Table of Contents
THE BOOK OF THE ASSEMBLY HALL SUMMARY VYASA
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF ASSEMBLY HALL:
A Sabha Parva or The Book of the Assembly Hall is the pivotal one of the eighteen major books of the Mahabharata: it is also one of the more diversified and interesting ones. For all its length and variety, Adi Parva – the Book of the Beginning – has not done more than lay the groundwork of the epic. It was more or less a closed whole: the ancestry of the protagonists and antagonists; their youth, early strife, and clouded claims on the succession, the attempts at assassination, and the self-deliverance of the Pandavas; their self-exile and glorious reappearance at Draupadi’s bridegroom choice; their consequent marriage, alliance with Panchala, and recognition by the senior Kouravas; and finally the acquisition of the kingdom of Indraprastha by the partition of the Field of the Kurus. Peace was estored in the end between the two branches of siblings through the wise guidance of their elders. One might well close The Beginning and never expect a sequel to it.
The Assembly Hall makes all that went before just a formal beginning. Those were the pages of childhood and adolescence, in which the influence of the elders was strong and decisive. Now the heroes are on their own and begin to act in their own right, and their natures are willful. The Sabha Parva begins with establishing Yudhishthira and his brothers as prosperous princeling at Indraprastha. But this is not much: so far the Pandavas have simply acquired a new home base. Now at the suggestion of a visiting messenger of the God – though not send by the God – the seer Narada, Yudhishthira conceives the desire to perform the ancient Vedic ritual of the Rajsuya – the Royal Consecration. This, at first glance, appears as no more than the legitimization of his new, and so to say supernumerary, kingship by means of the old rite. It transpires, however, that there is much more to it than that, for through it Yudhishthira wishes to aspire to nothing less than universal sovereignty by becoming Samraj, an “all-king” or “emperor”, to whom all other prices of the land will be submissive.
It is not at all clear on what personal accomplishments Yudhishthira could pretend to rest such a claim. After all, he has allowed himself to be ousted from the ancestral seat of Hastinapura in return for a parcel wilderness that still had to be cleared. True, he has won the alliance of Panchala, but merely by marriage. The end of the Adi Parva has left us with the mild satisfaction that some attractive noble youths, after some bad luck and some good, in the end did not fare so ill. Still, perhaps his ambition stood in need of no justification, for he is to embark on a grand Vedic ceremony, the Rajsuya, and to qualify for it the performer’s intention may suffice.
Once his desire has taken hold, Yudhishthira calls in Krishna of the Vrishnis counsel. He had already pointed out the obvious: the performance requires the “unanimity of the baronage” to be tributary to him. For the Rajsuya, as it is presented in this Parva is not just the installation of a new king. It is the glorification of a king of kings. There can only be one such suzerain at the time. So it requires not only the assent of the baronage, but also the removal of the present suzerain. The one end title is Jarasandha, the king of the more eastern land of Magadha, a populous and prosperous realm. So Jarasandha is indeed removed, and the rest of the world, not excluding Rome and Antioch and the city of the Greeks, is made tributary. After the assassination of Jarasandha the performance takes place, but is it not concluded without resistance. While Yudhishthira’s pre-eminence is never disrupted, the high ranking of Krishna is. The challenger, Shishupala, is eliminated by Krishna, and Yudhishthira is suzerain indeed: but for a brief while. The title wrested from him by the Hastinapura Kouravas in a game of dice, when Yudhishthira loses on pain of an exile of thirteen years.
Most of the proceedings of this Parva take place in an assembly hall, a kind of longhouse for the men in which to hold council and entertainment, and it is from such a hall that the Parva takes its title. There are two halls involved, the one at Indraprastha and that at Hastinapura. It is Indraprastha hall that becomes a bone of contention; it is in the Hastinapura hall where it all ends.
The hall at Indraprastha was newly built by an Asura, Maya by name, who had been saved from the fire of the Khandava Forest, which concluded the Adi Parva. So magnificent was that hall that it excited the envy of Kaurava’s cousin Duryodhana, and this envy led to the game at dice on whose outcome the rest of the Mahabharata hangs. When Yudhisthira has reached the pinnacle of temporal power as the acknowledged suzerain of the entire worlds, he is challenged to the game. Why he felt he had to accept the challenge is a question that is not fully addressed in the Parva. It is sufficed to note, however, that there is a conspicuous thread in the Parva: the settlement in Indraprastha needs a hall – the hall needs validation as a royal court through the Royal consecration – it evokes the others’ envy – and brings about a game in another hall where Yudhishthira loses all.
