Vaisampayana said,–“Intoxicated with pride, the son of Dhritarashtraspake,–‘Fie on Kshatta! and casting his eyes upon the Pratikamin inattendance, commanded him, in the midst of all those reverend seniors,saying,–‘Go Pratikamin, and bring thou Draupadi hither. Thou hast nofear from the sons of Pandu. It is Vidura alone that raveth in fear.Besides, he never wisheth our prosperity!'”
Vaisampayana continued,–“Thus commanded, the Pratikamin, who was of theSuta caste, hearing the words of the king, proceeded with haste, andentering the abode of the Pandavas, like a dog in a lion’s den,approached the queen of the sons of Pandu. And he said,–‘Yudhishthirahaving been intoxicated with dice, Duryodhana, O Draupadi, hath won thee.Come now, therefore, to the abode of Dhritarashtra. I will take thee, OYajnaseni, and put thee in some menial work.’
Draupadi said,–‘Why, O Pratikamin, dost thou say so? What prince isthere who playeth staking his wife? The king was certainly intoxicatedwith dice. Else, could he not find any other object to stake?’
“The Pratikamin said,–‘When he had nothing else to stake, it was thenthat Ajatasatru, the son of Pandu, staked thee. The king had first stakedhis brothers, then himself, and then thee, O princess.’
“Draupadi said,–‘O son of the Suta race, go, and ask that gamblerpresent in the assembly, whom he hath lost first, himself, or me.Ascertaining this, come hither, and then take me with thee, O son of theSuta race.’
Vaisampayana continued,–“The messenger coming back to the assembly toldall present the words of Draupadi. And he spoke unto Yudhishthira sittingin the midst of the kings, these words,–Draupadi hath asked thee, Whoselord wert thou at the time thou lost me in play? Didst thou lose thyselffirst or me? Yudhishthira, however sat there like one demented anddeprived of reason and gave no answer good or ill to the Suta.
“Duryodhana then said,–‘Let the princess of Panchala come hither and puther question. Let every one hear in this assembly the words that passbetween her and Yudhishthira.’
Vaisampayana continued,–“The messenger, obedient to the command ofDuryodhana, going once again to the palace, himself much distressed, saidunto Draupadi,–‘O princess, they that are in the assembly are summoningthee. It seemeth that the end of the Kauravas is at hand. WhenDuryodhana, O princess, is for taking thee before the assembly, thisweak-brained king will no longer be able to protect his prosperity.’
“Draupadi said,–‘The great ordainer of the world hath, indeed, ordainedso. Happiness and misery pay their court to both the wise and unwise.Morality, however, it hath been said, is the one highest object in theworld. If cherished, that will certainly dispense blessings to us. Letnot that morality now abandon the Kauravas. Going back to those that arepresent in that assembly, repeat these my words consonant with morality.I am ready to do what those elderly and virtuous persons conversant withmorality will definitely tell me.
Vaisampayana continued,–“The Suta, hearing these words of Yajnaseni,came back to the assembly and repeated the words of Draupadi. But all satwith faces downwards, uttering not a word, knowing the eagerness andresolution of Dhritarashtra’s son.
“Yudhishthira, however, O bull of the Bharata race, hearing ofDuryodhana’s intentions, sent a trusted messenger unto Draupadi,directing that although she was attired in one piece of cloth with hernavel itself exposed, in consequence of her season having come, sheshould come before her father-in-law weeping bitterly. And thatintelligent messenger, O king, having gone to Draupadi’s abode withspeed, informed her of the intentions of Yudhishthira. The illustriousPandavas, meanwhile, distressed and sorrowful, and bound by promise,could not settle what they should do. And casting his eyes upon them,king Duryodhana, glad at heart, addressed the Suta and said,–‘OPratikamin, bring her hither. Let the Kauravas answer her question beforeher face. The Suta, then, obedient to his commands, but terrified at the(possible) wrath of the daughter of Drupada, disregarding his reputationfor intelligence, once again said to those that were in theassembly,–what shall I say unto Krishna?’
