By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Sakuni, Zakuni, shakuni
Śakuni of the Mahābhārata could rival even Satan due to his villainy and craftiness. If Duryodhana’s heart was full of the raging, fire of jealousy and hatred, Śakuni was the breezy wind that spread it in his whole personality, ultimately destroying his entire race. He was the eldest son of the king Subala of the country of Gāndhāra. Gāndhārī, the chief queen of the blind king Dhrtarāṣtra, was his sister. Ever since her marriage, Śakuni started living in Hastināpura, the capital of the kings of the Kuru race. He had the master-mind of an evil genius and relentlessly prodded Duryodhana in his wicked pursuits.
His nefarious designs and vile deeds may briefly be listed as follows:
- Cheating the Pāṇdavas in the game of dice
- Advising Duryodhana to decimate the Pāṇḍavas by any and every means
- Encouraging Duryodhana to exhibit his glory, wealth and power before the Pāṇḍavas living as recluses in the forest and so on
He also participated in the Kurukṣetra war and was killed by Sahadeva on the last day. He is said to have been born out of the anger of the devas or gods, to destroy righteousness. The epics and the purāṇas mention a few other Śakunis like a serpent, a demon, a king and a sage.
- Ādiparva 63.111
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore