“Vaisampayana said, ‘O Janamejaya, when Gandhari’s conception had been afull year old, it was then that Kunti summoned the eternal god of justiceto obtain offspring from him.
And she offered without loss of time,sacrifices unto the god and began to duly repeat the formula that Durvasahad imparted to her some time before. Then the god, overpowered by herincantations, arrived at the spot where Kunti was seated in his carresplendent as the Sun. Smiling, he asked, ‘O Kunti, what am I to givethee?’ And Kunti too smiling in her turn, replied, ‘Thou must even giveme offspring.’ Then the handsome Kunti was united (in intercourse) withthe god of justice in his spiritual form and obtained from him a sondevoted to the good of all creatures. And she brought his excellentchild, who lived to acquire a great fame, at the eighth Muhurta calledAbhijit, of the hour of noon of that very auspicious day of the seventhmonth (Kartika), viz., the fifth of the lighted fortnight, when the starJyeshtha in conjunction with the moon was ascendant. And as soon as thechild was born, an incorporeal voice (from the skies) said, ‘This childshall be the best of men, the foremost of those that are virtuous. Enduedwith great prowess and truthful in speech, he shall certainly be theruler of the earth. And this first child of Pandu shall be known by thename of Yudhishthira. Possessed of prowess and honesty of disposition, heshall be a famous king, known throughout the three worlds.’
“Pandu, having obtained that virtuous son, again addressed his wife andsaid. ‘The wise have declared that a Kshatriya must be endued withphysical strength, otherwise he is no Kshatriya.’ Therefore, ask thou foran offspring of superior strength. Thus commanded by her lord, Kunti theninvoked Vayu. And the mighty god of wind, thus invoked, came unto her,riding upon a deer, and said, ‘What, O Kunti, am I to give thee? Tell mewhat is in thy heart” Smiling in modesty, she said to him, ‘Give me, Obest of celestials, a child endued with great strength and largeness oflimbs and capable of humbling the pride of every body.’ The god of windthereupon begat upon her the child afterwards known as Bhima of mightyarms and fierce prowess. And upon the birth of that child endued withextraordinary strength, an incorporeal voice, O Bharata, as before, said,’This child shall be the foremost of all endued with strength.’ I musttell you, O Bharata, of another wonderful event that occurred alter thebirth of Vrikodara (Bhima). While he fell from the lap of his mother uponthe mountain breast, the violence of the fall broke into fragments thestone upon which he fell without his infant body being injured in theleast. And he fell from his mother’s lap because Kunti, frightened by atiger, had risen up suddenly, unconscious of the child that lay asleep onher lap. And as she had risen, the infant, of body hard as thethunderbolt, falling down upon the mountain breast, broke into a hundredfragments the rocky mass upon which he fell. And beholding this, Panduwondered much. And it so happened that that very day on which Vrikodarawas born, was also, O best of Bharatas, the birthday of Duryodhana whoafterwards became the ruler of the whole earth.’
“After the birth of Vrikodara, Pandu again began to think, ‘How am I toobtain a very superior son who shall achieve world-wide fame? Every,thing in the world dependeth on destiny and exertion. But destiny cannever be successful except by timely exertion. We have heard it said thatIndra is the chief of the gods. Indeed, he is endued with immeasurablemight and energy and prowess and glory. Gratifying him with myasceticism, I shall obtain from him a son of great strength. Indeed, theson he giveth me must be superior to all and capable of vanquishing inbattle all men and creatures other than men. I shall, therefore, practisethe severest austerities, with heart, deed and speech.’
“After this, the Kuru king Pandu, taking counsel with the great Rishiscommanded Kunti to observe an auspicious vow for one full year, while hehimself commenced, O Bharata, to stand upon one leg from morning toevening, and practise other severe austerities with mind rapt inmeditation, for gratifying the lord of the celestials.
“It was after a long time that Indra (gratified with such devotion)approached Pandu and, addressing him, said, ‘I shall give thee, O king, ason who will be celebrated all over the three worlds and who will promotethe welfare of Brahmanas, kine and all honest men. The son I shall givethee will be the smiter of the wicked and the delight of friends andrelatives. Foremost of all men, he will be an irresistible slayer of allfoes.’ Thus addressed by Vasava (the king of the celestials), thevirtuous king of the Kuru race, well-recollecting those words, said untoKunti, ‘O fortunate one, thy vow hath become successful. The lord of thecelestials hath been gratified, and is willing to give thee a son such asthou desirest, of superhuman achievements and great fame. He will be theoppressor of all enemies and possessed of great wisdom. Endued with agreat soul, in splendour equal unto the Sun, invincible in battles, andof great achievements, he will also be extremely handsome. O thou of fairhips and sweet smiles, the lord of the celestials hath become gracious tothee. Invoking him, bring thou forth a child who will be the very home ofall Kshatriya virtues.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘The celebrated Kunti, thus addressed by herlord, invoked Sakra (the king of the gods) who thereupon came unto herand begat him that was afterwards called Arjuna. And as soon as thischild was born, an incorporeal voice, loud and deep as that of the cloudsand filling the whole welkin, distinctly said, addressing Kunti in thehearing of every creature dwelling in that asylum, ‘This child of thine,O Kunti, will be equal unto Kartavirya in energy and Siva in prowess.Invincible like Sakra himself he will spread thy fame far and wide. AsVishnu (the youngest of Aditi’s sons) had enhanced Aditi’s joy, so shallthis child enhance thy joy. Subjugating the Madras, the Kurus along withthe Somakas, and the people of Chedi, Kasi and Karusha, he will maintainthe prosperity of the Kurus. (Surfeited with libations at the sacrificeof king Swetaketu), Agni will derive great gratification from the fat ofall creatures dwelling in the Khandava woods (to be burnt down) by themight of this one’s arms. This mighty hero, vanquishing all theeffeminate monarchs of the earth, will, with his brothers perform threegreat sacrifices. In prowess, O Kunti, he will be even as Jamadagnya orVishnu. The foremost of all men endued with prowess, he will achievegreat fame. He will gratify in battle (by his heroism) Sankara, the godof gods (Mahadeva), and will receive from him the great weapon namedPasupata. This thy son of mighty arms will also slay, at the command ofIndra, those Daityas called the Nivatakavachas who are the enemies of thegods. He will also acquire all kinds of celestial weapons, and this bullamong men will also retrieve the fortunes of his race.’
