In the previous episode, we had witnessed King Paandu renouncing his kingdom and descending to the forest along with his wives Kunthi and Maaadri. This was after King Paandu was inflicted with a terrible curse from Sage Kindama who was in the form of a deer. As per the curse, King Paandu wouldn’t be able to get into a union with his wives to have children. If at all he tries to do so, he would be killed then and there! Stunned by this curse, King Paandu decided that there’s no point in being a king if he’s unable to have the next successor from his generation. As King Paandu left, the responsibility fell upon Dhirdiraashtra and he was crowned as the next king after King Paandu. Meanwhile, when King Paandu was roaming around in the forest, Kunthi Devi suddenly remembered the divine “Mantra” that Sage Durvaasa had offered her when she was young. She explained to King Paandu as to how she could still bear a child without biological intervention and if she could pray towards any of the “Devas”, she would be blessed with a child immediately. Upon hearing this, King Paandu was excited and relieved that there is still a possibility of having kids without biological intervention.
However, as Kunthi Devi explained this to King Paandu, she kept mum on the birth of Karna. Readers might remember that Kunthi Devi hid the fact that she had already obtained one baby before her marriage by testing whether this Mantra holds any waters or not. This baby was none other than Karna, who was in turn being brought up by a family of charioteers. Moving on thus, with the consent of King Paandu, Kunthi Devi finally takes this “Mantra” route to obtain children. She first prays towards “Yama-Dharma-Raja” and immediately obtains a child, who was none other than Yudishtra or “Dharma-Putra”. As Yudishtra was the “Amsa” of Yama-Dharma-Raja, he was an epitome of “Dharma” in all what he did. Thus, Yudishtra was born. Subsequently, after the passage of one year, Kunthi Devi again employed the “Mantra” given by Sage Durvasa. With this, now Kunthi Devi prayed to Vaayu Bhagawan and thus obtained a child by name “Bheemasena” or “Bhima”. As this was happening in the forest, on the same day when Bheemasena was born, Duryodhana was born to King Dhirdiraashtra and Gaandhaari at Hastinapura.
There is an interesting background story that happens here – As Kunthi Devi delivered Yudishtra, Gaandhaari was also carrying. However, unlike the normal situation where the pregnancy lasts for around ten months to a year, Gaandhaari’s case was different. Her pregnancy went on for almost two years. Her stomach got bigger and bigger, but she was unable to deliver the baby on time because of some strange reason. At the time when Kunthi Devi was carrying for the second time and at the time of her delivery, the news spread to Hastinapura that Kunthi had obtained a second son after Yudishtra. Getting jealous of this, Gaandhaari lost her patience. We should note here that both Gaandhaari and Kunthi Devi got pregnant at the same time when Kunthi Devi delivered Yudishtra. Ideally, Duryodhana and Yudishtra should have been born at the same time. But Gaandhaari couldn’t deliver the baby on time. Frustrated by this, Gaandhaari took a sword from the palace and forcefully pierced her stomach by herself! Upon doing that, unable to withstand the pressure, the womb along with the child inside it came out and fell on the floor! Upon seeing this, Gaandhaari was shocked! She was thinking within herself thus, “Oh my god! Is this for what I was waiting for almost two years? On one hand, Sage Veda-Vyaasa had promised her that she would bear a hundred sons, but on the other hand, this is what has happened!”
Thus, she immediately called for Sage Vyaasa and asked him for a solution for this. Sage Vyaasa too understood the situation and immediately asked her to arrange a hundred pots filled with ghee. In all the hundred pots, the womb with the flesh should be mixed with the ghee inside and all these hundred pots should be preserved for a few months in water.
As Sage Vyaasa was busy in preparing these hundred pots thus, Gaandhaari knew that Sage Vyaasa is going to ensure that she gets a hundred sons. However, she had a small wish of having one girl child alongside ninety-nine boys. Sage Vyaasa understood Gaandhaari’s wish, although she did not express this to him. Thus, the last pot was isolated from the rest of the ninety-nine pots and this pot gave birth to a girl child, which was named “Duschala”. Thus, we can witness here that Duryodhana and Co. had a sister, who is not talked about much in the Mahabharata.
As days progressed, each pot burst out every passing day and with this, one child was born from each of the pots. The eldest one was none other than Duryodhana. Thus, after Duryodhana, Duchaasana was born and within the next ninety-nine days, ninety-nine children were born. As the children take birth one after the other, Gaandhaari and King Dhirdiraashtra were extremely happy and relieved! Finally after a long struggle of two years, the children were born! So for today, let us also join hands with the Hastinapura couple and the forest couple to rejoice the birth of their respective children! We shall continue this accord into the next episode as well! Stay tuned! 🙂