Dusshasana should beg Draupadi’s pardon

The scene at Hastinapur was somewhat different as tensions in Dhrutharashtra’s mind were mounting. Vidura gave a three-point formula for the King to follow to set matters right. The first was that Dusshaasana should, in an open court-hall filled with members, offer unconditional apology and seek the pardon of Draupadi and Bhimasena for the heinous crime committed. Secondly, Yudhishtira should be pacified, honoured and installed on the throne as the king. Thirdly, Duryodhana, Karna and Shakuni should offer service to the sons of Pandu. The advice prompted Dhrutharashtra to think that Vidura was partial to the Pandavas. The king despised the suggestion and left in anger. Vidura could see no way to save the Kaurava clan form extinction.

But Vidura knew he had none of those distinctions of partiality. He was as much attached to the Kauravas as to the Pandavas. But the distress of Draupadi and the injustice meted out to her, culminating in the forest life of the Pandavas, tilted his sympathies heavily in favour of the Pandavas.

Vidura’s advice had no impact on anyone. Duryodhana, Dusshaasana, Karna and Shakuni were in no mood to patch up their acute differences with Pandavas by seeking their friendship and the pardon of Draupadi. The ‘gang of four’, on the other hand, plotted surreptitiously to kill them all in the forest.

 

Vyaasa’s advice in vain

Vyaasa asked Dhrutharashtra to prevail upon Duryodhana to desist from carrying out his sinful plans. Having committed sacrilege against Draupadi and treacherously usurped the Pandavas of their kingdom, they have divested themselves of their strength and acquired sin. “Far from killing the Pandavas in the forest”, said Vyaasa, sounding a note of prophecy, “it is quite certain that Duryodhana himself will pay with his life! If he does not bargain for peace, then disaster will be in store for him.”

 

Abysmal

Vyaasa’s advice to Dhrutharashtra was followed by Maitreya Maharshi’s. Recalling the heinous crime committed by the Kauravas after the game of dice when Draupadi was subjected to inhuman humiliation, Maitreya observed that such abysmally low behavior was displayed only by the most wicked people. “For the sins committed only by your children”, he said to the king, “will visit you and you cannot command respect”, was as much addressed to Duryodhana as to Dhrutharashtra. Duryodhana’s reaction was one of total indifference to words of wisdom. He showed his indignation by making gestures which would enrage anyone. How could Duryodhana even have peace with the Pandavas and Draupadi? He felt his strength was far superior to the combined strength of his arch enemies. He just smiled and showed his brawny thigh resembling the strength of an elephant’s trunk and patted it four times to ridicule Maitreya’s suggestion of Pandavas’s infallibility. The gesture enraged the Maharshi, “Duryodhana!” said Maitreya, “you have shown discourtesy to me and have rejected my advice.  This will definitely take you to the brink of disaster and your pride should naturally suffer an eclipse. Your treachery will make a fierce war inevitable. In the ensuing conflagration, with his mace Bhima will break your thigh which you exposed here to exhibit your arrogance.” The Maharshi cursed Duryodhana and left.

Draupadi’s distress did not end in the forest.  She had to face new encounters in the wilderness of the jungle.  A rakshasa called Kirmeera whose wicked brother had been killed by Bhima blocked them on the way and threatened to do away with them. But with divinity on the side of the Pandavas, Kimeera despite being endowed with enormous strength and wicked powers, fell a victim to Bhima’s muscular strength. The news of his death reached Dhrutharashtra.

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