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The Sambhava Parva of Mahabharat mentions which gods and demons incarnated on earth at the time of Mahabharat giving details about even obscure kings. Curiously enough it does not mention anything about the previous births of Pandu and Dhritrashtra though it does mention that Vidura was the personification of Dharmaraj:

He who was known as Dhritarashtra born of the seed of Krishna-Dwaipayana, and gifted with long arms and great energy, also a monarch, of the prophetic eye, became blind in consequence of the fault of his mother and the wrath of the Rishi. His younger brother who was possessed of great strength and was really a great being known as Pandu, devoted to truth and virtue, was Purity's self. And, O king, thou shouldst know that he who was known on earth as Vidura, who was the first of all virtuous men, who was the god of Justice himself, was the excellent and greatly fortunate son of the Rishi Atri.

So my question is - Is it mentioned anywhere in the Mahabharat or any other scripture what the previous births of these two sons of Ved Vyas were?

marked as duplicate by YDS, Sarvabhouma, iammilind, Suresh Ramaswamy, Bhargav Rao Jul 14 '18 at 5:33

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The Devi Bhagavatam mentions Dhritarashtra as the reincarnation of an Asura called Hamsa, the son of Nemi. Nothing is mentioned about Pandu.

30-32. Vâsudeva was the part incarnation of Kas’yapa, Devakî was of Aditi, Baladeva, of Ananta; Vâsudeva S’rî Krisna, of S’rîmân Nârâyana; the son of Dharma existing even at that time in his physical body; Arjuna, of Nara, the younger brother of Nârâyana. 33. Yuidhisthira was part incarnate of Dharma, Bhimasena, of Vâyu, the powerful twins of Mâdri, Nakul and Sahadeva, of As’vinî-kumâras? 34. The valiant hero Karna, born of Kuntî, was part incarnate of the Sun, and the high minded Vidura, the knower of the Supreme Essence, was incarnate of Yama, the king Dharmarâj. Drona, the Âchârya of the Kurus and the Pândavas was the part incarnate of Brihaspatî; and his son As’vatthâmâ was part incarnate of Rudra Deva. 35. S’antanu was the part incarnate of the Ocean; his wife, of the river Ganges in human form. It is stated in the Purânas that the king Devaka was part incarnate of the Lord of Gandarvas. 36-41. The Grand-father of the Kauravas, the foremost of the heroes, Bhîsma Deva was the incarnate of Vasu; Virâta, the Lord of Matsya was the part incarnate of Maruts; Dhritarâstra, of the Daitya Hamsa, the son of Arista Nemi; Kripa and Krita Varmâ, of Maruts; Duryodhana, of Kali and S’akuni, of Dvâpara; Suvarchâkhya Somapraru, of the son of the Moon; Dhristadyumna was part incarnate of Fire and S’ikhandî of Râksasa; Pradyumna was part incarnate of Sanatkumâra; the king Drupada was part incarnate of Varuna; Draupadî, of Laksmî; Draupadî’s five sons, of Visve-devas; Kuntî was incarnate of Siddhi; Mâdri, of Dhriti; Gândhârî, of Mati; the wives of S’rî Krisna were the heavenly public women; thus all the Devas came as their part incarnations, urged on by Indra.

From the Purana's 4th's Book's 22nd Chapter.

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Dhitrashtra was incarnation of Hansa (the monarch of the Gandharvas and son of Arishta) and Pandu was incarnation of Hansa's younger brother:

Whose incarnation Dhitrashtra was is mentioned in the same chapter from where you have quoted the reference in your question. It is just mentioned in the previous line of your question's text. And for Pandu, it's mentioned in your question itself but as you have missed previous line, it's not clear.

However there is some translation issue which caused some confusion:

That son of Arishta who was known by the name of Hansa, was born in the Kuru race and became the monarch of the Gandharvas. He who was known as Dhritarashtra born of the seed of Krishna-Dwaipayana, and gifted with long arms and great energy, also a monarch, of the prophetic eye, became blind in consequence of the fault of his mother and the wrath of the Rishi. His younger brother who was possessed of great strength and was really a great being known as Pandu, devoted to truth and virtue, was Purity's self. ~Mahabharata: Adi Parva: Sambhava Parva

Hansa was famous monarch of the Gandharvas but translator mention it in a way that his next birth became the monarch of the Gandharvas. After correcting this issue, it can be understood from the same translation. This would be clear from this screenshot from Sanskrit-Hindi version of Mahabharat by Gitapress Gorakhpur:

Dhritarashtra was incarnation of Hansa and Pandu was incarnation of Hansa's younger brother


This answer mentioned under the question What were the previous births of the characters of Mahabharata? says "Vyasa's son Pandu was apparently the incarnation of the god of Purity". However, this doesn't seem to be correct as Sanskrit shloka mention truth, dharma etc as Pandu's qualities. This Wikipedia article also says that Pandu was incarnation of Younger brother of Gandharva Hamsa.

Dhritarashtra was incarnation of the king of the Gandharvas is confirmed in Mahabharata: Svargarohanika Parva too.

  • Glad to see Hindi translation :) – Just_Do_It Jul 13 '18 at 19:34
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    You voted to close and answered? O.o Why? It is not very good. – Sarvabhouma Jul 14 '18 at 1:48
  • @Sarvabhouma bcz that Q has no answer for Dhritarashtra and for Pandu also it seems some issue.. However Q is duplicate but won't help OP much so answered.. – YDS Jul 14 '18 at 2:04
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    That should not be done. It is a duplicate when the same question is asked. That is the criteria for closing. It is clearly a duplicate. It doesn't matter if it has answer or not. New answers will go to the original question. About Pandu and Dhritarashtra, there is an answer. Please delete your answer. – Sarvabhouma Jul 14 '18 at 2:07
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    1.The question is asked. 2. The answer answers the Pandu and Dhritarashtra part too. Only thing is the answer doesn't explicitly say that he is an incarnation of Hamsa because the OP thinks so or thinks otherwise. That doesn't prevent the question from being a duplicate. It's a duplicate and shouldn't be answered after voting to close. OP of this question should have searched the question before asking. Helping the OP means not only answering it also means pointing to correct dupe. It mentions the parts. New answers should be posted in the original. Repost answer there. – Sarvabhouma Jul 14 '18 at 3:01

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