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Boon of Shiva and 101 Children of Gandhari in the Mahabharata

Gandhari in the Mahabharata was the wife of blind king Dhritarashtra. She gave birth to 101 children. Gandhari was an ardent devotee of Shiva and she had the blessing that she will become a mother of 101 children.

When Gandhari came to know that her chosen husband Dhritarashtra was blind, she took the wow that she will remain blindfolded for her entire life. Why she took the vow still remains a mystery? Was it out of protest of getting her married off to a blind man? Or was it out of self sacrifice denying herself the eyesight which her husband was denied from birth?

Dhritarashtra wanted to have a child before his younger Pandu had one, as he wanted his child to become the next king of Hastinapura.

Gandhari did not give birth even after 9 months of pregnancy.

Meanwhile, Kunti, wife of Pandu, gave birth to Yudhishtira.

Gandhari grew jealous and fearful. She pushed her stomach so hard that from her uterus appeared a large lump of flesh.

Sage Vyasa appeared at Hastinapur and told Gandhari that the boon of Shiva will never fail. If Shiva has said you will give birth to 101 children then you will indeed give birth to 101 children.

Sage Vyasa poured holy water from his Kamandalu (water pot) on the lump of flesh. Magically, the lump transformed into 101 separate pieces. Each piece was of the size of thumb.

Each piece of flesh was kept in a specially prepared pot filled with ghee and herbs.

Sage Vyasa told to keep the 101 pots in a dark place for 2 years.

After 2 years, the pot started breaking and first appeared Duryodhana, the eldest of the Kauravas. Soon all the pots broke.

The boon of Shiva became a reality. Gandhari was not a proud mother of 100 sons and a daughter.