The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said, 'The news was carried unto all the monarchs (who had come to the Self-choice of Draupadi) by their trusted spies that the handsome Draupadi had been united in marriage with the sons of Pandu. And they were also informed that the illustrious hero who had bent the bow and shot the mark was none else than Arjuna, that foremost of victorious warriors and first of all wielders of the bow and arrows. And it became known that the mighty warrior who had dashed Salya, the king of Madra, on the ground, and who in wrath had terrified the assembled monarchs by means of the tree (he had uprooted), and who had taken his stand before all foes in perfect fearlessness, was none else than Bhima, that feller of hostile ranks, whose touch alone was sufficient to take the lives out of all foes. The monarchs, upon being informed that the Pandavas had assumed the guise of peaceful Brahmanas, wondered much. They even heard that Kunti with all her sons had been burnt to death in the conflagration of the house of lac. They, therefore, now regarded the Pandavas in the light of persons who had come back from the region of the dead. And recollecting the cruel scheme contrived by Purochana, they began to say, 'O, fie on Bhishma, fie on Dhritarashtra of the Kuru race!'
"After the Self-choice was over, all the monarchs (who had come thither), hearing that Draupadi had been united with the Pandavas, set out for their own dominions. And Duryodhana, hearing that Draupadi had selected the owner of white steeds (Arjuna) as her lord, became greatly depressed. Accompanied by his brothers, Aswatthaman, his uncle (Sakuni), Karna and Kripa the prince set out with a heavy heart for his capital. Then Duhsasana, blushing with shame, addressed his brother softly and said, 'If Arjuna had not disguised himself as a Brahmana, he could never have succeeded in obtaining Draupadi. It was for this disguise, O king, that no one could recognise him as Dhananjaya. Fate, I ween, is ever supreme. Exertion is fruitless; fie on our exertions, O brother! The Pandavas are still alive!' Speaking unto one another thus and blaming Purochana (for his carelessness), they then entered the city of Hastinapura, with cheerless and sorrowful hearts. Beholding the mighty sons of Pritha, escaped from the burning house of lac and allied with Drupada, and thinking of Dhrishtadyumna and Sikhandin and the other sons of Drupada all accomplished in fight, they were struck with fear and overcome with despair.
"Then Vidura, having learnt that Draupadi had been won by the Pandavas and that the sons of Dhritarashtra had come back (to Hastinapura) in
shame, their pride humiliated, became filled with joy. And, O king, approaching Dhritarashtra, Kshattri said, 'The Kurus are prospering by good luck!' Hearing those words of Vidura, the son of Vichitravirya, wondering, said in great glee, 'What good luck, O Vidura! What good luck!' From ignorance, the blind monarch understood that his eldest son Duryodhana had been chosen by Drupada's daughter as her lord. And the king immediately ordered various ornaments to be made for Draupadi. And he commanded that both Draupadi and his son Duryodhana should be brought with pomp to Hastinapura. It was then that Vidura told the monarch that Draupadi had chosen the Pandavas for her lords, and that those heroes were all alive and at peace, and that they had been received with great respect by king Drupada. And he also informed Dhritarashtra that the Pandavas had been united with the many relatives and friends of Drupada, each owning large armies, and with many others who had come to that self-choice.
"Hearing these words of Vidura, Dhritarashtra said, 'Those children are to me as dear as they were to Pandu. Nay, more. O listen to me why my affection for them now is even greater! The heroic sons of Pandu are well and at ease. They have obtained many friends. Their relatives, and others whom they have gained as allies, are all endued with great strength. Who amongst monarchs in prosperity or adversity would not like to have Drupada with his relatives as an ally?'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having heard these words of the monarch, Vidura said, 'O king, let thy understanding remain so without change for a hundred years!' Having said this Vidura returned to his own abode. Then, O monarch, there came unto Dhritarashtra, Duryodhana and the son of Radha, Karna. Addressing the monarch, they said, 'We cannot, O king, speak of any transgression in the presence of Vidura! We have now found thee alone, and will, therefore, say all we like! What is this that thou hast, O monarch, desired to do? Dost thou regard the prosperity of thy foes as if it were thy own, that thou hast been applauding the Pandavas, O foremost of men, in the presence of Vidura? O sinless one, thou actest not, O king, in the way thou shouldst! O father, we should now act every day in such a way as to weaken (the strength of) the Pandavas. The time hath come, O father, for us to take counsel together, so that the Pandavas may not swallow us all with our children and friends and relatives.'"
Next: Section CCIII