Chapter 16

Mahabharata English - VIRATA PARVA

“Kichaka said, ‘O thou of tresses ending in beautiful curls, thou artwelcome. Surely, the night that is gone hath brought me an auspiciousday, for I have got thee today as the mistress of my house. Do what isagreeable to me. Let golden chains, and conchs and bright ear-rings madeof gold, manufactured in various countries, and beautiful rubies andgems, and silken robes and deer-skins, be brought for thee. I have alsoan excellent bed prepared for thee. Come, sitting upon it do thou drinkwith me the wine prepared from the honey flower.’ Hearing these words,Draupadi said, ‘I have been sent to thee by the princess for taking awaywine. Do thou speedily bring me wine, for she told me that she isexceedingly thirsty.’ And this, Kichaka said, ‘O gentle lady, others willcarry what the princess wants.’ And saying this, the Suta’s son caughthold of Draupadi’s right arm. And at this, Draupadi exclaimed, ‘As I havenever, from intoxication of the senses, been unfaithful to my husbandseven at heart, by that Truth, O wretch, I shall behold thee dragged andlying powerless on the ground.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Seeing that large-eyed lady reproving him inthat strain, Kichaka suddenly seized her by the end of her upper garmentas she attempted to run away. And seized with violence by Kichaka, thebeautiful princess, unable to tolerate it, and with frame trembling withwrath, and breathing quickly, dashed him to the ground. And dashed to theground thus, the sinful wretch tumbled down like a tree whose roots hadbeen cut. And having thrown Kichaka down on the ground when the latterhad seized her, she, trembling all over rushed to the court, where kingYudhishthira was, for protection. And while she was running with all herspeed, Kichaka (who followed her), seizing her by the hair, and bringingher down on the ground, kicked her in the very presence of the king.Thereupon, O Bharata, the Rakshasa that had been appointed by Surya toprotect Draupadi, gave Kichaka a shove with a force mighty as that of thewind. And overpowered by the force of Rakshasa, Kichaka reeled and felldown senseless on the ground, even like an uprooted tree. And bothYudhishthira and Bhimasena who were seated there, beheld with wrathfuleyes that outrage on Krishna by Kichaka. And desirous of compassing thedestruction of the wicked Kichaka, the illustrious Bhima gnashed histeeth in rage. And his forehead was covered with sweat, and terriblewrinkles appeared thereon. And a smoky exhalation shot forth from hiseyes, and his eye-lashes stood on end. And that slayer of hostile heroespressed his forehead with his hands. And impelled by rage, he was on thepoint of starting up with speed. Thereat king Yudhishthira, apprehensiveof discovery, squeezed his thumbs and commanded Bhima to forbear. AndBhima who then looked like an infuriate elephant eyeing a large tree, wasthus forbidden by his elder brother. And the latter said, ‘Lookest thou,O cook, for trees for fuel. If thou art in need of faggots, then go outand fell trees.’ And the weeping Draupadi of fair hips, approaching theentrance of the court, and seeing her melancholy lords, desirous yet ofkeeping up the disguise duty-bound by their pledge, with eyes burning infire, spoke these words unto the king of the Matsyas, ‘Alas, the son of aSuta hath kicked today the proud and beloved wife of those whose foe cannever sleep in peace even if four kingdoms intervene between him andthem. Alas, the son of a Suta hath kicked today the proud and belovedwife of those truthful personages, who are devoted to Brahmanas and whoalways give away without asking any thing in gift. Alas! the son of aSuta hath kicked today the proud and beloved wife of those, the sounds ofwhose kettle-drums and the twangs of whose bow-strings are ceaselesslyheard. Alas, the son of a Suta hath kicked today the proud and belovedwife of those who are possessed of abundant energy and might, and who areliberal in gifts and proud of their dignity. Alas, the son of a Suta hathkicked today the proud and beloved wife of those who, if they had notbeen fettered by the ties of duty, could destroy this entire world.Where, alas, are those mighty warriors today who, though living indisguise, have always granted protection unto those that solicit it? Oh,why do those heroes today, endued as they are with strength and possessedof immeasurable energy, quietly suffer, like eunuchs, their dear andchaste wife to be thus insulted by a Suta’s son? Oh, where is that wrathof theirs, that prowess, and that energy, when they quietly bear theirwife to be thus insulted by a wicked wretch? What can I (a weak woman) dowhen Virata, deficient in virtue, coolly suffereth my innocent self to bethus wronged by a wretch? Thou dost not, O king, act like a king towardsthis Kichaka. Thy behaviour is like that of a robber, and doth not shinein a court. That I should thus be insulted in thy very presence, OMatsya, is highly improper. Oh, let all the courtiers here look at thisviolence of Kichaka. Kichaka is ignorant of duty and morality, and Matsyaalso is equally so. These courtiers also that wait upon such a king aredestitute of virtue.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘With these and other words of the same kind thebeautiful Krishna with tearful eyes rebuked the king of the Matsyas. Andhearing her, Virata said, ‘I do not know what your dispute has been outof our sight. Not knowing the true cause how can I show mydiscrimination?’ Then the courtiers, having learnt every thing, applaudedKrishna, and they all exclaimed, ‘Well done!’ ‘Well done!’ and censuredKichaka. And the courtiers said, ‘That person who owneth this large-eyedlady having every limb of hers endued with beauty for his wife,possesseth what is of exceeding value and hath no occasion to indulge inany grief. Surely, such a damsel of transcendent beauty and limbsperfectly faultless is rare among men. Indeed, it seems to us that she isa goddess.’

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

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘And having said this, the fair-hipped Krishnawith dishevelled hair and eyes red in anger, ran towards the apartmentsof Sudhesna. And in consequence of having wept long her face lookedbeautiful like the lunar disc in the firmament, emerged from the clouds.And beholding her in that condition, Sudeshna asked, ‘Who, O beauteouslady, hath insulted thee? Why, O amiable damsel, dost thou weep? Who,gentle one, hath done thee wrong? Whence is this thy grief?’ Thusaddressed, Draupadi said, ‘As I went to bring wine for thee, Kichakastruck me in the court in the very presence of the king, as if in themidst of a solitary wood.’ Hearing this, Sudeshna said, ‘O thou oftresses ending in beautiful curls, as Kichaka, maddened by lust hathinsulted thee that art incapable of being possessed by him, I shall causehim to be slain if thou wishest it.’ Thereupon Draupadi answered, ‘Evenothers will slay him,–even they whom he hath wronged, I think it isclear that he will have to go to the abode of Yama this very day!'”

Chapter 17
Chapter 15
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