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leapt up and sought to escape to an inner room. But
the evil-hearted prince seized her by the hair, for he
no longer feared the sons of Pandu, and the beautiful
princess quivered and shook in her loose attire like to
a sapling which is shaken by the storm wind. Crouching
on her knees, she cried angrily, while tears streamed from
her lotus eyes: "Begone! O shameless prince. Can a
modest woman appear before strangers in loose attire?'

Said stern and cruel Duhsasana: "Even if thou wert


From the painting by Warwick Gobie


naked now, thou must follow me. Hast thou not become
a slave, fairly staked and fairly won ? Henceforth thou
wilt serve among the other menials."

Trembling and faint, Draupadi was dragged through
the streets by Duhsasana. When sh % stood before the
elders and the chieftains in the pavilion she cried: "For-
give me because that I have come hither in this unseemly
plight. . . .'

Bhishma and Drona and the other elders who were
there hung their heads in shame.

Unto Duhsasana Draupadi said angrily: "Cease thy
wickedness ! Defile me no longer with unclean hands.
A woman's hair is sacred."

Sacred indeed were the locks of the Pandava queen, for
they had been sprinkled with water sanctified by mantras
at the imperial sacrifice.

Weeping, she cried: " Hear and help me, O ye elders.
You have wives and children of your own. Will you
permit this wrong to be continued. Answer me now."

But no man spake a word.

Draupadi wept and said : " Why this silence ? . . .
Will no man among ye protect a sinless woman ? . . .
Lost is the fame of the Kauravas, the ancient glory of
Bharata, and the prowess of the Kshatriyas ! . . . Why
will not the sons of Pandu protect their outraged queen ?
. . . And hath Bhishma lost his virtue and Drona his
power ? . . . Will Yudhishthira no longer defend one
who is wronged? . . . Why are ye all silent while this
deed of shame is done before you?''

As she spake thus, Draupadi glanced round the sons
of Pandu one by one, and their hearts thirsted for ven-
geance. Bhishma's face was dark, Drona clenched his
teeth, and Vidura, white and angry, gazed upon Duhsasana
with amaze while he tore off Draupadi's veil and addressed


her with foul words. When she looked towards the
Kaurava brethren, Duhsasana said: " Ha ! on whom darest
thou to look now, O slave?"

Shakuni and Kama laughed to hear Draupadi called
a slave, and they cried out: "Well spoken, well spoken !'

Duhsasana endeavoured to strip the princess naked
before the assembly; but Draupadi, in her distress, prayed
aloud to Krishna, invoking him as the creator of all and
the soul of the universe, and entreated him to help her.
Krishna heard her, and multiplied her garments so that
Duhsasana was unable to accomplish his wicked pur-

Kama spake to Draupadi and said : " 'Tis not thy
blame, O princess, that thou hast fallen so low. A
woman's fate is controlled by her husband; Yudhishthira
hath gambled thee away. Thou wert his, and must
accept thy fate. Henceforward thou wilt be the slave
of the Kaurava princes. Thou must obey them and
please them with thy beauty. . . . 'Tis meet that thou
shouldst now seek for thyself a husband who will love
thee too well to stake thee at dice and suffer thee to be
put to shame. ... Be assured that no one will blame
a humble menial, as thou now art, who looks with eyes
of love upon great and noble warriors. Remember that
Yudhishthira is no longer thy husband; he hath become
a slave, and a slave can have no wife. . . . Ah! sweet
Princess of Panchala, those whom thou didst choose at
thy swayamvara have gambled and lost thee; their king-
dom they have lost, and their power also."

At these words Bhima's bosom heaved with anger
and with shame. Red-eyed he scowled upon Kama ; he
seemed to be the image of flaming Wrath. Unto Yud-
hishthira he spake grimly, saying : " If you hadst not
staked our freedom and our queen, O king and elder


brother, this son of a charioteer would not have taunted
us in this manner."

