Sunday, 5 February 2012

Keechaka Vadha. Mahabharata 93

Draupadi, seething with anger, reaches her dwelling, wipes herself clean and washes the clothes she has on her body by poring water on herself as she continues to cry! She cannot bear the humility of her existence any longer, wants an end to it. While caution makes sense, she wants revenge, she wants action! 

Suddenly decides that it is only Bheema who will act to please her. She quietly enters the kitchen and tries to wake him up. 'Wake up Bheema. How can you sleep like a dead man, when Keechaka, my enemy, who misbehaved with me, is still alive?'

Bheema sits up and asks Draupadi 'How is it you are here at this time of the night! Tell me what is bothering you. You know I am always there to take care. Tell me quickly and go back to sleep before we are discovered.' This question touches a raw spot, the deep sense of hurt festering in her mind and the floodgates open with a force which she is unable to contain.  'What has not Yudhisthira's wife suffered? How can you ask me this again and again when you know how I have suffered.'

She narrates in great detail the indignities she and the rest of Pandavas  have faced and blames Yudhisthira for all their troubles. She is now worried about the very persistent Keechaka. 'He is after me every day and I cannot bear it anymore. I think my heart will break into pieces with the tension! Any amount of reproach is not enough for your brother who has brought us into this state.'

Draupadi rests her head on Bheema's chest sighs 'Bheemasena! I must have committed innumerable sins, if not, I should have been dead by now instead of suffering like this'. Unable to control she begins to sob again! Bheema takes her hands to console her and is shocked to see the condition of her once delicate palms! Totally upset, he places the swollen and callused palms against his cheeks and cries uncontrollably. 'As I feel your hardened hand I think my strength and Arjuna's bow are useless! While all I want is to kill the kauravas and kick Dussasana's severed head like a  ball, being unable to act feels like a dagger stuck in my heart!'

He then cautions her that if Yudhisthira ever hears her speak this way, he would die. He counsels her to be patient like Sita and the many pativratas before her, who supported their husbands, whatever the difficulty. Anyway she would be queen again in just fifteen days.

Draupadi calms down and tells Bheema she just had to talk as it had become unbearable and she had no intention speaking against her king. She then tells Bheema that each day has become impossible as the queen Sudheshne is ever worried about the king Virata getting attracted to her. And that Keechaka is constantly after her. She is certain that he will not give up.  'Keechaka just laughed at me when I told him that five gandharva husbands protect me.'

  'You must kill him as you did Jarasandra and others. If  he is not killed by tomorrow, I will take poison and die. I rather do it before  anything untoward happens to me.' She breaks down again and cries resting her head against his chest. Beema yields and tells her that he would kill Keechaka and others  supporting  him. They make a plan. Draupadi should ask Keechaka to come to the Dancing hall secretly without telling anyone and Bheema would take care of the rest. They then spend the whole night  crying and consoling each other

 As she anticipated, Keechaka accosts Draupadi, first thing in the morning. He tells her that she has seen even the king cannot protect her. Claims he is the real king and again pleads with her to be his. Offers meet her at her place if that what she wants. Draupadi pretends to agree and has a condition. 'You must come alone as I am afraid my Gandharava husbands will come to know'. She invites him to the dance hall in the night. 'Even Gandharvas will not know this place'.

 Keechaka comes in the  night for his tryst with Draubadi but meets his death at the hands of Bheema.

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