Under such ethos and culture, the kingdom of Kuru king Shantanu prospered around Hastinapur. Business and commerce, peace and prosperity, art and literature flourished all around. People both inside the palace and out side were happy. High standard of education, both secular and spiritual, was maintained through the system of Gurukula (students staying with their teacher in an ashrama during their studentship.) Hard work, honesty, and sincerity made these students better citizens. The teacher -Guru- was well versed in all aspects of arts and science related with politics, statesmanship, warfare and economics. Yoga and meditation were routinely included in the curricula.
Once king Shantanu went for hunting. He reached deep into the forest across a river. After many hours of horse ride and laborious chase the tired king instructed his attendants to carry his horse and other possessions, and himself decided to return to his palace in a ferry boat.
The boatman, fisherman by caste, recognized the king and felt honored to have such a distinguished guest on his boat. Such occasions did not come in his life very often. He decided to make most of it. Therefore, he requested the king to accept his hospitality in his humble hut.
The king agreed. Together they reached the boatman's house for refreshments. The boatman tried to make the king as comfortable as he could by offering the king soft cushioned seat, fruits and milk. He called his daughter to serve the honoured guest. And as the fate had it, the king fell in love with the fisherman's daughter (Satyavati) at first sight! Their eyes met and love was exchanged.
King Shantanu made hasty departure and returned to his palace. But the love bug had made his nights sleepless. The constant thought of beautiful daughter of fisherman made him restless and love-sick.
The king started making secret visits to the fisherman's house. Fisherman did not object, why should he! The love between the king and Satyavati blossomed into the dreams of conjugal bliss. The king wanted to marry her.
Shantanu already had one son, named Bhishma, the most powerful, intelligent, and glorious of all the Kurus. His personality was unique and impressive in many ways. His truthfulness, bravery, and righteousness were beyond reproach. If once he decided anything, he was sure to stick to his word at any cost.