Scene 1Dhritarashtra and Gandhari in their private chamber. Dhritarashtra asks Gandhari if she married him willingly.
Gandhari: Yes, I did marry you willingly. But why did you get such a doubt?
Dhritarashtra: Which girl would want to marry a blind person like me?. That's why.
Gandhari: You should never entertain such doubts in the future. Henceforth, I will be forever your eyes to the world.
Dhritarashtra: What you say sounds good to hear; but any girl would want her beauty to be appreciated by her husband. And I don't even know what beauty is.
Gandhari: True beauty lies in our heart. You don't need eyes to appreciate that. True love is enough.
Dhritarashtra: You talk beautifully. You must therefore be beautiful indeed.
Gandhari: Did the girls in the palace never tell you how handsome you are?
Dhritarashtra: That's ok. Do you know what my ambitions and dreams are?
Gandhari: I know. You want to be the emperor of this country.
Scene 2Pandu and Kunti in their private chamber. Pandu goes around Kunti gazing into her face.
Kunti(bashfully): What are you searching for something in my face?
Pandu: Yes, I lost myself in your eyes that are deep as the sea. I am looking for myself in your eyes.
Kunti: I knew you were great at archery, but you seem to be great at poetry too!
Pandu: You are so beautiful that anybody who sees you would turn into a poet. Did you ever see me before the swayamvaram?
Kunti: There was no opportunity for that. But why do you ask?
Pandu: On that day, hundreds were waiting in the hall, but you walked past them to garland me and disappointed others. Why and how did you choose me?
Kunti: The eyes that beheld you – would they ever look at another?
Pandu: Am I so handsome?
Kunti: Of course! Any girl who sees you would fall for you. I was indeed lucky to get wedded to you! When I saw you, I got the feeling that I knew you since several births. That's why like someone spellbound by mantras, I came straight to you and garlanded you.
Pandu: We can go on speaking till morning and we have our entire life to talk. Shall we now put a stop to it and retire to bed?
Scene 3Gandhari is leading Dhritarashtra by hand to the rajadurbar.
Dhritarashtra: Oh, the fragrance of this durbar! I used to love this fragrance since I was a child.
He walks farther till he reaches the steps leading to the throne. Then he asks Gandhari to stay back and climbs the steps, laughing uproariously.
Dhritarashtra: Gandhari, here's the throne. I am not supposed to sit here before the coronation. But it does not matter. Anyway, ultimately I am going to be the king, and there is no harm in my sitting on it. Gandhari, tell me how I look now, sitting on this throne? Gandhari, do you know I have already prepared the speech I will be delivering on the day of my coronation? (He stands up and starts his oration): Oh my dear people of Hastinapur! The sun rises and sets; people take birth and die; empires rise and fall. But my rule will not merely be a golden age, but far above that! I am not speaking arrogantly. Many people have ruled the land, but mine will outshine them and live and shine in the history for several years. That's because all of them used their two eyes to rule their countries. But I am different from them. But I will rule with my third eye. The whole world is going to glorify me as 'born to rule'. There is one sun, one moon and one King Dhritarashtra. Nobody in the past has ever used their inner eyes to rule the land, and nobody anywhere is ever going to rule using their inner eyes. Long live Hastinapur! Long live the people of Hastinapura!! Salutations!
Scene 4Gandhari is mesmerized by the beauty of the full moon night as it spreads its magically soft silver light. She does not notice Dhritarashtra calling out for her. Dhritarashtra fumbles and reaches the window near where she is seated and touches her shoulders.
Dhritarashtra: I have been calling you for a long time. Did you sleep while sitting here?
Gandhari: Oh no! I wasn't sleeping. I am sorry. I was just admiring the nature's beauty.
Dhritarashtra: Can you tell me what were you so attracted by?
Gandhari: Of course! Today is full moon day and the moon is radiating in full glory and I melted in its cool beauty.
Dhritarashtra: Your description amazes me. Is the moon so beautiful?
Gandhari: It is. You can go on gazing at it without feeling hunger and without being satiated.
Dhritarashtra: Oh, I feel like seeing it too, but I can't. Can you describe it to me?
Gandhari: The moon is round and the light it sheds will be like silver.
Dhritarashtra: Oh, yes! I know now. Does it look the plate we eat food on?
Gandhari: What? the dinner plate?
Gandhari breaks into fits of laughter and the crestfallen Dhritarashtra turns to go away. Gandhari notices this and apologizes for her playful laughter.
Dhritarashtra: The fate has played a cruel game, and like the rest you too have joined it and are playing with me now, isn't it? I am not blaming you. Such mocking laughter has chased me since my birth. How can you be an exception? Go, laugh! I am quite used to this.
Gandhari: You are my god. Will I ever mock you?
Dhritarashtra: Gandhari, don't be upset. I have known nothing but darkness. It was my folly to try to understand the moon.
Gandhari: Oh, Prince! Only now do I understand how difficult it is to be in the dark. If my love for you is true, the decision I am taking just now will be the best. I do not want to see or enjoy anything that you cannot see or enjoy. I am taking this oath on Shiva, the god I worship. (She fetches a piece of cloth and ties it around her eyes.) Now I cannot see what you can't. No, don't fret. I took this decision after due thinking. Do not force me to reverse my decision.
Scene 5Blindfolded Gandhari walksin to the hall where Queen Satyavati and Bhishma are seated. Bhishma appreciates her devotion to her husband but is concerned about the difficult task of keeping up the oath the entire life time. He asks her to reconsider her decision.
Gandhari: Please do not feel sorry. There is no problem in this. This is the best way to understand my husband's feelings and frustrations. There is no one more important to me than my husband. I do not want to see, appreciate or experience what my husband can't.
Bhishma: Your renunciation is great! So far, I had prided myself on the greatness of my own renunciation. But you have added a new commentary on renunciation. This world will for ever remember and praise you for this act.
Queen Satyavati: Gandhari, you have made Hastinapur's name splendorous! I have undergone several miseries for the sake of Hastnapur, but you have made all those trivial in comparison. It is extremely challenging not to see when you can very well see. My soul will for ever bless you.
Scene 5Shakuni is roaring with laughter. His companion Nilavan is surprised.
Nilavan: Your sister is in perpetual blindfold and you are laughing away!
Shakuni: Gandhari has not only tied her own eyes but also those of the people of Hastinapur. Whether she did this knowingly or unknowingly, what she has done has shaken the entire population of Hastinapur. From now on, whatever she says will become the law. Bhishma, who determines the political future of this country, is already singing paeans of her virtue. That old woman who rules this country has already signed a deed decreeing that Gandhari rule this country. That woman Kunti who could be a rival to Gandhari has already taken a bow before her.
Nilavan: Even my eyes fill up seeing you so hard hearted.
Shakuni: Then go tie your eyes too! I was pondering how to trap the enemies. What my sister has done without thinking has trapped all those people in my net. Hastinapur is in my net!
Scene 6Satyavati confers with Bhishma once again. She reminds him about Vyasa's prediction of a short life span for Pandu. Hence she would like him to have children soon. She tells Bhishma about Shalya the king of Madra who has a sister called Madri. She directs Bhishma to seek the hands of Madri for marriage with Pandu.
Shalya is a little hesitant when Bhishma lands at his palace with the marriage proposal. So he says he would ask his sister, but Madri expresses her delight with the proposed alliance. Shalya warns her that as a junior queen, her children would never get to rule the kingdom, but Madri says she has no such ambitions. Shalya and Madri come back to Bhishma and express their concurrence.
The marriage is then celebrated at Hastinapur in the presence of the queens and Bhishma.