“Vaisampayana said, ‘Pandu, possessed of great energy, then devotedhimself to asceticism. Within a short time he became the favourite of thewhole body of the Siddhas and Charanas residing there.
And, O Bharata,devoted to the service of his spiritual masters, free from vanity, withmind under complete control and the passions fully subdued, the prince,becoming competent to enter heaven by his own energy, attained to great(ascetic) prowess. Some of the Rishis would call him brother, somefriend, while others cherished him as their son. And, O bull of Bharata’srace, having acquired after a long time great ascetic merit coupled withcomplete singleness, Pandu became even like a Brahmarshi (though he was aKshatriya by birth).
“On a certain day of the new moon, the great Rishis of rigid vowsassembled together, and desirous of beholding Brahman were on the pointof starting on their expedition. Seeing them about to start, Pandu askedthose ascetics, saying, ‘Ye first of eloquent men, where shall we go?’The Rishis answered, ‘There will be a great gathering today, in the abodeof Brahman, of celestials, Rishis and Pitris. Desirous of beholding theSelf-create we shall go there today.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Hearing this, Pandu rose up suddenly, desirousof visiting heaven along with the great Rishis. Accompanied by his twowives, when he was on the point of following the Rishis in the northerlydirection from the mountain of hundred peaks, those ascetics addressedhim saying, ‘In our northward march, while gradually ascending the kingof mountains, we have seen on its delightful breast many regionsinaccessible to ordinary mortals; retreats also of the gods, andGandharvas and Apsaras, with palatial mansions by hundreds clusteringthick around and resounding with the sweet notes of celestial music, thegardens of Kuvera laid out on even and uneven grounds, banks of mightyrivers, and deep caverns. There are many regions also on those heightsthat are covered with perpetual snow and are utterly destitute ofvegetable and animal existence. In some places the downpour of rain is soheavy that they are perfectly inaccessible and incapable of beingutilised for habitation. Not to speak of other animals, even wingedcreatures cannot cross them. The only thing that can go there is air, andthe only beings, Siddhas and great Rishis. How shall these princessesascend those heights of the king of mountains? Unaccustomed to pain,shall they not droop in affliction? Therefore, come not with us, O bullof Bharata’s race!’
“Pandu replied, ‘Ye fortunate ones, it is said that for the sonless thereis no admittance into heaven. I am sonless! I In affliction I speak’ untoyou! I am afflicted because I have not been able to discharge the debt Iowe to my ancestors. It is certain that with the dissolution of this mybody my ancestors perish! Men are born on this earth with four debts,viz. those due unto the (deceased) ancestors, the gods, the Rishis, andother men. In justice these must be discharged. The wise have declaredthat no regions of bliss exist for them that neglect to pay these debtsin due time. The gods are paid (gratified) by sacrifices, the Rishis, bystudy, meditation, and asceticism, the (deceased) ancestors, by begettingchildren and offering the funeral cake, and, lastly other men, by leadinga humane and inoffensive life. I have justly discharged my obligations tothe Rishis, the gods, and other men. But those others than these threeare sure to perish with the dissolution of my body! Ye ascetics, I am notyet freed from the debt I owe to my (deceased) ancestors. The best of menare born in this world to beget children for discharging that debt. Iwould ask you, should children be begotten in my soil (upon my wives) asI myself was begotten in the soil of my father by the eminent Rishi?’
“The Rishis said, ‘O king of virtuous soul, there is progeny in store forthee, that is sinless and blest with good fortune and like unto the gods.We behold it all with our prophetic eyes. Therefore, O tiger among men,accomplish by your own acts that which destiny pointeth at. Men ofintelligence, acting with deliberation, always obtain good fruits; itbehoveth thee, therefore, O king, to exert thyself. The fruits thouwouldst obtain are distinctly visible. Thou wouldst really obtainaccomplished and agreeable progeny.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Hearing these words of the ascetics, Pandu,remembering the loss of his procreative powers owing to the curse of thedeer, began to reflect deeply. And calling his wedded wife the excellentKunti, unto him, he told her in private, ‘Strive thou to raise offspringat this time of distress. The wise expounders of the eternal religiondeclare that a son, O Kunti, is the cause of virtuous fame in the threeworlds. It is said that sacrifices, charitable gifts, ascetic penances,and vows observed most carefully, do not confer religious merit on asonless man. O thou of sweet smiles, knowing all this, I am certain thatas I am sonless, I shall not obtain regions of true felicity. O timidone, wretch that I was and addicted to cruel deeds, as a consequence ofthe polluted life I led, my power of procreation hath been destroyed bythe curse of the deer. The religious institutes mention six kinds of sonsthat are heirs and kinsmen, and six other kinds that are not heirs butkinsmen. I shall speak of them presently. O Pritha, listen to me. Theyare: 1st, the son begotten by one’s own self upon his wedded wife; 2nd,the son begotten upon one’s wife by an accomplished person from motivesof kindness; 3rd, the son begotten upon one’s wife by a person forpecuniary consideration; 4th, the son begotten upon the wife after thehusband’s death; 5th, the maiden-born son; 6th, the son born of anunchaste wife; 7th, the son given; 8th, the son bought for aconsideration; 9th, the son self-given; 10th, the son received with apregnant bride; 11th, the brother’s son; and 12th, the son begotten upona wife of lower caste. On failure of offspring of a prior class, themother should desire to have offspring of the next class. In times ofdistress, men solicit offspring from accomplished younger brothers. Theself-born Manu hath said that men failing to have legitimate offspring oftheir own may have offspring begotten upon their wives by others, forsons confer the highest religious merit. Therefore, O Kunti, beingdestitute myself of the power of procreation, I command thee to raisegood offspring through some person who is either equal or superior to me.O Kunti, listen to the history of the daughter of Saradandayana who wasappointed by her lord to raise offspring. That warrior-dame, when hermonthly season arrived, bathed duly and in the night went out and waitedon a spot where four roads met. She did not wait long when a Brahmanacrowned with ascetic success came there. The daughter of Saradandayanasolicited him for offspring. After pouring libations of clarified butteron the fire (in the performance of the sacrifice known by the name ofPunsavana) she brought forth three sons that were mighty car-warriors andof whom Durjaya was the eldest, begotten upon her by that Brahmana. Othou of good fortune, do thou follow that warrior-dame’s example at mycommand, and speedily raise offspring out of the seed of some Brahmana ofhigh ascetic merit.'”