• anjali mohapatra

The game-changer

Long ago, Duryodhana invited all his maternal royal family to discuss a very important talk regarding the five Pandavas. Nobody apprehended the filthy trick of wily Duryodhana. Delighted with his own grandson’s request, king Gandharsen couldn't ignore and accompanied him with his whole family. They had no idea what would be the talk! ‘Nana! I want to show you something very special,’ Duryodhana urged his grandfather. 'B- but, son, what special and why?!’ asked Gandharsen with surprise. ‘Nana, I’ll show you a beautiful castle where I planned to kill Bhimsen, um, all the Pandavas too.’ ‘Oh! But- son! This is not a good idea. Dharmaraj Yudhishthira is no other than Dharma himself! And they all are well protected under Lord Shri Krishna. Why would you think such a heinous act?’ ‘Come on, nana! Bhimsen humiliated me in my royal court. I want revenge! Just see the castle.’ Reluctantly Gandharsen followed his grandson with his whole family. At last, they reached there. They all entered inside a huge hall in the castle and glanced at the intricately carved statues. ‘Wow! It's so amazing!’ said Gandharsen delightfully. Suddenly the door was slammed behind. Closed and locked! The hall had only an entrance door with no exit.’ They were all stunned! Gandharsen screamed, ‘Duryodhana, Duryodhana- son! Please open the door. We can't see anything, dear! We feel suffocated.’ But his wailing fell on deaf ears. In return, Gandharsen heard the voice of Duryodhana saying sarcastically, ‘Oh wise grandfather! This castle was built for you, not for Bhimsen. I deceived you with a false statement. Why did you bestow your widow daughter(my mother Gandhari) to my father? Bhimsen dared to humiliate me in the royal court saying- ‘Goloka Putra's?! You deserve this, nana! Enjoy the rest of your life in this dark castle till your last breath.’ Duryodhana went away to his kingdom leaving them behind. When Gandhari came to know about the heinous act of her son, she pleaded to Duryodhana to free them but stubborn, arrogant Duryodhana never agreed to her request. With her genuine request, he only supplied one bowl of cooked food with too little water for the whole 102 members. That was the ultimate punishment anyone could impose! ********* After a few days———— ‘Look my wise son- Shakuni! We are trapped. There is no hope for escaping. One after another of your siblings are dying tragically. I know you are the wisest one among others. Whatever food we have saved on the wall like a cow dung ball, feed yourself from that and survive. After my death- use my right-hand arm and forearm bones for dice sticks and use my left-hand forearm bones into small pawns. Engage Duryodhana and Yudhishthira in gambling. Apply your witty intelligence to enforce the severe dissensions between Kauravas and Pandavas through the dice game. Give an eagle eye- that Duryodhana must win over Yudhishthira in the game. Instigates Duryodhana artfully to drag Yangaseni in the royal court to make her nude. Create the war between Kauravas and Pandavas at any cost. Lord Vasudeva will be on Pandavas' side. So, you know the consequence! This is the only way you can achieve your goal!’ said Gandharsen grievously. After a few days, he too died. Only Shakuni survived in that deadly castle!

Following the instructions of his father, Shakuni succeeded in his plan. He became the most reliable advisor and minister of Duryodhana in his royal court

