Monday, 21 November 2011

Heated exchange of words. Visiting Mahabharata 65

Bheema visibly upset and unable to control his anger shouts 'Listen to me khastriyas! Such words were never spoken before and will not be heard in the future. I will kill Dussasana in a war, gouge his heart out and drink his blood!'

 Meanwhile Dussasana getting tired of continuously pulling sari after sari, gives up in embarrassment. There is a lot of commotion in the hall. Some curse Dussasana, others praise Bheema. Many are critical of Kauravas and fault Drithrashtra for ignoring and refusing to answer Draupadi's question. Vidura then gets up and raises his hands to silence the assembly urges the assembled kings to think and give an answer to her question. None speak. Draupadi, still sobbing, bows her head with respect to the sabha and speaks about her sheltered life, wherein jealous Pandavas would not even tolerate a blowing wind touching her and the present, where Pandavas are quiet even when a wicked man is dragging her. She requests the assembled kings to clarify whether she, a queen, is now a slave. And then appeals to kauravas to decide and says she would abide by their decision as she is unable to bear the humiliation any longer.

Bheeshma again tells her that dharma is indeed subtle and even great souls are unable to fully comprehend it. 'In this world, what a strong man believes is dharma, will become and stay as dharma. Your question is indeed very important and a delicate one, but I cannot answer you. Even Dhrona and other seniors are sitting like lifeless beings and are silent. In my opinion Yudhisthira himself can tell you, whether he lost you or not.' 

Duryodhana now taunts Yudhisthira by challenging him to tell his brothers that they had no right over Draupadi or tell her directly that he had no right over her. And says that the reason why the Kaurava kings are keeping quiet in spite of her grief is because they know that Pandavas are just unlucky losers. Bheema reacts to this insult angrily and says that he is keeping quiet only because Yudhisthira is their master and he is helpless. He would destroy all these evil kauravs, like the lion would kill insignificant animals, if only his brother permits him and makes a provocative gesture as if inviting kauravas for a fight. Bheeshma, Vidura and Drona stop him and ask him to be patient.

Karna joins the fray and opines that slaves, students and women have nothing that they can claim as theirs. And tells Draupadi that she is now the wife of a slave who has no rights and that they are her masters and asks her to go in and start working. He also jeers at her by telling her that as Pandavas are now slaves, it is the same as being without husbands and  advises her to find a husband who will not lose her by gambling. As Bheema fumes with anger, Duryodhana looks at the silent Dharmaraja and suggests that as his brothers are still his obedient followers, he should tell them whether he lost Draupadi or not!  Duryodhana then provokes Bheema by uncovering his left thigh and suggestively shows it to Draupadi. Bheema, his eyes red with anger announces 'If I do not break this thigh with my mace let there no entry to heaven for me.'

Vidura again addresses the sabha and tells them it is shameful the way Draupadi is being treated and says as Dhramaraja had lost himself first, he had no right to pledge her and requests them to follow dharma and declare her free. Duryodhana again intervenes by saying that he would release her if any of the brothers say that Dharmaraja had no right to pledge her. Arjuna replies that  Dharmaraja indeed was their master and it is upto kauravas to decide his status after he lost.

Suddenly the people at the palace hear the braying of donkeys, howls of  fox and terrifying screeches of birds. All considered ill omens. Worried Bheeshma, Gandhari, Vidura, Drona and Krupa keep uttering 'let there be good fortune' and appraise  Dhirtarashtra about  events and the ill omens.

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