Inauspicious indications

Exactly at that time, the cries of a fox were audible from the place of sacrificial fires (homas) in Dhrutharashtra’s palace. Following this inauspicious sound, donkeys started braying. The birds made weird and awkward sounds in response. Both Vidura and Gandhari were able to understand the shape of things to come from the inauspicious indications. Bhishma, Drona and Kripa said, “Swasti”, after hearing unhappy notes. Gandhari and Vidura gave details of Dhrutharashtra of the forthcoming grave misfortune and the secrets ascribable to the fierce sounds.

Dhrutharashtra, overcome by fear, was shivering and cautioned Duryodhana against impending dangers. “Bad-minded Duryodhana!” he said, “You do not seem to have known that you are in the jaws of death, having put Draupadi, the great consort of the celebrated among us, to absolute shame.” The scolding did not come a bit sooner.

Dhrutharashtra thought to himself for a moment about the catastrophe in store and decided he should protect his children, relatives and friends from its spell. His concern was to pacify Panchali, who was the one most sinned against.

“Panchali!” he said to Draupadi,  “You are a Pativrata, steadfast in righteousness. You are great among my daughters-in-law. I like you immensely. Ask whatever boon you want, I shall give.

“Varamvrineeshcha Panchali matto yadabhivaanchaasi.

Vadhunaam hi vishishtaa mae tvam dharmaparamaasatee.”

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