/ Attractions

Even as Arjuna was praying, to his surprise, the Kirata appeared, with the wreath on his head. Arjuna realized that he was in the presence of none other than Lord Maheswara himself. He prostrated before the god and prayed forgiveness for his conduct in attacking him. The god raised him with his arms and embraced him, this time in love.

The mightily pleased Lord of the Mountains heard from Arjuna of his desire to possess arms that could counter the heroes Bhishma, Drona and Kripa. The god told him, “I know you to be the rishi Nara of old who, with Narayana, protected the world from the demons. I shall give you that favourite weapon of mine, Pasupata, the knowledge of which no human or celestial has. It should be used only against a superior foe. Wrongly used, it might destroy the entire universe.” The god then imparted to Arjuna, the knowledge of the use of the weapon.

It was thus that Lord Siva blessed Arjuna with the holy weapon, the mere touch of which purified the prince. The god returned the Gandiva to Arjuna. The two quivers were also restored of their magical quality. “Go now to heaven,” he commanded the devotee who stood with his head bowed and left to his abode in the company of Uma.

Then and there Arjuna went into the meditation of Maheshwara. The penance undertaken by Arjuna was of the severest nature. He shed the armour he was wearing, and clad in deerskin, he prayed. Little by little he reduced his food until, in the fourth month, he subsisted on air alone. He stood on the tip of one toe with his arms joined above his head. The heat radiating from him was such that it became unbearable for all the sages meditating in the region. These sages approached the Lord of the Mountains, Rudra, and appealed to him to protect them from the severe effects of Arjuna’s penance. The all-knowing god smiled and sent them away with the assurance that he would answer his devotee and end his penance.

The god Rudra disguised himself as a Kirata (a tribe of hunters living in the deep woods). Accompanied by his consort, Uma, also disguised, and a host of other women, he appeared where Arjuna was doing penance. Just then a Danava (demon), Muka by name, in the form of a boar, was about to attack Arjuna. Arjuna prepared to release some deadly arrows from his Gandiva on the boar. The Kirata bade him stop. “This mountain of a boar was first sighted by me. Hence it is mine.”
 Disregarding the claim of the Kirata, Arjuna showered his arrows on the boar. The hunter also sent his arrows and pierced the boar at the same time. The boar assumed its original form of a rakshasa and fell roaring.

The angry Kirata questioned Arjuna about his conduct in breaking the hunters’ code. Soon the argument led to Arjuna releasing his shafts on the hunter. The two quivers, which had the quality of being inexhaustible, became empty even as his arrows bounced off the hunter. Arjuna swiped his Gandiva bow on the Kirata who deftly snatched it away. Arjuna took out his sword and aimed a mighty blow on the crown of the hunter. On landing, the sword broke into pieces, as if it had hit a solid rock. Having lost all his weapons, Arjuna pounced on the hunter for physical combat.
 The two were engaged in a fierce fight when a deadly embrace by the hunter caused Arjuna to fall on the ground unconscious. When he regained his senses, the blood-covered Arjuna found the hunter gone. He made an image of the god Siva and worshipped it, asking for strength. He placed a floral wreath on the crown of the image.

Equipped with the Mantra received from Yudhisthira, Arjuna made his way to the Himalayas. Fully armed, with the Gandiva bow in his hand, Arjuna looked resplendent when he reached Indrakila, the region of Indra. A thin, emaciated ascetic stopped him and asked, “Who are you? Why are you armed to your fingernail? You have entered the region where there is no need for fighting. Disarm and seek bliss. Choose any celestial region you desire and live there forever.”

Arjuna refused to disarm. “I have no desire to become a celestial. I have a mission to avenge the insults heaped on me and my brothers by the son of Dhritarashtra. Besides, I cannot forsake my brothers who wait for me at Kamyaka.” The ascetic at once revealed himself to be the god Indra. Paying his respect to the god, Arjuna said, “It is to meet you that I came here. I seek from you your weapons.”

Indra replied, “I am aware of your mission. All my weapons are available for you. But you must first do penance to the greatest of gods, Siva. I shall give you my weapons only if you are able to see him.” With this, the god departed.
Vyasa, who visited the Pandavas, told Yudhisthira, “I could see that Arjuna will slay your foes when the time comes. He should seek the necessary weapons for the purpose from the gods Rudra, Indra, Varuna, Yama and Kubera. I shall teach you a Mantra, which would enable one to behold the gods. You may, in turn, impart the knowledge to Arjuna.”

 Vyasa also advised Yudhisthira to keep moving to different places so that the forests do not get denuded and depleted by their continued presence.

After the sage’s departure, Yudhisthira advised Arjuna, “The Kauravas have stalwarts like Bhishma, Drona, Kripa, Karna and Aswathamma, with whom all knowledge of wielding weapons reside. You alone amongst us are capable of gaining such mastery in warfare as they possess. The god Indra is the repository of all the weapons of the gods. I have received instruction from the venerable Vyasa of a Mantra which, when recited, will expose to one, the entire universe including the gods. As desired by him, I shall pass that knowledge to you. Use it to seek Indra. Seek from him all his weapons which alone can help us in the battle to come. Seek weapons also from Rudra, Varuna, Yama and Kubera.”

Bowing to his brother’s wishes, Arjuna soon left on his quest for weapons. The remaining Pandavas, heeded to Vyasa’a advice and shifted their camp to the Kamyaka forest once again, this time on the banks of the River Saraswati. There they lived for the next five years.
The Pandavas soon left their retinue and most of their cars at Kamyaka and preceded to the Dwaita forest where, they decided, they would spend their exile. The forest, full of tall trees, surrounded the sacred lake of Dwaitavana. The many Rishis who were performing austerities there blessed the Pandavas. The brahmins who had followed the exiled Kshatriyas continued to live under their benevolence at Dwaita.

Many were the visitors to the humble dwelling of the Pandava heroes at Kamyaka. Their cousins, the Bhojas, the Vrishnis, Krishna among them, and the Andhakas as well as other relatives like Drupada and the king of Chedi, visited them.

Krishna, during a visit, was discussing the plight of the Pandavas, when he expressed his anger at the Kauravas’ behaviour. Arjuna pacified him. In good time, he said, with Krishna’s blessing, their difficult days would come to an end.

Krishna said that had he been present at Hastinapura on that fateful day, he would have prevented the Kauravas’ deceitful dice game. “It was during that time that I was chasing Salwa to his capital in order to end his life.” he said.

Krishna related to the Pandavas, the Vrishnis’ battle with Salwa. He said, “Salwa, the king of Saubha, deciding to avenge the death of Shishupala, ‘his brother-king’, marched on Dwaraka even before I could return from Indraprastha after the Rajasuya sacrifice.