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His dormant fierce anger burst like a volcanic eruption exploded through his rolling red eyes. Pressing his jawbones hard, blue veins exposed on his forearm, compressed his fist locking under the other hand, Shakuni hobbled around the royal palace. Wherever he darted he bulged out eye-balls, he could only see the ailing faces of his ninety-nine brothers, and his parents. He couldn't stop thinking a single moment of his nightmare of those days! Every time the yelling voice of his father resonated in his ear. He babbled out in a high pitch, ‘Duryodhana!! Duryodhana- you killed, brutally murdered my whole family! Just wait, crooked nephew! I’ll do the same for you. Nobody will escape! I’ll send you all to hell!’ ‘Oof!’ Shakuni shook his head violently to redeem his burning anger. His heart stopped its beat whenever that nightmares flashed back. He banged his fist hard on the wall. Mournfully he stared at the empty wall, hypothetically putting his trembling palms on the wall to collect the warm drops of water that sprang from his father and mother’s eyes. Virtually he heard the sound ‘Take revenge- revenge and only revenge.' ********* ‘Mama!’ Suddenly the intruder’s call shattered his further thought. Shakuni turned around, hiding his anger instantly. Cooley responded, ‘Yes, yes dear Duryodhana! What's up? Any message?’ Affectionately he draped his hand on his nephew’s shoulder. ‘Mama! Convey one message to Yudhisthira,’ said Duryodhana firmly. ‘I’m always at your command, Duryodhana. Tell me. What message do I have to impart? I’ll do that,’ Shakuni smirked in triumph and whispered- ‘Duryodhana! Your time is coming soon!’ Duryodhana paused a second then continued, ‘Mama, invite that foolish Yudhisthira to the battleground- Kurukshetra for its division. Let him be present with all his brothers to witness the division.’ ‘Hmm…ok, I’ll do that.’ Devious Shakuni cheerfully carried out his command and marched forward to Indraprastha near Yamuna river where Panchu Pandavas lived their life. Dharmaraj Yudhishthira occupied his seat under a tree, surrounded by Lord Krishna and his four brothers. They had a joyful moment with each other's companionship. The moment Yudhishthira noticed Mama Shakuni, he felt sick with apprehension. Leaving his seat, Yudhisthira welcomed mama Shakuni. Lord Krishna with four Pandavas paid their humble respect to him. Clearing his throat, Shakuni addressed, ‘O noble King Yudhisthira! Listen to me carefully! Be prepared for the battle and present yourself with your whole troop on the battlefield of Kurukshetra! Find out an auspicious time for the commencement of the war. Or the alternate choice given by king Duryodhana is- go to the vanavas for ten years with your family making a friendly treaty with Duryodhana.’ Dharmaraj Yudhishthira was shocked by the weird proposal of his cousin. Colour changed in his face, his sturdy mind dwindled with thousands of evil thoughts. He lost his temperament and replied with harsh words, ‘Oh beloved mama! We have already seen the forest in a wide range, so we need not do a second journey. Better opt to a Kshatriya Dharma onwards. No question of any kind of treaty with Duryodhana. If Duryodhana is so fond of vanvas, ask him to go with his troop.’ ‘Hmm…well then! Be prepared for the morning settlement of Kurukshetra division,’ said Shakuni with immense pleasure. With their conversation, darkness engulfed the whole surrounding. Lord Krishna, Sahadev, and Shakuni assembled in a lonely place for further discussion. Sniggering meaningfully, Shakuni asked, ‘O Lord of Lords! Command me the righteous path! Nothing is unknown to you. O Lord, would you mind for settlement between these two rival cousins or they would face terrible consequences? If you want, the task is just a piece of cake for me. Your order is always commendable! Sahadeva and you know me better than anybody else. Order me, my lord!’ Lord Krishna laughed wholeheartedly, said, ‘O wise Shakuni, I’m well aware of you and Sahadeva. The divine prowess both of you possess is needless to say. Kalyug has to prevail on the earth, but that wouldn't be possible till both these Kauravas and Pandavas are there! The resolution is not the answer. War and only war! Now, go and arrange the battle.’ Shakuni with his folded hand expressed, ‘O Noble Heart Lord! Let Kaliyug and Kaladev be turned into two gold dissimilar sticks (measuring twelve and six fingers length) and be rested on the Kurukshetra ground. When both Duryodhana and Yudhisthira will toss for the east or west part of Kurukshetra, these sticks will play the key role. Being the elder one, Yudhisthira should take the east part and the rest is Duryodhana. You are the Master of this universe, crafty, intelligent, so the rest of the work is yours.’ Krishna smirked with Shakuni’s expression. And nodded his head silently. Shakuni continued his suggestion, ‘O Lord Krishna- pardon me for my arrogance. Arrange Shikhandi against Bhishma, Dhrustadyumna for Dronacharya. Arjun is already meant for Kana and Yudhishthira for Shalya. I’m destined to die by Shahadeva. Bhimsen will wipe out the whole Kaurava brothers. Without any fault, Duryodhana killed all my family members! I’ll smash his whole race without any mercy sacrificing my own life! I’ll repay my father!’ ********* The next morning Kauravas with their whole troop landed on the Kurukshetra ground. On the other side, only five Pandavas with Krishna and Satyaki presented themselves. Belligerent Kauravas grabbed the east part before the settlement took over. That again created an issue between the two parties. While hovering around the Kurukshetra ground, Duryodhana came across the dazzling golden sticks. He was astonished and picked up but didn't declare to anyone except Shakuni. Beholding the mess, Shakuni like the well-wisher of Duryodhana advised, ‘O Mighty Duryodhana! Why such a fight? Better let’s choose the third party to throw these two sticks in two different directions blindfolded. The east or west will be decided accordingly.’ The decision was granted unanimously. Duryodhana chose the bigger one and Yudhishthira was bound to accept the other one. Nobody knew about this except these two. Benignant Vidura was called by the third party to throw the sticks. Without knowing anything, noble Vidura assumed the bigger one as Yudhishthira’s stick. As he was completely upset with Duryodhana’s injustice towards Pandavas, he wished Yudhishthira to obtain the east part. Facing the opposite direction, he threw the bigger one to the east side. Lord Krishna mulled over the pure intention, the innocent heart of Vidura. The supreme lord Shri Krishna immediately commanded Kali and Kala to interchange their form. As He wished, so had happened! The bigger became smaller and the smaller turned to bigger! Shakuni was overwhelmed with joy—-‘Yes! The war is inevitable!!! O Lord Krishna, you are incredible!!!’



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