MADRI AND NAKULA
– Dwisha Hathi
Madri was the princess of the Madra kingdom and also the second wife of king Pandu of Hastinapur. Once on his way back to Hastinapur, Pandu met Shalya, the king of Madra. Soon Pandu and Shalya became very good friends and Shalya offered his only sister, Madri’s hand for marriage to Pandu. As she was very beautiful, Pandu accepted the proposal and got married to Madri.
Once while hunting in the forest, Pandu came across two deers mating. He shot them but the two deers turned out to be a rishi and his wife. The rishi was greatly angered and he cursed Pandu that since he disturbed them in their moment of union, he too will die if even he mated his wife.
Following this curse, Pandu abdicated the throne of Hastinapur and left for the forest along with Kunti and Madri. Kunti told Madri the divine mantra through which she could ask for a child from a deity of her choice. She thus prayed to the twin gods Ashvinikumars and became the mother of the twins, Nakula and Sahadeva.
But on one fateful day, Pandu embraced Madri briefly forgetting the curse. Pandu died instantly. Madri was filled with remorse and she too jumped into the funeral pyre of Pandu. From that day Kunti became the mother of all the five Pandavas.
Nakul was one of the five great Pandava brothers and was an expert swordsman. He was Madri’s son and had a twin brother called Sahadeva. Nakula was known to be exceptionally good looking. Nakula and Sahadeva had special abilities to look after the horses and cows respectively.
And so during the Pandavas ‘agnatavasa’ (year of disguise) at the Kingdom of Virat, Nakul was disguised as Arishtanemi and looked after the royal horses.