Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya: Chapter 11: Part 3

  • 81 Shantanu, the best amongst Kings, granted the boons of death by wish, non-defeat in battle and not being subjugated to enemies, to Bhishma and enjoyed life with Satyavati for many years.
  • 82 Shantanu obtained through her, a son named Chitrangada, and another son named Vichitravirya; When they were still young, he gave up his body thinking – “Of what use is this aged body to me anymore?”
  • 83 He gave up his body due to his own wish and obtained the post of Varuna; In those times, people (the Tapasvis) never gave up their body without desiring to do so, unless they were killed by those stronger than themselves.
  • 84 Those who over indulge in enjoying material pleasures, and those who live without Tapas, die out of other causes even if they do not desire so; Just like how Chitrangada’s younger brother died.
  • 85 Then, Bhishma finished the post-death rituals of his father and coronated the brave Chitrangada on the throne; He placed his younger brother as the crown-prince.
  • 86 Refusing to give up his name, Chitrangada, who was yet unmarried, got killed in a big battle with a Gandharva named Chitrangada.
  • Note: A Gandharva named Chitrangada objected to the same name being shared by Bhishma’s brother. He challenged him to a duel or demanded that he change his name. Chitrangada, the King, refused to change his name and preferred to fight, and ended up being killed.
  • 87, 88 Having placed Vichitravirya on the throne, Bhishma started to take care of the Kingdom; The brave Bhishma then kidnapped and brought Amba, Ambika and Ambalika, the three daughters of the King of Kashi, even as Brahmadatta was about to take them, by defeating that Salva King and also the other Kshatriyas who had gathered there.
  • 89 Among them, the excellent Ambika and Ambalika agreed to it (the kidnapping); But Amba, who was Bhishma’s wife in the previous life, did not consent.
  • 90 Due to Brahma’s curse, she declared that she desired the King of Salva; Bhishma sent her back to Salva, without conducting her marriage.
  • 91 Salva rejected her accusing her of being taken by another man; She came back to Bhishma again; He too did not accept her; She then went to Lord Parashurama.
  • 92 Over here, Bhishma got Ambika and Ambalika married to his brother Vichitravirya; In order to grant success to Bhishma, Lord Parashurama fought a battle with him.
  • 93 Due to compassion over Bhishma, He did not kill him even though He possesses infinite strength; Neither did He make him accept Amba.
  • 94 He has infinite strength; He is inside of everyone; He knows it all; He has everything under His control; He wins over everybody; There is none who is a match for Him, in any which way; How then can He lack strength (to win)?
  • 95 In order to fill His devotee Bhishma with success, and in order to confuse the Asuras, Lord Parashurama did not kill Bhishma, even though He won over him; He made the words of His devotee come true.
  • 96 The Supreme Lord shows up as having been beaten, confused and suffering from pain only to delude the Asuras; Lord Vishnu can never become like that; With the confirmation from statements from the Puranas like these, (we can infer that) Lord Parashurama is always victorious.
  • 97, 98 Lord Parashurama granted fame to Bhishma and liberated Amba from the sin of having taken enemity with her original husband and united her with him after she was born as Shikhandi; Then, Amba performed a penance to Lord Shiva in order to kill Bhishma and obtain masculinity.
  • 99 Lord Parashurama made His own promise of uniting Amba with Bhishma come true once Bhishma obtained his original form.
  • 100 Lord Shiva became pleased with her penance and granted her the boon of becoming the cause of Bhishma’s death and that of obtaining masculinity over time.
  • 101 He also gave her a garland and said that the person who wears the garland would kill Bhishma; Amba took that garland and went to various Kings.
  • 102 Due to the fear of Bhishma, no one accepted it; Finally, she kept it at the door of Drupada’s house and left her body with the strength of Yoga.
  • 103, 104 At the same time, Drupada performed a penance to Lord Shiva in order to obtain a son; Shiva told him – “You shall obtain a girl child who shall later turn into a man”; Later, Amba was born to him as Shikhandini; Drupada performed all samskaras to her as if she were a male.
  • 105 The King of Panchala, Drupada, hid her in the dress of a man and later got her married to the daughter of the King of Dashaarna.
  • 106 The daughter of the King of Dashaarna got to know the fact that she was a female, a fact that no one apart from her parents knew till then; She revealed that to her elderly maid who told it to her father.
  • 107 That King of Dashaarna got extremely angry and sent a message to the King of Panchala saying – “I shall kill you along with all your relatives”; He started off with his army too.
  • 108 Placing confidence in the words of Shiva, Drupada, the son of Prushata, sent back a sarcastic message saying – “My offspring is indeed a male; Sigh to you! Your mind is spoilt by the words of ignorant people; How can you rule a Kingdom when you cannot even examine things before taking action?”.
  • 109, 110 Later, Shikhandini, noticing that her father along with her mother are both troubled, decided that they should not suffer harm due to her and went away to a forest out of sorrow; There, a Gandharva by name Tumburu, was living under the name of Sthoonaakarna as he had very strong ears.
  • 111 He listened to her entire story and, out of a large heart, showed compassion on her; He gave her his body and took over her body; In order to ensure she obtains masculinity, he stayed in his donated body as an amsha.
  • 112 Men can obtain feminity sometimes; Even then they will be only men in the end; But women, even under extreme circumstances, will not obtain masculinity.
  • 113, 114 Therefore, even though she had Shiva’s boon, Amba was born as a female only and not as a male; Later too, she entered a male body which had a male in it but her body did not obtain masculinity; She did not reside in a male body as a male Jiva; Having entered the body of the Gandharva, which had the presence of the Gandharva also, she went back home.
  • 115 Due to the grace of the Gandharva, the body in which she resided resembled her own body.
  • 116 ” You return my body back to me tomorrow; Then, you get back to your body”- having said thus, the Gandharva resided in the feminine body; He stayed back in the forest; Kubera then came there.
  • 117 Kubera cursed the Gandharva, who hid in the bushes out of embarassment and did not stand up and wish him, thus – “You stay in this manner for a long time”.
  • 118, 119 “The woman who is in your body will die in battle and only then you shall regain your masculinity; All this is due to your inappropriate action” – having been told thus, the Gandharva started living there itself; That lady narrated the entire episode in detail to her parents; They became very pleased.
  • 120, 121 Her father-in-law examined her using various methods and (having failed to prove her feminity) returned back embarassed; The next day, Shikhandini went back to the Gandharva and, according to his words, came back with the masculine body itself; Later he came to be known as Shikhandi and became a very valorous warrior with astras and weapons.

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