Why was Dhritarashtra blind?

Was it to do with something in his past life? I have heard that his mother closed her eyes during niyog and therefore he became blind. Is that the only reason or something to do with his past life?

  • He was blind since in his past life, when he was a kid, he used to get some sort of stick and poke it through grasshoppers' eyes and just start playing around with them. He then asked the priest in his present life, "But I was only a kid", the the priest replied "Yes, but you killed many lives". And yes that's the only reason why. Jul 9, 2017 at 20:56

2 Answers 2

Why was Dhritarashtra blind? Was it to do with something in his past life?

Short answer

Any existence of present life can be mapped to the past life. However I could not yet find scripture backup of any curse on DhritarAshtra. In Adi Parva, it simply mentions the fault of his mother Ambika:

Dhritarashtra born of the seed of Krishna-Dwaipayana, and gifted with long arms and great energy, also a monarch, of the prophetic eye, became blind in consequence of the fault of his mother and the wrath of the Rishi.

Actually Vidura was born due to a curse, as discussed in this answer.

Long Answer

Queen Satyavati had ordered his son VyAsa to beget children to both widows of his deceased son Vichitravirya. When VyAsa visited his mother, he was under the influence of ascetic penace & hence was not ready for the union with a woman who is still under the influence of worldly matters. But his mother Satyavati was adamant about begetting a son from widows, as the HastinApura throne was without any king. From Adi parva:

Vyasa, hearing this, said, 'O Satyavati, ... Let the ladies then duly observe for one full year the vow I indicate. They shall then be purified. No women shall ever approach me without having observed a rigid vow.'
Satyavati then said, 'O sinless one, it must be as thou sayest. Take such steps that the ladies may conceive immediately. In a kingdom where there is no king, the people perish from want of protection

VyAsa knew that due to his attire and smelly body, a woman might have adverse mindset during the Niyoga ritual. This would affect the new born child in positive or negative way.

Vyasa replied, 'If I am to give unto my brother children so unseasonably, then let the ladies bear my ugliness. That in itself shall, in their case, be the austerest of penances. If the princess of Kosala can bear my strong odour, my ugly and grim visage, my attire and body, she shall then conceive an excellent child.'

But as expected most likely neither of AmbikA or AmbalikA could face the Rishi VyAsa with peaceful mind. Hence whatever were there bodily symptoms at the time of mating, were passed to their sons in their womb:

Then the Rishi of truthful speech, who had given his promise in respect of Amvika (the eldest of the princesses) in the first instance, entered her chamber while the lamp was burning. The princess, seeing his dark visage, his matted locks of copper hue, blazing eyes, his grim beard, closed her eyes in fear. The Rishi, from desire of accomplishing his mother's wishes, however knew her. But the latter, struck with fear, opened not her eyes even once to look at him. And when Vyasa came out, he was met by his mother, who asked him, 'Shall the princess have an accomplished son?' Hearing her, he replied, 'The son of the princess she will bring forth shall be equal in might unto ten thousand elephants. He will be an illustrious royal sage, possessed of great learning and intelligence and energy. The high-souled one shall have in his time a century of sons. But from the fault of his mother he shall be blind

Additionally, Satyavati had asked to pregnant the 2nd queen AmbAlika. But she became pale seeing the attire of VyAsa. Hence PAndu was born with similar features.

And Ambalika beholding the Rishi, became pale with fear And, O Bharata, beholding her so afflicted and pale with fear, Vyasa addressed her and said, 'Because thou hast been pale with fear at the sight of my grim visage, therefore, thy child shall be pale in complexion. O thou of handsome face, the name also thy child shall bear will be Pandu (the pale).'

Note: It's doesn't happen always that, if a woman closes her eyes or become pale while sexual congress, then her child will become likewise. But since the VyAsa was of great merit, the severe influence took place. In general it's well known fact that, whatever mother thinks during pregnancy, the child has similar virtues.

  • "In general it's well known fact that, whatever mother thinks during pregnancy, the child has similar virtues." - well-known myth, not fact... Oct 8, 2018 at 17:38
  • @sv, unless you have concrete proof that it is not fact (i.e. you can falsify the claim with an example), then when someone else claims that it is fact, you only have one scientific option remaining - accept that you do not know whether it is fact or not, and ask for proof if you're interested. if not, move on. even if you stopped with saying 'well known myth', i could have let it slide because myth could mean true or false, but for you to add 'NOT FACT', you must have proof (or disproof rather) that mother's thoughts do not affect children, probably a n=1000 double blind study. Show it to us.
    – mar
    Oct 10, 2018 at 2:44

Dhritarashtra was born to Ambika and Veda Vyas through Niyoga method as her husband Vichitravirya died by that time. During that process Ambika closed her eyes looking at the appearance of Rishi Veda Vyas. Because of this reason he was born as blind. His brothers were Pandu king and Vidura who were also born to Veda Vyas. Ambalika gave birth to pandu and during that time she was also scared looking at Ved Vyas, but she did not close her eyes, though she was shocked .. that's why pandu was born in pale color. While Ambalika servant Parishrami, felt so happy to be blessed to have a child through Veda Vyas and participated in niyoga with complete acceptance . For which she was blessed with a most dharmik son Vidura.

Dhritarashtra is one of the many snakes incarnation. He was the son of Kadruva in the form of snake. He along with all his brothers were cursed by her mom Kadruva for not obeying the words of her. "Sesha was born first, and then Vasuki. (Then were born) Airavata, Takshaka, Karkotaka, Dhananjaya, ... Dhritarashtra, Sankhapinda, Virajas, Suvahu, Salipinda, Prabhakara, etc were born. These are the names described in the Aadi Parva: "Sesha was born first, and then Vasuki. (Then were born) Airavata, Takshaka, Karkotaka, Dhananjaya, Kalakeya, the serpent Mani, Purana, Pinjaraka, and Elapatra, Vamana, Nila, Anila, Kalmasha, Savala, Aryaka, Ugra, Kalasapotaka, Suramukha, Dadhimukha, Vimalapindaka, Apta, Karotaka, Samkha, Valisikha, Nisthanaka, Hemaguha, Nahusha, Pingala, Vahyakarna, Hastipada, Mudgarapindaka, Kamvala Aswatara, Kaliyaka, Vritta, Samvartaka, Padma, Mahapadma, Sankhamukha, Kushmandaka, Kshemaka, Pindaraka, Karavira, Pushpadanshtraka, Vilwaka, Vilwapandara, Mushikada, Sankhasiras, Purnabhadra, Haridraka, Aparajita, Jyotika, Srivaha, Kauravya, Dhritarashtra, Sankhapinda, Virajas, Suvahu, Salipinda, Prabhakara, Hastipinda, Pitharaka, Sumuksha, Kaunapashana, Kuthara, Kunjara, Kumuda, Kumudaksha, Tittri, Halika, Kardama, Vahumulaka, Karkara, Akarkara, Kundodara, and Mahodara.

  • 1
    You should cite sources. Jun 13, 2015 at 21:04
  • I know this. But my question was more of previous life of Dhritarashtra . Who was he in his previous life? Does anybody know? Jun 15, 2015 at 4:43
  • I have edited your answer adding other answer. Second part actually doesn't answer the question. Please add sources for your first part and also explain how second paragraph answers the question.
    – The Destroyer
    Dec 28, 2017 at 11:00

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