Nakula was the fourth of the five Pandavas. He played a major role in the Mahabharata. He was a twin son of Madri, along with Sahadeva. He was the godly son of the Ashwins, and therefore could magically cure illnesses.
- Father: Pandu
- Mother: Madri
- Godly Father: Ashvins
- Brothers: Yudhistira, Bhima, Arjuna, Sahadeva
- Wives: Karenumati, Draupadi (Panchali)
- Sons: Satanika, Niramitra
Once, King Pandu went hunting. He saw two dear and killed them with his arrows. As soon as he killed them, they turned into a rishi and his wife. Pandu was shocked. He realized that the two dear had been Kindama rishi and his wife in the form of dear. Kindama rishi was really mad and cursed Pandu that whenever he engages in intercourse with any women, he will die. A moment after, Kindama and his wife died from pain.
Pandu was really upset since he had killed a Brahmin who was a rishi. He decided to leave his post as king of Kuru kingdom. He and his two wives named Kunti and Madri left for the jungle. Pandu’s older blind brother, Dhitrastra was then coronated as king of Kuru. Dhitrastra them married Gandhari, the princess of Gandhara.
Due to his curse from Kindama rishi, Pandu could not have children. He was really upset. When she was small, Kunti was given a boon that she could have any children with any deva. Kunti used her boon. She had three children. Her first and oldest child was Yudhistira from Yama. Her second child was Bhima. He was the son of Vayu deva. Her third child was Arjuna from Indra deva.
One year after the birth of Arjuna, Pandu wanted more children. Kunti said that three children was enough. Meanwhile, Madri was filled with dismay and despair. Kunti already had 3 children when she had none. She didn’t say anything, but Pandu could tell she was upset from her mood.
After some time, she couldn’t bear it. She told Pandu, “Do you love Kunti more than me? She has three children while I have none. Please go tell Kunti to share the mantra with me so even I can have children.”
“I had a feeling this was going on in your mind, but I couldn’t be sure. Now that I’m sure, I will go ask Kunti. She will definitely listen,” Pandu assured.
Pandu went to Kunti and ask her the favour. Kunti was apprehensive, but agreed. She taught the incantation to Madri. Madri summoned the twin gods the Ashwini Kumaras. Soon, Nakula and Sahadeva were born to Madri. When they were born, a voice from the sky said that in vigor and beauty, the twins shall excel all. These five were called the five Pandavas.
Once, Pandu engaged in intercourse with Madri, forgetting about his curse. Immediately, Pandu died. Madri was so heartbroken that she also killed herself. Kunti and the five Pandavas were really depressed. A funeral was performed for Madri and Pandu. Kunti and the 5 Pandavas were brought to Hastinapura, the capital of the Kuru kingdom, by Vidura and Bhishma.
The Pandavas were given a horrible greeting by the 100 Kauravas, the sons of Dhitrastra and Gandhari. Shakuni, Gandhari’s brother, had poisoned their mind and turned them against the Pandavas. Slowly an enmity developed between the Pandavas and Kauravas. Whenever the Pandavas and Kauravas played games together, the superior capabilities of the Pandavas would always show.
The Kauravas became frustrated with the Pandavas, especially Bhima. They made many schemes to end the lives of Bhima. But ultimately, all of these ploys were unsuccessful.
Dhitrastra realized that the Pandavas and Kauravas were wasting their time with useless activities. He appointed Kripacharya, the royal preceptor, as the teacher of the princes. He taught the princes how to use weapons.
After the princes completed their short education with Kripacharya, Dhitrastra wanted to give the princes a higher education. He started searching for a teacher who was a master at weaponry.
Meanwhile, Dronacharya, the son of Bharadwaja, and his family had recently moved to Hastinapura. They stayed in the house of Kripa. Ashwastamma often helped Kripa give lessons about weaponry to the princes.
Once, the Pandavas and Kauravas were playing ball outside the palace. The ball accidentally fell into a nearby well. Everybody tried to take it out but it was to deep. At that moment, Drona arrived at the scene. He said, “If you promise me dinner today, then I shall remove this ball from the well and this ring which I am going to drop.”
Saying that, Drona dropped his ring into the well. He then threw a blade of grass at the ball and pierced it. He then pierced the blade of grass with another blade of grass and continued this until a chain was formed. Using the chain, he easily removed the ball. He then removed the ring by using an arrow.
The Pandavas were astonished by this impossible feat. They quickly went and told Bhishma about what had happened. Bhishma instantly knew that his was none other than Dronacharya. Drona went to the palace and personally met Bhishma. He told Bhishma about all that had happened. Bhishma, who had been searching for a teacher for the princes, asked Dronacharya to become their teacher. Dronacharya readily agreed.
