Adi Parva – 2

Continued from Adi Parva-1

Bheeshma flatly refuses to break his vow but suggests that the principle of Niyoga can be used to produce an heir. He suggests that a Brahmana well versed in the scriptures can impregnate the queens and make them pregnant.

Satyavati then reveals that she has a son by the sage Parashara before marriage. The son was named Krishna Dwaipayana, since he was dark (Krishna) and born on an island (Dweepa). He grew up to compile the Vedas and was known as Vyasa, the arranger.

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Satyavati summons Vyasa

Satyavati summons Vyasa and asks him to impregnate the queen Ambika. Seeing his dark and ugly appearance, Ambika closes her eyes and as a result she gives birth to a blind son, named Dhritarasthra.

Satyavati then asks Vyasa to undergo Niyoga with the younger queen Ambalika. She turns pale in fear on seeing the sage and her son is born with the Pandu (paleness) disease and is named Pandu.

Satyavati then asks Vyasa to agree to Niyoga again with Ambika. In fear of the sage, Ambika sends her servant maid instead of her. The maid has a wise son named Vidura who would grow up to be the Prime Minister of the kingdom.

Since Dhritarashtra is born blind, Pandu is made the king. After he grows up, he conquers several kingdoms and establishes his might. Bheeshma arranges the marriage of Dhritarashtra with Gandhari, the princess of Gandhara. Seeing her blind husband, she ties a cloth around her eyes and decides to remain blind throughout her life.

Pandu is married to Kunti, the daughter of the Yadava Shoorasena, who is also the foster daughter of King Kuntibhoja. Pandu is also married to Madri, the sister of King Shalya of Madra.

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Pandu marries Kunti

One day when hunting, Pandu kills a sage accidentally. The sage who was in a union with his wife curses Pandu that he would die if he attempts to mate with his wives. A shocked Pandu gives up his kingdom and leaves to the forest with his two wives.

Dhritarashtra then becomes the king. Gandhari becomes pregnant but fails to deliver a child even after many months.

Meanwhile Kunti reveals to Yudhishtira then she has a boon from the sage Durvasa who she had served. As per the boon, she could summon any of the Gods and get a child from the God. Pandu then asks her to summon Dharma or Yama, the God of justice and death. She then has a son named Yudhishtira who would inherit the righteous quality of his divine father.

Hearing this news, Dhritarashtra is frustrated that he does not have a son. An upset Gandhari strikes her womb and delivers a stillborn child. The sage Vyasa then divides the foetus into hundred and one parts and places them into pots of ghee. He says the pots would nourish the fetuses just like wombs.

When the pots are opened, there are hundred sons and a daughter born to Gandhari. When the eldest son is born, there are bad omens like braying of donkeys and howling of jackals. Hearing these omens, Vidura advises Dhritharashtra to abandon his son but he refuses.

…. Adi Parva – 3

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