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see also  Bheeshm Pitaamah,   Dhritraashtra,   Ved Vyaas 

Satyavatee was the daughter of the King Uparichar Vasu through a fish and was brought up by Daash Raaj. Because of being born from a fish, she used to smell like a fish and she was known by Matsya-Gandhaa and Matsya Kanyaa names. Later her fish-like smell converted into a very sweet smell which used to spread 10 Kos around her by the grace of Maharshi Paraashar. She used to carry passengers across Yamunaa in her boat. 

Satyavatee and Paraashar
One day Maharshi Paraashar was crossing the River, that he got attracted to her and said to her - "I want to give you a son." Satyavatee replied - "Hey Maharshi, I am a maiden and I am scared of the society." At this Rishi created a fog around them and produced a son named Maharshi Vyaas Jee whose full name was Krishn Dwaipaayan. Krishn, because he had a dark complexion; and Dwaipaayan, because he was born on a Dweep (island). He was the Ansh Avataar of Shree Hari. Later he divided Ved into three parts and wrote many other books too, that is why he was called Ved Vyaas. His most famous books are Mahaabhaarat and Shree Mad-Bhaagvat Puraan.

Paraashar blessed her with a very sweet fragrance which used to spread 10 Kos around her. After that she got known as Gandhvatee. The King Shaantanu of Hastinaapur came to her following that fragrance.

Satyavatee and Shaantanu
Another time when she was waiting for passengers, Raajaa Shaantanu came there for hunting. He saw her and got attracted to her. In fact he came only following her sweet smell. He asked for her hand. Satyavatee told him that only her father could decide this. So he went to her father. Daash Raaj knew that Satyavatee and her children will have to rule a kingdom, so when Hastinaapur King came to his house, he was not very surprised, but he told everything to him. By then Shaantanu had already declared his first-born son Devavrat as the Crown Prince of Hastinaapur. So when Daash Raaj expressed the prediction that "her children will rule the kingdom", Shaantanu could not do injustice with his first-born son. so he came back from his house. But he found himself very sad and lost. 

When Devavrat came to know about this, he went to Satyavatee's house and vowed there that "He would not claim the kingdom and only Satyavatee's children will rule the kingdom". At this Daash Raaj said, "If your children will claim the kingdom later then?" Then he again vowed that "I would not marry lifelong, will remain Brahmchaaree, will live childless and will die childless." Since then he was called Bheeshm. Thus Satyavatee got married to Raajaa Shaantanu.

Satyavatee as a Queen
She had two sons - Chitraangad and Vichitraveerya from Shaantanu. Raajaa Shaantanu died when his children were very young. Satyavatee remained alone with her children. Bheeshm got them educated. Chitraangad died in a battle with a Gandharv named Chitraangad. When Vichitraveerya got of marriageable age, Bheeshm kidnapped Ambaa, Ambaalikaa and Ambikaa, princesses of Kaashee, from their Swayamvar to marry them to his half brother Vichitraveerya. Ambaa loved Shaalv Kumaar so she did not marry Vichitraveerya asked their permission to go to her lover.

Both Satyavatee and Bheeshm respected her request and sent her back to Shaalv, but Shaalv Kumaar also did not accept her, so she came back to ask for justice in Vichitraveerya's court. She pleaded that since she was kidnapped from her Swayamvar, she should be allowed to choose her own husband. Her plea was granted and she chose Bheeshm to marry her. Since Bheeshm was never a candidate, since he did not bring them for himself and since he had already vowed to remain unmarried, he could not have married her at any price. At this she got angry and vowed to take revenge from Bheeshm of this insult.

Later Vichitraveerya also died before any child was born to him, so there was no heir to the Hastinaapur throne. Chitraangad was already killed by the Gandharv and Vichitraveerya died of illness. Now Satyavatee was worried about the heir of Hastinaapur, so she asked Bheeshm to produce children from both the widows. But Bheeshm clearly refused saying that he was bound to his vow.

Then she remembered her first-born son Vyaas Jee and sent Bheeshm to bring him to her. Vyaas Jee came and knew the situation. He told Satyavatee to wait for a year because he had just awaken up from his Samaadhi and his look was not as good as it should be to look attractive to a woman. But Satyavatee said, "I don't have time". Vyaas Jee agreed and asked her to send one of her daughters-in-law to him.

Satyavatee explained the situation to her daughters-in-law and sent Ambikaa to Vyaas Jee. When Ambikaa saw Vyaas Jee she got afraid and closed her eyes. Vyaas Jee said to Satyavatee, "Everything is all right but since she closed her eyes so she will give birth to a blind child." Satyavatee got worried hearing this. Vyaas Jee said - " I told you before that give me some time, but you didn't listen to me."  

But again Satyavatee didn't listen to it and sent Ambaalikaa to him. When Ambaalikaa saw him she got yellow with fear. Vyaas Jee said to Satyavatee, "Everything is all right, but since she got yellow with fear seeing me, she will give birth to a sick child".

Satyavatee said to him, "Give me one chance more, Son", and asked Ambikaa again to go to Vyaas Jee once more, but she didn't go there and sent her chief maid-servant to him. The maid-servant felt honor with this offer and she went to him with a great joy. She was not afraid of any anything. Vyaas Jee told Satyavatee, "This time they sent their maid-servant. She will give birth to a very knowledgeable, intelligent and religious son whose name will be remembered for long time in Bhaarat Varsh." And Vyaas Jee went away. 

When the time came, Ambikaa gave birth to a blind boy named Dhritraashtra, Ambaalikaa gave birth to a very yellow son named Paandu and the maid-servant gave birth to a healthy intelligent boy named Vidur. Satyavatee married her grandsons with the consultation of Bheeshm. Dhritraashtra was married to Gaandhaaree, the Princess of Gaandhaar Desh and Paandu was married to Kuntee, adopted daughter of Kuntibhoj and the real daughter of Shoorsen. Her name was Prithaa in her father's house at that time. Shoorsen gave her to his friend Kuntibhoj and then she was named as Kuntee. Bheeshm married Vidur to a good girl.

Sometime before the Mahaabhaarat war broke in, Vyaas Jee came and took Satyavatee and her daughters-in-law (Ambikaa and Ambaalikaa) from the palace saying that her job was finished in this world and whatever will happen she will not be able to see it.


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 5/27/03
Updated on 06/09/11