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Pandu (right) with his wife Kunti
|Children||Yudhishthira, Bhima , Arjuna, Nakul and Sahadeva|
In the Mahabharata epic, Pandu (Sanskrit: पाण्डु Pāṇḍu, lit. yellowish, whitish, pale ), was the king of Hastinapur, the son of Ambalika and Vyasa. He is more popularly known as the earthly father of the Pandavas, who were called so after him. He was said to be responsible and a great warrior, who expanded his kingdom during his rule.
With Vichitravirya having died of sickness, Bhishma unable to take the throne because of his vow, and Bahlika's line unwilling to leave Bahlika Kingdom, there was a succession crisis in Hastinapur. Satyavati then invited her son Vyasa to impregnate the queens Ambika and Ambalika under the Niyoga practice. When Vyasa approached Ambalika, she got frightened due to his scary appearance, she had become pale in disgust; hence, her son was born pale. Thus Pandu's name.
Kingdom and marriages
Pandu was taught in the fields of archery, politics, administration and religion by Bhisma. He was an excellent archer and Maharathi (warrior). He became the successor to his kingdom and was crowned King of the Kuru Kingdom. He was married to Kunti, the adoptive daughter of Kuntibhoja and the daughter of Shurasena (Father of Vasudeva and grandfather of the Hindu god Krishna). Pandu later conquered the territories of the Sindhu Kingdom, Kashi, Anga, Trigarta Kingdom, Kalinga, Magadha, etc., and thus re-established their supremacy over all the kings and increased the span of his empire. He was then married to Madri, the princess of Madra during this military campaign.
While hunting in a forest, (looking from a distance, his vision partially obscured by plants and trees), Pandu saw a couple of deer in the process of coitus, and shot arrows at them; only to find out that it was Rishi Kindama and his wife who were making love in the form of deer. The dying sage placed a curse on Pandu, since he had not only killed them in the midst of lovemaking, but was not remorseful for his action. King Pandu argued with sage Kindama by misquoting sage Agastya's ruling on the right of Kshatriyas' on hunting. Sage Kindama then cursed Pandu, the curse being that were he to approach his wives 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. It was during this time that his five children were born.
One day, Pandu forgot about this curse and suddenly embraced Madri. At the same time, his curse fulfilled and he died. His dead body was cremated in the forest itself. Madri committed suicide in his funeral pyre through a custom called Sati.