the son of Satyavati, was killed in battle with a gandharva. As he died childless, his
brother, Vichitravirya, was the rightful heir and was duly crowned king, and as he was a
minor, Bhishma governed the kingdom in his name till be came of age.
When Vichitravirya reached adolescence Bhishma
cast about for a bride for him, and as he heard that the daughters of the king of Kasi
were to choose theirhusbands according to the ancient Kshatriya practice he went there to
secure them for his brother.
Therulers of Kosla, Vanga, Pundra,Kalinga and
other princes and potentates had also repaired to Kasi for the Swayamvara, attired in
their best. The princesses were so far-famed for beauty and accomplish- ments that there
was fierce competition to win them.
Bhishma was famous among thekshatriyas as a
mighty man-at-arms. At first everyone thought that the redoubtable hero had come merely to
witness the festivities of the swayamvara, but when they found that he was also a suitor,
the young princes felt themselves let down and were full of chagrin. They did not know,
that he had really come for the sake of his brother, Vichitravirya.
The princes began to cast affronts at Bhishma:
"This most excellent and wise descendant of the Bharata race forgets that he is too
old and forgets also his vow of celibacy. What has this old man to do with this
swayamvara? Fie on him!" The princesses who were to choose their husbands barely
glanced at the old man and looked away.