Yudhishthira bowed his head in shame, nor answered
a word.

Arjuna reproved Bhima for his bitter words; but
Pritha's mighty son, the slayer of Asuras, said: "If I
am not permitted to punish the tormentor of Draupadi,
bring me a fire that 1 may thrust my hands into it."

A deep uproar rose from the assembly, and the elders
applauded the wronged lady and censured Duhsasana.
Bhima clenched his hands and, with quivering lips, cried

" Hear my terrible words, O ye Kshatriyas. . . . May
I never reach Heaven if I do not yet seize Duhsasana in
battle and, tearing open his breast, drink his very life
blood ! . . ."

Again he spoke and said: "If Yudhishthira will per-
mit me, I will slay the wretched sons of Dhritarashtra with-
out weapons, even as a lion slays small animals."

Then Bhishma and Vidura and Drona cried out :
" Forbear, O Bhima ! Everything is possible in thee."

Duryodhana gloried in his hour of triumph, and unto
the elder of the Pandava brethren spake tauntingly and
said: " Yudhishthira, thou art spokesman for thy brethren,
and they owe thee obedience. Speak and say, thou who
dost ever speak truly, hast thou lost thy kingdom and
thy brethren and thine own self? O Yudhishthira, hast
thou lost even the beauteous Draupadi ? And hath she,
thy wedded wife, become our humble menial?'

Yudhishthira heard him with downcast eyes, but his
lips moved not. . . . Then Kama laughed; but Bhishma,
pious and old, wept in silence.

Then Duryodhana cast burning eyes upon Draupadi,
and, baring his knee, invited her, as a slave, to sit upon it.


Bhima gnashed his teeth, for he was unable to restrain
his pent-up anger. With eyes flashing like lightning, and
in a voice like to thunder he cried out: " Hear my vow!
May I never reach Heaven or meet my ancestors hereafter
if, for these deeds of sin, I do not break the knee of
Duryodhana in battle, and drink the blood of DuhsasanaF

The flames of wrath which leapt on the forehead of
Bhima were like red sparks flying from tough branches
on a crackling fire.

Dhritarashtra was sitting in his palace, nor knew
aught of what was passing. The Brahmans, robed in
white, were chanting peacefully their evening mantras,
when a jackal howled in the sacrificial chamber. Asses
brayed in response, and ravens answered their cries from
all sides. Those who heard these dread omens exclaimed:
" Swashti ! Swashti ! " l

Dhritarashtra shook with terror, and when Vidura had
told him all that had taken place, he said: "The luckless
and sinful Duryodhana hath brought shame upon the
head of Rajah Drupada's sweet daughter, and thus
courted death and destruction. May the prayers of a
sorrowful old man remove the wrath of Heaven which
these dark omens have revealed."

Then the blind maharajah was led to Draupadi, and
before all the elders and the princes he spoke to her,
kindly and gently, and said: "Noble queen and virtuous
daughter, wife of pious Yudhishthira, and purest of all
women, thou art very dear unto my heart. Alas ! my sons
have wronged thee in foul manner this day. O forgive
them now, and let the wrath of Heaven be averted. What-
soever thou wilt ask of me will be thine."

Said Draupadi: "O mighty maharajah, thou art merci-
ful; may happiness be thy dower. I ask of thee to set at

1 Similar to "Amen".


liberty now my lord and husband Yudhishthira. Having
been a prince, it is not seemly that he should be called
a slave."

Dhritarashtra said : " Thy wish is granted. Ask a
second boon and blessing, O fair one. Thou dost deserve
more than a single boon."

Said Draupadi : "Let Arjuna and Bhima and their
younger brethren be set free also and allowed to de-
part now with their horses and their chariots and their

Dhritarashtra said: "So be it, O high-born princess.
Ask yet another boon and blessing and it will be granted

Said Draupadi: " I seek no other boon, thou generous
monarch: I am a Kshatriya by birth, and not like to a
Brahman, who craveth for gifts without end. Thou hast
freed my husbands from slavery : they will regain their
fortunes by their own mighty deeds."

