It is the Vedas that tell us about the Supreme One. But the Vedas are difficult to comprehend. That is why we have also been given the Itihasas and the Puranas. There are two Itihasas: the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The Mahabharata is referred to as the fifth Veda. The Santi Parva is considered the best of the parvas of the Mahabharata.
It is the heart of the Mahabharata, and the Vishnu Sahasranama is the beat of this heart. The Vishnu Sahasranama is important not only because it extols the Supreme One but also because it was told by Bhishma, said Kidambi Narayanan, in a discourse. As Bhishma lay on the arrow bed, Lord Krishna asked him if he was worried about anything. Bhishma replied that no one who had seen Krishna would be worried. Bhishma humbly submitted that there was nothing he knew that the Lord did not know. Could the Lord then Himself not instruct Yudhishtra?
Mahabharat Episode 7: Devavrata Becomes Bhishma
The Lord replied that Bhishma should advise Yudhishtra based on his own experience. Humility in the one who offers instruction is necessary, and Bhishma displayed humility, even when he was asked by the Lord Himself to impart knowledge to Yudhishtra. Krishna was meditating, when Yudhishtra approached Him and asked Him of whom He was thinking. A warrior whose main weapon, and love was the arrow, he could beat the best in the business who were then the champs of the weapon gada , he could out beat anybody when it came to taking the opponent by the sword, and his mastery over the spear was something to be admired for.
Once a team of sages came to Hastinapur. One of them came up to the palace of Hastinapur to see the King, and the rest of them who was the resident of the palace owner The King, Dhritrashtra ordered Kunti, the wife of Pandavas to take care of the sage Nobody took the order of the King on its face value, and the sage later went to Kunti for her to treat her properly like a King, and respect him for the respect that he ought to get as a guest.
The young and inexperienced Kunti would not believe that. She recited the maha-mantra. It was the maha-mantra of the Lord Sun. The replica of the sun in the form of a man came, and Kunti had to mate with her. The son born was Karna. So horrified was Kunti that she because of the fear of the society, and the backlash that she would receive went to river Ganga in the midst of the night.
She took the note, and the care to see that nobody was watching her.
Bhishma - The Warrior Who Defied Death
When she was assured that nobody was watching her, she took that baby who was Karna, and she placed her on the river. What they saw on the face of the child was the strong, and powerful ray that one would call it as the Karna ray of the sun. He was named Karna This boy despite the huge setback, and with all the societal limitation went on the learn everything by himself, and many a things by Lord Parshuram to become the most , and the best ever warrior after Lord Shiva, and Bhishmah Pitahmah.
He was far, and far from the habits of the Prince at that age, and of those eras. He would give anything asked, and after the bath in the river Yamuna every day, those who would come to him to seek alms, he would not let them go empty-handed. He was known as daanveer, which means the brave who just gives the alms. He said to Maa Kunti.
You have five sons. You will have five sons. Yudhishthira, Bheema, Nakul, and Sahdev will be your four sons.
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If Arjun kills me, you will have five. However it would be Yuddhishtra who would be crowned as the King, and not me. His art, and his control over the ammunition, and was such that he could reverse the flight of an arrow to the direction from where it was shot by the kind of arrows he had, and by the kind of the maha-mantra as that he had learned. That was him. That was Prince Karna. That was the kind of warrior that he was. Had it not been Lord Krishna who manoeuvred every move to place Arjuna at the right place to initiate that kind of a move, Arjuna would not have been able to kill this man who perhaps was the best after Bhishmah Pithamah as a warrior.
In that war, on four consecutive days, one after another, Karna broke the resilence of the four Kuntiputra, ie the sons of mother Kunti but gave them the alms of life as he had promised to his mother, ie Kuntideviji. But then he was a daanveer. He was always to keep his words. Arjuna: The ablest of them all, the apple of the eye of Lord Krishna, and Bheesham Pitahmah, and master of perfection. Arjuna actually was the fourth son of Maa Kunti after Karna, Yuddhishtra, and Bheema But with Karna outcasted, and outwitted from the family for the reason that I have described here Arjuna was thus the third son of Maa Kunti on a legal note.
He was too different, and was too balanced for everything but was of a nervous character It was evident at the battlefield of Kurukshetra when he simply refused to take the bulls by the horns He was very petrified about how would he kill his Guru, Dronacharya, his Taatshree , Bhishma Pitahmah, and a lot of brothers from the Kauravas end who were very fond of him, and who he was very fond of.
