Monday, 8 December 2014

92. Krishna Advises Bhima and Arjuna to Undertake Penance (7-12-14)

Draupadi thanks Krishna for protecting her honor but asks why he delayed helping her and let her be humiliated by Dushshasana who tries to disrobe her in the Kuru assembly. Krishna asks Draupadi what she did when Dushshasana dragged her by the hair. Draupadi recalls struggling to free herself from Dushshasana's grip and protect herself and later asking the elders in the court to intervene. Krishna explains that as long as Draupadi believed that she could save herself with her own efforts, Krishna did not help her but when surrendered herself totally and called out to him he did appear in the next instant and protected her honor. Draupadi understands her folly and asks for Krishna's forgiveness. Krishna reminds Draupadi of the incident that took place at Indraprastha soon after Yudhishtra's Rajasuya Yagna when Krishna cuts his finger and blood starts to pour out of the wound. Draupadi instantly tears a piece of cloth from her upper garment and ties it around Krishna's finger to stop the bleeding.
Balarama comes to Hastinapur to blast his disciple Duryodhana and the Kauravas for their repulsive deception of the Pandavas and the abominable disrobing of Draupadi. He is welcomed by Dhritarashtra and Gandhari. As advised by Shakuni, Duryodhana holds Balarama's feet and refuses to get up until Balarama blesses him.

Monday, 27 October 2014

85. Draupadi Asks The Kuru Elders Scathing Questions (26-10-14)

When Yudhishtra loses the dice game after staking himself, Vidura begs King Dhritarshtra to stop the game and set the Pandavas free. Duryodhana intervenes and says either he should keep quiet like Bhishma, Drona, Kripacharya or get out of the game. Karna suggests that Yudhishtra stake Draupadi in the dice game, and Vidura is enraged and once again pleads with the king. Duryodhana guffaws and says that they were playing the game in accordance with the rules set by Bhishma, and the game could be stopped only by Duryodhana or Yudhishtra. Since Yudhishtra was a mere slave now, only Duryodhana could stop the game and Yudhishtra was bound to play as long as Duryodhana wanted.

As the elders watch the proceedings in utter dismay, Yudhishtra stakes Draupadi and loses her too. Duryodhana orders Vidura to bring Draupadi since she would have to live with him in his palace. When Vidura yells out predictions of doom for the Kauravas, and Drona intervenes with an exposition of dharma, but Duryodhana questions his loyalty to the crown and turns down his suggestion of setting the Pandavas free. He mocks him saying that these words of wisdom should have been uttered before the start of the game and not after the Pandavas had lost the game. Bhishma too faces a similar disgrace when Dritarashtra doesn't speak against his son who Bhishma was a symbol for destruction just like the flower/fruit on bamboos.

Duryodhana then sends a messenger called Pratikami to bring Daupadi. Draupadi is shocked to know that Yudhishtra had lost his brothers and himself in the game. She is furious to know that Yudhishtra had lost her too in the game and sends back Pratikami with a question to Yudhishtra whether he had lost himself first and then staked Draupadi or lost her first and then staked himself. Pratikami conveys Draupadi's question to the court. Yudhishtra is speechless, and Duryodhana says that Draupadi should come to the court and ask the question herself.

Pratikami narrates the incidents to Draupadi and she once again sends him back, with the stinging question to the Kuru elders such as Bhishma, Vidura, Drona and Kripacharya, whether Draupadi's coming to the court was in accordance with Dharma. Bhishma's objection that as per rules set in the beginning that women were not to be allowed inside the gambling venue is brushed aside with the snide eminder that Draupadi was only a dasi now and dasis were allowed inside the court.

As per Duryodhana's order, Dushshasana barges into Draupadi's chamber. Draupadi warns him that he shouldn't disrespect his sister-in-law who is like a mother to him. Dushshasana says that Draupadi, as a wife of five men, is only a prostitute. Even when Draupadi reveals that as she is undergoing menstruation and shouldn't appear before her husband or other elders, Dushshasana dismisses her protests saying she was a mere slave who doesn't deserve any respect. Dushshasana drags Drapdi by her hair and pushes her down on the floor. Karna reminds her that she had called him a 'sootaputra' at her swayamwara, now what would her children be called -- a slave's sons? Draupadi then stands before Bhishma and tells him not to hang his head but look at her pitiable state. As she pelts out questions after questions, Bhishma only cries out in anguish. She tells him that Bhishma is taking the side of adharma under the pretext of the vow given to his father of protecting the crown. Instead, he should protect the dharma. She then asks if women were mere chattels or property which could be staked in a wager. Is it appropriate, she asks, that a man who has lost himself in a wager and become a slave stake another person?

