Insult of Amba
When Vichitravira was old enough to get married ; Bhishma went to the swayamvara ( a marriage custom in which princesses married the best prince present by placing a garland on his neck) of the princesses of Kasi.Although the other kings initially welcomed Bhishma’s arrival.They soon realized that Bhishma was securing all three princesses for his brother Vichitravira . When Bhishma found out that all the kings opposed his presence; he challenged them all and beat them all including the King of Salva ,whom Amba, one of the princesses ,had accepted as husband by mind.
Before the amazed and overwhelmed court, Bhishma asked Vichitravira to marry all three princesses. Suddenly everyone was staring at the princess called Amba, who was now weeping in silence. Then Bheeshma broke the pin-drop silence by asking Amba ,sternly, the reason behind her silent weeping. Amba explained to him that she had accepted Salva as husband before Bhishma fought and defeated Salva and the other kings to secure the three princesses.
At once, Bhishma gave her leave and sent her with proper gifts to Salva since it was considered wrong in those days to forcefully marry a princess who had accepted another king or prince as her husband.
Salva ,who was grudging his defeat against Bhishma, told Amba that Bhishma should marry her since it was he who had justly won her in a battle. So Amba ,although, ashamed went to Bhishma and told him to marry her as Salva had advised. Bhishma although moved replied that he couldn’t since he had taken an oath to not to marry. Then Bhishma went to Vichitravira and asked him to marry her.
Vichitravira replied, ” Even though I wouldn’t refuse your advise; this time there is no choice but to refuse your advise since I will never marry a girl whose mind has already given to another man.”
Amba tried to take revenge against Bhishma and prayed to the almighty Lord Shiva, who granted her a garland which if put on by that person will help in killing his enemy. Even though Amba asked many kings to put on the garland and fight Bheeshma; none were brave enough.
So, Amba dived into a roaring fire and died since she was eager to be born as the daughter-afterwards- son of Drupada. Before commiting suicide she placed the garland around Drupada’s pillar. Due to Lord Shiva’s boon or blessings, Amba then Sikhandin in the next life remebered flung the garland around her neck. Dhrupada was worried, but didn’t react. Because of the blessings of one Deva (gods) Sikhandin( Amba’s reincarnation) became a man.
When everything seemed right in Hastinapura, Vichitraveera fell sick and nothing could save him. Satyavati his mother was worried that there would be no heir to the throne. Satyavati asked Bheeshma, who totally refused, to marry the two young widows.
Then finally she asked Vyasa the writer of this book to marry them. He agreed and Ambika had a blind son since Ambika shut her eyes towards the rishi unable to bear his ugly presence.
However, Ambaalika had a pale but wise son because Ambaalika didn’t shut her eyes but was frightened by the rishi’s presence so she was pale and sickly towards him. And the maid had the wisest son because she served him very well.