Monday, 6 August 2012

Gandhari's curse to diminish khsatriyas further. Mahabharata 176

Gandhari reminisces about her dead son. "The day war began, Duryodhana came to see me and said,     ' I am waging a war with my cousins भ्रातृव्य. Mother,  bless me so that I will be victorious'. (another meaning of the word भ्रातृव्य  hostile cousin!)

"I had told him then, 'Where is dharma there is victory. You will fight and attain veeraswarga (heaven).' And it has happened. So I do not grieve so much for his death. But it is very difficult to see Dhritharashtra. He has lost all his friends, relatives and children and is now helpless and orphaned. This hurts me more. Who could imagine that indestructible men like Jayadhrata, Karna and Drona would die! But they supported Duryodhana and his war. They are now like a doused fire.'

 'What is not possible for fate? The day you came to seek a compromise and returned, I knew that my children were doomed. Bheeshma and Vidura told me the same thing. They asked me to give up hope for my children. How can it, what they foresaw, be wrong? Now in a short time, all my children are lying dead.'  She then faints as the enormity of her misfortune finally hits her.

As she recovers, there is a change in her. In her desperate sorrow, she has lost her forbearance and her judgement and speaks angrily to Krishna. 'When Kauravas and Pandavas lost patience with each other and were ready to destroy each other, you were unconcerned. If you had wanted, you could have averted this calamity, you had the capacity and the power.  But you chose not to do so!  So, you will be the one who will become responsible for the death of your cousins. In thirty-six years from now, you will lose your nears, dears and children!  You will be orphaned, be unknown and wander in the forests and die reviled by all. Your women will cry in misery, like the Bharatha women who are crying now'.

Krishna hears these dreadful words and smiles, 'Amma! Khsatriye! I know this. It is ordained that Yadavas will destroy each other by fighting amongst themselves. They have to die only because of me. No one else can kill them. Let it be! Stop crying and get up! But do not blame me for your mistakes. It is because of you that the Kuru vamsha is destroyed. Your son was jealous, intolerably proud, cruel minded, revengeful and one who did not listen to elders or respect them. And you thought what he did was right!

'Like the cows who will only beget beasts of burden and horses beget horses which run swiftly. It is natural that a princess like you will give birth to one who desires to kill'. Gandhari becomes quiet after hearing this harsh reply from Krishna.

Then, they make arrangements for the cremation of the dead and arrive at the banks of Ganga. The women  bathe in the holy river and offer water ('jalatharpana)' as they pray for the souls of their fathers, brothers and children. They also pray for their relatives and friends. Dharmaraja learns that Karna is his brother and offers tharpana. Dhhritharashtra also offers tharpana to all those he had to give and climbs back to the bank. 

Ganga, as large as a sea, appears different as the women at  the river, wives of dead war heroes,  are very sad and quiet as they go about their rituals.

As I read Krishna's reply to Gandhari I felt vindicated! I remember that there was praise for Gandhari when she covered her eyes, because  she married a blind person. I had felt that it was not a wise thing to do as they both became dependent on others. And this could possibly affect the supervison of their children. 

Then again,  Gandhari was probably right. It is seen even now that mostly it is the blind who get married to blind. They start life with equal handicaps! But I actually know a person who was very supportive of his wife, when she sadly lost her sight! Hence it probably  was upto Dhritharashtra to have said no, when Gandhari chose to cover her eyes!


Raghunath said...

Do we need a Kurukshetra to cleanse this nation? Probably we will have it. Thank God most of our lives have been lived!

Vijay Chennai said...

Pandavas mistakes have not been punished. Just because Krishna happened to relative he over looked it.

The biggest mistake was five persons marrying one woman