“When I reached Dwaraka, I found that Salwa had already killed many of the eminent Vrishni warriors. He had caused widespread destruction to Dwaraka and was returning triumphantly to Saubha. Angered by the scene, I chased the villain. I finally caught up with him in an island in the ocean. A fierce battle took place when the host of Saubha’s Danava warriors adopted various tactics including illusion. After dispelling them all, I finally released my Sudarshan disc, a weapon capable of destroying the mightiest of enemies. It killed Salwa and returned to me. I learnt of the events in Hastinapura only on my return to Dwaraka after Salwa had been despatched.”
News just then arrived at Hastinapura of the killing of Kirmira, the brother of the Rakshasa Bakasura, by Bhima. The king asked Vidura to give him an account of the event.

Vidura said, “Pandu’s sons, after their expulsion from Hastinapura, traveled three days before reaching the Kamyaka forest. At dead of night, when they were asleep under a tree, there appeared before them a fearful looking rakshasa, a cannibal, Kirmira by name. This Kirmira was the brother of Bakasura, the monster that Bhima killed on an earlier occasion. Recognizing Bhima, the rakshasa wanted to kill Bhima to avenge his brother’s death. A fierce battle took place between Kirmira and Bhima. In the end, by sheer might, the illustrious Pandava strongman killed that terror of the forest. I saw the huge body of the slain rakshasa lying in the forest, when on my way to the Pandavas’ dwelling.”

The story, reflecting the Pandavas’ might, only added to Dhritarashtra’s misery, while Duryodhana was deeply perturbed.
Even as Vyasa left for his abode in the forest, the sage Maitreya arrived at the Kaurava capital. He was received in the court by the king and duly honored with a seat. The sage expressed his dissatisfaction over the injustice done to the Pandavas and urged the king to recall them.

The sage said, “O King! What has happened can never be justified. Moreover, the Pandavas, if not recalled, would return after thirteen years, stronger and merciless.”

Listening to the sage, Duryodhana slapped his thigh and scratched the ground with his foot, showing his impatience and disrespect for the venerable seer. The enraged sage cursed that the mighty Bhima would break the insolent prince’s thigh when war came. A frightened king pleaded with Maitreya to forgive his son. Maitreya said, “My curse will happen, unless you recall the Pandavas and restore to them their kingdom.” So saying he walked out, his anger not a bit abated.

The return to favour of Vidura was a subject discussed by Duryodhana and his confederates with great concern. Duryodhana was afraid that his uncle would try to influence the king in favor of the Pandavas and succeed in bringing the Pandavas back. Karna suggested that the best solution would be to chase the Pandavas and kill them. This suggestion greatly appealed to Duryodhana. Once the Pandavas were dead, Duryodhana thought, he could rule his country without any fear. He immediately raised an army with Karna’s assistance and set out towards the Pandavas’ quarter in Kamyaka.

Vyasa observed Duryadhana’s action through his mental powers and accosted the prince on the way. He stopped Duryodhana and strongly admonished him for his ill-advised move. Duryodhana had no choice but to call off his expedition and return to Hastinapura. Vyasa then called on the king and warned him against any move of Duryodhana to attack the Pandavas. “Even now, stripped of their kingdom, they are more than a match to your evil-minded son,” he told the king.

At Hastinapura, brooding alone over the happenings of the past few days, King Dhritarashtra felt restless and desired conversation with someone near to him. He sent for Vidura and asked him, “Kshatta, I am disturbed at what has happened. You alone have the clear mind to tell me what is in store for us. Does destruction await us?”

In his characteristic adherence to truthful talk, Vidura replied, “O King. What your son has done to the Pandavas is certain to draw fearful consequences. Yet it is not too late to make amends. Make peace with the Pandavas and give them back their kingdom. Knowing Yudhisthira, I am confident that he will forgive his vicious cousin for all his misdeeds. The two families should live in peace and amity with each other.”

Advice such as this tasted bitter to the king who could find no fault with his son. He became angry with Vidura and told him, “Truly Kshatta, you are like an unfaithful wife. Stay here and accept things or go away.”

Saddened by the king’s rude words, Vidura left Hastinapura. He knew where the Pandavas had gone and made that his destination. News of Vidura’s departure was received with great joy by Duryodhana and his cohorts.

The sons of Pandu had moved from the banks of the river Ganga to the forest known as Kamyaka. As Vidura reached the Pandava camp, an overjoyed Yudhisthira welcomed him with respect and the two were engaged in fruitful conversation.

As`soon as Vidura had left Hastinapura, the king was smitten with repentance at his treatment of his brother. He fell down in a swoon. On being revived, he bade his faithful servant Sanjaya to immediately follow Vidura and bring him back. Sanjaya soon brought Vidura back, much to the consolation of the king.
 As Yudhisthira, his brothers and Draupadi proceeded to the gates of Hastinapura, the citizens, whose eyes were red with crying, surrounded them. “Leave us not, O noble Pandavas,” they said. “We could not conceive of life without you. We would follow you, wherever you go, and continue to live under your protection.”

 “We are undeserving of so much love,” Yudhisthira told them. “Our hearts do go out for you. But the grandsire Bhishma, the king, Vidura and our revered mother are all here in Hastinapura. In this hour you should stay back and be of support to them.”

 The citizens bade the Pandavas a tearful farewell at the Vardhaman gate (they left, not through the Royal gate, but the traders’ gate). There the exiles got into their chariots and drove towards the Ganga river. They spent the night under the great Banyan tree, Pramana, on the banks of the river where the Pandavas had played as children. A number of brahmins, chanting holy verses, followed them and set camp with them.

 The next morning Yudhisthira addressed the mendicants who were depending on him for food. “It is the duty of the king to provide the necessities of brahmins. His wealth is for this reason alone. But you know I have been divested of all my wealth. I do not know how well I could support you.” The brahmins would not listen to him and continued to stay.

 The priest Dhaumya advised Yudhisthira to pray to the Sun god, for he it was who provided food and sustenance to all living things. Dhaumya knew a Mantra for invoking the Sun god, which he imparted to Yudhisthira. Yudhisthira recited the Mantra, and meditated deeply. The Sun god was pleased with Yudhisthira’s prayer and he appeared before the erstwhile king. Learning about Yudhisthira’s concern to provide food for his followers, the god presented him with a copper vessel called Akshaya Patra of celestial quality,

 “As long as the chaste Panchali, who always eats last, does not eat out of it and clean it, this vessel will be full with the four kinds of food made in her kitchen and stored in it; the four kinds of food being meat, root, vegetable and fruit. May your objective be achieved, and may you regain your kingdom in fourteen years.” With these blessings, the Sun god disappeared.
 With the divine bowl providing inexhaustible quantities of food, Yudhisthira pleased the brahmins, after feeding whom he and his family fed themselves.

Frightened by these omen, Duryodhana and his brothers prayed to Drona to protect them in the coming days. Drona assured them that he would, but added that the Pandavas were gods, and humans cannot kill them.

“In the next thirteen years,” Drona told Duryodhana, “the Pandavas would adopt strict celibacy, perform penance and seek more education. They would have become more formidable when they come back. My own death has been sealed with the birth of a son from the sacrificial fire of Drupada. Do what good you can during the period till the Pandvas returned.”

