In Indian parlance it is quite common to address a veteran as Bheeshma pitamaha, right?

Well, Bheeshma was a great warrior (he fought Parasurama – remember the Amba factor?), and he could take on anybody in his reading of the Vedas (remember he created Vishnusarsaranamam while on his death bed?)….but he is not really known for his good governance. Satyavati is just not queen material – and this is visible to Shanthanu also, but he still falls for lust.

Let us see where it starts.

When his father falls for Satyavati (lust) he gives up his right to the throne of Hastinapur. This may be a personal thing, but along with it, Hastinapur loses its best possible king. A king who was well endowed physically and mentally.

When you are a king or a prince, you need to be selfless and many times selfish. Just like how a bowler captain in cricket either over bowls or under bowls himself – the perfect balance is difficult to achieve.

When Sathyavathi has 2 sons – both useless – he continues to be bound by his promise to his dad – and makes Vichitraveer the king (Chitrangada is dead).

Now this joker V has had no character at all. He is a drunkard, a wastrel, who is protected by his mother Satyavati. When she realises that V cannot win any woman in a Swayamwar, Satyavati orders Bheeshma to bring the 3 daughters of the King of Kashi – Amba, Ambalika, and Ambalika.

In his confusion of loyalty towards Hastinapur, and Satyavati – he goes to Kashi and IN THAT PROCESS BRINGS ABOUT his own death ALSO – it is Amba who becomes Shikhandi!!

So Ambalika and Ambika becomes the drunkard wastrel’s wives – and Bheeshma has destroyed the lives of 3 women by now.

Fast Forward to Draupadi.

Bheeshma is perhaps the only person who could have stopped the disrobing. He just kept silent.

Every step of Bheeshma’s life – he has failed the women. First the 3 Kashi princesses and then his own grand daughter in law Draupadi.

At at both the steps it is clearly his inability to see what is RIGHT for Hastinapur and what is being sought by lust.

Corporate Governance is about asking ‘am I saying this for the benefit of the company and its stake holders or for the benefit of the present Chairman (Managing Director whoever is strong)’?

Most of us like the Director post, the pampering, the food, the nice fees, — and therefore we do not mind compromising a ‘little’.

Very, very few people stand up AGAINST the person who got them the post.

Look at Bheeshma! he had all the wisdom and the strength, still did not perform his duty, EVER, for the benefit of Hastinapur or for the well being of the world.

Sad is it not? In corporate India we have people with a far lesser caliber than Bheeshma. Do you really expect Corporate Governance?


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  1. I sbsolutely agree with your observation on Bheemsma Pitamaha. On his deathbed,he realized his mistake & I think told Yudhister to learn from his mistake. I will incur the wrath of many of your readers but I think because of his vow Mahabharatha had this outcome. Even when he lay on the bed full of arrows,Lord Krishna said that why were you silent when Draupadi was being disrobed.

  2. I completely agree. These were the same observations I had on this so-called-wise person who could have stopped Draupadi’s travail but did not have the courage to stand for what was right. ( and he is supposedly extraordinarily brave man ! )

    Being good in archery and war time games is no substitute to standing up for doing the right things. THAT requires extra-ordinary courage.

  3. Vidya he wronged Amba and her sisters. Vichitraveerya was a wastrel, drunkard. Dhridhirashtra, Pandu and Vidur were not born to their biological father(s). Vich’a should not have ascended the throne, should not have married. That would have been the end of the Kuru dynasty. In fact at the deathbed Krishna tells him he wronged Draupadi…sorry the note will become toooooooo big!!

  4. Until I read your blog I did not know that Krishna had told him he had wronged Draupadi !

    I was bemused by the earlier incidents wrt to Amba, Vichitraveerya etc but did not consider they could have been prevented !

  5. thank you for remembering and reminding the great epics of of our magnificent and marvelous Granthas are they (Mahabharat and Ramayana)! I guess there may be any equivalents in anywhere in world’s history!

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