Tears of Gandhari

Mahabharata 58 Comments

Published in Sunday Midday, 30 Nov 2008

Then she wept, this old, frail, mother of a hundred sons. The great battle had been fought. Dharma had been established. Around her were the corpses of her hundred sons: some with broken necks, some with smashed skulls, some with open chests, and one with a broken thigh. The wailing of her widowed daughters-in-law filled her ears. They mourned for her sons and her grandsons, all of whom were killed by the Pandava army. Tears rushed out of her eyes, making her blindfold so wet that she feared that she would be able to see those dead faces through the cloth. Unable to bear the thought, she squeezed shut her eyes. The hundred pots from which these hundred were born occupied her courtyard in the palace. But these were bodies of grown men, princes, warriors, each one with a broad chest and long arms. They occupied an entire field. Their bodies still gleamed with their sweat, their armors, their jewels, their weapons. How magnificent they would have looked as they marched out of the city blowing a hundred conch-shells?

But they were villains. They had to be killed for dharma to be established. Rather than wishing them victory had she not wished victory to dharma? Did she not doubt their righteousness? Did she not feel they were not quite the children of destiny? That privilege rested with her five nephews, the sons of Pandu. Yes, they had gambled away their wife and kingdom, but they had been punished for it – thirteen years of humiliating exile. They were sinless when they marched into Kurukshetra. But not her sons – they had not washed away the sin of publicly disrobing a helpless woman. They had argued that the thirteen years of exile was not yet over and so they were well within their rights not to return the Pandava lands, but when Krishna had brilliantly argued otherwise, they had simply said, like petulant children refusing to share their toy, “Not a needlepoint of territory shall we part with.” That is when she knew that victory may not be theirs. Dharma was not with them.

Do mothers of villains have the right to weep? Everyone mourns for Arjun’s son Abhimanyu who was killed by his uncles, for Bhima’s son, Ghatotkacha, who served as a human shield for the Pandavas, for the five sons of Draupadi who were so mercilessly slaughtered at night in that dastardly attack by Ashwatthama. They were heroes. They were sons of heroes. Her sons – must the mourning for them be more muted. They lost. They were without doubt villains. But they were her sons.

When children die violently, in the generations to come, every mother mourning for her son will say, “My son is like the son of the Pandavas, innocent and righteous. Why did they die? No one will say, my son was like the son of Gandhari for Gandhari’s sons deserved to die. ” We want our children to be heroes, martyrs, not villains or terrorists. Hero or villain, martyr or terrorist, they are children. And a mother will weep for all of them.

Wherefrom come heroes and villains? Who creates heroes and villains? Is it you, Vyasa, storyteller? Did you judge who is right and who is wrong, who is innocent and who is not? What is your measuring scale? Where did you get it from? The pain of a villain’s mother is as deep as a hero’s mother. Give her some consideration.

Says Gandhari, why did my children refuse to share their kingdom with their cousins? Why did Karna who accompanied my firstborn, Duryodhana, everywhere not teach them the value of charity? We had so much, surely they could have accommodated five more. Their refusal had no reason except greed. Sheer meanness. Animals are neither greedy nor mean, only humans are. Animals are neither charitable nor kind, only humans are. My children chose to be humans – the wrong type of humans. But they were my children nevertheless and I weep for them.

Says Gandhari, maybe my children became greedy because of me. Their father could never see them; I, their mother, refused to see them. Basking in the glory of being a noble wife, I blindfolded myself from their childhood. I never saw their birthmarks. I never saw their beauty. All I felt was their breath and their sweat. Hundred tiny hands clung to my robes when I walked down the palace corridors. Now a hundred lifeless hands yearn to touch me.

Maybe my children would have been generous if my husband was allowed to be a king. He was the elder son, after all. But blind men are not allowed to be kings. Perhaps that law that denied my husband kingship is the cause of my children’s villainy. Who makes such laws? Ancestors? Then I hold the ancestors responsible for the crime of my children.

