Surasena gave the boon to his cousin Kuntibhoja that he would give his first born to childless brother. Kuntibhoja was obliged with the commitment of his brother. Surasena later kept his promise and as soon as Pritha was born, he gave her to Kuntibhoja. Kuntibhoja gave Pritha a new name, Kunti. Kuntibhoja brought up young girl with all comforts. He ensured the best gurus impart knowledge to his daughter. Kunti became expert in ministerial affairs and started helping her father in decision making.
Days passed and one day sage Durvasa visited Kuntibhoja. He observed devotion and patience of the young Kunti besides being involved in ministries in parallel . And because Kunti ensured all the comfort of sage Durvasa, he was extremely delighted. Pleased sage then gave a boon to Kunti, a mantra to call any god of her choice to seek son of equal calibre of that lord.
Years later, Kunti married Pandu, Kuru dynast and king of Hastinapur. Pandu was a Chakravarti king and ensured the boundaries of Hastinapur free from foes. He signed multiple treaties with smaller kingdoms and ensured that economic growth of the kingdom too. Pandu, in order to extend the treaty with kingdom of Madra, married the princess of Madra, Madri. But the princely affair of Pandu couldn’t last long. While on a hunt in woods, he mistook sage Kidama as deer and shot arrows at him. Rishi was in the act of coitus with his wife and a life was about to born. The act of killing a life before it was born became a curse on Pandu. The curse of end of life if tried to approach his wife with the intent of love making.
Life in Forest
Dejected Pandu walked to woods along with his wives. He followed the life of an ascetic and performed rituals as repentance to his act of killing a sage. But the king had to continue his progeny. The future of Hastinapur was his responsibility too. So, he approached Kunti and shared the reason of his cheerlessness. Indeed, it was fair dilemma of a king and thus Kunti shared the secret of boon she received from sage Durvasa.
It was answer to Pandu’s trepidation and he immediately took that boon as saviour of his dying hopes. Kunti, on command of her master, then prayed to god of Dharma. To honour the power of mantras, God Dharma appeared and blessed Kunti with a son. They named him Yudhishthira, one who remains calm and stagnant even in extreme adverse conditions.
Excited Pandu then said, “Kunti! You have blessed my dying hopes. This son of ours will take our lineage forward. But we need a protector of this boy. Alone, he can’t rule. He needs a brother like rock who stands with him in all highs and lows. My dear, help me fulfil my this desire.” How could Kunti refuse her master and hence she summoned lord Vayu. With the power of mantras Vayu appeared and blessed Kunti with her second son. The infant was born with the power of hundred elephants. They named him Bhima, the mighty one.
Birth of Bhima incepted a greed inside Pandu. He again approached Kunti and said, “Kunti! Undoubtedly this son of ours will protect his elder from all adversaries. He will be a bulwark for foes and nobody will be able to stand before him. But dear, a kingdom needs someone who can protect the boundaries of empire, one who can expand the vicinity and whose presence helps in making treaties with different kingdoms. So, Kunti, please bless me with a son who will be an unparalleled warrior. For this, we will pray to God Indra.” Having said that both Pandu and Kunti devoted themselves in prayers of Indra. Pandu followed rigid vows and after months of prayers and solicitations Indra blessed Pandu with what he wished. Indra blessed Kunti with a son as Pandu desired. They named him Arjuna.
The childless Pandu was now father of three blessed sons. But the human greed never ends and hence he again approached Kunti. This time Kunti said, “I had agreed to your wishes thrice but per scriptures if a woman gets involved with fourth man she is treated as Swairini (one who roams with her desire) and with more than four she becomes harlot. Hence, I will not use the mantras again.”
With the desire of making herself significant in Pandu’s life Madri approached Pandu and said, “Lord! the relevance of this life will be completed only if I too contribute to the progeny of Hastinapur. Sister Kunti will live the life of a queen with her sons but what will happen to me? If I remain childless who will value me? So please devise some plan to help me come out of this meaningless life.” Pandu heard to desolated Madri and agreed upon asking Kunti to share the boon with her.
Kunti heard to Madri’s longings and agreed to share the mantra. Madri on learning the mantra, intelligently, summoned Ashwin brothers. With the power of Mantra, Ashwin brothers with the act of coitus, blessed Madri with handsome twins Nakul and Sahadeva.
Pleased Madri upon receiving the twins, once again asked Kunti to share the mantra. But this time Kunti refused to share the mantra. Kunti knew that another attempt by Madri could lead to birth of more sons to her. This might lead to conflicts among the brothers and also it was threat to Kunti’s authority in Pandu’s life. However, Kunti became the foster mother of Nakul and Sahadeva after death of Pandu and Madri. The five brothers lived together in harmony for their entire life.