GANGEVA PITAMA By remembering the same name Gangeva Pitama (Bhishma Pitama) was saturated with ambrosia, having concentrated his mind on the Feet of the Lord. (Swayye Mahle Teeje Ke, p. 1393) Bhishma Pitama was the son of king Shantanu and bom of the holy river goddess Ganga, therefone he was either called Shantanava or Gangeya (Gangev] According to the legend described in Mahabharata, th king Shantanu wanted to rnarry a beautiful youn damsel at a very old age. The parents of the girl, whos name was Satyavati, were unwilling to rnarry theil daughter with the king uniess he accepted to make the son of Satyavati as the next king instead of Bhishma, the heir apparent.
The king did not like the idea, but Bhishma in order to gratify his father was determinedl to sacrifice himself. After her marriage Satyavati borej two sons. After the death of his father, Bhishma placedj the elder son on the throne, who being headstrong was killed in battle. Then Bhishma placed the second son| Vichitra-virya on the throne, who was married with the | two daughters of the king of Kasi. But Vichitra-virya, also died young without any issue. By Bhishma\’si arrangement, the widows of Vichitra-virya bore two sons, through the sage Vyasa.
These two children Dhritarashtra and Pandu were brought up by Bhishma. He acted for them as the regent of Hastinapur. He also directed the training of their children i.e. Kauravas and Pandavas. When the conflict began between these families, he counselled moderation and peace. When the war began, he sided with Kauravas and was made the commander-in-chief of their army. On tenth day of the war, he was wounded.
Innumerable arrows pierced his body and when he fell down from the chariot, he was upheld from the ground by the arrows. He had the power of fixing the period of his death, therefore he survived fifty-eight days and delivered long talks. Throughout his lire, he exhibited the great qualities of sacrifice, devotion and faithfulness. As promised to the parents of his step-mother, he sacrificed his right to the throne, did not marry and protected the rights of the offspring of his step-mother. He remained the patriarch of the family.
1. Kohli, Surindar Singh (ed), Dictionary of Mythological References in Guru Granth Sahib, 1993