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  • Name , Kunti 
    Nickname Pritha 
    Gender Female 
    Person ID I104  Hindu Puran Genealogy Tree | Somavanshi
    Last Modified 10 Oct 2012 

    Father Kuntibhoja 
    Relationship Foster 
    Family ID F189  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Father Shurasena 
    Mother Marisha II 
    Family ID F253  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Pandu  [2
    Association Vyasa (Relationship: Father (Niyoga)) 
    +1. Yudhisthira
    +2. Bhima
    +3. Arjuna
    Last Modified 10 Oct 2012 
    Family ID F52  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Association Ashwin Kumar - Nasatya (Relationship: Nakul's Father (Niyoga)) 
    Association Ashwin Kumar - Dasra (Relationship: Sahadev's Father (Niyoga)) 
    +1. Karna,   d. Kurukshetra, Ancient Cities, India Find all individuals with events at this location  [Birth]
    Last Modified 21 Dec 2011 
    Family ID F54  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Sources

    1. [S43]
      WIKI.Kunti, Wiki, (Wikipedia), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kunti.

      Member of Panchakanya
      A late 17th-century painting of Pandu and Kunti from Kashmir
      Other names Pritha
      Devanagari कुंती
      Sanskrit transliteration Kuntī
      Gender Female
      Personal information
      Parents Parents
      Siblings 14 siblings including Vasudeva, Nanda, Shrutashrava (sister)
      Spouse Pandu
      Children Pre-marital Sons'Step-sons

      Kunti (Sanskrit: कुन्ती, IAST: Kuntī), named at birth as Pritha (Sanskrit: पृथा, IAST: Pṛthā), is one of the principal female protagonists of the epic Mahabharata. She is best known as the mother of the Pandavas and Karna, the main protagonists of the epic. She is also mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana because of her connection with Krishna, the main figure of the text. She is described to be beautiful, intelligent, and shrewd.[1][2] She is also mentioned in second canto of the Devi-Bhagavata Purana.

      Born to the Yadava chief Shurasena, Pritha was adopted by her childless uncle, Kuntibhoja, and was renamed as Kunti. During her teenage years, she impressed sage Durvasa and was blessed with the knowledge of a divine mantra. Out of curiosity, she used the mantra to invoke Surya, and was blessed with a son named Karna. As he had been born out of wedlock, Kunti had to abandon him to save herself from dishonour.

      After reaching adulthood, she chose Pandu, the king of Kuru, as her husband, but her married life was disturbed when Madri, princess of Madra, became Pandu's second wife.[3] One day, Pandu was cursed by the dying sage Kindama that he would perish instantly if he tried to touch any of his wives with sexual intent. Filled with remorse, he abandoned his kingdom and chose to retire to the forest with his two wives, leaving Hastinapura to Dhritarashtra. Kunti, upon her husband's request, used her mantra and was blessed with three children - Yudhishthira, Bhima, and Arjuna. Later, she shared her mantra with Madri, who was blessed with Nakula and Sahadeva. Her husband died after attempting to engage in Intercourse with Madri and the latter immolated herself, so Kunti adopted her stepsons and took her children to Hastinapura, the capital of Kuru. Kunti and her co-wife Madri are considered to be the incarnations of Siddhi and Dhriti respectively.[4]

      Along with the Pandavas, Kunti survived the Lakshagriha and during their hiding, she ordered Bhima to marry Hidimbi, a Rakshasi. Because of Kunti's misunderstanding, Draupadi, princess of Panchala, was married in a polyandrous union with the five Pandavas. After Indraprastha was established, Kunti stayed in Hastinapura and had a warm relationship with her sister-in-law, Gandhari. Before the Kurukshetra War, Kunti met Karna and asked him to join the Pandava side upon leaving his true heritage, but upon his refusal, she convinced him to spare all of her sons, but Arjuna. After Yudhishthira became the emperor of the Kurus, she retired to the forest and later died.

      In Hindu tradition, she is extolled as one of the panchakanya ("five maidens"), archetypes of female chastity whose names are believed to dispel sin when recited. She is praised as the embodiment of a mature, foresighted, and a dutiful woman.

      Birth and early life

      Kunti was the biological daughter of Shurasena, a Yadava ruler.[5] Her birth name was Pritha. She is also said as the reincarnation of the goddess Siddhi. She was the sister of Vasudeva, the father of Krishna and shared a close relationship with Krishna. Her father gave Kunti to his childless cousin Kuntibhoja.[6]

      Kunti invokes Surya out of curiosity.

