Bhishma's forces numbered
eleven akshouhini. (One akshouhini comprises 21,870 elephants, 21,870 chariots, 65,610
horses and 1,09 350-foot soldiers.) They clashed with the army of the Pandavas at
Kurukshetra. Before the battle began, Yudhishthira bowed to Bhishma and received his
blessings. Krishna himself was Arjuna's charioteer.
The fierce war began. On two days Bhishma took a toll of ten thousand Pandava soldiers
before the evening.
On the third day Arjuna himself faced Bhishma and rained arrows on him. "Oh, you
learnt archery from Lord Parameshwara, didn't you?" said Bhishma and showered arrows
on him. But it was very difficult even for Bhishma to withstand Arjuna's attack. Bhishma
thought that Arjuna's success was only due to the presence of Sri Krishna. He had to
separate him from Krishna.
Bhishma took an arrow presented to him by Parashurama and aimed it at Sri Krishna's
forehead. It struck Sri Krishna deep in the forehead. When Sri Krishna pulled it out blood
gushed in fountains and his whole body was drenched in blood. Sri Krishna becomes wild
like Rudra when he sets out to destroy the worlds. He jumped from the chariot holding the
Sudarshana Chakra in his hand and crying, "I shall kill 13hishma!" He had vowed
not to touch his Chakra, but the oath was now forgotten. Bhishma was not in the least
disturbed, but on the other hand he was filled with joy. In fact his own wish had been
fulfilled; for, he had vowed that he would make Sri Krishna take up his Chakra.
Bhishma jumped down from his chariot and threw down his bow and arrows. He praised Sri
With folded hands he said, "Lord, I am a child before you; should you look for my
shortcomings? I am your devotee; should you be angry with me? I shall be happy if you kill
me, for then I shall go to heaven. Come, my Lord."
Sri Krishna was pleased with his devotion. He withdrew his Chakra and returned to the
chariot of Arjuna. Thus Bhishma's vows had all been fulfilled.