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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa Bk. 4 by Kisari Mohan Ganguli

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The Mahabharata of

Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa



Translated into English Prose from the Original Sanskrit Text


Kisari Mohan Ganguli





(_Pandava-Pravesa Parva_)

OM! Having bowed down to Narayana, and Nara, the most exalted of male
beings, and also to the goddess Saraswati, must the word _Jaya_ be

Janamejaya said, "How did my great-grandfathers, afflicted with the fear
of Duryodhana, pass their days undiscovered in the city of Virata? And,
O Brahman, how did the highly blessed Draupadi, stricken with woe,
devoted to her lords, and ever adoring the Deity[1], spend her days

[1] _Brahma Vadini_--Nilakantha explains this as

Vaisampayana said, "Listen, O lord of men, how thy great grandfathers
passed the period of unrecognition in the city of Virata. Having in this
way obtained boons from the god of Justice, that best of virtuous men,
Yudhishthira, returned to the asylum and related unto the Brahmanas all
that had happened. And having related everything unto them, Yudhishthira
restored to that regenerate Brahmana who had followed him the churning
staff and the fire-sticks he had lost. And, O Bharata, the son of the
god of Justice, the royal Yudhishthira of high soul then called together
all his younger brothers and addressed them, saying, 'Exiled from our
kingdom, we have passed twelve years. The thirteenth year, hard to
spend, hath now come. Do thou therefore, O Arjuna, the son of Kunti,
select some spot where we may pass our days undiscovered by our

"Arjuna replied, "Even by virtue of Dharma's boon, we shall, O lord of
men, range about undiscovered by men. Still, for purposes of residence,
I shall mention some spots that are both delightful and secluded. Do
thou select some one of them. Surrounding the kingdom of the Kurus, are,
many countries beautiful and abounding in corn, such as Panchala, Chedi,
Matsya, Surasena, Pattachchara, Dasarna, Navarashtra, Malla, Salva,
Yugandhara, Saurashtra, Avanti, and the spacious Kuntirashtra. Which of
these, O king, wouldst thou choose, and where, O foremost of monarchs,
shall we spend this year?'

"Yudhishthira said 'O thou of mighty arms, it is even so. What that
adorable Lord of all creatures hath said must become true. Surely, after
consulting together, we must select some delightful, auspicious, and
agreeable region for our abode, where we may live free from fear. The
aged Virata, king of the Matsyas, is virtuous and powerful and
charitable, and is liked by all. And he is also attached to the
Pandavas. Even in the city of Virata, O child, we shall, O Bharata,
spend this year, entering his service. Tell me, ye sons of the Kuru
race, in what capacities ye will severally present yourselves before the
king of the Matsyas!'

"Arjuna said, 'O god among men, what service wilt thou take in Virata's
kingdom? O righteous one, in what capacity wilt thou reside in the city
of Virata? Thou art mild, and charitable, and modest, and virtuous, and
firm in promise. What wilt thou, O king, afflicted as thou art with
calamity, do? A king is qualified to bear trouble like an ordinary
person. How wilt thou overcome this great calamity that has overtaken

"Yudhishthira replied, 'Ye sons of the Kuru race, ye bulls among men,
hear what I shall do on appearing before king Virata. Presenting myself
as a Brahmana, Kanka by name, skilled in dice and fond of play, I shall
become a courtier of that high-souled king. And moving upon chess-boards
beautiful pawns made of ivory, of blue and yellow and red and white hue,
by throws of black and red dice, I shall entertain the king with his
courtiers and friends. And while I shall continue to thus delight the
king, nobody will succeed in discovering me. And should the monarch ask
me, I shall say, _Formerly I was the bosom friend of Yudhishthira_. I
tell you that it is thus that I shall pass my days (in the city of
Virata). What office wilt thou, O Vrikodara, fill in the city of


"Bhima said, 'I intend to present myself before the lord of Virata as a
cook bearing the name of Vallava. I am skilled in culinary art, and I
shall prepare curries for the king, and excelling all those skilful
cooks that had hitherto dressed his food I shall gratify the monarch.
And I shall carry mighty loads of wood. And witnessing that mighty feat,
the monarch will be pleased. And, O Bharata, beholding such superhuman
feats of mine, the servants of the royal household will honour me as a
king. And I shall have entire control over all kinds of viands and
drinks. And commanded to subdue powerful elephants and mighty bulls, I
will do as bidden. And if any combatants will fight with me in the
lists, then will I vanquish them, and thereby entertain the monarch. But
I shall not take the life of any of them. I shall only bring them down
in such way that they may not be killed. And on being asked as regards
my antecedent I shall say that--_Formerly I was the wrestler and cook of
Yudhishthira._ Thus shall I, O king, maintain myself.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'And what office will be performed by that mighty
descendant of the Kurus, Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, that foremost of
men possessed of long arms, invincible in fight, and before whom, while
he was staying with Krishna, the divine Agni himself desirous of
consuming the forest of Khandava had formerly appeared in the guise of a
Brahmana? What office will be performed by that best of warriors,
Arjuna, who proceeded to that forest and gratified Agni, vanquishing on
a single car and slaying huge _Nagas_ and _Rakshasas_, and who married
the sister of Vasuki himself, the king of the _Nagas_? Even as the sun
is the foremost of all heat-giving bodies, as the Brahmana is the best
of all bipeds, as the cobra is the foremost of all serpents, as Fire is
the first of all things possessed of energy, as the thunderbolt is the
foremost of all weapons, as the humped bull is the foremost of all
animals of the bovine breed, as the ocean is the foremost of all watery
expanses, as clouds charged with rain are the foremost of all clouds, as
Ananta is the first of all _Nagas_, as Airavata is the foremost of all
elephants, as the son is the foremost of all beloved objects, and
lastly, as the wife is the best of all friends, so, O Vrikodara, is the
youthful Gudakesa, the foremost of all bowmen. And O Bharata, what
office will be performed by Vibhatsu, the wielder of _Gandiva_, whose
car is drawn by white horses, and who is not inferior to Indra or
Vasudeva Himself? What office will be performed by Arjuna who, dwelling
for five years in the abode of the thousand-eyed Deity (Indra) shining
in celestial lustre, acquired by his own energy the science of
superhuman arms with all celestial weapons, and whom I regard as the
tenth _Rudra_, the thirteenth _Aditya_, the ninth _Vasu_, and the tenth
_Graha_, whose arms, symmetrical and long, have the skin hardened by
constant strokes of the bowstring and cicatrices which resemble those on
the humps of bulls,--that foremost of warriors who is as Himavat among
mountains, the ocean among expanses of water, Sakra among the celestial,
Havyavaha (fire) among the Vasus, the tiger among beasts, and Garuda
among feathery tribes!'

"Arjuna replied, 'O lord of the Earth, I will declare myself as one of
the neuter sex. O monarch, it is, indeed difficult to hide the marks of
the bowstring on my arms. I will, however, cover both my cicatrized arms
with bangles. Wearing brilliant rings on my ears and conch-bangles on my
wrists and causing a braid to hang down from my head, I shall, O king,
appear as one of the third sex, Vrihannala by name. And living as a
female I shall (always) entertain the king and the inmates of the inner
apartments by reciting stories. And, O king, I shall also instruct the
women of Virata's palace in singing and delightful modes of dancing and
in musical instruments of diverse kinds. And I shall also recite the
various excellent acts of men and thus conceal myself, O son of Kunti,
by feigning disguise. And, O Bharata should the king enquire, I will say
that, _I lived as a waiting maid of Draupadi in Yudhishthira's palace_.
And, O foremost of kings, concealing myself by this means, as fire is
concealed by ashes, I shall pass my days agreeably in the palace of

Vaisampayana continued, "Having said this, Arjuna, that best of men and
foremost of virtuous persons, became silent. Then the king addressed
another brother of his."[2]

[2] This speech of Vaisampayana is not included in some texts
within the second section. To include it, however, in the third,
is evidently a mistake.


"Yudhishthira said, 'Tender, possessed of a graceful presence, and
deserving of every luxury as thou art, what office wilt thou, O heroic
Nakula, discharge while living in the dominions of that king? Tell me
all about it!'

"Nakula said, 'Under the name of Granthika, I shall become the keeper of
the horses of king Virata. I have a thorough knowledge (of this work)
and am skilful in tending horses. Besides, the task is agreeable to me,
and I possess great skill in training and treating horses; and horses
are ever dear to me as they are to thee, O king of the Kurus. At my
hands even colts and mares become docile; these never become vicious in
bearing a rider or drawing a car.[3] And those persons in the city of
Virata that may enquire of me, I shall, O bull of the Bharata race,
say,--_Formerly I was employed by Yudhishthira in the charge of his
horses_. Thus disguised, O king, I shall spend my days delightfully in
the city of Virata. No one will be able to discover me as I will gratify
the monarch thus!'[4]

[3] The sloka commencing with _Adushta_ and ending _ratheshu
cha_ does not occur in texts except those in Bengal.

[4] A difference reading is observable here. The sense, however,
is the same.

"Yudhishthira said, 'How wilt thou, O Sahadeva, bear thyself before that
king? And what, O child, is that which thou wilt do in order to live in

"Sahadeva replied, 'I will become a keeper of the king of Virata's kine.
I am skilled in milking kine and taking their history as well as in
taming their fierceness. Passing under the name of Tantripala, I shall
perform my duties deftly. Let thy heart's fever be dispelled. Formerly I
was frequently employed to look after thy kine, and, O Lord of earth, I
have a particular knowledge of that work. And, O monarch, I am
well-acquainted with the nature of kine, as also with their auspicious
marks and other matters relating to them. I can also discriminate bulls
with auspicious marks, the scent of whose urine may make even the barren
being forth child. Even thus will I live, and I always take delight in
work of this kind. Indeed, no one will then be able to recognise me, and
I will moreover gratify the monarch.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'This is our beloved wife dearer to us than our
lives. Verily, she deserveth to be cherished by us like a mother, and
regarded like an elder sister. Unacquainted as she is with any kind of
womanly work, what office will Krishna, the daughter of Drupada,
perform? Delicate and young, she is a princess of great repute. Devoted
to her lords, and eminently virtuous, also, how will she live? Since her
birth, she hath enjoyed only garlands and perfumes and ornaments and
costly robes.'

"Draupadi replied, 'There is a class of persons called _Sairindhris_,[5]
who enter the services of other. Other females, however (that are
respectable) do not do so. Of this class there are some. I shall give
myself out as a _Sairindhri_, skilled in dressing hair. And, O Bharata,
on being questioned by the king, I shall say that I served as a waiting
woman of Draupadi in Yudhishthira's household. I shall thus pass my days
in disguise. And I shall serve the famous Sudeshna, the wife of the
king. Surely, obtaining me she will cherish me (duly). Do not grieve so,
O king.'

[5] An independent female artisan working in another person's

"Yudhishthira said, 'O Krishna, thou speakest well. But O fair girl,
thou wert born in a respectable family. Chaste as thou art, and always
engaged in observing virtuous vows, thou knowest not what is sin. Do
thou, therefore, conduct thyself in such a way that sinful men of evil
hearts may not be gladdened by gazing at thee.'"


"Yudhishthira said, 'Ye have already said what offices ye will
respectively perform. I also, according to the measure of my sense, have
said what office I will perform. Let our priest, accompanied by
charioteers and cooks, repair to the abode of Drupada, and there
maintain our _Agnihotra_ fires. And let Indrasena and the others, taking
with them the empty cars, speedily proceeded to Dwaravati. Even this is
my wish. And let all these maid-servants of Draupadi go to the
Panchalas, with our charioteers and cooks. And let all of them say,--_We
do not know where the Pandavas have gone leaving us at the lake of

