Episode # 103 – Birth of Bhishmacharya (DEVAVRATA) – Ganga Devi disowns King Shantanu!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed an important accord on Bhishmaachaarya’s birth background. We might know that Bhishmaachaarya was Mother Ganga’s son, and is also referred to as “Gaangeya”. However, Mother Ganga and King Shantanu were born in this world owing to a curse from Bhagawan Brahma. Also, Bhishmaachaarya was not the only son to Mother Ganga and Shantanu. He was the eighth son for the couple. These eight sons were none other than the “Ashta-Vasus” from the Deva Lokha, who had been cursed by Sage Vasishtaachaarya for trying to steal away the “Nandini” cow (“Kaamdenu”). One among these eight was someone called Dhyo, and it was Dhyo’s wife who wanted to possess the Nandini cow. Since Dhyo was the main conspirator, he was born as the last amongst the eight sons, and he was none other than Bhishmaachaarya. It is to be noted that the other seven “Ashta Vasus” were killed by Mother Ganga and King Shantanu immediately after they were born. The only son to survive this serial killing was Dhyo (Alias Bhishmaachaarya), because he had to live a long life for conspiring the entire theft operation! 

Now that we’ve witnessed the background story, we shall now witness what conspired in the “Manushya Lokha” at the same time when all this was being decided in the Deva Lokha. As per the curse and as per the decisions made, Mother Ganga incarnates as a woman in the “Manushya Lokha”, and as she grows older, she goes to King Pradeepa and eventually spots Shantanu. As both of them see each other, they fall in love. However, as King Shantanu proposed to marry Ganga Devi, she asked for one rule – “If she marries Shantanu, he should not question her on anything that she does. If he happens to question her, she would leave him at that very moment!” In those days, this was explicitly asked as a “rule” but in today’s Kali Yuga, this has become the order of the day in many places! 🙂 Now how many of us listen to what our parents and elders advice? We do whatever pleases us, and we turn deaf ears to people who give some valuable advice, isn’t it? Perhaps in those days, it was an exception that we should not be questioned by anyone for anything, but in today’s scenario, this has become the norm of life! 

Coming back to this event now, King Shantanu accepts the rule that he would not question Ganga Devi on whatever she does, and hence, both of them get married to each other. After the marriage was over, the first child was born for the couple. Immediately after the child was born, Ganga Devi took the child to the banks of the River Ganges, strangled the child to death and threw it into the river! This happens right in front of King Shantanu’s eyes! He was boiling within himself that his child is being strangled this way, but there is this rule, isn’t it? He shouldn’t ask anything whatever Ganga Devi does! Hence, he kept quiet within himself and thus remained a mute spectator to what was happening! This same fate continued for the next child also! The third child also met with the same fate, and King Shantanu was brimming with frustration and anger! However, he was not in a position to ask Ganga Devi anything, because she would leave him immediately if he does so! This saga continued unabated till the seventh child. 

However, when the eighth child was born to them, and when Ganga Devi took the child to the river bank, King Shantanu had enough of this! As Ganga Devi was on her way to the river bank, along with the baby in her hand, King Shantanu couldn’t resist himself any further! He opened his mouth finally and confronted her as to why she was doing this inhumane act of killing every child that was born to them! This was it! Perhaps Mother Ganga was waiting for this moment to come true, and immediately when King Shantanu questioned her, she replied thus, “Oh King Shantanu! As per the rule of our marriage, you’re not supposed to ask me any questions about what I do! Now that you’ve asked me, have this baby with you and bring him up! I’m leaving you this very moment, and henceforth, I wouldn’t be able to live with you even for a minute! This baby would be a great man in the future in terms of invincible warfare techniques. Nobody would be able to defeat him so easily!” 

Saying thus to King Shantanu, Ganga Devi also names him before she disappears. She names him as “Devavrata”. This was Bhishmaachaarya’s original name during birth. So for today, let us understand how the great Bhishmaachaarya was born, and with this, we shall wait till the next episode to witness how this Devavrata grew up henceforth! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, India A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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