“Duryodhana, hearing this, said,–‘O Dussasana, this son of my Suta, oflittle intelligence, feareth Vrikodara. Therefore, go thou thyself andforcibly bring hither the daughter of Yajnasena, Our enemies at presentare dependent on our will. What can they do thee?’ Hearing the command ofhis brother, prince Dussasana rose with blood-red eyes, and entering theabode of those great warriors, spake these words unto the princess,’Come, come, O Krishna, princess of Panchala, thou hast been won by us.And O thou of eyes large as lotus leaves, come now and accept the Kurusfor thy lords. Thou hast been won virtuously, come to the assembly.’ Atthese words, Draupadi, rising up in great affliction, rubbed her paleface with her hands, and distressed she ran to the place where the ladiesof Dhritarashtra’s household were. At this, Dussasana roaring in anger,ran after her and seized the queen by her locks, so long and blue andwavy. Alas! those locks that had been sprinkled with water sanctifiedwith mantras in the great Rajasuya sacrifice, were now forcibly seized bythe son of Dhritarashtra disregarding the prowess of the Pandavas. AndDussasana dragging Krishna of long long locks unto the presence of theassembly–as if she were helpless though having powerful protectors–andpulling at her, made her tremble like the banana plant in a storm. Anddragged by him, with body bent, she faintly cried–‘Wretch! it illbehoveth thee to take me before the assembly. My season hath come, and Iam now clad in one piece of attire. But Dussasana dragging Draupadiforcibly by her black locks while she was praying piteously unto Krishnaand Vishnu who were Narayana and Nara (on earth), said unto her–‘Whetherthy season hath come or not, whether thou art attired in one piece ofcloth or entirely naked, when thou hast been won at dice and made ourslave, thou art to live amongst our serving-women as thou pleasest.”
Vaisampayana continued,–“With hair dishevelled and half her attireloosened, all the while dragged by Dussasana, the modest Krishna consumedwith anger, faintly said–“In this assembly are persons conversant withall the branches of learning devoted to the performance of sacrifices andother rites, and all equal unto Indra, persons some of whom are really mysuperiors and others who deserve to be respected as such. I can not staybefore them in this state. O wretch! O thou of cruel deeds, drag me notso. Uncover me not so. The princes (my lords) will not pardon thee, evenif thou hast the gods themselves with Indra as thy allies. Theillustrious son of Dharma is now bound by the obligations of morality.Morality, however, is subtle. Those only that are possessed of greatclearness of vision can ascertain it. In speech even I am unwilling toadmit an atom of fault in my lord forgetting his virtues. Thou draggestme who am in my season before these Kuru heroes. This is truly anunworthy act. But no one here rebuketh thee. Assuredly, all these are ofthe same mind with thee. O fie! Truly hath the virtue of the Bharatagone! Truly also hath the usage of those acquainted with the Kshatriyapractice disappeared! Else these Kurus in this assembly would never havelooked silently on this act that transgresseth the limits of theirpractices. Oh! both Drona and Bhishma have lost their energy, and so alsohath the high-souled Kshatta, and so also this king. Else, why do theseforemost of the Kuru elders look silently on this great crime?”
Vaisampayana continued,–“Thus did Krishna of slender waist cry indistress in that assembly. And casting a glance upon her enragedlords–the Pandavas–who were filled with terrible wrath, she inflamedthem further with that glance of hers. And they were not so distressed athaving been robbed of their kingdom, of their wealth, of their costliestgems, as with that glance of Krishna moved by modesty and anger. AndDussasana, beholding Krishna looking at her helpless lords, dragging herstill more forcibly, and addressed her, ‘Slave, Slave’ and laughed aloud.And at those words Karna became very glad and approved of them bylaughing aloud. And Sakuni, the son of Suvala, the Gandhara king,similarly applauded Dussasana. And amongst all those that were in theassembly except these three and Duryodhana, every one was filled withsorrow at beholding Krishna thus dragged in sight of that assembly. Andbeholding it all, Bhishma said, ‘O blessed one, morality is subtle. Itherefore am unable to duly decide this point that thou hast put,beholding that on the one hand one that hath no wealth cannot stake thewealth belonging to others, while on the other hand wives are alwaysunder the orders and at the disposal of their lords. Yudhishthira canabandon the whole world full of wealth, but he will never sacrificemorality. The son of Pandu hath said–‘I am won.’ Therefore, I am unableto decide this matter. Sakuni hath not his equal among men at dice-play.The son of Kunti still voluntarily staked with him. The illustriousYudhishthira doth not himself regard that Sakuni hath played with himdeceitfully. Therefore, I can not decide this point.”
“Draupadi said,–“The king was summoned to this assembly and thoughpossessing no skill at dice, he was made to play with skilful, wicked,deceitful and desperate gamblers. How can he be said then to have stakedvoluntarily? The chief of the Pandavas was deprived of his senses bywretches of deceitful conduct and unholy instincts, acting together, andthen vanquished. He could not understand their tricks, but he hath nowdone so. Here, in this assembly, there are Kurus who are the lords ofboth their sons and their daughters-in-law! Let all of them, reflectingwell upon my words, duly decide the point that I have put.
