PANDU, from whom the Pandava princes of Hastinapur were named, was a descendant through Bharata from Puru, the great ancestor of one branch of the Chandravansa or Lunar race. A descendant of Bharata was king Santana, who married a widow named Satyavati, and two sons, Chitrangada and Vichitra-virya, were born. Chit. rangada fell in battle, and Vichitra-virya succeeded to the throne, but he died without a son, leaving two widows, Amba and Ambalika, daughters of the king of Kasi ; and Satyavati, who had had a son, Krishna Dwaipayana or Vyasa, by her former husband, called on him to raise up seed to his half-brother. The elder widow bore a son, blind Dhritarashtra. The yoimger widow bore Panda ; and a slave girl bore a third son, named Viduru ; and because of Dhritarashtra's blindness, Paudu came to the throne. Panda had two wives, Kunti and Madri, with whom, however, be did not, as the legend says, consort ; and he and his wives retired to the Himalaya, where he died. But Kunti had three sons, Yudishthra, Arjuna, and Bhima, begotten respectively by the deities Marina, Vayu, and Indra ; and the two sons of Madri, Nakula and Sahadeva, by the twin Aswini gods. These were the five Pandava.
On Panda abdicating, his half - brother, the blind Dhritarashtra, re-ascended the throne, and his sons took the title of Kaurava, from their ancestor Kuru. The Pandava lads and the Kaurava lads were brought up together at Dhritarashtra's court, but they were constantly quarrelling, and their enmity reached a height on Dhritarashtra passing by his own children and nominating Yudishthra to be his successor. For the sake of peace, the five Pandava retired to Varanavatu, and, being followed there by the active enmity of their cousin Duryiidhana, they escaped to the forest disguised as Brahmans.
Virat, the capital of Matsya, is celebrated in Hindu legends as the abode of the five Pandu during their exile of twelve years from Dil]i or Indraprastha. Tho country was famous for the valour of its people, as Menn directs that the van of an army should be composed of men born in Kurukshetra near Indraprastha, in Matsya or Virata, in Panchala or Kanya Kubja, and in Surasena, of the district of Mathura.' The resid ence of Bhim Panda is still shown on the top of a long, low rocky hill about one mile to the north of the town. The hill is formed of enormous blocks of coarse gritty quartz, which are much weather-worn and rounded on all the exposed sides; some of these blocks have a simple, straight face passing onwards, the result of a natural split, of which has been taken to form small dwellings, by the addition of rough stone walls plastered with mud. Such is the Bhim-gupha or
Bhim's cave, which is formed by rough walls added to the overhanging face of a huge rock about 60 feet in diameter and 15 feet in height.
Similar rooms, but of smaller size, are said to have been the dwellings of Bhim's brothers. They sought shelter in various countries near the Indus ; and while at the court of king Drupdeva in Kampil-nagara of Panchalika kingdom, Arjuna's skill in archery carried off his daughter Draupadi, who became the bride of the five brothers. After being won by Arjuna at her Swayamvara or tournament, she was taken to the house of their mother Kunti, who desired the brothers to retain her as their wife. Between that time and the interval of her marriage, Draupadi performed the usual household duties; and ultimately, with Kunti and Draupadi in one car, and Yudishthra and his brothers in another, the family proceeded to the town of Kampila, where the marriage ceremony was performed. The five brothers had each a house and garden of his own, and Draupadi dwelt with each of them in turn for two days at a time ; and it was agreed upon that another brother, under pain of being exiled for twelve years, should not enter where Draupadi was staying. But Arjuna broke the rule, and became exiled.
On the occasion of Krishna visiting his Pandava relatives at Hastinapur, accompanied by his wives and singing and playing women, Satya bhama, speaking with Draupadi, the polyandric wife of the Pandava, remarked to Draupadi, We, who are so many thousands in number, have all but one and the same husband in Krishna, and we are all happy with him : how comes it then that you have five husbands, and are not ashamed before men? To this Draupadi replied, You are every one jealous of each other, and are always talking of your suspicions one of another. But I never speak one word which all my five husbands may not hear alike, and which would give to either the smallest offence. Descended from the ancient sovereigns of the countries of Hindustan border ing upon the Junina, thus called Panduan Raj, or the kingdom of the Pandu, in Hindu mytho logy, the five Pandu are regarded by the present Hindus as five demigods.