warriors).
your mind fixed on me, you will surmount all difficulties by my grace. If
resorting to egoism, you think you will not fight, this resolve of yours is
futile; Nature will impel you. What in delusion, you do not want to do, you
will do even in spite of yourself.
Arjuna, god is in the heart of all beings, making all beings whirl by
his power as if in a whirling machine. Take refuge in him completely. Discarding all Dharmas, seek me alone as
refuge; I will free you from all sins; grieve not.”
doubts cleared; I will do what you say.”
up the arrows and his Gandiva bow, the warriors sent a peal again.
standing ready for fighting, the heroic Yudhishthira laid down his armour and
excellent arms, descended from his chariot quickly and with folded arms and surrounded
by his brothers, hastened on foot to Bhishma.
कराभ्यां पीड्य पाण्डवः।
feet with his hands, Yudhishthira said
to him: “ Unassailable warrior, I take your permission; we shall fight with
you; permit me, father, and give(us) (your) blessings.
and win, Yudhishthira.”
Yudhishthira proceeded towards his preceptor Drona’s chariot. Saluting Drona and going around him, king
Yudhishthira addressed to that unassailable Drona these words intended for his
illustrious preceptor, and will fight with a pure heart.’
for you for whom Krishna is the counsellor.
Where Dharma is, there Krishna is and where Krishna is, there victory is.”
preceptor, Yudhishthira went towards Kripa, and Kripa said to him: “Fight and
of his uncle, the king of the Madrakas, (Salya), Yudhishthira went out of that
huge army, surrounded by his brothers.
said this to Karna: ‘Karna, I heard that you would not fight because of your
hatred towards Bhishma. Choose us (our side) for such time as Bhishma is not
which will displease Duryodhana; know me as having laid down my life for the
good of Duryodhana.”
in the midst of the army: “ I seek for my aid him who chooses to join us.”
Dhritarashtra, the Kauravas, Yuyutsu went over to the army of the Pandavas
after sounding the drum.
The account of the battle in the Epic is given as narrated by Sanjaya to the
blind Dhritarashtra who is addressed here and in subsequent passages in the
second person. These addresses are
omited in the translation or given in the third person.]
Bhishma attacked Arjuna, and Arjuna taking his bow, attacked Bhishma on the
battle-front. Then began a thick battle that made one’s hair stand on end.
तत्र तत्र स्म दृश्यते ॥
his hands’ ease (in shooting arrows) Bhishma was seen there (in the army)
everywhere like a whirling fire-brand.
in (directing) the movement of the horses; rendering Bhishma’s arrows futile,
he made swift circuits (with the chariot).
every limb with his sharp arrows.
mighty Krishna then thought in the battle: “I will kill Bhishma now, arming myself in the cause of the
Krishna lifted his razor-edged discus by his hand, and jumping down from the
chariot and leaving off the horses, advanced speedily towards Bhishma.
battle, Bhishma said to that Krishna of unbounded valour
eyes like the petals of a blown lotus! discus-armed Madhava, salutation to you;
Lord of the world, and refuge of all! throw me down forcibly in this battle
from my excellent chariot.”
by you, Krishna, there is good in the other world as well as in this. Lord of the Andhakas and the Vrishnis!
Warrior! by your advancing against me, I have been honoured in all the three
chariot then and running after Krishna in haste, Arjuna stopped him by force
and with difficulty at his tenth step and said: “Check your anger.” (And) Krishna, with his discus, mounted the
battle) was reached and exhibiting his ability, Bhishma blazed forth in the
battle like a smokeless fire.
forefront, Arjuna then ran up in speed aginst Bhishma. It seemed a wonder.
chest. With eyes flaming with anger, Bhishma stared at him a little, as if
burning him. Remembering that Shikhandi
had been a woman, Bhishma did not strike him, even as the whole world was
watching. And Sikhandi knew this not.
Bhishma at the mortal spots. And the
warrior Shikhandi also shot arrows in that encounter.
said to Dussasana at athat time: “These are Arjuna’s arrows; these are not sikhandi’s
arrows; they tear my limbs, as the young crabs their mother.”
was not two fingers’ space in Bhishma’s body untorn. Reduced to pieces thus by the sharp-tipped arrows of Arjuna in the
battle, Dhritarashtra’s uncle, Bhishma, fell from the chariot, with his head
towards the east.
hearts of all the Kauravas fell.
heaps of arrows, Bhishma did not touch the ground.
illustrious person, that great archer, fallen from the chariot, as he lay on a
bed of arrows.
warriors came by hundreds and thousands, and stood by his side, like gods
attending upon Brahma.
time then, the righteous Bhishma said to the Pandavas and Kauravas who were
standing in front bowing to him: “My head droops down very much; let a pillow
soft and excellent pillows; the grandfather did not like them.
kings, that greatest of men, Bhishma, said to Arjuna:
son! My head droops; let such a rest as
you think proper be given (to my head).”
head with three sharp arrows.
the greatest of the Bharatas, was satisfied, and he said to all of them:
“Kings, see the pillow designed for me by Arjuna. I will be lying in this bed till the sun
turns northward from the south. Those
who will be alive at that time shall see me.”
righteous Bhishma told Arjuna: “My body seems to be burning; Arjuna, give me
the string and charging it with incantation, Arjuna pierced the ground on Bhishma’s
right. From there, gushed forth a pure
jet of water.
before all those royal warriors, Bhishma, whose thirst was quenched, said:
jet of cool and nectar-like water was created by the intelligent Arjuna.”
is none else who can do this in the world.
Delay not; let there be peace for you in this battle with that mighty
person, to whom belong these exploits impossible for men. Let the war end with me. My son, come to peace with the Pandavas.”
these words of moral and material good, beneficent and wholesome, Duryodhana
did not relish them, even as a dying person does not like medicine.
returned to their abodes.
ईषदागतसंत्रासः शरतल्पगतं तदा।
the resplendent Karna, the best of men, somewhat afraid, approached Bhishma
lying on the bed of arrows and fell at his feet.
Karna, the son of Radha, an eternal eye-sore to you, hated by you to the last,
though innocent.” – so said he to Bhishma.
that, the Kuru elder, whose eyes were covered with arrows, seeing the place
bereft of anybody, sending away the guards, embracing Karna with one hand, as a
father would a son, and slowly looking up at him with love, said this:
not Radha; so have I known you through Narada.
I have no hatred towards you.“
Pandavas for no reason. Therefore, you
have been told harsh words (by me) many times in the Kuru assembly.”
battle and your great and steady practice of munificence. You are equal to
Arjuna and the great Krishna.’
of your enemies! the Pandavas are your brothers born of the same womb; if you
want to do what is dear to me, join them. Child of the Sun! Let your enmity end
Bhishma, I know I am Kunti’s son and not the son of the charioteer. Having
enjoyed Duryodhana’s wealth, I do not bear proving faithless. Permit me,
father, I have resolved to fight. What I have said wrongly or done against you,
you must pardon.”
with the desire for heaven. Very great
effort was made by me and for long to secure complete peace; it could not be
secured. Where there is Dharma, there
victory shall be.”
bowed to him, took leave of him and mounting his chariot, went towards Duryodhana.