PANDU – Father of the Pandava brothers of the great Bharata war

Pandu was born of the sage Vyasa and Ambalika. The child was named Pandu because of his pale skin. It was a substitutionary parentage—one in which a king used a sage to have a child by his queen. (For more details see the entries on Dhritarashthra and Vyasa.)
One day Pandu was hunting in the forest. He saw two deer and shot one of them. But the deer was a sage named Kindama. He had changed into a deer to sport with his wife, and now Pandu’s arrow had separated them. So before he died the sage cursed Pandu: he too would die if he ever touched his wife—and leave a widow just as he had left the sage’s wife a widow with his careless shot.
After his two wives had become pregnant by divine intervention, Pandu and his wife Madri were walking in the garden. Pandu felt an irresistible urge to embrace Madri. At that moment, despite Madri’s protest, he dropped over dead. Madri and Kunti prepared the funeral pyre, and Madri was chosen to be the one to join her husband on the pyre (sati). Kunti raised all five of the sons that were born to the two mothers as the Pandava brothers.

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