(Vaivahika Parva continued)
“Vaisampayana said, ‘King Drupada, after his alliance with the Pandavas, had all his fears dispelled. Indeed, the monarch no longer stood in fear even of the gods. The ladies of the illustrious Drupada’s household approached Kunti and introduced themselves unto her, mentioning their respective names, and worshipped her feet with heads touching the ground. Krishna also, attired in red silk and her wrists still encircled with the auspicious thread, saluting her mother-in-law with reverence, stood contentedly before her with joined palms.
Pritha, out of affection, pronounced a blessing upon her daughter-in-law endued with great beauty and every auspicious mark and possessed of a sweet disposition and good character, saying, ‘Be thou unto thy husband as Sachi unto Indra, Swaha unto Vibhavasu, Rohini unto Soma, Damayanti unto Nala, Bhadra unto Vaisravana, Arundhati unto Vasishtha, Lakshmi unto Narayana! O amiable one, be thou the mother of long-lived and heroic children, and possessed of everything that can make thee happy! Let luck and prosperity ever wait on thee! Wait thou ever on husbands engaged in the performance of grand sacrifices.
Be thou devoted to thy husbands. And let thy days be ever passed in duly entertaining and reverencing guests and strangers arrived at thy abode, and the pious and the old; children and superiors. Be thou installed as the Queen of the kingdom and the capital of Kurujangala, with thy husband Yudhishthira the just! O daughter, let the whole earth, conquered by the prowess of thy husbands endued with great strength, be given away by thee unto Brahmanas at horse-sacrifice! O accomplished one whatever gems there are on earth possessed of superior virtues, obtain them, O lucky one, and be thou happy for a full hundred years! And, O daughter-in-law, as I rejoice today beholding thee attired in red silk, so shall I rejoice again, when, O accomplished one, I behold thee become the mother of a son!’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘After the sons of Pandu had been married, Hari (Krishna) sent unto them (as presents) various gold ornaments set with pearls and black gems (lapis lazuli). And Madhava (Krishna) also sent unto them costly robes manufactured in various countries, and many beautiful and soft blankets and hides of great value, and many costly beds and carpets and vehicles.
He also sent them vessels by hundreds, set with gems and diamonds. And Krishna also gave them female servants by thousands, brought from various countries, and endued with beauty, youth and accomplishments and decked with every ornament.
He also gave them many well-trained elephants brought from the country of Madra, and many excellent horses in costly harness, cars drawn by horses of excellent colours and large teeth. The slayer of Madhu, of immeasurable soul, also sent them coins of pure gold by crores upon crores in separate heaps. And Yudhishthira the just, desirous of gratifying Govinda, accepted all those presents with great joy.'”
“Vaisampayana said, ‘The news was carried unto all the monarchs (who had come to the Self-choice of Draupadi) by their trusted spies that the handsome Draupadi had been united in marriage with the sons of Pandu. And they were also informed that the illustrious hero who had bent the bow and shot the mark was none else than Arjuna, that foremost of victorious warriors and first of all wielders of the bow and arrows. And it became known that the mighty warrior who had dashed Salya, the king of Madra, on the ground, and who in wrath had terrified the assembled monarchs by means of the tree (he had uprooted), and who had taken his stand before all foes in perfect fearlessness, was none else than Bhima, that feller of hostile ranks, whose touch alone was sufficient to take the lives out of all foes.
The monarchs, upon being informed that the Pandavas had assumed the guise of peaceful Brahmanas, wondered much. They even heard that Kunti with all her sons had been burnt to death in the conflagration of the house of lac. They, therefore, now regarded the Pandavas in the light of persons who had come back from the region of the dead. And recollecting the cruel scheme contrived by Purochana, they began to say, ‘O, fie on Bhishma, fie on Dhritarashtra of the Kuru race!’
“After the Self-choice was over, all the monarchs (who had come thither), hearing that Draupadi had been united with the Pandavas, set out for their own dominions. And Duryodhana, hearing that Draupadi had selected the owner of white steeds (Arjuna) as her lord, became greatly depressed. Accompanied by his brothers, Aswatthaman, his uncle (Sakuni), Karna and Kripa the prince set out with a heavy heart for his capital.
Then Duhsasana, blushing with shame, addressed his brother softly and said, ‘If Arjuna had not disguised himself as a Brahmana, he could never have succeeded in obtaining Draupadi. It was for this disguise, O king, that no one could recognise him as Dhananjaya.
Fate, I ween, is ever supreme. Exertion is fruitless; fie on our exertions, O brother! The Pandavas are still alive!’ Speaking unto one another thus and blaming Purochana (for his carelessness), they then entered the city of Hastinapura, with cheerless and sorrowful hearts.
Beholding the mighty sons of Pritha, escaped from the burning house of lac and allied with Drupada, and thinking of Dhrishtadyumna and Sikhandin and the other sons of Drupada all accomplished in fight, they were struck with fear and overcome with despair.
“Then Vidura, having learnt that Draupadi had been won by the Pandavas and that the sons of Dhritarashtra had come back (to Hastinapura) in shame, their pride humiliated, became filled with joy.
And, O king, approaching Dhritarashtra, Kshattri said, ‘The Kurus are prospering by good luck!’ Hearing those words of Vidura, the son of Vichitravirya, wondering, said in great glee, ‘What good luck, O Vidura! What good luck!’ From ignorance, the blind monarch understood that his eldest son Duryodhana had been chosen by Drupada’s daughter as her lord. And the king immediately ordered various ornaments to be made for Draupadi. And he commanded that both Draupadi and his son Duryodhana should be brought with pomp to Hastinapura.
It was then that Vidura told the monarch that Draupadi had chosen the Pandavas for her lords, and that those heroes were all alive and at peace, and that they had been received with great respect by king Drupada. And he also informed Dhritarashtra that the Pandavas had been united with the many relatives and friends of Drupada, each owning large armies, and with many others who had come to that self-choice.