“Vaisampayana said, ‘After the birth of Kunti’s sons and also of thehundred sons of Dhritarashtra the daughter of the king of the Madrasprivately addressed Pandu, saying, ‘O slayer of foes, I have no complainteven if thou beest unpropitious to me.
I have, O sinless one, also nocomplaint that though by birth I am superior to Kunti yet I am inferiorto her in station. I do not grieve, O thou of Kuru’s race, that Gandharihath obtained a hundred sons. This, however, is my great grief that whileKunti and I are equal, I should be childless, while it should so chancethat thou shouldst have offspring by Kunti alone. If the daughter ofKuntibhoja should so provide that I should have offspring, she would thenbe really doing me a great favour and benefiting thee likewise. She beingmy rival, I feel a delicacy in soliciting any favour of her. If thoubeest, O king, propitiously disposed to me, then ask her to grant mydesire.’
“Hearing her, Pandu replied, ‘O Madri, I do revolve this matter often inmy own mind, but I have hitherto hesitated to tell thee anything, notknowing how thou wouldst receive it. Now that I know what your wishesare, I shall certainly strive after that end. I think that, asked by me,Kunti will not refuse.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘After this, Pandu addressed Kunti in private,saying, ‘O Kunti, grant me some more offspring for the expansion of myrace and for the benefit of the world. O blessed one, provide thou that Imyself, my ancestors, and thine also, may always have the funeral cakeoffered to us. O, do what is beneficial to me, and grant me and the worldwhat, indeed, is the best of benefits. O, do what, indeed, may bedifficult for thee, moved by the desire of achieving undying fame.Behold, Indra, even though he hath obtained the sovereignty of thecelestials, doth yet, for fame alone, perform sacrifices. O handsome one,Brahmanas, well-acquainted with the Vedas, and having achieved highascetic merit, do yet, for fame alone, approach their spiritual masterswith reverence. So also all royal sages and Brahmanas possessed ofascetic wealth have achieved, for fame only, the most difficult ofascetic feat. Therefore, O blameless one, rescue this Madri as by a raft(by granting her the means of obtaining offspring), and achieve thouimperishable fame by making her a mother of children.’
“Thus addressed by her lord, Kunti readily yielded, and said unto Madri,’Think thou, without loss of time, of some celestial, and thou shallcertainly obtain from him a child like unto him.’ Reflecting for a fewmoments. Madri thought of the twin Aswins, who coming unto her with speedbegat upon her two sons that were twins named Nakula and Sahadeva,unrivalled on earth for personal beauty. And as soon as they were born,an incorporeal voice said, ‘In energy and beauty these twins shalltranscend even the twin Aswins themselves.’ Indeed possessed of greatenergy and beauty, they illumined the whole region.
“O king, after all the children were born the Rishis dwelling on themountain of a hundred peaks uttering blessings on them and affectionatelyperforming the first rites of birth, bestowed appellations on them. Theeldest of Kunti’s children was called Yudhishthira, the second Bhimasena,and the third Arjuna, and of Madri’s sons, the first-born of the twinswas called Nakula and the next Sahadeva. And those foremost sons born atan interval of one year after one another, looked like an embodied periodof five years. And king Pandu, beholding his children of celestial beautyand of super-abundant energy, great strength and prowess, and oflargeness of soul, rejoiced exceedingly. And the children became greatfavourites of the Rishis, as also of their wives, dwelling on themountain of a hundred peaks.
“Some time after, Pandu again requested Kunti on behalf of Madri.Addressed, O king, by her lord in private, Kunti replied, ‘Having givenher the formula of invocation only once, she hath, O king, managed toobtain two sons. Have I not been thus deceived by her, I fear, O king,that she will soon surpass me in the number of her children. This,indeed, is the way of all wicked women. Fool that I was, I did not knowthat by invoking the twin gods I could obtain at one birth twin children.I beseech thee, O king, do not command me any further. Let this be theboon granted (by thee) to me.’
“Thus, O king, were born unto Pandu five sons who were begotten bycelestials and were endued with great strength, and who all lived toachieve great fame and expand the Kuru race. Each bearing everyauspicious mark on his person, handsome like Soma, proud as the lion,well-skilled in the use of the bow, and of leonine tread, breast, heart,eyes, neck and prowess, those foremost of men, resembling the celestialsthemselves in might, began to grow up. And beholding them and theirvirtues growing with years, the great Rishis dwelling on that snowcappedsacred mountain were filled with wonder. And the five Pandavas and thehundred sons of Dhritarashtra–that propagator of the Kuru race–grew uprapidly like a cluster of lotuses in a lake.'”