Chapter 75: Draupadi is dragged to the gambling hall

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.”