From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

RelativesKuru dynasty-Chandravanshi

Vichitravirya (Sanskrit: विचित्रवीर्य, vicitravīrya) was a Kuru king. He features in the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata. The name Vichitravirya actually means 'Marvelous Heroism'.[1] According to the Mahabharata, he was the younger son of queen Satyavati and king Shantanu and grandfather of the Pandavas and the Kauravas. He was also the half-brother of Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa and Bhishma.


A historical Kuru King named Dhritarashtra, son of Vichitravirya is mentioned in the Kathaka Samhita of the Yajurveda (c. 1200–900 BCE) as a descendant of the Rigvedic-era King Sudas of the Bharatas.[2][3]

Role in the Mahabharata[edit]

Vichitravirya had an elder brother named Chitrāngada, whom his half-brother Bhishma placed on the throne of the kingdom of the Kurus after Shantanu's death; he was a mighty warrior but the king of the Gandharvas defeated and killed him at the end of a long battle. Thereafter, Bhishma consecrated Vichitravirya, who was still a child, to the kingdom.[4]

When he had reached manhood, Bhishma married him to Ambika and Ambalika, beautiful daughters of the king of Kasi Kashya. Vichitravirya loved his wives very much and was adored by them. But after seven years he fell ill of consumption and could not be healed despite the efforts of his friends and physicians.[5] Like his brother Chitrangada, he died childless. Subsequently, through a Niyoga relationship with his half-brother sage Vyasa, his wives and a maid gave birth to three children, namely Dhritarashtra, Pandu and Vidura.[6]

Death and Legacy[edit]

Different texts share different stories surrounding the death of Vichitravirya. According to the Bhagavata Purana, he died of a heart attack because of his attachment to his wives Ambika and Ambalika.[7] Vichitravirya was succedded by Pandu and later Dhritrashtra.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Monier-Williams, Sir Monier; Leumann, Ernst; Cappeller, Carl (1899). A Sanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged with Special Reference to Cognate Indo-European Languages. Motilal Banarsidass Publishing House. ISBN 978-81-208-3105-6.
  2. ^ Witzel, Michael (1995). "Early Sanskritization: Origin and Development of the Kuru state" (PDF). EJVS. 1 (4): 17, footnote 115. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 June 2007.
  3. ^ Michael Witzel (1990), "On Indian Historical Writing", p.9 of PDF
  4. ^ van Buitenen (1973), p. 227
  5. ^ Bhanu, Sharada (1997). Myths and Legends from India - Great Women. Chennai: Macmillan India Limited. pp. 35–6. ISBN 0-333-93076-2.
  6. ^ van Buitenen (1973), pp. 230; 235-36
  7. ^ (29 June 2012). "Vicitravirya, Vicitravīrya, Vicitra-virya: 14 definitions". Retrieved 9 April 2022.


  • Vicitravirya in: M.M.S. Shastri Chitrao, Bharatavarshiya Prachin Charitrakosh (Dictionary of Ancient Indian Biography, in Hindi), Pune 1964, p. 841
  • J.A.B. van Buitenen, Mahabharat, vol. 1, Chicago 1973

External links[edit]