Dushasana disrobing Draupadi
SpouseJyotsyana (Trigarta Princess and Bhanumati's cousin)

Dushasana (Sanskrit: दुःशासन, Duḥśāsana, lit.'hard to rule'), also spelled Duhshasana, Dussasana or Duhsasana, also known as Sushasana, is an antagonist in the Hindu epic Mahabharata. He was second eldest among the Kaurava princes and the younger brother of Duryodhana.


His name derives from the Sanskrit words duḥ- "hard" and śāsana "rule"; thus duḥśāsana means "[one who is] hard to rule."[1]

Birth and early life

When Dhritarashtra's queen Gandhari's pregnancy continued for an unusually long time, she beat her womb in frustration and out of jealousy towards Kunti, the wife of Pandu, who had just given birth to Yudhishthira (the eldest of the five Pandava brothers). At this, a hardened mass of grey-coloured flesh emerged from her womb. Gandhari was devastated and called upon Vyasa, the great sage who had prophesied she would give birth to one hundred sons, to redeem his words.[2]

Vyasa divided the ball of flesh into one hundred equal pieces, each piece no bigger than a thumb. He put them in pots of milk, which were sealed and buried in the earth for two years. At the end of the second year, the first pot was opened and Duryodhana emerged. Within a period of one month all the other 99 sons of Dhritarashtra were born. Dushasana was the second after Duryodhana.[2]

Dushasana was devoted to his older brother Duryodhana. He (along with Duryodhana and Shakuni) was very closely involved in the various schemes and plots to kill the Pandavas.

Draupadi's humiliation

Dushasana drags Draupadi to court.
Dushasana drags Draupadi to court.

After Yudhishthira lost a game of dice with Shakuni — losing first his kingdom, then his brothers and his wife Draupadi — Dushasana, at the behest of his brother Duryodhana, dragged Draupadi by the hair into the assembly and tried to disrobe her. Draupadi prayed to Krishna, who made her sari to be of an infinite length so that Dushasana could not take it off. The assembled men were amazed at this miracle. They condemned Dushasana and praised Draupadi. However, Draupadi was humiliated at being dragged into court by her hair, and swore that she would never again tie up her hair until it was washed in Dushasana's blood. Then Bhima, who could no longer watch Draupadi's insult in silence, arose. He vowed to tear open Dushasana's chest in battle and drink his blood. Bhima also exclaimed that if he could not fulfill his oath, then he would not meet his ancestors in heaven.[3]

Kurukshetra war and Death

On the seventeenth day of the Kurukshetra War, Bhima defeated and brutally killed Dushasana. Remembering his vow taken during the game of dice when Draupadi was humiliated by the Kauravas, Bhima tore open Dushasana's chest with his sword and drank his hot blood. Many soldiers who saw Bhima drinking Dushasana's blood fainted, and some soldiers said that Bhima was a monster for drinking a man's blood. After that, Bhima danced around Dushasana's corpse. Dushasana's death greatly agitated the Kauravas, especially Duryodhana, who became numb after witnessing this horrible sight.[4]


  1. ^ John Dowson (1888). "A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology and Religion, Geography, History, and Literature" (2nd ed.). London: Trubner & Co.
  2. ^ a b "The Mahabharata, Book 1: Adi Parva: Sambhava Parva: Section CXV". www.sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  3. ^ "The Clothes of Draupadi". Devdutt. 2 August 2006. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  4. ^ "The Mahabharata, Book 8: Karna Parva: Section 83". www.sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 10 June 2022.