Vaisampayana said, "Having thus taken counsel of one another and told
one another the offices they would discharge, the Pandavas sought
Dhaumya's advice. And Dhaumya also gave them advice in the following
words, saying, 'Ye sons of Pandu, the arrangements ye have made
regarding the Brahmanas, your friends, cars, weapons, and the (sacred)
fires, are excellent. But it behoveth thee, O Yudhishthira, and Arjuna
specially, to make provision for the protection of Draupadi. Ye king, ye
are well-acquainted with the characters of men. Yet whatever may be your
knowledge, friends may from affection be permitted to repeat what is
already known. Even this is subservient to the eternal interests of
virtue, pleasure, and profit. I shall, therefore speak to you something.
Mark ye. To dwell with a king is, alas, difficult. I shall tell you, ye
princes, how ye may reside in the royal household, avoiding every fault.
Ye Kauravas, honourably or otherwise, ye will have to pass this year in
the king's palace, undiscovered by those that know you. Then in the
fourteenth year, ye will live happy. O son of Pandu, in this world, that
cherisher and protector of all beings, the king, who is a deity in an
embodied form, is as a great fire sanctified with all the _mantras_.[6]
One should present himself before the king, after having obtained his
permission at the gate. No one should keep contact with royal secrets.
Nor should one desire a seat which another may covet. He who doth not,
regarding himself to be a favourite, occupy (the king's) car, or coach,
or seat, or vehicle, or elephant, is alone worthy of dwelling in a royal
household. He that sits not upon a seat the occupation of which is
calculated raise alarm in the minds of malicious people, is alone worthy
of dwelling in a royal household. No one should, unasked offer counsel
(to a king). Paying homage in season unto the king, one should silently
and respectfully sit beside the king, for kings take umbrage at
babblers, and disgrace lying counsellors. A wise person should not
contact friendship with the king's wife, nor with the inmates of the
inner apartments, nor with those that are objects of royal displeasure.
One about the king should do even the most unimportant acts and with the
king's knowledge. Behaving thus with a sovereign, one doth not come by
harm. Even if an individual attain the highest office, he should, as
long as he is not asked or commanded, consider himself as born-blind,
having regard to the king's dignity, for O repressers of foes, the
rulers of men do not forgive even their sons and grandsons and brothers
when they happen to tamper with their dignity. Kings should be served
with regardful care, even as Agni and other gods; and he that is
disloyal to his sovereign, is certainly destroyed by him. Renouncing
anger, and pride, and negligence, it behoveth a man to follow the course
directed by the monarch. After carefully deliberating on all things, a
person should set forth before the king those topics that are both
profitable and pleasant; but should a subject be profitable without
being pleasant, he should still communicate it, despite its
disagreeableness. It behoveth a man to be well-disposed towards the king
in all his interests, and not to indulge in speech that is alike
unpleasant and profitless. Always thinking--_I am not liked by the
king_--one should banish negligence, and be intent on bringing about
what is agreeable and advantageous to him. He that swerveth not from his
place, he that is not friendly to those that are hostile to the king, he
that striveth not to do wrong to the king, is alone worthy to dwell in a
royal household. A learned man should sit either on the king's right or
the left; he should not sit behind him for that is the place appointed
for armed guards, and to sit before him is always interdicted. Let none,
when the king is engaged in doing anything (in respect of his servants)
come forward pressing himself zealously before others, for even if the
aggrieved be very poor, such conduct would still be inexcusable.[7] It
behoveth no man to reveal to others any lie the king may have told
inasmuch as the king bears ill will to those that report his falsehoods.
Kings also always disregard persons that regard themselves as learned.
No man should be proud thinking--_I am brave, or, I am intelligent_, but
a person obtains the good graces of a king and enjoys the good things of
life, by behaving agreeably to the wishes of the king. And, O Bharata,
obtaining things agreeable, and wealth also which is so hard to acquire,
a person should always do what is profitable as well as pleasant to the
king. What man that is respected by the wise can even think of doing
mischief to one whose ire is great impediment and whose favour is
productive of mighty fruits? No one should move his lips, arms and
thighs, before the king. A person should speak and spit before the king
only mildly. In the presence of even laughable objects, a man should not
break out into loud laughter, like a maniac; nor should one show
(unreasonable) gravity by containing himself, to the utmost. One should
smile modestly, to show his interest (in what is before him). He that is
ever mindful of the king's welfare, and is neither exhilarated by reward
nor depressed by disgrace, is alone worthy of dwelling in a royal
household. That learned courtier who always pleaseth the king and his
son with agreeable speeches, succeedeth in dwelling in a royal household
as a favourite. The favourite courtier who, having lost the royal favour
for just reason, does not speak evil of the king, regains prosperity.
The man who serveth the king or liveth in his domains, if sagacious,
should speak in praise of the king, both in his presence and absence.
The courtier who attempts to obtain his end by employing force on the
king, cannot keep his place long and incurs also the risk of death. None
should, for the purpose of self-interest, open communications with the
king's enemies.[8] Nor should one distinguish himself above the king in
matters requiring ability and talents. He that is always cheerful and
strong, brave and truthful and mild, and of subdued senses, and who
followeth his master like his shadow, is alone worthy to dwell in a
royal household. He that on being entrusted with a work, cometh forward,
saying,--_I will do this_--is alone worthy of living in a royal
household. He that on being entrusted with a task, either within the
king's dominion or out of it, never feareth to undertake it, is alone
fit to reside in a royal household. He that living away from his home,
doth no remember his dear ones, and who undergoeth (present) misery in
expectation of (future) happiness, is alone worthy of dwelling in a
royal household. One should not dress like the king, nor should one
indulge in laughter in the king's presence nor should one disclose royal
secrets. By acting thus one may win royal favour. Commissioned to a
task, one should not touch bribes for by such appropriation one becometh
liable to fetters or death. The robes, ornaments, cars, and other things
which the king may be pleased to bestow should always be used, for by
this, one winneth the royal favour. Ye children, controlling your minds,
do ye spend this year, ye sons of Pandu, behaving in this way. Regaining
your own kingdom, ye may live as ye please.'

[6] Some of the Bengal text and _Sarvatramaya_ for
_Sarvamantramaya_. The former is evidently incorrect.

[7] This is a very difficult _sloka_. Nilakantha adopts the
reading _Sanjayet_. The Bengal editions read _Sanjapet_. If the
latter be the correct reading, the meaning then would be,--'Let
none talk about what transpires in the presence of the king. For
those even that are poor, regard it as a grave fault.' The sense
evidently is that the occurrences in respect of a king which one
witnesses should not be divulged. Even they that are powerless
regard such divulgence of what occurs in respect of them as an
insult to them, and, therefore, inexcusable.

[8] The Bengal editions read _Rajna_ in the instrumental case.
Following a manuscript text of a Pandit of my acquaintance I
read _Rajnas_ in the genitive.

"Yudhishthira said, 'We have been well taught by thee. Blessed be thou.
There is none that could say so to us, save our mother Kunti and Vidura
of great wisdom. It behoveth thee to do all that is necessary now for
our departure, and for enabling us to come safely through this woe, as
well as for our victory over the foe.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Thus addressed by Yudhishthira, Dhaumya, that
best of Brahmanas, performed according to the ordinance the rites
ordained in respect of departure. And lighting up their fires, he
offered, with _mantras_, oblations on them for the prosperity and
success of the Pandavas, as for their reconquest of the whole world. And
walking round those fires and round the Brahmanas of ascetic wealth, the
six set out, placing Yajnaseni in their front. And when those heroes had
departed, Dhaumya, that best of ascetics, taking their sacred fires, set
out for the Panchalas. And Indrasena, and others already mentioned, went
to the Yadavas, and looking after the horses and the cars of the
Pandavas passed their time happily and in privacy."


Vaisampayana said, "Girding their waists with swords, and equipped with
finger-protectors made of iguana skins and with various weapons, those
heroes proceeded in the direction of the river Yamuna. And those bowmen
desirous of (speedily) recovering their kingdom, hitherto living in
inaccessible hills and forest fastnesses, now terminated their
forest-life and proceeded to the southern bank of that river. And those
mighty warriors endued with great strength and hitherto leading the
lives of hunters by killing the deer of the forest, passed through
_Yakrilloma_ and Surasena, leaving behind, on their right, the country
of the Panchalas, and on their left, that of the Dasarnas. And those
bowmen, looking wan and wearing beards and equipped with swords, entered
Matsya's dominions leaving the forest, giving themselves out as hunters.
And on arriving at that country, Krishna addressed Yudhishthira, saying,
'We see footpaths here, and various fields. From this it appears that
Virata's metropolis is still at a distance. Pass we here what part of
the night is still left, for great is my fatigue.'

"Yudhishthira answered, 'O Dhananjaya of Bharata's race, do thou take up
Panchali and carry her. Just on emerging from this forest, we arrive at
the city.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Thereupon like the leader of a herd of
elephants, Arjuna speedily took up Draupadi, and on coming to the
vicinity of the city, let her down. And on reaching the city, Ruru's son
(Yudhishthira), addressed Arjuna, saying, 'Where shall we deposit our
weapons, before entering the city? If, O child, we enter it with our
weapons about us, we shall thereby surely excite the alarm of the
citizens. Further, the tremendous bow, the _Gandiva_, is known to all
men, so that people will, without doubt, recognise us soon. And if even
one of us is discovered, we shall, according to promise, have to pass
another twelve years in the forest.'

"Arjuna said, 'Hard by yon cemetery and near that inaccessible peak is a
mighty _Sami_ tree, throwing-about its gigantic branches and difficult
to ascend. Nor is there any human being, who, I think, O Pandu's son,
will espy us depositing our arms at that place. That tree is in the
midst of an out-of-the way forest abounding in beasts and snakes, and is
in the vicinity of a dreary cemetery. Stowing away our weapons on the
_Sami_ tree, let us, O Bharata, go to the city, and live there, free
from anxiety!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Having O bull of the Bharata race spoken thus
to king Yudhishthira the just, Arjuna prepared to deposit the weapons
(on the tree). And that bull among the Kurus, then loosened the string
of the large and dreadful _Gandiva_, ever producing thundering twang and
always destructive of hostile hosts, and with which he had conquered, on
a single car, gods and men and _Nagas_ and swelling provinces. And the
warlike Yudhishthira, that represser of foes, unfastened the undecaying
string of that bow with which he had defended the field of Kurukshetra.
And the illustrious Bhimasena unstrung that bow by means of which that
sinless one had vanquished in fight the Panchalas and the lord of
Sindhu, and with which, during his career of conquest, he had,
single-handed, opposed innumerable foes, and hearing whose twang which
was like unto the roar of the thunder or the splitting of a mountain,
enemies always fly (in panic) from the field of battle. And that son of
Pandu of coppery complexion and mild speech who is endued with great
prowess in the field, and is called Nakula in consequence of his
unexampled beauty in the family, then unfastened the string of that bow
with which he had conquered all the regions of the west. And the heroic
Sahadeva also, possessed of a mild disposition, then untied the string
of that bow with which he had subjugated the countries of the south. And
with their bows, they put together their long and flashing swords, their
precious quivers, and their arrows sharp as razors. And Nakula ascended
the tree, and deposited on it the bows and the other weapons. And he
tied them fast on those parts of the tree which he thought would not
break, and where the rain would not penetrate. And the Pandavas hung up
a corpse (on the tree), knowing that people smelling the stench of the
corpse would say--_here sure, is a dead body_, and avoid the tree from a
distance. And on being asked by the shepherds and cowherds regarding the
corpse, those repressers of foes said unto them, 'This is our mother,
aged one hundred and eighty years. We have hung up her dead body, in
accordance with the custom observed by our forefathers.' And then those
resisters of foes approached the city. And for purposes of non-discovery
Yudhishthira kept these (five) names for himself and his brothers
respectively, viz., Jaya, Jayanta, Vijaya, Jayatsena, and Jayadvala.
Then they entered the great city, with the view to passing the
thirteenth year undiscovered in that kingdom, agreeably to the promise
(to Duryodhana)."


Vaisampayana said, "And while Yudhishthira was on his way to the
delightful city of Virata, he began to praise mentally the Divine Durga,
the Supreme Goddess of the Universe, born on the womb of Yasoda, and
fond of the boons bestowed on her by Narayana, sprung from the race of
cowherd Nanda, and the giver of prosperity, the enhancer (of the glory)
of (the worshipper's) family, the terrifier of Kansa, and the destroyer
of _Asuras_,--and saluted the Goddess--her who ascended the skies when
dashed (by Kansa) on a stony platform, who is the sister of Vasudeva,
one who is always decked in celestial garlands and attired in celestial
robes,--who is armed with scimitar and shield, and always rescues the
worshipper sunk in sin, like a cow in the mire, who in the hours of
distress calls upon that eternal giver of blessings for relieving him of
their burdens. And the king, desirous with his brothers of obtaining a
sight of the Goddess, invoked her and began to praise her by reciting
various names derived from (approved) hymns. And Yudhishthira said,
'Salutations to thee, O giver of boons. O thou that art identical with
Krishna, O maiden, O thou that hast observed the vow of _Brahmacharya_,
O thou of body bright as the newly-risen Sun, O thou of face beautiful
as the full moon. Salutations to thee, O thou of four hands and four
faces, O thou of fair round hips and deep bosom, O thou that wearest
bangles made of emeralds and sapphires, O thou that bearest excellent
bracelets on thy upper arm. Thou shinest, O Goddess, as Padma, the
consort of Narayana. O thou that rangest the etherial regions, thy true
form and thy _Brahmacharya_ are both of the purest kind. Sable as the
black clouds, thy face is beautiful as that of _Sankarshana_. Thou
bearest two large arms long as a couple of poles raised in honour of
Indra. In thy (six) other arms thou bearest a vessel, a lotus, a bell, a
noose, a bow, a large discus, and various other weapons. Thou art the
only female in the universe that possessest the attribute of purity.
Thou art decked with a pair of well-made ears graced with excellent
rings. O Goddess, thou shinest with a face that challengeth the moon in
beauty. With an excellent diadem and beautiful braid with robes made of
the bodies of snakes, and with also the brilliant girdle round thy hips,
thou shinest like the Mandara mountain encircled with snakes. Thou
shinest also with peacock-plumes standing erect on thy head, and thou
hast sanctified the celestial regions by adopting the vow of perpetual
maiden-hood. It is for this, O thou that hast slain the
_Mahishasura_,[9] that thou art praised and worshipped by the gods for
the protection of the three worlds. O thou foremost of all deities,
extend to me thy grace, show me thy mercy, and be thou the source of
blessings to me. Thou art _Jaya_ and _Vijaya_, and it is thou that
givest victory in battle. Grant me victory, O Goddess, and give me boons
also at this hour of distress. Thy eternal abode is on Vindhya--that
foremost of mountains. O _Kali_, O _Kali_, thou art the great _Kali_,
ever fond of wine and meat and animal sacrifice. Capable of going
everywhere at will, and bestowing boons on thy devotees, thou art ever
followed in thy journeys by Brahma and the other gods. By them that call
upon thee for the relief of their burdens, and by them also that bow to
thee at daybreak on Earth, there is nothing that cannot be attained in
respect either of offspring or wealth. And because thou rescuest people
from difficulties whether when they are afflicted in the wilderness or
sinking in the great ocean, it is for this that thou art called
_Durga_[10] by all. Thou art the sole refuge of men when attacked by
robbers or while afflicted in crossing streams and seas or in wilderness
and forests. Those men that remember thee are never prostrated, O great
Goddess. Thou art Fame, thou art Prosperity, thou art Steadiness, thou
art Success; thou art the Wife, thou art men's Offspring, thou art
Knowledge, and thou art the Intellect. Thou art the two Twilights, the
Night Sleep, Light--both solar and lunar, Beauty, Forgiveness, Mercy,
and every other thing. Thou dispellest, worshipped by the devotees their
fetters, ignorance, loss of children and loss of wealth, disease, death,
and fear. I, who have been deprived of my kingdom, seek thy protection.
And as I bow to thee with bended head, O Supreme Goddess, grant me
protection, O thou of eyes like lotus leaves. And be thou as boon-giving
Truth unto us that are acting according to Truth. And, O Durga, kind as
thou art unto all that seek thy protection, and affectionate unto all
thy devotees, grant me protection!'"

