Translated into English Prose from the Original Sanskrit Text
Kisari Mohan Ganguli
Scanned at sacred-texts.com, 2003. Proofed at Distributed Proofing, Juliet Sutherland, Project Manager. Additional proofing and formatting at sacred-texts.com, by J. B. Hare.
OM! Having bowed down to Narayana, and Nara, the most exalted of male beings, and also to the goddess Saraswati, must the word Jaya be uttered.
Janamejaya said, "How did my great-grandfathers, afflicted with the fear of Duryodhana, pass their days undiscovered in the city of Virata? And, O Brahman, how did the highly blessed Draupadi, stricken with woe, devoted to her lords, and ever adoring the Deity, spend her days unrecognised?"
Vaisampayana said, "Listen, O lord of men, how thy great grandfathers passed the period of unrecognition in the city of Virata. Having in this way obtained boons from the god of Justice, that best of virtuous men, Yudhishthira, returned to the asylum and related unto the Brahmanas all that had happened. And having related everything unto them, Yudhishthira restored to that regenerate Brahmana, who had followed him the churning staff and the fire-sticks he had lost. And, O Bharata, the son of the god of Justice, the royal Yudhishthira of high soul then called together all his younger brothers and addressed them, saying, 'Exiled from our kingdom, we have passed twelve years. The thirteenth year, hard to spend, hath now come. Do thou therefore, O Arjuna, the son of Kunti, select some spot where we may pass our days undiscovered by our enemies.'
"Arjuna replied, 'Even by virtue of Dharma's boon, we shall, O lord of men, range about undiscovered by men. Still, for purposes of residence, I shall mention some spots that are both delightful and secluded. Do thou select some one of them. Surrounding the kingdom of the Kurus, are many countries beautiful and abounding in corn, such as Panchala, Chedi, Matsya, Surasena, Pattachchara, Dasarna, Navarashtra, Malla, Salva, Yugandhara, Saurashtra, Avanti, and the spacious Kuntirashtra. Which of these, O king, wouldst thou choose, and where, O foremost of monarchs, shall we spend this year?'
"Yudhishthira said, 'O thou of mighty arms, it is even so. What that adorable Lord of all creatures hath said must become true. Surely, after consulting together, we must select some delightful, auspicious, and agreeable region for our abode, where we may live free from fear. The aged Virata, king of the Matsyas, is virtuous and powerful and charitable, and is liked by all. And he is also attached to the Pandavas. Even in the city of Virata, O child, we shall, O Bharata, spend this year, entering his service. Tell me, ye sons of the Kuru race, in what capacities ye will severally present yourselves before the king of the Matsyas!'
"Arjuna said, 'O god among men, what service wilt thou take in Virata's kingdom? O righteous one, in what capacity wilt thou reside in the city of Virata? Thou art mild, and charitable, and modest, and virtuous, and firm in promise. What wilt thou, O king, afflicted as thou art with calamity, do? A king is qualified to bear trouble like an ordinary person. How wilt thou overcome this great calamity that has overtaken thee?'
"Yudhishthira replied, 'Ye sons of the Kuru race, ye bulls among men, hear what I shall do on appearing before king Virata. Presenting myself as a Brahmana, Kanka by name, skilled in dice and fond of play, I shall become a courtier of that high-souled king. And moving upon chess-boards beautiful pawns made of ivory, of blue and yellow and red and white hue, by throws of black and red dice, I shall entertain the king with his courtiers and friends. And while I shall continue to thus delight the king, nobody will succeed in discovering me. And should the monarch ask me, I shall say, "Formerly I was the bosom friend of Yudhishthira." I tell you that it is thus that I shall pass my days (in the city of Virata). What office wilt thou, O Vrikodara, fill in the city of Virata?'"
"Bhima said, 'I intend to present myself before the lord of Virata as a cook bearing the name of Vallabha. I am skilled in culinary art, and I shall prepare curries for the king, and excelling all those skilful cooks that had hitherto dressed his food I shall gratify the monarch. And I shall carry mighty loads of wood. And witnessing that mighty feat, the monarch will be pleased. And, O Bharata, beholding such superhuman feats of mine, the servants of the royal household will honour me as a king. And I shall have entire control over all kinds of viands and drinks. And commanded to subdue powerful elephants and mighty bulls, I will do as bidden. And if any combatants will fight with me in the lists, then will I vanquish them, and thereby entertain the monarch. But I shall not take the life of any of them. I shall only bring them down in such way that they may not be killed. And on being asked as regards my antecedent I shall say that—"Formerly I was the wrestler and cook of Yudhishthira." Thus shall I, O king, maintain myself.'
"Yudhishthira said, 'And what office will be performed by that mighty descendant of the Kurus, Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, that foremost of men possessed of long arms, invincible in fight, and before whom, while he was staying with Krishna, the divine Agni himself desirous of consuming the forest of Khandava had formerly appeared in the guise of a Brahmana? What office will be performed by that best of warriors, Arjuna, who proceeded to that forest and gratified Agni, vanquishing on a single car and slaying huge Nagas and Rakshasas, and who married the sister of Vasuki himself, the king of the Nagas? Even as the sun is the foremost of all heat-giving bodies, as the Brahmana is the best of all bipeds, as the cobra is the foremost of all serpents, as Fire is the first of all things possessed of energy, as the thunderbolt is the foremost of all weapons, as the humped bull is the foremost of all animals of the bovine breed, as the ocean is the foremost of all watery expanses, as clouds charged with rain are the foremost of all clouds, as Ananta is the first of all Nagas, as Airavata is the foremost of all elephants, as the son is the foremost of all beloved objects, and lastly, as the wife is the best of all friends, so, O Vrikodara, is the youthful Gudakesa, the foremost of all bowmen. And O Bharata, what office will be performed by Vibhatsu, the wielder of Gandiva, whose car is drawn by white horses, and who is not inferior to Indra or Vasudeva Himself? What office will be performed by Arjuna who, dwelling for five years in the abode of the thousand-eyed Deity (Indra) shining in celestial lustre, acquired by his own energy the science of superhuman arms with all celestial weapons, and whom I regard as the tenth Rudra, the thirteenth Aditya, the ninth Vasu, and the tenth Graha, whose arms, symmetrical and long, have the skin hardened by constant strokes of the bowstring and cicatrices which resemble those on the humps of bulls,—that foremost of warriors who is as Himavat among mountains, the ocean among expanses of water, Sakra among the celestial, Havya-vaha (fire) among the Vasus, the tiger among beasts, and Garuda among feathery tribes!'
"Arjuna replied, 'O lord of the Earth, I will declare myself as one of the neuter sex. O monarch, it is, indeed difficult to hide the marks of the bowstring on my arms. I will, however, cover both my cicatrized arms with bangles. Wearing brilliant rings on my ears and conch-bangles on my wrists and causing a braid to hang down from my head, I shall, O king, appear as one of the third sex, Vrihannala by name. And living as a female I shall (always) entertain the king and the inmates of the inner apartments by reciting stories. And, O king, I shall also instruct the women of Virata's palace in singing and delightful modes of dancing and in musical instruments of diverse kinds. And I shall also recite the various excellent acts of men and thus conceal myself, O son of Kunti, by feigning disguise. And, O Bharata should the king enquire, I will say that, I lived as a waiting maid of Draupadi in Yudhishthira's palace. And, O foremost of kings, concealing myself by this means, as fire is concealed by ashes, I shall pass my days agreeably in the palace of Virata.'"
