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MAHABHARATA FOR

CHILDREN

text by Gilbert Mane

PART THREE

DRAUPADI AND THE PANDAWAS

I bow to Narayana and to Nara

I bow to Saraswati, Goddess of learning

I bow to the holy man, Wyasa

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CHAPTER ONE - KARNA AND PARASHURAMA

The king of Hastinapura was Dhritarashtra. He was blind and had become king
when his brother Pandu went to the forest.

Dhritarashtra's eldest son was Duryodhana. He was cruel and he hated his
cousins, the Pandawas. Many times he tried to kill them but they always
escaped.

Duryodhana became friends with Karna. Without knowing it Karna was the elder
brother of the Pandawas. But he joined Duryodhana in plotting against the
Pandawas.

"The Pandawas always escape when we try to kill them," said Duryodhana to
Karna, "They are clever and strong. We must gather powerful weapons."

So Karna went to Parashurama, a holy man who knew about weapons.


Parashurama hated warriors. His father had been killed by warriors.

Karna asked to study with Parashurama, pretending to be a priest. Parashurama


let Karna study with him. Karna served Parashurama. Parashurama was very
pleased with Karna.

"O Karna, you have been a faithful servant. What gift would you like?" he asked.

"Only to serve you, Master," said Karna.

One day Parashurama was sleeping with his head in Karna's lap. A worm
crawled onto Karna's leg. The worm began to eat into Karna's leg. He was in
agony, but Karna didn't want to disturb Parashurama. So he sat still as the worm
ate a hole through his leg. As the warm blood flowed onto Parashurama, he
woke up.

"You are a warrior!" cried Parashurama angrily, "Only a warrior could have sat
still with so much pain. Why are you here?"

"I want Pashupata, the great weapon," said Karna.

"I will give it to you," said Parashurama, "But because you lied to me I curse
you. You will forget how to use Pashupata when you need it most."

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CHAPTER TWO - DURYODHANA'S PLAN

As the years went by Yudhishthira, the eldest of the Pandawas, grew into a
brave, kind and good man. He was noble and always told the truth. He knew all
the laws and the people began to say that he should be king after Dhritarashtra.

"After all," they said, "His father Pandu was king."

So Dhritarashtra named Yudhishthira as the next king. Duryodhana was very


angry. His heart was eaten up with hatred for the Pandawas. He wanted to be
king.

Duryodhana called his uncle Sakuni, his brother Duh-sashana and his friend
Karna together. They made a plan to kill the Pandawas and Kunti the mother of
the Pandawas.

Duryodhana went to his father, Dhritarashtra. "If Yudhishthira becomes king


what will happen to us? We will have to beg him for food and for somewhere to
live! We must be rid of them!"

"But how?" said Dhritarashtra weakly, "The people love the Pandawas."

"We must send them away," said Duryodhana, "The people will forget about
them. Then we can gather an army."

Dhritarashtra had a strong body and he was kind but he always did what
Duryodhana asked. He loved his eldest son. He could not see that Duryodhana
was evil. He was blind. So he agreed to send Kunti and the Pandawas away
from Hastinapura.

Dhritarashtra called Kunti and the Pandawas to him.

"A great festival to Lord Shiwa is to be held at Waranata. The people of


Waranata will be pleased if you go to the festival."

Gladly Kunti, Yudhishthira and the other Pandawas agreed to go to Waranata.


They bowed to Dhritarashtra. They did not know there was a plan to kill them.
As they were leaving their uncle Widura said to Yudhishthira, "A rat escapes fire
by making a tunnel."

The Pandawas and Kunti went to Waranata. But Yudhishthira understood that
there was a plan to burn them to death. And he knew how to escape!

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CHAPTER THREE - THE PALACE OF LAC

Duryodhana had a palace built for the Pandawas at Waranata. He had


built the palace of lac which burns fiercely when it is lit. All the tables and
chairs and beds were made from wood and the curtains were made of
paper.

Widura, the kind uncle of the Pandawas, secretly had a tunnel built under
the palace. He told Yudhishthira about the tunnel.

The Pandawas went to the festival of Lord Shiwa in Waranata. All the
people saw how handsome and good they were. Yudhishthira was wise
and gentle. Bhima was strong. Arjuna was a skilled warrior. Nakula and
Sahadewa were brave and beautiful. Kunti seemed to be the mother of
five Gods.

After a year Duryodhana sent a message to his men to set the palace at
Waranata on fire while Kunti and the Pandawas slept.

That night a poor woman and her five sons crept into the palace secretly
to sleep. As the flames began to rise Yudhishthira awoke and called to his
mother and brothers.

"Come this way!" he said, as the flames began to lick at the walls and
roof of the palace of lac.

Kunti and the Pandawas hurried to the tunnel. They ran along the tunnel.
They came out in a forest. When they looked back they saw the palace of
lac burning fiercely. They walked into the forest.

The next morning the people found the burnt bodies of the poor woman
and her sons. They thought it was Kunti and the Pandawas. The people
wept and cried and shouted. They were very sad.