      Once Rishi Durvasa visited Kuntibhoja. Being extremely pleased by the all comforts, patience, and devotion offered by Kunti, he offered her a mantra that would invoke any god of her choice and he would bless her with children.

      Out of impetuous curiosity, Kunti invoked the god Surya. Bound by the power of the mantra, Surya blessed her with a child. To her surprise, the child was born with his sacred armour on. Out of fear of the public and with no choice, Kunti put the child in a basket and set him afloat the Ganga river. He later became famous as Karna.[7]

      Marriage and children

      Kuntibhoja organized Kunti's swayamvara. Kunti chose King Pandu of Hastinapur, making her the Queen of Hastinapur.[8][5] Soon after, during his mission to expand his empire, Pandu, on Bhishma's proposal, married Madri, a princess of Madra in order to secure the vassalage of Madra.[8] Kunti was disturbed by her husband's actions, but eventually reconciled with him and treated Madri as sister.

      Pandu, while hunting in a forest, mistakenly shot and killed Rishi Kindama and his wife as they had taken the form of deer to mate. The dying sage then cursed him to die if he tries to embrace or touch his wives. Pandu renounced the kingdom and went into exile with Kunti and Madri.[9]

      Kunti invokes Indra for a son at the request of Pandu.

      Pandu could not have children from his wives as he was supposed to treat them as relatives due to the curse by sage Kindama. A remorseful Pandu renounced the kingdom and went into exile with Kunti and Madri. He met some sages and asked them away for heaven and salvation. They said, without children, one can never aspire for heaven. When Pandu expressed to Kunti his despair at the prospect of dying childless, she mentioned the boon granted to her. He happily advised her to beget children by suitable, illustrious men. Thus, Kunti used the boon granted to her by Sage Durvasa (which she had used to bear Karna) to bear three sons—Yudhishthira by Dharmaraja - god of Justice; Bhima by Vayu - god of wind, and Arjuna by Indra - the king of Svarga (Heaven). She also invoked Ashvins for Madri on her behest and Madri gave birth to twin sons, Nakula and Sahadeva.[10]

      Kunti gave special care to Madreyas (sons of Madri) especially Sahadeva the youngest one. Madri gave tribute to Kunti by saying

      “You are blessed. There is none like you you are my light, my guide, most respect-worthy, reater in status, purer in virtue.” I.125.66-68[8]


      Kunti is consoled by Vidura.

      One day, Pandu, forgetting his curse, attempted to embrace his wife Madri. But, as a result of Kindama's curse, he died. Madri committed suicide out of remorse that caused her husband's death. Kunti was left helpless in the forest with her children.[11]

      After the death of Pandu and Madri, Kunti took care of all five Pandava children taking them back to Hastinapur. Dhritrashtra's sons never liked them. During their childhood, Duryodhana poisoned and tried to kill Bhima but he was saved. Kunti was hurt by this but was consoled by Vidura. Later the Kuru Princes were sent for training to Drona.[12]


      Pandavas travelling with their mother

      After the princes finished their training, they returned to Hastinapura. After some time Duryodhana and his maternal uncle Shakuni tried to burn Pandavas alive along with Kunti for which they built the palace out of lac (Lakshagriha) in a village named Varanāvata. The Pandavas, though, managed to escape the house of lac with the help of Vidura through a secret tunnel.[13]

      After surviving from the Lakshagriha Kunti and five Pandavas lived in Ekachakra village.[14] During their stay, Kunti and the Pandavas become aware of a demon, Bakasura, who ate people. Villagers had to send one member of their family and food to Bakasura, who devour both. When Kunti heard the cries of a Brahmin - who had provided her and her son's shelter in Ekachakra, Kunti consoled him and suggested that instead of a Brahmin's family, her son Bhima would face the demon. Kunti engineered a plot where Bhima would be able to face and kill the demon. The powerful Bhima brought his might to the fore and defeated Bakasura.[15]

      Kunti accepting Hidimbi's request
      Kunti apologises in front of Draupadi and Yudhishthira.

