Mahabharat is probably the best piece of fiction ever written, if it did not happen in reality. And if story of mahabharat is someone's imagination, then the writer must have got a divine gift. Here, we have an epic which is very interesting and yet it provides us so many teachings for life. In my opinion, all characters in Mahabharat are present to serve a purpose, whose presence seem to fit in effortlessly in whole scheme of things. In following paragraphs, a very important character, Devvrata Bhishma is explained.
Bhishma was son of Shantanu and the river goddess Ganga. Ganga had left Shantanu after giving birth to Bhishma, because Shantanu questioned her actions when she killed her new born sons. When Shantanu fell in love with Satyavati and wanted to marry her, but Satyawati set forth some condition which were unacceptable to him, knowing this, Bhishma given his word of honour to Satyavati to remained bachelor all through his life. This was the most Bhishma(maximum) of sacrifice, which prompted the world to call him as Bhishma.Thus taking this Bhishma Pratigya, Devvrata is known as Bhishma.
His truthfulness was such that whatever he spoke came true. He knew different types of martial arts. He forced Lord Krishna to take up the wheel of Arjun's chariot as a weapon, when he said that he will not take up any weapon during the battle of Mahabharat. Such was the skill of the great warrior, Bhishma. He was the most respected person in the kingdom of Hastinapur, and he was called Bhishma Pitamaha.
He served his step mother, then her son Vichitravirya, later his sons Pandu and Dhritarashtra as as he promised loyalty to the throne of Hastinapur. He was well aware of the weaknesses and flaws in the character of his grandsons, and could expect the tragedy that was sure to embrace the kingdom of Hastinapur. Bhishma was well aware of jealousy of Kauravas and especially Duryodhana towards Pandavas which he at times openly disapproved.
But even this righteous behavioru of Bhishma was taken some tilt towards Pandavas and dislike for Kauravas. But he kept quiet as a silent suffering head of the clan, lest his reproach could be seen as his disloyalty to Hastinapur. As a silent and helpless witness Bhishma suffered all the inhumanities which was done from throne of Hastinapur. He never entertained any thought to become king of Hastinapur, or to dislodge the weak and morally selfish successor to the throne. Only Vidura, the renowned scholar of his times, understood the plight of Bhishma.
Bhishma, Dronacharya, Vidura, Kripacharya, all righteous in their own way, were still at fault because, though helpless, they served and sided with the throne as they were tied to serve Hastinapur, but in the end, they found themselves on the wrong side of battleground. We may ask this question time and again, and may never get an answer as whether the loyality to throne is justified or helping the rightful? That makes Mahabharat even more fascinating read, where the most capable of warriors where pited against each other, are respected and relevant to today's times.