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In the Mahābhārata epic, Pandu (Sanskrit: पाण्‍डु) is the son of Ambalika and Rishi Ved Vyasa. He is more popularly known as the father of the Pandavas.



After Vichitravirya's death his mother Satyavati sent for her first born, Rishi Veda Vyasa. According to his mother's wishes, he visited both the wives of Vichitravirya to grant them a son. Ambalika was instructed by Satyavati to keep her eyes open lest she would bear a blind son like Ambika (Dhritarashtra). She did keep her eyes open but she became pale after seeing the formidable form of the Sage. Therefore, Pandu was born pale.


Pandu was an excellent archer. He became the successor to his kingdom and was corronated Emperor of Hastinapur. Pandu later conquered the territories of Dasarnas, Kashi, Anga, Vanga, Kalinga, Magadha etc. and thus re-established their superiority over all the kings and increasing his empire.

Pandu got married to Madri, daughter of the King of Madra, and Kunti, daughter of King Kuntibhoja of Vrishni. While hunting in a forest, (looking from a long distance, his vision partially obscured by plants and trees) Pandu mistook a sage(Rishi Kindama) and his wife for deer and shot an arrow at them, killing the conjugal couple. The dying sage cursed Pandu that as he had killed them in in the midst of lovemaking, as and when he approaches a woman with the intent to make love, he will die. Upset and seeking to repent his action, Pandu renounced his kingdom and lived like an ascetic with his wives.

Childless at the time, Maharaja Pandu left his kingdom in the command of his elder brother, the blind Dhritrashtra, who was then crowned as king of Hastinapura.

When Pandu expressed to Kunti his despair at the prospect of dying childless, Kunti used her boons given by Sage Durvasa to bear three sons—Yudhishtira (by Lord Dharma), Bhima (by Lord Vayu), and Arjuna (by Lord Indra). Also Kunti gave birth to Karna through Surya. She also gave her boons to Madri, who bore Nakula and Sahadeva, twins from the physicians to the gods, the Ashwini Kumaras twins.

Thus the Pandavas of Pandu were born.


Pandu was suffering from a sexual curse. After 15 years of celibacy, when Kunti and his sons were away, Pandu suddenly became strongly attracted to Madri. Because of the curse, he died after attempting to touch her, and Madri, out of repentance and grief, committing sati, burned herself alive on her husband's funeral pyre.

Preceded by
King of Hastinapura Succeeded by

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



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Proper noun




  1. A mytho-historical figure from India, best known as the father of another group of figures, the Pandavas.

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