The Mahabharata Home
Yudhishthira said, "Tender, possessed of a graceful presence, and deserving of every luxury as thou art, what office wilt thou, O heroic Nakula, discharge while living in the dominions of that king? Tell me all about it!"
Nakula said, "Under the name of Granthika, I shall become the keeper of the horses of king Virata. I have a thorough knowledge (of this work) and am skilful in tending horses. Besides, the task is agreeable to me, and I possess great skill in training and treating horses; and horses are ever dear to me as they are to thee, O king of the Kurus. At my hands even colts and mares become docile; these never become vicious in bearing a rider or drawing a car. 2 And those persons in the city of Virata that may enquire of me, I shall, O bull of the Bharata race, say,--Formerly I was employed by Yudhishthira in the charge of his horses. Thus disguised, O king, I shall spend my days delightfully in the city of Virata. No one will be able to discover me as I will gratify the monarch thus! 3
Yudhishthira said, "How wilt thou, O Sahadeva, bear thyself before that king? And what, O child, is that which thou wilt do in order to live in disguise."
Sahadeva replied, "I will become a keeper of the kine of Virata's king. I am skilled in milking kine and taking their history as well as in taming their fierceness. Passing under the name of Tantripal, I shall perform my duties deftly. Let thy heart's fever be dispelled. Formerly I was frequently employed to look after thy kine, and, O Lord of earth, I have a particular knowledge of that work. And, O monarch, I am well-acquainted
with the nature of kine, as also with their auspicious marks and other matters relating to them. I can also discriminate bulls with auspicious marks, the scent of whose urine may make even the barren being forth child. Even thus will I live, and I always take delight in work of this kind. Indeed, no one will then be able to recognise me, and I will moreover gratify the monarch,"
Yudhishthira said, "This is our beloved wife dearer to us than our lives. Verily, she deserveth to be cherished by us like a mother, and regarded like an elder sister. Unacquainted as she is with any kind of womanly work, what office will Krishna, the daughter of Drupada, perform? Delicate and young, she is a princess of great repute. Devoted to her lords, and eminently virtuous, also, how will she live? Since her birth, she hath enjoyed only garlands and perfume? and ornaments and costly robes."
Draupadi replied, "There is a class of persons called Sairindhris, 1 who enter the services of other. Other females, however (that are respectable) do not do so. Of this class there are some. I shall give myself out as a Sairindhri, skilled in dressing hair. And, O Bharata, on being questioned by the king, I shall say that I served as a waiting woman of Draupadi in Yudhishthira's household. I shall thus pass my days in disguise. And I shall serve the famous Sudeshna, the wife of the king. Surely, obtaining me she will cherish me (duly). Do not grieve so, O king."
"Yudhishthira said, "O Krishna, thou speakest well. But O fair girl, thou wert born in a respectable family. Chaste as thou art, and always engaged in observing virtuous vows, thou knowest not what is sin. Do thou, therefore, conduct thyself in such a way that sinful men of evil hearts may not be gladdened by gazing at thee."
4:2 The sloka commencing with Adushta and ending ratheshu cha does not occur in texts except those in Bengal.
4:3 A difference reading is observable here. The sense, however, is the same.
5:1 An independent female artisan working in another person's house.--Wilson.
Next: Section IV