Vaisampayana continued, "Having said this, Arjuna, that best of men and foremost of virtuous persons, became silent. Then the king addressed another brother of his."
"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. 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!'
"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 perfumes and ornaments and costly robes.'
"Draupadi replied, 'There is a class of persons called Sairindhris, 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.'"
"Yudhishthira said, 'Ye have already said what offices ye will respectively perform. I also, according to the measure of my sense, have said what office I will perform. Let our priest, accompanied by charioteers and cooks, repair to the abode of Drupada, and there maintain our Agnihotra fires. And let Indrasena and the others, taking with them the empty cars, speedily proceeded to Dwaravati. Even this is my wish. And let all these maid-servants of Draupadi go to the Panchalas, with our charioteers and cooks. And let all of them say,—"We do not know where the Pandavas have gone leaving us at the lake of Dwaitavana."'"
Vaisampayana said, "Having thus taken counsel of one another and told one another the offices they would discharge, the Pandavas sought Dhaumya's advice. And Dhaumya also gave them advice in the following words, saying, 'Ye sons of Pandu, the arrangements ye have made regarding the Brahmanas, your friends, cars, weapons, and the (sacred) fires, are excellent. But it behoveth thee, O Yudhishthira, and Arjuna specially, to make provision for the protection of Draupadi. Ye king, ye are well-acquainted with the characters of men. Yet whatever may be your knowledge, friends may from affection be permitted to repeat what is already known. Even this is subservient to the eternal interests of virtue, pleasure, and profit. I shall, therefore speak to you something. Mark ye. To dwell with a king is, alas, difficult. I shall tell you, ye princes, how ye may reside in the royal household, avoiding every fault. Ye Kauravas, honourably or otherwise, ye will have to pass this year in the king's palace, undiscovered by those that know you. Then in the fourteenth year, ye will live happy. O son of Pandu, in this world, that cherisher and protector of all beings, the king, who is a deity in an embodied form, is as a great fire sanctified with all the mantras.  One should present himself before the king, after having obtained his permission at the gate. No one should keep contact with royal secrets. Nor should one desire a seat which another may covet. He who doth not, regarding himself to be a favourite, occupy (the king's) car, or coach, or seat, or vehicle, or elephant, is alone worthy of dwelling in a royal household. He that sits not upon a seat the occupation of which is calculated to raise alarm in the minds of malicious people, is alone worthy of dwelling in a royal household. No one should unasked offer counsel (to a king). Paying homage in season unto the king, one should silently and respectfully sit beside the king, for kings take umbrage at babblers, and disgrace-laying counsellors. A wise person should not contact friendship with the king's wife, nor with the inmates of the inner apartments, nor with those that are objects of royal displeasure. One about the king should do even the most unimportant acts and with the king's knowledge. Behaving thus with a sovereign, one doth not come by harm. Even if an individual attain the highest office, he should, as long as he is not asked or commanded, consider himself as born-blind, having regard to the king's dignity, for O repressers of foes, the rulers of men do not forgive even their sons and grandsons and brothers when they happen to tamper with their dignity. Kings should be served with regardful care, even as Agni and other gods; and he that is disloyal to his sovereign, is certainly destroyed by him. Renouncing anger, and pride, and negligence, it behoveth a man to follow the course directed by the monarch. After carefully deliberating on all things, a person should set forth before the king those topics that are both profitable and pleasant; but should a subject be profitable without being pleasant, he should still communicate it, despite its disagreeableness. It behoveth a man to be well-disposed towards the king in all his interests, and not to indulge in speech that is alike unpleasant and profitless. Always thinking—"I am not liked by the king"—one should banish negligence, and be intent on bringing about what is agreeable and advantageous to him. He that swerveth not from his place, he that is not friendly to those that are hostile to the king, he that striveth not to do wrong to the king, is alone worthy to dwell in a royal household. A learned man should sit either on the king's right or the left; he should not sit behind him for that is the place appointed for armed guards, and to sit before him is always interdicted. Let none, when the king is engaged in doing anything (in respect of his servants) come forward pressing himself zealously before others, for even if the aggrieved be very poor, such conduct would still be inexcusable. It behoveth no man to reveal to others any lie the king may have told inasmuch as the king bears ill will to those that report his falsehoods. Kings also always disregard persons that regard themselves as learned. No man should be proud thinking—"I am brave, or, I am intelligent," but a person obtains the good graces of a king and enjoys the good things of life, by behaving agreeably to the wishes of the king. And, O Bharata, obtaining things agreeable, and wealth also which is so hard to acquire, a person should always do what is profitable as well as pleasant to the king. What man that is respected by the wise can even think of doing mischief to one whose ire is a great impediment and whose favour is productive of mighty fruits? No one should move his lips, arms and thighs, before the king. A person should speak and spit before the king only mildly. In the presence of even laughable objects, a man should not break out into loud laughter, like a maniac; nor should one show (unreasonable) gravity by containing himself, to the utmost. One should smile modestly, to show his interest (in what is before him). He that is ever mindful of the king's welfare, and is neither exhilarated by reward nor depressed by disgrace, is alone worthy of dwelling in a royal household. That learned courtier who always pleaseth the king and his son with agreeable speeches, succeedeth in dwelling in a royal household as a favourite. The favourite courtier who, having lost the royal favour for just reason, does not speak evil of the king, regains prosperity. The man who serveth the king or liveth in his domains, if sagacious, should speak in praise of the king, both in his presence and absence. The courtier who attempts to obtain his end by employing force on the king, cannot keep his place long and incurs also the risk of death. None should, for the purpose of self-interest, open communications with the king's enemies. Nor should one distinguish himself above the king in matters requiring ability and talents. He that is always cheerful and strong, brave and truthful, and mild, and of subdued senses, and who followeth his master like his shadow, is alone worthy to dwell in a royal household. He that on being entrusted with a work, cometh forward, saying,—"I will do this"—is alone worthy of living in a royal household. He that on being entrusted with a task, either within the king's dominion or out of it, never feareth to undertake it, is alone fit to reside in a royal household. He that living away from his home, doth not remember his dear ones, and who undergoeth (present) misery in expectation of (future) happiness, is alone worthy of dwelling in a royal household. One should not dress like the king, nor should one indulge in laughter in the king's presence nor should one disclose royal secrets. By acting thus one may win royal favour. Commissioned to a task, one should not touch bribes for by such appropriation one becometh liable to fetters or death. The robes, ornaments, cars, and other things which the king may be pleased to bestow should always be used, for by this, one winneth the royal favour. Ye children, controlling your minds, do ye spend this year, ye sons of Pandu, behaving in this way. Regaining your own kingdom, ye may live as ye please.'
"Yudhishthira said, 'We have been well taught by thee. Blessed be thou. There is none that could say so to us, save our mother Kunti and Vidura of great wisdom. It behoveth thee to do all that is necessary now for our departure, and for enabling us to come safely through this woe, as well as for our victory over the foe.'"
Vaisampayana continued, "Thus addressed by Yudhishthira, Dhaumya, that best of Brahmanas, performed according to the ordinance the rites ordained in respect of departure. And lighting up their fires, he offered, with mantras, oblations on them for the prosperity and success of the Pandavas, as for their reconquest of the whole world. And walking round those fires and round the Brahmanas of ascetic wealth, the six set out, placing Yajnaseni in their front. And when those heroes had departed, Dhaumya, that best of ascetics, taking their sacred fires, set out for the Panchalas. And Indrasena, and others already mentioned, went to the Yadavas, and looking after the horses and the cars of the Pandavas passed their time happily and in privacy."
