Thursday, 16 August 2007

Visiting Mahabharata 17 ... Duryodhana (revisited in 2011)

On the same day as Bheema was born, Ghandari's eldest son was born. He was named Duryodhana, his father Dhritarastra was very pleased. He spoke to his brother Vidura, as he had some concerns. He wondered whether the first son of Pandu, being older had the right to the throne.
He was also worried about the inauspicious omens at the time of his son's birth. Vidura looked grave. He said 'my brother, these omens prophecy that your son will be the cause of the destruction of the entire world'. The king shocked asked 'How can I avert this calamity?'
Vidura's reply was even more shocking, he suggested that the child must be put to death for the good of humanity. 'The wise say that, for the sake of the family, one can be abandoned, the family may be abandoned for the sake of the village, the village for the sake of community; and everything, even this world, may be abandoned for the sake of saving the soul'.
Anyway, Dhirtharashtra does not heed this advice and abandon his first born. He also fathers a daughter Dussala and  hundred more sons!
( I did not expect this shocking advice from Vidura, but babies do get abandoned, put to death sometimes. The occurrence, an aberration, is fortunately very rare. However, abortion is more prevalent while controversial. Some are aborted due to probable birth defects detected by tests and others as they are detected to be female.

Can one  imagine a day when, if 'evil' can be detected not by an omen or prophecy but by medical tests, aborting them would be accepted by a society? Hard to visualise!  Definition of 'evil' would be very tricky! Killing an infant does occur in the animal world. It is all very disturbing and unsavory aspects of life. -Post Anna Hazare movement, would Vidura define corruption as 'evil'?)

Author Kamala, I am not sure why, does not explain how these hundred sons, a big number, arrived. What I remember is close to Samhita's version! To quote "Meanwhile, Gandhari , Dhritarashtra's wife gave birth to a lump of flesh. The whole palace was in gloom. Vyasa arrived and instructed Gandhari to cut the lump into hundred pieces and put them in oil. After nine months the hundred pieces turned into hundred boys. They were called the Kauravas. They hated their cousins Pandavas. The first two sons, Duryodhana and Dushasana were the leaders of the Kauravas."

No comments: