Reading Guide. You won't be surprised that Krishna pays a visit to the Pandavas in exile. Despite his encouraging words, Draupadi is dismayed and rebukes Yudhishthira harshly, as does Bhima.
Source. Indian Myth and Legend by Donald A. Mackenzie (1913). [600 words]
Krishna came to visit the Pandavas in the forest, and Draupadi lamented before him, saying, "The evil-hearted Duryodhana dared to claim me for his slave, and the Pandavas looked on in silence when I was put to shame. Is it not the duty of a husband to protect his wife? These husbands of mine, who have the prowess of lions, saw me afflicted, nor lifted a hand to save."
Draupadi wept bitter tears from her exquisite coppery eyes, but Krishna at length comforted her, saying, "Thou wilt yet live to see the wives of those men who persecuted thee lamenting over their fallen husbands as they welter in their life blood. I will help the Pandavas, and thou wilt be once again a queen over kings."
Krishna said to Yudhishthira, "Had I been at Dwaraka when thou wert called upon to visit Hastinapura, this unfair match would not have taken place, for I would have warned Dhritarashtra. But I was waging a war against demons. What can I do, now that this disaster is accomplished? It is not easy to confine the waters after the dam hath burst."
After Krishna returned to his kingdom, Draupadi continued to lament her fate. She said to Yudhishthira, "O king, I lie on the ground, remembering my soft luxurious bed. I, who sit on a grass mat, cannot forget my chairs of ivory. I have seen thee in the court of monarchs; now thou art a beggar. I have gazed upon thee in thy silken robes, who art now clad in rags. What peace can my heart know now, O king, remembering the things that have been? My heart is full of grief. The hour hath now come for thee to seek vengeance; the present is not a time for forgiveness."
Said the wise Yudhishthira, "Anger is sinful; it is the cause of destruction. He that is angry cannot distinguish between right and wrong. O fair Draupadi, one should forgive every wrong. Forgiveness is holiness; it is Truth; it is Brahman."
Said Draupadi, "Yet as a doll is moved by strings, so are living creatures moved by the lord of all; he doth play with them as a child with a toy. Those who have done wrong are now happy, and I am full of grief and in sore distress. Can I praise thy god who permits of such inequality? What reward doth thy god receive when he alloweth Duryodhana to prosper — he who is full of evil; he who doth destroy virtue and religion?"
Yudhishthira made answer, "The gods are shrouded in mystery; who can pierce the cloud which covers the doings of the gods? Although thou canst not perceive the fruits of goodness, do not doubt thy religion or the gods."
Said Draupadi, "Success comes to him who acts, and success depends on time and circumstance. So hath a wise brahmin taught me."
Bhima then spoke, charging Yudhishthira with weakness, and pleading with him to wrest the sovereignty from Duryodhana. "O thou art like froth," he cried; "thou art unripe fruit! O king, strike down thine enemies! Battle is the highest virtue for a kshatriya."
Said Yudhishthira, "Verily, my heart burneth because of our sufferings. But I have given my pledge to remain in exile, and it cannot be violated, O Bhima. Virtue is greater than life and prosperity in this world; it is the way to celestial bliss."
Then they were all silent, and they pondered over these things.