Vaisampayana said, "Girding their waists with swords, and equipped with finger-protectors made of iguana skins and with various weapons, those heroes proceeded in the direction of the river Yamuna. And those bowmen desirous of (speedily) recovering their kingdom, hitherto living in inaccessible hills and forest fastnesses, now terminated their forest-life and proceeded to the southern bank of that river. And those mighty warriors endued with great strength and hitherto leading the lives of hunters by killing the deer of the forest, passed through Yakrilloma and Surasena, leaving behind, on their right, the country of the Panchalas, and on their left, that of the Dasarnas. And those bowmen, looking wan and wearing beards and equipped with swords, entered Matsya's dominions leaving the forest, giving themselves out as hunters. And on arriving at that country, Krishna addressed Yudhishthira, saying, 'We see footpaths here, and various fields. From this it appears that Virata's metropolis is still at a distance. Pass we here what part of the night is still left, for great is my fatigue.'"
"Yudhishthira answered, 'O Dhananjaya of Bharata's race, do thou take up Panchali and carry her. Just on emerging from this forest, we arrive at the city.'"
Vaisampayana continued, "Thereupon like the leader of a herd of elephants, Arjuna speedily took up Draupadi, and on coming to the vicinity of the city, let her down. And on reaching the city, Ruru's son (Yudhishthira), addressed Arjuna, saying, 'Where shall we deposit our weapons, before entering the city? If, O child, we enter it with our weapons about us, we shall thereby surely excite the alarm of the citizens. Further, the tremendous bow, the Gandiva, is known to all men, so that people will, without doubt, recognise us soon. And if even one of us is discovered, we shall, according to promise, have to pass another twelve years in the forest.'
"Arjuna said, 'Hard by yon cemetery and near that inaccessible peak is a mighty Sami tree, throwing-about its gigantic branches and difficult to ascend. Nor is there any human being, who, I think, O Pandu's son, will espy us depositing our arms at that place. That tree is in the midst of an out-of-the way forest abounding in beasts and snakes, and is in the vicinity of a dreary cemetery. Stowing away our weapons on the Sami tree, let us, O Bharata, go to the city, and live there, free from anxiety!'"
Vaisampayana continued, "Having O bull of the Bharata race spoken thus to king Yudhishthira the just, Arjuna prepared to deposit the weapons (on the tree). And that bull among the Kurus, then loosened the string of the large and dreadful Gandiva, ever producing thundering twang and always destructive of hostile hosts, and with which he had conquered, on a single car, gods and men and Nagas and swelling provinces. And the warlike Yudhishthira, that represser of foes, unfastened the undecaying string of that bow with which he had defended the field of Kurukshetra. And the illustrious Bhimasena unstrung that bow by means of which that sinless one had vanquished in fight the Panchalas and the lord of Sindhu, and with which, during his career of conquest, he had, single-handed, opposed innumerable foes, and hearing whose twang which was like unto the roar of the thunder or the splitting of a mountain, enemies always fly (in panic) from the field of battle. And that son of Pandu of coppery complexion and mild speech who is endued with great prowess in the field, and is called Nakula in consequence of his unexampled beauty in the family, then unfastened the string of that bow with which he had conquered all the regions of the west. And the heroic Sahadeva also, possessed of a mild disposition, then untied the string of that bow with which he had subjugated the countries of the south. And with their bows, they put together their long and flashing swords, their precious quivers, and their arrows sharp as razors. And Nakula ascended the tree, and deposited on it the bows and the other weapons. And he tied them fast on those parts of the tree which he thought would not break, and where the rain would not penetrate. And the Pandavas hung up a corpse (on the tree), knowing that people smelling the stench of the corpse would say—'here sure, is a dead body,' and avoid the tree from a distance. And on being asked by the shepherds and cowherds regarding the corpse, those repressers of foes said unto them, 'This is our mother, aged one hundred and eighty years. We have hung up her dead body, in accordance with the custom observed by our forefathers.' And then those resisters of foes approached the city. And for purposes of non-discovery Yudhishthira kept these (five) names for himself and his brothers respectively, viz., Jaya, Jayanta, Vijaya, Jayatsena, and Jayatvala. Then they entered the great city, with the view to passing the thirteenth year undiscovered in that kingdom, agreeably to the promise (to Duryodhana)."
Vaisampayana said, "And while Yudhishthira was on his way to the delightful city of Virata, he began to praise mentally the Divine Durga, the Supreme Goddess of the Universe, born on the womb of Yasoda, and fond of the boons bestowed on her by Narayana, sprung from the race of cowherd Nanda, and the giver of prosperity, the enhancer (of the glory) of (the worshipper's) family, the terrifier of Kansa, and the destroyer of Asuras,—and saluted the Goddess—her who ascended the skies when dashed (by Kansa) on a stony platform, who is the sister of Vasudeva, one who is always decked in celestial garlands and attired in celestial robes,—who is armed with scimitar and shield, and always rescues the worshipper sunk in sin, like a cow in the mire, who in the hours of distress calls upon that eternal giver of blessings for relieving him of their burdens. And the king, desirous with his brothers of obtaining a sight of the Goddess, invoked her and began to praise her by reciting various names derived from (approved) hymns. And Yudhishthira said, 'Salutations to thee, O giver of boons. O thou that art identical with Krishna, O maiden, O thou that hast observed the vow of Brahmacharya, O thou of body bright as the newly-risen Sun, O thou of face beautiful as the full moon. Salutations to thee, O thou of four hands and four faces, O thou of fair round hips and deep bosom, O thou that wearest bangles made of emeralds and sapphires, O thou that bearest excellent bracelets on thy upper arm. Thou shinest, O Goddess, as Padma, the consort of Narayana. O thou that rangest the etherial regions, thy true form and thy Brahmacharya are both of the purest kind. Sable as the black clouds, thy face is beautiful as that of Sankarshana. Thou bearest two large arms long as a couple of poles raised in honour of Indra. In thy (six) other arms thou bearest a vessel, a lotus, a bell, a noose, a bow, a large discus, and various other weapons. Thou art the only female in the universe that possessest the attribute of purity. Thou art decked with a pair of well-made ears graced with excellent rings. O Goddess, thou shinest with a face that challengeth the moon in beauty. With an excellent diadem and beautiful braid with robes made of the bodies of snakes, and with also the brilliant girdle round thy hips, thou shinest like the Mandara mountain encircled with snakes. Thou shinest also with peacock-plumes standing erect on thy head, and thou hast sanctified the celestial regions by adopting the vow of perpetual maiden-hood. It is for this, O thou that hast slain the Mahishasura,  that thou art praised and worshipped by the gods for the protection of the three worlds. O thou foremost of all deities, extend to me thy grace, show me thy mercy, and be thou the source of blessings to me. Thou art Jaya and Vijaya, and it is thou that givest victory in battle. Grant me victory, O Goddess, and give me boons also at this hour of distress. Thy eternal abode is on Vindhya—that foremost of mountains. O Kali, O Kali, thou art the great Kali, ever fond of wine and meat and animal sacrifice. Capable of going everywhere at will, and bestowing boons on thy devotees, thou art ever followed in thy journeys by Brahma and the other gods. By them that call upon thee for the relief of their burdens, and by them also that bow to thee at daybreak on Earth, there is nothing that cannot be attained in respect either of offspring or wealth. And because thou rescuest people from difficulties whether when they are afflicted in the wilderness or sinking in the great ocean, it is for this that thou art called Durga by all. Thou art the sole refuge of men when attacked by robbers or while afflicted in crossing streams and seas or in wilderness and forests. Those men that remember thee are never prostrated, O great Goddess. Thou art Fame, thou art Prosperity, thou art Steadiness, thou art Success; thou art the Wife, thou art men's Offspring, thou art Knowledge, and thou art the Intellect. Thou art the two Twilights, the Night Sleep, Light—both solar and lunar, Beauty, Forgiveness, Mercy, and every other thing. Thou dispellest, worshipped by the devotees their fetters, ignorance, loss of children and loss of wealth, disease, death, and fear. I, who have been deprived of my kingdom, seek thy protection. And as I bow to thee with bended head, O Supreme Goddess, grant me protection, O thou of eyes like lotus leaves. And be thou as boon-giving Truth unto us that are acting according to Truth. And, O Durga, kind as thou art unto all that seek thy protection, and affectionate unto all thy devotees, grant me protection!'"
