The Mahabharata Home
Vaisampayana said, "These great warriors of the race of Bharata sojourned like immortals in the great forest of Kamyaka, employed in hunting and pleased with the sight of numerous wild tracts of country and wide reaches of woodland, gorgeous with flowers blossoming in season. And the sons of Pandu, each like unto Indra and the terror of his enemies, dwelt there for some time. And one day those valiant men, the conquerors of their foes, went about in all directions in search of game for feeding the Brahmanas in their company, leaving Draupadi alone at the hermitage, with the permission of the great ascetic Trinavindu, resplendent with ascetic grandeur, and of their spiritual guide Dhaumya. Meanwhile, the famous king of Sindhu, the son of Vriddhakshatra was, with a view to matrimony, proceeding to the kingdom of Salwa, dressed in his best royal apparel and accompanied by numerous princes. And the prince halted in the woods of Kamyaka. And in that secluded place, he found the beautiful Draupadi, the beloved and celebrated wife of the Pandavas, standing at the threshold of the hermitage. And she looked grand in the superb beauty of her form, and seemed to shed a lustre on the woodland around, like lightning illuminating masses of dark clouds. And they who saw her asked themselves, 'Is this an Apsara, or a daughter of the gods, or a celestial phantom?' And with this thought, their hands also joined together. They stood gazing on the perfect and faultless beauty of her form. And Jayadratha, the king of Sindhu, and the son of Vriddhakshatra, struck with amazement at the sight of that lady of faultless beauty, was seized with an evil intention. And inflamed with desire, he said to the prince named Kotika, 'Whose is this lady of faultless form? Is she of the human kind? I have no need to marry if I can secure this exquisitely beautiful creature. Taking her with me, I shall go back to my abode, Oh sir, and enquire who she is and whence she has come and why also that delicate being hath come into this forest beset with thorns. Will this ornament of womankind, this slender-waisted lady of so much beauty, endued with handsome teeth and large eyes, accept me as her lord? I shall certainly regard myself successful, if I obtain the hand of this excellent lady. Go, Kotika, and enquire who her husband may be.' Thus asked, Kotika, wearing a kundala, jumped out of his chariot and came near her, as a jackal approacheth a tigress, and spake unto her these words.'"
Next: Section CCLXIII