A hunted curse
Peace grew heavy as Pandu ruled Hastinapur with great benevolence. But karma demanded his dues; to balance the scale rose malevolence.
Out hunting, Pandu slew a rishi out sporting in the guise of a deer. In his death throes, he cursed the King of Hastinapura with words clear.
Death shall take you the moment you partake the pleasures of the bed. I knew not that you were a sage, pleaded Pandu; but the sage lay dead.
Pandu entrusted to Bhishma and Vidura, Hastinapur. With his wives two, Kunti and Madri, to the forest he withdrew.
They led a life of austerity, perfect abstinence. But Pandu yearned for children denied him by providence.
Durvasa’s unguent will ease your torment, said Kunti. The mantra will bring forth sons to erase your agony.
Promised virgin births, Pandu urged his queens to evoke the mantras. Kunti Devi beget three sons, and Madri two, named the Pandavas.
For many years in the forest Pandu lived with his queens and sons, therein. But one enchanting spring night, he surrendered to the animal within.
Over her protests, he bedded Madri; the Rishi’s curse took his life and left. Pandu departed, leaving his queens two and beautiful sons five bereft.
Wrecked by guilt, Madri hands over her sons to Kunti and dies. Kunti takes the Pandavas and to Hastinapur she rides.
The steward Bhishma and all-knowing Vidura give them solace. Funeral dirges and lamentations filled the land and the palace.
Mahatma Vidura foretold the pendulum’s swing. He saw Kuru lives fluttering away on dark wings
One another they will tear themselves asunder, your progeny. Remove the burden in your hearts and spare yourself the agony.
It would be a city of tears, Hastinapura; and so did he counsel, the Mahatma Vidura.
Grandmother Satyavati left Hastinapura; as did the old queens, Ambika and Ambalika.
They retired to the forests and embraced asceticism; crossing the veil, they melded into the world of mysticism.
Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2020
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