I do not properly understand the rationale behind Krishna chasing Bhishma with a chariot wheel during the Mahabharata war.

Since, Bhishma became unstoppable, Arjuna could have used the divine weapons acquired from Indra during his Swarga visit. Even, Arjuna possessed the formidable Pasupata astra of Shiva. Then, why Arjuna did not use all these against Bhisma??

And, Krishna had to take up the wheel to kill Bhishma?

  • Original mahabharatA indicates that he picked up his Sudarsana, not a chariot wheel. Krishna did so to subdue Bhishma. Had he not done so, Bhishma would have prevailed,Ppandavas would have lost the war and evil(duryodhana et al) would have won. He did it to keep his over-arching promise to protect the meek and destroy the evildoers (paritrANAya sAdhUnAm vinAzAya ca duSkRtAm).
    – user1195
    May 21 '16 at 9:25

Bhishma is known for his vow that Bhishma will always protect the king of kuru clan. So he was fighting from Duryodhana's side. Bhishma was brahmachari and was strictly performing celibacy. So he was most powerful in Mahabharata war. Arjuna was unable to kill Bhishma because of his feelings and guts for his grand parent.

Seeing this Krishna was in trouble that whose vow should be broken? Krishna's vow of not taking any weapon or Bhishma's vow. So Krishna broke his vow for the sake of Bhishma's lifetime celibacy.

Mene meri pratigya tod di teri pratigya khatar


I broke my vow for the sake of your vow.

Arjuna was stopping Krishna for not breaking vow but could not understand what Krishna was doing. Arjuna stood and promised Krishna that he will fight with full passion now-onwards.

On the other side Bhishma stood on his vow but forgot that one should not protect sinner. Thus Bhishma was fallen by the arrows of Arjuna because Bhishma was cursed that all his sins will become arrow and will pin down his body in his end time.

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