Vyasa, storyteller, do you realize that the Pandavas are not of your blood? The Kauravas have the blood of Dhritarashtra, your first son by Ambika. Your second son, Pandu, born of Ambalika, did not father any sons. And laws will not allow your third son, born of a servant woman, to wear the crown. The villains of the epic are your grandchildren. Do you feel noble, an objective keeper of dharma, as you condemn them and described the gory details of their murder? Or are you so great an ascetic that you refuse to acknowledge your fatherhood? Do you prefer addressing the Kauravas are villains rather than grandchildren? Detached, you do not feel my pain. You feel nobody’s pain.

Every day, henceforth, for thirty six years, Bhima will remind me and my husband how he killed our hundred sons. When we sit down to eat, just as when we are about to put the food in our mouth, he will crack his knuckles so that we hear the sound that came when he broke their bones or ripped open their chest. Draupadi will try to stop him, but he will justify his actions, “They must never forget their children’s villainy. They were quiet when you screamed for help in the gambling hall. Their silence led to the death of your sons and my Ghatotkacha. Why forgive them? Let me have the pleasure of reminding them how I killed each and everyone of their hundred sons. How they begged me to stop and how I drank their blood.”

If I had eyes, says Gandhari, I would look at Draupadi and demand to know is this the end she wanted when she screamed curses at my sons? Yes, they disrobed you and you have washed your hair in their blood. It was right they were killed. Now, look at me, I am your victim – the victim of your justified outrage: a weeping mother, old, alone, a blindfolded woman with a blind husband, destitute, criminal parents who never looked at their children, a wretched couple who were blind to the faults of their children. We are paying the price of poor parenting. We deserve this, yes. Does it make you happy to see us so?

There is a little story that Vyasa has not included in the great epic perhaps because it is too cruel in its honesty to put down in writing. Bards say, that Gandhari refused to leave the battleground strewn with corpses of her children even when the sun set. “Go home,” she told her husband and her servants and her daughters-in-law, “Let me be here alone with my children. Their presence comforts me.” So they left her alone. Old and frail, she waved her stick to keep the wolves and vultures from getting to the rotting flesh of her sons. Krishna came and tried to persuade her. “They are gone,” he said, “Why do you cling to their bodies.” And she replied, “You will never know a mother’s pain.” And he said, “A pain remains until another pain comes along.” And she retorted, “This pain is permanent. It is a mother’s pain. It will not pass.” Krishna left. The moon rose. Hungry wolves waited for the mother to tire. She waved her stick with determination – none would get to her sons. They were under her protection. Suddenly, Gandhari felt a pang of hunger. A hunger she had never felt before. A great hunger that it caused her to bend and bind her stomach. It was as if she had not eaten for a thousand days. She could not think or feel anything. All she wanted suddenly was food. And when the thought of food entered her mind, the smell of a mango entered her nostril. It was the sweetest of smells and it came from above her. She tried to get to it but it was out of reach. So she found a stone and climbed on it to get to it. Still the mango was out of reach. She put another stone above the first one, but the mango was still out of reach. Then other stone and another, a whole pile, before she finally got hold of the mango. She plucked it and sucked on it: it was the most sweetest richest succulent fruit she had ever eaten. She ate it quickly, even the skin, licked her fingers and felt the hunger pass away. With the hunger gone, the pain returned – the horror of her children’s death. What was she doing eating a mango when they were dead? She felt the stones on which she was sitting – they felt softer and wet, almost like flesh! She recoiled. These were not stones on which she sat; these were the bodies of her children. She sat on them and ate mangoes. How could she? Then she remembered Krishna’s words, “A pain remains until another pain comes along.” This was his way of teaching that her pain, though very deep and very valid, was like all pains impermanent. This was a cruel lesson of a ruthless god. Gandhari howled at the truth of her insight. Then she screamed a curse, “May you Krishna witness the death of your children and your children’s children. And may you die alone in the forest, hunted down like a beast.”

