Mahabharath !! Life of King Shanthanu !!

Jai Sriman Narayana !!

The great epic Mahabharath was composed by Maharishi Veda Vyasa/Krishna Dwaipayana, son of Sage Parasara and Sathyavati, a woman from fisherman clan.  Mahabharath describes the legends of Bharatha Dynasty.     It was written in 18 Parva such as Adhi Parva, Sabha Parva, Vana Parva, Virada Parva, Udhyoga Parva, Bhishma Parva, Drona Parva, Karna Parva, Shalya Parva, Soupthika Parva, Stri Parva, Shanthi Parva, Anushasana Parva, Ashwamedha Parva, Ashramavasika Parva, Musala Parva, Mahaprasthanika Parva and Swargarohana Parva and each Parva has divided into many Upaparva and has chapters in detail.    Adhi Parva depicts the life of King Dushyantha and his wife Shakunthala and their son Sarvadhamanan, who was famously known as Bharatha, a righteous ruler of Bharatha Empire.


Lord Brahma created deities, Sages and Prajapathis.  It was the beginning of the growth of human race from the sixty daughters of Daksha Prajapathi.  Pururavass,  Yayathi, Puru,  Dushyantha,  Bharatha, Shanthanu were born in the family of Dithi, one of the daughters of Daksha Prajapathi.  King Shanthanu was the ruler of Hasthinapur from Kuru Dynasty.


Life of King Shanthanu :


King Shanthanu met a gorgeous woman while walking through the banks of river Ganga.    It was Goddess Ganga came down to earth to become the mother of Ashta Vasus at their request.  Ashta Vasus were cursed to be born on Earth by Sage Vashishta for their unfaithful act.   Ashta Vasus and their wives were on their expedition through the dense forest found the hermitage of Sage Vashishta and the divine cow Surabhi/Kamadhenu which has the capabilities to fulfill the desires of its care taker.   The wives of Ashta Vasus were tempted to have the possession of the divine cow, especially the wife of Dhyo dearly wished to have Kamadhenu under her detention.  Eventually,  Ashta Vausus executed a deceitful plan and took the custodian of the divine cow  without the knowledge of Sage Vashishta.   The most infuriated Sage cursed the Ashta Vasus to born on Earth.  Ashta Vasusus sincerely prayed to Sage and begged for forgiveness, they were ultimately suggested to take birth on the Earth for a short period and the eighth Vasu Dhyo would remain on the Earth and take several years to get rid of the curse.  Ashta Vasus approached Goddess Ganga with an appeal to become their mother while they take birth on Earth and was agreed.


There was another incident behind the gathering of King Shanthanu and Goddess Ganga on Earth.  In the previous birth King Shanthanu was King Mahabhishak from Ikshvaku Dynasty.  King Mahabhishak was a righteous ruler; he performed 10,000 Ashwamedha Yaga and pleased Lord Indra.  Once King Mahabhishak with the deities and Rishis went to Brahma Loka/Sathya Loka, there he met graceful Ganga whose clothes were displaced due to the sudden rush of the wind.  King Mahabhishak’s eyes were fallen on the striking features of Ganga and desired for her.  This incident annoyed Lord Brahma and cursed him to be born on Earth to accomplish his desires.


King Shanthanu completely fallen in love with striking Ganga and requested her to marry him.    But Goddess Ganga put forward a condition that King Shanthanu should never question her for any of her deeds and King Shanthanu readily accepted the same.  Finally, King Shanthanu married Goddess Ganga and lived a blissful married life.  She loved her husband dearly, but after every birth of the child she would immerse them into the water, she continued this practice for seven times.  This painful incident tortured him like a hell, often the promise between them made him keep quiet.  He was madly in love with her, does not want to lose his dearest wife at any cost.  At the time of throwing the Eighth child into the river, King Shanthanu refused to keep calm and pleaded her to refrain from the agonizing act and revealed his desire to have an heir to the throne.  Goddess Ganga reminded the promise between them and left King Shanthanu with a vow that she would bring back the Eighth child (Ashta Vasu Dhyo) after completion of his studies in Astra and Sastra.   King Shanthanu was distraught at the separation of Goddess Ganga and his child.  As stated earlier, Goddess Ganga returned their son Devavratha/Gangadhath to King Shanthanu after the completion of the studies of Astra & Sastra from Devaguru Bruhaspathi .


King Shanthanu after the separation from Goddess Ganga lived an extremely solitude life; he was completely occupied with the affairs of his Kingdom Hasthinapur and hunting expedition.     During this period of time, King Shanthanu happened to meet gorgeous Sathyavati, daughter of a fisher man.  She was fabulously riding on a boat, spreading magnificent fragrances all around.  Instantly, King Shanthanu fallen at the flawless beauty of Sathyavati.


Sathyavati had a boon from Sage Parasara that although she belongs to the clan of fisherman, she would have the smell of wonderful fragrances on her.  Once, Sage Parasara, son of Sage Vashishta, met Sathyavati who was moving marvelously through the river Kalindi.  He had fallen in love with her the moment his eyes were set on her dazzling beauty.  Sage Parasara approached Sathyavati and exposed his desire, but Sathyavati tried to put off his desire, revealed her powerlessness to have him as she was born in an inferior class.  Sage Parasara prompted her to have a child without any harm to her virginity and everlasting fragrances on her body, also advised her that child born would be well-known for the welfare of the Universe.   The child born to Sage Parasara and Sathyavati was Maharishi Veda Vyasa who segregated Vedas into four divisions such as Rig, Yajur,  Sama & Atharva,  composed 18 Puranas & Upa Puranas,  Sastras & Upanishads to bring righteousness and protect the Universe.  Maharishi Veda Vyasa left for severe penance immediately after his birth with the blessing of Sage Parasara and Sathyavati.


It was after the above incident King Shanthanu met Sathyavati who was leading a normal life as a daughter of the fisher man.  King Shanthanu requested her to marry him, Sathyavati chivalrously replied to get permission from his father.    King Shanthanu met Sathyavati’s father, chief of the fishermen clan and revealed his desire to marry his daughter.  Sthyavati’s father was a man of self respect and intellect, as usual worried about the wellbeing of his daughter, expressed his fears that the child born to Sathyavati would never had a respectable position in the Kingdom, moreover King Shanthanu had already a son Devavratha, who is the actual heir to the throne.   He revealed his opinion that he would be agreeable for the marriage of his daughter Sathyavati with King Shanthanu only if Sathyavati’s son would get the title of heir to the throne of Hasthinapur.  After listening to Sathyavati’s father, King Shanthanu flatly refused the very idea and returned to palace.


King Shanthanu gloomily returned to his palace, he failed to soothe his mind from the thoughts of Sathyavati.  He remained distressed without any interest in the affairs of the Kingdom or hunting expedition.  Devavratha was deeply worried about the state of his father and found the reason for the anguish of his father.  Devavratha left the palace immediately with a promise that whatever may happen, he would fulfill desires of his father, he approached the father of Sathyavati and informed his verdict.  Devavratha promised to refrain from the title of heir to the throne and Sathyavati’s son would be the heir to the throne of Hasthinapur.  Sathyavathi’s father was not satisfied at the verdict of Devavratha, he raised doubts about the child to be born to Devavratha.  Ultimately, Devavratha promised to remain single in all his life, deities and Sages showered flower on the magnanimous attitude of Devavratha, adorned him with the title ‘Bhishma’.  King Shanthanu was extremely pleased and blessed his son with ‘Swacchandha Mruthyu’,/ death happens only at his wish.

Jai Sriman Narayana !!

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