[9] _Mahishasura_, the son of Rambhasura. Durga had to fight for
many years before she could slay this formidable _Asura_.
The story occurs in the _Markandeya Purana_. To this day, Bengal
during the great Durga Puja festival in autumn, worships the
goddess with great veneration.

[10] Literally, one that rescues from difficulty.

Vaisampayana continued, "Thus praised by the son of Pandu, the Goddess
showed herself unto him. And approaching the king, she addressed him in
these words, 'O mighty armed king, listen, O Lord, to these words of
mine. Having vanquished and slain the ranks of the Kauravas through my
grace, victory in battle will soon be thine. Thou shalt again lord it
over the entire Earth, having made thy dominions destitute of thorns.
And, O king, thou shalt also, with thy brothers, obtain great happiness.
And through my grace, joy and health will be thine. And they also in the
world who will recite my attributes and achievements will be freed from
their sins, and gratified. I will bestow upon them kingdom, long life,
beauty of person, and offspring. And they, O king, who will invoke me,
after thy manner, in exile or in the city, in the midst of battle or of
dangers from foes, in forests or in inaccessible deserts, in seas or
mountain fastnesses, there is nothing that they will not obtain in this
world. And ye sons of Pandu, he will achieve success in every business
of his that will listen to, or himself recite with devotion, this
excellent hymn. And through my grace neither the Kuru's spies, nor those
that dwell in the country of the Matsyas, will succeed in recognising
you all as long as ye reside in Virata's city!' And having said these
words unto Yudhishthira, that chastiser of foes, and having arranged for
the protection of the sons of Pandu, the Goddess disappeared there and


Vaisampayana said, "Then tying up in his cloth dice made of gold and set
with _lapis lazuli_, and holding them below his arm-pit, king
Yudhishthira,--that illustrious lord of men--that high-souled
perpetuator of the Kuru race, regarded by kings, irrepressible in might,
and like unto a snake of virulent poison,--that bull among men, endued
with strength and beauty and prowess, and possessed of greatness, and
resembling in form a celestial though now like unto the sun enveloped in
dense clouds, or fire covered with ashes, first made his appearance when
the famous king Virata was seated in his court. And beholding with his
followers that son of Pandu in his court, looking like the moon hid in
clouds and possessed of a face beautiful as the full moon, king Virata
addressed his counsellors and the twice-born ones and the charioteers
and the Vaisyas and others, saying, 'Enquire ye who it is, so like a
king that looketh on my court for the first time. He cannot be a
Brahmana. Methinks he is a man of men, and a lord of earth. He hath
neither slaves, nor cars, nor elephants with him, yet he shineth like
the very Indra. The marks on his person indicate him to be one whose
coronal locks have undergone the sacred investiture. Even this is my
belief. He approacheth me without any hesitation, even as an elephant in
rut approacheth an assemblage of lotuses!'

"And as the king was indulging in these thoughts, that bull among men,
Yudhishthira, came before Virata and addressed him, saying, 'O great
king, know me for a Brahmana who, having lost his all hath come to thee
for the means of subsistence. I desire, O sinless one, to live here
beside thee acting under thy commands,[11] O lord.' The king then,
well-pleased, replied unto him saying, 'Thou art welcome. Do thou then
accept the appointment thou seekest!' And having appointed the lion
among kings in the post he had prayed for, king Virata addressed him
with a glad heart, saying, 'O child, I ask thee from affection, from the
dominions of what king dost thou come hither? Tell me also truly what is
thy name and family, and what thou hast a knowledge of.'

[11] _Kamachara_ is explained by Nilakantha thus, although in
other places it bears a quite different meaning.

"Yudhishthira said, 'My name is Kanka, and I am a Brahmana belonging to
the family known by the name of _Vaiyaghra_. I am skilled in casting
dice, and formerly I was a friend of Yudhishthira.'

"Virata replied, 'I will grant thee whatever boon thou mayst desire. Do
thou rule the Matsyas.--I shall remain in submission to thee. Even
cunning gamblers are liked by me. Thou, on the other hand, art like a
god, and deservest a kingdom.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'My first prayer, O lord of earth, is that I may not
be involved in any dispute (on account of dice) with low people.
Further, a person defeated by me (at dice) shall not be permitted to
retain the wealth (won by me). Let this boon be granted to me through
thy grace.'

"Virata replied, 'I shall certainly slay him who may happen to displease
thee, and should he be one of the twice-born ones, I shall banish him
from my dominions. Let the assembled subjects listen! Kanka is as much
lord of this realm as I myself. Thou (Kanka) shalt be my friend and
shalt ride the same vehicles as I. And there shall also be at thy
disposal apparel in plenty, and various kinds of viands and drinks. And
thou shalt look into my affairs, both internal and external. And for
thee all my doors shall be open. When men out of employ or of strained
circumstances will apply to thee, do thou at all hours bring their words
unto me, and I will surely give them whatever they desire. No fear shall
be thine as long as thou residest with me.'"

Vaisampayana said, "Having thus obtained an interview with Virata's
king, and received from him boons, that heroic bull among men, began to
live happily, highly regarded by all. Nor could any one discover him as
he lived there."


Vaisampayana said, "Then another endued with the dreadful strength and
blazing in beauty, approached king Virata, with the playful gait of the
lion. And holding in hand a cooking ladle and a spoon, as also an
unsheathed sword of sable hue and without a spot on the blade, he came
in the guise of a cook illumining all around him by his splendour like
the sun discovering the whole world. And attired in black and possessed
of the strength of the king of mountains, he approached the king of the
Matsyas and stood before him. And beholding that king-like person before
him, Virata addressed his assembled subjects saying, 'Who is that youth,
that bull among men, with shoulders broad like those of a lion, and so
exceedingly beautiful? That person, never seen before, is like the sun.
Revolving the matter in my mind, I cannot ascertain who he is, nor can I
with even serious thoughts guess the intention of that bull among men
(in coming here). Beholding him, it seems to me that he is either the
king of the Gandharvas, or Purandara himself. Do ye ascertain who it is
that standeth before my eyes. Let him have quickly what he seeks.' Thus
commanded by king Virata, his swift-footed messengers went up to the son
of Kunti and informed that younger brother of Yudhishthira of everything
the king had said. Then the high-souled son of Pandu, approaching
Virata, addressed him in words that were not unsuited to his object,
saying, 'O foremost of kings, I am a cook, Vallava by name. I am skilled
in dressing dishes. Do thou employ me in the kitchen!'

"Virata said, 'I do not believe, O Vallava, that cooking is thy office.
Thou resemblest the deity of a thousand eyes; and in grace and beauty
and prowess, thou shinest among these all as a king!'

"Bhima replied, 'O king of kings, I am thy cook and servant in the first
place. It is not curries only of which I have knowledge, O monarch,
although king Yudhishthira always used in days gone by to taste my
dishes. O lord of earth, I am also a wrestler. Nor is there one that is
equal to me in strength. And engaging in fight with lions and elephants,
I shall, O sinless one, always contribute to thy entertainment.'

"Virata said, 'I will even grant thee boons. Thou wilt do what thou
wishest, as thou describest thyself skilled in it. I do not, however,
think, that this office is worthy of thee, for thou deservest this
(entire) earth girt round by the sea. But do as thou likest. Be thou the
superintendent of my kitchen, and thou art placed at the head of those
who have been appointed there before by me.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Thus appointed in the kitchen, Bhima soon
became the favourite of king Virata. And, O king, he continued to live
there unrecognised by the other servants of Virata as also by other


Vaisampayana said, "Binding her black, soft, fine, long and faultless
tresses with crisped ends into a knotted braid, Draupadi of black eyes
and sweet smiles, throwing it upon her right shoulders, concealed it by
her cloth. And she wore a single piece of a black and dirty though
costly cloth. And dressing herself as a _Sairindhri_, she began to
wander hither and thither in seeming affliction. And beholding her
wandering, men and women came to her hastily and addressed her, saying,
'Who are you? And what do you seek?' And she replied, 'I am a king's
_Sairindhri_. I desire to serve any one that will maintain me.' But
beholding her beauty and dress, and hearing also her speech that was so
sweet, the people could not take her for a maid-servant in search of
subsistence. And it came to pass that while looking this way and that
from the terrace, Virata's beloved queen, daughter of the king of
Kekaya, saw Draupadi. And beholding her forlorn and clad in a single
piece of cloth, the queen addressed her saying, 'O beautiful one, who
are you, and what do you seek?' Thereupon, Draupadi answered her,
saying, 'O foremost of queens, I am _Sairindhri_. I will serve anybody
that will maintain me.' Then Sudeshna said, 'What you say (regarding
your profession) can never be compatible with so much beauty. (On the
contrary) you might well be the mistress of servants both, male and
female. Your heels are not prominent, and your thighs touch each other.
And your intelligence is great, and your navel deep, and your words
solemn. And your great toes, and bust and hips, and back and sides, and
toe-nails, and palms are all well-developed. And your palms, soles, and
face are ruddy. And your speech is sweet even as the voice of the swan.
And your hair is beautiful, and your bust shapely, and you are possessed
of the highest grace. And your hips and bust are plump. And like a
Kashmerean mare you are furnished with every auspicious mark. And your
eye-lashes are (beautiful) bent, and your nether-lip is like the ruddy
ground. And your waist is slender, and your neck bears lines that
resemble those of the conch. And your veins are scarcely visible.
Indeed, your countenance is like the full moon, and your eyes resemble
the leaves of the autumnal lotus, and your body is fragrant as the lotus
itself. Verily, in beauty you resemble _Sri_ herself, whose seat is the
autumnal lotus. Tell me, O beautiful damsel, who thou art. Thou canst
never be a maidservant. Art thou a _Yakshi_, a Goddess, a _Gandharvi_,
or an _Apsara_? Art thou the daughter of a celestial, or art thou a
female _Naga_? Art thou the guardian goddess of some city, a
_Vidyadhari_, or a _Kinnari_,--or art thou _Rohini_ herself? Or art thou
Alamvusha, or Misrakesi, Pundarika, or Malini, or the queen of Indra, or
of Varuna? Or, art thou the spouse of Viswakarma, or of the creative
Lord himself? Of these goddesses who art renowned in the celestial
regions, who art thou, O graceful one?'

"Draupadi replied, 'O auspicious lady, I am neither a goddess nor a
_Gandharvi_, nor a _Yakshi_, nor a _Rakshasi_. I am a maid-servant of
the _Sairindhri_ class. I tell thee this truly. I know to dress the
hair, to pound (fragrant substances) for preparing unguents, and also to
make beautiful and variegated garlands, O beauteous lady, of jasmines
and lotuses and blue lilies and _Champakas_. Formerly I served Krishna's
favourite queen Satyabhama, and also Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas
and the foremost beauty of the Kuru race. I wander about alone, earning
good food and dress; and as long as I get these, I continue to live in
the place where they are obtainable. Draupadi herself called me Malini
(maker of garlands).'

"Hearing this, Sudeshna said, 'I would keep thee upon my head itself, if
the doubt did not cross my mind that the king himself would be attracted
towards thee with his whole heart. Attracted by thy beauty, the females
of the royal household and my maids are looking at thee. What male
person then is there that can resist thy attraction? Surely, O thou of
well-rounded hips, O damsel of exquisite charms, beholding thy form of
superhuman beauty, king Virata is sure to forsake me, and will turn to
thee with his whole heart. O thou of faultless limbs, O thou that art
endued with large eyes casting quick glances, he upon whom thou wilt
look with desire is sure to be stricken. O thou of sweet smiles, O thou
that possessest a faultless form, he that will behold thee constantly,
will surely catch the flame. Even as a person that climbs up a tree for
compassing his own destruction, even as the crab conceives for her own
ruin, I may, O thou of sweet smiles, bring destruction upon myself by
harbouring thee.'

"Draupadi replied, 'O fair lady, neither Virata nor any other person
will be able to have me, for my five youthful husbands, who are
_Gandharvas_ and sons of a _Gandharva_ king of exceeding power, always
protect me. None can do me a wrong. It is the wish of my _Gandharva_
husbands that I should serve only such persons as will not give me to
touch food already partaken of by another, or tell me to wash their
feet. Any man that attempts to have me like any common woman, meeteth
with death that very night. No one can succeed in having me, for, O
beautiful lady, O thou of sweet smiles, those beloved _Gandharvas_,
possessed of great energy and mighty strength always protect me

"Sudeshna said, 'O thou that bringest delight to the heart, if it is as
thou sayest, I will take thee into my household. Thou shalt not have to
touch food that hath been partaken of by another, or to wash another's

Vaisampayana continued, "Thus addressed by Virata's wife, O Janamejaya,
Krishna (Draupadi) ever devoted to her lords, began to live in that
city. Nor could anyone ascertain who in reality she was!"


