Mahaabhaarat | Kathaa-G | 5-Pre-War

5-Udyog Parv, 189-
Kathaa-G - 5 Pre-War - page 26

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Udyog Parv

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Story of Shikhandee-3
Ambaa Exerts to Take Her Revenge

Then Parashuraam called Ambaa and said to her - "I could not get success in my objective although I fought at my best. You may go wherever you wish to go. What else can I do for you?"

Ambaa said - "You have done your best, he is invincible even by Devtaa. Now I will not talk to Bheeshm again. I will do Tap to kill him myself." Then everybody departed. I appointed a few spies to spy on her actions. They reported me about her day to day actions. She really went to do Tap. I got very sad to hear this. I then told all that she did to Naarad and Vyaas. They both said - "Do not be sad because of her. Who has changed the destiny by exertion?"

She did Tap beyond human powers. She passed six months without food, lived on air for next six months and stood unmoved, the she stood in water of Yamunaa for a whole year, stood on her front toes for next year and ate only one fallen leaf from a tree. Thus passing twelve years she made the Heavens tremble. Then she went to Vatsbhoomi, the abode of Siddh and Chaaran Then she started roaming around freely. She went to the places of Naarad, Ulook, Chyavan, Prayaag, Bhogvatee Nagaree, Vishwaamitra, Maandavya etc. One day my asked her - "Why do you afflict yourself so much? Tell me." She said - "Raam has been defeated by Bheeshm. Who else can defeat Bheeshm? I am doing severe tap to kill him, this is the main objective of my vow." She said - "You are acting crookedly. You will never be able to fulfill your wish. If you vow to kill Bheeshm, you will become a river in your next life. You will be filled with water only in rainy season and will be dry for the rest of eight months."

Then Ambaa started doing tap again. sacrificing food and water, sometimes for eight months, sometimes for ten months. She came back to Vatsbhoomi and became a river, but because of her Tap her half body became the river in Vatsbhoomi, and the other half body remained of a girl. Now the Rishi who lived there asked her the reason of her Tap. She said the same thing to them too, that she will be at peace only after the death of Bheeshm. Soon Shiv appeared before her and asked her to ask for Var. She asked for my defeat. Shiv said - "You will slay him."

At this she asked - "But then how will it happen? How can I go in the battlefield being a woman? You have promised me, so let your promise be true that I shall slay him in the battlefield." Shiv said - "My words cannot be lie. You will obtain manhood and will slay Bheeshm in battle. You will remember all the incidents of this life in your new life. You will born in Drupad's house and as a Marhathaa.You will be well skilled in warfare. You will become a man after some time." And Shiv disappeared after saying this. Then Ambaa made a pyre on the banks of Yamunaa, set fire in it and immolated herself."

Ambaa is Born as Shikhandee

Duryodhan asked - "Hey Pitaamaha, Tell me then how Ambaa, born as a daughter of Drupad, became a man later?" Bheeshm said - "Drupad's eldest queen was childless first, so Drupad did a great Tap for Shankar to get a child with the intention to kill me, saying, "Let a son, not a daughter be born to me to revenge Bheeshm". Shankar appeared before him and said - "You will have a child who will be a female and a male." Drupad came home and told everything to his queen. He said - "Although I asked him as how it would happen but he said "This is destiny and not otherwise. That which is destined must take place."

In due course of time, Drupad's queen Prishataa, conceived by Naarad - as I heard, gave birth to a very beautiful daughter. But the queen told Drupad that she gave birth to a son so Drupad performed all the rites of that child considering it as a male child. No other person knew the sex of that child except Prishataa. Drupad believed in Shankar so he also hid the sex of the child. He named her Shikhandee. I alone through my spies and from Naarad knew the truth.

Drupad taught her writing and painting and for archery she became the disciple of Drone. When she grew old enough to be married, although Drupad hesitated to marry her with a girl but at the request of his wife he arranged a wife for her. He chose Hiranyavarmaa's daughter for her. Later the wife came to know that Shikhandee was a girl like herself. She informed this to her attendants and they informed her father and Hiranyavarmaa filled with rage. At this he sent a messenger to Drupad saying that Drupad had cheated Hiranyavarmaa and he would kill Drupad and his whole family.

