GANGA BHISHMA: Shantanu, the son of a king from the lunar dynasty, fell in love with Ganga. He courted her and Ganga agreed to become his wife on the condition that he should not say anything to displease her. On this condition they became husband and wife.

This incident was predestined as Brahma had cursed Ganga to be reborn as a mortal. Brahma was implored and he lifted the curse saying that the ashta-vayus (the eight vayus) would be borne as her sons and then she would return to heaven.

After Ganga’s marriage to Shantanu, Ganga threw each of her seven sons into the river. Shantanu maintained his silence. When the eighth son was born, Shantanu insisted that the child should not be discarded. As Shantanu violated the condition of marriage, Ganga fled the palace with her son. The son was brought up by her in the forest. She initially named him Devarata who was later renamed Bhishma.

This print from the Ravi Varma Press derived from a painting by Raja Ravi Varma depicts the scene of Ganga fleeing carrying the baby Bhishma in her arms.


  • Title: Ganga Bhishma
  • Creator: Ravi Varma Press Karli Bombay, Raja Ravi Varma
  • Date Created: Circa 1900
  • Physical Dimensions: 35 x 25 cms
  • Provenance: The Hemamalini and Ganesh Shivaswamy collection, Bengaluru
  • Subject Keywords: Raja Ravi Varma, Ganga, Bhishma, Mahabharata
  • Rights: The Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation, Bengaluru

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