KUNTI (also called Pritha and Parshni). [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] Daughter of the Yadava prince Sura, king of the Surasenas, whose capital was Mathura on the Yamuna. She was sister of Vasudeva, and was given by her father to his childless cousin Kuntibhoja, by whom she was brought up.
In her maidenhood she showed such respectful devotion to the sage Durvasas, that he gave her a charm by means of which she might have a child by any god she pleased to invoke. She called upon the sun, and by him had a son named Karna, but without any detriment to her virginity; still, to keep her affair secret, the child was exposed on the banks of the Yamuna.
Subsequently she married Pandu, whom she chose at a swayamvara, and bore three sons, Yudhishthira, Bhima, and Arjuna, who were called Pandavas although they were said to be ths sons of the gods Dharma, Vayu, and Indra respectively.
This may have happened, as is stated, from the potency of the old charm, but if so, it is strange that Madri, the second wife of Pandu, should have enjoyed the same privilege, and have borne twin children to the Aswins. This difficulty, however, is got over by a statement that Kunti imparted to her the charm.
Kunti was a discreet and devoted mother, and although rather jealous of Madri, she was a kind mother to her children after Madri was burnt on her husband's pyre.
After the end of the great war she retired into the forest with Dhritarashtra and his wife Gandhari, and there they all perished in a forest fire.
Modern Languages MLLL-4993. Indian Epics. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. The textual material made available at this website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. No claims are made regarding the status of images used at this website; if you own the copyright privileges to any of these images and believe your copyright privileges have been violated, please contact the webmaster. Page last updated: October 16, 2007 12:22 PM