Dhritarashtra

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This article is about the figure in the Hindu epic Mahābhārata. For the figure in Buddhist mythology, see Dhṛtarāṣṭra.
Dhritarashtra
Dhritarashtra
The blind king Dhrtarastra listens as the visionary narrator Sanjaya relates the events of the battle between the Kaurava and the Pandava clans
Information
Family Vyasa (father)
Ambika (mother)
Pandu (half-brother)
Vidura (half-brother)
Spouse(s) Gandhari(wife),Sughada(concubine)
Children Duryodhana, Dushasana, Vikarna and 97 other sons and Duhsala (daughter) from Gandhari and Yuyutsu from Sughada (concubine of Dhritarashtra)

In the Mahabharata, Dhritarashtra (Sanskrit: धृतराष्ट्र, dhṛtarāshtra; lit. "a good king"[1]) is the King of Hastinapur at the time of the Kurukshetra War, the epic's climactic event. He was born the son of Vichitravirya's first wife Ambika, and was fathered by Veda Vyasa. He was blind from birth,[2] and became father to a hundred and one sons (and one daughter) by his wife Gandhari (Gāndhārī). These children, including the eldest son Duryodhana, came to be known as the Kauravas. Dhritarashtra was half-brother of Pandu and Vidura, and was uncle to the five Pandavas, with whom his sons fought the Kurukshetra War. Throughout his reign as King of Hastinapur, Dhritarashtra was torn between the principles of dharma and his love for his son Duryodhana, and often ended up endorsing his son's actions merely out of fatherly love. Thus Dhritarashtra essentially presided over the fall of Hastinapur's kingdom. All of his sons perished in the war, with the exception of Yuyutsu, his son with Gandhari's lady-in-waiting Sughada, who fought on the Pandava side. Dhritarashtra appears in Mahābhārata sections that have been circulated as separate scriptures, most notably the Bhagavad Gita, whose dialogue was narrated to him.

The dice game[edit]

Draupadi disrobed in Dhritarashtra's assembly. Dhritarashtra seated in the centre.

Battle of Kurukshetra[edit]

Dhrutarastra Lament

Crushing of Bhima's metal statue[edit]

The blind Dhritarashtra attacks the statue of Bhima

Later years and death[edit]

Kunti leading Dhritarashtra and Gandhari as she goes to the forest in exile

Roles in Bhagavad Gita and Sanatsujatiya[edit]

Sage Sanatsujata teaches Atma vidya to King Dhṛtarāṣṭra

References[edit]

  1. ^ Apte, Vaman Shivaram (1957). "धृतराष्ट्र". A practical Sianskrit-English Dictionary. Poona: Prasad Prakashan. 
  2. ^ "Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide", by Roshen Dalal, p. 230, publisher = Penguin Books India