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Read also   Life of Kuntee

Kuntee is a Mahaabhaarat character. She was the eldest daughter of Vrishni Vanshee Raajaa Shoorsen. There her name was Prithaa. Thus she was the real Buaa (Phoophee, or paternal aunt) of Krishn, because Krishn's father Vasudev was also the son of Raajaa Shoorsen.

Kuntibhoj was Raajaa Shoorsen's Buaa's son and was his very good friend. He did not have any child so when Shoorsen was expecting a child in his palace, he promised to give that child to Kuntibhoj. He had a daughter so he gave that daughter, Prithaa, to Kuntibhoj, thus she was brought up by Kuntibhoj and there she was called Kuntee. She was married to Paandu. Her mother was from Naag Vansh.

She is one of the Panch Kanyaa (five Virgins) -
Ahalyaa Draupadee Kuntee Taaraa Mandodaree Tathaa |
Panch Kanyaa smare Nityam Mahaapaatak Naashnam ||

Mantra to Kuntee
Once Durvaasaa Rishi came to Kuntibhoj's house, Kuntibhoj handed over that Rishi to his daughter Kuntee and asked her to take care of him carefully. Kuntee offered him her very best services. He was so much pleased with her services that he asked her to ask for anything. She said - "You know the past, present and future. Kindly give me something which is useful for me in future." Then Durvaasaa Muni gave her a Mantra which caused any Devtaa to come to her and fulfill her wish.

Soorya Dev Gives a Son to Kuntee
So once innocently she just tried to test that Mantra and called Soorya Dev. Soorya Dev came and asked her, "What do you want Kuntee?"  She said, "Durvaasaa Muni gave me a Mantra, I was just testing the Mantra, I don't need anything. You may go now." Soorya Dev said, "My Darshan cannot go waste, otherwise also it will be an insult to Durvaasaa Rishi's Mantra, so I give you a son." Kuntee said - "Son? I am an unmarried girl, what I will say to society?" Soorya Dev said - "You don't worry, you will still remain unmarried. He will born with my Kavach (protector) and Kundal (earrings) and will able to protect himself. Hey Kuntee, you name him Karn." And Soorya Dev went away after giving her a son. Now what Kuntee could do. As she was unmarried, she was afraid of her defame, so she kept her child in a box wrapped in a silk cloth and flowed the box in Gangaa River. (see also Karn)

Kuntee's Son Brought Up by Adhirath
After a little while that box was found by Adhirath who used to work with Shaantanu as his Saarathee. He was taking bath in the River, he heard a cry and saw a box coming towards him. He opened the box and found a child as shiny as Soorya. He brought the child home. He had no child of his own so he with his wife Raadhaa brought him up as their own child. There he grew up as Vasusen. Being Raadhaa's son he was popularly known as Raadheya. Later he was named Karn and became a very brave soldier and a great alms giver. Later on Kuntee was also married to Paandu, and she had three sons though the same Mantra, by calling Dharm Raaj (Yudhishthir), Vaayu (Bheemsen), and Indra (Arjun); and got two sons to Maadree by calling Ashwinee Kumaar (Nakul and Sahadev).

Her Life
She never got happiness in her life. As she was married, Paandu went for expansion of his kingdom. When he came back home he brought Maadree with him as his second wife. Then they went for a vacation where Paandu killed Kindam Muni by mistake and was given Shaap by that Muni, so all went to Van again for Praayashchit for Brahm Hatyaa. There also she could not get even conjugal pleasure, because of the Muni's Shaap, so she had to have three sons from various Devtaa and after a few years Paandu also died leaving his five sons young.

Maadree became Satee with Paandu and Kuntee came to live in Hastinaapur with her five sons. There also because of Dhritraashtra and Duryodhan she was always under pressure, even for her sons' lives. She was always sad about her eldest son Karn and used to think about him. Whenever she thought about him she could not do anything except crying.

Meeting With Karn
Once when Kaurav and Paandav had finished their education, Dronaachaarya organized their demonstration of what they learned to see by their parents. Drone wanted to declare Arjun the best archer, but the then Karn, who was seeing all this from the outside gate, challenged Drone - "How can you declare him the best archer unless you have given opportunity to others also to show their skills?" Since Karn had "Kavach and Kundal" on his body, Kuntee recognized him and she just wept but could not call him her son.

Most of the time she was with her sons even in the forest while in hiding from Duryodhan at the time of Baaranaavat episode escape. Of course she did not go with them when they went to exile for 13 years. At that time she lived with Vidur Jee. During the war also she was with Vidur Jee.

Kuntee and Karn
Kuntee met Karn once again just before the war started. She went there to request him that he was her son and if he fought from Paandav's side he would be the King of Hastinaapur and his brothers will respect him very much. She went to him at that time when he used to give alms to anybody whoever wanted anything from him. But Karn said - "Why do you come today? Why did you not come on the day when Drone insulted me calling me Soot-Putra or when I was not given the opportunity to contest with Arjun? Only Duryodhan helped me at that time. So now it is too late. Now I am indebted to Duryodhan, and I cannot be unfaithful to him. Since I cannot give you whatever you have come to ask me for, I can assure you that your five sons will be alive after the war, if I die then Arjun will live, or if Arjun dies then I will live." Kuntee came back disappointed.

Last Days of Kuntee
After the war she lived with her sons but then she went to forest along with Dhritraashtra and Gaandhaaree when they left Hastinaapur on the advice of Vidur Jee, and died there with them.

Kuntee is Alone in Her Life Journey
There is no woman like Kuntee in MBH. She has taken all important decisions herself. In Raamaayan, at least Kaikeyee was instigated by Mantharaa, but Kuntee needs no instigation. In fact this journey of Kuntee is her own. It starts right from her childhood - summoning Soorya Dev, then abandoning Karn, then choosing Paandu, then refusing to have more than 3 sons from 3 Devtaa, agreeing to bring up her co-wife's twins instead of dying on her husband's pyre, ensuring that Draupadee becomes common wife of all her sons, goading Yudhishthir through Krishn to fight for his birth right, and finally leaving the kingdom with Dhritraashtra and Gaandhaaree to forest.



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Created by Sushma Gupta On 5/27/04
Modified on 03/24/13