‘Kunti heard these extraordinary words, while lying in the room. Andhearing those words uttered so loudly, the ascetics dwelling on themountain of a hundred peaks, and the celestials with Indra sitting intheir cars, became exceedingly glad. The sounds of the (invisible) drumfilled the entire welkin. There were shouts of joy, and the whole regionwas covered with flowers showered down by invisible agents. The varioustribes of celestials assembled together, began to offer their respectfuladorations to the son of Pritha. The sons of Kadru (Nagas), the son ofVinata, the Gandharvas, the lords of the creation, and the seven greatRishis, viz., Bharadwaja, Kasyapa, Gautama, Viswamitra, Jamadagni,Vasishtha, and the illustrious Atri who illumined the world of old whenthe Sun was lost, all came there. And Marichi, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha,Kratu, Daksha the lord of creation, the Gandharvas, and Apsaras, camethere also. The various tribes of Apsaras, decked with celestial garlandsand every ornament, and attired in fine robes, came there and danced injoy, chanting the praises of Vibhatsu (Arjuna). All around, the greatRishis began to utter propitiatory formulas. And Tumvuru accompanied bythe Gandharvas began to sing in charming notes. And Bhimasena andUgrasena, Urnayus and Anagha. Gopati and Dhritarashtra and Suryavarchasthe eighth, Yugapa and Trinapa, Karshni, Nandi, and Chitraratha,Salisirah the thirteenth, Parjanya the fourteenth, Kali the fifteenth,and Narada the sixteenth in this list, Vrihatta, Vrihaka, Karala of greatsoul, Brahmacharin, Vahuguna, Suvarna of great fame, Viswavasu, Bhumanyu,Suchandra, Sam and the celebrated tribes of Haha and Huhu gifted withwonderful melody of voice,–these celestial Gandharvas, O king, all wentthere. Many illustrious Apsaras also of large eyes, decked with everyornament came there to dance and sing. And Anuchana and Anavadya,Gunamukhya and Gunavara, Adrika and Soma, Misrakesi and Alambusha,Marichi and Suchika, Vidyutparna and Tilottama and Ambika, Lakshmana,Kshema Devi, Rambha, Manorama, Asita, Suvahu, Supriya, Suvapuh,Pundarika, Sugandha, Surasa, Pramathini, Kamya and Saradwati, all dancedthere together. And Menaka, Sahajanya, Karnika, Punjikasthala,Ritusthala, Ghritachi, Viswachi, Purvachiti, the celebrated Umlocha,Pramlocha the tenth and Urvasi the eleventh,–these large-eyed dancinggirls of heaven,–came there and sang in chorus. And Dharti and Aryamanand Mitra and Varuna, Bhaga and Indra, Vivaswat, Pushan, Tvastri andParjanya or Vishnu, these twelve Adityas came there to glorify Pandu’sson. And, O king, Mrigavyadha, Sarpa, the celebrated Niriti, Ajaikapada,Ahivradhna, Pinakin, Dahana, Iswara, Kapalin, Sthanu and the illustriousBhaga–these eleven Rudras,–also came there. And the twin Aswins, theeight Vasus, the mighty Maruts, the Viswedevas, and the Sadhyas, alsocame there. And Karkotaka, Vasuki, Kachchhapa, Kunda and the great NagaTakshaka,–these mighty and wrathful snakes possessed of high asceticmerit also came there. And Tarkshya, Arishtanemi, Garuda,Asitadvaja,–these and many other Nagas, came there, so also Aruna andAruni of Vinata’s race also came there. And only great Rishis crownedwith ascetic success and not others saw those celestials and other beingsseated in their cars or waiting on the mountain peaks. Those best ofMunis beholding that wonderful sight, became amazed, and their love andaffection for the children of Pandu was in consequence enhanced.
“The celebrated Pandu, tempted by the desire of having more childrenwished to speak again unto his wedded wife (for invoking some other god).But Kunti addressed him, saying, ‘The wise do not sanction a fourthdelivery even in a season of distress. The woman having intercourse withfour different men is called a Swairini (heanton), while she havingintercourse with five becometh a harlot. Therefore, O learned one, asthou art well-acquainted with the scripture on this subject, why dostthou, beguiled by desire of offspring, tell me so in seemingforgetfulness of the ordinance?'”