Mahabharatam Web Series Episode-2 (Story of Shantanu) – సంపూర్ణ మహాభారతం భాగం-2 శంతనుడి కధ – With Subtitles
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In the epic Mahabharata, Shantanu was a Kuru king of Hastinapura. He was a descendant of the Bharata race, of the lunar dynasty and great-grandfather of the Pandavas and Kauravas. He was the youngest son of King Pratipa of Hastinapura and had been born in the latter’s old age. The eldest son Devapi had leprosy and gave up his inheritance to become a hermit. The middle son Bahlika (or Vahlika) abandoned his paternal kingdom and started living with his maternal uncle in Balkh and inherited the kingdom from him. Shantanu became the king of Hastinapura by default.
Etymology Shantanu or Santanu is derived from Sanskrit meaning “Wholesome”. He is best known for being the father of Bhishma, one of the mightiest warriors of all time.
Shantanu saw a beautiful woman on the banks of the river Ganges (Ganga) and asked her to marry him. She agreed but with one condition: that Shantanu would not ask any questions about her actions. They married and she later gave birth to a son. But she drowned the child. Shantanu could not ask her the reason, because of his promise, lest she would leave him. One by one, seven sons were born to them and were drowned by Ganga. When Ganga was about to drown the eighth son, Shantanu, devastated, could not restrain himself and confronted her. Finally, Ganga explained to King Shantanu about Brahma’s curse given to Mahabhisha and her. Then she told him that their eight children were Eight Vasus who were cursed by Vasishtha to be born on earth as mortal humans however when they pacified him, he limited his curse and told them that they would be freed from this curse within a year of their birth as humans. So she released the seven of them from this life by drowning them all. However the Vasu Dyaus was cursed to live a long life and to never have a wife or have children. But the sage also gave a boon to him that he would be virtuous, conversant with all the holy scriptures and will be an obedient son to his father. that she will take him to the heavens to train him properly for the King’s throne and status. With these words she disappeared along with the child while Shantanu was struck with grief thinking about spending the rest of his life without her.
Shantanu, filled with grief from the loss of his wife and son, began to practise Brahmacharya and ruled his kingdom extremely well. By merely adopting virtuous behavior, Shantanu was easily able to conquer the entire world without lifting weapons. All the kings declared Shantanu as Emperor and his reign was a peaceful one. Shantanu gave up hunting and gained popularity from his subjects.
One day, while walking along the banks of the Ganga, Shantanu saw that the river had become shallow. While searching for the cause of this phenomenon, he came across a handsome young boy who had checked the river’s flow with his celestial weapon. The young boy was his son however he didn’t recognize this because of only having seen him for a few moments after his birth. The boy recognized that he was his father however didn’t reveal it to him instead disappearing in his very sight using his powers of illusion. Shantanu upon seeing this wondered whether the boy was actually his son and called upon Ganga to show the boy to him. Ganga thus appeared. She then revealed to him that the boy was actually his son Devavrata and that he was taught the knowledge of the holy scriptures by the sage Vasishtha and the art of warfare by Parshurama. After revealing the truth about Devavrata she told Shantanu to take him back with to Hastinapura. Upon reaching the capital Shantanu crowned Devavrata as the heir-apparent to the throne.
Four years later, Shantanu while travelling near the banks of Yamuna smelled a sweet scent coming from an unknown direction. While searching for the cause of the scent, he came across Satyavati from whom the smell of scent was coming. Satyavati was an adopted daughter of the chief of the fishermen of her village. Upon seeing her, Shantanu fell in love with her and desired to her. Upon asking for his consent, her father agreed to the marriage on condition that Satyavati’s son would inherit the throne of Hastinapura.
King Shantanu was unable to give his word on accession as his eldest son Devavrata was the heir to the throne. However, Devavrata came to know about this and for the sake of his father, gave his word to the chief that he would renounce all his claims to the throne, in favour of Satyavati’s children.