The Mahabharata Home
"Kichaka said, 'O thou of tresses ending in beautiful curls, thou art welcome. Surely, the night that is gone hath brought me an auspicious day, for I have got thee today as the mistress of my house. Do what is agreeable to me. Let golden chains, and conchs and bright ear-rings made of gold, manufactured in various countries, and beautiful rubies and gems, and silken robes and deer-skins, be brought for thee. I have also an excellent bed prepared for thee. Come, sitting upon it do thou drink with me the wine prepared from the honey flower.' Hearing these words, Draupadi said, 'I have been sent to thee by the princess for taking away wine. Do thou speedily bring me wine, for she told me that she is exceedingly thirsty.' And this, Kichaka said, 'O gentle lady, others will carry what the princess wants.' And saying this, the Suta's son caught hold of Draupadi's right arm. And at this, Draupadi exclaimed, 'As I have never, from intoxication of the senses, been unfaithful to my husbands even at heart, by that Truth, O wretch, I shall behold thee dragged and lying powerless on the ground.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Seeing that large-eyed lady reproving him in that strain, Kichaka suddenly seized her by the end of her upper garment as she attempted to run away. And seized with violence by Kichaka, the beautiful princess, unable to tolerate it, and with frame trembling with wrath, and breathing quickly, dashed him to the ground.
[paragraph continues] And dashed to the ground thus, the sinful wretch tumbled down like a tree whose roots had been cut. And having thrown Kichaka down on the ground when the latter had seized her, she, trembling all over rushed to the court, where king Yudhishthira was, for protection. And while she was running with all her speed, Kichaka (who followed her), seizing her by the hair, and bringing her down on the ground, kicked her in the very presence of the king. Thereupon, O Bharata, the Rakshasa that had been appointed by Surya to protect Draupadi, gave Kichaka a shove with a force mighty as that of the wind. And overpowered by the force of Rakshasa, Kichaka reeled and fell down senseless on the ground, even like an uprooted tree. And both Yudhishthira and Bhimasena who were seated there, beheld with wrathful eyes that outrage on Krishna by Kichaka. And desirous of compassing the destruction of the wicked Kichaka, the illustrious Bhima gnashed his teeth in rage. And his forehead was covered with sweat, and terrible wrinkles appeared thereon. And a smoky exhalation shot forth from his eyes, and his eye-lashes stood on end. And that slayer of hostile heroes pressed his forehead with his hands. And impelled by rage, he was on the point of starting up with speed. Thereat king Yudhishthira, apprehensive of discovery, squeezed his thumbs and commanded Bhima to forbear. And Bhima who then looked like an infuriate elephant eyeing a large tree, was thus 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 out and fell trees.' And the weeping Draupadi of fair hips, approaching the entrance of the court, and seeing her melancholy lords, desirous yet of keeping up the disguise duty-bound by their pledge, with eyes burning in fire, spoke these words unto the king of the Matsyas, 'Alas, the son of a Suta hath kicked today the proud and beloved wife of those whose foe can never sleep in peace even if four kingdoms intervene between him and them. Alas, the son of a Suta hath kicked today the proud and beloved wife of those truthful personages, who are devoted to Brahmanas and who always give away without asking any thing in gift. Alas! the son of a Suta hath kicked today the proud and beloved wife of those, the sounds of whose kettle-drums and the twangs of whose bow-strings are ceaselessly heard. Alas, the son of a Suta hath kicked today the proud and beloved wife of those who are possessed of abundant energy and might, and who are liberal in gifts and proud of their dignity. Alas, the son of a Suta hath kicked today the proud and beloved wife of those who, if they had not been fettered by the ties of duty, could destroy this entire world. Where, alas, are those mighty warriors today who, though living in disguise, have always granted protection unto those that solicit it? Oh, why do those heroes today, endued as they are with strength and possessed of immeasurable energy, quietly suffer, like eunuchs, their dear and chaste wife to be thus insulted by a Suta's son? Oh, where is that wrath of theirs, that prowess, and that energy, when they quietly bear their wife
to be thus insulted by a wicked wretch? What can I (a weak woman) do when Virata, deficient in virtue, coolly suffereth my innocent self to be thus wronged by a wretch? Thou dost not, O king, act like a king towards this Kichaka. Thy behaviour is like that of a robber, and doth not shine in a court. That I should thus be insulted in thy very presence, O Matsya, is highly improper. Oh, let all the courtiers here look at this violence of Kichaka. Kichaka is ignorant of duty and morality, and Matsya also is equally so. These courtiers also that wait upon such a king are destitute of virtue.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'With these and other words of the same kind the beautiful Krishna with tearful eyes rebuked the king of the Matsyas. And hearing her, Virata said, 'I do not know what your dispute has been out of our sight. Not knowing the true cause how can I show my discrimination?' Then the courtiers, having learnt every thing, applauded Krishna, and they all exclaimed, 'Well done!' 'Well done!' and censured Kichaka. And the courtiers said, 'That person who owneth this large-eyed lady having every limb of hers endued with beauty for his wife, possesseth what is of exceeding value and hath no occasion to indulge in any grief. Surely, such a damsel of transcendent beauty and limbs perfectly faultless is rare among men. Indeed, it seems to us that she is a goddess.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'And while the courtiers, having beheld Krishna (under such circumstances), were applauding her thus, Yudhishthira's forehead, from ire, became covered with sweat. And that bull of the Kuru race then addressed that princess, his beloved spouse, saying, 'Stay not here, O Sairindhri; but retire to the apartments of Sudeshna. The wives of heroes bear affliction for the sake of their husbands, and undergoing toil in ministering unto their lords, they at last attain to region where their husbands may go. Thy Gandharva husbands, effulgent as the sun, do not, I imagine, consider this as an occasion for manifesting their wrath, inasmuch as they do not rush to thy aid. O Sairindhri, thou art ignorant of the timeliness of things, and it is for this that thou weepest as an actress, besides interrupting the play of dice in Matsya's court. Retire, O Sairindhri; the Gandharvas will do what is agreeable to thee. And they will surely display thy woe and take the life of him that hath wronged thee.' Hearing these words the Sairindhri replied, 'They of whom I am the wedded wife are, I ween, extremely kind. And as the eldest of them all is addicted to dice, they are liable to be oppressed by all.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'And having said this, the fair-hipped Krishna with dishevelled hair and eyes red in anger, ran towards the apartments of Sudhesna. And in consequence of having wept long her face looked beautiful like the lunar disc in the firmament, emerged from the clouds. And beholding her in that condition, Sudeshna asked, 'Who, O beauteous lady, hath insulted thee? Why, O amiable damsel, dost thou weep? Who, gentle one, hath done thee wrong? Whence is
this thy grief?' Thus addressed, Draupadi said, 'As I went to bring wine for thee, Kichaka struck me in the court in the very presence of the king, as if in the midst of a solitary wood.' Hearing this, Sudeshna said, 'O thou of tresses ending in beautiful curls, as Kichaka, maddened by lust hath insulted thee that art incapable of being possessed by him, I shall cause him to be slain if thou wishest it.' Thereupon Draupadi answered, 'Even others will slay him,--even they whom he hath wronged, I think it is clear that he will have to go to the abode of Yama this very day!'"
Next: Section XVII