Kunti, the first wife of King Pandu of Hastinapur, was blessed with a special boon. The boon gave her powers to invoke any God of her choice and the God invoked would bless Kunti with a son. Kunti used the boon four times. Before her marriage to King Pandu of Hastinapur, she invoked the Sun god and bore Karn. Fearing questions from people about the birth of the child, she abandoned Karn. After her marriage to Pandu, she invoked Yama (God of Death and righteousness), Vayu (God of Wind) and Indra (God of Sky and the ruler of heaven) and bore Yudhisthir, Bheem and Arjun respectively. The sons of Kunti were the finest warriors of the Mahabharat. Each of them had their share of testing times and they all came out as winners. Their stories have inspiration for us. Here’s from Yudhisthir:
Yudhisthir – Considered the eldest son of Kunti till the time Karn’s true identity was revealed to the world, Yudhisthir was popular for this honesty, righteousness and sound sense of justice. The eldest of the Pandav siblings lost his kingdom and dignity in gamble and was forced into exile as a result, along with his brothers. Wandering forests in scorching heat, the youngest of the Pandav siblings – Sahadev walked to a lake to fetch water. The lake was guarded by a demigod, who warned Sahadev of dire consequences if the water was touched before some questions were answered correctly. Sahadev, usually gentle and mannerly, ignored the warning and drank of the lake. The warning wasn’t a mere hoax and Sahadev died instantly. Not sighting their youngest brother for a long time, one by one each of the Pandav siblings came to the lake. Nakul, Bheem and Arjun too ignored the warning and died on drinking of the lake. Yudhisthir reached the spot and found his brothers dead. The demigod explained the cause of the deaths and warned Yudhisthir too. Being calm in difficult situations came naturally to Yudhisthir who volunteered to answer the questions. The demigod shot one question after another covering philosophy, justice, righteousness and religion. The learned Yudhisthir answered each question to the demigod’s satisfaction. Impressed, the demigod blessed Yudhisthir with a boon. Yudhisthir could now choose one of his brothers to be brought back to life. Without much deliberation, Yudhisthir chose Nakul. Surprised, the demigod questioned Yudhisthir’s choice of Nakul over the powerful Bheem and Arjun. Yudhisthir stated that his father – late King Pandu of Hastinapur had five sons from two wives Queen Kunti and the late Queen Madri. Yudhisthir reasoned that he himself, Kunti’s eldest son, was alive. It would now be fair if Nakul, Madri’s eldest son, too lived. Impressed yet again by Yudhisthir’s sense of justice which prevailed over everything else, the demigod appeared in his actual form. The demigod was none other than Yama, Yudhisthir’s godfather. All that had transpired was nothing but a test which Yudhisthir had successfully passed. Yama granted life to all Pandav siblings who then continued their journey into exile. Given the choice to bring only one brother back to life, Yudhisthir’s fine judgement and poise ensured all his brothers lived!
Read Part 1 – Inspiration from Karn here: The Sons of Kunti & Their Inspirational Stories – Part 1 of 4
Read Part 3 – Inspiration from Bheem here: The Sons of Kunti & Their Inspirational Stories – Part 3 of 4