Gandhari

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In the pretext of mahabharata, Gandhari is the wife of maharaj Dhritarastha, the blind king. She is regarded as the epitome of chastity and devotion to her husband. Even as a maiden, she was very humble and devoted in her services to the saints and Lord Shiva, the devotee vaishnava of Lord Sri Krishna, the center of Mahabharata.

Lord Shiva appeared before her. Gandhari asked for herself only the boon that she may be blessed with a long and fulfilling married life, and that she may never deviate from the path of womanly virtue. Impressed with a maiden of such strong mettle, Lord Shiva granted her the boon she wanted, saying that she would be renowned on earth and in heaven as a pati-vrata, a woman devoted to her husband, that she would rank with Arundhati and Anusuya for her merit as an ideal wife, and further that she would be the mother of a hundred sons.

She was a pativrata nari and was highly devoted to her husband. At the time of her marriage. when she came to know that her husband was blind, she also took a vow to blindfold her for the whole life. As a result of such austerity, she acquired powers to bless her son Duryodhana with powers to become invincible.

Veda Vyasa is impressed with Gandhari’s devotion to her husband and gives her a boon to have a hundred sons. She gets pregnant but carries the child for an unusually long period. Later she hears that Kunti (queen of king Pandu, younger brother of Dhritharashtra) has given birth to Pandavas, and in frustration she pounds on her stomach. A small grey mass comes out of her. Veda Vyasa divides this into 101 parts and keeps them in cool earthen pots filled with clarified butter i.e. ghee to incubate. First Duryodhana comes out, followed by 99 brothers and one sister, Dushala.

All of Gandhari’s sons were killed in the war against their cousins, the Pandavas, at Kurukshetra, specifically at the hands of Bhima. Upon hearing the news, it is said that through a small gap in the blindfold, her gaze fell on Yudhishthira’s toe. His clean toe was charred black due to her wrath and power. When she heard the news of the death of all the sons of Pandavas(Upapandavas), she embraced the Pandavas and consoled them for their losses. Later her wrath turned to Krishna for allowing all this destruction to happen. She cursed that he, his city and all his subjects would be destroyed. Lord Krishna knew and wanted this to happen and said “tathastu”(so be it). She tried to take back that curse, but Krishna says that curse was irrevocable and anyhow Yadavas’ destruction was fated. Her curse took its course 36 years after the great war when Yadu dynasty perished after a fight broke out between yadavas at a festival. Lord Krishna ascended to his heavenly abode after living for 126 years. The golden city of Dwarka drowned exactly seven days after his disappearance.

 

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