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The story goes Gandhari removed her blindfold the night before Duryodhana's decisive encounter with Bhima. She poured all her power into her son's body in one glance, rendering Duryodhana's entire body, except his loins, hard as thunderbolt. Sri Krishna foiled Gandhari's plan by shaming Duryodhana because of which the latter covered his privates before meeting Gandhari.

My question is whether there is any scripture reference to the above story or is it just a folklore. If not folklore, then did Gandhari ever remove her blindfold ?

  • Guessing.. there must have been a mantra accompanying during special times like when seeing Duryodhana body. At ordinary times like bath, it could be removed. – Narasimham Jan 24 at 22:55
  • It's folklore, read Telugu Folk Additions to Mahabharata (VI. Duryodhana’s Weakness in His Thighs) here. I don't understand your follow up question: "If folklore, then did Gandhari ever remove her blindfold?" You probably meant if not folklore. – sv. Jan 25 at 16:43
  • @sv , yes - I meant "if not folklore" – Carmen sandiego Jan 26 at 0:34
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Indeed, Gandhari never removed her blindfold. However, there is one instance from where one can estimate the power she from her penance. It was not for rendering Duryodhana's body hard as thunderbolt, but charring Yudhishtra's toe. This took place after the war when Gandhari was lamenting the loss of her sons.

From Jalapradanika-parva in Stri-parva

Conversant with the rules of righteousness, the Kuru queen, possessed of great foresight, directed her eyes, from within the folds of the cloth that covered them, to the tip of Yudhishthira’s toe, as the prince, with body bent forwards, was about to fall down at her feet. At this, the king, whose nails had before this been all very beautiful, came to have a sore nail on his toe. Beholding this, Arjuna moved away to the rear of Vasudeva. and the other sons of Pandu became restless and moved from one spot to another.

It's to be noted that the very next section (Stri-vilapa parva)mentions that Gandhari was then bestowed with power of vision from Vyasa.

Gandhari, though staying on that spot which was distant from the field of battle, beheld, with her spiritual eye, the slaughter of the Kurus. Devoted to her lord, that highly blessed lady had always practised high vows. Undergoing the severest penances, she was always truthful in her speech. In consequence of the gift of the boon by the great rishi Vyasa of sanctified deeds, she became possessed of spiritual knowledge and power. Piteous were the lamentations in which that dame then indulged. Endued with great intelligence, the Kuru dame saw, from a distance, but as if from a near point, that field of battle, terrible to behold and full of wonderful sights, of those foremost of fighters.

As a result she could see the great maharathis and adhirathas laying on the field of battle. She was saddened on seeing their wives wailing over their bodies.

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Yes, she indeed did for she wanted to save her son, as you can read here:

Travelling swiftly during the seventeenth day of the war, she finally arrived on the field at sunset. When she entered the ladies tent she received the terrible news that all her sons were now dead, with the exception of Duryodhana alone. The old queen dropped to the ground in a swoon. Her servants quickly raised her and sat her upon a large couch, sprinkling her face with cool water. Coming back to her senses she wept for some time. Finally she composed herself and asked that Duryodhana be brought before her. At least she could save him.

The following morning before sunrise, Duryodhana took his bath and went back to his mother’s tent. As he entered the outer section of the large tent, he took off his clothes and was about to go in when he saw Kṛṣṇa coming out. The Yādava had heard that Gāndhārī had arrived, and He had gone to pay His respects. Seeing Duryodhana standing naked before Him, He opened His eyes wide in surprise. “What is this, O hero? Why do I see you standing here without any clothes?”

Duryodhana explained that he was about to see his mother, and Kṛṣṇa replied, “Have you not learned any culture from your elders, O Bharata? How can any civilized man go naked before his own mother? I am surprised. At least cover your loins.”

Duryodhana looked down at his naked body in embarrassment. Kṛṣṇa was right. He could not stand naked before his mother. As Kṛṣṇa left the tent he wrapped a cloth around his loins and went in to see the queen. When she heard him enter, she asked him to stand immediately before her. Then she lifted the cloth that covered her eyes and looked straight at him. Duryodhana felt an energy suffusing him as his mother glanced over his body, but when Gāndhārī saw his cloth she was shocked. “Why, dear child, did you not follow my directions? I asked you to come naked. You have covered your loins and, although the rest of your body will be hard like iron, your loins and thighs will remain vulnerable to attack, for I did not see those parts.”

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    Thanks. But this extract is from a retelling published in 1998 . I am looking for something more authentic like KMG Mahabharata or Purana – Carmen sandiego Jan 25 at 0:41

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