A distraught Dhritarashtra bade his attendant Sanjay recall the Pandavas. But before Sanjay could react, that wavering moment passed, and the king was caught once again in the web of his love for his first-born. He sighed and retired

While the king and Vidura were talking thus, the celestial Narada appeared before them and warned them that fourteen years hence would see their entire clan being wiped out. He left immediately. The whining of jackals and the braying of asses was once again heard from inside the palace. The sky was dark but for flashes of lightning.

After the Pandavas and Draupadi had left, the blind Dhritarashtra called Vidura and asked him to describe their departure. This is what Vidura had to say.

The crowds on the way shout, ‘cursed are Dhritarashtra’s sons for bringing about this calamity to the faultless Pandavas’. Yudhisthira has his head covered, lest his angry glance may burn the people. Bhima is stretching his arms as if to say, these are ready to soon show their worth against the Kauravas. Arjuna goes scattering grains all around, indicating that his arrows will soon fly everywhere, seeking the Kauravas. The handsome Nakula has covered himself with dust so that the women may not look at him and sigh. Sahadeva has also besmeared himself, not desiring to be recognized on this day of his misfortune. As for the princess, she goes with only a piece of cloth covering her, as though to tell the women, in fourteen years so would you enter Hastinapura, weeping and wailing for your husbands dead in battle. The priest Dhaumya utters verses from Sama Veda relating to Yama, the Lord of Death.

Whispers of “Fie unto Dhritarashtra’s sons” were heard. But Duryodhana and his intimates made no secret of their joy. The Pandava brothers removed their regalia and dressed themselves in deerskin, preparing to go to the forest.

Dushasana addressed the Panchali princess, “Pity unto Drupada who sacrificed his daughter to the worthless Pandavas. Now they are condemned to a miserable life. But thou, Panchali, need not follow them. Choose from those present here, a husband.”

Hearing these words of his cousin, an inflamed Bhima rose and reiterated his vow. “You wretch, riding as you do on the success of Shakuni, you are piercing our hearts with boastful words. I would soon pierce your heart in battle and drink your blood. May entry into my ancestors’ abode is denied to me if this vow is not fulfilled.”

As the Pandavas started, leaving the hall, Duryodhana walked with a swaying gait in imitation of Bhima. Noticing this, Bhima roared at the Kaurava prince, “Bide your time you wretch. The day is not far off when, with my mace, I would make you prostrate before me and place my foot on your head.”

Arjuna said, “As does my powerful brother, so do I swear to kill Karna in the great battle.” And Sahadeva said, “This Shakuni will fall unto my blows.”
 Vidura, after blessing the Pandavas, asked Yudhisthira to leave his mother, the venerable Kunti, in his care, till the period of exile was over. Yudhisthira bowed to his uncle’s wish.

The Pandavas had gone some distance when the messenger caught up with them and conveyed the king’s command. Yudhisthira’s brothers were not in favour of entertaining the invitation, knowing that this was another plot of Duryodhana. Yudhisthira said, “I know fully well what is to follow. Would Rama not have known that there could be no deer made of gold? Yet he pursued it for that was ordained by fate. Besides, we have to honour the king’s command.” With his brothers and Draupadi he turned back to Hastinapura.

As Yudhisthira reached the gambling hall, the assembly was already full. Shakuni started the proceedings and described the wager to Yudhisthira. Yudhisthira agreed to the terms and the dice rolled once again. The inevitable happened. Shakuni called right. The Pandava brothers, along with Draupadi, were now condemned to spend the next twelve years in the forest and a thirteenth year incognito.
Having been freed by Dhritarashtra, the Pandavas with Draupadi bowed to the king and the elders, and left for Indraprastha. Duryodhana and his confederates who had left the hall were unaware of the boons granted to Draupadi by Dhritarashtra. It was Dushasana who learnt about it, and he ran to Duryodhana, wailing that the foolish king had caused all that was won, to be lost.

Duryodhana, along with Dushasana, Shakuni and Karna, rushed to Dhritarashtra. “What a folly this,” he cried at the king. “We made the Pandavas our slaves, and now you have let them off. They are mighty and the insults they have suffered would be rankling in their minds. They would certainly wreak vengeance on us. Lo, we are all lost.”

 “We can still save the situation,” Duryodhana continued, “Let us bring them back and make them play the dice game once again. We shall play for a specific stake. If the Pandavas lose, they should don deerskins and retire to the forest for twelve years. After the twelfth year ended, they should spend the thirteenth year in disguise at an inhabitable place. If detected in the thirteenth year, they should spend another twelve years in the forest.

 “In the event the Pandavas won, the Kauravas would spend twelve years in the forest and one year incognito,. After the period is successfully completed, both would have their original kingdoms restored to them.”

 Bhishma, Drona and Vidura in one voice advised the king not to entertain this plan. Gandhari who heard of it, pleaded with her husband not to listen to Duryodhana any more. In fact, she said, they should have followed Vidura’s advice and killed their first son as soon as he was born. The path he was pursuing would only lead to the wiping out of the Kauravas.

The king, however, would not listen to them. To satisfy Duryodhana seemed to be the only thought in his mind. “If, as a consequence, my race would face extinction, let it happen,” he said. He commanded a messenger to be sent to intercept the Pandavas and bring them back for one last dice game.

Fear gripped the heart of Dhritarashtra as he heard these noises. He swore at Duryodhana for having brought about the ruin of the Kauravas. Turning to Draupadi, he told her in a conciliatory tone that he would grant her a boon.

Draupadi asked the king, “Let my husband Yudhisthira, the personification of truth, be freed from his bondage,” The king granted her wish and told Draupadi to seek a second boon. Draupadi desired her other four husbands should be freed from slavery as well. “Granted,” said Dhritarashtra, urging Draupadi to ask for a third boon. Draupadi declined. There was no need for a third boon. She said that her husbands could get back to their old glory, now that they were free.

Dhritarshtra told Yudhisthira, “You are now a free man. Go to Khandavaprastha and rule over your kingdom in peace. Forgive Duryodhana for his rashness. Let brotherly love be restored between you and your cousins.”

Inflamed at Duryodhana’s gesture in showing his bare lap, the angry Bhima flared up once again and swore to the assembly, “When the great fight comes, I would break that offending thigh. If I failed to do so, may I not deserve salvation?”

When Duryodhana taunted the four brothers again to answer Draupadi’s question, Arjuna said that before the game started they were under the sway of Yudhisthira. Now that they have all become slaves, it was for the Kauravas and their king to decide. As he said this, the shrieking whine of a jackal issued from the king’s prayer room. Donkeys brayed and birds shrieked from all sides. Vidura, as well as Gandhari, read the omen very well. This was the signal that the Kauravas were on their way to doom, they thought.

Gloating over their success, Duryodhana and his friends left the hall.

Karna urged Dushasana to drag the dishonoured princess away to where the workingwomen were lodged. He tauntingly told Draupadi that she should abandon her husbands and marry someone who would give her freedom and not gamble her away again. Draupadi stood up and turning to the elders, demanded of them an answer to her question, whether she was won by the Kauravas or not.