"Vaisampayana said, 'Then clad in a cowherd's dress, and speaking the
dialect of cowherds, Sahadeva came to the cowpen of Virata's city. And
beholding that bull among men, who was shining in splendour, the king
was struck with amazement. And he directed his men to summon Sahadeva.
And when the latter came, the king addressed him, saying, 'To whom dost
thou belong? And whence dost thou come? And what work dost thou seek? I
have never seen thee before. O bull among men, tell me truly about

"Having come before the king that afflicter of foes, Sahadeva answered
in accents deep as the roar of the cloud, 'I am a Vaisya, Arishtanemi by
name. I was employed as a cowherd in the service of those bulls of the
Kuru race, the sons of Pandu. O foremost of men, I intend now to live
beside thee, for I do not know where those lions among kings, the sons
of Pritha, are. I cannot live without service, and, O king, I do not
like to enter into the service of anyone else save thee.'

"Hearing these words, Virata said, 'Thou must either be a Brahmana or a
Kshatriya. Thou lookest as if thou wert the lord of the entire earth
surrounded by the sea. Tell me truly, O thou that mowest down thy foes.
The office of a Vaisya is not fit for thee. Tell me from the dominions
of what king thou comest, and what thou knowest, and in what capacity
thou wouldst remain with us, and also what pay thou wouldst accept.'

"Sahadeva answered, 'Yudhishthira, the eldest of the five sons of Pandu,
had one division of kine numbering eight hundred and ten thousand, and
another, ten thousand, and another, again, twenty thousand, and so on. I
was employed in keeping those cattle. People used to call me Tantripala.
I know the present, the past, and the future of all kine living within
ten _Yojanas_, and whose _tale_ has been taken. My merits were known to
that illustrious one, and the Kuru king Yudhishthira was well-pleased
with me. I am also acquainted with the means which aid kine in
multiplying within a short time, and by which they may enjoy immunity
from disease. Also these arts are known to me. I can also single out
bulls having auspicious marks for which they are worshipped by men, and
by smelling whose urine, the barren may conceive.'

"Virata said, 'I have a hundred thousand kine divided into distinct
herds. All those together with their keepers, I place in thy charge.
Henceforth my beasts will be in thy keep.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Then, O king, undiscovered by that monarch,
that lord of men, Sahadeva, maintained by Virata, began to live happily.
Nor did anyone else (besides his brothers) recognise him."


"Vaisampayana said, 'Next appeared at the gate of the ramparts another
person of enormous size and exquisite beauty decked in the ornaments of
women, and wearing large ear-rings and beautiful conch-bracelets
overlaid with gold. And that mighty-armed individual with long and
abundant hair floating about his neck, resembled an elephant in gait.
And shaking the very earth with his tread, he approached Virata and
stood in his court. And beholding the son of the great Indra, shining
with exquisite lustre and having the gait of a mighty elephant,--that
grinder of foes having his true form concealed in disguise, entering the
council-hall and advancing towards the monarch, the king addressed all
his courtiers, saying, 'Whence doth this person come? I have never heard
of him before.' And when the men present spoke of the newcomer as one
unknown to them, the king wonderingly said, 'Possessed of great
strength, thou art like unto a celestial, and young and of darkish hue,
thou resemblest the leader of a herd of elephants. Wearing
conch-bracelets overlaid with gold, a braid, and ear-rings, thou shinest
yet like one amongst those that riding on chariots wander about equipped
with mail and bow and arrows and decked with garlands and fine hair. I
am old and desirous of relinquishing my burden. Be thou like my son, or
rule thou like myself all the Matsyas. It seemeth to me that such a
person as thou can never be of the neuter sex.'

"Arjuna said, 'I sing, dance, and play on instruments. I am proficient
in dance and skilled in song. O lord of men, assign me unto (the
princess) Uttara. I shall be dancing-master to the royal maiden. As to
how I have come by this form, what will it avail thee to hear the
account which will only augment my pain? Know me, O king of men, to be
Vrihannala, a son or daughter without father or mother.'

"Virata said, 'O Vrihannala, I give thee what thou desirest. Instruct my
daughter, and those like her, in dancing. To me, however, this office
seemeth unworthy of thee. Thou deservest (the dominion of) the entire
earth girt round by the ocean.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "The king of the Matsyas then tested Vrihannala
in dancing, music, and other fine arts, and consulting with his various
ministers forthwith caused him to be examined by women. And learning
that this impotency was of a permanent nature, he sent him to the
maiden's apartments. And there the mighty Arjuna began giving lessons in
singing and instrumental music to the daughter of Virata, her friends,
and her waiting-maids, and soon won their good graces. And in this
manner the self-possessed Arjuna lived there in disguise, partaking of
pleasures in their company, and unknown to the people within or without
the palace."


Vaisampayana said, "After a while, another powerful son of Pandu was
seen making towards king Virata in haste. And as he advanced, he seemed
to everyone like solar orb emerged from the clouds. And he began to
observe the horses around. And seeing this, the king of the Matsyas said
to his followers, 'I wonder whence this man, possessed of the effulgence
of a celestial, cometh. He looks intently at my steeds. Verily, he must
be proficient in horse-lore. Let him be ushered into my presence
quickly. He is a warrior and looks like a god!' And that destroyer of
foes then went up to the king and accosted him, saying, 'Victory to
thee, O king, and blest be ye. As a trainer of horses, I have always
been highly esteemed by kings. I will be a clever keeper of thy horses.'

"Virata said, 'I will give thee vehicles, wealth, and spacious quarters.
Thou shalt be the manager of my horses. But first tell me whence thou
comest, who thou art, and how also thou happenest to come here. Tell us
also all the arts thou art master of.' Nakula replied, 'O mower of
enemies, know that Yudhishthira is the eldest brother of the five sons
of Pandu. I was formerly employed by him to keep his horses. I am
acquainted with the temper of steeds, and know perfectly the art of
breaking them. I know also how to correct vicious horses, and all the
methods of treating their diseases. No animal in my hands becometh weak
or ill. Not to speak of horses, even mares in my hands will never be
found to be vicious. People called me Granthika by name and so did
Yudhishthira, the son of Pandu.'

"Virata said, 'Whatever horses I have, I consign to thy care even from
today. And all the keepers of my horses and all my charioteers will from
today be subordinate to thee. If this suits thee, say what remuneration
is desired by thee. But, O thou that resemblest a celestial, the office
of equerry is not worthy of thee. For thou lookest like a king and I
esteem thee much. The appearance here hath pleased me as much as if
Yudhishthira himself were here. Oh, how does that blameless son of Pandu
dwell and divert himself in the forest, now destitute of servants as he

Vaisampayana continued, "That youth, like unto a chief of the
_Gandharvas_, was treated thus respectfully by the delighted king
Virata. And he conducted himself there in such a manner as to make
himself dear and agreeable to all in the palace. And no one recognised
him while living under Virata's protection. And it was in this manner
then the sons of Pandu, the very sight of whom had never been fruitless,
continued to live in the country of the Matsyas. And true to their
pledge those lords of the earth bounded by her belt of seas passed their
days of _incognito_ with great composure notwithstanding their poignant


(_Samayapalana Parva_)

Janamejaya said, "While living thus disguised in the city of the
Matsyas, what did those descendants of the Kuru race endued with great
prowess, do, O regenerate one!"

Vaisampayana said, "Hear, O king, what those descendants of Kuru did
while they dwelt thus in disguise in the city of the Matsyas,
worshipping the king thereof. By the grace of the sage Trinavindu and of
the high-souled lord of justice, the Pandavas continued to live
unrecognised by others in the city of Virata. O lord of men,
Yudhishthira, as courtier made himself agreeable to Virata and his sons
as also to all the Matsyas. An adept in the mysteries of dice, the son
of Pandu caused them to play at dice according to his pleasure and made
them sit together in the dice-hall like a row of birds bound in a
string. And that tiger among men, king Yudhishthira the Just, unknown to
the monarch, distributed among his brothers, in due proportion, the
wealth he won from Virata. And Bhimasena on his part, sold to
Yudhishthira for price, meat and viands of various kinds which he
obtained from the king. And Arjuna distributed among all his brothers
the proceeds of worn-out cloths which he earned in the inner apartments
of the palace. And Sahadeva, too, who was disguised as a cowherd gave
milk, curds and clarified butter to his brothers. And Nakula also shared
with his brothers the wealth the king gave him, satisfied with his
management of the horses. And Draupadi, herself in a pitiable condition,
looked after all those brothers and behaved in such a way as to remain
unrecognized. And thus ministering unto one another's wants, those
mighty warriors lived in the capital of Virata as hidden from view, as
if they were once more in their mother's womb. And those lords of men,
the sons of Pandu, apprehensive of danger from the son of Dhritarashtra,
continued to dwell there in concealment, watching over their wife
Draupadi. And after three months had passed away, in the fourth, the
grand festival in honour of the divine Brahma which was celebrated with
pomp in the country of the Matsyas, came off. And there came athletes
from all quarters by thousands, like hosts of celestials to the abode of
Brahma or of Siva to witness that festival. And they were endued with
huge bodies and great prowess, like the demons called _Kalakhanjas_. And
elated with their prowess and proud of their strength, they were highly
honoured by the king. And their shoulders and waists and necks were like
those of lions, and their bodies were very clean, and their hearts were
quite at ease. And they had many a time won success in the lists in the
presence of kings. And amongst them there was one who towered above the
rest and challenged them all to a combat. And there was none that dared
to approach him as he proudly stalked in the arena. And when all the
athletes stood sad and dispirited, the king of the Matsyas made him
fight with his cook. And urged by the king, Bhima made up his mind
reluctantly, for he could not openly disobey the royal behest. And that
tiger among men then having worshipped the king, entered the spacious
arena, pacing with the careless steps of a tiger. And the son of Kunti
then girded up his loins to the great delight of the spectators. And
Bhima then summoned to the combat that athlete known by the name of
Jimuta who was like unto the Asura Vritra whose prowess was widely
known. And both of them were possessed of great courage, and both were
endued with terrible prowess. And they were like a couple of infuriate
and huge-bodied elephants, each sixty years old. And those brave tigers
among men then cheerfully engaged in a wrestling combat, desirous of
vanquishing each other. And terrible was the encounter that took place
between them, like the clash of the thunderbolt against the stony
mountain-breast. And both of them were exceedingly powerful and
extremely delighted at each other's strength. And desirous of
vanquishing each other, each stood eager to take advantage of his
adversary's lapse. And both were greatly delighted and both looked like
infuriate elephants of prodigious size. And various were the modes of
attack and defence that they exhibited with their clenched fists.[12]
And each dashed against the other and flung his adversary to a distance.
And each cast the other down and pressed him close to the ground. And
each got up again and squeezed the other in his arms. And each threw the
other violently off his place by boxing him on the breast. And each
caught the other by the legs and whirling him round threw him down on
the ground. And they slapped each other with their palms that struck as
hard as the thunderbolt. And they also struck each other with their
outstretched fingers, and stretching them out like spears thrust the
nails into each other's body. And they gave each other violent kicks.
And they struck knee and head against head, producing the crash of one
stone against another. And in this manner that furious combat between
those warriors raged on without weapons, sustained mainly by the power
of their arms and their physical and mental energy, to the infinite
delight of the concourse of spectators. And all people, O king, took
deep interest in that encounter of those powerful wrestlers who fought
like Indra and the Asura Vritra. And they cheered both of them with loud
acclamations of applause. And the broad-chested and long-armed experts
in wrestling then pulled and pressed and whirled and hurled down each
other and struck each other with their knees, expressing all the while
their scorn for each other in loud voices. And they began to fight with
their bare arms in this way, which were like spiked maces of iron. And
at last the powerful and mighty-armed Bhima, the slayer of his foes,
shouting aloud seized the vociferous athlete by the arms even as the
lion seizes the elephant, and taking him up from the ground and holding
him aloft, began to whirl him round, to the great astonishment of the
assembled athletes and the people of Matsya. And having whirled him
round and round a hundred times till he was insensible, the strong-armed
Vrikodara dashed him to death on the ground. And when the brave and
renowned Jimuta was thus killed, Virata and his friends were filled with
great delight. And in the exuberance of his joy, the noble-minded king
rewarded Vallava then and there with the liberality of Kuvera. And
killing numerous athletes and many other men possessed of great bodily
strength, he pleased the king very much. And when no one could be found
there to encounter him in the lists, the king made him fight with tigers
and lions and elephants. And the king also made him battle with furious
and powerful lions in the harem for the pleasure of the ladies. And
Arjuna, too, pleased the king and all the ladies of the inner apartments
by singing and dancing. And Nakula pleased Virata, that best of kings,
by showing him fleet and well-trained steeds that followed him wherever
he went. And the king, gratified with him, rewarded him with ample
presents. And beholding around Sahadeva a herd of well-trained bullocks,
Virata that bull among men, bestowed upon him also wealth of diverse
kinds. And, O king, Draupadi distressed to see all those warriors suffer
pain, sighed incessantly. And it was in this way that those eminent
persons lived there in disguise, rendering services unto king Virata."

[12] _Krita_--attack; _Pratikrita_--warding it off;
_Sankata_--clenched. _Some_ texts read _Sankatakais_. The
meaning then would be 'cased in gauntlets.'


