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Who is the mother of Nakula and Sahadeva in the Mahabharata? - Life History Of Queen Madri In The Mahabharata

Nakula and Sahadeva are the twin brothers among the Pandavas in the Mahabharata. But Queen Kunti was not their mother. Then who is the mother of Nakula and Sahadeva?

The mother of Nakula and Sahadeva was queen Madri. She was the second wife of King Pandu.

Queen Madri was able to conceive Nakula and Sahadeva by invoking the Ashwini Kumars. 

Life History Of Queen Madri In The Mahabharata

Queen Madri is a significant yet tragic figure in the Mahabharata, one of the two main epics of ancient Indian literature. She is known for her beauty, her devotion to her husband Pandu, and her role in the birth of two of the Pandavas. Here is a detailed account of her life history:

Early Life and Marriage

Madri was the princess of the Madra kingdom and the sister of King Shalya. Her name "Madri" means "the princess of Madra." She was renowned for her beauty and grace.

King Pandu of Hastinapura married Madri as his second wife. His first wife was Kunti, the daughter of the Yadava prince Shurasena and the adoptive daughter of King Kuntibhoja.

Pandu's Curse and Retirement

Pandu, while hunting in the forest, accidentally killed Rishi Kindama and his wife, who were in the form of deer. The dying sage cursed Pandu, stating that he would die if he ever tried to engage in sexual intercourse. Stricken by this curse, Pandu decided to renounce his kingdom and retire to the forest, taking both his wives, Kunti and Madri, with him.

Birth of the Pandavas

Due to the curse, Pandu was unable to father children. However, Kunti had been blessed with a boon by Sage Durvasa that allowed her to invoke any god and have a child by him. With Pandu's permission, Kunti invoked Dharma (Yudhishthira), Vayu (Bhima), and Indra (Arjuna).

Madri, feeling left out, expressed her desire for children. Pandu asked Kunti to share her boon with Madri. Kunti taught Madri the mantra, and Madri invoked the Ashwini twins, resulting in the birth of Nakula and Sahadeva. Thus, all five Pandavas were born.

Pandu's Death and Madri's Sati

Pandu struggled with his desire for Madri, and one day, he could not resist his urge and attempted to be with her. As the curse foretold, Pandu died immediately. Madri, feeling responsible for his death and overwhelmed by grief, decided to commit sati (self-immolation) on Pandu's funeral pyre. She entrusted her sons, Nakula and Sahadeva, to Kunti, requesting her to take care of them as her own.


Madri's life is marked by her beauty, her role as a devoted wife, and her tragic end. Her sacrifice and the sorrow of her death had a profound impact on the Pandavas, particularly Nakula and Sahadeva. Throughout the Mahabharata, Madri is remembered as a dedicated wife and loving mother whose life was deeply intertwined with the fate of the Pandavas.

Madri's story is a poignant reminder of the themes of duty, sacrifice, and the complex interplay of fate and personal choice that permeate the Mahabharata.