Bhishma squirmed in his seat and repeated what he had said before. He confessed that he did not know what was right and what was wrong.

 Draupadi’s question went a-begging. Vidura repeated that having himself become a slave, Yudhisthira had no authority to stake his wife.

Duryodhana jeered at Yudhisthira. “You who are knowledgeable in all departments, you tell the assembly that you have lost Panchali to me.” But Yudhisthira uttered not a word. Baring his left lap and showing it to Panchali, the wicked Duryodhana said that since Yudhisthira had failed to give an answer, let the other four answer the question.
The Pandava brothers removed their upper garments and sat with their heads dropped. Dushasana caught one end of the cloth Draupadi was draped in and started to pull at it. Closing her eyes, her palms joined in prayer, Draupadi cried, “Hey Krishna, thou protector of the weak and the faithful, see thou not the well into which we have fallen? See thou not how the Kauravas are humiliating us? Thou art our only salvation.” And Krishna heard her voice. Appearing in the scene but invisible to everyone, he covered his faithful devotee with many layers of clothes of different colours.

As the miscreant Dushasana tried to remove her scanty dress, Draupadi found herself draped once again in different apparel. Once more Dushasana pulled and yet again new apparel appeared on her. Soon there was a hillock of clothing as Dushasana, his energy giving way, continued in his attempt to disrobe the Panchali princess. Like a river flowing from its source, the clothing kept coming. Until Dushasana fell on the ground, exhausted and numb.

His eyes fiery and his countenance terrible, Bhima swore, “I shall one day kill this Dushasana who has caused blemish to the Bharata race. I shall tear his breast and drink his blood. If this happens not, let me not deserve to join my ancestors when I am dead.”

As she was dragged to the gambling hall, Draupadi appealed to the elders who were seated frozen in silence. “Do not let this wretch abuse me,” she cried. She turned to her husbands and her fiery glance seemed to scorch them. Witnessing her misery, Dushasana kept calling her “Slave”. He received applause from his brother and the vicious Karna and Shakuni. All the others in that great assembly sat benumbed, as if hit by a thunderbolt.

Draupadi turned to the grandsire and pleaded, “Have I been won?” Looking at the floor, Bhishma said, “Lo! What can I say? Indeed, morality is subtle. Yudhisthira himself is silent. I do not know if I can justifiably intervene.”

 Dushasana continued to mouth profanities, pulling at Draupadi’s clothes. Inflamed though they were, the Pandava brothers sat as if their hands were tied. Bhima however could no longer bear to witness the abuses suffered by their queen. Looking at Yudhisthira’s hands he swore, “All this misery is due to those hands. Let me burn them.” Arjuna remained self-possessed and he pacified his brother, “Be not angry with our venerable elder brother. He has done nothing wrong. He has followed truth. Have faith in him.” Bhima remained silent.

 From the shocked and confused assembly of kings there arose one voice defending Draupadi. It was that of Vikarna, one of Dhritarashtra’s sons. “Draupadi has not been won,” he declared. “She was not the wife of Yudhisthira alone. Besides, there was deceit practiced by Shakuni. He made Yudhisthira gamble her away. Yudhisthira had no right to stake her when he himself had been won. Why are the great Bhishma, Drona, Kripa and Vidura silent when such a travesty of justice is taking place?” So argued Vikarna, the only one of the hundred brothers who, showed sympathy for the Pandavas.

It was Karna who spoke now, ridiculing Vikarna as immature and ill informed. “When her own husbands are not defending her, it is obvious that Draupadi has been lost by them in a fair game. She is a slave. Strip her clothes.” screamed to Dushasana. “What is the impropriety in this action on a woman who could submit herself to five husbands? Take off her husbands’ clothes as well.” Thus Karna spew the poison.

Duryodhana jumped up in joy and commanded Vidura to fetch Draupadi. “The Pandavas are all my slaves,” he said. “And so is Draupadi. Her quarters from now should be with the servants and not where the queens and princesses live.” Vidura stood up and angrily rebuked Duryodhana for the insults he was heaping on the Pandava brothers and their faultless wife. “The consequences are going to be serious and the destruction of the Kurus is sure to follow,” he warned.

“Fie unto you Kshatta,” cried Duryodhana, intoxicated with Shakuni’s success. He called a Pratikamin (attendant) standing nearby. He commanded the servant to seek Draupadi and fetch her to the hall. The Pratikamin went to where the royal ladies were resting and told Draupadi that her lord had lost everything in the gamble, including his queen. At his master’s command, the Pratikamin continued, he had come to take her to the gambling hall. A shocked and distraught Draupadi sent back the attendant saying, “Go find out first whether my lord lost me before he lost himself or after.”

The Paratikamin returned to the hall and repeated Draupadi’s words to those present. He looked at Yudhisthira for an answer. Yudhisthira sat grimly, without uttering a word. Nor did any of the elders speak. It was Duryodhana who burst out. “Let the Panchali princess come hither and put the question to her husband so that the entire assembly can hear the answer. Go and fetch her hither.” he commanded the attendant.

Yudhisthira managed to send a message secretly to Draupadi, asking her to come, scantily dressed though she was due to her season, and appeal to the king. Meanwhile, the impatient Duryodhana howled once again at the attendant to carry out his command. The Pratikamin stood terrified at the prospect of having to face Draupadi again. “What should I tell her?” he stuttered.

 “This fool is possessed of fear,” Duryodhana shouted to his brother Dushasana. “You go and fetch her, if necessary by force.” Dushasana, with his eyes red, went to where Draupadi was. On seeing him Draupadi tried to run to the interior, but the evil brother of Duryodhana chased her and caught her. Disregarding her protests and pleas he dragged her by her tresses to the assembly. The Panchali princess looked up and prayed, “Krishna, thou very incarnation of the supreme god Narayana, I look to thee alone to protect me.”

Even by that time, Yudhisthira became a slave to dice game. He stops thinking about good and bad. He put his complete kingdom as a bet and lost it. After the eleventh game, with all his assets gone, Yudhishtira did the ridiculous. He began wagering his own brothers, one by one. First the handsome Nakula, second the intellectual Sahadeva, then the archer Arjuna and finally the physically powerful Bhima. He lost all of them. He stakes himself in the game and lost. Still he refused to quit the gambling. Finally he staked the pandavas’s wife, Draupadi. Everyone in the gambling hall gasped. Duryodhana grinned and accepted the wager. Shakuni rolled the dice for the seventeenth time and said, ‘Hurrah! I have won’. Bhishma, Drona and Vidura who were watching these rapid progression, stayed speechless. Dushasana, Karna and Jayadratha were in thrilled and in mood.

Vidura approached Duryodhana to call off the game in order to avoid rivalry between Pandavas and Kauravas. Duryodhana flashed like a hooded snake and replied Vidura that he had no voice as he was eating and drinking with kauravas money. Duryodhana added that Vidura is only a son to menial and have no status to advise him. Vidura became speechless on Duryodhana’s words and had been insulted for favoring Pandavas to avoid the rivalry. Duryodhana then warned Vidura to accept the game going on here, otherwise to walk out from the palace for his loyalty towards Pandavas.

