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Kauravas

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Kauravas

Kaurava (Sanskrit: कौरव) is a Sanskrit term, that refers to the descendants of Kuru, a legendary king who is the ancestor of many of the characters of the Mahābhārata.

The term is used in the Mahābhārata with two meanings:

  • The wider meaning, is used to represent all the descendants of Kuru. This meaning, which includes the Pandava brothers, is often used in the earlier parts of popular renditions of the Mahābhārata.
  • The narrower but more common meaning, is used to represent the elder line of the descendants of King Kuru. This restricts it to the children of King Dhritarashtra, as his line is the older line of descent from Kuru. It excludes the children of the younger brother Pandu, who founds his own line, the Pandava.

The rest of this article deals with the Kaurava in the narrower sense, that is the children of Dhritarashtra by Gandhari. When referring to these children, a more specific term is also used - Dhartarashtra, a derivative of Dhritarashtra.

The Birth of the Kauravas

After Gandhari was married to Dhritarashtra she wrapped a bandage over her eyes and vowed to share the darkness that her husband lived in. Gandhari's brother Shakuni came to live with them to look after the interests of Gandhari. Once Rishi Vyas came to visit Gandhari in Hastinapur. She took great care of the comforts of the great saint and saw that he had a pleasant stay in Hastinapur. The saint was pleased with Gandhari and granted her a boon. Gandhari wished for one hundred sons who would be as powerful as her husband. Vyas granted her the boon and in due course of time Gandhari found herself to be pregnant. But two years passed and still the baby was not born. Meanwhile Kunti received a son from god Yama whom she called Yudhisthira. After two years of pregnancy, Gandhari gave birth to a hard piece of lifeless flesh that was not a baby at all. Gandhari was devastated as she had expected a hundred sons according to the blessing of Rishi Vyas. She was about to throw away the piece of flesh when Rishi Vyas appeared and told her that his blessings could not have been in vain and asked Gandhari to arrange for one hundred jars to be filled with Ghee (oil). He told Gandhari that he would cut the piece of flesh into hundred pieces and place them in the jars, which would then develop into the one hundred sons that she so desired. Gandhari told Vyas then that she also wanted to have a daughter. Vyas agreed and cut the piece of flesh into one hundred and one pieces and placed them each in the jars. After two more years of patient waiting the jars were ready to be opened.

When the first jar was opened the first baby was born and was named "Duryodhana" which means "the unconquerable one" or "difficult to fight with". As soon as the baby started crying all the beasts of the jungle started howling and many signs of ill omen were seen. Vidura spoke then saying that the child would have to be abandoned as the omens at his birth spelt doom for the Kuru clan. He said, "The scriptures clearly state that for the good of the clan an individual can be sacrificed, for the good of the village a clan can be sacrificed, for the good of the country a village can be sacrificed and for the development of the soul, even the earth can be sacrificed." So for the good of the clan and of the country and of humanity, please sacrifice this son of yours. But both Gandhari and Dhritrashtra were adamant that a baby could not cause any harm and much against Vidura's wishes kept the baby. At the same time Bhima was born to Kunti in the forest.Another son of Dhritarashtra from a Vysya servant maid named Yuyutsu was born on the same day as Bhima and Duryodhana.The other children of Gandhari were taken out of the jars and now Gandhari had one hundred sons and a daughter called Duhsala. All the children grew up to be strong and powerful.

This story should be read in view of the dispute over the succession to the throne of the kingdom. It attributes a late birth to Duryodhana, the eldest son of Dhritarashtra, despite his father's early marriage. This legitimises the Yudhisthira's claim to the throne, since he was the eldest of his generation.

The children of Dhritarashtra

The children of Dhritarashtra by Gandhari are also referred by a more specific and frequently encountered term - Dhārtarāṣṭra, a derivative of Dhṛtarāṣṭra (Dhritarashtra).

According to the epic, Gandhari wanted a hundred sons, and Vyasa granted her a boon that she would have these. Another version says that she was unable to have any children for a long time and she eventually became pregnant, but did not deliver for two years, after which she gave birth to a lump of flesh. Vyasa cut this lump into a hundred and one pieces, and these eventually developed into a hundred boys and one girl.

