With full of annoyance, Duryodhana expressed, ‘O Lord of Lords, O King! It’s meaningless to live anymore after seeing the affluent prosperity of my arch-enemy- Yudhishthira! O Father, the way the coronation of the eldest Pandava was accomplished, is just unbearable for me. The Sabha hall itself and its decoration with precious gems are beyond comparison. A king, a Kshatriya should always think to annex their territory, to expand their property. I feel extremely jealous of Kunti Putras (sons). Yudhishthira was adorned by all the kings, like Indra Dev- the Lord of Devas! All the high-souled kings, the renowned Rishis were singing the glory of King Yudhisthira! O Father- even Lord Parshuram with other great Rishis were there chanting the Mantras during his coronation. Krishna himself was pouring milk on his head during the function. Bhim and Arjun were fanning him while Nakul and Sahadeva were holding cameras. O, Father! My heart started burning at that time instead of happiness.’
Hearing the painful words of Duryodhana, King Dhritarashtra said, ‘O my dearest son! Do not feel jealous of Yudhishthira. He is a virtuous and noble-hearted person who never thinks evil of anyone or you. He loves all of you equally as he loves his brothers. Please, get rid of this crooked idea from your mind. He never did any injustice to anyone. He is your cousin. And besides that whatever prosperity he has, you have even more than that. Why do you want unnecessary dissension? O, son! If you want to live happily, stop this evil thought against him.’ Whatever advice rendered by the old King Dhritarashtra, every word fell upon a deaf ear!
Stubborn as usual, Duryodhana became adamant about his decision. Eventually, consulting with the wicked Shakuni mama, he forced his father to invite the Pandavas for a dice game.
With deep reluctance, against his own will, Vidura was bound to carry out the order of his elder brother Dhritarashtra to invite the Pandavas for the dice game. He was virtuous and ever-loyal to his elder brother. While Vidura was in Indraprastha to invite the Pandavas, he warned Yudhishthira to be very careful with the deceptive Shakuni- the wizard gambler. He said, ‘O wisest, noble Yudhishthira! Shakuni is the master of all crooked ideas. He is the one who desires to play on behalf of Duryodhana. Oh, my son! When fate goes reversed, we can't do anything! My earnest request to you is that don't be a prey to his foul trick!’
Paying full respect to Vidura, the eldest Pandava said, ‘O Father, I do respect your words but being a Kshatriya if Duryodhana or Shakuni challenges me, then I must play. O, noble father! I can give up everything but not the path of Dharma!’
Vidura knew the sanctity of the hearts of all Kunti Putra. He bid them farewell and returned to Hastinapur with a heavy heart. Being Dharmaraj himself (once Yam Dev was cursed by the great Rishi Mandavya to be reborn in a Sudra woman’s womb (maid of Queen Ambika) though his father was Vyasadev), Vidura could sense the ultimate repercussions of the future battle among the brothers. ******
The Sabha Hall of Duryodhana was full-fledged with precious gems- sapphires, rubies, diamonds, and other valuable jewels! No less than the Sabha Hall of King Yudhishthira! The royal court was full of the veterans of the Kuru dynasty. Grandsire Bhishma, Guru Dronacharya, King Shalya, Kripa, and other elderly people took their respective seats on the court. King Dhritarashtra anxiously waited for the arrival of Pandavas. At last, Yudhishthira with his brothers and Yajnaseni reached Hastinapur. Everybody in the royal court waited with bated breath to witness how the dice game would be a fair one or a foul one?!
After paying the heart full homage to every elder present in the court, Yudhishthira got ready for the game to start. Very honestly he spoke, ‘O son of Subala! There is no Kshatriya prowess in gambling nor any morality. Why are you bent upon playing dice?! I do not desire to have happiness or wealth opting for cunningness. So, please do not provoke the game.’
Wicked-minded Shakuni insisted saying, ‘O noble-hearted King Yudhishthira! Don't be afraid! It is the staking of dice that may be lost or won! It may be harmful to us. It's a royal game, you must play. Now, start the game following certain rules. Let the stakes be fixed and let the game begin!’
Even after citing so many brilliant examples of the demerits of gambling, Yudhishthira was forced to play. The game began!! Anxiously Duryodhana, Karna, and other Kauravas' eyes were fixed on the board.
