Chapter Nine

     The Passing Away of Bhismadeva in the Presence of Lord Krsna


                                TEXT 1




                              suta uvaca

                       iti bhitah praja-drohat


                        tato vinasanam pragad

                       yatra deva-vrato 'patat




   sutah uvaca--Sri Suta Gosvami said; iti--thus; bhitah--being afraid of; praja-drohat--because of killing the subjects; sarva--all; dharma--acts of religion; vivitsaya--for understanding; tatah--thereafter; vinasanam--the place where the fight was held; pragat--he went; yatra--where; deva-vratah--Bhismadeva; apatat--lay down for passing away.




   Suta Gosvami said: Being afraid for having killed so many subjects on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, Maharaja Yudhisthira went to the scene of the massacre. There, Bhismadeva was lying on a bed of arrows, about to pass away.




   In this Ninth Chapter, as it is willed by Lord Sri Krsna, Bhismadeva will impart instructions to King Yudhisthira on the subject of occupational duties. Bhismadeva will also offer his last prayer to the Lord on the verge of passing away from this mortal world and thus become liberated from the bondage of further material engagements. Bhismadeva was endowed with the power of leaving his material body at will, and his lying down on the bed of arrows was his own choice. This passing away of the great warrior attracted the attention of all the contemporary elites, and all of them assembled there to show their feelings of love, respect and affection for the great soul.


                                TEXT 2




                       tada te bhratarah sarve

                      sadasvaih svarna-bhusitaih

                      anvagacchan rathair vipra

                       vyasa-dhaumyadayas tatha




   tada--at that time; te--all of them; bhratarah--the brothers; sarve--all together; sat-asvaih--drawn by first-class horses; svarna--gold; bhusitaih--being decorated with; anvagacchan--followed one after another; rathaih--on the chariots; viprah--O brahmanas; vyasa--the sage Vyasa; dhaumya--Dhaumya; adayah--and others; tatha--also.




   At that time all his brothers followed him on beautiful chariots drawn by first-class horses decorated with gold ornaments. With them were Vyasa and rsis like Dhaumya [the learned priest of the Pandavas] and others.


                                TEXT 3




                        bhagavan api viprarse

                        rathena sa-dhananjayah

                       sa tair vyarocata nrpah

                         kuvera iva guhyakaih




   bhagavan--the Personality of Godhead (Sri Krsna); api--also; vipra-rse--O sage among the brahmanas; rathena--on the chariot; sa-dhananjayah--with Dhananjaya (Arjuna); sah--He; taih--by them; vyarocata--appeared to be highly aristocratic; nrpah--the King (Yudhisthira); kuvera--Kuvera, the treasurer of the demigods; iva--as; guhyakaih--companions known as Guhyakas.




   O sage amongst the brahmanas, Lord Sri Krsna, the Personality of Godhead, also followed, seated on a chariot with Arjuna. Thus King Yudhisthira appeared very aristocratic, like Kuvera surrounded by his companions [the Guhyakas].




   Lord Sri Krsna wanted the Pandavas to be present before Bhismadeva in the most aristocratic order so that he might be pleased to see them happy at the time of his death. Kuvera is the richest of all the demigods, and herein King Yudhisthira appeared like him (Kuvera), for the procession along with Sri Krsna was quite appropriate to the royalty of King Yudhisthira.


                                TEXT 4




                       drstva nipatitam bhumau

                        divas cyutam ivamaram

                       pranemuh pandava bhismam

                         sanugah saha cakrina




   drstva--thus seeing; nipatitam--lying down; bhumau--on the ground; divah--from the sky; cyutam--fallen; iva--like; amaram--demigod; pranemuh--bowed down; pandavah--the sons of Pandu; bhismam--unto Bhisma; sa-anugah--with the younger brothers; saha--also with; cakrina--the Lord (carrying the disc).




   Seeing him [Bhisma] lying on the ground, like a demigod fallen from the sky, the Pandava King Yudhisthira, along with his younger brothers and Lord Krsna, bowed down before him.




   Lord Krsna was also a younger cousin of Maharaja Yudhisthira as well as the intimate friend of Arjuna. But all the family members of the Pandavas knew Lord Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Lord, although conscious of His supreme position, always behaved in a humanly custom, and so He also bowed down before the dying Bhismadeva as if He were one of the younger brothers of King Yudhisthira.


                                TEXT 5




                       tatra brahmarsayah sarve

                        devarsayas ca sattama

                        rajarsayas ca tatrasan

                       drastum bharata-pungavam




   tatra--there; brahma-rsayah--rsis among the brahmanas; sarve--all; deva-rsayah--rsis among the demigods; ca--and; sattama--situated in the quality of goodness; raja-rsayah--rsis among the kings; ca--and; tatra--in that place; asan--were present; drastum--just to see; bharata--the descendants of King Bharata; pungavam--the chief of.




   Just to see the chief of the descendants of King Bharata [Bhisma], all the great souls in the universe, namely the rsis amongst the demigods, brahmanas and kings, all situated in the quality of goodness, were assembled there.




   The rsis are those who have attained perfection by spiritual achievements. Such spiritual achievements can be earned by all, whether one is a king or a mendicant. Bhismadeva himself was also one of the brahmarsis and the chief of the descendants of King Bharata. All rsis are situated in the quality of goodness. All of them assembled there on hearing the news of the great warrior's impending death.


                              TEXTS 6-7




                        parvato narado dhaumyo

                         bhagavan badarayanah

                        brhadasvo bharadvajah

                         sasisyo renuka-sutah


                        vasistha indrapramadas

                        trito grtsamado 'sitah

                      kaksivan gautamo 'tris ca

                       kausiko 'tha sudarsanah




   parvatah--Parvata Muni; naradah--Narada Muni; dhaumyah--Dhaumya; bhagavan--incarnation of Godhead; badarayanah--Vyasadeva; brhadasvah--Brhadasva; bharadvajah--Bharadvaja; sa-sisyah--along with disciples; renuka-sutah--Parasurama; vasisthah--Vasistha; indrapramadah--Indrapramada; tritah--Trita; grtsamadah--Grtsamada; asitah--Asita; kaksivan--Kaksivan; gautamah--Gautama; atrih--Atri; ca--and; kausikah--Kausika; atha--as well as; sudarsanah--Sudarsana.




   All the sages like Parvata Muni, Narada, Dhaumya, Vyasa the incarnation of God, Brhadasva, Bharadvaja and Parasurama and disciples, Vasistha, Indrapramada, Trita, Grtsamada, Asita, Kaksivan, Gautama, Atri, Kausika and Sudarsana were present.




   Parvata Muni: is considered to be one of the oldest sages. He is almost always a constant companion of Narada Muni. They are also spacemen competent to travel in the air without the help of any material vehicle. Parvata Muni is also a devarsi, or a great sage amongst the demigods, like Narada. He was present along with Narada at the sacrificial ceremony of Maharaja Janamejaya, son of Maharaja Pariksit. In this sacrifice all the snakes of the world were to be killed. Parvata Muni and Narada Muni are called Gandharvas also because they can travel in the air singing the glories of the Lord. Since they can travel in the air, they observed Draupadi's svayamvara ceremony (selecting of her own husband) from the air. Like Narada Muni, Parvata Muni also used to visit the royal assembly in the heaven of King Indra. As a Gandharva, sometimes he visited the royal assembly of Kuvera, one of the important demigods. Both Narada and Parvata were once in trouble with the daughter of Maharaja Srnjaya. Maharaja Srnjaya got the benediction of a son by Parvata Muni.

   Narada Muni: is inevitably associated with the narrations of the Puranas. He is described in the Bhagavatam. In his previous life he was the son of a maidservant, but by good association with pure devotees he became enlightened in devotional service, and in the next life he became a perfect man comparable with himself only. In the Mahabharata his name is mentioned in many places. He is the principle devarsi, or the chief sage amongst the demigods. He is the son and disciple of Brahmaji, and from him the disciplic succession in the line of Brahma has been spread. He initiated Prahlada Maharaja, Dhruva Maharaja and many celebrated devotees of the Lord. He initiated even Vyasadeva, the author of the Vedic literatures, and from Vyasadeva, Madhvacarya was initiated, and thus the Madhva-sampradaya, in which the Gaudiya-sampradaya is also included, has spread all over the universe. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu belonged to this Madhva-sampradaya; therefore, Brahmaji, Narada, Vyasa, down to Madhva, Caitanya and the Gosvamis all belonged to the same line of disciplic succession. Naradaji has instructed many kings from time immemorial. In the Bhagavatam we can see that he instructed Prahlada Maharaja while he was in the womb of his mother, and he instructed Vasudeva, father of Krsna, as well as Maharaja Yudhisthira.

   Dhaumya: A great sage who practiced severe penances at Utkocaka Tirtha and was appointed royal priest of the Pandava kings. He acted as the priest in many religious functions of the Pandavas (samskara), and also each of the Pandavas was attended by him at the betrothal of Draupadi. He was present even during the exile of the Pandavas and used to advise them in circumstances when they were perplexed. He instructed them how to live incognito for one year, and his instructions were strictly followed by the Pandavas during that time. His name is mentioned also when the general funeral ceremony was performed after the Battle of Kuruksetra. In the Anusasana-parva of Mahabharata (127.15-16), he gave religious instructions very elaborately to Maharaja Yudhisthira. He was actually the right type of priest of a householder, for he could guide the Pandavas on the right path of religion. A priest is meant for guiding the householder progressively in the right path of asrama-dharma, or the occupational duty of a particular caste. There is practically no difference between the family priest and the spiritual master. The sages, saints and brahmanas were especially meant for such functions.

   Badarayana (Vyasadeva): He is known as Krsna, Krsna-dvaipayana, Dvaipayana, Satyavati-suta, Parasarya, Parasaratmaja, Badarayana, Vedavyasa, etc. He was the son of Mahamuni Parasara in the womb of Satyavati prior to her betrothal with Maharaja Santanu, the father of the great general Grandfather Bhismadeva. He is a powerful incarnation of Narayana, and he broadcasts the Vedic wisdom to the world. As such, Vyasadeva is offered respects before one chants the Vedic literature, especially the Puranas. Sukadeva Gosvami was his son, and rsis like Vaisampayana were his disciples for different branches of the Vedas. He is the author of the great epic Mahabharata and the great transcendental literature Bhagavatam. The Brahma-sutras--the Vedanta-sutras, or Badarayana-sutras--were compiled by him. Amongst sages he is the most respected author by dint of severe penances. When he wanted to record the great epic Mahabharata for the welfare of all people in the age of Kali, he was feeling the necessity of a powerful writer who could take up his dictation. By the order of Brahmaji, Sri Ganesaji took up the charge of noting down the dictation on the condition that Vyasadeva would not stop dictation for a moment. The Mahabharata was thus compiled by the joint endeavor of Vyasa and Ganesa.

   By the order of his mother, Satyavati, who was later married to Maharaja Santanu, and by the request of Bhismadeva, the eldest son of Maharaja Santanu by his first wife, the Ganges, he begot three brilliant sons, whose names are Dhrtarastra, Pandu and Vidura. The Mahabharata was compiled by Vyasadeva after the Battle of Kuruksetra and after the death of all the heroes of Mahabharata. It was first spoken in the royal assembly of Maharaja Janamejaya, the son of Maharaja Pariksit.

   Brhadasva: An ancient sage who used to meet Maharaja Yudhisthira now and then. First of all he met Maharaja Yudhisthira at Kamyavana. This sage narrated the history of Maharaja Nala. There is another Brhadasva, who is the son of the Iksvaku dynasty (Mahabharata, Vana-parva 209.4-5)

   Bharadvaja: He is one of the seven great rsis and was present at the time of the birth ceremony of Arjuna. The powerful rsi sometimes undertook severe penances on the shore of the Ganges, and his asrama is still celebrated at Prayagadhama. It is learned that this rsi, while taking bath in the Ganges, happened to meet Ghrtaci, one of the beautiful society girls of heaven, and thus he discharged semen, which was kept and preserved in an earthen pot and from which Drona was born. So Dronacarya is the son of Bharadvaja Muni. Others say that Bharadvaja the father of Drona is a different person from Maharsi Bharadvaja. He was a great devotee of Brahma. Once he approached Dronacarya and requested him to stop the Battle of Kuruksetra.

   Parasurama, or Renukasuta: He is the son of Maharsi Jamadagni and Srimati Renuka. Thus he is also known as Renukasuta. He is one of the powerful incarnations of God, and he killed the ksatriya community as a whole twenty-one times. With the blood of the ksatriyas he pleased the souls of his forefathers. Later on he underwent severe penances at the Mahendra Parvata. After taking the whole earth from the ksatriyas, he gave it in charity to Kasyapa Muni. Parasurama instructed the Dhanur-veda, or the science of fighting, to Dronacarya because he happened to be a brahmana. He was present during the coronation of Maharaja Yudhisthira, and he celebrated the function along with other great rsis.

   Parasurama is so old that he met both Rama and Krsna at different times. He fought with Rama, but he accepted Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He also praised Arjuna when he saw him with Krsna. When Bhisma refused to marry Amba, who wanted him to become her husband, Amba met Parasurama, and by her request only, he asked Bhismadeva to accept her as his wife. Bhisma refused to obey his order, although he was one of the spiritual masters of Bhismadeva. Parasurama fought with Bhismadeva when Bhisma neglected his warning. Both of them fought very severely, and at last Parasurama was pleased with Bhisma and gave him the benediction of becoming the greatest fighter in the world.

   Vasistha: The great celebrated sage among the brahmanas, well known as the Brahmarsi Vasisthadeva. He is a prominent figure in both the Ramayana and Mahabharata periods. He celebrated the coronation ceremony of the Personality of Godhead Sri Rama. He was present also on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra. He could approach all the higher and lower planets, and his name is also connected with the history of Hiranyakasipu. There was a great tension between him and Visvamitra, who wanted his kamadhenu, wish-fulfilling cow. Vasistha Muni refused to spare his kamadhenu, and for this Visvamitra killed his one hundred sons. As a perfect brahmana he tolerated all the taunts of Visvamitra. Once he tried to commit suicide on account of Visvamitra's torture, but all his attempts were unsuccessful. He jumped from a hill, but the stones on which he fell became a stack of cotton, and thus he was saved. He jumped into the ocean, but the waves washed him ashore. He jumped into the river, but the river also washed him ashore. Thus all his suicide attempts were unsuccessful. He is also one of the seven rsis and husband of Arundhati, the famous star.

   Indrapramada: Another celebrated rsi.

   Trita: One of the three sons of Prajapati Gautama. He was the third son, and his other two brothers were known as Ekat and Dvita. All the brothers were great sages and strict followers of the principles of religion. By dint of severe penances they were promoted to Brahmaloka (the planet where Brahmaji lives). Once Trita Muni fell into a well. He was an organizing worker of many sacrifices, and as one of the great sages he also came to show respect to Bhismaji at his deathbed. He was one of the seven sages in the Varunaloka. He hailed from the Western countries of the world. As such, most probably he belonged to the European countries. At that time the whole world was under one Vedic culture.

   Grtsamada: One of the sages of the heavenly kingdom. He was a close friend of Indra, the King of heaven, and was as great as Brhaspati. He used to visit the royal assembly of Maharaja Yudhisthira, and he also visited the place where Bhismadeva breathed his last. Sometimes he explained the glories of Lord Siva before Maharaja Yudhisthira. He was the son of Vitahavya, and he resembled in features the body of Indra. Sometimes the enemies of Indra mistook him to be Indra and arrested him. He was a great scholar of the Rg-veda, and thus he was highly respected by the brahmana community. He lived a life of celibacy and was powerful in every respect.

