Garwhal Mahabharata and worship of Duryodhana In 1970s, aptly named William Sax got a scholarship to study Pandava legends in the hills and dales of Garhwal. In 1978, he returned with a great book on the Pandava leela (a nine day festival celebrated in Garwhal hills), bitten by the bug, he returned again and again […]
Few characters in ancient literature have been painted with such consummate skill and insight into human nature as Maharathi Karna, a character which in the past has never been properly understood — has in fact been consistently misunderstood — though the epic has furnished us with details of his life with remarkable fullness, candor and […]
The earlier threads covered the choices before Bhishma and Drona and the path that they chose to undertake. Part 1 – Bhishma Part 2 – Drona In this part, I shall cover Karna. Karna’s story is a typical quintessential tragic hero. Born in an unacceptable situation (by society), cast away at birth, raised by foster […]
(Author’s note: I dedicated significant text to the pre-war parvas. The reason is that there are many important events in those parvas that are often ignored by tele-serials, movies and abridged books. I will not detail the war parvas so much as much of it is well known, read and discussed. I will again go into greater depths of the post-war parvas)
The Mahabharat, Book 6: Bhishma Parva (भीष्म पर्व)
The book 6 Bhisma Parva, is the Book of Bhishma. It describes the first part of the great battle, with Bhishma as commander-in-chief for the Kauravas. This is probably one of the most important parvas because it contains a sub-parva known as “Bhagwat Gita Parva” or as you rightly guessed the narration of the Gita, the most sacred book of the Hindus. In this sub-section, the high-souled Vasudev by reasons based on the philosophy of final release drove away Arjun’s compunction springing from the latter’s regard for his kindred (whom he was on the eve of slaying).
Later on, it describes the great depression of Yudhishthira’s army, and also a fierce fight for ten successive days. In this the magnanimous Krishna, attentive to the welfare of Yudhishthira, seeing the loss inflicted (on the Pandava army), descended swiftly from his chariot himself and ran, with dauntless breast, his driving whip in hand, to effect the death of Bhishma. Krishna also smote with piercing words Arjun, the bearer of the Gandiva and the foremost in battle among all wielders of weapons. Finally, the foremost of bowmen, Arjun, placing Shikhandi before him and pierces Bhishma with his sharpest arrows and felled him from his chariot.