THE PITAMAH BHISMA YOU NEVER KNEW
Long ago, in the kingdom of Hastinapura, there was a revered sage named Bhishma. He was not the son of King Shantanu in this tale but a great ascetic known for his wisdom and piety. Bhishma had renounced all worldly pleasures and dedicated his life to meditation and service to the people.
One day, as Bhishma meditated by the banks of the sacred Ganga river, he witnessed a heart-wrenching sight. A group of fishermen had caught a large fish, and to his horror, he saw the fish was pregnant. The fishermen intended to kill the fish, and Bhishma could not bear to see the unborn fish perish.
Moved by compassion, Bhishma immediately rushed to the fishermen and offered to buy the fish from them. He knew that by interfering, he would break his lifelong vow of non-interference in worldly matters, but he was willing to make this sacrifice to save a life.
The fishermen, unaware of Bhishma’s true identity, agreed to sell him the fish. Bhishma carefully lifted the fish from the net and placed it in a vessel filled with water from the Ganga. As he did so, the fish miraculously transformed into a celestial being, a divine nymph.
The celestial nymph revealed herself as a manifestation of the goddess Ganga, the river goddess. She thanked Bhishma for his compassion and selflessness, which had broken his vow but had also pleased the gods. Ganga explained that she had taken the form of a fish to test his dedication to dharma (righteousness) and compassion.
Ganga then bestowed a boon upon Bhishma, assuring him that she would be his mother in her human form in his next life. She also promised to guide and protect him throughout his life, ensuring that he would always act in accordance with dharma.
Bhishma was deeply moved by this divine encounter and the blessings he received from Ganga. He continued his life of devotion and service, knowing that he had passed a test of his unwavering commitment to compassion and righteousness.
This lesser-known story of Bhishma highlights his compassion and his willingness to break his vows for the sake of saving a life. It also illustrates the intricate interplay of destiny and divine intervention in the epic of Mahabharata.