The Mahabharata Home
"Draupadi said, 'What grief hath she not who hath Yudhishthira for her husband? Knowing all my griefs, why dost thou ask me? The Pratikamin dragged me to the court in the midst of an assembly of courtiers, calling me a slave. That grief, O Bharata, consumeth me. What other princess, save Draupadi, would live having suffered such intense misery? Who else, save myself, could bear such second insult as the wicked Saindhava offered me while residing in the forest? Who else of my position, save myself, could live, having been kicked by Kichaka in the very sight of the wicked king of the Matsyas? Of what value is life, O Bharata, when thou, O son of Kunti, dost not think me miserable, although I am afflicted with such woes? That vile and wicked wretch, O Bharata, known by the name of Kichaka, who is the brother-in-law of king Virata and the commander of his forces, every day, O tiger among men, addresses me who am residing in the palace as a Sairindhri, saying, 'Do thou become my wife.'--Thus solicited, O slayer of foes, by that wretch deserving to be slain, my heart is bursting like a fruit ripened in season. Censure thou that elder brother of thine addicted to execrable dice, through whose act alone I have been afflicted with such woe. Who else, save him that is a desperate gambler, would play, giving up kingdom and everything including even myself, in order to lead a life in the woods? If he had gambled morning and evening for many years together, staking nishkas by thousand and other kinds of substantial wealth, still his silver, and gold, and robes, and vehicles, and teams, and goats, and sheep, and multitudes of steeds and mares and mules would not have sustained any diminution. But now deprived of prosperity by the rivalry
of dice, he sits dumb like a fool, reflecting on his own misdeeds. Alas, he who, while sojourning, was followed by ten thousand elephants adorned with golden garlands now supports himself by casting dice. That Yudhishthira who at Indraprastha was adored by kings of incomparable prowess by hundreds of thousands, that mighty monarch in whose kitchen a hundred thousand maid-servants, plate in hand, used every day to feed numerous guests day and night, that best of liberal men, who gave (every day) a thousand nishkas, alas, even he overwhelmed with woe in consequence of gambling which is the root of all evil, now supporteth himself by casting dice. Bards and encomiasts by thousands decked with ear-rings set with brilliant gems, and gifted with melodious voice, used to pay him homage morning and evening. Alas, that Yudhishthira, who was daily waited upon by a thousand sages of ascetic merit, versed in the Vedas and having every desire gratified, as his courtiers,--that Yudhishthira who maintained eighty-eight thousands of domestic Snatakas with thirty maid-servants assigned unto each, as also ten thousand yatis not accepting anything in gift and with vital seed drawn up,--alas, even that mighty king now liveth in such guise. That Yudhishthira who is without malice, who is full of kindness, and who giveth every creature his due, who hath all these excellent attributes, alas--even he now liveth in such guise. Possessed of firmness and unbaffled prowess, with heart disposed to give every creature his due, king Yudhishthira, moved by compassion, constantly maintained in his kingdom the blind, the old, the helpless, the parentless and all others in his dominions in such distress. Alas, that Yudhishthira becoming a dependant and a servant of Matsya, a caster of dice in his court, now calls himself Kanka. He unto whom while residing at Indraprastha, all the rulers of earth used to pay timely tribute,--alas, even he now begs for subsistence at another's hands. He to whom the kings of the earth were in subjection,--alas, even that king having lost his liberty, liveth in subjection to others. Having dazzled the entire earth like the sun by his energy, that Yudhishthira, alas, is now a courtier of king Virata. O Pandu's son, that Pandava who was respectfully waited upon in court by kings and sages, behold him now waiting upon another. Alas, beholding Yudhishthira a courtier sitting beside another and breathing adulatory speeches to the other, who can help being afflicted with grief? And beholding the highly wise and virtuous Yudhishthira, undeserving as he is of serving others, actually serving another for sustenance, who can help being afflicted with grief? And, O hero, that Bharata who was worshipped in court by the entire earth, do thou now behold him worshipping another. Why then, O Bharata, dost thou not regard me as one afflicted with diverse miseries, like one forlorn and immersed in a sea of sorrow?'"
Next: Section XIX