Mahabharata: From The Eyes Of Gandhari
Gandhari was disappointed in love as also in marriage. . Kunti's children in turn looked up to their mother for advice; and never did they disobey or disregarded. 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. 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.
It pained her to see her sons and daughter-in-law living the life of hermits in forests and begging for alms when they were capable of doing so much more. While she did all she possibly could to convince Dhritrashtra and his sons to peacefully settle the matter, going to the extent of sending Krishna as Pandava's emissary to buy peace by accepting just five villages and foregoing the rest of the kingdom, it was not to be.
This is when she asked her sons to prepare for war and fulfill their Kshatriya Dharma. However, when after the all-destroying war that lasted 18 days and killed all of the Kaurava princes and all sons of Pandavas leaving behind just twelve warriors from both sides, a grieving Kunti decided to accompany Dhritrashtra and Gandhari to forest sacrificing the comforts of the palace. When she was questioned by her sons on her decision, she explained that the war was fought to get them justice but now she needed to serve penance for all the violence leading to the deaths of so many kinsmen and thousands of others.
Gandhari A stubborn young woman and a faithful wife Gandhari, the princess of Gandhar and a reincarnation of Mati - the Goddess of intelligence, was engaged to be married to Dhritrashtra, the eldest prince of Hastinapur. While Shakuni, her brother, was not pleased at the prospect of her sister being married to a blind prince who would not even be considered as the heir to the throne, the beautiful princess had her own notions of respect and loyalty to her future husband and when she came to know that he was blind by birth, she took a vow to blindfold herself for the rest of her life in order to show her empathy to him.
While her action had a noble intent, many would argue that she would have been more useful to her husband if she had chosen to be his eyes instead of a blind companion. A determined mother Gandhari's life could not have been easy, what with being married to a blind, insecure, and depressed prince.
On top of that, Gandhari's only hope of ever getting her due by producing an heir to the throne was not materializing as per plans. With Pandu, Kunti and Madri in the forest, Gandhari and her husband wanted to have a son who would be the eldest of the Kuru princes and thus, eligible to become the king of Hastinapur.
However, she had a prolonged pregnancy and in the mean time, Kunti and Madri begot sons through Durvasa's mantra. This event so upset Gandhari that she made her maids hit her stomach with an iron rod. This resulted in a lifeless ball of flesh coming out of her womb, which was later divided by Vyasa into hundred pieces and incubated in pots of ghee for two years to produce Gandhari's hundred sons and a daughter.
A righteous woman Gandhari was a righteous woman who, despite knowing that her sons were weaker than her cousins, the Pandavas, and may not get the chance to rule the kingdom, never actively encouraged them to rile the Pandava brothers.
On the contrary, she was wary of Duryodhana's constant endeavor to create trouble for Pandavas and hatch plots, along with his uncle Shakuni, to kill them. But her efforts to teach the right values to her sons were all in vain and she was well aware of her failure and rued it. Knowing well that dharma was on the side of Pandavas, she always told Duryodhana that may the victory be with those who are righteous!
This does not take away anything from Gandhari, the mother, who opened her blindfold just once in her life to bestow a naked Duryodhana with an iron-body that could not be destroyed by any weapon. While on one hand she tried to save Duryodhana by giving her sound advice to call off the war and give half of the kingdom to the Pandavas and later by protecting him from harm through her powers, on the other she stayed true to herself and her righteous nature by wishing the victory for those who fought for truth.
Even after the war, she forgave the Pandavas for killing her sons as she knew that they had tried their best to avoid the war and Duryodhan had tempted fate by insulting Krishna when he came to Hastinapur as an emissary of Pandavas.
Relationship between Kunti and Gandhari The relationship between these two matriarchs of the Kuru clan can at best be described as uneasy. While neither of them went out of her way to be mean or unpleasant to each other, their ever changing life situations did put them in awkward positions with regards to each other. To begin with, Gandhari was married to the older, yet blind prince who had no prospects to ever become a king.
Kunti being married to Pandu, the king of Hastinapur naturally was in a more powerful position and had more say in palace and family matters, though she never put Gandhari down or took undue advantage of this fact. The tables turned when Pandu decided to leave for forest accompanied by his wives, leaving the reins of Hastinapur in the hands of Dhritrashtra for the duration. Gandhari became the queen and enjoyed, finally, an elevated position in the household.Death of Dhritarashtra, Kunti, Gandhari - Tales from Mahabharata
She also started nurturing a hope to produce an heir before Kunti did to ensure that her family's position of importance was maintained.
