Sunday, 5 August 2012

Gandhari forgives Pandavas. Mahabharata 175

It is fascinating to see the depth of anger engendered in a khsatriya and how it is resolved. Dhritharashtra blind by birth, while physically strong, always dependent on others, would have deep scars in his psyche. He is complex, does not give up easily, but finally Dhritarashtra is a broken man.

Pandavas walk towards Gandhari. Dharmaraja speaks with great hesitation. Addresses her very softly, 'Amma! Here I am, the cruel man who killed all your children! I deserve to be punished. Curse me! What is the use of my living. I neither want the kingdom nor happiness.  I do not know what to do after losing all my relatives and friends!'  Gandhari is unable to speak, let us out a deep sigh of anguish. While eyes are bound, the toe-ends of Yudhisthira are visible to her and the nails change colour as her eyes focuses on them. Seeing this Arjuna gets behind Krishna. Soon, she lets go of her anger and speaks to them as a mother would. They take her permission to leave and meet Kunti.

The mother and children have not met for a long time. Kunti is unable to bear the sight of injuries caused by the weapons on the body of her children. She cries as she caresses each injury and she speaks to each one of them as she caresses them again and again. She then looks at a very distraught Draupadi, who unable to contain her emotions has slumped on the floor. Draupadi begins to weep, 'Amma! Abhimanyu and other grand children of yours are all gone!  They are no more able to come and see you! What use is this kingdom, when I have lost such wonderful brave children?'

Kunti lifts Draupadi up and she takes her and the pandavas to meet Gandhari. Gandhari consoles Draupadi, 'Do not cry mother! Look at me and compose yourself. This is the time of destruction of the world! Hence what had to happen did happen! It is not in our control. Your children died in the war. So did mine. Do not grieve for them. You have become like me and I have become like you and who is there to console us?.

Later they all proceed to the warfield where soldiers had fought and died. They see only dead bodies, dead elephants and horses as far as the eyes could see. The earth is red and slushy soaked in blood! Vultures, crows and foxes are surrounding these dead bodies and are pecking away at them. Amongst them are the wailing women moving and falling as they try to locate their husbands or children.

She then addresses Krishna, 'You hear my daughter and my daughters-in-law crying without control Krishna. In the same manner many women are remembering their husbands, children as they keep looking for them. This scene is burning me!.'  And as she keeps walking, they find Duryodhana and Gandhari falls down like a severed plantain tree wailing ''Oh! Duryodhana!'

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