Pandu

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Pandu with wife Kunti

In the Mahabharata epic, Pandu (Sanskrit: पाण्‍डु Pāṇḍu) is the son of Ambalika and Rishi Veda Vyasa. He is more popularly known as the earthly father of the Pandavas and ruled Hastinapur.

Birth[edit]

After Vichitravirya's death his mother Satyavati sent for her first born, Rishi Veda Vyasa. According to his mother's wishes, he visited both the wives of Vichitravirya to grant them a son. Ambalika was instructed by Satyavati to keep her eyes open lest she would bear a blind son like Ambika's (Dhritarashtra). She did keep her eyes open but she became pale after seeing the formidable form of the Sage. Therefore, Pandu was born pale.

Kingdom, curse and life[edit]

Pandu was an excellent archer. He became the successor to his kingdom and was coronated Emperor of Hastinapur. Pandu later conquered the territories of Dasarnas, Kashi, Anga, Vanga, Kalinga, Magadha, etc and thus re-established their superiority over all the kings and increasing his empire.[1]

Pandu married Madri, daughter of the King of Madra, and Kunti, daughter of King Kuntibhoja of Vrishni. While hunting in a forest, (looking from a long distance, his vision partially obscured by plants and trees) Pandu mistook Rishi Kindama and his wife for deer and shot arrows at them, killing the conjugal couple. The dying sage placed a curse on Pandu. Since he had killed them in the midst of lovemaking, the curse was that were he to approach a woman with the intent of making love, he would die. Upset and seeking to repent his action, Pandu renounced his kingdom and lived as an ascetic with his wives.[2]

Pandu shoots Kindama, who is disguised as a deer
Prince Pandu, in Wayang form

Childless at the time, Maharaja Pandu left his kingdom in the command of his elder brother, the blind Dhritrashtra, who was then crowned as king of Hastinapura. When Pandu expressed to Kunti his despair at the prospect of dying childless, Kunti used the boons given to her by Sage Durvasa to bear three sons—Yudhishtira (by Lord Dharma), Bhima (by Lord Vayu), and Arjuna (by Lord Indra). Kunti also shared her boons with Madri, who bore Nakula and Sahadeva, twins from the physicians to the gods, the Ashwini Kumara twins. Thus the five Pandavas of Pandu were born.

Death[edit]

After 15 years of celibacy, when Kunti and his sons were away, Pandu suddenly became strongly attracted to his wife Madri. Due to the aforementioned curse, he died after attempting to be intimate with her. Madri, out of repentance and grief, committed sati, burning herself alive on her husband's funeral pyre.

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Menon, [translated by] Ramesh (2006). The Mahabharata : a modern rendering. New York: iUniverse, Inc. ISBN 9780595401871. 
  2. ^ Ramankutty, P.V. (1999). Curse as a motif in the Mahābhārata (1. ed. ed.). Delhi: Nag Publishers. ISBN 9788170814320. 

See also[edit]