   Asita: There was a king of the same name, but herein the Asita mentioned is the Asita Devala Rsi, a great powerful sage of the time. He explained to his father 1,500,000 verses from the Mahabharata. He was one of the members in the snake sacrifice of Maharaja Janamejaya. He was also present during the coronation ceremony of Maharaja Yudhisthira along with other great rsis. He also gave Maharaja Yudhisthira instructions while he was on the Anjana Hill. He was also one of the devotees of Lord Siva.

   Kaksivan: One of the sons of Gautama Muni and the father of the great sage Candakausika. He was one of the members of Parliament of Maharaja Yudhisthira.

   Atri: Atri Muni was a great brahmana sage and was one of the mental sons of Brahmaji. Brahmaji is so powerful that simply by thinking of a son he can have it. These sons are known as manasa-putras. Out of seven manasa-putras of Brahmaji and out of the seven great brahmana sages, Atri was one. In his family the great Pracetas were also born. Atri Muni had two ksatriya sons who became kings. King Arthama is one of them. He is counted as one of the twenty-one prajapatis. His wife's name was Anasuya, and he helped Maharaja Pariksit in his great sacrifices.

   Kausika: One of the permanent rsi members in the royal assembly of Maharaja Yudhisthira. He sometimes met Lord Krsna. There are several other sages of the same name.

   Sudarsana: This wheel which is accepted by the Personality of Godhead (Visnu or Krsna) as His personal weapon is the most powerful weapon, greater than the brahmastras or similar other disastrous weapons. In some of the Vedic literatures it is said that Agnideva, the fire-god, presented this weapon to Lord Sri Krsna, but factually this weapon is eternally carried by the Lord. Agnideva presented this weapon to Krsna in the same way that Rukmini was given by Maharaja Rukma to the Lord. The Lord accepts such presentations from His devotees, even though such presentations are eternally His property. There is an elaborate description of this weapon in the Adi-parva of the Mahabharata. Lord Sri Krsna used this weapon to kill Sisupala, a rival of the Lord. He also killed Salva by this weapon, and sometimes He wanted His friend Arjuna to use it to kill his enemies (Mahabharata, Virata-parva 56.3).


                                TEXT 8




                        anye ca munayo brahman

                        brahmaratadayo 'malah

                        sisyair upeta ajagmuh





   anye--many others; ca--also; munayah--sages; brahman--O brahmanas; brahmarata--Sukadeva Gosvami; adayah--and such others; amalah--completely purified; sisyaih--by the disciples; upetah--accompanied; ajagmuh--arrived; kasyapa--Kasyapa; angirasa--Angirasa; adayah--others.




   And many others like Sukadeva Gosvami and other purified souls, Kasyapa and Angirasa and others, all accompanied by their respective disciples, arrived there.




   Sukadeva Gosvami (Brahmarata): The famous son and disciple of Sri Vyasadeva, who taught him first the Mahabharata and then Srimad-Bhagavatam. Sukadeva Gosvami recited 1,400,000 verses of the Mahabharata in the councils of the Gandharvas, Yaksas and Raksasas, and he recited Srimad-Bhagavatam for the first time in the presence of Maharaja Pariksit. He thoroughly studied all the Vedic literatures from his great father. Thus he was a completely purified soul by dint of his extensive knowledge in the principles of religion. From Mahabharata, Sabha-parva (4.11) it is understood that he was also present in the royal assembly of Maharaja Yudhisthira and at the fasting of Maharaja Pariksit. As a bona fide disciple of Sri Vyasadeva, he inquired from his father very extensively about religious principles and spiritual values, and his great father also satisfied him by teaching him the yoga system by which one can attain the spiritual kingdom, the difference between fruitive work and empiric knowledge, the ways and means of attaining spiritual realization, the four asramas (namely the student life, the householder's life, the retired life and the renounced life), the sublime position of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the process of seeing Him eye to eye, the bona fide candidate for receiving knowledge, the consideration of the five elements, the unique position of intelligence, the consciousness of the material nature and the living entity, the symptoms of the self-realized soul, the working principles of the material body, the symptoms of the influential modes of nature, the tree of perpetual desire, and psychic activities. Sometimes he went to the sun planet with the permission of his father and Naradaji. Descriptions of his travel in space are given in the Santi-parva of the Mahabharata (332). At last he attained the transcendental realm. He is known by different names like Araneya, Arunisuta, Vaiyasaki and Vyasatmaja.

   Kasyapa: One of the prajapatis, the son of Marici and one of the sons-in-law of Prajapati Daksa. He is the father of the gigantic bird Garuda, who was given elephants and tortoises as eatables. He married thirteen daughters of Prajapati Daksa, and their names are Aditi, Diti, Danu, Kastha, Arista, Surasa, Ila, Muni, Krodhavasa, Tamra, Surabhi, Sarama and Timi. He begot many children, both demigods and demons, by those wives. From his first wife, Aditi, all the twelve Adityas were born; one of them is Vamana, the incarnation of Godhead. This great sage, Kasyapa, was also present at the time of Arjuna's birth. He received a presentation of the whole world from Parasurama, and later on he asked Parasurama to go out of the world. His other name is Aristanemi. He lives on the northern side of the universe.

   Angirasa: He is the son of Maharsi Angira and is known as Brhaspati, the priest of the demigods. It is said that Dronacarya was his partial incarnation. Sukracarya was the spiritual master of the demons, and Brhaspati challenged him. His son is Kaca, and he delivered the fire weapon first to Bharadvaja Muni. He begot six sons (like the fire-god) by his wife Candramasi, one of the reputed stars. He could travel in space, and therefore he could present himself even in the planets of Brahmaloka and Indraloka. He advised the King of heaven, Indra, about conquering the demons. Once he cursed Indra, who thus had to become a hog on the earth and was unwilling to return to heaven. Such is the power of the attraction of the illusory energy. Even a hog does not wish to part with its earthly possessions in exchange for a heavenly kingdom. He was the religious preceptor of the natives of different planets.


                                TEXT 9




                       tan sametan maha-bhagan

                         upalabhya vasuttamah

                        pujayam asa dharma-jno





   tan--all of them; sametan--assembled together; maha-bhagan--all greatly powerful; upalabhya--having received; vasu-uttamah--the best among the Vasus (Bhismadeva); pujayam asa--welcomed; dharma-jnah--one who knows religious principles; desa--place; kala--time; vibhaga-vit--one who knows the adjustment of place and time.




   Bhismadeva, who was the best amongst the eight Vasus, received and welcomed all the great and powerful rsis who were assembled there, for he knew perfectly all the religious principles according to time and place.




   Expert religionists know perfectly well how to adjust religious principles in terms of time and place. All the great acaryas or religious preachers or reformers of the world executed their mission by adjustment of religious principles in terms of time and place. There are different climates and situations in different parts of the world, and if one has to discharge his duties to preach the message of the Lord, he must be expert in adjusting things in terms of the time and place. Bhismadeva was one of the twelve great authorities in preaching this cult of devotional service, and therefore he could receive and welcome all the powerful sages assembled there at his deathbed from all parts of the universe. He was certainly unable at that time to welcome and receive them physically because he was neither at his home nor in a normal healthy condition. But he was quite fit by the activities of his sound mind, and therefore he could utter sweet words with hearty expressions, and all of them were well received. One can perform one's duty by physical work, by mind and by words. And he knew well how to utilize them in the proper place, and therefore there was no difficulty for him to receive them, although physically unfit.


                               TEXT 10




                      krsnam ca tat-prabhava-jna

                         asinam jagad-isvaram

                        hrdi-stham pujayam asa





   krsnam--unto Lord Sri Krsna; ca--also; tat--of Him; prabhava-jnah--the knower of the glories (Bhisma); asinam--sitting; jagat-isvaram--the Lord of the universe; hrdi-stham--situated in the heart; pujayam asa--worshiped; mayaya--by internal potency; upatta--manifested; vigraham--a form.




   Lord Sri Krsna is situated in everyone's heart, yet He manifests His transcendental form by His internal potency. This very Lord was sitting before Bhismadeva, and since Bhismadeva knew of His glories, he worshiped Him duly.




   The Lord's omnipotency is displayed by His simultaneous presence in every place. He is present always in His eternal abode Goloka Vrndavana, and still He is present in everyone's heart and even within every invisible atom. When He manifests His eternal transcendental form in the material world, He does so by His internal potency. The external potency, or the material energy, has nothing to do with His eternal form. All these truths were known to Sri Bhismadeva, who worshiped Him accordingly.


                               TEXT 11




                        pandu-putran upasinan



                         andhibhutena caksusa




   pandu--the late father of Maharaja Yudhisthira and his brothers; putran--the sons of; upasinan--sitting silently nearby; prasraya--being overtaken; prema--in feelings of love; sangatan--having gathered; abhyacasta--congratulated; anuraga--feelingly; asraih--by tears of ecstasy; andhibhutena--overwhelmed; caksusa--with his eyes.




   The sons of Maharaja Pandu were sitting silently nearby, overtaken with affection for their dying grandfather. Seeing this, Bhismadeva congratulated them with feeling. There were tears of ecstasy in his eyes, for he was overwhelmed by love and affection.




   When Maharaja Pandu died, his sons were all small children, and naturally they were brought up under the affection of elderly members of the royal family, specifically by Bhismadeva. Later on, when the Pandavas were grown up, they were cheated by cunning Duryodhana and company, and Bhismadeva, although he knew that the Pandavas were innocent and were unnecessarily put into trouble, could not take the side of the Pandavas for political reasons. At the last stage of his life, when Bhismadeva saw his most exalted grandsons, headed by Maharaja Yudhisthira, sitting very gently at his side, the great warrior-grandfather could not check his loving tears, which were automatically flowing from his eyes. He remembered the great tribulations suffered by his most pious grandsons. Certainly he was the most satisfied man because of Yudhisthira's being enthroned in place of Duryodhana, and thus he began to congratulate them.


                               TEXT 12




                       aho kastam aho 'nyayyam

                      yad yuyam dharma-nandanah

                       jivitum narhatha klistam





   aho--oh; kastam--what terrible sufferings; aho--oh; anyayyam--what terrible injustice; yat--because; yuyam--all of you good souls; dharma-nandanah--sons of religion personified; jivitum--to remain alive; na--never; arhatha--deserve; klistam--suffering; vipra--brahmanas; dharma--piety; acyuta--God; asrayah--being protected by.




   Bhismadeva said: Oh, what terrible sufferings and what terrible injustices you good souls suffer for being the sons of religion personified. You did not deserve to remain alive under those tribulations, yet you were protected by the brahmanas, God and religion.




   Maharaja Yudhisthira was disturbed due to the great massacre in the Battle of Kuruksetra. Bhismadeva could understand this, and therefore he spoke first of the terrible sufferings of Maharaja Yudhisthira. He was put into difficulty by injustice only, and the Battle of Kuruksetra was fought just to counteract this injustice. Therefore, he should not regret the great massacre. He wanted to point out particularly that they were always protected by the brahmanas, the Lord and religious principles. As long as they were protected by these three important items, there was no cause of disappointment. Thus Bhismadeva encouraged Maharaja Yudhisthira to dissipate his despondency. As long as a person is fully in cooperation with the wishes of the Lord, guided by the bona fide brahmanas and Vaisnavas and strictly following religious principles, one has no cause for despondency, however trying the circumstances of life. Bhismadeva, as one of the authorities in the line, wanted to impress this point upon the Pandavas.


                               TEXT 13




                      samsthite 'tirathe pandau

                       prtha bala-praja vadhuh

                       yusmat-krte bahun klesan

                        prapta tokavati muhuh




   samsthite--after the demise; ati-rathe--of the great general; pandau--Pandu; prtha--Kunti; bala-praja--having young children; vadhuh--my daughter-in-law; yusmat-krte--on your account; bahun--multifarious; klesan--afflictions; prapta--underwent; toka-vati--in spite of having grown-up boys; muhuh--constantly.




   As far as my daughter-in-law Kunti is concerned, upon the great General Pandu's death, she became a widow with many children, and therefore she suffered greatly. And when you were grown up she suffered a great deal also because of your actions.




   The sufferings of Kuntidevi are doubly lamented. She suffered greatly because of early widowhood and to get her minor children brought up in the royal family. And when her children were grown up, she continued to suffer because of her sons' actions. So her sufferings continued. This means that she was destined to suffer by providence, and this one has to tolerate without being disturbed.


                               TEXT 14




                       sarvam kala-krtam manye

                       bhavatam ca yad-apriyam

                         sapalo yad-vase loko

                         vayor iva ghanavalih




   sarvam--all this; kala-krtam--done by inevitable time; manye--I think; bhavatam ca--for you also; yat--whatever; apriyam--detestable; sa-palah--with the rulers; yat-vase--under the control of that time; lokah--everyone in every planet; vayoh--the wind carries; iva--as; ghana-avalih--a line of clouds.




   In my opinion, this is all due to inevitable time, under whose control everyone in every planet is carried, just as the clouds are carried by the wind.




   There is control by time all over the space within the universe, as there is control by time all over the planets. All the big gigantic planets, including the sun, are being controlled by the force of air, as the clouds are carried by the force of air. Similarly, the inevitable kala, or time, controls even the action of the air and other elements. Everything, therefore, is controlled by the supreme kala, a forceful representative of the Lord within the material world. Thus Yudhisthira should not be sorry for the inconceivable action of time. Everyone has to bear the actions and reactions of time as long as one is within the conditions of the material world. Yudhisthira should not think that he had committed sins in his previous birth and is suffering the consequence. Even the most pious has to suffer the condition of material nature. But a pious man is faithful to the Lord, for he is guided by the bona fide brahmana and Vaisnava following the religious principles. These three guiding principles should be the aim of life. One should not be disturbed by the tricks of eternal time. Even the great controller of the universe, Brahmaji, is also under the control of that time; therefore, one should not grudge being thus controlled by time despite being a true follower of religious principles.


                               TEXT 15




                        yatra dharma-suto raja

                         gada-panir vrkodarah

                      krsno 'stri gandivam capam

                       suhrt krsnas tato vipat




   yatra--where there is; dharma-sutah--the son of Dharmaraja; raja--the King; gada-panih--with his mighty club in hand; vrkodarah--Bhima; krsnah--Arjuna; astri--carrier of the weapon; gandivam--Gandiva; capam--bow; suhrt--well-wisher; krsnah--Lord Krsna, the Personality of Godhead; tatah--thereof; vipat--reverse.




   O how wonderful is the influence of inevitable time. It is irreversible--otherwise, how can there be reverses in the presence of King Yudhisthira, the son of the demigod controlling religion; Bhima, the great fighter with a club; the great bowman Arjuna with his mighty weapon Gandiva; and above all, the Lord, the direct well-wisher of the Pandavas?




   As far as the material or spiritual resources were required, there was no scarcity in the case of the Pandavas. Materially they were well equipped because two great warriors, namely Bhima and Arjuna, were there. Spiritually the King himself was the symbol of religion, and above all of them the Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krsna, was personally concerned with their affairs as the well-wisher. And yet there were so many reverses on the side of the Pandavas. Despite the power of pious acts, the power of personalities, the power of expert management and the power of weapons under the direct supervision of Lord Krsna, the Pandavas suffered so many practical reverses, which can only be explained as due to the influence of kala, inevitable time. Kala is identical with the Lord Himself, and therefore the influence of kala indicates the inexplicable wish of the Lord Himself. There is nothing to be lamented when a matter is beyond the control of any human being.