Vaisampayana continued,–‘Unto Krishna who was thus weeping and cryingpiteously, looking at times upon her helpless lord, Dussasana spake manydisagreeable and harsh words. And beholding her who was then in herseason thus dragged, and her upper garments loosened, beholding her inthat condition which she little deserved, Vrikodara afflicted beyondendurance, his eyes fixed upon Yudhishthira, gave way to wrath.”
“Bhima said,–‘O Yudhishthira, gamblers have in their houses many womenof loose character. They do not yet stake those women having kindness forthem even. Whatever wealth and other excellent articles the king of Kasigave, whatever, gems, animals, wealth, coats of mail and weapons thatother kings of the earth gave, our kingdom, thyself and ourselves, haveall been won by the foes. At all this my wrath was not excited for thouart our lord. This, however, I regard as a highly improper act–this actof staking Draupadi. This innocent girl deserveth not this treatment.Having obtained the Pandavas as her lords, it is for thee alone that sheis being thus persecuted by the low, despicable, cruel, and mean-mindedKauravas. It is for her sake, O king, that my anger falleth on thee. Ishall burn those hands of thine. Sahadeva, bring some fire.”
‘Arjuna hearing this, said,–‘Thou hast never, O Bhimasena, before thisuttered such words as these. Assuredly thy high morality hath beendestroyed by these cruel foes. Thou shouldst not fulfil the wishes of theenemy. Practise thou the highest morality. Whom doth it behave totransgress his virtuous eldest brother? The king was summoned by the foe,and remembering the usage of the Kshatriyas, he played at dice againsthis will. That is certainly conducive to our great fame.
‘Bhima said,–‘If I had not known, O Dhananjaya, that the king had actedaccording to Kshatriya usage, then I would have, taking his handstogether by sheer force, burnt them in a blazing fire.”
Vaisampayana continued,–“Beholding the Pandavas thus distressed and theprincess of Panchala also thus afflicted, Vikarna the son ofDhritarashtra said–‘Ye kings, answer ye the question that hath beenasked by Yajnaseni. If we do not judge a matter referred to us, all of uswill assuredly have to go to hell without delay. How is that Bhishma andDhritarashtra, both of whom are the oldest of the Kurus, as also thehigh-souled Vidura, do not say anything! The son of Bharadwaja who is thepreceptor of us, as also Kripa, is here. Why do not these best ofregenerate ones answer the question? Let also those other kings assembledhere from all directions answer according to their judgment thisquestion, leaving aside all motives of gain and anger. Ye kings, answerye the question that hath been asked by this blessed daughter of kingDrupada, and declare after reflection on which side each of ye is.’ Thusdid Vikarna repeatedly appeal to those that were in that assembly. Butthose kings answered him not one word, good or ill. And Vikarna havingrepeatedly appealed to all the kings began to rub his hands and sigh likea snake. And at last the prince said–‘Ye kings of the earth, yeKauravas, whether ye answer this question or not, I will say what Iregard as just and proper. Ye foremost of men, it hath been said thathunting, drinking, gambling, and too much enjoyment of women, are thefour vices of kings. The man, that is addicted to these, liveth forsakingvirtue. And people do not regard the acts done by a person who is thusimproperly engaged, as of any authority. This son of Pandu, while deeplyengaged in one of these vicious acts, urged thereto by deceitfulgamblers, made Draupadi a stake. The innocent Draupadi is, besides, thecommon wife of all the sons of Pandu. And the king, having first losthimself offered her as a stake. And Suvala himself desirous of a stake,indeed prevailed upon the king to stake this Krishna. Reflecting upon allthese circumstances, I regard Draupadi as not won.”
