The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said, 'After a while, another powerful son of Pandu was seen making towards king Virata in haste. And as he advanced, he seemed to everyone like solar orb emerged from the clouds. And he began to observe the horses around. And seeing this, the king of the Matsyas said to his followers, 'I wonder whence this man, possessed of the effulgence of a celestial, cometh. He looks intently at my steeds. Verily, he must be proficient in horse-lore. Let him be ushered into my presence quickly. He is a warrior and looks like a god!' And that destroyer of foes then went up to the king and accosted him, saying, 'Victory to thee, O king, and blest be ye.' As a trainer of horses, I have always been highly esteemed by kings. I will be a clever keeper of thy horses.'
"Virata said, 'I will give thee vehicles, wealth, and spacious quarters. Thou shalt be the manager of my horses. But first tell me whence thou comest, who thou art, and how also thou happenest to come here. Tell
us also all the arts thou art master of.' Nakula replied, 'O mower of enemies, know that Yudhishthira is the eldest brother of the five sons of Pandu. I was formerly employed by him to keep his horses. I am acquainted with the temper of steeds, and know perfectly the art of breaking them. I know also how to correct vicious horses, and all the methods of treating their diseases. No animal in my hands becometh weak or ill. Not to speak of horses, even mares in my hands will never be found to be vicious. People called me Granthika by name and so did Yudhishthira, the son of Pandu.'
"Virata said, 'Whatever horses I have, I consign to thy care even from today. And all the keepers of my horses and all my charioteers will from today be subordinate to thee. If this suits thee, say what remuneration is desired by thee. But, O thou that resemblest a celestial, the office of equerry is not worthy of thee. For thou lookest like a king and I esteem thee much. The appearance here hath pleased me as much as if Yudhishthira himself were here. Oh, how does that blameless son of Pandu dwell and divert himself in the forest, now destitute of servants as he is.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'That youth, like unto a chief of the Gandharvas, was treated thus respectfully by the delighted king Virata. And he conducted himself there in such a manner as to make himself dear and agreeable to all in the palace. And no one recognised him while living under Virata's protection. And it was in this manner then the sons of Pandu, the very sight of whom had never been fruitless, continued to live in the country of the Matsyas. And true to their pledge those lords of the earth bounded by her belt of seas passed their days of incognito with great composure notwithstanding their poignant sufferings.'"
Next: Section XIII