Adi Parva - 3
Meanwhile Pandu who wanted a powerful son asked Kunti to summon Vayu, the God of the Wind. The son born was named Bheema. He was so strong that as a baby he fell down from Kunti’s arms and the rock on which he fell shattered.
Pandu then sought a third son who would bring glory and asked Kunti to summon Indra, the king of the celestials. The son born was named Arjuna and his birth was celebrated by all the Gods and sages.
Pandu’s second wife Madri was upset that she did not have children. Pandu requested Kunti to give her boon to Madri. She agreed and Madri summoned the Ashwini twins and had two twin children by them. They were named Nakula and Sahadeva.
The fact that he had five sons born from the celestials made Pandu happy. On one pleasant day, he saw Madri looking beautiful and decided to have a union with her. Alas! The sage’s curse came true and Pandu fell dead.
After performing the funeral of Pandu, Kunti and the five children went to Hastinapura. Madri chose to enter the funeral pyre with Pandu. Bheeshma welcomed Kunti and her children.
The sons of Dhritarashtra were disturbed by the arrival of the Pandavas. Duryodhana, the eldest son was worried that Yudhishtira would take away his right to the throne. Clashes between the two cousins erupted frequently. Bheema was rough at play and used his brute strength to dominate the Kauravas, injuring them in the process.
A furious Duryodhana then decided to poison Bheema. Bheema’s strength ensured that he survived. Bheeshma then got the sons of Dhritarashtra and the sons of Pandu trained in warfare and the scriptures. Their teacher was Kripa, whose sister was married to Drona, the son of the great sage Bharadwaja.
After his father’s death, Drona had no money. He deeply loved his son Ashwatthama and was distressed that he could not take care of his son well. He reached out to his school friend Drupada, the king of Panchala for help. But Drupada humiliated him saying there can be no friendship between a Brahmana and a king.
Drona then managed to get celestial weapons from the great warrior-sage Parashurama. With this knowledge, he went to Hastinapura and got the job as a teacher to the princes. Drona found Arjuna to be skilled in archery and a dedicated student. He focused on making him the greatest archer in the world. This made Duryodhana furious. Another student was Karna, the son of the charioteer Athiratha.
Karna was jealous of Arjuna and this brought him close to Duryodhana. One day Drona took his students out for an expedition. A dog that accompanied was barking a lot. It came back suddenly, its mouth full of arrows. The dog was unhurt but could not bark.
The surprised entourage saw a tribal boy named Ekalavya who had performed this feat. He worshipped a statue of Drona considering it his guru, since Drona had denied him admission as student. Drona was stunned seeing his devotion but this made Arjuna angry, and he later protested that Drona had failed him in his promise of making him the greatest archer.
The next day Drona tells Ekalavya that he wanted a gurudakshina (fee paid to a teacher) from him. He asked Ekalvya to give him his right thumb. Without a second thought Ekalvaya cut his thumb off ensuring he could never wield a bow effectively.
… to be continued