“Hearing these words, a loud uproar rose from among those present in thatassembly. And they all applauded Vikarna and censured the son of Suvala.And at that sound, the son of Radha, deprived of his senses by anger,waving his well-shaped arms, said these words,–‘O Vikarna, many oppositeand inconsistent conditions are noticeable in this assembly. Like fireproduced from a faggot, consuming the faggot itself, this thy ire willconsume thee. These personages here, though urged by Krishna, have notuttered a word. They all regard the daughter of Drupada to have beenproperly won. Thou alone, O son of Dhritarashtra in consequence of thyimmature years, art bursting with wrath, for though but a boy thouspeakest in the assembly as if thou wert old. O younger brother ofDuryodhana, thou dost not know what morality truly is, for thou sayestlike a fool that this Krishna who hath been (justly) won as not won atall. O son of Dhritarashtra, how dost thou regard Krishna as not won,when the eldest of the Pandavas before this assembly staked all hispossessions? O bull of the Bharata race, Draupadi is included in all thepossessions (of Yudhishthira). Therefore, why regardest thou Krishna whohath been justly won as not won? Draupadi had been mentioned (by Suvala)and approved of as a stake by the Pandavas. For what reason then dostthou yet regard her as not won? Or, if thou thinkest that bringing herhither attired in a single piece of cloth, is an action of impropriety,listen to certain excellent reasons I will give. O son of the Kuru race,the gods have ordained only one husband for one woman. This Draupadi,however, hath many husbands. Therefore, certain it is that she is anunchaste woman. To bring her, therefore, into this assembly attiredthough she be in one piece of cloth–even to uncover her is not at all anact that may cause surprise. Whatever wealth the Pandavas had–sheherself and these Pandavas themselves,–have all been justly won by theson of Suvala. O Dussasana, this Vikarna speaking words of (apparent)wisdom is but a boy. Take off the robes of the Pandavas as also theattire of Draupadi. Hearing these words the Pandavas, O Bharata, took oftheir upper garments and throwing them down sat in that assembly. ThenDussasana, O king, forcibly seizing Draupadi’s attire before the eyes ofall, began to drag it off her person.”
Vaisampayana continued,–“When the attire of Draupadi was being thusdragged, the thought of Hari, (And she herself cried aloud, saying), ‘OGovinda, O thou who dwellest in Dwaraka, O Krishna, O thou who art fondof cow-herdesses (of Vrindavana). O Kesava, seest thou not that theKauravas are humiliating me. O Lord, O husband of Lakshmi, O Lord ofVraja (Vrindavana), O destroyer of all afflictions, O Janarddana, rescueme who am sinking in the Kaurava Ocean. O Krishna, O Krishna, O thougreat yogin, thou soul of the universe, Thou creator of all things, OGovinda, save me who am distressed,–who am losing my senses in the midstof the Kurus.’ Thus did that afflicted lady resplendent still in herbeauty, O king covering her face cried aloud, thinking of Krishna, ofHari, of the lord of the three worlds. Hearing the words of Draupadi,Krishna was deeply moved. And leaving his seat, the benevolent one fromcompassion, arrived there on foot. And while Yajnaseni was crying aloudto Krishna, also called Vishnu and Hari and Nara for protection, theillustrious Dharma, remaining unseen, covered her with excellent clothesof many hues. And, O monarch as the attire of Draupadi was being dragged,after one was taken off, another of the same kind, appeared covering her.And thus did it continue till many clothes were seen. And, O exalted on,owing to the protection of Dharma, hundreds upon hundreds of robes ofmany hues came off Draupadi’s person. And there arose then a deep uproarof many many voices. And the kings present in that assembly beholdingthat most extraordinary of all sights in the world, began to applaudDraupadi and censure the son of Dhritarashtra. And Bhima then, squeezinghis hands, with lips quivering in rage, swore in the midst of all thosekings a terrible oath in a loud voice.
“And Bhima said,–Hear these words of mine, ye Kshatriyas of the world.Words such as these were never before uttered by other men, nor willanybody in the future ever utter them. Ye lords of earth, if havingspoken these words I do not accomplish them hereafter, let me not obtainthe region of my deceased ancestors. Tearing open in battle, by sheerforce, the breast of this wretch, this wicked-minded scoundrel of theBharata race, if I do not drink his life-blood, let me not obtain theregion of my ancestors.”
Vaisampayana continued,–“Hearing these terrible words of Bhima that madethe down of the auditors to stand on end, everybody present thereapplauded him and censured the son of Dhritarashtra. And when a mass ofclothes had been gathered in that assembly, all dragged from the personof Draupadi, Dussasana, tired and ashamed, sat down. And beholding thesons of Kunti in that state, the persons–those gods among men–that werein that assembly all uttered the word ‘Fie!'(on the son ofDhritarashtra). And the united voices of all became so loud that theymade the down of anybody who heard them stand on end. And all the honestmen that were in that assembly began to say,–‘Alas! the Kauravas answernot the question that hath been put to them by Draupadi. And allcensuring Dhritarashtra together, made a loud clamour. Then Vidura, thatmaster of the science of morality, waving his hands and silencing everyone, spake these words;–‘Ye that are in this assembly, Draupadi havingput her question is weeping helplessly. Ye are not answering her. Virtueand morality are being persecuted by such conduct. An afflicted personapproacheth an assembly of good men, like one that is being consumed byfire. They that are in the assembly quench that fire and cool him bymeans of truth and morality. The afflicted person asketh the assemblyabout his rights, as sanctioned by morality. They that are in theassembly should, unmoved by interest and anger, answer the question. Yekings, Vikarna hath answered the question, according to his own knowledgeand judgment. Ye should also answer it as ye think proper. Knowing therules of morality, and having attended an assembly, he that doth notanswer a query that is put, incurreth half the demerit that attacheth toa lie. He, on the other hand, who, knowing the rules of morality andhaving joined an assembly answereth falsely, assuredly incurreth the sinof a lie. The learned quote as an example in this connection the oldhistory of Prahlada and the son of Angirasa.
