The recurring nightmare


Yet again the queen woke up with a start; her hand-maiden, the one who had been in her service for the past 40 odd years now was by her side in a flash. She knew that her mistress would be troubled by that nightmare tonight as well, and if she knew her mistress as well as she thought she did, then that nightmare would continue to recur forever. She gently consoled the queen and helped her get back to sleep.


While most kshatriya wives knew that their dharma instructed them to embrace valor and war with dignity and grace, the fact remained that whenever the men of their homes went to war, the one emotion that was at the forefront of their minds was the love they had for their fathers, brothers, husbands and sons.

The old queen was no different. Three generations of her family were on the battlefield; her grandsire, her brother, her sons and nephews. What was worse was the fact that her sons and nephews were on opposing sides, so either way she faced severe losses at the end of the war.


As a young bride, she was considered the most beautiful and most chaste of all the queens of her age. Her womanly qualities endeared her to each and every member of her husband’s court and her elegance and charm was spoken about by all her subjects.

On one occasion, pleased by the courtesies she provided as a host, a holy man granted her a boon for which she requested that she be the mother to a hundred brave sons who would be as powerful as her husband. Her boon was granted and she thereafter soon became pregnant.

But despite two years of pregnancy, her baby was not born, and when she finally delivered, she gave birth to a lifeless piece of flesh that was not a baby at all. Under the guidance of the same holy man who granted her the boon, she cut the piece of flesh into a hundred pieces and placed each one of them in a jar with some ghee in it.

After two more years of waiting, when the jars were opened, she was the proud mother of a hundred brave and valorous sons. She was the happiest mother in the world.


Today, 13 yrs after that eventful day in the court when her nephews’ wife, her daughter-in-law was humiliated in open court by her sons, when her family was on the battlefield with her sons and her nephews taking up arms against each other, she was reminded of that one vow that her nephew had taken against her sons.

“I shall not rest until I have killed each and every one of you. This shall be the revenge for the grave mistreatment of my wife and the absolute lack of respect that you have shown to this august gathering.”

While the fact remained that her sons had indeed committed a grave error and had sinned when they laid their hands on their cousin’s wife and had tried to disrobe her in the open court, hers was a mother’s heart and the very thought of her nephew killing all of them distressed her.


Yet again the queen woke up with a start; now that the Great War had started at Kurukshetra, Gandhari knew that it was only a matter of time before Bhima fulfilled his vow and killed each and every one of her hundred Kaurava sons. Her recurring nightmare of the last 13 yrs would finally bear fruition and there was nothing that she could do about it.


This post is written for WordPress Daily Prompts: 365 Writing Prompts where the idea is to publish at least one post a day based on the prompts provided.

Today’s prompt was “Describe the last nightmare you remember having. What do you think it meant?” and I have taken the liberty of narrating an incident from the great epic Mahabharata and using the prompt to describe a nightmare that Gandhari might have had about Bhima killing her sons in the battlefield. 

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.


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.