[Advaita-l] Re: Thanks

Anbu sivam2 anbesivam2 at gmail.com
Sun Oct 15 09:39:18 CDT 2006

Thank you Vidyasankarji for the succession story of Mahabharata.  You have
written "Santanu, father of bhIshma, was the second prince. His elder
brother, devApi, had renounced the world at a young age."  I am interested
to know more about this prince DevApi brother of Santanu.  Could you please
enlighten me.


On 10/15/06, Vidyasankar Sundaresan <svidyasankar at hotmail.com> wrote:
> Re: eating vegetarian food, there is no single injunction that is binding
> on
> all people. Generally speaking, the vast majority of human beings (even in
> India) eat meat of one kind or other. It is only recommended that to give
> up
> tAmasika and rAjasika elements, one should also withdraw from meat eating
> and move towards sAttvika vegetarian food.
> The mahAbhArata is a marvel of the complexity that can arise in deciding
> questions of dharma. Additionally, bhIshma's personal situation in the
> mahAbhArata is most complex. When he took the vow to renounce his claim to
> the kingship in favor of the children of satyavatI, he also undertook to
> protect the kingdom of hastinApura as long as he lived. As such, there was
> a
> very strong reason for dhRtarAshTra and his sons to call upon bhIshma to
> fight on their side in any war.
> The other thing to note is that at the time of the war, the situation was
> such that much could be said on both sides, on the question of who should
> have been the rightful king. The ideal situation was that the eldest son
> of
> the king would succeed to the throne. duryodhana being the eldest son of
> dhRtarAshTra, who was the elder to pANDu, had a very strong claim to
> becoming the king. On the other hand, as pANDu was the one who was crowned
> king, yudhishThira, his eldest son, also had a very strong claim to the
> kingship. This ancient rule of succession did not say anything about the
> character of the eldest son - all that was needed to inherit was the
> primacy
> of birth. It was because of this very complicated scenario that bhIshma
> and
> vidura had advised a partition of the kingdom with the pANDavas ruling
> from
> indraprastha. However, bhIshma's original vow still bound him to protect
> hastinApura.
> In fact, if one traces the history for a few generations before the
> kauravas
> and pANDavas, the eldest son had always been set aside for one reason or
> the
> other. Santanu, father of bhIshma, was the second prince. His elder
> brother,
> devApi, had renounced the world at a young age. bhIshma was the youngest
> son
> of Santanu and gangA, but the oldest surviving son. He too renounced the
> throne in favor of the sons to be born to Santanu and satyavatI,
> citrangada
> and vicitravIrya. Here again, citrangada, the elder son, was killed in a
> battle and vicitravIrya, the younger son became king. In the next
> generation, the only reason for not formally crowning dhRtarAshTra was
> that
> he was born blind, so pANDu was named king. After this long history of
> complicated succession, a war was perhaps inevitable within the kshatriya
> norms of the day.
> bhIshma had a very tough choice, but in the end, he had to honor the vow
> he
> had taken of protecting hastinApura. So also with droNa - although he knew
> that yudhishThira was a better person than duryodhana to become king, and
> arjuna was also his favorite student, he was indebted to the court that
> had
> given him patronage. He also felt duty bound to fight on the side of
> duryodhana. Take the case of Salya, uncle of nakula and sahadeva. He was
> essentially tricked by duryodhana, because he originally came to
> kurukshetra
> to fight on the side of the pANDavas. However, he was bound by his word,
> althogh it was originally given in an ambiguous manner. It was a matter of
> personal integrity and honor, at a time when people did what they said and
> said what they meant.
> Regards,
> Vidyasankar
> >Namaste Kathirasanji,
> >        Thanks for pointing out the book on vegetarianism in the Hindu
> >dharma. I could not reply earlier as I was away on a trip.
> >
> >Could you also (or someone else) point out a good analysis of the
> episodes
> >in the mahAbhArata for learning about issues of dharma  -- reasons why
> >bhIShma did fight with the kauravas, whether it was dhArmic or not, etc.
> >Thanks.
> >
> >A.Siddhartha.
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