Krishna came and hugged her. She wept. And she felt Draupadi weeping next to her. Both were being hugged by Krishna, the mother of villains and the mother of heroes, both being comforted by he who they say is God. He said nothing. He allowed Gandhari to vent out her venom and he accepted the curse quietly – no retaliatory curse. Yes, his children would die as Gandhari had deemed fit and so would he. Let his clan suffer so that the spiral of vendetta does not continue. It has to end sometime. And if this demands the sacrifice of his clan, then let it be so.

Look Draupadi, your hair has been dyed with the blood of Gandhari’s children. But in getting that blood, so much rage was generated that it cost you the lives of your five sons. Was it worth it? Could you have forgiven? Or was vengeance the only recourse? Is vengeance ever the answer? He who strikes another always believes he is right in doing so – they are heroes, they are martyrs. But ask the one struck down – they will call the hero a villain, they will call the martyr, a terrorist. Gandhari weeps for her children – her heroes, your villains. You weep for your children – your heroes, her villains. When will this stop? Will humans discover the power to share and forgive, strike the root cause of violence?

Gandhari remembers Sanjay narrating the song that Krishna sang before the war – the Bhagavad Gita. It was not an elaborate excuse to go to war. It was an understanding of wherefrom comes war. Dharma, she realized, is not that which heroes and martyrs believe is right. It was clearly something else.

Dharma is that which makes human divine – our ability to say no to the beast within us, our ability to renounce the law of the jungle. The law of the jungle, that might is right, is acceptable for animals – but when humans follow it and dominate the weak, they subscribe to adharma. From the desire to dominate comes greed, the insatiable urge for power, for land, from the desire to dominate comes the desire to win, even in a gambling match, from the desire to dominate comes the willingness to wager one’s brothers and one’s wife. From adharma comes righteous indignation – the desire to impose one’s will on others.

Dharma is about listening, not speaking; dharma is about giving, not taking; dharma is about helping the helpless; dharma is about affection, not domination. Dharma happens when hungry men share their food. Gandhari’s children died because they refused to share their land. Draupadi’s children died because she could not forgive. So long as we refuse to share, so long as we refuse to forgive, so long as we find excuses to justify our greed, war will happen and heroes will never find peace.

Vyasa raises both his hands and shouts, “Follow dharma and there will be peace in the world. True peace, not peace born by dominating the other.” Is anyone listening?

  • Dr.Subramanian

    after reading this article the anger,fear,helplessness,pain which i have been experiencing vis-a-vis the events in mumbai in the past few days have been diluted to a large extent.keep it up.

  • lovely piece, devdutt. So resonant in today’s acts of vengeance, demands for retribution, atmosphere of anger and sadly, hatred.

    ps- have been a lurker here for a while now, enjoy your articles and posts.

  • A Sampada

    Dr .Devdutt ..I agree to this ideoloagy that there wont be peace until vengence exits .But there are people who really dont believe in this and stike back again n again . Does defending ourselves violently categorise as adharma ?
    Even if Draupadi would have forgiven Kauravas , what was the chance that they wouldnt have wiped out the very existence of Pandavas , wasnt the war inevitable ?Would really like to know your views on this .

    • Sai Sudarshan

      Dear Sampada,
      To answer “Even if Draupadi would have forgiven Kauravas , what was the chance that they wouldnt have wiped out the very existence of Pandava” – The Pandavas had chosen the Narayana over the Narayani Sena..there was no way they would have lost..

      Sri Devdutt’s rendering i have noticed is somewhat like Bhagavan Krishna’s counsel “you are free to conclude” .. In the end of it all, it was never Draupadi’s vengeance or Kauravas hatred or anything .. it was all an act by Krishna.. strings pulled by Sri Krishna !!!

