As reality hits Duryodhana, he says he cannot envisage a life without his nears and dears. He offers the kingdom to Yudhisthira and tells him he has no desire to live and that he will wear the clothes of an ascetic and go to the forest. He tells Yudhisthira 'Go and enjoy the kingdom I own and ruled!'
Yudhisthira declines. 'Don't keep grumbling under water. Come up! While you may imagine that you can offer me the kingdom, I will not accept. It is not khsatriya dhrama to receive a gift. I will claim the kingdom after our victory. Why did you not give it earlier when we asked for it? You refused to yield land, even the size of a needle point. No king will offer his kingdom when he is invited to fight a war! Is this a ploy to save your life? There is no way we can let you go now! If we both are alive, people will always worry about the future, they will never be sure who will come out victorious in the end. You have tried to kill us earlier, by any means. You have to bear the consequences and pay with your life. Come out and fight!'
Similarly many others taunt Duryodhana. Unable to bear their harsh words, he agrees to fight but says, 'You are many! You have chariots, weapons and I am all alone. I have no chariot, no weapons and no armour! I am also injured. It is not right that you ask me to fight in this condition. I am not afraid of you! If provoked I am sure to defeat you and force you to retreat. I still say that it is not dharma to make me fight now. Just wait for a while, I will come out and kill each one of you and pay you back for killing Drona, Karna, Bheeshma and others.'
Yudhisthira compliments Duryodhana for finally accepting that it is khsatriya dharma to fight and offers, 'You choose your weapon and the person you want to fight. The rest of us will watch. If you win, the kingdom is yours and if you die you go to heaven.' Duryodhana accepts as he is required to fight only one of them. He chooses the club as his weapon and is willing to fight a गदायुद्ध with one of them. Yudhisthira agrees and asks him to come out and prove his manhood!
Angered by this insult, Duryodhana comes out of the water like a wild elephant, with an iron club on his shoulder . His body is covered with blood and he challenges, 'Whoever it is, let him come and fight, it does not matter that I am injured, I am tired and I was in water all this while!
Krishna is dismayed by the offer and he scolds Yudhisthira, 'How could you have offered that he could fight with any one? What type of bravery is this? What if he had chosen you or Arjuna or Nakula or Sahadeva? There is no one but Bheema or Arjuna who can fight him. Even they are not as experienced as Duryodhana. With the intention of killing Bheema he has been practising the last thirteen years! Bheema may be stronger than Duryodhana, but is not as skilled!'
'You always do something like this and get into problems!'
Yudhisthira read the future well and is right in thinking that there is no hope for peace for him as long as Duryodhana is alive, but almost messes it up by making a grand gesture of letting Duryodhana choose his weapon and the opponent. No wonder Krishna, the strategist is upset!
It is not surprising that Duryodhana tries to somehow save himself . His survival instincts are strong.
Another question that crops up is; if Shakuni were still alive, would he have stopped Duryodhana from fighting Bheema and made him choose a weaker opponent?