Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Bheeshma's last words to Duryodhana. Mahabharata 142

People collect the next morning to see Bheeshma and to seek his blessings. Maidens shower shavings of sandalwood, flowers and puffed rice on him. Men, women and children come in throngs to look at him. Singers and dancers come and show respect by performing for him. Kauravas and pandavas stop their war preparations, and behave as friends like before and together take care of Bheeshma . 

Bheeshma while bearing pain courageously is unable to show his happiness at all the attention. 'I feel faint with the pain, I want water.'  Cold Water and plenty of food is brought by many. Looking at them, 'I am on a bed of arrows and I cannot enjoy food. I am just waiting for the sun and moon to change their directions!'  and then looks at Arjuna, 'Arjuna! The arrows sting and the pain inside me is immense and it is unbearable. The body is hot and the mouth is dry. I want water which will cool my body. I think you know how to get me this type of water!'  Arjuna understands, goes round Bheeshma in prayer,  raises his Gandiva, invokes the rain-god and splits the earth to the right of Bheeshma. Light fragrant water, like nectar, sprouts from the split earth. Bheeshma's thirst is quenched and he is happy. He praises Arjuna for his skills and calls him the greatest archer in the world.

He then turns towards the crestfallen Duryodhana and extolls Arjuna's abilities and thinks that only Krishna could equal him. Tells Duryodhana again that pandavas are invincible and that is better to make peace with them before the whole kaurava army is destroyed. Pleads with him to stop the war with pandavas by giving them half the kingdom. Wishes that with his death, the fight within the family will end. Bheeshma then becomes very tired  and stops speaking. Duryodhana chooses not to respond to his grandfather's pleas.

One surely feels sorry for the old man Bheeshma. Raghu comments on him thus, 'Bheeshma is the epitome of the right person caught in the wrong place. However, he doesn't flinch. It was so easy for him to switch sides.'  Very true!

 But we also see that Bheeshma is also very honest and does not think of hiding his true feelings for the pandavas. Does not hold back his praise for Arjuna! He stokes Duryodhana's jealousy without thinking of the consequences. Upsets the egoistic Duryodhana by predicting pandavas victory in the war and actually hardens the resolve not to yeild to his grandfather's death bed pleas. 

 Bheeshma was brought up by a single parent, that too in heaven. It seems, not the right mixture, if one has to cope with realities of a khsatriya life.

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