      Hence, we only would play out our part.. if we are to defend our borders and our brethren, then we need to with all our might.. if we were to be ruled, we will be; and if we are/were to be crowned in all glory then so be it !!! it still would all be almighty’s strings

      THankfully, our leaders continue to be a lot saner than our neighbours.. having gone through so many wars since time immemorial, we have had the sense that murder does not beget murder !!! I hope my reply has not deviated from your core question !!!

    • Niraj

      Yes there are some people like mordern day duryodhanas who dont beleive in peace and they have to be killed. But I feel the Pandavas should have exercised discretion. Bhima had to kill Duryodhana and Dushasana. But why kill Vikarna. He was the son of Gandhari who opposed the vastraharan. Had Bhima spared Vikarna then perhaps Vikarna in his status as successor to Duryodhana could have curbed Ashatthamas vengence and prevented him from killing the sons of Draupadi. (He made his postion as a well wisher of Draupadi very clear in the vastraharan scene )
      There are acts of Pandavas sparing lives too. Eg Arjuna does not kill Duryodhana because of Bhimas vow. But thats not forgiveness you are just delegating the death warrant to another person. The Pandavas also had to pay dearly for their lack of Forgiveness in this war. Some times you have to be aggressive with your dear ones as well. Had Yudhishthira severly reprimanded Draupadi for ridiculing Duryodhana when he fell in the water then perhaps duryodhanas venom wouldnt have been so intense. Had Arjuna punished Dhritadyumna after he committed the foul deed of killing his beloved Guru Drona then Ashwatthamas anger also would have been subsided and there was a possibily that his aggression would not have been so intense
      So the message is simple in bigger interest some times you have to show forgiveness to enemies and a little strictness to the ones you love for their own good.

  • susmita

    Hi, I read Gandhari’s tears yesterday… A voice of reason from an ancient text… Every cause has an effect… today when we are waxing eloquent, without thinking, about the effect, are we not creating more causes? Did we not begin the cause whose effect was 26/11? Why is it so difficult to own up, to set right adharms, why is it thought that it will make you a smaller or a lesser person, why is it so difficult to set right, that which has been wrong for a long time…It couldnt get simpler… listen to your conscience – the answers are within you, the choices are for you to make. Thankyou Devdutt.

  • Asavari Honavar

    Dear Sir,

    I was totally floored when I read your article in yesterday’s Sunday Mid-day. You have eloquently captured with example what I have longed to say (since the Mumbai events unfolded on Wednesday) but could not.

    I especially was in tears when I read – “Krishna came and hugged her. She wept. And she felt Draupadi weeping next to her. Both were being hugged by Krishna, the mother of villains and the mother of heroes, both being comforted by he who they say is God. He said nothing. He allowed Gandhari to vent out her venom and he accepted the curse quietly – no retaliatory curse.”

    Your article reminded me of that other very prabhavshaali book I read in my childhood – Mrutyunjay by Shivaji Sawant. Every word of your article was as poignat, as heartwrenching, as Shivaji Sawants acclaimed novel.

    I seem to be lost for words to express my true feelings on this article. I am sure to browse through your other works now.

    Keep shining always.


  • Geetanjali Chhachhia

    Dev,all i can say is….well,i really cannot describe what i felt after reading this one..
    thank u fr writing this one to give some sort of light to look forward to,in this time of utter bereavement,that has fallen on us,as a people.

    Love Geetanjali.

  • Biswadarshan Mohanty

    If Dharma was followed by even a fraction of people living in this world -it would clearly make a difference and peace shall prevail.But guess we being humans are not programmed to be in harmonious existence.What had happened at the dawn of Kaliyuga has continued and will go on till the end of this yuga.
    And may be then Pieta might loose its significance!!!

