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Bhishma Ashtami

Bhishma Ashtami

Mahabharata is one of the two Sanskrit poems which consists of mythological narrative story of about the struggle and for sovereignty between two groups of brothers, the Kauravas and Pandvas.

In the epic Mahabharata, Bhishma , eighth son of King Shantanu, also known as Gangaputra, was blessed with wish-long life and was the grandfather of both the Pandavas and Kauravas. He was the most grandiose character of Mahabharata

Bhishma Ashtami is the Hindu festival dedicated to "Bhishma". On this day, Bhishma Pitamaha had his last breath by his Nirnaya.

Bhishma Ashtami is observed on the eighth day of the Shukla Paksha in Magha Masam that falls during the months of January-February the day after Ratha Saptami.

He was blessed with the boon to choose the time of his death by himself due to his loyalty, sincerity and determination towards his father. He promised his father to marry

He was injured in the battle but he didn't leave his body due to his boon and he waited for the auspicious moment to give up his body.

During the battle of Mahabharata, Bhishama was on the side of the Kauravas. Since the Kauravas were getting defeated one by one, Bhishma, to save his self respect, in anguish, took up such a weapon which could only be opposed by Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna, was compelled to lift the Sudarshan Chakra. Seeing that, Bhishma stopped fighting and laid himself on his death bed


  • On this day, people observe 'Ekodishta Shraddha' in the honour of Bhishma Pitamaah. It is mentioned in the Hindu scriptures that this 'shraddha' can only be performed by those people whose fathers are not alive. However, some communities do not observe this ritual and believe that any individual can perform the 'shraddha' irrespective of their father being dead or alive.
  • "Tarpan" is performed on the river banks on this day. This ritual is observed to commemorate Bhishma Pitamaah and ancestors
  • Taking bath in the Holy River is believed to be auspicious. Sesame seeds and boiled rice are offered in the River Ganga. All the sins and negativities are removed by these offerings
  • Devotees observe fast on this day to pay tribute to Bhishma Pitamah
  • Devotees who observe fast on this day takes Sankalp and performs an "Arghyam" and devotees chant the "Bhishma Ashtami Mantra"

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