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Why Was Bhishma Adamant On Not Becoming King Of Hastinapura In Mahabharata?

Bhishma, a central character in the Mahabharata, was adamant about not becoming the king of Hastinapura due to a solemn vow he took early in his life, known as the Bhishma Pratigya or Bhishma's vow. This vow was made to ensure the continuation of the Kuru dynasty and the stability of Hastinapura. Here are the key reasons behind his decision:

  1. Vow of Celibacy: Bhishma's vow included renouncing his right to the throne and committing to lifelong celibacy. This vow was made to facilitate his father's marriage to Satyavati, whose father had demanded that Satyavati's children inherit the throne. By taking this vow, Bhishma ensured there would be no challenge to Satyavati's children's claim to the throne.

  2. Loyalty to the Throne: Bhishma was fiercely loyal to the throne of Hastinapura and believed in the principle of dharma (duty). His vow was not just a personal commitment but a binding promise to his father, Shantanu, and to the kingdom.

  3. Respect for the Succession: Bhishma respected the established line of succession. After Shantanu, the throne rightfully belonged to his descendants through Satyavati. By stepping aside, Bhishma upheld the rightful claim of the legitimate heirs.

  4. Guardianship: Despite not becoming king, Bhishma took on the role of a guardian and protector of the kingdom. He guided and supported the successive kings of Hastinapura, offering his wisdom and military prowess without directly holding the throne.

  5. Personal Integrity: Bhishma was a man of principle and immense personal integrity. Breaking his vow would not only compromise his values but also tarnish his honor and the promise he made to his father.

Bhishma's steadfastness to his vow and his dedication to duty and righteousness are central to his character and his role in the Mahabharata. His actions reflect his commitment to upholding his promises and ensuring the stability and continuity of the Kuru dynasty.