For Naatyaranga, a dance wing of Narada Gana Sabha Premier presentation, 27th Aug, 2009.

Prayer on Vyaasa Bhaaratam: Orchestra- musical ensemble: lead by Shanta Dhananjayan & Hariprasad.
Lyrics: Original Vyasa Bhaaratam in Samskritam.
Resource persons: Dr. Prema Nandakumar, Prof. Thirunarayanan, Samskritam Scholar helped in translating the slokas into English
Concept and choreography: V.P.Dhananjayan
Music Composer: Kalakshetra Hariprasad (Music teacher)

The Story of Bheeshma is set as a flash back narration by Gangadevi, Bheeshma's mother - After the war of Mahaabhaarata, Sri Krishna and Pandavas bring the mortal remains - the ash of Bheeshma to submerge into the waters of Ganga.

Receiving the oblations, Ganga with great grief reminiscences how her formidable SON who cannot be even vanquished by his own Guru Parasurama has fallen an easy pray to the presence of a eunuch - called Sikhanti.

Here the story is narrated - obeying the order of his stepmother Satyavathi, Bheeshma abducts the three daughters of Kaasi Raja, Ambaa, Ambikaa and Ambaalikaa to be wedded to Vichitraveerya, Bheeshma's step brother. When Ambaa refuses to accept the marriage with Vichitraveerya (having fallen in love with another prince) Bheeshma sends her back. But her lover turned down Ambaa. She returns to Bheeshma only to be rejected. She approaches Bheeshma's Guru Parasuraama, with whom he had to fight. Parasurama was defeated by his own great warrior shishya. But Ambaa in her fury casts a course on Bheeshma, to avenge him in her next birth as Sikhanti.
In the following narration the dancer takes you to the battlefield where Sri Krishna tricks Bheeshma to throw his bow and arrows by bringing Sikhanti in front, and asks Arjuna to shoot an arrow to fell the greatest warrior - Bheeshma.

Ganga laments that it was a shame that her formidable son had to loose a battle before a woman turned man.

Scene II - the birth of Devavratha/Gangeya:
As a flash back going back to Bheeshma's birth, the narration continues - King Shantanu's meeting with Ganga as a human lady. Attracted by the celestial beauty, Santhanu asks her hand in marriage. She agrees with a condition - only if the king does not question her actions whatsoever, and the king agrees to her demand. When every child was born Ganga throws it into the Ganga waters. When the eighth child was about to be thrown Santhanu stops her and questions her treacherous action. She reveals her identity as Gangadevi and the children she killed are Ashtavasus - all had to take human birth because of a curse from sage Vasishta. The eighth child will be spared and brought to him after his initial education, and she vanishes into the waters. The aggrieved King returns and waits for eight years for Ganga to bring back the child. Ganga brings back the child and says that Devavratha & Gangeya are the two names he will be known as hereafter and he will be the most formidable and noble inheritance of Kuru dynasty.

Scene III - Devavratha/Gaangeya becomes BHEESHMA: 'The terrible'
While strolling on the banks of Ganga, Santhanu encounters Satyavathi, the beautiful daughter of the Daasa, the leader of fishermen folk.
When Santhanu asks Satyavathi's hand in marriage, Daasa tells the king that, it is possible only if he could promise to make her son the inheritor of the throne, for which the King was reluctant to give in. A depressed and distressed king spends days and nights in the thoughts of Satyavathi with whom he has fallen in love.

Knowing the cause of his father's depression and inactivity Devavratha/Gaangeya goes to the fisher folk and requests Daasa to give his daughter in marriage to his father, king Santhanu. Daasa makes his demand clear saying that Satyavathi's son only must inherit the thrown and his progeny should not have any claim on the throne.

For the sake his father's desire and happiness Devavratha proclaims and makes a heavy promise that he will maintain celibacy (not to marry) throughout his life and promise to give the throne to his stepbrother. A great self sacrifice indeed, the whole heaven and earth praised Devavratha and called him BHEESHMA - the terrible.

Sathyavathi was taken to Hasthinapura and the son fulfills the father's secret wish. Pleased by the great sacrifice his son made for his happiness, Santhanu blesses him with a boon that he could live as long as he wishes and could choose to leave his mortal body when ever he wishes.

Ganga reminiscences her son's long life as benefactor of Kuru dynasty and her tears flood the waters of Ganga river. Sri Krishna consoles her saying, Bheeshma remains immortal and to rejoice his mortal remains joining her body of waters, one of the five elements. Departure of the soul from the old body at his own will should be celebrated, and not be mourned.

Mangalam Bhavatu... Jeya jeya Mahaabhaarata Bharatam.

Bheeshma - Reviews - Photo Album