All posts in Stories of Ganga in Mahabharata

Story of Arjuna and his association with Ulupi, Babruvahana and Chitrangada

The Vasus, Bhishma’s brothers, cursed Arjuna after he killed Bhishma through treachery in the Kurukshetra War. When Ulupi heard of the curse, she sought the help of her father, Kouravya. Her father went to Ganga, Bhishma’s mother, and requested her for a relief from the curse. Upon hearing him, Ganga said that Arjuna would be killed by his own son, Babruvahana—Arjuna’s son through Chitrangada—and brought back to life when Ulupi places a gem on his chest. Following her father’s advice, Ulupi instigates Babruvahana to fight Arjuna. When Arjuna goes to Manipur with the horse intended for the Aswamedha sacrifice, the king Babruvahana, as directed by Ulupi, challenges Arjuna for a duel. In the fierce battle that took place between them, both are mangled by the other’s arrows. Finally, Arjuna is mortally wounded and is killed by his son when he shoots a powerful arrow at him. Chitrangada rushes to the spot and abuses Ulupi for instigating Babruvahana to fight Arjuna. Repenting of his deed, Babruvahana is determined to kill himself, but is promptly stopped by Ulupi. She goes to her kingdom and brings the gem. When she places the gem on Arjuna’s chest, his life is restored, thus relieving him of the Vasus’ curse. When brought back to his life, Arjuna becomes happy to see Ulupi, Chitrangada, and Babruvahana. He takes all of them to Hastinapur. Upon the onset of the Kali Yuga, the Pandavas along with Draupadi retired and left the throne to their only heir Arjuna’s grandson, Parikshit. Giving up all their belongings and ties, they made their final journey of pilgrimage to the Himalayas, accompanied by a dog. Ulupi went back to her kingdom in the Ganga river.

Story when Devavrata (Bhishma)’s mother Ganga helped Devavrata get trained from many eminent sages

After Devavrata (Bhishma) was born, his mother Ganga took him to different realms, where he was brought up and trained by many eminent sages. It included Brihaspati: The son of Angiras and the preceptor of the Devas taught Devavrata the duties of kings (Dandaneeti), or political science and other Shastras. Shukracharya: The son of Bhrigu and the preceptor of the Asuras also taught Devavrata in political science and other branches of knowledge. Vashishtha, the Brahmarshi and Chyavana, the son of Bhrigu taught the Vedangas and other holy scriptures to Devavrata who mastered the Vedas. Sanatkumara: The eldest son of Lord Brahma, taught Devavrata the mental and spiritual sciences, also called the Ânvîkshiki. Markandeya: The immortal son of Mrikandu of Bhrigu’s race who acquired everlasting youth from Lord Shiva taught Devavrata in the duties of Brahmanas. Parashurama: The son of Jamadagni of Bhrigu’s race. Parashurama trained Bhishma in warfare. Indra: It is mentioned by Vyasa that Bhishma also acquired celestial weapons from Indra as well as from other devas. The Holy Trinity: It is said that Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva had also taught him. Making him the wisest man as well as an unconquerable warrior.

Story when Arjuna made arrow bed for Bhishma and arranged jet stream of water for him

When Bhishma fell down on bed of arrows, many of the princes, both Kaurava and the Pandava alike brought him pillows of silk and velvet, but he refused them. He asked Arjuna to give him a pillow fit for a warrior. Arjuna then removed three arrows from his quiver and placed them underneath Bhishma’s head, the pointed arrow tips facing upwards. To quench the war veteran’s thirst, Arjuna shot an arrow into the earth, and a jet stream of water rose up and into Bhishma’s mouth. It is said that Ganga herself rose to quench her son’s thirst.

Story of Bhishma’s role in the Kurukshetra war – He killed many except his grand-nephews and wanted a peace negotiation

In the great battle at Kurukshetra, Bhishma was the supreme commander of the Kaurava forces for ten days. He fought reluctantly on the side of the Kauravas. Bhishma was one of the most powerful warriors of his time and in history. He acquired his prowess and invincibility from being the son of the sacred Ganga and by being a student of renowned Gurus. Despite being about five generations old, Bhishma was too powerful to be defeated by any warrior alive at that time. Every day, he slew at least 10,000 soldiers and about a 1,000 rathas. He loved all his grand-nephews and wanted a peace negotiation.

Story when Babruvahana killed his father Arjuna and Karna’s son Vrishtaketu in Mahabharata

When Arjuna went to Manipur with the horse intended for the Aswamedha, Babruvahana captures the horse which means war the pandavas. Arjuna tries to persuade Babruvahana to leave the horse as there was no enmity between Manipur and Pandavas. Babruvanahana agrees with Arjuna and informs he wishes to defeat Arjuna for his Guru Dakshina. Arjuna, reluctant to fight a young boy, leaves and informs a small troop of his army to convince Babruvahana to give the horse back. Babruvahana defeats the army. He also defeats Bhimsena, Arjuna’s elder brother, and kills Karna’s only surviving son Vrishtaketu. Arjuna takes an oath to kill him or immolate himself if he is defeated by Babruvahana, to avenge Vrishtaketu’s death. Arjuna loved Vrishtaketu more than he loved his own son. King Babhruvahana (who is an avatar of Prabhasa) kills his father Arjuna with an arrow, a Boon given to him from Ganga, Bhisma’s mother. Repenting of his deed after knowing Arjuna’s identity, he determined to kill himself, but he obtained from his stepmother, the Naga princess Uloopi, a gem called Nagmani which restored Arjuna to life with the help of Krishna. Arjuna repents he won’t be able to be able to live even when revived by Krishna, thinking Vrishtaketu, his elder brother Karna’s son got killed because he sent Vrishtaketu to fight with Babruvahana. Krishna’s informs that he will restore Vrishtaketu’s life. After Vrishtaketu is revived by Krishna, Babruvahana asks Vrishtaketu to forgive him (which he does). Vrishtaketu applaudes Babruvahana of being an amazing warrior. Everyone return to Hastinapura including Vrishtaketu, Chitrangada, Babruvana and Ulupi.

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