  • Hoshang

    Dear Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik
    Your article “Tears of Gandhari ” Published in Sunday Midday, 30 Nov 2008
    Is a gem of an article, philosophical and thought provoking. Please accept my heartfelt appreciation and good wishes and continue the good work

  • Jayaraman.k

    Sir, this is excellent rhetoric and a plea for pacifism. Like the Gandhari, you do not understand the pain and hence cannot weep but can sermonise. A refusal to act when required makes cowards out of men. Even the Gandhian Ahimsa cannot be equated with a refusal to fight when attacked but a strength of not using violence as a weapon. Out nation is getting trampled repeatedly under the weight of inaction by crooked self-serving politicians and people like you can glorify their inactions.

  • ajay shah

    your articles are great . it gives insight about how to live a modern day life with lessons from our great epics. your articles are very effective for todays youths to learn things about mythology and modern era.Surely doing great Dharma by sharing knowledge to us

    keep writing

    ajay shah

  • hema

    I came to this site wanting to know what your thoughts were on the recent tragedy. You have not disappointed me. My admiration and respect for your thoughts remains.
    Dharma is the only way. But dharma is not about right and wrong. But it is about love. Dharma is love – sharing and forgiving.
    Thank you for explaing this beautifully.

  • hema

    Please enable an email the article /forward this article in this site. Your opinions deserve to be heard so that people can come to sanity in an insane atmosphere of anger and pain and ignorance. Thanks!

  • hema

    A real story where forgiveness worked after 800,000 Tutsis were massacred by Hutus in 1994 in an african nation, Rwanda. This only validates the importance of forgiveness for Rwanda is a thriving and peaceful country today.

  • Surya

    Is it not jealousy rather than greed that made duryodhana refuse the land to Pandavas? what could be the reason that a person who could share Anga Desha with Karna couldn’t share as much as five villages with Pandavas.
    So relevant in the current stage too, people who are jealous of one’s progress trying to hamper it by these insane, brutal activities.
    These are not the people who fight for real cause, may it be religion or freedom of a land.
    Thanks for the great article. I have been a regular reader of your articles. Please keep writing.

  • Preeta

    It took the sacrifice of the supposedly God an his entire clan to put an end to the spiral of vengence that emerged from Amba(that how far i can think of. please forgive my meger knowledge). Will we have that heart to forgive or is it too much to ask for? Will we be considered weak or will we be branded as incapable? Are we waiting for vengence or is it a wait for God (supposedly) himself to put an end to it

  • rangnath

    Dear Sri Dr Devdutt,

    i am moved by reading your mail, but alas in this world doing a reality check if we do not respond it keeps continueing, problem is even after forgiving on several occasions, are we to take this ! how long?

  • Archana Sharma

    You have put it correctly forgivness is theanswer. But even Krishna forgave upto100 (is it correct?) sins of Sishupal and then he killed him.

    • Sai Sudarshan

      that was Krishna’s promise to Shishupala’s mother (to “allow” upto 100 mistakes before Krishna could “kill” him), so if it was upto Krishna, Shishupala would have been dead soon after he entered his youth .. :-)

      Regards, Sai Sudarshan.

  • KC

    Very nice and thought provoking…
    However I have a few points:

    1. Arjuna was told by krishna (god himself) to follow his Dharma and fight the war in the Gita. Here war means fight injustice. So to not fight injustice is also Adharma.

    2. In the current situation we Indians are like the Pandavas. We gave them (Kauravas) the entire nation of Pakistan. But they still want more.

    We are now for all practical purposes standing in Kurukshetra with the Kauravas in front of us. Krishna is advising us about our Dharma (to fight the injustice). And your article says dont follow your dharma. Forgive them.

    Extracts from the Gita – Lord says:

    Chapter 2, Verse 31.
    Considering your specific duty as a ksatriya, you should know that there is no better engagement for you than fighting; and so there is no need for hesitation.

    Chapter 2, Verse 32.
    O Partha, happy are the ksatriyas to whom such fighting opportunities come unsought, opening for them the doors of the heavenly planets.

    Chapter 2, Verse 33.
    If, however, you do not fight this religious war, then you will certainly incur sins for neglecting your duties and thus lose your reputation as a fighter.

