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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa
Yudhishthira said, “How wilt thou, O Sahadeva, bear thyself before that king? And what, O child, is that which thou wilt do in order to live in disguise.”
Sahadeva replied, “I will become a keeper of the kine of Virata’s king. I am skilled in milking kine and taking their history as well as in taming their fierceness. Passing under the name of Tantripal, I shall perform my duties deftly. Let thy heart’s fever be dispelled. Formerly I was frequently employed to look after thy kine, and, O Lord of earth, I have a particular knowledge of that work. And, O monarch, I am well-acquainted with the nature of kine, as also with their auspicious marks and other matters relating to them. I can also discriminate bulls with auspicious marks, the scent of whose urine may make even the barren being forth child. Even thus will I live, and I always take delight in work of this kind. Indeed, no one will then be able to recognise me, and I will moreover gratify the monarch,”
Verily, she deserveth to be cherished by us like a mother, and regarded like an elder sister. Unacquainted as she is with any kind of womanly work, what office will Krishna, the daughter of Drupada, perform? Delicate and young, she is a princess of great repute. Devoted to her lords, and eminently virtuous, also, how will she live? Since her birth, she hath enjoyed only garlands and perfume? and ornaments and costly robes.”
Draupadi replied, “There is a class of persons called Sairindhris, who enter the services of other. Other females, however (that are respectable) do not do so. Of this class there are some. I shall give myself out as a Sairindhri, skilled in dressing hair. And, O Bharata, on being questioned by the king, I shall say that I served as a waiting woman of Draupadi in Yudhishthira’s household. I shall thus pass my days in disguise. And I shall serve the famous Sudeshna, the wife of the king. Surely, obtaining me she will cherish me (duly). Do not grieve so, O king.”
“Yudhishthira said, “O Krishna, thou speakest well. But O fair girl, thou wert born in a respectable family. Chaste as thou art, and always engaged in observing virtuous vows, thou knowest not what is sin. Do thou, therefore, conduct thyself in such a way that sinful men of evil hearts may not be gladdened by gazing at thee.”
Vaisampayana said, “Having thus taken counsel of one another and told one another the offices they would discharge, the Pandavas sought Dhaumya’s advice. And Dhaumya also gave them advice in the following words, saying, Ye sons of Pandu, the arrangements ye have made regarding the Brahmanas, yours friends, cars, weapons, and the (sacred) fires, are excellent. But it behoveth thee, O Yudhishthira, and Arjuna specially, to make provision for the protection of Draupadi. Ye king, ye are well-acquainted with the characters of men. Yet whatever may be your knowledge, friends may from affection be permitted to repeat what is already known.
Even this is subservient to the eternal interests of virtue, pleasure, and profit. I shall, therefore speak to you something. Mark ye. To dwell with a king is, alas, difficult. I shall tell you, ye princes, how ye may reside in the royal household, avoiding every fault. Ye Kauravas, honourably or otherwise, ye will have to pass this year in the king’s palace, undiscovered by those that know you. Then in the fourteenth year, ye will live happy. O son of Pandu, in this world, that cherisher and protector of all beings, the king, who is a deity in an embodied form, is as a great fire sanctified with all the mantras.  One should present himself before the king, after having obtained his permission at the gate. No one should keep contact with royal secrets. Nor should one desire a seat which another may covet. He who doth not, regarding himself to be a favourite, occupy (the king’s) car, or coach, or seat, or vehicle, or elephant, is alone worthy of dwelling in a royal household. He that sits not upon a seat the occupation of which is calculated raise alarm in the minds of malicious people, is alone worthy of dwelling in a royal household.
No one should, unasked offer counsel (to a king). Paying homage in season unto the king, one should silently and respectfully sit beside the king, for kings take umbrage at babblers, and disgrace laying counsellors. A wise person should not contact friendship with the king’s wife, nor with the inmates of the inner apartments, nor with those that are objects of royal displeasure. One about the king should do even the most unimportant acts and with the king’s knowledge. Behaving thus with a sovereign, one doth not come by harm. Even if an individual attain the highest office, he should, as long as he is not asked or commanded, consider himself as born-blind, having regard to the king’s dignity, for O repressers of foes, the rulers of men do not forgive even their sons and grandsons and brothers when they happen to tamper with their dignity. Kings should be served with regardful care, even as Agni and other god; and he that is disloyal to his sovereign, is certainly destroyed by him. Renouncing anger, and pride, and negligence, it behoveth a man to follow the course directed by the monarch.
After carefully deliberating on all things, a person should set forth before the king those topics that are both profitable and pleasant; but should a subject be profitable without being pleasant, he should still communicate it, despite its disagreeableness. It behoveth a man to be well-disposed towards the king in all his interests, and not to indulge in speech that is alike unpleasant and profitless. Always thinking–I am not liked by the king–one should banish negligence, and be intent on bringing about what is agreeable and advantageous to him. He that swerveth not from his place, he that is not friendly to those that are hostile to the king, he that striveth not to do wrong to the king, is alone worthy to dwell in a royal household. A learned man should sit either on the king’s right or the left; he should not sit behind him for that is the place appointed for armed guards, and to sit before him is always interdicted. Let none, when the king is engaged in doing anything (in respect of his servants) come forward pressing himself zealously before others, for even if the aggrieved be very poor, such conduct would still be inexcusable. It behoveth no man to reveal to others any lie the king may have told inasmuch as the king bears ill will to those that report his falsehoods. Kings also always disregard persons that regard themselves as learned. No man should be proud thinking–I am brave, or, I am intelligent, but a person obtains the good graces of a king and enjoys the good things of life, by behaving agreeably to the wishes of the king. And, O Bharata, obtaining things agreeable, and wealth also which is so hard to acquire, a person should always do what is profitable as well as pleasant to the king. What man that is respected by the wise can even think of doing mischief to one whose ire is great impediment and whose favour is productive of mighty fruits? No one should move his lips, arms and thighs, before the king. A person should speak and spit before the king only mildly. In the presence of even laughable objects, a man should not break out into loud laughter, like a maniac; nor should one show (unreasonable) gravity by containing himself, to the utmost. One should smile modestly, to show his interest (in what is before him). He that is ever mindful of the king’s welfare, and is neither exhilarated by reward nor depressed by disgrace, is alone worthy of dwelling in a royal household.