Santanu, after hearing the story about Devavrata's sacrifice, is overcome with grief at the extent of his son's sacrifice, ...but the web once woven we cannot unweave. In his gratitude he grants, using up all his accumulated merits of his Tapas, a boon to his beloved son. Devavrata could choose the time of his own death.
Santanu and Satyavati are happily married, have two sons Chitrangada and Vichitraveerya. Time has a way of racing and soon Santanu passes on to be with his forefathers. Devavrata acts as the regent, as prince Chitrangada is too young to rule. Tragedy strikes again when a Gandharva King also named Chitrangada taking offense that a mortal is also with the same name, challenges the prince to a fight. The prince is killed in the battle. Bheeshma stricken with grief installs young Vichitraveerya as the Yuvaraja and continues to rule as his regent.
(Rikhi had an interesting comment to make when I told him that I was reading Mahabharata. He said Pandits do not advise either reading or keeping copies of the book at home. It is known to create conflicts in the family. Surprisingly Anita had heard something similar. It could be true, you begin to seek nuances to events or words which earlier you would not give a second thought.
Spare a thought on Santanu, he really surprised me ! I wonder how he found time for all that penance, so powerful, that its benefits could defy death itself! I thought he was more into hunting. Devavrata at best can be described as a 'pavam' or 'bechara' (Innocent!) type of personality. Due to the fact, in all probability, that he grew up in heaven and under the care of a single parent!
(On second thoughts Santanu's boon was a double edged sword! A long life for Devavrata was more of a punishment, unless of course he had chosen to cut it short much before he finally did.)
I am also glad that the days of hobnobbing with the gods and demi-gods is a thing of the past! Probably Gandharvas moved west! Remember all those western movies we saw where our hero is drawn into a shoot out at the slightest pretext!)
(Now back in Bengaluru, when I see this phenomenon of 'road rage', I begin to think that Ghandarvas are still around!)
Aditya Bhattacharjee posted a link on my posting on FB. The Mahabharata and Ramayana, Week One by Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. While my appraoch is of one who has read or was exposed to bits and pieces of the epic, this is a very comprehensive introduction of Mahabharata. Spare the half hour to listen to the vimeo. You will enjoy it. Thanks Aditya