Then the Pandava brethren departed from Hastina-
pur with Pritha and Draupadi, and returned unto the
city of Indra-prastha.

The Kauravas were made angry, and Duryodhana
remonstrated with his royal sire and said: "Thou hast
permitted the Pandava princes to depart in their anger;
now they will make ready to wage war against us to
regain their kingdom and their wealth; when they return
they will slay us all. Permit us, therefore, to throw dice
with them once again. We will stake our liberty, and
be it laid down that the side which loseth shall go into
exile for twelve full years, and into concealment for a year
thereafter. By this arrangement a bloody war may be

Dhritarashtra granted his son's wish and recalled the
Pandavas. So it came to pass that Yudhishthira sat down


once again to play with Shakuni, and once again Shakuni
brought forth the loaded dice. Ere long the game ended,
and Yudhishthira had lost.

Duhsasana danced with joy and cried aloud: " Now is
established the empire of Duryodhana."

Said Bhima: "Be not too gladsome, O Duhsasana.
Hear and remember my words : May I never reach
Heaven or meet my sires until I shall drink thy blood!"

Then the Pandava princes cast off their royal garments
and clad themselves in deerskins like humble mendicants.
Yudhishthira bade farewell to Dhritarashtra and Bhishma
and Kripa and Vidura, one by one, and he even said fare-
well to the Kaurava brethren.

Said Vidura: "Thy mother, the royal Pritha, is too
old to wander with thee through forest and jungle. Let
her dwell here until the years of your exile have passed

Yudhishthira spoke for his brethren and said: "Be it
so, O saintly Vidura. Now bless us ere we depart, for
thou hast been unto us like to a father."

Then Vidura blessed each one of the Pandava princes,
saying: "Be saintly in exile, subdue your passions, learn
truth in your sorrow, and return in happiness. May
these eyes be blessed by beholding thee in Hastinapur
once again."

Pritha wept over Draupadi and blessed her. Then
the Princess of Panchala went forth with loose tresses;
but ere she departed from the city she vowed a vow,
saying: "From this day my hair will fall over my fore-
head until Bhima shall have slain Duhsasana and drunk
his blood ; then shall Bhima tie up my tresses while his
hands are yet wet with the blood of Duhsasana."

The Pandava princes wandered towards the deep forest,
and Draupadi followed them.

Second Exile of the Pandavas

The Gift of the Sun God Life in the Jungle Bhima and the Ape God
Flowers of Paradise Draupadi's Complaint to Krishna Reproved by
Yudhishthira Arjuna wrestles with the God Shiva His Celestial Weapon
Visit to Indra's Heaven Battle with Sea Giants Sages in the Forest Duryod-
hana captured by Gandharvas Pandavas rescue him His Desire to perish
The Rival Sacrifice Kama's Vow Adventure at Sacred Pond Pandavas in
Virata Adventures of Brethren The Cattle Raid Kauravas defeated
Marriage of Arjuna's Son End of Exile.

YUDHISHTHIRA lamented his fate to the Brahmans as he
wandered towards the forest. " Our kingdom is lost to
us," he said, " and our fortune ; everything is lost ; we
depart in sorrow, and must live on fruits and roots and
the produce of the chase. In the woods are many perils
many reptiles and hungry wild animals seeking their

A Brahman advised the deposed rajah to call upon
the sun god, and Yudhishthira prayed: "O sun, thou art
the eye of the universe, the soul of all things that are ;
thou art the creator ; thou art Indra, thou art Vishnu,
thou art Brahma, thou art Prajapati, lord of creatures,
father of gods and man ; thou art fire, thou art Mind ;
thou art lord of all, the eternal Brahma."

