I remember as a child in the 80’s my parents setting the good old VHS on record, and not missing a single episode of the Epic Mahabharata being recorded. I am sure they are still in the loft labelled!
Pandavas were the five powerful and skilled sons of Pandu, the King of Hastinapur and his two wives Kunti and Madri. Hastinapur is now the modern Indian state of Haryana, south of New Delhi. The Pandavas are - Yudhistira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadeva. They are the central characters in the most acclaimed epic in Hinduism, the Mahabharata. The brothers were famously involved in the Kurukshetra War with their cousins the Kauravas over who would control the throne of Hastinapur, and were victorious.
Birth of Pandavas
King Pandu whilst hunting in the forest, shot arrows and killed two deer while they were intimate. The deer were actually a sage and his wife who had changed their form. For his foolish act of killing them at that intimate moment the King Pandu was cursed. King Pandu would die if he ever embraced any woman.
Both Kunti and Madri, the queens of Pandu therefore remained childless. King Pandu grew increasingly unhappy by not having any children. Kunti revealed to him the story of a blessing she had been given. King Pandu delighted by the story, pleaded her to bear him a child.
Kunti and King Pandu discussed whom to invoke and decided that they would like to have a son who is in righteousness (Dharma) as great as the God Yama (Yama Dharma). They both meditated for few days to purify themselves and then called upon Yama; Yama appeared and blessed them with a boy as great as him in Dharma. Thus Yudhisthira was born.
After some days, Pandu and Kunti called upon The Wind God desiring a son as powerful as him, blessed by the wind God Kunti gave birth to Bhima, who did mighty deeds when he grew up, and was very strong.
Now desiring a son who is both powerful and virtuous they called upon God Indra, the king of demi-god realm. The mighty Arjuna was born.
King Pandu convinced his first wife Kunti to give the mantra to his second wife Madri, so that she too can bear him a son, Madri called upon Ashwini twin-Gods, and Nakula and Sahadeva were born.