(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
“Arjuna asked, ‘O Gandharva, thou art acquainted with everything. Tell us, therefore, which Veda-knowing Brahmana is worthy to be appointed as our priest.’
“The Gandharva replied, ‘There is in these woods a shrine of the name of Utkochaka. Dhaumya, the younger brother of Devala is engaged there in ascetic penances. Appoint him, if ye desire, your priest.”
“Vaisampayana said, ‘Then Arjuna, highly pleased with everything that had happened, gave unto that Gandharva, his weapon of fire with befitting ceremonies. And addressing him, the Pandava also said, ‘O thou best of Gandharvas, let the horses thou givest us remain with thee for a time. When the occasion cometh, we will take them from thee. Blest be thou.’ Then the Gandharva and the Pandavas, respectfully saluting each other, left the delightful banks of the Bhagirathi and went wheresoever they desired.
Then, O Bharata, the Pandavas going to Utkochaka, the sacred asylum of Dhaumya installed Dhaumya as their priest. And Dhaumya, the foremost of all conversant with the Vedas, receiving them with presents of wild fruits and (edible) roots, consented to become their priest. And the Pandavas with their mother forming the sixth of the company, having obtained that Brahmana as their priest regarded their sovereignty and kingdom as already regained and the daughter of the Panchala king as already obtained in the Swayamavara. And those bulls of the Bharata race, having obtained the master Dhaumya as their priest, also regarded themselves as placed under a powerful protector. And the high-souled Dhaumya, acquainted with the true meaning of the Vedas and every rule of morality, becoming the spiritual preceptor of the virtuous Pandavas, made them his Yajamanas (spiritual disciples). And that Brahmana, beholding those heroes endued with intelligence and strength and perseverance like unto the celestials, regarded them as already restored, by virtue of their own accomplishments to their sovereignty and kingdom.
Then those kings of men, having had benedictions uttered upon them by that Brahmana, resolved to go, accompanied by him, to the Swayamvara of the Princess of Panchala.'”
“Vaisampayana said, ‘Then those tigers among men–those brothers–the five Pandavas, set out for Panchala to behold that country and Draupadi and the festivities (in view of her marriage). And those tigers among men–those oppressors of all enemies–in going along with their mother, saw on the way numerous Brahmanas proceeding together. And those Brahmanas who were all Brahmacharis beholding the Pandavas, O king, asked them, ‘Where are ye going to? Whence also are ye come?’ And Yudhishthira replied unto them, saying, ‘Ye bulls among Brahmanas, know ye that we are uterine brothers proceeding together with our mother.
We are coming even from Ekachakra.’ The Brahmanas then said, ‘Go ye this very day to the abode of Drupada in the country of the Panchalas. A great Swayamvara takes place there, on which a large sum of money will be spent. We also are proceeding thither. Let us all go together.
Extraordinary festivities will take place (in Drupada’s abode). The illustrious Yajnasena, otherwise called Drupada, had a daughter risen from the centre of the sacrificial altar. Of eyes like lotus-petals and of faultless features endued with youth and intelligence, she is extremely beautiful. And the slender-waisted Draupadi of every feature perfectly faultless, and whose body emitteth a fragrance like unto that of the blue lotus for two full miles around, is the sister of the strong-armed Dhrishtadyumna gifted with great prowess–the (would-be) slayer of Drona–who was born with natural mail and sword and bow and arrows from the blazing fire, himself like unto the second Fire. And that daughter of Yajnasena will select a husband from among the invited princes. And we are repairing thither to behold her and the festivities on the occasion, like unto the festivities of heaven.
And to that Swayamvara will come from various lands kings and princes who are performers of sacrifices in which the presents to the Brahmanas are large: who are devoted to study, are holy, illustrious, and of rigid vows; who are young and handsome; and who are mighty car-warriors and accomplished in arms.
Desirous of winning (the hand of) the maiden those monarchs will all give away much wealth and kine and food and other articles of enjoyment. And taking all they will give away and witnessing the Swayamvara, and enjoying the festivities, we shall go wheresoever we like. And there will also come unto that Swayamvara, from various countries, actors, and bards singing the panegyrics of kings, and dancers, and reciters of Puranas, and heralds, and powerful athletes. And beholding all these sights and taking what will be given away to illustrious ones, ye will return with us.
Ye are all handsome and like unto the celestials! Beholding you, Krishna may, by chance, choose some one amongst you superior to the rest. This thy brother of mighty arms and handsome and endued with beauty also, engaged in (athletic) encounters, may, by chance, earn great wealth.’
“On hearing these words of the Brahmanas, Yudhishthira replied, ‘Ye Brahmanas, we will all go with you to witness that maiden’s Swayamvara–that excellent jubilee.'”