Clearly therefore the structure of Sabha Parva is much tighter than that of the Adi Parva, where the insertions and additions are quite obvious. The Sabha Parva too has its fuzzy edges: Narada’s long instruction in policy and administration is a clear instance. But otherwise the Parva hangs together remarkably well.It has been said that this Parva is pivotal to the Mahabharata as a whole. The remaining epic can almost be predicted in outline: there are to follow thirteen years of exile and the adventures thereof, described in the VanaParva, the Book of the Forest and Virata Parva, the Book of Virata. It is likely that the molestation of the Pandavas’ wife Draupadi at the hands of Dussasana and Duryodhana will remain unavenged? Or that Duryodhana will surrender half the kingdom to Yudhishthira when he returns? We see looming The Book of the Effort (Udyoga Parva), and the war books of Bhishma, Drona, Karna, Shalya and the rest.
SUMMARY OF SABHA PARVA (THE BOOK OF THE ASSEMBLY HALL)
Out of 18 books of Mahabharata, Sabha Parva is 2nd Book. There are 10 sections (Upaparvas) in Sabha Parva of the Great Epic Mahabharata.
Sabha Parva, also called the “Book of the Assembly Hall”, is the second of eighteen books of Mahabharata. Sabha Parva traditionally has 10 sub-books and 81 chapters . The critical edition of Sabha Parva has 9 sub books and 72 chapters. Sabha Parva starts with the description of the palace and assembly hall (Sabha) built by Maya, at Indraprastha. Chapter 5 of the book outlines over a hundred principles of governance and administration necessary for a kingdom and its citizens to be prosperous, virtuous and happy. The middle sub-books describe life at the court, Yudhishthira’s Rajsuya Yajna that leads to the expansion of the Pandava brothers’ empire. The last two sub- books describe the one vice and addiction of the virtuous king Yudhishthira – gambling, Shakuni, encouraged by evil Dhritharashtra, mocks Yudhishthira and tempts him into a game of dice. Yudhishthira bets everything and loses the game, leading to the eventual exile of the Pandavas.
The book also details the principle of evil and crime against humanity, of why individuals who themselves have not been harmed must act regardless when society at large suffers systematic crime and injustice – this theory outlined in the story of Magadha, Chapters 20 through 24, where the trio of Krishna, Arjuna and Bhim slay Jarasandha.
This section contains 4 chapters and 141 verses. Arjuna had saved Mayasura when the Khandava forest was burnt. Maya wanted to do some favor in return and requested Arjuna to ask for something. But Arjuna advised him to do whatever Krishna wanted to be done. Krishna asked him to build a palace for Yudhishthira. Maya decided to build a palatial assembly hall according to the tastes of Krishna and the Pandavas. Krishna stayed with the Pandavas happily at Khandavaprastha. After some time, he desired to leave for Dwarka to see his father. Having obtained permission from Kunti and Yudhishthira, accompanied by the brave Satyaki and Daruka, the charioteer, he set out for Dwaraka.
Maya went to the mountain Mainaka lying on the north of Kailasa which was in the North-East region and brought a club, conch and building material composed of crystals and jewels. He presented that mighty club to Bhima and the conch named Devadatta to Arjuna and built a mansion for Dharmaraja. The son of Kunti entered that palace after performing the propitiatory rites.
There are 8 chapters and 373 verses in this Parva. Once the Pandavas were in the assembly along with great people and Gandharva. At that time the divine sage Narada came there to meet them affectionately. Yudhishthira, accompanied by his brothers honoured him and pleased him. Narada felt very happy and asked Dharmaraja about matters regarding Dharma, Artha and Kama. He enquired him whether he had divided his time judiciously and following Dharma, Artha and Kama accordingly; whether,
after considering his and foe’s relative strengths, he was taking proper of the fourteen possessions (such as country, forts, cars, elephants, cavalry, foot-soldiers etc.) with the help of the six royal attributes (viz, cleverness of speech, readiness in providing means, intelligence in dealing with the foe, memory, and acquaintance with morals and politics), and the seven means (viz., sowing dissensions, chastisement, conciliation, gifts, incantations, medicine and magic); whether he was employing a singly learned man by giving in exchange thousand fools. He advised that if rations and salary are delayed, the troops become angry which causes great misfortune. He asked whether the king was taking care of the families of those who died or faced great dangers for his sake; whether every day his accountants put before him in the forenoon the income and expenditure statement; whether the farmers in his kingdom were satisfied; whether he slept only in the first two quarters of night, and got up in the third quarter to reflect on Dharma and Artha. that
On hearing the words of Narada, Yudhishthira bowed to him and promised he would act on his word only. His wise counsel had indeed enlightened him. He then followed the words of Narada and his kingdom spread up to the ocean. Thus this chapter presents the principles of polity.
Yudhishthira praised Narada for his advice, and asked him whether he had seen before an assembly hall like the one built by Maya. Narada replied in a sweet voice that never before in the world of the mortals he did either see or hear of such a palace. And when Dharmaraja requested him to describe the celestial palaces, he gave a description of the palaces of Indra, Yama, Varuna, Kubera and Brahma, and said that he saw them all in the previous ages, and the palace of Dharmaraja was the best on the earth. Then Yudhishthira asked Narada why he mentioned only king Harischandra among the royal seers in the assembly hall of Indra. What was the greatness of Harischandra by which he competed even with Indra? He further questioned whether he saw his father Pandu in the world of the manes and how he did meet him and what he said to him. He said that he was eager to listen all the details about that.
