In this chapter of the Adi Parva of the Mahabharata, the births of various notable characters are described. Here is what it says about Duryodhana's uncle Shakuni:

Then was born the disciple of Prahlada, viz., Nagnajit, and also Suvala. And from Suvala was born a son, Sakuni, who from the curse of the gods became the slayer of creatures and the foe of virtue. And unto him was also born a daughter (Gandhari), the mother of Duryodhana.

I discuss Shakuni's uncle Nagnajit in my question here, but now I'm interested in the statement that Shakuni became an evil-doer due to "the curse of the gods". My question is, why exactly did the gods curse him?

As I discuss in this answer, Shakuni was an incarnation of Dwapara, the embodiment of the Dwapara Yuga. Now the embodiment of the Kali Yuga is a demon, but perhaps Dwapara is a god. In any case, are there any scriptures that describe the gods putting a curse on Dwapara? Or was the curse put on him after he was born as Shakuni?

Could this just be a figure of speech, indicating that he was destined in the divine plan to be an evil-doer, rather than alluding to a specific curse from the gods? It could be similar to how in the Bible, God is said to have hardened the Pharaoh's heart.

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    This could be a metaphorical phrase as well similar to as we say 'By the grace of God'.
    – Aby
    Jun 2, 2015 at 12:48
  • @Aby Yeah, that's definitely a possibility; like I said the Bible has similar phrases. It would be easier to resolve this if I knew whether Dwapara was a good guy or bad guy. If he's naturally good then that might indicate that he was curse to be an evil-doer (similar to Jaya and Vijaya). Jun 2, 2015 at 12:54
  • Are you sure the curse made him evil? It could just make him the enemy of the good, which is not the same thing. Dec 23, 2021 at 21:52

1 Answer 1


Not sure if the concept of "embodiment" of whole yuga into single person is something genuine. Mostly it's symbolic. The wikipedia article about Shakuni discusses the mostly acceptable theory about him, though without any solid reference.

I will not copy paste all the relevant parts as it's mostly known by the people, but below sentence is important:

Hastinapur conquered Gandhar, killed the king Achala Suvala, and imprisoned all the male members of his line, saying that line was full of adharma.

Something full of evil would be subject to curse by the Devatas (Gods); same would have applied to Gandharas and hence Shakuni.

Besides, I don't see him as a pure evil. Rather he was probably filled with some of the natural human vices, like Revenge and Immoral partiality.

It's not that he always drove Duryodhana to wrong direction. Look at this passage, where he gives good piece of advice to Duryodhana:

Sakuni said.--'O Duryodhana, thou shouldst not be jealous of Yudhishthira. The sons of Pandu are enjoying what they deserve in consequence of their own good fortune. ... having inherited the paternal share of the kingdom without being deprived of it they have grown in consequence of their own energy. What is there to make thee sorry for this?'

  • This doesn't answer my question at all. My question is about why he was cursed by the gods to be evil, not just why he happened to do bad things. In any case, the whole story of Shakuni trying to take revenge has no basis in Hindu scripture; see my answer here: hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/3082/36 Jun 9, 2015 at 13:38
  • Also, Dwapara is most certainly a real individual; the Mahabharata chapter quoted in my answer here lists the various gods and Asuras who incarnated as Mahabharata characters, and it says that Dwapara incarnated as Shakuni. (And Duryodhana was an incarnation of Kali.) Jun 9, 2015 at 13:43
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    @KeshavSrinivasan, My answer is more on explaining that, "Shakuni was just a human with vices". Ofcourse, if his family lineage was full of anti-Dharma, then he along with all were subjected to do bad things. I am aware about Yuga to Individual's mapping, but that should be taken with grain of salt or treat it just as symbolism. e.g. Hitler/Stalin/Mao was a monster. Also, I agree that wiki article doesn't give any solid proof on the theory of "Shakuni's revenge on Bharatas", but still it's mostly accepted theory due to its relevant logical explanations. Shakuni had 2 reasons to get revenge.
    – iammilind
    Jun 10, 2015 at 7:30
  • No, I don't think it's just symbolic, because there's a specific reason that all these people were born on the Earth at that time; see that chapter and the surrounding chapters. In any case, those aren't logical explanations at all, because they're contradicted by the Mahabharata. There's no evidence that the Kuru dynasty ever invaded Gandhara, and Shakuni couldn't be avenging his brothers' death in the Kurus' jail, because his brothers actually fight in the Mahabharata war. And the Mahabharata describes Shakuni as having a positive attitude to his sister's marriage, not a negative one. Jun 10, 2015 at 8:48
  • So as I discuss in my answer here, those couldn't possibly be Shakuni's motives: hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/3082/36 A much more plausible explanation would be that he was just as deluded as Duryodhana and he just wanted to help Duryodhana defeat the Pandavas. But again, my question is not about Shakuni's motivations or what vices he had as a human, it's specifically about the curse of the gods. So this doesn't answer my question. Jun 10, 2015 at 9:01

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