Gratuitous or unwanted, unrealizable love between two people can be devastating for both. And yet neither is our heart under our control nor are the strings attached to them. And yet, we become mere puppets when such love begins to blossom, knowing it will eventually break our hearts.
This rarely told tale narrates a story of the love between two people who were never meant to be. It talks of circumstances that led to their meeting and the brief, yet intense time they spent together. They found love in each other’s moments of loneliness, but circumstances led to their separation.
‘Let me go,’ pleaded Amba, as Bhishma’s chariot stopped at the gates of Hastinapur. Her sisters, Ambika and Ambalika had been escorted into the royal palace amidst much fanfare and the maids stood waiting for her to alight from the chariot. ‘I have given my heart to King Shalya,’ she cried, ‘I cannot accept Vichitraveerya as my husband.’
Bhishma looked at the beautiful Amba, and he could not bear to see her cry. He realized how wrong it would be to love one and marry another. ‘I will take you back to your beloved’, he said, as he gestured for the maids to go away, and turned his chariot towards the Madra kingdom.
As the horses raced through the forests, the wind blew Amba’s fragrant hair all across Bhishma’s face. As he inhaled the perfume, he was momentarily filled with a deep attraction towards this woman. Their eyes met briefly and she caught his gaze. Suddenly, realizing how wrong it was to feel that way for a woman committed to another, he stepped away so that he would not be tempted thus again.
Amba looked at Bhishma’s broad shoulders, attracted to the rich baritone of his voice, and considered how he had readily agreed to her wishes, and for a moment found herself thinking, If Bhishma had abducted me for himself rather than the revolting Vichitraveerya, maybe I would have gladly married him.
Then, suddenly ashamed of these thoughts passing through her mind, she chided herself, How dare you think of another, when your beloved Shalya is waiting for you.’
Bhishma left her at Shalya’s kingdom and rode away, but Shalya refused to accept Amba and sent her away. Heartbroken, Amba called for an audience with Bhishma. She did not want to marry Vichitraveerya and Shalya would not marry her. It was really Bhishma that she wanted to marry.
‘Oh, Great king Bhishma, Shalya refused to marry me, and since you abducted me, I am now your responsibility’, she said, hoping Bhishma would agree to marry her. She remembered his longing gaze as her hair flew across his face. His feelings were not lost on her.
Bhishma did not know what to say. King Vichitraveerya had passed away as soon as he was married. Amba could no longer be married off to his cousin. He looked at the beautiful maiden in front of him. There were tears in her almond shaped eyes and she looked longingly at him. He knew he had wronged her by abducting her thus, and now it would be his responsibility to be her protector.
He looked into her eyes and this time allowed them to penetrate his soul. A part of him wanted to embrace her and wrap his strong arms around her. He knew that she was his destiny. But then he remembered his vow.
In another life, he would have been King and he would gladly have made her his queen. In another life, they would have been happy together and raised many children, and watched their kingdom and children prosper. In another life…but not this one. And then he sadly looked away.
‘I am bound by a vow of celibacy I gave my mother Satyavati, I can never marry. I can never become king.’
As much as Amba tried to convince him, he would not budge. The love that had flowered between them was gratuitous, something that was not meant to be. It was a love story of two unfortunate people, beautiful and god-like in their own way, and the romance that blossomed between them, never bloomed into its full flourish.
Falling in love with someone you shouldn't, that isn't so uncommon. And, however brief the duration of the romance, it does sting your heart and leave a scar.
Linking back to the A to Z Challenge.
This day..last year....G for Giving