Narada started describing the merits of Harischandra, and said that that king became both resplendent and famous by virtue of the blessings he received from the Brahmins that were satisfied with the charity of the king. Hence he was given the place of honour in the court of Indra. A king who performs the Rajsuya sacrifice will stay with Indra happily. Your father who was astonished at the prosperity of Harischandra, came to know that I was visiting the earth, and sent a message to you through me in which he asked you to perform the Rajsuya sacrifice as you were capable of defeating all the kings on the earth. As a result he also would like Harischandra stay for a long time in the palace of Indra merrily. And having advised Yudhishthira to fulfil the desire of his father, Narada took leave of him, and went to Dwarka, accompanied by the sages. Later Yudhishthira consulted with his brothers regarding the performance of Rajsuya.
This Parva contains 7 chapters and 265 verses. In order to fulfil the desire of his father Pandu, Yudhishthira decided to perform the Rajsuya sacrifice and was involved in its arrangements. In addition to that he thought of Dharma and the welfare of all the worlds also. By virtue of his public welfare measures, he became Ajatasatru. All his ministers agreed to his proposal of the performance of the Rajsuya sacrifice. Then he consulted with his brothers, priests, ministers, Dhaumya and Vyasa again and again. Everyone was of the opinion that Yudhishthira was eligible to perform the sacrifice. Then he sought the advice of Sri Krishna. Having received the word through a messenger Indrasena that Yudhishthira wanted to see him, Krishna himself had arrived in Indraprastha along with the emissary. Dharmaraja asked Krishna to make a final decision about Rajsuya.
Krishna said that Yudhishthira being endowed with all the virtues was qualified to perform the sacrifice. Even though the king knew everything, still he wanted to tell him that it was the convention that whoever defeats the whole world will be known as an Emperor. Just then Jarasandha became an emperor having defeated all the kings. Now the whole world was under his control. Sisupala became his commander-inchief of army. Hamsa and Dimbhaka, who were equal to the gods in strength, took refuge with Jarasandha. Together the three could face even the three worlds. However, when a king named Hamsa was killed by Balarama during a battle, Dimbhaka thought that it was his brother who died and jumped into the river Yamuna, and committed suicide. Then Hamsa also jumped into the river and died. Dejected at the death of those two, Jarasandha returned to his capital. Krishna said that as long as Jarasandha was alive, Yudhishthira could not complete successfully the Rajsuya.
Jarasandha had kept under custody a number of kings. And if at all Yudhishthira wanted to perform the sacrifice, he should first try to release the kings from prison by killing Jarasandha. Having heard Krishna’s words, Yudhishthira said that Krishna was their authority for everything. Then Bhima said that even a weak person could defeat a strong enemy with the help of proper planning. Krishna had intelligence, and he himself had strength, and Arjuna had the might of success. Hence the three together could accomplish the task of destroying Jarasandha. Krishna agreed to that and said that they could kill Jarasandha in the battle. But Dharmaraja was discouraged and said that it was very difficult to perform Rajsuya. Hence it was better if they dropped the idea of performing it. But the excited Arjuna said that in that case they would get the saffron robes of the peace loving mendicants. But as they were not cowards, they would fight with their enemies. Sri Krishna supported Arjuna saying that according to the rules of polity, it was the duty of the warriors to attack their foes. Then he related the story of the birth of Jarasandha in reply to Yudhishthira’s enquiry. There was a king named Brihadratha in the country of Magadha. He married the twin daughters of the king of Kasi. He was unhappy, as he was issueless. One day he heard that sage Chanda Kausika had come. The king visited the sage along with his queens and expressed his feelings to him. The sage uttered magical chants and presented him a mango fruit that fell at that moment in his lap, and gave him the boon of progeny. After some time, his queens delivered a half-formed baby each. The frightened queens threw both the pieces outside.
A Rakshasi named Jara joined the pieces together to carry them easily. On the joining of the pieces, a boy was formed. The Rakshasi took human form and returned the boy to the king. She introduced herself and said that she was just an instrument in the act of joining the pieces. She advised the king to perform the necessary rites for the boy. She further said that the boy would become popular with her name. Having said this she disappeared. Later, having made Jarasandha the crown prince, Brihadratha retired to the forests with his two wives. As Krishna killed his nephew Kamsa, he became the enemy of Jarasandha.
