Let me start the story from king Shantanu. King Shantanu, his predecessors and his succesors belong to Chandra vamsa.
King Shantanu was the king of Hastinapuram. The whole story revolves round this famous city and its throne. This city is situated on the banks of river Ganges. The archeological department now has traced this city, from excavations.
This city according to archeological survey was in present UttarPradesh, more precisely around 37km from Meerut and 106 Km northeast of Delhi.
Click on the map to magnify.map courtesy- hindusutra.com.
You can see Hasthinapuram and its surrounding kingdoms. The names of which you will come to know as you read the story.
Once Shantanu, the young king fell in love with a pretty woman and he asked for her hand in marriage. The lady was none other than the river Ganges, in the form of a pretty lady. Ganges accepted the prince’s request , but she laid a condition, that King Shantanu should not question her for her actions ,what so ever. If he questions her , the very moment Ganges will leave him.
King Shantanu readily agreed and married the beautiful Ganges. she became the queen . The happy king ruled the kingdom much to everyone’s satisfaction.
After some days……..
The queen gave birth to a beautiful prince. The whole kingdom was in a happy mood. Celeberations started in the kingdom ,on the arrival of their new born prince . But alas……all their happiness vanished soon.
The queen threw the prince in the river Ganges. Everyone felt sad and the king found no words to express his grief. But he could not question the queen, as the king had given a promise to the queen that he will not question her for her actions.
Though Sad , the king was helpless . After some time the queen gave birth to another prince. Again the queen threw this prince also into the river. Not only this prince but also five more princes , she gave birth to, were thrown into the river. Though king Shantanu was in profound grief, he was simply watching this . For fear of losing the queen , he did not question the queen about her actions.
On the birth of the eighth prince, the queen as usual was walking towards the river to throw away the newborn prince . At this, Shantanu not able to control himself,called the queen.
” Ganga” he called.
The queen turned around and looked at the king. Hesitantaly, the king asked,” Why do you throw all our new born babies into the river.? ” Immediately, Ganges said, ” You had broken your promise . So, I have to leave now.I shall not kill this boy, but take him with me. I shall bring him back to you when he is a young lad.” and not waiting for a reply, the queen vanished with her son.
The actual reason for Ganga’s hateful actions was that she relieved the Ashta Vasus of their sins and sent them back to heaven. Ashta Vasus are attendants of lord Indra.They are eight elemental gods (called “Aṣṭa-vasu”, ‘Eight Vasus’) representing aspects of nature, representing cosmic natural phenomenon.
Once these Vasus along with their wives, were going through a forest.There they saw a beautiful cow in the hermit of Sage Vasishtar. Wife of one Vasu wanted to have the cow for herself. Her husband to fulfil her wish stole the cow with the help of his brothers( vasus) . The sage with his yogic vision , found that the vasus stole the cow. Immediately he cursed them to be born on earth as humans. The vasus repented for their actions. After much pleading, the Sage grant them a relief measure. All of them, he said, will be born on earth, but they will die wtihin a year of their birth, except the one who stole the cow . He should continue to live as per the curse.*
So, the seven vasus were killed by Ganges as soon as they were born. And this last vasu is now the eighth son of King Shantanu and Ganges . As per the curse of the sage, he continues to live. His name is Devavirathan.
This young lad later on became the famous ” Bhishma”.
to be continued……..
*source— Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia image coutesy– google.