13- Jatugriha- the wax palace!
Rishi Vaishampayana said: ‘Hearing the great prowess and energy of Pandavas, king Dhritarashtra was puzzled. And adding to his anxiety, Duryodhana gossiped with him about the Pandavas. Wailing before his father he asked him either to banish or to finish the Pandavas forever! King Dhritarashtra was worried listening to the evil words against the Five Pandavas. Truly, Dhritarashtra was a wise and learned man and he loved the sons of Pandu. So, he tried his best to convince his son to step down from the cruel thought against them. He said, ‘O Duryodhana, my dearest son! Do not think of any evil act against Pandavas. Pandu had won over the heart of the whole subjects of Hastinapur, Pitamaha Bhishma, Vidura, and even me by his noble and good behavior! He was always loyal to me. Not only my food and dress, but he was also always ready to attend to my commands. He was dutiful and virtuous. And the same is shown by Yudhishthira. He loved you all and never detached from the path of virtue. Virtuous-minded Yudhishthira with other Pandavas loved by everyone. If you try to do any harm to them, then you will be trapped. You would be counted as a low-grade person even by Pitamaha Bhishma and learned Vidura! Do not try to create any dissension among the brothers. Remember- they are not only powerful, they follow the path of Dharma! There is nothing wrong if Yudhishthira would be the king!’ Once again, Duryodhana said, ‘O Lord of kings! Think twice. Because of your blindness, Pandu became the king. And if Yudhishthira becomes king, then it would be continued like his son and after that his son, his son would go on. We would be at nowhere. Even the people of Hastinapur acclaimed Yudhishthira to be their king. We would never get a chance to ascend the throne. When the time is there, either you banish them or kill them for my sake. Being aware of enemies and cutting them off from the root is called the Politics- Rajaniti!’ King Dhritarashtra was in a dilemma. He was churned between the love for his own children, particularly for Duryodhana, and on the other hand the virtuous-minded Yudhishthira. Being confused, he consulted with the wicked-minded Kanika- the minister of Shubala. He taught him all the politics which went against Pandavas. Kanika said, ‘ O king of three worlds! Listen to me carefully about what things should be followed by a king: Kings should ever be ready with upraised scepters and they should ever extend their prowess. The killing of a harmful foe is always praiseworthy. Watch the disaster hour of the enemy and kill him without any scorn. Remember- a little spark of fire can destroy the whole forest in time. Be always watchful like a herd of deer sleeping in the jungle. An enemy should never be allowed to escape. Destroy them without showing any mercy. Apply the art of conciliation or the expenditure, of money or by producing disunion amongst his allies. Kanika cited a beautiful story of- The jackal, the tiger, and the Mongoose. Destroy your enemy by curses, by incantations, by the gift of wealth, by poison, or by deception. The man who has never met any calamity can never have prosperity. You should act in such a way that both friends and foes may not know your intention before the commencement of the act. Let them know after the act is commended. The man who trusts his enemy who is under his control invites his own death by a mule by her conception. O king, therefore, protect yourself from the sons of Pandu.’ Having said this Kanika went away and King Dhritarashtra became pensive and sad! Here, Duryodhana, Karna, Dushasana, and Shakuni started a conspiracy how to kill Kunti and her five sons. But learned Vidura came to know from their demeanors the intention of those wicked-minded men. Once again Duryodhana said, ‘O Father! Without any fear, exile the sons of Pandu with their mother Kunti to Varunavata by some gentle means. In the meantime, we would shower the wealth and honor to the people and win over them to be on our side.’ ‘O son, what about Bhishma, Vidura, Drona, and other scions of the Kuru race?’ questioned King Dhritarashtra. 'O, father! Pitamaha Bhishma will be neutral. Vidura is living with our alms. Since Ashwatthama favors me, Drona will be bound to be on our side. Rest, we can take care,’ said Duryodhana proudly. At last, Dhritarashtra became a victim of Duryodhan’s evil words. He agreed to his proposal. One day, in the royal court, some cunning ministers, as instructed by Dhritarashtra described the city of Varunavata as one of the most charming places where the festival of Lord Pashupati (Shiva) had begun. Hearing the praises of the Lord and the city, Pandavas desired in their mind to go there. Taking the opportunity of their eagerness, King Dhritarashtra spoke, ‘ O sons of Pandu, if you desire to see the festival, go there with your friends and followers and enjoy yourselves like the celestials. Enjoy as much as you like, then return back to Hastinapur.’ Wise, virtuous-minded Yudhishthira could understand the motive behind his father- Dhritarashtra. Paying homage to all the elderly Kuru- Pitamaha Bhishma, Vidur, Guru Dronacharya, Kripa, and other respected fellows, Yudhishthira with his brothers and mother Kunti started his journey to Varunavata. The controversial talk began among the people. They were completely dissatisfied with the suggestion of King Dhritarashtra. Learned Vidura was well aware of the wicked mind of Duryodhana and king Dhritarashtra. He warned Yudhishthira to be vigilant in every step. He also secretly informed Pitamaha Bhishma about the sinful trick of Kauravas against Pandavas. The people of Hastinapur cried against king Dhritarashtra and wicked-minded Duryodhana. They denounced their act as a sinful and sheer conspiracy against five Pandavas. On the day of their journey to Varunavata, the people followed him and requested them to stay back or take all of them to Varunavata. At last, kind-hearted Yudhishthira consoled them with soft words and assured them to come back. Thus, with grief and a heavy heart, they moved towards Varunavata. Before the arrival of Pandavas in Varunavata, Duryodhana sent his loyal, trustworthy cook Purochana to the city in advance. Purochana was well instructed by the conspirators- Duryodhana, Duhshasana, Karna, and Mama Shakuni. He built a beautiful, luxurious palace for the reception of Pandavas. And the whole house was built with all the highly inflammable materials- resin, oil, ghee, camphor, jute, lac, and fat. It was built so intricately that no one could guess from the outside. He skillfully filled up various parts of the building with dry things which could catch fire easily. The master plan was- when Pandavas would fell asleep, the house would be set on fire so that it would be taken as an accident. And no one would blame Kauravas. Thus, the Jatugriha Parva is finished here. The next episode- Escape of Pandavas!