      Later, Bhima slays the rakshasa Hidimba and he is beseeched by Hidimbi, Hidimba's sister, to wed her. Bhima is reluctant, but Kunti ordered Bhima to marry Hidimbi seeing merit in the woman. Hidimbi would go on to birth Ghatotkacha, who later takes part in the Kurukshetra War.[citation needed]

      The Pandavas attended the swayamvara of Draupadi in Panchala. Arjuna was able to win Draupadi's hand. The Pandavas returned to their hut and said that they have bought alms (signifying Kanyadan). Kunti misunderstood them and asked the Pandavas to share whatever they had brought. Kunti was shocked after realizing the implications of her words, that is, all of the Pandavas married Draupadi thinking that they are obeying their mother's orders. Therefore, she scolded her children for treating a woman like alms. However, Draupadi accepted this as her fate.[16]

      Role in the events of Hastinapura

      When Kunti, along with the Pandavas and Draupadi, returned to Hastinapura, they faced many problems including Draupadi's polyandry and succession dispute between Yudhishthira and Duryodhana. On the advice of Bhishma, Pandavas were given a barren land to rule which was developed into Indraprastha. However Kunti remained in Hastinapura with her co-sister, Gandhari.[17]

      When the Pandavas lose the kingdom in a dice game and are forced to go into exile for thirteen years, Kunti is forced by King Dhritarashtra to remain in the capital. She chose to stay in Vidura's house rather than the royal palace.[18]

      During the Kurukshetra war

      As war approached, Kunti met Karna and in desperation to keep her all children alive, asked Karna to leave the side of Duryodhana and join the Pandavas. Karna denied the offer, as he could not betray his friend. However, he promised Kunti that he would not kill any of his brothers except Arjuna, thus following both Mitra dharma and Putra dharma. He also promised that at the end of the war she would still have five sons, the fifth one be either Arjuna or Karna himself.[7]

      Despite supporting her children, Kunti stayed in the Kaurava camp along with her co-sister Gandhari. After the death of Karna, Kunti disclosed the secret of Karna's birth to Pandavas and others. All were shocked to learn the fact they committed fratricide. The Pandavas were furious with Kunti, especially Yudhisthira, who cursed Kunti and women of the world that they shall be unable to keep any secret anymore. If Kunti hadn't kept it a secret, there were chances that the war would've been averted and millions of lives would've been spared.[19]

      Later life and death

      Death of Gandhari, Dhritarashtra and Kunti and escape of Vidura from fire

      After the Kurukshetra war, Kunti lived with her sons for many years. After she felt that her job in the world was over, she moved to a forest near the Himalayas with her brothers-in-law Vidura and Dhritarashtra, Sanjaya and Dhritarashtra's wife Gandhari. Vidura died two years after they left. Later Sanjaya left for the Himalayas and the left ones perished in a forest fire.[8][20]

      Portrayal in the Mahabharata

      In the Mahabharata, Kunti is depicted as a mild-mannered woman with high moral and social values. She constantly guides her sons on their actions and keeps the family bound as one, never to have them fight among each other. She is said to have a great amount of respect for her brother-in-law Dhritarashtra and Vidura and for Dhritarashtra's wife Gandhari. She is also said to have an affectionate relationship with her daughter-in-law Draupadi.[21]

      Other versions of the Mahabharata depicts her to be shrewd and calculative. Early in her life, she rejects her son born out of wedlock (Karna) in societal fear, only to confess to him several years later, in solitude, that she birthed him. She tries to have him shift parties out of fear of losing her five sons. In exile with her husband Pandu, she shares her boon with his second wife Madri reluctantly and fears being overshadowed. It is said that Kunti did not share the boon for a second time with Madri, in the fear that Madri's children would outnumber her own.[22]

      Various actresses portrayed the role in various films and TV serials.


