The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said, 'And beholding the Sutas slain, the citizens went to the king, and represented unto him what had happened, saying, 'O king, those mighty sons of the Sutas have all been slain by the Gandharvas. Indeed, they lie scattered on the earth like huge peaks of mountains
riven by thunder. Sairindhri also, having been set free, returneth to thy palace in the city. Alas, O king, if Sairindhri cometh, thy entire kingdom will be endangered. Sairindhri is endued with great beauty; the Gandharvas also here exceedingly powerful. Men again, without doubt, are naturally sexual. Devise, therefore, O king, without delay, such means that in consequence of wrongs done to Sairindhri, thy kingdom may not meet with destruction.' Hearing those words of theirs, Virata, that lord of hosts, said unto them, 'Do ye perform the last rites of the Sutas. Let all the Kichakas be burnt, in one blazing pyre with gems and fragrant unguents in profusion.' And filled with fear, the king then addressed his queen Sudeshna, saying, 'When Sairindhri comes back, do thou tell her these words from me, 'Blessed be thou, O fair-faced Sairindhri. Go thou whithersoever thou likest. The king hath been alarmed, O thou of graceful hips, at the defeat already experienced at the hands of the Gandharvas. Protected as thou art by the Gandharvas, I dare not personally say all this to thee. A woman, however, cannot offend, and it is for this that I tell thee all this through a woman.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus delivered by Bhimasena after the slaughter of the Sutas, the intelligent and youthful Krishna relieved from all her fears, washed her limbs and clothes in water, and proceeded towards the city, like a doe frightened by a tiger. And beholding her, the citizens, O king, afflicted with the fear of the Gandharvas fled in all directions. And some of them went so far as to shut their eyes. And then, O king at the gate of the kitchen, the princess of Panchala saw Bhimasena staying, like an infuriate elephant of gigantic proportions. And looking upon him with wonder-expanded eyes, Draupadi, by means of words intelligible to them alone, said, 'I bow unto that prince of the Gandharvas, who hath rescued me.' At these words of her, Bhima said, 'Hearing these words of hers in obedience to whom those persons were hitherto living in the city, they will henceforth range here, regarding themselves as freed from the debt.' 1
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then she beheld the mighty-armed Dhananjaya, in the dancing-hall instructing king Virata's daughters in dancing. And issuing with Arjuna from the dancing-hall, all those damsels came to Krishna who had arrived there, and who had been persecuted so sorely, all innocent though she was. And they said, 'By good luck also it is, O Sairindhri, that thou hast been delivered from thy dangers. By good luck it is that thou hast returned safe. And by good luck also it is that those Sutas have been slain that had wronged thee, innocent though thou art.' Hearing this, Virhannala said, 'How hast thou, O Sairindhri, been delivered? And how have those sinful wretches been slain? I wish to learn all this from thee exactly as it occurred.' Sairindhri replied, 'O blessed Vrihannala, always passing thy days happily in the apartments of
the girls, what concern hast thou with Sairindhri's fate to say? Thou hast no grief to bear that Sairindhri hath to bear! It is for this, that thou askest me thus, distressed as I am in ridicule.' Thereat Vrihannala said, 'O blessed one, Vrihannala also hath unparalleled sorrows of her own. She hath become as low as a brute. Thou dost not, O girl, understand this. I have lived with thee, and thou, too hast lived with us. When, therefore, thou art afflicted with misery, who is it that will not, O thou of beautiful hips, feel it? But no one can completely read another's heart. Therefore it is, O amiable one, that thou knowest not my heart!'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Draupadi, accompanied by those girls entered the royal abode, desirous of appearing before Sudeshna. And when she came before the queen, Virata's wife addressed her at the command of the king, saying, 'Do thou, O Sairindhri, speedily go whithersoever thou likest. The king, good betide thee, hath been filled with fear at this discomfiture at the hands of the Gandharvas. Thou art, O thou of graceful eye-brows, young and unparalleled on earth in beauty. Thou art, besides, an object of desire with men. The Gandharvas again, are exceedingly wrathful.' Thereat Sairindhri said, 'O beauteous lady, let the king suffer me to live here for only thirteen days more. Without doubt, the Gandharvas also will be highly obliged at this. They will then convey me hence and do what would be agreeable to Virata. Without doubt, the king, by doing this, with his friends, will reap great benefit.'"
46:1 What Bhima says is this.--Then Gandharvas, your husbands, are always obedient to thee! If they have been able to do thee a service, they have only repaid a debt.
Next: Section XXV