Reading Guide. As you will see in this episode, Draupadi's fate is an essential part of the story here, and she protests eloquently and loudly about the events that have taken place in the gambling hall.
Source. Mahabharata, Epic of the Bharatas, by Romesh C. Dutt (1898). [600 words]
And as steals a lowly jackal in a lordly lion's den,
Base Duryodhan's humble menial came to proud Draupadi's ken.
"Pardon, Empress," quoth the menial, "royal Pandu's righteous son
Lost his game and lost his reason, Empress: thou art staked and won.
"Prince Duryodhan claims thee, lady, and the victor bids me say,
Thou shalt serve him as his vassal, as his slave in palace stay!"
"Have I heard thee, menial, rightly?" questioned she in anguish keen.
"Doth a crownéd king and husband stake his wife and lose his queen?
"Did my noble lord and monarch sense and reason lose at dice?
Other stake he did not wager, wedded wife to sacrifice!"
"Other stakes were duly wagered," so he spake with bitter groan.
"Wealth and empire, every object which Yudhishthir called his own,
"Lost himself and all his brothers, bondsmen are those princes brave.
Then he staked his wife and empress; thou art prince Duryodhan's slave!"
Rose the queen in queenly anger, and with woman's pride she spake,
"Hie thee, menial, to thy master; Queen Draupadi's answer take:
"If my lord, himself a bondsman, then hath staked his queen and wife,
False the stake, for owns a bondsman neither wealth nor other's life.
"Slave can wager wife nor children, and such action is undone.
Take my word to prince Duryodhan, Queen Draupadi is unwon!"
Wrathful was the proud Duryodhan when he heard the answer bold;
To his younger, wild Duhshasan, this his angry mandate told,
"Little-minded is the menial, and his heart in terror fails.
For the fear of wrathful Bhima, lo! his coward-bosom quails.
"Thou, Duhshasan, bid the princess as our humble slave appear.
Pandu's sons are humble bondsmen, and thy heart it owns no fear!"
Fierce Duhshasan heard the mandate, blood-shot was his flaming eye;
Forthwith to the inner chambers did with eager footsteps hie.
Proudly sat the fair Draupadi, monarch's daughter, monarch's wife;
Unto her the base Duhshasan spake the message, insult-rife,
"Lotus-eyed Panchala-princess, fairly staked and won at game,
Come and meet thy lord Duryodhan; chase that mantling blush of shame.
"Serve us as thy lords and masters, be our beauteous bright-eyed slave;
Come unto the Council Chamber, wait upon the young and brave!"
Proud Draupadi shakes with tremor at Duhshasan's hateful sight,
And she shades her eye and forehead, and her bloodless cheeks are white.
At his words her chaste heart sickens, and with wild averted eye
Unto rooms where dwelt the women, Queen Draupadi seeks to fly.
Vainly sped the trembling princess in her fear and in her shame;
By her streaming wavy tresses fierce Duhshasan held the dame!
Sacred locks, with holy water dewed at rajasuya rite,
And by mantra consecrated, fragrant, flowing, raven-bright:
Base Duhshasan by those tresses held the faint and flying queen,
Feared no more the sons of Pandu, nor their vengeance fierce and keen,
Dragged her in her slipping garments by her long and trailing hair,
And, like sapling tempest-shaken, wept and shook the trembling fair!
Stooping in her shame and anguish, pale with wrath and woman's fear,
Trembling and in stifled accents, thus she spake with streaming tear,
"Leave me, shameless prince Duhshasan! Elders, noble lords are here;
Can a modest wedded woman thus in loose attire appear?"
Vain the words and soft entreaty which the weeping princess made,
Vainly to the gods and mortals she in bitter anguish prayed,
For with cruel words of insult still Duhshasan mocked her woe.
"Loosely clad or void of clothing, to the council hall you go.
"Slave-wench fairly staked and conquered, wait upon thy masters brave,
Live among our household menials, serve us as our willing slave!"