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Mahabharata character
FamilyDhritarashtra (father)
Gandhari (mother)

Dushasana (Sanskrit: दुःशासन, Duḥśāsana), also spelled as Dussasana and Dushyasan, was a Kaurav prince, the second son of the blind king Dhritarashtra and Gandhari and the younger brother of Duryodhan in the Hindu epic Mahabharata.


The name is often derived from two elements, the Sanskrit: duh, meaning "bad or atrocious" and shasana, meaning "governance or reign". So the word Dussasan means "A Bad Governance" or "An Atrocious Ruler".

Birth and development[edit]

When Dhritarashtra's queen Gandhari's pregnancy continued for an unusually long time, she beat her womb in frustration and in envy of Kunti, the queen of Pandu, who had given birth to three of the five Pandav brothers. Due to her actions, a hardened mass of grey-colored flesh emerged from her womb. Gandhari was devastated, and called upon Vyasa, the great sage who had blessed her with one hundred sons, to redeem his words.

Dussasana was devoted to his older brother Duryodhana. He was also closely involved in the various schemes and plots to kill the Pandavas along with Duryodhana and Shakuni.

Draupadi's humiliation[edit]

Draupadi is presented to a parcheesi game

After Yudhishthira lost his kingdom, his brothers and his wife Draupadi, in a game of dice with Shakuni, Dussasana dragged Draupadi by the hair into the assembly, at the behest of his brother Duryodhana, and tried to disrobe her. Draupadi prayed to Krishna and he made her sari to be of infinite length, so that Dussasana could not take it off. Dussasana was very exhausted and he nearly fainted. The assembled men were amazed at this miracle. They condemned Dussasana and praised Draupadi. However, the princess was humiliated by being dragged into court by her hair. After this humiliation Draupadi swore that she will not tie her hair until it is bathed with blood of Dushasana. Bhima, who could no longer watch Draupadi's insult in silence, rose up. He vowed to rip Dussasana's arms off his body, with which he had dragged Draupadi by her hair and had tried to disrobe her. He further vowed to tear open Dussasana's chest in battle and drink his blood. Bhima also exclaimed that if he could not fulfill his oath, then he would not meet his ancestors in heaven.


The son of Dushasana who helped his father many times in the kurukshtra war. He was also present inside the Chakra Vyuh on the thirteenth day of the war and killed Abhimanyu when he was bare handed with his mace. On the 14th day of the Kurukshetra war, when the battle continued after sunset he was killed by Bhima.

Kurukshetra war and death[edit]

Bhima fulfilling his promise regarding Dushsasana in the Mahabharata field

He along with Duryodhana lead one of the Akshauhanis of the Kaurava army. On the 1st day of the war he was defeated by Nakula but was spared by him for sake of Bhima's vow. On the 13th day of the war he was defeated by Abhimanyu badly. On the 17th day of the Kurukshetra War, Bhima defeated and killed Dussasana. He and Dussasana were fighting with bows and arrows. Later, Dussasana's arrows pierced Bhima. Then Bhima attacked him with his mace and caused him to fall on the ground. He remembered his vow and ripped Dussasana's arms off his body. Then Bhima tore open Dussasana's chest and drank his warm blood. Bhima exclaimed that the taste of the blood was sweeter than that of milk and danced around his body. Dussasana's brutal death greatly agitated Duryodhana, and demoralized the Kaurava army watching Bhima in his ecstasy of wrath (soldiers of both sides called Bhima 'Rakshasa' condemning his terrible act).Bhima washed Draupadi's hair with Dussasana's blood,thus fulfilling her vow as well. However, this did little to end the conflict, as Duryodhana reaffirmed his view on the continuation of the war.

Dursasana (Dushasana in the Javanese language) in the Balinese wayang kulit shadow theatre


External links[edit]

  • Media related to Dushasana at Wikimedia Commons