Kunti is the mother of the eldest three of the Pandava brothers from the Indian epic Mahābhārata. Her story is also told within the Bhagavata Purana, wherein she speaks on the philosophy ofdevotion of Krishna, known as Bhakti yoga. Kunti is thus held as a figure of great importance within many Hindu traditions and especially with worshippers of Krishna (Vaishnavas).
Her father wasShoorsen of the Yadav clan, and she was named Pritha. She was the sister of Vasudeva, father of Krishna. She was given in adoption to the childless King Kuntibhoja, after which she became knownas Kunti. After her arrival, King Kuntibhoja was blessed with children. He considered her his lucky charm and took care of her until her marriage.
When she was young, the rishi Durvasa told hera mantra with which Kunti could summon any deva and have a child by him. When Kunti asked why he gave her this mantra, he told her that it would be useful to her later in life.
Kunti couldnot believe the mantra, so she tried to use it. The god Surya, appeared. She asked him to go back, but Surya said he was compelled to fulfill the mantra before returning. After birth of the child,Kunti abandoned the child in a basket in a river. This child was later found and adopted by a chariot driver and his wife, and was named Karna. He went on to become a central character in theMahābhārata. The ambiguous emotions Karna felt about his birth mother play an important role in the Mahābhārata.
In the Hindu epic Mahābhārata, the Pandava are the five sons of Pandu, by his twowives Kunti and Madri. Their names are Yudhishtira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva. All five brothers were married to the same woman, Draupadi.
Together, the brothers fought and prevailedin a great war against their cousins the Kauravas, which came to be known as the Battle of Kurukshetra. Their alienated half-brother Karna fought against them and was eventually slain by Arjuna.
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