Arjuna - Birth and Early Years

Birth and Early Years

Once, a Brahmin rishi named Kindama and his wife were making love in the forest when Arjuna's father Pandu accidentally shot at them, mistaking them for deer. Before dying, Kindama cursed the king to die when he engages in intercourse. Due to this curse, Pandu was unable to father children. As an additional penance for the murder, Pandu abdicated the throne of Hastinapura and his blind brother Dhritarashtra took over the reins of the kingdom.

After Pandu's disability, the Pandavas were conceived in an unusual way. His mother, Queen Kunti, had in her youth been granted the power to invoke the Devas by Rishi Durvasa. Each Deva, when invoked, would bless her with a child. Urged by Pandu to use her boons, Kunti gave birth to Arjuna by invoking the Lord of Heaven, Indra. King Pandu and Kunti purified themselves by severe austerities to Indra for one year before he was born. No other birth in the Mahabharata except Krishna's was celebrated by the devas, sages and apsaras.

Along with other Pandava brothers, Arjuna was trained in religion, science, administration and military arts by the Kuru preceptors, Kripa and Drona. Specifically, he became a master in using the bow and the arrow. Arjuna’s strength lay in his extraordinary levels of concentration. In a famous incident under Drona’s tutelage, Drona deemed none of his students other than Arjuna had the steadfast focus to shoot a bird on a tree and was proved right by Arjuna.

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