In the previous episode, we had witnessed the birth of Dhirdiraashtra and Paandu to Ambika and Ambaalika respectively. This is a landmark event in the Mahabharata text and we’ve also witnessed why Dhiridraashtra was blind by birth and why Paandu had fits right from day one. Since Ambika closed her eyes upon seeing the shabby appearance of Sage Veda-Vyaasa, the child that was born to her became blind! Also since Ambaalika started shivering with fear upon seeing Sage Veda-Vyaasa, the child that was born to her also was shivering and trembling right from day one of its birth. Thus, Ambika delivered the blind Dhidiraashtra and Ambaalika delivered the shivering Paandu. As this happened, Satyavati was once again concerned – How can a king be handicapped like this? How will a handicapped king take on the enemy and defeat him? How will a handicapped king be able to protect the kingdom and rule it effectively? She once again ran to Sage Vyaasa for a solution. As Sage Vyaasa listened to his mother, although initially he expressed his inability to intervene anymore in this, he accepted to do something upon constant persuasion from Satyavati.
Accordingly, Sage Vyaasa instructed Satyavati to send Ambika again to him that night. However, Ambika wasn’t ready to go to Sage Vyaasa for one more time. Hence, she called one of her helpers, asked her to dress like Ambika and go to Sage Vyaasa that night. The helper too obeyed Ambika’s words. She dressed up exactly like Ambika and went in front of Sage Vyaasa. However, unlike Ambika, this helper woman was extremely righteous in nature. She took this as an opportunity to worship Sage Vyaasa and obtain his divine “Anugraha”. This woman knew the might and power of Sage Vyaasa, and with this, she went wholeheartedly near him. As this woman approaches Sage Vyaasa, he extended his “Anugraha” on this woman completely and the son born to this woman was none other than Vidura. Vidura, as we might know, was an embodiment of “Dharma” (Righteousnesss) and he had extreme thought clarity in whatever he did. In the later part of the Mahabharata text, we’re going to witness how Vidura played a key role in nurturing the Paandava brothers and how he protected them from the wrath of their enemies.
Thus coming back to this context, three children were born – Dhiridraashtra, Paandu and Vidura. We can see here that all these three children were born out of the divine “Anugraha” of Sage Veda-Vyaasa. As months and years progressed by, the three children grew up into young boys. As the time came for taking up the responsibilities of the kingdom, Dhirdiraashtra, although being the eldest son, could not be crowned as the king because he was blind. Because of this, the next alternative was Paandu. Vidura was out of the race here because people knew that he was born to the helper of Ambika. Thus, Paandu was unanimously chosen to be the successor of King Vichitraveerya. Thus, Paandu was coronated as the king of Hastinapura with a grand ceremony. It should be remembered that the kingdom was without a king for almost a decade or more, primarily because King Vichitraveerya died very early. At the time of his death, there was no son (successor) for the kingdom and all these events with Sage Vyaasa happened only after the death of King Vichitraveerya. Thus, Paandu took over the kingdom many years after King Vichitraveerya’s demise. Readers should be very clear with this point here.
Now that King Paandu is ruling Hastinapura, he was an efficient king and ruled the kingdom with all aspects of “Dharma”. Bhishmaachaarya was also ably assisting King Paandu in all the administrative affairs of the kingdom. As days go by, Bhishmaachaarya wanted to get Paandu and Dhirdiraashtra married, as they had come to that age. Meanwhile, Satyavati too attained the Svarga Lokha and her episode came to an end. Now the responsibility again fell on the hands of Bhishmaachaarya to get all these three children married. On one hand, there was a king by name “Kunthi-Bhojana” and he had a daughter by name “Kunthi”. Now who was this Kunthi? Actually, Kunthi was not born to King Kunthi-Bhojana. There was someone by name Shurasena and he had a son by name Vasudeva. All of us know who Vasudeva is – The father of Bhagawn Krishna! Vasudeva had a sister by name “Prutha”. Thus, Prutha was born to Shurasena and was the sister of Vasudeva. However, when Prutha was born, she was “donated” away to King Kunthi-Bhojana as he did not have children in his kingdom. This King Kunthi-Bhojan was a close friend of Vasudeva. Now since Prutha was brought up by King Kunthi-Bhojana in the “Kunthi Desha”, she came to be known as “Kunthi Devi”.
This might be a bit confusing here. Readers should understand this very clearly – Bhagawan Krishna’s father was Vasudeva. Vasudeva’s sister was Prutha. Prutha was donated to King Kunthi-Bhojana and thus she is known as Kunthi-Devi. The sons born to Kunthi Devi were none other than the Paandava brothers. Thus, we can see here that the Paandavas and Bhagawan Krishna were cousin brothers to each other. Thus, coming back to this context again, Bhishmaachaarya understood that this Kunthi would be an apt bride for King Paandu and finalized his decision thus.
So for today, let us understand up to this point, and in the next episode we shall witness who was the apt bride for Dhirdiraashtra and the bride’s background. A very interesting accord awaits us! Stay tuned! 🙂