How did Draupadi leave for the forest? How did Yudhishtira and his brothers migrate to the forest and what was their frame of mind? These were the questions that confronted Dhrutharashtra, son of Ambika, and for which he sought an answer from Vidura.
“Maharaja!” answered Vidura, “Yudhishtira had his face covered at the time of leaving with the cloth that normally adorns a man’s shoulder. Bhima frequently looked at his strong arms suggestive of what was in store for the enemies. Arjuna used to sprinkle sand all along the route to the forest, indicating the extraordinary facility and ease with which he would rain a shower of arrows. Sahadeva had his face painted to avoid publicity and prevent identification. The handsome Nakula had his face covered by dust to avoid attention and attraction of women. Draupadi had covered her face with the dishevelled hair and followed Dharmaraja crying all the time.”
Dhrutharashtra was keen on knowing the secret behind Pandavas’s gesture when they left Hastinapur. He sought to know from Vidura all about the manner of Draupadi’s departure to the forest.
“Despite being fooled by your sons,” said Vidura, “the level-headed Yudhishtira’s mind remained untrammelled, nor did it lose the insignia of dharma. He had all the kindness for them. Although he grew angry for falling a victim to deception and lost his kingdom and wealth, he did not want to cast his blood –shot eyes on the Kauravas as he thought they might all be consumed in a minute by the inflamed ray of his eyes. In order to avoid it, he covered his face and left almost blindfold.”
Draupadi in tears
Draupadi was in a poor frame with hair in disarray. Crying she said, “The spouses of these princes who brought me to this miserable state will, after the completion of the banishment period of thirteen years, lose their husbands, children, relatives and well-wishers. With their hair in disarray, they will cry over their dead bodies, get drenched with blood and return to Hastinapur.”
Draupadi’s prophetic words also reflected her own poor physical and mental condition at the time she left for the forest.