Vichitravirya became the king of Hastinapur and Bhishma’s guarding ensured no evil eye prying on the throne. When Vichitravirya reached adolescence, Bhishma got the responsibility to find fitting queen for the new king of Hastinapur.
King of Kashi hosted an event for her three daughters, Amba, Ambika and Ambalika, to choose their grooms. Soon, the news of Swayamvar of princesses of Kashi spread and Bhishma found them the best for Vichitravirya. Bhishma decided to go Kashi and win the bride for his brother. Kashi was decorated for the Swayamvar and the princes and kings of remote regions were gathered to prove their credibility. When Bhishma entered, the guests present for the event thought that Bhishma came there to win Swayamvar for himself and they mockingly said, “Seems the beauty of princesses has stolen the oath of this celibate. He must have forgotten that this is Swayamvar and not any battlefield.”
Those piercing words made Bhishma wrathful and he said in loud voice, “I am here representing my king, Vichitravirya. And I am taking these three princesses of Kashi with me.
If any of the kings present here wants to challenge, he must have to win against me.” Nobody dared to stop Bhishma and he took the princesses with him.
While Bhishma with the three princesses, Amba, Ambika and Ambalika, was heading back towards Hastinapur, King Salva blocked his way. Salva and Amba wanted to get married even before Swayamvar was arranged, but nobody knew about it. Salva challenged Bhishma but he couldn’t stand before him for long. Bhishma was a peerless bowman and he defeated Salva. But on Amba’s request Bhishma spared Salva’s life.
They arrived Hastinapur and mother Satyavati delightedly welcomed the princesses. The marriage ceremony was arranged but before the rituals started, Amba revealed about her love for King Salva. She said, “I have mentally chosen King Salva as my husband and my heart will not accept anyone else now.” And then she mockingly addressed Bhishma, “O Son of Ganga! You are learned in scriptures, so tell me after knowing my truth, what will you do?”
Bhishma politely arranged the return of Amba with full princely honors. But when Amba told everything to Salva, he refused to accept Amba. He said, “Bhishma defeated me in a duel and carried you in front of everyone. I can’t accept you as my wife now.” Disappointed Amba returned to Hastinapur and sought Bhishma to marry her but Bhishma was bound to his oath. Finding no refuge Amba walked out of the courtroom of Hastinapur saying, “Because of you I am suffering. O Bhishma! I will be the cause of your death.”
Vichitravirya’s marriage with Ambika and Ambalika consummated but didn’t last long. Vichitravirya lost his life early and his two wives were left childless. Once again, the throne was left without king and the crown without owner. Satyavati tried to persuade Bhishma to ascend the throne but Bhishma didn’t agree. She even tried to free Bhishma from her father’s promises during her marriage with Shantanu, but in vain. Bhishma’s vow was firm. He already had decided to serve the throne for lifetime, but not to ascend it as a king.
Satyavati’s worries increased multifold as there was no heir of the throne.
One day, Satyavati called Bhishma and asked him to invite sage Krishna Dwapayan. Bhishma followed the instructions and personally went to bring the sage. The matted locked and dark-complexioned ascetic with long beard and firmness in his eyes, Krishna Dwapayan came to Hastinapur on the request of Satyavati.
Satyavati asked for his help. She asked him to bless the queen Ambika with the future king of Hastinapur. Initially the sage was reluctant, but he couldn’t refuse the request of Satyavati. He said, “I need some time to prepare myself for this union. I appear unpleasant due to the rigorous austerities.” Satyavati said, “I don’t want to wait any further. The kingdom should get its heir as soon as possible.” The sage then agreed to the wishes of Satyavati.
Satyavati convinced Ambika to enter to the quarters of the sage for the union. But the harsh looks on the face of the sage affrighted Ambika. She couldn’t hold the sight for long and closed her eyes while her unison with the sage. The sage foresighted the future and told Satyavati that the child born out of their union would be blind.
“The citizens will not accept a blind king.”, said Satyavati and requested Krishna Dwapayan to bless her second daughter-in-law, Ambalika. She asked Ambalika to enter the chamber of the sage, as she requested Ambika before. But Ambalika couldn’t face the frightening looks of the sage and went pale. The union of that sage with Ambalika was about to bore a child with pale look. He would be physically fit but not ideal for being a king. Satyavati’s miseries grew. She didn’t want the throne to be decked with a king who lacks any of the qualities. She tried to persuade Ambika again but this time she sent her maid into the quarters of the sage. That maid ensured the comfort of sage and dutifully served him without any fear. That maid of Ambika then bore a healthy child.
In due course, Ambika gave birth to a blind son, Dhritarashtra. Ambalika gave birth to a pale child Pandu and that maid of Ambika, gave birth to a healthy child, Vidura. Vidura was born with all the supreme knowledge. The three children, then in supervision of Bhishma grew and gained the knowledge of scriptures, war fares and politics.
The sage Krishna Dwapayan who blessed the queens of Hastinapur is known to the world as Ved Vyasa.
But why he agreed to requests of Satyavati? And what was his relationship with Satyavati?
So, the story goes like this –
During her maidenhood, Satyavati used to help her father Dusharaja in routine business of ferrying passengers on the river Yamuna. She was born with a peculiar smell of a fish and was unpleasant too. One fine day, Rishi Parashar was travelling on her boat. He looked at her and his desires roused. He wanted to unite with the lady of unusual smell but submissive beauty. The desires ruled and sage Parashar expressed his wish. The lady understood the determined sage and honored the desires but put a condition.
She said, “I stink like a fish and union in such unpleasant smell will not be fruitful.” The sage understood and with his Yogic powers turned the unpleasant smell to a musk fragrance.
The union impregnated the young lady and at due time she gave birth to a boy in an island on river Yamuna. The boy with the powers of Rishi Parashar born with unmatched intelligence. He was named as Krishna Dwapayan (one with black skin tone and born on an island). So, Krishna Dwapayan was actually son of Satyavati born in her maidenhood. As the boy grew, he walked into the woods and followed the path of ascetism. He promised that whenever his mother would need him, he would come and help her. And hence, when Satyavati asked Krishna Dwapayan to bless the queens, he couldn’t refuse.