"Narada said, 'At the conclusion of Mahadeva's speech, loud roars were heard in the firmament. Thunders bellowed, with flashes of lightening. The welkin was enveloped with blue and thick clouds. The deity of the clouds then poured pure water like to what he does in the season of rains. A thick darkness set in. The points of the compass could no longer be distinguished. Then on that delightful, sacred, and eternal breast of that celestial mountain, the assembled Rishis no longer saw the multitude of ghostly beings that associate with Mahadeva. Soon, however, the welkin cleared. Some of the Rishis set out for the sacred waters. Others returned whence they came. Verily, beholding that wonderful and inconceivable sight, they became filled with amazement. The discourse too between Sankara and Uma had been heard by them with the feelings. That foremost of all Beings, of whom the high-souled
[paragraph continues] Sankara spoke to us on that mountain, art Thou. Verily, thou art identical with Eternal Brahma. Some time also Mahadeva burnt Himavat with his energy. Thou too hast shown us a similar sight of wonder. Indeed, we have been put in remembrance of that fact by what we have witnessed today. O mighty-armed Janardana, I have thus, O puissant one, recited to thee the glory of that god of gods, viz., him that is called Kapardin or Girisa!'
"Bhishma continued, 'Thus addressed by those denizens of ascetic retreats, Krishna, the delighter of Devaki paid due honours unto all those Rishis. Filled with delight, those Rishis once more addressed Krishna, saying, 'O slayer of Madhu, do Thou repeatedly show Thyself to us at all times! O puissant one, Heaven itself cannot rejoice us so much as a right of Thyself Everything that was said by the illustrious Bhava (regarding Thyself) is true. O crusher of foes, we have told Thee all about that mystery. Thou art Thyself conversant with the truth of every topic. Since, however, asked by us, it pleased Thee to ask us in return, we have, for that reason, recited everything (about the discourse of Bhava with Uma) to Thee for only pleasing Thee. There is nothing in the three worlds that is unknown to Thee. Thou art fully conversant with the birth and origin of all things, indeed, with everything that operates as a cause (for the production of other objects). In consequence of the lightness of our character, we are unable to bear (within ourselves the knowledge of) any mystery (without disclosing it). 1 Indeed, in Thy presence, O puissant one, we indulge in incoherences from the lightness of our hearts. There is no wonderful thing that is unknown to Thee! Whatever is on earth, and whatever is in heaven, all is known to Thee! We take our leave of Thee, O Krishna, for returning to our respective abodes Mayst Thou increase in intelligence and prosperity! O sire, Thou wilt soon get a son like unto Thee or even more distinguished than Thyself. He will be endued with great energy and splendour. He will achieve great feats, and become possessed of puissance as great as Thine!' 2
"Bhishma continued, 'After this, the great Rishis bowed unto that god of gods, that scion of Yadu's race, that foremost of all Beings. They then circumambulated Him and taking His leave, departed. As regards Narayana, who is endued with prosperity and blazing effulgence, He returned to Dwaraka after having duly observed that vow of His. His spouse Rukmini conceived, and on the expiration of the tenth month a
son was born of her, possessed of heroism and honoured by all for his highly wonderful accomplishments. He is identical with that Kama (Desire) which exists in every creature and which pervades every existent condition. Indeed, he moves within the hearts of both gods and Asuras. This Krishna is that foremost of all persons. Even he, endued with the hue of the clouds is that four-handed Vasudeva. Through affection He has attached himself to the Pandavas, and you also, ye sons of Pandu, have attached yourselves to Him. Achievements, Prosperity, Intelligence, and the path that leads to heaven, are all there where this one, viz., the illustrious Vishnu of three steps, is. He is the three and thirty gods with Indra at their head. There is no doubt in this. He is the one Ancient God. He is the foremost of all gods. He is the refuge of all creatures. He. is without beginning and without destruction. He is unmanifest. He is the high-souled slayer of Madhu. Endued with mighty energy, He has taken birth (among men) for accomplishing the purpose of the gods. Verily, this Madhava is the