WHEN news of the incidents that took place during the
swayamvara at Panchala reached Hastinapura, Vidura was happy. He immediately
went to Dhritarashtra and said: "O King, our family has become stronger
because the daughter of Drupada has become our daughter-in-law. Our stars are
Dhritarashtra thought in his blind fondness for his son
that it was Duryodhana, who had also gone to take part in the swayamvara, that
had won Draupadi. Under this mistaken impression he replied: "It is
indeed, as you say, a good time for us. Go at once and bring Draupadi. Let us
give Panchali a joyous welcome."
Vidura hastened to correct the mistake. He said: "The
blessed Pandavas are alive and it is Arjuna who has won the daughter of
Drupada. The five Pandavas have married her jointly according to the rites
enjoined by the sastras. With their mother Kuntidevi they are happy and well
under the care of Drupada."
At these words of Vidura, Dhritarashtra felt frustrated
but concealed his disappointment. He said to Vidura with apparent joy: "O
Vidura, I am delighted at your words. Are the dear Pandavas really alive? We
have been mourning them as dead! The news you have now brought is balm to my
heart. So the daughter of Drupada has become our daughter-in-law. Well, well,
Duryodhana's jealousy and hatred redoubled when he found
that the Pandavas had somehow escaped from the wax palace and after spending a
year incognito had now become even more powerful on account of the alliance
with the mighty king of Panchala. Duryodhana and his brother Duhsasana went to
their uncle Sakuni and said in sorrow: "Uncle, we are undone. We have been
let down by relying on Purochana. Our enemies, the Pandavas, are cleverer than
ourselves, and fortune also seems to favor them. Dhrishtadyumna and Sikhandin
have become their allies. What can we do?"
Karna and Duryodhana went to the blind Dhritarashtra.
Duryodhana said: "You told Vidura that better days were ahead of us. Is it
good time for us that our natural enemies, the Pandavas, have so waxed in
strength that they will certainly destroy us? We could not carry out our plot
against them and the fact that they know about it is an added danger. It has
now come to this, either we must destroy them here and now or we shall
ourselves perish. Favor us with your counsel in this matter."
Dhritarashtra replied: "Dear son, what you say is
true. We should not, however, let Vidura know our mind. That was why I spoke to
him in that manner. Let me now hear your suggestions as to what we should
Duryodhana said: "I feel so distracted that no plan
occurs to me. Perhaps, we may take advantage of the fact that these Pandavas
are not born of one and the same mother and create enmity between the sons of
Madri and those of Kunti. We can also try to bribe Drupada into joining our
side. That he has given away his daughter in marriage to the Pandavas will not
stand in the way of our making him an ally. There is nothing that cannot be
accomplished by the power of wealth."
Karna smiled and said: "This is but futile
Duryodhana continued: "We should somehow make sure
that the Pandavas do not come here and demand of us the kingdom that is now in
our possession. We may commission a few brahmanas to spread convenient rumours
in Drupada's city and severally tell the Pandavas that they would meet with
great danger if they were to go to Hastinapura. Then the Pandavas would fear to
come here and we shall be safe, from them."
Karna replied: "This too is idle talk. You cannot
frighten them that way."
Duryodhana continued: "Can we not create discord
among the Pandavas by means of Draupadi? Her polyandrous marriage is very
convenient for us. We shall arouse doubts and jealousies in their minds through
the efforts of experts in the science of erotics. We shall certainly succeed.
We can get a beautiful woman to beguile some of the sons of Kunti and thus make
Draupadi turn against them. If Draupadi begins to suspect any of them, we can
invite him to Hastinapura and use him so that our plan prospers."
Karna laughed this also to scorn. He said: "None of
your proposals is any good. You cannot conquer the Pandavas by stratagem. When
they were here and were like immature birds with undeveloped wings, we found we
could not deceive them, and you think we can deceive them now, when they have
acquired experience and are moreover under the protection of Drupada. They have
seen through your designs. Stratagems will not do hereafter. You cannot sow
dissensions among them. You cannot bribe the wise and honorable Drupada. He
will not give up the Pandavas on any account. Draupadi also can never be turned
against them. Therefore, there is only one way left for us, and that is to
attack them before they grow stronger and other friends join them. We should
make a surprise attack on the Pandavas and Drupada before Krishna joins them
with his Yadava army. We should take the heroic way out of our difficulty, as
befits kshatriyas. Trickery will prove useless." Thus spoke Karna.
