Day: August 19, 2016
Throughout the Mahabharata, one of the most powerful and mysterious characters is Sri Bhishma, whom everyone addressed as Pitamaha i.e. Grandfather since he was expert and well trained in the science of milliatary warfare.
Bhishma pitamaha was earlier known as Devavrata. Bheeshma pitamah took an oath by the virtue of which, he got the title of Bheeshma and later on, pitamaha was appended when he showed his extraordinary skills of warfare.
He is the son of Ganga Devi and Maharaj Shantanu, who in previous life was cursed by Rishi Vashishtha to be born in the mortal world due to his attempt to steal his kamadhenu cow.
He got his name due to the terrible oath of lifelong celibacy which he took for the pleasure of his father. Once Maharaja Shantanu wished to marry a girl, Satyavati but her father had the condition that the sons of his daughter should be the rulers and not his other sons.
When he heard this, maharaj became very morose and then, seeing the long face of his father, he took the terrible oath of lifelong celibacy and serving the ruler on the throne. Being pleased upon him, Maharaj Shantanu blessed him with ichchha mrityu, the capacity to leave body whenever desired.
Bhishma grew up under the expert guidance of many sages like Brihaspati, Markandeya, Shukracharya etc. and learned many things from them.
In Srimad Bhagwatam (6.3.20-21)
This is the story of a money lender who has always devoted to performing yajnas etc. So liberally did he gave donations that even he was not left with anything to support himself. Then his wife said, In the neighboring villages lives a rich man who buys Merits. So go to him and bring some money by selling some of your merits so that we might pull on any how then the man agreed to go there. His wife baked four chapatti and gave them to him to be eaten on the way. He approached the city. There was a tank at the place. When he sat down to eat, a bitch came up there, she and her younger ones had nothing to eat for the last three days. Seeing the hungry bitch he offered one of the chapatti to her. She ate up to the chapatti, Then he gave the another one which too was eaten by. Thus he gave all the four chapatti to her one by one. The bitch appeased her hunger. Thus having forgone his food he approached the rich man. Approaching him he told his intention of selling his merits. The rich man said that he should come in the afternoon.
Now the wife of the rich man was inordinately devoted to her husband. He asked his wife which merit is the best worth being purchased. The wife said only that merit is worth which he has earned this day by feeding this hungry bitch while he was sitting on the bank of the tank.
The man came to the rich man on the appointed time and said-Which of my merits would you like to purchase? He rich man said – I want to go in for the same yajna that you have earned today. I have not performed any yajna today because I didn’t have any money then how? At the rich man said- I want to purchase the same merit that you have earned by offering the four chapattis to the bitch. The man said – how could you know that/ the rich man said – My wife is devoted to me so she who told me. then the man said- very well, you may take the desired merit. But tell me what price you are going to pay for it. The rich man said I shall give u pearls and diamonds equal in weight of chapattis. The man consented to it and as agreed upon by him and making four chapattis roughly equal in weight to his chapattis. Put them on one of the scales and put peals and diamonds on the other but in the spite putting a number of them, the scales containing the chapattis did not rise from the ground. At this the rich man said I will give you more jewels. When the man noticed this miraculous effect of his merit. He said- he would not to sell.
Thereafter the man left and gathering some pebbles and pieces of glass at the bank of the same tank and tying them up in a piece of cloth returned home. On reaching home he handed over the small bundle to his wife. When she opened the bundle she found in it diamonds, emeralds and rubies etc. she was much pleased. She asked to her husband – From where did you get so many diamonds and emeralds. The man said – ‘why are you jesting’ wife said – I am not jesting. I have opened the bundle and seen with my own eyes.
Then the man said fetched here! Let me see it. He was astonished to look at them. He considered it to be the effect of that meritorious work. Then he explained everything to his wife.
There is intended to convey to the readers is that the donation given to a distressed person who is in dire necessity of it, multiplies innumerable times. By the grace of God even pebbles and pieces of stones turn into diamonds and emeralds.