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
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
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.
Scene II - the birth of Devavratha/Gangeya:
Ganga laments that it was a shame that her formidable son had to loose a battle before a woman turned man.
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
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
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.