If anything, our scriptures are a warning against making such grand statements and promises. However, typically, Indians take pride in making the same mistakes as their ancestors and make grand gestures without thinking through the consequences of such gestures or making course changes to reflect the ground realities later on.
Pitamaha Bhishma :-
Bhishma’s love for his father was commendable. He gave up his rights to the throne and all privileges that go with this so that his dad could marry. He also gave up any opportunity of having a wife or children so that his father could marry. In those days, having a family was essential for people to prove themselves as “virile men” and “fertile females”. If you did not have children, there was real danger of being called impotent or a eunuch. Bhishma was willing to have his manhood doubted for the sake of his father’s marital happiness.
But what of the people of Hastinapur ?
Bhishma wasn’t a private citizen.
As the prince and only living heir of Kuru dynasty, it wasn’t possible for him to divorce himself from the weighty responsibility of being a crown prince. By denying himself the ability to have children, Bhishma denied his people their right to a strong line of princes born of his loins.
Besides, what guarantee did Bhishma have that the children of the fisher-woman
would be sons or be fit and capable rulers ?
What would happen if the sons born of the fisher woman were incompetent or cruel kings ?
Who would bear the consequence of such a mess ?
Why should the people of Kur-jangal suffer the “consequences” of such a mess for the desire of a prince to please his father ?
Was it not the responsibility of Bhishma to consider the fate of his people before gambling away the future of his people or his race ?
What would happen if there were no sons from this new marriage to carry on the line ?
What would happen if the sons born from this marriage were not capable of carrying on the family line after them ?
Indeed, that’s exactly what did happen and Bhishma had to resort to unusual solutions to fix this massive problem. Having made his “bhishan (incredible) promise” to serve the Kuru king, Bhishma had to watch from the side lines as Kauravas broke all Aryan rules of morality, ethics and government. All this because Bhishma had promised a fisherman than he would protect and support the incumbent on the throne, regardless of who he was or what he was !
As a prince, heir and eldest Kaurav, Bhishma should have had the foresight to consider the serious consequences of his actions. Eventual repercussions of this terrible act ended up in the Mahabhart war where the entire clan was cut down like chaff along with millions of others.
Duryodhan’s personal animosity with Pandavas grew from small disagreements during childplay into the Mahabharat war that annihilated millions. His parents, his gurus his advisors did nothing to stop this personal, private, family feud from becoming a major bloodbath for all kshatriyas.
Duryodhan brought his private feud with Pandavas into public realm by
humiliating Drupadi in full view of the public.
Indeed it’s a miracle that he did not get to disrobe her, but, the very
public attempt of that act humiliated not just the Pandavas, but the entire Kuru
Drona and Drupad :-
Friendship or animosity between Drona and Drupada was a personal matter. When Drona raised it to the level of a feud, he caused a major slaughter of Panchala army and division of an ancient nation. Consequence of this was the birth of Drupadi, Dhrushtadhyman and his (Drona’s) own death. Animosity between friends escalated to such a serious level that Ashwashthama decided to kill off the entire Panchal army and all Pandavas. Agitated to such an extreme, Ashwashthama even attempted to kill off even an unborn child ! Such hate, such utter hate, born from failed friendship !
Krushna's Advise :-
I am not spouting this as revolutionary modern claptrap.
Shri Krushna says as much during his entire time in the MahaBharata.
Krushna admonishes the good and great of his time for being too pedantic, not thinking rationally, being illogical, emotional or too sentimental. Logic and reason should be used to govern all actions and Krushna reminds all the characters in the MahaBharat about this.
As Bhishma, Drona, Drupad are his elders, he gently reminds them of their true
Dharma, not the social and personal strictures that they have placed on
Yudhisthir and Balarama are elders, but, as they are of his own generation, he reminds, cajoles and even remonstrates them as necessary to remind them what the true face of Dharma is.
Duryodhan he reasons with and threatens him with dire consequences if he does not follow the path of peace.
Krushna advises restraint and patience to Drupadi and Bhima.
Krushna’s advise to Arjun results in the SMB Gita.
Main theme of Shri Krushna advise seems to be -
* Holistic actions are more necessary than blind following of an outdated law or a defunct promise !
* Your “word” can not / should not rule you !
* Let your duty be your guide.
* Follow your Dharma (duty / alloted task in life / virtue / religiou injunctions).