The five Pandavas were famous for at least one attribute each. Yudhisthira was a just king and an expert spearman. Arjuna was an exceptional archer. Bhima was the strongest among all and a skilled mace wielder. But what about the sons of Madri – Nakul and Sahadev? It is common knowledge that they were accomplished swordsmen and horse-riders; Sahadev even managed to finish off Shakuni on the 2nd last day of the battle. Nakul, the elder of the two was also accorded as the most beautiful man. However, it doesn’t end here. Sahadev was skilled in a matter on which even Duryodhan consulted him. He was an astrologer; and such a skilled one that he knew the entire course of the story well before hand. Two incidents explain this special ability of his.
a. Before embarking on his trip to Hastinapur as the peace-negotiator, Lord Krishna held an audience only with Sahadev and asked him his opinion on the resolution of the Pandava-Kaurava conflict. Very dispassionately Sahadev said, ‘We must tie and imprison you, kill Arjuna and crown Karna as the King of Hastinapur’! His line of reasoning was – Lord Krishna should not be allowed to interfere as he could easily manipulate matters, Karna should be crowned King as he was the eldest among all the brothers and Arjuna should be killed as he would never have accepted Karna as his King. This according to him was the least destructive solution to this feud. Sahadev even managed to bind the Lord through a mental image. The solution of course was never implemented as resolution through negotiation was never the objective of the Mahabharat.
b. Duryodhana consulted with Sahadev to know what day to start the battle. As per his Dharma of an astrologer, Sahadev correctly suggested that a battle starting on the Amavasya would be most auspicious to the Kauravas. This displays his understanding of the Gita, even before discoursed by the Lord, which demands everyone to follow the path of Dharma whatever the consequences. To avert the crisis, the Lord created an Amavasya a day before the actual day called Bodhayana Amavasya. This was crucial for the Pandavas to win the battle. So accomplished was Sahadev, that he was regarded the equal of Brihaspati, preceptor of Gods.
Meanwhile, we know the divine fathers of the sons of Kunti. But how about those of the Madri twins? Nakul and Sahadev were sons of Ashwin twins, the divine horse-riders, who were the sons of Saranya, goddess of clouds and Surya, the sun god. Lastly, Nakul had a bizarre ability – he could ride the horse without getting wet in the rains! There even has been a scientific research paper on this topic by an ex-professor from TIFR!
Thus we know more. Until later, until we discuss another story – probably lesser known yet equally important…