In the previous episode, we had witnessed King Shantanu losing Ganga Devi forever, as he had questioned her on her action of strangling the eighth child to death. As this was a breach of their marriage rule, she immediately left King Shantanu without any further arguments. King Shantanu too couldn’t ask anything because it was he who had accepted the rule before marrying her. However, as she left the Hastinapura kingdom, she took the eighth child along with her, with a promise that she would leave him back to King Shantanu after a few years. As promised, one day when King Shantanu was sitting on the banks of the River Ganges, Ganga Devi appeared in front of him again in person and gave the child back to King Shantanu. The child was named “Devavrata” and he was an invincible warrior right from childhood. With this, Ganga Devi disappeared again, never to come back to King Shantanu again. Henceforth, King Shantanu and Devavrata lived together and he was about to be the due successor of the kingdom, until one day when things changed drastically!
One fine day, as Satyavati (Matsyagandhi) happened to pass by the river bank, King Shantanu’s eyes fell on her, and with that, he too fell for her! He wanted to marry Satyavati and settle down in life, as Ganga Devi had left him. However, Satyavati’s father saw this as an opportunity to corner King Shantanu – He demanded that the son taking birth from Satyavati should only ascend the throne of the kingdom and not Devavrata. This made King Shantanu confused! On one hand, if he accepts this, he would be doing a gross injustice to his son, Devavrata. On the other hand, his love for Satyavati blindfolded him. Which direction does he take now? As King Shantanu was thoughtfully sitting on the river bank thus, Devavrata found that something was troubling his father. Upon confrontation, he did not open up to Devavrata directly, however, Devavrata was smart enough to know the entire background from King Shantanu’s charioteer.
Knowing this fully now, Devavrata immediately rushes to Satyavati’s father. He explains to her father thus, “You can give your daughter in marriage to my father, and I wouldn’t have any objections at all. Moreover, I do not have the interest in ruling the kingdom. You may go ahead with your wish that Satyavati’s son would ascend the throne. I myself would crown him as the king of Hastinapura!” Upon hearing this from Devavrata, Satyavati’s father was surprised as well as happy together! Although he was relieved, he had another mild doubt within himself. He asks Devavrata thus, “Oh Devavrata! I’m really happy that you’re ready to sacrifice the throne for my daughter’s son. That is very nice of you. However, what if your son might come and stake claim for the throne after a few years? What would happen then? Won’t my grandson lose the opportunity to rule the kingdom?”
This is how opportunistic people can be! We’re seeing synch people today in the Kali Yuga, but even during Dvaapara Yuga, such people have existed! Moreover, Dvaapara Yuga and Kali Yuga are grossly similar in many ways, and as we move on with the Mahabharata story, we would be able to understand it better. However, readers should also note that whatever Mahabharata story we’re witnessing now, happened during the fag end of the Dvaapara Yuga. It was about time that Bhagawan was going to incarnate and put an end to all this. Once Bhagawan Krishna’s incarnation came to an end, the Dvaapara Yuga too came to an end and the Kali Yuga commenced from the next day onwards. Thus, in the Mahabharata story we would be able to find people who are extremely opportunistic, just like how we see in the Kali Yuga. For instance, today if we’ve to inherit ancestral property from our grandparents or someone else from our family, we would also have the same doubt in us, wouldn’t we? We would think, “Oh! What if my cousins come and stake claim to this property later? what if my cousin’s daughter or son come and stake claim?” We would be very careful to ensure that none of them would come and stake claim to the property we’re inheriting, isn’t it?
This is exactly what happened in Satyavati’s father’s case too. He wanted to make sure that his grandson would rule the kingdom without the interference of either Devavrata or his sons in the future. Upon understanding the opportunistic intention of Satyavati’s father, Devavrata immediately took a firm stance thus, “Oh father of Satyavati! Since you’ve doubted my true and genuine intentions today, please hear this from me! Along with you, let the Devas, Mother Earth and other celestial beings also hear what I’m going to tell now! Today I’m going to take an oath in front of all of you! In this world, nobody would have taken such an oath ever in their life – There is nothing called marriage that is going to happen in my life! I shall remain single all through my life! I shall remain a Brahmachaari all through my life till my last breath!”
As Devavrata thundered thus, the entire world shook for a moment! The Devas and the celestial beings were trembling with fear! They did not know what this is going to lead to in this world! Since this oath was something extremely strong that a child would take at such a young age, the Devas termed it as “Bhishma-Prathignya”, and from that moment onwards, Devavrata obtained another name called “Bhishma”. So for today, let us understand until this point of the most important “Bhishma-Prathignya” and let us witness in the subsequent episodes, as to how this “Bhishma_Prathignya” is going to impact the entire set of future happenings at Hastinapura! Stay tuned! 🙂