The story of Amba is well known. Bhishma abducted Amba and her sisters Ambika and Ambalika to marry his brother Vichitravirya. However, Amba told Bhishma she was in love with a prince Shalva and he let her go. However, Shalva, who had been defeated by Bhishma while he was attempting to rescue the three sisters could not accept Amba since his ego had been hurt. Amba returned to Bhishma and asked him to marry her but he had sworn to remain celibate all his life so he refused. This made Amba very angry and she swore to avenge her insult.
Amba prayed to Lord Kartikey who gifted her a garland. He told her that the one who would wear this garland would be the cause of Bhishma’s end. Amba went to numerous kings but all of them rejected the idea because becoming the cause of Bhishma’s end meant the end of their peace and happiness. Amba hung the garland on the palace gates of king Draupad and gave up her life because she was told by Shiva that she would be able to achieve her aim in the next birth.
After many years, she was reborn as Draupad’s daughter Shikhandi. When she saw the garland still hanging on the palace gates, she realized that no one but she would be the cause of Bhishma’s death. So, she wore the garland and the rest as they say is history.
This story fascinates me for three reasons. The first reason is why would some one be so consumed by the thought of revenge that they would waste two lifetimes seeking revenge? Is it not better to forgive the person and move on with life? Yes, I agree, those were different days but even today people kill others for revenge or harm them for life.
The second reason is that some how this story clearly illustrates the fact that no one can fulfill your goals for you. If you have decided to do something,or have set a goal whether wrong or right, no one will be able to achieve that for you no matter how close the person maybe to you.
The third reason is that some goals require you to transform yourself completely before you can actually think of achieving them. This story is somewhat symbolic in the death or the transformation that is required to achieve a goal. From the day we are born, to the day we die, we are transformed a million times over. We don’t remain the same person all our lives. When we commit our lives to a cause or rise up to a challenge, we are transformed. When we decide to become better versions of ourselves, we are transformed.
Amba searched far and wide for the person who would become the cause of Bhishma’s death and ultimately realized she was the one who would become his nemesis. However, for that she had to completely transform herself, die, bear hardships and become stronger.