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Home  |  Mortals   |  Indian Mortals   |  Gandhari : The Queen Mother

Gandhari : The Queen Mother

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At a glance

Description
Origin Indian Mythology
Classification Mortals
Family Members Dhritarashtra (Husband), Kauravas (Children), Sulabha (Father), Sudharma (Mother), Shakuni (Brother)
Region India
Associated With Royalty, Blindness, Kauravas

Gandhari

Introduction

The woman known as Gandhari was a princess from Gandhara. She was the wife of the blind king known as Dhritarashtra and the mother of many of his sons, including Duryodhana. She played a significant role in the Mahabharata. She was the child of Subala, the ruler of Gandhara. Located in Pakistan and Afghanistan, her name is derived from this region. Gandhari was then married to the eldest son of Kuru Kingdom, Dhritarashtra. Throughout her married life, Gandhari did not allow herself to see. She did this after realizing that her husband, who was also blind, could not enjoy it.

Physical Traits

Gandhari was said to be a very pious and aesthetic woman who imbibed all the glory of the Gandhara region. The Mahabharata depicted her as a devout woman, beautiful and virtuous. Upon learning that her husband was blind, Gandhari took the extreme step of covering her eyes so that they would continue to suffer the same amount of darkness as her husband. According to another theory, Gandhari was so mad at Bheeshma that he believed that a blind man was fit for Gandhari, she assumed that a blindfolded woman was fit for Dhritarashtra.

Family

Throughout her married life, Gandhari has voluntarily covered her eyes. She decided to do so after realizing that her husband was blind. She had a hundred sons, and a daughter Dushala, who was married to Jayadratha. Duryodhana and Dushasana were among the villains of the Mahbhrata, and they were killed during the Pandava’s war at Kurukshetra.

The Mahbhrata attributes Gandhari to high moral standards, contrary to her sons, who were often portrayed as villains. She urged them to make peace with the Pandavas and follow dharma. Gandhari was close to Kunti, and she also made an exception for her blindfolded state. Gandhari made a single exception to her blindfolded state, when she removed her blindfold to see Duryodhana rendering his entire body except his loins invulnerable to any foe.

During her maiden years, Gandhari reportedly impressed Lord Shiva by performing penance. She was also reportedly granted a boon to bear 100 offspring. After getting pregnant, she carried the child for two years. When she learned that Kunti, the queen of Pandu, had given birth to the Pandavas’ eldest son, Gandhari became infuriated and punched out a grey mass instead of her sons. Veda Vyasa divided the entire lot into 101 parts and then stored them in earthen pots, which will last for two years. The first to be born is Duryodhan, followed by Dushala and 99 others.

Other stories claim that Gandhari had 100 offspring, with Dushala the lone girl. She was said to have birthed 99 children, with Duryodhana regarded as the oldest. The 101st child was a boy with whom Dhritarashtra had intercourseed as he was frustrated by her prolonged pregnancy, which prevented him from getting his first son. He was eventually able to have a son named Yuyutsu, who went on to grow up alongside his brothers.

Many bad omens were predicted about Duryodhana’s arrival. Among the individuals who warned Gandhari and Dhritarashtra were Vidura, Satyavati, Bhishma, and Vyasa. They told them to either release the child into the Ganga or kill him, but both refused.

Other names

She is regarded as a reincarnation of Mati, who was known as the goddess of wisdom. Gandhari was born on earth as the child of Subala, who was the king of Gandhara. She was given the name “Gandhari” by her father. In the epic, her identity is only reduced to that of the daughter of the king, which is a fitting depiction of her. Prior to her marriage to Dhritarashtra, Gandhari was referred to as Gandhara-Raja-duhita, which literally means “daughter of the king,” as well as Subalatmaja, Saubaleyi, Saubali, Subalaja and Subala-putri which all mean “daughter of Subala.”

Powers and Abilities

According to folk tales, Gandhari defied her blindfold when she saw her eldest son Duryodhna. She poured all her power upon him in one swift movement, rendering Duryodhana’s entire body, except his loins, as strong as thunderbolt. Krishna however had tricked her son into hiding his private parts before they could meet which ultimately led to his death.

She was a devout woman, and she worshipped Lord Shiva. Her sacrifice of her eyesight was said to have granted her great spiritual strength. Due to her suffering, Gandhari cursed Krishna, which caused the Yadavas to be destroyed. It is also believed that through a gap in her blindfold, her gaze accidentally fell on the toe of Yudhisthira which was charred black immediately.

Modern Day Influence

Gandhari is not a popular character in modern times due to the plethora of characaters from the Mahabharata. However, there has been a  movie called “Gandhari: The Blind Queen”, a historical drama that portrays the life and struggles of Gandhari as the wife of Dhritarashtra and the mother of the Kauravas, and her role in the Kurukshetra war. Also, the novel called “Gandhari’s Curse” is fantasy fiction that explores the consequences of Gandhari’s curse on Krishna and the Yadavas, and how it affects the fate of the world.

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Disclaimer: While it is the intention of Mythlok and its editors to keep all the information about various characters as mythologically accurate as possible, this site should not be considered mythical, legendary or folkloric doctrine in any way. We welcome you using this website for any research, journal or study but citing this website for any academic work would be at your own personal risk.
Disclaimer: While it is the intention of Mythlok and its editors to keep all the information about various characters as mythologically accurate as possible, this site should not be considered mythical, legendary or folkloric doctrine in any way. We welcome you using this website for any research, journal or study but citing this website for any academic work would be at your own personal risk.
Disclaimer: While it is the intention of Mythlok and its editors to keep all the information about various characters as mythologically accurate as possible, this site should not be considered mythical, legendary or folkloric doctrine in any way. We welcome you using this website for any research, journal or study but citing this website for any academic work would be at your own personal risk.