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अम्बा

A Sanskrit English Dictionary | sa  en |   | 
अम्बा  f. f. (Ved.voc.अ॑म्बे [[VS.]] or अम्ब [[RV.]], in later Sanskrit अम्ब only, sometimes a mere interjection, [ĀśvŚr.]), a mother, good woman (as a title of respect)
N. of a plant
N. of दुर्गा (the wife of शिव)
N. of an अप्सरस्, [L.]
N. of a daughter of a king of काशी, [MBh.]
N. of one of the seven कृत्तिकाs, [TS.]; [Kāṭh.]; [TBr.]
अम्बा   a term in astrol. (to denote the fourth condition which results from the conjunction of planets?). In the South Indian languages, is corrupted into अम्मा, and is often affixed to the names of goddesses, and females in general
अम्बा   [Germ.Amme, a nurse; Old Germ.amma, Them. ammôn, ammûn]

अम्बा [ambā]   [अम्ब्-घञ्] (Voc. अम्बे Ved.; अम्ब in later Sanskṛit)
A mother; also used as an affectionate or respectful mode of address; 'good woman', 'good mother'; किमम्बाभिः प्रेषितः; अम्बानां कार्यं निर्वर्तय [Ś.2;] कृताञ्जलिस्तत्र यदम्ब सत्यात् [R.14.16.]
 N. N. of a plant (अम्बष्ठा d.).
 N. N. of Durgā, wife of Śiva.
 N. N. of an Apsaras; of a sister of Pāṇḍu's mother, a daughter of Kāśīrāja. [She and her two sisters were carried off by Bhīṣma to be the wives of Vichitravīrya who had no issue. Ambā, however, had been previously betrothed to a king of Śālva and Bhīṣma sent her to him; but the latter rejected her because she had been in another man's house. So she came back to Bhīṣma and prayed him to accept her; but he could not break his vow of life-long celibacy, and being enraged she returned to the forest and practised austere penance to revenge herself on Bhīṣma. Śiva favoured her and promised her the desired vengeance in another birth. Afterwards she was born as Śikhaṇḍinī, daughter of Drupada, who came to be called Śikhaḍin and became the cause of Bhīṣma's death.]
A term in astrology to denote the fourth condition. [cf. Dravid Amma; Germ. Amme; old Germ. Amma].

Shabda-Sagara | sa  en |   | 
अम्बा  f.  (-म्बा)
1. A mother.
2. The same, (in theatrical language.)
3. A name of DŪRGĀ. See अम्बिका.
E. अबि to sound, अप् and टाप् affs.

