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Incidents In Mahabharata That Show Dhritarashtra’s Love Towards Pandavas

Dhritarashtra, the blind king of Hastinapura, is a complex figure in the Mahabharata. His actions often reveal a bias towards his own sons, the Kauravas, at the expense of the Pandavas. However, there are instances in the epic that indicate Dhritarashtra was not entirely one-sided and did show some measure of fairness or concern towards the Pandavas. Here are some key incidents that highlight this nuanced aspect of his character:

1. Initial Protection of the Pandavas:

  • Incident: After the death of their father, Pandu, Dhritarashtra took the Pandavas under his care. Despite his own son's jealousy, Dhritarashtra ensured that the Pandavas were raised alongside the Kauravas and given their rightful share of education and training.
  • Analysis: This initial act of guardianship indicates that Dhritarashtra was not wholly neglectful or unfair towards the Pandavas. He recognized their rightful place in the royal household and ensured they were treated with a level of equality during their early years.

2. The Partition of the Kingdom:

  • Incident: When the rivalry between the Kauravas and Pandavas escalated, Dhritarashtra, under pressure, decided to divide the kingdom. He granted the Pandavas the barren land of Khandavaprastha, which they transformed into the prosperous city of Indraprastha.
  • Analysis: Although the decision to give the Pandavas a less desirable portion of the kingdom can be seen as a slight, Dhritarashtra’s willingness to part with a significant portion of his kingdom for the Pandavas shows his recognition of their rights and status as equal claimants to the throne.

3. Acceptance of Yudhishthira's Kingship:

  • Incident: After the Rajasuya Yajna performed by Yudhishthira, Dhritarashtra accepted him as the emperor and acknowledged the Pandavas' growing power and influence.
  • Analysis: Dhritarashtra's acceptance of Yudhishthira’s supreme position and his blessings indicate a level of respect and approval for the Pandava's achievements, despite his personal affections for his own sons.

4. Return of the Pandavas’ Wealth and Kingdom:

  • Incident: Following the first dice game, where Yudhishthira lost his kingdom, wealth, and brothers, it was Dhritarashtra who intervened, moved by Draupadi's pleas and Gandhari's advice. He restored everything to the Pandavas, nullifying the results of the game.
  • Analysis: This act of restoring their lost kingdom and wealth shows Dhritarashtra’s momentary fairness and his recognition of the injustice done to the Pandavas. It was a rare moment where he acted against Duryodhana's wishes to do what he felt was right.

5. Concern for the Pandavas in Exile:

  • Incident: During the Pandavas' exile, Dhritarashtra showed concern for their well-being. He often inquired about their welfare and expressed sorrow for the circumstances they were in, as narrated by various messengers.
  • Analysis: His inquiries and expressed concern for the Pandavas’ safety and well-being during their exile demonstrate a lingering sense of familial duty and affection.

6. Consulting with Vidura:

  • Incident: Throughout the epic, Dhritarashtra frequently sought counsel from Vidura, who was known for his wisdom and fairness, and was a staunch supporter of the Pandavas.
  • Analysis: By seeking Vidura's advice, who often championed the Pandavas' cause, Dhritarashtra indirectly shows his awareness of the Pandavas' rights and merits. His consultations indicate an internal conflict and a desire to be fair, even if he often failed to act on Vidura’s counsel.

7. Grief after the War:

  • Incident: After the Kurukshetra war, Dhritarashtra’s sorrow at the loss of his sons was profound, but he also expressed deep regret for the destruction that befell the Pandavas and their family. He mourned not only for his sons but also for the shared suffering of the Pandavas.
  • Analysis: This shared grief illustrates that Dhritarashtra recognized the immense loss suffered by both sides and felt the pain of the Pandavas' losses as well. It reflects his understanding that the tragedy was universal, affecting his entire lineage.

8. Allowing the Pandavas to Return After Exile:

  • Incident: At the end of their exile and incognito period, Dhritarashtra did not obstruct the Pandavas' return. He accepted their claim to their kingdom and did not oppose their rights, although it was Duryodhana who refused to give back their rightful share.
  • Analysis: Dhritarashtra’s acceptance of the Pandavas’ return and his reluctance to go against their claim indicate a fundamental sense of justice and a recognition of their entitlement, despite the pressure from his sons.

Dhritarashtra’s actions towards the Pandavas were indeed complicated. While he often showed partiality towards his own sons, these incidents illustrate moments of fairness and concern for the Pandavas. These moments, however, were overshadowed by his overall inability to act decisively against his sons’ unjust actions, which ultimately led to the devastating conflict of the Mahabharata.