Who is Jayadratha?
King Jayadratha was the king of Sindhu, the son of King Vridhakshatra, husband of Dussla, the only daughter of King Dritarastra and Queen Gandhari of Hastinapur. He had two other wives apart from Dushala , princess of Gandhara and the princess from Kamboja. His son’s name is Surath. He has a very short but very important part in Mahabharata as an evil guy, who was indirectly responsible for the demise of Abhimanyu, son of Arjuna, the third Pandava. His other names were Sindhuraja, Saindhava, Sauvira, Sauviraja,Sindhuraṭ and Sindhusauvirabharta.The word Jayadratha in sanskrit consists of two words- Jaya means Victorious and ratha means chariots. So jayadratha means having Victorious chariots.Some lesser know fact about him is, Jayadratha was also present in the game of dice, during defamation of Draupadi.
Birth of Jayadratha and the boon
King of Sindhu, Vridhakshatra once heard a prophecy, that his son Jayadratha might get killed. Vridhakshatra, being scared for his only son became scared and went to jungle to do tapasya and penance and became a sage. His motive was to achieve the boon of complete immortality, but he failed. By his tapasya, he could only receive a boon that Jayadratha would become a very famous king and the person who will cause Jayadratha’s head to fall to the ground, that person’s head get divided into thousand pieces and will die. King Vridhakshatra was relieved. He made Jayadratha, the King of Sindhu at a very young age and went in the jungle to practice penance.
Dushala’s marriage with Jayadratha
It is believed that Dushala was married of to Jayadratha to form a political alliance with the Sindhu kingdom and Maratha kingdom. But the marriage wasn’t a happy marriage at all. Not only Jayadratha married two other women, but also, he was disrespectful and uncivil towards women in general.
Draupadi’s abduction by Jayadratha
Jayadratha was sworn enemy of Pandavas, the reason of this enmity is not hard to guess. They were were rivals of Duryadhana , brother of his wife. And also, king Jayadratha was also present in Princess Draupadi’s swambara. He was obsessed with Draupadi’s beauty and was desperate to get her hand in marriage. But instead, Arjuna, the third Pandava was the one who married Draupadi and later other four Pandavas also married her. So, Jayadratha had casted an evil eye on Draupadi from a long time ago.
One day, during the Pandava’s time in forest, after losing everything in the evil game of dice, they were staying in the Kamakya forest, Pandavas went for hunting , keeping Draupadi under the guardianship of a sage named Dhauma, the ashram Trinabindu. At that time, King Jayadratha was passing through the forest along with his advisers, ministers and armies, marching towards kingdom of Salva, for her marriage of her daughter. He suddenly spotted Draupadi, standing against Kadamba tree, watching the procession of army. He couldn’t recognise her due her very simple attire, but was mesmerised by her beauty. Jayadratha sent his very close friend Kotikasya to enquire about her.
Kotikasya went to her and asked her what is her identity, is she an earthly woman or some apsara( devine woman, who danced at gods courtroom). Was she Sachi, the wife of Lord Indra, came here for some diversion and change of air. How was she so beautiful. Who was so fortunate to get someone so beautiful to be his wife.He gave his identity as Kotikasya, a close friend of Jayadratha. He also told her that Jayadratha was mesmerised by her beauty and told him to fetch her. Draupadi was startled but quickly composed herself. She stated her identity, telling that she was Draupadi, the wife of Pandavas , in other words, Jayadratha’s brother-in-laws. She told, as Kotikasya now knows her identity and her family relations, she would expect Kotikasya and Jayadratha to give her deserved respect and follow the royal etiquettes of manners, speech and action. She also told that for now they can enjoy her hospitality and wait for Pandavas to come . They would arrive soon.
Kotikasya went back to king Jayadratha and told him that the beautiful lady which Jayadratha so eagerly wanted to meet, was no other than queen Draupadi, wife of Panch Pandavas. Evil Jayadratha wanted to take the opportunity of Pandavas absence, and fulfill his desires. King Jayadratha went to the ashram. Devi Draupadi, at first, was very happy to see Jayadratha, the husband of Pandavas and Kaurava’s only sister Dushala. She wanted to give him warm welcome and hospitality, untill the arrival of Pandavas. But Jayadratha ignored all the hospitality and Royal etiquettes and started making Draupadi uncomfortable by praising her beauty. Then Jayadratha hounded on Draupadi telling most beautiful woman on earth, the princess of Panch, should not waste her beauty, youth and loveliness in the forest by staying with shameless beggars like Panch Pandavas. Rather she should be with powerful king like him and only that suits her. He tried to manipulate Draupadi to leave with him and marry him because only he deserves him and he would treat her like only queen of her hearts. Sensing where the things are going, Draupadi decided to kill time by talking and warnings till Pandavas arrive. She warned Jayadratha that she is the royal wife of his wife’s family, so she is also related to him, and it is expected of him to desire and try to woo a family lady. She added that she was very happily married with Pandavas and also mother of their five children.He should try and control himself, be decent and maintain a decorum, or else, he would had to face severe consequences of his evil action, as Panch Pandavas would not spare him. Jayadratha became more desperate and told Draupadi to stopped talking and follow him to his chariot and leave with him. Draupadi became furious after observing his audacity and glared at him. She, with sterned eyes, told him to get out of the ashram. Getting refused again, Jayadratha’s desperation reached at peak and he took a very hasty and evil decision. He dragged Draupadi from ashram and forcefully took her to his chariot and left. Draupadi was crying and lamenting and shouting for help at the peak of her voice . Hearing that, Dhauma rushed out and followed their chariot like a mad man.