Ignoring Duryodhana’s warning, Vidura contacted Dhritarashtra once again to stop the evil activities happening in the gambling hall. Vidura added that Duryodhana is now blinded by rage and always heeds to the wicked ideas of wicked people. It’s good to remember how the Andhakas, Yadavas and Bhojas united to put an end to Kamsa. Vidura then said to Dhritarashtra that it is his duty to tell the truth of future events forcibly. At last Vidura said once more that enmity with Pandavas is not good for Kauravas. So saying, Vidura sat down. Dhritarashtra was unmoved and remained silent on Vidura’s words.

At Hastinapura, Dhritarashtra along with his sons received Yudhisthira and his brothers. Pandavas along with their wife, Draupadi sought the blessings of Dhritarashtra and Gandhari. They were then shown to their wonderful apartment, and the night was spent in happiness and delight. The next morning all the guests assembled visited the big auditorium in Hastinapura. After that they were happily seated in that big auditorium constructed exclusively for playing dices game. Without wasting time, Shakuni stood up and invited Yudhisthira for the dice game. Yudhisthira said to Shakuni that dishonest gambling is opposite to the rules of Kshatriyas. He added that Wealth must be obtained from winning the battle and wealth so obtained should be distributed to the Brahmins. However, having invited by Dhritarashtra, we should play and leaving the result of game to fate. Bhishma, Vidura, Kripacharya and Drona were observing the game with broken hearts in order to keep peace between the two groups.

Duryodhana, instead of himself playing, chose Shakuni to take part in game on his behalf, opposing to the reputable practice. Here again Yudhisthira agreed and the game started. Yudhisthira put his diamond bracelets as his first bet. Shakuni threw the dice. The dice rolled and Shakuni called it right. “Hurrah! I have won”. Yudhisthira next put his royal car for game. The dice rolled and Shakuni won for second time also. Then the pandava king put a hundred thousand girls and a thousand soldiers for the stake. The result was the same and Shakuni won the game for third time. Yudhisthira then put his Elephants, horses, steeds, chariots and draught animals for consecutive times in the dice game. Shakuni was winning each and every game.

Some kind of greediness developed in Yudhisthira. One by one he was gambling and losing. The entire golden assets, diamond assets, valuable stones, metal assets, servants, cows and complete army, everything he betted and lost. Vidura, Bhishma and other elders became restless, sat with their heads hanging, unable to intervene. Vidura met Dhritarashtra and said the king to call off the game and save the Kuru race from the sins they are committing. He added that Duryodhana is a wicked personality and his acts will cause the destruction of entire kuru race. Vidura warned Dhritarashtra that if this gambling continued, then it will raise enmity between two groups and results in a great war between Pandavas and Kauravas. Due to the undue love towards his sons, Dhritarashtra remained silent.

Dhritarashtra was in great dilemma, so he consulted Vidura for opinion, but Vidura firmly opposed Shakuni’s idea of inviting Yuthishthira to gamble. Vidura refused Shakuni’s idea because it creates differences between Pandavas and Kauravas. When Dhritarashtra showed no inclination to listen to his opinion, Vidura realized that the Kauravas were moving towards their own destruction. Vidura became helpless to avoid the game and he was also sent to Indraprastha by Dhritarashtra to invite Yudhisthira.  Meanwhile, a massive hall with thousand pillars was specifically built and furnished plentifully in preparation for the game.

Yudhisthira welcomed Vidura with due honors. Vidura told Yudhisthira the reason for his visit. He also informed Yudhisthira about Dhritarashtra’s invitation to see the newly built massive hall in Hastinapura and to compare it with the Mayasabha at Indraprastha. Yudhisthira clearly expressed his hesitation to engage in a dice game as it might lead to enmity within the family. But it is also wrong to disobey the paternal uncle’s desire. So leaving the result of game to fate and duly honoring the king’s invitation, Yudhisthira set out to Hastinapura in the company of his wife and brothers. Krishna had no idea either of the Kaurava invitation or of the Pandava decision to participate in gambling as he was away at Dwaraka.

On their way to home from Indraprastha, Shakuni observed Duryodhana’s sadness over Pandavas’ prosperity. Shakuni talked to him positively. He encouraged Duryodhana that kauravas can defeat the pandava brothers through gambling, but no through arms. As Yudhisthira loves to gamble with the dice, he does not know the intricacies in gambling. Yudhisthira is a plain gambler, but Shakuni is an expert in gambling. So Shakuni believes that he can beat him in gambling and seize all his empire and prosperity and give up to Duryodhana. By the time they reached Hastinapura, the plan of welcoming Yudhisthira for a game of dice had taken deep root in Duryodhana’s mind.

Duryodhana was delirious with abhorrence and jealousy for the Pandavas as he reached Hastinapura. He confirmed to his father, Dhritarashtra that he can’t continue living, after seeing the reputation and prosperity of the Pandavas. Having been the treasurer at the yagna, he was viewer to the huge gifts that came heavy in from rulers around the world. Duryodhana asked his father that when and how to become as prosperous as the Pandavas. Dhritarashtra tried to console his son by saying that Duryodhana is no way inferior to the Pandavas as he had equal wealth and his kingdom extends far and wide, which is same as that of Pandavas. Shakuni, uncle of Duryodhana mediated the conversation between father and son and said that Duryodhana’s sadness might not end if the Pandavas be fetched to Indraprastha for a game of dice. Shakuni knew well about how to play against Pandavas with dice as bow and the numbers as arrows. Shakuni, the son of Suvala declared that he would defeat the Pandavas and seize all the wealth of Pandavas through gambling.

After the departure of all the guests from Mayasabha, Duryodhana and Sakuni alone remained in Indraprastha to enjoy the kindness of the Pandavas. They visited Mayasabha along without any assistant. Duryodhana was astonished for its marvelous beauty. But he had some bad experiences. The palace hall of great majesty in Indraprastha is built such that its floors were finished in such an illusionary manner that it had the mirror image of water whereas the pool along the hall is made such that the mirror image of a flat surface seeming no water in it. Duryodhana walked on such a pool, as he thought that it is a floor and fell into a deep pond. Draupadi who was walking past, rather thoughtlessly, let out a peal of laughter and said, ‘The blind son of blind parents.’ Also the four pandava brothers except Yudhisthira saw this and giggled. Duryodhana felt ashamed of that. He immediately left for Hastinapura and swear that one day he would take delight in Draupadi’s disgrace as she had taken in his. His heart was filled with jealousy and the wonderful Mayasabha became a heartburning for him.

Upset by Vyasa’s words, Yudhisthira became so regretful that he wanted to end his life rather than live and cause sadness to the world. His brothers calmed him and told him to meet the future proceedings with the courage he was renowned for. Yudhisthira determined and made a vow that he would, from that day, observe strict self-control. He would not upset any person by word or action and would protect his calmness in the most annoying conditions.

