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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa

SECTION XXI
“Bhima said, ‘Fie on the might of my arms and fie on the Gandiva of Falguni, inasmuch as thy hands, red before, now become covered with corns. I would have caused a carnage in Virata’s court but for the fact that Kunti’s son eyed me (by way of forbidding it), or like a mighty elephant. I would, without ado, have crushed the head of Kichaka intoxicated with the pride of sovereignty. When, O Krishna, I beheld thee kicked by Kichaka, I conceived at that instant a wholesale slaughter of the Matsyas. Yudhishthira, however, forbade me by a glance, and, O beauteous lady, understanding his intention I have kept quiet.

That we have been deprived of our kingdom, that I have not yet slain the Kurus, that I have not yet taken the heads of Suyodhana and Karna, and Suvala’s son Sakuni, and the wicked Duhsasana, these acts and omissions, O lady, are consuming every limb of mine. The thought of those abides in my heart like a javelin implanted in it. O thou of graceful hips, do not sacrifice virtue, and, O noble-hearted lady, subdue thy wrath. If king Yudhishthira hear from thee such rebukes, he will surely put an end to his life. If also Dhananjaya and the twins hear thee speak thus, even they will renounce life. And if these, O slender-waisted maiden, give up life.

I also shall not be able to bear my own. In olden days Sarjati’s daughter, the beautiful Sukanya, followed into the forest Chyavana of Bhrigu’s race, whose mind was under complete control, and over whom, while engaged in ascetic meditation, the ants had built a hill. Thou mayst have heard that Indrasena also who in beauty was like unto Narayani herself, followed her husband aged a thousand years. Thou mayst have heard that Janaka’s daughter Sita, the princess of Videha, followed her lord while living in dense woods. And that lady of graceful hips, Rama’s beloved wife, afflicted with calamities and persecuted by the Rakshasas, at length regained the company of Rama.

Lopamudra also, O timid one, endued with youth and beauty, followed Agastya, renouncing all the objects of enjoyment unattainable by men. And the intelligent and faultless Savitri also followed the heroic Satyavan, the son of Dyumatsena, alone into the world of Yama. Even like these chaste and beautiful ladies that I have named, thou, O blessed girl, bloomest with every virtue. Do thou spend a short while more that is measured by even a half month. And when the thirteenth year is complete, thou wilt (again) become the Queen regnant of a king.’ Hearing these words, Draupadi said, ‘Unable, O Bhima, to bear my griefs, it is from grief alone that I have shed these tears. I do not censure Yudhishthira. Nor is there any use in dwelling on the past. O Bhima of mighty strength, come quickly forward to the work of the hour. O Bhima, Kaikeyi, jealous of my beauty, always pains me by her endeavours to prevent the king from taking a fancy to me. And understanding this disposition of hers, the wicked-souled Kichaka of immoral ways constantly solicits me himself. Angry with him for this, but then suppressing my wrath I answer that wretch deprived of sense by lust, saying, ‘O Kichaka, protect thyself. I am the beloved queen and wife of five Gandharvas. Those heroes in wrath will slay thee that art so rash.

‘ Thus addressed, Kichaka of wicked soul replied unto me, saying, ‘I have not the least fear of the Gandharvas, O Sairindhri of sweet smiles. I will slay hundred thousand Gandharvas, encountering them in battle. Therefore, O timid one, do thou consent.’ Hearing all this, I again addressed the lust-afflicted Suta, saying, ‘Thou art no match for those illustrious Gandharvas. Of respectable percentage and good disposition, I ever adhere to virtue and never wish for the death of any one. It is for this that thou I vest, O Kichaka!’ At this, that wight of wicked soul burst out into a loud laughter. And it came to pass that Kaikeyi previously urged by Kichaka, and moved by affection for her brother, and desirous of doing him a good turn, despatched me to him, saying ‘Do thou, O Sairindhri, fetch wine from Kichaka’s quarter’s!’ On beholding me the Suta’s son at first addressed me in sweet words, and when that failed, he became exceedingly enraged, and intended to use violence. Understanding the purpose of the wicked Kichaka, I speedily rushed towards the place where the king was.