expounder of the most difficult truths relating to Profit or Wealth, and he is also their achiever. O son of Pritha, the victory thou hast obtained over thy enemies, thy unrivalled achievements, the dominion thou hast acquired over the whole earth, are all due to thy side having been taken up by Narayana. The fact of thy having got the inconceivable Narayana for thy protector and refuge, enabled thee to become an Adharyu (chief sacrificer) for pouring multitudes of kings as libations on the blazing fire of battle. This Krishna was thy great sacrificial ladle resembling the all-destroying fire that appears at the end of the Yuga. Duryodhana, with his sons, brothers and kinsmen, was much to be pitied inasmuch as, moved by wrath, he made war with Hari and the wielder of Gandiva. Many sons of Diti, many foremost of Danavas, of huge bodies and vast strength, have perished in the fire of Krishna's discus like insects in a forest conflagration. How incapable then must human beings be of battling against that Krishna,--human beings who, O tiger among men, are destitute of strength and might! As regards Jaya, he is a mighty Yogin resembling the all-destroying Yuga-fire in energy. Capable of drawing the bow equally with both hands, he is always in the van of fight. With his energy, O king, he has slain all the troops of Suyodhana. Listen to me as I tell thee what Mahadeva having the bovine bull for the device on his standard had recited unto the ascetics on the breast of the Himavat. His utterances constitute a Purana. The advancement of greatness, energy, strength, prowess, puissance, humility, and lineage that are in Arjuna can come up to only a third part of the measure in which those attributes reside in Krishna. Who is there that can transcend Krishna in these attributes? Whether that is possible or not, listen (and judge). There where the illustrious Krishna is, there is unrivalled Excellence. 1 As regards
ourselves, we are persons of little understanding. Dependent upon the will of others, we are exceedingly unfortunate. Knowingly we betook ourselves to the eternal path of death. Thou, however, art devoted to sincerity of conduct. Having formerly pledged thyself against taking thy kingdom, thou didst not take it, desirous of maintaining thy pledge. 1 O king, thou makest too much of the slaughter of thy kinsmen and friends in battle (brought about, as thou believest, by thyself). Thou shouldst remember, however, O chastiser of foes, that it is not right to violate a pledge. 2 All those who have fallen on the field of battle have really been slain by Time. Verily, all of us have been slain by Time. Time is, indeed, all-powerful. Thou art fully conversant with the puissance of Time. Afflicted by Time, it does not behove thee to grieve. Know that Krishna Himself, otherwise called Hari, is that Time with blood-red eyes and with club in hand. For these reasons, O son of Kunti, it does not behove thee to grieve for thy (slain) kinsfolk. Be thou always free, O delighter of the Kurus, from grief. Thou hast heard of the glory and greatness of Madhava as recited by me. That is sufficient for enabling a good man to understand Him. Having heard the words of Vyasa as also of Narada endued with great intelligence, I have discoursed to thee on the adorableness of Krishna. I have myself added; from my own knowledge, something to that discourse. Verily, I have discoursed also on the surpassing puissance of Krishna as recited by Mahadeva, unto that conclave of Rishis (on the breast of the Himavat). The discourse too between Maheswara and the daughter of Himavat, O Bharata, has been recited by me to thee. He who will bear in mind that discourse when emanating from a foremost person, he who will listen to it, and he who will recite it (for other people's hearing), is sure to win what is highly beneficial. That man will find all his wishes fulfilled. Departing from this world he will ascend to Heaven. There is no doubt in this. That man who, desirous of obtaining what is beneficial for himself, should devote himself to Janardana. O king of the Kurus, it behoves thee also to always bear in mind those incidents of duty and righteousness which were declared by Maheswara. if thou conduct thyself according to those precepts, if thou bear the rod of chastisement rightly, if thou protect thy subjects properly, thou mayst be sure of attaining to heaven. It behoves thee, O king, to protect thy subjects always according to the dictates of righteousness. The stout rod of chastisement which the king bears has been said to be the embodiment of his righteousness or merit. 3