      1. "Kunti". www.mythfolklore.net. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
      2. A classical dictionary of Hindu mythology and religion, geography, history, and literature by Dowson, John (1820-1881)
      3. Bhattacharya 2004.
      4. "The Mahabharata, Book 1: Adi Parva: Sambhava Parva: Section LXVII".
      5. 1 2 "The Mahabharata, Book 1: Adi Parva: Sambhava Parva: Section CXII". www.sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
      6. "The Mahabharata, Book 1: Adi Parva: Sambhava Parva: Section CXI". www.sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
      7. 1 2 McGrath, Kevin (2004). The Sanskrit Hero: Karna in Epic Mahābhārata. Brill Academic. ISBN 90-04-13729-7. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
      8. 1 2 3 4 "Kunti" (PDF). Manushi India Organization. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
      9. Ramankutty, P.V. (1999). Curse as a motif in the Mahābhārata (1. ed.). Delhi: Nag Publishers. ISBN 9788170814320.
      10. Edward Delavan Perry, Perry, Edward Delavan (1885). "Indra in the Rig-Veda". Journal of the American Oriental Society. Journal of the American Oriental Society vol. 11.1885. 11: 121. doi:10.2307/592191. JSTOR 592191.
      11. "Chapter 60-Death of King Pandu and Madri at the same time". The Tales of India. 31 August 2017. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
      12. https://web.archive.org/web/20110713024835/http://www.india-intro.com/religion/mahabharat/210-mahabharat-the-story-of-drona-teacher-of-kauravas-and-pandavas.html The Story of Drona - the Teacher of Kauravas and Pandavas
      13. "Lakshagraha of Mahabharat". Nerd's Travel. 7 August 2019. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
      14. "ASI grants permission to excavate palace Kauravas commissioned to kill Pandavas". India Today. 2 November 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
      15. Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam (ed.). India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 75.
      16. Johnson, W. J. (2009). "Arjuna". A Dictionary of Hinduism. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780198610250.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19861-025-0.
      17. Narlikar, Amrita; Narlikar, Aruna (20 March 2014). Bargaining with a Rising India: Lessons from the Mahabharata. OUP Oxford. ISBN 978-0-19-161205-3.
      18. Mani, Vettam (1 January 2015). Puranic Encyclopedia: A Comprehensive Work with Special Reference to the Epic and Puranic Literature. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-0597-2.
      19. "Women can't keep secrets – Here's why Yudhisthira cursed Kunti and women of the world!". www.timesnownews.com. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
      20. Mani pp.442-3
      21. Kumar, Manisha (15 October 2014). "Kunti And Gandhari - The Two Matriarchs Of Mahabharata". Dolls of India. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
      22. admin (20 April 2020). "Kunti Devi From Mahabharata: A Character Sketch". Meghnaunni.com. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
      This information is sourced from Wikipedia, the leading online open-content collaborative (crowd-sourced) encyclopedia. Wikipedia and/or TransLiteral Foundations can not guarantee the validaity of content above and can not be held responsible for inaccuracies or libelious information within. Please see Wikipedia General Disclaimer.

    2. [S40]
      WIKI.Pandava, Wiki, (Wikipedia), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandava.

      Draupadi and the Pandavas worshipping Shiva

      The Pandavas (Sanskrit: पाण्डव, IAST: pāṇḍava) refers to the five brothers, Yudhishthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva, who are the five acknowledged sons of Pandu and central to the epic of Mahabharata. The Pandavas waged a civil war against their extended family consisting of their cousins Kauravas led by Duryodhana and his brothers, as well as their preceptor and gurus Bhishma and Drona respectively. This conflict was known as the Kurukshetra War. The Pandavas eventually won the war with the death of the Kauravas, albeit at great cost as well as breaking contracts.[1]

      The Pandavas were regarded as the sons of the Kuru King Pandu, Kunti and Madri, however were fathered by different deities due to Pandu's inability of naturally conceiving children. Pandu could not conceive children due to a curse placed by a rishi. Sage Kindama cursed Pandu that he would die if he approached and touched either of his wives with the intent of making love because Pandu shot the sage and his wife when they were in the act of making love, thus leading to their death. Therefore, the Pandavas were born using a mantra given to Kunti as a boon by Rishi Dhurvasa. Yudhishthira was sired by Yama, the God of dharma and death, Bhima by Vayu, the god of wind and strength, Arjuna by Indra, the god of lighting and king of deities, while Nakula and Sahadeva were fathered by the divine twins Ashvins. In the past, Kunti had given birth to Karna as her first born child fathered by Surya (Sun God). Kunti conceived Karna before her marriage while testing the validity of the boon, and abandoned Karna due to his being born out of wedlock. This created a further rift during the Kurukshetra War, as Karna would later lead the army of the Kauravas against his half-brothers.

      Due to a decree issued by their uncle Dhritrashtra the Pandavas were driven to a barren land, which they transformed into the magnificent city of Indraprastha. A spiteful Duryodhana invited Yudhishthira to gamble their possessions in a game of dice, which was among the turning points of the epic. Yudhishthira gambled and lost his wealth, kingdom, and possessions due to his gambling, which was also attributed to Shakuni rigging the dice game. Therefore, the Pandavas were sent into exile for thirteen years. After spending twelve years of forest exile, they lived in disguise in the Matsya Kingdom for one year.[2] The Pandavas would amass an army as well as obtain the guidance of Krishna to confront and ultimately defeat the Kauravas. Yudhishthira would then reclaim his status as King of Hastinapur and the Kuru Kingdom. To redeem themselves for their actions during the Kurukshetra War, the Pandavas carried out their final penance by scaling and eventually succumbing in the Himalayas. Yudhishthira, as the sole survivor to reach the summit, witnessed the karmic faiths of all those that passed before him and eventually ascended to the afterlife.[3]


