(Bhishma’s life details as described in Mahabharata Tatapariya Nirnaya)

Date Oct 10, 2023


Dear Devotees : Namaskara.

| Sri MannMoolaRamastu Mannmathe Moolamahasamsthhaana Mantralaya Sri Rayaramathe||

Bhishma’s life details as described in Mahabharata Tatapariya Nirnaya by Acharya Madwaru in Mantralaya (1059)


In the previous articles, Mantralaya 1056 and 1057, we explored the intriguing reasons behind Bhima's choice not to garland Draupadi during the marriage contest. To recap, Amba received a divine boon from Lord Shiva, granting her a special garland that would mark the person responsible for Bhishma's demise. Amba's journey led her to be reborn as Shikhandini, and subsequently, she became Shikhandi, passing on the same enigmatic garland to Draupadi.

Bhima, with his profound understanding of this enigma, abstained from wearing the garland. He was a dedicated devotee of Lord Krishna and harbored no intent to be the instrument of Bhishma's end. Nonetheless, Bhishma's demise was an essential part of the cosmic design, serving to reunite Amba with her former husband, Vasu, now embodied as Bhishma.

In response to numerous reader inquiries, I will be presenting an article that delves into Bhishma's past life, exploring the intricate dynamics of his relationship with Amba and the complex emotions that fueled her passionate resolve to become the catalyst for Bhishma's ultimate destiny.

Acharya Madhwaru, through his extensive and profound work in the "Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya," delved deep into the intricate relationship between Amba and Bhishma, dispelling the doubts and uncertainties surrounding their connection. This voluminous masterpiece of Madhwaru's provides a comprehensive understanding of the Mahabharata, shedding light on the complex dynamics between various characters, including Amba and Bhishma.

Lord Brahma was engrossed in deep meditation near the sea. During this contemplative state, Varuna, accompanied by his wife Ganga in her watery form, was carried by the rising tide and inadvertently splashed water onto Lord Brahma, who was in a profound state of meditation. This unexpected disruption roused Lord Brahma from his meditation.In response, Lord Brahma resolved to impart a valuable lesson to Varuna. For divine beings, the concept of "hell" as humans understand it does not apply. Their equivalent experience of hardship is taking birth on Earth. Therefore, Lord Brahma imposed a powerful curse upon Varuna, decreeing that he would be born on Earth twice to comprehend the consequences of disturbing a meditation intended for a noble purpose.Brahma's curse ordained that Varuna would experience two births on Earth. In his first earthly incarnation, he would be reborn as King MahaAbhisheka as Varun did abhisheka in the form of sprinkling the water through tides. In his second birth, Varuna would be born as King Shantanu as Varuna's subsequent calmness, refraining from causing sea tides.Throughout these lifetimes, Ganga would revert to her original form and become Varuna's wife. Together, they would assume significant roles in the unfolding of the epic Mahabharata, thus fulfilling the prophecy embedded in Brahma's curse.

According to Brahma's curse, Varuna first took birth as King MahaAbhisheka. Subsequently, he was reborn as King Shantanu, who was the son of King Prateepa Raja.

Let’s now understand Bhishma’s previous life, there were eight divine brothers known as the Ashvins Vasus. The eldest among them was named Dhuv, and he was married to a woman named Varangi. However, an unusual situation arose as Varangi, Dhuv's wife, had a close friend with the same name, Varangi.

Tragically, this dear friend Varangi began to corrupt the heart and mind of Dhuv's wife, Varangi. She manipulated Varangi, convincing her to participate in a sinister act – the theft or kidnapping of a sacred cow. This divine bovine, known as Kamadhenu, possessed the extraordinary power to grant one's wishes simply through its presence.Fueled by the misguided influence of her friend Varangi, Dhuv's wife Varangi persuaded her husband Dhuv to take part in the unlawful endeavor of stealing the revered Kamadhenu. Despite his role as the elder brother among the Vasus, Dhuv fell prey to this treacherous scheme, eventually influencing his seven younger brothers to join him in this unjust act. Together, they embarked on the journey to seize the sacred Kamadhenu from the holy ashram of Sage Vashista.

Dhuv, overwhelmed by his love for his wife Varangi, succumbing to her manipulation. His affection for her led him down the path of transgression, as he decided to participate in the unlawful act of stealing the sacred Kamadhenu cow named Nandini from Sage Vashista's ashram.As the elder brother among the divine Vasus, Dhuv wielded considerable influence over his seven younger siblings, and he managed to convince all of them to support him in this unjust mission. The group of eight brothers, driven by Dhuv's misguided leadership, approached the Kamadhenu with the intent to take her away.

However, their wicked deed did not go unnoticed. Sage Vashista, within whom Lord Brahma resided, became exceedingly angry at the audacity of the Vasus. Their act of attempting to harm and steal the sacred cow was deemed an egregious crime. In his fury, Lord Brahma cursed the Vasus as follows:

Dhuv, the eldest brother, would be born on Earth and lead a long life as punishment for his prominent role in the transgression.The seven brothers who had supported Dhuv would also take birth on Earth, but their lives would be short-lived. They would experience the difficulties of spending nine months inside a mother's womb, only to perish shortly after birth. Subsequently, they would return to their original divine positions.Dhuv, however, would be compelled to live the lives of all seven of his deceased brothers, resulting in an extended stay on Earth.Since Dhuv's crime was committed under the influence of his wife Varangi, she, too, would be reborn on Earth as a woman filled with hatred for Dhuv. In this life, she would become the cause of his eventual demise.During his final moments on Earth, Dhuv would endure immense suffering, similar to the pain experienced by Nandini, the sacred cow he had tried to steal. His death would entail lying on sharp arrows, enduring excruciating agony with every passing second.

