A swayamvara gone awry
What was Bhishma’s involvement with Amba? Who were the sisters Amba, Ambika and Ambalika? What part did they play in the epic?
The pendulum swings inexorably, keeping time for Destiny; Chitrangada battles a gandharva, and falls in ignominy
To the fore, came Vichitravirya as the boy-king; leading Bhishma to rule, after allegiance swearing
In time, Vichitravirya was ready to wife; and Bhishma set out to prepare for him new life
Beautiful daughters had Kasi, a neighbouring king; the fair maidens would make good wives for the new young king
The princesses’ famed beauty well known throughout the country; kshastriya princes came, to win wives, sprouting rivalry
Bhishma’s presence shocked these sons of the warrior born; forgotten his vows of celibacy, they scorned
This stoked the wrath of the finest in the Bharata Race; Bhishma rose, fought and defeated them all to lose their place
Claiming the prize for his King Vichitravirya, Bhishma took leave; to Hastinapura in triumph, with the Kasi princesses, three
One of the virgins had a secret love, the first born, Amba; her heart she had given to King Salva, who ruled Saubala
From a distance, Salva had felt the fair maiden’s choice, his heart pierced; overtaking Bhishma, the love-struck king to win her, battled fierce
Salva worsted, the Peerless prevailed, and only by Amba’s intervention; the Saubalan’s life spared, but defeat would weigh him down in humiliation
Meanwhile, Hastinapura blossomed for the betrothal of Vichitravirya; kings thronged to witness his union to sisters, Amba, Ambika, Ambalika
Flames flared, sweet scents rose, ancient mantras brought rushing, the auspicious moment; alas, the congregation shocked, witnessed Amba bemoan her fate fallen
He lives in my mind, release me from this shame or on these flames I end; the life of a maiden of the Bharata Race, for this my amend
Shame on this august assembly to give unto another, a woman unwilling; know you Scripture, O Son of Bharata, I’m your daughter, do the right thing
A great commotion erupted, Bhishma in humility, he submitted; with royal escort, Amba to Salva’s court immediately, he conducted
Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2020
For several weeks, readers were unable to post comments on my blog pages. When I changed the blog theme, I made a mistake in the comment settings. Silly me. I apologize for all the aggravation. Have since fixed the problem.
You’re welcome to post comments on the Mahabharata Page. Thank you!
Next Friday: Sikhandin
If you like to read short stories based on the Mahabharata, subscribe to Eric’s Newsletter.