Table of Contents
THE DICING EPISODE SUMMARY
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE DICING EPISODE:
The Mahabharata, the longest Sanskrit epic, is a story of two sets of paternal first cousin who became the bitter rivals with each other. The epic revolves around the struggle for the throne of Hastinapura. The two collateral branches of the family that participate in the struggle are the Kauravas and the Pandavas.
The Kauravas were collectively the hundred sons of the blind king Dhritarashtra and the Pandavas were the five sons of Pandu. The five brothers named Yudhistira (eldest son), Arjuna, Bhima, Nakula and Sahadeva were always obedient and dutiful. Draupadi was the common wife of the five Pandavas. The Kauravas behaved viciously and brutally towards the Pandavas in many ways. Their malice displayed itself when they took advantage of the eldest Pandava, Yudhistira in a game of dice.
Living in the new territory of Indraprastha, Yudhistira turns his poor land into a wealthy kingdom, and declaress himself King of Kings. Duryodhana, the eldest of the Kauravas, is jealous and humiliated on his visit to the magnificent palace. He mistakes a glass floor for a pool, then later falls into a pool thinking it is glass. Draupadi and Bhima laugh at him. He returns home bent on devising their destruction.
WORD NOTES / ANNOTATIONS ON THE TEXT :
Benisons: a blessing.
Dharma: The classical Sanskrit word dharma is a derivation from the root ‘dhra’, which means ‘to hold, maintain, keep’ and takes a meaning of ‘what is established or fir’, and hence ‘law’. Dharma is a word with any direct translation but it implies religion duty and righteousness.
Upajivya: the resource that sustains, enlivens or functions as a Itihasa: history
Lineage: direct descent from an ancestor; ancestry or pedigree.
Kin: one’s family and relations.
Oblations: a thing presented or offered to God or a god.
Siva: Siva is the patron god of literature and hence he himself is a study in the themes of birth-death-rebirth and love. His aspects and attributes are manifold and varied. He is delineated in more than one thousand names in the Mahabharata. He is the passionate husband of Parvati- bot ascetic and erotic. He is the lord of all creatures, and the greatest of the gods.
Invincible: too powerful to be vanquished.
Dismayed: cause (someone) to feel concern and distress.
Stake: this term uses stake in the sense of “something to gain or lose,” as in gambling.
Baronical law:law of or relating to a baron or the baronage/ stately Draupadi: Draupadi’s husbands were the five of the best men of the generation, in terms of glamour, might and handsomeness.
Prediction: fortune telling
Pandavas: Yudhishthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, Sahadeva
Kauravas: Kaurava is a Sanskrit term which refers to descendants of Kuru, a legendary king of India who is the ancestor of many of the characters of the epic Mahabharata. Usually, the term is used for the 100 sons of King Dhritarashtra and his wife Gandhari. Appease: pacify or placate (someone) by acceding to their demands. Steward: a person employed to look after the stately matters
AN OVERVIEW OF THE DICING EPISODE IN THE MAHABHARATA
Duryodhana follows the advice of his uncle, the cunning Sakuni, an infamous dice player, and invites Yudhistira to a game of dice. They know well that gambling is Yudhistira’s one weakness. Vidura is sent to invite the Pandavas to visit Hastinapura and play a dice gaine there. Yudhistira accepts the invitation. Both Dhritharashtra and Yudhistira ignore Vidura’s warning to avoid the game which may result to a destructive consequence. Sakuni was confidence that he could defeat Yudhistira easily and thus Duryodhana could fulfil his ill-motive of outdoing the Pandavas.
Before the dicing, a lot of discussions were there, but Yudhistira is obliged to play .But Sakuni comes in to play for Duryodhana. During the dicing event Yudhishtira stakes his wealth, Jewelry, Indprastha, and the belongings of his brothers one by one and looses one by one. Sakuni mocks and provokes Yudhistira at each stage and demands to stake. He thus looses his brothers Nakula, Sahadeva. The Sakuni mocks him that at best those are the stepbrothers he lost, butArjuna and Bhima are not so and he would not bet them.
This forces Yudhistira to stake Arjuna, and hid liberty at the stake as demanded by Sakuni. At this moment of his complete defeat including himself, Yudhistira is again mocked to stake Draupadi .Yudhistira stakes Draupadi and looses her also. There were strong reactions from the assembly when Yudhistira staked her. Draupadi questions the legality of staking her when she was forced and dragged in front of the assembly.
There were favouring reactions to her questions. Interestingly, Vikarna, a younger brother of Duryodhana, reacts in support of Draupadi. He says courageously that Yudhistara is enticed to play the game deeply plotted by Duryodhana and Sakuni. And that a lost Yudhistira has not the ri’t to stake Draupadi .The assembly supported him. But Karna silenced him,b by saying that he is too young before the others in that hall.
Duryodhana in the open court chides Druapadi and invites her to sit on his thigh, patting and baring his thigh. He orders Dussasana to disrobe her in front of the court. Dussasana begins to execute the act. But Draupadi cannot be stripped by the divine intervention. She is endowed with the divine grace of being in new dress to whatever extent the clothes are pulled by Dussasana .The strong Dussasana fails and becomes exhausted. The Assembly stands stunned at the miracle.
Bhima sends shivering signals by oath that he will tear open the Dussasana’s heart and drink the blood of him, and he shall break the thigh of the Duryodhana on which Draupadi was tauntingly invited to sit. The invincible Draupadi by the divine blessing made Dhritarashtra still more afraid of the Pandavas. He asks the pardon of Draupadi and releases all that was wom on the dicing events. Of course, dissatisfied at Dhritarashtra’s act Sakuni and Duryodhana once again plead before Dhritarashtra for another dice game with Yudhistira.
In thr second spell of dicing event, Yudhistira is again defeated and is forced to go on exile for 12 years. The condition is that they should live in forests and pass the 13th year disguise without being identified by anybody. If they are identified. by anybody during the period of disguise, they should repeat 12 years of exile in forest and the 13th year in disguise. Thus losers in the deceitful act of gambling, and insulted by Kauravas, the Pandavas started for their exile in forest. Vidura told Yudhistira to allow mother Kunthi to stay back as she was old and weak. Yudhistira agreed .Draupadi, however, accompanied her husbands to the forest.
Duryodhana became the de facto ruler of both Hastinapura and Indraprastha. The Pandavas are not alone in the forest but are followed by many loyal Brahmons and servants. The gods give them an inexhaustible supply of food for all of them. The Pandavas reached Kamyak forest and decided to rest there for a while .Krishna came to help them. After inquiring about their well-being, he advised Pandavas to be vigilant and not to lose heart. The ordeal they had to face was for their good. Good and bad experience are essential to get correct perspective and fulfillment of life.
Suffering and sorrow bring requisite feeling of renunciation essential toseek higher goal in life. The future of the Pandavas was determined by the game of dice. They had to undergo plight and suffering due to their defeat in the game. Yudhistira’s temptation brought about that unexpected consequence. His wife Draupadi and his younger brothers fell victims to the horrible experience and trauma. The tragic fact of the Kauravas was another consequence of the dicing game.
Gambling is an immortal ction. It most often favours the evils. The gamblers do not hesitate to adopt unfair means to win the game anyhow.A man with morality is likely to get defeated in gambling. The ultimate result of the game of dice id the bloody battle between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. The war of Kurukshetra fought between them brings about ultimate downfall of the Kauravas. The victory of the Pandavas symbolizes the victory of the victorious over the evil.
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