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At the end of the Kurukshetra war, Duryodhana was undefeatable during the fight with Bheema.

Bheema was able to defeat him by hitting on his thigh, that was against the rules of the war.

The question is: Why did Bheema have to take help of unfair means to defeat Adharma?? Why did the side of Adharma become so powerful (although through Gandhari's blessings)? If on that day Bheema had been defeated, the Kaurava side or the Adharmic side would have won.

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    I think you answered your own question: it's due to Gandhari's blessing that the rest of his body was invulnerable. Mar 22, 2016 at 14:00
  • @Keshav I think he is asking how could Gandhari give Duryodhana (read: Adharma) such a boon.
    – Surya
    Mar 22, 2016 at 14:12
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    @Surya Because love for her son overpowered her better judgment. She also gave the boon that the side of Dharma would win, so that's a good thing. Mar 22, 2016 at 14:13
  • @Keshav Um, I am not the questioner, so... hehe.
    – Surya
    Mar 22, 2016 at 15:36
  • "Why did Bheema have to take help of unfair means to defeat Adharma?? Why did the side of Adharma become so powerful?"-No method is unfair when the question is as big as restoring Dharma on earth ,this is one and two The Lord incarnates on earth as a human being only when the side of Adharma becomes overwhelming more powerful.Otherwise there is no need for Him to come on earth as a man
    – Rickross
    Mar 22, 2016 at 18:08

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It was not due to the boon of Gandhari according to KMG's translation.

It clearly describes that Duryodhana's upper body was made of Vajra and was indestructible unlike his lower body.

https://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m03/m03010.htm

Three reasons are that Duryodhana's upper body was indestructible, Duryodhana would win had he not been defeated by deceit, Maitreya cursed Duryodhana that his thighs will be broken when Duryodana slapped his thigh because rishi Maitreya told Duryodhana to make peace with the Pandavas.

https://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m03/m03250.htm

After the Ghoshayatra, when the Pandavas defeat the Gandharvas and liberate Duryodhana, he decides to not take any food and die of starvation.

Vaisampayana continued, "Though addressed in all manner of ways by his friends and counsellors and brothers and relatives, the king wavered not from his purpose. And the son of Dhritarashtra in accordance with his purpose spread Kusa grass on the earth, and purifying himself by touching water, sat down upon that spot. And clad in rags and Kusa grass he set himself to observe the highest vow. And stopping all speech, that tiger among kings, moved by the desire of going to heaven, began to pray and worship internally suspending all external intercourse.

In the meantime, Danavas came knowing that if Duryodhana died, their party would be weakened.

"Meanwhile the fierce Daityas and the Danavas who had been defeated of old by the celestials and had been dwelling in the nether regions having ascertained Duryodhana's purpose and knowing that if the king died their party would be weakened, commenced a sacrifice with fire for summoning Duryodhana to their presence.

A goddess went and took Duryodhana to the world of Danavas as commanded by the demons.

And after those rites were ended, a strange goddess, O king, with mouth wide open, arose (from the sacrificial fire), saying, 'What am I to do?' And the Daityas with well-pleased hearts, commanded her, saying, 'Bring thou hither the royal son of Dhritarashtra, who is even now observing the vow of starvation for getting rid of his life.' Thus commanded, she went away saying, 'So be it.' And she went in the twinkling of an eye to that spot where Suyodhana was. And taking up the king back to the nether regions, and having brought him thus in a moment, she apprised the Danavas of it.

That is when the Danavas tell the birth secret of Duryodhana.

In days of old. O king, we have obtained thee, by ascetic austerities from Maheswara. The upper part of thy body is wholly made of an assemblage of Vajras, and is, therefore, invulnerable to weapons of every description, O sinless one. The lower part of thy body, capable of captivating the female heart by its comeliness was made of flowers by the goddess herself--the wife of Mahadeva. Thy body is thus, O best of kings, the creation of Maheswara himself and his goddess. Therefore, O tiger among kings, thou art of celestial origin, not human.

