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Duryodhana - The Eldest Brother Of The Kauravas

Duryodhana – The Eldest Brother Of The Kauravas

Duryodhana is the best known Kaurava and the shade of evil in Mahabharata. Interestingly, his birth name is Suyodhana which means a warrior with good arms. He became known as Duryodhana because of his ferocious and unbeatable nature. Duryodhana actually means the invincible and he had all the qualities of becoming one until greed and arrogance led to his downfall.

The Kauravas were always seen as inferior to the Pandavas because they were born from Dhritarashtra, a blind king. This had a deep impact on Duryodhana’s mind and he wanted to make things right. Thus, he chose to be mentored by Shakuni, his maternal uncle. Shakuni had some hidden agendas because of which he helped Duryodhana in devising plots and traps for the Pandavas. When the Pandavas and Kunti came to the castle and lived with them, Bhima often bullied and tortured the Kauravas. Duryodhana was angered by this and he grew hatred for Bhima.

Duryodhana was a skilled mace warrior. He was taught the art of mace fighting by Balarama. He was unmatched in his skills and only Bhima matched him. When Dronacharya asks what does he see in the pigeon, he says love and affection which was ridiculed and mocked by all his brothers. Only Arjuna says the eyes, the target. This is an example of how his love is ridiculed and replaced by the will to fight and violence.

Many traps were laid by Duryodhana to kill the Pandavas and especially Bhima. The most notable one was the burning of the wax palace which the Pandavas managed to escape. He also tried to poison Bhima’s meal but Bhima was saved by Vikarna. The ultimate trap that works out is the game of dice which makes the Pandavas lose everything. It is also said that Draupadi had once insulted Duryodhana as the blind son of the blind king. This had enraged Duryodhana and as a result of this insult, he wanted to seek revenge from Draupadi in the game of dice.

Before the exile of the Pandavas, the kingdom was equally divided into two parts. Hastinapur was ruled by Duryodhana and the Kauravas while a forest land called Khandavprastha was ruled by Pandavas. The Pandavas transformed the forest into a prosperous kingdom with the help of Krishna. This deepened jealousy of Duryodhana and caused a rift among the two.

After all the peace talks had failed, Duryodhana and Arjuna were given a choice to select between the Narayana army and Krishna himself. Krishna had taken the oath that he would not fight himself but would only be the charioteer. Duryodhana opted for the army which was later criticised by Shakuni. Shakuni said that Krishna is more than an army. The result of the war is very well known.

Interestingly, he had the golden chance to become truly invincible when Gandhari promised to use her divine vision and make him invincible. Krishna came to know about this idea and convinced Duryodhana to cover his thighs which later become the point of attack for Bhima.

Thus, Duryodhana may seem like an arrogant and greedy warrior who always wanted to overthrow the Pandavas but he too had his own share of injustice and sufferings.

Click here to read about Arjuna’s Quest For Pashupatastra.

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