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One day, during collecting water from a lake, the Pandavas were beat by a Gandharva called Angaraparna. He alleged that the lake belonged to him. A violent fight followed during which Arjuna was forced to discharge his arrow charged with the power of Agni, the fire-god. The arrow put the Gandharva’s chariot on fire and Angaraparna became unconscious. Suddenly the gandharva’s wife, Kumbhinasi came and begged Arjuna to release him. Yudhishtira then said Arjuna to release the gandharva. Arjuna released him and asked why he fought and restricted them from using the Ganga. Angaraparna replied that he is censuring them as he knew that they were pandavas of Kuru clan. He then said that he knew the knowledge and power of pandavas acquired from their teacher Drona. Still with that knowledge and power, pandavas are wandering in forest. Angaraparna added that the main reason for their destiny is that they don’t have any priest to guide them through the path of virtue. Also they have not taken a wife for mode their life.

Gandharava then addressed Arjuna as 'Tapatya'. Arjuna became curious on why he is called as Tapatya, as he is son of Kunti and should be called as Kaunteya. Gandharva king Angaraparna then winds him the story of Tapati (river), daughter of Surya and Chhaya (goddess of shadow). One time, there was a king named Samvarana ruled the Puru Dynasty. Once when he was on a hunting voyage, he saw the daughter of Sun god, Tapati, in a stunning golden light. He immediately falls in love with that beauty and requests her to marry him. She says, only her father, Surya can determine who has to be her husband. Samvarana then prayed the chief priest Vashishta, who ascends to the world and appeared before him. Samvarana expressed his desire of marrying Tapati to the Sage Vashishta. Vashishta requested Surya to marry Tapati to Samvarana. Surya accepted and marries off his daughter tapati to Samvarana. They have a famous son by name Kuru, on whose dynasty, Kauravas and Pandavas descended.

On Hearing this story Arjuna wanted to know more about Sage Vashishta.

Gandharva then tells about Sage Vashishta, "Vashishta is the foremost among sages. He is the manasa putra (mind-born son) of the creator Brahma. His wife is Arundhati. He has fully conquered all the six enemies of any person, viz Kama (unreasonable desires), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (attachment and delusion), madha (pride) and matsarya (jealousy). He is aware in all Vedas. King Vishwamitra, to spite Vashishta has killed all his sons. Even then Vashishta did not retaliate, and exterminate the race of Kusikas, to which Vishwamitra belongs. Instead he forgave him. He could have brought back his children from the world of death, through his ascetic power. Even that he did not do, as he does not want to interfere in natural order of things. He has helped many Kings, by being their priest, in putting them on the path of virtue. So, Gandharava mentioned Arjuna as “O Tapatya” and he told him to appoint a good priest for his fortune.

He also told them many other stories.

One of another stories, Angaraparna told the Pandavas was that of Sakti, son of Rishi Vashistha. One day, a king called Kalmashpada blocked Sakti’s way through a narrow bridge. The king refused to give him the way to pass the bridge. The angry Sakti cursed the king to become a demon. The curse came into effect immediately, but it ended up hurting sakti the most. The king who now turned into a demon ate the sage sakti due to his hunger. On learning his son’s death, Vashistha who fall in sorrow tried to kill himself by jumping into fire and also into a river. But all the time, he was saved as neither the fire nor the water wanted to harm Vashistha. They advised Vashistha to live for his grandson who lies unborn in sakti’s wife womb.  In due course, Vashistha’s daughter-in-law gave birth to a son who is later named Parasara.

When Parasara grew up, he decided to revenge for his father’s death. The sage Parasara then started a yagna, which has the power to destroy all man eating demons in the world including his father’s killer, Kalmashpada. But Vashistha stopped the yagna and taught him about the value of Forgiveness. He convinced Parasara that his father’s anger made him to curse the king, which resulted in hurting none other than him. In the same way, Parasara’s vengeance will result in spiral of revenge. He then told Parasara to forgive demons so that he can live in peace. Parasara saw sense in these words of his grandfather and dropped the yagna. This Parasara was the father of Vyasa, who later became the biological father of Pandu, Dhritarashtra and Vidura.

Pandavas now relaxed by hearing the tale of their ancestors from Gandharva, told their miseries to Gandharva. They even told everything from their father’s death to their uncle’s treachery. Gandharva then advised Pandavas to shed the anger and to create a fortune instead. Later Gandharva gifted his horses to Pandavas and told them not to forget to find a priest and also to search a wife, and then to establish a kingdom of their own.