(_Kichaka-badha Parva_)

Vaisampayana said, "Living in such disguise, those mighty warriors, the
sons of Pritha, passed ten months in Matsya's city. And, O monarch,
although herself deserving to be waited upon by others, the daughter of
Yajnasena, O Janamejaya, passed her days in extreme misery, waiting upon
Sudeshna. And residing thus in Sudeshna's apartments, the princess of
Panchala pleased that lady as also the other females of the inner
apartments. And it came to pass that as the year was about to expire,
the redoubtable Kichaka, the Commander of Virata's forces, chanced to
behold the daughter of Drupada. And beholding that lady endued with the
splendour of a daughter of the celestials, treading the earth like a
goddess, Kichaka, afflicted with the shafts of Kama, desired to possess
her. And burning with desire's flame, Virata's general came to Sudeshna
(his sister) and smilingly addressed her in these words, 'This beauteous
lady had never before been seen by me in king Virata's abode. This
damsel maddens me with her beauty, even as a new wine maddens one with
its fragrance. Tell me, who is this graceful and captivating lady
possessed of the beauty of a goddess, and whose she is, and whence she
hath come. Surely, grinding my heart she hath reduced me to subjection.
It seems to me that (save her) there is no other medicine for my
illness. O, this fair hand-maid of thine seemeth to me to be possessed
of the beauty of a goddess. Surely, one like her is ill suited to serve
thee. Let her rule over me and whatever is mine. O, let her grace my
spacious and beautiful palace, decked with various ornaments of gold,
full of viands and drinks in profusion, with excellent plates, and
containing every kind of plenty, besides elephants and horses and cars
in myriads.' And having consulted with Sudeshna thus, Kichaka went to
princess Draupadi, and like a jackal in the forest accosting a lioness,
spoke unto Krishna these words in a winning voice, 'Who and whose art
thou, O beautiful one? And O thou of beautiful face, whence hast thou
come to the city of Virata? Tell me all this, O fair lady. Thy beauty
and gracefulness are of the very first order and the comeliness of thy
features is unparalleled. With its loveliness thy face shineth ever like
the resplendent moon. O thou of fair eye-brows, thy eyes are beautiful
and large like lotus-petals. Thy speech also, O thou of beautiful limbs,
resembles the notes of the _cuckoo_. O thou of fair hips, never before
in this world have I beheld a woman possessed of beauty like thine, O
thou of faultless features. Art thou Lakshmi herself having her abode in
the midst of lotuses or, art thou, O slender-waisted one, she who is
called _Bhuti_[13]. Or, which amongst these--_Hri, Sri, Kirti_ and
_Kanti_,--art thou, O thou of beautiful face? Or possessed of beauty
like Rati's, art thou, she who sporteth in the embraces of the God of
love? O thou that possessest the fairest of eye-brows, thou shinest
beautifully even like the lovely light of the moon. Who is there in the
whole world that will not succumb to the influence of desire beholding
thy face? Endued with unrivalled beauty and celestial grace of the most
attractive kind, that face of thine is even like the full moon, its
celestial effulgence resembling his radiant face, its smile resembling
his soft-light, and its eye-lashes looking like the spokes on his disc.
Both thy bosoms, so beautiful and well-developed and endued with
unrivalled gracefulness and deep and well-rounded and without any space
between them, are certainly worthy of being decked with garlands of
gold. Resembling in shape the beautiful buds of the lotus, these thy
breasts, O thou of fair eye-brows, are even as the whips of Kama that
are urging me forward, O thou of sweet smiles. O damsel of slender
waist, beholding that waist of thine marked with four wrinkles and
measuring but a span, and slightly stooping forward because of the
weight of thy breasts, and also looking on those graceful hips of thine
broad as the banks of a river, the incurable fever of desire, O
beauteous lady, afflicteth me sore. The flaming fire of desire, fierce
as a forest conflagration, and fanned by the hope my heart cherisheth of
a union with thee is consuming me intensely. O thou of exceeding beauty
quench thou that flaming fire kindled by Manmatha. Union with thee is a
rain-charged cloud, and the surrender of thy person is the shower that
the cloud may drop. O thou of face resembling the moon, the fierce and
maddening shafts of Manmatha whetted and sharpened by the desire of a
union with thee, piercing this heart of mine in their impetuous course,
have penetrated into its core. O black-eyed lady, those impetuous and
cruel shafts are maddening me beyond endurance. It behoveth thee to
relieve me from this plight by surrendering thyself to me and favouring
me with thy embraces. Decked in beautiful garlands and robes and adorned
with every ornament, sport thou, O sweet damsel, with me to thy fill. O
thou of the gait of an elephant in rut, deserving as thou art of
happiness though deprived of it now, it behoveth thee not to dwell here
in misery. Let unrivalled weal be thine. Drinking various kinds of
charming and delicious and ambrosial wines, and sporting at thy pleasure
in the enjoyment of diverse objects of delight, do thou, O blessed lady,
attain auspicious prosperity. This beauty of thine and this prime of thy
youth, O sweet lady, are now without their use. For, O beauteous and
chaste damsel, endued with such loveliness, thou dost not shine, like a
graceful garland lying unused and unworn. I will forsake all my old
wives. Let them, O thou of sweet smiles, become thy slaves. And I also,
O fair damsel, will stay by thee as thy slave, ever obedient to thee, O
thou of the most handsome face.' Hearing these words of his, Draupadi
replied, 'In desiring me, a female servant of low extraction, employed
in the despicable office of dressing hair, O _Suta's_ son, thou desirest
one that deserves not that honour. Then, again, I am the wife of others.
Therefore, good betide thee, this conduct of thine is not proper. Do
thou remember the precept of morality, viz., that persons should take
delight only in their wedded wives. Thou shouldst not, therefore, by any
means bend thy heart to adultery. Surely abstaining from improper acts
is ever the study of those that are good. Overcome by ignorance sinful
men under the influence of desire come by either extreme infamy or
dreadful calamity.'"

[13] _Bhuti, Hri, Sri, Kirti_ and _Kanti_ are respectively the
feminine embodiments of Prosperity, Modesty, Beauty, Fame and

Vaisampayana continued, "Thus addressed by the _Sairindhri_, the wicked
Kichaka losing control over his senses and overcome by lust, although
aware of the numerous evils of fornication, evils condemned by everybody
and sometimes leading to the destruction of life itself,--then spoke
unto Draupadi, 'It behoveth thee not, O beauteous lady, O thou of
graceful features, thus to disregard me who am, O thou of sweet smiles,
under the power of Manmatha on thy account. If now, O timid one, thou
disregardest me who am under thy influence and who speak to thee so
fair, thou wilt, O black-eyed damsel, have to repent for it afterwards.
O thou of graceful eye-brows, the real lord of this entire kingdom, O
slender-waisted lady, is myself. It is me depending upon whom the people
of this realm live. In energy and prowess I am unrivalled on earth.
There is no other man on earth who rivals me in beauty of person, in
youth, in prosperity, and in the possession of excellent objects of
enjoyment. Why it is, O auspicious lady, that having it in thy power to
enjoy here every object of desire and every luxury and comfort without
its equal, thou preferest servitude. Becoming the mistress of this
kingdom which I shall confer on thee, O thou of fair face, accept me,
and enjoy, O beauteous one, all excellent objects of desire.' Addressed
in these accursed words by Kichaka, that chaste daughter of Drupada
answered him thus reprovingly, 'Do not, O son of a _Suta_, act so
foolishly and do not throw away thy life. Know that I am protected by my
five husbands. Thou canst not have me. I have Gandharvas for my
husbands. Enraged they will slay thee. Therefore, do thou not bring
destruction on thyself. Thou intendest to tread along a path that is
incapable of being trod by men. Thou, O wicked one, art even like a
foolish child that standing on one shore of the ocean intends to cross
over to the other. Even if thou enterest into the interior of the earth,
or soarest into the sky, or rushest to the other shore of the ocean,
still thou wilt have no escape from the hands of those sky-ranging
offspring of gods, capable of grinding all foes. Why dost thou today, O
Kichaka, solicit me so persistently even as a sick person wisheth for
the night that will put a stop to his existence? Why dost thou desire
me, even like an infant lying on its mother's lap wishing to catch the
moon? For thee that thus solicitest their beloved wife, there is no
refuge either on earth or in sky. O Kichaka, hast thou no sense which
leads thee to seek thy good and by which thy life may be saved?'"


Vaisampayana said, "Rejected thus by the princess, Kichaka, afflicted
with maddening lust and forgetting all sense of propriety, addressed
Sudeshna saying, 'Do thou, Kekaya's daughter, so act that thy
_Sairindhri_ may come into my arms. Do thou, O Sudeshna, adopt the means
by which the damsel of the gait of an elephant may accept me; I am dying
of absorbing desire.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Hearing his profuse lamentations, that gentle
lady, the intelligent queen of Virata, was touched with pity. And having
taken counsel with her own self and reflected on Kichaka's purpose and
on the anxiety of Krishna, Sudeshna addressed the _Suta's_ son in these
words, 'Do thou, on the occasion of some festival, procure viands and
wines for me. I shall then send my _Sairindhri_ to thee on the pretence
of bringing wine. And when she will repair thither do thou in solitude,
free from interruption, humour her as thou likest. Thus soothed, she may
incline her mind to thee.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Thus addressed, he went out of his sister's
apartments. And he soon procured wines well-filtered and worthy of a
king. And employing skilled cooks, he prepared many and various kinds of
choice viands and delicious drinks and many and various kinds of meat of
different degrees of excellence. And when all this had been done, that
gentle lady Sudeshna, as previously counselled by Kichaka, desired her
_Sairindhri_ to repair to Kichaka's abode, saying, 'Get up, O
_Sairindhri_ and repair to Kichaka's abode to bring wine, for, O
beauteous lady, I am afflicted with thirst.' Thereupon the _Sairindhri_
replied, 'O princess, I shall not be able to repair to Kichaka's
apartments. Thou thyself knowest, O queen, how shameless he is. O thou
of faultless limbs, O beauteous lady, in thy palace I shall not be able
to lead a lustful life, becoming faithless to my husbands. Thou
rememberest, O gentle lady, O beautiful one, the conditions I had set
down before entering thy house. O thou of tresses ending in graceful
curls, the foolish Kichaka afflicted by the god of desire, will, on
seeing me, offer me insult. Therefore, I will not go to his quarters.
Thou hast, O princess, many maids under thee. Do thou, good betide thee,
send one of them. For, surely, Kichaka will insult me.' Sudeshna said,
'Sent by me, from my abode, surely he will not harm thee.' And having
said this, she handed over a golden vessel furnished with a cover. And
filled with apprehension, and weeping, Draupadi mentally prayed for the
protection of the gods, and set out for Kichaka's abode for fetching
wine. And she said, 'As I do not know another person save my husbands,
by virtue of that Truth let Kichaka not be able to overpower me although
I may approach his presence.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "And that helpless damsel then adored Surya for
a moment. And Surya, having considered all that she urged, commanded a
_Rakshasa_ to protect her invisibly. And from that time the _Rakshasa_
began to attend upon that blameless lady under any circumstances. And
beholding Krishna in his presence like a frightened doe, the _Suta_ rose
up from his seat, and felt the joy that is felt by a person wishing to
cross to the other shore, when he obtains a boat."


