A seed held back and weeds flourish.

Who was Bhishma? Why did the perfect warrior and benevolent statesman give up his claim to the throne?

Devavrata crowned as the heir, the Yuvaraja; the people did rejoice as did the maharajah

But human life is slave to an invisible hand; Satanu grew troubled, music and cheer left the land

For by the banks of the Yamuna, a divine fragrance; drew him to a fair maiden with inexorable trance

He an empty shell since his beloved Ganga left him; this girl with her boon, drew his human weakness within

He asked her to be his wife, and to her father she did send him; the old man sought a promise, the son of their union to be king

The throne he could not give without shame incurring; Santanu did grow depressed for his love pining

Devavrata saw his father agonise; he could not the old man’s demon recognise

Father, can you not share your sorrow, he wondered

Come hear my problem, son, which I have long pondered

Preoccupied with your prowess in martial mores; this fickle world births uncertain outcomes of war

Though equal to a hundred, you are but one; scripture says one is the same as having none

Our bloodline hangs by one thread though strong; hear ancestors cry, once broke, it’s gone

Wise Devavrata knew there was more to his father’s misery; making enquiries, about the maiden, he made discovery

On behalf of the king, Devavrata entreated her hand; the maiden’s father did decline, as he was an astute man

When pressed, her father said his daughter ideal for the King; can her son not, born of such a union, be perfect to king

Though young in age, the Hastinapura heir brimmed with sapience; he favoured the unborn and disavowed his inheritance

Devavrata’s sons, in time will they not, the father petitioned; as mighty progenies challenge to put aside this condition

Devavrata this question did comprehend; though from mouth of man, t’was not the word of man

The Son of Ganga did make a terrible vow to meet his destiny; marital bliss he forsook for a life of pure unbroken chastity

These words of renunciation to secure their fulfilment; reached the devas in heaven who flowered exclamations

With cries of “Bhishma” the gods did shower; blessings for fulfilment on the vower

Ascended the maiden Satyavati as queen of Hastinapura; she beget for her King two sons, Chitrangada and Vichitravirya

When time took the older, ascend the throne did Vichitravirya; blessed he by two sons from his queens, Ambika and Ambalika

First born, Dhritarashtra sired a hundred Kauravas; younger Pandu’s sons five, were known as the Pandavas

The world witnessed the divide and the divine; good and Evil are Daughters of one Sublime

Bhishma, lived a long and glorious life as foretold by the sage Vasishtha; his mortal being released in the epic, Battle of Kurushestra.

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Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2020

For several weeks, readers were unable to post comments on my blog pages. When I changed the blog theme, I made a mistake in the comment settings. Silly me. I apologize for all the aggravation. Problem fixed.

You’re welcome to post comments on the Mahabharata in Verse Page. Thank you!

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Next Friday: Amba and Bhishma

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If you like to read short stories based on the Mahabharata, subscribe to Eric’s Newsletter. Special post on Monday 6th April 2020 for you to sign up.

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