Mischief committed by the celestial Vasu brothers sets the wheels in motion. Who are the Vasus? What did they do that altered the destiny of Man?

The Vasus and their wives came upon celestial Nandini; grazing the grounds of Vasishtha’s ashramic community

Nandini’s milk held immortality for underlings; the immortal Vasus had scant need for her offerings

One queen pleaded a kalash for her friend, a mortal; little did she know Vasishtha’s wrath was terrible

The Vasus knew but could not deny their love; stole Nandini and into the dark they dove

Vasishtha in outrage trembled; the betrayal his anger welled

Their curse he purchased with currency; he’d amassed by long austerity

Enter the world of man, he cursed them their fate; to Vasishtha’s feet they ran to prostrate

However, a curse once released is a raven freed; Vasishtha softened to rebuild his store of merit

To Prahasa, who seized Nandini, a glorious life, he decreed; his brothers Seven would gain their freedom when as mortals they breathe

The Vasus sought out and implored Ganga to woe-a-man; birth and release us, after living on earth as woman

Ganga acceded to their petition and took on human life; for a human to love and revile her after bedding her as wife

Now alone, his beloved Ganga and son gone; Santanu forsook sensual pleasures and atoned

As a woman is wont, Ganges her banks broke; when her waters withdrew, a young man out strode

Santanu rejoiced and beheld his love, Ganga; she had returned as promised with Devavrata

Embrace our son, my husband, he is your progeny; by your seeds sown, you’ll seal his destiny

He is equal in prowess to Parasurama; Vasishtha his tutor in Vedas and Vedanta

Well versed in the arts and the sciences of Sukra; our Last Born, a hero and master in statecraft

Now the beginnings of Bhishma and the magical waters from which he drinks fortify us. Why these great powers vested in this hypostatic being, what great challenges await him, what triumphs, what tragedies? And so, the dice rolls.

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Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2020

You’re welcomed to post comments on the Mahabharata Page. Thank you!

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Next Friday: Bhishma’s Vow

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