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Thread: The terrible Bhishma!!

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    The terrible Bhishma!!

    By http://www.ibiblio.org/sripedia/eboo...m01/m01101.htm
    "Four years had thus passed away, when the king one day went into the woods on the bank of the Yamuna. And while the king was rambling there, he perceived a sweet scent coming from an unknown direction. And the monarch, impelled by the desire of ascertaining the cause, wandered hither and thither. And in course of his ramble, he beheld a black-eyed maiden of celestial beauty, the daughter of a fisherman. The king addressing her, said, 'Who art thou, and whose daughter? What dost thou do here, O timid one?' She answered, 'Blest be thou! I am the daughter of the chief of the fishermen. At his command, I am engaged for religious merit, in rowing passengers across this river in my boat.' And Santanu, beholding that maiden of celestial form endued with beauty, amiableness, and such fragrance, desired her for his wife. And repairing unto her father, the king solicited his consent to the proposed match. But the chief of the fishermen replied to the monarch, saying, 'O king, as soon as my daughter of superior complexion was born, it was of course, understood that she should be bestowed upon a husband. But listen to the desire I have cherished all along in my heart. O sinless one, thou art truthful: if thou desirest to obtain this maiden as a gift from me, give, me then this pledge. If, indeed, thou givest the pledge, I will of course bestow my daughter upon thee for truly I can never obtain a husband for her equal to thee.'

    "Santanu, hearing this, replied, 'When I have heard of the pledge thou askest, I shall then say whether I would be able to grant it. If it is capable of being granted, I shall certainly grant it. Otherwise how shall I

    p. 216

    grant it.' The fisherman said, 'O king, what I ask of thee is this: the son born of this maiden shall be installed by thee on thy throne and none else shall thou make thy successor.'

    "Vaisampayana continued, 'O Bharata, when Santanu heard this, he felt no inclination to grant such a boon, though the fire of desire sorely burnt him within. The king with his heart afflicted by desire returned to Hastinapura, thinking all the way of the fisherman's daughter. And having returned home, the monarch passed his time in sorrowful meditation. One day, Devavrata approaching his afflicted father said, 'All is prosperity with thee; all chiefs obey thee; then how is it that thou grievest thus? Absorbed in thy own thoughts, thou speakest not a word to me in reply. Thou goest not out on horse-back now; thou lookest pale and emaciated, having lost all animation. I wish to know the disease thou sufferest from, so that I may endeavour to apply a remedy.' Thus addressed by his son, Santanu answered, 'Thou sayest truly, O son, that I have become melancholy. I will also tell thee why I am so. O thou of Bharata's line, thou art the only scion of this our large race. Thou art always engaged in sports of arms and achievements of prowess. But, O son, I am always thinking of the instability of human life. If any danger overtake thee, O child of Ganga, the result is that we become sonless. Truly thou alone art to me as a century of sons. I do not, therefore, desire to wed again. I only desire and pray that prosperity may ever attend thee so that our dynasty may be perpetuated. The wise say that he that hath one son hath no son. Sacrifices before fire and the knowledge of the three Vedas yield, it is true, everlasting religious merit, but all these, in point of religious merit, do not, come up to a sixteenth part of the religious merit attainable on the birth of a son. Indeed, in this respect, there is hardly any difference between men and the lower animals. O wise one, I do not entertain a shadow of doubt that one attains to heaven in consequence of his having begotten a son. The Vedas which constitute the root of the Puranas and are regarded as authoritative even by the gods, contain numerous proof of this. O thou of Bharata's race, thou art a hero of excitable temper, who is always engaged in the exercise of arms. It is very probable that thou wilt be slain on the field of battle. If it so happen, what then will be the state of the Bharata dynasty, It is this thought that hath made me so melancholy. I have now told thee fully the causes of my sorrow.'

