Some time after the marriage of Kunti and Pandu, Bhishma collected a huge army and marched towards Valhika, in the kingdom of Madra.
Salya, who was the King of Madra saw the huge army of Hastinapur marching towards his capital. Making a split second decision, Salya immediately invited Bhishma to his own kingdom. Salya was very hospitable to the Kuru general and gave the general all the comforts that his kingdom could afford.
“What brings your here, my Lord? Salya asked Bhishma after Bhishma had rested.
“I have come here for your sister Madri!” Bhishma told Salya. “I have heard that she is beautiful and virtuous. I choose her as the second wife for Pandu,” Bhishma watched Salya with dangerous eyes. “Ours is a powerful kingdom and we are in every way fit to be considered as a good alliance for you,” Bhishma took a deep breath, studying Salya. “So choose well, Salya.”
Salya frowned and then nodded his head. “My Lord, before you speak further, first hear me out,” Salya started. “Hastinapur is one of the most powerful kingdoms in the country right now and I am more than sure that the alliance that you are offering is perfect for us,” Salya took a deep breath and then nodded to Bhishma, “But please understand. We, in the kingdom of Madra have a custom. The woman in our kingdoms cannot be offered for marriage because someone asks their hand in marriage.” Salya said. “It is our custom that our women are properly appreciated, before they are given in marriage.”
Bhishma frowned for a few seconds as Salya continued. “I am incapable of going against this customs, because this has been followed in our kingdom for many years now.”
Bhishma frowned again. The choice for him was fairly simple – whether he wanted war or not. Bhishma decided that the kingdom of Madra could be useful ally and refrained from going to war. Bhishma went back to his camp and sent to the kingdom of Madra – gold coins, precious stones, clothes, ornaments, gems, pearls and corals and a few thousand elephants, horses and chariots, as a gift for Salya’s sister – Madri.
Having accepted the gifts, Salya decided that the kingdom of Hastinapur would definitely take good care of his sister and decking her up in the finest jewelery, sent her with Bhishma to the kingdom of Hastinapur.
There, Pandu married his second wife Madri amidst great pomp and fair.
For the next month, Pandu was very happy as he enjoyed the company of both his wives.
But then his duty towards the kingdom beckoned Pandu.
After a month, leaving both his wives, Pandu collected a huge army and marched out to protect his kingdom. There were many robber tribes of Asarna which were causing havoc in his kingdom and Pandu marched against the thieves. In no time at all, Pandu was able to destroy the thieves and sent them running. But Pandu did not stop there.
Pandu turned his attention to the Dhirga, the ruler of Magadha.
And there was a small battle there and Pandu killed Dhirga and took everything in the treasury of Magadha, including the chariots and the animals from the kingdom. Now Pandu was in full form and he marched into Mithila and conquered the Videhans and then spread his territory to the kingdoms of Kasi, Sunbha and the Pundra.
Pandu defeated all the kings and they were made the vassals of the kingdom of Hastinapur.
The people of Hastinapur were very happy. Because Pandu had now brought back Hastinapur to its former glory – to the times when the kingdom had been when under the rule of King Shantanu.
And then Pandu came back to the kingdom of Hastinapur bringing with him an immense fortune, starting from gems, precious stones, pearls, corals, gold, silver, beautiful chariots and horses, elephants, and the other animals.
After having reached the capital, Pandu under Dhirdarashtra’s request divided all the riches that he had acquired to all his relatives including Bhishma, the old queen mother – Satyavathi, Ambika and Ambalika – the mothers of Dhirdarashtra and Pandu respectively and then to Vidura.
Dhirdarashtra performed huge sacrifices with the newly found wealth and the kingdom of Hastinapur had another era of prosperity from the new found wealth.