Saturday, October 23, 2010

Truth behind "Shakuni"

Since a child i was fascinated by mythology, and who else but my grandma {dad's mom} would tell me all the stories from the past. I used to love watching those black n white mythological movies with her.
Taking 20 mins time from my Haskell assignment :) here i go with one of the stories she had told me.

We all know about Shakuni - symbol for wickedness/slyness. He was known to be cunning and had one thing always in his mind - "Downfall of Krishna".A person who is so smart and intelligent must have had some reason to hate Krishna. This story is all about that. Hope its a good read for you guys!

Dhritharashtra was a wise but a blind king and Ghandhari was his loyal wife who had blindfolded her eyes intentionally. She chose not to see a world which her husband could not see. Ghandhari's astrological signs showed that her first husband would be on his death bed soon and so they got her married to a goat and then they killed the goat. This was a secret known to the Ghandhara family{100 sons + 1 daughter}, to which she belonged to before marriage. A few years laters Dhritharashtra got to know about this and he imprisoned the entire Ghandhara family and the king Subala and his 100 sons and treated them very badly.

Every day only one a handful of rice was given to each of them to eat. As days passed one by one started to die of hunger. King Subala realized that this was not how their dynasty was going to end. By now the amount of anger on Dhritharashtra had quadrupled and so he came up with this plan of every one in prison sacrificing their food and handing it over to one person and make that person strong and be responsible for the downfall of Dhritharashtra . The youngest and wittiest son was Shakuni and everyday all would offer their food to him. He could not bear the sight of his father and brothers dying of hunger everyday.

When Subala realized he had no more energy to survive, he called Dhritharashtra and requested him to be considerate on this poor kid and allow him to be free and also promised that he will always be like a guardian to his sons. (Meanwhile Dhritharashtra had 100 sons and a daughter.) He finally pitied his father-in-law and agreed to this. Subala contented with his reply breathed his last. But before dying he told Shakuni to make use of his thigh/back bone and create a powerful magic dice which spins the requested number. He wanted this to be the reason for the downfall of Dhritharashtra and his dynasty.

Shakuni as promised, was the guardian of the 100 Kaurava sons and being with them he gained their confidence and instilled all wicked thoughts into everyone. He was the responsible for the Kurukshetra war, which he did by provoking Dhuryodhana against the Pandavas which led to the victory of latter thus fulfilling his fathers wish.

P.S: More  Mythological stories by me : 3000BC Tales


  1. Anonymous10/27/2011

    good one... i also love indian mythology... for indians these are stories for us they are source to look into the future...

  2. Anonymous1/16/2012

    This story of imprisonment etc does not come from the Mahabharat itself – its something that’s added later by other authors. As Mahabharat is an itihas – history – things added by later authors are not authentic.

    Shakuni was a wicked character because he thought “ends justify the means.” This was his personal motto and he taught that to his nephews. In so doing, he ruined the lives of his own kin. Not only did the Kauravas die with all their friends and family, Gandhar lost its king and heir.

    Wickedness does not just hurt and harm others, it harms the perpetrator too.

    For more on Mahabharat, its lessons and its authentic sources (in Sanskrit as well as English), see the links on this site –

    1. Thanks for your input! i appreciate you reading this.

  3. Anonymous2/23/2012

    Mahabharat is not a mythology. It is history of india. Since all the books in Takshshila and Nalanda university were burnt by tuglaks, now many people thinks that mahabharat is a story.

  4. @All anonymous readers: Thanku! For the generation of today, these are merely bed-time stories. Ofcourse not generalizing it here. But still the essence of these great Epics is lost and hopefully (fingers crossed) someday.. everyone is true to themselves atleast!! :) :)

  5. I read the complete story of Sakuni from Mahabharth. if u know from his birth, how he became like this character, you all will respect him. He was a perfect gentle man for ghandharam. But for ruling the kingdom sakuni was kept in a room for 22 years by his father told by a false story by his Rajaguru and Military head of ghandharam.Followed by the attack of Pandu King sakuni and his father and the people of gandharam was kept in prison by pandu King without food. Only two escaped was sakuni and his childhood friend. From there Sakuni took the Pledge to Finish Hastinapura including pandavas and Kauravas as a Revenge .

    1. Hi Manoj,

      Can you please get me the source from which we can understand Shakuni's character from birth

  6. It is a well-known fact that Shakuni's dice were made from the bones of his father.Further,among the Pandavas only Sahadeva had taken the oath to slay Shakuni.Sahadeva was born with the boon of extra-sensory perception and could predict future events,but was cursed that he would die if he revealed anything to anybody.Hence,he kept everything as a secret.These two facts justify Shakuni's revenge story.Still I am not sure if it was Bhishma or Dhritharashtra who imprisoned Shakuni's clan.Shakuni's clan was against Gandhari's marriage to Dhritarashtra from the beginning.

  7. Anonymous6/04/2013

    Interesting. There is a Hindi book that portrays this story. Http://

  8. Hi
    my name is vaishnavi. i was searching for justification of shakuni and got here.
    can shakuni be justified of his deeds even though not righteous? and can we say that he was fully aware of pandavas righteousness and was sure of kauravas downfall? and can we say that krishna was well aware of shakuni's intentions and shakuni was aware of this fact ?

    i am just curious and wanted to do a background check and charector analysis?
    and can u tell me how to like ur blog cant find it!

  9. Anonymous9/24/2013

    I never knew these details about shakuni ,my son just mentioned something to me after watching an peisode just now and google got me ur blog...........

    Thanks to all the people who have contributed through their comments.

  10. Thanks All.


    Shakuni was a human being too. Good and bad are a part of him too. Hmmm never thot of a character analysis actually!!

  11. Anonymous9/27/2013

    all those in support of this story , could anyone please post any link or name the literary source of this story?
    bcause in KMG translation no such story is mentioned. It also mentions the brothers of shakuni very much alive who take part in the war and rekilled by arjun and bhima. did they get resurrected post-imprisonment?
    i have heard this stories in lot of blogs but so far nobody mentions the source of it.
    p.s. this post is not meant to hurt anybody's feelings but i really do wish to know the origins of this story.

    1. A story told to me. So nothing to mention as source. Sry!!

  12. Anonymous11/22/2013

    Truely good shruti.. u took time to write about an important and interesting character of india biggest epic.. I love sakuni's role.. Kirti

  13. Thanks a lot for this article ...

  14. Anonymous2/13/2014

    This story is also in Telugu movie 'Sri Kirshna Pandaveeyam'. The movie shows Duryodhana who imprisoned Ghandara princes. But I read various articles which says it is either Bheesma or Pandu

  15. Anonymous4/03/2014

    I think that some of ua part are nt true

  16. Anonymous8/13/2014

    Been searching how could shakuni been so evil, thanks for the story in your blog. Even tho it's 2 years back you wrote that but completed my questions. Thank you again. I'm Tivagar by the way :).

  17. I think this story is correct. But killing so many (other) lives by instigating a war to satiate his selfish purpose, should deserve some condemn?

    Destination Infinity

  18. i would like to appreciate you for blogging about mahabarata stories

    i believe that there is no mahabarata without sakuni.
    to me,its still a mystery whether he is on the side of dharma or adharma since he is the one who is responsible for the destruction of kaurava clan.he sacrificed himself in the process.

    its just my opinion.i am not sure about this.

    1. Thanks Suba. I agree with you. I'm a lil clueless too as to how to categorize him. Thanks for your input.


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