After killing Bakasura, they continued their voyage. On their way, kunti and the Pandavas decided to rest in a clearing in the woods. There they were attacked by a Demon called Hidimba, brother of Bakasura, who recognized Bhima as the killer of his brother.

Bhima all alone, without disturbing his brothers and mother who are sleeping, challenged the demon Hidimba. The consequent fight was very terrible. Both of them fought like a bull, digging huge trees and using them as their weapons. After a violent fight, Bhima managed to overpower and kill Hidimba. At that time, Hidimba’s sister, Hidimbi was hidden in the bushes and seeing the fight. Hidimbi, who was actually tired of his brother’s evil activities, fell in love with Bhima’s strength and power. She then transformed into a beautiful lady and decided to marry Bhima. Using her magical powers, she took kunti and pandavas along with Bhima to a wonderful place and provided them with food, clothing and shelter. Hidimbi then told Kunti, about her desire to marry Bhima. Kunti, who was impressed with her hospitality, accepted Hidimbi as her daughter-in-law. Bhima agreed to marry her upon one condition, that he would leave her after they had one son. Hidimbi agreed the condition and they were married.

In due course, Hidimbi gave birth to Bhima’s son, Ghatotkacha. Kunti watched Bhima enjoying the company of his wife and Ghatotkacha. Kunti then remembered Bhima about the condition. She then told Bhima to leave Hidimbi and Ghatotkacha, since their destiny lies elsewhere and not with rakshasas.  Bhima nodded his head even though he was no willing to leave them.  Ghatotkacha stayed with his mother and also promised his father to appear before him as soon as he remembered him. Bhima then started following his mother and brothers out of the Demon settlement.
Kunti and her five sons wandered in the forest disguised in the form of poor Brahmans. They even don’t know where their life is heading. They are now homeless, rootless and wandering in the forest like the children of the gods. The Pandavas often found their mother weeping. They doubted how to make their mother happy. On the way when all of them become tired, Bhima carry his entire family on his arms, shoulders and hips. Pandavas took shelter in villages for night. They never stay in a particular shelter for long time as they do not want to attract any unnecessary attention, since they feared that kauravas would discover them. They seek alms from houses of villages. The food collected during daytime would be shared in evening by all. Kunti used to give half the portion to food to Bhima because he was very stout. The other half was equally divided among the five.

During their wandering, they arrive at a village called Ekachakra. Kunti and her sons got a shelter offered by a young Brahman couple. That night Pandavas heard a wail from Brahman’s wife. When kunti inquired the reason for wail, she said that, there is an asura called Bakasura in the village. He used to kill many people and destroy the fields. So the villagers decided to give food to asura all the days from each house. But the asura is not only ate the food, he also eat the man who takes the food to him. Today is the Brahman couple’s turn and the couple has only one son. That son wants to feed the food for asura and it was the reason for their wail. But Kunti consoled her. She then told her that she had five sons and she is ready to sacrifice one son, since the couple had offered them the shelter. The couples become touched on kunti’s words. Kunti then ordered Bhima to take the food to Bakasura. Bhima became happier, when his mother selected him to approach Bakasura.

Bhima then took the food near to the cave where Bakasura was living. He then started eating the food. When Bakasura heard the sound of slurping and burping of eating food, he became furious. He came outside the cave and saw Bhima eating food. The furious Bakasura then told to Bhima that he is going to eat him, so he doesn’t care of eating his food. Bakasura then attacked Bhima, but Bhima caught his neck with one hand and continued eating with the other hand. After finishing the food, Bhima smiled with happiness and attacked Bakasura. The two fought like wild bulls. The earth shook and the trees started to shook, when both blows on each other. After an extended fight, Bhima managed to kill Bakasura by breaking his neck.

Bhima then secretly dragged the dead body of Bakasura at night to the entrance of the village and left it there for the people to witness. Next morning, the villagers were surprised to see the dead body of Bakasura. They celebrated the Bakasura’s death.
With the maximum trouble, the Pandavas passed through the tunnel and entered the dense forest. The physically powerful Bhima guarded the pandavas by carring his mother on his shoulders and took Nakula and Sahadeva on his hips. He also holds both Yudhishthira and Arjuna with his hands.  They thus reached the banks of Ganga, where there was a boat ready for them to cross the river in the darkness. The boat along with boatman was arranged by Vidura for the escape of the Pandavas. They finally crossed the river and entered a dark forest full of silence covered with trees. They continued their voyage in the forest. The silence in the forest was then broken by the terrible noises of wild animals.