When a widowed Kunti came back from the forest with her five sons, Gandhari was happy to show off her good fortune but bore her no ill will.
On her part, Kunti had a huge task; that of bringing up her five children alone, in an environment made hostile by Gandhari's sons and brother and Dhritrashtra's hidden resentment. She concentrated on the same with advice and blessings from Bhishma and Vidur, without getting into the politics of the palace.
She knew thus that she was going to be the loser. After a while Arjun came looking or her. Kunti came out, gave him food, and told him what was troubling her. Arjun told her not to worry; the following morning he was going to get for her a hundred golden champak flowers each with a hundred petals. Kunti woke him up in the morning and reminded him of the flowers.
Mahabharata: From The Eyes Of Gandhari
With his arrows he created many, many beautiful champak flowers each having a hundred petals for his mother to worship Shiva with.
Gandhari had told her sons about her quarrel with Kunti and about what Bhagawan Shiva had told them both. She asked her sons to give her a golden champak each. 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. I do not know the exact reason that forced Kunti to fight it out alone.
However, I surmise the following context of those times could provide some clues to why Kunti had to brave her troubles alone. I could be wrong. Jarasandha thus established a tyrannical supremacy over the other regions. For fear of Jarasandha and his hordes, the king of the Salwayana tribe with their brethren and followers such as the southern Panchalas and the eastern Kosalas all fled to the country of the Kuntis.
Gandhari the lonely Queen | Sulekha Creative
Similarly, the Matsyas Rajasthan area and the Sannyastapadas, overcome with fear, fled into the southern country. Jarasandha was particularly angry with the establishment at Mathura and the Yadavas in general, because his son-in-law Kamsa had been slain by Yadava Krishna.
Krishna in order to save the Yadavas from being enslaved persuaded his clan leaders to abandon Mathura, and to re-establish themselves in the fortified city of Dwaraka on the western seashore. And, Kunti and her sons therefore had to be in Hasthinapura region.
A grave problem faces us. You know Hidimba loves you Have a son by her. He will work for our welfare. My son, I do not want a no from you. I want your promise now, in front of both of us. To me you are like Bhima himself. You are the eldest son of the Pandavas. Therefore, you should help them. Later during the years of exile, Arjuna as advised by his mother forged alliance with NagasManipuris and Yadavas of Dwaraka through Subadra. Kunti had the foresight to build alliances that would someday come in handy.
She had the wisdom to educate her sons in proper use of power. I know exactly what I am doing.
- Kunti And Gandhari - The Two Matriarchs Of Mahabharata
This is an act of dharma. Yudhishthira, two benefits will follow from this act ; one, we will repay a Brahmin and two, we will gain moral merit. It is his dharma. That perhaps was a part of her way of bringing up her sons; to expose them to experiences at all levels of living.
Thatagainwas a part of her long-term strategy to win back the lost kingdom. She had the foresight and sagacity to calculate that a fight with the Kauravas would at sometime be inevitablewhile no others foresaw the battle even as a possibility.
She tried to build alliances around that possibility. Much has been written about Kunti asking her sons to share whatever they brought home and which led to the five brothers marrying one womanDraupadi.
Was Kunti really not aware her son won a bride? Was she merely talking of alms her sons brought home? I am not sure Kunti was so gullible. They were already back home by the time the other two brothers along with the newly-won bride Draupadi presented themselves at the door steps. Yudhisthiraby then, would surely have reported to Kunti what transpired at the Swayamvara. While he and the twins were reporting to hershe would have noticed the sparkle and desire in their eyes too. Was that the reason of her charadeasking the brothers to share whatever they had bought home?
And if that happens, will I not be tainted with untruth?
Mahabharata, through the ‘eyes’ of Gandhari - Times of India
What that decision of Kunti did to the Brothers and how that bonded the six together becomes explicit later in the Epic. The respect and implicit obedience her sons displayed was a tribute to Kunti and her motherhood. It was something that Gandhari could not achieve. Truly, Kunti is a remarkable picture of maternal heroism created by Vyasa.
Indeed, the only occasion when her sons did not consult her was before playing the second dice game.