Indian Mythology (by ApamNapat)

The Pandavas Rule from Indraprastha


Vidura arrived at the palace of Drupada. He conveyed the message entrusted to him by Dhritharashtra to the Panchala king. When he saw the Pandavas, occupying a place of honor in Drupada's court, he was overcome by his emotions. Pulling himself together, he said, "O Sons of Pandu, your uncle, King Dhritharashtra asked me to convey his extreme happiness in hearing that you have escaped unhurt from the accident at the house of lac. He is further overjoyed that you have won the hand of Draupadi and cemented an alliance with the powerful Panchalas. He wishes to give half his kingdom to Yudhishtra. He desires that you come to Hastinapura, accompanied by your new allies, the Panchalas, where Yudhishtra can be crowned King. Our perceptor Kripacharya, your Guru Drona and our grand-sire Bhishma also send their blessings. They all are eagerly awaiting the day when they shall meet you. Please do not tarry any longer, return to Hastinapura at once."

The Pandavas knew that Vidura would always look after their welfare. After consulting with Drupada they consulted Krishna (for Krishna and Balarama had come to visit them at that time) about the future course of action to be pursued. It was then decided that half the kingdom was a very fair offer, and should be taken up at the earliest. They returned to Hastinapura, accompanied by Draupadi and the Panchala royal family.

It was an emotional reunion when they reached Hastinapura. Bhishma was overcome by his emotions when he beheld his grand-nephews, safely restored to him after undergoing so many trials. Even Dhritharashtra's heart was glad, for he had done the right thing in restoring the Pandava's to their rights. Draupadi fell at the feet of her Dhritharashtra and Gandhari and sought their blessings. When Gandhari was blessing her daughter-in-law, a fleeting thought arose in her mind that, "This woman will be the agent of destruction for my sons". She was startled, but held her peace.

An auspicious day was chosen and Yudhishtra was crowned as the king of the northern half of the Kingdom. Dhritharashtra summoned Yudhishtra and said, "Now that you have become a king, it behooves you to reside in your kingdom. My sons hate you, and I do not have any control over their actions. If you stay in this city, there will be a lot of occasions where friction can arise. I ask that you establish your capital city at the place known as Khadava-Prastha (Khandava=Jungle), and rule from there. It was this place that our illustrious ancestors Yayati and Nahusha had as their capital."

Now the place mentioned by Dhritharashtra had indeed been the ancient capital of the Kurus, but it had fallen upon disuse since the capital shifted to Hastinapura. The city has long been replaced by a jungle. It was hardly a suitable location for a capital. Regardless, since his uncle had commanded him, Yudhishtra decided to establish his capital there. When he mentioned this fact to Krishna, Krishna commanded Vishwakarma, the architect of the Devas to build a great city at this place. The order was to build a city to rival Amravathi, the capital of Indra. According to the Lord's will, Vishwakarma constructed a stunning city, a worthy capital for Pandavas, complete with a grand palace, wide streets, a great fort, gardens, streams and every other landmark that a great city should possess. The Pandavas took leave of the Kuru elders and left for their new capital. Since their capital was rivalled that of Indra, it was given the name of Indraprastha.

Once the Pandavas were settled in their new capital, a good portion of the people of Hastinapura also followed them, for the princes had been very much loved by their subjects. Krishna remained with his cousins for a while. However, he could not be there forever, for his kingdom at Dwaraka needed him. After blessing Yudhishtra, he took his leave.

Sometime after this, the divine sage Narada visited the Pandavas. He was received with all due respect by Yudhishtra, who sought the advise of the sage as to the proper means to administer a kingdom. The sage instructed him in the art of administration and blessed him. When Draupadi was presented to him, he had some valuable advice for the Pandavas.

Narada said, "It is a well known fact that even the closest friends or relatives can become bitter enemies if they desire the same woman. In ancient times, there were two Asura brothers named Sundha and Upasundha, who were inseparable. Their brotherly devotion was extraordinary. They defeated the Devas and sent them into hiding. They desired immortality and performed a penance with this motive, directed towards Lord Brahma. When the Lord appeared before them, they wanted the boon of immortality. However, that boon could not be granted, so the Lord asked them instead to choose their mode of death. Since the brothers were so sure of their devotion to each other, they sought the boon that the only way death could approach them was if they killed each other. When Indra came to know of this fact, he knew that he had an opening. He commissioned his divine architect Vishwakarma to create the most beautiful woman in the world. According to Brahma's advice, Vishwakarma collected a crore (10 million) gems, and taking a small part (equal to that of one sesame seed) from each of these flawless gems, he created the beautiful Tilottama (Sanskrit Thila=Sesame), and sent her to seduce the Asura brothers. When Sundha and Upasundha beheld this woman, their desire knew no bounds and each of them wanted her for himself. A quarrel immediately arose. The brothers fought and ended up killing each other. Let their story be a warning to you."

It was at Narada's insistence that the rule arranging for Draupadi to spend a year exclusively with one Pandava was made. It was agreed that if any of the others happened to catch sight of Draupadi at this time, that Pandava will have to undertake a year long pilgrimage as punishment, and he also had to keep a vow of celibacy for that period.

Things went on as usual for a while, till an unexpected problem arose. A Brahmana had the misfortune to have his cows stolen by thieves. He came to the palace, where he met Arjuna and complained to him about the theft. Arjuna promised to track down the thieves personally and restore the Brahmana's cows. Unfortunately, Arjuna's weapons were stored in the inner chambers. At this time, it was the turn of Yudhishtra to be with Draupadi and Arjuna knew that he would have to cross their apartments to get to his weapons. It was a dilemma, but his duty was clear. His duty to his subjects came before any personal matters. So he went inside, told Yudhishtra about the problem and retrieved his weapons. He then gave chase to the thieves, defeated them and restored the cows to the Brahmana.

However, he had breached the agreement reached by all of them. He said that he will immediately commence on his pilgrimage. Yudhishtra tried to convince him that this was not necessary. He had merely done his duty. Besides, it was not wrong for a younger brother, to go to the apartments of his elder brother and wife. However, Arjuna was adamant that he will serve out his sentence. Finally Yudhishtra allowed Arjuna to go on his voluntary exile.

In his wanderings during his exile, Arjuna came upon the river Ganga. He decided to take a bath in this holy river. When he dived into the river, he was pulled in by an invisible force and fainted. When he became conscious, he saw that he was in an underwater palace (he miraculously continued to breathe under water) and that a beautiful maiden was attending to him. She introduced herself as Ulupi, a Naga maiden. She expressed her love for him and asked him to wed her. Arjuna was smitten by her beauty, but he told her of his inability to comply with her wishes, as he had to keep the vow of year long celibacy. After much argument she convinced Arjuna that the celibacy was only relating to Draupadi, and that it did not apply to his relations with other women. His scruples overcome, Arjuna spent a pleasant time in her company, and after a few days, took leave of her.

He then continued on to the Himalayas and visited many sacred sites in that neighborhood. He then turned southwards. He bathed in the sacred rivers Godavari and Kaveri. It was on the banks of the river Kaveri that he visited the kingdom of Manipur, whose king was Chitravahana. He had a very beautiful daughter named Chitrangada, with whom Arjuna fell immediately in love. The king was willing to marry his daughter to Arjuna, but he imposed the condition that the resulting son must be left in his care, for he would be the heir to the kingdom. Arjuna consented. He stayed there, and had a very good time. Finally a son was born, and was named Babruvahana. Arjuna handed him over to Chitravahana as per the agreement. He then traveled along the western coast to reach the city of Dwaraka.

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Last Modified At: Sat Aug 27 21:32:22 2005