The story of the Mahabharata can be said to begin at many points of the narrative. But if you come to understand the Epic from the point of view that it is an account of how karma functions then it becomes clear that every event is both a result of what happened before it as well as a cause of what followed. story of Shantanu and Satyavati in Hindi
So let us start our story on the day when King Shantanu of Hastinapur was on the bank of the Ganga. And fell in love with the resplendent river goddess. Shantanu asked her to marry him Ganga said yes. But she also had him promise her that he would never question her decisions.
The love-struck king agreed to all that she asked. For a time they were happy and the people of Hastinapur were happy with them. But when the couple had their first child, queen Ganga drowned it. King Shantanu was devastated but he kept his promise, he asked his wife no questions.
He said nothing as one by one queen Ganga killed their next six children. But when their eighth child was about to meet a similar end, Shantanu could no longer hold his silence. When he asked his wife why she had killed their children he was told about 8 Vasus who had been cursed to live mortal lives for a crime committed long ago. story of Shantanu and Satyavati in Hindi
Ganga had agreed to give birth to the 8 celestial spirits and free them from mortality as soon as they came into this world. After telling Shantanu the truth Ganga left him and she took with her his one remaining son. Shantanu was in love again He lost his heart to a fisherman’s daughter by the name of Satyavati and asked her to marry him. But Satyavati refused Shantanu, even though he was a king.
It was her father’s belief that even if Satyavati became Shantanu’s queen, her children would never be kings. They would always remain secondary to Prince Devavrat’s children. There was nothing to be done. Shantanu could not deprive his son Devavrat of his birthright. So he returned home alone, heartbroken once again. Back at the palace, his unhappiness was all too visible. He stopped meeting people and attending to his kingly duties. Prince Devavrat noticed this. He could not allow his father to suffer in this manner Devavrat decided to take matters into his own hands. He decided to go reason with the fisherman and his daughter himself.
To soothe the pain in his father’s heart Prince Devavrat paid a visit to Satyavati’s father and begged him to allow his daughter to marry King Shantanu. But the fisherman remained adamant. Even when Devavrat agreed to give up the throne which was his by birthright, the fisherman said that there was no guarantee that Devavrat’s children would not assert their right to the throne of Hastinapur He was, after all, the King’s first-born son. It was then that Devavrat swore an oath. It was an oath that shook the earth and the heavens. It was an oath that would echo down the corridors of history and eventually bring about a war that would reshape Bharatavarsha. story of Shantanu and Satyavati in Hindi
Devavrat vowed that he would never marry. He vowed to never father any children. Before all the gods, he swore this, for the sake of his father’s happiness. And thus it was that Devavrat the kind, came to be known as Bhishma – he of the terrible oath. The prince’s solemn vow stole the fisherman’s courage from him He did not object when Bhishma took Satyavati – his future mother – with him and rode towards Hastinapur.
When the prince united King Shantanu with the woman he loved he expected his father to be happy. But instead, the king felt as if his feeble heart had brought ruin upon his kingdom A sense of doom filled his heart.
However, he recognized his son’s sacrifice and granted him a boon. He declared that his virtuous son would be able to choose the moment of his death. Without his consent, death will not be able to touch him.
After the passing of King Shantanu, Bhishma acted like a father to his two half brothers Chitrangad and Vichitraveerya. He taught them statecraft and brought them up to be capable administrators. But before long, Chitrangad battled a Gandharva and was killed. Vichitraveerya, who was not in good health, became king of Hastinapur.
Bhishma feared that if something happened to his brother, there was no one to inherit the throne of Hastinapur. Bhishma decided to get his brother a wife, and soon.
He stormed into the court of Kashi on the day of the Swayamvara and kidnapped the three princesses of that kingdom. They were called Amba, Ambika, and Ambalika. It was not long before a terrible illness took king Vichitravirya’s life. His death brought twin tragedies on Hastinapur. Not only the kingdom didn’t have a king it now also didn’t have a prince. story of Shantanu and Satyavati in Hindi
Despite there being two queens in the palace Vichitravirya had died childless. Queen mother Satyawati decided that Bheeshm celibacy had gone on for long enough. She ordered him to father the children of Ambika and Ambalika. He was after all the only surviving son of king Shantanu. But Bheeshm remained steadfast and said that he will not marry, Even when Satyawati asked him to choose a bride from other kingdoms, Bheeshm did not budge.
Helpless Satyawati was to tell her son a secret that she had kept hidden all her life. She told Bheeshm that he had a brother, a son that Satywati had before she met king Shantanu.
Once When Satyawati had been a young woman known as Matsyagandha, a sage by the name Parashar had fallen for her. Their secret love had created Vyas. A child blessed by Parashar to be the greatest poet the world had ever seen. Since Satyawati could not keep the miracle child with her, she sent him away.
Vyas, who grew into a man within moments promised his mother that he would appear whenever she summons him. That time Satyawati told Bheeshm had now come. Vyas came when Satyawati called upon him. She asked him to father the children of Ambika and Ambalika. Bheeshm was relieved at the thought that the throne of Hastinapur won’t go empty. The shock of it however was too much for the widows of Vichitravirya.
Sage Vyas was not pleasant to look at. And the sight of him had already struck terror into their hearts. In their fears was the future of Hastinapur. As per his mother Satyavati’s wish, Ved Vyasa paid a visit to Ambika. But the young queen could not contain her fright when she saw the uncouth-looking sage She did not resist when the sage took her into his embrace, but she closed her eyes.
When Vyasa told Satyavati that as a result of Ambika’s fear, the child born to her will be blind, Satyavati was frustrated. What good will a blind king do, she wondered
Since Vyasa was to visit Ambalika next, she warned the younger queen to keep her eyes open at all costs. Ambalika did as she was told, but she was no less afraid of Vyasa When Vyasa took her into his arms, she turned pale with fear. Later, Vyasa told Satyavati that her child would be born pale and will suffer bad health. story of Shantanu and Satyavati in Hindi
Satyavati was furious In her anger, she asked Vyasa to pay Ambalika a second visit. But when Vyasa did so, the frightened Ambalika sent in her place a servant girl. When the servant girl faced Vyasa, there was no fear in her eyes or her heart. She accepted the ugly-looking forest-dwelling sage with love. Time passed, and the three women gave birth to the future of Hastinapur. Ambika gave birth to Dhritarashtra, who was blind, as foretold by Vyasa, but he grew to be strong and kind.
Ambalika gave birth to Pandu, who was pale and weak, but he grew to be a great archer who was loved by the people of Hastinapur. The servant girl gave birth to a child called Vidura, who grew to be one of the wisest and most learned men in the land. Vidura even came to be considered an avatar of Yama – the God of truth and death.
The three young men grew up under the tutelage of their uncle Bhishma and were taught all there was to know about politics, warfare, and the shastras. But even as they grew, there was an unspoken rivalry between Dhritarashtra and Pandu.
Bhishma never noticed this. Vidura did. There were too many contenders for the throne of Hastinapur now.
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