Vaisampayana continued, "Thus praised by the son of Pandu, the Goddess showed herself unto him. And approaching the king, she addressed him in these words, 'O mighty armed king, listen, O Lord, to these words of mine. Having vanquished and slain the ranks of the Kauravas through my grace, victory in battle will soon be thine. Thou shalt again lord it over the entire Earth, having made thy dominions destitute of thorns. And, O king, thou shalt also, with thy brothers, obtain great happiness. And through my grace, joy and health will be thine. And they also in the world who will recite my attributes and achievements will be freed from their sins, and gratified. I will bestow upon them kingdom, long life, beauty of person, and offspring. And they, O king, who will invoke me, after thy manner, in exile or in the city, in the midst of battle or of dangers from foes, in forests or in inaccessible deserts, in seas or mountain fastnesses, there is nothing that they will not obtain in this world. And ye sons of Pandu, he will achieve success in every business of his that will listen to, or himself recite with devotion, this excellent hymn. And through my grace neither the Kuru's spies, nor those that dwell in the country of the Matsyas, will succeed in recognising you all as long as ye reside in Virata's city!' And having said these words unto Yudhishthira, that chastiser of foes, and having arranged for the protection of the sons of Pandu, the Goddess disappeared there and then."
Vaisampayana said, "Then tying up in his cloth dice made of gold and set with lapis lazuli, and holding them below his arm-pit, king Yudhishthira,—that illustrious lord of men—that high-souled perpetuator of the Kuru race, regarded by kings, irrepressible in might, and like unto a snake of virulent poison,—that bull among men, endued with strength and beauty and prowess, and possessed of greatness, and resembling in form a celestial though now like unto the sun enveloped in dense clouds, or fire covered with ashes, first made his appearance when the famous king Virata was seated in his court. And beholding with his followers that son of Pandu in his court, looking like the moon hid in clouds and possessed of a face beautiful as the full moon, king Virata addressed his counsellors and the twice-born ones and the charioteers and the Vaisyas and others, saying, 'Enquire ye who it is, so like a king that looketh on my court for the first time. He cannot be a Brahmana. Methinks he is a man of men, and a lord of earth. He hath neither slaves, nor cars, nor elephants with him, yet he shineth like the very Indra. The marks on his person indicate him to be one whose coronal locks have undergone the sacred investiture. Even this is my belief. He approacheth me without any hesitation, even as an elephant in rut approacheth an assemblage of lotuses!'
"And as the king was indulging in these thoughts, that bull among men, Yudhishthira, came before Virata and addressed him, saying, 'O great king, know me for a Brahmana who, having lost his all hath come to thee for the means of subsistence. I desire, O sinless one, to live here beside thee acting under thy commands, O lord.' The king then, well-pleased, replied unto him saying, 'Thou art welcome. Do thou then accept the appointment thou seekest!' And having appointed the lion among kings in the post he had prayed for, king Virata addressed him with a glad heart, saying, 'O child, I ask thee from affection, from the dominions of what king dost thou come hither? Tell me also truly what is thy name and family, and what thou hast a knowledge of.'
"Yudhishthira said, 'My name is Kanka, and I am a Brahmana belonging to the family known by the name of Vaiyaghra. I am skilled in casting dice, and formerly I was a friend of Yudhishthira.'
"Virata replied, 'I will grant thee whatever boon thou mayst desire. Do thou rule the Matsyas.—I shall remain in submission to thee. Even cunning gamblers are liked by me. Thou, on the other hand, art like a god, and deservest a kingdom.'
"Yudhishthira said, 'My first prayer, O lord of earth, is that I may not be involved in any dispute (on account of dice) with low people. Further, a person defeated by me (at dice) shall not be permitted to retain the wealth (won by me). Let this boon be granted to me through thy grace.'
"Virata replied, 'I shall certainly slay him who may happen to displease thee, and should he be one of the twice-born ones, I shall banish him from my dominions. Let the assembled subjects listen! Kanka is as much lord of this realm as I myself. Thou (Kanka) shalt be my friend and shalt ride the same vehicles as I. And there shall also be at thy disposal apparel in plenty, and various kinds of viands and drinks. And thou shalt look into my affairs, both internal and external. And for thee all my doors shall be open. When men out of employ or of strained circumstances will apply to thee, do thou at all hours bring their words unto me, and I will surely give them whatever they desire. No fear shall be thine as long as thou residest with me.'"
Vaisampayana said, "Having thus obtained an interview with Virata's king, and received from him boons, that heroic bull among men, began to live happily, highly regarded by all. Nor could any one discover him as he lived there."
Vaisampayana said, "Then another endued with the dreadful strength and blazing in beauty, approached king Virata, with the playful gait of the lion. And holding in hand a cooking ladle and a spoon, as also an unsheathed sword of sable hue and without a spot on the blade, he came in the guise of a cook illumining all around him by his splendour like the sun discovering the whole world. And attired in black and possessed of the strength of the king of mountains, he approached the king of the Matsyas and stood before him. And beholding that king-like person before him, Virata addressed his assembled subjects saying, 'Who is that youth, that bull among men, with shoulders broad like those of a lion, and so exceedingly beautiful? That person, never seen before, is like the sun. Revolving the matter in my mind, I cannot ascertain who he is, nor can I with even serious thoughts guess the intention of that bull among men (in coming here). Beholding him, it seems to me that he is either the king of the Gandharvas, or Purandara himself. Do ye ascertain who it is that standeth before my eyes. Let him have quickly what he seeks.' Thus commanded by king Virata, his swift-footed messengers went up to the son of Kunti and informed that younger brother of Yudhishthira of everything the king had said. Then the high-souled son of Pandu, approaching Virata, addressed him in words that were not unsuited to his object, saying, 'O foremost of kings, I am a cook, Vallava by name. I am skilled in dressing dishes. Do thou employ me in the kitchen!'
"Virata said, 'I do not believe, O Vallava, that cooking is thy office. Thou resemblest the deity of a thousand eyes; and in grace and beauty and prowess, thou shinest among these all as a king!'
"Bhima replied, 'O king of kings, I am thy cook and servant in the first place. It is not curries only of which I have knowledge, O monarch, although king Yudhishthira always used in days gone by to taste my dishes. O lord of earth, I am also a wrestler. Nor is there one that is equal to me in strength. And engaging in fight with lions and elephants, I shall, O sinless one, always contribute to thy entertainment.'
