Vatsalya Rasa – The blind love of Dhritarashtra

Read this post about an introduction to the Rasas.

Read this post for the shringara rasa referred to in the Mahabharata – Ganga and her love

Read this post for the hasya rasa referred to in the Mahabharata – Draupadi and her laughter

Read this post for the raudra rasa referred to in the Mahabharata – Amba and her anger

Read this post for the karunya  rasa referred to in the Mahabharata – Chitrasena and Duryodhana

Read this post for the bibhatsa rasa referred to in the Mahabharata – The effect of Vyasa on Ambika and Ambalika

Read this post for the bhayanaka rasa referred to in the Mahabharata – Hidimba and his hideous Asura form

Read this post for the santha rasa referred to in the Mahabharata – Yudhisthira and his attempts for peace

Read this post for the bhakti  rasa referred to in the Mahabharata – Krishna and the Vishwaroopa


My earlier post [Link to post] detailed how Dhritarashtra was born blind as his mother closed her eyes during her union with Veda Vyasa. To compensate for his blindness Dhritarashtra was granted with the strength of 10,000 elephants by Veda Vyasa.

After the events of the Kurukshetra war where he lost all his sons with the exception of Yuyutsu, Dhritarashtra was both sad and angered at the turn of events despite the fact that he knew fully well that his sons had grievously wronged their Pandava cousins. Therefore, when the Pandavas came to seek his blessing before ascending the throne of Hastinapura, he was in an extremely agitated and conflicted state of mind. And when he proceeded to embrace all the Pandavas one by one, his grief and rage overcame him completely.

Sensing his mind, the wise Krishna moved Bhima aside and instead pushed an iron statue of Bhima into Dhritarashtra’s embrace. When he embraced the statue, the thought that Bhima was responsible for the death of all his sons completely clouded Dhritarashtra’s senses and he embraced it with such strength that the statue was completely crushed to powder.

A moment later when he composed himself, Dhritarashtra was shocked at his own action and anger and regretted believing himself to have killed one of his own nephews. It was only after Krishna told him how he had only crushed an iron statue did the blind king come back to his senses.

This incident from the Mahabharata is a clear example of the display of vatsalya rasa, parental love and affection that the blind king had for his sons even though he clearly knew that they were in the wrong.

20 thoughts on “Vatsalya Rasa – The blind love of Dhritarashtra

    • @Shelly, thank you so much, the Navarasas series is almost complete now 🙂 thanks for following it all the way through 🙂

  1. You portrayed the Vatsalya Rasa really well through this story. There are many small incidents like this in Mahabharata where Dhritarashtra agrees to/ goes along with what his sons do, out of Father’s love, although knowing it was wrong!

    • @Aditi, well said, there are numerous instances throughout the epic where Dhritarashtra chooses to be ‘blind’ to his son’s wrongs, and that is the epic failure of his character, isn’t it ?

  2. Somehow I always associated vatsalya rasa with a woman. My prime example being Yashodha and her love for Krishna. But realised today that a man too can have vatsalya. 😀 Thank you

  3. Awww…I am missing my Ammamma (granny) now. She used to tell this story to make me finish my food. The spicy touch that she used to add to the story was so tempting. Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

    • @Rekha, am truly glad that this post brought back good old memories of your Ammamma to you. Truly my pleasure 😀

    • @Proactive Indian, so true, maybe I can write a Parenting post about that sometime soon 🙂 Thanks for the idea 😉

  4. Superb!! You keep churning such articles. I have to feature you in my journal lets see how soon I publish it. I have already told about you to a few of my relatives as well 😀


    • @Jyothi, am glad that I am bringing to light some of the unheard of incidents from this great epic 🙂 I am also glad that you are following my blog 🙂

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