Monday, June 15, 2009

Chapter XXV
Mahabharatha - Draupadi's Grief

Prathikami went t0 Draupadi as ordered by his master. He said to her "O revered princess, Yudishthira fell under the spell of the game of dice and has wagered and lost even you. Now you belong to Duryodhana. I have come by Duryodhana's command to take you to serve in his household as maid servant which will hereafter be your office.

Draupadi the spouse of the emperor who had performed Rajasuya was dumbfounded at the strange message. She asked "Prathikami, what do you say Which Prince would pledge his wife Had he nothing else to pawn.?

Prathikami answered it is because he had already lost all other possessions and had nothing else left that he played offering a stake . Then he told her the whole story of how Yudhishtira had lost all his wealth and finally betted her after having first forfieted his brothers and himself.

Though the news was such as to break the heart and kill the soul still Draupadi soon regained her fortitude and with anger blazing from her eyes said O charioteer return. Ask of him who played the game whether in it he lost himself first or his wife . Ask the question in the open assembly bring me his answer and then you can take me.

Prathikami went to the assembly and turning to Yudhishtira asked of him the question put by Draupadi.

Yudishitira remained speechless

Then Duryodhanan bade Prathikami " bring Panchali herself there to question her husband.

Prathikami went again to Draupadi and humbly said Princess the mean minded Duryodhana desires you to go to the assembly and ask your question yourself

Draupadi answered No, return to the assembly and put the question and demand an answer.

Prathikami did so.

Enraged, Duryodhana turned to his brother Dushassana and said. This man is a fool and is afraid of Bhima go and fetch Draupadi even if you have to drag her here.

Thus commanded the wicked Dushasana at once sped with joy on his errand. He proceeded to the place where Draupadi was shouting "Come why do you delay? You are now ours, be not shy beautiful lady. Make yourself agreeable to us, now that you have been won by us. Come to the assembly" and in his impatience he bade as though to take her thither by force.

Panchali rose trembling heart striken with sorrow and started to fly her refuge to the inner apartments of Dhritarashtra's queen. Dushassana darted after her caught her by the hair and dragged her to the assembly.

It is with a shudder of repugnance that we relate how the sons of Dhritharashtra stooped to commit this vilest of deeds.

As soon as she came to the assembly Draupadi controlled her anguish and appealed to the elderes gathered there.

How could you consent to my being staked by the king who was himself trapped into the game and cheated by wicked persons expert in the chess of art. Since he was no longer a free man how could he stake anything at all. Then stretching out her arms and raising her flowing eyes in agonised supplication she cried in a voice broken with sobs.

If you have loved and revered the mothers who bore you and gave you such if the honour of wife or sister or daughter has been dear to you , if you believe in God and Dharma forasake me not in this horror more cruel than death.

At this heart broken cry - as of a poor fawn striken to death - the elders hung their heads in grief
and shame. Bhima could not hold himself any longer. His swelling heart found relief in a roar of wrath which shook the very walls and turning to Yudishitira. Arjuna kept quiet. Vikarna son of Dhritarashtra could not bear the agony of Draupadi and asked ....why are you silent heros?.

At that point Karna rose and said.

O Vikarna forgetting that there are elders in this assembly and now Yudhishtira has forfieted all his possessions including Draupadi. Even the clothes they have on are now Shakuny's property. O Dushassana seize their garments of the Pandavas and the robs of Draupadi and hand them over to Sakuni.

As soon as they heard the cruel words of Karna the Pandavas feeling that they had to stand the test of Dharma to the bitter end flung of the upper garments to show that they were ready to follow the path of honour and right at any cost.

Seeing this this Dushassana went to Draupadi and made ready to seize her cloth by force. All earthily aid had failed and in the anguish of utter helplessness she implored divine mercy and succour.

'O Lord of the World, she wailed God whom I adore and trust, abandon me not in this dire plight. You are my sole refuge. Protect me . And she fainted away. Then as the wicked Dushassana started his shameful work of pulling at Panchali's robes and good men shuddered and averted their eyes even then the mercy of God a miracle occurred. Dushassana toiled to strip off her garments for as he pulled off each ever fresh garments were seen to clothe her body and soon a great heap of resplendent clothes was piled up before the assembly till Dushassana desisted and sat down in sheer fatigue. The assembly trembled at this marvel and good men praised God and wept......

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