In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sage Vaishampayana giving a brief as to who the Paandava brothers are, and how were they born. We’ve already witnessed that the Paandava brothers’ grandfather was Sage Veda-Vyaasa himself. After this, King Paandu, who was ruling Hastinapura kingdom at that time had a curse that if he unites with his wives to have kids, he would die on the spot. Hence, he was unable to have children. However, Kunthi Devi had other plans. She used her boons that she had obtained earlier, prayed to the Devas one after the other and with their divine “Anugraha”, the Paandava brothers were born. As the Paandava brothers were growing up in the forest amidst the sages, at one point, it was decided that they head back to Hastinapura. By this time, King Paandu had died along with Maadri Devi. So the five children were left alone with Kunthi Devi. As they went to Hastinapura, Paandu’s brother, Dhirdiraashtra, had been crowned as the king. As the Paandava children came in, King Dhirdiraashtra had his reservations and doubts whether these were really King Paandu’s children or not. However, a divine voice intervened and sorted things out, and it was decided that the Paandavas would henceforth reside in Hastinapura only.
As this decision was made, everybody accepted it unanimously, except for one person – Duryodhana. Even while being a child, Duryodhana was jealous over the Paandava brothers that they might some day grab the kingdom from him, and he would lose the opportunity to rule Hastinapura. To fuel this more, Duryodhana’s uncle, Shahuni was always by his side. Shahuni was from the “Shoubala Desha” (Today’s Afghanistan). Shahuni’s sister was Gaandhaari. This Gaandhaari was married to King Dhirdiraashtra and Shahuni came along with her “to be of help” to her blind husband. All of us might know that King Dhirdiraashtra was blind by birth. There’s a story to this effect too, and we’re going to witness when that context comes. But for now, we’re only witnessing Sage Vaishampayana’s brief about who were King Janame-Jaya’s ancestors and why did they end up fighting with each other.
Thus, as Shahuni came along, more than being of help to his sister and husband, he was only fuelling Duryodhana’s jealousy. Shahuni was making many plans to destroy the Paandava brothers along with Karna. As all these were happening on one side, there was one person in the Hastinapura palace who was genuinely concerned about the welfare of the Paandava brothers. That person was none other than Vidura. Whenever there was a grave danger looming for the Paandavas, it was Vidura who was in the forefront everytime to protect and save them from falling into it. Vidura was the direct “Avatara” (Incarnation) of Yama-Dharma-Raja. There is a separate story for this too, which we would be witnessing later.
As King Janame-Jaya was listening keenly thus, Sage Vaishampayana continued to narrate a few instances wherein the Paandavas were pushed into great danger. Even while being a child, Duryodhana tried to poison Bheemasena’s food, thus trying to kill him then and there. It would be very interesting to note that the enmity between Duryodhana and Bheemasena started right from day one of the Paandavas entering into Hastinapura. However, that poison had no effect on him and the food that Bheemasena ate, got digested without any problem. Secondly, Duryodhana tried to push Bheemasena into the fast-flowing River Ganges while he was asleep. However, Mother Ganga was gracious enough to bring him back to the bank safely without any injury. Next, Duryodhana tried killing Bheemasena by making a snake bite him. However, the snake’s bite never injected any poison into him, and thus he escaped. Notwithstanding all these failures back to back, Shahuni chipped in and with him, Duryodhana planned to shift the Paandavas to a place called “Varanavata ”. At Varanavata, Duryodhana built a “Laaksha Griham” (A palace built of wax) and convinced King Dhirdiraashtra to send the Paandava brothers to this place. The plan was to burn them down overnight as the Paandavas would be asleep inside the “Laaksha-Griha”. However, Vidura somehow knew of Duryodhana’s wicked plans, and at the apt time, he sent a messenger to alert the Paandava brothers. With the guidance of that messenger, the Paandava brothers dug a secret underground passage and escaped from that “Laaksha-Griha”.
It should be noted here once again by readers that all these instances are going to be discussed elaborately in the upcoming episodes. However, for now, Sage Vaishampayana is only outlining the various reasons why the enmity fuelled between the two camps. Each of these above-mentioned instances are described in detail as separate “Parvas”, which we’re going to see one after the other. So for today, let us understand till this point that the Paandava brothers escaped the “Laaksha-Griha” trap. We shall continue this outlining of Sage Vaishampayana in the next episode as to what was Duryodhana’s next plan of action to destroy the Paandava brothers. The next episode is going to talk about the tipping point of this enmity between the two camps! Stay tuned! 🙂