"Kichaka said, 'O thou of tresses ending in beautiful curls, thou art
welcome. Surely, the night that is gone hath brought me an auspicious
day, for I have got thee today as the mistress of my house. Do what is
agreeable to me. Let golden chains, and conchs and bright ear-rings made
of gold, manufactured in various countries, and beautiful rubies and
gems, and silken robes and deer-skins, be brought for thee. I have also
an excellent bed prepared for thee. Come, sitting upon it do thou drink
with me the wine prepared from the honey flower.' Hearing these words,
Draupadi said, 'I have been sent to thee by the princess for taking away
wine. Do thou speedily bring me wine, for she told me that she is
exceedingly thirsty.' At this, Kichaka said, 'O gentle lady, others will
carry what the princess wants.' And saying this, the _Suta's_ son caught
hold of Draupadi's right arm. And at this, Draupadi exclaimed, 'As I
have never, from intoxication of the senses, been unfaithful to my
husbands even at heart, by that Truth, O wretch, I shall behold thee
dragged and lying powerless on the ground.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Seeing that large-eyed lady reproving him in
that strain, Kichaka suddenly seized her by the end of her upper garment
as she attempted to run away. And seized with violence by Kichaka, the
beautiful princess, unable to tolerate it, and with frame trembling with
wrath, and breathing quickly, dashed him to the ground. And dashed to
the ground thus, the sinful wretch tumbled down like a tree whose roots
had been cut. And having thrown Kichaka down on the ground when the
latter had seized her, she, trembling all over rushed to the court,
where king Yudhishthira was, for protection. And while she was running
with all her speed, Kichaka (who followed her), seizing her by the hair,
and bringing her down on the ground, kicked her in the very presence of
the king. Thereupon, O Bharata, the _Rakshasa_ that had been appointed
by Surya to protect Draupadi, gave Kichaka a shove with a force mighty
as that of the wind. And overpowered by the force of _Rakshasa_, Kichaka
reeled and fell down senseless on the ground, even like an uprooted
tree. And both Yudhishthira and Bhimasena who were seated there, beheld
with wrathful eyes that outrage on Krishna by Kichaka. And desirous of
compassing the destruction of the wicked Kichaka, the illustrious Bhima
gnashed his teeth in rage. And his forehead was covered with sweat, and
terrible wrinkles appeared thereon. And a smoky exhalation shot forth
from his eyes, and his eye-lashes stood on end. And that slayer of
hostile heroes pressed his forehead with his hands. And impelled by
rage, he was on the point of starting up with speed. Thereat king
Yudhishthira, apprehensive of discovery, squeezed his thumbs and
commanded Bhima to forbear. And Bhima who then looked like an infuriate
elephant eyeing a large tree, was thus forbidden by his elder brother.
And the latter said, 'Lookest thou, O cook, for trees for fuel. If thou
art in need of faggots, then go out and fell trees.' And the weeping
Draupadi of fair hips, approaching the entrance of the court, and seeing
her melancholy lords, desirous yet of keeping up the disguise duty-bound
by their pledge, with eyes burning in fire, spoke these words unto the
king of the Matsyas, 'Alas, the son of a _Suta_ hath kicked today the
proud and beloved wife of those whose foe can never sleep in peace even
if four kingdoms intervene between him and them. Alas, the son of a
_Suta_ hath kicked today the proud and beloved wife of those truthful
personages, who are devoted to Brahmanas and who always give away
without asking any thing in gift. Alas! the son of a _Suta_ hath kicked
today the proud and beloved wife of those, the sounds of whose
kettle-drums and the twangs of whose bow-strings are ceaselessly heard.
Alas, the son of a _Suta_ hath kicked today the proud and beloved wife
of those who are possessed of abundant energy and might, and who are
liberal in gifts and proud of their dignity. Alas, the son of a _Suta_
hath kicked today the proud and beloved wife of those who, if they had
not been fettered by the ties of duty, could destroy this entire world.
Where, alas, are those mighty warriors today who, though living in
disguise, have always granted protection unto those that solicit it? Oh,
why do those heroes today, endued as they are with strength and
possessed of immeasurable energy, quietly suffer, like eunuchs, their
dear and chaste wife to be thus insulted by a _Suta's_ son? Oh, where is
that wrath of theirs, that prowess, and that energy, when they quietly
bear their wife to be thus insulted by a wicked wretch? What can I (a
weak woman) do when Virata, deficient in virtue, coolly suffereth my
innocent self to be thus wronged by a wretch? Thou dost not, O king, act
like a king towards this Kichaka. Thy behaviour is like that of a
robber, and doth not shine in a court. That I should thus be insulted in
thy very presence, O Matsya, is highly improper. Oh, let all the
courtiers here look at this violence of Kichaka. Kichaka is ignorant of
duty and morality, and Matsya also is equally so. These courtiers also
that wait upon such a king are destitute of virtue.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "With these and other words of the same kind the
beautiful Krishna with tearful eyes rebuked the king of the Matsyas. And
hearing her, Virata said, 'I do not know what your dispute has been out
of our sight. Not knowing the true cause how can I show my
discrimination?' Then the courtiers, having learnt every thing,
applauded Krishna, and they all exclaimed, 'Well done!' 'Well done!' and
censured Kichaka. And the courtiers said, 'That person who owneth this
large-eyed lady having every limb of hers endued with beauty for his
wife, possesseth what is of exceeding value and hath no occasion to
indulge in any grief. Surely, such a damsel of transcendent beauty and
limbs perfectly faultless is rare among men. Indeed, it seems to us that
she is a goddess.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "And while the courtiers, having beheld Krishna
(under such circumstances), were applauding her thus, Yudhishthira's
forehead, from ire, became covered with sweat. And that bull of the Kuru
race then addressed that princess, his beloved spouse, saying, 'Stay not
here, O Sairindhri; but retire to the apartments of Sudeshna. The wives
of heroes bear affliction for the sake of their husbands, and undergoing
toil in ministering unto their lords, they at last attain to region
where their husbands may go. Thy Gandharva husbands, effulgent as the
sun, do not, I imagine, consider this as an occasion for manifesting
their wrath, inasmuch as they do not rush to thy aid. O _Sairindhri_,
thou art ignorant of the timeliness of things, and it is for this that
thou weepest as an actress, besides interrupting the play of dice in
Matsya's court. Retire, O _Sairindhri_; the Gandharvas will do what is
agreeable to thee. And they will surely display thy woe and take the
life of him that hath wronged thee.' Hearing these words the
_Sairindhri_ replied, 'They of whom I am the wedded wife are, I ween,
extremely kind. And as the eldest of them all is addicted to dice, they
are liable to be oppressed by all.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "And having said this, the fair-hipped Krishna
with dishevelled hair and eyes red in anger, ran towards the apartments
of Sudeshna. And in consequence of having wept long her face looked
beautiful like the lunar disc in the firmament, emerged from the clouds.
And beholding her in that condition, Sudeshna asked, 'Who, O beauteous
lady, hath insulted thee? Why, O amiable damsel, dost thou weep? Who,
gentle one, hath done thee wrong? Whence is this thy grief?' Thus
addressed, Draupadi said, 'As I went to bring wine for thee, Kichaka
struck me in the court in the very presence of the king, as if in the
midst of a solitary wood.' Hearing this, Sudeshna said, 'O thou of
tresses ending in beautiful curls, as Kichaka, maddened by lust hath
insulted thee that art incapable of being possessed by him, I shall
cause him to be slain if thou wishest it.' Thereupon Draupadi answered,
'Even others will slay him,--even they whom he hath wronged. I think it
is clear that he will have to go to the abode of Yama this very day!'"


Vaisampayana said, "Thus insulted by the _Suta's_ son, that illustrious
princess, the beautiful Krishna, eagerly wishing for the destruction of
Virata's general, went to her quarters. And Drupada's daughter of dark
hue and slender waist then performed her ablutions. And washing her body
and cloths with water Krishna began to ponder weepingly on the means of
dispelling her grief. And she reflected, saying, 'What am I to do?
Whither shall I go? How can my purpose be effected?' And while she was
thinking thus, she remembered Bhima and said to herself, 'There is none
else, save Bhima, that can today accomplish the purpose on which my
heart is set!' And afflicted with great grief, the large-eyed and
intelligent Krishna possessed of powerful protectors then rose up at
night, and leaving her bed speedily proceeded towards the quarters of
Bhimasena, desirous of beholding her lord. And possessed of great
intelligence, the daughter of Drupada entered her husband's quarters,
saying, 'How canst thou sleep while that wretched commander of Virata's
forces, who is my foe, yet liveth, having perpetrated today _that_ (foul

Vaisampayana continued, "Then the chamber where Bhima slept, breathing
hard like a lion, being filled with the beauty of Drupada's daughter and
of the high-souled Bhima, blazed forth in splendour. And Krishna of
sweet smiles, finding Bhimasena in the cooking apartments, approached
him with the eagerness of a three-year old cow brought up in the woods,
approaching a powerful bull, in her first season, or of a she-crane
living by the water-side approaching her mate in the pairing season. And
the Princess of Panchala then embraced the second son of Pandu, even as
a creeper embraces a huge and mighty _Sala_ on the banks of the Gomati.
And embracing him with her arms, Krishna of faultless features awaked
him as a lioness awaketh a sleeping lion in a trackless forest. And
embracing Bhimasena even as a she-elephant embraceth her mighty mate,
the faultless Panchali addressed him in voice sweet as the sound of a
stringed instrument emitting _Gandhara_ note. And she said, 'Arise,
arise! Why dost thou, O Bhimasena, lie down as one dead? Surely, he that
is not dead, never suffereth a wicked wretch that hath disgraced his
wife, to live.' And awakened by the princess, Bhima of mighty arms, then
rose up, and sat upon his couch overlaid with a rich bed. And he of the
Kuru race then addressed the princess--his beloved wife, saying, 'For
what purpose hast thou come hither in such a hurry? Thy colour is gone
and thou lookest lean and pale. Tell me everything in detail. I must
know the truth. Whether it be pleasurable or painful, agreeable, or
disagreeable, tell me all. Having heard everything, I shall apply the
remedy. I alone, O Krishna, am entitled to thy confidence in all things,
for it is I who deliver thee from perils again and again! Tell me
quickly what is thy wish, and what is the purpose that is in thy view,
and return thou to thy bed before others awake.'"


"Draupadi said, 'What grief hath she not who hath Yudhishthira for her
husband? Knowing all my griefs, why dost thou ask me? The _Pratikamin_
dragged me to the court in the midst of an assembly of courtiers,
calling me a slave. That grief, O Bharata, consumeth me. What other
princess, save Draupadi, would live having suffered such intense misery?
Who else, save myself, could bear such second insult as the wicked
Saindhava offered me while residing in the forest? Who else of my
position, save myself, could live, having been kicked by Kichaka in the
very sight of the wicked king of the Matsyas? Of what value is life, O
Bharata, when thou, O son of Kunti, dost not think me miserable,
although I am afflicted with such woes? That vile and wicked wretch, O
Bharata, known by the name of Kichaka, who is the brother-in-law of king
Virata and the commander of his forces, every day, O tiger among men,
addresses me who am residing in the palace as a _Sairindhri_, saying,
_Do thou become my wife_.--Thus solicited, O slayer of foes, by that
wretch deserving to be slain, my heart is bursting like a fruit ripened
in season. Censure thou that elder brother of thine addicted to
execrable dice, through whose act alone I have been afflicted with such
woe. Who else, save him that is a desperate gambler, would play, giving
up kingdom and everything including even myself, in order to lead a life
in the woods? If he had gambled morning and evening for many years
together, staking _nishkas_ by thousand and other kinds of substantial
wealth, still his silver, and gold, and robes, and vehicles, and teams,
and goats, and sheep, and multitudes of steeds and mares and mules would
not have sustained any diminution. But now deprived of prosperity by the
rivalry of dice, he sits dumb like a fool, reflecting on his own
misdeeds. Alas, he who, while sojourning, was followed by ten thousand
elephants adorned with golden garlands now supports himself by casting
dice. That Yudhishthira who at Indraprastha was adored by kings of
incomparable prowess by hundreds of thousands, that mighty monarch in
whose kitchen a hundred thousand maid-servants, plate in hand, used
every day to feed numerous guests day and night, that best of liberal
men, who gave (every day) a thousand _nishkas_, alas, even he
overwhelmed with woe in consequence of gambling which is the root of all
evil, now supporteth himself by casting dice. Bards and encomiasts by
thousands decked with ear-rings set with brilliant gems, and gifted with
melodious voice, used to pay him homage morning and evening. Alas, that
Yudhishthira, who was daily waited upon by a thousand sages of ascetic
merit, versed in the _Vedas_ and having every desire gratified, as his
courtiers,--that Yudhishthira who maintained eighty-eight thousands of
domestic _Snatakas_ with thirty maid-servants assigned unto each, as
also ten thousand _yatis_ not accepting anything in gift and with vital
seed drawn up,--alas, even that mighty king now liveth in such guise.
That Yudhishthira who is without malice, who is full of kindness, and
who giveth every creature his due, who hath all these excellent
attributes, alas--even he now liveth in such guise. Possessed of
firmness and unbaffled prowess, with heart disposed to give every
creature his due, king Yudhishthira, moved by compassion, constantly
maintained in his kingdom the blind, the old, the helpless, the
parentless and all others in his dominions in such distress. Alas, that
Yudhishthira becoming a dependant and a servant of Matsya, a caster of
dice in his court, now calls himself Kanka. He unto whom while residing
at Indraprastha, all the rulers of earth used to pay timely
tribute,--alas, even he now begs for subsistence at another's hands. He
to whom the kings of the earth were in subjection,--alas, even that king
having lost his liberty, liveth in subjection to others. Having dazzled
the entire earth like the sun by his energy, that Yudhishthira, alas, is
now a courtier of king Virata. O Pandu's son, that Pandava who was
respectfully waited upon in court by kings and sages, behold him now
waiting upon another. Alas, beholding Yudhishthira a courtier sitting
beside another and breathing adulatory speeches to the other, who can
help being afflicted with grief? And beholding the highly wise and
virtuous Yudhishthira, undeserving as he is of serving others, actually
serving another for sustenance, who can help being afflicted with grief?
And, O hero, that Bharata who was worshipped in court by the entire
earth, do thou now behold him worshipping another. Why then, O Bharata,
dost thou not regard me as one afflicted with diverse miseries, like one
forlorn and immersed in a sea of sorrow?'"


