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 Bheem:
Bheem – This son of Kunti was different. Strong and well-built since childhood, he relied more on his physical strength than anything else. While the other Pandav siblings were orderly, disciplined and obedient, Bheem had his own ways. He was impulsive and instinctive. He lived to eat and his appetite equalled to that of all his brothers put together. Bheem would bully and thrash all Kaurav cousins and mock them for none could stand his blows. This became a regular feature during their play time. Duryodhan, the eldest of the Kauravs and Bheem’s bête noire couldn’t stand this. With guidance from his uncle Shakuni, Duryodhan decided to end the menace called Bheem once and for all. He decided to invite Bheem for a feast by the river side. Coming from Duryodhan, the invitation surprised Bheem. But the gastronome that he was, he happily accepted the invitation. His love for food was such that he also decided to go all alone, for he didn’t want the other Pandav siblings to reduce his share of the feast. Duryodhan served generous portions of pudding and Bheem didn’t disappoint his host. He licked bowls after bowls clean before letting out a hearty burp. Soon, Bheem felt tizzy and thought it’s the effect of the sumptuous feast he’s just had. Duryodhan had poisoned the pudding Bheem ate copiously and was overjoyed when he saw Bheem lay unconscious. Duryodhan and his brothers immediately carried Bheem to the river bank and rolled him into the running water. Happy their ploy was successful, they headed back to the palace. Bheem’s body flowed into the kingdom of snakes on the river bed. Seeing an alien body in their waters, guarding snakes bit into Bheem’s flesh. The poison from the snakes acted as an antidote and Bheem came back to life. Surrounded by snakes, Bheem’s natural instinct took over and he starting thrashing them. Soon there was panic among the snakes guarding their kingdom as Bheem turned out to be too much for them to handle. Bheem wreaked havoc and reinforcements were called. When finally overpowered, Bheem was taken to the court of Vasuki – the King of snakes. Surprised with all that had just happened at the hands of a mere boy, Vasuki asked Bheem to introduce himself. On hearing Bheem, Vasuki was overjoyed. The boy who seem to be a threatening enemy turned out to be a long lost kin. Vasuki was Kunti’s granduncle and hence Bheem’s maternal grandfather. Impressed by Bheem’s strength and courage, Vasuki offered him a potion that contained the strength of a thousand elephants. Hungry after all the exertion, Bheem gulped ten portions of that. Vasuki then had Bheem escorted back to the palace, much to the joy of Kunti. Bheem narrated the incidents that took place in the kingdom of snakes and bragged about his strength – now equalling that of ten thousand elephants. Duryodhan stood listening, aghast. Under unusual and difficult situations, Bheem followed his natural instinct and ended up being more powerful than before!
Read Part 1 – Inspiration from Karn here: The Sons of Kunti & Their Inspirational Stories: Part 1 of 4 – Karn and his art of giving
Read Part 2 – Inspiration from Yudhisthir here: The Sons of Kunti & Their Inspirational Stories: Part 2 of 4 – Yudhisthir and his fine judgement
Read Part 4 – Inspiration from Arjun here: The Sons of Kunti & Their Inspirational Stories: Part 4 of 4 – Arjun choosing quality over quantity