Mahabharata for children

Mahabharata Episode 4

The chief fisherman thought for a while and showed his further concern by saying, "What about your children? They may not honor your promise?"

Hearing this, Deva Vrata took the terrible vow that he will never marry in his life, for he would remain as a brahamachari. From then on he was known as Bheeshma, the firm. Bheeshma brought Satyavati on his chariot to the palace and presented her to his father. Shantanu felt shocked when he heard of all that happened. He blessed Bheeshma with the power to choose his day of death.

In due course of time, queen Satyavati became the mother of two princes - Chitrangad and Vichitravirya. After Shantanu's death, Chitrangad succeeded the throne but was killed in a war. Vichitravirya, was then a minor, and was enthroned by Bheeshma as the king of Hastinapur. When Vichitravirya came of age, Bheeshma and queen Satyavati got him married to two princesses of Kashi, Amba and Ambika. Unfortunately, Vichitravirya died without a successor.

Bheeshma and Satyavati conferred and decided to call Veda Vyas. Vyas arrived in no time. Satyavati explained to him the grave situation that the Kaurava family was facing without an heir. He requested Vyas to bless Ambika, the elder of the two widows of Vichitravirya, to bless with a son who can succeed the deceased king. Vyas agreed.

When Vyas approached Ambika, she was frightened by his ugly face and shut her eyes while the saint uttered the boon. As a result, the son born to Ambika was blind. He was named Dhritarashtra. The queen was disappointed and asked Vyas to offer the boon to Ambalika, the younger widow. Ambalika could not stand his smell and turned pale out of fear while the saint was uttering the boon. As a result, the child born of Ambalika was pale and was called Pandu, meaning pale.

Queen Satyavati was puzzled, what can be done now? Requesting the saint for another chance, she sent for the elder widow Ambika once more to receive the boon from the saint. Ambika was so scared of the saint that she could not dare to go before him. Instead, without telling her mother-in-law, Ambika sent her maid to the saint after disguising her with stately garments. The maid remained fearless and greeted the saint, Veda Vyas, with great devotion. Feeling happy, the saint gave her a boon and she bore a perfect child called Vidur.

In course of time Pandu ascended the throne as his elder brother Dhritarashtra was blind and Vidur became the prime minister due to his sagacity and distinguished talent. Dhritarashtra married Gandhari, the princess of Gandhar in Beluchistan, (today's Pakistan). When Gandhari came to know that her husband is blind, she, as a true wife, sharing the emotions of her husband, bandaged her eyes permanently with a cloth.