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Bheeshm Pitaamaha

Bheeshm Pitaamaha's real name was Devavrat.

Birth of Devavrat
Bheeshm Jee was Shaantanu's son from Gangaa. His real name was Devavrat. Once Shaantanu went to hunt in a forest, there he saw Gangaa and got attracted to her. He wanted to marry her. Gangaa agreed on a condition that Shaantanu will not question her anything whatever she was doing and why she was doing; and the day he would ask this question she would leave him after replying his first question. Shaantanu was so much engrossed in her love that he agreed on all her conditions. When they had their first son, she flowed it in Gangaa River. Shaantanu did not like it but could not do anything. The same thing happened to their second son too. Shantanu got very sad, but was helpless to take any action. Thus she flowed their seven sons in Gangaa River. 

When the eighth son was born, and she took him to flow in the river, Shaantanu couldn't hold himself any more and asked her why she was doing this to his children. Then she told him the whole story, that she herself was living on Prithvi as a result of a Shaap. And even Shaantanu was also living with her as a result of the Shaap. In his previous life, Shaantanu was King Mahaabhish. Ha had a  good friendship with Indra, so he often used to come there to see Apsaraa's dances. One day when he was sitting there, Gangaa also came there with her father Brahmaa Jee. Both started looking at each other. In the meantime wind flew away her cloth from her body. Seeing this all other Devtaa lowered their eyes but Shaantanu kept staring at her.  At this Brahmaa Jee gave Shaap to Gangaa that she should born on Prithvi and to Shaantanu also that since he has behaved with indecency, so he should also born on Prithvi with her.

At another time the eight Vasu got a Shaap from Vashishth Jee to take birth on Prithvi. Gangaa willingly accepted to be their mother to give them Mukti from this Shaap. So all these sons were those eight Vasu. Therefore by flowing them in Gangaa she did not kill them but gave them Mukti from that Shaap, but it seemed that the last child had a different fate. She told him that she had named him as Devavrat and she was taking him with her and when he would grow up, she would return him to Shaantanu.

Devavrat Meets His Father
After 16 years, a youth was found stopping the water flow of Gangaa River. People complained about this to Shaantanu. Shantanu himself went to see that. He found a young man doing this, so he got ready to have a fight with him, then Gangaa came and handed over his young son to Shaantanu. Shaantanu brought him home. Devavrat's Guru were Parashuraam Jee and Brihaspati Jee like teachers. Later he was declared as the Crown Prince of Hastinaapur.

Devavrat Becomes Bheeshm
One day, on a hunting trip, he found that his father was in love with Daash Raaj's daughter Satyavatee and Satyavatee's father was not ready to marry her to his father because his astrologer had said that Satyavatee's child would rule the Kingdom, and since Shaantanu had already declared Devavrat as the Crown Prince how this prediction would be true. Then Devavrat vowed that he would never ask for the kingdom and thus only Satyvatee's children will rule the kingdom. At this Daashraaj told that, what would happen if his children would claim the Kingdom later. Then he again vowed that he wouldn't marry lifelong so that he would not have any children. He will live as a Brahmchaaree and die as a Brahmchaaree. And since then, because of taking such a great and difficult vow, he was called Bheeshm (Bheeshm means difficult) and got known as Bheeshm. Seeing his dedication to himself, his father Shaantanu gave him the Var of Ichchhaa Mrityu. (Bheeshm would die only whenever he wanted to die, and Mrityu (death) will not come to him without his wish.)

Bheeshm as a Kaurav Prince
He was a great warrior, he even satisfied his Guru Parashuraam Jee in a fight. He was a knowledgeable person and a great devotee of Bhagavaan. He was the first army chief of Kaurav army and remained their chief up to 10 days. He was fallen by Shikhandee who shot arrows at him and Bheeshm could not shoot him as he saw Ambaa in him on the 10th day of the war.

When he brought three princesses of Kaashee - Ambaa, Ambikaa and Ambaalikaa, to marry his step brother, one of them, Ambaa, declared that she loved Shaalv Kumaar only, so she could not marry his brother. At this he sent her back to Shaalv Kumaar with great respect. But since Shaalv Kumaar did not accept her, she asked for justice to marry Bheeshm. Bheeshm could not have married her because first thing, he did not bring them for himself; second, he had already vowed to remain unmarried. At this Ambaa, in a great fury, vowed in the royal court that she will take the revenge of her insult from Bheeshm even though she will have to take any number of births. So in her next birth she was born as Shikhandee as Raajaa Drupad's son and became the cause of Bheeshm's death.

When nine days passed in Kurukshetra war and Bheeshm could not be defeated in the battlefield, on Krishn's advice Paandav went to him for his blessings to win this war which he gave them readily. But how could they win the war till Bheeshm was the army chief of Kaurav army? Then Bheeshm told them that he doesn't fight with any woman, and Shikhandee was a woman according to him. Taking this clue for Bheeshm's fall, next day Paandav brought Shikhandee to fight with him. Bheeshm did not encounter him so at one time he was severely wounded and fell down. He had so many arrows on his body that when he fell on the ground, his body didn't touch the ground. He was lying on arrows only.

He lay down on the bed of arrows until the war came to an end and when he was assured that Hastinaapur kingdom was in good hands (Paandav's hands) he left his body in Uttaraayan period. Yudhishthir and his brothers along with Shree Krishn came to learn many things from him when they had won the war. 


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/9/02
Updated on 06/09/11