Reading Guide. With each Pandava success, Duryodhana becomes more jealous, until finally he decides that he will get rid of the Pandavas and Kunti once and for all.
Image. In this illustration from the Mahabharata, you can see that the artist has depicted the blindness of King Dhritarashtra by depicting him with his eyes closed.
Source. The Indian Heroes by C. A. Kincaid (1921). [500 words]. Kincaid's brief version of the Mahabharata might be something you want to read later in the semester; I've written a detailed reading guide here: Kincaid - Mahabharata.
The prowess shown by the sons of King Pandu, and above all Prince Arjuna's capture of King Drupada, made the hatred of Prince Duryodhana burn still more hotly. Now King Dhritarashtra had named as his successor on the throne of the Bharatas his nephew Prince Yudhishthira because he was older than any of the King’s own sons. And this, too, added fuel to the ﬂames of Prince Duryodhana's hatred.
He went to his blind father and filled his ears with lying tales about the pride of the Pandavas (for so men called the sons of King Pandu) and hinted falsely that they aspired to depose King Dhritarashtra and take from him the kingdom. The King believed his son, and repented bitterly that he had named as his heir his nephew, and not Prince Duryodhana.
Seeing that the King’s mind was turned against Prince Yudhishthira, the evil Prince Duryodhana unfolded to him a plan. "Let the King," said the cruel Prince, "build a lovely palace of lac at Varanavata. Let it be filled with only wooden furniture, and let the furniture and walls be soaked in oil, so that they may readily burn. Let the King induce by some means or other the five Pandavas and their mother to visit Varanavata and live in the palace. Then, if the King approves, I shall see to it that the palace takes fire, and that my cousins and Queen Kunti perish in the ﬂames." King Dhritarashtra, in a weak and wicked moment, consented. And Prince Duryodhana got workmen to build at Varanavata a wooden palace all of lac, and filled it full of wooden articles all soaked in oil.
When the palace was ready, Prince Duryodhana returned to Hastinapura. There he praised Varanavata and its beautiful palace, and told in such glowing words of the festival held there in honor of Shiva, the god of gods, that a desire to go thither seized Queen Kunti and her sons. "Give us leave, O King," they cried, "to go to Varanavata and see its palace and Shiva’s festival. For we shall have no peace until our eyes have rested on Varanavata and its wonders."
The King joyfully answered, "Assuredly, my sister, thou hast leave to go there with thy sons. And with thee I will send a guard such as befits thy royal rank." The King then ordered Prince Duryodhana to summon a guard. But over it the evil Prince placed a wicked captain, Purochana by name. And to him Prince Duryodhana told his plan. And the wicked Purochana promised that, when the Pandavas and their mother slept, he would set on fire the lac palace and see to it that they perished in the ﬂames.