Dhritarashtra, Gandhari, Widura, Bhishma, Drona and everyone else from


Hastinapura hurried to Waranata. They were all sad except for
Duryodhana and his friends. Duryodhana pretended to be sad but he was
very happy.

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"At last," he said, "The Pandawas are dead. Now I shall be king!"

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CHAPTER FOUR - GHATOTHKACHA

The Pandawas and Kunti did not want to go back to Hastinapura.


Duryodhana would keep trying to kill them. So they walked all night
through the forest. When they were tired Bhima carried his four brothers
and his mother on his shoulders. Bhima was never tired. At last they
came to a clearing in the forest. While everyone else lay down to sleep,
Bhima stood guard.

A Rakshasa lived nearby. Rakshasas are very ugly and they love to eat
men. This Rakshasa's name was Hidimba. He had a sister name Hidimbi.
Hidimba smelt the Pandawas.

"There are men nearby," He said to Hidimbi, "I'm hungry! Go and find
them."

Hidimbi found the Pandawas. She saw Bhima and fell in love with him. By
magic she became a beautiful maiden. She walked up to Bhima.

"Who are you, O handsome man?" she asked. "This forest belongs to my
brother. He is a fierce Rakshasa and he will eat you. But I love you. You
must run away."

Just them Hidimba came looking for his sister and his meal. Bhima and
Hidimba began to fight. They wrestled. They punched. They tore up
trees and hit each other. Finally Bhima lifted Hidimba up and squeezed
him and squeezed him until he died.

Hidimbi was now all alone. She still wanted to marry Bhima. Kunti and
Yudhishthira agreed so Bhima and Hidimbi were married.

Bhima and Hidimbi lived happily together until a son was born. He was
named Ghatothkacha. He was as strong as a Rakshasa. But he was as
good and brave as the Pandawas.

Kunti and the Pandawas decided to leave the forest. Hidimbi and
Ghatothkacha stayed in the forest. Ghatothkacha promised to help his
father Bhima whenever he was called.

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CHAPTER FIVE - EKACHAKRA

Kunti and the Pandawas walked and walked through the forest. They sat
down to rest. Kunti was very sad. As they rested Wyasa came towards
them. They all stood and bowed to him. They told him of their
adventures.

"Don't worry," he said, "Everything that happens has a reason. You will
defeat Duryodhana in the end. Now you should disguise yourselves as
priests. Go to the village of Ekachakra."

They followed his advice. They went to live in the house of a potter and
his family. Every day the Pandawas disguised as priests went out begging
for food. Kunti gave half the food to Bhima and everyone else shared the
other half between them. But Bhima was still hungry.

One day when Kunti and Bhima were at home they heard the potter and
his family crying. Kunti asked why.

"Many years ago a fierce Rakshasa named Bakasura attacked Ekachakra,"


said the potter, "Our king and his warriors ran away. To stop Bakasura
eating everyone we agreed to take him a wagon full of food each week.
But Bakasura also eats the driver. It is our turn to take the wagon of food
to the Rakshasa."

"Don't worry," said Kunti, "My son here will drive the wagon. He will
defeat the Rakshasa."

Bhima drove the wagon out of Ekachakra. He drove it up the hill to the
home of Bakasura. When Bhima was at the top of the hill he stopped and
he began to eat all the food. Bakasura heard Bhima eating. He was very
angry and ran towards Bhima.

"What are you doing!" he shouted.

"Eating," said Bhima wiping his mouth and fingers. Bakasura ran at
Bhima. His eyes were red. His teeth were sharp. Bhima picked him up
and twirled him round and round. Then he threw Bakasura to the ground
and killed him.

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CHAPTER SIX - THE BIRTH OF DRAUPADI

Many, many years ago a young girl dreamed of getting married. The girl
went to a mountain top to pray to Lord Shiwa for a husband. She sat in
deep meditation. She sang songs praising Lord Shiwa. She didn't eat or
drink. After a long time Lord Shiwa appeared.

"O holy woman, what do you want," said Lord Shiwa, "You have prayed.
You have meditated. You have fasted. I will give you what you want."

The girl was so happy that she nearly burst. "A husband! A husband! A
husband! A husband! A husband!" she cried.

"I will grant your wish in your next life," said Lord Shiwa smiling, "Since
you have asked five times you will marry five husbands."

The girl's eyes widened in shock. "It is wrong to marry more than once. It
is against the law," she cried.

"You will only marry once", said Lord Shiwa, smiling, "To five men."

"Oh no!" she cried, "That is worse. People will say I am wicked. People
will say I have broken the law."

"No," said Lord Shiwa gently, "Your husbands will be the greatest
warriors of the age. For you and them it will be allowed. It is part of the
play of Gowinda, the Lord of Creation. It is your fate."

The girl was satisfied.

Many years later King Drupada was still angry with Drona for taking away
his kingdom. He went to a holy man and said, "I want a son who will kill
Drona."

