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Chapter 23: Shantanu, Satyavati and Bhishma’s Oath

Posted by Arun Mohan ~ on ~ 0 comments

Devavrata grew up to be a beautiful crown prince and he was trained under the martial guru, Parashurama. He also studied the Vedas and Dharma Shastras. The natives of Hastina-puri respected him and looked to the time when he would be king. But it never happened due to various reasons.

One day King Shantanu during hunting in a spring season saw Satyavati near the river, Ganga. Due to the season, trees and plants were flourished with flowers. In the eyes of king, Satyavati also seemed like a blooming flower with a fragrant body. The king again fallen in love towards a woman. He expressed his desire of marrying her. Satyavati forward a condition to Shantanu in order to marry him as the Ganga earlier did to him. The condition is that he should promise her that only her children would be his heirs. Shantanu got in trouble as he did not know how to convince Satyavati as Devavrata is already declared as the crown prince of Hastina-puri. Devavrata noticed his father’s depression and when he learnt the reason for his father’s sadness, he went to Satyavati and said to marry his father and he is ready to renounce his royal heir of the kingdom.

But Satyavati’s father was not satisfied with this, since he believed that there are chances for fight between Satyavati’s and Devavrata’s children for the kingdom. Devavrata understood the intention of Satyavati’s father and without any regret, he took the oath that he will never marry and also never father a child. Devavrata’s oath and his sacrifice for his father stunned all the creatures of the universe. Devas showered him with flowers and had given a new name, Bhishma since no one will took this kind of most terrible vow. Also Devas felt so sorry for Devavrata, since he wants to live without any successors and was destined to live forever in the land of the dead across the river Vaitarni. So Devas gave a boon for Bhishma that he would have the power to choose the time of his own death.

Shantanu later married Satyavati. In due course, Satyavati gave birth to two sons of Shantanu. They were named Chitrangada and Vichitravirya. Soon after, Shantanu died leaving his wife and her sons in the care of Bhishma.

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