The Passing Away of Bhîshmadeva in the Presence of Lord Krishna
(1) Sûta said: "In fear because of having killed, Yudhishthhira for the sake of the full knowledge of the religious duty, thereafter went to the battlefield, where he found the dying Bhîshmadeva lying down. (2) All the brothers followed him there, drawn by the best horses decorated with golden ornaments, accompanied by Vyâsa, Dhaumya [the priest of the Pândavas] and other rishis. (3) The Supreme Lord also followed him with Arjuna on the chariot, O sages among the learned, and thus appearing very aristocratic he was like Kuvera [the treasurer of the demigods] and his companions. (4) Upon seeing Bhîshma lying on the ground like a demi-god fallen from heaven, Yudhishthhira together with his brothers and Lord Krishna, bowed down before him. (5) There the rishis of goodness amongst the learned, the godly and the kings were present just to see the chief of the descendants of King Bharata [the common ancestor]. (6-7) Parvata Muni, Nârada, Dhaumya, Lord Vyâsa, Brihadas'va, Bharadvâja and Paras'urâma were there with their disciples as also Vasishthha, Indrapramada, Trita, Gritsamada, Asita, Kakshîvân, Gautama, Atri and Kaus'ika as well as Sudars'ana. (8) o learned ones, also many other sages like S'ukadevaand other pure souls as Kas'yapa and Ângirasa arrived there accompanied by their disciples.
(9) Bhîshmadeva, the best amongst the Vasus, knowing well how to behave religiously according time and circumstances, welcomed all the great and powerful ones he had received there. (10) Knowing of His glories he also in worship welcomed Lord Krishna, the Lord of the Universe situated in the heart who manifests His form through His internal potency. (11) Seeing the sons of Pându sitting silently nearby, Bhîshma, overtaken by feelings of love about the gathering, congratulated them warmheartedly, overwhelmed by tears of ecstasy. (12) He said: 'O how painful and unjust it has been that you good souls, sons of righteousness, had a life of suffering you never deserved under the protection of the learned, the religion and the Infallible One. (13) After the death of the great general Pându, Kuntî, my daughter in law, having young children, suffered a great deal and that continued, despite of having the boys grown up, on your account. (14) All the unpleasant I think, is attributable to Time, for also you, like the whole world with its ruling demigods, fall under that control like the clouds carried by the wind. (15) And where there is Yudhishthhira, the son of the ruler of religion, Bhîma with his mighty club, Arjuna carrying his Gândiva and our well-wisher Lord Krishna, is it [the effect of Time] driven away. (16) Of His plan no one knows, o King; even great philosophers engaged in exhaustive inquiries for sure are bewildered. (17) Therefore, I assure you, o best of the descendants of Bharata, that this was only the enchantment of His providence, His desire; o ruler, just take care of the helpless subjects o master. (18) This Supreme Lord S'rî Krishna is no one else but the original primordial supreme enjoyer Nârâyana who bewilders each by His energies and moves inconceivably amongst the Vrishni family. (19) Of Him, o King, we have the direct confidential knowledge of the divine glories of Lord S'iva, the rishi Nârada and Kapila. (20) He is the same person that you think of as your maternal cousin, dearest friend, ardent well-wisher, counselor, messenger, benefactor and charioteer. (21) He, being present in everyone's heart and equal to all, is from the Absolute enacting unidentified in the consciousness of differentiation and never attached at any stage. (22) Yet, being steadfast with the devotees, see, o King, how directly with the ending of my life Krishna has made His presence with me. (23) Those yoga-adepts who in their words meditate devoutly on His holy name, singing His glories, will, upon abandoning the material conception of life, find release from the desire of their materially motivated actions. (24) May He, the God of the Gods, the Supreme Lord, in the line of my meditation on the four-handed one [Vishnu], await me with His cheerful smile, His eyes red like the morning sun and His decorated lotus face, the moment I leave this material body'."
