The wikipedia mentions the following about Vyasa.

Vyasa is traditionally known as author of this epic and likewise features as an important character in it. His mother Satyavati later married King Shantanu of Hastinapura and had two sons, Chitrāngada and Vichitravirya. Chitrangada died unmarried and Vichitravirya died without issue, and hence their mother asked Vyasa to father the child through the "Niyoga" method which specifies rules for appointing a father to bear a child in case the husband is incapacitated or unable to do so.

I have two questions based on the above information:

1) Does it mean that Satyavati, who is the mother of Ved Vyada, asked his own son to produce children for herself and king Shantanu?

2) Were Chitrangada and Vichitravirya, biological children of Satyavati and King Shantanu?

  • 2
    not for childeren herself ,she asked for grand son with amba & ambika wife of Chitrangada and Vichitravirya and your second point is right about Chitrangada and Vichitravirya, biological children of Satyadevi and King Shantanu
    – Bhavin
    Commented Sep 24, 2015 at 4:13

1 Answer 1


Satyavati bore Shantanu two sons: Chitrangada and Vichitravirya. The Harivamsa tells of Bhishma recalling events after Shantanu's death. During the period of mourning after Shantanu’s death, Ugrayudha Paurava (usurper of the throne of Panchala) demanded that Bhishma hand over Satyavati in return for wealth. Bhishma killed Ugrayudha Paurava, who had lost his powers because he lusted after another's wife. However, the Mahabharata does not include this event; it only describes Bhishma crowning Chitrangada as king under Satyavati's command. Chitrangada was later killed by a namesake gandharva (a celestial musician).

After Chitrangada's death his young brother Vichitravirya was crowned king, while Bhishma ruled on his behalf (under Satyavati's command) until Vichitravirya grew up. Vichitravirya married the princesses of Kashi-Kosala: Ambika and Ambalika, who were won by Bhishma in a Swayamvara (marriage choice). The childless Vichitravirya met with an untimely death from tuberculosis.

An aged Satyavati with her first born Vyasa With no heir to the throne, Satyavati asked Bhishma to marry the widows of Vichitravirya (following the practice of niyoga in its narrower sense, as a levirate marriage) and rule as king. Bhishma refused, reminding Satyavati of the promise he made to her father and his vow of bachelorhood. He suggests that a Brahmin could be hired to father children on the widows, thus preserving the dynasty. Revealing to Bhishma the tale of her encounter with Parashara, Satyavati well knew that this was the time to call her son Vyasa to aid her. Satyavati coaxed Vyasa to have niyoga with his brother's widows, saying: "from affection for thy brother Vichitravirya, for the perpetuation of our dynasty, for the sake of this Bhishma's request and my command, for kindness to all creatures, for the protection of the people and from the liberality of thy heart, O sinless one, it behooveth thee to do what I say." After convincing Vyasa, Satyavati managed ( with great difficulty) to obtain the consent of her "virtuous" daughters-in-law.[16] In the Mahabharata, Vyasa agreed immediately to the niyoga. In the Devi Bhagavata Purana version, Vyasa initially refused Satyavati's proposal. He argued that Vichitravirya's wives were like his daughters; having niyoga with them was a heinous sin, through which no good could come. As a master of "realpolitik", the hungry-for-grandsons Satyavati asserted that to preserve the dynasty, wrong directives by elders should be followed if they are going to reduce the sorrow of a mother. Vyasa finally agreed to that "disgusting task", but suggested that offspring of perversity cannot be a source of joy.

Birth of Pandu ,Dhritrashtra & vidhur your First point satyavati asked for her grand children not for herself

During the menstrual period of the older queen, Ambika, Satyavati invited Vyasa to Ambika's bedchamber. However, during niyoga with Vyasa, Ambika noticed his dark appearance and closed her eyes. Vyasa declared to Satyavti that due to Ambika's cruelty, her son would be blind (but strong) and have a hundred sons – later known as Kauravas (descendants of Kuru). Satyavati considered such an heir to be an unworthy king, so she asked Vyasa to have niyoga with her other daughter-in-law. During their niyoga, Ambalika fell pale due to Vyasa's grim appearance. As the result the child would be wan, Vyasa told his mother, who begged for another child. In due course, the blind Dhritarashtra and the pale Pandu were born. Satyavati again invited Vyasa to Ambika's bedchamber; she remembered Vyasa's grim appearance (and repulsive odour), and substituted a Shudra (lowest caste) maid in her place. The maid respected the sage and was not afraid of him, and Vyasa thus blessed her; her son would be the most intelligent man, and she would no longer be a slave. Vyasa told Satyavti of the deception, and then disappeared; Vidura, an incarnation of the god Dharma, was born to the maid.

Birth of children and grandchildren- Find Here


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