- Introduction by Prof.K.T.Pandurangi 

Chapter XXIX 

Bhishma instructs Bhagavata dharma to Pandavas 

Twenty-ninth chapter narrates Bhishma’s instructions to Pandavas. There is an interesting discussion as to which is the highest Purushartha. Shri Vedavyasa coronated Yudhishtira as a King and Bhima as Yuvaraja. At this stage a Tridandi sanyasi charvaka arrived and censured Yudhishtira. He was a friend of Duryodhana. The sages cursed charvaka. He was burnt into ashes. Yudhishtira felt very unhappy for killing Bhishma. Drona and Duryodhana. He thought he had committed a great sin. He desired to give up his kingship and exile into the forest. Draupadi, Bhima and Arjuna tried to convince him that he had not committed any sin. He was not convinced. He went to Bhishma and requested him to teach Dharma. Shri Krishna said “I will teach being present in Bhishma. Let the credit of teaching dharma go to you “. Bhishma said “to follow Bhagavata dharma is highest Dharma”. He stated the essential points of Bhagavata dharma.

Further Bhishma stated the duties of the four classes of people.

Women can study Itihasa and Purana 

Bhishma also explained the nature of three types of person’s viz. Satvika, Rajasa and Tamas.

Relative Superiority of Purushartha 

After listening to this discourse, Yudhishtira asked: “Among the Purushartha which is superior”. Vidhura said “Dharma is superior”. Arjuna said Artha is superior. Artha is of two types’ viz., daiva and manush. The first is knowledge and the second is wealth. The first type of Artha is superior to Dharma. The second type also, if properly used will lead to dharma. Nakula and Sahadeva agreed with both Vidhura and Arjuna and they came to the conclusions that without any Artha dharma will not flourish and without dharma, Artha is not meaningful. Both support each other. However, Bhima argued that “Kama is superior. Kama is that which is most desired. Dharma and Artha are Purushartha when these are desired. Therefore these are also form of Kama. Jnana Bhakti etc that lead to the desired goal ate also a form of Kama. This Kama is highest if it is about dharma and artha, if it is about one of these two, then it is very inferior. Even the God is Kama, since attaining him is the most desired. Yudhishtira appreciated these views and declared that Moksha is the highest Purushartha.