    "Vaisampayana continued, 'Devavrata who was endued with great intelligence, having ascertained all this from the king, reflected within himself for a while. He then went to the old minister devoted to his father's welfare and asked him about the cause of the king's grief. O bull of Bharata's race, when the prince questioned the minister, the latter told him about the boon that was demanded by the chief of the fishermen in respect of his daughter Gandhavati. Then Devavrata, accompanied by many Kshatriya chiefs of venerable age, personally repaired to the chief of the fishermen

    p. 217

    and begged of him his daughter on behalf of the king. The chief of the fishermen received him with due adorations, and, O thou of Bharata's race, when the prince took his seat in the court of the chief, the latter addressed him and said, 'O bull among the Bharatas, thou art the first of all wielders of weapons and the only son of Santanu. Thy power is great. But I have something to tell thee. If the bride's father was Indra himself, even then he would have to repent of rejecting such an exceedingly honourable and desirable proposal of marriage. The great man of whose seed this celebrated maiden named Satyavati was born, is, indeed, equal to you in virtue. He hath spoken to me on many occasions of the virtues of thy father and told me that, the king alone is worthy of (marrying) Satyavati. Let me tell you that I have even rejected the solicitations of that best of Brahmarshis--the celestial sage Asita--who, too, had often asked for Satyavati's hand in marriage. I have only one word to say on the part of this maiden. In the matter of the proposed marriage there is one great objection founded on the fact of a rival in the person of a co-wife's son. O oppressor of all foes, he hath no security, even if he be an Asura or a Gandharva, who hath a rival in thee. There is this only objection to the proposed marriage, and nothing else. Blest be thou! But this is all I have to say in the matter of the bestowal or otherwise, of Satyavati.'

    "Vaisampayana continued, 'O thou of Bharata's race, Devavrata, having heard these words, and moved by the desire of benefiting his father thus answered in the hearing of the assembled chiefs, 'O foremost of truthful men, listen to the vow I utter! The man has not been or will not be born, who will have the courage to take such a vow! I shall accomplish all that thou demandest! The son that may be born of this maiden shall be our king.' Thus addressed, the chief of the fishermen, impelled by desire of sovereignty (for his daughter's son), to achieve the almost impossible, then said, 'O thou of virtuous soul, thou art come hither as full agent on behalf of thy father Santanu of immeasurable glory; be thou also the sole manager on my behalf in the matter of the bestowal of this my daughter. But, O amiable one, there is something else to be said, something else to be reflected upon by thee. O suppressor of foes, those that have daughters, from the very nature of their obligations, must say what I say. O thou that art devoted to truth, the promise thou hast given in the presence of these chiefs for the benefit of Satyavati, hath, indeed, been worthy of thee. O thou of mighty arms, I have not the least doubt of its ever being violated by thee. But I have my doubts in respect of the children thou mayst beget.'

    "Vaisampayana continued, 'O king, the son of Ganga, devoted to truth, having ascertained the scruples of the chief of the fishermen, then said, moved thereto by the desire of benefiting his father, 'Chief of fishermen, thou best of men, listen to what I say in the presence of these assembled kings. Ye kings, I have already relinquished my right to the throne, I shall now settle the matter of my children. O fisherman, from this day

    p. 218

    [paragraph continues] I adopt the vow of Brahmacharya (study and meditation in celibacy). If I die sonless, I shall yet attain to regions of perennial bliss in heaven!'

    "Vaisampayana continued, 'Upon these words of the son of Ganga, the hair on the fisherman's body stood on end from glee, and he replied, 'I bestow my daughter!' Immediately after, the Apsaras and the gods with diverse tribes of Rishis began to rain down flowers from the firmament upon the head of Devavrata and exclaimed, 'This one is Bhishma (the terrible).' Bhishma then, to serve his father, addressed the illustrious damsel and said, 'O mother, ascend this chariot, and let us go unto our house.'

    "Vaisampayana continued, 'Having said this, Bhishma helped the beautiful maiden into his chariot. On arriving with her at Hastinapura, he told Santanu everything as it had happened. And the assembled kings, jointly and individually, applauded his extraordinary act and said, 'He is really Bhishma (the terrible)!' And Santanu also, hearing of the extraordinary achievements of his son, became highly gratified and bestowed upon the high-souled prince the boon of death at will, saying, 'Death shall never come to thee as long as thou desirest to live. Truly death shall approach thee, O sinless one, having first obtained thy command.'"
    Mahabharata,Book 1 Adi Parva,Section C

    Regards,
    Orlando.

