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.