Yuyutsu – The Kaurava who survived


Before we begin the actual story of Yuyutsu himself, we need to take a small walk down another path.

Once when Gandhari was hostess to Veda Vyasa at Hastinapura, he was so pleased with her services that he granted her a

Veda Vyasa grants a boon to Gandhari
Veda Vyasa grants a boon to Gandhari

boon. The queen immediately asked the sage for one hundred sons who would be as powerful as her husband, which was immediately granted to her. In due course of time, Gandhari got pregnant. And this, my friends, is where the story of Yuyutsu starts.

While it was a matter of great joy that the queen was pregnant, what was extremely worrying was the fact that she remained pregnant for almost two years. And this worried Dhritarashtra to no end as he was disturbed about the fact that he might not have any heirs to the throne by his wife Gandhari. During this timeframe, he had a fall from grace and conceived a child through a maidservant in the palace.

When Gandhari learnt of this, she was gracious enough not only to forgive this mistake of her husband, but also went on to accept and acknowledge the son born of the maid, Yuyutsu.

Yuyutsu was Dhritarashtra’s second son, younger only to Duryodhana but elder than the rest of the 99 Kaurava brothers. He grew up alongside them, and was treated lovingly by all of them including Duryodhana. That being said there were more than a few traits of his Kaurava brothers that Yuyutsu did not quite agree with.

Draupadi being disrobed in court
Draupadi being disrobed in court

It is said that after the game of dice, when Duhshasana brought Draupadi to the Kaurava court and tried to disrobe her, Yuyutsu was the only Kaurava brother to openly protest the injustice that was being meted out to a daughter in law of the family. And this was not the only instance when he openly showed dissent.

When Duryodhana was planning for the war with the Pandavas, he mentioned that the war was necessary to teach the Pandavas a lesson for their ‘treachery’ in demanding for a portion of the kingdom from him. Upon hearing this Yuyutsu immediately stood up and berated his elder brother and told him “If you really didn’t want war, then you would not have tried to cheat the Pandavas of what was rightfully theirs nor would you have tried to disrobe their wife in open court.

At the beginning of the war, Yudhisthira comes over to the Kaurava camp and takes the blessing of his elders such as Bhishma and his teachers Drona and Kripa and then addresses the army. He tells that anybody who believed that the truth was with the Pandavas were more than welcome to their army and that they would be treated with due respect accorded to all warriors.

On hearing this, Yuyutsu, without any hesitation immediately orders his charioteer to take their chariot to the Pandava army to join his cousins in the war against his own brothers. For Yuyutsu, the truth was more important than relationships or the bond of brotherhood. He clearly realized that in the end truth alone triumphs.

Yuyutsu
Yuyutsu

After 18 long days of battle, he ended up being the only Kaurava brother to have survived the great war of Kurukshetra, cementing his belief in truth, justice and fairness.

44 thoughts on “Yuyutsu – The Kaurava who survived

    • @purbaray, first of all welcome to the blog, thanks for reading and commenting, and am glad you liked the post itself 🙂

    • @Aditi, thank you, and yes, truth and righteousness ultimately triumph in the end, that is the important moral that our epics always strive to teach us 🙂

  1. I had thought Yuyutsu was one among the 100.
    I once heard one learned person saying that nobody should be named with names starting from du, as it brings only dukh. So all those names with du died in Kurukshetra but Yuyutsu even though a Kaurava survived #justsaying. 🙂

  2. Though I knew that he was the only Kaurava to have revolted the disrobing of Draupadi, I didn’t know that he was born to the maid. So many hidden stories of this epic are being revealed to us through your posts. Great work. 🙂

  3. Yuyutsu – born of a Vaisya woman, is the way I remember the epic. Also, in the Draupadi Cheerharan and in other instances, Vikarn, another brother of Duryodhan and one of the 100, opposes the actions of his brothers. (if memory serves me right, it is Vikarn who says that Draupadi is right and Yudhishtir after losing himself had no right to stake her) So much so, when Bhima kills him Bhima is stricken by remorse that he had to kill such a noble soul too.

    • @Suresh, that is interesting, just did my reading up on this bit and your comment is spot on 😀 I should’ve known better than to double check your claims as far as mythology goes 😀

  4. Wow! Thank you for sharing this. I vaguely remember reading this somewhere. I am a Mahabharata freak and I see a few posts around here on the epic. I am gonna dig out more 🙂

    • @Richa, well, kind of, but different. Vibhishana was from the same mother, but Yuyutsu had a different mother, so he was a little different that way 🙂

  5. i knew about yuyutsu, but didn’t know that he fought with the Pandavas…i thought he was just forgiven by the Pandavas… thanks for sharing… i am a big fan of mythology and epics and ofcourse Mahabharata is my favorite…

    • @Pratikshya, if you like mythology then you will like my blog and hopefully most of my mythological posts as well 🙂

  6. Namaskar. Interesting post. Really enjoyed reading. However, the Mahabharath is not mythological. Stated to be Mythological by the invaders of Bharath and the Christians to attain converts. It is the actual history of Bharath. Proof is there. Not mythological but factual.

  7. I thought it was Vikarna who protested Draupadi’s disrobing but I did know that Yuyutsu joined the Pandavas in the end. Enjoying your Mahabharata stories.

  8. Interestingly retold. As far as i have heard Lakshan son of Duryodhan was also of the same belief as Yuyutsu and Vikaran. Hoping to read more from you.:)

    • @Sayantan, I am not sure about Laxman Kumara, the son of Duryodhana and his views on the subject, but yes, like you say Vikarna was one who actively protested Draupadi’s mistreatment after the game of dice. But both of them fought for the Kaurava side only. It was only Yuyutsu who fought for the Pandava side.

  9. Linked back here from your latest post on Gandhari and thinking about the Kaurava who survived. 2 key actions by Yuyutsu after the war: he was appointed as the guardian of Parikshit, the lone surviving child of the Pandavas and the future king of Hastinapur. He also performed the last rites of Dhritirashtra, thus bringing forth the irony that a “dasi putra” could not become a king but could be a participant in providing salvation to a king’s soul.

    • @Arvind, where were you all these days. That is such a beautiful insightful comment adding that much more meat to this particular post 😀 So true, the Mahabharata is filled with so many of these wonderful contradictions

  10. Hey man…I saw a name “Arya Yuyutsu” who is part of the cricinfo team. I have never heard the last name before and when I googled, got your blog 🙂 Interesting that I have never come across this character of Mahabharata before. Thanks for the information

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