Drupad couldn't speak first, but then he sent back the messenger consoling that his son was not a girl. Upon ascertaining once again that Shikhandee was a girl, Hiranyavarmaa didn't lose the time. He himself to Drupad and consulted Drupad on this matter. They came to the conclusion that upon the confirmation that Shikhandee was a girl, Drupad would be dragged out of the city and both Drupad and Shikhandee would be slain, and a new king would be appointed in place of Drupad.

Drupad filled with fear approached his wife and said - "Hiranyavarmaa is coming towards us. He has identified Shikhandee as a girl. What we should do about this our daughter? Tell me what is the truth? Only after hearing from you I will settle this matter. I am in danger. Although I have been deceived by you still I will work in favor of you both." Although the king knew everything still he said this in the presence of his counselors. His wife replied - "For the fear of my co-wives, when I had this child, although it was a girl, I declared it as a son to receive your love. You performed all her rites considering her a son. Then you married her to the daughter of Hiranyavarmaa at my approval. I did not say anything remembering the words of Shankar - "Born as a daughter she will become a son". He started preparing for war. Seeing the king in distress, Prishataa said to him - "Worship all Devtaa, they will surely help you. Find some way so that there is no war. Only Devtaa can help." 

Seeing her parents in distress, and considering herself the cause of all this, Shikhandee ran away from the palace to woods. That forest belonged to a Yaksh called Sthoonkarn. He had a mansion there. Shikhandee entered the mansion and forwent food for several days to reduce herself. Sthoon appeared before her and asked her her wish. Shikhandee insisted that he could not help her. Sthoon said - I am the Yaksh from Kuber. I can grant even that which cannot be given to you. Just tell me what do you want."

Shikhandee told her story and requested him to save her parents and give her manhood as long as Hiranyavarmaa was in the country. Yaksh said - "I can give you manhood only for a certain period, you must come back to return it to me after that period is over. Save yourself and your countrymen, then return my manhood to me. Shikhandee promised to do so. So they exchanged their bodies in sexes. Shikhandee came back home with Yaksh body and told everything that happened in the woods. Drupad got very happy to hear that and remembering the words of Shankar he sent a messenger to Hiranyavarmaa saying "My child is a male, you should believe it."

But in the meantime Hiranyavarmaa had come to Kaampilya and sent his messenger to Drupad saying that he had cheated him through his daughter and he would kill all his people. At this Drupad again sent an envoy to Hiranyavarmaa saying - "My son is a male you should believe it. Somebody must have wrongly reported you, you may enquire yourself." At this Hiranyavarmaa sent some young girls to ascertain her sex. Those girls confirmed that Shikhandee was a powerful male. Hearing this Hiranyavarmaa got very happy, he spent a few days with Drupad, then returned to his capital after giving much wealth to Shikhandee. Shikhandee began to live happily with his wife.

After some time Sthoon gave his manhood to Shikhandee, Kuber visited Sthoon's place. He saw, from above, that his place was adorned with flower garlands, was smelling sweet with lots of fragrances, was well-kept. Kuber asked to his followers - "Why Sthoonkarn is not coming to welcome me? He should be punished." His followers said to him - "Drupad has a daughter named Shikhandee. For some reason Sthoonkarn has given his manhood to her in exchange of her womanhood. It is because of this ahame he is not coming to you." Kuber said - "Bring him to me, I will punish him." Sthoonkarn came to him in his feminine form, Kuber cursed him - "Be a feminine for your whole life. You have done that has never been done by anybody, so you remain a woman and he will remain a woman." Sthoonkarn requested him to soften his curse for some limited time. Then Kuber limited it until Shikhandee was alive." And Sthoonkarn continued to live there.

Bheeshm continued - "When the time came Shikhandee immediately came to that Yaksh. Yaksh said - "I am very pleased with you that you have come." Then he told everything that happened. He said - "Because of you I was cursed. Now you may live amongst men as you wish. Your coming here and Kuber's coming here, I think, all was ordained beforehand - incapable of being prevented."

All this was told by my spies who were in disguise as idiots. Thus Shikhandee is a woman changed to a male later. And she was Ambaa who was born as Shikhandee. That is why even if he comes to me with bow in hand, I will not look at him even for a moment. Everybody knows that I will not take up a weapon again a woman, or a man who has been a woman before or bearing a name of a woman. That is why I will not fight with Shikhandee. Duryodhan considered this proper for Bheeshm.

5-Udyog Parv Ends Here
6-Bheeshm Parv G-6-War


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Created by Sushma Gupta On 03/09/02
Modified on 04/08/13