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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bheeshmaashtami on January 31, 2012


Dear Members:



Bheeshmaashtami - in Honour of the Grandsire of the Kuru dynasty falls on January 31, 2012 this year.

Bheeshmaachaarya was known for his steadfastness to dharma, his devotion to his kingdom, and his willing sublimation of his desires to satisfy the wish of his father. He took a vow of Nithya Brahmachaaryathvam (never even considering carnal pleasures of any sort) as that was demanded by the Fisherman-chieftain whose daughter his father desired in marriage. This vow gave him the name "Bheeshma" (Meaning - The terrible; maintaining strict celibacy is really difficult for a person with great valour, strength, and heroic qualities - especially when he is engaged in the activities of a kingdom as a Prince).

This steadfastness earned him the boon of "Iccha Mriyu" (ability to shed life as desired). He waited for long period till Uttaraayana set in and left his mortal coils on the thithi of ashtami after Ratha Saptami. [I have just given a condensed version of the original event; you may read about that in detail in Mahabharatam - of course most of you must be already aware of this legend!].

In fact, the popular Vishnu Sahasranaamam that is a Wish fulfilling Tree for all us in this Kali age first came from his mouth (as he was lying in the bed of arrows in pain!).

(Image courtesy: ISCKON DESIRE TREE - Design by Shri. Umesh Modak)

As he was a strict celibate and without any family tree, and in honour of his great qualities and attachment to dharma, it has been ordained that every eligible male (even those who have parent alive!) are required to offer oblations with water in Honour of that Great Soul - who combined the rare qualities of valour and discipline, obedience and courage, affection and celibacy......rare opposites to be found in the same person.

You can chant the simple mantra: "Om Bheeshmaaya Dharma vrataaya nitya BrahmachaarinE Gangaa Putraaya idam arghyam idam arghaym idam arghyam - Om Bheeshmam tarpayaamii"

(offer it thrice).

Please note that this is one of the mandatory observances for all males subscribing to sanataana dharmaa.

May we all inherit his great qualities and become living examples of virtue and self-control just as he was.

Blessed be.

Pandit R. DAKSHINAMOORTHI.




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