Surasena, one of the chief of the Yadavas was a worried man. The promise made by him to his cousin Kuntibhoja, who was Surasena’s paternal aunt’s son, was the reason for the chief’s worry.
Surasena saw his two children – the elder daughter – Prutha and the younger son – Vasudeva
Surasena caressed the baby girl’s cheeks, lovingly, a tinge of sadness in his heart....
He had made a promise and he was bound by it...
‘Prutha!’ Surasena cooed the baby girl’s name as he cradled her in her arms. Knowing that he could not put off his promise anymore, Surasena carried the child with him to another anxious Yadava chief – Kuntibhoja who was waiting outside the chambers.
Mustering up a smile, Surasena handed over the girl baby to the trembling hands of Kuntibhoja.
‘She is my first born, Kuntibhoja!’ Surasena said his voice almost cracking with emotion. ‘Just as I have promised, I have given my child to you to raise as your own daughter!’
Kuntibhoja took the girl in his hands his heart soaring with the strange emotion....He had no children, which was the sole worry always eating away his heart. He was cradling the child in his arms and saw the beautiful black eyes of the girl child look at him and nearly laughed with joy. Now no one, not one person, shall call Kuntibhoja as childless. He had a daughter, his own daughter....
Kuntibhoja was delirious with joy as he saw Surasena.
‘Kunti!’ Kuntibhoja said a beautiful smile lit up his features. ‘She is not Prutha anymore! She is my daughter! So she shall be called Kunti, the daughter of Kuntibhoja!’
And with that Kuntibhoja left with his daughter.
(In some versions, it is mentioned that Kunti was adopted when she was a teenager. Veda Vyasa’s Mahabharatha does not specify whether Kunti was a child or a teenager when she was adopted.)
Kuntibhoja was the very happy man. He felt he was blessed. Ever since the day, he had bought Kunti into his house, his rule had flourished. And Kunti was extremely mature for her age.
Even in her teens, Kunti was responsible and practically looked after all the affairs of the kingdom. So much so that her father had made her in charge of the hospitality given to guests and Brhamins – a post which required a lot of diplomacy and tact.
The young Kunti took the post with the maturity that belied her age.
And it was during that time, that Sage Durvasa, came to the household of Kuntibhoja.
Kunti was very careful while dealing with the man. She had heard of the terrible temper of the sage and the consequences of angering that man. And Kunti gave it her best shot and was even able to keep the sage happy.....
The sage was pleased with the young Kunti and wanted to repay her for her intelligence. And so just before he was about to leave Kuntibhoja’s household, he called the young Kunti aside.
‘I wish to repay your kindness for looking after me!’ He said without any preamble.
Kunti watched the sage not saying anything. Presumably because there was nothing that she could say to this statement.
‘There is a mantra! Using this mantra, you shall be able to summon any Deva!’ the sage continued.
Kunti frowned. Deva? Why would she need to summon a Deva? Kunti wondered. But still she asked nothing.
‘The Deva shall come and bless you with children!’ the sage finished, a strange smile on his lips.
Kunti was actually aghast and struggled from not showing anything on her face. ‘Why are you teaching me this mantra, sir?’ she asked finally, watching the sage, a growing fear gnawing at her stomach.
The sage smiled. But it was not a happy smile. It was a smile of a man who genuinely knew more than her.
‘It is important that you know this!’ was all the sage said.
Kunti did not understand. But she knew that she could get no further explanations from the sage.
A steady fear was growing in her heart as she learnt the mantra that the great sage taught her.
Having completed his work there, Sage Durvasa walked away from the household of Kuntibhoja.
The knowledge that Kunti got from the mantra, seemed too impossibly good for her to believe. Any Deva? The sage had told her that any Deva was bound by her summons! Was the mantra really effective?
Kunti was watching the rising sun from her window as a sudden thought assaulted her. Any Deva! Any Deva she called by the mantra would come to her.....