Lessons from Bhishmadev - Part 1

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

The following is a humble effort to transcribe one of the nectarean and inspiring class given by our beloved spiritual master HH Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj in London on Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 1, Chapter 9.

This chapter titled, "The Passing Away of Bhismadev", Chapter 9 in Canto 1 of Srimad Bhagavatam is a very important chapter. As soon as we think about Bhishmadev we have to remember that in his life, beginning of his life, he has sacrificed his own enjoyment for his father's enjoyment. And then again for continuing the dynasty, he sacrificed again and again, so many times. The incident in Mahabharat is worth knowing about Bhishmadev. Bhishmadev was the son of Ganga, Ganges. There is a story that Santanu the father of Bhishmadev, in his previous life, he was a great king known as Mahabhisa. Formerly the kings were rshi also, sages also. So he had gone to the heavenly planets and he met king Indra at that time. And when he met Indra, Ganges had also gone there and somehow or the other, they had a loving glance at each other. And the demigods knew this and Ganges was cursed to come to the material world and take the human form and marry Santanu, who was that king in the previous life. 

So because she was cursed, she had to take birth as Ganga in the mortal world, mrtyu loka and eventually Santanu met her on the bank of the river. So again they fell in love and eventually she married. But while marrying Bhishmadev's father, she made one condition that he should never ask her anything, why she is doing or how she is doing. This was the condition. She said, "If you don't follow this condition, the day you don't follow, I will leave." 

The king agreed because he wanted to marry Ganga and he said, "I will not tell you anything. You do whatever you like and I will never object to it." So they stayed very happily and one by one they had 8 sons. And every time the son was born, she will take the son and throw it in the Ganges. The king controlled up to 7 sons. You can see that the king was powerful person, but he was helpless, because every time the son was born, Ganga will take away the son and throw it in the river Ganges. He had to keep quite, but it was very painful. He was jubilant when the son was born, but soon the son disappeared and he became miserable. But even then he continued as that was the condition. He knew that if he tells her anything, she will quit. He continued like this for 7 sons and the eighth son was Devavrat, Bhishmadev. 

So when he was born, again she started to go towards the river and this time, the king could not control himself and asked, "Are you a demon? What kind of demon you are?" Then she replied that these sons were the eight Vasus who were cursed to be born one after the other and die immediately. So she had to throw them away. Then she added, "This eighth son had to survive as he had to lead a long life in this planet. But since you have broken the condition, I have to go." The king was very much pained as he did not want to lose Ganga. But she was out of his hands. This is how in our life also fate plays very important part. Fate never tolerates that everything should go alright. That is the quality of fate or bhāgya. Bhāgya will never allow you to be cent percent happy. That is bhāgya. It will always add a bitter drop to a very nice cup full of joy. It will always add a bitter thing and when the bitter thing is added, we don't like it. But we don't know the nature of fate. In this material world fate is one of the instrument of Krishna. 

Krishna willing we shall continue to hear more about Bhishmadev from Maharaj in the subsequent offering.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Sudarshana devi dasi.