In the Hindu epic Mahābhārata, the Pandava (or Pandawa) brothers (Sanskrit: पाण्‍डव unicode|pāṇḍavaḥ) are the five acknowledged sons of Pandu (Sanskrit: पांडु), by his two wives Kunti and Madri. Their names are Yudhishtira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva. All five brothers were married to one woman, Draupadi. Together, they fought and prevailed in a war against the party of their cousins the Kauravas, the climax of which was the Battle of Kurukshetra. Their alienated half-brother Karna fought against them and was eventually slain by Arjuna.

The Indonesian Mythology focuses on the brothers "Pandawa Lima" (translated to English: The Five Pandawas). They are:

From Goddess Kunti (Dewi Kunti):
*Bima , Bayusuta, Werkodara
*Arjuna , Harjuna, Partha, Janaka
*Yudistira , Puntadewa, Dharmasuta, Dharmaputra, Dharmawangsa, Samiaji

From Goddess Madri (Dewi Madri):
*Nakula and
*Sahadeva , Sadewa

According to legend those five children came from the lineage of distinctive gods of the Hindus. They were the personification and the begotten sons of:
*God of Wisdom and Justice, Dharma - father to Yudistira.
*God of Wind, Bayu - father to Bima.
*God of Heaven, Indra - father to Arjuna.
*Twin Gods of Medicine Aswini - father to the twins, Nakula and Sahadeva.


The story began with the introduction of the parents of this brotherhood. The antagonist was Duryodana/Duryudana/Druyudana (Duryodhana), or Suyodana/Suyudana who happened to be the eldest brother of all 99 siblings known as the Kurawas. He was the son of the blind King Dretarasta/Destarastra (Dhritarashtra) and Goddess Gandari.

As cousins, the Pandawas and the Kurawas often played together. However, Bima (one of the Pandawas) loved to tease and trick the Kurawas. This led to dissatisfaction and resentfulness of the Kurawas. One day Duryudana started to think about his insecurity and discomfort against the five brothers and plotted to overthrow them from being the Lord of Kuru Dynasty.

The plot began when Dhritarashtra appointed his nephew Yudistira as the crown prince instead of his own son. This caused Duryadana madness and he planned to kill all those five brothers together with their mother Kunti. He offered them to go to a place called Ekacakra - a place set by Duryodhana for them with a huge building in it. His idea was to burn them alive during their slumber at night. Fortunately, the plan was discovered by Vidura who was the uncle of the Five Pandawas. In fact, Yudistira had been warned about this plot by a hermit who came to him telling about a disaster that would inflict him in the future. Later the Pandawas fled the place and ran into the woods.

During their flight the five brothers heard about a competition in the Kingdom of Pancala that offered a marriage with a princess named Draupadi as it prize. Arjuna who was a good archer entered the competition and won the princess. He then took her to his mother but his mother asked her to marry all of them instead.

When Dhritarashtra heard that these five brothers did not die in the inferno, he invited them to his kingdom and granted them with the gift of half the lands of his kingdom. They successfully built up a great city call Indraprastha. The resentful Duryodhana returned and planned to build a city even greater than Indraprasta. He also conspired another plot in order to vanquish Yudhistira. He managed to make Yudhistira fell into his trap and was exiled for twelve years in the forest and one year as anonymyous.And if the Pandavas would have been found in that 13th year they have to go for 12 years in forest and again one year as anonymyous.During this time Yudhisthira planned on taking his revenge against this mighty villain, which later led to a huge revolt against Dhritarashtra.

Parents of the Pandavs

The first three of the Pandavs were the sons of Kunti, and the younger two were sons of Madri. Since Pandu had been cursed to die if ever he had intercourse with his wives, the actual fatherhood of the children is traditionally attributed to various gods, in virtue of a boon that Kunti had received from Durvasa and had transferred to Madri. Thus, Yudhishthira was the son of Dharma ,the god of righteousness; Bhima the son of Vayu, the wind-god; Arjun the son of Indra, the sky-god; and Nakul and Sahadeva the sons of the Ashwini Gods.

Iravati Karve has suggested in her book, "Yuganta", that the actual father of Yudhishtira, or of all of the brothers, may have been Vidura (probably since he was considered to be an avatar of Lord Yama), and that this was edited and hidden in the story to strengthen the claim for the kingdom by the brothers.

Iravati Karve's theory has been however rubbished by many Mahbaharata authorities like Buddhadeb Bose and Nrsimhaprasad Bhaduri on grounds that the author of Mahbharata had no need to "hide" about Yudhisthira's birth when he writes explicitly and undauntedly about all "illicit" relationships.

Draupadi's description of her husbands to Jayadrath

The Pandava brothers were collectively married to Draupadi. On one occasion, Draupadi was kidnapped and abducted from a hermitage in the forest by the wicked king Jayadratha. When her husbands learned of the crime, they came in hot pursuit. Seeing them approach, Jayadrath asked Draupadi to describe them. Angrily, Draupadi told the king his time was up, and that the knowledge would do him no good. She then proceeded to give the description. (Mahābhārat, Book III: Varna Parva, Section 268.)
* According to Draupadi, Yudhishthira possessed a "complexion like that of pure gold, possessed of a prominent nose and large eyes, and endued with a slender make." He was just, had a correct sense of morality, and was merciful to surrendering foes. Draupadi counselled Jayadrath to run to Yudhishthir and to beg for forgiveness.
* Draupadi described Bhima as tall and long-armed. In a display of ferocity, he was "biting his lips, and contracting his forehead so as to bring the two eye-brows together." His superhuman feats had earned him great renown. "They that offend him are never suffered to live. He never forgets a foe. On some pretext or other he wreaks his vengeance."
* Arjun she praised as the greatest of archers, intelligent, "with senses under complete control." Neither lust nor fear nor anger could make him forsake virtue. Though capable of withstanding any foeman, he would never commit an act of cruelty.
* Nakul, said Draupadi, was "the most handsome person in the whole world." An accomplished swordsman, he was also "versed in every question of morality and profit" and "endued with high wisdom." He was unflinchingly devoted to his brothers, who in turn regarded him as more valuable than their own lives.The name Nakul generally means full of love and the male characteristics implied by the name are: Intelligence, Focus, Hard-Work, Handsomeness, Health, Attractiveness, Success, Popularity, Respect, and unconditional Love.
* Finally, Sahadeva was the youngest of the brothers, and like the others formidable in war and observant of morality. "Heroic, intelligent, wise and ever wrathful, there is not another man equal unto him in intelligence or in eloquence amid assemblies of the wise."


*Chakravarti V. Narasimhan; The Mahabharata. Columbia University Press, 1965.

External links

* [ The Mahābhārata] of Vyasa, translated from Sanskrit into English by Kisari Mohan Ganguli and published online at

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