It was not due to the boon of Gandhari according to KMG's translation.

It clearly describes that Duryodhana's upper body was made of Vajra and was indestructible unlike his lower body.

https://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m03/m03010.htm

After the exile of the Pandavas, Maitreya told Duryodana to make peace with the Pandavas but he insulted him by slapping his thigh and in rage, he cursed him that his thighs will be broken by Bhima's mace.

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then turning to the wrathful prince Duryodhana, the illustrious Rishi Maitreya addressed him in these soft words, 'O mighty-armed Duryodhana, O best of all eloquent men, O illustrious one, give heed unto the words I utter for my good! O king, seek not to quarrel with the Pandavas! And, O bull among men, compass thou thy own good as also of the Pandavas, of the Kurus and of the world! All those tigers among men are heroes of high prowess in war, gifted with the strength of ten thousand elephants, with bodies hard as the thunderbolt, holding fast by their promises, and proud of their manliness! they have slain the enemies of the celestials--those Rakshasas capable of assuming any form at will, such as were headed by Hidimva and Kirmira! When those high-souled ones went from hence that Rakshasa of fierce soul obstructed their nocturnal path even like an immoveable hill. And even as a tiger slayeth a little deer, Bhima, that foremost of all endued with strength, and ever delighted in fight, slew that monster. Consider also, O king, how while out on his campaign of conquest, Bhima slew in battle that mighty warrior, Jarasandha, possessing the strength of ten thousand elephants. Related to Vasudeva and having the sons of king Drupada as their brothers-in-law, who that is subject to decrepitude and death would undertake to cope with them in battle? O bull of the Bharata race, let there be peace between thee and Pandavas! Follow thou my counsels and surrender not thyself to anger!

'O king, thus admonished by Maitreya, Duryodhana began to slap his thigh resembling the trunk of the elephant, and smilingly began to scratch the ground with his foot. And the wicked wretch spake not a word, but hung down his head. And, O monarch, beholding Duryodhana thus offer him a slight by scratching the earth silently, Maitreya became angry. And, as if commissioned by fate, Maitreya, the best of Munis, overwhelmed by wrath, set his mind upon cursing Duryodhana! And then, with eyes red in anger, Maitreya, touching water, caused the evil-minded son of Dhritarashtra, saying, 'Since, slighting me thou declinest to act according to my words, thou shalt speedily reap the fruit of this thy insolence! In the great war which shall spring out of the wrongs perpetrated by thee, the mighty Bhima shall smash that thigh of thine with a stroke of his mace!

Krishna told Arjuna that Bhima had great might but Duryodhana possessed greater skill and labored more so Bhima had to defeat Duryodhana by deception only.

https://sacred-texts.com/hin/m09/m09058.htm

"'Vasudeva said, "The instruction received by them hath been equal. Bhima, however, is possessed of greater might, while the son of Dhritarashtra is possessed of greater skill and hath laboured more. If he were to fight fairly, Bhimasena will never succeed in winning the victory. If, however, he fights unfairly he will be surely able to slay Duryodhana. The Asuras were vanquished by the gods with the aid of deception. We have heard this. Virochana was vanquished by Shakra with the aid of deception. The slayer of Vala deprived Vritra of his energy by an act of deception. Therefore, let Bhimasena put forth his prowess, aided by deception! At the time of the gambling, O Dhananjaya, Bhima vowed to break the thighs of Suyodhana with his mace in battle. Let this crusher of foes, therefore, accomplish that vow of his. Let him with deception, slay the Kuru king who is full of deception. If Bhima, depending upon his might alone, were to fight fairly, king Yudhishthira will have to incur great danger.

