Gandhari, daughter of King Subala of Gandhara, was a kind and generous woman. The king decided to get his daughter married to Dhritarashtra, the king of Hastinapur.
After their marriage, when Gandhari discovered that her husband was blind, she decided to blindfold her eyes for the rest of her life as she no longer wanted to see the world that her husband could not see. One day, in the middle of the night, Gandhari woke up with a start after seeing a horrific dream in which she saw herself giving birth to a son who destroys the entire human race. The dream troubled her for a number of days.
Weeks later, Sage Vyasa visited King Dhritarashtra'spalace. Gandhari held the sage in high esteem and attended to all his needs. The sage was so pleased with her hospitality and devotion that he said to her, ?You have overwhelmed me with your attention and devotion. I would like to give you something; ask and it will be yours.?
Gandhari replied that she did not want anything. But when the sage persisted, she replied, ?Bless me with hundred sons!?
The sage blessed her duly and departed towards his hermitage.
Days passed and when Gandhari became pregnant, there was rejoicing all over the kingdom. In her ninth month of pregnancy when no child was born, not only Gandhari, even the others became greatly worried. This way two years passed till the day came when Gandhari gave birth to a lump of flesh. On seeing it, she cried out, ?What wrong had I done to give birth to this piece of flesh??
Sage Vyasa came to visit Dhritarashtra to congratulate him but when he came to know of what had happened, he took the lump of flesh from Gandhari'shand and divided it into 101 pieces before placing them in a jar each. Time passed and when it was nine months, the flesh became a baby boy. That night the wind blew fiercely, the jackals howled and the dogs barked with fear. People began to say, ?The birth of this boy is a bad omen. He should be left in the forest to die.?
Dhritarasthra, however, did not agree and brought his son home before naming him Duryodhana. Strange as it may seem, a month later, 99 other sons were born in the jars. Only one piece was left which became a girl child. She was named Dushala and was Gandhari'sonly daughter among her 100 sons. Sage Vyasa held the belief that all women should give birth to one daughter at least.
It was these 100 sons of Duryodhana who grew up to become the famous or ill-famed Kauravas of the Mahabharata.