    Chapter 2, Verse 37.
    O son of Kunti, either you will be killed on the battlefield and attain the heavenly planets, or you will conquer and enjoy the earthly kingdom. Therefore get up and fight with determination.

    And your assertion that this is a cycle of violence is wrong. For it to be a cycle, we Indians should have caused them some violence which we have NEVER done. It has always been a one sided war where we have always been at the receiving end.

    • Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik

      For centuries millions of Indians were treated as ‘untouchables’. Is that not violence?

      • Sai Sudarshan

        Dear Devdutt,
        THe initial question was about Dharma/Adharma hence i did not undestand the context of your reply. if alright, please explain..

        Dear KC,
        In some way or another, our country did instigate this violence .. we could have given away the piece of land they thought their own.. or we could have prevented a split in their nation in 1971(why did we have to poke our nose into their turmoils) .. However, I speak this because for now I am not the affected one and my family has 2-3 square meals and we lead a peaceful life .. dunno how I would be once this is disturbed or if someone tries to disturb it !!!

        • Yajnavalkya Yuvraaj Sinha

          dear Sai Sudarshan,
          which “piece of land they thought their own” r u referring to here?? #Kashmir??? If 1 studies carefully, he/she’ll easily get 2 know where Kashmir should lie!!!! & anywayz, Pakistan have taken away a part of Kashmir as PoK illegally, China similarly has done so both in Kashmir & Arun Pradesh!!!!!!!! & India’s the then Wazeer-A-Aazam(Prime Minister) Pundit Nehru signed a 8 year pact, I think, in 1954 admitting he’ll accept “Tibet as a “part & parcel” of China” provided China duzn’t affect India’s Sovereingty or something &/or maintains freindly relations wid India, especially along the enormous border separating these two Asian giants[presently Internatio9al giants infact]; az soon az that 8 year priod ended, China attacked India & consequently Pundit Nehru became almost mortally ill perhaps bcoz of pshycological reasons —- the betrayal by the fu%king Chinese!!!!!!!!! & later on, his great daughter, Mrs. Indira Gandhi rubbed Pakistan in 1971 in exactly the way those co#k-su%king Pakistaaniis should have been rubbed years ago ——- how can one 4ge8 what atroicities were carried out on the people of East Pakistan or should I say East Bengal; coz Lord Rama waz the Prince & ‘Yuvraaj’ of Ayodhya, however he taught the vilain bro og Sugriva, i.e.; Bali a very good lesson, even though those 2 people did not even belong to the same species, let alone country or Province or race or community or clan or caste or creed or sect etc.!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Sir,
    I was told about your books and this website, especially this article, by my friend. Given the context, this article serves a great purpose. I am exploring the rest of your website, encouraged by this article.

    However, I have some reservations to accept this article in its entirety. Even if I were to accept it in its entirety, without arguing, then too, I have a question.
    Who will bell the cat?

    Who is ready to be the shield and absorb the negativity and put an end to it? Fighting – violent or non-violent, forgiving, all require sacrifice.

    While we are waiting, the anger doesn’t have to be turned off. It has to re-directed. Let us come together and do something positive. Let us come together and demonstrate healthy friendships. Let us come together and make the authorities work positively. Let us come together and listen sympathetically to grievances. Let us come togehter and channelise strong emotions in a better direction, learning from the aftermath of the Mahabharata war. Let us come together and educate. Let us come together and teach tolerance.

    No matter what, le us all be aware that it requires perseverance and patience and sacrifice.

  • K.G.Solegaonkar

    Dr,Patnaik –

    Great article on the background of the terrorist incident. Nice attempt to draw lessons which are useful to present day society.

    However I feel great scriptures like Mahabharat were written for much greater purpose. As you have always said, Mythological scriptures are for conveying the “world view” of the scholars of that time to the future generations. I am sure the incidents in life of these characters are more for conveying some eternal spiritual message and contemporary social conclusions would be secondary.

    Look forward to great mythologist like you addressing this angle in more details.