Then Surya 1 appeared before Yudhishthira and gave
unto him a copper pot, which was ever filled with food
for the brethren. 2

1 The sun god.

2 Like the "Pot of Worth" possessed by the Celtic Finn-mac-Coul.



For twelve long years the Pandavas lived in the woods
with their wife Draupadi, and Dhaumya, the Brahman.
Whatever food they obtained, they set apart a portion for
the holy men and ate the rest. They visited holy shrines;
they bathed in sacred waters ; they performed their de-
votions. Ofttimes they held converse with Brahmans and
sages, who instructed them in pious works and blessed
them, and also promised them that their lost kingdom
would be restored in the fullness of time.

They wandered in sunshine and in shade ; they dwelt
in pleasant places, amidst abundant fruits and surrounded
by flowers. They suffered also from tempests and heavy
rains, when their path would be torn by streams, and
Draupadi would swoon, and all the brethren would be
faint and weary and in despair. Then Bhima would carry
them all on his back and under his arms.

The gods appeared unto the brethren during their
exile. Dharma, god of wisdom and holiness, addressed
Yudhishthira his son many questions, which he answered
piously and well. Hanuman, son of Vayu, the wind god,
was made manifest before Bhima. It chanced that the
strong Pandava, who was also Vayu's son, was hastening
on his way and went swift as the wind ; the earth shook
under him and trees fell down, and he killed at one touch
of his foot tigers and lions and even great elephants that
sought to obstruct his path. 1 Hanuman shrank to the size
of an ape, but his tail spread out in such great proportions
across Bhima's path, that he was compelled to stay his
course and stand still. He spake to Bhima then and told
the tale of Rama and Sita. Then he grew suddenly as
lofty as Vindhya mountain and transported his brother, the

1 Like the Celtic giant Caoilte, who went swifter than the March wind, and the
Teutonic storm-giant Ecke, who gave chase to Dietrich in his character as Thunor
(Thor). See Teutonic Myth and Legend, Chapter xxxviii.


Pandava, to the garden of Kuvera, 1 King of Yakshas, lord
of treasure, who dwells in Mount Kailasa in the Hima-
layas ; then Bhima procured sweet-scented flowers, which
gave youth to those who had grown aged and turned grief
into joy, and these he gave unto Draupadi.

Krishna came to visit the Pandavas in the forest, and
Draupadi lamented before him, saying : " The evil-hearted
Duryodhana dared to claim me for his slave. Fie! fie!
upon the Pandavas because that they looked on in silence
when I was put to shame. Is it not the duty of a husband
to protect his wife? . . . These husbands of mine, who
have the prowess of lions, saw me afflicted, nor lifted a
hand to save."

Draupadi wept bitter tears from her exquisite coppery
eyes, but Krishna at length comforted her, saying: " Thou
wilt yet live to see the wives of those men who persecuted
thee lamenting over their fallen husbands as they welter
in their life blood. ... I will help the Pandavas, and thou
wilt be once again a queen over kings."

Krishna said to Yudhishthira: " Had I been at Dwaraka
when thou wert called upon to visit Hastinapur, this unfair
match would not have taken place, for I would have warned
Dhritarashtra. But I was waging a war against demons.
. . . What can I do, now that this disaster is accom-
plished ? ... It is not easy to confine the waters after
the dam hath burst."

After Krishna returned to his kingdom, Draupadi con-
tinued to lament her fate. She said to Yudhishthira :
" The sinful, evil-hearted Duryodhana hath a heart of
steel. . . . O king, I lie on the ground, remembering my
soft luxurious bed. I, who sit on a grass mat, cannot for-
get my chairs of ivory. I have seen thee in the court of

1 Like the Teutonic elf-king Laurin, whose wonderful rose garden is among the
Tyrolese mountains. Teutonic Myth and Legend.



monarchs ; now thou art a beggar. I have gazed upon
thee in thy silken robes, who art now clad in rags. . . .
What peace can my heart know now, O king, remember-
ing the things that have been ? My heart is full of grief.
. . . Doth not thy wrath blaze up, seeing thy brothers in
distress and me in sorrow? How canst thou forgive thy
cruel enemy? Art thou devoid of anger, Yudhishthira?
. . . Alas! a Kshatriya who doth not act at the right
moment who forgiveth the foeman he should strike
down, is the most despised of all men. The hour hath
now come for thee to seek vengeance ; the present is not
a time for forgiveness."