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    Re: The terrible Bhishma!!

    Namaste all.
    Now I will quote something from the book PRACTICE OF BRAHMACHARYA by Sri Swami Sivananda.
    By http://www.dlshq.org/download/brahma_nopic.htm
    Bhishma, Hanuman, Lakshman, Mira Bai, Sulabha and Gargi were all established in Brahmacharya.
    The great Bhishma, the grandfather of the Pandavas and the Kauravas, conquered death by Brahmacharya.
    Bhishma
    Bhishma’s father was Santanu, who was the ruler of Hastinapura. His mother was Ganga Devi. His early name was Devavrata. He was an incarnation of Vasu Devata.

    One day Santanu went into the forests, close to the banks of the Yamuna, for hunting. He came across a handsome maiden. He said to her, "Who are you? What are you doing here?" She replied, "I am the daughter of Dasaraja, the fisher-chief. My name is Satyavati. I am engaged at his command in rowing the boat for taking passengers across the river".

    King Santanu wanted to marry her. He went to Dasaraja and asked his consent. The fisher-chief replied, "I am quite willing to give my daughter to you in marriage. But, first, I want you to give me a promise".

    The king replied, "O Dasaraja, what is that? I will certainly do what lies in my power". The fisher-chief said, "The son born of my daughter should succeed you".

    Santanu did not wish to give this pledge to the fisher-chief, because his valiant and intelligent son Devavrata, whom he loved intensely, would have to abandon the throne. He would no longer be the heir apparent. But the fire of love for the maiden burnt him. He was in a great dilemma. He grew pale and did not take any interest in the affairs of the state. He opened his heart to the chief minister whom he trusted, but the latter was not able to advise him in the matter. Santanu tried to conceal his love for the maiden from his son Devavrata.

    Devavrata was wise and was very strong. He suspected something and thought that his father was unhappy. He said to his father, "O beloved father! You are prosperous. You have got everything. There should be no cause for your anxiety. Why are you cheerless now? You are losing your vigour and strength. Kindly let me know the reason for your grief. I am ever ready to do what lies in my power to remove it."

    The king replied, "O beloved Devavrata! You are my only son. If any calamity falls on you, I will become sonless. I will be deprived of heaven. You are equal to a hundred sons. Therefore, I do not want to marry again. But one son is no son according to the words of the Rishis. These thoughts are troubling me in my mind".

    Thereupon, Devavrata, accompanied by the old minister and many respectable Kshatriya chiefs, went to Dasaraja and pleaded on behalf of his father. He asked him to give his daughter to his father in marriage.

    The fisher-chief replied, "O amiable prince! I have already told your father about the condition on which I can give, my daughter in marriage to him".

    Devavrata said, "O fisher-chief! I make a solemn declaration now that the son that may be born of this girl shall succeed my father to the throne. I shall do all that you wish".

    The fisher-chief said, "I highly appreciate your noble character and high ideal. But your sons may expel my daughter’s son at any time at their sweet will. I entertain a grave doubt on this point".

    Devavrata prayed, "O Truth! Dwell in me for ever. Come and pervade my whole being! Give me inner strength to stick to the vow of perfect celibacy that I am going to take now in the presence of these people!". He then resolutely said to the fisher-chief, "O Dasaraja! Listen to what I say. From today, I shall lead a life of strict Naishthika Brahmacharya till the end of my life. All the women of the world are my mothers. I am the most devoted and loyal subject of the King of Hastinapura. If I die sonless, I shall yet attain the abode of eternal bliss and immortality".

    From heaven at that time, the celestial damsels, the gods and the assemblage of sages showered flowers on him and said, "This is verily Bhishma, the Terrible!".

