A character of Kunti is a portrait of heroic motherhood on a canvas of Mahabharata story. Let’s analyze the hexagon of her motherhood.
Kunti and Yudhishthira:
Yudhishthira is son of Kunti begotten by invoking Lord of Law (Dharma) with consent of Pandu. Being eldest among Pandu’s sons, he is rightful claimant for Kuru throne. It can be said that Kunti has made a right choice of invoking Lord of Law, who is known for inherent qualities of a lawful king among all Gods, for the future king of Kuru throne.
Yudhishthira is known for his nobility, knowledge of Dharma and truthfulness. With her careful upbringing, Kunti has engraved those qualities in his character. She is true follower of Dharma and has always encouraged her sons to follow Dharma even during critical stages of life. Also, in the absence of father’s role in the son’s life, Kunti has a responsibility to carve out a successful king out of a character of Yudhishthira.
Kunti has always motivated Yudhishthira to build up his character in such a way that he is unanimously accepted as their king by the common people. A careful analysis of Yudhishthira’s character will make us to conclude that although he is accomplished king who should be praised for his noble character, he lacks decisiveness and firmness in his character; which Kunti has supported with through all his life. Even through being a son of Dharma, it is clearly seen that Yudhishthira applies the meaning of Dharma in a narrow sense — Dharma is ‘law and order’ for him; but Kunti is able to implement the meaning of Dharma in much broader sense — Dharma is ‘a right way of living’ for her.
Kunti and Bheema:
Bheema is a son of Kunti begotten by invoking Lord of winds (Vayu) with consent of Pandu. Kunti has carefully chosen to invoke Lord of winds for begetting this second son of Pandu, who is able to provide a fence of power around a family and a kingdom. The second son of Kunti although being mighty and powerful, is really obedient to his mother. Bheema has always shown great respect towards Kunti and has been considerate about her opinions. Bheema has always used a force of his power in direction given by Kunti and therefore, has been successful in the life.
Bheema is the one on whom Kunti has always counted upon throughout her life. It is said that power and intelligence never comes together. However, Bheema’s character is an exception to this belief; because of careful upbringing of Kunti. Kunti through her real life lessons teaches Bheema how to use his power intelligently and meticulously. Kunti has been a constant source of motivation to Bheema. She has motivated him to undertake and fulfill difficult tasks like killing of Hidimb and Bakasura.
Kunti and Arjun:
Arjun is son of Kunti begotten by invoking Lord of heaven (Indra) with consent of Pandu. This son of Kunti derives most of her qualities. Like Kunti, he is also regarded as an epitome of Sattva. Although he is the world’s best trained warrior, he derives his warrior instinct from Kunti. Arjun becomes the best
archer in the world. An art of archery requires great poise and balance. It can be contended that Arjun derives the characteristics of poise and balance from a character of Kunti.
More than an obedient son like his brothers, Arjun is a true follower of Kunti’s principles. Arjun’s total submission to Krishna sets him apart from other powerful personalities of his époque. It can be evidently contested that Arjun’s total submission and faith on Krishna is the greatest gift that he has inherited from Kunti. It is the greatest honor of Kunti that one of her sons is chosen for sharing of the most sacred knowledge of the world by Krishna in the form of Bhagwat Geeta.
Kunti holds Arjun closer to her heart for bringing a daughter in her life in a form of Draupadi. Arjun’s obedience to a wish of Kunti to share Draupadi among his brothers is a real tribute to Kunti’s character as a mother as well as to Arjun’s character as a son. She has always delivered message to Arjun to follow a path that is shown by Krishna and Draupadi. It can be definitely considered that Kunti has maneuvered a character of Arjun, the one who is born with unique qualities, with the help of Krishna and Draupadi to make him the best character of the world. Kunti’s vigilant upbringing, guidance and careful judgment about choosing associations in Arjun’s life bring success to Arjun’s character.
Kunti and Nakul-Sahadeva:
Madri has shown a great amount of faith and respect to Kunti. Kunti has proven that she is worthy of that faith and respect. Kunti has always been lovable and affectionate towards sons of Madri and has never given them a sense that she is their stepmother. Nakul and Sahadeva have also shown immense love and obedience towards their elder brothers and have always stood by them in an hour of need. Any kind of partial treatment by Kunti towards these two sons of Madri could have adversely affected the unity amongst five brothers. This unity has been unbeatable because of careful efforts and upbringing of Kunti. Kunti’s decision to get Draupadi wedded to all five brothers together has also strengthened a sense of belonging in Madri’s sons. From this, she emerges as a visionary person who has founded a strong foundation through her careful efforts for building up success in the lives of her sons.
Kunti and Karna:
Kunti’s motherhood resembles to an image of a moon — it is lustrous and pleasant because of her motherhood to Pandava, whose lives are literally shaped in beautiful sculptures by Kunti. However, it also has a dark patch due to her motherhood to Karna — her premarital child to whom she is not able to even breastfeed. However, Kunti has no option but to choose between a rock and a hard place. She chooses a rock and abandons her premarital child. No one can understand the agony that this mother suffers while deserting her child. Creation of life is the most sacred act on the earth; how can it bring disgrace to character of a woman who is a catalyst of this sacred act.
Kunti’s first born son has been like a constant hiccup for her. Despite all the social boundaries, Kunti’s actions throughout her life show that she loves Karna immensely. Karna derives some positive attributes from character of Kunti like forbearance, sacrifice and being great in his vows. Like Kunti who has tried to stand out for her own and to face bravely every situation, Karna also has tried to stand out of his own throughout his life. Karna is like a sweet mango gone bad due to contact with bitterness.
Karna believes that a root cause of all the afflictions of his life is being a premarital child with no social status. For entire of his life, all he wants is recognition on equal merits. However, unfortunately he has been deprived of that by the society. This reiterates a fact that in the absence of a direction and protection of a mother, a child is nobody in this world; his accomplishments in this world are closely associated to support of his mother to shape his life. Therefore, Karna expresses a very strange death wish to Krishna to make his pyre on the most barren place on earth; so that all his pains that he suffers being directionless and protection less, do not repeat in anybody’s life. A death wish of Karna underlines an importance of a role of a mother in a life of a child.