I came across a sentence “He is a good person, but anger is his “Achilles Heel”. It was the first time I had heard of this phrase Achilles Heel. Later I could understand that this expression “Achilles heel” refers to a weakness in spite of overall strength, which can lead to downfall. Also I learnt that there is a tendon which connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. This tendon is called “Achilles Tendon” and is crucial to the ability to walk, jump and rise up on the toes.
Is there any connection between phrase “Achilles Heal” and “Achilles Tendon” I wished to explore and started to read about it. I found that the phrase originates from the Ancient Greek fable of the hero Achilles. When Achilles was born an oracle foretold that he would be famous but would die young. Worried mother Thetis dipped the infant in the River Styx which was believed to confer immortality by holding him by his heels.
Achilles grew up to be a man of war who survived many great battles. One day, a poisonous arrow shot at him was lodged in his heel, killing him. Because of this legend, the term “Achilles Heel” has come to mean a point of weakness, especially in someone who otherwise is of strong constitution.
This legendary story remains me of the Great War of Kurukshetra. It was almost nearing the end and all the brothers of Duryodhana were killed. It was the 17th night of the war. Gandhari never bless Duryodhana to be “Be Victorious” as she always uttered “May you have long life” whenever Duryodhana sought blessings.
On the 17th night when Duryodhana went to his mother’s chamber she blessed him long life. Gandhari wanted her only surviving son to be alive. She knew that her son had to take on Bhima in an one to one mace fight the next morning and she could feel the ominous vibes that her son stood no chance against Bhima who was beaming with confidence after killing Dussasana. Gandhari asked Duryodhana to appear before her completely naked in the morning after taking bath.
The all-knowing Sri Krishna accosted Duryodhana the next morning when he was on his way to meet his mother naked and asked him where he is going completely naked. When Duryodhana explained Sri Krishna about his mother’s order, Sri Krishna advised that since he was an adult it is highly inappropriate to appear before his mother in that manner. And further advised Duryodhana to at least cover his genital area.
Duryodhana immediately cover his lower part with a banana leaf and went into his mother’s chamber. Gandhari received him and then she told him that she was going to open her blindfold for the first time since her marriage and look at him for the first time. So saying she removed the blindfold to have a look at her son.
Gandhari had focused all her yogic powers obtained by the severe penance in following her husband and remaining blindfold for years since her husband was devoid of vision. She wished that when her sight fell on the body of Duryodhana it would became strong as iron. To her dismay she saw that the lower part of Duryodhana was covered, the whole body except the covered area was not strong as iron.
Later Gandhari came to know that it was Sri Krishna who had advised her son to cover the lower part of the body. And in the battle between Bhima and Duryodhana on the banks of Lake Dwaipayana, Duryodhana was hit on the thigh by the mace. Though the entire body was strong as iron that groin area was weak and Duryodhana fell dead.
Achilles Heels and Duryodhana Groin both weak points…