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Title: Kaurava  
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Subject: Glossary of Hinduism terms, Mahabharata, Kurukshetra War, Duryodhana, Upapandavas
Collection: Characters in the Mahabharata
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Kaurava Pandava Yuddh

Kaurava (Sanskrit: कौरव) is a Sanskrit term, that refers to the descendants of Kuru, a legendary king who is the ancestor of many of the characters of the Mahābhārata. The well-known Kauravas are Duryodhana, Dushasana, Vikarna, Yuyutsu and Dussala.


  • Etymology 1
  • The Birth of the Kauravas 2
  • The children of Dhritarashtra 3
  • List of Dhritarashtra's children 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The term 'Kaurava' is used in the Mahābhārata with two meanings:

  • The wider meaning, is used to represent all the descendants of Kuru. This meaning, which includes the Pandava brothers, is often used in the earlier parts of popular renditions of the Mahābhārata.
  • The narrower but more common meaning, is used to represent the elder line of the descendants of King Kuru. This restricts it to the children of King Dhritarashtra, as his line is the older line of descent from Kuru. It excludes the children of the younger brother Pandu, who founds his own line, the Pandava.

The rest of this article deals with the Kaurava in the narrower sense, that is the children of Dhritarashtra by Gandhari. When referring to these children, a more specific term is also used- Dhārtarāṣṭra (Sanskrit: धार्तराष्ट्र), a derivative of Dhritarashtra.

The Birth of the Kauravas

After Gandhari was married to Dhritarashtra she wrapped a bandage over her eyes and vowed to share the darkness that her husband lived in. Gandhari's brother Shakuni came to live with them to look after the interests of Gandhari. Once Sage Vyasa came to visit Gandhari in Hastinapur. She took great care of the comforts of the great saint and saw that he had a pleasant stay in Hastinapur. The saint was pleased with Gandhari and granted her a boon. Gandhari wished for one hundred sons who would be as powerful as her husband. Vyasa granted her the boon and in due course of time Gandhari found herself to be pregnant. But two years passed and still the baby was not born. Meanwhile, Kunti received a son from god Yama whom she called Yudhishthira. After two years of pregnancy, Gandhari gave birth to a hard piece of lifeless flesh that was not a baby at all. Gandhari was devastated as she had expected a hundred sons according to the blessing of Rishi Vyas. She was about to throw away the piece of flesh when Rishi Vyas appeared and told her that his blessings could not have been in vain and asked Gandhari to arrange for one hundred jars to be filled with Ghee (oil). He told Gandhari that he would cut the piece of flesh into hundred pieces and place them in the jars, which would then develop into the one hundred and one sons that she so desired. Gandhari told Vyas then that she also wanted to have a daughter. Vyas agreed and cut the piece of flesh into one hundred and one pieces and placed them each in the jars. After two more years of patient waiting the jars were ready to be opened.[1]

When the first jar was opened the first baby was born and was named "Duryodhana" which means "the unconquerable one" or "difficult to fight with". As soon as the baby started crying all the beasts of the jungle started howling and many signs of ill omen were seen. Vidura spoke then saying that the child would have to be abandoned as the omens at his birth spelt doom for the Kuru clan. He said, "The scriptures clearly state that for the good of the clan an individual can be sacrificed, for the good of the village a clan can be sacrificed, for the good of the country a village can be sacrificed and for the development of the soul, even the earth can be sacrificed." So for the good of the clan and of the country and of humanity, please sacrifice this son of yours. But both Gandhari and Dhritrashtra were adamant that a baby could not cause any harm and much against Vidura's wishes kept the baby. At the same time Bhima was born to Kunti in the forest.Another son of Dhritarashtra was from a Vaisya servant Sukhada named Yuyutsu was born on the same day as Bhima and Duryodhana.The other children of Gandhari were taken out of the jars and now Gandhari had one hundred sons and a daughter called Duhsala. All the children grew up to be strong and powerful.

This story should be read in view of the dispute over the succession to the throne of the kingdom. It attributes a late birth to Duryodhana, the eldest son of Dhritarashtra, despite his father's early marriage. This legitimises the Yudhishthira's claim to the throne, since he was the eldest of his generation. kaurav area =land of gadarwara narsinghpur madhya pardesh

The children of Dhritarashtra

The children of Dhritarashtra by Gandhari are also referred by a more specific and frequently encountered term - Dhārtarāṣṭra, a derivative of Dhṛtarāṣṭra (Dhritarashtra).

According to the epic, Gandhari wanted a hundred sons, and Vyasa granted her a boon that she would have these. Another version says that she was unable to have any children for a long time and she eventually became pregnant, but did not deliver for two years, after which she gave birth to a lump of flesh. Vyasa cut this lump into a hundred and one pieces, and these eventually developed into a hundred boys and one girl.[2]

The birth of these children is relevant to the dispute over succession of the kingdom's throne. It attributes the late birth of Duryodhana, the eldest son of Dhritarashtra, despite his father's early marriage and legitimizes the case for his cousin Yudhishthira to claim the throne, since he could claim to be the eldest of his generation. All the sons of Dhritarashtra excluding Yuyutsu (born of Dhritarashtra's marriage with a Vaysya woman, thus a half-brother of Duryodhana) were killed in the great battle at Kurukshetra.

Quote from Mahabharata, Sambava jayesh, Section CXV:[3]

"And during the time when Gandhari was in a state of advanced pregnancy, there was a maid servant of the Vaisy class who used to attend on Dhritarashtra. During that year, O king, was begotten upon her by the illustrious Dhritarashtra a son endued with great intelligence who was afterwards named Yuvutsu. And because he was begotten by a Kshatriya upon a Vaisy woman, he was subject to the constant taunts of the Kaurava.

Thus were born unto the wise Dhritarashtra, a hundred sons who were all heroes and mighty chariot-fighters, and a daughter over and above the hundred, and another son Yuyutsu of great energy and prowess begotten upon a Vaisya woman."

List of Dhritarashtra's children

Although all hundred sons with Gandhari have been named, only the first few are normally mentioned in the Mahābhārata. Their hundred and first child was a daughter named Dushala. Dhritirashtra had another son called Yuyutsu with a Vaisya servant, who was born on the same day as Duryodhana. The names of all of Dhritarashtra's 102 children (not according to age) are:[4]

  1. Duryodhana
  2. Yuyutsu(half-brother)[5]
  3. Dushasana
  4. Vikarna
  5. Vivinsati
  6. Durmukha
  7. Duhsalan
  8. Jalagandha
  9. ponga
  10. Saha
  11. Vindha
  12. Anuvindha
  13. Chitrasena
  14. Durdarsha
  15. Durmarsha
  16. Dussaha
  17. Durmada
  18. Dushkarna
  19. Durdhara
  20. Durmarshana
  21. Durvishaha
  22. Durvimochana
  23. Dushpradharsha
  24. Durjaya
  25. Dushparajaya
  26. Jaitra
  27. Bhurivala
  28. Ravi
  29. Jayatsena
  30. Sujata
  31. Srutavan
  32. Srutanta
  33. Jaya
  34. Chitra
  35. Upachitra
  36. Charuchitra
  37. Chitraksha
  38. Sarasana
  39. Chitrayudha
  40. Chitravarman
  41. Suvarma
  42. Sudarsana
  43. Dhanurgraha
  44. Vivitsu
  45. Subaahu
  46. Nanda
  47. Upananda
  48. Kratha
  49. Vatavega
  50. Nishagin
  51. Kavashin
  52. Paasi
  53. Vikata
  54. Soma
  55. Suvarchasas
  56. Dhanurdhara
  57. Ayobaahu
  58. Mahabaahu
  59. Chithraamga
  60. Chithrakundala
  61. Bheemaratha
  62. Bheemavega
  63. Bheemabela
  64. Ugraayudha
  65. Kundhaadhara
  66. Vrindaaraka
  67. Dridhavarma
  68. Dridhakshathra
  69. Dridhasandha
  70. Jaraasandha
  71. Sathyasandha
  72. Sadaasuvaak
  73. Ugrasravas
  74. Ugrasena
  75. Senaany
  76. Aparaajitha
  77. Kundhasaai
  78. Dridhahastha
  79. Suhastha
  80. Suvarcha
  81. Aadithyakethu
  82. Ugrasaai
  83. Kavachy
  84. Kradhana
  85. Kundhy
  86. Bheemavikra
  87. Alolupa
  88. Abhaya
  89. Dhridhakarmaavu
  90. Dhridharathaasraya
  91. Anaadhrushya
  92. Kundhabhedy
  93. Viraavy
  94. Pradhama
  95. Amapramaadhy
  96. Deerkharoma
  97. Suveeryavaan
  98. Dheerkhabaahu
  99. Kaanchanadhwaja
  100. Kundhaasy
  101. Virajass
  102. Dussala(Daughter)

See also


  1. ^ Mahabharat Chapter 6 - Birth of Pandavas and Kauravas
  2. ^ The Birth of the Pandavas and Kauravas
  3. ^>
  4. ^ Puranic Encyclopedia of Vettom Mani. Mahabharata Aadiparvam – chapter 67 Compiled by T.J.Neriamparampil
  5. ^ Yuyutsu is the son of Dhritarashtra through a Vysya Maid Servant.He was born on the same day as Duryodhana and elder to the rest of the 99 sons of Gandhari and Dushala. During the Kurushethra War he sided with the Pandavas and was one of 12 survivors. He was the caretaker of king Parikshit, son of Abhimanyu, when Parikshit was a minor.

External links

  • Persons and Stories from Mahabharata
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