Shakuni – the real story


We know that Shakuni was the person who masterminded the ascendancy of Duryodhana by beating Pandavas in gambling. What we don’t know that he was imprisoned by his own nephew, Duryodhana. His father and brothers have sacrificed their life, so Shakuni could survive. Read this unknown and interesting strory.

Shakuni in Mahabharata
Shakuni in Mahabharata

Shakuni – The gambler, whose wishes were obeyed by the dice was the brother of Gandhari. There is a story that the dice he used was made out of bones of his father,  Subala’s thighs.  His sister, Gandhari had some problem in her astrological chart according to that her second husband only will survive.

Shakuni the Gambler

To rectify this situation, Gandhari was first married to a goat and then the animal was killed, so strictly speaking, she became a widow before marrying Dhritharashtra.  When Duryodhana took charge of the Hastinapura, he was lambasted by Bhima that he is son of a widow.

Shakuni defeating Yudhishthira
Shakuni defeating Yudhishthira

Angered with this insult, he came to know about the story,  attacked Gandhar province and imprisoned his 100 uncles including Shakuni. He arranged to provide one handful of rice for all of them to eat everyday. It was decided by the Subala, the father that Shakuni will eat the food given and survive to destroy Kauravas.

Shakuni’s brilliance

There is also an other story about how his father assessed the intelligence of his sons to select the most brilliant one. He asked his sons who were all in the prison to insert a thread through a bone so that who is succesful can eat the fistful of rice and survive to take revenge.

All the sons attempted and failed but Shakuni emerged victorious. He managed to tie a speck of rice to one end of a thread and fed it to an ant which took the thread through the hole of the bone. Shakuni survived. He was asked to eat the flesh of his own father which he did and created set of dice from his bones. After all of them died and only Shakuni was left,he was allowed out of prison on Gandhari’s insistence.

Note: This story is not found in original Mahabharata written by Vedavyasa

Revenges by Pandavas

Revenges in Mahabharata

Revenge has been indeed a common occurence in Mahabharata. We find that all pandavas have some scores to settle. Interestingly, we do not find any incidents of revenge involving Yudhishthira.

Revenge of Draupadi

The incident of Draupadi cheer haran made lot of people opting for revengeful vows. The first and most important is of Draupadi’s, who decided to keep her hairs open until they are washed with blood of Dushashana’s heart. This way, she ensured that this insult is not forgotten with time. Acoordingly, when Bhima kills Dushasana he brings a handful of Dushasana’s blood and colours Draupadi’s hair with it. Bhima killed Dushashana during the battle of Mahabharat and drank his blood. He also brought some of the blood for Draupadi, who finally ties her hair.

Draupadi's untidy hair in Mahabharata

Draupadi’s untidy hair in Mahabharata

Bhima took couple of vows to take revenge from the people who berated Draupadi. His first vow was to drink Dushashana’s blood.

His second vow was to break Duryodhana thighs. Because during the cheer haran, Duryodhana asked to her to sit on his thighs, and Bhima vowed that he would take this revenge by breaking those thighs. This is a fascinating aspect of Mahabharata as this fits perfectly with Duryodhana’s only vulnerability.

Bhima also killed Kichak as he was tormenting Draupadi (Sairandhri).

Duryodhana also made Pandavas to act as his servant. Pandavas took off their upper garments as they have lost their freedom to Duryodhana and became his servant.

Revenge of Sahdev

Sahdev, the youngest of Pandavas, vowed to kill Shakuni after the episode of cheerharan when he cheated them in the game of dice.

Game of dice

Game of dice

He held Shakuni responsible and took his revenge on seventeenth day of Mahabharata war by killing Shakuni.

Sahdev killing Shakuni in Mahabharata

Sahdev killing Shakuni in Mahabharata

Revenge of Arjuna

Following the death of Abhimanyu, Arjuna vowed to kill Jayadratha as he was responsible for holding pandavas back. Kauravas did an excellent job as they protected Jayadrath. This was the sure shot way to victory, as in absence of Arjuna, panadava will be rendered weak. Shri Krishna used his skills to hide the sun and rest is history.


Jayadratha killed by Arjuna

Jayadratha killed by Arjuna

Revenge of Shakuni

This may not be a well written fact, but it was true that Shakuni left his kingdom and came to live with his sister for a purpose. Since his sister Gandhari was married to a blind, and she also chose to remain blindfolded, a brother was sure to exact revenge. This was debatable what he wanted, but he surely was instrumental for causing the war of mahabharata.


Yudhishthira lost himself and his brothers in the dice game. He also lost Draupadi

Shakuni playing game of dice


Shakuni – The mastermind in mahabharata

Shakuni – in Mahabharata

Shakuni’s character cannot be underestimated in the context of Mahabharata. He has been a highly intelligent person and a brave warrior. He had been a matermind to lot of plots to help Duryodhana gain upper hand on Pandavas. The most notorious and damage inflicting was the game of dice.

Pandavas losing the game of dice to Shakuni

Pandavas losing the game of dice to Shakuni

There are lot of therories which say why he left his own kingdom (gandhar) and was living at Hastinapur. One theory says that he was appalled because of his sister was forcefully married to a blind prince and he decided to take the revenge. But I doubt, as his actions were directed towards only one thing, welfare of Duryodhana.

He played many clever tricks like building the house of Lac, sending the dangerous saint Durvasas to the forest, waging war on the kingdom that hosted the Pandavas secretly (so that their hide out was exposed before end of stipulated one year and they were forced to start the exile de novo), etc etc All perfect designs befitting royal strategy of high order.

His Grandest act

Shakuni’s grandest act in mahabharata was inviting Yudhisthira to the game of dice and ensuring that he lost everything to Duryodhana. The plan was very beautiful, and it would have ensured the kingdom to Duryodhana, had they have been able to identify the place of hiding of Pandavas agyaatvaas. The condition was such that Pandavas had to spend twelve years in forest and one year in hiding and if they were discovered during the year, they have to repeat the cycle. Pandavas hid themselves well in kingdom of Virata during the year.

Shakuni defeating Yudhishthira

Shakuni defeating Yudhishthira

It is said that the dice which were used in the game of dice were made from his father’s bones and they obeyed him. He was killed by Sahdev in the war of mahabharata.

His father was Subala, who also had 100 sons. Youngest of them was Shakuni.