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SB 1.9 - The beautiful Pārtha-sārathi

Bhīṣma prayed to have Kṛṣṇa as his ultimate attraction at the moment of death. He concentrated his mind upon the chariot driver of Arjuna who stood with a whip in His right hand and a bridle rope in His left. Those who saw Him on the battlefield attained their spiritual forms (gatāḥ sva-rūpam) after death. Even being killed by others they attained liberation of merging in Brahman similar to jñānīs. Bhīṣma had a desire that even the unrighteous should develop prema for Kṛṣṇa. A pure devotee constantly sees the presence of the Lord in trance. The yogī controls his senses to concentrate upon the Supersoul and ultimately attains samādhi. A devotee more easily attains trance by remembering the Lord’s personal feature along with His holy name, fame, pastimes etc. Therefore the concentration of the mystic yogī and that of the devotee are not on the same level. The concentration of the mystic is mechanical, whereas that of the pure devotee is natural in pure love and spontaneous affection.

Bhīṣma, being a pure devotee, always remembered the battlefield feature of the Lord as Pārtha-sārathi. He could die when he chose, and now he had developed great greed for directly participating in Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes. The Lord’s pastimes beginning from His birth at the prison house up to His disappearance all move one after another in all the universes. And in such pastimes His associates like the Pāṇḍavas and Bhīṣma are constant eternal companions. The fighting pastimes are also eternal. So Bhīṣma never forgot the beautiful feature of Pārtha-sārathi. The form of Kṛṣṇa as the charioteer bestowed liberation even to the unqualified persons. Simultaneously at that time the most extraordinary of all the Lord’s forms, full of the greatest sweetness, characterized by no power and great power made its appearance for the devotees.

The Lord was merciful to even the enemies of the Pāṇḍavas and all of them attained their spiritual forms after death because of seeing the Lord in the battlefield. The material forms are awarded by material nature. When a conditioned soul becomes liberated he attains his original form. The impersonalist wants to attain the impersonal Brahman effulgence but that is not at all congenial to the living sparks. Therefore, the impersonalists again fall down to get material forms, which are all false to the spirit soul. A spiritual form like the lord’s, either two handed or four handed is attained by the devotees either in the Vaikuṇṭhas or in the Goloka planet, according to the original nature of the soul. Bhīṣma wanted the same facility and that was his prayer to the Lord, although his position as an associate of the Lord is assured in all circumstances.