"Virata said, 'I will even grant thee boons. Thou wilt do what thou wishest, as thou describest thyself skilled in it. I do not, however, think, that this office is worthy of thee, for thou deservest this (entire) earth girt round by the sea. But do as thou likest. Be thou the superintendent of my kitchen, and thou art placed at the head of those who have been appointed there before by me.'"
Vaisampayana continued, "Thus appointed in the kitchen, Bhima soon became the favourite of king Virata. And, O king, he continued to live there unrecognised by the other servants of Virata as also by other people!"
Vaisampayana said, "Binding her black, soft, fine, long and faultless tresses with crisped ends into a knotted braid, Draupadi of black eyes and sweet smiles, throwing it upon her right shoulders, concealed it by her cloth. And she wore a single piece of a black and dirty though costly cloth. And dressing herself as a Sairindhri, she began to wander hither and thither in seeming affliction. And beholding her wandering, men and women came to her hastily and addressed her, saying, 'Who are you? And what do you seek?' And she replied, 'I am a king's Sairindhri. I desire to serve any one that will maintain me.' But beholding her beauty and dress, and hearing also her speech that was so sweet, the people could not take her for a maid-servant in search of subsistence. And it came to pass that while looking this way and that from the terrace, Virata's beloved queen, daughter of the king of Kekaya, saw Draupadi. And beholding her forlorn and clad in a single piece of cloth, the queen addressed her saying, 'O beautiful one, who are you, and what do you seek?' Thereupon, Draupadi answered her, saying, 'O foremost of queens, I am Sairindhri. I will serve anybody that will maintain me.' Then Sudeshna said, 'What you say (regarding your profession) can never be compatible with so much beauty. (On the contrary) you might well be the mistress of servants both male and female. Your heels are not prominent, and your thighs touch each other. And your intelligence is great, and your navel deep, and your words solemn. And your great toes, and bust and hips, and back and sides, and toe-nails, and palms are all well-developed. And your palms, soles, and face are ruddy. And your speech is sweet even as the voice of the swan. And your hair is beautiful, and your bust shapely, and you are possessed of the highest grace. And your hips and bust are plump. And like a Kashmerean mare you are furnished with every auspicious mark. And your eye-lashes are (beautiful) bent, and your nether-lip is like the ruddy ground. And your waist is slender, and your neck bears lines that resemble those of the conch. And your veins are scarcely visible. Indeed, your countenance is like the full moon, and your eyes resemble the leaves of the autumnal lotus, and your body is fragrant as the lotus itself. Verily, in beauty you resemble Sri herself, whose seat is the autumnal lotus. Tell me, O beautiful damsel, who thou art. Thou canst never be a maidservant. Art thou a Yakshi, a Goddess, a Gandharvi, or an Apsara? Art thou the daughter of a celestial, or art thou a female Naga? Art thou the guardian goddess of some city, a Vidyadhari, or a Kinnari,—or art thou Rohini herself? Or art thou Alamvusha, or Misrakesi, Pundarika, or Malini, or the queen of Indra, or of Varuna? Or, art thou the spouse of Viswakarma, or of the creative Lord himself? Of these goddesses who art renowned in the celestial regions, who art thou, O graceful one?'
"Draupadi replied, 'O auspicious lady, I am neither a goddess nor a Gandharvi, nor a Yakshi, nor a Rakshasi. I am a maid-servant of the Sairindhri class. I tell thee this truly. I know to dress the hair, to pound (fragrant substances) for preparing unguents, and also to make beautiful and variegated garlands, O beauteous lady, of jasmines and lotuses and blue lilies and Champakas. Formerly I served Krishna's favourite queen Satyabhama, and also Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas and the foremost beauty of the Kuru race. I wander about alone, earning good food and dress; and as long as I get these, I continue to live in the place where they are obtainable. Draupadi herself called me Malini (maker of garlands).'
"Hearing this, Sudeshna said, 'I would keep thee upon my head itself, if the doubt did not cross my mind that the king himself would be attracted towards thee with his whole heart. Attracted by thy beauty, the females of the royal household and my maids are looking at thee. What male person then is there that can resist thy attraction? Surely, O thou of well-rounded hips, O damsel of exquisite charms, beholding thy form of superhuman beauty, king Virata is sure to forsake me, and will turn to thee with his whole heart. O thou of faultless limbs, O thou that art endued with large eyes casting quick glances, he upon whom thou wilt look with desire is sure to be stricken. O thou of sweet smiles, O thou that possessest a faultless form, he that will behold thee constantly, will surely catch the flame. Even as a person that climbs up a tree for compassing his own destruction, even as the crab conceives for her own ruin, I may, O thou of sweet smiles, bring destruction upon myself by harbouring thee.'
"Draupadi replied, 'O fair lady, neither Virata nor any other person will be able to have me, for my five youthful husbands, who are Gandharvas and sons of a Gandharva king of exceeding power, always protect me. None can do me a wrong. It is the wish of my Gandharva husbands that I should serve only such persons as will not give me to touch food already partaken of by another, or tell me to wash their feet. Any man that attempts to have me like any common woman, meeteth with death that very night. No one can succeed in having me, for, O beautiful lady, O thou of sweet smiles, those beloved Gandharvas, possessed of great energy and mighty strength always protect me secretly.'
"Sudeshna said, 'O thou that bringest delight to the heart, if it is as thou sayest, I will take thee into my household. Thou shalt not have to touch food that hath been partaken of by another, or to wash another's feet.'"
Vaisampayana continued, "Thus addressed by Virata's wife, O Janamejaya, Krishna (Draupadi) ever devoted to her lords, began to live in that city. Nor could anyone ascertain who in reality she was!"
Vaisampayana said, "Then clad in a cowherd's dress, and speaking the dialect of cowherds, Sahadeva came to the cowpen of Virata's city. And beholding that bull among men, who was shining in splendour, the king was struck with amazement. And he directed his men to summon Sahadeva. And when the latter came, the king addressed him, saying, 'To whom dost thou belong? And whence dost thou come? And what work dost thou seek? I have never seen thee before. O bull among men, tell me truly about thee.'
"Having come before the king that afflicter of foes, Sahadeva answered in accents deep as the roar of the cloud, 'I am a Vaisya, Arishtanemi by name. I was employed as a cowherd in the service of those bulls of the Kuru race, the sons of Pandu. O foremost of men, I intend now to live beside thee, for I do not know where those lions among kings, the sons of Pritha, are. I cannot live without service, and, O king, I do not like to enter into the service of anyone else save thee.'
"Hearing these words, Virata said, 'Thou must either be a Brahmana or a Kshatriya. Thou lookest as if thou wert the lord of the entire earth surrounded by the sea. Tell me truly, O thou that mowest down thy foes. The office of a Vaisya is not fit for thee. Tell me from the dominions of what king thou comest, and what thou knowest, and in what capacity thou wouldst remain with us, and also what pay thou wouldst accept.'
"Sahadeva answered, 'Yudhishthira, the eldest of the five sons of Pandu, had one division of kine numbering eight hundred and ten thousand, and another, ten thousand, and another, again, twenty thousand, and so on. I was employed in keeping those cattle. People used to call me Tantripala. I know the present, the past, and the future of all kine living within ten Yojanas, and whose tale has been taken. My merits were known to that illustrious one, and the Kuru king Yudhishthira was well-pleased with me. I am also acquainted with the means which aid kine in multiplying within a short time, and by which they may enjoy immunity from disease. Also these arts are known to me. I can also single out bulls having auspicious marks for which they are worshipped by men, and by smelling whose urine, the barren may conceive.'