                               TEXT 16




                      na hy asya karhicid rajan

                        puman veda vidhitsitam

                        yad vijijnasaya yukta

                        muhyanti kavayo 'pi hi




   na--never; hi--certainly; asya--His; karhicit--whatsoever; rajan--O King; puman--anyone; veda--knows; vidhitsitam--plan; yat--which; vijijnasaya--with exhaustive inquiries; yuktah--being engaged; muhyanti--bewildered; kavayah--great philosophers; api--even; hi--certainly.




   O King, no one can know the plan of the Lord [Sri Krsna]. Even though great philosophers inquire exhaustively, they are bewildered.




   The bewilderment of Maharaja Yudhisthira over his past sinful acts and the resultant sufferings, etc., is completely negated by the great authority Bhisma (one of the twelve authorized persons). Bhisma wanted to impress upon Maharaja Yudhisthira that since time immemorial no one, including such demigods as Siva and Brahma, could ascertain the real plan of the Lord. So what can we understand about it? It is useless also to inquire about it. Even the exhaustive philosophical inquiries of sages cannot ascertain the plan of the Lord. The best policy is simply to abide by the orders of the Lord without argument. The sufferings of the Pandavas were never due to their past deeds. The Lord had to execute the plan of establishing the kingdom of virtue, and therefore His own devotees suffered temporarily in order to establish the conquest of virtue. Bhismadeva was certainly satisfied by seeing the triumph of virtue, and he was glad to see King Yudhisthira on the throne, although he himself fought against him. Even a great fighter like Bhisma could not win the Battle of Kuruksetra because the Lord wanted to show that vice cannot conquer virtue, regardless of who tries to execute it. Bhismadeva was a great devotee of the Lord, but he chose to fight against the Pandavas by the will of the Lord because the Lord wanted to show that a fighter like Bhisma cannot win on the wrong side.


                               TEXT 17




                      tasmad idam daiva-tantram

                        vyavasya bharatarsabha

                         tasyanuvihito 'natha

                       natha pahi prajah prabho




   tasmat--therefore; idam--this; daiva-tantram--enchantment of providence only; vyavasya--ascertaining; bharata-rsabha--O best among the descendants of Bharata; tasya--by Him; anuvihitah--as desired; anathah--helpless; natha--O master; pahi--just take care of; prajah--of the subjects; prabho--O Lord.




   O best among the descendants of Bharata [Yudhisthira], I maintain, therefore, that all this is within the plan of the Lord. Accepting the inconceivable plan of the Lord, you must follow it. You are now the appointed administrative head, and, my lord, you should now take care of those subjects who are now rendered helpless.




   The popular saying is that a housewife teaches the daughter-in-law by teaching the daughter. Similarly, the Lord teaches the world by teaching the devotee. The devotee does not have to learn anything new from the Lord because the Lord teaches the sincere devotee always from within. Whenever, therefore, a show is made to teach the devotee, as in the case of the teachings of Bhagavad-gita, it is for teaching the less intelligent men. A devotee's duty, therefore, is to ungrudgingly accept tribulations from the Lord as a benediction. The Pandavas were advised by Bhismadeva to accept the responsibility of administration without hesitation. The poor subjects were without protection due to the Battle of Kuruksetra, and they were awaiting the assumption of power by Maharaja Yudhisthira. A pure devotee of the Lord accepts tribulations as favors from the Lord. Since the Lord is absolute, there is no mundane difference between the two.


                               TEXT 18




                       esa vai bhagavan saksad

                         adyo narayanah puman

                         mohayan mayaya lokam

                        gudhas carati vrsnisu




   esah--this; vai--positively; bhagavan--the Personality of Godhead; saksat--original; adyah--the first; narayanah--the Supreme Lord (who lies down on the water); puman--the supreme enjoyer; mohayan--bewildering; mayaya--by His self-created energy; lokam--the planets; gudhah--who is inconceivable; carati--moves; vrsnisu--among the Vrsni family.




   This Sri Krsna is no other than the inconceivable, original Personality of Godhead. He is the first Narayana, the supreme enjoyer. But He is moving amongst the descendants of King Vrsni just like one of us and He is bewildering us with His self-created energy.




   The Vedic system of acquiring knowledge is the deductive process. The Vedic knowledge is received perfectly by disciplic succession from authorities. Such knowledge is never dogmatic, as ill conceived by less intelligent persons. The mother is the authority to verify the identity of the father. She is the authority for such confidential knowledge. Therefore, authority is not dogmatic. In the Bhagavad-gita this truth is confirmed in the Fourth Chapter (Bg. 4.2), and the perfect system of learning is to receive it from authority. The very same system is accepted universally as truth, but only the false arguer speaks against it. For example, modern spacecraft fly in the sky, and when scientists say that they travel to the other side of the moon, men believe these stories blindly because they have accepted the modern scientists as authorities. The authorities speak, and the people in general believe them. But in the case of Vedic truths, they have been taught not to believe. Even if they accept them they give a different interpretation. Each and every man wants a direct perception of Vedic knowledge, but foolishly they deny it. This means that the misguided man can believe one authority, the scientist, but will reject the authority of the Vedas. The result is that people have degenerated.

   Here is an authority speaking about Sri Krsna as the original Personality of Godhead and the first Narayana. Even such an impersonalist as Acarya Sankara has said in the beginning of his commentation on the Bhagavad-gita that Narayana, the Personality of Godhead, is beyond the material creation. The universe is one of the material creations, but Narayana is transcendental to such material paraphernalia.

   Bhismadeva is one of the twelve mahajanas who know the principles of transcendental knowledge. His confirmation of Lord Sri Krsna's being the original Personality of Godhead is also corroborated by the impersonalist Sankara. All other acaryas have also confirmed this statement, and thus there is no chance of not accepting Lord Sri Krsna as the original Personality of Godhead. Bhismadeva says that He is the first Narayana. This is also confirmed by Brahmaji in the Bhagavatam (10.14.14). Krsna is the first Narayana. In the spiritual world (Vaikuntha) there are unlimited numbers of Narayanas, who are all the same Personality of Godhead and are considered to be the plenary expansions of the original Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna. The first form of the Lord Sri Krsna first expands Himself as the form of Baladeva, and Baladeva expands in so many other forms, such as Sankarsana, Pradyumna, Aniruddha, Vasudeva, Narayana, Purusa, Rama and Nrsimha. All these expansions are one and the same visnu-tattva, and Sri Krsna is the original source of all the plenary expansions. He is therefore the direct Personality of Godhead. He is the creator of the material world, and He is the predominating Deity known as Narayana in all the Vaikuntha planets. Therefore, His movements amongst human beings is another sort of bewilderment. The Lord therefore says in the Bhagavad-gita that foolish persons consider Him to be one of the human beings without knowing the intricacies of His movements.

   The bewilderment regarding Sri Krsna is due to the action of His twofold internal and external energies upon the third one, called marginal energy. The living entities are expansions of His marginal energy, and thus they are sometimes bewildered by the internal energy and sometimes by the external energy. By internal energetic bewilderment, Sri Krsna expands Himself into unlimited numbers of Narayanas and exchanges or accepts transcendental loving service from the living entities in the transcendental world. And by His external energetic expansions, He incarnates Himself in the material world amongst the men, animals or demigods to reestablish His forgotten relation with the living entities in different species of life. Great authorities like Bhisma, however, escape His bewilderment by the mercy of the Lord.


                               TEXT 19




                        asyanubhavam bhagavan

                        veda guhyatamam sivah

                       devarsir naradah saksad

                         bhagavan kapilo nrpa




   asya--of Him; anubhavam--glories; bhagavan--the most powerful; veda--knows; guhya-tamam--very confidentially; sivah--Lord Siva; deva-rsih--the great sage among the demigods; naradah--Narada; saksat--directly; bhagavan--the Personality of Godhead; kapilah--Kapila; nrpa--O King.




   O King, Lord Siva, Narada the sage amongst the demigods, and Kapila, the incarnation of Godhead, all know very confidentially about His glories through direct contact.




   Pure devotees of the Lord are all bhavas, or persons who know the glories of the Lord in different transcendental loving services. As the Lord has innumerable expansions of His plenary form, there are innumerable pure devotees of the Lord, who are engaged in the exchange of service of different humors. Ordinarily there are twelve great devotees of the Lord, namely Brahma, Narada, Siva, Kumara, Kapila, Manu, Prahlada, Bhisma, Janaka, Sukadeva Gosvami, Bali Maharaja and Yamaraja. Bhismadeva, although one of them, has mentioned only three important names of the twelve who know the glories of the Lord. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, one of the great acaryas in the modern age, explains that anubhava, or the glory of the Lord, is first appreciated by the devotee in ecstasy manifesting the symptoms of perspiring, trembling, weeping, bodily eruptions, etc., which are further enhanced by steady understanding of the glories of the Lord. Such different understandings of bhavas are exchanged between Yasoda and the Lord (binding the Lord by ropes) and in the chariot driving by the Lord in the exchange of love with Arjuna. These glories of the Lord are exhibited in His being subordinated before His devotees, and that is another feature of the glories of the Lord. Sukadeva Gosvami and the Kumaras, although situated in the transcendental position, became converted by another feature of bhava and turned into pure devotees of the Lord. Tribulations imposed upon the devotees by the Lord constitute another exchange of transcendental bhava between the Lord and the devotees. The Lord says "I put My devotee into difficulty, and thus the devotee becomes more purified in exchanging transcendental bhava with Me." Placing the devotee into material troubles necessitates delivering him from the illusory material relations. The material relations are based on reciprocation of material enjoyment, which depends mainly on material resources. Therefore, when material resources are withdrawn by the Lord, the devotee is cent percent attracted toward the transcendental loving service of the Lord. Thus the Lord snatches the fallen soul from the mire of material existence. Tribulations offered by the Lord to His devotee are different from the tribulations resulting from vicious action. All these glories of the Lord are especially known to the great mahajanas like Brahma, Siva, Narada, Kapila, Kumara and Bhisma, as mentioned above, and one is able to grasp it by their grace.


                               TEXT 20




                        yam manyase matuleyam

                       priyam mitram suhrttamam

                         akaroh sacivam dutam

                        sauhrdad atha sarathim




   yam--the person; manyase--you think; matuleyam--maternal cousin; priyam--very dear; mitram--friend; suhrt-tamam--ardent well-wisher; akaroh--executed; sacivam--counsel; dutam--messenger; sauhrdat--by good will; atha--thereupon; sarathim--charioteer.




   O King, that personality whom, out of ignorance only, you thought to be your maternal cousin, your very dear friend, well-wisher, counselor, messenger, benefactor, etc., is that very Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna.




   Lord Sri Krsna, although acting as the cousin, brother, friend, well-wisher, counselor, messenger, benefactor, etc., of the Pandavas, was still the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Out of His causeless mercy and favor upon His unalloyed devotees, He performs all kinds of service, but that does not mean that He has changed His position as the Absolute Person. To think of Him as an ordinary man is the grossest type of ignorance.


                               TEXT 21




                        sarvatmanah sama-drso

                        hy advayasyanahankrteh

                       tat-krtam mati-vaisamyam

                        niravadyasya na kvacit




   sarva-atmanah--of one who is present in everyone's heart; sama-drsah--of one who is equally kind to one and all; hi--certainly; advayasya--of the Absolute; anahankrteh--free from all material identity of false ego; tat-krtam--everything done by Him; mati--consciousness; vaisamyam--differentiation; niravadyasya--freed from all attachment; na--never; kvacit--at any stage.




   Being the Absolute Personality of Godhead, He is present in everyone's heart. He is equally kind to everyone, and He is free from the false ego of differentiation. Therefore whatever He does is free from material inebriety. He is equibalanced.




   Because He is absolute, there is nothing different from Him. He is kaivalya; there is nothing except Himself. Everything and everyone is the manifestation of His energy, and thus He is present everywhere by His energy, being nondifferent from it. The sun is identified with every inch of the sun rays and every molecular particle of the rays. Similarly, the Lord is distributed by His different energies. He is Paramatma, or the Supersoul, present in everyone as the supreme guidance, and therefore He is already the chariot driver and counsel of all living beings. When He, therefore, exhibits Himself as chariot driver of Arjuna, there is no change in His exalted position. It is the power of devotional service only that demonstrates Him as the chariot driver or the messenger. Since He has nothing to do with the material conception of life because He is absolute spiritual identity, there is for Him no superior or inferior action. Being the Absolute Personality of Godhead, He has no false ego, and so He does not identify Himself with anything different from Him. The material conception of ego is equibalanced in Him. He does not feel, therefore, inferior by becoming the chariot driver of His pure devotee. It is the glory of the pure devotee that only he can bring about service from the affectionate Lord.


                               TEXT 22




                       tathapy ekanta-bhaktesu

                        pasya bhupanukampitam

                     yan me 'sums tyajatah saksat

                        krsno darsanam agatah




   tathapi--still; ekanta--unflinching; bhaktesu--unto the devotees; pasya--see here; bhu-pa--O King; anukampitam--how sympathetic; yat--for which; me--my; asun--life; tyajatah--ending; saksat--directly; krsnah--the Personality of Godhead; darsanam--in my view; agatah--has kindly come.




   Yet, despite His being equally kind to everyone, He has graciously come before me while I am ending my life, for I am His unflinching servitor.




   The Supreme Lord, the Absolute Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna, although equal to everyone, is still more inclined to His unflinching devotee who is completely surrendered and knows no one else as his protector and master. Having unflinching faith in the Supreme Lord as one's protector, friend and master is the natural condition of eternal life. A living entity is so made by the will of the Almighty that he is most happy when placing himself in a condition of absolute dependence.

   The opposite tendency is the cause of falldown. The living entity has this tendency of falling down by dint of misidentifying himself as fully independent to lord it over the material world. The root cause of all troubles is there in false egotism. One must draw towards the Lord in all circumstances.

   The appearance of Lord Krsna at the deathbed of Bhismaji is due to his being an unflinching devotee of the Lord. Arjuna had some bodily relation with Krsna because the Lord happened to be his maternal cousin. But Bhisma had no such bodily relation. Therefore the cause of attraction was due to the intimate relation of the soul. Yet because the relation of the body is very pleasing and natural, the Lord is more pleased when He is addressed as the son of Maharaja Nanda, the son of Yasoda, the lover of Radharani. This affinity by bodily relation with the Lord is another feature of reciprocating loving service with the Lord. Bhismadeva is conscious of this sweetness of transcendental humor, and therefore he likes to address the Lord as Vijaya-Sakhe, Partha-Sakhe, etc., exactly like Nanda-nandana or Yasoda-nandana. The best way to establish our relation in transcendental sweetness is to approach Him through His recognized devotees. One should not try to establish the relation directly; there must be a via medium which is transparent and competent to lead us to the right path.


                               TEXT 23




                       bhaktyavesya mano yasmin

                        vaca yan-nama kirtayan

                        tyajan kalevaram yogi

                        mucyate kama-karmabhih




   bhaktya--with devout attention; avesya--meditating; manah--mind; yasmin--in whose; vaca--by words; yat--Krsna; nama--holy name; kirtayan--by chanting; tyajan--quitting; kalevaram--this material body; yogi--the devotee; mucyate--gets release; kama-karmabhih--from fruitive activities.




