Shikhandi- The Unsung Saga
Some topics are debated all over the world by philosophers, mind trainers, and therapists. I’m sure many of you have read “Many lives Many Masters” by Dr. Brian Weiss. In the book, he writes about a patient who is troubled by depression and anxieties and Dr. Brian takes her to her past life, and while making her travel between two lives, the doctor received some real-life lessons from the Masters. It’s an amazing book, do read it.
So, past life regression is a common practice and there is another world, beyond this mortal world, it is very well mentioned in the book.
In our ancient stories and fables, we have read that God came to this world and incarnated as a mortal just like you and me. Lord Vishnu came here as a fish (Matsya) first, then as a tortoise (Kurma), then as a Boar (Varaha), then half Animal half-human (Narsimha) and then as a Human being afterward (Vamana, PrashuRam, Ram, Krishna). These Avatars were compared with Darwin’s theory too. Incarnations and Reincarnations are very usual in the Indian Mythology which somewhat getting proved in the present era.
One such story of Reincarnation was mentioned in the celebrated Epic, the Mahabharata. There was a Character called Shikhandi who was used as a shield to kill Bhisma Pitamah.
Bhishma got a boon from his father Shantanu that no armor can kill him. But Shikhandi reincarnated to kill Bhisma. Confused? Let’s start from the beginning.
One of the three princesses of Kashi was Amba. She was deeply in love with King Salva and wanted to marry him. When all the preparations of the marriage were going on, Bhishma Pitamah came and kidnapped her. He wanted Amba to marry his younger brother. She politely requested him to leave her alone. She cried that she is in love with Salva and wanted to marry him. She begged in front of him and his brother Vichitravirya, who agreed to what she said and took her back to Salva. But Salva didn’t accept her because she was touched by Bhisma and he felt that it wasn’t right. He thought that accepting a girl who had been touched by another man is against the societal norms. He rejected her and told her to go back to Bhishma.
She wasn’t expecting that from her the man she once loved more than anything in this world. She felt dejected, roaming here and there with innumerable oblivious thoughts and dilemma, she decided to go back to Bhishma. There too she had to face dejection. According to a promise to his Father, Bhishma couldn’t get married.
Now Amba was angry. Her eyes filled with vengeance and wanted to take revenge from Bhisma because of creating that mess. But, how? No one can kill Bhisma according to the boon.
She prayed to the Gods, did hard penance, but no one listened to her. Finally, she went to the Himalayas and prayed to Lord Shiva. Lord Kartikeya (Murugan) went to her and gave her a garland. He said that this garland is given to him by Lord Shiva and anyone who wears this can kill Bhisma. She finally saw a ray of hope and went to innumerable rulers in the beautiful continent of the nation, but no one accepted to have a combat with Bhishma. She went to King Drupada, the noble ruler of Panchaal with a final hope, but he also rejected the proposal. In Anger, she hanged that garland at the entry gate of Panchaal and died.
Now call it destiny or karma, she Reincarnated as Shikhandini and took birth as the daughter of King Drupada. At the age of nine, she saw that the garland on the gate and suddenly she remembered everything. At that tender age, she went to the forest and started hard penance. Day and night the fire inside her was increasing and the fuel was a thought – a thought to kill Bhisma.
One day when she came out of a slumber, she saw a Yaksha flying in the sky, smiling at her. She looked at him in amazement. Suddenly he shot an arrow towards her and she became a man. Yes, she became a man, Shikhandi. Her (his) penance became harder and harder with each day passed.
During the Kurukshetra war, When Pandavas realized that Bhishma Pitamah needs to be killed, Lord Krishna suggested them to take help from Shikhandi, Brother of Draupadi – their wife.
When Shikhandi entered the battle, Bhisma recognized him as Amba and didn’t attack him because attacking a woman is against the rules. Using Shikhandi as a shield, Arjun Shot an arrow at Bhishma, which Pierced across his chest.
On the 18th day, Shikhandi was killed in the war by Ashwathama (son of Dronacharya) by a sword.
It took her long, very long to complete her mission, but even death failed to stop her from killing Bhishma.
In this male-dominated society, women have suffered a lot. This story proves that a woman has the tendency to turn the tables, single-handedly.
This is a story that didn’t get much attention because it is widely believed that women can’t be heroes. This is for all women who think they are weak and can’t survive in this male-dominated society. This is for you.
Thanks for reading.
Love, Laughter, and peace
Himanshu R Nagpal