Translated by Alex Cherniak


This second half of ‘Bhishma’ describes the events from the beginning of the fifth day till the end of the tenth of the great battle between the Káuravas and the Pándavas.

Despite grandfather Bhishma’s appeal to conclude peace with the Pándavas, Dur·yódhana continues the bloody battle. The key strategist is general Bhishma, commander of the Káurava forces. Even though he is compelled to fight on the side of the Káuravas, Bhishma’s sympathies are with the Pándavas.

After the ninth day of war, when Bhishma has wreaked havoc with their troops, the Pándavas realize that they will be unable to win as long as invincible Bhishma is alive. Bhishma willingly reveals to them how he can be destroyed. Strictly observing the warrior code, he will never fight with Shikhándin, because he was originally born a woman. Bhishma advises the Pándava brothers that Árjuna should strike him from behind Shikhándin’s back, and they follow the grandfather’s advice.

582 pp.  |  ISBN-13: 978-0-8147-1705-9  |  ISBN-10: 0-8147-1705-5  |  Co-published by New York University Press and JJC Foundation

About the Translator

Alex Cherniak is Lecturer in Sanskrit, University of Tel Aviv. He has also translated Maha·bhárata VI: Bhishma (volume one of two) Including the “Bhagavad Gita” in Context for the CSL.