   The Personality of Godhead, who appears in the mind of the devotee by attentive devotion and meditation and by chanting of the holy name, releases the devotee from the bondage of fruitive activities at the time of his quitting the material body.




   Yoga means concentration of the mind detached from all other subject matter. And actually such concentration is samadhi, or cent percent engagement in the service of the Lord. And one who concentrates his attention in that manner is called a yogi. Such a yogi devotee of the Lord engages himself twenty-four hours daily in the service of the Lord so that his whole attention is engrossed with the thoughts of the Lord in ninefold devotional service, namely hearing, chanting, remembering, worshiping, praying, becoming a voluntary servant, carrying out orders, establishing a friendly relationship, or offering all that one may possess, in the service of the Lord. By such practice of yoga, or linking up in the service of the Lord, one is recognized by the Lord Himself, as it is explained in the Bhagavad-gita concerning the highest perfectional stage of samadhi. The Lord calls such a rare devotee the best amongst all the yogis Such a perfect yogi is enabled by the divine grace of the Lord to concentrate his mind upon the Lord with a perfect sense of consciousness, and thus by chanting His holy name before quitting the body the yogi is at once transferred by the internal energy of the Lord to one of the eternal planets where there is no question of material life and its concomitant factors. In material existence a living being has to endure the material conditions of threefold miseries, life after life, according to his fruitive work. Such material life is produced by material desires only. Devotional service to the Lord does not kill the natural desires of the living being, but they are applied in the right cause of devotional service. This qualifies the desire to be transferred to the spiritual sky. General Bhismadeva is referring to a particular type of yoga called bhakti-yoga, and he was fortunate enough to have the Lord directly in his presence before he quitted his material body. He therefore desired that the Lord stay before his view in the following verses.


                               TEXT 24




                  sa deva-devo bhagavan pratiksatam

                   kalevaram yavad idam hinomy aham


                mukhambujo dhyana-pathas catur-bhujah




   sah--He; deva-devah--the Supreme Lord of the lords; bhagavan--the Personality of Godhead; pratiksatam--may kindly wait; kalevaram--body; yavat--as long as; idam--this (material body); hinomi--may quit; aham--I; prasanna--cheerful; hasa--smiling; aruna-locana--eyes red like the morning sun; ullasat--beautifully decorated; mukha-ambujah--the lotus flower of His face; dhyana-pathah--in the path of my meditation; catur-bhujah--the four-handed form of Narayana (the worshipable Deity of Bhismadeva).




   May my Lord, who is four-handed and whose beautifully decorated lotus face, with eyes as red as the rising sun, is smiling, kindly await me at that moment when I quit this material body.




   Bhismadeva knew well that Lord Krsna is the original Narayana. His worshipable Deity was four-handed Narayana, but he knew that four-handed Narayana is a plenary expansion of Lord Krsna. Indirectly he desired Lord Sri Krsna to manifest Himself in His four-handed feature of Narayana. A Vaisnava is always humble in his behavior. Although it was cent percent certain that Bhismadeva was approaching Vaikuntha-dhama just after leaving his material body, still as a humble Vaisnava he desired to see the beautiful face of the Lord, for after quitting the present body he might not be in a position to see the Lord any more. A Vaisnava is not puffed up, although the Lord guarantees His pure devotee entrance into His abode. Here Bhismadeva says, "as long as I do not quit this body." This means that the great General would quit the body by his own will; he was not being forced by the laws of nature. He was so powerful that he could stay in his body as long as he desired. He got this benediction from his father. He desired that the Lord stay before him in His four-handed Narayana feature so that he might concentrate upon Him and thus be in trance in that meditation. Then his mind might be sanctified with thinking of the Lord. Thus he did not mind wherever he might go. A pure devotee is never very anxious to go back to the kingdom of God. He entirely depends on the good will of the Lord. He is equally satisfied even if the Lord desires him to go to hell. The only desire that a pure devotee entertains is that he may always be in rapt attention with thinking of the lotus feet of the Lord, regardless. Bhismadeva wanted this much only: that his mind be absorbed in thinking of the Lord and that he pass away thus. That is the highest ambition of a pure devotee.


                               TEXT 25




                              suta uvaca

                       yudhisthiras tad akarnya

                         sayanam sara-panjare

                      aprcchad vividhan dharman

                         rsinam canusrnvatam




   sutah uvaca--Sri Suta Gosvami said; yudhisthirah--King Yudhisthira; tat--that; akarnya--hearing; sayanam--lying down; sara-panjare--on the bed of arrows; aprcchat--asked; vividhan--multifarious; dharman--duties; rsinam--of the rsis; ca--and; anusrnvatam--hearing after.




   Suta Gosvami said: Maharaja Yudhisthira, after hearing Bhismadeva speak in that appealing tone, asked him, in the presence of all the great rsis, about the essential principles of various religious duties.




   Bhismadeva, speaking in that appealing tone, convinced Maharaja Yudhisthira that he was very soon passing away. And Maharaja Yudhisthira was inspired by Lord Sri Krsna to ask him of the principles of religion. Lord Sri Krsna inspired Maharaja Yudhisthira to ask Bhismadeva in the presence of many great sages, indicating thereby that the Lord's devotee like Bhismadeva, although apparently living as a worldly man, is far superior to many great sages, even Vyasadeva. Another point is that Bhismadeva at that time was not only lying on a deathbed of arrows, but was greatly aggrieved because of that state. One should not have asked him any question at that time, but Lord Sri Krsna wanted to prove that His pure devotees are always sound in body and mind by dint of spiritual enlightenment, and thus in any circumstances a devotee of the Lord is in perfect order to speak of the right way of life. Yudhisthira also preferred to solve his problematic questions by asking Bhismadeva rather than ask anyone else present there who was seemingly more learned than Bhismadeva. This is all due to the arrangement of the great wheel-carrier Lord Sri Krsna, who establishes the glories of His devotee. The father likes to see the son become more famous than himself. The Lord declares very emphatically that worship of His devotee is more valuable than the worship of the Lord Himself.


                               TEXT 26





                       yatha-varnam yathasramam






   purusa--the human being; sva-bhava--by his own acquired qualities; vihitan--prescribed; yatha--according to; varnam--classification of castes; yatha--according to; asramam--orders of life; vairagya--detachment; raga--attachment; upadhibhyam--out of such designations; amnata--systematically; ubhaya--both; laksanan--symptoms.




   At Maharaja Yudhisthira's inquiry, Bhismadeva first defined all the classifications of castes and orders of life in terms of the individual's qualifications. Then he systematically, in twofold divisions, described counteraction by detachment and interaction by attachment.




   The conception of four castes and four orders of life, as planned by the Lord Himself (Bg. 4.13), is to accelerate transcendental qualities of the individual person so that he may gradually realize his spiritual identity and thus act accordingly to get free from material bondage, or conditional life. In almost all the Puranas the subject matter is described in the same spirit, and so also in the Mahabharata it is more elaborately described by Bhismadeva in the Santi-parva, beginning from the sixtieth chapter.

   The varnasrama-dharma is prescribed for the civilized human being just to train him to successfully terminate human life. Self-realization is distinguished from the life of the lower animals engaged in eating, sleeping, fearing and mating. Bhismadeva advised for all human beings nine qualifications: (1) not to become angry, (2) not to lie, (3) to equally distribute wealth, (4) to forgive, (5) to beget children only by one's legitimate wife, (6) to be pure in mind and hygienic in body, (7) not to be inimical toward anyone, (8) to be simple, and (9) to support servants or subordinates. One cannot be called a civilized person without acquiring the above-mentioned preliminary qualities. Besides these, the brahmanas (the intelligent men), the administrative men, the mercantile community and the laborer class must acquire special qualities in terms of occupational duties mentioned in all the Vedic scriptures. For the intelligent men, controlling the senses is the most essential qualification. It is the basis of morality. Sex indulgence even with a legitimate wife must also be controlled, and thereby family control will automatically follow. An intelligent man abuses his great qualifications if he does not follow the Vedic way of life. This means he must seriously make a study of the Vedic literatures, especially of the Srimad-Bhagavatam and the Bhagavad-gita. For learning Vedic knowledge, one must approach a person who is cent percent engaged in devotional service. He must not do things which are forbidden in the sastras. A person cannot be a teacher if he drinks or smokes. In the modern system of education the teacher's academic qualification is taken into consideration without evaluation of his moral life. Therefore, the result of education is misuse of high intelligence in so many ways.

   The ksatriya, the member of the administrative class, is especially advised to give charity and not to accept charity in any circumstances. Modern administrators raise subscriptions for some political functions, but never give charity to the citizens in any state function. It is just the reverse in the injunctions of the sastras. The administrative class must be well versed in the sastras, but must not take to the profession of teachers. The administrators should never pretend to become nonviolent and thereby go to hell. When Arjuna wanted to become a nonviolent coward on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, he was severely chastised by Lord Krsna. The Lord degraded Arjuna at that time to the status of an uncivilized man for his avowed acceptance of the cult of nonviolence. The administrative class must be personally trained in military education. Cowards should not be elevated to the presidential throne by dint of numerical votes only. The monarchs were all chivalrous personalities, and therefore monarchy should be maintained provided the monarch is regularly trained in the occupational duties of a king. In fighting, the king or the president should never return home without being hurt by the enemy. The so-called king of today never visits the warfield. He is very much expert in artificially encouraging the fighting strength in the hope of false national prestige. As soon as the administrative class is turned into a gang of mercantile and laborer men, the whole machinery of government becomes polluted.

   The vaisyas, the members of the mercantile communities, are especially advised to protect the cows. Cow protection means increasing the milk productions, namely curd and butter. Agriculture and distribution of the foodstuff are the primary duties of the mercantile community backed by education in Vedic knowledge and trained to give in charity. As the ksatriyas were given charge of the protection of the citizens, vaisyas were given the charge of the protection of animals. Animals are never meant to be killed. Killing of animals is a symptom of barbarian society. For a human being, agricultural produce, fruits and milk are sufficient and compatible foodstuffs. The human society should give more attention to animal protection. The productive energy of the laborer is misused when he is occupied by industrial enterprises. Industry of various types cannot produce the essential needs of man, namely rice, wheat, grains, milk, fruits and vegetables. The production of machines and machine tools increases the artificial living fashion of a class of vested interests and keeps thousands of men in starvation and unrest. This should not be the standard of civilization.

   The sudra class is less intelligent and should have no independence. They are meant for rendering sincere service to the three higher sections of the society. The sudra class can attain all comforts of life simply by rendering service to the higher classes. It is especially enjoined that a sudra should never bank money. As soon as the sudras accumulate wealth, it will be misused for sinful activities in wine, women and gambling. Wine, women and gambling indicate that the population is degraded to less than sudra quality. The higher castes should always look after the maintenance of the sudras, and they should provide them with old and used garments. A sudra should not leave his master when the master is old and invalid, and the master should keep the servants satisfied in all respects. The sudras must first of all be satisfied by sumptuous food and clothing before any sacrifice is performed. In this age so many functions are held by spending millions, but the poor laborer is not sumptuously fed or given charity, clothing, etc. The laborers are thus dissatisfied, and so they make agitation.

   The varnas are, so to speak, classifications of different occupations, and asrama-dharma is gradual progress on the path of self-realization. Both are interrelated, and one is dependent on the other. The main purpose of asrama-dharma is to awaken knowledge and detachment. The brahmacari asrama is the training ground for the prospective candidates. In this asrama it is instructed that this material world is not actually the home of the living being. The conditioned souls under material bondage are prisoners of matter, and therefore self-realization is the ultimate aim of life. The whole system of asrama-dharma is a means to detachment. One who fails to assimilate this spirit of detachment is allowed to enter into family life with the same spirit of detachment. Therefore, one who attains detachment may at once adopt the fourth order, namely, renounced, and thus live on charity only, not to accumulate wealth, but just to keep body and soul together for ultimate realization. Household life is for one who is attached, and the vanaprastha and sannyasa orders of life are for those who are detached from material life. The brahmacari-asrama is especially meant for training both the attached and detached.


                               TEXT 27




                      dana-dharman raja-dharman

                       moksa-dharman vibhagasah

                    stri-dharman bhagavad-dharman





   dana-dharman--the acts of charity; raja-dharman--pragmatic activities of the kings; moksa-dharman--the acts for salvation; vibhagasah--by divisions; stri-dharman--duties of women; bhagavat-dharman--the acts of the devotees; samasa--generally; vyasa--explicitly; yogatah--by means of.




   He then explained, by divisions, acts of charity, the pragmatic activities of a king and activities for salvation. Then he described the duties of women and devotees, both briefly and extensively.




   To give charity is one of the householder's main functions, and he should be prepared to give in charity at least fifty percent of his hard-earned money. A brahmacari, or student, should perform sacrifices, a householder should give charity, and a person in the retired life or in the renounced order should practice penances and austerities. Those are the general functions of all the asramas, or orders of life on the path of self-realization. In the brahmacari life the training is sufficiently imparted so that one may understand that the world as property belongs to the Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead. No one, therefore, can claim to be the proprietor of anything in the world. Therefore, in the life of a householder, which is a sort of license for sex enjoyment, one must give in charity for the service of the Lord. Everyone's energy is generated or borrowed from the reservoir of energy of the Lord; therefore, the resultant actions of such energy must be given to the Lord in the shape of transcendental loving service for Him. As the rivers draw water from the sea through the clouds and again go down to the sea, similarly our energy is borrowed from the supreme source, the Lord's energy, and it must return to the Lord. That is the perfection of our energy. The Lord, therefore, in the Bhagavad-gita (9.27) says that whatever we do, whatever we undergo as penance, whatever we sacrifice, whatever we eat or whatever we give in charity must be offered to Him (the Lord). That is the way of utilizing our borrowed energy. When our energy is utilized in that way, our energy is purified from the contamination of material inebrieties, and thus we become fit for our original natural life of service to the Lord.

   Raja-dharma is a great science, unlike modern diplomacy for political supremacy. The kings were trained systematically to become munificent and not merely be tax collectors. They were trained to perform different sacrifices only for the prosperity of the subjects. To lead the prajas to the attainment of salvation was a great duty of the king. The father, the spiritual master and the king are not to become irresponsible in the matter of leading their subjects to the path of ultimate liberation from birth, death, diseases and old age. When these primary duties are properly discharged, there is no need of government of the people, by the people. In modern days the people in general occupy the administration by the strength of manipulated votes, but they are never trained in the primary duties of the king, and that is also not possible for everyone. Under the circumstances the untrained administrators play havoc to make the subjects happy in all respects. On the other hand, these untrained administrators gradually become rogues and thieves and increase the taxation to finance a top-heavy administration that is useless for all purposes. Actually the qualified brahmanas are meant to give direction to the kings for proper administration in terms of the scriptures like the Manu-samhita and Dharma-sastras of Parasara. A typical king is the ideal of the people in general, and if the king is pious, religious, chivalrous and munificent, the citizens generally follow him. Such a king is not a lazy sensuous person living at the cost of the subjects, but alert always to kill thieves and dacoits. The pious kings were not merciful to dacoits and thieves in the name of nonsensical ahimsa (nonviolence). The thieves and dacoits were punished in an exemplary way so that in the future no one would dare commit such nuisances in an organized form. Such thieves and dacoits were never meant for administration as they are now.

