Shantanu and Ganga

Shantanu – శంతనుడు

You all know about the Epic Mahabharatha.This epic starts from Emperor Santhanu who was the king of Hasthinapuram. He is the great grand father of Pandavas and Kauravas.

He was a noble king and looked after all his citizens with love and affection. One day while he was taking a leisurely stroll in the garden, he came across a beautiful maiden and  wanted to marry her and he immediately proposed to her. This girl  told the King  Shanthanu that her name is Ganga and she has a  condition to which if the king agrees she would marry him.The king was so much wanted to marry her that he agreed to her condition.

Ganga told him that he should not question her at any time – no matter what she does and the moment he questions her regarding what she was doing she would immediately leave him.The king agreed to this condition and they got married. In course of time they had children and every time a new child was born Ganga would take the child and leave it the river. This way she left 7 of her children in the river and King Shantthu never questioned her out of fear that she would leave him. He was also at a loss to understand as to why Ganga was doing this.

When Ganga wanted leave her 8th child also in the river Shanthanu could not bear this and questioned Ganga as to why she was the children.The moment the King questioned Ganga ,she immediately reminded the king about his promise not to ask her about her deed and the condition attached to it that she would leave the king the moment he questions her so saying she left the king carrying her 8th child but promised the king that she would return this child to him after some time.

After a few years Ganga came back to the King and handed over his son who was by then taught all the lessons a king’s son should know.This child is named as Devwvrath who later came to be known as Bhishma. After few years Shanthanu came across another  girl called Matsyagrandhi, who was also known as Satyavathi. Shanthanu approached the parents of Satyavathi for permission to marry their daughter. Satyavathi’s parents agreed to the marriage with the condition that the son born to Satyavathi should be the king after Shanthanu.

It was a set practice in monarchy that the eldest son would succeed the king either after the the death of the king or when the king retires due to old age. Shanthanu was not ready to this as Devwrath being the eldest  should be the king after him. The King was very sad as he could not marry Satyavathi. Devwrath gets to know the reason for his fathers sadness. He goes to Satyavathi’s parents and promises to them that he will not marry to ally the fears of Satyavathis parents that even if Devwrath disowns the throne the sons born to him may claim the throne. Devwrath then gets his father married to Satyavathi in course of time Satyavathi gives birth to two sons who are known as Chitrangadha and Vichitraveerya. 

So folks this the story of King Shanthanu and birth of the Great man Bhishma. Will come back to you with another story from the Epic..

Author

cguntur@gmail.com

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