"Virata said, 'I have a hundred thousand kine divided into distinct herds. All those together with their keepers, I place in thy charge. Henceforth my beasts will be in thy keep.'"
Vaisampayana continued, "Then, O king, undiscovered by that monarch, that lord of men, Sahadeva, maintained by Virata, began to live happily. Nor did anyone else (besides his brothers) recognise him."
Vaisampayana said, "Next appeared at the gate of the ramparts another person of enormous size and exquisite beauty decked in the ornaments of women, and wearing large ear-rings and beautiful conch-bracelets overlaid with gold. And that mighty-armed individual with long and abundant hair floating about his neck, resembled an elephant in gait. And shaking the very earth with his tread, he approached Virata and stood in his court. And beholding the son of the great Indra, shining with exquisite lustre and having the gait of a mighty elephant,—that grinder of foes having his true form concealed in disguise, entering the council-hall and advancing towards the monarch, the king addressed all his courtiers, saying, 'Whence doth this person come? I have never heard of him before.' And when the men present spoke of the newcomer as one unknown to them, the king wonderingly said, 'Possessed of great strength, thou art like unto a celestial, and young and of darkish hue, thou resemblest the leader of a herd of elephants. Wearing conch-bracelets overlaid with gold, a braid, and ear-rings, thou shinest yet like one amongst those that riding on chariots wander about equipped with mail and bow and arrows and decked with garlands and fine hair. I am old and desirous of relinquishing my burden. Be thou like my son, or rule thou like myself all the Matsyas. It seemeth to me that such a person as thou can never be of the neuter sex.'
"Arjuna said, 'I sing, dance, and play on instruments. I am proficient in dance and skilled in song. O lord of men, assign me unto (the princess) Uttara. I shall be dancing-master to the royal maiden. As to how I have come by this form, what will it avail thee to hear the account which will only augment my pain? Know me, O king of men, to be Vrihannala, a son or daughter without father or mother.'
"Virata said, 'O Vrihannala, I give thee what thou desirest. Instruct my daughter, and those like her, in dancing. To me, however, this office seemeth unworthy of thee. Thou deservest (the dominion of) the entire earth girt round by the ocean.'"
Vaisampayana continued, "The king of the Matsyas then tested Vrihannala in dancing, music, and other fine arts, and consulting with his various ministers forthwith caused him to be examined by women. And learning that this impotency was of a permanent nature, he sent him to the maiden's apartments. And there the mighty Arjuna began giving lessons in singing and instrumental music to the daughter of Virata, her friends, and her waiting-maids, and soon won their good graces. And in this manner the self-possessed Arjuna lived there in disguise, partaking of pleasures in their company, and unknown to the people within or without the palace."
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. Thy 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."
Janamejaya said, "While living thus disguised in the city of the Matsyas, what did those descendants of the Kuru race endued with great prowess, do, O regenerate one!"
Vaisampayana said, "Hear, O king, what those descendants of Kuru did while they dwelt thus in disguise in the city of the Matsyas, worshipping the king thereof. By the grace of the sage Trinavindu and of the high-souled lord of justice, the Pandavas continued to live unrecognised by others in the city of Virata. O lord of men, Yudhishthira, as courtier made himself agreeable to Virata and his sons as also to all the Matsyas. An adept in the mysteries of dice, the son of Pandu caused them to play at dice according to his pleasure and made them sit together in the dice-hall like a row of birds bound in a string. And that tiger among men, king Yudhishthira the Just, unknown to the monarch, distributed among his brothers, in due proportion, the wealth he won from Virata. And Bhimasena on his part, sold to Yudhishthira for price, meat and viands of various kinds which he obtained from the king. And Arjuna distributed among all his brothers the proceeds of worn-out cloths which he earned in the inner apartments of the palace. And Sahadeva, too, who was disguised as a cowherd gave milk, curds and clarified butter to his brothers. And Nakula also shared with his brothers the wealth the king gave him, satisfied with his management of the horses. And Draupadi, herself in a pitiable condition, looked after all those brothers and behaved in such a way as to remain unrecognized. And thus ministering unto one another's wants, those mighty warriors lived in the capital of Virata as hidden from view, as if they were once more in their mother's womb. And those lords of men, the sons of Pandu, apprehensive of danger from the son of Dhritarashtra, continued to dwell there in concealment, watching over their wife Draupadi. And after three months had passed away, in the fourth, the grand festival in honour of the divine Brahma which was celebrated with pomp in the country of the Matsyas, came off. And there came athletes from all quarters by thousands, like hosts of celestials to the abode of Brahma or of Siva to witness that festival. And they were endued with huge bodies and great prowess, like the demons called Kalakhanjas. And elated with their prowess and proud of their strength, they were highly honoured by the king. And their shoulders and waists and necks were like those of lions, and their bodies were very clean, and their hearts were quite at ease. And they had many a time won success in the lists in the presence of kings. And amongst them there was one who towered above the rest and challenged them all to a combat. And there was none that dared to approach him as he proudly stalked in the arena. And when all the athletes stood sad and dispirited, the king of the Matsyas made him fight with his cook. And urged by the king, Bhima made up his mind reluctantly, for he could not openly disobey the royal behest. And that tiger among men then having worshipped the king, entered the spacious arena, pacing with the careless steps of a tiger. And the son of Kunti then girded up his loins to the great delight of the spectators. And Bhima then summoned to the combat that athlete known by the name of Jimuta who was like unto the Asura Vritra whose prowess was widely known. And both of them were possessed of great courage, and both were endued with terrible prowess. And they were like a couple of infuriate and huge-bodied elephants, each sixty years old. And those brave tigers among men then cheerfully engaged in a wrestling combat, desirous of vanquishing each other. And terrible was the encounter that took place between them, like the clash of the thunderbolt against the stony mountain-breast. And both of them were exceedingly powerful and extremely delighted at each other's strength. And desirous of vanquishing each other, each stood eager to take advantage of his adversary's lapse. And both were greatly delighted and both looked like infuriate elephants of prodigious size. And various were the modes of attack and defence that they exhibited with their clenched fists. And each dashed against the other and flung his adversary to a distance. And each cast the other down and pressed him close to the ground. And each got up again and squeezed the other in his arms. And each threw the other violently off his place by boxing him on the breast. And each caught the other by the legs and whirling him round threw him down on the ground. And they slapped each other with their palms that struck as hard as the thunderbolt. And they also struck each other with their outstretched fingers, and stretching them out like spears thrust the nails into each other's body. And they gave each other violent kicks. And they struck knee and head against head, producing the crash of one stone against another. And in this manner that furious combat between those warriors raged on without weapons, sustained mainly by the power of their arms and their physical and mental energy, to the infinite delight of the concourse of spectators. And all people, O king, took deep interest in that encounter of those powerful wrestlers who fought like Indra and the Asura Vritra. And they cheered both of them with loud acclamations of applause. And the broad-chested and long-armed experts in wrestling then pulled and pressed and whirled and hurled down each other and struck each other with their knees, expressing all the while their scorn for each other in loud voices. And they began to fight with their bare arms in this way, which were like spiked maces of iron. And at last the powerful and mighty-armed Bhima, the slayer of his foes, shouting aloud seized the vociferous athlete by the arms even as the lion seizes the elephant, and taking him up from the ground and holding him aloft, began to whirl him round, to the great astonishment of the assembled athletes and the people of Matsya. And having whirled him round and round a hundred times till he was insensible, the strong-armed Vrikodara dashed him to death on the ground. And when the brave and renowned Jimuta was thus killed, Virata and his friends were filled with great delight. And in the exuberance of his joy, the noble-minded king rewarded Vallava then and there with the liberality of Kuvera. And killing numerous athletes and many other men possessed of great bodily strength, he pleased the king very much. And when no one could be found there to encounter him in the lists, the king made him fight with tigers and lions and elephants. And the king also made him battle with furious and powerful lions in the harem for the pleasure of the ladies. And Arjuna, too, pleased the king and all the ladies of the inner apartments by singing and dancing. And Nakula pleased Virata, that best of kings, by showing him fleet and well-trained steeds that followed him wherever he went. And the king, gratified with him, rewarded him with ample presents. And beholding around Sahadeva a herd of well-trained bullocks, Virata that bull among men, bestowed upon him also wealth of diverse kinds. And, O king, Draupadi distressed to see all those warriors suffer pain, sighed incessantly. And it was in this way that those eminent persons lived there in disguise, rendering services unto king Virata."
