Sunday, March 13, 2016

17. The Birth of Bhima and Arjuna

After Yudhishtira was born, Pandu asked Kunti to seek a son with great strength since a Kshatriya was expected to be a man of great strength. Kunti invoked Vayu and sought a son through him, who would be endowed with great strength, large limbs and the capability to humble the pride of everyone. Vayu gave her Bhima. When Bhima was born, a voice from the skies said, "This child shall be the foremost of all those endowed with strength."

Once when the child Bhima was sleeping in his mother's lap, Kunti, frightened by a tiger, got up suddenly, momentarily becoming unconscious of the child lying in her lap. The child fell on the rocky surface on which her mother was sitting. The rock was broken into fragments by the impact of Bhima's fall. Pandu was amazed at this sight.

As mentioned earlier, Duryodhana was born on the same day as Bhima was born.

After Bhima was born, Pandu began to think of getting a son who would achieve world-wide fame. Since Indra, the chief of the celestials was considered  to be endowed with immense strength and prowess and boundless energy, Pandu wanted to have a son through Indra. He felt that that son would possess superior skills and capabilities that would enable him vanquish all other men and other creatures.

After taking the advice of some sages, Pandu asked Kunti to observe an auspicious vow for the next one year with the objective of pleasing Indra. He himself practiced severe austerities by standing on one leg from morning to evening and meditating upon the Lord.

After a long time, Indra, gratified by the devotion shown by Pandu and Kunti appeared before Pandu and said, "I will give you a son who will be celebrated over all the three worlds and who will promote the welfare of virtuous people and destroy the wicked. He will be foremost among all men and will destroy all his foes."

Elated by Indra's words, Pandu conveyed his message to Kunti and asked her to invoke Indra.

Arjuna was born as a result of Kunti's union with Indra. Immediately after he was born, a celestial voice  pronounced that the child would be equal to Kartavirya in energy and Siva in prowess and invincible like Indra himself and that he would achieve great fame.

Kunti was excited to hear these words. The ascetics doing penance in the mountains and the celestials also heard these words. There were shouts of joy and celebrations all around. The sages began to utter propitiatory hymns.

Pandu wanted to have more children and broached the subject to Kunti. But Kunti declined his proposal saying that  she won't have intercourse with a fourth person.

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