When Gandhari, Kunti and Draupadi meet - Life and style
Gandhari is a prominent character in the Hindu epic the Mahabharata. She was a princess of At certain critical junctures, she gave advice to her husband which was impeccable . Gandhari fostered a big-little sister relationship with Kunti. The only solace for Kunti in that unsatisfying triangular relation was Madri a woman He begged her “Sweet lady, I fold my palms joining the tips of my lotus- leaf and guided her sons from the treacheries plotted by the sons of Gandhari. Thinking aloud, Gandhari compares her condition to Kunti and Madri Futility of war, play of emotions and human relations have shaped this.
Therefore, there had to be always, by necessity, a third person in their married life. This surely was not the best way to be husband and wife, especially when other choices were open. Gandhari, unlike most other women in the Epic, was a completely devoted and a faithful wife.
There was an inherent strife in their conjugal life. Gandhari was disappointed in love as also in marriage. Some say, Gandhari was cold to her husband. But, Gandhari and Dhritharastra had to be physically together by necessity; clustered together by the quirk of fate as also by her self-inflicted punishment.
Else, they remained emotionally apart. And, at the very end, it was only the unbearable agony and grief of losing all their sons and grandsons that brought them closer. At the same time, Dhritharastra was himself struggling with many complexes, disappointments and frustrations.
He never could come to terms with the bitter fact that Kingship was taken away from him merely because he was blind. It was totally unjust, he felt. The denial of kingship burnt a searing hole in his heart. Dhritharastra was ever a disgruntled grumpy person.कुन्ती और गांधारी का गर्भवती होना - Kunti and Gandhari gets Pregnant - MAHABHARAT Episode 10
The unexpected death of Pandu, his brother, opened his way to the throne. He fondly came to believe that his eldest son Duryodhana would surely and rightfully succeed him as the King of Hastinapur. Since he was the king, he strongly believed, his sons should, naturally, be the heir to the throne.
Sarala Mahabharat: KUNTI AND GANDHARI
He doted on his eldest son; and supported his cunning schemes, covertly or otherwise. Gandhari the good woman was surrounded all her life by a weak and ambitious husband; treacherous and scheming brother Shakuni; and, hate filled misguided sons. And, none of them paid heed to her words; and much less cared for her feelings.
Gandhari the Queen, the mother of hundred sons was indeed a very lonely woman. As Gandhari helplessly watched her family drift on the path to self destruction, she was torn apart in many directions: But, her agony, loneliness and her predicaments were neither shared nor appreciated by her husband. Should one attempt to be a replica of his or her spouse?
Which is of greater value in a marriage: When Gandhari turned herself blind just to be like her husband, she became a female counterpart of the blind king. There were other options open to her. Had Gandhari stepped into the foray of administering the kingdom on behalf of the blind king; and taken charge of the affairs of the State as also that of the Royal family, the tale of Mahabharata would have been a far different one. It surely would not have been a listless account of internecine fratricide.
It would have been more forthright and challenging, since Gandhari was a courageous, ambitious woman good at heart. But, she seemed to have surrendered her initiative rather too easily and too quickly without a thought. She drifted through the vagaries of life blindfolded, helpless and uncared. As Gandhari stepped into the royal household at Hastinapur, it became evident that her blind prince would never be a King. But, soon thereafter, things did change, for better, with the sudden and untimely death of Pandu the King.
There was some cheer in her life when Dhritharastra was placed on the throne and she became the Queen. However, to her chagrin, Gandhari soon realized that her blind husband was in fact merely an interim figurehead; and, it was the overbearing patriarch Bhishma who wielded all the power and authority.
Gandhari was now desperate to become a mother. She desired to be a mother of one hundred powerful sons; and, in particular the mother of kings.
Her frustration over the foetus growing in her for an unduly long period of two years was getting unbearable. She no longer could carry the long overdue womb that was getting heavier with each passing day.
Her patience was running out; and, she could wait no longer. In the fury of frustration she strikes hard at her womb; and, delivers to an immature ball of iron-hard flesh. But, Vyasa, the biological father of her husband, intervened; arranged to cut the flesh into one hundred pieces.
And, since Gandhari desired for a daughter he cut one more piece. Vyasa arranged to incubate each piece in a separate jar filled with ghee for another two years.
The Kuru clan was thus born out of envy and frustration. And, as a mother Gandhari had to pay a terrible price for her self-inflicted sightlessness. As her sons grew up to fine young lads, Gandhari could neither disciple, nor control and nor mould her children as only a mother can. By then, her sons had gone too far in their ways; and, scarcely had the will or the patience to walk beside their mother. Their fate had been usurped by their scheming and devious uncle Shakuni who, for his own reasons, kept them chained to hate and envy.
She was powerless to wean her thoughtless sons away from her dark hearted brother. Gandhari, all her life, had to be a helpless bystander.
