Today is Bhishmashtami
Bhishma is the great hero who is the embodiment of loyalty and selflessness in the evergreen epic, Mahabharata. Everyone knows that he is the son of Mother Ganges and king Santanu and is the warrior unbeatable for his valour.
Bhishma was the grandsire in Mahabharata, the great grandfather of Kauravas and Pandavas and accepted death in the Kurukshetra battlefield by siding Kauravas. With his boon for inviting death any day as per his wish, he waited on the arrow bed for the Uttarayan kalam when the Sun would enter Capricorn to start his northward journey. On the eight day in the Sukla Paksha from Amavasya in the month of Magi (Thai) he embraced death. It is the Ashtami thithi and thus the day of his death has been observed as Bhishmashtami every year.
Performing tarpanam with sesame seeds and water is considered very special today as a way of paying homage to this great soul and also one’s ancestors. It is applicable to all the people so that they will get rid of their past sins and cherish the fruits of their good deeds. If the Ganges water is offered by way of tarpanam today, it is considered as the most auspicious. People pray with this saying
"May Bhishma, the son of Santanu, the speaker of truth and defeater of his passions, obtain by this water the oblations due by sons and grandsons."
Childless people fast on Bhishmashtami to get a child and offer tarpanam to Bhishma on this day. Let us remember Bhishma today and pay homage to his selfless deeds that have raised him to heights of greatness.