Devavratha (Bhishma)’s father Shantanu wanted to marry a fisherwoman Satyavati. Satyavati’s father had refused to give his daughter’s hand to Shantanu on the grounds that his daughter’s children would never be rulers. Devavratha (Bhishma) took oath that he would never stake a claim to the throne, implying that the child born to Shantanu and Satyavati would become the ruler after Shantanu. Devavratha (Bhisma) also took the vow of lifelong celibacy, thus sacrificing his ‘crown-prince’ title and denying himself the pleasures of conjugal love. This gave him immediate recognition among the gods. His father granted him the boon of Ichcha Mrityu (control over his own death — he could choose the time of his death, making him immortal till his chosen time of death, instead of completely immortal which would have been an even more severe curse and cause of suffering).
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Story when Devavratha (Bhishma) took another oath that he would always see his father’s image in whomever sit on the King’s throne
Devavratha (Bhishma) took oath not to marry anyone in his life and also opted for lifelong celibacy so his father Shantanu could marry Satyavati who wanted her kids to rule Hastinapur. Criticism of King Shantanu from his subjects as to why he removed Bhishma from the title of the crown prince, as he was so capable, abounded. There was worry about the nobility of Shantanu’s unborn children, now promised the throne. Hearing this, Bhishma said it was his decision and his father should not be blamed as Shantanu had never promised anything to Satyavati’s father. The prime minister then asked who would be held responsible if the future crown prince isn’t capable enough. Bhishma then took another vow that he would always see his father’s image in whomever sat on the King’s throne, and would thus serve him faithfully.
Story when conflict between Bhishma and Parashurama ended and the battle was declared a draw by Gods.
On the 23rd day of battle, Bhishma attempted to use the Pashupatastra against Parashurama. Learned in his previous birth as Prabhasa (one of Ashta Vasus), this weapon was not known to Parasurama and would put the afflicted to sleep in the battlefield. This would have given Bhishma the victory. Before he could release it, however, a voice from the sky warned him that “if he uses this weapon it would be a great insult towards his Guru.” Pitrs then appeared and obstructed the chariot of Parashurama, forbidding him from fighting any longer. At the behest of the divine sage Narada and the gods, Parashurama ended the conflict and the battle was declared a draw by Gods.
Story when Prabhasa stole the Kamadhenu cow of Vashishta and was cursed to reborn as a human (Bhishma)
Once the eight Vasus (Ashtavasus) visited Vashishta’s ashram accompanied by their wives. One of the wives took a fancy to Kamadhenu, Vashishta’s wish-bearing cow and asked her husband Prabhasa to steal it from Vashishta. Prabhasa then stole the cow with the help of the others who were all consequently cursed by Vashishta to be born in the world of humans. Upon the Vasus appealing to Vashishta’s mercy, the seven Vasus who had assisted in stealing Kamadhenu had their curse mitigated such that they would be liberated from their human birth as soon as they were born; however, Prabhasa being protagonist of the theft, was cursed to endure a longer life on the earth. The curse, however is softened to the extent that he would be one of the most illustrious men of his time. It was this Prabhasa who took birth as Bhishma.
Story as when Draupadi swore that she will not tie her hair until it is bathed with blood of Dushasana
After Yudhishthira lost his kingdom, his brothers and his wife Draupadi, in a game of dice with Shakuni, Dussasana dragged Draupadi by the hair into the assembly, at the behest of his brother Duryodhana, and tried to disrobe her. Draupadi prayed to Krishna and he made her sari to be of infinite length, so that Dussasana could not take it off. However, the princess was humiliated by being dragged into court by her hair. After this humiliation Draupadi swore that she will not tie her hair until it is bathed with blood of Dushasana.