Bhishma built a house for Drona to live in. The Pandavas and Kauravas were taken to this house and their education commenced. Dronacharya imparted scriptural and combat knowledge to the Pandavas and Kauravas. Nakula became an expert at swordsmanship.
In a short time, the education of the Pandava and Kaurava princes was complete. To display their skills to the Kuru elders, Dronacharya hosted a tournament. A grand stage and hall was constructed. The day of the demonstration arrived and the entire royal family and the citizens gathered in the arena. The princes entered one-by-one and each exhibited their skills. In this tournament, Karna would enter the epic and he would display his archery skill, challenging Arjuna.
When the Pandavas and Kauravas returned from their studies at Drona’s ashram, they had grown into young adults. As a token of thanks, the Pandavas and Kauravas would have to give Dronacharya a gurudakshina. Drona said that for gurudakshina he wanted them to defeat the Panchalas and their king Drupada. The Kauravas first attacked but were defeated and came back, fleeing the city. Thus, the Pandavas attacked. Yudhistira stayed back while Arjuna, Bhima, and the twins raced into the city. With Sahadeva and Nakula protecting their flanks, Bhima annihilated the Panchala army while Arjuna easily captured Drupada. The Pandavas presented Drupada in front of Drona. Drupada was forced to give the northern half of his kingdom to Drona and Ashwastamma.
The House of Lac- The House of Death
When they returned to Hastinapura from Panchala, Yudhistira was appointed the Crown Prince of Hastinapura. Meanwhile, Sahadeva and Nakula continued their training under Drona because they were still young. Nakula enhanced his knowledge of swordsmanship and chariot-fighting. Nakula also mastered the art of managing horses. He became skilled at rearing, training, and commanding all sorts of horses. Sahadeva and Nakula also accompanied Arjuna in his western military campaign to defeat Sauvira.
Dhitrastra and Duryodhana hated the fact that Yudhisitira was the crown prince. “Father, we must do something. The citizens are loving Yudhistira as their prince. If this continues, Yudhistira will become king soon and we will have to serve him!”
“I know what we have to do. If we send them away somewhere, then I can rise to power. And we can try to kill them at that place. But even if they survive, I will have already risen to power,” Duryodhana said.
Duryodhana and Dhitrastra decided to send them to Varnavrata. Dhitrastra easily convinced Yudhistira to go to Varnavrata. Kunti and the Pandavas stayed at a palace at Varnavrata for a few days. The palace was called Lakshagriha and it was made out of quickly flammable materials. Their plan was to have Purochana, burn the palace one night, so that the Pandavas would burn in the palace. When Purochana did this, the Pandavas and Kunti barely eascaped. Vidura, who was waiting near Varnavrata, helped them cross the Ganga river and adviced them to live in the forest for a while. The Pandavas and Kunti followed his advice. In Kuru kingdom, everybody thought that the Pandavas had died.
During their forest life, Arjuna in the disguise of a Brahmin, won Draupadi, the princess of Panchala at her swayamvara. When Arjuna led Draupadi to Kunti, he said “I brought something”. Kunti, who was not paying attention unknowingly said to share between the five. When Kunti saw that Arjuna meant that he had brought Draupadi as a wife, Kunti was shocked. The five Pandavas were forced to all marry her since Yudhistira refused to disobey his mother. From Draupadi, Nakula had a son named Satanika.
Soon, the Pandavas, Draupadi and Kunti returned to Hastinapura
Indraprasta and Rajasuya Military Campaign
Dhitrastra and Bhishma decided to give a part of Kuru kingdom to the Pandavas. They gave the pandavas a region called Khandavprastha. This region was every infertile. It was hard to grow crops here. The pandavas still made this land into a beautiful city called Indraprasta.
Yudhistira decided to perform the Rajasuya yagna. His 4 brothers went and defeated all the kingdoms of India. Nakula defeated all the kingdoms of the west and returned back with lots of tribute. Nakula had an easy task because the Pandavas had participated in a western Yadava expedition, which meant that he was familiar with this direction. Also, Arjuna and Pandu had led successful expeditions here and Nakula and Sanjaya had also went on an embassy here. Along with that, many close Pandava relatives were ruling in this region.
His officers for the campaign included Kamatha (Kambhoja king) and Chanura (King of the Yavanas). He left Indraprasta with one Akshauni of troops.