With all barriers removed, the yagna was carried to a successful conclusion. After receiving as much gifts as they could carry, the kings and visitors who had assembled in Indraprastha started to leave. Krishna, pleased at the victory of the sacrifice, left for Dwaraka. Yudhisthira gave enormous gifts to his priests and the Brahmins. Bhima gave send off to Bhishma and Dhritarashtra. Arjuna gave send off to Drupada. Nakula gave send off to Shalya and Subala. Sahadeva gave send off to Dronacharya, Kripacharya, Ashwathama and all other kings.

Vyasa told Yudhisthira that he was leaving. Before leaving, the king took bless from Vyasa and asked a question that “Whenever a yagna of the size of Rajasuya is conducted, there may be an appalling fallout, like a drought, flooding or earthquakes. Is this condition satisfied with the demise of Shishupala?”

Vyasa replied, “I see very bad times in the next thirteen years for you and your brothers. Vyasa added that as prophesy the powerful god Siva would appear in your dream.”

Bhishma’s revelation only irritated Shishupala further. He continued his scolding and mount insult upon insult on Krishna. Shishupala challenged Pandavas and Krishna for war.
Sri Krishna smiled at him. Krishna said that in keeping with his promise to his aunt, Saatvati, he had pardoned patiently and listened to a hundred insults. Krishna added that some of wrongs did by Shishupala includes,

He along with Jarasandha burnt out the Yadavas Capital City, Dwaraka.

He killed the Kings of Bhoja brutally, while spending their time with their wives on Raivatakaadri.
When Krishna’s father, Vasudeva was conducting Ashwamedha Yagna, he stole away the horse.
Shishupala abducted the wife of Babhru and married her.

Krishna then told to Shishupala, that he listened to a hundred insults from Shishupala and had pardoned him for those hundred wrongs. Now Shishupala challenged him so that Krishna is going to kill the brutal king, Shishupala. So saying, Krishna released his sudarshana disc and it flew at Shishupala and dismembered his head. With the killing of Shishupala, Rajasuya Yagna concluded and finished in a grant manner.

Bhishma started to tell the story of Shishupala to the assembled guests.

Shishupala was son of Damaghosh, king of Chedi, by Saatvaki, sister of Vasudeva. Therefore he became the cousin of Krishna. Shishupala was born with three eyes and four hands and with donkey voice. Saatvaki and Damaghosha were very much frightened by the child’s appearance and behavior. At that time a divine voice from heavens was heard that child would get his normal body by the touch of a person, who was already born and also that person should be the killer of this baby. But not now, after the baby becomes a great king. The baby was named Shishupala. From then onwards, the parents of that baby were waiting for such a personality.

One day, Krishna and Balarama went to see their aunt’s boy. When Krishna lifted the boy, its extra eye and extra hands are vanished. The surprised Saatvaki requested Krishna not to kill Shishupala until he commits hundred wrongs. Krishna agreed and said that he would forgive Shishupala if he offended him a hundred times. By the years passed, Shishupala became an unkind and terrible monarch, causing suffering to his subject and other kings. His main habit is insulting none other than his deliverer.

Rajasuya Yajna commenced. The priests poured water, milk and honey on Yudhishtira in the attendance of all the kings of Bharata-varsha. The priests declared Yudhishtira as the emperor. During the rituals, the priests asked the Pandavas that it was essential to honor an illustrious guest by offering them the Arghya in order to finish the Yajna. The chief among the guests should be offered the Arghya first. Bhishma preferred Krishna as the best suited to receive the honor. Since Krishna deserves that as he is a renowned personality, a scholar, a good personality, highly intellectual, a person who is liked by one and all. Sahadeva brought Arghya to Sri Krishna. Yudhishtira offered Arghya and other honors to Srikrishna.

In that great assembly was present Shishupala, the King of Chedi. King Shishupala could not tolerate this. He stood up and protested loudly. Some of the questions he argued against Krishna are as follows.

Why Krishna who is much younger than the guests present here? It is note that Krishna’s father Vasudeva is present here, who is much older than Krishna.

Why Krishna rather than any great Ritviks? It is note that Saint Veda Vyasa is gracing this occasion.

Why Krishna rather than any gurus? Guru Dronacharya and Kripacharya are here.

Why Krishna rather than any other famous Yadava members?

Why Krishna rather than any other eminent kings?

Shishupala himself believes that he is much superior to Krishna in valor and strength. Shishupala accused that Krishna is a mere cowherd and he tricked and abducted Rukmini, without the wishes of her family. A few other kings joined Shishupala in a chorus. But Sahadeva rose and said that anybody who objected this sacrifice with Shishupala would be crushed under his feet. The frightened kings withdrew on backing Shishupala.

After obstructing the Krishna’s honoring, Shishupala went on to heap insults on Krishna. He called Krishna a magician, coward, a lady killer (putana), kidnapper and so on. Yudhisthira did not agree to Shishupala’s demands. But he tried to make peace with Shishupala. An angry Bhishma stopped Yudhisthira and asked pandavas to raise their weapons to stop Shishupala from heaping bad words on Krishna. But Krishna told the pandavas to remain silent and to let him to say what he wants. Bhishma suddenly remembers prophesy that the death of the Shishupala was from the hands of Krishna. Shishupala was none other than Krishna’s cousin, just like the Pandavas. Bhishma then told the story of Shishupala to the assembled guests.

On the day of the sacrifice, hundreds of Kshatriya kings from around the Bharatavarsha along with the members of Hastinapura turned up for the grand sacrifice. The prominent among them graced the occasion includes Bhishma, Dhritarashtra, Vidura, Dronacharya, Kripacharya, Balarama, Drupada, Ashwathama, Somadatta, Karna, Bhurishrava, Shalya, Sakuni, Jayadratha, Duryodhana, Dushasana, Subala, Virata, Bhagadatta and Vikarna. Yudhisthira received all the notables with due respect and made arrangements for their comfortable stay. People of four classes were also present at the venue. Yudhisthira appointed some of his dear visitors in various office charges. Brahmins and Ritwiks (Ritwik means priest who perform yajna) were also arrived to perform the yajna. Sages including Pail, Dhaumya, Yaajnavalkya, Susama, Veda Vyasa and the Saint Narada graced the event.
The members who took the charge for the event are as follows.

Yudhisthira deputed Kripacharya for making charities to Brahmins and Ritwiks.

Bhishma and Drona were deputed as Chief Executives and also for acting as a Helper.

Vidura was deputed for organizing and controlling the expenses.

Duryodhana was deputed as receiver of gifts and tributes from the kings.

Dushasana was deputed in the charge of the kitchen.

Aswatthama attended to the comfort of the Brahmins.

Sanjaya received the kings.

Yudhisthira then took the "Yajna Deeksha" and entered the sacrifice hall. In the sacrificial hall, Sage Paila and Dhaumya were fixed for performing the Rigveda ritviks, Yaajnavalkya for Yajurveda Ritvik, Susaama for Saamaveda Ritvik and Veda Vyasa was fixed as the Cheif Ritvik for all the Vedas. Saint Narada appeared and took the charge of chief patron. With the above arrangements, Rajasuya sacrifice started.