- Jarasandha-vadha Parva
There are 5 chapters and 280 verses in this section. Krishna told Dharmaraja that Jarasandha had become weak as Hamsa, Dimbhaka and Kamsa died. This was the proper time to kill him. He should be conquered in a duel. Along with Bhima and Arjuna, he (Krishna) would meet him in solitude. He would surely opt for a combat with Bhima. And Bhima was capable of killing him all alone. He asked Yudhishthira to send Bhima and Arjuna with him if he had belief in him. Yudhishthira accepted and said that Krishna was their saviour. And if he were to be with Arjuna and Bhima, the task would be accomplished. Satisfied with the words of Yudhishthira, the threesome of Krishna, Bhima and Arjuna started for Magadha. On seeing those three, Yudhishthira became confident that Jarasandha would be killed. The three of them attired themselves as Brahmins observing the vow of Snataka and entered the city of Magadha. The citizens of the city were surprised on seeing them. They went to the presence of Jarasandha with an air of egotism. He received them cordially. Criticizing the odd behaviour of the Brahmins in Snataka attire, Jarasandha questioned them on their breaking the peak of a hillock, entering the city through the improper gate etc.
Krishna said that all the three castes of Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas would take up the vow of Snataka. The strength of a Kshatriya lies in his shoulders. If he wanted to witness it, he could do so. A Kshatriya should enter the house of an enemy through the back door only. They came here on some purpose. They could not receive honour from an enemy. Surprised at the words of Krishna, Jarasandha asked what animosity they bore towards him. They had mistakenly thought of him as their enemy. Then Krishna replied that only one noble person protects the whole family. They being the followers of Dharma came to punish him on his order. He revealed that they were not Brahmins. His two companions were Bhima and Arjuna, the sons of Pandu, and he was his enemy Krishna. Having said this he invited Jarasandha for a combat. Jarasandha refused to let go the princes he jailed in order to sacrifice them to the gods, and was prepared to fight with the three of them. Prompted by Sri Krishna, he chose Bhima to be his opponent in combat. The excited Bhima came forward to fight at the command of Sri Krishna. Both of them made thunderous sounds while fighting with each other. Krishna encouraged Bhima to kill Jarasandha. Then Bhima caught hold of Jarasandha’s leg with one hand and par.ed him into two halves. Having disposed of his dead body at the main gate of the alace, the three of them went to the prison and freed the princes. Having seated Bhima and Arjuna in Jarasandha’s chariot called Sodaryavan, Krishna himself drove it out of the city of Girivraja. Sahadeva, the son of Jarasandha led by the priests and accompanied by ministers and servants went out of the city and took refuge with Sri Krishna. Later he performed the last rites to his father with the permission of Krishna. Bhima and Arjuna, along with the imprisoned kings came back to their city safely. Yudhishthira became very happy and decided to start the Rajsuya sacrifice. Krishna took leave of Yudhishthira and went to Dwaraka.
- Digvijaya Parva
This contains 8 chapters and 389 verses. Arjuna wanted to defeat all the kings and collect taxes from them to increase their wealth. So he requested for permission from his brother Yudhishthira to set out on a march of victory towards the north, the quarter ruled by Kubera. Arjuna’s decision was hailed by Sage Vyasa. He said that Arjuna should go towards the north, Bhima towards east, Sahadeva to the south and Nakula towards west on victory march. The Pandavas followed his word. Yudhishthira stayed back at Khandavaprastha. Asked by Janamejaya, Vaisampayana narrated the victory march of the Pandavas. The four sons of Kunti went on to conquer the four directions of the earth at the same time, and having returned to Indraprastha with great wealth, presented all that to Dharmaraja.
- Rajsuya Parva
There are 3 chapters and 104 verses in this section. King Yudhishthira was ruling the earth in a righteous way along with his brothers. During his reign, there was never any word of any calamity. As he had sufficient wealth, he wanted to perform the Rajsuya sacrifice. Krishna arrived there with different valuable gifts of gems etc., leading a large army. Yudhishthira sought permission from Sri Krishna to perform the Rajsuya sacrifice along with his brothers. Having described the merits of that great sacrifice, Krishna remarked that Dharmaraja was entitled to be an emperor, and he should hence take the vow of the performance to make their desires fulfilled. Thus permitted by Krishna, Dharmaraja, along with his brothers, started to collect the required material for the sacrifice. The responsibility of supervising the arrangements had been entrusted to Sahadeva and other ministers. Later, Vyasa brought many priests. They were just the embodiments of the Veda. Vyasa himself acted as the honourable headpriest Brahma for the sacrifice. Yajnavalkya was the officiating priest Adhvaryu.