[paragraph continues] Hearing this discourse, fraught with righteousness, between Sankara and Uma, that I have recited in the presence of this righteous conclave, one should worship with reverence that god having the bovine bull for the device on his banner. One that becomes even desirous of listening to that discourse should worship Mahadeva with reverence. Verily, the person that wishes to obtain what is beneficial for him, should adore Mahadeva with a pure heart. Even this is the command of the faultless and high-souled Narada. Even he has commanded such worship of the great god, O son of Pandu, do thou obey that command of Narada. O puissant king, even these are the wonderful incidents that occurred on the sacred breast of the Himavat respecting Vasudeva and Sthanu, O son of Kunti. Those occurrences flowed from the very nature of those high-souled deities. Vasudeva, accompanied by the wielder of Gandiva, practised eternal penances in the retreat of Vadari for ten thousand years. 1 Verily, Vasudeva and Dhananjaya, both of eyes like lotus-petals, underwent severe austerities for the duration of three whole Yugas. I have learnt this from Narada and Vyasa, O king. The lotus-eyed and mighty-armed Vasudeva, while yet a child (in human form) achieved the great feat of slaying Kansa for the relief of his kinsmen. I do not venture, O son of Kunti, to enumerate the feats of this Ancient and Eternal Being, O Yudhishthira. Without doubt, O son, high and great benefits will be reaped by thee who ownest that foremost of all persons, viz., Vasudeva, for thy friend. I grieve for the wicked Duryodhana in respect of even the next world to which he has gone. It was for him that the whole earth has been depopulated with her seeds and elephants. Indeed, through the fault of Duryodhana, of Karna, of Sakuni, and of Duhsasana numbering the fourth, that the Kurus have perished.
"Vaisampayana continued, 'While that foremost of men, viz., the son of Ganga, addressed him in this strain, the Kuru king (Yudhishthira) remained entirely silent in the midst of those high-souled persons (who had assembled together for listening to the discourses of Bhishma). All the kings with Dhritarashtra amongst them became filled with wonder upon hearing the words of the Kuru grandsire. In their minds they worshipped Krishna and then turned towards him with hands joined in reverence. The Rishis also with Narada at their head, accepted and applauded the words of Bhishma and approved of them joyfully. These were the wonderful discourses recited by Bhishma which Pandu's son (Yudhishthira) with all his brothers heard with joy. Some time after, when king (Yudhishthira) saw that Ganga's son who had given away abundant wealth as presents unto the Brahmanas in the sacrifices performed by him, had rested and become refreshed, the intelligent king once more asked him as follows.'"
323:1 The sense seems to be this: Thou knowest all things, all mysteries, yet Thou canst bear all this knowledge within Thyself. We, however, are so light-minded, i.e., destitute of gravity, that we are unable to bear within ourselves the knowledge of a mystery. As soon as we got that knowledge from Mahadeva, we felt the desire of letting it out; and, indeed, we have let it out at thy request, and let out unto whom?--unto one that must be secretly laughing at us for our seeming pride.
323:2 It is said that no person wishes to be vanquished by another in respect of anything. The only one whose victory or superiority, however, is bearable or, rather, prayed for, is the son. Hence, the Rishis wish unto Krishna a son even superior to him.
324:1 The ward Pushti literally signifies growth or advancement. Hence, it stands generally for excellence of greatness.
325:1 The correct reading is not pratisrayam but pratisravam which means promise or pledge.
325:2 The pledge, probably, refers to the oaths taken by Bhima and others about the slaughter of the Kauravas.
325:3 The sense is this: the king acquires great merit by wielding the rod of chastisement properly, i.e., by punishing those that deserve punishment. The infliction of punishment is what keeps the subjects within the restraints of duty. The rod of chastisement, therefore, is the very embodiment of the righteousness or merit of the king.
326:1 Vasudeva is Narayana, and Arjuna is Nara. Nara and Narayana had practised severe penances at Vadari on the breast of the Himavat for many thousand years. Vyasa afterwards adopted Vadari as his retreat.