The Mahabharata Home
"Bhishma said, 'I then placed the matter before (my mother) Kali, otherwise called Gandhavati, as also all our counsellors, and also before our special and ordinary priests and then permitted, O king, the eldest of those maidens, Amva, to depart. Permitted by me, that maiden then went to the city of the ruler of the Salwas. And she had for her escort a number of old Brahmanas and was also accompanied by her own nurse. And having travelled the whole distance (between Hastinapura and Salwa's city), she approached king Salwa and said these words, 'I come, O thou of mighty arms, expectant of thee, O high-souled one! Unto her, however, O king, the lord of the Salwas said with a laughter, 'O thou of the fairest complexion, I no longer desire to make a wife of thee who wast to be wedded to another. Therefore, O blessed one, go back thither unto Bhishma's presence. I no longer desire thee that was forcibly ravished by Bhishma. Indeed, when Bhishma, having vanquished the kings, took thee away, thou didst go with him cheerfully. When having humiliated and vanquished all the kings of the earth, Bhishma took thee away, I no longer desire thee, O thou of the fairest complexion, for a wife,--thee that was to have been wedded to another! How can a king like myself, who is acquainted with all branches of knowledge and who lays down laws for the guidance of others, admit (into his abode) a woman who was to have been wedded to another? O blessed lady, go whithersoever thou wishest, without spending thy time in vain!' Hearing these words of his, Amva then, O king, afflicted with the arrows of the god of love, addressed Salwa, saying, 'Say not so, O lord of the earth, for it is not so! O grinder of foes, cheerful I was not when taken away by Bhishma! He took me away by force, having routed all the kings, and I was weeping all the while. An innocent girl that I am and attached
to thee, accept me, O lord of the Salwas! The abandonment (by one) of those that are attached (to him) is never applauded in the scriptures. Having solicited Ganga's son who never retreats from battle, and having at last obtained his permission, I come to thee! Indeed, the mighty-armed Bhishma, O king, desireth me not! It hath been heard by me that his action (in this matter) hath been for the sake of his brother. My two sisters Amvika and Amvalika, who were abducted with me at the same time, have, O king, been bestowed by Ganga's son on his younger brother Vichitravirya! O lord of the Salwas, I swear, O tiger among men, by touching my own head that I have never thought of any other husband than thee! I do not, O great king, come to thee as one who was to have been wedded to another! I tell thee the truth, O Salwa, truly swearing by my soul! Take me, O thou of large eyes, me--a maiden come to thee of her own accord--one unbetrothed to another, one desirous of thy grace!' Although she spoke in this strain, Salwa, however, O chief of the Bharatas, rejected that daughter of the ruler of Kasi, like a snake casting off his slough. Indeed, although that king was earnestly solicited with diverse expressions such as these, the lord of the Salwas still did not, O bull of the Bharata race, manifest any inclination for accepting the girl. Then the eldest daughter of the ruler of Kasi, filled with anger, and her eyes bathed in tears, said these words with a voice choked with tears and grief, 'Cast off, O king, by thee, whithersoever I may go, the righteous will be my protectors, for truth is indestructible!'
"It thus, O thou of Kuru's race, that the lord of the Salwas rejected that maiden who addressed him in language such as this and who was sobbing in grief so tenderly. Go, go,--were the words that Salwa said unto her repeatedly. I am in terror of Bhishma, O thou of fair hips, thou art Bhishma's capture! Thus addressed by Salwa destitute of foresight, that maiden issued out of his city sorrowfully and wailing like a she-osprey.'"
Next: Section CLXXVII