At the command of Yudhishthira, Sahadeva sent messengers to all the kingdoms to invite people belonging to the four castes. The Brahmins who gathered there made Yudhishthira take the vow at an auspicious time. By the order of separate quarters had been constructed for each of them. The sacrifice of Yudhishthira started on the earth like that of Indra in the heaven. Later Yudhishthira sent Nakula to Hastinapura to invite Bhisma, Drona, Dhritharashtra, Vidura, Kripa, Duryodhana and other brothers. Nakula went to Hastinapura and invited every one with enthusiasm. Bhisma, Dhritharashtra, Duryodliana and others attended the sacrifice. At that time that place shone like the heaven filled with the celestial beings. Dharmaraja, who was under the vow, welcomed them all and assigned different responsibilities to each of them. Sri Krishna himself washed the feet of the Brahmins. Dussasana was appointed to supervise the edibles, Aswatthama was given the responsibility of honouring the Brahmins, Sanjay was asked to take care of the royalty, and Bhisma and Drona were made in charge of seeing what was done and what was left undone. Everyone was pleased and felt happy during the sacrifice.
- Arghabhiharana Parva
This section has 4 chapters Abhishechaniya rite, which was an important part of the sacrifice, the honourable sages and the Brahmins entered the place of sacrifice along with the kings. Narada was pleased with the prosperity of Dharmaraja and his performance of the sacrifice. He thought to himself that Lord Narayana himself took birth in the race of the Kshatriyas to destroy his enemies. He ordered all the celestials to take birth on the earth, and after accomplishing their tasks, to return to heaven by killing one another among themselves Having passed such an order, he himself took birth in the family of the Yadus. Bhisma asked Yudhishthira to honor all the participants by offering arghya to them. When asked by Dharmaraja, Bhisma recommended Sri Krishna for the first worship (agrapuja). Thus commanded by him, Sahadeva offered arghya to Sri Krishna according to the rules of the scriptures. But Sisupala could not bear this honor to Sri Krishna, Criticizing Bhisma and Yudhishthira, he started to chide Sri Krishna. Saying that Krishna was not eligible to receive such an honor, rebuking him in many ways, he got up from his seat and was prepared to go out, followed by his companions. Then king Yudhishthira ran to Sisupala and saying that his conduct was improper, tried to stop him. Bhisma then declared that Sri Krishna alone was to be worshipped by all. He told Yudhishthira that if anyone was not willing to accept that, there was no need to implore him. Sri Krishna was honorable not only to them but to the three worlds. The universe is established in Krishna completely. Then he turned to Sisupala and said that it was improper to behave thus with Krishna. He who is foremost in knowledge alone will be honored among the Brahmins. Among the Kshatriyas, the strongest will be honored.
Among the Vaishyas the richest in wealth and grains one is to be respected among the Sudras. As Krishna was well versed in the Vedas and their ancillary texts, and also was the strongest of all, there was no one else worthy of honor. On listening him, Dharmaraja requested him to explain in order the incarnations and stories of Sri Krishna. Bhisma then narrated the deeds of Krishna briefly. Sri Krishna was in the form of Narayana previously. He is self-born and the great grandfather of all the worlds. He first created the waters. Then he created Brahma in them. The fourfaced Brahma created the worlds. At the time of the great deluge, everything will recede into Him. Narayana alone will remain. Once upon a time, Narayana killed the Rakshasas Madhu and Katiabha by placing them on his lap, as per their desire. The fat that came out of their boies spread all over this earth. From then onwards, this earth was called Medini. Bhisma then went on to describe the incarnations of Varaha, Nrisimha, Vamana, Dattatreya, Parasurama, Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, and Kalki.
Having described all this, he said that if Sisupala felt that this worship to Krishna was undeserved, he could do whatever he wanted to do, and then he kept quiet. Sahadeva, the son of Madri gave a choice to those who did not accept the honor to Krishna, and completed the honor of offering arghya to Krishna. As the worship was completed, Sisupala became livid with rage and encouraged the kings for a confrontation. A few of the kings who took offence to the words of Sahadeva vowed that they would not allow the coronation of Dharmaraja or the gratification of the honor to Krishna. By that Krishna understood that those kings were prepared for a fight.
This has 6 chapters and 252 verses. On seeing that some kings were preparing for fight, the agitated Dharmaraja asked Bhisma the ways to pacify them. Bhisma asked him not to worry as a dog can never kill a lion. They had already chosen the auspicious path. Sisupala, the king of Chedi, who lost his reasoning power, was acting like a lion only to send the kings to the city of Yama. Like dogs before a sleeping lion, these kings were barking but only till Sri Krishna would get up like the sleeping lion. On hearing these words of Bhisma, Sisupala reproached him with harsh words. He addressed Bhisma as one who sullied the name of the family and asked him why an old man like him was not ashamed of his deed. He could not give counsel as he was in the third state. He did not know any Dharma. Then he related the story of the old swan and said that like that swan he would be killed by all the kings. Because of him even the Pandavas stepped out of the path of virtue, and as a result considered the deeds of Krishna rightful. The mighty Bhima raged with fury at the words of Sisupala. He wanted to jump on to Sisupala. But Bhisma caught hold of him and pacified him in many ways. Sisupala, however, did not care for Bhima. Then Bhisma narrated the birth of Sisupala. In the family of the king of Chedi, a boy was born with four arms and three eyes. His parents were terrified and shivered on seeing him. They wanted to abandon him. Then a voice from the sky was heard to the effect that in whose lap the boy would lose his extra hands and on seeing whom his extra eye would recede into his forehead, that very person would be the cause of death for the boy. On hearing about that freak child, every king on the earth came to see him.
