I got a doubt from this question: Who were the previous Indras that incarnated as the Pandavas?

The Pandavas were all SONS of gods: Yudhishthira was the son of Yama god of death, Bhima was the son of Vayu the wind god, Arjuna was the son of Indra king of the gods, and Nakula and Sahadeva were sons of the twin Ashwini Kumaras. But these weren't the only gods they were INCARNATIONS of.

Given that, how can the Pandavas be incarnations of the Devas themselves when they were in fact their sons

Also, it is said that Draupadi is incarnation of wives of Dharma, Vayu, Indra and Aswini Kumaras. The wives of Dharma, Vayu, Indra and Aswini Kumaras are however stepmothers to the Pandavas (who are the sons of the Devas). In that case how could they marry their stepmothers' incarnation?

I am not asking about Draupadi's swayamvara (i.e., how she got married), but about her as well as Pandavas' incarnations. Please clear my doubts.

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    Hanuman is said to be born from seed of Shiva (Son of Shiva) to a vanara female. Hanuman is avatar of Rudra. Avatars have energies of original purusha. Krishna is 100% incarnation of Vishnu. Rama is 80% and Parasurama is ansh avatar. Hanuman has some energy or soul of Rudra. But Kartikeya has both souls or energies of Shiva and Adi Shakti. That's the reason we don't call Kartikeya as Avatar of Shiva.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 8:34
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    You are thinking of Physical bodies. Just think of Atma which is eternal. Arjuna has soul of Nara and Indra. So, he has only soul of Indra not his wife soul, so he is partial incarnation of Indra. Same is the case with other Pandavas.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 8:38
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    @KVickneshvara Don't you read my reply properly. What do you mean by power? Obviously Krishna is more divine than other two avatars.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 11:51
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    @KVickneshvara I think those who have little knowledge on Hinduism may tend to say as sons but people with knowledge of our scriptures say them as both sons and Avatars.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 3:07
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    @KVickneshvara Hanuman has only powers or soul of Rudra. Anjana was just Vanara and has no power. But for Skanda, he has two energies of Shiva and Shakti. See Soul (Atma) of Arjuna. Hence, we call Hanuman as Avatar of Shiva and Kartikeya as son of Shiva and Shakti.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 3:16

1 Answer 1


In Markandeya Purana there is this chapter where Rishi Jaimini asks the same question to the Holy Birds viz-"How could Draupadi marry the Pancha Pandavas?."

Quoting from the above link:

Apprehending the severe penance of Trishira, the son of powerful Brahmana Twashta, Indra suspected danger of his own position and thus killed Trishira. Twashta went into a rage and plucked a strand of hair from his head and offered it in the homa kunda (Fire Pit) by his mantrik power and created the mighty Vritrasura whose mission was to kill Indra, who had already lost his sheen since he committed a Brahmana. Indra deputed the Sapta Rishis to strike a deal with Vritra so that he would not put Indra to immediate danger; but Vritra was killed unawares by Indra.

These actions angered the community of Rakshasas resulting in continuous warfare against Devas and Prithvi felt great burden of the atrocities by the demons. Prithvi appealed to Indra and the Deities who in turn took the forms of Pandavas.

Yadindradeham cha Tejasthanmumocha Swayam Vrishah, Kunthyamjaatho Mahatejaastatho Raja Yudhishtarah/ Balam mumocha Pavanastatho Bhimo vyajaayat, Shakraveeryardhatas chaiva jajney Paarthom Dhananjayah/ Utpanno Yamalou Maadriyam Shaka Rupou Mahadyuti, Panchadhaa Bhagavannityamavateernah Shatukratuh/ Tasyotpanna Mahabhaaga Patni KrishnaHutaashanat, Shakrasyaikasya sa Patni Krishna naanyascha kasyachit/ Yogeeswaraah shareeraani Kurvati bahulaanyapi, Panchaanaameka Patnitwamityetatkathitham tav

Meaning-Dharmaraja himself from the body of Indra deposited his virility into Kunti from which was created Yudhishtara. The Deity of Wind viz. Pavan deposited Indra’s radiance into Kunti as a result of which Bhima was born. Indra gave away half of his ‘Shakti’ to Kunti and Dhananjaya was thus born. Indra’s virility was transferred through the two Ashwani Kumars to Devi Maadri and was born the pair of Nakul and Sahadeva. Indra’s ‘Amshas’ (alternatives) were manifested among all the five Pandava brothers clearly. Moreover, Indra’s wife Shachi Devi as Yagnaseni was created from ‘Agni’ and hence Draupadi was Indra’s own better half.Yogeswar Purush Indra could divide his own radiance into as many parts as per his volition.

Hence, it was amply justified that Draupadi was indeed the common wife of the five Pandavas.

The portion in bold in the above quote is the justification you're looking for.

If you want to know about the Holy Birds and how they came into existence then read this chapter of the same Purana.

  • So Yama, Vayu, and the Ashwini twins' sons were incarnations of Indra and Indra's son was an incarnation of Indra too?
    – user4627
    Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 1:15
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    Nice answer mate Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 5:19
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    Thanks buddy.. this was posted by me two years back..your comment reminded me of this answer :D @Dr.VineetAggarwal
    – Rickross
    Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 6:25
  • Haha well its good to keep refreshing the memory :) Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 9:04

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