   The taxation law was simple. There was no force, no encroachment. The king had a right to take one fourth of the production made by the subject. The king had a right to claim a fourth of one's allotted wealth. One would never grudge parting with it because due to the pious king and religious harmony there was enough natural wealth, namely grains, fruits, flowers, silk, cotton, milk, jewels, minerals, etc., and therefore no one was materially unhappy. The citizens were rich in agriculture and animal husbandry, and therefore they had enough grains, fruits and milk without any artificial needs of soaps and toilets, cinemas and bars.

   The king had to see that the reserved energy of humanity was properly utilized. Human energy is meant not exactly for fulfilling animal propensities, but for self-realization. The whole government was specifically designed to fulfill this particular purpose. As such, the king had to select properly the cabinet ministers, but not on the strength of voting background. The ministers, the military commanders and even the ordinary soldiers were all selected by personal qualification, and the king had to supervise them properly before they were appointed to their respective posts. The king was especially vigilant to see that the tapasvis, or persons who sacrificed everything for disseminating spiritual knowledge, were never disregarded. The king knew well that the Supreme Personality of Godhead never tolerates any insult to His unalloyed devotees. Such tapasvis were trusted leaders even of the rogues and thieves, who would never disobey the orders of tapasvis. The king would give special protection to illiterates, the helpless and widows of the state. Defense measures were arranged previous to any attack by the enemies. The taxing process was easy, and it was not meant for squandering, but was for strengthening the reserve fund. The soldiers were recruited from all parts of the world, and they were trained for special duties.

   As far as salvation is concerned, one has to conquer the principles of lust, anger, unlawful desires, avarice and bewilderment. To get freedom from anger, one should learn how to forgive. To be free from unlawful desires one should not make plans. By spiritual culture one is able to conquer sleep. By tolerance only can one conquer desires and avarice. Disturbances from various diseases can be avoided by regulated diets. By self-control one can be free from false hopes, and money can be saved by avoiding undesirable association. By practice of yoga one can control hunger, and worldliness can be avoided by culturing the knowledge of impermanence. Dizziness can be conquered by rising up, and false arguments can be conquered by factual ascertainment. Talkativeness can be avoided by gravity and silence, and by prowess one can avoid fearfulness. Perfect knowledge can be obtained by self-cultivation. One must be free from lust, avarice, anger, dreaming, etc., to actually attain the path of salvation.

   As far as the women class are concerned, they are accepted as a power of inspiration for men. As such, women are more powerful than men. Mighty Julius Caesar was controlled by a Cleopatra. Such powerful women are controlled by shyness. Therefore, shyness is important for women. Once this control valve is loosened, women can create havoc in society by adultery. Adultery means production of unwanted children known as varna-sankara, who disturb the world.

   The last item taught by Bhismadeva was the process of pleasing the Lord. We are all eternal servants of the Lord, and when we forget this essential part of our nature we are put into material conditions of life. The simple process of pleasing the Lord (for the householders especially) is to install the Deity of the Lord at home. By concentrating on the Deity, one may progressively go on with the daily routine work. Worshiping the Deity at home, serving the devotee, hearing the Srimad-Bhagavatam, residing in a holy place and chanting the holy name of the Lord are all inexpensive items by which one can please the Lord. Thus the subject matter was explained by the grandfather to his grandchildren.


                               TEXT 28




                      dharmartha-kama-moksams ca

                         sahopayan yatha mune


                        varnayam asa tattvavit




   dharma--occupational duties; artha--economic development; kama--fulfillment of desires; moksan--ultimate salvation; ca--and; saha--along with; upayan--means; yatha--as it is; mune--O sage; nana--various; akhyana--by recitation of historical narrations; itihasesu--in the histories; varnayam asa--described; tattva-vit--one who knows the truth.




   Then he described the occupational duties of different orders and statuses of life, citing instances from history, for he was himself well acquainted with the truth.




   Incidents mentioned in the Vedic literatures, such as the Puranas, Mahabharata and Ramayana are factual historical narrations that took place sometime in the past, although not in any chronological order. Such historical facts, being instructive for ordinary men, were assorted without chronological reference. Besides that, they happen on different planets, nay, in different universes, and thus the description of the narrations is sometimes measured by three dimensions. We are simply concerned with the instructive lessons of such incidents, even though they are not in order by our limited range of understanding. Bhismadeva described such narrations before Maharaja Yudhisthira in reply to his different questions.


                               TEXT 29




                       dharmam pravadatas tasya

                       sa kalah pratyupasthitah

                       yo yoginas chanda-mrtyor

                        vanchitas tuttarayanah




   dharmam--occupational duties; pravadatah--while describing; tasya--his; sah--that; kalah--time; pratyupasthitah--exactly appeared; yah--that is; yoginah--for the mystics; chanda-mrtyoh--of one who dies according to one's own selection of time; vanchitah--is desired by; tu--but; uttarayanah--the period when the sun runs on the northern horizon.




   While Bhismadeva was describing occupational duties, the sun's course ran into the northern hemisphere. This period is desired by mystics who die at their will.




   The perfect yogis or mystics can leave the material body at their own sweet will at a suitable time and go to a suitable planet desired by them. In the Bhagavad-gita (8.24) it is said that self-realized souls who have exactly identified themselves with the interest of the Supreme Lord can generally leave the material body during the time of the fire-god's effulgence and when the sun is in the northern horizon, and thus achieve the transcendental sky. In the Vedas these times are considered auspicious for quitting the body, and they are taken advantage of by the expert mystics who have perfected the system. Perfection of yoga means attainment of such supermental states as to be able to leave the material body as desired. Yogis can also reach any planet within no time without a material vehicle. The yogis can reach the highest planetary system within a very short time, and this is impossible for the materialist. Even attempting to reach the highest planet will take millions of years at a speed of millions of miles per hour. This is a different science, and Bhismadeva knew well how to utilize it. He was just waiting for the suitable moment to quit his material body, and the golden opportunity arrived when he was instructing his noble grandsons, the Pandavas. He thus prepared himself to quit his body before the exalted Lord Sri Krsna, the pious Pandavas and the great sages headed by Bhagavan Vyasa, etc., all great souls.


                               TEXT 30




                   tadopasamhrtya girah sahasranir

                    vimukta-sangam mana adi-puruse

                  krsne lasat-pita-pate catur-bhuje

                 purah sthite 'milita-drg vyadharayat




   tada--at that time; upasamhrtya--withdrawing; girah--speech; sahasranih--Bhismadeva (who was expert in thousands of sciences and arts); vimukta-sangam--completely freed from everything else; manah--mind; adi-puruse--unto the original Personality of Godhead; krsne--unto Krsna; lasat-pita-pate--decorated with yellow garments; catur-bhuje--unto the four-handed original Narayana; purah--just before; sthite--standing; amilita--widespread; drk--vision; vyadharayat--fixed.




   Thereupon that man who spoke on different subjects with thousands of meanings and who fought on thousands of battlefields and protected thousands of men, stopped speaking and, being completely freed from all bondage, withdrew his mind from everything else and fixed his wide-open eyes upon the original Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna, who stood before him, four-handed, dressed in yellow garments that glittered and shined.




   In the momentous hour of leaving his material body, Bhismadeva set the glorious example concerning the important function of the human form of life. The subject matter which attracts the dying man becomes the beginning of his next life. Therefore, if one is absorbed in thoughts of the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna, he is sure to go back to Godhead without any doubt. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita (8.5-15):

   5: And whoever, at the time of death, quits his body remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.

   6: Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail.

   7: Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me in the form of Krsna and at the same time carry out your prescribed duty of fighting. With your activities dedicated to Me and your mind and intelligence fixed on Me, you will attain Me without doubt.

   8: He who meditates on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his mind constantly engaged in remembering Me, undeviated from the path, he, O Partha [Arjuna], is sure to reach Me.

   9: One should meditate upon the Supreme Person as the one who knows everything, as He who is the oldest, who is the controller, who is smaller than the smallest, who is the maintainer of everything, who is beyond all material conception, who is inconceivable, and who is always a person. He is luminous like the sun and, being transcendental, is beyond this material nature.

   10: One who, at the time of death, fixes his life air between the eyebrows and in full devotion engages himself in remembering the Supreme Lord will certainly attain to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

   11: Persons learned in the Vedas, who utter omkara and who are great sages in the renounced order, enter into Brahman. Desiring such perfection, one practices celibacy. I shall now explain to you this process by which one may attain salvation.

   12: The yogic situation is that of detachment from all sensual engagements. Closing all the doors of the senses and fixing the mind on the heart and the life air at the top of the head, one establishes himself in yoga.

   13: After being situated in this yoga practice and vibrating the sacred syllable om, the supreme combination of letters, if one thinks of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and quits his body, he will certainly reach the spiritual planets.

   14: For one who remembers Me without deviation, I am easy to obtain, O son of Prtha, because of his constant engagement in devotional service.

   15: After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogis in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.

   Sri Bhismadeva attained the perfection of quitting his body at will and was fortunate enough to have Lord Krsna, the object of his attention, personally present at the time of death. He therefore fixed his open eyes upon Him. He wanted to see Sri Krsna for a long time out of his spontaneous love for Him. Because he was a pure devotee, he had very little to do with the detailed performance of yogic principles. Simple bhakti-yoga is enough to bring about perfection. Therefore, the ardent desire of Bhismadeva was to see the person of Lord Krsna, the most lovable object, and by the grace of the Lord, Sri Bhismadeva had this opportunity at the last stage of his breathing.


                               TEXT 31




                   visuddhaya dharanaya hatasubhas

                  tad-iksayaivasu gata-yudha-sramah


                  tustava janyam visrjan janardanam




   visuddhaya--by purified; dharanaya--meditation; hata-asubhah--one who has minimized the inauspicious qualities of material existence; tat--Him; iksaya--by looking on; eva--simply; asu--immediately; gata--having gone away; yudha--from the arrows; sramah--fatigue; nivrtta--being stopped; sarva--all; indriya--senses; vrtti--activities; vibhramah--being widely engaged; tustava--he prayed; janyam--the material tabernacle; visrjan--while quitting; janardanam--to the controller of the living beings.




   By pure meditation, looking at Lord Sri Krsna, he at once was freed from all material inauspiciousness and was relieved of all bodily pains caused by the arrow wounds. Thus all the external activities of his senses at once stopped, and he prayed transcendentally to the controller of all living beings while quitting his material body.




   The material body is a gift of the material energy, technically called illusion. Identification with the material body is due to forgetfulness of our eternal relationship with the Lord. For a pure devotee of the Lord like Bhismadeva, this illusion was at once removed as soon as the Lord arrived. Lord Krsna is like the sun, and the illusory, external material energy is like darkness. In the presence of the sun there is no possibility that darkness can stand. Therefore, just on the arrival of Lord Krsna, all material contamination was completely removed, and Bhismadeva was thus able to be transcendentally situated by stopping the activities of the impure senses in collaboration with matter. The soul is originally pure and so also the senses. By material contamination the senses assume the role of imperfection and impurity. By revival of contact with the Supreme Pure, Lord Krsna, the senses again become freed from material contaminations. Bhismadeva attained all these transcendental conditions prior to his leaving the material body because of presence of the Lord. The Lord is the controller and benefactor of all living beings. That is the verdict of all Vedas. He is the supreme eternity and living entity amongst all the eternal living beings.



   * And He alone provides all necessities for all kinds of living beings. Thus He provided all facilities to fulfill the transcendental desires of His great devotee Sri Bhismadeva, who began to pray as follows.


                               TEXT 32




                           sri-bhisma uvaca

                     iti matir upakalpita vitrsna

                  bhagavati satvata-pungave vibhumni

                  sva-sukham upagate kvacid vihartum

                 prakrtim upeyusi yad-bhava-pravahah




   sri-bhismah uvaca--Sri Bhismadeva said; iti--thus; matih--thinking, feeling and willing; upakalpita--invested; vitrsna--freed from all sense desires; bhagavati--unto the Personality of Godhead; satvata-pungave--unto the leader of the devotees; vibhumni--unto the great; sva-sukham--self-satisfaction; upagate--unto He who has attained it; kvacit--sometimes; vihartum--out of transcendental pleasure; prakrtim--in the material world; upeyusi--do accept it; yat-bhava--from whom the creation; pravahah--is made and annihilated.




   Bhismadeva said: Let me now invest my thinking, feeling and willing, which were so long engaged in different subjects and occupational duties, in the all-powerful Lord Sri Krsna. He is always self-satisfied, but sometimes, being the leader of the devotees, He enjoys transcendental pleasure by descending on the material world, although from Him only the material world is created.




   Because Bhismadeva was a statesman, the head of the Kuru dynasty, a great general and a leader of ksatriyas, his mind was strewn over so many subjects, and his thinking, feeling and willing were engaged in different matters. Now, in order to achieve pure devotional service, he wanted to invest all powers of thinking, feeling and willing entirely in the Supreme Being, Lord Krsna. He is described herein as the leader of the devotees and all-powerful. Although Lord Krsna is the original Personality of Godhead, He Himself descends on earth to bestow upon His pure devotees the boon of devotional service. He descends sometimes as Lord Krsna as He is, and sometimes as Lord Caitanya. Both are leaders of the pure devotees. Pure devotees of the Lord have no desire other than the service of the Lord, and therefore they are called satvata. The Lord is the chief amongst such satvatas. Bhismadeva, therefore, had no other desires. Unless one is purified from all sorts of material desires, the Lord does not become one's leader. Desires cannot be wiped out, but they have only to be purified. It is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita by the Lord Himself that He gives His instruction from within the heart of a pure devotee who is constantly engaged in the service of the Lord. Such instruction is given not for any material purpose but only for going back home, back to Godhead (Bg. 10.10). For the ordinary man who wants to lord it over material nature, the Lord not only sanctions and becomes a witness of activities, but He never gives the nondevotee instructions for going back to Godhead. That is the difference in dealings by the Lord with different living beings, both the devotee and the nondevotee. He is leader of all the living beings, as the king of the state rules both the prisoners and the free citizens. But His dealings are different in terms of devotee and nondevotee. Nondevotees never care to take any instruction from the Lord, and therefore the Lord is silent in their case, although He witnesses all their activities and awards them the necessary results, good or bad. The devotees are above this material goodness and badness. They are progressive on the path of transcendence, and therefore they have no desire for anything material. The devotee also knows Sri Krsna as the original Narayana because Lord Sri Krsna, by His plenary portion, appears as the Karanodakasayi Visnu, the original source of all material creation. The Lord also desires the association of His pure devotees, and for them only the Lord descends on the earth and enlivens them. The Lord appears out of His own will. He is not forced by the conditions of material nature. He is therefore described here as the vibhu, or the almighty, for He is never conditioned by the laws of material nature.


                               TEXT 33




                  tri-bhuvana-kamanam tamala-varnam

                  ravi-kara-gaura-varambaram dadhane

                     vapur alaka-kulavrtananabjam

                 vijaya-sakhe ratir astu me 'navadya




   tri-bhuvana--three statuses of planetary systems; kamanam--the most desirable; tamala-varnam--bluish like the tamala tree; ravi-kara--sun rays; gaura--golden color; varambaram--glittering dress; dadhane--one who wears; vapuh--body; alaka-kula-avrta--covered with paintings of sandalwood pulp; anana-abjam--face like a lotus; vijaya-sakhe--unto the friend of Arjuna; ratih astu--may attraction be reposed upon Him; me--my; anavadya--without desire for fruitive results.




   Sri Krsna is the intimate friend of Arjuna. He has appeared on this earth in His transcendental body, which resembles the bluish color of the tamala tree. His body attracts everyone in the three planetary systems [upper, middle and lower]. May His glittering yellow dress and His lotus face, covered with paintings of sandalwood pulp, be the object of my attraction, and may I not desire fruitive results.




   When Sri Krsna by His own internal pleasure appears on earth, He does so by the agency of His internal potency. The attractive features of His transcendental body are desired in all the three worlds, namely the upper, middle and lower planetary systems. Nowhere in the universe are there such beautiful bodily features as those of Lord Krsna. Therefore His transcendental body has nothing to do with anything materially created. Arjuna is described here as the conqueror, and Krsna is described as his intimate friend. Bhismadeva, on his bed of arrows after the Battle of Kuruksetra, is remembering the particular dress of Lord Krsna which He put on as the driver of Arjuna's chariot. While fighting was going on between Arjuna and Bhisma, Bhisma's attraction was drawn by the glittering dress of Krsna, and indirectly he admired his so-called enemy Arjuna for possessing the Lord as his friend. Arjuna was always a conqueror because the Lord was his friend. Bhismadeva takes this opportunity to address the Lord as vijaya-sakhe (friend of Arjuna) because the Lord is pleased when He is addressed conjointly with His devotees, who are related with Him in different transcendental humors. While Krsna was the charioteer of Arjuna, sun rays glittered on the dress of the Lord, and the beautiful hue created by the reflection of such rays was never forgotten by Bhismadeva. As a great fighter he was relishing the relation of Krsna in the chivalrous humor. Transcendental relation with the Lord in any one of the different rasas (humors) is relishable by the respective devotees in the highest ecstasy. Less intelligent mundaners who want to make a show of being transcendentally related with the Lord artificially jump at once to the relation of conjugal love, imitating the damsels of Vrajadhama. Such a cheap relation with the Lord exhibits only the base mentality of the mundaner because one who has relished conjugal humor with the Lord cannot be attached to worldly conjugal rasa, which is condemned even by mundane ethics. The eternal relation of a particular soul with the Lord is evolved. A genuine relation of the living being with the Supreme Lord can take any form out of the five principal rasas, and it does not make any difference in transcendental degree to the genuine devotee. Bhismadeva is a concrete example of this, and it should be carefully observed how the great general is transcendentally related with the Lord.


                               TEXT 34




                  yudhi turaga-rajo-vidhumra-visvak-


                   mama nisita-sarair vibhidyamana-

                 tvaci vilasat-kavace 'stu krsna atma




   yudhi--on the battlefield; turaga--horses; rajah--dust; vidhumra--turned an ashen color; visvak--waving; kaca--hair; lulita--scattered; sramavari--perspiration; alankrta--decorated with; asye--unto the face; mama--my; nisita--sharp; saraih--by the arrows; vibhidyamana--pierced by; tvaci--in the skin; vilasat--enjoying pleasure; kavace--protecting armor; astu--let there be; krsne--unto Sri Krsna; atma--mind.




   On the battlefield [where Sri Krsna attended Arjuna out of friendship], the flowing hair of Lord Krsna turned ashen due to the dust raised by the hoofs of the horses. And because of His labor, beads of sweat wetted His face. All these decorations, intensified by the wounds dealt by my sharp arrows, were enjoyed by Him. Let my mind thus go unto Sri Krsna.




   The Lord is the absolute form of eternity, bliss and knowledge. As such, transcendental loving service to the Lord in one of the five principal relations, namely santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya and madhurya, i.e., neutrality, servitorship, fraternity, filial affection and conjugal love, is graciously accepted by the Lord when offered to the Lord in genuine love and affection. Sri Bhismadeva is a great devotee of the Lord in the relation of servitorship. Thus his throwing of sharp arrows at the transcendental body of the Lord is as good as the worship of another devotee who throws soft roses upon Him.

   It appears that Bhismadeva is repenting the actions he committed against the person of the Lord. But factually the Lord's body was not at all pained, due to His transcendental existence. His body is not matter. Both He Himself and His body are complete spiritual identity. Spirit is never pierced, burnt, dried, moistened, etc. This is vividly explained in the Bhagavad-gita. So also it is stated in the Skanda Purana. It is said there that spirit is always uncontaminated and indestructible. It cannot be distressed, nor can it be dried up. When Lord Visnu in His incarnation appears before us, He seems to be like one of the conditioned souls, materially encaged, just to bewilder the asuras, or the nonbelievers, who are always alert to kill the Lord, even from the very beginning of His appearance. Kamsa wanted to kill Krsna, and Ravana wanted to kill Rama, because foolishly they were unaware of the fact that the Lord is never killed, for the spirit is never annihilated.

   Therefore Bhismadeva's piercing of the body of Lord Krsna is a sort of bewildering problem for the nondevotee atheist, but those who are devotees, or liberated souls, are not bewildered.

   Bhismadeva appreciated the all-merciful attitude of the Lord because He did not leave Arjuna alone, although He was disturbed by the sharpened arrows of Bhismadeva, nor was He reluctant to come before Bhisma's deathbed, even though He was ill-treated by him on the battlefield. Bhisma's repentance and the Lord's merciful attitude are both unique in this picture.

   Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, a great acarya and devotee in the humor of conjugal love with the Lord, remarks very saliently in this regard. He says that the wounds created on the body of the Lord by the sharpened arrows of Bhismadeva were as pleasing to the Lord as the biting of a fiancee who bites the body of the Lord directed by a strong sense of sex desire. Such biting by the opposite sex is never taken as a sign of enmity, even if there is a wound on the body. Therefore, the fighting as an exchange of transcendental pleasure between the Lord and His pure devotee, Sri Bhismadeva, was not at all mundane. Besides that, since the Lord's body and the Lord are identical, there was no possibility of wounds in the absolute body. The apparent wounds caused by the sharpened arrows are misleading to the common man, but one who has a little absolute knowledge can understand the transcendental exchange in the chivalrous relation. The Lord was perfectly happy with the wounds caused by the sharpened arrows of Bhismadeva. The word vibhidyamana is significant because the Lord's skin is not different from the Lord. Because our skin is different from our soul, in our case the word vibhidyamana, or being bruised and cut, would have been quite suitable. Transcendental bliss is of different varieties, and the variety of activities in the mundane world is but a perverted reflection of transcendental bliss. Because everything in the mundane world is qualitatively mundane, it is full of inebrieties, whereas in the absolute realm, because everything is of the same absolute nature, there are varieties of enjoyment without inebriety. The Lord enjoyed the wounds created by His great devotee Bhismadeva, and because Bhismadeva is a devotee in the chivalrous relation, he fixes up his mind on Krsna in that wounded condition.


                               TEXT 35




                   sapadi sakhi-vaco nisamya madhye

                  nija-parayor balayo ratham nivesya

                   sthitavati para-sainikayur aksna

                 hrtavati partha-sakhe ratir mamastu




   sapadi--on the battlefield; sakhi-vacah--command of the friend; nisamya--after hearing; madhye--in the midst; nija--His own; parayoh--and the opposite party; balayoh--strength; ratham--chariot; nivesya--having entered; sthitavati--while staying there; para-sainika--of the soldiers on the opposite side; ayuh--duration of life; aksna--by looking over; hrtavati--act of diminishing; partha--of Arjuna, son of Prtha (Kunti); sakhe--unto the friend; ratih--intimate relation; mama--my; astu--let there be.




   In obedience to the command of His friend, Lord Sri Krsna entered the arena of the Battlefield of Kuruksetra between the soldiers of Arjuna and Duryodhana, and while there He shortened the life spans of the opposite party by His merciful glance. This was done simply by His looking at the enemy. Let my mind be fixed upon that Krsna.




   In the Bhagavad-gita (1.21-25) Arjuna ordered the infallible Lord Sri Krsna to place his chariot between the phalanxes of the soldiers. He asked Him to stay there until he had finished observing the enemies he had to face in the battle. When the Lord was so asked, He at once did so, just like an order carrier. And the Lord pointed out all the important men on the opposite side, saying, "Here is Bhisma, here is Drona," and so on. The Lord, being the supreme living being, is never the order supplier or order carrier of anyone, whoever he may be. But out of His causeless mercy and affection for His pure devotees, sometimes He carries out the order of the devotee like an awaiting servant. By executing the order of a devotee, the Lord becomes pleased, as a father is pleased to carry out the order of his small child. This is possible only out of pure transcendental love between the Lord and His devotees, and Bhismadeva was quite aware of this fact. He therefore addressed the Lord as the friend of Arjuna.

   The Lord diminished the duration of life of the opposite party by His merciful glance. It is said that all the fighters who assembled on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra attained salvation by personally seeing the Lord at the time of death. Therefore, His diminishing the duration of life of Arjuna's enemy does not mean that He was partial to the cause of Arjuna. Factually He was merciful to the opposite party because they would not have attained salvation by dying at home in the ordinary course of life. Here was a chance to see the Lord at the time of death and thus attain salvation from material life. Therefore, the Lord is all good, and whatever He does is for everyone's good. Apparently it was for the victory of Arjuna, His intimate friend, but factually it was for the good of Arjuna's enemies. Such are the transcendental activities of the Lord, and whoever understands this also gets salvation after quitting this material body. The Lord does no wrong in any circumstance because He is absolute, all good at all times.


                               TEXT 36




                   vyavahita-prtana-mukham niriksya

               sva-jana-vadhad vimukhasya dosa-buddhya

                   kumatim aharad atma-vidyaya yas

                 carana-ratih paramasya tasya me 'stu




   vyavahita--standing at a distance; prtana--soldiers; mukham--faces; niriksya--by looking upon; sva-jana--kinsmen; vadhat--from the act of killing; vimukhasya--one who is reluctant; dosa-buddhya--by polluted intelligence; kumatim--poor fund of knowledge; aharat--eradicated; atma-vidyaya--by transcendental knowledge; yah--He who; carana--to the feet; ratih--attraction; paramasya--of the Supreme; tasya--for Him; me--my; astu--let there be.




   When Arjuna was seemingly polluted by ignorance upon observing the soldiers and commanders before him on the battlefield, the Lord eradicated his ignorance by delivering transcendental knowledge. May His lotus feet always remain the object of my attraction.




   The kings and the commanders were to stand in the front of the fighting soldiers. That was the system of actual fighting. The kings and commanders were not so-called presidents or ministers of defense as they are today. They would not stay home while the poor soldiers or mercenaries were fighting face to face. This may be the regulation of modern democracy, but when actual monarchy was prevailing, the monarchs were not cowards elected without consideration of qualification. As it was evident from the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, all the executive heads of both parties, like Drona, Bhisma, Arjuna and Duryodhana, were not sleeping; all of them were actual participants in the fighting, which was selected to be executed at a place away from the civil residential quarters. This means that the innocent citizens were immune from all effects of fighting between the rival royal parties. The citizens had no business in seeing what was going to happen during such fighting. They were to pay one fourth of their income to the ruler, whether he be Arjuna or Duryodhana. All the commanders of the parties on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra were standing face to face, and Arjuna saw them with great compassion and lamented that he was to kill his kinsmen on the battlefield for the sake of the empire. He was not at all afraid of the giant military phalanx presented by Duryodhana, but as a merciful devotee of the Lord, renunciation of worldly things was natural for him, and thus he decided not to fight for worldly possessions. But this was due to a poor fund of knowledge, and therefore it is said here that his intelligence became polluted. His intelligence could not be polluted at any time because he was a devotee and constant companion of the Lord, as is clear in the Fourth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita. Apparently Arjuna's intelligence became polluted because otherwise there would not have been a chance to deliver the teachings of Bhagavad-gita for the good of all polluted conditioned souls engaged in material bondage by the conception of the false material body. The Bhagavad-gita was delivered to the conditioned souls of the world to deliver them from the wrong conception of identifying the body with the soul and to reestablish the soul's eternal relation with the Supreme Lord. Atma-vidya, or transcendental knowledge of Himself, was primarily spoken by the Lord for the benefit of all concerned in all parts of the universe.


                               TEXT 37




                  sva-nigamam apahaya mat-pratijnam

                 rtam adhikartum avapluto rathasthah

                 dhrta-ratha-carano 'bhyayac caladgur

                 harir iva hantum ibham gatottariyah




   sva-nigamam--own truthfulness; apahaya--for nullifying; mat-pratijnam--my own promise; rtam--factual; adhi--more; kartum--for doing it; avaplutah--getting down; ratha-sthah--from the chariot; dhrta--taking up; ratha--chariot; caranah--wheel; abhyayat--went hurriedly; caladguh--trampling the earth; harih--lion; iva--like; hantum--to kill; ibham--elephant; gata--leaving aside; uttariyah--covering cloth.




   Fulfilling my desire and sacrificing His own promise, He got down from the chariot, took up its wheel, and ran towards me hurriedly, just as a lion goes to kill an elephant. He even dropped His outer garment on the way.




   The Battle of Kuruksetra was fought on military principles but at the same time in a sporting spirit, like a friend's fight with another friend. Duryodhana criticized Bhismadeva, alleging that he was reluctant to kill Arjuna because of paternal affection. A ksatriya cannot tolerate insults on the principle of fighting. Bhismadeva therefore promised that the next day he would kill all five Pandavas with special weapons made for the purpose. Duryodhana was satisfied, and he kept the arrows with him to be delivered the next day during the fight. By tricks Arjuna took the arrows from Duryodhana, and Bhismadeva could understand that this was the trick of Lord Krsna. So he took a vow that the next day Krsna would have to take up weapons Himself, otherwise His friend Arjuna would die. In the next day's fighting Bhismadeva fought so violently that both Arjuna and Krsna were in trouble. Arjuna was almost defeated; the situation was so tense that he was about to be killed by Bhismadeva the very next moment. At that time Lord Krsna wanted to please His devotee, Bhisma, by keeping Bhisma's promise, which was more important than His own. Seemingly He broke His own promise. He promised before the beginning of the Battle of Kuruksetra that He would remain without weapons and would not use His strength for either of the parties. But to protect Arjuna He got down from the chariot, took up the wheel of the chariot and hurriedly rushed at Bhismadeva in an angry mood, as a lion goes to kill an elephant. He dropped His covering cloth on the way, and out of great anger He did not know that He had dropped it. Bhismadeva at once gave up his weapons and stood to be killed by Krsna, his beloved Lord. The fighting of the day was thus ended at that very moment, and Arjuna was saved. Of course there was no possibility of Arjuna's death because the Lord Himself was on the chariot, but because Bhismadeva wanted to see Lord Krsna take up some weapon to save His friend, the Lord created this situation, making Arjuna's death imminent. He stood before Bhismadeva to show him that his promise was fulfilled and that He had taken up the wheel.


                               TEXT 38




                   sita-visikha-hato visirna-damsah

                    ksataja-paripluta atatayino me

                 prasabham abhisasara mad-vadhartham

                sa bhavatu me bhagavan gatir mukundah




   sita--sharp; visikha--arrows; hatah--wounded by; visirna-damsah--scattered shield; ksataja--by wounds; pariplutah--smeared with blood; atatayinah--the great aggressor; me--my; prasabham--in an angry mood; abhisasara--began to move on; mat-vadha-artham--for the purpose of killing me; sah--He; bhavatu--may become; me--my; bhagavan--the Personality of Godhead; gatih--destination; mukundah--who awards salvation.