- SISUPALA-VADHA PARVA
The king of Chedi placed the boy on everyone’s lap. Having heard this news in Dwarka, Krishna and Balarama went to the city of Chedi to meet their aunt, Srutasrava, the sister of their father Vasudeva. Srutasrava put her child in the lap of Sri Krishna with affection. Immediately, the two extra of the boy fell onto the floor. The third eye receded into the forehead. His mother Srutasrava was frightened and beseeched Krishna to spare his son’s life. She requested him to forgive his offenses. Then Krishna gave the boon that he would forgive one hundred offenses. Sisupala became doubly angry at the words of Bhisma. He told Bhisma if, at all he wanted to praise, he could extol some great chariot-warrior like Karna instead of Krishna. He further said that there lived on the other side of the Himalayas a bird called Bhulinga which always uttered words of adverse import. It used to say not to take up any risk. But it always would do imprudent tasks. That fool would pick up with its beak the pieces of flesh sticking between the teeth of a lion when the latter was eating. It would surely perish. Addressing Bhisma as an unrighteous one, he compared him with that bird. In reply to those harsh words of Sisupala, Bhisma remarked that he considered all those kings as a blade of grass. On listening to that many kings rose up in anger.
Sisupala then invited Sri Krishna for a fight. Sri Krishna counted the offenses of Sisupala for the sake of all the kings gathered there. He said that he behaved reprehensibly with him in front of everyone. He could not forgive him. On hearing the words of Sri Krishna, all the kings reproached Sisupala, who started to insult Krishna again. Then Krishna thought of his Sudarsana disc in his mind. Immediately it appeared in his hand. He then told all those kings that he would forgive only one hundred offenses of Sisupala. And they were over then. Hence he would kill him then. Saying so, Krishna cut the head of Sisupala with his disc. A light emanated from the body of Sisupala bowed to Krishna and entered into him. Yudhishthira installed the son of Sisupala the throne of Chedi. In the end, Yudhishthira told the sages that his sacrifice wa completed by their power only. His desire was fulfilled. When the sacrifice was over Krishna went back to Dwarka. Duryodhana and Sakuni, the son of Subala were in the divine assembly hall.
- DYUTA PARVA
There are 28 chapters and 889 verses in this Parva. After the sacrifice was over Vyasa, accompanied by his disciples, came to Yudhishthira. The latter honored him and said unto him that Narada had apprised him of the three types of portents namely the celestial, atmospheric and terrestrial. Heenquired whether they ended with the fa of Sisupala. Vyasa replied that the consequences of such portents would last for thirteer years. The omens observed at that time could destroy all the Kshatriyas. Further, he predicted that making Dharmaraja the sole cause, all the kings would fight among themselves and perish. Having said this, he went to Kailasha with his disciples Dharmaraja felt dejected on listening to that and resolved not to act or speak harshly with anyone. The other Pandavas followed his example. After performing the required auspicious rites, Yudhishthira, accompanied by his ministers, entered the city Duryodhana and Sakuni continued to stay in the palace. Duryodhana, who was astonished at the marvellous designs of the mansion, went round that building, and at one place where the surface was laid with crystals, mistook it for water, and drew up his clothes. Dismayed by his confusion, he wandered in another part of the building Afterwards, once he fell though it was an even surface. And again mistaking a ponc filled with crystal like clear water and adorned with crystal lotuses for land, he fell into it with his clothes. Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, Sahadeva and other servants laughed at his confusion.
Duryodhana could not bear their laughter. He took leave of Yudhishthira and went to Hastinapura with an afflicted heart. Sinful thoughts arose in the mind of Duryodhana who was envious of the prosperity of the Pandavas. Questioned by Sakuni he revealed the cause of his grief to him, and asked him to convey it to Dhritharashtra. Sakuni advised him not to get jealous of Yudhishthira. The latter was only enjoying his fortune. Duryodhana also could conquer the whole world with the help of Drona and others. Asked for a plar. to defeat the Pandavas, Sakuni comforted Duryodhana by telling him to invite Yudhishthira for a game of dice. Sakuni boasted about himself that he was an expert in playing with dice, and there was no other master of dice like him in the three worlds. Then Duryodhana requested him to tell Dhritharashtra all that. Sakun. conveyed the news of the grief of Duryodhana to Dhritharashtra. Asked by his father for the cause of his grief, Duryodhana started to give an account of the prosperity of the Pandavas. And he asked his father to invite Yudhishthira for a game of dice with Sakuni. Dhritharashtra replied that he would take a decision after consulting Vidura his learned counsellor. Then Duryodhana threatened that if Dhritharashtra would not do as he asked, he would kill himself. The doting Dhritharashtra conceded, and having passed an order for building a mansion sent a messenger to fetch Vidura. Vidura tried his best to stop the dice-play, but in vain. Dhritharashtra said that he believed in the power of fate. By the divine wish only this dice-game was going to be conducted. Having listened to it the depressed Vidura went to Bhisma.
