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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,884 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 1.

“Vaisampayana continued, ’O thou of Bharata’s race, Devavrata, having heard these words, and moved by the desire of benefiting his father thus answered in the hearing of the assembled chiefs, ’O foremost of truthful men, listen to the vow I utter!  The man has not been or will not be born, who will have the courage to take such a vow!  I shall accomplish all that thou demandest!  The son that may be born of this maiden shall be our king.’  Thus addressed, the chief of the fishermen, impelled by desire of sovereignty (for his daughter’s son), to achieve the almost impossible, then said, ’O thou of virtuous soul, thou art come hither as full agent on behalf of thy father Santanu of immeasurable glory; be thou also the sole manager on my behalf in the matter of the bestowal of this my daughter.  But, O amiable one, there is something else to be said, something else to be reflected upon by thee.  O suppressor of foes, those that have daughters, from the very nature of their obligations, must say what I say.  O thou that art devoted to truth, the promise thou hast given in the presence of these chiefs for the benefit of Satyavati, hath, indeed, been worthy of thee.  O thou of mighty arms, I have not the least doubt of its ever being violated by thee.  But I have my doubts in respect of the children thou mayst beget.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ’O king, the son of Ganga, devoted to truth, having ascertained the scruples of the chief of the fishermen, then said, moved thereto by the desire of benefiting his father, ’Chief of fishermen, thou best of men, listen to what I say in the presence of these assembled kings.  Ye kings, I have already relinquished my right to the throne, I shall now settle the matter of my children.  O fisherman, from this day I adopt the vow of Brahmacharya (study and meditation in celibacy).  If I die sonless, I shall yet attain to regions of perennial bliss in heaven!’

“Vaisampayana continued, ’Upon these words of the son of Ganga, the hair on the fisherman’s body stood on end from glee, and he replied, ’I bestow my daughter!’ Immediately after, the Apsaras and the gods with diverse tribes of Rishis began to rain down flowers from the firmament upon the head of Devavrata and exclaimed, ‘This one is Bhishma (the terrible).’  Bhishma then, to serve his father, addressed the illustrious damsel and said, ‘O mother, ascend this chariot, and let us go unto our house.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ’Having said this, Bhishma helped the beautiful maiden into his chariot.  On arriving with her at Hastinapura, he told Santanu everything as it had happened.  And the assembled kings, jointly and individually, applauded his extraordinary act and said, ’He is really Bhishma (the terrible)!’ And Santanu also, hearing of the extraordinary achievements of his son, became highly gratified and bestowed upon the high-souled prince the boon of death at will, saying, ’Death shall never come to thee as long as thou desirest to live.  Truly death shall approach thee, O sinless one, having first obtained thy command.’”

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