Kuntidevi who was tired now was sat down and rested there. She then falls asleep. Her sons accompanied kunti and rested there. But Bhima forced his way in the twisted forest in search of water in the darkness.  Bhima found a pool in the forest. He washed his upper clothes, then made cups from lotus leaves and carried water to his mother and brothers who were perishing with thirst. Kunti and her sons again fall asleep after recovered from thirst. They mercifully forget all the miseries done by Kauravas towards them except Bhima who alone sat and thinking why and how the wicked kauravas can injure them in these ways.  Bhima who was a sinless himself can’t understand the sins of others.

Next day, the Pandavas continued their voyage suffering many miseries and overcoming many dangers. They ate the fruits and vegetables in the forest and rested on their way. They were ever alert and still confident that justice would save them from this agony. On the way, they met Bhagavan Vyasa. Vyasa after hearing their miseries, advised him to tolerate. He then gave them a wise counsel. The kind words of Vyasa consoled them from their sorrows. Vyasa added that no people in the world can live in virtue at all times; everyone should have done both good and evil. So people should have the mind to bear the consequence of both good and evil. Also we don’t give any way to sorrow.
After the failed attempt to kill Bheema, the rivalry between Kauravas and Pandavas increased. The Kuru household is now separated into two rival camps, one for Kauravas and other for Pandavas. Both of them alleged that they were the correct heirs to the throne. Yudhishtira was the eldest grandson of Vichitravirya, so pandavas believed that Yudhishtira would be the next heir. But Kauravas believed that their father is eldest than Pandavas father, so Duryodhana would be the next heir.

Despite having ninety-nine brothers, Duryodhana feared Pandavas, since Yudhishtira is supported by an archer in Arjuna, a physically powerful Bhima and an adviser in Sahadeva. Except from Dusshasana, Duryodhana is not confident on remaining ninety eight brothers. But things changed, when he got support from Karna and Shakuni, his uncle. Duryodhana is now confident enough to challenge Pandavas. Quarrels between the both groups became common in the palace. Kunti and Gandhari advised their sons on controlling the quarrels, but all their efforts went vain. Dhritarashtra who was a very learned man and follow Dharma most of the time, but when it came to Duryodhana, his blind love for his son, made him to take bad decisions. Dhritarashtra sometimes known or unknown became a part of Duryodhana’s evil plan to abolish pandavas. Each time Pandavas rescued from those evil plans through Vidhura's secret help.

The Pandavas were the dear of the public too. The people wanted Yudhishtira to become the next king. But they also felt sorry for Duryodhana, since he was a son of a blind father and a blindfolded mother. Vidura predicted that the matters will get even worse, if both of the groups getting married. So he advised Dhritarashtra to built separate palace for sons of Pandu. Dhritarashtra agreed and ordered to an architect called Purochana to build a palace for Kunti and her sons in Varanavata. Purochana was actually a trusted minister for Duryodhana. Duryodhana convinced Purochana to make the palace such that it can be fired easily. Purochana completed the work of palace by including the combustible materials such as Jute, lac, oil and fat.

When Vidura visited this palace, he was shocked to discover that the residence was made of lac and all kinds of inflammable materials. He then went to Kunti and said that Dhritarashtra will gift you a house which is made of inflammable materials. He wishes to kill the pandavas by burning the palace. But fear not, you and your sons should be safe. Vidura then had given a plan to kunti for escaping from the fire through a tunnel from palace that leads to the forest. He then said to pandavas to accept the gift of palace to avoid suspicion and then escape through the tunnel, once they fired. Vidura then blessed that pandavas should have a moral high ground for rightful inheritance after their return. As per the prediction of Vidura, the palace was set afire in the first night of their entry. But the pandavas escaped unhurt with their mother through the tunnel, but they were upset by the events, since the family feud had suddenly taken a very serious turn.

When the flames vanished, the burnt remnants of a woman and five young men were discovered. Everyone assumed that those were the remnants of Kunti and her sons. Everybody including Dhritarashtra, Gandhari, Duryodhana and Dusshasana wept for them. Bhishma and Drona were heartbroken in their grief. But Vidura know that it was actually the bodies of those six people including the architect Purochan, a nishadha tribeswoman and her sons who had been drugged and left in the palace. Vidura kept wondered on the tears dropped by Dhritarashtra and his sons.


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