Puranic Encyclopaedia  | en  en |   | 
AMBĀ   Daughter of a King of Kāśī.
1) Ambā and Vicitravīrya.
Ambā is an ill-starred character in the story of the Mahābhārata. She had two younger sisters named Ambikā and Ambālikā. Bhīṣma, who had taken a vow to remain a bachelor for life, had once taken Ambā, Ambikā and Ambālikā, the three daughters of the King of Kāśī, to Hastināpura. The circumstances in which this happened, are descried in [Devī Bhāgavata, Prathama Skandha] as follows: Śantanu, a King of the Candra Vaṁśa, had two wives, Gaṅgā and Satyavatī. Bhīṣma was the son of Gaṅgā and Citrāṅgada and Vicitravīrya were the sons of Satyavatī. Soon after Bhīṣma's birth, Gaṅgā vanished. After a long period of reign, Śantanu also died. Satyavatī and the three sons were left behind in the palace. According to a vow he had taken long ago, Bhīṣma, instead of succeeding to his father's throne, left it to his brother Citrāṅgada. Once Citrāṅgada went for hunting in the forest. There he came across a Gandharva named Citrāṅgada. The Gandharva did not like another man with his own name to be living in this world. So he killed the king. After that Vicitravīrya became king. Bhīṣma had to take up the task of arranging a suitable marriage for Vicitravīrya.
2) The Svayaṁvara.
It was at this time that Bhīṣma came to know that the King of Kāśī was arranging the Svayaṁvara of his three daughters, Ambā, Ambikā and Ambālikā. Bhīṣma went there and in the presence of all the kings who had assembled there, took the three princesses with him to Hastināpura. There he made all preparations for the marriage. But as the time for the ceremony approached, the eldest and most beautiful of the princesses, Ambā went to Bhīṣma and said: “I had already made up my mind long ago to marry Sālva, the King. Besides, we are deeply in love with each other. Therefore, please consider whether it is proper on the part of a great man like you to force me into another marriage.” On hearing this, Bhīṣma allowed her to do as she liked. Ambā then went to King Sālva and made an appeal to him to accept her as his wife since they were mutually in love.
3) Sālva's rejection.
To her words Sālva replied: “What you have said about our mutual love is true. But it is not right for a man to accept a woman who has been accepted by another. I saw Bhīṣma taking you by hand and helping you into his chariot. Therefore go at once to Bhīṣma himself and ask him to accept you.” Stunned by his words, she turned away, to go to the forest to do penance.
4) Revenge on Bhīṣma.
In the [Mahābhārata, Udyoga Parva, Chapter 17], we find that Ambā had cherished a secret desire to wreak vengeance on Bhīṣma. She went to the Āśrama of Śaikhāvatya Muni in the forest and stayed there for the night. Her wish to do penance was approved by the Muni. On the next day, Ambā's maternal grandfather, Hotravāhana (Sṛñjaya) came that way. Hotravāhana came to know of all her misfortunes. He advised her to inform Paraśurāma of all her grievances. Just at that moment Akṛtavraṇa, a follower of Paraśurāma happened to come there. Hotravāhana introduced Ambā to Akṛtavraṇa. Both Akṛtavraṇa and Sṛñjaya explained all her affairs to Paraśurāma. Paraśurāma undertook to persuade Bhīṣma to accept Ambā (as his wife). But Paraśurāma's proposal was turned down by Bhīṣma. A terrible duel took place between them at Kurukṣetra. When the fight reached a critical stage, Nārada and the gods induced Paraśurāma to withdraw from the duel. Thus the fight ended with equal victory to both. Finding that it was not possible to achieve her object through Paraśurāma's mediation, Ambā renounced food, sleep etc. and went to the Yamunā valley to do penance for six years. [M.B., Udyoga Parva, Chapter 188]. After that for one year she went on a fast, lying under the water in the river Yamunā. Again for another year she did penance, standing on the tip of the toes and eating only dry leaves. Next, she reduced the sky and earth to flames by doing penance. The goddess Gaṅgā appeared to her and when she understood her plight, she told Ambā that it was not possible to kill Bhīṣma. In her agony and despair, without even drinking water, she wandered about here and there. The goddess Gangā cursed her to become a river in the Vatsa country. As a result of the curse, a part of her was turned into the river known as Ambā.
5) Śiva's Boon.
