Kuru Family Tree

Kuru — Shantanu —- Ganga ——- Devavrata (Bheeshma)

              |
              |____ Satyavathi   3 sons —- 1. Veda Vyasa (from Parashara muni
                       |                                      before marriage to Shantanu)
                       |
                       |_________  2.  Vichitraveerya  (from shantanu)———–(A)
                                            3.  Chitrangada (from shantanu)
              
  (A) Vichitraveerya —Ambika —- Dhritrashtra + Gandhari – Duryodhana,
                   |          (Veda Vyasa)                             Dushala (girl)99 sons                                        
                   |
                   |_____Ambalika — Paandu + Kunti – Yudhishthira, bheema, arjuna
                              (Veda Vyasa)              + Madri – Nakul, Sahadeva          |
                                                                                                                     |
                                                                                                                     |
                                                                             (With Subhadra) Abhimanyu
                                                                                                            |
                                                                                                            |
                                                                             (With Uttara) Parikhshit
                                                                                                       |
                                                                                                       |
                                                                                                   Janamaejaya
                          

Well , we discussed the historical linkage between the great sages of Ramayana and the Bharatavamsha of Mahabharata. Now, we reach the Bharatavamsha itself.

Shakuntala and Dushyanta’s son, Bharata, went on to become a great king. Some say that it is from him that our country got its name “Bharata” Others say it was anther great king Bharata who lent his name to the country , he was a great king who renounced his kingdom in old age and went vanaprastha during old age. there, he got attached to a deer and when he died, he remembered the deer and was reborn as a deer. But that is another story altogether. Right now, we are talking of Bharata, the son of Dushyanta and Shakuntala, and the grandson of Sage Vishwamitra and Apsara Menaka, the forefather of the Bharatavamsha which is the birth ground of Mahabharata.

King Bharata ruled for a great many years. He had sons, but did not find any of them suitable to be handed over the responsibility of the kingdom. So king Bharata, even against the advice of his mother Shakuntala, appointed a third person as the king. Such were the standards of the family into which Dhritrashtra was born – that being the son  of the king does not entitle one to be throned, he has to have proper qualifications, which Dhritrashtra clearly did not have. But Dhritrashtra was too mentally blind to see his own and his son Duryodhana’s unfitness.

Many generations later, came the great king Shantanu. The downfall of the Bharatavamsha dynasty takes roots during his period. His two great loves, and his son’s blind attachment to father are major contributing factors to the seeds of destruction of the empire.

Once Shantanu was on the riverside, when he observed an extremely beautiful woman emerging from the waters. He fell in love instantly with the beauty. Now, I ask our self appointed guardians of indian culture, all through mythology, you find people falling in love with each other. Then why do they run after youngsters who are in love and victimize them? Why dont they dare to call the great love stories in the epics as sins??? You see, Raama fell in love with Seeta on first sight, Rukmini wrote a letter inviting Krishna to take her away, Arjuna eloped with Subhadra with the blessings of her brother Krishna, Bheema’s Demoness wife proposed the marriage to the prospective mother in law Kunti Maharani without even Bheema’s support…….. The thekedar’s  of indian culture need to first learn indian traditions and culture before judging people and passing their own laws for dealing with “wrongdoers”

But, I am digressing here. We were with Shantanu. On seeing the lady, he fell in love with her and proposed marriage. The lady was Goddess Ganga, the diety of the holy river Ganga. She accepted his proposal on the condition that he would never question her – whatever she did.

Now – in my personal view, any responsible king should never have accepted such a condition. A normal citizen is different, if he makes a wrong promise only he himself will suffer the consequences if the decision happens to be wrong. But when a king undertakes such a blind promise, he is dooming the whole country , which actually happened in case of Shantanu. And it is to be remembered that shantanu was very well versed with the definition of neetis – dharmas – adn he knew the consequences of King Dashratha’s similar blind promise to Kaikeyi … he should have been more careful. But being blinded by his attachment to Ganga’s beauty, he consented to her condition for marriage. They got marrried and we will see what partook in the next post in this series…..

Till then, cheers, be happy……
.