Saturday, August 29, 2015

13. Gandhari

After the birth of the three children - Dritharashtra, Pandu and Vidura - the Kuru kingdom grew in prosperity.  The citizens  were filled with hope when they saw the youthful faces of their princes.

Dritharashtra, Pandu and Vidura were brought up by Bhishma, as if they were his own sons. The children grew up into young men well versed in Vedas and skilled in athletics. They became skilled in the use of a bow, fighting on horsebacks and riding elephants. While Dritharashtra excelled in personal strength, Pandu excelled in archery. There was no one to match Vidura in his devotion to virtue and his knowledge of the rules of ethics and morality

 Since the eldest of the brothers Dritharashtra was blind, Pandu was crowned the king.

One day, Bhishma told Vidura, “We should take steps to perpetuate our race. I find that there are three maidens worthy of being allied to our race. One is the daughter of Surasena of the Yadava race. Another is the daughter of Suvala and the third is the princess of Madra. I think we should choose them for the growth of our race. Tell me what you think.”

Vidura said, “You are our father. You are our mother too. You are also our teacher. Therefore, please do what you think is the best for us.”

Bhishma sent messengers to Suvala, the king of Gandhara seeking his daughter for Dritharashtra. Though Sulava  was initially reluctant to accept the proposal because of Dritharashtra’s blindness, he subsequently agreed to the proposal considering  the glory of the Kurus. He gave his daughter Gandhari in marriage to Dritharashtra.

Learning about Dritharashtra’s blindness, Gndhari blindfolded her eyes, resolving not to have the faculty of vision which her husband did not possess. Sakuni, the son of Suvala, formally gave her away to Dhritarashtra.  Gandhari was  devoted to her husband. She  gratified her superiors by her good conduct.

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