Felling me on the ground the wretch then kicked me in the very presence of the king himself and before the eyes of Kanka and many others, including charioteers, and royal favourites, and elephant-riders, and citizens. I rebuked the king and Kanka again and again. The king, however, neither prevented Kichaka, nor inflicted any chastisement on him. The principal ally of king Virata in war, the cruel Kichaka reft of virtue is loved by both the king and the queen. O exalted one, brave, proud, sinful, adulterous, and engrossed in all objects of enjoyment, he earneth immense wealth (from the king), and robs the possessions of others even if they cry in distress. And he never walketh in the path of virtue, nor doth he any virtuous act. Of wicked soul, and vicious disposition, haughty and villainous, and always afflicted by the shafts of Kama, though repulsed repeatedly, if he sees me again, he will outrage me. I shall then surely renounce my life.

Although striving to acquire virtue (on my death) your highly meritorious acts will come to naught. Ye that are now obeying your pledge, ye will lose your wife. By protecting, one’s wife one’s offspring are protected, and by protecting one’s offspring, one’s own self is protected. And it is because one begets one’s own self in one’s wife that the wife is called Jaya[15] by the wise. The husband also should be protected by the wife, thinking,–How else will he take his birth in my womb?–I have heard it from Brahmanas expounding the duties of the several orders that a Kshatriya hath no other duty than subduing enemies. Alas, Kichaka kicked me in the very presence of Yudhishthira the Just, and also of thyself, O Bhimasena of mighty strength. It was thou, O Bhima, that didst deliver me from the terrible Jatasura. It was thou also that with thy brothers didst vanquish Jayadratha. Do thou now slay this wretch also who hath insulted me. Presuming upon his being a favourite of the king, Kichaka, O Bharata, hath enhanced my woe.

Do thou, therefore, smash this lustful wight even like an earthen pot dashed upon a stone. If, O Bharata, tomorrow’s sun sheds his rays upon him who is the source of many griefs of mine, I shall, surely, mixing poison (with some drink), drink it up,–for I never shall yield to Kichaka. Far better it were, O Bhima, that I should die before thee.’

“Vaisampayana Continued, ‘Having said this, Krishna, hiding her face in Bhima’s breast began to weep. And Bhima, embracing her, consoled her to the best of his power. And having abundantly consoled that slender-waisted daughter of Drupada by means of words fraught with grave reason and sense, he wiped with his hands her face flooded with tears. And thinking of Kichaka and licking with his tongue the corners of his mouth, Bhima, filled with wrath thus spake to that distressed lady.'”


SECTION XXII
“Bhima said, ‘I will, O timid one, do even as thou sayest. I will presently slay Kichaka with all his friends. O Yajnaseni of sweet smiles, tomorrow evening, renouncing sorrow and grief, manage to have a meeting with Kichaka. The dancing-hall that the king of the Matsya hath caused to be erected is used by the girls for dancing during the day. They repair, however, to their homes at night. There in that hall, is an excellent and well-placed wooden bed-stead. Even there I will make him see the spirits of his deceased grandsires. But, O beautiful one, when thou holdest converse with him, thou must manage it so that others may not espy thee.”

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Having thus conversed with others, and shed tears in grief, they waited for the dawn of that night with painful impatience. And when the night had passed away, Kichaka, rising in the morning, went to the palace, and accosted Draupadi saying, ‘Throwing thee down in the court I kicked thee in the presence of the king. Attacked by mighty self, thou couldst not obtain protection. This Virata is in name only the king of the Matsyas. Commanding the forces of this realm it is I, who am the real lord of the Matsyas. Do thou, O timid one, accept me cheerfully.

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