A beautiful and mesmerizing lady with deep black eyes, long silky hair and shining skin was walking down the forest with utmost elegance. She was Ganga. The king of Hastinapur – Shantanu had been into the jungle for hunting. He saw this lady and fell in love with her at once.
He immediately went down to her and asked her for marriage. She agreed but kept forward a condition. Her condition was quite mysterious. She said, ‘You should never ask me any question. The day you will ask I will answer but then will have to leave you and go away forever.’
Shantanu agreed and they got married. Ganga gave birth to sons one after another, but what she did with them is shocking! The moment a son was born she took him to the river and threw him in the deep waters. This kept on happening and due to the oath Shantanu could not ask her anything and used to suffer from within.
When the eighth son was born and Ganga was about to throw him as well, Shantanu could not control himself and questioned her about her disgraceful actions. She answered without any hesitance.
“Let me say you the story. There were 8 brothers known as the Vasus who were Devtas. Once they were strolling with their wives and came across a very beautiful cow known as Nandini. Their wives were so attracted by the beauty of the cow that they requested their husbands to steal it. Unaware that the cow belonged to the sage Vashishta they took it with them.
When rishi Vasishta discovered this, he got angry and hence cursed the 8 brothers. His curse said that these 8 Devtas will be born as humans on earth. The brothers then returned the cow to the Sage and requested him to forgive them. He was convinced but said that curse given cannot be taken back hence he can just lessen its effects. The brother who had stolen it has to live the entire lifecycle of a human whereas the other seven will just go through the 9 months of pregnancy. I was the one whom the Vyasa brothers approached to be their mother and release them from the human birth.
This is your son but he can never rule the kingdom nor his sons will. You broke your oath hence, now I will have to leave.”
These were her last words to Santanu. She then handed over the 8th son – “The great Bhisma” to him and disappeared into the river Ganga.