Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Mahabharata (book 5.CLXXVI)

When Amba arrived at Salya's palace she was ushered into the same room where she and her sisters had first met the handsome king. However, today when Salya entered the room, he was limping in obvious pain with bandages at various points along his arms and legs. His expression was sour as well when he asked, "What are you doing here?"

Amba rose and rushed to him while saying, "I've come to be with you my Lord."

Salya put up his hand to stop her advance, "You are to be wedded to Vichitravirya are you not?"

"I refused him so I could be with you . . . for I love you."

Salya laughed cruelly in response, "When you were abducted by Bhishma you seemed to go with him quite cheerfully as far as I could tell."

"That is not true", flustered Amba as she began to realize her plan to marry Salya was falling apart. "I was weeping the whole time, and only thinking of you. It is only by convincing Bhishma of my love for you that he has allowed me to come. Please accept me."

Salya shook his head, "How can I accept someone who has been promised to another? Not only that, but forcibly abducted to wed another. You belong to Bhishma now." Recalling his defeat, Salya's expression turned to rage, "Bhishma humiliated me in battle and when I look at you now all I remember is that humiliation. Be gone!"

Salya turned and left leaving Amba alone. Once again Amba realized the reality of her situation. No king would marry someone promised to another. She had no choice but to return to Hastinapura and marry Vichitravirya, but somehow that thought was just revolting. It was really Bhishma that she wanted to marry. Salya was right though, that since it was Bhishma that abducted her, then it is Bhishma that is now responsible for her. It is his duty to accept her as his wife.

With this new line of reasoning firmly in her mind, Amba returned to Hastinapura. After once again gaining a private audience with Bhishma at the palace, she began, "Salya informed me that after having been abducted by you that I am now your responsibility. You are my protector."

Bhishma replied, "This is true. Then you will marry Vichitravirya after all?"

Before Amba could answer, there was a knock at the door and an attendant entered the room, "I deeply sorry to interrupt my liege, but king Vichitravirya has passed away."

"What!?!" exclaimed Bhishma as both he and Amba turned to the attendant with startled expressions.

The attendant continued, "It seems the exertions of married life were too much for him. He has succumbed to his phthisis."

Bhishma regained his composure and replied, "Tell queen Satyavati I'll be there shortly."

"Yes, my liege," replied the attendant, as he left closing the door behind him.

Amba turned to Bhishma and said, "I am sorry for your loss."

After a short pause, she continued, "As the only remaining heir to the throne it seems you have no choice now but to assume your rightful role as king of Hastinapura."

Amba waited with anticipation for Bhishma's response as she felt certain her deepest desire was soon to be fulfilled.

Bhishma looked into Amba's eyes and this time allowed them to penetrate his soul. He then knew she was his destiny. In another life he would have been king and she his queen. In another life, they would have been incredibly happy together and raised many children; grown old together and watched their children and the kingdom prosper. In another life . . . but not this life.

After a lengthy pause, Bhishma then replied, "I have made a vow to never assume the throne for myself, and I intend to maintain that vow until the day I die."

Amba couldn't believe his answer. She was certain his lengthy gaze into her eyes was one of true love. Perhaps he just needs a nudge to reach the right conclusion, so she replied, "but surely queen Satyavati's father will no longer hold you to that vow given that his heirs have all died."

"It doesn't matter. Once a vow has been taken it must be kept, regardless of the circumstances."

Amba was now beginning to get angry over Bhishma's stubbornness. "Would you see the kingdom destroyed with no king to rule it?"

"If it came to that, yes, but I believe there are still other alternatives by which an heir may be produced."

Amba's anger was now growing. "What about your responsibility to me then? How will you fulfil that responsibility now that king Vichitravirya is dead?"

Bhishma thought for a moment, then replied, "I cannot."

Amba continued, "Failing to fulfil your responsibilities to me is a sin equal to or even greater than breaking your vow. So why not choose the path aligned with the destiny of a kshatriya?"

"I am sorry, but my vow takes precedence as I made it with full knowledge of the outcome. Your situation, though it grieves me, is an accident beyond my control."

Amba was now furious. "Heed my words! You will be destroyed for committing this grave sin against me." She turned and stormed out of the palace, but soon began weeping uncontrollably. Climbing into her chariot, she left Hastinapura as quickly as possible with no particular destination in mind.


1. Derived from: Udyoga Parva, Section CLXXVI, p. 336-337.

2. Vichitravirya's death: Adi Parva, Section CII, p. 222.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Manoj
    This is paresh i like to watch your kriya yoga on you tube video you are doing good job. i have question do you have any video about Shree Vidhya Sadhana IF PLEASE LET ME KNOW I WILL APPRECIATE