Thursday, 2 April 2020

Bhishma (Mythological Monologues #2)

I became Bhishma
From Devavrat
Because of my mammoth vow
Of lifelong Brahmacharya
And of loyal service to 
The ruler of Hastinapur.
I took the fierce vow
To ensure my father, Shantanu's happiness
With the woman he loved - Satyavati.

People look at me with admiration
For my vow;
And yet I know
The future generations will never forgive me
For my dreadful silence 
In the courtroom today.
Despite being the son of river Goddess, Ganga
I tolerated a woman's tremendous insult
In the courtroom of Hastinapur
I did not stop Dushyasana
From disrobing Draupadi's saree
Or Duryodhana from making
Lewd comments at Draupadi.
I did not protect Draupadi
When she cried for my help repeatedly;
All because of my vow -
Of serving the King of Hastinapur
Till my last breath.
My mammoth vow made me blind to the Adharma
That I was committing through my silence. 

When Vasudev Krishna saved Draupadi
And Draupadi cursed the entire Kuru clan,
I realized what my vow has done!
If only I had broken my vow
For the sake of Dharma,
I could have prevented the Kuru clan
From perishing in the most brutal way.
If only I had broken my vow
For the sake of Dharma,
The Kurukshetra war would perhaps never happen. 
I would prefer dying as Devavrat
Than Bhishma - the one who
Took the mammoth vow 
And kept it all his life;
Because I know the future generations
Will never forgive me
For my dreadful silence today!

©Purba Chakraborty

Note: In the Mahabharata, Bhishma was well known for his pledge of celibacy. Previously known as 'Devavrat', he was the eighth son of the Kuru King Shantanu and the river goddess Ganga.

Ahalya (Mythological Monologues #1)


  1. Hari Om
    Dear Bhishma, ever the scapegoat... yet, in the larger picture, are we not the better for having Kurukshetra bring about the greatest of all lessons, the song of songs... the Bhagavad Gita? Could it have been, had not the war flared? No. What Ifs and If Thens are of no use to us. Dear Bhishma, your lot was cast and you played it out. Purpose was served, even as travesty abounded...

    (Thank you Purba!!!) YAM xx

    1. Everything happens for the higher good. So well written, Yamini.

  2. Beautifully summarized the life of Bhisma though I disagree with the way the concepts of Dharma & Adharma are portrayed. Dharma doesn’t mean good & adharma doesn’t mean evil.

    Let them understand this way. A movie has a hero & a villain. Well, in this case, the dharma of villain is not to do good deeds but evil. The awards like Filmfare for Negative Role is the acknowledgement that the villain travelled on the path of dharma in exceptional way. His duty is evil, not good. If villain starts to do good instead of evil, then he’d be following adharma instead of dharma.

    Dharma literally means ‘that sustains.’ Doing good will not sustain him as a villain.

  3. Though Bhishma pitamaha was the epitome of the sacrifice and resolve, as rightly mentioned by you he is not forgiven by the generations later for his act of following the Adharma under the guise of the vow.
    Well penned.
    B for Before Its Late at

  4. Bhishma, the one who sacrificed everything for his father's happiness. I loved the way you incorporated all those details from The Mahabharata into your poems.


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