Dhritarashtra could not make up his mind. The king, therefore, sent for Bhishma
and Drona and consulted them.
Bhishma was very happy when he heard that the Pandavas
were alive and well as guests of King Drupada of Panchala, whose daughter they
had married. Consulted on the steps to be taken, Bhishma, wise with the ripe
knowledge of right and wrong, replied:
"The proper course will be to welcome them back and
give them half the kingdom. The citizens of the state also desire such a
settlement. This is the only way to maintain the dignity of our family. There
is much loose talk not creditable to you about the fire incident at the wax
house. All blame, even all suspicion, will be set at rest if you invite the
Pandavas and hand over half kingdom to them. This is my advice."
Drona also gave the same counsel and suggested sending a
proper messenger to bring about an amicable settlement and establish peace.
Karna flew into a rage at this suggestion. He was very
much devoted to Duryodhana and could not at all bear the idea of giving a
portion of the kingdom to the Pandavas. He told Dhritarashtra:
"I am surprised that Drona, who has received wealth
and honors at your hands, has made such a suggestion. A king should examine
critically the advice of his ministers before accepting or rejecting it."
At these words of Karna, Drona, his old eyes full of
anger, said: "O wicked man, you are advising the king to go on the wrong
path. If Dhritarashtra does not do what Bhishma and myself have advised, the
Kauravas will certainly meet with destruction in the near future."
Then Dhritarashtra sought the advice of Vidura who
"The counsel given by Bhishma, the head of our race,
and Drona, the master, is wise and just and should not be disregarded. The
Pandavas are also your children like Duryodhana and his brothers. You should
realise that those who advise you to injure the Pandavas are really bent upon
the destruction of the race. Drupada and his sons as well as Krishna and the
Yadavas are staunch allies of the Pandavas. It is impossible to defeat them in
battle. Karna's advice is foolish and wrong. It is reported abroad that we
tried to kill the Pandavas in the wax house, and we should first of all try to
clear ourselves of the blame. The citizens and the whole country are delighted
to know that the Pandavas are alive and they desire to see them once again. Do
not listen to the words of Duryodhana. Karna and Sakuni are but raw youths,
ignorant of statesmanship and incompetent to advise. Follow Bhishma's
In the end Dhritarashtra determined to establish peace by
giving half the kingdom to the sons of Pandu. He sent Vidura to the kingdom of
Panchala to fetch the Pandavas and Draupadi.
Vidura went to the city of King Drupada in a speedy
vehicle taking along with him many kinds of jewels and other valuable presents.
Vidura rendered due honor to King Drupada and requested
him on behalf of Dhritarashtra to send the Pandavas with Panchali to
Drupada mistrusted Dhritarashtra, but he merely said:
"The Pandavas may do as they like."
Vidura went to Kuntidevi and prostrated himself before
her. She said: "Son of Vichitravirya, you saved my sons. They are,
therefore, your children. I trust you. I shall do as you advise." She was
also suspicious of Dhritarashtra's intentions.
Vidura thus assured her: "Your children will never
meet with destruction. They will inherit the kingdom and acquire great renown.
Come, let us go." At last Drupada also gave his assent and Vidura returned
to Hastinapura with the Pandavas, Kunti, and Draupadi.
In jubilant welcome of the beloved princes who were
returning home after long years of exile and travail, the streets of
Hastinapura had been sprinkled with water and decorated with flowers. As had
been already decided, half the kingdom was made over to the Pandavas and
Yudhishthira was duly crowned king.
Dhritarashtra blessed the newly crowned Yudhishthira and
bade him farewell with these words: "My brother Pandu made this kingdom
prosperous. May you prove a worthy heir to his renown! King Pandu delighted in
abiding by my advice. Love me in the same manner. My sons are wicked and proud.
I have made this settlement so that there may be no strife or hatred between
you. Go to Khandavaprastha and make it your capital. Our ancestors Pururavas,
Nahusha, and Yayati ruled the kingdom from there. That was our ancient capital.
Re-establish that and be famous."
In this manner Dhritarashtra spoke affectionately to Yudhishthira.
The Pandavas renovated that ruined city, built palaces and
forts, and renamed it Indraprastha. It grew in wealth and beauty and became the
admiration of the world.
The Pandavas ruled there happily for thirty-six years with
their mother and Draupadi, never straying from the path of dharma.