After listening to Vidura, Dhritharashtra advised Duryodhana to drop the plans of dice-game. But Duryodhana did not agree. He said that he was laughed at by Bhima, Sri Krishna, Arjuna and Draupadi also when he was confused in the Maya’s mansion. He further said that he was hit on the forehead when he mistook an artificial door for a real one and tried to go through. Then Nakula and Sahadeva ridiculed him. That was a sad thing for him. Then he described the various articles received by Yudhishthira as gifts. He also told about the many kings who attended the sacrifice. Dhritharashtra tried to convince Duryodhana. But Duryodhana was not convinced, and on the other hand he tried to provoke Dhritharashtra. Sakuni supported the dice-game and encouraged the construction of the dice-hall. Dhritharashtra agreed to his son’s advice, and ordered the workers to build a hall to be named as toransphatika. Accordingly, the masons built the hall within a short time. On receiving the word that the hall was completed, Dhritharashtra ordered Vidura to bring Dharmaraja to him. Again Vidura tried to dissuade the king from doing such a thing but failed. But at Dhritharashtra’s strict command, he went to the city of the Pandavas and met Dharmaraja. After accepting their welcome, he conveyed the invitation of Dhritharashtra and added that the king got a hall similar to Maya Sabha constructed. He desired that all the brothers should gather there to play a game of dice. Reluctantly Dharmaraja accepted that invitation. The next day Dharmaraja set out for Hastinapura along with his brothers, relatives, servants, Draupadi and other womenfolk.
During the journey, Vidura revealed to Yudhishthira of the motive behind the dice-game. Yudhishthira met Bhisma, Drona, Dhritharashtra and others at Hastinapura. Having spent the night there, he finished his daily chores in the morning and went to the dice-hall. Sakuni invited him for a game of dice. Yudhishthira knew that people like Sakuni gambled deceitfully. Still he had to agree. In reply to his question, Duryodhana said that Sakuni would play on his behalf and he himself would put all types of gems as stake. The game started. Sakuni won all the stakes. Yudhishthira lost all his treasure. Seeing that the game was being played very harshly, Vidura told Dhritharashtra that in the form of Duryodhana jackal was living in his house. He seemed not to understand it. Maddened with gambling, Duryodhana was becoming the cause of a great calamity. For the welfare of the worlds, it is better to abandon a son who is on the wrong path. Having advised him thus he said that if ordered, Arjuna could arrest him. Then both the Kouravas and the Pandavas could live happily. As he spoke thus against the dicegame, Duryodhana started to rebuke him. Then Vidura said that in this world one can find people who speak agreeably. But it is impossible to find one who speaks unpalatable but useful words, or one who listens to such words. Duryodhana could do what he wanted to. He would not interfere.
Yudhishthira lost all his property in the dice-game. Then he put his brothers and at last himself as his stake, and lost. Then he staked Draupadi. Then all the aged persons that were in the assembly expressed their disapproval with the words of ‘Fie!’ ‘Fie! On seeing it Vidura bent his head and fell as if unconscious. Sakuni, the son of Subala won her also. Duryodhana ordered Vidura to fetch Draupadi and made her sweep the assembly hall and also to tell her to live with the servants. Vidura said that Draupad could never become a slave as Dharmaraja lost his right to stake her as he lost himself first.
Duryodhana however disregarded Vidura, and instructed the Pratikami to bring Draupadi to the assembly. Accordingly, the Pratikami went to Draupadi and told her that Duryodhana had won her in the game of dice. And he had come on his orders to fetch her to make her do menial work. During her many questions to the assembly through him, Draupadi asked him to go to the assembly and enquire the noble present there as to what she should do then. Pratikami returned to the assembly and put the question. Knowing the resolution of Duryodhana, every one bent his head and sat silently. Then Yudhishthira sent a message to Draupadi through a messenger asking her to come to the assembly in whatever condition she might have been in, and stand before her father-in-law weeping. His idea was that on seeing Draupadi entering the assembly hall, everyone will rebuke Duryodhana mentally. Then Duryodhana ordered Pratikami to bring Draupadi to the assembly.