      The word Pandava (Sanskrit: पाण्डवा, IAST: Pāṇḍavā) is derived from their father's name, Pandu (Sanskrit: पाण्डु, IAST: Pāṇḍu) and means "descendants of Pandu". Other epithets given to the Pandavas are:[4]

      • Pāṇḍuputra (Sanskrit: पाण्डुपुत्र) - sons of Pandu
      • Pāṇḍavakumāra (Sanskrit: पाण्डवकुमार) - young Pandavas
      • Kaunteya (Sanskrit: कौन्तेय) - sons of Kunti (Yudhishthira, Bhima, Arjuna).
      • Mādreya (Sanskrit: माद्रेय) - sons of Madri (Nakula and Sahadeva)

      The Pandava

      Draupadi and Pandavas


      Indra blesses with a son

      The story begins with the introduction of the brothers' parents. The primary antagonist of the saga was Duryodhana (the meaning of the name is "unconquerable"), cousin to the Pandavas. He was the eldest of 100 brothers known as the Kauravas, who were born to Dhritarashtra, the king of Hastinapura, and his queen Gandhari, princess of Gandhara.

      The Pandavas were born to Pandu and his wives, Kunti and Madri by the boon given to Kunti by Durvasa, that she could have a son by any god whom she respects without having any marital affair. After Madri's marriage, Pandu voluntarily renounced royal life as penance for having accidentally killed the sage Rishi Kindama and his wife. At his death, Rishi Kindama cursed Pandu that he would surely die if he attempted to have sexual relationships with his wives. Because of this curse, Kunti had to use her boon to get sons. She bore him three sons: Yudhishthira by the god of Dharma, Bhima by Vayu, and Arjuna by Indra. At the request of Pandu, she shared this boon with Madri to get her sons, the twins Nakula and Sahadeva from the divine Ashvini twins.[5]

      After the death of Pandu and Madri, Kunti brought the Pandavas back to Hastinapur. As children, the Pandavas and Kauravas often played together. However, Bhima (2nd of the Pandavas) was always at odds with the Kauravas, particularly with Duryodhana, who refused to accept the Pandavas as his cousins. This usually led to much tension between the cousins. Insecure and jealous, Duryodhana harboured an intense hatred for the five brothers throughout his childhood and youth and following the advice of his maternal uncle Shakuni, often plotted to get rid of them to clear his path to the lordship of the Kuru Dynasty.

      Pandavas journeying with their mother

      This plotting took a grave turn when Dhritarashtra had to relent to the will of the masses and rightfully appointed his nephew Yudhishthira as crown prince. This went against the personal ambitions of both father and son (Dhritarashtra and Duryodhana) and drove Duryodhana into such a rage that he enthusiastically agreed to an evil ploy by Shakuni to murder Yudhishthira. Shakuni commissioned the construction of a palace in Varnavart, secretly built by incorporating flammable materials like oil, ghee etc. into the structure, most notably the lacquer known as lac. This palace was known as Lakshagraha. Duryodhana then successfully lobbied Dhritarashtra to send Yudhishthira to represent the royal household in Varnavarta during the celebrations of Shiva Mahotsava. The plan was to set the palace on fire during the night while Yudhishthira would likely be asleep. Yudhishthira left for Varnavrata, accompanied by his four brothers and their mother Kunti. The plan was discovered by their paternal uncle Vidura, who was very loyal to them and an extraordinarily wise man. In addition, Yudhishthira had been forewarned about this plot by a hermit who came to him and spoke of an imminent disaster. Vidura arranged for a tunnel to be secretly built for the Pandavs to safely escape the palace as it was set afire.

      After their flight from the palace, the five brothers lived in the forests for some time disguised as Brahmins. They heard from a group of travelling sages about a contest (Swayamvara) being held in the Kingdom of Panchala that offered the princess Draupadi's hand in marriage to the winner. The Swayamvara turned out to rely on the skills of archery, and Arjuna, who was a peerless archer, entered the competition and won. When the brothers took Draupadi to introduce her to their mother, they announced to Kunti that they had arrived with excellent alms. Kunti was busy with some work and replied without turning to look at Draupadi (who the alms referred to) ordering the brothers to share the alms equally amongst the five of them. Even when uttered erroneously, their mother's word was supreme for the Pandavas, and they agreed to share the princess, who was subsequently married to all five brothers.