The holy man arranged a great sacrifice. Out of the flames came a
glorious warrior as bright as fire. He was named Dhrishtadyumna. Out of
the flames came a beautiful girl. She was named Draupadi. The girl who
prayed to Lord Shiwa had been reborn as Draupadi!

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CHAPTER SEVEN - DRAUPADI'S HUSBAND CHOOSING CEREMONY

After a few years King Drupada decided that it was time Draupadi was married.
He invited all of the great kings and princes so that Draupadi could choose a
husband.

Kunti and the Pandawas were living at Ekachakra disguised as priests. They
heard about Draupadi's husband choosing ceremony. They decided to go in
disguise.

Duryodhana, Karna, Duh-shasana and the other Kaurawas also went to the
ceremony. Duryodhana hoped to marry Draupadi.

The Lord Shri Krishna was there as well. He was a cousin of the Pandawas. His
father, Wasudewa, was Kunti's brother.

When everyone was seated lovely music was heard. Draupadi came riding in.
She rode on a huge elephant led by her brother Dhrishtadyumna. Her jewels
were bright and her clothes were colourful. She was quiet and gentle and
modest. She was beautiful. She was like a Goddess.

"Here is a mighty bow," said Dhrishtadyumna, "Above us on a tall pole is a


spinning wheel with a hole. Above the wheel is a golden fish. Whoever wants
Draupadi must string the bow. They must shoot five arrows through the hole
into the fish."

Many kings and princes approached the bow. They could not even lift it.
Duryodhana and the other Kaurawas tried and failed. They were angry. Karna
approached the bow and lifted it up. He was about to string the bow.

"I cannot marry the son of a chariot driver," said Draupadi. Karna angrily sat
down.

Suddenly Arjuna, still disguised as a priest, stood up. He lifted the bow. He
thought of the Lord Shri Krishna and silently asked for his help. He shot five
arrows through the hole into the fish.

Draupadi was happy. She approached the handsome priest. She put a garland
of flowers around his neck.

All the other kings and princes were angry that Draupadi had chosen a priest and
not a warrior as her husband. They decided to fight King Drupada. But Arjuna,
Bhima and the other Pandawas easily beat them all. Then the Pandawas took

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Draupadi to their mother, Kunti.

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CHAPTER EIGHT - DRAUPADI'S MARRIAGE

When the Pandawas and Draupadi arrived home Kunti was inside.

"Oh Mother," they called, "Look what we have brought home."

"Share it amongst you," said Kunti from inside the house.

When she saw that it was Draupadi she was sorry.

"We must obey the words of our mother," said Yudhishthira, who always
knew what was right.

"But it is against the law for one woman to have many husbands," said
Kunti.

Just then the Lord Shri Krishna and his brother Balarama approached.
They had recognised their cousins the Pandawas. They came to praise
Draupadi's choice of husband. They blessed Kunti and Draupadi and the
Pandawas and then left.

Dhrishtadyumna had followed them back to their home. He wanted to


find out who this handsome priest was. When he heard them speaking to
Krishna and Balarama he was happy. He ran to his father King Drupada
and said, "Draupadi is to marry Arjuna the son of King Pandu." King
Drupada was very happy and arranged for a large wedding.

But when he heard that Draupadi was to marry all five Pandawas he was
not so happy. Wyasa came into the palace and told the story of Lord
Shiwa's promise to the girl. King Drupada was satisfied.

The wedding was very grand. Over five days each of the Pandawas
married Draupadi. Yudhishthira was first because he was the eldest.

Kunti blessed Draupadi, "Be happy, my daughter. Be devoted to your


husbands, be kind to guests and strangers."

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CHAPTER NINE - THE RETURN TO HASTINAPURA

Bhishma, Drona and Widura were delighted to hear that the Pandawas
were alive. They thought they had been killed in the fire of the palace of
lac.

Duryodhana, Sakuni, Karna and Duh-shasana were sad and angry that the
Pandawas were alive. They tried to persuade Dhritarashtra to keep them
away from Hastinapura.

But Bhishma said to Dhritarashthra, "The Pandawas are your brother's


children. You should treat them as if they were your own."

Duryodhana was furious but Dhritarashtra agreed to invite Kunti, Draupadi


and the Pandawas to Hastinapura.

Widura said, "They deserve half the kingdom. After all their father Pandu
was king before you."

Duryodhana's eyes turned red with anger. He ground his teeth. Blood
came from his hands where his nails dug in. He insulted Bhishma and
Drona and Widura and ran from the palace.

But Widura went to bring the Pandawas back. They entered Hastinapura
with the Lord Shri Krishna. The people shouted and sang for joy. They
threw rose petals onto the road. They showered them with perfumed
water.

Dhritarashtra gave them half the kingdom. The Pandawas with Kunti and
Draupadi built a beautiful city named Indraprastha in their half of the
kingdom.

They lived happily in Indraprastha. They built a beautiful palace.


Yudhishthira ruled wisely. The people were happy and wealthy.

All the world admired the Pandawas in their new kingdom.

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