Monday, 4 June 2007

Visiting 'Mahabharata' ...8 (revisiting in 2011)

(Tara adds to the modern 'Amba' story. She said that the girl was forced by her family to get married to the one chosen by them. Both her brother and father beat her up. And the probable reason why her lover did not turn up was that his family had locked him up! A strange story and I see that stranger things happen in the real Amba story!)

Anyway the ill-starred Amba spends six years without a solution to her predicament. She tries to join a hermitage, the ascetics(!) do not want her as they are worried to have an unmarried woman amongst them! Her grandfather Hotravahana tries to influence Bheeshma through Bhargava, his friend and Bheeshma's guru . Bhargava feeling sorry for Amba, summons his pupil and urges him to marry her. Bheeshma holds firm to his oath. Bhargava furious says that he has no choice but to either curse or fight Bheeshma. Bheeshma dreads the curse and choses to fight his guru.

A terrible battle is fought, which rages for days and nights, between the teacher and the pupil. Finally, Bheeshama chose to send the astra called Praswaapa. That meant the destruction of the world. Gods then intervene and convince Bheeshma to be the first one to withdraw fighting. Guru embraces his pupil and says 'you are the greatest of all fighters, I could not defeat you'. He advises Amba to give up as she has seen that even he could not shake Bheeshma's resolution.

(As I read this version of Mahabharata, I see that author Kamala is clearly making a statement on the condition of women in ancient times. We also see Amba is not the one to give up easily! Obvioulsy she was pushed into a corner. Her fault was being honest about her feelings and expecting fairplay!

 The gods who were vigilant and thus saved the world from destruction apparently were not bothered about Amba's predicament! But who can question gods?)

(Wonder if we can name equivalent personalities in Team Anna Hazare's crusade against corruption!)

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