I have heard two stories. Not sure which one is true. What they do lead to , a curse. A Curse that would fall on Arjuna and my role in that curse. I am not talking about the curse now. That will come much later. I am now telling you about Bhishma, Arjuna’s Grandfather. This story is about Bhishma’s birth.
There was a king called Mahabhisha who was a just and noble king. One day he happened to be at a place where Lord Barhma was being respected and worshiped. Many had come there, and among them was Ganga, Queen of all rivers. What Ganga was wearing was a white cloth, shining brightly, decked in jewels of all color. Suddenly a gust of wind came, and Ganga’s garment slipped exposing hr bosom to all. Seeing this, the assembled women tried to help her, men kept their eyes closed. Mahabhisha was struck by her beauty and the sight of her naked body. He kept staring at her. Seeing this Brahma was angry. He cursed both the king and Ganga. He cursed them that both be born as mortals and live as husband and wife. If they ever quarreled with each other, they would be free of the curse.
Ganga had also seen the king stare at her. And she had not hated that. She could feel what the king felt. She approached the Vasus, the celestial beings. When she met them they looked very dejected and unhappy. When Ganga asked them the reason, they said that they had been cursed by the Sage Vashishtha. They had passed the sage’s abode and had walked past, without noticing him. Angry the sage had cursed them to be born as mortals.
Ganga and the Vasus made a pact. When Ganga would be born the earth, the Vasus would be born as her children. She would kill them as soon as they were born, and the curse would be relieved. Ganga had a condition. She could not be totally heartless and she wanted a child. The Vasus blessed her and said a child would be born, with the all the qualities of the celestials, but he will not have any children and he will stay unmarried.
The king was born as Shantanu who eventually married Ganga. They had seven sons and as soon as a son was born, Ganga would throw the baby in the river flowing by. She did that seven times and on the eighth time, she was rebuked and stopped by the king. Ganga took the new born child with her, and left – her curse being over.
I have heard another tale about Bhishma’s birth which I now tell. It is all the same about Mahabhisha and Ganga. How he saw Ganga’s garment get blown by the wind, and how they both were attracted to each other and also after being cursed by Brahma to be born as mortals, Ganga had met the Vasus.The eight vasus with their wives had been roaming around and come to Vashishtha’s ashram. They saw his cow tied there. One the Vasu’s wives wanted the cow to herself and compelled her husband to steal it for her. The Vasus were cursed to be born as humans. They pleaded with Vashishta who then said that the Vasu who had commited the actual act would have to stay in this earth for long, while the other would die as soon as they were born and would be relieved of the curse. Ganga agreed to be their mother on Earth. She said she would wed Shantanu and relieve them of the curse.
I tell of this curse. I tell more. I open pages from my history and tell you. Tell you about my husband, his family, his birth. I will tell you about Bhishma. Also about the curse that would fall on my husband.
And some I turn some more pages of history.