She questions other elders like Drona and Vidura, but nobody answers her.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

84. Yudhishtra Loses His wealth and His Brothers in Gambling

Yudhishtra wants to quit the game, since he has no property to lose. But Duryodhana taunts him and incites him to continue playing. He asks him to wager his own brothers in the game. Bhishma and Vidura object to this, saying he could lay at stake only what he owned. Once again, Duryodhana makes fun of the unity the brothers professed and asks if it was true the brothers would do anything Yudhishtra commanded. Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva grant permission to Yudhishtra to stake them in the game. Yudhishtra loses them one by one and the brothers remove their crown and kneel down in the assembly. Duryodhana jeers at them and calls them his slaves. Finally, Yudhishtra loses himself too and declares that he has nothing else on offer. Duryodhana says he still had his wife to stake.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

83. Yudhishtra Agrees to Play The Game of Dice Despite Vidura's Warning (05-10-2014)

(continued from previous episode)Virtuous Vikarna, Dritarashtra's son from a Vaisya woman, has been listening to the conversation between his father and Duryodhana. Dritarashtra throws away in helpless anguish the glass of milk that Duryodhana had brought for him. Vikarna tells Dritarashtra that he had heard Duryodhana's conversations with him and begs him not to permit the playing of the game of dice, as he fears that his brother Duryodhana could use it in vile ways. He requests Dritarashtra to send away the Pandavas soon, else the entire Kuru dynasty may have to suffer the ill consequences.

Dritarshtra convenes the game of dice. Yudhishtra seeks the blessings from all the assembled elders. Shakuni asks an unwilling Duryodhana to seek Yudhishtra's blessings, explaining that Yudhishtra's words would never fail, as he is the embodiment of truth. Yudhishtra wishes Duryodhana victory. Shakuni asks Yudhishtra's consent to begin the game. Yudhishtra expresses surprise at shakuni's eagerness to play the game, and says the game neither expresses the true valor of a kshatriya nor does it bring honor to anybody who plays dishonestly. Duryodhana mocks that Yudhishtra had already become scared about losing and the game has already ended before starting.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

82. Shakuni Recalls His Enemity With The Kauravas And How He Acquired The Dice Made From The Bones of His Father (28-10-14)

(continued from previous episode...)Balarama informs Rukmini and his wife Revati that Krishna has returned safely with gifts from King Satrajit, after acquitting himself of Satrajit's charge of stealing Syamantaka gem. Rukmini rushes out to meet Krishna, but is stunned to see him with Satyabhama, with both appearing garlanded.
Krishna wedded to Satyabhama
She angrily asks Balarama if the woman with Krishna was the gift from Satrajit that he had just now referred. Krishna introduces Satyabhma as Satrajit's daughter who used to worship him everyday and had taken refuge in him. He then asks Bhama to seek his brother's blessings. Rukmini is incensed with Krishna's behavior. She says he had just married Jambavati because she was his devotee and now he has married Bhama citing the same reason once again. If she did not try to put an end to this, the number of Krishna's wives may grow from three to way beyond thirty. Krishna smiles and says that in this birth he is destined to marry 16, 108 wives. Rukmini swoons but Bhama is calm. She explains to Rukmini that, like them, countless women have worshipped Krishna sincerely and taken refuge in him and it is Krishna's duty to accept them. Krishna confirms this saying he was bound to offer himself to anyone who took refuge in him and performed every action in His name regardless of whether it was good or bad.

Kunti is happily watching Yudhishtra playing the game of dice with his brothers. A messenger announces the arrival of Vidura and ushers him in. Vidura tells them that he has come there on a bitter errand. As an emissary from the king he tells them of the new 1000-pillared amphitheatre that the Kauravas have built, and their invitation to be their special guests and participate in the gambling game of dice. Then, as their uncle and a well wisher, Vidura advises the Pandavas not to come to Hastinapur, as danger is awaiting them there. Yudhishtra says he cannot refuse or ignore his uncle's invitation; besides, according to the kshatriya dharma, he is bound to accept the invitation of another kshatriya of equal stature. He promises Vidura that he would not initiate the game of dice and invite anybody for the game; however, he would not be able to refuse to play when another kshatriya invites him.

