Sanskrit: शंतनु) is a king of Hastinapurain the great epic of the Mahābhārata. He is a descendant of the Bharatarace, of the lunar dynasty and the ancestor of the Pandavas and the Kauravas. The Rigveda hymn 10.98 mentions Shantanu. He was the youngest son of King Pratipa of Hastinapur and had been born in the latter's old age. The eldest son Devapisuffered from leprosy and abdicated his inheritance to become a hermit. The middle son Bahlikadevoted his life to conquer the old Aryan territoties near Balkh and hence, Shantanu become the King of Hastinapur by default.
hantanu and Ganga
Shantanu saw a beautiful woman on the banks of river Ganga and asked her to marry. She agreed but with one condition that Shantanu wouldn't ask anything whatever she does. They married and soon Ganga gave birth. But Ganga drowned the child. Shantanu couldn't ask because of his promise not to ask else she would leave. One by one seven children were drowned but Shantanu couldn't hold his curiosity and asked Ganga, when she was about to drown eighth child. Ganga let eighth child live and he is called Devavrat (later Bhishma).
hantanu and Satyavati
When Shantanu's son
Bhishmahad grown into a young handsome prince, Shantanu came across Satyavati, a ferryman's daughter, and fell in love with her. The ferryman agreed to the marriage on condition that any child Satyavatibore him would inherit the throne.
King Shantanu was unable to give his word on accession as it would be unfair to
Bhishma, the rightful heir to the throne. However, Bhishmacame to know of this and in a magnificent gesture of renunciation and sacrifice for the sake of his father, gave his word to the ferryman that he would renounce all claims to the throne, in favour of Satyavati's children. To reassure the sceptical ferryman further, he also vowed life-long celibacy to ensure that future generations borne of Satyavatiare also not challenged by his offspring.
Satyavatiwent on to have two sons, Chitrāngadaand Vichitravirya. After Shantanu's death, Satyavaticontinued to rule the kingdom with her two sons, with help from Bhishma.
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