Vaisampayana said, "Living in such disguise, those mighty warriors, the sons of Pritha, passed ten months in Matsya's city. And, O monarch, although herself deserving to be waited upon by others, the daughter of Yajnasena, O Janamejaya, passed her days in extreme misery, waiting upon Sudeshna. And residing thus in Sudeshna's apartments, the princess of Panchala pleased that lady as also the other females of the inner apartments. And it came to pass that as the year was about to expire, the redoubtable Kichaka, the Commander of Virata's forces, chanced to behold the daughter of Drupada. And beholding that lady endued with the splendour of a daughter of the celestials, treading the earth like a goddess, Kichaka, afflicted with the shafts of Kama, desired to possess her. And burning with desire's flame, Virata's general came to Sudeshna (his sister) and smilingly addressed her in these words, 'This beauteous lady had never before been seen by me in king Virata's abode. This damsel maddens me with her beauty, even as a new wine maddens one with its fragrance. Tell me, who is this graceful and captivating lady possessed of the beauty of a goddess, and whose she is, and whence she hath come. Surely, grinding my heart she hath reduced me to subjection. It seems to me that (save her) there is no other medicine for my illness. O, this fair hand-maid of thine seemeth to me to be possessed of the beauty of a goddess. Surely, one like her is ill suited to serve thee. Let her rule over me and whatever is mine. O, let her grace my spacious and beautiful palace, decked with various ornaments of gold, full of viands and drinks in profusion, with excellent plates, and containing every kind of plenty, besides elephants and horses and cars in myriads.' And having consulted with Sudeshna thus, Kichaka went to princess Draupadi, and like a jackal in the forest accosting a lioness, spoke unto Krishna these words in a winning voice, 'Who and whose art thou, O beautiful one? And O thou of beautiful face, whence hast thou come to the city of Virata? Tell me all this, O fair lady. Thy beauty and gracefulness are of the very first order and the comeliness of thy features is unparalleled. With its loveliness thy face shineth ever like the resplendent moon. O thou of fair eye-brows, thy eyes are beautiful and large like lotus-petals. Thy speech also, O thou of beautiful limbs, resembles the notes of the cuckoo. O thou of fair hips, never before in this world have I beheld a woman possessed of beauty like thine, O thou of faultless features. Art thou Lakshmi herself having her abode in the midst of lotuses or, art thou, O slender-waisted one, she who is called Bhuti. Or, which amongst these—Hri, Sri, Kirti and Kanti,—art thou, O thou of beautiful face? Or possessed of beauty like Rati's, art thou, she who sporteth in the embraces of the God of love? O thou that possessest the fairest of eye-brows, thou shinest beautifully even like the lovely light of the moon. Who is there in the whole world that will not succumb to the influence of desire beholding thy face? Endued with unrivalled beauty and celestial grace of the most attractive kind, that face of thine is even like the full moon, its celestial effulgence resembling his radiant face, its smile resembling his soft-light, and its eye-lashes looking like the spokes on his disc? Both thy bosoms, so beautiful and well-developed and endued with unrivalled gracefulness and deep and well-rounded and without any space between them, are certainly worthy of being decked with garlands of gold. Resembling in shape the beautiful buds of the lotus, these thy breast, O thou of fair eye-brows, are even as the whips of Kama that are urging me forward, O thou of sweet smiles. O damsel of slender waist, beholding that waist of thine marked with four wrinkles and measuring but a span, and slightly stooping forward because of the weight of thy breasts, and also looking on those graceful hips of thine broad as the banks of a river, the incurable fever of desire, O beauteous lady, afflicteth me sore. The flaming fire of desire, fierce as a forest conflagration, and fanned by the hope my heart cherisheth of a union with thee is consuming me intensely. O thou of exceeding beauty quench thou that flaming fire kindled by Manmatha. Union with thee is a rain-charged cloud, and the surrender of thy person is the shower that the cloud may drop. O thou of face resembling the moon, the fierce and maddening shafts of Manmatha whetted and sharpened by the desire of a union with thee, piercing this heart of mine in their impetuous course, have penetrated into its core. O black-eyed lady, those impetuous and cruel shafts are maddening me beyond endurance. It behoveth thee to relieve me from this plight by surrendering thyself to me and favouring me with thy embraces. Decked in beautiful garlands and robes and adorned with every ornament, sport thou, O sweet damsel, with me to thy fill. O thou of the gait of an elephant in rut, deserving as thou art of happiness though deprived of it now, it behoveth thee not to dwell here in misery. Let unrivalled weal be thine. Drinking various kinds of charming and delicious and ambrosial wines, and sporting at thy pleasure in the enjoyment of diverse objects of delight, do thou, O blessed lady, attain auspicious prosperity. This beauty of thine and this prime of thy youth, O sweet lady, are now without their use. For, O beauteous and chaste damsel, endued with such loveliness, thou dost not shine, like a graceful garland lying unused and unworn. I will forsake all my old wives. Let them, O thou of sweet smiles, become thy slaves. And I also, O fair damsel, will stay by thee as thy slave, ever obedient to thee, O thou of the most handsome face.' Hearing these words of his, Draupadi replied, 'In desiring me, a female servant of low extraction, employed in the despicable office of dressing hair, O Suta's son, thou desirest one that deserves not that honour. Then, again, I am the wife of others. Therefore, good betide thee, this conduct of thine is not proper. Do thou remember the precept of morality, viz., that persons should take delight only in their wedded wives. Thou shouldst not, therefore, by any means bend thy heart to adultery. Surely abstaining from improper acts is ever the study of those that are good. Overcome by ignorance sinful men under the influence of desire come by either extreme infamy or dreadful calamity.'"
