The Gandhari within us...
Everyone who has read, watched, or listened to Mahabharata might be aware of " Gandhari ", the queen of Hastinapura, wife of Dritarashtra, and mother of Kauravas.
Many people know Kauravas, Gandhari, and their rivalry with the Pandavas which led to the great battle of Kurukshetra. But how Kauravas were born is an interesting episode to understand how we all have Gandhari in us.
So, How are Kauravas born?
Sage Dwaipayana gave a boon to Gandhari to have 100 sons as a token of appreciation for her hospitality during his stay at Hastinapura. She became pregnant after some time and was pregnant for nearly two years. Yes, you read it right. Gandhari was pregnant for two years. Even after two years of pregnancy, there are no signs of delivery. Meanwhile, Kunti delivered Yudishtara as a healthy baby with normal pregnancy.
In haste and frustration, Gandhari pressurized her womb. Due to this untimely action of Gandhari, the fetus got delivered as a massive lump of flesh and not as a fully grown baby.
Gandhari got disappointed with this and went to Sage Dwaipayana who gave her a boon of 100 sons. Sage Dwaipayana suggested Gandhari make the lump into 100 pieces and keep them in curated butter (as mentioned in the epic). Gandhari requested a girl child too at this point in time. So, Sage Dwaipayana made the lump of flesh into 101 parts and nurtured them in curated butter. Thus 100 Kauravas and their sister Dussala were born.
Being the sons of King Dritarashtra and Queen Gandhari, Kauravas were given utmost importance in Hastinapura. Due to excessive pampering, Duryodhana cultivated greed and selfishness. This resulted in the rivalry with Pandavas and ultimately led to the great battle of Kurukshetra.
Everyone knows about the battle of Kurukshetra and the death of Kauravas. But many of us don't know about the curse of Gandhari on Krishna after the war. (If you know this part, appreciate yourself for knowing more than just the TV serial Mahabharata).
What is that curse?
After the Kurukshetra War, Gandhari comes to Krishna and alleges that he intentionally brought the situation of war to kill his sons and favor Pandavas (The truth is, Pandavas also lost a lot of warriors in the war). She goes ahead and curses Krishna that his clan also will end with internal conflicts leading to the extinction of his clan.
It is believed that this curse worked and Dwaraka ended up in internal conflicts after the death of Krishna.
So, how is this related to any of us?
As the title goes every one of us has a Gandhari in us. This Gandhari comes out sometimes and acts similarly to the one in Mahabharata.
Let me explain,
Pregnancy is not a matter of competition, especially when someone is expecting big results like 100 sons. But Gandhari felt the unnecessary urge to compete with Kunti and acted prematurely resulting in the delivery of a lump of flesh instead of a fully grown child.
Sometimes, we too get carried away with unnecessary competition with our friends, neighbors, relatives, colleagues, or with a random person without realizing the actual potential of what we are anticipating.
Further, the lump of flesh was divided into hundred parts to get the Kauravas. Similarly, we too bring out hundreds of biased inferences from the premature results (the number 100 is metaphorical).
Then, Gandhari knew about her sons being greedy and selfish which actually led to the Kurukshetra war despite the efforts of Pandavas and Krishna. Still, she cursed Krishna clouded by her love for her sons. We also act the same way.
Similarly, we also allege and curse others despite being aware of our inefficiencies and biases.
Showing Gandhari as a negative character is not the intent of this post. Indeed, every character in Mahabharata is as important as the other one. They collectively are responsible for the emergence of the Srimad Bhagavad-gita which is a treasure of knowledge and wisdom about many abstract concepts of philosophy, psychology, and spirituality.
So, what do we do with this Gandhari within us? We shouldn't be like Dritarashtra and keep a watch on the Gandhari within us to avoid many unwanted situations.