Said the wise Yudhishthira: "Anger is sinful; it is
the cause of destruction. He that is angry cannot dis-
tinguish between right and wrong. Anger slayeth one
who should be reverenced ; it doth reverence to one who
should be slain. An angry man may commit his own
soul to hell. Know thou that wise men control their
wrath so as to achieve prosperity both in this world and
in the next. A weak man cannot control his wrath; but
men of wisdom and insight seek to subdue their passions,
knowing that he who is angry cannot perceive things in
their true perspective. None but ignorant people regard
anger as equivalent to energy. . . . Because fools commit
folly, should I who seek wisdom do likewise? ... If
wrongs were not righted except by chastisement, the
whole world would speedily be destroyed, for anger is
destruction ; it maketh men to slay one another. O fair
Draupadi! it is meet to be forgiving; one should forgive
every wrong. He who is forgiving shall attain to eternal
bliss; he who is foolish and cannot forgive is destroyed
both in this world and in the next. Forgiveness is the
greatest virtue ; it is sacrifice ; it is tradition ; it is in-
spiration. Forgiveness, O beautiful one! is holiness; it


is Truth; it is Brahma. By forgiveness the universe is
made steadfast. . . . The wise man who learns how to
forgive attaineth to Brahma (the highest god). O Drau-
padi, remember thou the verses of the sage

4 Let not thy wrath possess thee,
But worship peace with joy;
Who yieldeth to temptation
That great god will destroy'.

He who is self-controlled will attain to sovereignty, and
the qualities of self-control are forgiveness and gentleness.

let me attain with self-control to everlasting goodness!"

Said Draupadi : " I bow down before the Creator and
Ordainer of life and the three worlds, for my mind, it
seems, hath been dimmed. By deeds men are influenced,
for deeds produce consequences ; by works are they set
free. . . . Man can never gain prosperity by forgiveness
and gentleness ; thy virtue hath not shielded thee, O
king ; thou art following a shadow. . . . Men should
not obey their own wills, but the will of the god who hath
ordained all things. . . . Yet O, methinks, as a doll is
moved by strings, so are living creatures moved by the
lord of all ; he doth play with them as a child with a toy.
. . . Those who have done wrong are now happy, and

1 am full of grief and in sore distress. Can I praise thy
god who permits of such inequality ? What reward doth
thy god receive when he alloweth Duryodhana to prosper
he who is full of evil; he who doth destroy virtue and
religion ? If a sin doth not rebound on the sinner, then
a man's might is the greatest force and not thy god, and
I sorrow for those who are devoid of might."

Yudhishthira made answer : " Alas ! thy words are
the words of an unbeliever. I do not act merely for the
sake of reward. I give because it is right to give, and


I sacrifice because it is my duty so to do. I follow in
the paths of those who have lived wise and holy lives,
because that my heart turneth toward goodness. I am
no trader in goodness, ever looking for the fruits thereof.
The man who doubteth virtue will be born among the
brutes; 1 he will never attain to everlasting bliss. O do
not, thou fair one, doubt the ancient religion of thy
people ! God will reward ; he is the giver of fruits for
deeds ; virtue and vice bear fruits. . . . The wise are
content with little in this world ; the fools are not con-
tent although they receive much, because they will have
no joy hereafter. . . . The gods are shrouded in mystery;
who can pierce the cloud which covers the doings of the
gods ? Although thou canst not perceive the fruits of
goodness, do not doubt thy religion or the gods. Let
thy scepticism give room to faith. O do not slander the
great god, but endeavour to learn how to know him.
Turn not away from the Supreme One who giveth eternal
life, O Draupadi."

