Kaurava

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Kaurava Pandava Yuddh

Kaurava (Sanskrit: कौरव) is a Sanskrit term, that refers to the descendants of Kuru, a legendary king who is the ancestor of many of the characters of the Mahābhārata. The well-known Kauravas are Duryodhana, Dushasana, Vikarna, Yuyutsu and Dussala.

Etymology[edit]

The term 'Kaurava' is used in the Mahābhārata with two meanings:

  • The wider meaning, is used to represent all the descendants of Kuru. This meaning, which includes the Pandava brothers, is often used in the earlier parts of popular renditions of the Mahābhārata.
  • The narrower but more common meaning, is used to represent the elder line of the descendants of King Kuru. This restricts it to the children of King Dhritarashtra, as his line is the older line of descent from Kuru. It excludes the children of the younger brother Pandu, who founds his own line, the Pandava.

The rest of this article deals with the Kaurava in the narrower sense, that is the children of Dhritarashtra by Gandhari. When referring to these children, a more specific term is also used- Dhārtarāṣṭra (Sanskrit: धार्तराष्ट्र), a derivative of Dhritarashtra.

Birth Of Kauravas[edit]

After Gandhari was married to Dhritarashtra, she wrapped a bandage over her eyes and vowed to share the darkness that her husband lived in. Gandhari's brother Shakuni came to live with them to look after the interests of Gandhari. Once Sage Vyasa came to visit Gandhari in Hastinapur. She took great care of the comforts of the great saint and saw that he had a pleasant stay in Hastinapur. The saint was pleased with Gandhari and granted her a boon. Gandhari wished for one hundred sons who would be as powerful as her husband. Vyasa granted her the boon and in due course of time Gandhari found herself to be pregnant. But two years passed and still the baby was not born. Meanwhile, Kunti received a son from god Yama whom she called Yudhishthira. After two years of pregnancy, Gandhari gave birth to a hard piece of lifeless flesh that was not a baby at all. Gandhari was devastated as she had expected a hundred sons according to the blessing of Rishi Vyas. She was about to throw away the piece of flesh when Rishi Vyas appeared and told her that his blessings could not have been in vain and asked Gandhari to arrange for one hundred jars to be filled with Ghee(oil). He told Gandhari that he would cut the piece of flesh into hundred pieces and place them in the jars, which would then develop into the one hundred sons that she so desired. Gandhari told Vyas then that she also wanted to have a daughter. Vyas agreed and cut the piece of flesh into one hundred and one pieces and placed them each in the jars. After two more years of patient waiting the jars were ready to be opened.[1]

When the first jar was opened the first baby was born and was named Duryodhana which means the unconquerable one or difficult to fight with. As soon as the baby started crying all the beasts of the jungle started howling and many signs of ill omen were seen. Vidura spoke then saying that the child would have to be abandoned as the omens at his birth spelt doom for the Kuru clan. He said, "The scriptures clearly state that for the good of the clan an individual can be sacrificed, for the good of the village a clan can be sacrificed, for the good of the country a village can be sacrificed and for the development of the soul, even the earth can be sacrificed." So for the good of the clan and of the country and of humanity, please sacrifice this son of yours. But both Gandhari and Dhritrashtra were adamant that a baby could not cause any harm and much against Vidura's wishes kept the baby. At the same time Bhima was born to Kunti in the forest. Another son of Dhritarashtra was from a Vaishya servant Sukhada named Yuyutsu was born on the same day as Bhima and Duryodhana.The other children of Gandhari were taken out of the jars and now Gandhari had one hundred sons and a daughter called Duhsala. All the children grew up to be strong and powerful.[citation needed]

This story should be read in view of the dispute over the succession to the throne of the kingdom. It attributes a late birth to Duryodhana, the eldest son of Dhritarashtra, despite his father's early marriage. This legitimises the Yudhishthira's claim to the throne, since he was the eldest of his generation.[citation needed]

Children Of Dhritarashtra[edit]

The children of Dhritarashtra by Gandhari are also referred by a more specific and frequently encountered term - Dhārtarāṣṭra, a derivative of Dhṛtarāṣṭra(Dhritarashtra).

According to the epic, Gandhari wanted a hundred sons and Vyasa granted her a boon that she would have these. Another version says that she was unable to have any children for a long time and she eventually became pregnant, but did not deliver for two years, after which she gave birth to a lump of flesh. Vyasa cut this lump into a hundred and one pieces and these eventually developed into a hundred boys and one girl.[2]

The birth of these children is relevant to the dispute over succession of the kingdom's throne. It attributes the late birth of Duryodhana, the eldest son of Dhritarashtra, despite his father's early marriage and legitimizes the case for his cousin Yudhishthira to claim the throne, since he could claim to be the eldest of his generation. All the sons of Dhritarashtra excluding Yuyutsu(born of Dhritarashtra's marriage with a Vaysya woman, thus a half-brother of Duryodhana) were killed in the great battle at Kurukshetra.

