RelativesKuru dynasty-Chandravanshi

Vichitravirya (Sanskrit: विचित्रवीर्य, vicitravīrya) was a Kuru king. He features in the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata. The word Vichitravirya actually means 'Marvelous Heroism'.[1] In the Mahabharata, he was the younger son of queen Satyavati and king Shantanu and grandfather of the Pandavas and the Kauravas.


A historical Kuru King named Dhritarashtra, son of Vichitravirya is mentioned in the Kathaka Samhita of the Yajurveda (c. 1200–900 BCE) as a descendant of the Rigvedic-era King Sudas of the Bharatas. However, this Vedic mention does not provide corroboration for the accuracy of the Mahabharata's account of his reign.[2][3]

Role in the Mahabharata

Vichitravirya had an elder brother named Chitrāngada, whom his half-brother Bhishma placed on the throne of the kingdom of the Kurus after Shantanu's death; he was a mighty warrior but the king of the Gandharvas defeated and killed him at the end of a long battle. Thereafter, Bhishma consecrated Vichitravirya, who was still a child, to the kingdom.[4]

When he had reached manhood, Bhishma married him to Ambika and Ambalika, beautiful daughters of the king of Kasi Kashya. Vichitravirya loved his wives very much and was adored by them. But after seven years he fell ill of consumption and could not be healed despite the efforts of his friends and physicians.[5] Like his brother Chitrangada, he died childless. Subsequently, through a Niyoga relationship with his half-brother sage Vyasa, his wives and a maid gave birth to three children, namely Dhritarashtra, Pandu and Vidura.[6]

See also


  1. ^ Monier-Williams, Sir Monier; Leumann, Ernst; Cappeller, Carl (1899). A Sanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged with Special Reference to Cognate Indo-European Languages. Motilal Banarsidass Publishing House. ISBN 978-81-208-3105-6.
  2. ^ Witzel, Michael (1995). "Early Sanskritization: Origin and Development of the Kuru state" (PDF). EJVS. 1 (4): 17, footnote 115. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 June 2007.
  3. ^ Michael Witzel (1990), "On Indian Historical Writing", p.9 of PDF
  4. ^ van Buitenen (1973), p. 227
  5. ^ Bhanu, Sharada (1997). Myths and Legends from India - Great Women. Chennai: Macmillan India Limited. pp. 35–6. ISBN 0-333-93076-2.
  6. ^ van Buitenen (1973), pp. 230; 235-36


  • Vicitravirya in: M.M.S. Shastri Chitrao, Bharatavarshiya Prachin Charitrakosh (Dictionary of Ancient Indian Biography, in Hindi), Pune 1964, p. 841
  • J.A.B. van Buitenen, Mahabharat, vol. 1, Chicago 1973