Said Draupadi : " I do not slander my god, the lord
of all, for in my sorrow I but rave. . . . But yet I hold
that a man should act, lest by inaction he is censured.
Without acts no one can live. He who believeth in
chance and destiny and is inactive, liveth a life of weak-
ness and helplessness which cannot last long. Success
comes to him who acts, and success depends on time
and circumstance. So hath a wise Brahman taught


Bhima then spoke, charging Yudhishthira with weak-
ness, and pleading with him to wrest the sovereignty
from Duryodhana : "O thou art like froth," he cried;
"thou art unripe fruit! O king, strike down thine
enemies ! Battle is the highest virtue for a Kshatriya."

1 In the next life in this world, according to the belief in transmigration of souls.


Said Yudhishthira : u Verily, my heart burneth be-
cause of our sufferings. But I have given my pledge
to remain in exile, and it cannot be violated, O Bhima.
Virtue is greater than life and prosperity in this world ;
it is the way to celestial bliss."

Then they were all silent, and they pondered over
these things.

Now the Pandavas had need of celestial weapons, for
these were possessed by Drona and Bhishma and Kama.
In time, therefore, the holy sage Vyasa appeared before
Arjuna and bade him to visit Mount Kailasa, the high
seat of the gracious and propitious god Shiva, the three-
eyed, the blue-throated, and to perform penances there
with deep devotion, so as to obtain gifts of arms. So
Arjuna went his way, and when he reached the mountain
of Shiva he went through great austerities: he raised his
arms aloft and, leaning on naught, stood on his tiptoes;
for food he ate at first withered leaves, then he fed upon
air alone. Great was the fervour of his austerities, and
from the ground smoke issued forth. The Rishis pleaded
with Shiva, fearing disaster from the penances of Arjuna.
Then the god assumed the form of a hunter and went


towards Indra's warrior son, whom he challenged to
single combat. First they fought with weapons ; then
they wrestled one with another fiercely and long, and
in the end Arjuna was cast upon the ground and he
swooned. When that brave Pandava regained conscious-
ness he made a clay image of Shiva, prostrated himself
and worshipped the gracious one, and made an offering
of flowers. Soon afterwards he beheld his opponent
wearing the garland he had given, and he knew that
he had wrestled with Shiva himself. Arjuna fell down
before him, and received from the god a celestial weapon
named Pasupata. Then a great storm broke forth, and


the earth shook, and the spirit of the weapon stood
beside Arjuna, ready to obey his will.

Next appeared Indra, king of gods, Varuna, god of
waters, Yama, king of the dead, and Kuvera, lord of
treasures, and they stood upon the mountain summit in
all their glory; unto Arjuna they gave gifts of other
celestial weapons.

Thereafter Indra transported his son to his own
bright city, the celestial Swarga, where the flowers always
bloom and sweet music is ever wafted on fragrant winds.
There he beheld sea-born Apsaras, the heavenly brides
of gods and heroes, and music-loving Gandharvas, who
sang songs and danced merrily in their joy. And Urvasi,
a fair Apsara of faultless form, with bright eyes and
silken hair, looked with love upon Arjuna; but she
sought in vain to subdue him, whereat she spoke scorn-
fully, saying: "Kama, god of love, hath wounded me
with his arrows, yet thou dost scorn me. For this, O
Arjuna, thou wilt for a season live unregarded among
women as a dancer and musician."

Arjuna was troubled, but Indra said: "This curse
will work out for thy good."

Arjuna abode in Indra's fair city for the space of five
years. He achieved great skill in music and in dance
and song. And he was trained also to wield the celestial

Online LibraryDonald Alexander MackenzieIndian myth and legend → online text (page 21 of 38)