In the previous episode, we had witnessed King Shantanu’s son Vichitraveerya taking over the reins of the Hastinapura kingdom, thanks to Bhishmaachaarya and with this, King Vichitraveerya started ruling the kingdom effectively. Eventually, since Vichitraveerya was a small boy when he took over the reins of the kingdom, his mother Satyavati was assisting him in the administrative affairs of the kingdom. As years passed by, Bhishmaachaarya took up the responsibility of getting Vichitraveerya married. For this, Bhishmaachaarya went to the Kaashi Desha to attend a “Svayamvara” event that was held by the Kaashi king for his three daughters – Amba, Ambika and Ambaalika. As all of us know Bhishmaachaarya’s prowess, he easily won over the “Svayamvara”, and eventually declared that the marriage of the daughters was not to be with him, but his brother Vichitraveerya. Thus, as per the agreement, Bhishmaachaarya took all the three girls along with him to Hastinaapura for Vichitraveerya’s marriage. A grand event was arranged at Hastinaapura as Bhishmaachaarya was about to arrive with the three girls.
Now comes the twist in the entire story here – As the four of them were making their way to the Hastinapura kingdom, the eldest of the three girls, Amba spoke to Bhishmaachaarya thus, “Oh Bhishma! Please understand that I’m already in love with the king of “Shaalva Desha”, and I’m willing to get married only to him and not to anyone else. If I come now to Hastinapura with you, I would be doing a great disservice to my beloved, and eventually I wouldn’t be happy if I get married to someone else other than him. Hence, I request you to leave me alone, so that I can make my way to the “Shaalva Desha” to marry the king there!” Hearing this from Amba, Bhishmaachaarya granted her permission to leave then and there. He did not force her to accompany him to Hastinapura as he also knew that this was going to be counterproductive for Vichitraveerya, and it would lead to some unwanted problems in the future.
With this, Amba fled from the scene as she hurried to the “Shaalva Desha”. However, when Amba reached the “Shaalva Desha”, the king came to know that she was won over by Bhishmaachaarya in the “Svayamvara”. With this, he became concerned and furious at the same time, and replied to Amba thus, “Oh Amba! When Bhishmaachaarya out of all the people has won over you in the “Svayamvara”, I’ve lost all the rights to marry you henceforth because it would be illegal. Moreover, if I marry you now, Bhishmaachaarya would invade me anytime and I would end up losing all my wealth and kingdom because of you. Hence, you go back to Bhishmaachaarya itself and be with him or with whomever he wants you to get married!” Hearing this from the king of Shaalva Desha, Amba hurried back to Bhishmaachaarya and explained her situation to him. She requested Bhishmaachaarya to accept him, but he refused straightaway! He replies to Amba thus, “Oh Amba! Since you’ve already expressed your desire to marry someone else, I’ve deserted you at that very moment itself. It is now impossible for me or Vichitraveerya to accept you anymore. Hence, you may go back to Shaalva Desha for a solution!”
As she goes back to the “Shaalva Desha” again, she got the same reply from the king there. With this, Amba was pushed back and forth by both Bhishmaachaarya and the king of Shaalva Desha. Eventually, Amba felt insulted by both of them and became extremely angry. She immediately ran to her “Ishta Devata” who was none other than Bhagawan Muruga (Skandha), the Bhagawan with six faces (Also referred to as Bhagawan Aaru-Muga). She started performing a deep penance towards Bhagawan Muruga and eventually He appeared in front of her. He was impressed with Amba’s penance and granted a boon. Amba explained all whatever happened between her and Bhishmaachaarya and how she was pushed back and forth by the king of Shaalva Desha and Bhishmaachaarya. She thus wanted to somehow teach Bhishmaachaarya a befitting lesson for what he had done to her.
Hearing the entire accord from Amba thus, Bhagawan Muruga creates a divine garland and gives it to her, saying thus: “Oh Amba! You take this garland with you. Whoever fights Bhishmaachaarya with this particular garland on his neck, he would be the only person who would be able to defeat Bhishmaachaarya!” Saying thus, Bhagawan Muruga offers the garland in her hands, and with this He disappears. Eventually, Amba went here and there scouting for someone to take this garland and fight Bhishmaachaarya. She was going around everywhere with a savage resolution to kill Bhishmaachaarya. However, to her utter dismay, nobody came forward! She even goes to King Drupada’s place and requests him to fight Bhishmaachaarya. King Drupada was not ready to do this and get into a tussle with Bhishmaachaarya. Eventually, tired of going here and there, Amba tied the garland to some corner of the kingdom of King Drupada and went in search of Parashurama for a solution.
This is one part of the story. We’ve to understand very clearly bere about this garland and how this appeared, because, this very garland is going to haunt Bhishmaachaarya many years later during the Kurukshetra war. The second half of this story is going to paint a clear picture as to how Bhishmaachaarya is going to meet his end and we shall wait for the next episode to find out! Stay tuned! 🙂