Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Yudhistra's rare curse

We have heard many people say that women find it difficult to keep secrets. There is an interesting story from the Mahabharata that explains how it all began.

Kunti, known as Prithi, was the daughter of Vasudeva’s sister and King Surasena. She was given in adoption to her cousin, Kuntibhoja, who was childless. King Kuntibhoja was the ruler of Kunti Kingdom.

Kunti had once served Sage Durvasa, who was known for his short temper. But the sage was so pleased with her hospitality that he taught her the Atharvaveda Mantras, by which she was bestowed the power to invoke any God of her choice to be-get a child. When this boon was granted to her she was a very young girl and curiosity got the better of her and she wanted to test the boon given by the sage to her. She prayed to Sun God and got a child through him. Karna was born to Kunti even before her marriage to King Pandu.

Unable to take the child home with her, she left it in river Charmanwati.
Unable to take the child home with her, she secured it in a basket with her sari and left the basket in the river Charmanwati (modern day Chambal River, a tributary of Ganges).

Kunti married Pandu later and since he was not capable of producing off-springs, she invoked her powers and gave birth to Yudhishtra (son of Dharma), Bhima (son of Vayu) and Arjuna (son of Lord Indra). With their step brothers Nakula and Sahadeva, the five brothers were known as Pancha Pandavas (the five sons of Pandu).

Meanwhile, Karna was saved by a childless charioteer from the river. The charioteer, Adhiratha and his wife Radha, brought up Karna as their own child. He was also known by the name Radheya, as he was brought up by Radha. Karna met Duryodhana and soon they became very good friends. Duryodhana parted with a piece of his Kingdom, Anga, and made Karna its King. 

Eventually, war broke out between the Pandavas and their cousins, Kauravas. Before the war began, Kunti met Karna discreetly and told him that she was his mother. Karna was a loyalist and refused to join the Pandavas.

Kunti met Karna discreetly and revealed the truth about his birth.

Karna, being the embodiment of generosity, promised Kunti that she will have five sons at the end of the war and he will only fight Arjuna in the battle. Karna knew that Arjuna was under the protection of Lord Krishna and no harm can befall him.

Karna also requested Kunti, not to reveal this secret until his death. After Karna’s death in the Kurukshetra war, Kunti took the lifeless body of her first born and declared the secret of Karna’s birth. The Pandavas were furious as they had committed fratricide. 

Yudhishtra in particular was so furious with his mother that he cursed all women. The curse that fell upon womanhood was that they will never be able to keep secrets.