The remaining part of her engaged itself in penance. Śiva appeared to her and told her that in the next birth she would attain masculinity. He added that she would be born in the Drupada dynasty as a great archer under the name of Citrayodhi and kill Bhīṣma. Pleased with this prophecy, she took a vow that she would kill Bhīṣma and making a pyre, burnt herself to death.
6) Rebirth.
King Drupada's queen had been in great distress for a long time because she had no children. Drupada propitiated Śiva by worshipping him for an issue. Śiva blessed him and said that a girl would be born to him, but she would be transformed into a boy. In due course, the queen gave birth to a girl, but it was announced that it was a boy. Therefore the child had to be brought up, dressed like a boy. The child became famous under the name of Śikhaṇḍī. When Śikhaṇḍī attained youth, Drupada decided to look for a wife for him (her?). Still he was greatly perplexed as to how to find a wife for Śikhaṇḍī who was already a youthful virgin! But his wife assured Drupada that Sikhaṇḍī would become a man, according to Śiva's blessing. So, Drupada made a proposal for Śikhaṇḍī's marriage with the daughter of the King of Daśārṇa.
7) Śikhaṇḍī's Marriage.
Hiraṇyavarṇa, the King of Daśārṇa, gave his daughter in marriage to Śikhaṇḍī. The couple arrived at Kāmbalyapura. By this time the wife came to know that the “husband” was a woman. She disclosed the secret to her Ladies-in-waiting. They in turn communicated it to the king. Enraged at this, Hiraṇyavarṇa sent a messenger to King Drupada to ascertain the truth of the matter. He even began to make preparations for waging a war against Drupada, King of Pañcāla. Drupada and his queen were in a fix. At this stage the distressed Śikhaṇḍī proceeded to the forest, determined to commit suicide. People were afraid of entering that forest because a Yakṣa named Sthūṇakarṇa lived there. Śikhaṇḍī went to the premises of the Yakṣa and performed certain rites for a number of days. The Yakṣa appeared to her. Śikhaṇḍī explained the whole matter to him. They entered into a contract. According to it, they exchanged their sexes--Śikhaṇḍī receiving the male sex of the Yakṣa and the Yakṣa receiving the female sex of Śikhaṇḍī. Śikhaṇḍī returned home as a man. Drupada repeated with greater force his old plea that his child was a man. Hiraṇyavarṇa made a thorough examination of Śikhaṇḍī and convinced himself of the truth. Many years after, Hiraṇyavarṇa died.
8) Kubera's Arrival.
At that time, in the course of his world tour Kubera arrived at the residence of Sthūṇakarṇa. The Yakṣa who was in female form, did not come out to receive Kubera. In his anger, Kubera pronounced a curse that the female sex of Sthūṇakarṇa and the male sex of Śikhaṇḍī would continue for ever. The Yakṣa prayed for the lifting of the curse. Kubera released him from the curse by saying that after the death of Śikhaṇḍī, the Yakṣa would be restored to his own male sex. According to the previous agreement, Śikhaṇḍī went to Sthūṇakarṇa's place after the death of Hiraṇyavarṇa. But coming to know of all that had happened, he returned home. Thus Śikhaṇḍī became a man permanently. Śikhaṇḍī had received his training in arms under Droṇācārya. In the great Kaurava-Pāṇḍava battle, he became a charioteer.
9) Śikhaṇḍī's Revenge.
The [Mahābhārata, Bhīṣma Parva, Chapter 108], describes Bhīṣma's encounter with Śikhaṇḍī during the Kaurava-Pāṇḍava battle. The Pāṇḍavas started the day's battle by keeping Śikhaṇḍī in the vanguard. Bhīma, Arjuna, Abhimanyu and other warriors were giving him support. It was Bhīṣma who led the Kaurava forces. Arrows began to fly from both sides. It was the tenth day of the battle and Śikhaṇḍī shot three arrows aimed at Bhīṣma's breast. Bhīṣma with a smile of contempt said to Śikhaṇḍī, “Śikhaṇḍī! Brahmā created you as a woman. You may do as you like”. Hearing this taunt, Śikhaṇḍī became more infuriated. Arjuna inspired him with greater courage. After that, keeping Śikhaṇḍī in front, Arjuna began to fight with Bhīṣma. Śikhaṇḍī also showered his arrows on him. Ten of these arrows of Śikhaṇḍī hit Bhīṣma's breast. Bhīṣma disregarded even those arrows. At last he said: “I cannot kill the Pāṇḍavas because they are invulnerable (avadhyāḥ). I cannot kill Śikhaṇḍī because he is really a woman and not man. Though I am also invulnerable and cannot be killed in battle, yet today I have to die; the time has come for me to die.” Meanwhile Śikhaṇḍī and Arjuna were discharging a continuous and heavy shower of arrows at Bhīṣma. At last Bhīṣma fell down. [M.B., Udyoga Parva, Chapter 173].

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