The birth of these children is relevant to the dispute over succession of the kingdom's throne. It attributes the late birth of Duryodhana, the eldest son of Dhritarashtra, despite his father's early marriage and legitimizes the case for his cousin Yudhisthira to claim the throne, since he could claim to be the eldest of his generation. All the sons of Dhritarashtra excluding Yuyutsu (born of Dhritarashtra's marriage with a Vaysya woman, thus a step brother of Duryodhana) were killed in the great battle at Kurukshetra.

Quote from Mahabharata, Sambava Parva, Section CXV:[1]

"And during the time when Gandhari was in a state of advanced pregnancy, there was a maid servant of the Vaisy class who used to attend on Dhritarashtra. During that year, O king, was begotten upon her by the illustrious Dhritarashtra a son endued with great intelligence who was afterwards named Yuvutsu. And because he was begotten by a Kshatriya upon a Vaisy woman, he was subject to the constant taunts of the Kaurava.

Thus were born unto the wise Dhritarashtra, a hundred sons who were all heroes and mighty chariot-fighters, and a daughter over and above the hundred, and another son Yuyutsu of great energy and prowess begotten upon a Vaisya woman."

List of Dhritarashtra's sons

Although all hundred sons with Ghandari have been named, only the first few are normally mentioned in the Mahābhārata. Their hundred and first child was a daughter named Duhsala. Dhritirashtra had another son called Yuyutsu with a Vysya servant, who was born on the same day as Duryodhana Their names are:[2]

  1. Duryodhana
  2. Dushasana
  3. Dussalan
  4. Jalagandha
  5. Sama
  6. Saha
  7. Vindha
  8. Anuvindha
  9. Durmukha
  10. Chitrasena
  11. Durdarsha
  12. Durmarsha
  13. Dussaha
  14. Durmada
  15. Vikarna
  16. Dushkarna
  17. Durdhara
  18. Vivinsati
  19. Durmarshana
  20. Durvishaha
  21. Durvimochana
  22. Dushpradharsha
  23. Durjaya
  24. Jaitra
  25. Bhurivala
  26. Ravi
  27. Jayatsena
  28. Sujata
  29. Srutavan
  30. Srutanta
  31. Jaya
  32. Chitra
  33. Upachitra
  34. Charuchitra
  35. Chitraksha
  36. Sarasana
  37. Chitrayudha
  38. Chitravarman
  39. Suvarma
  40. Sudarsana
  41. Dhanurgraha
  42. Vivitsu
  43. Subaahu
  44. Nanda
  45. Upananda
  46. Kratha
  47. Vatavega
  48. Nishagin
  49. Kavashin
  50. Paasi
  51. Vikata
  52. Soma
  53. Suvarchasas
  54. Dhanurdhara
  55. Ayobaahu
  56. Mahabaahu
  57. Chithraamga
  58. Chithrakundala
  59. Bheemaratha
  60. Bheemavega
  61. Bheemabela
  62. Ugraayudha
  63. Kundhaadhara
  64. Vrindaaraka
  65. Dridhavarma
  66. Dridhakshathra
  67. Dridhasandha
  68. Jaraasandha
  69. Sathyasandha
  70. Sadaasuvaak
  71. Ugrasravas
  72. Ugrasena
  73. Senaany
  74. Aparaajitha
  75. Kundhasaai
  76. Dridhahastha
  77. Suhastha
  78. Suvarcha
  79. Aadithyakethu
  80. Ugrasaai
  81. Kavachy
  82. Kradhana
  83. Kundhy
  84. Bheemavikra
  85. Alolupa
  86. Abhaya
  87. Dhridhakarmaavu
  88. Dhridharathaasraya
  89. Anaadhrushya
  90. Kundhabhedy
  91. Viraavy
  92. Chithrakundala
  93. Pradhama
  94. Amapramaadhy
  95. Deerkharoma
  96. Suveeryavaan
  97. Dheerkhabaahu
  98. Kaanchanadhwaja
  99. Kundhaasy
  100. Virajas

See also

References

External links

  • Persons and Stories from Mahabharata
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