      When Dhritarashtra heard that the five brothers were alive, he invited them back to the kingdom. However, in their absence, Duryodhana had succeeded in being made the crown prince. Upon the return of the Pandavas, the issue of returning Yudhishthira's crown to him was raised. Dhritarashtra led the subsequent discussions into ambiguity and agreed to a partition of the kingdom "to do justice to both crown princes". He retained the developed Hastinapur for himself and Duryodhana and gave the barren, arid and hostile lands of Khandavaprastha to the Pandavas. The Pandavas successfully developed their land and built a great and lavish city, which was considered comparable to the heavens, and thus came to be known as Indraprastha.

      Draupadi is presented in a pachisi game where Yudhishthira has gambled away all his material wealth.

      Reeling under the loss of half the lands of his future kingdom, Duryodhana's jealousy and rage were further fuelled by the Pandavas' success and prosperity. Eventually Shakuni sired yet another plot and got Duryodhana to invite the Pandavas over to his court for a game of dice (gambling). Shakuni was a master at gambling and owned a pair of dice which magically did his bidding. Owing to this, bet after bet, Yudhishthira lost all of his wealth, and eventually his kingdom, in the game. He was then enticed by Duryodhana and Shakuni to place his brothers as bets. Yudhishthira fell for it and put his brothers at stake, losing them too. He then placed himself as a bet and lost again. Duryodhana now played another trick and told Yudhishthira that he still had his wife Draupadi to place as a bet and if Yudhishthira won, he would return everything to the Pandavas. Yudhishthira fell for the ruse and bet Draupadi, losing her too. At this point, Duryodhana ordered that Draupadi, who was now a slave to him, be brought to the court. None of the Pandavas fought for their wife's honour. Duryodhana's younger brother Dushasana dragged Draupadi to the royal court, pulling her by her hair, insulting her dignity and asserting that she, like the Pandava brothers, was now their servant. This caused immense anguish to all the great warriors seated in the court, but each of them, namely, Bhishma (grandsire of the clan), Dronacharya (teacher/guru of Kauravas and Pandavas) and Kripacharya except Vidura remained silent. Duryodhana then ordered Dushasana to disrobe Draupadi before everyone, as a slave girl has no rights. The elders and warriors in the audience were shocked but did not intervene. As Dushasana began to disrobe her, she prayed to Krishna to protect her honour. Krishna, using his divine powers, protected her by providing her garments with an unending length. Dushasana, shocked and tired, gave up on disrobing Draupadi. Finally, as the blind king Dhritarashtra realized that this humiliation could prompt Draupadi to curse his sons, he intervened, apologizing to Draupadi for the behaviour of his sons, and turned the winnings of the dice game back over to the Pandava brothers, releasing them from the bondage of slavery.

      Pandava Caves: According to the historical sources Pandavas stayed here during their exile.[6]

      Incensed at the loss of all that he had won, Duryodhana threatened suicide and coerced his father into inviting the Pandavas for one last round of gambling, the terms of which were that the loser would be condemned to 12 years of exile into forests and a 13th year to be spent incognito, and if the cover is blown during the 13th year, another cycle of 13 years would ensue. Obeying their uncle's orders, the Pandavas played the round and again lost to Shakuni's cheating. However, this time, their patience had been nearly pushed to its edge. During the 12 years of exile in the forest, they prepared for war. Arjuna performed penance and won the entire gamut of celestial weapons (Divyastras) as boons from the Gods. They spent the 13th year masquerading as peasants in the service of the royal family of Virata, the king of Matsya. Upon completion of the terms of the last bet, the Pandavas returned and demanded that their kingdom be rightfully returned to them. Duryodhana refused to yield Indraprastha. For the sake of peace and to avert a disastrous war, Krishna proposed that if Hastinapur agrees to give the Pandavas only five villages named Indraprastha (Delhi), Swarnprastha (Sonipat), Panprastha (Panipat), Vyaghrprastha (Baghpat) and Tilprastha (Tilpat)[7][8] if these five villages given they would be satisfied and would make no more demands.[9] Duryodhana vehemently refused, commenting that he would not part even with land as much as the point of a needle. Thus the stage was set for the great war, for which the epic of Mahabharata is known most of all.

      The war was intense and lasted 18 days, over the course of which both parties worked around, bent and even broke rules of warfare. In the end, all 100 Kaurava brothers and their entire army was slain, with only three surviving on their side. The Pandavas too lost several allies but the five brothers survived. After having won the war, Yudhishthira was crowned the king.[citation needed] At the end of the war, only 10 survived the war on both sides, namely Ashwatthama, Kripacharya and Kritverma on the Kaurava side and the five Pandavas, Krishna and Saatyakee on the Pandava side.