Vaisampayana continued, "Thus addressed by the Sairindhri, the wicked Kichaka losing control over his senses and overcome by lust, although aware of the numerous evils of fornication, evils condemned by everybody and sometimes leading to the destruction of life itself,—then spoke unto Draupadi, 'It behoveth thee not, O beauteous lady, O thou of graceful features, thus to disregard me who am, O thou of sweet smiles, under the power of Manmatha on thy account. If now, O timid one, thou disregardest me who am under thy influence and who speak to thee so fair, thou wilt, O black-eyed damsel, have to repent for it afterwards. O thou of graceful eye-brows, the real lord of this entire kingdom, O slender-waisted lady, is myself. It is me depending upon whom the people of this realm live. In energy and prowess I am unrivalled on earth. There is no other man on earth who rivals me in beauty of person, in youth, in prosperity, and in the possession of excellent objects of enjoyment. Why it is, O auspicious lady, that having it in thy power to enjoy here every object of desire and every luxury and comfort without its equal, thou preferest servitude. Becoming the mistress of this kingdom which I shall confer on thee, O thou of fair face, accept me, and enjoy, O beauteous one, all excellent objects of desire.' Addressed in these accursed words by Kichaka, that chaste daughter of Drupada answered him thus reprovingly, 'Do not, O son of a Suta, act so foolishly and do not throw away thy life. Know that I am protected by my five husbands. Thou canst not have me. I have Gandharvas for my husbands. Enraged they will slay thee. Therefore, do thou not bring destruction on thyself. Thou intendest to tread along a path that is incapable of being trod by men. Thou, O wicked one, art even like a foolish child that standing on one shore of the ocean intends to cross over to the other. Even if thou enterest into the interior of the earth, or soarest into the sky, or rushest to the other shore of the ocean, still thou wilt have no escape from the hands of those sky-ranging offspring of gods, capable of grinding all foes. Why dost thou today, O Kichaka, solicit me so persistently even as a sick person wisheth for the night that will put a stop to his existence? Why dost thou desire me, even like an infant lying on its mother's lap wishing to catch the moon? For thee that thus solicitest their beloved wife, there is no refuge either on earth or in sky. O Kichaka, hast thou no sense which leads thee to seek thy good and by which thy life may be saved?'"
Vaisampayana said, "Rejected thus by the princess, Kichaka, afflicted with maddening lust and forgetting all sense of propriety, addressed Sudeshna saying, 'Do thou, Kekaya's daughter, so act that thy Sairindhri may come into my arms. Do thou, O Sudeshna, adopt the means by which the damsel of the gait of an elephant may accept me; I am dying of absorbing desire.'"
Vaisampayana continued, "Hearing his profuse lamentations, that gentle lady, the intelligent queen of Virata, was touched with pity. And having taken counsel with her own self and reflected on Kichaka's purpose and on the anxiety of Krishna, Sudeshna addressed the Suta's son in these words, 'Do thou, on the occasion of some festival, procure viands and wines for me. I shall then send my Sairindhri to thee on the pretence of bringing wine. And when she will repair thither do thou in solitude, free from interruption, humour her as thou likest. Thus soothed, she may incline her mind to thee.'"
Vaisampayana continued, "Thus addressed, he went out of his sister's apartments. And he soon procured wines well-filtered and worthy of a king. And employing skilled cooks, he prepared many and various kinds of choice viands and delicious drinks and many and various kinds of meat of different degrees of excellence. And when all this had been done, that gentle lady Sudeshna, as previously counselled by Kichaka, desired her Sairindhri to repair to Kichaka's abode, saying, 'Get up, O Sairindhri and repair to Kichaka's abode to bring wine, for, O beauteous lady, I am afflicted with thirst.' Thereupon the Sairindhri replied, 'O princess, I shall not be able to repair to Kichaka's apartments. Thou thyself knowest, O queen, how shameless he is. O thou of faultless limbs, O beauteous lady, in thy palace I shall not be able to lead a lustful life, becoming faithless to my husbands. Thou rememberest, O gentle lady, O beautiful one, the conditions I had set down before entering thy house. O thou of tresses ending in graceful curls, the foolish Kichaka afflicted by the god of desire, will, on seeing me, offer me insult. Therefore, I will not go to his quarters. Thou hast, O princess, many maids under thee. Do thou, good betide thee, send one of them. For, surely, Kichaka will insult me.' Sudeshna said, 'Sent by me, from my abode, surely he will not harm thee.' And having said this, she handed over a golden vessel furnished with a cover. And filled with apprehension, and weeping, Draupadi mentally prayed for the protection of the gods, and set out for Kichaka's abode for fetching wine. And she said, 'As I do not know another person save my husbands, by virtue of that Truth let Kichaka not be able to overpower me although I may approach his presence.'"
Vaisampayana continued, "And that helpless damsel then adored Surya for a moment. And Surya, having considered all that she urged, commanded a Rakshasa to protect her invisibly. And from that time the Rakshasa began to attend upon that blameless lady under any circumstances. And beholding Krishna in his presence like a frightened doe, the Suta rose up from his seat, and felt the joy that is felt by a person wishing to cross to the other shore, when he obtains a boat."
"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. 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 Sudeshna. 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!'"
Vaisampayana said, "Thus insulted by the Suta's son, that illustrious princess, the beautiful Krishna, eagerly wishing for the destruction of Virata's general, went to her quarters. And Drupada's daughter of dark hue and slender waist then performed her ablutions. And washing her body and cloths with water Krishna began to ponder weepingly on the means of dispelling her grief. And she reflected, saying, 'What am I to do? Whither shall I go? How can my purpose be effected?' And while she was thinking thus, she remembered Bhima and said to herself, 'There is none else, save Bhima, that can today accomplish the purpose on which my heart is set!' And afflicted with great grief, the large-eyed and intelligent Krishna possessed of powerful protectors then rose up at night, and leaving her bed speedily proceeded towards the quarters of Bhimasena, desirous of beholding her lord. And possessed of great intelligence, the daughter of Drupada entered her husband's quarters, saying, 'How canst thou sleep while that wretched commander of Virata's forces, who is my foe, yet liveth, having perpetrated today that (foul act)?'"
Vaisampayana continued, "Then the chamber where Bhima slept, breathing hard like a lion, being filled with the beauty of Drupada's daughter and of the high-souled Bhima, blazed forth in splendour. And Krishna of sweet smiles, finding Bhimasena in the cooking apartments, approached him with the eagerness of a three-year old cow brought up in the woods, approaching a powerful bull, in her first season, or of a she-crane living by the water-side approaching her mate in the pairing season. And the Princess of Panchala then embraced the second son of Pandu, even as a creeper embraces a huge and mighty Sala on the banks of the Gomati. And embracing him with her arms, Krishna of faultless features awaked him as a lioness awaketh a sleeping lion in a trackless forest. And embracing Bhimasena even as a she-elephant embraceth her mighty mate, the faultless Panchali addressed him in voice sweet as the sound of a stringed instrument emitting Gandhara note. And she said, 'Arise, arise! Why dost thou, O Bhimasena, lie down as one dead? Surely, he that is not dead, never suffereth a wicked wretch that hath disgraced his wife, to live.' And awakened by the princess, Bhima of mighty arms, then rose up, and sat upon his couch overlaid with a rich bed. And he of the Kuru race then addressed the princess—his beloved wife, saying, 'For what purpose hast thou come hither in such a hurry? Thy colour is gone and thou lookest lean and pale. Tell me everything in detail. I must know the truth. Whether it be pleasurable or painful, agreeable, or disagreeable, tell me all. Having heard everything, I shall apply the remedy. I alone, O Krishna, am entitled to thy confidence in all things, for it is I who deliver thee from perils again and again! Tell me quickly what is thy wish, and what is the purpose that is in thy view, and return thou to thy bed before others awake.'"
"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?'"