Meanwhile, Pandavas returned from hunting and food gathering. Their maid Dhatreyika informed them about abduction of their dear wife Draupadi by their brother in law King Jayadratha. Pandavas became furious. After being well equipped they traced the chariot in the direction shown by the maid, successfully chased them, easily defeated Jayadratha’s whole army, caught Jayadratha and rescued Draupadi. Draupadi wanted him to die.
Humiliation of King Jayadratha by Panch Pandavas as punishment
After rescuing Draupadi, they captivated Jayadratha. Bhima and Arjuna wanted to kill him, but Dharmaputra Yudhisthira, the eldest of them, wanted Jayadratha to be alive, because his kind heart thought of their only sister Dussala, as she would have to suffer a lot if Jayadratha died. Devi Draupadi also agreed. But Bhima and Arjuna didn’t wanted to leave Jayadratha that easily. So Jayadratha was given a good bearings with frequent punches and kicks. Adding a feather to Jayadratha’s humiliation, Pandavas shaved his head saving five tufts of hair, which will remind everyone of how strong Panch Pandavas were. Bhima left Jayadratha on one condition, he would had to bow down before Yudhisthira and had to declare himself as slave of Pandavas and would have that to everyone, the assembly of kings upon returning. Though feeling humiliated and fuming with anger, he was scared for his life, so obeying Bhima, he knelt before Yudhisthira. Yudhisthira smiled and forgave him. Draupadi was satisfied. Then Pandavas released him. Jayadratha hadn’t felt so much insulted and humiliated his entire life. He was fuming with anger and his evil mind wanted severe revenge.
The boon given by Shiva
Of course after such humiliation, He could not return to his kingdom, specially with some appearance. He went straight to the mouth of Ganges to do tapasya and penance to acquire more power. By his tapasya, he pleased Lord Shiva and Shiva asked him to want for a boon. Jayadratha wanted to kill the Pandavas. Shiva said that will be impossible for anyone to do. Then Jayadratha said that he wanted to defeat them in a war. Lord Shiva said, it will be impossible to defeat Arjuna, even by the gods. Finally Lord Shiva gave a boon that Jayadratha would be able to hold back and restrain all the attacks of Pandavas except Arjuna for only one day.
This boon from Shiva played a huge role in the war of Kurukshetra.
Indirect role of Jayadratha in the cruel death of Abhimanyu
In the thirteenth day of war of Kurukshetra, Kaurava’s had aligned their soldiers in form of Chakravyuh. It was the most dangerous alignment and only greatest of the great soldiers knew how to enter and successfully exit the Chakravyuh. In the side of Pandavas, only Arjun and Lord Krishna knew how to enter, destroy and exit vyuh. But that day, as per Shakuni, the maternal uncle of Duryadhana’s plan, they asked Susharma, the king of Trigat to brutally attack Virat, the king of Matsya, to distract Arjuna. It was under the palace of Virat, where Panch Pandavas and Draupadi had his themselves while the last year of exile. So, Arjuna felt obligated to rescue king Virat and also Susharma had challenged Arjuna in a one on one battle. In those days, ignoring challenge wasn’t a warrior’s thing. So Arjuna decided to go in the other side of Kurukshetra to help king Virat, warning his brothers not to enter the Chakravyuh, untill he returns and engage the Kauravas in small battles outside the Chakravyuh.
Arjuna became really busy with the war and seeing no signs of Arjun, Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna and Subhadra, a great warrior at the age of sixteen, decided to enter the Chakravyuhyuh.
One day, when Subhadra was pregnant with Abhimanyu, Arjun was narrating Subhadra how to enter Chakravyuh. Abhimanyu could hear the process from his mother’s womb. But after sometime Subhadra fell asleep and so Arjuna stopped narrating. So Abhimanyu didn’t knew how to exit Chakravyuh safely
Their plan was, Abhimanyu would enter Chakravyuh through one of the seven entrance, followed by other four Pandavas, they would protect each other, and fight together in the centre untill Arjuna arrives. Abhimanyu successfully entered the Chakravyuh, but Jayadratha, being on that entrance stopped Pandavas. He used the boon given by Lord Shiva. No matter how much Pandavas caused, Jayadratha stopped them successfully. And Abhimanyu was left alone in the Chakravyuh in front of all the greatest of the great warriors. Abhimanyu was brutally killed by everyone of the opposition. Jayadratha made Pandavas watch the painful scene, keeping them helpless for that day.
Death of Jayadratha by Arjuna
Arjun upon returning, heard the unfair and brutal demise of his beloved son, and specially blamed Jayadratha as he felt betrayed. Pandavas didn’t kill Jayadratha when he tried to abduct Draupadi and forgave him. But Jayadratha was the reason, other Pandavas couldn’t enter and save Abhimanyu. So angry took an dangerous oath. He said that if he couldn’t kill Jayadratha by the next day’s sunset, he himself will jump into the fire and give up his life.
Hearing such a fierce oath, ever great warrior decided to protect Jayadratha by creating Sakata vyuh in the front and Padma vyuh in the back.Inside Padma vyuh, Dronacharya, the commander in chief of Kauravas, made another vyuh, named Suchi and kept Jayadratha in the middle of that vyuh. Through out the day, all the great warriors like Dronacharya, karna , Duryadhana’s kept guarding Jayadratha and distracted Arjuna. Krishna observed that it was almost the time of sunset. Krishna eclipsed the sun using his Sudarshana chakra and everyone thought sun has set. Kauravas became very happy. Jayadratha was relieved and came out to see that it was really the end of the day, Arjuna took that chance. He invoked Pasupat weapon and killed Jayadratha.