Krishna is recining on merrily on his bed, being served by Rukmini and Bhama. Balarama announces that King Salwa has begun an aerial attack on Mathura, being angered by Krishna's slaying of his friend Sishupala at the Rajasuya Yagna of the Pandavas at Indraprastha.p> Vidura conveys the news of the acceptance of Dhritarashtra's invitation to play the game of dice. Duryodhana, Shakuni and Dritarashtra are overjoyed to hear this. Dritarashtra commands Vidura to make all arrangements to make the stay of the Pandavas an enjoyable one.

In his private chamber, Shakuni opens a special box in which are kept a pair of dice. He remembers his father King Subala's directive to him as the sole survivor of the Gandhara kingdom to wreak vengeance on the Kauravas. His father had told him how Bhishma once angrily barged into Subala's court and demanded to know why he had hidden the fact that Gandhari had already been married. Subala explains that Gandhari was said to have 'kalathra dosha' because of which it was feared that her husband would not live long. So they got her married to a goat and later sacrificed this goat. For his crime of hiding these facts, Bhishma imprisons him and his entire clan of hundred people and gave them just hundred grains of rice everyday. As this was insufficient for all, the Gandhara clan decided to put all the grains together and feed only Shakuni so that he could wreak vengeance on the Kauravas for having driven them to such despair. Subala then shows him a bone of his ancestors and hits him hard with it. As Shakuni writhes with pain, his father tells him that every step that he takes with his injured leg should help him to keep the memory of Bhishma's wrongdoings alive in his mind. Subala further tells him to make a pair of dice with his own bones. The dice would always obey Shakuni's commands and he should use it to bring about the destruction of the Kauravas. Subala dies, and Shakuni swears he would bring about the destruction of the Kauravas. Shakuni recalls all this and prays that this game, the ultimate game he was about to play, should destroy the Kuru dynasty.

Duryodhana visits his father and tells him to promise not to interfere in anything that he might do the next day when he would play the game of dice with the Pandavas. Dritarashtra is hesitant, but Duryodhana gets him to promise non-interference using his usual threat of suicide.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

81. Shakuni Advises Duryodhana to Cajole Dhritarashtra Into Asking Yudhishtra For A Game of Dice(21-09-2014)

Shakuni is busy playing a game of dice when Duryodhana and Dushshasana enter his chamber. Duryodhana taunts him for expressing mighty words of revenge-taking against Yudhishtra but doing nothing about it except playing dice throughout the day. Shakuni says that was the only way left to score over the Pandavas, as they cannot be defeated in a battle. As Pandavas were outside their purview, they couldn't employ other treacherous means either. The only way would be to defeat them in a game of dice.

Duryodhana is dubious whether Yudhishtra would accept an invitation for a game of dice. Shakuni assures him that Yudhishtra was very fond of playing dice game and would never refuse an invitation, especially if it came from King Dhritarashtra, whose words he always respected. He then asks Duryodhana to pursuade King Dhritarashtra, hooking him with a show of affection and recommends him to use threat of death, if need be.

Monday, 15 September 2014

80. Draupadi Laughs at Duryodhana When He Slips Into A Pond in the Mayan's Sabha at Indraprastha

Shishupala continues to rail abuses at Krishna who listens to it calmly. He asks other kings to walk out in protest, but no one follows him. Duryodhana wants to join, but Shakuni dissuades him and tells him to watch the enfolding drama.

When Shishupala utters his 101st condemnation, Krishna closes his eyes and his Sudarshana Chakra appears on his finger. Shishupala runs hither and thither, but the Chakra severs his head and returns to Krishna.

Yudhishtra wants to know if killing of Shishupala vitiated the ritual cleanliness of the Yagna. Krishna assure him that Shishupala was his 'dwarapalaka', and it was his wish to oppose Krihna and die at his hands three times. He had previously taken birth as Hiranyakashipu and as Ravana, and in the presnt birth as Shishupala. He has now taken refuge in Krishna as his dwarpalaka, and all sins pertaining to this would touch only Krishna, and Yudhishtra could contine with the ceremonies.