Birth Of Ganga Putra Bhishma ( Part 2 )

Karishma Mishra
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  • Brihaspati: The son of Angiras and the preceptor of the Devas taught Devavrata the duties of kings (Dandaneeti), or political science and other Shastras.
  • Shukracharya: The son of Bhrigu and the preceptor of the Asuras also taught Devavrata in political science and other branches of knowledge.
  • Vashishtha, the Brahmarshi and Chyavana, the son of Bhrigu taught the Vedas and Vedangas to Devavrata.
  • Sanatkumara: The eldest son of Lord Brahma taught Devavrata the mental and spiritual sciences.
  • Markandeya: The immortal son of Mrikandu of Bhrigu's race who acquired everlasting youth from Lord Shiva taught Devavrata in the duties of the Yatis.
  • Parashurama: The son of Jamadagni of Bhrigu's race and the pupil of Shiva. Parashurama trained Bhishma in warfare.
  • Indra: The king of the Devas. He bestowed celestial weapons on Bhishma.

 

Originally named Devavrata, he became known as Bhishma after he took the bhishamna pratigya ('fierce oath') — the vow of lifelong Brahmacharya (celibacy) and of service to whosoever sat on the throne of his father.

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Having joined his father's court, Bhishma was easily confirmed as the heir apparent. Having undergone a successful military campaign, and being the child of a goddess himself, he was loved by all in the city. Shantanu was proud of his son and content that the future was secure. However, the king had slowly been falling in love with a fisherwoman, Satyavati, who operated the boats crossing the Yamuna, one of Hastinapur's rivers. When Shantanu approached for her hand in marriage, Satyavati's father, Dasraj, refused to give his daughter's hand to Shantanu unless Shantanu would proclaim the children born to her as his heirs. However, doing so would be against the merit-based hereditary rules of Bharat, and Shantanu had already promised the throne to Bhishma. So, Shantanu sorrowfully had to reject the offer. This made Shantanu despondent, and upon discovering the reason for his father's despondency, Devavrata sought out the girl's father and ceded his claim to the throne. At this, Satyavati's father retorted that even if Devavratha gave up his claim to the throne, Devavrata's children would still claim the throne. Devavrata then took the vow of lifelong celibacy, thus sacrificing his 'crown-prince' title and denying himself the pleasures of conjugal love. His father granted him the boon of Ichcha Mrityu (control over his own death – he could choose the time of his death, making him immortal till his chosen time of death). Criticism of King Shantanu from his subjects as to why he removed Bhishma from the title of the crown prince, as he was so capable, abounded. There was worry about the nobility of Shantanu's unborn children, now promised the throne. Hearing this, Bhishma said it was his decision and his father should not be blamed as Shantanu had never promised anything to Satyavati's father. The prime minister then asked who would be held responsible if the future crown prince isn't capable enough. Bhishma then took another vow that he would always see his father's image in whoever sat on the King's throne, and would thus serve the king faithfully & truthfully.

Karishma Mishra
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