Shantanu continued to rule the kingdom after Ganga left him. Years rolled by.
One day when the king was taking a stroll along the river side , he saw the river water level suddenly being very low. Wondering about this low level of river water, he continued to walk. There in the river he saw a row of arrows tied so closely to each other , that the water was not able to run through. When he was admiring at the archery talent , there appeared Ganga and walked towards the king. Along with her , a young lad was walking. As she reached the king, she turned towards the king and said,” Here is our son,Devavirathan.”
She asked Devavirathan to pay his respects to his father. Devavirathan obediently bowed before the king, his father.
Ganga continued,” O, King, as I had promised to you , I had brought up our son as a boy who excels in archery. He had his education, from none other than, the great sage Parasuraman. You can now take him with you. ”
She hugged her beloved son Devavirathan, and also promised him that she would appear before him, whenever he feels like meeting his mother.
With these words , she left.
King Shanthanu overwhelming with joy, hugged his son and took him to the palace. News spread of the arrival of the prince and the kingdom rejoiced with happiness.
Prince Devavirathan actively particicpitated on matters of governance. King found him perfectly fit to succeed him.
After some days……….
King Shantanu was travelling in his chariot. On the bank of a river, King Shantanu saw a beautiful woman and he lost his heart for her.
She is a fisherwoman and she was earning her livelihood by helping people to cross the river with her boat. She oars them up and down the river.Her name is Sathyavati and her dad is the head of fishermen.
When King Shantanu asked for her hand in marriage, she said politely,” You have to get permission form my dad. If my father accepts for this marriage , I shall marry you.” ,
The next day the king went to meet the fishermen head asking for his daughter Sathyati’s hand in marriage.
On hearing this, Sathyavati’s father was very happy as his daughter will become the queen of Hastinapuram. But he laid a condition,” I want a promise from you, that the son born to Sathyavati, should succeed you as the next king. If you can give me that promise, I find no reason to stop you from marrying my daughter to you.”
King Shantanu was taken aback by this. condition . He did not give the promise and left the place in vain. He tried to forget Sathyavati. But he was not able to forget and his mindset started to tell on his health.
Seeing his father’s bad health, prince Devavirathan was worried a lot. He tried to find out the reason from his dad , but could not. With the help of the king’s subjects, he finally found out the reason. He thought it is his duty to make his father happy .
Straight he went to meet Sathyavati’s father , and told him that he shall promise to denounce the throne. At this the tribal king said,” Iam happy that you promise not to suceed the throne. But after your marriage, your children might claim their right for the throne.That will affect my daughter and my grandchildren’s respects in the kingdom. Again that bothers me.”
For this Devavirathan looking up to the heaven and took a vow.
” As the heaven and the gods stand as a witness, I hereby vow that I shall sacrifice my crown-prince title and will not marry . But remain in the kingdom and take care of Hastinapuram and its king till I die.”
The gods were happy and there were utterances from every where ” Bhishma …Bhishma…..Bhishma…”
His father king Shantanu also gave him the boon of Ichcha Mrityu (control over his own death — he could choose the time of his death, but he was not immortal.).
(Bhishma means He of the terrible oath, referring to his vow of lifelong celibacy. Originally named Devavratha, he became known as Bhishma after he took the bhishma pratigya (‘terrible oath’) — the vow of lifelong celibacy and of service to whoever sat on the throne of Hastinapur*)
King Shantanu married Sathyavati. They had two sons, Vichitraveeryan, Chitrangadhan.
–to be continued……..
image courtesy–google. *http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhishma