The Lord's Spiritual Ma(e)ssage - Part 2

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Gurudeva.

In the last mail we saw how Bhishmadeva was massaged by the Lord and blessed by Him to speak on spiritual subjects to Yudhishtira and how the Lord inspired Yudhishtira to ask questions to Bhishmadev. Bhishmadev became rejuvenated and youthful by the Lord's grace said he was ready to speak on the matters related to dharma. Before his speaking, he asked Lord Krishna a question. "My Lord, when You, the source of all knowledge is present here, why are you asking me to advise Yudhishtira? It's like a disciple speaking when the guru is present".

To this, Lord Vasudeva replied, "Bhishma, you know well that I am the root of all fame and of everything that leads to good. All things matter and spirit proceed from Me" and the Lord answered Bhishma's question as follows (Mahabharata, Shanti parva, 54.26-28).

śītāṃśuś candra ity ukte ko loke vismayiṣyati
tathaiva yaśasā pūrṇe mayi ko vismayiṣyati
ādheyaṃ tu mayā bhūyo yaśas tava mahādyute
tato me vipulā buddhis tvayi bhīṣma samāhitā
yāvad dhi pṛthivīpāla pṛthivī sthāsyate
dhruvā tāvat tavākṣayā kīrtir lokān anu cariṣyati

Who on earth will wonder if the moon be said to be of cool rays? Similarly, who will wonder if I were described as one possessed of the full measure of fame? I have, however, resolved to enhance your fame, O effulgent One. It is for this, O Bhishma, that I have just inspired you with great intelligence. As long as the earth will last, O Lord of earth, so long will your fame travel with undiminished luster through all the worlds.

The Lord then continued: "Whatever, O Bhishma, you will impart unto the inquiring son of Pandu, will be regarded on earth to be as authoritative as the declarations of that Vedas. That person who will conduct himself here according to the authority of your declarations, will obtain hereafter the reward of every meritorious act. For this reason, O Bhishma, I have imparted to you the celestial understanding so that your fame may be enhanced on earth."

This pastime reveals the fact that the Lord who was very competent to instruct Yudhishtira selected His devotee Bhishmadev to get all glorifications. In the Srimad Bhagavatam also this point is wonderfully explained in 1.9.25

sūta uvāca
yudhiṣṭhiras tad ākarṇya śayānaṁ śara-pañjare
apṛcchad vividhān dharmān ṛṣīṇāṁ cānuśṛṇvatām

Suta Goswami said: Maharaja Yudhishthira , after hearing Bhishmadeva speak in that appealing tone, asked him, in the presence of all the great rishis, about the essential principles of various religious duties. 

Srila Prabhupada in his great commentary explains the Lord's desire to glorify His pure devotee at the time of His pure devotee leaving this world.

"Lord Sri Krishna inspired Maharaja Yudhishthira to ask Bhishmadeva in the presence of many great sages, indicating thereby that the Lord's devotee like Bhishmadeva, although apparently living as a worldly man, is far superior to many great sages, even Vyasadeva. Another point is that Bhishmadeva at that time was not only lying on a deathbed of arrows, but was greatly aggrieved because of that state. One should not have asked him any question at that time, but Lord Sri Krishna wanted to prove that His pure devotees are always sound in body and mind by dint of spiritual enlightenment, and thus in any circumstances a devotee of the Lord is in perfect order to speak of the right way of life. Yudhishthira also preferred to solve his problematic questions by asking Bhishmadeva rather than ask anyone else present there who was seemingly more learned than Bhishmadeva. This is all due to the arrangement of the great wheel-carrier Lord Sri Krishna, who establishes the glories of His devotee. The father likes to see the son become more famous than himself. The Lord declares very emphatically that worship of His devotee is more valuable than the worship of the Lord Himself."

We will see the wonderful lessons that can be learnt from the above pastime of Bhishmacharya in the next mail, Krishna willing.

Thank you very much,
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Narahari Krishna das
Chennai.