As pre-planned, the master gambler Shakuni spurred Yudhishthira to stake everything he had. And every time Shakuni announced in a satirical node, ‘Lo, I have won! What next, Yudhishthira?’ Virtuous, high-souled Yudhishthira after losing every property he had, staked his brothers, himself, and at last Draupadi too! Removing all the kingly attires the five brothers downcast their eyes with humiliation. None of them utter a single word.
A second later, Duryodhana sardonically ordered, ‘O Khattwa (Vidura was known as Khattwa)! Go bring the beloved Panchali(wife of Pandavas) to the Shabha hall! Let the royal members with others present here behold the naked beauty of unparalleled beautiful lady Draupadi and let her enjoy slavery under us.’
A loud laugh cheered supporting the address of King Duryodhana among Karna, Shakuni, and Dushashana. The revered royal members in the assembly lowered their eyes with grief and hatred but said nothing.
Annoyed with Duryodhana’s harsh words Vidura said, ‘O wicked Duryodhana! Hold your tongue before uttering these harsh, ugly words to Draupadi who is also a daughter-in-law of this great Kuru race! O sinful! You are forgetting to whom you are addressing those spiteful words. Do not provoke the deadly venomous angry snakes (Pandavas) to bite you and send you to the land of Yam dev! You must remember that Yudhishthira staked himself first then Draupadi. A man who has already staked and lost himself on a bet has no longer the right to stake anything else. Hence, Draupadi is not won by you.’ Vidura was unwilling to carry out the order of Duryodhana!
Accusing Vidura with cruel words, Duryodhana again commanded, ‘O Pratikamin! Go and bring Draupadi to the Sabha hall. This old man Vidura is always against our good wishes.’
Pratikamin went in haste to Draupadi. He said, ‘O noble lady! Intoxicated with dice, the son of Pandu staked you and lost. The wicked King Duryodhana has summoned you to the Sabha hall.’
Pratikamin’s news came as a bolt from the blue to Panchali! Hassled she retorted, ‘O Pratikamin! Please let me know to whom he lost first- him or me?! Go and ask this question to the gambler (Yudhishthira).’
Coming back from Draupadi, Pratikamin put the given question of Draupadi before Yudhishthira who was amid the kings. All remained silent. Knowing full well the intention of Draupadi, Yudhisthira gestured to his reliable secret messenger to go and convey his message to Panchali without others' knowledge.
'Let her come to the Sabha and ask this question herself,’ retorting this Duryodhana again sent back Pratikamin to Panchali. But Pratikamin hesitated to convey the message to Draupadi. Outraged Duryodhana ordered Dushashana, ‘O mighty brother! Go and bring Pandava's wife to the court!’
Without any delay, Dushasana rushed to the inner chamber of the great car warriors. Rolling his blood-red eyes, he spoke, ‘O Krishnaa! Come to the Sabha hall. You have been won by us! Leaving behind your modesty, now cast your beautiful eyes upon the King Duryodhana.’
Enraged with the misconduct of Dushasana, Draupadi ran for the help of elderly ladies of the Kuru race. Dushasana caught Krishnaa by her beautiful curly hair and dragged her to the Sabha hall. Draupadi screamed and begged Dushasana not to drag her being attired in one piece of cloth, but the devil paid no attention to her appeal. Her upper garment was loosened and she was crying when brutally she was pulled by her wavy hair to the royal court of the Kuru race.
Tears were streaming down her cheek and she(Draupadi) was shaking like a leaf. She cast her angry eyes on Pandavas who sat there like dummies! It seemed as if everything would be burnt into ashes with the sparks of Draupadi’s anger! With a trembling voice, she saluted all the elders and yelled, 'I think Dharma is vanquished, virtue has disappeared from this earth, morality is converted into sinful act! Or else, why are these reverend Kuru descendants silent?! Why can't anyone oppose this heinous act? Why is the daughter-in-law of the great Kuru race brutally tugged to the royal court?! O lords, O mighty warriors! Have you lost your five senses? Is this justice?! Do I deserve this?! Are you all crippled?! Am I a servant woman- a slave? Answer me!' In a distressing voice, Draupadi charged everyone again and again.
What comes next???!!! Please read the ‘Shabha Parva- 2’