THE Kauravas reached Dwaitavana with a great army and many
followers. Duryodhana and Karna went with unconcealed joy at the very thought
of being able to gloat on the sad plight of the Pandavas.
They themselves camped in luxurious rest houses in a place
four miles off the abode of the Pandavas. They inspected the herds of cows and
took stock of them.
After counting the cows, bulls and calves, they enjoyed
the dance, the hunt, the sylvan sports and other entertainment’s arranged for
While hunting, Duryodhana and his party reached an
attractive pond near the hermitage of the Pandavas and ordered a camp to be put
on its bank.
Chitrasena, the king of the Gandharvas, and his attendants
had already encamped in the neighborhood of the pool and they prevented
Duryodhana's men from putting up their camp.
They returned to Duryodhana and represented that some
petty prince who was there with his followers was giving them trouble.
Duryodhana was annoyed at this presumption and directed
his men to turn the Gandharva prince out and put up the tents. The attendants
returned to the lake and tried to carry out their orders but found the
Gandharvas too many for them and had to retreat in precipitation.
When Duryodhana came to know of this, he grew very angry
and with a large army marched to destroy the audacious enemies who had dared to
resist his pleasure. A great fight ensued between the Gandharvas and
At first the fight went in favor of the Kauravas. But the
tables were quickly turned when Chitrasena, the king of the Gandharvas, rallied
his troops and began using his magic weapons.
Karna and the other Kaurava heroes lost their chariots and
weapons and had to retreat in haste and ignominy. Duryodhana alone remained in
the battlefield but he was soon seized by Chitrasena, who placed him in his
chariot bound hand and foot, and blew his conch in token of victory.
The Gandharvas took many of the prominent Kauravas
captive. The Kaurava army fled in all directions and some of the fugitives took
refuge in the hermitage of the Pandavas.
Bhima heard the news of Duryodhana's defeat and capture
with delight and amusement. He said to Yudhishthira: "These Gandharvas
have done our job for us. Duryodhana, who must have come here to mock at us,
has got what he deserved. I feel like thanking our Gandharva friend!"
But Yudhishthira reproved him: "Dear brother, this is
not the time for you to rejoice. The Kauravas are our kith and kin and their
humiliation, at the hands of strangers, is ours. We cannot hold back and take
this lying down. We must rescue them."
Bhima did not think this very reasonable. He said:
"Why should we save this sinner who tried to burn us alive in the wax
house? Why should you feel sorry for the fellow who poisoned my food, bound me
hand and foot and wanted to drown me in the river? What brotherly feeling can
we really have towards these vile wretches who hauled Draupadi by the hair to
theassembly and disgraced her?"
At that moment a cry of agony from Duryodhana reached them
faintly from the distance and Yudhishthira, greatly moved, overruled Bhima's
objection and bade his brothers go to the rescue of the Kauravas.
Obedient to his behest, Bhima and Arjuna rallied the
routed Kaurava forces and offered battle to the Gandharvas. But Chitrasena had
no wish to fight with the Pandavas and at their approach, released Duryodhana
and the other prisoners saying that all he wanted was to teach a lesson to
these arrogant Kauravas.
The dishonored Kauravas returned in haste to Hastinapura,
with Karna, who, having been, driven off the battlefield, joined them on the
Duryodhana, in great shame and dejection, felt it would
have been far better if be had been killed by Chitrasena and announced his wish
to fast unto death.
He said to Duhsasana: "Be crowned and rule the
kingdom. I can no longer continue to live after having become a laughing stock
to my enemies."
Duhsasana protested his unworthiness to be king and caught
hold of his brother's feet and wept. Karna could not bear the sight of the
Karna said: "This does not befit heroes of the Kuru
race. What is the use of just collapsing under sorrow? It will but make your
enemies happy. Look at the Pandavas. They have not taken to fasts in spite of
the disgrace they have suffered."
Sakuni interposed and said: "Listen to Karna's words.
Why do you say that you would give up your life when the kingdom seized from
the Pandavas is yours to enjoy? Fasting serves no purpose, for if you really
repent of what you have done till now, you should make friends with the
Pandavas and give them back their kingdom."
When Duryodhana heard this speech, his evil nature
regained ascendancy, for giving back the kingdom to the Pandavas was to him a
hundred times worse than defeat or disgrace. He shouted: "I shall conquer
Karna said: "That is the way for a king to
And he added: "What sense is there in dying? You can
do something worthwhile only if you are alive."
While returning home, Karna said: "I swear to you by
all that is holy that, when the stipulated period of thirteen years is over, I
will kill Arjuna in battle." And then he touched his sword in token of the