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Chapter 26: Birth of Pandavas

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Pandu after some days of his second marriage was really unhappy, since his second wife was also unable to produce a child. He then realized the fact that Kunti and Madri are highly fertile and it was his problem for being not produce a child. He is frustrated that, he would die, like his father, leaving two childless widows.

One day, Pandu went on a hunt in the forest. During the hunting, his arrow struck an antelope. When Pandu came closer, he found that he had killed an antelope while it was mating with a doe. Suddenly the antelope changed into a sage called Kindama and the doe changed into sage’s wife. Using their supernatural powers, they are converted into animals to make their love openly. Before dying, Kindama cursed Pandu that he will never enjoy the pleasure of lovemaking in his remaining life, if he does so then he will die instantly.

Birth of Kunti's Children:

A distressed Pandu felt that a man who cannot father a child is unfit to be king. So he decided to leave the kingdom and to spare his remaining life in the forest along with other sages. He then went to forest and started a lonely life. The decision made by Pandu shocked everyone and they rushed to the Pandu’s hermitage in forest and asked to rethink his decision. But Pandu refused his both wives request. So the wives, Kunti and Madri decided to live along with their husband, since it is the dharma of every woman to share joy and sorrows of husband.

In the absence of Pandu, Bhishma decided to transfer the kingdom to the blind Dhritarashtra. The decision is against the law, but bhishma has no choice as there is no heir available and it may be the destiny of Hastinapuri to be ruled by a blind king and his blindfolded queen. After a few months later, Gandhari, the wife of Dhritarashtra became pregnant and this news reached Pandu’s ears. Pandu depressed with this news and he shared his sorrow with Kunti.  Kunti consoled Pandu that there is a rule in the texts of Dharma, that a women can approach any man for begetting child and the child born should belongs to the woman’s husband. There should be no rights for the approached man to claim the child’s fatherhood. Likewise the planet Mercury becomes the son of planet Jupiter (star’s husband), even though it was the moon who conceived Mercury in the womb of the stars.

Pandu decided to take advantage of this rule. He decided to approach any sage for the purpose. But Kunti informs her husband that she had got a magic formula from sage Durvasa to beget a child from any devas. But she never informed her husband about a child born before marriage. Delighted with Kunti’s solution, Pandu said to her that he want a child from Yama, the god of dharma. Kunti used the magic formula, invoked Yama and had a child with him. He was named Yudhishtira. As per Pandu’s choice, Kunti later invoked Vayu. Thus they got Bhima, the son from Vayu (wind). This time upon the wish from Kunti, she invoked Indra to get a son. Thus the son born upon Kunti’s wish is Arjuna and he became the favorite for Kunti. Only he was referred by all as Partha, the son of Pritha (Kunti). After giving birth to Arjuna, Pandu said her to invoke a child once more from another deva. But Kunti refused it by saying that she can’t invoke once more since she already have been with four men and it is decreed in the texts of dharma. If she does so, then she will become a whore. Pandu thought that the four men Kunti was referring were he and the three gods. Kunti however hides the secret of her one son from the Sun before marriage to Pandu. She never informed the truth to anyone including his husband about this act of shame that weighed heavy on her heart.

Birth of Madris’ children:

After the three babies born, Kunti refused to invoke another deva for fourth Son. But this time Pandu asked Kunti to invoke a deva for Madri to get the baby. Kunti obeyed and upon Madri’s request she invoked the Ashwini twins for getting the twin babies. Ashwini twins are shining of sunrise and shining of sunset. Thus through Ashwini Kumaras, Pandu got the twin sons, Nakul and Sahadev. Nakula became the handsome man, whereas Sahadeva became most knowledgeable man.
The five sons of Pandu, three by Kunti and two by Madri, became known as the Pandavas. Collectively, the five sons had the five qualities of a great king - Yudhisthira as honesty, Bhima as strength, Arjuna as skill, Nakul as beauty and Sahadev as wisdom.

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