   May He, Lord Sri Krsna, the Personality of Godhead, who awards salvation, be my ultimate destination. On the battlefield He charged me, as if angry because of the wounds dealt by my sharp arrows. His shield was scattered, and His body was smeared with blood due to the wounds.




   The dealings of Lord Krsna and Bhismadeva on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra are interesting because the activities of Lord Sri Krsna appeared to be partial to Arjuna and at enmity with Bhismadeva; but factually all this was especially meant to show special favor to Bhismadeva, a great devotee of the Lord. The astounding feature of such dealings is that a devotee can please the Lord by playing the part of an enemy. The Lord, being absolute, can accept service from His pure devotee even in the garb of an enemy. The Supreme Lord cannot have any enemy, nor can a so-called enemy harm Him because He is ajita, or unconquerable. But still He takes pleasure when His pure devotee beats Him like an enemy or rebukes Him from a superior position, although no one can be superior to the Lord. These are some of the transcendental reciprocatory dealings of the devotee with the Lord. And those who have no information of pure devotional service cannot penetrate into the mystery of such dealings. Bhismadeva played the part of a valiant warrior, and he purposely pierced the body of the Lord so that to the common eyes it appeared that the Lord was wounded, but factually all this was to bewilder the nondevotees. The all-spiritual body cannot be wounded, and a devotee cannot become the enemy of the Lord. Had it been so, Bhismadeva would not have desired to have the very same Lord as the ultimate destination of his life. Had Bhismadeva been an enemy of the Lord, Lord Krsna could have annihilated him without even moving. There was no need to come before Bhismadeva with blood and wounds. But He did so because the warrior devotee wanted to see the transcendental beauty of the Lord decorated with wounds created by a pure devotee. This is the way of exchanging transcendental rasa, or relations between the Lord and the servitor. By such dealings both the Lord and the devotee become glorified in their respective positions. The Lord was so angry that Arjuna checked Him when He was moving towards Bhismadeva, but in spite of Arjuna's checking, He proceeded towards Bhismadeva as a lover goes to a lover, without caring for hindrances. Apparently His determination was to kill Bhismadeva, but factually it was to please him as a great devotee of the Lord. The Lord is undoubtedly the deliverer of all conditioned souls. The impersonalists desire salvation from Him, and He always awards them according to their aspiration, but here Bhismadeva aspires to see the Lord in His personal feature. All pure devotees aspire for this.


                               TEXT 39




                   vijaya-ratha-kutumba atta-totre

                 dhrta-haya-rasmini tac-chriyeksaniye

                   bhagavati ratir astu me mumursor

                yam iha niriksya hata gatah sva-rupam




   vijaya--Arjuna; ratha--chariot; kutumbe--the object of protection at all risk; atta-totre--with a whip in the right hand; dhrta-haya--controlling the horses; rasmini--ropes; tat-sriya--beautifully standing; iksaniye--to look at; bhagavati--unto the Personality of Godhead; ratih astu--let my attraction be; me--my; mumursoh--one who is about to die; yam--upon whom; iha--in this world; niriksya--by looking; hatah--those who died; gatah--attained; sva-rupam--original form.




   At the moment of death, let my ultimate attraction be to Sri Krsna, the Personality of Godhead. I concentrate my mind upon the chariot driver of Arjuna who stood with a whip in His right hand and a bridle rope in His left, who was very careful to give protection to Arjuna's chariot by all means. Those who saw Him on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra attained their original forms after death.




   A pure devotee of the Lord constantly sees the presence of the Lord within himself because of being transcendentally related by loving service. Such a pure devotee cannot forget the Lord for a moment. This is called trance. The mystic (yogi) tries to concentrate upon the Supersoul by controlling the senses from all other engagements, and thus he ultimately attains samadhi. A devotee more easily attains samadhi, or trance, by constantly remembering the Lord's personal feature along with His holy name, fame, pastimes, etc. Therefore, the concentration of the mystic yogi and that of the devotee are not on the same level. The concentration of the mystic is mechanical, whereas that of the pure devotee is natural in pure love and spontaneous affection. Bhismadeva was a pure devotee, and as a military marshal he constantly remembered the battlefield feature of the Lord as Partha-sarathi, the chariot driver of Arjuna. Therefore, the Lord's pastime as Partha-sarathi is also eternal. The pastimes of the Lord, beginning from His birth at the prison house of Kamsa up to the mausala-lila at the end, all move one after another in all the universes, just as the clock hand moves from one point to another. And in such pastimes His associates like the Pandavas and Bhisma are constant eternal companions. So Bhismadeva never forgot the beautiful feature of the Lord as Partha-sarathi, which even Arjuna could not see. Arjuna was behind the beautiful Partha-sarathi while Bhismadeva was just in front of the Lord. As far as the military feature of the Lord is concerned, Bhismadeva observed this with more relish than Arjuna.

   All the soldiers and persons on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra attained their original spiritual form like the Lord after their death because by the causeless mercy of the Lord they were able to see Him face to face on that occasion. The conditioned souls rotating in the evolutionary cycle from the aquatics up to the form of Brahma are all in the form of maya, or the form obtained by one's own actions and awarded by material nature. The material forms of the conditioned souls are all foreign dresses, and when the conditioned soul becomes liberated from the clutches of material energy, he attains his original form. The impersonalist wants to attain the impersonal Brahman effulgence of the Lord, but that is not at all congenial to the living sparks, parts and parcels of the Lord. Therefore, the impersonalists again fall down and get material forms, which are all false to the spirit soul. A spiritual form like the Lord's, either two-handed or four-handed, is attained by the devotees of the Lord either in the Vaikunthas or in the Goloka planet, according to the original nature of the soul. This form, which is cent percent spiritual, is the svarupa of the living being, and all the living beings who participated on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, on both sides, attained their svarupa, as confirmed by Bhismadeva. So Lord Sri Krsna was not merciful only to the Pandavas; He was also merciful to the other parties because all of them attained the same result. Bhismadeva wanted the same facility also, and that was his prayer to the Lord, although his position as an associate of the Lord is assured in all circumstances. The conclusion is that whoever dies looking on the Personality of Godhead within or without attains his svarupa, which is the highest perfection of life.


                               TEXT 40






                   krta-manu-krta-vatya unmadandhah

                prakrtim agan kila yasya gopa-vadhvah




   lalita--attractive; gati--movements; vilasa--fascinating acts; valguhasa--sweet smiling; pranaya--loving; niriksana--looking upon; kalpita--mentality; urumanah--highly glorified; krta-manu-krta-vatyah--in the act of copying the movements; unmada-andhah--gone mad in ecstasy; prakrtim--characteristics; agan--underwent; kila--certainly; yasya--whose; gopa-vadhvah--the cowherd damsels.




   Let my mind be fixed upon Lord Sri Krsna, whose motions and smiles of love attracted the damsels of Vrajadhama [the gopis]. The damsels imitated the characteristic movements of the Lord [after His disappearance from the rasa dance].




   By intense ecstasy in loving service, the damsels of Vrajabhumi attained qualitative oneness with the Lord by dancing with Him on an equal level, embracing Him in nuptial love, smiling at Him in joke, and looking at Him with a loving attitude. The relation of the Lord with Arjuna is undoubtedly praiseworthy for devotees like Bhismadeva, but the relation of the gopis with the Lord is still more praiseworthy because of their still more purified loving service. By the grace of the Lord, Arjuna was fortunate enough to have the fraternal service of the Lord as chariot driver, but the Lord did not award Arjuna with equal strength. The gopis, however, practically became one with the Lord by attainment of equal footing with the Lord. Bhisma's aspiration to remember the gopis is a prayer to have their mercy also at the last stage of his life. The Lord is satisfied more when His pure devotees are glorified, and therefore Bhismadeva has not only glorified the acts of Arjuna, his immediate object of attraction, but has also remembered the gopis, who were endowed with unrivalled opportunities by rendering loving service to the Lord. The gopis' equality with the Lord should never be misunderstood to be like the sayujya liberation of the impersonalist. The equality is one of perfect ecstasy where the differential conception is completely eradicated, for the interests of the lover and the beloved become identical.


                               TEXT 41




                 muni-gana-nrpa-varya-sankule 'ntah-

                   sadasi yudhisthira-rajasuya esam

                       arhanam upapeda iksaniyo

                    mama drsi-gocara esa avir atma




   muni-gana--the great learned sages; nrpa-varya--the great ruling kings; sankule--in the great assembly of; antah-sadasi--conference; yudhisthira--of Emperor Yudhisthira; raja-suye--a royal performance of sacrifice; esam--of all the great elites; arhanam--respectful worship; upapeda--received; iksaniyah--the object of attraction; mama--my; drsi--sight; gocarah--within the view of; esah avih--personally present; atma--the soul.




   At the Rajasuya-yajna [sacrifice] performed by Maharaja Yudhisthira, there was the greatest assembly of all the elite men of the world, the royal and learned orders, and in that great assembly Lord Sri Krsna was worshiped by one and all as the most exalted Personality of Godhead. This happened during my presence, and I remembered the incident in order to keep my mind upon the Lord.




   After gaining victory in the Battle of Kuruksetra, Maharaja Yudhisthira, the Emperor of the world, performed the Rajasuya sacrificial ceremony. The emperor, in those days, upon his ascendance to the throne, would send a challenge horse all over the world to declare his supremacy, and any ruling prince or king was at liberty to accept the challenge and express his tacit willingness either to obey or to disobey the supremacy of the particular emperor. One who accepted the challenge had to fight with the emperor and establish his own supremacy by victory. The defeated challenger would have to sacrifice his life, making a place for another king or ruler. So Maharaja Yudhisthira also dispatched such challenging horses all over the world, and every ruling prince and king all over the world accepted Maharaja Yudhisthira's leadership as the Emperor of the world. After this, all rulers of the world under the regime of Maharaja Yudhisthira were invited to participate in the great sacrificial ceremony of Rajasuya. Such performances required hundreds of millions of dollars, and it was not an easy job for a petty king. Such a sacrificial ceremony, being too expensive and also difficult to perform under present circumstances, is now impossible in this age of Kali. Nor can anyone secure the required expert priesthood to take charge of the ceremony.

   So, after being invited, all the kings and great learned sages of the world assembled in the capital of Maharaja Yudhisthira. The learned society, including the great philosophers, religionists, physicians, scientists and all great sages, was invited. That is to say, the brahmanas and the ksatriyas were the topmost leading men in society, and they were all invited to participate in the assembly. The vaisyas and sudras were unimportant elements in society, and they are not mentioned herein. Due to the change of social activities in the modern age, the importance of men has also changed in terms of occupational positions.

   So in that great assembly, Lord Sri Krsna was the cynosure of neighboring eyes. Everyone wanted to see Lord Krsna, and everyone wanted to pay his humble respects to the Lord. Bhismadeva remembered all this and was glad that his worshipful Lord, the Personality of Godhead, was present before him in His actual formal presence. So to meditate on the Supreme Lord is to meditate on the activities, form, pastimes, name and fame of the Lord. That is easier than what is imagined as meditation on the impersonal feature of the Supreme. In the Bhagavad-gita (12.5) it is clearly stated that to meditate upon the impersonal feature of the Supreme is very difficult. It is practically no meditation or simply a waste of time because very seldom is the desired result obtained. The devotees, however, meditate upon the Lord's factual form and pastimes, and therefore the Lord is easily approachable by the devotees. This is also stated in the Bhagavad-gita (12.9). The Lord is nondifferent from His transcendental activities. It is indicated also in this sloka that Lord Sri Krsna, while actually present before human society, especially in connection with the Battle of Kuruksetra, was accepted as the greatest personality of the time, although He might not have been recognized as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The propaganda that a very great man is worshiped as God after his death is misleading because a man after his death cannot be made into God. Nor can the Personality of Godhead be a human being, even when He is personally present. Both ideas are misconceptions. The idea of anthropomorphism cannot be applicable in the case of Lord Krsna.


                               TEXT 42




                   tam imam aham ajam sarira-bhajam

                 hrdi hrdi dhisthitam atma-kalpitanam

                   pratidrsam iva naikadharkam ekam

                samadhi-gato 'smi vidhuta-bheda-mohah




   tam--that Personality of Godhead; imam--now present before me; aham--I; ajam--the unborn; sarira-bhajam--of the conditioned soul; hrdi--in the heart; hrdi--in the heart; dhisthitam--situated; atma--the Supersoul; kalpitanam--of the speculators; pratidrsam--in every direction; iva--like; na ekadha--not one; arkam--the sun; ekam--one only; samadhi-gatah asmi--I have undergone trance in meditation; vidhuta--being freed from; bheda-mohah--misconception of duality.




   Now I can meditate with full concentration upon that one Lord, Sri Krsna, now present before me because now I have transcended the misconceptions of duality in regard to His presence in everyone's heart, even in the hearts of the mental speculators. He is in everyone's heart. The sun may be perceived differently, but the sun is one.




   Lord Sri Krsna is the one Absolute Supreme Personality of Godhead, but He has expanded Himself into His multiplenary portions by His inconceivable energy. The conception of duality is due to ignorance of His inconceivable energy. In the Bhagavad-gita (9.11) the Lord says that only the foolish take Him to be a mere human being. Such foolish men are not aware of His inconceivable energies. By His inconceivable energy He is present in everyone's heart, as the sun is present before everyone all over the world. The Paramatma feature of the Lord is an expansion of His plenary portions. He expands Himself as Paramatma in everyone's heart by His inconceivable energy, and He also expands Himself as the glowing effulgence of brahmajyoti by expansion of His personal glow. It is stated in the Brahma-samhita that the brahmajyoti is His personal glow. Therefore, there is no difference between Him and His personal glow, brahmajyoti, or His plenary portions as Paramatma. Less intelligent persons who are not aware of this fact consider brahmajyoti and Paramatma to be different from Sri Krsna. This misconception of duality is completely removed from the mind of Bhismadeva, and he is now satisfied that it is Lord Sri Krsna only who is all in all in everything. This enlightenment is attained by the great mahatmas or devotees, as it is stated in Bhagavad-gita (7.19) that Vasudeva is all in all in everything and that there is no existence of anything without Vasudeva. Vasudeva, or Lord Sri Krsna, is the original Supreme Person, as now confirmed by a mahajana, and therefore both the neophytes and the pure devotees must try to follow in his footsteps. That is the way of the devotional line.

   The worshipable object of Bhismadeva is Lord Sri Krsna as Partha-sarathi, and that of the gopis is the same Krsna in Vrndavana as the most attractive Syamasundara. Sometimes less intelligent scholars make a mistake and think that the Krsna of Vrndavana and that of the Battle of Kuruksetra are different personalities. But for Bhismadeva this misconception is completely removed. Even the impersonalist's object of destination is Krsna as the impersonal jyoti, and the yogi's destination of Paramatma is also Krsna. Krsna is both brahmajyoti and localized Paramatma, but in brahmajyoti or Paramatma there is no Krsna or sweet relations with Krsna. In His personal feature Krsna is both Partha-sarathi and Syamasundara of Vrndavana, but in His impersonal feature He is neither in the brahmajyoti nor in the Paramatma. Great mahatmas like Bhismadeva realize all these different features of Lord Sri Krsna, and therefore they worship Lord Krsna, knowing Him as the origin of all features.