"Draupadi said, 'This O Bharata, that I am going to tell thee is another
great grief of mine. Thou shouldst not blame me, for I tell thee this
from sadness of heart. Who is there whose grief is not enhanced at sight
of thee, O bull of the Bharata race, engaged in the ignoble office of a
cook, so entirely beneath thee and calling thyself as one _of Vallava_
caste? What can be sadder than this, that people should know thee as
Virata's cook, Vallava by name, and therefore one that is sunk in
servitude? Alas, when thy work of the kitchen is over, thou humbly
sittest beside Virata, calling thyself as Vallava the cook, then
despondency seizeth my heart. When the king of kings in joy maketh thee
fight with elephants, and the women of the inner apartments (of the
palace) laugh all the while, then I am sorely distressed. When thou
fightest in the inner apartments with lions, tigers, and buffaloes, the
princess Kaikeyi looking on, then I almost swoon away. And when Kaikeyi
and those maidservants, leaving their seats, come to assist me and find
that instead of suffering any injury in limbs mine is only a swoon, the
princess speaks unto her women, saying, 'Surely, it is from affection
and the duty begot of intercourse that this lady of sweet smiles
grieveth for the exceedingly powerful cook when he fights with the
beasts. Sairindhri is possessed of great beauty and Vallava also is
eminently handsome. The heart of woman is hard to know, and they, I
fancy, are deserving of each other. It is, therefore, likely that the
Sairindhri invariably weepeth (at such times) on account of her
connection with her lover. And then, they both have entered this royal
family at the same time. And speaking such words she always upbraideth
me. And beholding me wroth at this, she suspects me to be attached to
thee.' When she speaketh thus, great is the grief that I feel. Indeed,
on beholding thee, O Bhima of terrible prowess, afflicted with such
calamity, sunk as I already am in grief on account of Yudhishthira, I do
not desire to live. That youth who on a single car had vanquished all
celestials and men, is now, alas, the dancing master of king Virata's
daughter. That Pritha's son of immeasurable soul, who had gratified Agni
in the forest of Khandava, is now living in the inner apartments (of a
palace) like fire hid in a well. Alas, the bull among men, Dhananjaya,
who was ever the terror of foes, is now living in a guise that is
despaired by all. Alas, he whose mace-like arms have been cicatrized in
consequence of the strokes of his bow-string, alas that Dhananjaya is
passing the days in grief covering his wrists with bracelets of conchs.
Alas, that Dhananjaya the twang of whose bow-string and the sound of
whose leathern fences made every foe tremble, now entertains only
gladdened women with his songs. Oh, that Dhananjaya whose head was
formerly decked with a diadem of solar splendour, is now wearing braids
ending in unsightly curls. O Bhima, beholding that terrible bowman,
Arjuna, now wearing braids and in the midst of women, my heart is
stricken with woe. That high-souled hero who is master of all the
celestial weapons, and who is the repository of all the sciences, now
weareth ear-rings (like one of the fair sex). That youth whom kings of
incomparable prowess could not overpower in fight, even as the waters of
the mighty ocean cannot overleap the continents, is now the
dancing-master of king Virata's daughters and waits upon them in
disguise. O Bhima, that Arjuna the clatter of whose car-wheels caused
the entire earth with her mountains and forests, her mobile and immobile
things to tremble, and whose birth dispelled all the sorrows of Kunti,
that exalted hero, that younger brother of thine, O Bhimasena, now
maketh me weep for him. Beholding him coming towards me, decked in
golden ear-rings and other ornaments, and wearing on the wrists
bracelets of conchs, my heart is afflicted with despondency. And
Dhananjaya who hath not a bowman equal unto him on earth in prowess, now
passeth his days in singing, surrounded by women. Beholding that son of
Pritha who in virtue, heroism and truth, was the most admired in the
world, now living in the guise of a woman, my heart is afflicted with
sorrow. When I behold, the godlike Partha in the music-hall like an
elephant with rent temples surrounded by she-elephants in the midst of
females, waiting before Virata the king of the Matsyas, then I lose all
sense of directions. Surely, my mother-in-law doth not know Dhananjaya
to be afflicted with such extreme distress. Nor doth she know that
descendant of the Kuru race, Ajatasatru, addicted to disastrous dice, to
be sunk in misery. O Bharata, beholding the youngest of you all,
Sahadeva, superintending the kine, in the guise of a cowherd, I grow
pale. Always thinking of Sahadeva's plight, I cannot, O Bhimasena,
obtain sleep,--what to speak you of the rest? I do not know, O
mighty-armed one, what sin Sahadeva may have committed for which that
hero of unbaffled prowess suffereth such misery. O foremost of the
Bharatas, beholding that beloved brother of thine, that bull among men,
employed by Matsya in looking after his kine, I am filled with woe.
Seeing that hero of proud disposition gratifying Virata, by living at
the head of his cowherds, attired in robes dyed in red, I am attacked
with fever. My mother-in-law always applauds the heroic Sahadeva as one
possessed of nobility, excellent behaviour, and rectitude of conduct.
Ardently attached to her sons, the weeping Kunti stood, embracing
Sahadeva while he was about to set out (with us) for the great forest.
And she addressed me saying, "Sahadeva is bashful and sweet-speeched,
and virtuous. He is also my favourite child. Therefore, O Yajnaseni,
tend him in the forest day and night. Delicate and brave, devoted to the
king, and always worshipping his elder brother, do thou, O Panchali,
feed him thyself." O Pandava, beholding that foremost of warriors,
Sahadeva, engaged in tending kine, and sleeping at night on calf-skins,
how can I bear to live? He again who is crowned with the three
attributes of beauty, arms, and intelligence, is now the superintendent
of Virata's steeds. Behold the change brought on by time. Granthika
(Nakula), at sight of whom hostile hosts fled from the field of battle,
now traineth horses in the presence of the king, driving them with the
speed. Alas, I now see that handsome youth wait upon the gorgeously
decked and excellent Virata, the king of the Matsyas, and display horses
before him. O son of Pritha, afflicted as I am with all these hundred
kinds of misery on account of Yudhishthira, why dost thou, O chastiser
of foes, yet deem me happy? Listen now to me, O son of Kunti, as I tell
thee of other woes far surpassing these. What can be sadder to me than
miseries so various as these should emaciate me while ye are alive.'"


"Draupadi said, 'Alas, on account of that desperate gambler, I am now
under Sudeshna's command, living in the palace in the guise of a
_Sairindhri_. And, O chastiser of foes, behold the plight of poignant
woe which I, a princess, am now in. I am living in expectation of the
close of this stated period.[14] The extreme of misery, therefore, is
mine. Success of purpose, victory, and defeat, as regards mortals, are
transitory. It is in this belief that I am living in expectation of the
return of prosperity to my husbands. Prosperity and adversity revolve
like a wheel. It is in this belief that I am living in expectation of
the return of prosperity to my husbands. That cause which bringeth on
victory, may bring defeat as well. I live in this hope. Why dost thou
not, O Bhimasena, regard me as one dead? I have heard that persons that
give may beg: that they who slay may be slain; and that they who
over-throw others may themselves be overthrown by foes. Nothing is
difficult for Destiny and none can over-ride Destiny. It is for this
that I am awaiting the return of favourable fortune. As a tank once
dried, is filled up once again, so hoping for a change for the better, I
await the return of prosperity. When one's business that hath been
well-provided for is seen to be frustrated, a truly wise person should
never strive for bringing back good fortune. Plunged as I am an sorrow,
asked or unasked by thee to explain the purpose of these words spoken by
me, I shall tell thee everything. Queen of the sons of Pandu and
daughter of Drupada, who else, save myself, would wish to live, having
fallen into such a plight? O represser of foes, the misery, therefore,
that hath overtaken me, hath really humiliated the entire _Kuru_ race,
the Panchalas, and the sons of Pandu. Surrounded by numerous brothers
and father-in-law and sons, what other woman having such cause for joy,
save myself, would be afflicted with such woe? Surely, I must, in my
childhood, have committed act highly offensive to _Dhatri_ through whose
displeasure, O bull of the Bharata race, I have been visited with such
consequences. Mark, O son of Pandu, the pallour that hath come over my
complexion which not even a life in the woods fraught as it was with
extreme misery, could bring about. Thou, O Pritha's son, knowest what
happiness, O Bhima, was formerly mine. Even I, who was such have now
sunk into servitude. Sorely distressed, I can find no rest. That the
mighty-armed and terrible bowman, Dhananjaya the son of Pritha, should
now live like a fire that hath been put out, maketh me think of all this
as attributable to Destiny. Surely, O son of Pritha, it is impossible
for men to understand the destinies of creatures (in this world). I,
therefore, think this downfall of yours as something that could not be
averted by forethought. Alas, she who hath you all, that resemble Indra
himself to attend to her comforts--even she, so chaste and exalted, hath
now to attend to the comforts of others, that are to her far inferior in
rank. Behold, O Pandava, my plight. It is what I do not deserve. You are
alive, yet behold this inversion of order that time hath brought. She
who had the whole Earth to the verge of the sea under her control, is
now under the control of Sudeshna and living in fear of her. She who had
dependants to walk both before and behind her, alas, now herself walketh
before and behind Sudeshna. This, O Kaunteya, is another grief of mine
that is intolerable. O, listen to it. She who had never, save for Kunti,
pounded unguents even for her own use, now, good betide thee, poundeth
sandal (for others). O Kaunteya, behold these hands of mine which were
not so before.' Saying this she showed him her hands marked with corns.
And she continued, 'she who had never feared Kunti herself nor thee and
thy brothers, now standeth in fear before Virata as a slave, anxious of
what that king of kings may say unto her regarding the proper
preparation of the unguents, for Matsya liketh not sandal pounded by

[14] What Draupadi means is that instead of passing her days in
joy and happiness, instead of being able to wish time to be
stationary with her, she is obliged in consequence of her
misery, to wish time to pass off quickly.

Vaisampayana continued, "Relating her woes thus, O Bharata, unto
Bhimasena, Krishna began to weep silently, casting her eyes on Bhima.
And then, with words choked in tears, and sighing repeatedly, she
addressed Bhima in these words, powerfully stirring his heart, 'Signal,
O Bhima, must have been my offence of old unto the gods, for,
unfortunate as I am. I am yet alive, when, O Pandava, I should die.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Then that slayer of hostile heroes, Vrikodara,
covering his face with those delicate hands of his wife marked with
corns, began to weep. And that mighty son of Kunti, holding the hands of
Draupadi in his, shed copious tears. And afflicted with great woe, he
spoke these words."


"Bhima said, 'Fie on the might of my arms and fie on the _Gandiva_ of
Phalguna, inasmuch as thy hands, red before, now become covered with
corns. I would have caused a carnage in Virata's court but for the fact
that Kunti's son eyed me (by way of forbidding it), or like a mighty
elephant, I would, without ado, have crushed the head of Kichaka
intoxicated with the pride of sovereignty. When, O Krishna, I beheld
thee kicked by Kichaka, I conceived at that instant a wholesale
slaughter of the Matsyas. Yudhishthira, however, forbade me by a glance,
and, O beauteous lady, understanding his intention I have kept quiet.
That we have been deprived of our kingdom, that I have not yet slain the
Kurus, that I have not yet taken the heads of Suyodhana and Karna, and
Suvala's son Sakuni, and the wicked Duhsasana, these acts and omissions,
O lady, are consuming every limb of mine. The thought of those abides in
my heart like a javelin implanted in it. O thou of graceful hips, do not
sacrifice virtue, and, O noble-hearted lady, subdue thy wrath. If king
Yudhishthira hear from thee such rebukes, he will surely put an end to
his life. If also Dhananjaya and the twins hear thee speak thus, even
they will renounce life. And if these, O slender-waisted maiden, give up
life, I also shall not be able to bear my own. In olden days Sarjati's
daughter, the beautiful Sukanya, followed into the forest Chyavana of
Bhrigu's race, whose mind was under complete control, and over whom,
while engaged in ascetic meditation, the ants had built a hill. Thou
mayst have heard that Indrasena also who in beauty was like unto
_Narayani_ herself, followed her husband aged a thousand years. Thou
mayst have heard that Janaka's daughter Sita, the princess of Videha,
followed her lord while living in dense woods. And that lady of graceful
hips, Rama's beloved wife, afflicted with calamities and persecuted by
the Rakshasas, at length regained the company of Rama. Lopamudra also, O
timid one, endued with youth and beauty, followed Agastya, renouncing
all the objects of enjoyment unattainable by men. And the intelligent
and faultless Savitri also followed the heroic Satyavan, the son of
Dyumatsena, alone into the world of Yama. Even like these chaste and
beautiful ladies that I have named, thou, O blessed girl, bloomest with
every virtue. Do thou spend a short while more that is measured by even
a half month. And when the thirteenth year is complete, thou wilt
(again) become the Queen regnant of a king.' Hearing these words,
Draupadi said, 'Unable, O Bhima, to bear my griefs, it is from grief
alone that I have shed these tears. I do not censure Yudhishthira. Nor
is there any use in dwelling on the past. O Bhima of mighty strength,
come quickly forward to the work of the hour. O Bhima, Kaikeyi, jealous
of my beauty, always pains me by her endeavours to prevent the king from
taking a fancy to me. And understanding this disposition of hers, the
wicked-souled Kichaka of immoral ways constantly solicits me himself.
Angry with him for this, but then suppressing my wrath I answer that
wretch deprived of sense by lust, saying, "O Kichaka, protect thyself. I
am the beloved queen and wife of five Gandharvas. Those heroes in wrath
will slay thee that art so rash." Thus addressed, Kichaka of wicked soul
replied unto me, saying, "I have not the least fear of the Gandharvas, O
Sairindhri of sweet smiles. I will slay hundred thousand Gandharvas,
encountering them in battle. Therefore, O timid one, do thou consent."
Hearing all this, I again addressed the lust-afflicted Suta, saying,
"Thou art no match for those illustrious Gandharvas. Of respectable
percentage and good disposition, I ever adhere to virtue and never wish
for the death of any one. It is for this that thou I vest, O Kichaka!"
At this, that wight of wicked soul burst out into a loud laughter. And
it came to pass that Kaikeyi previously urged by Kichaka, and moved by
affection for her brother, and desirous of doing him a good turn,
despatched me to him, saying "Do thou, O Sairindhri, fetch wine from
Kichaka's quarters!" On beholding me the Suta's son at first addressed
me in sweet words, and when that failed, he became exceedingly enraged,
and intended to use violence. Understanding the purpose of the wicked
Kichaka, I speedily rushed towards the place where the king was. Felling
me on the ground the wretch then kicked me in the very presence of the
king himself and before the eyes of Kanka and many others, including
charioteers, and royal favourites, and elephant-riders, and citizens. I
rebuked the king and Kanka again and again. The king, however, neither
prevented Kichaka, nor inflicted any chastisement on him. The principal
ally of king Virata in war, the cruel Kichaka reft of virtue is loved by
both the king and the queen. O exalted one, brave, proud, sinful,
adulterous, and engrossed in all objects of enjoyment, he earneth
immense wealth (from the king), and robs the possessions of others even
if they cry in distress. And he never walketh in the path of virtue, nor
doth he any virtuous act. Of wicked soul, and vicious disposition,
haughty and villainous, and always afflicted by the shafts of Kama,
though repulsed repeatedly, if he sees me again, he will outrage me. I
shall then surely renounce my life. Although striving to acquire virtue
(on my death) your highly meritorious acts will come to naught. Ye that
are now obeying your pledge, ye will lose your wife. By protecting one's
wife one's offspring are protected, and by protecting one's offspring,
one's own self is protected. And it is because one begets one's own self
in one's wife that the wife is called _Jaya_[15] by the wise. The
husband also should be protected by the wife, thinking,--_How else will
he take his birth in my womb_?--I have heard it from Brahmanas
expounding the duties of the several orders that a Kshatriya hath no
other duty than subduing enemies. Alas, Kichaka kicked me in the very
presence of Yudhishthira the Just, and also of thyself, O Bhimasena of
mighty strength. It was thou, O Bhima, that didst deliver me from the
terrible Jatasura. It was thou also that with thy brothers didst
vanquish Jayadratha. Do thou now slay this wretch also who hath insulted
me. Presuming upon his being a favourite of the king, Kichaka, O
Bharata, hath enhanced my woe. Do thou, therefore, smash this lustful
wight even like an earthen pot dashed upon a stone. If, O Bharata,
tomorrow's sun sheds his rays upon him who is the source of many griefs
of mine, I shall, surely, mixing poison (with some drink), drink it
up,--for I never shall yield to Kichaka. Far better it were, O Bhima,
that I should die before thee.'"

