The Story of Bhisham Pitaama ~ Part X

Bhisham Pitama, the son of the Ganges, meditated on that Naam; his consciousness delighted in the Ambrosial Nectar of th...

The Story of Bhisham Pitaama

'Soee Naam Simar Gangaev Pitaameh Churun Chith Amrit Rasiaa.'

ਸੋਈ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਗੰਗੇਵ ਪਿਤਾਮਹ ਚਰਣ ਚਿਤ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਰਸਿਆ ॥

Bhisham Pitama, the son of the Ganges, meditated on that Naam;

his consciousness delighted in the Ambrosial Nectar of the Lord's Feet.

(Bhatt Kal; GGSJ: Ang 1393)

The Pandavas and the Shaantu Kaurvas were great warriors, but were killed by a fairy known by the name of Ganga. Some time later, it was decided that she would be married to Raja Shaanthu. Raja Shaantu was a very lustful man, who enjoyed taking part in sexual activities with women. However, there was a trick to Shaantu marrying Ganga. The day that Raja Shaantu looks at the face of their new-born child, Ganga will leave Shaantu and not return. At this time, Shaantu agreed to this.

Ganga (71K)

Ganga gave birth to seven children, but Shaantu was not made aware of this. Once the children were born, Ganga would throw the children in the River Ganges. The River Ganges took the children into her care. But when Ganga gave birth to her eighth child, Shaantu found out. He was ecstatic that he thought that his son will become a great prince and warrior when he is older. On giving birth to her eighth child, Ganga went to Indarlok and did not return to Shaantu again. Ganga named her new-born son, Devbrut. As Devbrut grew into a young, handsome, strong warrior, his father Shaantu became the opposite. He became very old and fragile. Shaantu became increasingly ill due his immense desire and lust for women and sex.

After Ganga disappeared, Shaantu would go to the River Ganges to have a bath and in front of his eyes he thought he could see his wife Ganga. Opposite the river banks of the River Ganges, resided a fisherman, who had a young, beautiful girl called, Satiavati. On seeing her, Shaantu asked her if she would marry him. Satiavati told Shaantu that if he wishes to marry her, then he must ask her father.

Satiavati (5435K)

Shaantu went to her father and asked his daughter's hand in marriage. Her father said to Shaantu, "You are a Raja. I will agree to my daughter's hand in marriage, but the only way in which I will agree to this marriage is the day that my daughter gives birth to a son, you must give all your wealth and kingdom to that child and make him the Raja! If you accept this proposition, then I will arrange for you to be married to my daughter the very next day. "

On hearing this, Shaantu's face went pale. He thought to himself; firstly he already has a son, Devbrut, who is a great warrior, secondly he is the son of his wife, Ganga, who he loved with all his heart. He went home to think about it but all he could think of was his desire to have a woman by his side, which could satisfy him sexually. The next few days proved to be greatly hard. His health worsened and his son, Devbrut could not bear to see his father suffer any longer.

Devbrut went to the fisherman's house to meet Satiavati. He said to the fisherman, "Please marry your daughter to my father. If you agree to this I will give you all my wealth, land and if my father dies, I will not become the next Raja nor will I get married. I will remain single all my life and I will not have children. This is my proposition. My father is seriously ill and if he does not have a woman by his side he will die in great pain."

Married (24K)The fisherman agreed to this and married his daughter to Shaantu. The day that Shaantu married Satiavati, his illness was dispelled. Night and day, both Satiavati and Shaantu would indulge in sexual activities. What Shaantu did not realise was that his son had sacrificed so much of his life for his father's happiness.

Devbrut's father found out what his son did for him and he said, "O son, you have sacrificed your happiness for your father's happiness. What a great person you are! From this day on you will be known as Bhisham Pitaama. You will have a very long life. Your death will come as you choose it to be. You will go to heaven." On saying these words to his son, Raja Shaantu died.

Bhisham left to go and train as a warrior from Pursraam. Having being trained and becoming a great, strong warrior, Pursraam told Bhisham that he should get married to Princess Amba of Kanshi. However, Bhisham replied, "O Gurdev, I do not wish to get married because I have sworn not to."

Bhisham explained the whole story about his father and Satiavati, but Pursraam, with great ego did not accept this and spoke harshly, "Bhisham! You have made me your guru! You must accept my instructions! If you do not marry the Princess Amba then I will wage war upon you! I will kill you, like a farmer skins his animals alive! I have already killed twenty-one farmers already and I'm not afraid to do the same to you!"

Bhisham (29K)Bhisham did not wish to fight with his guru, but on hearing the harsh words that his guru spoke, Bhisham began to fight with his guru. The battle between the two was so immense that the earth shook. This battle lasted for 23 days. Indar, Narad Muni and Vishva Mitr came to the battleground and stopped the fight. It was decided that Bhisham should follow his own wishes and not get married, as he promised.