  • Mia

    I just read your book “The Pregnant King” It struck a cord in me, especially the last part when we realise the meaning of what is real and what is not. Thia article, Tears of Gandhari, as beautiful….

  • shekhar

    it boils down to the same thing repeated times and again…..nothing is there to be judgemental about.does it mean that “Maya” is supreme to our reality concepts?shall we judge our dream behaviour?

    anyways dev, there is a book Yoga Vashsht….definitely you must be aware of that.full of would be an interesting thing to read your views and correlations on that.

    • Its the same thing….various books saying the same thing….but who is listening….the books do not say DO NOT be judgmental….humans cannot do that….it says be aware that you are judging and ask wherefrom comes the measuring scale

  • Amit Tiwari

    There I was reading your article and with each line, a shiver went down my spine. Thank you for this wake up call. Let the spiral of vendetta not continue…

  • Krishna Rao

    Great article. I have been reading your writings thru the ET. I will be using your website to initiate my son, who is 15 years of age, into this business called life.
    Please keep up the good work.

    Warm regards,

  • Padmanabhan

    Excellent article Mr Devdutt.

    Please keep publishing more short stories about Krishna in your website. They are a treat to read.

  • Mohan Ramchandani

    Excellent article. It brought tears to my eyes.
    I hope and pray no mother should endure such
    think in life. Keep up the good work

  • n.sharavana

    your article is very fruitful. please get me the names of all the children of gandhari

  • Kumar

    Dr. Devdutt,

    Very good article. This proves that every good deed has another angle to show that it is bad and the same holds true vice versa.

    A human should practice all yoga (bakti, karma, gnana and rajha) to attain perfection, which can only keep us apart from all these worries.

  • Archie

    Should we forgive the sinners of Mumbai attacks? Are you serious?

    I am surprised there are so many fools in this world to associate the Mahabharata as analogous to present say circumstances.
    Or maybe I am the fool and do not understand the message being delivered.

    Our Home Minister in response to a journalist’s analogy of going the “gandhi” way with the terrorists in North-East (though I sympathise with their sentiment not thier actions) it got a response that “if gandhi would have marched, they would have killed him”. This is what we are dealing with. If we forgive, will these maniacs, fanatics stop? They are on a quest to annhilate the world, their greed is unstoppable. Maybe War is a Sacrifice that we need to make. It will be tough for all of us for they would strike back. But for the greater good, maybe that is the sacrifice we need to make. This is what the message of Gita is to me.

  • v.agrawal

    Excellent article, and looking at the context (mumbai carnage) that it is posted makes it even better.

    I have conflicting thoughts, but I believe we as a nation and community has survived and prosper because of our ability to forgive.

  • Raj

    Forgiveness has meaning only when the forgiven has the ability to realize, If forgiveness is being taken for weakness then realization has to be forced by punishment. Krishna himself urged arjun to fight before mahabharat, if pandawas had kept forgiving it would have just led to more injustice. Dharma is not just about human divinity it is also the necessity to establish good over evil. Forgiveness can only work when the actions will not be repeated. Else it can only be perceived as cowardice.even non-violence does not mean forgiveness.

  • Hey,
    you said Draupdi lost her 5 sons?
    crazy man, they were there husband not sons…
    you better know then write…….

    • Sai Sudarshan

      Dear Rakesh,
      I think you would need to either change the book you read this in or read a couple of books before being super aggresive with your views :-). no offence ..

      Towards the end of the war (18th day), Ashwathama enters the Pandavas’ section at night and kills 5 in a tent thinking them to be the Pandavas. it turns out that thye were the Pandavas’ sons from Draupadi ..

    •  Love how some people are so aggressive even though they have no idea what they’re talking about. Well done.

  • Tarunima


    Couldn’t wait to get back to office and read this.

    Does explain a lot, but if only we all worked in the same cycle and understood the value of heroes and villains… and hence, i always hear my self saying ” the one who is victories and the hero of a war is always one legged”

    will keep reading and my question will come in too.

    thank you..

