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Ganga And Shantanu - A Unique Love Story

Ganga And Shantanu – A Unique Love Story

The story of Mahabharata starts with the unique love story of Ganga and Shantanu. Shantanu was the descendant of King Bharata and blessed with all the skills of warfare and politics. Ganga is the river Ganga which we all know and worship today.

One day, Shantanu was walking around a river. He was walking casually and strolling around when he saw Ganga in her human form. He was smitten by her and after some time, he approached her. He proposed to her for marriage and said that he would like to make her the queen of Hastinapur. Ganga was surprised but saw this coming and told him to come again the next day if he really wanted to marry her and make her the queen of Hastinapur. The king agreed.

The next day, Shantanu came and lived up to his words. Ganga was impressed and she agreed to marry him but on one condition. The condition was that he would never question anything she would do and never stop her from doing what she wants to do. If he asks her any questions, she would leave him.  Shantanu was puzzled but he agreed reluctantly. Ganga and Shantanu went to Hastinapur where the crowd welcomed the queen with open arms.

Everyone loved queen Ganga and she was a nice companion to King Shantanu. Ganga was expecting a child now and everyone was happy to welcome the new prince of Hastinapur. The day the child was born, Ganga went and drowned him in the river. Everyone was shocked and they started to fear Ganga for her nature. Shantanu was shocked too but he could not ask her anything because of the promise he had made to her.

Ganga did the same thing to her second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh son. The crowd shivered in fear whenever they heard that Ganga was expecting a child. They could not believe what was happening in the kingdom. She gave birth to her eighth child and went to drown him in the river too. This time, Shantanu broke his promise and asked her to stop. Ganga reminded him of the promise he had made but he wanted to save the son’s life and did not stop.

A helpless Ganga told her the story. Shantanu was Mahabhisha, a King in heaven. One day, Mahabhisha had come to heaven to see the dance of the nymphs. This is also the place where Ganga was present. While the dance was on, a strong breeze came which blew off the cloth from Ganga’s shoulder. Everyone looked down and avoided looking at Ganga but Mahabhisha could not stop looking at her. Ganga also looked at him and she could not stop. This angered Brahma and he cursed both of them as well as their eight sons that they would suffer on earth till they die.

Shantanu heard the story and understood her plight. Ganga then left with her eighth son and raised her. He was taught by the experts in heaven – Parashurama for war skills, Brihaspati for politics, and Vedas from Rishi Vashisht. He would then be united with his father Shantanu and become an important character in Mahabharata – Bhishma.

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