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  see also   Satyavatee

Dhritraashtra was the grandson of King Shaantanu and Satyavatee and the eldest son of Maharshi Ved Vyaas [otherwise of Vichitraveerya] from Ambikaa. When Chitraangad was killed by a Gandharv named also Chitraangad, and Vichitraveerya also died very early with a disease, both Ambikaa and Ambaalikaa became childless widows of Vichitraveerya. Now Satyavatee was very much worried about the lineage of Kuru Vansh. She requested Bheeshm to produce children from them but he was tied to his vow. Then she remembered her first-born son Ved Vyaas. She asked Bheeshm to go to Ved Vyaas and bring him there. Bheeshm Jee went and brought Vyaas Jee. Satyavatee told him her problem and asked him to produce children from them. Vyaas Jee said, "I just woke up from my Samaadhi, give me some time, about one year, then I will be able to obey your orders." At this Satyavatee told that she did not have time. Then Vyaas Jee had to obey her orders at the same time and he asked Satyavatee to send Ambikaa to him.

Ambikaa went to him but got frightened seeing Vyaas Jee and she closed her eyes. Vyaas Jee told Satyavatee what had happened. He also told that he had already told her to wait for some time but she did not listen to him. Now since Ambikaa had closed her eyes seeing him, this child will be born blind. This time Satyavatee asked Ambaalikaa to go to Vyaas Jee. She went there, but seeing Vyaas Jee she went yellow with fear. Vyaas Jee came to Satyavatee and said, "This time everything is all right but the child will not maintain good health as Ambaalikaa went yellow with fear." Satyavatee said, "Son, give one chance more."  So she asked Ambikaa again to go to him, but she was so afraid that she was not willing to go to him at all. So Ambikaa sent her chief maid-servant to Vyaas Jee. Maid-servant felt very fortunate with this offer. She was not frightened at all, rather she received him very coolly. Vyaas Jee came to Satyavatee and said, "This time they sent their maid to me. But this time the son will be very religious and ethical and people will remember him for long time." Satyavatee got very sad on this whole episode, but could not do anything.

When the time came Ambikaa gave birth to a blind son - Dhritraashtra, Ambaalikaa gave birth to a yellow color son Paandu and the maid-servant gave birth to a healthy beautiful boy named Vidur. When they grew up Bheeshm took them for education and they returned only when they had finished their education. On Vidur's advice Paandu was appointed King. Since that day Dhritraashtra felt that his blindness was a curse to him, because only because of being blind he could not be appointed as king.

He was married to Gaandhaaree, the Princess of Gaandhaar Pradesh. Gaandhaaree was a very pious, Pativrataa and logical intelligent woman. She tied a strip of cloth on her eyes the day she chose Dhritraashtra as her husband. She said, "Why I should see that world which my husband cannot see." They had 100 sons and a daughter Dushalaa. Dushalaa was married to Jayadrath. 

Events took turn and Paandu went to extend the borders of the country the day he was married to Kuntee - daughter of Raajaa Shoorsen given to his friend Kuntibhoj as he was childless. He did get victory over many kingdoms and came back and married another Princess Maadree of Madra Desh. Then Paandu was sent for a vacation and in his absence he appointed his elder brother Dhritraashtra as the king of Hastinaapur. Once he got the taste of the throne, Dhritraashtra got mad after it. In the meantime Gaandhaaree's brother Shakuni also came to live there and he kept this fire burning in his brother-in-law's heart that, "This is your Crown, you have your right only on it." Gaandhaaree tried her best to do right things in a right way but failed.

Another unfortunate event occurred : When Paandu was on vacation, he killed Kindam Rishi by mistake, so he had the Paap of Brahm Hatyaa. When he came back from his vacation he decided to give his kingdom to Dhritraashtra in his absence and go to forest for Praayashchit. So he did this Praayashchit with Kuntee and Maadree. Although Dhritraashtra loved Paandu very much but at the same time he did not want to leave the Crown also. So once again the Crown remained with him.

Another unfortunate event : Dhritraashtra was elder to Paandu and was married before Paandu so it was expected that if he had a son before Paandu had, then at least his son will take this kingdom. But unfortunately although conceived before Kuntee, Gaandhaaree could not deliver the child before Kuntee's two sons - Yudhishthir and Bheem. And that was the beginning of a great dissatisfaction. Among his 100 sons his two sons were most known - Duryodhan and Dushaasan. 

Now Shakuni started instigating Duryodhan about his right on the kingdom. Paandu, eventually had five sons. Paandu died in the forest, Maadree became Satee with him and Satyavatee and Bheeshm called Kuntee and Paandav to live in the palace.

Now both Kaurav and Paandav grew together, were educated together from Dronaachaarya. Duryodhan, from the beginning, was very proud, of quarreling nature, and of dominant type while Paandav were friendly, soft spoken, submissive and kind. When Dronaachaarya was appointed their Guru, Duryodhan was always naughty while Arjun was favorite of Drone. Their enmity also grew with time under Shakuni's guidance. Duryodhan was always busy in making evil plans to trouble Paandav especially Bheem. He had special enmity with Bheem. Dhritraashtra always justified his son's actions with some baseless logic. Several such events took place: once Duryodhan mixed poison in sweets and fed it to Bheem, luckily the poison did not affect him. He was thrown into the river and went to Naag Lok - to his great grandfather's home where he became very mighty after drinking their special juice. Another time Duryodhan built a Laakshaa Grih (in Baaranaavat) in which Duryodhan planned to burn all Paandav but all Paandav along with Kuntee escaped with Vidur's help.

Then once on Shakuni's advice, he invited Paandav to play Chausar (dice game) and defeated them with Shakuni's cunningness. Later Duryodhan  asked Dushaasan to bring Draupadee in the royal court. Dushaasan brought her pulling by her hair in the court and pulled her dress to make her naked on Duryodhan's orders. But Dhritraashtra didn't say anything. With the fear of Draupadee's Shaap, he had to return everything to Paandav.

Duryodhan was not happy with this so he proposed for the second round of Chausar, he again won with Shakuni's cunningness and sent them for 12 years of exile and one year of Agyaatvaas (living in the society without being recognized). But still Dhritraashtra never asked his son to stop all these unjustified actions. All people, Vidur Jee, Bheeshm, Drone, Gaandhaaree advised him, tried to guide him to act like a King not like a father, but he could not do so.

In the end MBH war broke in, it lasted for 18 days. Since Dhritraashtra was blind, Vyaas Jee gave Sanjaya (his Saarathee) the divine sight to see the battlefield, so he told its account to Dhritraashtra as he saw it. All people including Duryodhan were killed. Thus Dhritraashtra neither got the kingdom nor the peace of mind. In the last after living with Yudhishthir for some time, he went to forest with Gaandhaaree and Kuntee and left this physical body there.


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 5/27/03
Updated on 04/14/12