King Kuntibhoja of Vrish is elan, had no children of his own so he adopted a daughter of his brother as her own. The daughter was named Kunti. She was a girl of very pleasant manner and good qualities. Once Sage Durvasa, who was a great rishi, but feared by all, due to his terrible temper, paid a visit to King Kuntibhoja. Durvasa was very much pleased by the devotion of the girl Kunti. While parting, he gave her a boon. He taught her an incantation by reciting it she could invoke any god to visit her.
As she was very young and full of curiosity, once while watching the sunrays falling on the river flowing near her palace, she recited the incantation, just out of curiosity, without realizing its significance. Lord Sun was standing before her bewildered eyes. When she was told the meaning of incantation she was very frightened and begged Lord Sun to excuse her childish impetuousness. Lord Sun said the incantation given by Durvasa was infallible. He took her and having pity on the young Kunti he said that after the birth of the Son her virgin state would be restored and she would be free from any sin. In due course a son was born. The child was of extra-ordinary spendour and he was born with a ‘Kavacha’ and ‘Kundala’. Kunti wrapped the child in a piece of silk and putting him in a wooden basket set him a float in the Ganga. She could never forget the shinning child with divine Kavacha and Kundala.
CURSE OF PANDU
After a lapse of several years. Kunti grew up into a pretty woman and chose Pandu as her husband in Swayamvar. Bhishma organised the marriage of Dhritarastra and Pandu.Dhristarastra with Gandhari and Pandu with Madri and Kunti lived in peace and joy for some years. Pandu being a great warrior conquered the territories of Dasarnas, Kashi, Anga, Vango, Kalinga etc. He also subdued Magadha. Under Pandu the kurus re-established their superiority over all the kings.
After this campaign, Pandu and the two queens went to a forest for enjoyment and relaxation. Pandu was a great hunter. Living in the forest during the Vasanta when all the flowers were blazing forth into their blooms and the air was redolent with their fragrances. Pandu spent many happy days there with his wives in the heaven like environs of the Himalayan slopes.
In that forest lived a pious Rishi couple very much devoted to each other. As the rishi wanted to enjoy the conjugal pleasures without restraints and it was only permitted to the animals, not to man, he and his wife were living as a couple of deer. Once while mating they were seen by Pandu, who shot them with an arrow. The rishi and his wife, mortally wounded by the arrow, transformed into their true forms. He addressed Pandu, "Being from the line of the kings of the linear race, how could you forget the basic rules of Dharma?" It is forbidden by the Shastras to kill any animal while he is mating. This sinful action of yours will cost you your life. Whenever you approach your wife, filled with love, you shall die.” The rishi couple died before Pandu would plead with them. Worried, he returned to his Ashrama. He told his wives about the terrible curse and his resolve to stay back in the forest. He lost all interest ,and did not wish to return to his kingdom. Hastinapura, he sent back all his attendants and servants to Hastinapura, the wives stayed back, with him discarding all their silk, fineries and jewelleries.
THE BIRTH OF PANDAVAS AND KAURAVAS
Pandu spent many years living in the forest, like a hermit, with his wives. He had lost all desires and had abandoned all hopes. Gradually, a worrisome thought started growing in him. He had no sons and it is written in the scriptures that one who has no sons goes to hell. He told his wives about this thought which had been constantly worrying him. He requested his wives to conceive through some rishi. So that heirs could be born to them. He could not have taken his wives due to the curse of the rishi.
Then, Kunti told the king about the boon of Duravasa by which she could invoke any God to visit her. The king was immensely pleased. He decided that Lord of Dharma be invoked as his son would indeed, be a worthy son. Kunti invoked the Lord of Dharma and a son was born in due course. The child was named Yudhisthira. He was an image of Lord of Dharma himself in his behaviour and demeanor. Pandu was very happy and after a year he wanted Kunti to bear another son. This time Vayu the most powerful, among the devas, was invoked. When this son of Vayu was born he was named Bhimasena. Heavens proclaimed that he would be the most powerful and the most affectionate on the earth.
Pandu, now having two sons was not yet satisfied. He wanted another son. These time the lord of Gods, Indradeva, himself was invoked. It is said that the son born of Indra would be a great hero and very righteous. The child was named Arjuna. Pandu became even more avaricious and wanted more sons but Kunti refuse this time and said that, updharma a desperate remedy is allowed only three times. If done any more times, dharma is destroyed, Then the king asked Kunti to teach the incantation to Madri who did not have any children. Kunti taught the incantation to Madri. She invoked Ashwini Kumar twins, the physicians to the gods. She was blessed with twins, Nakula and Sahdeva. These sons were extremely handsome. They were proclaimed by the heavens to be brave and wise too.
On the day Bhima was born, Gandhari, wife of Dhritarastra also gave birth to a son, who was named Duryodhana. Ninety-nine more sons were born to Gandhari and one daughter too. At the birth of Duryodhana king Dhritarastra, consulted Vidura about the omens. Vidura said that the first born son of Dhritairastra would bring havoc on earth and would also cause the annihilation of the Kuru clan. Being the first son the king ignored these dire warnings.