Bhishma also known as Devavrata was the son of King Shantanu and Ganga. He was a great warrior and archer. He had all the capabilities to become the most powerful and wise king of all times.
He gave away the throne in order to fulfil his father’s desire to marry Matsyagandha(or “Satyavati”).
On the other hand, he helped his step brother to rule the kingdom.
Mahabharat mentions about an epic war between Bhishma and Lord Parshuram.
Yes!!! You heard it right. Lord Parshuram – the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu and even the Guru of Bhishma.
What forced Bhishma to fight against his Guru ? Who won ?
Amba, the eldest princess of Varanasi laid the battleground between Bhishma and Parshuram. How ? How is she associated with Bhishma ?
Bhishma, a true brother, was given a task to find bride for his step brother – Vichitravirya.
His search ends in Varanasi where he abducted the princesses Amba, Ambika and Ambalika from their swayamvara.
Upon coming back, he learnt that Amba and Salwa, ruler of Sambala, were in love and wanted to marry. He soon realised his mistake and felt guilty.
To rectify his mistake, he sent Amba back to prince Salwa. However, fortune had other plans.
Salwa didn’t accept her as she was captured in the company of another man for long.
Amba was devastated and humiliated by the whole incident. She then decided to demand Bhishma to marry her as he was sole responsible for the crises.
Bhishma’s hands were however tied with the rope of his oath which was
I vow that I shall never marry and I shall always be a celibate
He had no other option but to refuse the proposal.
His words of refusal and act of abduction made Amba angry.
Amba approaches Parshuram for justice
On suggestion of her grandfather Amba decided to approach Parshuram for justice.
On learning about the whole situation, he immediately ordered Bhishma(his student) to rectify his deeds by marrying her.
Bhishma respectfully refused on the grounds of his oath. As a consequence, Parshuram declared a fight with Bhishma in Kurukshetra.
On the battleground of Kurukshetra
Bhishma arrived on the chariot with deadly armours. While Parshuram arrived on foot and was with barehands.
On seeing this Bhishma politely requested Parshuram(his guru) to take his chariot and all his armours to make the fight fair.
Parshuram was pleased with this selfless act of Bhishma and blessed him with the power of divine vision. He then asked Bhishma to see again. Bhishma looked at his guru again and was spellbound to witness the whole scene.
He saw the Earth as Parshuram’s chariot, Four Vedas as the horses, the upanishads as the reins, Vayu(wind) as the charioteer and Vedic goddesses Gayatri, Savitri and Saraswati as the armour.
The battle begins…
Bhishma as an obedient student student got down from his chariot. He bowed to Parshuram to seek his blessing to protect dharma.
Parshuram was mesmerised by the act as Bhishma did not forget to respect the elders even when he was fighting his elders.
The battle started and they fought for 23 days and still did not get to the conclusion.
Parshuram was immortal whereas Bhishma had a boon to choose his time of death. Therefore, nobody won yet nobody lost.
But then how the battle ended ?
On the 23rd day, Bhishma was eager to end the battle. He decided to use PARSHWAPASTRA(weapon). Only Bhishma knew how to use it. This weapon was so powerful that no one can defend it.
On the battleground, as Bhishma mounted the weapon, he was interrupted by the divine forces. They told him that this weapon of victory would cost humiliation of his guru ‘Parshuram’.
Bhishma did not wanted to compromise Parshuram’s respect to his victory.
This respectful act of Bhishma spellbound his guru who then declared Bhishma as the winner as a blessing.
The battle of Bhishma vs Parshuram was not right vs wrong but right vs right. they both were playing their part right but had to face each other to protect their respective dharma.
In this battle, only the DHARMA won.
A great battle story with Legendary warriors concluded with a memorable end.