Bhismadeva was known as Devavrata before he took the terrific vow of not becoming the next king, remaining celibate and always protecting the throne of Hastinapura.This vow, shook every one including the Gods above and the celestial beings cried out, “Bhisma Bhisma”- “terrific, terrific” referring to his vows.
This vow was taken by Bhismadeva for the pleasure of his father Shantanu to facilitate his marriage with Satyavati, the daughter of a fisherman. The series of events that followed for protecting these vows are heart-trenching and painful. What Bhismadeva had to go through in being sincere, honest, transparent and determined is the saga of Mahabharata.
Eventually his vow led him to his death through the hands of Arjuna, the one person who Bhisma loved dearly and who also loved Bhisma equally. The sad story of his terrible vow is that all whom Bhisma loved were unhappy—-his father was unhappy with this vow, he fought with his guru Parashurama because of this vow and the vow even obliged him to shoot many arrows at Lord Krishna, he had to fight with his own great grandson, Abhimanyu and he also had to side with the evil Duryodhana whom he actually wanted to punish.
Often, “good intentions don’t lead to good results”. Bhisma’s selflessness is unquestionable but his actions caused many painful reactions, which remains as an enigma in the minds of many.The tale of his terrible vows, invoke below contemplating truths:
– Dharma teaches us to be flexible but not at the cost of becoming a restless person.
– Dharma teaches us to be steady but not frozen to the level of being inactive.
– Most of all, Dharma teaches us to be Dharmik at any cost, i. e, even at the cost of giving up “Relative Dharma” in adversities to protect the integrity & coherence of “Absolute Dharma”.
– Article by Govinda Das