  • SG

    response to rakesh’s message:

    Draupadi had 5 sons from each of her husbands.

    please read up before you comment on this fourm carelessly.

    • Sagar Rajpal

      Draupadi had five sons, one by each of the Pandavas: Prativindhya, Sutasoma, Srutakirti, Satanika, and Srutakarma.

  • Sir,
    Awesome perspective. Till I didn’t see such a clear meaning of dharma. The concept is truly fits in the present context with a stron example of Mahabharata tale. The essence of Gita come in this single word of Dharma. It’s very crystal & clear like glass.

  • Apoorv Kothari


    in the last three paras an inclusive approach was taken to make the readers understand what is dharma. Can you attempt a definition of “dharma”? i have never come across any definition or even a so called definition of dharma. i know it is a very difficult or may even be impossible to define it.

    • Definition is not difficult. Dharma is that action that makes man less animal and more divine. In other words, it is the human ability to overpower the law of the jungle at a physical, intellectual and emotional level.

      • aarthi raghavan

        i have heard tht dharma can never be defined as there r so many definitions.but urs is a nice one.

  • Naveen

    Dear Sir (I could call you as I learnt alot from your articles).

    You forgot to mention how blind folded Gandhari in a way to save Duryodhan told him to come naked in front of her while she remove the cloth from her eyes; and the rays from her could make Duryodhan’s body a rigid vajra(Diamond). Krishna used his tactics there also & made Duryodhana atleast cover himself up till the thigh region. And Bhima ruptured Duryodhan’s thigh during the Gada fight.

    So Gandhari wasn’t concerned of Dharma prevailing & supported her son. That’s the reason all these fights occured. If both Dhritarashtra & Gandhari would have thought of the well being of their children, they would need to abide by law of Dharma.

    • Sai Sudarshan

      Dear navin,
      As a parent, it would be your duty to take your child(ren)’s side in front of others regardless of their faults. However, you would need to Correct them in closed quarters and not in the open. THink about it, if you made a gruesome error, would you liek your mother and father to reprimand you in public or in the privacy of your home?

      I would comepltely agree with Gandhari’s action.. she did her duty atleast towards the end of her child’s life .. If only we understood dharma well, we would have continued to live in the glory of Kritha yuga !!

  • swats

    Excellent angle to Gandhari’s emotions and life. something that has never been touched on as beautifully as you did. Reminds me of the book “Palace of Illusions”..which had a different take of Draupadi’s life. I commend ur effort in passing on a sublime message through this blog. Best wishes for many more

  • AN

    I can’t comprehend one thing. She stopped Draupadi from cursing her sons. She cried when they died yet she accepted that they had wronged the Pandavs. Then why is it that she didn’t stop her sons from disrobing Draupadi?
    She had blind-folded herself but she still could hear Draupadi begging for help.
    You may not directly involved in a crime but being a witness to it is a crime in itself.

    • anonyumous

      Yes. But if witness makes a person criminal then arent the Pandavas also equally guilty as Gandhari. The too were witnesses werent they when she was being insulted. Instead of bellowing oaths standing up and preventing the misdeed is definately more effective

  • PreViews

    Very nicely written in very much modern context……I am just not sure if Gandhari would hv ever asked Draupadi…if she is happy seeing her cry or morn for her sons….she knew all along they were wrong and she tried her best to stop at the very beginning….ever since duryodhan;s birth..not happily but she would hv sacrificied her first son for dharma…..She was morning out of sadness and not out of rage..she was morning out of inability to stop…she was angry ..yes..but only at Krishna….thus the curse….

  • Manoj r gulalkai

    Your article is fantastic, from my side, I heartly congratulate.

  • Amit

    Superb !!

  • Punyasloka Panda

    draupadi was not the mother of panavas when u say that krishna hugged the mother of villains and the mother of heroes