[15] _Jayate asyas_--i.e., she from whom one is born.

Vaisampayana continued, "Having said this, Krishna, hiding her face in
Bhima's breast began to weep. And Bhima, embracing her, consoled her to
the best of his power. And having abundantly consoled that
slender-waisted daughter of Drupada by means of words fraught with grave
reason and sense, he wiped with his hands her face flooded with tears.
And thinking of Kichaka and licking with his tongue the corners of his
mouth, Bhima, filled with wrath thus spake to that distressed lady."


"Bhima said, 'I will, O timid one, do even as thou sayest. I will
presently slay Kichaka with all his friends. O Yajnaseni of sweet
smiles, tomorrow evening, renouncing sorrow and grief, manage to have a
meeting with Kichaka. The dancing-hall that the king of the Matsya hath
caused to be erected is used by the girls for dancing during the day.
They repair, however, to their homes at night. There in that hall, is an
excellent and well-placed wooden bed-stead. Even there I will make him
see the spirits of his deceased grandsires. But, O beautiful one, when
thou holdest converse with him, thou must manage it so that others may
not espy thee.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Having thus conversed with others, and shed
tears in grief, they waited for the dawn of that night with painful
impatience. And when the night had passed away, Kichaka, rising in the
morning, went to the palace, and accosted Draupadi saying, 'Throwing
thee down in the court I kicked thee in the presence of the king.
Attacked by mighty self, thou couldst not obtain protection. This Virata
is in name only the king of the Matsyas. Commanding the forces of this
realm it is I, who am the real lord of the Matsyas. Do thou, O timid
one, accept me cheerfully. I shall become thy slave. And, O thou of
graceful hips, I will immediately give thee a hundred _nishkas_, and
engage a hundred male and a hundred female servants (to tend thee), and
will also bestow on thee cars yoked with she-mules. O timid lady, let
our union take place.' Draupadi replied, 'O Kichaka, know even this is
my condition. Neither thy friends nor thy brothers should know thy union
with me. I am a terror of detection by those illustrious Gandharvas.
Promise me this, and I yield to thee.' Hearing this Kichaka said, 'I
will, O thou of graceful hips, do even as thou sayest. Afflicted by the
god of love, I will, O beauteous damsel, alone repair to thy abode for
union with thee, O thou of thighs round and tapering like the trunks of
the plantain,--so that those Gandharvas, effulgent as the sun, may not
come to know of this act of thine.' Draupadi said, 'Do thou, when it is
dark, go to the dancing-hall erected by the king of the Matsyas where
the girls dance during the day, repairing to their respective homes at
night. The Gandharvas do not know that place. We shall then without
doubt, escape all censure.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Reflecting on the subject of her conversation
with Kichaka, that half a day seemed to Krishna as long as a whole
month. And the stupid Kichaka also, not knowing that it was Death that
had assumed the form of a _Sairindhri_, returning home experienced the
greatest delight. And deprived of sense by lust, Kichaka became speedily
engaged in embellishing his person with unguents and garlands and
ornaments. And while he was doing all this, thinking of that damsel of
large eyes, the day seemed to him to be without an end. And the beauty
of Kichaka, who was about to forsake his beauty for ever, seemed to
heighten, like the wick of a burning lamp about to expire. And reposing
the fullest confidence in Draupadi, Kichaka, deprived of his senses by
lust and absorbed in the contemplation of expected meeting, did not even
perceive that the day had departed. Meanwhile, the beautiful Draupadi
approaching her husband Bhima of the Kuru race, stood before him in the
kitchen. And that lady with tresses ending in beautiful curls then spake
unto him, saying, 'O chastiser of foes, even as thou hadst directed, I
have given Kichaka to understand that our meeting will take place in the
dancing-hall. Alone will he come at night to the empty hall. Slay him
there, O thou of mighty arms. Do thou, O son of Kunti, repair to that
dancing-hall, and take the life, O Pandava, of Kichaka, that son of a
_Suta_ intoxicated with vanity. From vanity alone, that son of a _Suta_
slights the Gandharvas. O best of smiters, lift him up from the earth
even as Krishna had lifted up the _Naga_ (Kaliya) from the Yamuna. O
Pandava, afflicted as I am with grief, wipe thou my tears, and blessed
be thou, protect thy own honour and that of thy race.'

"Bhima said, 'Welcome, O beauteous lady. Except the glad tidings thou
bringest me, I need, O thou of exceeding beauty, no other aid whatever.
The delight that I feel, O thou of great beauty, on hearing from thee
about my coming encounter with Kichaka, is equal to what I felt in
slaying Hidimva. I swear unto thee by Truth, by my brothers, and by
morality, that I will slay Kichaka even as the lord of the celestials
slew Vritra. Whether secretly or openly, I will crush Kichaka, and if
the Matsyas fight for him, then I will slay them too. And slaying
Duryodhana afterwards, I shall win back the earth. Let Yudhishthira, the
son of Kunti, continue to pay homage unto the king of Matsya.' Hearing
these words of Bhima, Draupadi said, 'In order that, O lord, thou mayst
not have to renounce the truth already pledged to me, do thou, O hero,
slay Kichaka in secret.' Bhima assuring her said, 'Even today I shall
slay Kichaka together with his friends unknown to others during the
darkness of the night. I shall, O faultless lady, crush, even as an
elephant crusheth a _vela_ fruit,[16] the head of the wicked Kichaka who
wisheth for what is unattainable by him!'"

[16] Some texts read, _Vilwam nagaviodhara--i.e.,_ 'As an
elephant lifts up a vela fruit.'

Vaisampayana continued, "Repairing first to the place of assignation at
night, Bhima sat down, disguising himself. And he waited there in
expectation of Kichaka, like a lion lying in wait for a deer. And
Kichaka, having embellished his person as he chose, came to the
dancing-hall at the appointed time in the hope of meeting Panchali. And
thinking of the assignation, he entered the chamber. And having entered
that hall enveloped in deep gloom, that wretch of wicked soul came upon
Bhima of incomparable prowess, who had come a little before and who was
waiting in a corner. And as an insect approacheth towards a flaming
fire, or a puny animal towards a lion, Kichaka approached Bhima, lying
down in a bed and burning in anger at the thought of the insult offered
to Krishna, as if he were the Suta's Death. And having approached Bhima,
Kichaka possessed by lust, and his heart and soul filled with ecstacy
smilingly said, 'O thou of pencilled eye-brows, to thee I have already
given many and various kinds of wealth from the stores earned by me, as
well as hundred maids and many fine robes, and also a mansion with an
inner apartment adorned with beauteous and lovely and youthful maid
servants and embellished by every kind of sports and amusements. And
having set all those apart for thee, I have speedily come hither. And
all on a sudden, women have begun to praise me, saying, _There is not in
this world any other person like unto thee in beauty and dress_!'
Hearing this, Bhima said, 'It is well that thou art handsome, and it is
well thou praisest thyself. I think, however, that thou hadst never
before this such pleasurable touch! Thou hast an acute touch, and
knowest the ways of gallantry. Skilled in the art of love-making, thou
art a favourite with women. There is none like thee in this world!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Saying this, that son of Kunti, the
mighty-armed Bhima of terrible prowess, suddenly rose up, and laughingly
said, 'Thy sister, O wretch, shall today behold thee dragged by me to
the ground, like a mighty elephant, huge as a mountain, dragged to the
ground by a lion. Thyself slain _Sairindhri_ will live in peace, and we,
her husbands, will also live in peace.' Saying this, the mighty Bhima
seized Kichaka by the hairs of his head, which were adorned with
garlands. And thus seized with force by the hair, that foremost of
mighty persons, Kichaka, quickly freed his hair and grasped the arms of
Bhima. And then between those lions among men, fired with wrath, between
that chief of the Kichaka clan, and that best of men, there ensued a
hand-to-hand encounter, like that between two powerful elephants for a
female elephant in the season of spring, or like that which happened in
days of yore between those lions among monkeys, the brothers Vali and
Sugriva. And both equally infuriate and both eager for victory, both
those combatants raised their arms resembling snakes furnished with five
hoods, and attacked each other with their nails and teeth, wrought up to
frenzy of wrath. Impetuously assailed by the powerful Kichaka in that
encounter, the resolute Bhima did not waver a single step. And locked in
each other's embraces and dragging each other, they fought on like two
mighty bulls. And having nails and teeth for their weapons, the
encounter between them was fierce and terrible like that of two furious
tigers. And felling each other in fury, they encountered each other like
a couple of elephants with rent temples. And the mighty Bhima then
seized Kichaka, and Kichaka, that foremost of strong persons threw Bhima
down with violence. And as those mighty combatants fought on, the crash
of their arms produced a loud noise that resembled the clatter of
splitting bamboos. Then Vrikodara throwing Kichaka down by main force
within the room, began to toss him about furiously even as a hurricane
tosseth a tree. And attacked thus in battle by the powerful Bhima,
Kichaka grew weak and began to tremble. For all that, however, he tugged
at the Pandava to the best of his power. And attacking Bhima, and making
him wave a little, the mighty Kichaka struck him with his knees and
brought him down to the ground. And overthrown by the powerful Kichaka,
Bhima quickly rose up like Yama himself with mace in hand. And thus that
powerful _Suta_ and the Pandava, intoxicated with strength and
challenging each other, grappled with each other at midnight in that
solitary place. And as they roared at each other in wrath, that
excellent and strong edifice began to shake every moment. And slapped on
the chest by the mighty Bhima, Kichaka fired with wrath moved not a
single pace. And bearing for a moment only that onslaught incapable of
being born on earth, the _Suta_, overpowered by Bhima's might, became
enfeebled. And seeing him waning weak, Bhima endued with great strength
forcibly drew Kichaka towards his breast, and began to press hard. And
breathing hard again and again in wrath, that best of victors,
Vrikodara, forcibly seized Kichaka by the hair. And having seized
Kichaka, the mighty Bhima began to roar like a hungry tiger that hath
killed a large animal. And finding him exceedingly exhausted, Vrikodara
bound him fast with his arms, as one binds a beast with a cord. And then
Bhima began for a long while, to whirl the senseless Kichaka, who began
to roar frightfully like a broken trumpet.[17] And in order to pacify
Krishna's wrath Vrikodara grasped Kichaka's throat with his arms and
began to squeeze it. And assailing with his knees the waist of that
worst of the Kichakas, all the limbs of whose body had been broken into
fragments and whose eye-lids were closed, Vrikodara slew him, as one
would slay a beast. And beholding Kichaka entirely motionless, the son
of Pandu began to roll him about on the ground. And Bhima then said,
'Slaying this wretch who intended to violate our wife,--this thorn in
the side of _Sairindhri_, I am freed from the debt I owed to my
brothers, and have attained perfect peace.' And having said this, that
foremost of men, with eyes red in wrath, relinquished his hold of
Kichaka, whose dress and ornaments had been thrown off his person, whose
eyes were rolling, and whose body was yet trembling. And that foremost
of mighty persons, squeezing his own hands, and biting his lips in rage,
again attacked his adversary and thrust his arms and legs and neck and
head into his body like the wielder of the _Pinaka_ reducing into
shapeless mass the deer, which form sacrifice had assumed in order to
escape his ire. And having crushed all his limbs, and reduced him into a
ball of flesh, the mighty Bhimasena showed him unto Krishna. And endued
with mighty energy that hero then addressed Draupadi, that foremost of
all women, saying, 'Come princess of Panchala, and see what hath become
of that lustful wretch!' And saying this, Bhima of terrible prowess

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