I am currently reading the Mahabharata, (Adi Parva) by Bibek Debroy, and it has a Chapter called the Vaivahik Parva, which explains how the Pandavas came to be. The relevant section has been explained in the following question already: Who were the previous Indras that incarnated as the Pandavas?, but I will reiterate to keep this question whole.
So Indra follows the maiden to Shiva (unbeknownst to Indra), where Shiva captures him and shows the 4 different Indras in the cave. Shiva orders them to take birth on earth to fulfil the work. Indra then proposes that instead of taking a birth himself, he'll use a part of his power(the semen) to bring to birth a progeny(Arjuna) that will do his work for him.
In popular conception, and even in the Mahabharata earlier, it has been stated that Kunti asked for sons from the Gods, and the Gods then gave her the sons. It has not been mentioned that the sons are actual Gods themselves, whereas the section above describes them to be actual Gods who have to take a birth due to Shiva's command.
This makes the whole narrative confusing and just raises more questions than it answers.
- Are Pandavas the Gods themselves in their human form or are they sons of those Gods?
- If Gods themselves manifest themselves on Earth, shouldn't their "existence" from the "swarglok"(for the want of a better word) be erased for the time being they exist on Earth?
The chapters also seems incomplete. At the start of the chapter, it says that Yama stopped killing humans, but did continue to kill animals, so the humans were becoming immortal and the Gods went to Brahma. Brahma said it will be over soon after Yama completes his yagna. After listening to this, Gods visit Yama at Bhagirati river where the yagna is taking place. If Yama is doing the Yagna, who's the one who is shown to be captured by Shiva later in the section?
I decided to post the questions under a single question because it is within the same context of the chapter.