    The fisher-chief said, "O prince! I am quite ready now to give my daughter in marriage to your father". Thereupon, the fisherman and his daughter accompanied Devavrata to the palace of Santanu. The old minister informed the king about all that had happened. The monarchs who assembled in the hall greatly appreciated the extraordinary spirit of self-sacrifice and renunciation of Devavrata and said, "Devavrata is really Bhishma, the Terrible". Since then, Devavrata bore the name of Bhishma. King Santanu was immensely pleased with the noble conduct of his son and conferred upon him the boon of death at will. He said, "May the gods protect you! Death shall never come to you as long as you wish to live".

    What an exalted soul! This noble example is an unprecedented one in the history of the world. No one save Bhishma, on the surface of this earth, had made such a great sacrifice for the sake of filial duty at such a young age. Bhishma’s filial duty and piety might very well be compared to that of Lord Rama.

    Bhishma was very firm, in his principles. He was absolutely free from the slightest tinge of selfishness. He was an embodiment of self-denial and self-sacrifice. His power of endurance and patience in all the difficult trials he met with, were marvellous and unprecedented. He was matchless in fortitude and courage. All men honoured him. All the Kshatriya chiefs paid their homage to him. He was a mighty Yogi and a sage. He was above body consciousness. He rested in his own Satchidananda Svarupa. That is the reason why he was peaceful and serene even though he was pierced by sharp arrows all over his body. Lying on the bed of sharp arrows which was as soft as a bed of flowers to him, he gave wonderful discourses on political, philosophical, religious, social and moral subjects to Yudhishthira. Have you ever heard of anyone, save Bhishma, in the history of the world, who was able to give lofty and sublime discourses on his deathbed? Bhishma laid his life for others. He lived to serve and elevate others. The noble life led by the high-souled Bhishma of mighty will-force still inspires sterling virtues in those who study his discourses in the Santi Parva. Bhishma died long, long ago, but his voice in the Santi Parva and his ideal and exalted life awaken slumbering people to action, righteousness, duty and enquiry, rigorous Tapas and meditation, to this day.

    Glory to Bhishma, whose exemplary life of Brahmacharya inspires our hearts even today and elevates our minds to magnanimous heights of divine glory and splendour.
    In the cultural history of India, the name of Bhishma evokes awe, wonder and admiration in the hearts of each and every individual who has heard about him and the great vow he took in order to fulfil the desire of his father. It has gone down in history as Bhishma Pratigna. He became a lifelong Brahmachari, and was one of the most invincible of warriors in the whole narrative of the Mahabharata. Just as the determination, the resolution, and the austerity performed by Bhagirath, another scion of the royal race and royal family, has gone down in history as something unprecedented, unparalleled, unique. We speak of Bhagiratha prayatna!
    Please watch the following image of Bhishma.






    Regards,
    Orlando.

  3. #3

    Re: The terrible Bhishma!!

    Om Shanti,
    Why is Bhishma called the Terrible? I can understand the concept of not body but soul. Soul not have been created nor can it be destroyed. Not able to be burned or pierced. Therefore Bhishma was able to rest comfortably even though he was pierced with arrows.

    But what does Arjuns arrows represent? What exactly is this story trying to teach me?


    Om Shanti,
    Hiwaunis

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    Re: The terrible Bhishma!!

    It's trying to say that by Brahmacarya one can not be killed- even by the Lord of Death. No ordinary mortal could survive so many arrows pierced through his body. It was also said Ahbiymanu had sex with his wife the night before the battlefield, and so could not withstand the onslaught of arrows.

  5. #5

    Re: The terrible Bhishma!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Atman View Post
    It's trying to say that by Brahmacarya one can not be killed- even by the Lord of Death. No ordinary mortal could survive so many arrows pierced through his body.
    Those who practice Brahmacarya can be killed. If one is born that one is destined to die. However, dying and being killed are different.
    Kindly please tell me if there is a deeper meaning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Atman View Post
    It was also said Ahbiymanu had sex with his wife the night before the battlefield, and so could not withstand the onslaught of arrows.
    Really!?! Bhishma had a wife and had sex with her? What happened to all women of the world being his mother? So why is he called the terrible?