“There was of old a chief of the Daityas of the name Prahlada. He had ason named Virochana. And Virochana, for the sake of obtaining a bride,quarrelled with Sudhanwan, the son of Angiras. It hath been heard by usthat they mutually wagered their lives, saying–I am superior,–I amsuperior,–for the sake of obtaining a bride. And after they had thusquarrelled with each other, they both made Prahlada the arbitrator todecide between them. And they asked him, saying;–Who amongst us issuperior (to the other)? Answer this question. Speak not falsely.Frightened at this quarrel, Prahlada cast his eyes upon Sudhanwan. AndSudhanwan in rage, burning like unto the mace of Yama, told him,–If thouanswerest falsely, or dost not answer at all thy head will then be splitinto a hundred pieces by the wielder of the thunderbolt with that bolt ofhis.–Thus addressed by Sudhanwan, the Daitya, trembling like a leaf ofthe fig tree, went to Kasyapa of great energy, for taking counsel withhim. And Prahlada said,–‘Thou art, O illustrious and exalted one, fullyconversant with the rules of morality that should guide both the gods andthe Asuras and the Brahmanas as well. Here, however, is a situation ofgreat difficulty in respect of duty. Tell me, I ask thee, what regionsare obtainable by them who upon being asked a question, answer it not, oranswer it falsely. Kasyapa thus asked answered.–‘He that knoweth, butanswereth not a question from temptation, anger or fear, casteth uponhimself a thousand nooses of Varuna. And the person who, cited as awitness with respect to any matter of ocular or auricular knowledge,speaketh carelessly, casteth a thousand nooses of Varuna upon his ownperson. On the completion of one full year, one such noose is loosened.Therefore, he that knoweth, should speak the truth without concealment.If virtue, pierced by sin, repaireth to an assembly (for aid), it is theduty of every body in the assembly to take off the dart, otherwise theythemselves would be pierced with it. In an assembly where a trulycensurable act is not rebuked, half the demerit of that act attacheth tothe head of that assembly, a fourth to the person acting censurably and afourth unto those others that are there. In that assembly, on the otherhand, when he that deserveth censure is rebuked, the head of the assemblybecometh freed from all sins, and the other members also incur none. Itis only the perpetrator himself of the act that becometh responsible forit. O Prahlada, they who answer falsely those that ask them aboutmorality destroy the meritorious acts of their seven upper and sevenlower generations. The grief of one who hath lost all his wealth, of onewho hath lost a son, of one who is in debt, of one who is separated fromhis companions, of a woman who hath lost her husband, of one that hathlost his all in consequence of the king’s demand, of a woman who issterile, of one who hath been devoured by a tiger (during his laststruggles in the tiger’s claws), of one who is a co-wife, and of one whohath been deprived of his property by false witnesses, have been said bythe gods to be uniform in degree. These different sorts of grief are hiswho speaketh false. A person becometh a witness in consequence of hishaving seen, heard, and understood a thing. Therefore, a witness shouldalways tell the truth. A truth-telling witness never loseth his religiousmerits and earthly possessions also.’ Hearing these words of Kasyapa,Prahlada told his son, “Sudhanwan is superior to thee, as indeed, (hisfather) Angiras is superior to me. The mother also of Sudhanwan issuperior to thy mother. Therefore, O Virochana, this Sudhanwan is now thelord of the life.” At these words of Prahlada, Sudhanwan said, “Sinceunmoved by affection for thy child, thou hast adhered to virtue, Icommand, let this son of thine live for a hundred years.”
“Vidura continued,–Let all the persons, therefore, present in thisassembly hearing these high truths of morality, reflect upon what shouldbe the answer to the question asked by Draupadi”.
Vaisampayana continued,–“The kings that were there hearing these wordsof Vidura, answered not a word, yet Karna alone spoke unto Dussasana,telling him. Take away this serving-woman Krishna into the innerapartments. And thereupon Dussasana began to drag before all thespectators the helpless and modest Draupadi, trembling and cryingpiteously unto the Pandavas her lords.”