iti bhitah praja-drohat
tato vinasanam pragad
yatra deva-vrato 'patat
sutah uvaca—Sri Suta Gosvami said; iti—thus; bhitah—being afraid of; praja-drohat—because of killing the subjects; sarva—all; dharma—acts of religion; vivitsaya—for understanding; tatah—thereafter; vinasanam—the place where the fight was held; pragat—he went; yatra—where; deva-vratah—Bhismadeva; apatat—lay down for passing away.
Because of his strict vow of lifelong celibacy, Bhismadeva, the greatest warrior of his time, received a benediction from his father Santanu that he would die only by his own will. Thus, even after lying wounded for three days upon a bed of arrows, Bhisma retained his life and was of sound mind.
Suta Gosvami said: Being afraid for having killed so many subjects on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, Maharaja Yudhisthira went to the scene of the massacre. There, Bhismadeva was lying on a bed of arrows, about to pass away.
In this Ninth Chapter, as it is willed by Lord Sri Krsna, Bhismadeva will impart instructions to King Yudhisthira on the subject of occupational duties. Bhismadeva will also offer his last prayer to the Lord on the verge of passing away from this mortal world and thus become liberated from the bondage of further material engagements. Bhismadeva was endowed with the power of leaving his material body at will, and his lying down on the bed of arrows was his own choice. This passing away of the great warrior attracted the attention of all the contemporary elites, and all of them assembled there to show their feelings of love, respect and affection for the great soul.
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