On seeing his hesitation, Duryodhana instructed Draupadi. When Dussasana tried to catch her, Draupadi ran bitterly weeping towards the ladies of Duryodhana. But he seized her by locks and dragged her to the assembly hall. On seeing the plight of Draupadi, Bhimasena became extremely anguished, and got up angrily looking at Yudhishthira. Arjuna somehow pacified him. Having observed the distress of Draupadi, Vikarna, one of the sons of Dhritharashtra, said presenting a matter related to Dharma that as Dharmaraja lost himself first, and then put Draupad as stake, the latter should not be considered as won. But Karna opposed him, and asked Dussasana to disrobe Draupadi. When Dussasana started to remove her clothes, she began to utter the name of Govinda for protection. Sri Krishna remaining unseen covered her with different clothes. Then Bhima took an angry oath that he would drink the blood of Dussasana, tearing open in battle the latter’s chest. Having dragged and dragged many clothes, Dussasana sat down tired and ashamed. Vidura asked those assembled to answer Draupadi’s question. But no one said anything. When Draupad. requested for justice from those present there, Duryodhana asked her to leave that question to her husbands Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva. If they refused to give Dharmaraja the authority of staking her, then she would be released from slavery When Bhima got angry at his words, Bhisma, Drona and Vidura mollified him. Karna told Draupadi that from that day onwards all the sons of Dhritharashtra were her Kunti. He asked her to choose one of them as her husband Duryodhana asked Yudhishthira to answer Draupadi’s questions, and having uncovered his left thigh showed to her. Then Bhima took the oath that he would break that thigh of Duryodhana in battle.
Arjuna asked the Kouravas to decide whose master Yudhishthira was, having lost himself in gambling. At that time a jackal entered the fire-house of Dhritharashtra and started to cry loudly. On hearing it, donkeys and fearsome birds also started to make inauspicious sounds. Then both Gandhari and Vidura appealed to Dhritharashtra about it. On hearing their words, the king considered Duryodhana as an offender and told Draupadi to ask for boons. Then as her first boon she asked for the release of Dharmaraja, and as her cond boon she obtained the release of the other Pandavas.
She refused to ask for the third boon even though Dhritharashtra wanted to grant it. Dhritharashtra allowed Yudhishthira to go to Indraprastha along with his brothers and Draupadi. He asked him to forget the whole episode. Having accepted it, Yudhishthira went to Indraprastha, accompanied by his brothers and Draupadi.
- Anudyuta Parva
This Parva contains 8 chapters and 360 verses. With the permission of Dhritharashtra, Yudhishthira, collecting his wealth, set out for Indraprastha. Coming to know of this, Duryodhana, Karna, and Sakuni, having resolved to take revenge on the Pandavas, went to Dhritharashtra. Duryodhana told his father that they desired to gamble once more with the Pandavas on the condition of going to forest. The defeated should retire to the forest, attired in deerskin, and stay there for twelve years. In the thirteenth year they should live incognito. If they were to be discovered, they should again live in the forests for 12 years. Dhritharashtra accepted his son’s proposal. But Drona, Somadutta, Bahika, Kripa, Vidura, Aswatthama, Yuyutsu, Bhuristavas, Bhisma and Vikarna opposed Duryodhana’s idea. But the doting father Dhritharashtra sent for the Pandavas. The virtuous Gandhari also advised the king to abandon the for the sake of the family. Dhritharashtra answered that even if the family were to be destroyed, he could not restrain Duryodhana. By his order the Pratikami went to Yudhishthira who was going towards Indraprastha, and told him that Dhritharashtra instructed him to return for another game of dice. Yudhishthira said that that invitation for gambling would be the cause of destruction of their family, still he could not go against his order. Saying so, Yudhishthira returned with his brothers to gamble again. Later, another round of dice game went on with the above-mentioned conditions, and Yudhishthira lost again. As per the conditions, the Pandavas, wearing deerskin, took the forestdwelling vow and prepared to go to woods. Then Dussasana, jeered at Draupadi speaking insultingly, and encouraged her to choose one of the Kouravas as her husband. The angry Bhima repeated his oath of piercing the chest of Dussasana. When Duryodhana also laughed at them, he said that he would kill Duryodhana in the battle of Pandavas and Kouravas. Arjuna would slay Karna. Sahadeva would kill Sakuni. Nakula took the oath of killing all those sons of Dhritharashtra who insulted Draupadi. Accepting Vidura’s request, Kunti stayed in his house. Having bowed to Bhisma and Drona, and having taken leave of Kunti, Yudhishthira went to the woods along with his brothers and Draupadi. Vidura took Kunti to his house. Dhritharashtra also was upset over the sinful deeds of his sons. In reply to his question, Vidura described the mental state of the Pandavas and the citizers. Drona said that after completing their stay in the woods, Pandavas would return and take revenge on Kouravas without fail. On hearing the words of Drona, Dhritharashtra overcame with grief, and sent Vidura to bring the Pandavas back. Sanjaya criticized the misdeeds of Dhritharashtra. The latter told Sanjaya that he did not want a fight with the Pandavas as they were stronger than the Kouravas. So he requested him to see that peace prevailed between the two sides.
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