In the previous episode, we had witnessed an important event in the Mahabharata story that is going to have implications right from this moment onwards until the end of the entire accord. Upon the charioteer’s information that King Shantanu is refusing to marry Satyavati because of the condition that Devavrata shouldn’t ascend to the throne of Hastinapura, Devavrata straightaway goes to Satyavati’s father and clarifies his stance. Devavrata is very clear in his intentions that he shouldn’t be a stumbling block for his father’s happiness. If his father would feel happy in marrying Satyavati, he should not feel that Devavrata spoiled his happiness with his “greed” of becoming the king. Hence, to protect the interests of his father, Devavrata took a thunderous pledge of his life at this moment in front of Satyavati and her father that he would remain a “Brahmachaari” all through his life and that, he would not stake claim to rule the kingdom. Moreover, he would never come in the line of sharing the reins of the kingdom from Satyavati’s sons and that, they would be able to rule the kingdom as per Satyavati’s father’s wish.
As this happened, the entire world shook for a moment! Devavrata is known for his strength, valor and determination even when he was a child. It is to be noted by readers here that when this event was conspiring, Devavrata was a little boy of hardly 9 or 10 years of age. Upon hearing Devavrata’s pledge, the Devas, Gandharvas, Dhaanavas and the other celestial beings appreciated it and with that, they termed this pledge as “Bhishma-Prathignya”. With this, Devavrata obtained the name “Bhishma” or “Bhishmaachaarya”. The word “Bhishma” means “strongly determined” and since Devavrata was extremely strong and clear in what he was determined to do in life, he obtained this name.
After this incident, Devavrata (Bhishmaachaarya) comes back to his father and explains all what had happened at Satyavati’s place. The marriage was fixed. Satyavati and King Shantanu got married, and King Shantanu was extremely happy and proud of his son, Devavrata. After Satyavati and King Shantanu got married, they had children – Chitraangata and Vichitraveerya. However, within a very few years of these children being born, King Shantanu passed away and subsequently, Satyavati was looking after the kingdom for a while because the successors of King Shantanu were still children and not matured enough to take over the reins of the kingdom.
As months and years rolled by, the children became adults and it was decided that Chitrangata would be the successor of King Shantanu to rule the Hastinapura kingdom. However, when Chitrangata waged a war against a “Gandharva” king nearby, unfortunately he had to lose the war and eventually passed away in it too! Thus, the responsibility fell upon the other son, Vichitraveerya. As Vichitraveerya was also ready by now to take over the kingdom, Satyavati and Bhishmaachaarya perform the “Pattabhisheka” (Coronation) and with this, Vichitraveerya became the next king of Hastinapura after King Shantanu. As time went by, King Vichitraveerya had to get married and for this, Bhishmaachaarya took the responsibility to get King Vichitraveerya married. For this, Bhishmaachaarya goes to the “Kaashi Desha” (Present day Varanasi and surrounding areas) and there were three daughters for that king. These three daughters were none other than “Amba”, “Ambika” and “Ambaalika”. There was a “Svayamvara” event that the Kashi king had arranged for his daughters’ marriages. Bhishmaachaarya goes and participates in it, wins over the other kings who had assembled there for that event. Thus, according to the rule, the king who wins the “Svayamvara” can take all the three girls along with him. As Bhishmaachaarya won the “Svayamvara”, he now takes all the three girls with him.
As this happens, people who had assembled there asked Bhishmaachaarya thus, “Oh Bhishma! You had done a great “Pratignya” that you would remain a Brahmachaari all throughout your life, but how come you’re now taking away three girls along with you?” For this, Bhishmaachaarya clarified thus, “Oh people! This is a valid question that you’ve raised – I’m not taking these girls to marry them. I’m taking them to Hastinapura to get them married to my brother, Vichitraveerya, who is our king!” With this, Bhishmaachaarya takes along Amba, Ambika and Ambaalika with him to Hastinapura.
So for today, let us understand till this point and let us wait till the next episode to witness what happened next! Are these three girls ready to go to Hastinapura with Bhishmaachaarya? Stay tuned! 🙂