    Om Shanti,
    Hiwaunis

    Om Shanti,

  6. #6

    Re: The terrible Bhishma!! WHY?????????

    Om Shanti,
    Why is Bhisma called the Terrible?

    Hiwaunis

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    Re: The terrible Bhishma!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiwaunis View Post

    Really!?! Bhishma had a wife and had sex with her? What happened to all women of the world being his mother? So why is he called the terrible?

    Om Shanti,
    Hiwaunis

    Om Shanti,
    Actually, he meant Abhimanyu had sex with his wife before the battle and therefore did not conserve his energy; hence was killed relatively easily compared to Bhishma.

  8. #8

    Re: The terrible Bhishma!!

    Hello Hiwaunis,

    You have asked, " Why is Bhishma called the Terrible?" The original name when Bhishma was born is Gangeyan meaning son of Ganga. The name Deva Vratha is also a given name seeing his supreme austerity. When he takes the vow to assure the fisherman's daughter, that he will never marry, all the Devas praised his determination and called him BHISHMA. The vow he has taken is "Bayankara" in Sanskrit meaning it is an awesome vow. The word "terrible" as translated in English does not fully cover the original meaning of the word Bhishma as uttered by Devas. However the attribute terrible can also be used to some extent, as he is invincible at war.

    Before going to the war for the last time Bhishma gives a pratigna to Duryodhana (when the latter mocks at him being invincible he does not show his might) that in the next day war either he will return or Arjuna will return from the field. On the last day Arjuna was overpowered by Bhishma's arrows. Seeing this Lord Krishna brings Sikandi, the Transvestite to fight by the side of Arjuna. Bhishma not willing to be hit by the arrows of a Transvestite tries to avoid and in the process could not fight Arjuna and was hit by Arjuna's arrows. In the confusion of rains of arrows Lord Krishna suspects serious threat to Arjuna and comes forth with Chakrayutha on hand. Thereby Lord Krishna breaks his vow that he will not take any weapon to fight. This is the scene depicted in the picture sent by Bhakta of God in this thread. Finding that Lord Krishna himself has come against him Bhishma, delighted to be felled by Lord Krishna, throws down his bows and arrows to surrender. Meanwhile Arjuna's arrows fell him down.

    To sum up, Bhishma indicates that he has taken an awesome vow, which nobody ever has taken, the English translation as "Terrible" could indicate his capacity to terrorise the opponents in the war with his might to fight

  9. #9

    Red Face Re: The terrible Bhishma!!

    Om Shanti Syvedi40,

    "Actually, he meant Abhimanyu had sex with his wife before the battle and therefore did not conserve his energy; hence was killed relatively easily compared to Bhishma."


    Yes I see now. I misread something somewhere. Abhimanyu is Arjun's son. I was thinking that "Abhimanyu", was another name given to Bhishma.
    Thank you for clearing that up.

    Namaste,
    Hiwaunis

  10. #10

    Re: The terrible Bhishma!!

    Here is my personal, unscholarly interpretation of why Devavrata came to be called Bhishma:

    Atlhough many in the past have vowed to be celibate, they either had children already, and chose celibacy later in life, or chose celibacy as a form of tapasya in order to gain some boon or moksha for themselves.

    Bhishma Pitamaha made this vow in the prime of his life for the sake of his father's happiness. It already requires great spiritual, and mental strength, along with a great deal of self control to remain celibate for the purpose of gaining something for one's self, but at least one has the goal in sight.

    In Bhishma Pitamaha's case, he did not expect any reward for making such an oath, except for the reward of seeing his father's happiness, and even that was not certain, for his father knew nothing of his plans, and may have become very angry, and refused the fisherman's daughter. This could have left the dynasty in ruins. So, Bhishma had to have the utmost courage, strength of character and self control to fulfill his vow.

    The "terrible" part is that such a person, having so much strength of character, and so much control over his actions, would be impossible to vanquish, because his enemies would have no weakness to exploit.

    So, there you have it. My own naive explanation

    Pranam,

    Devi

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