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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa

I shall become thy slave. And, O thou of graceful hips, I will immediately give thee a hundred nishkas, and engage a hundred male and a hundred female servants (to tend thee), and will also bestow on thee cars yoked with she-mules. O timid lady, let our union take place.’ Draupadi replied, ‘O Kichaka, know even this is my condition. Neither thy friends nor thy brothers should know thy union with me. I am a terror of detection by those illustrious Gandharvas. Promise me this, and I yield to thee.’ Hearing this Kichaka said, ‘I will, O thou of graceful hips, do even as thou sayest. Afflicted by the god of love, I will, O beauteous damsel, alone repair to thy abode for union with thee, O thou of thighs round and tapering like the trunks of the plantain,–so that those Gandharvas, effulgent as the sun, may not come to know of this act of thine.’ Draupadi said, ‘Do thou, when it is dark, go to the dancing-hall erected by the king of the Matsyas where the girls dance during the day, repairing to their respective homes at night. The Gandharvas do not know that place. We shall then without doubt, escape all censure.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Reflecting on the subject of her conversation with Kichaka, that half a day seemed to Krishna as long as a whole month. And the stupid Kichaka also, not knowing that it was Death that had assumed the form of a Sairindhri, returning home experienced the greatest delight. And deprived of sense by lust, Kichaka became speedily engaged in embellishing his person with unguents and garlands and ornaments. And while he was doing all this, thinking of that damsel of large eyes, the day seemed to him to be without an end. And the beauty of Kichaka, who was about to forsake his beauty for ever, seemed to heighten, like the wick of a burning lamp about to expire.

And reposing the fullest confidence in Draupadi, Kichaka, deprived of his senses by lust and absorbed in the contemplation of expected meeting, did not even perceive that the day had departed. Meanwhile, the beautiful Draupadi approaching her husband Bhima of the Kuru race, stood before him in the kitchen. And that lady with tresses ending in beautiful curls then spake unto him, saying, ‘O chastiser of foes, even as thou hadst directed, I have given Kichaka to understand that our meeting will take place in the dancing-hall. Alone will he come at night to the empty hall. Slay him there, O thou of mighty arms. Do thou, O son of Kunti, repair to that dancing-hall, and take the life, O Pandava, of Kichaka, that son of a Suta intoxicated with vanity. From vanity alone, that son of a Suta slights the Gandharvas. O best of smiters, lift him up from the earth even as Krishna had lifted up the Naga (Kaliya) from the Yamuna. O Pandava, afflicted as I am with grief, wipe thou my tears, and blessed be thou, protect thy own honour and that of thy race.’

“Bhima said, ‘Welcome, O beauteous lady, Except the glad tidings thou bringest me, I need, O thou of exceeding beauty, no other aid whatever. The delight that I feel, O thou of great beauty, on hearing from thee about my coming encounter with Kichaka, is equal to what I felt in slaying Hidimva. I swear unto thee by Truth, by my brothers, and by morality, that I will slay Kichaka even as the lord of the celestials slew Vritra. Whether secretly or openly, I will crush Kichaka, and if the Matsyas fight for him, then I will slay them too. And slaying Duryodhana afterwards, I shall win back the earth. Let Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, continue to pay homage unto the king of Matsya.’ Hearing these words of Bhima, Draupadi said, ‘In order that, O lord, thou mayst not have to renounce the truth already pledged to me, do thou, O hero, slay Kichaka in secret.’ Bhima assuring her said, ‘Even today I shall slay Kichaka together with his friends unknown to others during the darkness of the night. I shall, O faultless lady, crush, even as an elephant crusheth a vela fruit, [16] the head of the wicked Kichaka who wisheth for what is unattainable by him!’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Repairing first to the place of assignation at night, Bhima sat down, disguising himself. And he waited there in expectation of Kichaka, like a lion lying in wait for a deer. And Kichaka, having embellished his person as he chose, came to the dancing-hall at the appointed time in the hope of meeting Panchali. And thinking of the assignation, he entered the chamber. And having entered that hall enveloped in deep gloom, that wretch of wicked soul came upon Bhima of incomparable prowess, who had come a little before and who was waiting in a corner.

And as an insect approacheth towards a flaming fire, or a puny animal towards a lion, Kichaka approached Bhima, lying down in a bed and burning in anger at the thought of the insult offered to Krishna, as if he were the Suta’s Death. And having approached Bhima, Kichaka possessed by lust, and his heart and soul filled with ecstacy smilingly said, ‘O thou of pencilled eye-brows, to thee I have already given many and various kinds of wealth from the stores earned by me, as well as hundred maids and many fine robes, and also a mansion with an inner apartment adorned with beauteous and lovely and youthful maid servants and embellished by every kind of sports and amusements And having set all those apart for thee, I have speedily come hither. And all on a sudden, women have begun to praise me, saying, ‘There is not in this world any other person like unto thee in beauty and dress!’ Hearing this, Bhima said, ‘It is well that thou art handsome, and it is well thou praisest thyself. I think, however, that thou hadst never before this such pleasurable touch! Thou hast an acute touch, and knowest the ways of gallantry. Skilled in the art of love-making, thou art a favourite with women. There is none like thee in this world!’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Saying this, that son of Kunti, the mighty-armed Bhima of terrible prowess, suddenly rose up, and laughingly said, ‘Thy sister, O wretch, shall today behold thee dragged by me to the ground, like a mighty elephant, huge as a mountain, dragged to the ground by a lion. Thyself slain Sairindhri will live in peace, and we, her husbands, will also live in peace.’ Saying this, the mighty Bhima seized Kichaka by the hairs of his head, which were adorned with garlands. And thus seized with force by the hair, that foremost of mighty persons, Kichaka, quickly freed his hair and grasped the arms of Bhima.

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