“And at the command of Dhritarashtra, people were busy in supplying Pandu in his retirement with every object of pleasure and enjoyment.
“Meanwhile the son of the ocean-going Ganga heard that king Devaka had a daughter endued with youth and beauty and begotten upon a Sudra wife. Bringing her from her father’s abode, Bhishma married her to Vidura of great wisdom. And Vidura begot upon her many children like unto himself in accomplishments.’”
(Sambhava Parva continued)
“Vaisampayana said, ’Meanwhile, O Janamejaya, Dhritarashtra begat upon Gandhari a hundred sons, and upon a Vaisya wife another besides those hundred. And Pandu had, by his two wives Kunti and Madri, five sons who were great charioteers and who were all begotten by the celestials for the perpetuation of the Kuru line.’
“Janamejaya said, ’O best of Brahmanas, how did Gandhari bring forth those hundred sons and in how many years? What were also the periods of life allotted to each? How did Dhritarashtra also beget another son in a Vaisya wife? How did Dhritarashtra behave towards his loving obedient, and virtuous wife Gandhari? How were also begotten the five sons of Pandu, those mighty charioteers, even though Pandu himself laboured under the curse of the great Rishi (he slew)? Tell me all this in detail, for my thirst for hearing everything relating to my own ancestor hath not been slaked.’
“Vaisampayana said, ’One day Gandhari entertained with respectful attention the great Dwaipayana who came to her abode, exhausted with hunger and fatigue. Gratified with Gandhari’s hospitality, the Rishi gave her the boon she asked for, viz., that she should have a century of sons each equal unto her lord in strength and accomplishments. Some time after Gandhari conceived and she bore the burden in her womb for two long years without being delivered. And she was greatly afflicted at this. It was then that she heard that Kunti had brought forth a son whose splendour was like unto the morning sun. Impatient of the period of gestation which had prolonged so long, and deprived of reason by grief, she struck her womb with great violence without the knowledge of her husband. And thereupon came out of her womb, after two years’ growth, a hard mass of flesh like unto an iron ball. When she was about to throw it away, Dwaipayana, learning everything by his spiritual powers, promptly came there, and that first of ascetics beholding that ball of flesh, addressed the daughter of Suvala thus, ‘What hast thou done?’ Gandhari, without endeavouring to disguise her feelings, addressed the Rishi and said, ’Having heard that Kunti had brought forth a son like unto Surya in splendour, I struck in grief at my womb. Thou hadst, O Rishi, granted me the boon that I should have a hundred sons, but here is only a ball of flesh for those hundred sons!’ Vyasa then said, ’Daughter of Suvala, it is even so. But my words can never be futile. I have not spoken an untruth even in jest. I need not speak of other occasions. Let a hundred pots full of clarified butter be brought instantly, and let them be placed at a concealed spot. In the meantime, let cool water be sprinkled over this ball of flesh.’