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Bhishma The Teacher And Philosopher In Mahabharata

The extent of Bhishma’s greatness is manifest in his wisdom and saintly life which relate to the highest verities of existence. The whole of ‘Anushasana Parva’ is devoted to an exposition of the vital aspects of ethical life. In Indian thought, the purity of individual ethics forms the spiritual edifice of social life. Without this foundation, the welfare of entire nations tumbles down like a house of cards, as history repeatedly demonstrates.

Lakshmi’s declaration in the ‘Anushasana Parva’ contains the quintessence of practical thinking and
wisdom, as it relates to the individual and social welfare of a nation. Lakshmi dwells as the goddess
of happiness in the hearts of pious, merciful, vigorous, and self-controlled people. Lakshmi scorns the idle, licentious, and impure.

Yudhishthira asked Bhishma a very important question: What should one who seeks auspiciousness in life do during the journey of life?’ Bhishma gives his glorious reply: He must have deep faith in God. He must be full of purity and devoted to meditation. In his social relations he must avoid three things: cruelty, theft, and immorality. In his speech he must avoid four things: improper talk, cruel speech, talebearing, and lying. In his mental relations he must realize three assets: exclusion of thought about others’ affluence, friendliness to all beings, and a strong conviction of the truth that ‘as we sow so we reap’.

Individual ethical life forms the foundation of the sovereign edifice of enriched social life. Bhishma
laid stress on what he called our common duties. They include, among others, compassion, truth, purity, passionlessness, detachment, and honesty. His exposition of the four ashramas reveals his strong emphasis on our ascent to the highest state of spiritual realization through study, service, meditation, and renunciation. Krishna praised Bhishma’s wisdom, goodness, and devotion when he said to him, ‘There is none like you. You have been purity itself. Your wisdom is unmatched among men.’

The cherished crown of the fullness of knowledge so abundant in Bhishma is God-realization.
Krishna granted him spiritual victory and everlasting fame. It was Bhishma’s reward for his immaculate, intuitive, and unwavering spirituality — which dwelled in him as an ever-present radiance, an ever-kindled rapture. When Bhishma departed from the world in majestic splendour, Krishna’s prediction about the impact of his glorious personality was verified: ‘After the demise of this supreme soldier, saint, and sage, the world will be like a dark, moonless night.’