Battle between Shikhandi and Bhisma

Mahabharata 18 Comments

Bhisma could not be killed unless he lowered his bow in battle. He would lower a bow only before a woman but no woman was allowed to enter the battlefield. Shikhandi provided the solution to this problem. He was born a woman, raised as a man, and later acquired a penis from a Yaksha. He was taken into battle as Arjuna’s body armor on Krishna’s chariot. Bhisma refused to fight him/her. Arjuna took advantage of this and shot a hundred arrows that pinned the great warlord to the ground. There was no way to kill the old man as he had the gift of choosing the moment of his death.

  • RR

    “refused to find him/her” must be “refused to fight him/her”

  • rajat

    no female was allowed to enter the battlefield !
    i can see in the picture even horses are masculine.

  • There are a couple of other things. In her previous live, Shikhandi was a princess called Amba. Bheeshma went to a swayamvar of Kashi and brought three princesses Amba, Ambika and Ambalika for Satyavati’s son Vichitraveerya. Ambika and Ambalika were the mothers of Dhritrashtra and Pandu respectively.
    Amba was rejected by Vichitra, her lover Salva and finally even by Bheeshma

    She was re-born as Shikhandi the daughter of Drupada, later becoming a man as your story suggests.

    Source: The stories I read and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shikhandi

  • pupport

    The sketch is really good.Who has done that.

  • pupport

    You can add one more feather, as an artist

  • Rashmi

    Superb sketch, indeed. Kudos to your multitudinous talent Dr. Devdutt!

  • Prof. Nisar Merchant

    Your stories are thought provoking and inspiring. Your multi dimensional talent holds me in genuine awe ! Keep it up. You are doing good work.

  • seenivasan

    Sir i m a screenplay writter for short flims, i read ur article which is awesome…i would like to know how transgenders were treated by the society, life style and more mthys about them?

  • Dear Sir,
    I read your article with much interest. Mahabharata is a Mahasagar.
    It’s a very good public service you are doing by bringing ancient stories to life with your pictures and interpretations.
    I would keep the original story and my interpretation seperate from each other.
    Also, if Shikhandi is such a pivotal character in Mahabharata, then why for all Indian Hijada’s , the adi purush is Bhishma, and not Shikhandi.
    Are you trying to give some kind of justice to Shikhandi which even Maharshi Vyaas could not?

  • You are also a very good artist :) The drawing is also very close to authentic Indian art. I wish I could draw like that..

  • arun

    Bhisma who accepted Shikhandi’s challenge knowing that he would eventually die.

    He only hinted Yudhisthira that the time is ripe to kill him,Yudhisthira ask Arjun to make way for Shikhandi to come face-to-face with Bhisma.

    Arjun obeys his orders and scatters Kauravas & upon Krishna’s order shots the arrow and grounds bhisma.

  • Rajiv

    Well nice sketch .. was looking for a parallel as always… disappointed…

  • Vishesh Jain


    I have read Jaya, and am a very big fan of your work. However, there’s something about the Bhisma legend which I could not understand. The book mentions that Bhisma was tutored by Parashurama but not why.

    My question is why did Parashurama agree to tutor Devrath when he did not train kshatriyas? Also, what was Ganga’s role in Devrath’s upbringing?

    • Devdutt

      Some answers in this book http://devdutt.com/7-secrets-of-vishnu/

      • Vishesh Jain


        Thanks for letting me know and I will surely go ahead and read the book, but, the curiosity is killing me, and I was hoping you could shed a brief insight on it.

  • Babu Shinde

    Dev u r just amazing, i went through ur audio book of mahabharata, please bring many others also in that same way to this new generation, who dont have patience to read books, can at least hear and understand.