Pratipa (Sanskrit: प्रतीप, pratīpa), was the king who belonged to Bharata race of Lunar Dynasty and was the father of Shantanu and grandfather of Bhishma.[1] He is mentioned in the Hindu epic Mahabharata.

Origin and familyEdit

According to the Bhagavata-, Vishnu, Matsya-, Bhavishya- and Vayu-Purana Pratipa was the great-grandson of Bhimasena and son of Dilipa.[2] However, according to the Mahabharata, he was the son of king Bhimasena and princess Sukumari of the Kaikeyas. He married Sunanda of the Shibis, on whom he begot Devapi and Shantanu.[3]

Meeting with GangaEdit

Once when King Pratipa was meditating on the bank of the river Ganges and chanting prayers, the Ganges. Ganga appeared after receiving the curse from Lord Brahma from the Svargaloka. Ganga came and sat on the right lap of Pratipa, and his meditation broke. Ganga considered Pratipa as that Mahibhisa who was also cursed along with her. And she requested Pratipa to marry her. Pratipa said that since Ganga had sat on his right lap, which was meant for a daughter or daughter-in-law, she will have to be wait till Pratipa begets a son. Therefore, he proposed to Ganga that she may marry his son and become his daughter-in-law. Ganga agreed to wait and said that Pratipa has to inform his son that she will be marrying on one condition that Pratipa's son should not enquire who she is and question her behaviour and thereupon Ganga disappeared. At this time Pratipa and his wife were still without children, but after they had performed some acts of austerity, their son Shantanu was born to them. He was later to marry Ganga and became the father of Devavrata or Bhishma.[4]


J.A.B. van Buitenen, Mahabharata Book 1, Chicago 1973, pp. 214–220


  1. ^ Monier Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary (Oxford, 1899), p. 674.1
  2. ^ M.M.S. Shastri Chitrao, Bharatavarshiya Prachin Charitrakosha (Dictionary of Ancient Indian Biography, in Hindi), Pune 1964, p. 469
  3. ^ Mbhr. 1.90.45–46 (Pune Critical Edition)
  4. ^ Mbhr. 1.92