Episode # 23 – King Dhirdiraashtra’s “PUTRA-VATSALYA” destroys Duryodhana and Co.!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the “Preface” of the Mahabharata text, that Sage Vyaasa is giving as part of the introduction section. We had picked up at the point wherein the gambling game was over, which inflicted blows after blows for the Paandavas. However, Yudishtra and Co. were unfazed with whatever “Adharma” that was happening around them – Courtesy, Shahuni and Duryodhana! With adequate guidance from Bhagawan Krishna from time to time, the Paandava brothers were protected from all the wrath that Duryodhana tried to unleash. Ultimately, when the time came for serious negotiations with regards to deciding the successor for Hastinapura, Duryodhana was adamant that he wouldn’t even share an inch of the kingdom with Yudishtra. Even when Bhagawan Krishna Himself came as a messenger from the Paandava camp, Duryodhana ends up insulting Him left, right and center! Thus, even after several rounds of peace talks between the two camps, nothing seemed to improve. Duryodhana’s arrogance only increased northward with every peace talk. Finally it all came to a point that only a war should decide who should succeed the Hastinapura kingdom. At the end of the fierce battle between the two camps, we witnessed that the entire army on both sides suffered mass destruction, with only around 7-8 people surviving from both camps put together.   

As King Dhirdiraashtra was overseeing the entire war through “live action” narrated by his able minister, Sanjaya, he couldn’t digest the fact that his sons were ending up on the losing side. Not only did they end up on the losing side, but they lost their lives ultimately, which inflicted extreme pain in King Dhirdiraashtra’s heart. As the king vents out his frustration uncontrollably, Sanjaya does not know how to console him. In fact, he does not want to! Sanjaya is a person who is not known for mincing his words for anybody and anything. He only knows to talk the truth (“Dharma”) bluntly on the face! Here too, Sanjaya is doing the same thing. As Duryodhana breathes his last, and as King Dhirdiraashtra cries uncontrollably, Sanjaya poses an important question to him as to why didn’t he stop Duryodhana earlier itself and put a check on all the “Adharma” that he did. Upon this, King Dhirdiraashtra replies thus, “Oh Sanjaya! Yes! It was my mistake! I failed to realize that Duryodhana never had a chance to win over the Paandavas at any point in time! I knew that Bhagawan Krishna was rallying behind the Paandavas at every instance. I knew that “Dharma” was beside them. I tried explaining all of this to Duryodhana, but you know how arrogant he is to even listen to my words! Duryodhana was ably supported by his uncle, Shahuni at all times, who only made sure that he ruined Duryodhana more and more each passing day!” 

This is just one reason why King Dhirdiraashtra couldn’t stop his rampaging son from performing “Adharma”. There is one more important reason, which King Dhirdiraashtra himself accepts! He continues thus, “Oh Sanjaya! Whenever Duryodhana said something against whatever I advised him, I wasn’t able to counter him at any point in time. My excessive affection towards him prevented me from protesting any of the “Adharmic” activities that he performed. In short, my “Putra-Vaatsalya” brought both myself and Duryodhana down! I do not have anybody else to blame for all what has happened to me and to Hastinapura kingdom!” 

As King Dhirdiraashtra laments thus, Sanjaya replies to him. In fact, King Dhirdiraashtra expected Sanjaya to provide him some solace, by saying something sweet. However, Sanjaya had other things in mind! Instead of talking sweet, which is out of Sanjaya’s dictionary, he talks tough with some deeper analysis of King Dhirdiraashtra’s fault lines! He replies thus, “Oh King Dhirdiraashtra! This is extremely unprofessional and abysmal as part of a king! Till today, Hastinapura has been ruled by great kings who never ever had the guts or audacity to step out of the path of “Dharma”! However, things changed drastically when you took over! Your first mistake was to create and encourage differences between the Paandava and the Kaurava brothers. Isn’t it the duty of a king to treat his people equally? The differences that you encouraged between the two camps is what fuelled your son to enter into the “Adharmic” path. If you had treated them alike, all problems would have been solved at the grassroot level itself. Secondly, when you had the option of not encouraging the gambling game that Duryodhana wanted to play, you failed to respond! You failed to stop your son and Shahuni from going forward. Also, when the game progressed dangerously, you again failed to intervene! Even at a time when Draupati was insulted in the public, you failed to open your mouth! Now whatever has happened is just the repercussion of that fateful day!” 

So with this, we’ve witnessed how King Dhirdiraashtra lamented and mourned the loss of his sons. We’ve also understood in brief as to what was the primary reason behind all this. We’re going to witness this in detail in the coming episodes, but as a summary, I hope we’ve understood the context of what we’re discussing. We shall elaborate these events in greater detail and eventually dig into all the “Dharma” that Sage Vyaasa is going to talk about! We shall continue this discussion in the next episode further! Stay tuned! 🙂 


Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, India A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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