On the other side, Satiavati gave birth to two sons; Chintrangadh and Vichitar Beeraj. Raja Shaantu's kingdom was split between the two brothers and Bhisham did not interfere in their affairs. He became a saint and meditated upon the Lord.

Satiavati stayed with Ganga, but she found out that her two sons were not going to live very long; therefore she had them both married. After a few days of being married, both Chintrangadh and Vichitar Beeraj died. Satiavati began to worry now, who would be the Raja of her late husband and sons' kingdom now? All Satiavati could see was misery in front of her eyes. In great distress, Satiavati went to Bhisham.

"O Bhisham! I have suffered so much pain. I have no faith left in anyone. Maybe my suffering is the cause of my ego. I was given a kingdom so that I could marry your father in return, I gave birth to two sons and not even they lived. The kingdom will be lost now, please help me and save it! My two daughter-in-laws are young widows; they sit there and cry all day. I know this asking too much of you, but if you could marry them both, secondly sit upon the throne and become the Raja of your father's kingdom."

"O mother! I cannot break my oath that I made. The sun, moon and stars may be able to leave their place in the sky but I cannot go against my promise. I have no desire to become a king neither to marry anyone. I meditate upon the Lord and day by day we must realise that our lives are not getting any longer."

Both Ganga and Satiavati begged Bhisham to change his mind, but he did not listen. Having become unsuccessful with Bhisham, Satiavati decided to ask Biaas to impregnate her two daughter-in-laws, wherein Pandav (the father of 5 Pandavas sons) and Dhritrashatar (the father of the Kaurvas) were born.

Arjan (57K)When the Kauravs and Pandavas went to Kurukshetra to fight, Bhisham Pitaama, Kaurvaandhi Sena and Senapathi were present. In the battle, Arjan shot hundreds of arrows at Bhisham, but Bhisham did not fall to the ground; rather the arrows that went through Bhisham balanced him on the ground. Arjan went towards and Bhisham said to him, "O dear son, my head is held low and it should always stay upright. What is the need of a pillow?"

On hearing these words, Arjan drew three arrows and shot them in Bhisham's forehead. The arrows went below Bhisham's head and they lifted him so that his head wad upright. Some warriors attended Bhisham and began to bandage him, but Bhisham stopped them. "Leave it; it is my time to leave this world. Do not attempt to treat my wounds. In four to five days I will leave this world. This body will go too."

At the last moment, both Krishna and Yudhrishtar came and saw Bhisham leave this world.

'Soee Naam Simar Gangaev Pitaameh Churun Chith Amrit Rasiaa.'

ਸੋਈ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਗੰਗੇਵ ਪਿਤਾਮਹ ਚਰਣ ਚਿਤ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਰਸਿਆ ॥

Bhisham Pitama, the son of the Ganges, meditated on that Naam;

his consciousness delighted in the Ambrosial Nectar of the Lord's Feet.

'Tit Naam Guru Ganbhir Gurua Mat Sat Kar Sangat Udhariaa.' 

ਤਿਤੁ ਨਾਮਿ ਗੁਰੂ ਗੰਭੀਰ ਗਰੂਅ ਮਤਿ ਸਤ ਕਰਿ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਉਧਰੀਆ ॥

The great and profound Guru has brought forth the Naam; accepting the teachings as true,

the Holy Congregation has been saved. 

'Soee Naam Achhal Bhagatah Bhav Taarn Amardas Gur Ko Furiaa.' 

ਸੋਈ ਨਾਮੁ ਅਛਲੁ ਭਗਤਹ ਭਵ ਤਾਰਣੁ ਅਮਰਦਾਸ ਗੁਰ ਕਉ ਫੁਰਿਆ ॥4॥

That Undeceivable Naam, which carries the devotees across the world-ocean, came into Guru Amar Daas. ||4|| 

(Bhatt Kal; GGSJ: Ang 1393)

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Related Articles:
Part I: Raja Ambrik
Part II: Bhagat Angra ji and Bhagat Bidar
Part III: Sri Dhru Bhagat & Sri Prahladh Bhagat ji
Part IV: The Story of Ajaamal
Part V: The Story of Bhagat Sudama
Part VI: The story of Gotam Muni & Ahalia
Part VII: The Story of Raja Janak
Part VIII: The Story of Raja Bali
Part IX: The Story of Ajraja-Akrur

Harjinder Singh Khalsa

I have translated the stories from the Aadh Guru Granth Bhagat Maala into English & have worked on a number of other articles exploring Gurbaani, Sikh history and the Sikh Gurus. My mission is to spread and share the Divine Universal message contained within Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

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