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.
Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2020
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Next Friday: Amba and Bhishma
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