Duryodhana

Duryodhan and Guru dronacharya
  • Duryodhan was the eldest of the hundred sons of Dhritrashtra and Gandhari. He was said to be incarnated from a part of Kali, and was the cause of the Mahabharat war.
  • As soon as he was born, Duryodhan cried like an ass. Considering this and the other bad omens, Bhishma, Vidur and the sages advised the king to get rid of Duryodhan, but Dhritrashtra, bound by paternal affections for his first-born did not heed the advice.
  • After the death of Pandu and Maadri in the forest, Kunti returned with the Pandavs to Hastinapur. There were always petty quarrels among the Kaurav and Pandav princes.
  • The Kauravs were specially harassed by Bhim who used to play pranks on them. One day, Duryodhan and his brothers decided to get rid of Bhim. With this object in mind, the Pandav children were invited to play with the them on the banks of the Ganga. There all of them ate and drank after playing and then fell asleep. But Duryodhan had mixed some poison in Bhim's food. After everybody was fast asleep, Duryodhan and his brothers bound Bhim's hands and feet and dropped him into the river. Unfortunately for him, Bhim returned with the strength of 10,000 elephants.
  • When the princes had finished their study of arms, a show has held to display the talent of each. A combat of maces took place between Duryodhan and Bhim, which would have resulted in the death of one of the combatants, had not Dron asked Ashvatthama to intervene. When Karna entered the competition, his nobility was questioned.
  • Duryodhan, seeing him as a fitting opponent to Arjun, announced suddenly that he was making Karna the king of Anga. Thus did he earn Karna's life-long loyalty. As Gurudakshina Dron asked his pupils to capture the Panchal king Drupad.
  • Duryodhan was badly defeated by the Panchal army. Arjun finally captured Drupad. This and other such incidents added fuel to the fire of hatred that was burning in Duryodhan's heart, and he swore to get rid of the Pandavs. After having convinced his father to send the Pandavs to Varnavat, he had a palace of wax built there for the Pandavs. The Pandavs were warned at the time of departure by Vidur about the forth-coming danger, and when the house was set on fire, by a servant of Duryodhan, they escaped through a tunnel. The news of the safety of the Pandavs reached Hastinapur when Arjun won Drau-padi, princess of Panchal at her Svayamvar.
  • Dhritrashtra, on the advice of Bhishma and Vidur, invited the Pandavs back to Hastinapur and divided the kingdom into half. The Pandavs retired to their half with the capital at Indraprasth. Yudhishthir then decided to perform the Rajsuya sacrifice. The Kauravs were also invited. Duryodhan was filled with jealousy at the sight of the beautiful palace. Several times he was tricked by the visual illusions in the palace. He mistook crystal for water and started to take off his clothes and what really was water he mistook for land and got wet, which caused Bhim and Draupadi to laugh. This infuriated him even more and he returned to Hastinapur.
  • On the suggestion of Shakuni, Duryodhan convinced his father to invite Yudhishthir to a game of dice. Shakuni, an expert in the game of dice, master of foul play, played on behalf of Duryodhan and thus by cheating Duryodhan robbed Yudhishthir of everything including Yudhishthir himself, his brothers and Draupadi. First Duryodhan sent a messenger Pratikami to fetch Draupadi When she did not come, he bade his younger brother Duhshasan to fetch her. Draupadi was dragged to the court by her hair. Duryodhan then slapped his thigh lecherously at Draupadi. This infuriated Bhim and he took a solemn vow in the open assembly to break Duryodhan's thighs. Duryodhan even ordered Duhshasan to undress Draupadi in the assembly. Finally, Dhritrashtra, from fear and shame intervened and returned to the Pandavs their half of the kingdom.
  • Again, on the instigation of Shakuni, Duryodhan, not pleased with his father's interference, compelled Dhritrashtra to invite the Pandavs once more to a game of dice. This time the loser of the game would go into exile for thirteen years, living the thirteenth year incognito. If he was recognized in the thirteenth year, the whole process of exile would be repeated again. The Pandavs lost again and retired to the Kamyak forest to spend their days of exile. When sage Maitrey heard about the plight of the Pandavs, he went to Hastinapur and tried to convince Duryodhan to recall the Pandavs and live in peace. Duryodhan ignored him and slapped this thigh indicating his strength.
  • Maitrey, taking it as an insult, cursed Duryodhan that Bhim would tear apart the very thigh which he had struck with his fingers. On Dhritrashtra's entreaties, Maitrey softened the curse, saying that it would not have effect if Duryodhan made peace with the Pandavs. Once, to make fun of the Pandavs, Duryodhan and his brothers went to the forest. Here they were captured by the Gandharv Chitrasen, who had learnt of Duryodhan's intentions. Yudhishthir, taking pity on his cousin, sent Arjun to fight the Gandharvs. Duryodhan was then released. Feeling humiliated, he wanted to give up his life, but was dissuaded by Shakuni and Duhshasan. As time went by, Duryodhan thought of performing the Rajsuya sacrifice. The sages advised him against it, as his elders, Dhritrashtra and Yudhishthir were still alive. He instead performed a sacrifice to appease Vishnu, almost equivalent to the Rajsuya.
  • Sage Durvasa and his pupils visited Duryodhan's palace one day. Duryodhan, knowing the temper of the sage, pleased him with his service, and obtained a boon from Durvasa. He asked Durvasa to visit his cousins, the Pandavs in the forest at a stipulated time. Duryodhan knew that at that time the food would be over in the Pandav kitchen, and this might incur Durvasa's wrath and cause him to curse them. But the Pandavs were saved by Krishna.
  • In the thirteenth year, Duryodhan sent out spies all over to find the Pandavs, but in vain. When the news of Keechak's death reached Duryodhan, he decided to attack the Matsya kingdom, as, with Keechak gone, king Virat was not so powerful any more.
  • Here, on the day the thirteenth year ended, the Kaurav army was routed by Arjun, under the name of Brihannala, while prince Uttar became Arjun's charioteer. Finally, preparation for war began. Peaceful negotiations were also attempted, but Duryodhan refused to give even a needle-point of territory. Hence, both the sides were trying to gather as many allies as possible.
  • Duryodhan rushed to Dwarka to obtain Krishna's support. Krishna was asleep when Duryodhan arrived. He sat by Krishna's head, waiting for him to awake. In the meantime, Arjun arrived too and he stood at Krishna's foot. On awakening, Krishna first saw Arjun but learnt that it was Duryodhan who had arrived first. The two cousins then explained the object of their visits.
  • Krishna asked Arjun, as he was younger to choose between himself, who would be unarmed and would not fight, and his huge army equivalent in strength as Krishna him-self. Arjun chose for Krishna, and Duryodhan returned satisfied with the army.
  • War began and Duryodhan installed first Bhishma, then Dron and then Karna as the commanders-in-chief of the Kaurav army. Though Bhishma and Dron fought sincerely and bravely for him, he doubted their loyalty and taunted them continuously. On the last day of the battle, after all his brothers were killed, Duryodhan hid himself in a lake. But when challenged by the Pandavs, he came out and chose to fight with Bhim. In spite of being wicked, Duryodhan was a brave and mighty opponent.
  • A terrible battle ensued, till finally Bhim, at the instigation of Krishna, hit Duryodhan below the belt and broke his thigh. Krishna knew that without foul play, this mighty man was not to be defeated. Duryodhan then asked Ashvatthama to be commander-in-chief. After Ashvatthama had brought him the news of the death of the Panchals, he breathed his last.

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