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Question: Bhīṣmadeva was a great devotee of Kṛṣṇa and a mahājana, so why was he silent during Draupadī’s vastra hārāñā took place, and took the side of the irreligious Duryodhana in the religious war?

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Jayapatākā Swami: There is one saying in Bengali, jaar noon khāo, taar guṇa gāo. Whoever’s salt you accept you praise them. Because he was eating the food of Duryodhana he was being maintained by Duryodhana, that is why he felt he had to fight on the other side, but Yudhiṣṭhira bowed down to him and asked him ‘how can I defeat you?’ Then Bhīṣmadeva said, ‘if there is some woman or a person has a feminine name he will not fight with them.’ So that is why Śikhaṇḍī which is like a female name, and so Arjuna kept Śikhaṇḍī in front of him. Anyway, Bhīṣmadeva was very truthful. And there were many wonderful pastimes between him and the other side. Duryodhana said, ‘you are being partial to them. I want you to defeat them.’ And he took five arrows and did pūjā and said with each of the arrows I will kill each of the Pāṇḍavas, but if Kṛṣṇa interferes, I am not responsible.’  But Duryodhana did not trust Bhīṣma. He took the arrows. Arjuna he had saved Duryodhana from the Gandharvas and Duryodhana said, ‘I owe you one, whatever you want, I will give one boon.’ So then Arjuna went to Duryodhana and asked him for the five arrows. He said, ‘how did you know I had the arrows?’ ‘Kṛṣṇa told me Arjuna said.’
03-July-2021 Sridham Mayapur, India