The one king obstacle in performing the Rajasuya, Jarasandha was eliminated. So now Yudhisthira can perform the Rajasuya sacrifice. But the next big question is the Finance for Rajasuya. An event of this size and importance would cost huge money and pandavas can’t afford it. So Yudhisthira sent his four brothers to four sides of the country to conquer all the kings and extract money from them. Arjuna, with mighty army went North, Bhima went towards East, Nakula went towards West and Sahadeva proceeded towards South from Indraprastha. The Pandava brothers along with their army marched fearlessly in the four directions. Most kings recognized Yudhisthira’s suzerainty and paid the royalty kindly. The others who hesitated to pay the royalty were attacked and then seized their property including money, diamonds, gold ornaments, pearls, gems, vehicles and other precious things.

Arjuna, with mighty army conquered Pulinda, Prativindhya, Bhagadatta (Pragjyotisha), Antargiri, Bahirgiri, Upagiri, Modapura, Vamadeva, Sudaman, Susankula, Vrihanta (Uluka king), Devaprastha (Senavindu), Viswagaswa (King of northern mountains of Puru's race), Barbara, Sabara, Turushka King, Kings of Maalava, Seven tribes called Utsava-sanketa, Poundra, Chitraayudha (king of Kashmir), king Lohita, king of Simhapura, Trigartas, Daravas, Kokonadas, Avisari town, Rochamana ruling in Uraga, Singhapura adi, Suhma and Sumala, Valhikas, kings of Kambojas and Kataka, robber tribes in north-eastern regions, Lohas, Limpurushas (Durmaputra), Harataka, North Harivarsha and the city of Sakraprastha. Arjuna then reached Mountain Meru in Himalayas and conquered the northern Kuru Kingdoms. Thus Arjuna conquered the entire northern bharatvarsha up to Meru Mountain.

Bhima who already conquered Jarasandha of Magadha Empire went towards eastern part of bharatvarsha with army, as he thought that easterners are skilled in fighting with bare arms. He then conquered the kingdoms of Panchala, Gandakas, Videhas, Dasarnas (King Sudharman), Aswamedha (King Rochamana), Pulinda (from kings Sukumara and Sumitra), Chedi (King Sishupala), Kumara (King Srenimat), Kosala (King Vrihadvala), Ayodhya (King Dirghayaghna), northern Kosalas, king of Mallas, Bhallata, Kasi (King Suvahu), Suparsa (King Kratha), Matsya, Maladas, Madahara, Mahidara, Somadheyas,Vatsabhumi, Bhargas, Nishadas, Manimat, Southern Mallas, Sarmakas, Varmakas, Videhas (King Janaka), Sakas, Seven kings of the Kiratas, Danda, Dandadhara, Girivaraja, Madagiri, Kausika-Kachchha (King of Pundra and Mahaujah), Vanga, Samudrasena, Chandrasena, Tamralipta, Karvatas, Suhmas, Prasuhmas and finally the Mlechchha tribes along the coast of eastern parts of bharatvarsha.

Nakula went towards West of bharatvarsha. He conquered the kingdoms of Rohitaka, Mahitaka, Maru, Malavas, Mattamyurakas, Barbara, Madhyamakeyas, Karbara, Amvashtas, Saireeshaka, Mahetta, Dasarnas, Sivis, and Trigartas, five tribes of the Karnatas, Vattadhanas and the Utsava-sanketas. Nakula reached Dwaraka during his conquering and visited Sri Krishna and took the blessings. He then reached the Kingdom of Madhra and met King Salya who was his maternal uncle. He collected the royalty from King Salya in a respectable manner. It is supposed that Nakula arranged ten-thousand camels to bring the entire wealth collected to Indraprastha.

Sahadeva proceeded towards south. On her way, Sahadeva met an encounter with Agni, the god of fire in the city of Mahishmati. Since the king of Mahishmati, Nila had blessings from Agni for protection. Sahadeva was unable to defeat Agni. So he bowed and prayed the Agni with utmost devotion. Pleased with Sahadeva’s devotion, Agni instructed Nila to accept Pandava superiority over Nila’s kingdom and pay royality. Sahadeva thus conquered the cities of Sumitra, Surasenas, Dantavakra, Sukumara, Sumitra, Matsyas, Yavanas, Avanti (Vinda and Anuvinda), Rukmi, Bheeshmaka, Kishkindha (kings Mainda and Dwivida), Surparaka (Talakatas and Dandakas), Dandaka, Saurashtra, Vidarbha, Taalavana, territories of Bhojakata, Pandya, Navarashtra (King Kunti-Bhoja), Bhojakata, Paurava, Timingila, a wild tribe called Kerakas, Nishadas, kingdoms near Narmada river, Udrakeralas, Andhras, Pashandas, Talavanas, Ushtrakarnikas, Sekas, Karahatakas, Paundrayas, Ushtrakarnikas, Surabhipatna, Ramaka, Tripura, Kalinga, Dravida and KarahaaTaka. At last, he reached the southernmost coastal area of bharatvarsha and sent message to Vibhishana, the king of Lanka for royality. Vibhishana accepted the request of Sahadeva and paid the royalty. Thus Sahadeva completed his mission and returned to Indraprastha with the collected wealth.

Thus all the four brothers viz. Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva conquered all the four sides of bharatvarsha and had brought enough wealth for the Pandava treasury to overflow so as to conduct the Rajasuya sacrifice.  Nakula was chosen as Yudhisthira’s messenger for the invitation of Dhritarashtra and his court members for Rajasuya sacrifice. Yudhisthira appointed Nakula as his ambassador. Upon the elder brother’s instruction, Nakula invited Bhishma, Drona, Dhritarashtra, Vidhura, Gandhari, Kauravas and all the members of Dhritarashtra’s court for Rajasuya on behalf of Yudhisthira. He seeks their blessings and encouragement for the function. Dhritarashtra said to Nakula that he is proud of Yudhisthira for taking step to conduct the function and added that he and his court members would attend the sacrifice and personally bless them. Sahadeva invited Duryodhana and his brothers to grace the function. Invitations were sent to all the Kings throughout the country. Sri Krishna came from Dwaraka to Indraprastha with plenty of gold and diamonds and gave it to Yudhisthira. 

Yudhisthira asked Krishna, Can Jarasandha be killed?

Krishna told Yudhisthira that nobody can kill Jarasandha using weapon or in a battlefield. So only Bhima can kill him with his hands and it can be achieved only through a personal combat. Krishna then proposed a plan for destroying Jarasandha. According to that plan Krishna, Bhima and Arjuna decided to went to Magadha disguised as Brahmins. Jarasandha had greatest respect and devotion towards Brahmins, so he should not refuse whatever the Brahmins asked for.

After taking bless from Dharma Raja, Bhima and Arjuna followed Sri Krishna to the kingdom of Magadha.

