The burden of bringing up Dhritarashtra, Pandu and Vidura was on Bhishma. When all the three sons grew up, they were sent for education. Dhritarashtra became proficient in strength, Pandu in archery and Vidura in religion and policy. When Dhritarashtra was blind when he was young, he could not become the heir to the kingdom. Vidura was the son of a slave, so Pandu was declared the king of Hastinapur.
Bhishma married Dhritarashtra to Gandhari, the princess of Gandhara. When Gandhari came to know that her husband was blind, she herself blindfolded him. In those days, when Kunti, the cherished daughter of Yaduvanshi king Shursen, attained puberty, her father engaged her in the service of the Mahatmas who had come home. Kunti used to serve all the sages, sages, sages etc. who used to come to her father’s guest house.
Once Durvasa Rishi arrived there. Kunti served him with all her heart. Pleased with Kunti’s service, Durvasa Rishi said – “Daughter! I am very pleased with your service, so I give you such a mantra, using which the deity whom you will remember, will immediately appear in front of you and fulfill your wishes. Durvasa went away after giving the mantra to Rishi Kunti.
To check the veracity of the mantra, one day Kunti remembered the sun god sitting in a lonely place while chanting that mantra. At the same moment Suryadev appeared there and said – “Devi! Tell me what you desire from me. I will definitely fulfill your wish. On this Kunti said- “O God! I do not have any type of expectation from you. I have chanted the mantra only to test its veracity. After listening to these words of Kunti, Suryadev said – “O Kunti! My visit cannot go waste. I give you a very mighty and charitable son. Saying this, Suryadev disappeared. Kunti could not tell this thing to anyone out of shame. When the time came, a son was born from her womb wearing armor-rings.
Kunti put him in a manjusha and drowned him in the Ganges at night. The child, floating by, reached the place where Adhiratha, the charioteer of Dhritarashtra, was watering his horse in the river Ganges. His eyes fell on the child wearing armour. Adhirath was childless, so he hugged the child and took him home and handed him over to his wife Radha. He adopted that child and started bringing him up. The ears of that child were very beautiful, hence he was named ‘Karna’.