      Yudhishthira and Yama (in form of a dog) ascending to Heaven

      The Pandavas ruled Hastinapur for 36 years and established a righteous kingdom. Shortly after Krishna left the Earth, they all decided that the time had come for them to renounce the world, as the age of Kali Yuga had started.

      So the five Pandavas and Draupadi left to the path of liberation. For this purpose, they all climbed Mount Kailash, which leads to the Swarga Loka. On their way, all except Yudhisthira slipped and died one by one. Yudhisthira was accompanied by a dog who was none other than God Yama himself.

      The first to die was Draupadi; she was imperfect because she loved Arjuna more than her other husbands. Then it was Sahadeva, imperfect because he was overconfident about his knowledge in science. He was followed by Nakula, imperfect because he was over-enthusiastic about his good looks. Then fell Arjuna, imperfect because he was proud of his skills- he challenged Hanuman and Shiva. Next was Bhima, imperfect because he killed his enemies brutally- thus enjoyed their sufferings. Only the eldest Pandava, Yudhisthira, reached the door of Swarga Loka (heaven), carried on Indra's chariot. On reaching Heaven, he did not find either his virtuous brothers or his wife Draupadi. Instead, he finds Duryodhana sitting on a divine throne.[10]

      He wanted an explanation from Yama, the lord of death. Yama explained that the Kauravas had been allowed into heaven because they died as warriors on the battlefield. This earned them so much merit and credit that it wiped out all their debts. Yudhisthira demanded to know where his brothers and his wife were. He was then taken to hell. Yama explained that they were experiencing the reactions of their actions but it was temporary. Once the debt had been repaid, they would join them in Swarga. Yudhisthira loyally met his brothers, but the sight and sound of gore and blood horrified him. Though initially he was tempted to flee, he mastered himself and remained after hearing the voices of his beloved brothers and Draupadi calling out to him, asking him to stay with them in their misery. Yudhisthira decided to remain, ordering the divine charioteer to return. He preferred to live in hell with good people than in the heaven of his enemies. Eventually, this turned out to be another illusion to test him. Yama explained to Yudhishtira that it was all illusion created by Yama himself. It was a punishment to Yudhishtira to feel sad and soak tears on seeing his beloved ones being punished. It was because Drona felt sad on hearing fake news that his son was dead. Yudhishtira told the message incompletely due to which Drona felt sad and cried in grief. Because of this, Yudhishtira had to feel sad in a similar manner. Hence Yama created this illusion. In reality, Pandavas and Draupadi reached heaven just after their deaths. Yama explained everything and Yudhishtira reached heaven with his mortal body.Pandavas were the incarnation of previous Indra's.[11] After the Duration, the lifespan of Indra, is completed Krishna assures Pandavas of offering them Moksha for their Devotion and purity.

      Krishna's help to Pandavas

      Five Pandavas in Wayang form. From left to right: Bhima, Arjuna, Yudhishthira, Nakula and Sahadeva. Indonesia Museum, Jakarta.

      Krishna, being a well-wisher of the Pandavas, helped them in various ways during the time of their ordeals. When the Kurukshetra war was going to be held, both Arjuna on behalf of the Pandavas, and Duryodhan on behalf of the Kauravas, went to Krishna to seek help. Duryodhan reached first and Arjuna was just behind him. They entered Krishna's room and found him sleeping. Duryodhan sat on a raised chair near Krishna's head and Arjuna sat near Krishna's feet closing his hands. When Krishna woke up, he saw Arjuna first and asked him about the purpose of his visit. Then he found Duryodhan sitting next to him, and asked him the same question. Krishna was then told that war was going to be held and Arjuna and Duryodhan had come to him seeking his military help. To this Krishna replied that he had seen Arjuna first and so he would give him priority, and asked what he needed. He gave Arjuna two options - either his one lakh fit and healthy army or Krishna himself who shall not fight in the war. To this Arjuna immediately opted for Krishna for his help and thus Duryodhan was given Krishna's one lakh army. Duryodhan was very satisfied to have received a huge army. [citation needed]

      Parents of Pandavas

      The first three of the Pandavas were the sons of Kunti (a Yadu descend) and Pandu's first wife. The younger two were the sons of Madri, Pandu's second wife. Since Pandu had been cursed to die if ever he had intercourse with a woman, the actual fatherhood of the children is traditionally attributed to various gods, in virtue of a boon that Kunti had received from the sage Durvasa and had transferred to Madri.[12] Thus-

      • Yudhishthira - son of Yama, the god of death
      • Bhima - son of Vayu, the god of wind
      • Arjuna - son of Indra, the god of rain and war
      • Nakula - son of Ashwini Kumara Nasatya (god of health)
      • Sahadeva - son of Ashwini Kumara Darsa (god of medicines)
      Pandu shoots Kindama, who is disguised as a deer

