Monday, August 31, 2015

15. Pandu

Kuntibhoja arranged for a Swayamvara for his daughter and invited all eligible monarchs and princes. During the Swayamvra, Kunti chose the Kuru prince Pandu and garlanded him. Kuntibhoja  got  the marriage between Kunti and Pandu performed in the traditional way and sent the couple off to the Kuru kingdom after presenting his son in law with a lot of wealth.  After returning to his capital, Pandu installed Kunti  as the queen.

After sometime, Bhishma wanted to get Pandu married to a second wife.  He went to meet Salya, the King of Madra taking along with him several sages, Brahmins and other councilors. He was received by the King of Madra  in an appropriate way. After extending his hospitality to Bhishma and his entourage, King Salya politely asked Bhishma of the purpose of his visit.  Bhishma said, “I have come here to seek your beautiful sister Madri for Pandu. You are worthy of an alliance with us and we too are worthy of an alliance with you.”

King Salya said, “There is no one other than a member of your family with whom I can enter into an alliance. But there is a custom in our family which I can’t violate.”

Bhishma was aware of the custom referred to by Salya. He said, “I respect your family custom and I will comply with it.” He then offered to Salya a lot of gold, precious stones, ornaments, clothes, elephants, horses and chariots as gift. Accepting these gifts, Salya gave away his sister. Bhishma returned to the capital of the Kuru kingdom, taking Madri along with him.

Pandu was married to Madri on an auspicious day.

Pandu lived happily in the company of his two wives for about a month. After thirty days, he left the palace for conquering the world,  taking leave of his wives, Bhisma, Dritharashtra and other elders. When his entourage comprising an army of soldiers, elephants, horses and chariots left the capital, it received an enthusiastic ovation from the people.

Pandu first subjugated the robber tribes of Asrana. He then attacked the kingdom of Mabhadha. He killed the King of Maghadha and defeated  his army. He then vanquished the kingdoms of Mithila, Kasi, Sumbha and Pundra. All the kings vanquished by Pandu along with their forces were made vassals of the Kurus.  All the kings regarded Pandu as one single hero on earth just as the Celestials regarded their chief Indra.  On hearing of Pandu’s victories, people of Kuru kingdom exclaimed “The glory of the achievements of Santanu,  and of the wise Bharata, which was about to die, has been revived by Pandu”

When  Pandu returned to Hastinapura, he was given a rousing reception by the  citizens with Bhishma leading them. Everyone was astounded by the quantum of wealth brought by Pandu, carrying it on the elephants, horses , chariots, camels etc. and the  long line of elephants, horses and other animals that was following the victorious Pandu.

Pandu fell on the feet of Bhishma and offered his respects. He also saluted the citizens who greeted him.

At the command of Dhritarashtra, Pandu  offered the bulk of the wealth he had acquired to Bhishma, their grand-mother Satyavati and their mothers.  He also distributed  some of the wealth to Vidura and his other relatives. Using the wealth brought in by Pandu, Dritharashtra performed five great sacrifices which were equal to hundred great Aswameta Yagas (horse-sacrifices,) during which he offered a lot of wealth to the Brahmins.

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