Indian Mythology (by ApamNapat)

Amba - The Previous Birth of Shikandi


Amba was the eldest of the three princesses of Kashi, her younger sisters were Ambika and Ambalika. She had chosen Shalwa, the King of the Saubha kingdom, to be her husband and was planning to chose him publicly in the Swayamvara (self-choice ceremony). However, her plans got derailed, as Bhishma abducted her along with her two sisters, intending them as brides for his brother Vichitraveerya.

Insulted, the kings who had come for the Swayamvara attacked Bhishma. He defeated them all. He would have killed Shalwa, but for the intervention of Amba, who pleaded for his life.

Later, when they reached Hastinapura, the capital of the Kurus, Amba told Bhishma that she had already chosen Shalwa as her husband. Bhishma saw the force of her arguments and sent her to Saubha with suitable dowry. However, Shalwa refused to marry her, since she had been won from him in fair combat. Vichitraveerya also refused to marry her. In desperation, she wanted Bhishma to marry her, but he refused, citing his vow of celibacy.

Thwarted in her wishes, she became his mortal enemy. She tried to find a warrior to champion her cause and fight Bhishma, but none would oblige, since Bhishma's prowess was well known. At last, she persuaded Parashurama, the Guru of Bhishma to make the attempt. The battle ended in a stalemate.

She prayed to Skanda and obtained a garland that would enable the wearer to slay Bhishma, but none would take up this offer either. She went to the court of Drupada, who was her kinsman and tried to enlist his assistance, but his fear of Bhishma kept him silent. Disgusted, she threw the garland on a tree in in his courtyard and went away.

She once again performed a penance, praying this time to Lord Shiva. The Lord granted her a boon that she would slay Bhishma, but in her next birth. Impatient for that day to arrive, she committed suicide by throwing herself into the fire.

Read her story here.

Last Modified At: Thu Oct 21 21:50:25 2004