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Rai Shyam
Jan 17, 20233 min read

Bhishma Ashtami : History | Significance | Puja

Bhishma of the famous Indian epic Mahabharata is the subject of the Hindu holiday known as Bhishma Ashtami (Bhishmashtami). Bhishma often referred to as "Ganga Putra Bhishma" (Bhishma the son of Ganga devi) or "Bhishma Pitamaha" (Bhishma the grandpa), is thought to have left his physical body on this particular day. This took place during the fortunate "Uttarayan period," or the devas' midday. According to the Hindu calendar, Bhishma Ashtami is observed in the month of Magha. It relates to January through February.


Bhishma, a warrior who fought and perished in the Kurukshetra War, the conflict that takes up so many pages of the Mahabharata, is remembered on Bhishma Ashtami, a minor holiday celebrated in Bengal and some areas of southern India. The son of Shantanu, Bhishma was granted the freedom to select the day of his death as a blessing by his father. Bhishma had sworn not to get married and to always be obedient to his father's kingship.

During Magha Shukla Ashtami, the anniversary of Bhishma Pitamah's passing is observed. It is undeniably the anniversary of Bhishma Pitamah's passing on the day known as Bhishma Ashtami. The day's legend states that Bhishma waited 58 days before departing from his body. Bhishma Pitamah passed away on the blessed day of Uttarayana, or the day that Lord Surya began to move northward after finishing the six-month Dakshiyana era.

On this day, Bhishma made the decision to depart his body. Bhishma Ashtami is the name of the day that Bhishma left his body (Magha Shukla Ashtami). According to his father's will (Ichha Mrityu), he enjoys a particular death blessing. So, despite being on an arrow-filled bed, he kept resting there before leaving his body on Sankranti. Hindus think that anyone who passes away during Uttarayana will enter heaven.


Bhishma Ashtami is regarded as a particularly lucky day that is ideal for completing auspicious deeds. It is an important day for doing the proper rituals to eliminate the Pitru dosha. Even childless couples observe a severe fast and do Bhishma Ashtami puja in order to be blessed with a son. Devotees believe that if they get Bhishma Pitamah's heavenly blessings on this day, they would have a male kid with good character and great obedience.


Bhishma Ashtami ceremonies take held in various parts of the country. Grand celebrations are held at all ISKCON temples as well as Lord Vishnu temples in honour of Bhishma Pitamah. On this occasion, followers in the Bengal states execute unique rites and puja.

Bhishma Ashtami Puja:

People celebrate the Bhishma Ashtami Puja "Ekodishta Shradh" in honour of Bhishma Pitamah. It is believed that only someone whose father is deceased may perform it. However, some people are able to do "puja rituals" on Bhishma Ashtami and do not have this belief.

1. People execute the "Tarpan" rite on the surrounding river bank in order to bring calm to Bhishma Pitamah's soul. They honour their ancestors in a similar manner.
2. To break free from the cycle of life and death and to purify their souls, people take a sacred bath in the Ganges River and offer boiled rice and sesame seeds.
3. In order to get the deity's blessings, worshippers practise a daytime fast, engage in "Arghyam," and recite the "Bhishma Ashtami Mantra."
4. One worship and takes a holy plunge in Kurukshetra's Bhishma Kund on the day of Bhishma Ashtami.