Kunti – a portrait of heroic motherhood on the canvass of Mahabharata.

While we celebrate Mother’s day, let’s unfold a character of Kunti that is a portrait of heroic motherhood on a canvas of Mahabharata story.

The remarkable attribute of Kunti’s character is that she has successfully done single-parenting of all five sons including twins of Madri. In fact, one can clearly observe that Kunti is more affectionate towards twins of Madri and has never been harsh on them. After a death of Pandu and Madri, Kunti goes back to her in-laws house. She then realizes soon that while common citizens of Kuru reign admire virtues of her sons, her nephews under a leadership of Duryodhana and a patronage of Dhrutarashtra and Shakuni look at her sons as their rivals. Kaurava are envious of Pandava and have always sought to humiliate. In fact they have hatched several plans to destroy Pandava brothers. Kunti brings up her sons in this hostile environment of royal palace. During this period of upbringing of her sons, she does not receive any support from her maiden home. Neither her adoptive father nor her real father cares about her where-about. A widowed daughter is an unwelcome proposition.

In the royal palace of Hastinapur, elderly persons of the family with authority and power have ignored their duty towards Kunti and her sons. They have failed to provide security and to prevent wrong done to Kunti and her sons in royal palace. This situation remains the same even in today’s society where in-law family ignores its duty towards a widow and her children. Even in this situation Kunti does not lose her hope and faith. With a unusual equanimity, she keeps on walking her path to reach her destination of success. Kunti should be praised for her courage while living in hostile environment and for her forbearance of handling difficulties with a spirit of warrior. She gulps sorrow of death of her husband and stands out against all odds for her sons. She therefore, stands out as a role model of motherhood. Although apparently Kunti has never raised her voice against wrong done in royal palace, she has fought her silent battle. She is the one who teaches her sons to fight their own battle and to be the conquerors. Kunti should be considered as one of the prominent warriors of Kurukshetra; because she is the driving force of the great and virtuous warriors of Kurukshetra.

The most successful part of character of Kunti is that she has always been a source of motivation to her sons. She acts as a palm — a source of energy and support into which five fingers representing Pandava can be curled to make a fist. She has named all five sons as Pandava; not Kaunteyas or Madreyas — which would give a sense of discrimination. She develops a sense of solitude among five brothers and teaches them to act in good faith of all in every situation. This sense of solitude among five brothers is a key to success of Pandava in their journey of acquiring throne in righteous way. While bringing up her children in hostile environment even though she observes that elderly persons in family are acting against her sons or are taking neutral position where they should act in good faith of her sons, she tries to maintain cordial relationship with them. She ensures that her sons behave respectfully and ethically with all of them. This behavioral strategy of Kunti comes to great help of Pandava in Kurukshetra war; because the great warrior like Bheeshma although being on Kuarava’s side, has always been biased towards Pandava because of their respectful and righteous behavior since childhood.

Kunti is a kind of visionary person who has sown fruitful seeds in early days of upbringing of her sons. She has always been watchful with her eagle’s eye towards behavior of her sons. She the one, who is follower of ethical behavior, has always taught her sons to behave ethically; although a route of success is longer with ethical behavior. She possesses highest level of knowledge of Dharma — ‘path of righteousness’ and encourages her sons to follow the same. Kunti gives her sons the moral teachings of truth, righteousness, brotherhood, etc.; which are of utmost importance for adherence to Dharma. This female with virtuous character has been successful to transmit her valuable virtues to her sons. Krishna has taken a side of Pandava in the Great War because of the fact that they are follower of Dharma and has guided them towards the path of victory. Pandava are considered as pillars of Dharma; however it is Kunti who should be considered as a foundation of Dharma. Kunti is a powerful character who has strong beliefs and possesses strong abilities to turn her beliefs into a reality. With her great warrior instinct, she has given birth to three fierce and invincible warriors of the world — Arjun, Bheema and Karna; and with her great political sense and knowledge of Dharma; she has given birth to the best ethical ruler of the world — Yudhishthira.