Thus had Karna sworn and, with Duryo- dhana's consent, kept aloof from the
battle during the first ten days. Now he went on foot to Bhishma who lay on his bed of
arrows waiting for his end and, saluting him, addressed him thus:
"Veteran grandsire, vanquisher of Parasu- rama, you lie on the
field of battle, struck down by Sikhandin. If you, who had reached the summit of right
living and were an embodiment of purity itself, must lie wounded in this manner, it is
clear that no one can attain in this world what he deserves by his merit.
You were the one boat on which the Kau- rava princes depended for
crossing the flood of their troubles. Heavy indeed will be the blows which the Pandavas
will now deal at the Kauravas and great will be their consequent distress.
Like fire and wind burning down the forest, Arjuna and Krishna will
destroy the army of Kauravas. This is certain. Turn your gracious eyes on me and bless me,
who have accepted the command of the forces."