Cheerharan Of Draupadi

Karishma Mishra
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Game of Dice and Cheerharan by Dushasan

Draupadi Cheerharan

This key incident is often considered to mark a definitive moment in the story of Mahabharata. It is one of the driving reasons that ultimately led to the Kurukshetra War.

Together with his maternal uncle ShakuniDuryodhana conspired to call on the Pandavas to Hastinapur and win their kingdoms in a game of gambling. There is famous folklore that the plan's architect, Shakuni had magic dice that would never disobey his will, as they were made from the bones of Shakuni's father. This story, however, is non-existent in the Sanskrit epic. As the game proceeds, Yudhishthira loses everything at first. In the second round, Yudhishthira's brother Nakula is stake, and Yudhishthira loses him. Yudhisthira subsequently gambles away SahadevaArjuna and Bhima. Finally, Yudhishthira puts himself at stake, and loses again. For Duryodhana, the humiliation of the Pandavas was not complete. He prods Yudhishthira that he has not lost everything yet; Yudhishthira still has Draupadi with him and if he wishes he can win everything back by putting Draupadi at stake. Inebriated by the game, Yudhishthira, to the horror of everybody present, puts Draupadi up as a bet for the next round. Playing the next round, Shakuni wins. Draupadi was horrified after hearing that she was staked in the game and now is a slave for Duryodhana. Draupadi questions Yudhishthira's right on her as he had lost himself first and she was still the queen. Duryodhana, angry with Draupadi's questions, commands his younger brother Dushasana to bring her into the court, forcefully if he must.

Dushasana drags Draupadi to the court by the hair. Seeing this, Bhima pledges to cut off Dushasana's hands, as they touched Draupadi's hair. Now in an emotional appeal to the elders present in the forum, Draupadi repeatedly questions the legality of the right of Yudhishthira to place her at stake.

In order to provoke the Pandavas further, Duryodhana bares and pats his thigh looking into Draupadi's eyes, implying that she should sit on his thigh. The engraged Bhima vows in front of the entire assembly that he would break Duryodhana's thighs, or else accept being Duryodhana's slave for seven lifetimes. At this time Vikarna, a brother of Duryodhana asks the kings assembled in the court to answer the question of Draupadi. He gives his opinion that Draupadi is not won rightfully as Yudhishthira lost himself first before staking her. Besides, no one has right to put a woman on bet according to shastras; not a husband, father, or even the gods. Hearing these words, Karna gets angry and says that when Yudhishthira lost all his possession he also lost Draupadi, even specifically staking her.[19] Karna calls Draupadi "unchaste" for being the wedded wife of five men, adding that dragging her to court is not surprising act whether she be attired or naked. He orders Dushasana to remove the garments of Draupadi. After her husbands fail to assist her, Draupadi prays to Krishna to protect her. 

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Dushasana attempts to disrobe her, but she is miraculously protected by Krishna, and Dushasana finds that as he continues to unwrap the layers of her sari, the amount of fabric covering her never lessens. Dushasana is eventually reduces to exhaustion, as the awed court observes that Draupadi is still chastely dressed. At this point, a furious Bhima vows to drink blood from Dushasana's chest, at the pain of not seeing his ancestors/entering heaven. This vow unsettles the entire court.

The only Kauravas who object to the disrobing of Draupadi in the court are Vikarna and Yuyutsu. Vidura openly calls Duryodhana a snake and demon after finding no support even from his own brother, Vidura is helpless. Karna further orders Dushasana to take Draupadi to the servants' quarters and derisively asks her to choose another husband who unlike Yudhistira would not gamble her away. Just then, jackals call out as a mark of evil omen. Queen Gandhari enters the scene and counsels Dhritarashtra to undo her sons' misdeeds. Fearing the ill-omens, Dhritarashtra intervenes and grants Draupadi a boon. Draupadi asks that her husband Yudisthir be freed from bondage so her son Prativindhya would not be called a slave. In order to pacify her further, Dhritarashtra offers a second boon. Calmly, she asks for the freedom of the Pandavas along with their weapons. When Dhritarashtra asks her for her third wish, she reminds him that a kshatriya woman can seek only two wishes, three would be a sign of greed. Dhristarashtra gives them back their wealth, and grants them permission to go home.

Amused by the sudden turn of events, Karna remarks that they "have never heard of such an act, performed by any of the women noted in this world for their beauty." He taunts the Pandavas by praising their wife, as she had rescued them "like a boat from their ocean of distress".

Having restored their pride and wealth, the Pandavas and Draupadi leave for Indraprastha, only to receive another invitation for a game of dice, in which the loser would be given an exile of 12 years followed by a year of Agnathavas, meaning "living in incognito". Yudhishtira yet again accepts the invitation and loses, and goes on an exile with his brothers and wife Draupadi.

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