More of that, a little later. Here, Gandhari stands in sharp contrast to Kunti who devoted herself, entirely, to protecting and guiding her children through their good and bad days. They invariably consulted her on all important matters. The only occasion they failed to do so landed them in a disastrous situation.
- When Gandhari, Kunti and Draupadi meet
That was when they set forth for the dice-game without informing their mother. It is not the motherhood that distinguishes Gandhari; but, it is her indomitable will, the ability to take decisions and to speak out clearly; and above all her sense of justice. Sense of righteousness 8. Gandhari comes across as an articulate person endowed with an innate sense of justice and righteousness. She is clear in her speech; not afraid to speak out her mind even if it was to be harsh.
Gandhari was a woman of substance, of strong will and of passionate nature, which she generally kept under check.
Her sense of righteousness simmers through her sharp speech. Gandhari was not blind to the conspiracies, covert schemes and injustices that went on in the royal courts. Gandhari watched with dismay the growing ill-will between her first born son Duryodhana and his cousins the Pandavas.
Duryodhana, Dushyasana, Karna, and Shakuni. She went against her husband, asking him, firmly, not to support Duryodhana who was being led astray by Shakuni. She pointed out that Dhritharastra made a huge mistake by putting the affairs of the Kingdom entirely into the hands of Duryodhana and his coterie. She warned the blind King that his escapist and irresponsible acts would reap him a bitter harvest. She urged him to be firm and judicious in dealing with his sons.
Gandhari counselled Dhritharastra not to lose perspective of things; and not to confuse the illusion for reality. She tells him not to harbour false hopes that Duryodhana would win against Pandavas because veteran warriors like Bhishma, Drona, Kripa and others are with him. Her unusual ability to speak the bitter truth to her husband surfaces quite often in Sabha Parva and in Udyoga Parva.
In the Sabha Parva, She advised her husband to stop the first game of dice. Then again, after the second dice game, Gandhari chides Dhritarastra for allowing Duryodhana to humiliate Draupadi in the open court. Dhritarastra blinded by his fondness for his sons did not have enough sense to heed to her words of wisdom and caution. She did try honestly to counsel her angry son; pleaded with him to eschew the needless war.
But, of course, she too fails to convince him. Duryodhana, raging with anger, storms out of the court. She blames Dhritarastra for undue fondness for his sons and for not disciplining them despite being aware of their unrighteous desires and thoughtless methods.
Krishna too appreciates her efforts: Before going into the battle on the final dayDuryodhana seeks the blessings of his mother. She does bless him heartily.
Krishna again lauds Gandhari " O the gracious Ladythere is none comperable to you in the whole world" tat samam nasti loke sminnadya simantini shubhe - Salya Parva She loves him much and wants him to succeed.
And, when war became imminent, she decides to support his efforts fully. When I look upon your body, each part that I see will become hard as a diamond, unyielding to weapons. Duryodhana felt shy and uncomfortable to appear tally naked before his mother. He, therefore, covered his groin and hips with a leaf tied at the waist.
But, her joy was soon cut short as she noticed the leaf around his waist. Gandhari shrieked in horror: Now, that covered part of your body will be vulnerable to weapons. Your enemies will not fail to strike you there. She wept bitterly and lamented at cruelty of fate which spares none.
The horrors of war and heartbreaking plight of the women The eighteen days of war grew more intense and gruesome with each passing day until the night of the seventeen day. On the eighteenth and the final day, as the horrors of the war ebbed out, Duryodhana, in despair, fled from the field and hid himself in a lake.
Thereafter, that night, his three surviving warriors, in a vengeful night raid, slaughtered Drustaduymna, brother of Draupadi and her five young sons while they were asleep in their beds. Relentless slaughter and mayhem littered the earth with the blood and guts of millions of men, horses, elephants, while countless dogs, wolves, eagles and vultures feasted on the carcasses.
The sorrow of the wailing women is described in Stree Parva. Stree Parva of Mahabharata is an overwhelming, horrific and moving depiction of the devastation that war brings upon women who lost their men folk. It focuses upon the dichotomy of the male and female elements of war.
But, at the same time there is a wicked parody. The sights of women wailing over death and devastations of war are in sharp contrast to scenes, just a few weeks prior, where women, with pride, bid farewell to their men marching smartly into the battle as heroes. She can see things at a distance as if they were very near. Gandhari then noticed her fallen son Duryodhana and fainted.
She then wept over her other sons. Gandhari then moved on to lament on her distraught daughters-in-law and the horrors beset upon them. They wept uncontrollably for their lost beloveds, sons, brothers and fathers. It was as if they were enacting the destruction of the world at the end of the Age. Babbling and crying, running hither and thither, they were out of their mind with grief and lost all sense of propriety. Young women who used to be modest even before their friends now appeared shamelessly before their mothers-in-law in simple shifts, their hair dishevelled, with their arms up in the air wailing, shrieking incoherently.