Shakra himself, O Dhananjaya, cannot stand before them that rush in fury, having abandoned all hope of life. This Suyodhana had broken and fled. All his troops had been killed. He had entered the depths of a lake. He had been defeated and, therefore, he had desired to retire into the woods, having become hopeless of retaining his kingdom. What man is there, possessed of any wisdom, that would challenge such a person to a single combat? I do not know whether Duryodhana may not succeed in snatching the kingdom that had already become ours! For full thirteen years he practised with the mace with great resolution. Even now, for slaying Bhimasena, he jumpeth up and leapeth transversely! If the mighty-armed Bhima does not slay him unfairly, the son of Dhritarashtra will surely remain king!"

Arjuna then slaps his thighs and Bhima understood the meaning and smashed Duryodhana's thighs which made Balarama angry. Then, Krishna lists why he had to do it.

https://sacred-texts.com/hin/m09/m09060.htm

Formerly Bhima had vowed in the midst of the assembly that he would in great battle break with his mace the thighs of Duryodhana. The great Rishi Maitreya also, O scorcher of foes, had formerly cursed Duryodhana, saying, 'Bhima will, with his mace, break thy thighs!' In consequence of all this, I do not see any fault in Bhima!

Duryodhana praises himself.

https://sacred-texts.com/hin/m09/m09061.htm

"'Duryodhana said, "I have studied, made presents according to the ordinance, governed the wide Earth with her seas, and stood over the heads of my foes! Who is there so fortunate as myself! That end again which is courted by Kshatriyas observant of the duties of their own order, death in battle, hath become mine. Who, therefore, is so fortunate as myself? Human enjoyments such as were worthy of the very gods and such as could with difficulty be obtained by other kings, had been mine. Prosperity of the very highest kind had been attained by me! Who then is so fortunate as myself? With all my well-wishers, and my younger brothers, I am going to heaven, O thou of unfading glory! As regards yourselves, with your purposes unachieved and torn by grief, live ye in this unhappy world!"'

Pandavas later think that they fought unrighteously after celestial beings praise Duryodhana.

"Sanjaya continued, 'Upon the conclusion of these words of the intelligent king of the Kurus, a thick shower of fragrant flowers fell from the sky. The Gandharvas played upon many charming musical instruments. The Apsaras in a chorus sang the glory of king Duryodhana. The Siddhas uttered loud sound to the effect, "Praise be to king Duryodhana!" Fragrant and delicious breezes mildly blew on every side. All the quarters became clear and the firmament looked blue as the lapis lazuli. Beholding these exceedingly wonderful things and this worship offered to Duryodhana, the Pandavas headed by Vasudeva became ashamed.

Krishna later consoles them when Pandavas were ashamed that they fought unfairly.

Hearing (invisible beings cry out) that Bhishma and Drona and Karna and Bhurishrava were slain unrighteously, they became afflicted with grief and wept in sorrow. Beholding the Pandavas filled with anxiety and grief, Krishna addressed them in a voice deep as that of the clouds or the drum, saying, "All of them were great car-warriors and exceedingly quick in the use of weapons! If ye had put forth all your prowess, even then ye could never have slain them in battle by fighting fairly! King Duryodhana also could never be slain in a fair encounter! The same is the case with all those mighty car-warriors headed by Bhishma!

Krishna tells that he used illusions also.

From desire of doing good to you, I repeatedly applied my powers of illusion and caused them to be slain by diverse means in battle. If I had not adopted such deceitful ways in battle, victory would never have been yours, nor kingdom, nor wealth! Those four were very high-souled warriors and regarded as Atirathas in the world. The very Regents of the Earth could not slay them in fair fight! Similarly, the son of Dhritarashtra, though fatigued when armed with the mace, could not be slain in fair fight by Yama himself armed with his bludgeon!

So Duryodhana was defeated unfairly because Bhima vowed to break his thighs, his upper-part of the body was indestructible, Kuru warriors headed by Bhishma, Drona, Karna, and Duryodhana could not be defeated fairly.

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