Monday, 4 June 2007

Visiting 'Mahabharata' ...9 (revisiting in 2011)

Amba's continued thirst for revenge
Amba moved on from the hermitage. She performed a terrible penance. Lord Shanmuka, son of Lord Shankara pleased with her penance gave her a garland of ever-fresh lotuses. He said 'The person who wears it round his neck will be the person who will kill Bheeshma'.

Amba, very happy, set out to persuade one of the powerful kings to take up her cause. They all refused. Such was the fear of the powerful Bheeshma. She went to the court of Drupada and failed to convince him as well. In disgust Amba threw the garland at a pillar in the great hall of Drupada and walked away in a fury. No one dared to touch the garland and it remained on the pillar.

She continued her severe penance with a heart full of hatred. Finally lord Shankara appeared and granted that she herself would kill him in her next birth. Amba said 'I must kill him now', as in her next life she would not remember her hatred and would not taste the joy of revenge . Lord sankara assured her that she would not forget.

Amba built a fire and threw herself into it. Later, was born to King Drupada as his daughter. One day while playing she saw the garland on the pillar and placed it round her neck. She reassured her frantically worried father 'I have been born as your child for the sole purpose of wearing this garland'. She was called Shikandi. The world thought she was a man and was tutored by Drona and years later, thanks to an Yaksha she turned a man. However, her hatred for Bheeshma continued to burn in her heart!

(Funny the way penance is described as 'terrible' and 'severe'. It seems the best way to get attention of Gods is through self-mortification of the severest kind. We know the story of Valmiki who sat unmoved as anthills covered him. Penance is not always about atonement for sins committed, but a way of accumulating immense power. In this case the motivation was revenge.
We see instances in the epics where Gods bestow powers unthinkingly. But we are always assured that there was a very valid reason and the events that follow would explain !)

(We hear stories of past life memories. Mostly it is about child prodigies, scholars and artists. In some cases of persons who had accidental deaths or were murdered. Is it possible that there are Amba's hidden amongst us? Some seem to have an agenda against others without apparent reasons. Hatred carried forward from their past janma?
 I wonder if Gods should take sides and support those who have nothing but hatred in their hearts! Yet to see the mention of being forgiving so far. May be difficult in case of Amba.)

1 comment:

Raghunath said...

That was Dwapara Yuga when the hotline between the gods and man was still operating, albeit after 'ghor tapasya'. In Kali Yuga it has been replaced by power lines that connect only mortals. Therefore only 'nasmarana'is effective! But cannot elicit boons