Uttara

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Not to be confused with Uttar.



Uttara (उत्तरा) or Uttarā or Uttaraa was the daughter of King Virata, at whose court the Pandavas spent a year of their exile. She was the sister of Prince Uttar.

It is also believed that Uttara had learnt dance from Arjuna during the Pandavas' year of exile, in the Virata's kingdom. Living incognito, as was the term of the banishment, Arjuna lived a life of a eunuch and practised his art of dance which he had earlier learnt from the apsaras in heaven. Once King Virata realized who Uttara's dance teacher was, he immediately proposed to offer his daughter to Arjuna. However, Arjuna explained to King Virata the doting relationship that a teacher has with his/her student is like that of a parent and child. He then proposed to make Uttara his daughter by marrying her to his son, Abhimanyu.

Uttara was widowed at a very young age when Abhimanyu was killed in the Kurukshetra war. At that time, Uttara was pregnant.

Towards the end of the Mahabharata war, with Uttara in labor, Ashwathama, son of Dronacharya, while trying to avenge the defeat of Duryodhana and the Kaurava army, engaged in a war with Arjuna. Knowing that he could not beat Arjuna conventionally, Ashathama invoked the Brahmashtra, the deadly weapon, despite the promise he had made to the father/teacher that he would never use such a weapon. When Arjuna fired a counter Brahmastra to nullify, Vyasa intervened, commanding both warriors to withdraw their weapons. While Arjuna successfully did so, Ashwatthama did not possess the required knowledge. Krishna suggested that Ashwatthama redirect the weapon to an uninhabited place. Regretful, tired, but still vengeful, Ashwathama decided that if he could not eliminate the Pandavas, he would end their lineage. He redirected the weapon at Uttara's womb, attacking the fetus form of Parikshita. Krishna intervened and revived the stillborn baby, giving Parkshit his name. As a repentance, Ashwathama was made to lose his source of power, the jewel that adorned his shining forehead. This loss of the jewel that adorned his forehead made Ashwathama lose his state of mental alertness, and he was forced to retire to obscurity as a derelict in the forests.

Parikshita became the heir to the Kuru dynasty and eventually became king of Hastinapur. In due course of time, Parkishita gave Uttara a grandson, Janamejaya.

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Author of this page: Dayanand Deswal दयानन्द देसवाल

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