I cannot be more than shocked to know that the Protagonists (Heros) from both the Epics of India, Ramayana and Mahabharata were born out of some boon or magical dish. There are lot of incidents in the Epic, pertaining to various characters who are born out of divine magic or gospels. But it came as a shock and surprise to me, when I found that from the Epics – Pandavas from Mahabharata and Dashrashta sons from Ramayana are not naturally conceived. Here is the story as it goes.
The Birth of Ayodhya Princes
Dasharatha has three queen-consorts, namely, Kaushalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi. Dasharatha performed two yajnas with the help of Sage Rishyasringa on the advice of Vashistha. One was the Ashwamedha and other was the Putrakameshti. As the conclusion of the Yagna drew near Agni sprang out from the yagnakunda and handed Dasharatha a pot of kheer advising him to distribute it among his queens. Kaushalya ate half the kheer, Sumitra ate a quarter of it. Kaikeyi ate some and passed the pot back to Sumitra who consumed the kheer a second time. Thus the princes were conceived after the consumption of the kheer. Since Kaushalya had consumed the largest portion she gave birth to Rama. Kaikeyi gave birth to Bharata. Sumitra gave birth to Lakshmana and Shatrughna.
The Birth of Pandavas
Kunti was the biological daughter of the Shurasena, a Yadava chief. Once Sage Durvasa who was known for his anger and fierceness, visited Kuntibhoja. He was extremely pleased by the services and comforts offered by Kunti, and offered her a boon to invoke any god to bear a child. Curious, Kunti invoked the mantra and accidentally bore Karna from Surya, the solar deity. Afraid of being an unwed mother, she placed the baby in a basket and set him afloat on a river. Pandu could not make love with his wives due to a curse by sage Kindama. When Pandu expressed to Kunti his despair at the prospect of dying childless, Kunti used the boons given to her by Sage Durvasa to bear three sons—Yudhishthira (by Yama), Bhima (by Vayu), and Arjuna (by Indra). Kunti didn’t want to bear any further child, so she shares the mantra with Madri. Madri gave birth to Nakula and Sahadeva by the Ashvins.
The Birth of Kauravas
After Gandhari was married to Dhritarashtra she wrapped a bandage over her eyes and vowed to share the darkness that her husband lived in. Once Sage Vyasa came to visit Gandhari in Hastinapur. She took great care of the comforts of the great saint and saw that he had a pleasant stay in Hastinapur. The saint was pleased with Gandhari and granted her a boon. Gandhari wished for one hundred sons who would be as powerful as her husband. Vyasa granted her the boon and in due course of time Gandhari found herself to be pregnant. But two years passed and still the baby was not born. After two years of pregnancy, Gandhari gave birth to a hard piece of lifeless flesh that was not a baby at all.
Gandhari was devastated as she had expected a hundred sons according to the blessing of Rishi Vyas. She was about to throw away the piece of flesh when Rishi Vyas appeared and told her that his blessings could not have been in vain and asked Gandhari to arrange for one hundred jars to be filled with Ghee (oil). He told Gandhari that he would cut the piece of flesh into hundred pieces and place them in the jars, which would then develop into the one hundred and one sons that she so desired. Gandhari told Vyas then that she also wanted to have a daughter. Vyas agreed and cut the piece of flesh into one hundred and one pieces and placed them each in the jars. After two more years of patient waiting the jars were ready to be opened, thus were born the Kauravas, well known are Duryodhana, Dushasana, Vikarna, Yuyutsu and Dussala.
My pondering :
It is an established fact that Sages and Rishis of ancient India were very intelligent, skillful, alchemists and had a broader understanding of life, anatomy, psychology and humanity. So it was no surprise to see them doing things mentioned above which were termed as magics, boon, superpower or so on. What is surprising is in that both the Epics, the protagonists are not naturally born. I cannot stop thinking and wondering about this. What about you ? What do you feel about this ?