Vikarna’s observations were, however, absolutely unpalatable to one among the wicked gang of four (Duryodhana, Dusshaasana, Shakuni and Karna) namely Karna. Karna was provoked by the praise showered by the respectable ones and by the criticism leveled against his colleague Shakuni. Overcoming by his anger, he admonished Vikarna, raising his handsome hand in the process.
“O Vikarna!” he said “Your words have given rise to opposing groups and unwarranted issues. Just as the two pieces of wood rubbed against each other will enkindle fire for a homa or yagna and burn the very wood pieces, you are proving yourself to be the destroyer of the Kaurava clan in which you were born. The very great ones who adorned this assembly have remained silent and not responded to Draupadi’s begging question. The silence worn by them proves beyond doubt that the daughter of Drupada has been won over through lawful means. Although you are too young and immature, you are speaking as if you are ripe with age. Being a younger brother of Duryodhana, you are yet to understand the ramifications of dharma. For, although Draupadi has been rightly won, like an ignorant one, you are saying she has not been won.”
“Vikarna” continued Karna, “how are you ever justified in opining that she has not been won. Yudhishtira staked all the material things and objects of pleasure at the game of dice. Is not Draupadi also one of pleasurable things belonging to Yudhishtira? Shakuni even reminded him that Draupadi remained an unstaked item. Yudhishtira promptly gave his consent, staked Draupadi and lost. Inspite of this, how can you say she has not been won?”
“Do you think” continued Karna, “that it is not proper to have brought her to this assembly as she was through her menstrual period and clad in a single piece of cloth? Even this is irreproachable in all respects and I shall tell you the reasons.”
“It is a universally accepted factor that a woman can have one husband. But opposed to the general social code, she has five husbands. Hence she merits the appellation of bandhaki. Thus, in respect of one who is a non-adherent of the moral code and transgressor, there is nothing strange or unrighteous about bringing her to this hall though clad in a single piece or denuding her of her attire. The whole of Pandavas, Draupadi along with Pandavas themselves have been rightfully captured by Shakuni on behalf of Duryodhana.”
“O Dusshaasana,” said Karna turning towards him. “There is no point whatsoever in sitting here to listen to Vikarna’s words. He might have talked like an adult but he is just a boy. There is therefore no reason to give importance to his utterances. You pull out the clothes of Pandavas and the sari of Draupadi at once, as they have become slaves.
The moment Pandavas heard these words of Karna, they themselves removed their respective upper garments and threw them at a distance.
In the very presence of all those who had assembled there, Dusshaasana started to pull the only sari Draupadi had wrapped herself with. Dusshaasana was firmly holding a weak Draupadi’s sari and pulling it. How long could she resist his strong pull? Moreover, she had no confidence whatsoever that her husbands would come to her rescue and protection and save her from being shamed.
In a few moments, Dusshaasana would, in the presence of all the refined in the assembly, make her bereft of her only belonging – the sari that covered her body. How could she save herself from it? How could she escape honourably from the clutches of the wicked one?
The great Lord Krishna, ocean of kindness, protector of the world, the in-dweller of all, suddenly flashed across Draupadi’s mental path. At once she offered prayers to Sri Krishna with singular devotion and concentration.
“O Govinda!” she said within herself. “Dwarakanatha! O Krishna! O Gopala! O Keshava! Haven’t you come to know that the Kauravas have started putting me to public shame? Lakshmipathi! Vajranatha! Ramaanatha! Destroyer of the cry of distress! Janardhana! Save me from sinking in the sinful ocean of the Kauravas! O Krishna! Krishna! Krishna! Mahaayogeeswara! Viswaatmaa! Vishwabhaavana! I am virtually denuded of all my strength in the midst of the Kurus, protect me as I have totally surrendered myself to you.”
“Govinda Dwaarakaavaasin Krishna Gopijanapriya,
Kauravaihi paribhutaam maam kim no jaanaasi Keshava
He Natha He Ramaanaatha Vajranaathaartinaashana.
Kauravaarnavamagnaam maamuddharasva Janaardana
Krishna Krishna Mahaayogin-Vishwaatman-Vishwabhaavana,
Prapannaam paahi Govinda Kurumadhye-avaseedateem”
(Sabha Parva, Ch.68, Sl. 41-43)
With the kind of surrender and prayer without a parallel covering her face and crying, Draupadi begged of Sri Krishna and prayed to the Lord of the three worlds.
The Lord heard her groan and prayer at once. Sri Krishna’s mind melted at her miserable plight. The personification of kindness, Sri Krishna got up from his seat and instantly reached the assembly hall where he heard the cries of Draupadi, “Krishna Hare! Vishno! Narottama! and the like. In a tone saturated with emotion and whispering voice calling for Sri Krishna’s help for protection at a time when her shame was in immediate store, her honour at stake and personal prestige in jeopardy.
The dharma lord, the greatest among the great, Sri Krishna, remaining invisible, blessed Draupadi and with his divine powers, covered her body with many a vivid sari.
As she had lost herself in contemplation of Lord Krishna, the grip she had on the sari was also lost. That helped Dusshaasana to pull her sari with extraordinary ease and alacrity. However as he had imagined ignorantly, Draupadi did not become denuded of her sari. The moment he pulled out one sari, he and everyone could see there was another sari wrapped on her body. She continued to cry, “Krishna, Krishna”, Dusshaasana pulled out tens of them with enthusiasm making loud gestures in the process.
He pulled out ten, hundred and a thousand sarees. Draupadi was not bereft of attire. On witnessing this amazing phenomenon unknown in the past, all the kings who had assembled there proclaimed, “Victory to Draupadi!” cries of condemnation of Dusshaasana were also heard in some quarters.
Bhima’s anger from Dusshaasana’s wicked act and wrong doing was irresistible. He could not contain it. Naturally as it comes to the surface one could see his lips moving violently and his eyes becoming red. Rubbing his palms against each other, and with a thundering voice, he called upon those who had assembled to witness a terrible vow.
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