As per the plan, Krishna, Bhima and Arjuna gained entry to meet Jarasandha in their disguised form. Once they reached Jarasandha, they revealed their identity to him and demanded to release the imprisoned kings. Jarasandha mockingly replied that he would add these three to those imprisoned. But only after defeating one by one in a duel, since these three are not having army and it is against Kshatriya dharma to fight against weaponless. Jarasandha preferred Bhima as his first opponent, since Bhima looked the biggest and strongest among the three and should be a right opponent to fight against him.

Jarasandha immediately made arrangements for installing his son Sahadeva as king before the battle started. The fight began and it seemed like a duel between two mountains. They clashed like elephants with roars in the daytime and in the night they would sit together like friends and dine. The battle entered the fourteenth day and bhima did not know how to defeat Jarasandha. Both of them seemed to be equal in strength.  So, bhima sought the help of Krishna. But Krishna gave him assurance and said that it would be his last day with Jarasandha. The fight began once again and this time Krishna took a leaf in his hand and split the leaf into two, since Jarasandha can be killed only by separating his body into two as he was born by merging two lifeless halves of body. Bhima who noticed it took the hint and holding Jarasandha by his legs, split his whole body into two pieces from the bottom up as a great elephant splits the branch of a tree. But, these two pieces came together and Jarasandha was able to attack Bhima again.

This time Krishna sliced the leaf into two and threw the left piece on right side and the right piece on the left side. Bhima exactly did the same. Thus, Jarasandha was killed as the two pieces could not unite into one.  Jarasandha, the mighty king, lay on the ground dead. Krishna released those kings whom Jarasandha had kept in prison. The released kings thanked Krishna for liberation, but Krishna informed them that it was Bhima, who rescued them.  Krishna added that Bhima is the brother of the great king, Yudhisthira and he is holding a Rajasuya sacrifice. So in order to pay the gratitude for liberation to bhima, all the released kings should assist the Pandava king in his Rajasuya. The released kings agreed in one voice. Krishna consoled the son of Jarasandha and installed him as the new king of Magadha. The two brothers, Bhima and Arjuna returned to Indraprastha after the victory, where they are given rousing welcome. While Krishna left Dwaraka.

Sri Krishna continued to say the story of Jarasandha to Yudhisthira.

Brihadratha was the mighty king of Magadha. His wives were the twin daughters of Kasi ruler. He led a happy life and was a famed king; his wives are gifted with beauty and intelligence. But they are unable to have children for a very long time. One day, he heard that a sage, Chandakaushika was camping at the border of his capital. The king and his wives visited the ashram of Chandakaushika and served him with utmost devotion. Saint was satisfied with their devotion and services and asked them what they want. The king told the sage of his desire to have a son. By God's grace, a fruit fell on the sage’s thigh at that time. The sage handed over the fruit to the king and asked him to give it to his wife. The sage then blessed them to beget a son who would be a mighty monarch.

King Brihadratha along with his wives returned to capital. Not wishing to displease either wife, Brihadratha cut the fruit in two equal halves and gave them to his wives. Both the wives ate the equal halves of the fruit. Soon the wives became pregnant and both delivered lifeless half of a baby with one arm, one leg and half a head. Each halves are left and right portions of a single baby. The disappointed queens wrapped the two half parts of child in a cloth and gave them to a maid to throw away. The maid threw it the parts at the backdoor of the palace. At that time, one demoness called Jara was wandering there in search of food. She found these two pieces and due to her curiosity, joined the pieces. Strangely, both the halves joined together into one and a healthy baby was formed. The baby cried loudly in a thunderous voice which created panic for Jara. Not having the heart to eat a living baby, Jara handed over the baby to the king and went away. King Brihadratha was very happy and so were the queens. The king later named the child as “Jarasandha”, since the child is attached by Jara.

Jarasandha grew as prince with a mighty personality and physical strength. One day, Saint Chandakaushika visited Magadha to see the son of King Brihadrada. King Brihadrada welcomed him with great admiration and respect. The sage then blessed Jarasandha to become a great king and emperor to conquer all the kingdoms and grab their wealth. The sage added that nobody can kill Jarasandha using weapons. Later, King Brihadrada enthroned Jarasandha as King of Maghadha. In time Jarasandha grew into a fearsome king. He prevailed over many kings. Many powerful kings like Narakashura, Shishupala of Chedi kingdom, Shalva of Shuva and Vishmak became his allies. His daughters were later married by Kamsa, whom was later killed by Krishna. Jarasandha attacked Krishna in vengeance for his son in law’s death. Krishna recognized that Jarasandha was unbeatable and his time for death was not yet arrived, so he migrated to Dwaraka from Mathura.

Upon the invite from Yudhisthira, Krishna arrived Indraprastha in his celestial chariot and was received by Pandavas with due honors. Yudhisthira then informed Krishna about the Narada’s advice to perform Rajasuya. Krishna told the mighty Pandava monarch to follow Narada’s advice, as he is superior to all other kings and is the apt king to perform Rajasuya. But there is a one exception and he is the Magadha king, Jarasandha.

All kings have become Jarasandha’s vassals. He now conquered eight-six kings from various dynasties who resisted him and he is in the process of conquering fourteen more kings to offer them one by one as sacrifice to the god Rudra. Jarasandha would never accept Yudhisthira as a superior king than him. So he will try to block the sacrifice. He would seek everlasting fame by defeating Yudhisthira. Even Krishna and Balarama had taken defensive measures against Jarasandha’s attack by building a very strong fort at Dwaraka. Jarasandha who also grouse against Krishna for killing his son in law, Kamsa is looking a twist for attacking Dwarka.

“What makes Jarasandha so unbeatable?” Yudhisthira asked Krishna.

Krishna related Jarasandha’s story to the king.

When Yudhisthira showed Narada around the recently built Mayasabha, the sage expressed his admiration for its architectural brilliance. “This is easily one of the marvelous halls, I have seen,” the sage said. He then described to Yudhisthira the halls of the various gods which includes Brahma sabha, Indra sabha, Varuna sabha, Kubera sabha and Yama sabha. Then he described the members he met once visited to these halls.

On visiting Yama’s court, Narada found the illustrious father of Yudhisthira, Pandu as he was disqualified for admission in Indra’s court. The qualification for a king to enter Indra’s court is that he should have done Rajasuya sacrifice or lost his life in a battle or performed strict meditations. Disappointedly, Pandu had not performed the above three and also he enjoyed the fame of a king throughout his life. Yudhisthira felt deeply saddened that his father did not find a place in Indra’s court. Narada consoled Yudhisthira to perform a Rajasuya sacrifice so that Pandu would get the benefit of such a sacrifice from his son and would qualify for admission into Indra’s court as it was Pandu’s wish. Narada added that Rajasuya sacrifice would also establish the Yudhisthira’s dominance over all the kings of the earth. Then Narada left Indraprastha.

Fired by Narada’s words, Yudhisthira discussed this matter with elders and other ministers of Indraprastha and decided to perform the Rajasuya sacrifice. Before that he wants to consult Krishna. So he immediately sent his ministers to Dwarka for inviting Krishna.


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