In those ancient days, when the king was next to God in power and authority, a young prince, Devavrata, declined a kingdom. He reinforced his refusal by a vow of celibacy so that no offspring of his could come forth to claim the throne. He took this difficult decision to please his father, Shantanu, and was hailed by the gods as Bheeshma or the terrific one. It is ironical that Bheeshma, who declined to be a king, wielded royal powers for a longer period than any other king of that dynasty. He was the regent for his step-brothers and for his nephews. In fact, he ruled over the land till Duryodhana came of age. Yet all this was not of his seeking. He had to rule in spite of his renunciation. A partiality to the throne which he had guarded all his life, was perhaps responsible for his siding with Duryodhana against the Pandavas in the Mahabharata
war. Bheeshma commanded the Kaurava army when the war started. As a soldier he was invincible.