Why Didn’t Bhishma Depart Sooner

[Bhishma]“Suta Gosvami said: Thus Bhishmadeva merged himself in the Supersoul, Lord Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, with his mind, speech, sight and actions, and thus he became silent, and his breathing stopped.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.9.43)

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सूत उवाच
कृष्ण एवं भगवति
आत्मन्य् आत्मानम् आवेश्य
सो ऽन्तःश्वास उपारमत्

sūta uvāca
kṛṣṇa evaṁ bhagavati
ātmany ātmānam āveśya
so ‘ntaḥśvāsa upāramat

“I find the story and plight of Bhishmadeva from the Mahabharata to be absolutely amazing. I think it appeals to me because of the difficulties and complexities. It is easy to do the right thing in theory. It is not difficult to sit on an exalted seat, read verses from a sacred text, and expound on how people should behave.

“It is a much different story to put the principles into action, especially when there are glaring contradictions and newly sprouting controversies. Bhishma was the respected leader within a family, but the descendants essentially divided off. They were fighting over land, which the wise person understands is originally prakriti that is sourced in the pradhana, manipulated by the glance of Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

“Bhishma’s is a long story, but we are most familiar with the end. There is the famous image of him lying on the battlefield, body filled with arrows. The Pandava brothers are nearby, taking wisdom from a dying man.

“Bhishma was meditating on Krishna at the moment. That is how Arjuna’s charioteer knew it was time to approach. Bhishma could see that Krishna was Vishnu, and there was an eventual merging into the transcendental realm.

“My question is about the in-between. The moments preceding the final deliverance into liberation. Bhishma had the boon to be able to choose the time of his passing. Why did he wait? Why did he have to witness the death and destruction? Why did he have to choose sides within the family? Why not just move off to a cave somewhere, in a remote area, and finish the lifetime in peace?”

It is said that no one can really understand the mind of the acharya. Such a person is intimately linked to the Divine consciousness. It is almost as if God is controlling their every move. The Supreme Divine Being sees the big picture. He understands past, present and future, but Him no one knows.

वेदाहं समतीतानि
वर्तमानानि चार्जुन
भविष्याणि च भूतानि
मां तु वेद न कश्चन

vedāhaṁ samatītāni
vartamānāni cārjuna
bhaviṣyāṇi ca bhūtāni
māṁ tu veda na kaścana

“O Arjuna, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I know everything that has happened in the past, all that is happening in the present, and all things that are yet to come. I also know all living entities; but Me no one knows.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.26)

[Shri Krishna]As the acharya is able to tap into this consciousness, they see things in a different way. Therefore, those who are not privy to the extended view might be bewildered by certain decisions made, actions taken, battle lines drawn, and timeliness or lack thereof with respect to intervention.

From Shrimad Bhagavatam, we learn that Bhishma is one of the twelve authorities on devotional service, bhagavata-dharma. He is a mahajana, or great soul. Both Kuru and Pandava families were blessed to trace their lineage to him.

We see that Bhishma spent the moments preceding the final departure offering instruction. The person mired in material life tends to be a miser. The Sanskrit word is kripana. The mentality is understandable, given the finite and fleeting nature of sense enjoyment.

I have found a way to earn money. I am gaming the system through insider knowledge. I won’t have to subject myself to the latest forced medical treatment, which is both experimental and dangerous in nature. I am safe in my view, but if I broadcast to the rest of the world my secret, then that threatens my way of living.

The person intimately connected with Krishna is a brahmana, who is the most liberal. Every mahajana may not be a brahmana by occupation, but they carry the same attitude. Bhishma is liberal to the extent of teaching the highest principles of living while laying down on a battlefield.

He continues to teach so that future generations may benefit. The direct recipient is Yudhishthira Maharaja, who will soon rule the world. If a single leader upholds the principles of righteousness, countless others benefit.

यद्यदाचरति श्रेष्ठस्तत्तदेवेतरो जनः ।
स यत्प्रमाणं कुरुते लोकस्तदनुवर्तते ॥

yad yad ācarati śreṣṭhas
tat tad evetaro janaḥ
sa yat pramāṇaṁ kurute
lokas tad anuvartate

“Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow in his footsteps. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.21)

The liberally-minded Bhishma passed on invaluable knowledge, while simultaneously focusing on Vishnu. This shows how describing God and the principles used for connecting with Him is blissful. Such a dedicated life is already equivalent with liberation. The final departure is a mere formality.

In Closing:

Already liberated so,
Even before explicitly to go.

So that time valuable spent,
When Pandavas to him went.

Bhishma principles of dharma teaching,
So that far into future reaching.

Not as a miser with secret to conceal,
Liberally to next leader to reveal.

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1 reply

  1. Radhe Radhe ❤️ oshriRadhekrishnaBole ❤️ Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
    Jay Jay Shree Siya Ram

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