In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the introductory note for the important “Sabhaa Parva”, which forms the fulcrum of the entire Mahabharata story. We are at a stage wherein the first game of gambling was over and at the end of it, Yudishtra had lost his five brothers and his wife Draupati. With this, Draupati was insulted in the public courtroom by Duryodhana, Karna and Duchaasana, which led to the Paandava brothers taking a strong pledge to destroy the entire Kaurava clan. As the Paandavas thunder one after the other with extreme anger and frustration, King Dhridiraashtra understood where this is going to, and immediately granted Draupati three boons, with which, the slavery was taken away, and Indraprastha was given back to Yudishtra. However, Duryodhana opposed his father’s move as his entire plan was foiled! He originally wanted to use this gambling game to outsmart Yudishtra and abduct Indraprastha completely and it did happen. However, when King Dhridiraashtra intervened and nullified the game, Duryodhana fumed with anger! He once again confronted his father angrily and wanted another game of gambling wherein the rules were a bit stricter. With repeated persuasion and some emotional appeal from Duryodhana, King Dhridiraashtra unwillingly accepted for the second round of the gamble.
With this, Yudishtra and Co. were called back to Hastinapura once again. The Paandava brothers had just left Hastinapura and had reached only half the distance of their travel towards Indraprastha. However, within a lightning quick time, Duryodhana was able to convince King Dhridiraashtra for the second round of the gambling game and an invite was sent to Yudishtra immediately. As Yudishtra had already taken a pledge that he wouldn’t say a “NO” to anybody, he was forced to come back for the second round. Now the rule was simple – Whoever loses the game would go to the forest in exile for a period of twelve years. Post the twelve-year-period, there would be a one-year-period called “Agnyaata-Vaasam” wherein they should not be spotted by those who remain in the kingdom. If by chance they are spotted by someone, they would again have to take up another twelve-year exile in the forest plus one year of “Agnyaata-Vaasam”!
This was a dangerous rule and Yudishtra knew that he and his brothers are going to be doomed. Inspite of Bheemasena and the others trying to stop Yudishtra from going into this gamble, he couldn’t stop himself. Thus the gamble began and as usual, it was an extremely one-sided affair. Duryodhana was winning right from the word “Go” and finally, Yudishtra had to accept a stunning defeat! Sahuni made sure that whenever the dice was rolled, it was never in favor of Yudishtra even once. Finally Yudishtra was defeated in the gambling game for a second time, and now the rule was very clear – The Paandavas had to go on a twelve-year-exile plus one year of “Agnyaata-Vaasam” wherein they should live secretly without revealing their identity! Meanwhile, Indraprastha and the other wealth that Yudishtra possessed, came under the ambit of Duryodhana completely and with this, he was overjoyed! Nobody was able to question Duryodhana’s scheme of things and thus, Duryodhana “won” over the Paandavas completely without a single arrow being fired on the battlefield!
On the other hand, Yudishtra graciously accepted defeat and prepared himself to go on the twelve-year exile. Draupati and the other four Paandava brothers followed him silently. Inside their minds, the feud was burning intensely, but that was not the time to show it out, as they were on the losing side. The Paandavas were waiting patiently for the apt time to arrive, so that they could give it back to Duryodhana and Co. with interest! With this, we come to the end of our introductory note for the “Sabhaa Parva”, and from here on, we shall commence our detailed discussion of each “Upa-Parva” that the Sabhaa Parva contains. Readers should note again here that till now for the past few episodes, we had only witnessed a brief of what is discussed in the “Sabhaa Parva”, and we’ve not yet gone into the details of things. So for today, let us understand upto this point and from the next episode, we shall commence our detailed discussion on the “Sabhaa Parva”. The first “Upa-Parva” is often referred to as the “Mantra-Parva”, and we shall witness the contents of this “Mantra-Parva”, starting next episode! Stay tuned! 🙂