      Description by Draupadi of Pandavas

      Portrait of Draupadi and the Pandavas in the Mayasabha Palace

      The Pandava brothers were collectively married to Draupadi. On one occasion, Draupadi was kidnapped and abducted from a hermitage in the forest by the wicked king Jayadratha. When her husbands learned of the crime, they came in hot pursuit. Seeing them approach, Jayadratha asked Draupadi to describe them. Angrily, Draupadi told the king his time was up and that the knowledge would do him no good. She then proceeded to give the description. (Mahabharat, Book III: Varna Parva, Section 268.)[13]

      • According to Draupadi, Yudhishthira possessed a "complexion like that of pure gold, possessed of a prominent nose and large eyes and endued with a slender make." Master of the spear. He was just, had a correct sense of morality and was merciful to surrendering foes. Draupadi counselled Jayadratha to run to Yudhishthira and to beg for forgiveness.
      • Draupadi described Bhima as tall and long-armed. In a display of ferocity, he was "biting his lips and contracting his forehead so as to bring the two eyebrows together." The master of the mace, his superhuman feats had earned him great renown. "They that offend him are never suffered to live. He never forgets a foe. On some pretext or other, he wreaks his vengeance."
      • Arjuna she praised as the greatest of archers, intelligent, second to none "with senses under complete control." Neither lust nor fear nor anger could make him forsake virtue. Though capable of withstanding any foe, he would never commit an act of cruelty.
      • Nakula, said Draupadi, was "the most handsome person in the whole world." An accomplished master swordsman, he was also "versed in every question of morality and profit" and "endued with high wisdom." He was unflinchingly devoted to his brothers, who in turn regarded him as more valuable than their own lives. The name Nakula generally means full of love and the male characteristics implied by the name are Intelligence, Focus, Hard-Work, Handsomeness, Health, Attractiveness, Success, Popularity, Respect and unconditional Love.
      • Finally, Sahadeva was the youngest of the brothers and like the others formidable in war and observant of morality. Master of the swords "Heroic, intelligent, wise and ever wrathful, there is not another man equal unto him in intelligence or in eloquence amid assemblies of the wise.[13]

      In arts

      Harivamsa Purana (8th century CE) narrates the Jain version of their story.[14] In the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, there has been a long tradition of villagers performing the Pandav Lila, a ritual re-enactment of episodes from the Mahabharata through singing, dancing and recitation. In the performance, the actors spontaneously break into a dance when, it is believed, they become "possessed" by the spirits of their characters.[15]

      See also


      1. F4mr98Rl20wC.
      2. Devaleena Das; Colette Morrow (2018). Unveiling Desire: Fallen Women in Literature, Culture, and Films of the East. Rutgers University Press. p. 155. ISBN 978-0-8135-8786-8.
      3. "The Mahabharata, Book 1: Adi Parva: Sambhava Parva: Section CXXII".
      4. Bonnefoy, Yves. Asian Mythologies. translated under the direction of Wendy Doniger. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press. 1993. pp. 180-183. ISBN 0-226-06456-5
      5. "The five Pandavas and the story of their birth". aumamen.com. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
      6. "These places in India have distinct Mahabharata, Ramayana connections". cnbctv18.com. 22 January 2020. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
      7. "Geeta Jayanti 2019 Pandavas had asked these five villages from Kauravas Know about these". Nai Dunia. 5 December 2019. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
      8. Jain, Ashok Kumar (1994). The cities of Delhi. Management Pub. Co. ISBN 978-81-86034-00-2.
      9. Journal of Indian History. Department of Modern Indian History. 1964.
      10. Kalra Kirti (8 August 2016). "पांडव जब जा रहे थे स्वर्ग की ओर – तब पांडवों के साथ क्या क्या हुआ? जानें 10 रहस्यमयी बातें". newstrend.news (in Hindi). Newstrend. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
      11. "according to Mahabharata all five Pandavas were previous Indras". The Hindu. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
      12. Vyas, Ved. Mahabharat. c.4000-826 BCE .
      13. 1 2 "The Sampradaya Sun - Independent Vaisnava News - Editorials - The Mahabharata - Book 3, Vana Parva - Draupadi-harana Parva". www.harekrsna.com. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
      14. Upinder Singh 2016, p. 26.
      15. Sax, William Sturman (2002). Dancing the Self: Personhood and Performance in the Pāṇḍava Līlā of Garhwal. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195139150.


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