Queen Gandhari

Gandhari was so devoted to her husband that she bandaged her eyes, not to enjoy anything that she could not share with her royal husband, and thus remained voluntarily blind for life. Her chastity is so powerful, that she could even curse Sri.Krishna later on.

Queen Gandhari, the mother of the Kauravas, mother of vicked Duruyodana and 100 hateful sons.

There was treachery all around her. Her husband was weak and ambitious, her brother Shakuni, was an arch-villain and her hundred sons were filled with hatred and violence. She stood among them, for virtue and truth – like a solitary lotus in a marshy swamp.

Queen Gandhari, arguably the noblest woman in the epic of Vyasa, the mother who refused to wish her son victory on every single one of those eighteen horrible days when he came seeking her blessings in the morning before he went into the war field to face death, her only words to him being ‘yato dharmas tato jayah’, ‘where there is righteousness, there shall be victory’, has lost all her one hundred sons, including the one that sought that blessing.

When the mourning mother of a hundred dead sons hears of the victorious Pandavas coming to her, she gets into a terrible fury.

Vyasa, her father-in-law and the greatest sage of the age, reminds her how her son Duryodhana had come to her every morning of those eighteen days of war, seeking her blessing for victory and how she had refused to bless him each time. “It’s you who repeatedly said ‘victory comes with dharma’ on all those eighteen days,” he tells her. “And now,” he reminds her, “when the righteous have won the war, you have no right to be furious at them.”

Gandhari’s answer is very moving – she is a mother, she tells her father-in-law, and she has no ill-feelings towards the Pandavas, nor does she wish them harm; but great is the sorrow in her heart for her sons and she is going mad with grief.

She admits the Pandavas deserve to be protected by her, just as they deserve to be protected by their mother Kunti. She also admits that the Kurus were wiped out because of the crimes of Duryodhana, her brother Shakuni and Dushshasana and Karna.

One meaning of dharma is duty. And when duty, dharma, becomes higher than personal honor to a man, he ascends to truly heroic heights.

She is the first mother to believe her enemies and blames the misdeeds of the Pandavas on her own son Duryodhana. She realises that taking advantage of her simple faith, she has been fooled.

When Sri.Krishna was pleading for 5 villages for Pandavas to avert War, Duruyodana was adamant.

Sri. Krishna says “For the sake of one's soul the entire world should be forsaken. Only by abandoning Duryodhana and his friends can you save the Kshatriya race."

Hearing the angry words of Sri Krishna, Dhritarastra asked Vidura to call Gandhari and Duryodhana to the court.

Gandhari enters the court and said, "This land of Kurus cannot be ruled by someone full of greed. Duryodhana is full of greed. But your responsibility is not less for such state of affairs. By pampering your son beyond all reasons you have pushed him on the path of unrighteousness. You made him the king overruling my objections. Now it is too late. We shall have to atone for our sins."

Duryodhana entered the assembly hall. His eyes were still red with anger. Gandhari said to him, "My dear child listen to me carefully, I want to see you happy. It is not easy to be the ruler of the kingdom established by the Kurus.

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No one full of pride and greed can rule it. You shall have to raise yourself up to this task. You can conquer your enemies only when have mastered your senses and have controlled your mind. Treat your shortcomings as your enemies and conquer them. Son, come here to me. I am your mother and I am your foremost wellwisher. I love you too much. I could never think that my son would behave as you do. You are going to be the cause of a very great calamity.

You should rectify your faults. Listen to your elders and your teachers. If you think you can defeat the Pandavas in war with the help of Bhishma, Drona, Kripa and Karna, there is no fool like you on the earth. Arjuna and Krishna are Nara and Narayana themselves. They are on the side of Dharma.
No one in all the three worlds is capable of defeating them where is Krishna, there is victory, Listen to my words, leave your foolishness and live your life happily."

Her Wisdom is more than anyone in the assembly, no doubt that she is one of the noblest woman in the great epic of Mahabarata.

Source: Various sites