After a gap of two weeks we are here back in Hastinapuram. In Hastinapuram Pandu ruled the kingdom to everyone’s satisfaction.In those days,it was customary for kings to go for hunting . It was considered as a sport then. And Pandu was no exception to this . He went for hunting to the forest . He was accompanied by his two wives Kunti and Madri. While he was hunting , his arrows hit a sage by mistake and killed the sage. The sage died cursing Pandu .
Worried about his curse , Pandu did not want to return back to the kingdom. He took to Vanaprastha* and Hastinapuram was unaware of this. In the mean time Kunti gave birth to three sons, Yudishtran, Bheeman and Arjunan. Madri gave birth to Nakulan and Sahadevan. These five brothers were bestowed with special qualities. Yudhishtran , known for his righteousness (dharma) and integrity, Bheema known for his valour and strength, Arjunan famous for his archery skills , while Nakulan and Sahadevan had divinely medicinal powers. These five sons came to be called as Pandavas .
In Hastinapuram Dhirithirashtran’s wife Gandhari gave birth to one hundred sons . Duriyodhanan was the eldest among them . One of his brother is Duchathanan. Duriyodhanan also had one sister named Duchalai. These sons were called as Kauravas.
King Pandu was in the forest and his sons known as Pandavas, were growing up. One day, as it was fate, King Pandu died and along with him his second queen Madri. Queen Kunti along with her five sons(Pandavas) returned to Hastinapuram .
Hastinapuram had lost its king . Dhirithirashtran was blind and so he could not be crowned as the king. It was then decided by Bheeshmar,Sathyati and Vidurar,to make Dhrithirashtran as King-in-charge, till Yudishtran( eldest of all ) grew up to assume throne. Accordingly Yudishtran was announced as crown prince.
Soon after, Sathyavati took to Vanaprastha and left the kingdom.
Though Duriyodhana did not like Yudhishtran being announced as the crown prince, he was helpless and could do nothing about it. As a result his enmity with the Pandavas grew in leaps and bounds.Now and then Duriyodhana played some mischief against the pandavas. His uncle /Mama, Shakuni also wanted his nephew Duriyodhona to be the crown prince. By speaking ill of Pandavas, he added fuel to Duriyodhana’s enmity towards the Pandavas. Though Dhrithirashtran and Gandhari were aware of Duriyodhana’s hatred attitude, they did not correct him . The cost they paid for this in later life, was plentiful.
Time came for the princes to get educated and learn various arts of fighting.( In those days the kings should learn the art of fighting). Accordingly the princes were all sent to Guru Dronacharya’s Ashram to learn.
The Pandavas and Kauravas had their education under the guru Dronacharyar.. Along with them Dronacharya’s son Aswathama also had his education along with the princes. Aswathama cultivated good friendly relationship with Duriyodhanan.
Arjuna learnt everything with great care and devotion. Now and again, he proved that he is the best of all students. Yes. He excelled every one in his archery talent. There are many incidents which goes to prove his talent in archery. No doubt Arjuna became Dronacharya’s favourite disciple.
Now , it is not proper to forget about Karna at this juncture. He too had his education. He was also good at archery.
Time arrived for all the princes to return back to Hastinapuram and prove their talent.Everyone gathered in an arena. Dhirithirashtran, Gandhari, Kunti. Bheeshmar, Vidhurar, Kulaguru kripachariar and the citizens of the kingdom were waiting for the arrival of the princes.
Let us also wait for their arrival………….
—-to be continued. * vanaprastha–A Vanaprastha (Sanskrit: वानप्रस्थ) is a person who is living in the forest as a hermit after partially giving up material desires.