Parashurama - 9

When Bhishma heard Parashurama he was happy, touched his feet again and began to shoot arrows. Bhishma had the upper hand from the begning. One of his arrows struct the sage and he rolled on the ground almost unconsious. When Bishma sawhis preceptor roll on the ground he felt reoentant for having agreed to fight wih his preceptor.He said, "What anunrighteous thing have I done! I thought, to fight is a Kshatriya's dharma but I have hurt a brahmin and my own teacher,"he began to wail. He stopped shooting arrows at Parashurama. By then it was sunset. A righteous battle would never be fought when the sunset. Therefore their duel for the day. A righteous war or duel was fought between sun rise and sun set.
As usual the duel continued at sunrise. When Parashurama shot a divine weapon, Bhishma fell unconcious on his chariot. Amba and the others who came with Parashurama gave out a shout of joy. Bhishma got up in moment and he shotan equally powerful arrow at the sage and he fell unconcious again. A terrible shout rented the air as if the sun hadset. All the sages and Amba gave first aid to Parashurama and made him come to his own. Again the fight started andcontinued till the end of the day without either of them winning.
On the third morning the absorbing battle continued and a number of divine weapons were used by either of them. At one stage Bhishma fell unconcious. At that time, as if from nowhere radiant faced brahmins entered the scene and encouragedBhishma not to lose courage. They sprinkled cold water on his face and he got up and the eight figures disappeared.At that moment, Bhishma's mother Ganga appeared on the scene, set the chariot and the charioteer in their positionand encouraged Bhishma to continue the fight. Then she disappeared. Bhishma got up and shot a very powerful divinearrow at his teacher. It struct right middle of his chest and he rolled down on the ground unconcious. When he fell a number of bad omens were seen in nature. The sky became dark with clouds and they rained blood on the ground. Hundereds of meteors struct the earth. A terrible storm began to blow. The earth quaked. This way hundereds of such frightening scenes were witnessed. Parashurama recovered after sometime and got ready to shoot the most terrible weapon on Bhishma.Then the sages who accompanied him stopped him from doing it. With that the third days battle came to an end. This way the two heroes fought for twenty three days but no one seemed to be winning. It came to be considered a uniquebattle between the two heroes.
That night just before he went to bed Bhishma made oblations to brahmins, his pithrus, devas and rajarshis and prayed,"I have been fighting Parashurama for so many days, but I could not get victory. If I am going to win, let all thedevas bless me and give darshan to me." The next morning when he got up, he turned to his right and got up. Just atthat time he saw eight brahmins with divine appearence, who had appeared before him earlier, They walked up to Bhishmaand said,"Bhishma, be courageous, we are going to give the divine,'Praswapana' weapon. You knew the use of it in yourearlier birth. Therefore you will be able to learn it easily now. If you use it against your enemy he will go into longdeep sleep. On the battlefeild sleeping is equal and in a way worse than dying. Parashurama is an immortal and youcannot kill him. You use this weapon against him." So saying they disappeared.
The next day the battle began with renewed vigour. Both used the weapon 'Shakti' when they subsided, Parashuramawielded the all powerful brahmastra. Bhishma matched it by wielding the same. Both met in the air. They producedhuge mountains shaped fire balls. At this point of time Bhishma made up his mind to use the Praswapanastra.He couldhear voices from the sky saying,"Don't use that weapon, No, don't do it."
Bhishma did not seem to heed the warning. At that moment sage Narada appeared in the sky and said,"Bhishma, what isthis?What are you going to do? All the devas are shouting at the top of their voice that you should not use the weapon.You donot seem to heed their words and you appear to be ready to send it against Parashurama. Please son't do it.Tack it back. Do not put your preceptor Parashurama who is a brahmavetha to shame". Immediately Bhishma decided not towield the Preawapnakstra. It continues to burn brightly as the sun in the sky.
Parashurama was greatly pleased with Bhishma's courage and forbearance and said,"Bhishma has defeated me."At thatmoment Parashurama's Pithrus appeared in the sky and addressed the following words to Parashurama."Parashurama,Bhishma is a real hero and he is righteous as well. It is not the right thing for you to fight with him. Fighting isthe work of a Kshtraiya. a brahmana like you has to engage in studies of the vedas and shastras and perform variousrights for the good of the world. We have been telling you this over and over again. Now stop fighting. Not just that.Never touch weapons anymore. Go and engage in performing tapas. That will do you a lot of good.

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