Story how Devavratha (Bhishma) sacrificed his life for his father Shantanu’s wish to marry Satyavati

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. This made Shantanu despondent, and upon discovering the reason for his father’s despondency, Devavratha sought out the girl’s father and promised him 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. At this, Satyavati’s father retorted that even if Devavratha gave up his claim to the throne, his (Devavratha’s) children would still claim the throne. Devavratha then took the vow of lifelong celibacy, thus sacrificing his ‘crown-prince’ title and denying himself the pleasures of conjugal love.

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