Kingdoms, Tribes and Kings Nakula defeated:
- Mattamayuras at Rohitaka
- Sairisaka Region
- Rajashri Akrosha of Mahothta
- Trigarta Kingdom
- Southern Sivi
- Vatadhana Kingdom
- Utsava Sanketas at Pushkara
- Sindhu Kingdom
- Sauvira Kingdom
- Amara Parvata
- Shalya of Madra
- Krishna of Dwarka
- Hara Kingdom
- Ramatha Kingdom
- Huna Kingdom
When Nakula returned to Indraprasta, the tribute he had collected was being carried by 10,000 elephants. Nakula had conquered more kingdoms by love, such as Madra and Dwarka, than by battle.
Duryodhana and Shakuni made another cruel plan. They invited the Pandavas and Draupadi to Hastinapura (capital of Kuru) for a gambling game. Not knowing of the cruel plan, the Pandavas accepted. The Pandavas and Draupadi went to Hastinapura. Shakuni, with his magical dice, made the Pandavas loose everything, including their wealth, jewelry, chariots, Indraprasta and lots more. Soon Yudhistira also lost his brothers and himself.
In the end, Dushasana dragged Draupadi to the court and attempted to disrobe her. Krishna saved Draupadi by continuing to magically add more to her clothing. After a long time. Dushasana gave up. In the end, it was decided that the Pandavas would go into exile for 12 years and incognito for 1 year. If they were identified during incognito they would repeat they exile and incognito.
Exile and Incognito Year
The Pandavas immediately went to Kamyaka forest. They soon arrived at a region called Sairisaka. The made a hut over there. One day, the Pandavas went hunting. They left Draupadi alone with sage Dhaumya and the great ascetic Trinavindu. Jayadratha, who happened to be passing Sairisaka noticed Draupadi. With Jayadratha was Kshemankara (King of Trigarta), 12 kings of Sauvira, Jayadratha’s brothers, Suratha (brother of Kshemankara) and Suratha’s son who was named Kotikasya. Jayadratha kidnapped Draupadi and went away from there.
When the Pandavas got to know about this after they returned, they ran after the tracks of Jayadratha and his followers’ chariots. In the fight that happened, Nakula killed Suratha, Yudhistira killed Kshemankar and Arjuna killed all 12 kings of Sauvira. Jayadratha started to run away. The Pandavas ran after him. When they caught up, Bhima was about to kill Jayadratha, but Yudhistira told Bhima to spare Jayadratha. Bhima eventually shaved Jayadratha’s hair as an insult.
When it was time for the year of incognito, the Pandavas made a list of kingdoms they could stay in disguise in. They finally decided to stay in Matsya kingdom. Each Pandava and Draupadi disguised themeselves as someone and took up an occupation. Nakula became Granthika. He worked as a horse-trainer at the royal stables.
Duryodhana and Susharma (King of Trigarta) did a combined attack on Matsya. This was because Duryodhana had guessed that the Pandavas were at Matsya. Arjuna, in disguise as Brihanalla, defeated the entire Kuru army alone while Virata (King of Matsya) and his army defeated Susharma and the Trigartas. After the war, since their incognito year was over, the Pandavas revealed their real identity to Virata. He was really shocked.
Duryodhana refused to give the Pandavas Indraprastha back after the exile. He also ignored all peace treaties. Hence, war was declared. The war occurred at the battlefield of Kurukshetra and lasted 18 days. The Pandavas won the war.
In the war Nakula killed:
- Banasena (son of Karna)
- Satyasena (son of Karna)
- Chitrasena (son of Karna)
Karna killed Nirmitra in the war. Satanika was the killed on the night of the eighteenth day by Ashwastamma while sleeping.
Later Life and Death
After the war, Yudhistira performed an Ashwamedha yagna in which Nakula participated. After some time, the Pandavas and Draupadi left for their last journey. They went on a final pilgrimage to the Himalayas. Along the way, Draupadi fell to her death. Then Sahadeva fell to his death. After that, Nakula fell to his death. Then, Arjuna and Bhima also fell to death. They were being dragged down by all their sins. After dying, Nakula met Arjun, Sahadeva, Bhima and Draupadi at swarga along with all his enemies. Soon, Yudhistira joined them.
Nakula was a really talented horse-trainer and breeder. He could treat illnesses of all horses. He was an amazing charioteer and horse-rider. Nakula was a master at medicine and Ayurveda just like Sahadeva. Nakula was also skilled at swordmanship. Nakula had good diplomatic skills. Adding on to that, he was also pretty good at archery.
Nakula was the handsome of all five brothers. He cared a lot about he how he looked.