This curse served as both retribution for their wrongdoing and a lesson in the grave consequences of their actions. It was a poignant reminder of the significance of righteousness and the necessity of respecting the sanctity of life, particularly that of a sacred cow like Nandini.

In response to the pleas and sincere remorse of the eight Vasus, Lord Brahma, residing within Sage Vashista, showed his compassion and bestowed his blessings upon Dhuv. He foretold that Dhuv, now known as Bhishma, would attain great fame. Bhishma would emerge as a devoted worshiper of Lord Krishna and Brahma, with the blessing of Brahma's presence within him. The era of Kali Yuga would forever remember the name and deeds of Bhishma.

According to Lord Brahma's curse and subsequent benevolence, Dhuv was reborn as Bhishma, a figure renowned for his extraordinary longevity, and Varangi was reborn as Amba. Bhishma, also known as Pita Maha, became an iconic figure in the Mahabharata epic and left an indelible mark on the annals of history. His unwavering commitment to righteousness and his devotion to Lord Krishna exemplified the qualities that Lord Brahma had foreseen, ensuring that Bhishma's name would resonate through the ages.

The role of Ganga in this story is pivotal. After the Vasus were cursed by Lord Brahma , Vasus sought refuge within Ganga, they approached Goddess Ganga, requesting that she become their mother. Their wish was to be reborn from Goddess womb rather than any human mother to fulfill Lord Brahma's curse. Ganga was initially perplexed about how to execute this plan of ending the life of seven Vasus, as she needed to ensure the safety of seven of the Vasus and make sure they did not suffer for their past actions.

Ganga devised a clever plan. She took on a divine form of immense beauty that no one could resist and approached King Prateepa, the father of Shantanu, who was known for upholding Dharma and following the scriptures. Ganga sat on King Prateepa's right lap, as per tradition, which is reserved for daughters and daughters-in-law. This symbolic gesture signified that she would become his daughter-in-law and could choose any of his sons as her husband. Ganga selected Shantanu, who was, in fact, the reincarnation of Varuna. However, she imposed a condition upon their union: Shantanu should never question her actions or reasons for her deeds, and if he did, she would leave him and return to her divine abode.

This union allowed Ganga to ensure that the seven Vasus could take birth from her womb and not endure prolonged suffering on Earth. During the birth of their eighth son, Shantanu broke his promise by questioning Ganga about her actions. In response to this breach of trust, Ganga departed to her divine realm, taking her son Bhishma with her. Ganga provided Bhishma with the highest quality education through Lord Parashurama and other God/Goddesses and once Bhishma became a highly knowledgeable and skilled individual, Ganga returned him to Shantanu.

Fast forwarding to the contest for Draupadi's marriage, Bhimasena Daru was aware of the intricate connections. He knew that Shikandi was none other than Shikhandini, who was, in her previous birth, Amba and the wife of Bhishma, who is the 8th Vasu. This knowledge shaped his decision. Bhimasena was a devoted follower of Lord Krishna and Bhagavata Dharma, and he had deep respect for Bhishma, who was also a great devotee of Lord Krishna, as evidenced by his gift of the Vishnu Sahasranama.Bhimasena's devotion and knowledge led him to a crucial realization: he could not be the one to kill Bhishma, as he would never harm a devotee of Lord Krishna. Therefore, when it came to the contest for Draupadi's marriage and the garlanding of the victor, Bhimasena decided in his heart that it was preferable for Bhishma to meet his end. However, he wouldn't be the instrument of Bhishma's death.With this conviction in mind, Bhimasena chose not to accept Draupadi's garland, leaving the opportunity open for Arjuna to take up the challenge. Arjuna would eventually become the one fated to end Bhishma's life. This decision was a result of Bhimasena's unwavering adherence to his principles, devotion to Lord Krishna, and understanding of the complexities surrounding Bhishma's life, Amba's quest for justice, Shiva’s boon and reunion of Vasu and Varangi

Sri RaghavendraTeertharu, in his works, emphasized the immense value of Sri Madhwacharyaru's extensive writings. Rayaru recognized that Sri Madhwacharyaru had undertaken the monumental task of preserving and disseminating knowledge, ensuring that it endures through the ages, particularly in the era of Kali Yuga. Sri Madhwacharyaru's numerous books serve as essential repositories of wisdom.To make this profound knowledge more accessible and comprehensible to a wider audience, Sri RaghavendraTeertharu devoted himself to simplifying and elaborating on the writings of Sri Madhwacharyaru. Through his vast commentaries and teachings, Sri Rayaru bridged the gap between the intricate texts of Sri Madhwacharyaru and the understanding of the common people. This noble endeavor has played a crucial role in safeguarding and transmitting the profound insights and teachings of Sri Madhwacharyaru to future generations, ensuring that this timeless wisdom continues to inspire and guide seekers of truth.
If you have the opportunity, I encourage you to read "MahaBharata Tatapariya Nirnaya" to grasp the idea that every action in the Mahabharata leads to corresponding reactions. Within this epic, there are no mere coincidences; rather, it is our lack of understanding that often obscures the underlying reasons. Exploring "MahaBharata Tatapariya" will offer you a wealth of details and insights into this intricate narrative.

The devotion towards Sri Raghavendrateertharu is the ultimate truth and is the most simple and effective way to reach Sri Hari  - "NAMBI KETTAVARILLAVO EE GURUGALA"! “Those who have complete faith in this Guru will never be disappointed.”