Quote from Mahabharata, Sambava jayesh, Section CXV:[3]

"And during the time when Gandhari was in a state of advanced pregnancy, there was a maid servant of the Vaisy class who used to attend on Dhritarashtra. During that year, O king, was begotten upon her by the illustrious Dhritarashtra a son endued with great intelligence who was afterwards named Yuyutsu. And because he was begotten by a Kshatriya upon a Vaisy woman, he was subject to the constant taunts of the Kaurava.

Thus were born unto the wise Dhritarashtra, a hundred sons who were all heroes and mighty chariot-fighters, and a daughter over and above the hundred and another son Yuyutsu of great energy and prowess begotten upon a Vaishya woman."

List Of Dhritarashtra's Children[edit]

Although all hundred sons with Gandhari have been named, only the first few are normally mentioned in the Mahabharata. Their hundred and first child was a daughter named Dushala. Dhritirashtra had another son called Yuyutsu with a Vaishya servant, who was born on the same day as Duryodhana. The names of all of Dhritarashtra's 102 children(not according to age) are:[4]

  1. Duryodhana
  2. Dushasana
  3. Vikarna
  4. Vivinsati
  5. Durmukha
  6. Duhsalan
  7. Jalagandha
  8. Ponga
  9. Saha
  10. Vindha
  11. Anuvindha
  12. Chitrasena
  13. Durdarsha
  14. Durmarsha
  15. Dussaha
  16. Durmada
  17. Dushkarna
  18. Durdhara
  19. Durmarshana
  20. Durvishaha
  21. Durvimochana
  22. Dushpradharsha
  23. Durjaya
  24. Dushparajaya
  25. Jaitra
  26. Bhurivala
  27. Ravi
  28. Jayatsena
  29. Sujata
  30. Srutavan
  31. Srutanta
  32. Jaya
  33. Chitra
  34. Upachitra
  35. Charuchitra
  36. Chitraksha
  37. Sarasana
  38. Chitrayudha
  39. Chitravarman
  40. Suvarma
  41. Sudarsana
  42. Dhanurgraha
  43. Vivitsu
  44. Subaahu
  45. Nanda
  46. Upananda
  47. Kratha
  48. Vatavega
  49. Nishagin
  50. Kavashin
  51. Paasi
  52. Vikata
  53. Soma
  54. Suvarchasa
  55. Dhanurdhara
  56. Ayobaahu
  57. Mahabaahu
  58. Chithraamga
  59. Chithrakundala
  60. Bheemaratha
  61. Bheemavega
  62. Bheemabela
  63. Ugraayudha
  64. Kundhaadhara
  65. Vrindaaraka
  66. Dridhavarma
  67. Dridhakshathra
  68. Dridhasandha
  69. Jarasandha
  70. Sathyasandha
  71. Sadaasuvaak
  72. Ugrasrava
  73. Ugrasena
  74. Senaany
  75. Aparaajitha
  76. Kundhasaai
  77. Dridhahastha
  78. Suhastha
  79. Suvarcha
  80. Aadithyakethu
  81. Ugrasaai
  82. Kavachy
  83. Kradhana
  84. Kundhy
  85. Bheemavikra
  86. Alolupa
  87. Abhaya
  88. Dhridhakarmaavu
  89. Dhridharathaasraya
  90. Anaadhrushya
  91. Kundhabhedy
  92. Viraavy
  93. Pradhama
  94. Amapramaadhy
  95. Deerkharoma
  96. Suveeryavaan
  97. Dheerkhabaahu
  98. Kaanchanadhwaja
  99. Kundhaasy
  100. krishna
  101. Dussala(Daughter)
  102. Yuyutsu(half-brother)[5]

In Literature[edit]

Harivamsa Purana(8th century CE) narrates the Jain version of their story.[6]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Mahabharat Chapter 6 - Birth of Pandavas and Kauravas
  2. ^ The Birth of the Pandavas and Kauravas
  3. ^ http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m01/m01116.htm>
  4. ^ Puranic Encyclopedia of Vettom Mani. Mahabharata Aadiparvam – chapter 67 Compiled by T.J.Neriamparampil
  5. ^ Yuyutsu is the son of Dhritarashtra through a Vysya Maid Servant.He was born on the same day as Duryodhana and elder to the rest of the 99 sons of Gandhari and Dushala. During the Kurushethra War he sided with the Pandavas and was one of 12 survivors. He was the caretaker of king Parikshit, son of Abhimanyu, when Parikshit was a minor.
  6. ^ Upinder Singh 2016, p. 26.

Sources[edit]

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