Originally posted by _Vrish_
I happen to dislike Bheeshma as well b'cos of the Amba incident - my sympathies are fully w/ her. If Bheeshma/Vichitravirya was not invited to a swayamvar, and if none of the 3 princesses, unlike Rukmini, involved wished to marry them, he had no business violating the swayamvar and abducting them. Yeah, granted Shalva was a villain who was ultimately killed by Krishna, but that doesn't mean that Amba didn't deserve the right to choose him. And Ambika and Ambalika were forced to marry a ruler, who died w/o leaving them w/ kids, and p
ing them to Vyasa.
Had Bheeshma not gone there, all 3 princesses could have married 3 kings of their choices, and lived happily (although Amba would then ultimately have been widowed by Krishna).
In BRC, they tried to paint Amba & Sikhandi as vindictive, since they were obsessed w/ worshipping characters like Bheeshma & Karna, but Amba was fully justified in everything she did. Shalva couldn't accept her w/o looking like he was accepting charity from an enemy, Vichitravirya and Bheeshma wouldn't, and no other ruler who knew of this would accept her either. So that life was toast, and after even Parashuram failed to get her justice, she just had to keep getting reborn until she hit the justice jackpot.
That one incident was enough to make me put Bheeshma in my blacklist.
Of course Bhishma was not a completely white character either, but compared to the other Kauravas he was a lot better. I also sympathize with Amba and feel she was greatly wronged in the case of her Swayamvar, and I don't blame her for being born as Shikhandi for the purpose of killing Bhishma just like Dhristadyumna. One, it would have been impossible for the Pandavas to kill Bhishma without Shikhandi's help, since no warrior on Earth could defeat him (taking Krishna out of the equation of course, he being God and all), and two, it teaches humanity that one must not make vows in haste, like Bhishma did. Though his Brahmacharya diksha and his oath to Hastinapura were commendable when they were made, they brought him more sorrow and guilt in life than happiness. He could not bring justice to Amba, and he had to side with the Kauravas despite them being on the side of Adharma.
But yes, the fact that Bhishma kidnapped three princesses against their will does not bode well for his character, since the whole message Krishna left behind Rukmini 'Haran' was that women must not be forced to marry against their will, like Rukmini was being forced to marry Sishupal, and that their opinions when it comes to marriage are just as important as the men's. However, I still tend to like Bhishma because of the remorse he feels later on...I feel remorse greatly redeems a person if it's truly genuine, and Bhishma was the only one to acknowledge on his deathbed that he made many wrong decisions in his life that he wished he could change. The other Kauravas committed much greater sins than Bhishma did in the case of Amba, that his seems quite paltry in comparison.