Why did Bhishma and Parashurama fight in Mahabharata?

The princess of Kashi Amba was the reason for Bhishma and Parashurama fight in Mahabharata. Bhishma promised to be a celibate and not indulge in any marriage union and Amba demanded Bhishma to marry him which he rejected. Follow along to learn why exactly the fight happened. Who was Bhishma?

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The princess of Kashi Amba was the reason for Bhishma and Parashurama fight in Mahabharata. Bhishma promised to be a celibate and not indulge in any marriage union and Amba demanded Bhishma to marry him which he rejected. Follow along to learn why exactly the fight happened.

Who was Bhishma?

Bhishma, originally named as Devavrata was born to Shantanu (The King of Hastinapur) and Devi Ganga (The holy River). Bhishma’s birth itself is rather interesting. He had seven brothers who were drowned by their mother Ganga as soon as they were born. Bhishma was trained by Lord Parashurama, a great sage and a warrior who had eradicated the life of Kshatriyas 21 times. Lesser did the wold know that the same Bhishma and Parashurama fight in the future. Devavrata got his name Bhishma (means fierce or terrible) because of the fierce promises the he made.

Bhisha death in Kurukshetra
Bhishma on his deathbed

Shantanu’s remarriage

Bhishma’s father Shantanu fell in love with Satyavati – the daughter of a fisherman after Devi Ganga left him. However, Satyavati posed a condition for their marriage. Satyavati demanded, the throne of Hastinapur should be passed on to the offspring of her child and neither Bhishma, nor the children of Bhishma should ever fight with Satyavati’s descendants. When Devavrata got to know this, he made some fierce promises.

Shantanu and Satyavati
Shantanu and Satyavati

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Bhishma’s Promises

  • He will never sit in the throne of Hastinapur, never in his life will he ever claim the throne of Hastinapur. With this he reassured Satyavati, that only her children from Shantanu would rule the country
  • Her will never marry. This promise was to ensure that he will not have any offsprings who could in future challenge the throne
  • He will always protect the country and support his brothers from Satyavati.

Due to these promises he had gotten the name Bhisma (meaning terrible or fierce), His father Shantanu gave him the boon of ichcha mrityu (He could die only when he desires for it). To which Bhishma again promised his father that he would not desired to die until he found Hastinapur in safe hands.

Amba’s rage against Bhishma

Satyavati had two children Vichitravirya and Chitrangada. When they were about age, Satyavati desired to get them married. According to many scriptures, Bhishma gate crashed the swayamvar of the princesses of Kashi namely Amba, Ambika and Ambalika. He defeated the King of Kahsi and took the princesses of hastinapur. Satyavati’s two children married to princesses of Kashi, and the third princess Amba was left with no one to marry with. This enraged Amba, and she caused the Bhishma and Parashurama fight a terrible battle which could go along for many days.

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Bhishma and Parashurama fight

Amba demanded Bhishma to marry her as forced her out of Kashi. But Due to his Promises, he couldn’t marry anyone. Filled with rage Amba accused Bhishma of ruining her life and self respect. As nobody would now marry a princess who was taken from a swayamvar with force.

In search of justice, she reached Lord Parashurama, the guru of Bhishma. When Parashurama heard about the injustice happened against a lady by his disciple, he was extremely enraged and decided to punish Bhishma of his ill deeds. Thus Bhishma and Parashurama fight with each other. This fight was fierce and continued for several days. Parashurama was extremely powerful and was the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, it was not possible to defeat him. And Bhishma had the boon of not dying until he desires. So that fight just went on and on until, it came to a point where the destruction was so huge that the prithvi couldn’t tolerate anymore.

Bhishma and Parashurama fight
Bhishma and parashurama fight

Thus, Lord Shiva himself had to come down to earth and interfere to stop the fight. And Amba was given a boon that when the appropriate time comes, she will be the cause for Bhishma’s death. To which Bhishma agrees, and promised that when the time comes he will only accept his death from the hands of Amba.

Amba, however did not give up the fight and declared she will meditate to the gods and achieve what she wanted. She underwent a penance to please Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva impressed by her penance assured that she would be born as a man named Shikhandi, who would be the cause of Bhishma’s death.

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Frequently asked Questions

Did parashurama and bhisma fight?

Yes Parashurama and bhishma fought against each other when Devi Amba requested Parashurama to give her justice.

Who stopped fight between Parshuram and Bhishma?

Mahadev Stops the fight between Bhishma and Parashurama

How many days Bhishma fought with Parshuram?

23 days

Why did Parshuram killed 21 times?

To avenue his father who was killed by a Kshatriya


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