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Parthenos= virginity; Genesis= birth. Parthenogenesis = Asexual reproduction i.e birth occurring solely from mother’s genes with no paternal(sperm) contribution.

Partha= born of Pritha/Kunti (click on the link for my review of Yuganta , Mahabharata by Irawati Karve) of Mahabharata. Parth is also another name for Arjun.(click for my fascination with Arjun)

Parth’-enogenesis in Mahabharata ? Is our epic the origin of the Greek word?

Kunti had five men in her life. Kunti is (still) counted amongst Panch-Kanya (eternal virgins) in Indian literature. She was gifted a magical chant by Sage Durvaas, which made any demi-God(willy-nilly) accessible to her wishes. She conceived four sons from four demi-Gods, without (as the texts staunchly insist) physical intimacy. Is it a medical possibility? kunti

Parthenogenesis is Nature’s survival tactic. Female of species use it whenever males are unavailable(too few), unable (Pandu?) or unnecessary(Queen honeybee) for reproduction. Komodo dragons, honey bees and Pit vipers use Parthenogenesis.

Human beings? Not as yet possible for Modern Medicine. But Kunti more than  5000 years ago? Perhaps possible. Before you scoff at the idea, remember that our scriptures mention Pushpak vimaan much before Wright brothers, in vitro fertilization (100 Gandhari sons), Tsunami (Dwarka’s sea-burial) and nuclear bomb (the Brahmastra is eerily word-to-word atomic bomb, Robert Oppenheimer conceded). Dronacharya was the anti-thesis (being born solely from his father’s sperms without a female egg!)

Since Time immemorial, History has been fascinated with virginity. Feminine virginity, of course . Jannat(Heaven) is where 7 virgins will serve thee. Jesus Christ was born to Virgin Mary. More recently, Roxana the Italian nun has no clue how she got pregnant.

Deepti Naval painted a pregnant nun years ago, a striking proof that artists tune into a sonic vibration much ahead or much diverse from the mundane mind. pregnant nun She explains it as Motherhood being the highest state of purity. The closest symbol of purity that struck into her mind was A Nun and thus was born a controversial painting.

So, Is virginity purely (pun!) physical? Does emotional virginity supersede the physical? Will we re-discover Parthenogenesis in human beings?

Just as an aside: Queen bee can reproduce with or without the drone. Drones (male bees) exist only to impregnate the Queen. The drones do not sting/do not gather pollen/do not produce honey. The drone can mate only once in a  lifetime; and the mating ends in a gruesome death. Sorry, just couldn’t avoid that interesting tid-bit!)