BHISHMA’S DEATH (Story from Mahabharata)

kvakutty / 5 yrs ago /

BHISHMA’S DEATH      (Story from Mahabharata)





Bhishma shines as the most prominent

And powerful figure in Mahabharata.

The son born to Santanu by Ganga;

A Vasu destined to spend years in the

World of  human beings; Vasishta’s

Disciple; Learned in all arts; Warrior who

Was equal to Parasurama; Man of terrible

Vows who sacrificed his own pleasures

To keep father happy; One whose name

Struck fear in the minds of adversaries;

Champion of righteousness; grandsire:

All these mark him out as uniquely great.

His name inspires respect and admiration.

Events leading to the death of Bhishma

Were no less extra ordinary than those

Relating to his birth, which to say the

Least, bordered on the most miraculous.

While carrying out his mission on earth,

He was, indeed, both human and divine.


He had obtained a boon,“Ichcha Mrityu”

Which gave him the power to choose

The time for his death! This also made

Him invincible, as no one could kill him

Unless he chose the time of his death.


On the tenth day of Mahabharata war

Arjuna was assigned the task of killing

Bhishma. Arjuna’s reluctance to engage

His revered guru in serious battle, made

Krishna lose his patience and he was 

About take on himself the task of killing

That invincible and glorious warrior.

But Arjuna intervened and reminded

Krishna of his vow not to take up arms

In the war. Krishna relented when Arjuna

Promised that he would do everything

Possible to kill Bhishma. A low stratagem

Had, however, to be employed. Sikhandin

(Amba in previous life) had taken a vow

To kill Bhishma as an act of revenge for

The wrong done to her by Bhishma. As

Sikhandin was born a woman, it was not

Chivalrous for Bhishma to fight her. So,

Sikhandin was placed in front of Arjuna,

Who used Sikhandin as a shield. The war

Raged in its full ferocity. Sikhandin shot

Arrows at Bhishma unaware of Bhishma’s

Feelings and without any fear of retaliation,

From his victim.  Bhishma was offended

When Sikhandin’s arrows pierced his body.

He however controlled his anger. But when

Arjuna’s arrows wounded him he told the

Kaurava prince, Dushasana “These are the

Shafts of Arjuna; they cannot be sikhandin’s;

Because they tear my flesh as a crab’s young

Ones tear their mother’s body”. Such was

His love for his dear disciple Arjuna. Though

Bhishma fought for the Kauravas reluctantly,

He did his duty by them. (It must have been

A matter for satisfaction to him that he lived

To see  that the Pandavas won the war of

Righteousness). Bhishma’s body was now

Pierced all over by arrows so numerous that

When he was grievously wounded and fell

From his chariot, his body did not touch

The earth, but rested on a bed of arrows

Sticking to his body. By this time, the sun

Had  crossed the equator to the southern

Hemisphere and  he had to wait for an

Auspicious moment of death which would

Not be for another six months when the sun

Returns to the  northern  hemisphere. Six

Months on a bed of arrows! As his head

Was without support, he asked for a pillow.

Though princes brought some pillows, he

Was not satisfied. Arjuna shot arrows on the

Ground below his head in such a way as

To give a prop befitting  the brave warrior.

When he asked for water to drink, Arjuna

Again sent an arrow which pierced  earth so

Deep that water came gushing straight to

Bhishma’s lips to quench his thirst! It  was

As if Mother Ganga herself came to moisten

Her son’s dry lips. From his bed of arrows,

He appealed to all to stop the war. But it was

Too late and nobody listened to his advice.

Bhishma, as requested by Krishna, imparted

Valuable advice on Dharma and other matters

Of importance to Yudhishthira and others

Who had gathered round him to pay their

Respects. At last when he gave up life at a

Moment of his own choice, gods from above

Saluted him with folded hands and a gentle

Breeze laden with fragrance blew over the

Battle field. The surviving warriors gathered

Around him to pay homage. His mission over,

He finally returned to the abode of the Vasus.





kvakutty / / 5 yrs ago

Thanks for visit and comment

sridharaa / / 5 yrs ago

Hi Kva,

This is one the best portions of Mahabharata that I like. I recently saw this episode in BRchopra's mahabharat in the TV. Absolutely inspiring.

kvakutty / / 5 yrs ago

raghavagongidi ,
Summarised beautifully,
Enduring ideals,without which life loses much of its meaning.
Thanks for visit and comment, which is uplifting!!

Raghava Reddy / / 5 yrs ago
Raghava Reddy

Dear Kvakutty. Many thanks for enlighteing the most excruciating episode of Bhishma without this chapter MAHABHARATHA would not be the epic inspiring mankind for millinia as a solid synmobol of courage,conviction,commitment, the three traits hardly combine. Very well presented for educating the great epic the history of makind had. Congratulations.

kvakutty / / 5 yrs ago

Thanks for wonderful comment. Yes, the conduct of the heroes in the epics is worthy of emulation in our age of crumbling values.

scribblingpad / / 5 yrs ago

I liked your narration. The lives of some people are so sweet and every act of Bheeshma was filled with love. WE should take a leaf out of the lives of such humans and lead good lives worthy of remembrance. He was a true vasu, wasn't he/

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