                               TEXT 43




                              suta uvaca

                         krsna evam bhagavati


                        atmany atmanam avesya

                        so 'ntahsvasa uparamat




   sutah uvaca--Suta Gosvami said; krsne--Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; evam--only; bhagavati--unto Him; manah--with mind; vak--speech; drsti--sight; vrttibhih--activities; atmani--unto the Supersoul; atmanam--the living being; avesya--having merged in; sah--he; antah-svasah--inhaling; uparamat--became silent.




   Suta Gosvami said: Thus Bhismadeva merged himself in the Supersoul, Lord Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, with his mind, speech, sight and actions, and thus he became silent, and his breathing stopped.




   The stage attained by Bhismadeva while quitting his material body is called nirvikalpa-samadhi because he merged his self into thinking of the Lord and his mind into remembering His different activities. He chanted the glories of the Lord, and by his sight he began to see the Lord personally present before him, and thus all his activities became concentrated upon the Lord without deviation. This is the highest stage of perfection, and it is possible for everyone to attain this stage by practice of devotional service. The devotional service of the Lord consists of nine principles of service activities, and they are (1) hearing, (2) chanting, (3) remembering, (4) serving the lotus feet, (5) worshiping, (6) praying, (7) executing the orders, (8) fraternizing, and (9) fully surrendering. Any one of them or all of them are equally competent to award the desired result, but they require to be practiced persistently under the guidance of an expert devotee of the Lord. The first item, hearing, is the most important item of all, and therefore hearing of the Bhagavad-gita and, later on, Srimad-Bhagavatam is essential for the serious candidate who wants to attain the stage of Bhismadeva at the end. The unique situation at Bhismadeva's time of death can be attained, even though Lord Krsna may not be personally present. His words of the Bhagavad-gita or those of Srimad-Bhagavatam are identical with the Lord. They are sound incarnations of the Lord, and one can fully utilize them to be entitled to attain the stage of Sri Bhismadeva, who was one of the eight Vasus. Every man or animal must die at a certain stage of life, but one who dies like Bhismadeva attains perfection, and one who dies forced by the laws of nature dies like an animal. That is the difference between a man and an animal. The human form of life is especially meant for dying like Bhismadeva.


                               TEXT 44




                         sampadyamanam ajnaya

                       bhismam brahmani niskale

                       sarve babhuvus te tusnim

                         vayamsiva dinatyaye




   sampadyamanam--having merged into; ajnaya--after knowing this; bhismam--about Sri Bhismadeva; brahmani--into the Supreme Absolute; niskale--unlimited; sarve--all present; babhuvuh te--all of them became; tusnim--silent; vayamsi iva--like birds; dina-atyaye--at the end of the day.




   Knowing that Bhismadeva had merged into the unlimited eternity of the Supreme Absolute, all present there became silent like birds at the end of the day.




   To enter into or to become merged into the unlimited eternity of the Supreme Absolute means to enter the original home of the living being. The living beings are all component parts and parcels of the Absolute Personality of Godhead, and therefore they are eternally related with Him as the servitor and the served. The Lord is served by all His parts and parcels, as the complete machine is served by its parts and parcels. Any part of the machine removed from the whole is no longer important. Similarly, any part and parcel of the Absolute detached from the service of the Lord is useless. The living beings who are in the material world are all disintegrated parts and parcels of the supreme whole, and they are no longer as important as the original parts and parcels. There are, however, more integrated living beings who are eternally liberated. The material energy of the Lord, called Durga-sakti, or the superintendent of the prison house, takes charge of the disintegrated parts and parcels, and thus they undergo a conditioned life under the laws of material nature. When the living being becomes conscious of this fact, he tries to go back home, back to Godhead, and thus the spiritual urge of the living being begins. This spiritual urge is called brahma-jijnasa, or inquiry about Brahman. Principally this brahma-jijnasa is successful by knowledge, renunciation and devotional service to the Lord. Jnana, or knowledge, means knowledge of everything of Brahman, the Supreme; renunciation means detachment of material affection, and devotional service is the revival by practice of the original position of the living being. The successful living beings who are eligible to enter into the realm of the Absolute are called the jnanis, the yogis and the bhaktas. The jnanis and yogis enter into the impersonal rays of the Supreme, but the bhaktas enter into the spiritual planets known as the Vaikunthas. In these spiritual planets the Supreme Lord as Narayana predominates, and the healthy, unconditioned living beings live there by rendering loving service to the Lord in the capacity of servant, friend, parents and fiancee. There the unconditioned living beings enjoy life in full freedom with the Lord, whereas the impersonalist jnanis and yogis enter into the impersonal glowing effulgence of the Vaikuntha planets. The Vaikuntha planets are all self-illuminating like the sun, and the rays of the Vaikuntha planets are called the brahmajyoti. The brahmajyoti is spread unlimitedly, and the material world is but a covered portion of an insignificant part of the same brahmajyoti. This covering is temporary, and therefore it is a sort of illusion.

   Bhismadeva, as a pure devotee of the Lord, entered the spiritual realm in one of the Vaikuntha planets where the Lord in His eternal form of Partha-sarathi predominates over the unconditioned living beings who are constantly engaged in the service of the Lord. The love and affection which bind the Lord and devotee are exhibited in the case of Bhismadeva. Bhismadeva never forgot the Lord in His transcendental feature as the Partha-sarathi, and the Lord was present personally before Bhismadeva while he was passing to the transcendental world. That is the highest perfection of life.


                               TEXT 45




                        tatra dundubhayo nedur


                       sasamsuh sadhavo rajnam

                      khat petuh puspa-vrstayah




   tatra--thereafter; dundubhayah--drums; neduh--were sounded; deva--the demigods from other planets; manava--men from all countries; vaditah--beaten by; sasamsuh--praised; sadhavah--honest; rajnam--by the royal order; khat--from the sky; petuh--began to fall; puspa-vrstayah--showers of flowers.




   Thereafter, both men and demigods sounded drums in honor, and the honest royal order commenced demonstrations of honor and respect. And from the sky fell showers of flowers.




   Bhismadeva was respected both by the human beings and by the demigods. The human beings live on earth and similar other planets in the Bhur and Bhuvar group of planets, but the demigods live in the Svar, or heavenly planets, and all of them knew Bhismadeva as a great warrior and devotee of the Lord. As a mahajana (or authority) he was on the level of Brahma, Narada and Siva, although he was a human being. Qualification on a par with the great demigods is possible only on attainment of spiritual perfection. Thus Bhismadeva was known all over the universes, and during his time interplanetary travel was effected by finer methods than the futile endeavors of mechanical spacecraft. When the distant planets were informed of the passing away of Bhismadeva, all the inhabitants of the upper planets as well as of the earth dropped showers of flowers to show due respect to the departed great personality. This showering of flowers from heaven is a sign of recognition by great demigods, and it should never be compared to the decoration of a dead body. The body of Bhismadeva lost its material effects due to being surcharged with spiritual realization, and thus the body was spiritualized as when iron becomes red-hot when in contact with fire. The body of a fully self-realized soul is not, therefore, accepted as material. Special ceremonies are observed for such spiritual bodies. The respect and recognition of Bhismadeva are never to be imitated by artificial means, as it has become a fashion to observe the so-called jayanti ceremony for any and every common man. According to authorized sastras, such a jayanti ceremony for an ordinary man, however exalted he may be materially, is an offense to the Lord because jayanti is reserved for the day when the Lord appears on the earth. Bhismadeva was unique in his activities, and his passing away to the kingdom of God is also unique.


                               TEXT 46




                         tasya nirharanadini

                        samparetasya bhargava

                        yudhisthirah karayitva

                      muhurtam duhkhito 'bhavat




   tasya--his; nirharana-adini--funeral ceremony; samparetasya--of the dead body; bhargava--O descendant of Bhrgu; yudhisthirah--Maharaja Yudhisthira; karayitva--having performed it; muhurtam--for a moment; duhkhitah--sorry; abhavat--became.




   O descendant of Bhrgu [Saunaka], after performing funeral rituals for the dead body of Bhismadeva, Maharaja Yudhisthira was momentarily overtaken with grief.




   Bhismadeva was not only a great family head of Maharaja Yudhisthira, but also he was a great philosopher and friend to him, his brothers and his mother. Since Maharaja Pandu, the father of the five brothers headed by Maharaja Yudhisthira, had died, Bhismadeva was the most affectionate grandfather of the Pandavas and caretaker of the widow daughter-in-law Kuntidevi. Although Maharaja Dhrtarastra, the elder uncle of Maharaja Yudhisthira, was there to look after them, his affection was more on the side of his hundred sons, headed by Duryodhana. Ultimately a colossal clique was fabricated to deprive the five fatherless brothers of the rightful claim of the kingdom of Hastinapura. There was great intrigue, common in imperial palaces, and the five brothers were exiled to the wilderness. But Bhismadeva was always a sincerely sympathetic well-wisher, grandfather, friend and philosopher to Maharaja Yudhisthira, even up to the last moment of his life. He died very happily by seeing Maharaja Yudhisthira to the throne, otherwise he would have long ago quitted his material body, instead of suffering agony over the undue sufferings of the Pandavas. He was simply waiting for the opportune moment because he was sure and certain that the sons of Pandu would come out victorious in the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, as His Lordship Sri Krsna was their protector. As a devotee of the Lord, he knew that the Lord's devotee cannot be vanquished at any time. Maharaja Yudhisthira was quite aware of all these good wishes of Bhismadeva, and therefore he must have been feeling the great separation. He was sorry for the separation of a great soul, and not for the material body which Bhismadeva relinquished. The funeral ceremony was a necessary duty, although Bhismadeva was a liberated soul. Since Bhismadeva was without issue, the eldest grandson, namely Maharaja Yudhisthira, was the rightful person to perform this ceremony. It was a great boon to Bhismadeva that an equally great son of the family undertook the last rites of a great man.


                               TEXT 47




                        tustuvur munayo hrstah

                      krsnam tad-guhya-namabhih

                        tatas te krsna-hrdayah

                       svasraman prayayuh punah




   tustuvuh--satisfied; munayah--the great sages, headed by Vyasadeva, etc.; hrstah--all in a happy mood; krsnam--unto Lord Krsna, the Personality of Godhead; tat--His; guhya--confidential; namabhih--by His holy name, etc.; tatah--thereafter; te--they; krsna-hrdayah--persons who always bear Lord Krsna in their hearts; sva-asraman--to their respective hermitages; prayayuh--returned; punah--again.




   All the great sages then glorified Lord Sri Krsna, who was present there, by confidential Vedic hymns. Then all of them returned to their respective hermitages, bearing always Lord Krsna within their hearts.




   The devotees of the Lord are always in the heart of the Lord, and the Lord is always in the hearts of the devotees. That is the sweet relation between the Lord and His devotees. Due to unalloyed love and devotion for the Lord, the devotees always see Him within themselves, and the Lord also, although He has nothing to do and nothing to aspire to, is always busy in attending to the welfare of His devotees. For the ordinary living beings the law of nature is there for all actions and reactions, but He is always anxious to put His devotees on the right path. The devotees, therefore, are under the direct care of the Lord. And the Lord also voluntarily puts Himself under the care of His devotees only. So all the sages, headed by Vyasadeva, were devotees of the Lord, and therefore they chanted the Vedic hymns after the funeral ceremony just to please the Lord, who was present there personally. All the Vedic hymns are chanted to please Lord Krsna. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita (15.15). All the Vedas, Upanisads, Vedanta, etc., are seeking Him only, and all hymns are for glorifying Him only. The sages, therefore, performed the exact acts suitable for the purpose, and they happily departed for their respective hermitages.


                               TEXT 48




                        tato yudhisthiro gatva

                        saha-krsno gajahvayam

                        pitaram santvayam asa

                       gandharim ca tapasvinim




   tatah--thereafter; yudhisthirah--Maharaja Yudhisthira; gatva--going there; saha--with; krsnah--the Lord; gajahvayam--in the capital named Gajahvaya Hastinapura; pitaram--unto his uncle (Dhrtarastra); santvayam asa--consoled; gandharim--the wife of Dhrtarastra; ca--and; tapasvinim--an ascetic lady.




   Thereafter, Maharaja Yudhisthira at once went to his capital, Hastinapura, accompanied by Lord Sri Krsna, and there he consoled his uncle and aunt Gandhari, who was an ascetic.




   Dhrtarastra and Gandhari, the father and the mother of Duryodhana and his brothers, were the elder uncle and aunt of Maharaja Yudhisthira. After the Battle of Kuruksetra, the celebrated couple, having lost all their sons and grandsons, were under the care of Maharaja Yudhisthira. They were passing their days in great agony over such a heavy loss of life and were practically living the life of ascetics. The death news of Bhismadeva, uncle of Dhrtarastra, was another great shock for the King and the Queen, and therefore they required solace from Maharaja Yudhisthira. Maharaja Yudhisthira was conscious of his duty, and he at once hurried to the spot with Lord Krsna and satisfied the bereaved Dhrtarastra with kind words, from both himself and the Lord also.

   Gandhari was a powerful ascetic, although she was living the life of a faithful wife and a kind mother. It is said that Gandhari also voluntarily closed her eyes because of the blindness of her husband. A wife's duty is to follow the husband cent percent. And Gandhari was so true to her husband that she followed him even in his perpetual blindness. Therefore in her actions she was a great ascetic. Besides that, the shock she suffered because of the wholesale killing of her one hundred sons and her grandsons also was certainly too much for a woman. But she suffered all this just like an ascetic. Gandhari, although a woman, is no less than Bhismadeva in character. They are both remarkable personalities in the Mahabharata.


                               TEXT 49




                         pitra canumato raja


                        cakara rajyam dharmena

                        pitr-paitamaham vibhuh




   pitra--by his uncle, Dhrtarastra; ca--and; anumatah--with his approval; raja--King Yudhisthira; vasudeva-anumoditah--confirmed by Lord Sri Krsna; cakara--executed; rajyam--the kingdom; dharmena--in compliance with the codes of royal principles; pitr--father; paitamaham--forefather; vibhuh--as great as.




   After this, the great religious King, Maharaja Yudhisthira, executed the royal power in the kingdom strictly according to the codes and royal principles approved by his uncle and confirmed by Lord Sri Krsna.




   Maharaja Yudhisthira was not a mere tax collector. He was always conscious of his duty as a king, which is no less than that of a father or spiritual master. The king is to see to the welfare of the citizens from all angles of social, political, economic and spiritual upliftment. The king must know that human life is meant for liberating the encaged soul from the bondage of material conditions, and therefore his duty is to see that the citizens are properly looked after to attain this highest stage of perfection.

   Maharaja Yudhisthira followed these principles strictly, as will be seen from the next chapter. Not only did he follow the principles, but he also got approval from his old uncle, who was experienced in political affairs, and that was also confirmed by Lord Krsna, the speaker of the philosophy of Bhagavad-gita.

   Maharaja Yudhisthira is the ideal monarch, and monarchy under a trained king like Maharaja Yudhisthira is by far the most superior form of government, superior to modern republics or governments of the people, by the people. The mass of people, especially in this age of Kali, are all born sudras, basically lowborn, ill-trained, unfortunate and badly associated. They themselves do not know the highest perfectional aim of life. Therefore, votes cast by them actually have no value, and thus persons elected by such irresponsible votes cannot be responsible representatives like Maharaja Yudhisthira.


Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the First Canto, Ninth Chapter, of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, entitled "The passing Away of Bhismadeva in the presence of Lord Krsna."

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