When both the Pandavas and Kauravas sat for the game, Shakuni, sporting a mischievous smile said to Yudhishtira, “Dharmaraja, the King has returned all your wealth which you lost last time. It is quite appropriate to see something which belonged to you being restored to you. Now, we are no longer interested in staking wealth in the game. We have decided to stake something which goes beyond that. If you beat us in the game, we renounce everything, put on deer’s skin and migrate to the forest for twelve years and thereafter live incognito in a city for a year. If during that one year period, you succeed in recognizing us, we go back to the forest for another term of twelve years and a year of city life recognized by none. In the same way, if you happen to lose, all the five of you accompanied by Draupadi should retire to the forest for twelve years and for a year’s disguised living. You will have to go back to the forest for an identical term if you are identified during the year of disguise. Either party completing the whole period without disqualification as to identification can get back to the kingdom and resume ruler ship.”
Not that Yudhishtira did not know what was in store for him. He was in a tight corner. Rejecting the offer would mean loss of face. He was equally aware of the outcome and gave his consent to play despite the impending danger.
As everyone knew, Shakuni won and his shouts of victory rent the air.
Dusshaasana’s dig at Draupadi
After hurling words of humiliation at the Pandavas, Dusshaasana turned towards Draupadi and said, “I have really got to pity her. The light of Somaka clan, Drupada, has committed the most serious crime in getting his daughter Draupadi married to Pandavas. For, these Pandavas are impotent. Can a bride be offered to an impotent? Hey, Draupadi! What kind of happiness can you derive from forest life with these Pandavas who have lost their kingdom and all their belongings, now clad as they are in deer’s skin? Instead, you can choose anyone here as your husband, marry him and be happy. Do not think that the Kuru leaders here are ordinary ones. They are all gifted with the quality of tolerance, have conquered the senses and endowed with all facets of wealth. If only you marry any one of them, don’t you think you can extricate yourself from all pangs of suffering you are certain to undergo till eternity by association with Pandavas. Do you know the present state of Pandu’s sons? Panchali! They are now like the empty shells of til-seeds; like dolls displayed after a cover resembling the human skin or like the husk separated from rice. Why do you wish to continue to serve the polluted Pandavas? Serving the Pandavas bereft of fortune and trying uselessly to extract oil from the extracted stuff are both alike – exercises in futility.”
Dusshasana’s dig at Draupadi, calculated to humiliate the Pandavas and Panchali, it is needless to mention, was sufficient to enrage even a spineless person on earth. His words were piercing like the sharp edge of a sword. The impact on the Pandavas in general and on Bheemasena in particular was beyond description. He leapt towards Dusshaasana like a lion of the Himalayan jungles and roared: “Despicable man! You are only repeating the words of the sinful and the wicked. What after all is your strength or valour? You have won today as a result of Shakuni’s deception. This has got into your head and with a swollen one you are indulging in loose talk. Just as you have caused intense pain in our hearts with arrows of sharp words today, I shall bring each of these words to your memory in the forthcoming war and put you to a gruelling death with my strong finger nails and I shall send all those who come in my way to the realm of death.”
Beyond this retort, Bheemasena could not do anything as he was imprisoned by bonds of dharma. He could not do anything without his eldest brother’s commands. On the other hand, as desired by Yudhishtira, he was getting himself ready to go to the forest, donning the deer’s skin. Dusshaasana had known Bheemasena’s helplessness and in the midst of the Kuru Kings he gave himself to indecent fits of laughter and danced with joy, calling Bheema an animal.