Bhishma's Justification – II

Swami Chinmayananda

Swami Chinmayananda

Anjali: You mean Krishna and I asked the same question?

Swamiji: Yes, the same! Yudhishthira should go and ask Bhishma because he was the only one who could answer this question. For all times it would remain a question – why should such a dharmanishtha purusha (righteous and noble person) join these tyrannical and unethical people? Why should Bhishma have fought against Krishna especially when he was the only man who knew at that time that Krishna was divine. So, Yudhishthira approached Bhishma and asked him that question. Suddenly Bhishma turned to his right and said, ‘0 Bhagawan!’ An ordinary commentary explains it as ‘Ah!’ depicting pain, and it shows Bhishma as answering the question. It is only Madhusudhana Saraswathi who says in his commentary that even while dying, the brilliant master was sensible enough to judge that this question could not have arisen from his nephew. He knew it must have been put to him by Krishna. So after uttering ‘0 Bhagavan! 0 Krishna,’ Bhishma goes on with a back flash. He explains how from early childhood he had to take a vow and renounce his aspirations for the kingdom to facilitate his father's marriage to a young fisherwoman. After that event, Bhishma wanted to go away. But the father said that how could he be sure he would get another child? And if the child happened to be a female! Bhishma could not go away because a woman could not rule. So Bhishma had to wait until the succession to the throne was ensured. Then came the children. Their mother died in delivery. The two little children and the father were seriously ill. So Bhishma could not leave. He waited; the father never recovered and died. So Bhishma had to become a protector, a regent in the name of his two brothers. The two boys grew up, but they were so weak that they required continual protection from Bhishma.

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Chinmaya Udghosh