The story of Pandu, father of Pandavas

In the Mahabharata epic, Pandu is the son of Vichitravirya and his second wife, Ambalika from 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 commander of King Dhritarashtra's army and also ruled the kingdom for him. Pandu conquered the territories of Dasarnas, Kashi, Anga, Vango, Kalinga, Magadha etc. and thus re-established their superiority over all the kings.

Pandu got married to Madri, daughter of the King of Madra, and Kunti, daughter of King Kuntibhoja of Vrish. While hunting in a forest, Pandu shot a Rishi (who was engaged in sexual intercourse with his wife), so the Rishi cursed him that, when he approaches his wife with love he will die. Upset, Pandu renounced his kingdom and lived like a hermit with his wives.

Kunti used her boons given by Sage Durvasa to bear three sons—Yudhishtira (by Lord Yama), 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, Ashwini Kumar twins.

Thus the Pandavas of Pandu were born.

Pandu was suffered by some sexual diseases.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, burned herself alive on her husband's funeral pyre.