Women who earlier comforted each other in the most trifling sorrows now ignored other women staggering about in grief. They were like beings set on fire at the end of the Age. These bewildered women were in shock; helpless, having lost the wits — vast was the wretchedness of the women of Kurus. The clamour of all those afflicted women bewailing the destruction of their family became thunderous and shook the worlds.
Gandhari addresses Krishna emptying her heart: The earth is so muddy with flesh and blood, one can scarcely move upon it. The earth seems to be crammed with fallen heads, hands, every sort of limbs mixed with every other piled in heaps.
On seeing the horror of heaps of body less limbs and limbless bodies, those women beyond reproach, unaccustomed to such miseries, now sink into the bloody mire littered with slaughtered pieces of their husbands, sons, brothers and fathers. Many shriek and wail upon seeing the bodies; and others beat their heads with their delicate palms. These women, after grasping, wailing and weeping uncontrollably for a long while, shivering in their pain are quitting their life.
The best of the women tormented in grief and pain mourn their dear ones wretchedly. What could be more painful to me than this, Keshava that all these women present themselves in such extreme distressful forms? This is all the results of the evils I did in my past births; I see now my slain sons, grandsons and my brother. She is particularly devastated by the terrible wrong done to her valiant young husband by the very persons who were supposed to love him and protect him.
Gandhari is regarded a very virtuous woman; a completely devoted and a faithful wife. That is one of the sub-themes of Mahabharata. When after the war, the Pandavas meet their grieving uncle and aunt, they are at first resentful and apprehensive. Gandhari explains that grief alone is the cause of her anger.
I do not want them to perish.
He speaks with reason in a courteous and polite tone; and yet is resolute in his stand. His intentions are clear: He sayshe had a duty to to safeguard Dharma. Gandhari apparently accepts his argument and falls silent. As soon as Bheema finished his explanation, Yudhistira in sharp contrast to Bheema needlessly blames himself, his brothersKrishna and even Abhimanyu.
He calls himself and all those men who fought on his side as sinners and begs Gandhari to punish him for following them. I am the cause of the destruction of the earth. And, Gandhari with tearful eyes sighs deeply again and again; not a word escapes her lips. Gandhari, the Mother with a great heart, pardons the man who killed her one hundred sons and even appeals for his mercy.
She was already feeling like the winner thinking that if at all, Kunti would be able to get just five flowers of gold. In the morning as she went in style to the temple with a hundred gold champaks and her hundred sons, she saw that there were golden flowers strewn all over the place. Defeated and sad, she returned. How could their children have been cordial to each other when they knew their mothers were sometimes even explicitly hostile to each other?
She was also apprehensive about her sons because she knew that the Pandavas were stronger. And soon she came to realize that she was incapable of influencing Duryodhana with regard to his dealings with the Pandavas. The temple events can be seen as a turning point for Kunti and Gandhari as far as their power relations are concerned. They derived their power from their male associations, as women by and large almost always have had: Gandhari from her husband and children, and Kunti, from her children.
From then on Kunti became increasingly bitter and unforgiving. She was the one who had taken an absolutely uncompromising stand in favour of the war. Later Yudhisthira said this to her in so many words. On the penultimate day of the war, when her sons and Krishna returned to their camps without having killed Duryodhana, she greeted Bhima and Krishna with the harshest of words for their failure to kill Duryodhana. In fact so foul was her language and so abusive her tone as she addressed Krishna that Bhima got wild with her and had to be pacified by Krishna.
But in all this, Gandhari was not in her mind. The loss of her ninety-nine sons in the war had hardened Gandhari and she was full of hatred towards the Pandavas. Kuniti was not in her mind when she planned her revenge and resorted to deceit in order to destroy Yudhisthira. But Krishna countered her deceit with equally vicious deceit, and made her destroy her only surviving son, Durdasa, who had changed sides and had fought on behalf of the Pandavas.
Kunti now became the queen mother and Gandhari was a dependent on the Pandavas.
The tables had turned, and the balance of power had completely tilted against Gandhari. She was too powerless to feel even a sense of jealousy towards Kunti. Dhritarashtra suffered as much as did Gandhari. But Kunti was not party to their humiliation.
Power and status seemed to be of no interest to her. And power is no power when there is lack of will to exercise it or enjoy it. She was subdued and dejected. She suffered for her son Karna who had perished in the battlefield. Memories of this son — her eldest - to whom she had not been a mother in more ways than one, a matter that need not detain us here, and whom she had not brought up oppressed her.
It was as though she was trying to make up for her failure, and give her dead son his due that she had deprived him of when he was alive. She wept for him every single day, and she also mourned for her grandchildren, Abhimanyu and Ghatotkacha, and for her relatives.
But she condemned Arjuna, who had killed Karna. She might not have empathized with her sister-in-law: She joined Gandhari, blind by choice, and her brother-in-law Dhritarashtra, blind from birth, when they retired to the forest for their vanaprastha.
She would look after them in the forest. Why was she going with them? She had stayed with her sons and suffered with them during their difficult days.