Bhishma took the responsibility of education of Dhritarashtra, Pandu and Vidura. He supervised their learnings till the time they reach adolescence. They had gone through the lessons on political affairs, economics, finances, science of war, and weapon handling skills. Vidura as predicted by Vyasa became the most learned scholar. He became expert in politics and managing the kingdoms. Pandu became expert in weapons handling while Dhritarashtra never brought his deficiency as hurdle in his learnings. Years of education completed and the young princes Dhritarashtra and Pandu with Vidura returned to Hastinapur.
Hastinapur was decorated with flowers and the palace was decked with divine fragrance to welcome the grown-up princes and the future king. The wait of years was about to end. The burden on Bhishma’s shoulder was about to shifted.
In presence of all courtiers and royal members, Bhishma made Vidura as the prime minister of Hastinapur. Albeit Dhritarashtra was elder son but he was not fit to rule the kingdom of Hastinapur and hence, Pandu was coronated as the new king. Hail Pandu! Hail Hastinapur! the entire courtroom got filled with the praises of new king. And Pandu took over the responsibility gracefully under the guidance of his elder, Dhritarashtra. Life in Hastinapur started coming back to normal gradually.
Time came, Satyavati and Bhishma decided to marry Dhritarashtra. The responsibility of selecting bride for Dhritarashtra came on Bhishma’s shoulders and he decided to seek the daughter of king of Gandhar, Gandhari as the bride of Dhritarashtra. A caravan of hundreds of soldiers with group of servants carrying jewels, ornaments, and other princely gifts proceeded towards Gandhar. The excited acolytes with Bhishma reached Gandhar and Bhishma put the proposal Subala, the king of Gandhar. Subala was left with no option but to accept Bhishma’s proposal. After all, denying Bhishma’a words was like inviting one’s own destruction.
Bhishma returned Hastinapur with Gandhari and her marriage with Dhritarashtra was duly solemnised. But Gandhari after knowing the blindness of her husband, decided which nobody thought. She decided to blindfold herself for rest of her life. Indeed a harsh decision.
Kuntibhoja, a leader of Yadu dynasty invited the kings and princes of neighbouring countries for the Swayamvar of his daughter Kunti. Pandu, the king of Hastinapur was also invited and Kunti accepted Pandu as her husband. Pandu married Kunti following all rituals and they returned Hastinapur.
Soon after, Bhishma thought of getting Pandu married to a second wife. He reached out to king of Madra, Shalya, and asked for his sister Madri getting married to Pandu. Pandu’s marriage with Madri solemnised too. Gradually, Pandu got engaged in routine works of the kingdom.
As a king, Pandu had the responsibilities of expanding the dominions of Hastinapur and ensure no evil eyes pry on the kingdom. Hence, in pursuance of maintaining harmony with neighbouring countries he went on a long journey, meeting the kings and princes of all surrounding regions.
Months later, he returned as an unparalleled king with no living enemy of Hastinapur. His success was glorified and the treasury of Hastinapur was filled with uncountable wealth.
One day, Pandu was out hunting. He spotted a pair of deer sporting in the forest and shot the male deer with an arrow. But, that deer was a rishi in disguise and stricken to death, the rishi cursed Pandu that he would die if advance towards his wives for sensual pleasures. Pandu was heartbroken. He couldn’t come out of the guilt of killing a rishi, and thus decided to walk into the forest leaving behind the pleasures and comfort of the palace. His two wives Kunti and Madri too walked with him. Pandu started living a life of an ascetic and started following chastised life, while in his absence, Dhritarashtra his elder brother was given the responsibility of the kingdom. He became the caretaker of the throne and started ruling Hastinapur on behalf of his brother.
So here we will stop the story but before we go, let’s visit the back story of Vidura. Why Vidura was born to a maid? Why he was not destined to rule? So the story goes like this –
Once there lived a sage called Mandavya devoted to truth and Dharma. One day a bunch of robbers with their looted booty hid in his abode without knowledge of rishi. When the guards came in search of the robbers, they found them with the wealth inside the hermitage. Guards took the robbers along with the rishi with them and per the orders of the king, all were executed including the rishi.
Rishi was left all alone deprived of food and water but he didn’t give up his life. He was in extreme pain but breathing. The guards reported it to the king and remorse filled the king. He immediately called upon the best physicians to take care of the sage and ordered to release the sage from captivity.
Days passed, and sage after recovering from pain, entered into deep meditation. With the truthfulness of his deeds, Rishi Mandavya walked into the abode of Dharma, the God of death, Yama. Beholding Yama sitting on his throne, inquisitive Mandavya asked, “What is that sinful act committed by me for which I was given such harsh punishment? O god of justice, tell me what act of mine made you to throw me in peril?
Dharma replied, “O man of great asceticism! Once in your childhood you pierced a blade of grass into a little insect. You thus had to bear the consequence of your act. The sin committed by you multiplied and hence you had to face the suffering in your life.” Bewildered Mandavya asked, “Tell me what was my age when unknowingly the sin was committed?”
“Twelve years!” replied the god of justice.
“O lord! you are god of justice, how could you forget that a sin committed by a child till twelve years of his age shouldn’t be considered as sin. The scriptures do not recognise it as sinful.”, replied Mandavya in painful voice.
“The killing of a sage is a sin heavier than any other. And the burden of my execution lies on your shoulder. O god of justice, I, Mandavya, curse you to be born in human order. Your wisdom will not gain you the throne.”, continued Mandavya.
Years later, Vidura was born as incarnation of Dharma as a result of curse of sage Mandavya. He was born with all wisdom and truthfulness but no authority on throne.