Duryodhana, rendered indiscreet by the flush of victory lost even the modicum of mental balance and commanded Vidura to undertake an unpleasant task.
“Vidura!” he said to him, “Go at once and bring Draupadi, the love of Pandavas. Let her sweep the floor of the house and keep it clean. That unfortunate one shall live among our slave women henceforth.”
This was beyond anybody’s limit of tolerance. And of all people how much it was repugnant to Vidura’s conscience and mental metabolism! Duryodhana’s pride had masked his perceptions.
“Dull-headed Duryodhana!” said Vidura severely to his provocative words. “By using wicked words that can wound anybody’s feelings, you are trying to tie the noose around your neck yourself and becoming a prisoner of the irresistible spell of time. Do not forget that you are standing dangerously near the fury of flood or inundation. Like a calf trying to provoke a tiger you are inciting the Pandavas with insulting words.”
“The fully provoked cobras are swinging their heads over your head. Do not enrage them further and consign yourself to Yama’s abode.”
Vidura’s legal acumen
It was at this stage that Vidura brought a legal and technical objection to Duryodhana’s claim to Draupadi’s slavery. According to him, there was no question whatsoever of her becoming a slave of Kauravas. He brought about the subtlety of the argument.
“Yudhishtira”, Vidura argued, “having staked, lost himself to the game of dice and having become Dhrutarashtra’s slave, he had no residual right to stake Draupadi, as per my firm conviction. Hence Draupadi can never be your slave.”
Addressing the assembly, he said, “Duryodhana has acquired Pandava’s wealth in as hollow a way as the bamboo stick which is susceptible to collapse. This ignorant one does not know that these riches signify his ruinous end and that the game of dice heralds the great disaster besides engendering inevitable animosity of the Pandavas.”
“No one is supposed to use harsh words against others and cause them mental pain. None should employ treacherous methods like the despicable game of dice and try to conquer the enemies. No one should employ words of non-Vedic character or words that ensure consignment to hell. One should not hurt others feelings. If one hurls cruel words at or speaks daggers to others, the piercing process proves painful to them both day and night. It is for these reasons that the knowledgeable ones do not indulge in unedifying talk or unlikeable speech.”
“A goat swallowed a metallic weapon. It did not get into the stomach, nor did it come out. Then its owner put the animal flat on the floor and holding its head firmly pulled out the sharp iron weapon forcibly but only succeeded in cutting off its neck. In the same way, it is not possible to swallow the wealth of Pandavas. Beyond all shadow of doubt, they will get it back. Beware of your having to go to Yama loka then! Do not therefore develop animosity towards them and refrain from swallowing their wealth in this way.”
“The kind of expression of very low profile,“ proceeded Vidura, “that you indulge in, the Pandavas never do with anyone. Only men of low and a perfidious profile comparable to dogs go on with their barking. When they start barking, they throw discretion to the winds. In the same fashion, those identifiable with dogs, whether they are sanyasis, whether with a family or whether commanding great scholarship, will be indulging in braggadocio. But the Pandavas will not stoop to it.
“Cheating” observed Vidura, “is the gateway to hell and Dhrutharashtra’s son is unaware of this. In addition to him, Dusshaasana and other sons of Kuru are immersed in the deceptive art of the gamble. Naturally, everyone tends to follow him. The cork-like hollow bulbs of a vegetable may sink in water. Weighty stones may float in water. But this son of Dhrutharashtra will not listen to my words of advice having salutary effect.”
“It is obvious and definitely true that Duryodhana’s deed will account for the amazing end of the Kaurava clan. Being deaf to friendly advice and with the miserliness looming large every minute, the brink of total disaster does draw very near.”