In Virata's Kingdom!
(Vana Parva- Vyasa Mahabharata)
As Janmejaya asked what happened to Arjun and Uttara after recovering the kine, Rishi Vaishampayan said———
After vanquishing the whole Kuru army, the slayer of foes, Jishnu said, ‘O prince, Uttara! You alone know that the sons of Pritha (we Pandavas ) are living with your father. At no cost, you would eulogize them upon entering the city, for then the king of Matsya will die out of fear! You should proclaim your bravery of defeating all the Kurus all alone and rescue the kine!’
Having heard his advice, Uttara promised him that he would not disclose unless Parth had asked him to do so!
In the meanwhile, King Viraat returned to his city with the four Pandavas defeating the Trigartas. He was delighted with his victory over his foes. When he asked about his son Uttara, the ladies of the inner apartment informed him that Uttara with Brihnnala had gone to face the vast Kuru army to rescue their royal kine! The king was filled with sorrow hearing that his son had gone all alone to fight with such unchallengeable heroes with a mere eunuch Brihannala. He addressed his soldiers and said, ‘Go immediately with the warriors and find out my son if is still alive or dead! How can he face those unbearable warriors whom celestials are afraid of? How would that eunuch help him?’
Hearing his words, Kanka ( Yudhishthira) said smilingly, ‘O king! When Brihannala is there with your son, nothing will happen to him even if all the celestials, gods, and Gandharvas together fight with them! Well guarded by that charioteer, your son can easily defeat all the kings allied with the Kurus including the Asuras, Yakshas, and the Celestials.’
At that time the messenger came hurriedly sent by Uttara and announced the victory saying, ‘All the kine have been rescued and the Kauravas have been vanquished! The prince is all well with the charioteer coming back home!’
King Viraat was overwhelmed with joy and ordered his ministers, ‘Let the highway be decorated with flags! Let Uttara well adorned with ornaments receive her brave brother!’ Out of sheer joy, King Virat said, ‘O Sairandhri, bring the dice! I want to play a dice game with Kanka.’
Seeing his strong willingness for the game, Kanka said, ‘O king! The dice game is the root of all evil! I heard that King Yudhishthira lost everything including all his prosperity, godlike brothers, and beautiful divine wife at a game of dice! I would play though I hate this game.’
Thus, Kanka began to play. While the game was going on, King Virata said, ‘Even the vast army and fearful Kauravas have been defeated by my son!’
Answering this statement, Kanka said, ‘Why shouldn't he conquer when he has got Brihannala as his charioteer?’
Matsya king was infuriated with Kanka’s reply and said, ‘O wretch! I feel insulted! Do you dare to praise that eunuch as compared with my son? I spare your life for the sake of friendship or else you would be dead!’
Once again (Yudhishthira) Kanka said, ‘O king! Forget about Drona, Bhishma, Duryodhana, or any other, the king of gods Indra himself is surrounded by Maruts collectively not fit for Brihannala. He is invincible and easily defeats all of them. None will be equal in strength of arms with that charioteer! He is the only one who takes delight in encountering such a force!’
Hearing Kanka’s repeated praise, King Virat said, ‘O Brahmin! You can't control your speech though you are prevented by me again and again.’ Saying so, out of anger the king struck Yudhishthira on his face with a dice. Blood began to flow from his nose but he held it in his hands so that it would not fall on the ground. He gestured to Sairandhri, standing by his side, rushed to bring a bowl with water and held it under his nose.
In the meantime, the waiter approaching King Viraat, said, ‘O king! Uttara is waiting at the gate with the charioteer.’
Overwhelmed with joy, the king ordered the porter, ‘Bring them here. I want to see them.’
Then Yudhishthira immediately whispered to the porter, ‘Bring Uttara alone, not the charioteer now!’ He was afraid of Arjun’s wrath and his vow. The third Pandava had taken a vow that whoever shall wound Yudhishthira’s body or shed his blood except in the battle, shall never live! If ever he comes to know of it, he would kill Viraat with his counselors and all his troops.
After a little while, Uttara entered the court. He saluted his father and there he saw Kanka bathed in blood, sitting on the ground. He was stunned looking at his condition and asked, ‘Who has done this heinous act?’
King Virata said, ‘O son! This wretch Brahmin deserves more than this. I have struck him as he praised that eunuch charioteer while I spoke highly of you!’
Uttara was very disappointed with his father’s foolish act. He requested his father to beg his forgiveness or the Brahmin’s curse would consume him from the very roots! Hearing the words of his son, Virata begged Kanka for his forgiveness.
In return Kanka said, ‘O king! No more I have anger in my mind. If the blood of my nose falls on the ground, then you with your kingdom would have been destroyed.’
In the meantime, Brihannala entered the room and saluted both King Virata and Kanka. In the presence of all of them, Virata said, ‘O son, how did you fight with the twice-born Drona who was the preceptor of Vrishnis and Kuru, Pitamaha Bhishma, Karna and the mighty warrior Ashwatthama! How could you rescue our kine vanquishing all the Kauravas? How did you fight with all these mighty warriors?’
After listening to the flattery of his father, Uttara said, ‘O father! Neither I have rescued the kine nor have I defeated the Kurus! Everything was done by a celestial person! O father, I was running away out of fear, that time that celestial person stopped me and got on my chariot. That mighty one after vanquishing all of them addressed King Duryodhana, ‘O Kuru prince! No more you will be safe even at Hastinapur! Make up your mind for the encounter with your enemy. Either you enjoy this earth by conquering your enemy or being slain by them go to heaven.’ Thus, all those warriors were defeated by him, O father!
Hearing his words, King Virat became too curious to see and honor that hero. Uttara requested him to wait for two or three days more.
Three days later, Uttara arranged everything systematically. All five Pandavas adorned with all the ornaments and beautiful white clothes entered the assembly hall and sat on thrones reserved for kings. They looked like burning fires! After a while, King Virat approached there to perform his royal duties. Beholding the five Pandavas who shone there like fire, Virata thought for a while, and then filled with anger he said, ‘O Kanka! You are a mere courtier appointed by me! How dare you think to occupy that royal throne?’
Arjun retorted smilingly, ‘O King! This man is worthy of taking Lord Indra’s seat. He is the man who is nothing but the manifestation of Dharma himself. He is the embodiment of Virtue and the foremost of all attributes! He is the one who has mastered all the weapons and is well well-versed in all the scriptures, Vedas, and Vedangas. The Rishis, munies, devas, and Danavas, praise his virtue, truthfulness, and generosity like bards singing morning glory! A royal Rishi like him is celebrated all over the world!
O king! This nobleman is lord of the world! He is far-sighted, highly powerful, and loved by his subjects! He is the best of the Kuru dynasty and is known as Dharmaraj Yudhisthira! In wealth, he is equal to Lord Indra and Kubera! O king, his virtues can not be counted. This self-controlled royal Rishi is the son of Pandu and is always religion-abiding! He is king Yudhishthira!’
Hearing his words, King Virata asked, ‘If he is king Yudhishthira, son of Pandu, then where are his brothers, the other four Pandavas and wife Draupadi?’
Then Arjun smiled and said, ‘O king! Your cook, Ballava is no other than Bhimsen. He who is the keeper of your horses is Nakul. He who is in charge of your kine is Sahadev. And the lotus-eyed, beautiful Sairandhri, of sweet smiles is Draupadi! And I am Arjun, the third Pandava!’
Thus, Arjun disclosed their identities to King Virat of Matshya Kingdom!