(25) Sûta said: "Yudhishthhira hearing that from him who was lying down on a bed of arrows, asked him, with the rishis listening, about the diverse religious duties. (26) Bhîshma described to him the different stages of life and the vocations as determined by the qualities of the person next to the way how to deal systematically with both the symptoms of attachment and detachment. (27) He explained about the duties of charity, rulership and liberation by giving their divisions and gave the general outline of the duties of women and devotional service. (28) Knowing the truth, he described, o sages, the religion, the economy, the fulfillment of desires and the enlightenment, citing from the various known histories. (29) At the time when Bhîshma described the duties, the sun ran over the northern hemisphere which according to the mystics is the exact time desired for leaving this world [see B.G. 8: 24]. (30) Then Bhîshmadeva, the protector of thousands of sciences and arts, fell silent and with a mind freed from all bondage he fixed his eyes on the Original Person Lord S'rî Krishna, the Fourhanded One who was standing before him in yellow dress. (31) Simply looking at Him, the Annihilator of the Inauspicious, his meditation purified and his pain from the arrows instantly disappeared - and while praying the material tabernacle all the activities of his senses stopped as he quit for the Controller of All Living Beings. (32) S'rî Bhîshmadeva said: 'Let me, being freed from desires, put my thought, feelings and willing on the Supreme Lord, the Leader of the Devotees, the Great Self-contented One who in the realization of His transcendental joy at times takes pleasure in accepting this material world with its creation and destruction. (33) He is the most desirable from the high, low and middle worlds, bluish like a Tamâla tree, wears His dress shining like the golden rays of the sun, has a body decorated with sandalwood pulp and a face like a lotus - may my love free from material motives repose in the friend of Arjuna. (34) Let the mind be directed towards S'rî Krishna who, with His scattered hair on the battlefield turned ashen from the dust of the hoofs, His face decorated with perspiration and His skin pierced by my sharp arrows, with His protecting armor took pleasure in all of it. (35) After hearing the command of His friend He drove the chariot between the opposing powers and while staying there, He diminished the lifespan of the enemy by simply looking at them - let there be my love for that friend of Arjuna. (36) With the soldiers looking from a distance, He by transcendental knowledge eradicated the lack of knowledge from the one who, from a polluted intelligence, was reluctant to kill his kinsmen - let there be the transcendence of my attraction for His feet. (37) Against His own word got He, to nullify my promise of factually being more of it [of violence], down from His chariot, took He up it's wheel, and paced He towards me like a lion about to kill an elephant, meanwhile dropping His outer garment. (38) Wounded by the sharp arrows and without His shield, He, smeared with blood, in the angry mood of the great aggressor, began to move for the purpose of killing me - may that Supreme Lord who awards salvation become my destination. (39) Let me, at this hour of death, be of love for the Personality of Godhead who, controlling the horses with a whip in His right hand and the reins in the left, so elegant to behold by all means protected the chariot of Arjuna; it was by looking at Him that those who died in this world attained their original form. (40) Watching the attractive movements of His supremely spirited fascinating acts and sweet smiles, found the gopîs of Vrajadhâma [the village of Krishna's youth] imitating Him in ecstasy, their original nature. (41) In a royal performance of sacrifice of King Yudhishthhira, where the great sages and kings were assembled, He received the respectful worship of all the elites, with me personally present recognizing Him as my object of attraction. (42) Him, now present before me, I know, having experienced the absorption of being freed from the misconceptions of duality, to be the Unborn One of the conditioned body, who, though being One, like the sun that looks different from every angle is situated as the Supersoul in the heart of all that are created by Him."
(43) Sûta said: "With his mind, speech, sight and activities thus fixed on Krishna only, he fell silent and stopped breathing, having merged in the living being of the Supersoul. (44) After hearing this all from Bhîshmadeva as he merged into the Supreme Absolute and Unlimited, everyone fell silent like birds at the end of the day. (45) Thereafter drums sounded beaten by gods and men from everywhere, with praise from the pious royal order and showers of flowers falling from the sky. (46) O descendants of Bhrigu [S'aunaka], after having performed the funeral rites for the dead body, was Yudhishthhira for a moment afflicted. (47) Then, the sages, satisfied and happy by the confidentiality of the glories of Lord Krishna, went with Him in their hearts back to their own hermitages. (48) King Yudhishthhira with Lord Krishna went to Hastinâpura to console his uncle [Dhritarâshthra] and ascetic aunt Ghândhârî. (49) With the approval of his uncle he thereafter executed the royal duties over the kingdom, as was confirmed by Lord Vâsudeva, to the greatness of his forefathers."