Once during the dark pitch night, he was practising his aim. Every brother was waiting for him for dinner. He was untraceable. When everybody gave up, it was Maa Kunti who knew where he would be. The mother went to the place exactly where Arjun was practising the aim with the arrow. Arjun heard the noise of the foot coming to him. H could feel that somebody was approaching him. He patiently waited to hear what kind of noise it was.
Was it any animal approaching him or was that his mother.
He could gauge that it was his mother by the foot noise that has been created. The arrow took away the ring without even touching the ear. Arjun ran toward the arrow, took the ring out of the arrow, gave it to his mother to once again wear it on the ear, and then touched her feet to receive the best of the blessing. Prabhasa then stole the cow with the help of the others who were all consequently cursed by Vashishta to be born in the world of humans. Upon the Vasus appealing to Vashishta's mercy, the seven Vasus who had assisted in stealing Kamadhenu had their curse mitigated such that they would be liberated from their human birth as soon as they were born; however, Prabhasa being protagonist of the theft, was cursed to endure a longer life on the earth.
The curse, however is softened to the extent that he would be one of the most illustrious men of his time. It was this Prabhasa also called Vasu Dyaus who took the birth as Bhishma. After Devavrata was born, his mother Ganga took him to different realms, where he was brought up and trained by many eminent sages Mahabharata Shanti Parva, section Originally named Devavratha, he became known as Bhishma after he took the bhishamna pratignya 'terrible oath' — the vow of lifelong Brahmacharya and of service to whoever sat on the throne of his father.
Having joined his father's court, Bhishma was easily confirmed as the heir apparent. Having undergone a successful military campaign, and being the child of a goddess himself, he was easily confirmed as the heir apparent and was loved by all in the city. Shantanu was proud of his son and content that the future was secure. However, Shantanu had slowly been falling in love with a fisherwoman, Satyavati , who operated the boats crossing the Yamuna , one of Hastinapur's rivers.
When Shantanu approached for her hand in marriage, Satyavati's father refused to give his daughter's hand to Shantanu unless Shantanu would proclaim her children as his heirs. However, doing so would be against the merit-based hereditary rules of Bharat, and Shantanu had already promised the throne to Bhishma. So, Shantanu sorrowfully had to reject the offer. This made Shantanu despondent, and upon discovering the reason for his father's despondency,  Devavratha sought out the girl's father and ceded his claim to the throne. At this, Satyavati's father retorted that even if Devavratha gave up his claim to the throne, Devavratha's children would still claim the throne.
Devavratha then took the vow of lifelong celibacy, thus sacrificing his 'crown-prince' title and denying himself the pleasures of conjugal love. His father granted him the boon of Ichcha Mrityu control over his own death — he could choose the time of his death, making him immortal till his chosen time of death. Criticism of King Shantanu from his subjects as to why he removed Bhishma from the title of the crown prince, as he was so capable, abounded.
There was worry about the nobility of Shantanu's unborn children, now promised the throne. Hearing this, Bhishma said it was his decision and his father should not be blamed as Shantanu had never promised anything to Satyavati's father. The prime minister then asked who would be held responsible if the future crown prince isn't capable enough. Bhishma then took another vow that he would always see his father's image in whomever sat on the King's throne, and would thus serve him faithfully. Years later, in the process of finding a bride for his half-brother, the young king Vichitravirya , Bhishma abducted princesses Amba , Ambika and Ambalika of Kashi from the assemblage of suitors at their swaymvara.
Salwa , the ruler of Saubala , and Amba the eldest princess were in love; Salwa attempted to stop the abduction but was soundly beaten. Upon reaching Hastinapura , Amba confided in Bhishma that she wished to wed Salwa.
Bhishma then sent her back to Salwa, who, bitter from his humiliating defeat at Bhishma's hands, turned her down. She then retired to Bhishma for Vichitravirya who refused to accept citing the rules that what once given cannot be taken back. Amva then sorrowfully, repair to an asylum of ascetics out of city. She then explains everything to them. They made her meet with Rama. Hearing the words of the princess, Rama asked her motive.
As per the words of ascetics, she asked him to slay that Bhishma of great vows, who is the root of her calamity. Amba sought refuge with Parasurama , who ordered Bhishma to marry Amba, telling Bhishma it was his duty. Bhishma politely refused, saying that he was ready to give up his life at the command of his teacher but not the promise that he had made. Both mocks each other and upon the refusal, Parasurama called him for a fight at Kurukshetra. At the battlegrounds, while Bhishma was on a chariot, Parasurama was on foot.
Bhishma requested Parasurama to also take a chariot and armor so that Bhishma would not have an unfair advantage.