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The Mahabharata, the longest Sanskrit epic, is a story of two sets of paternal first cousins who became bitter rivals with each other. The epic revolves around the struggle for the throne of Hastinapura. The two collateral branches of the family that participate in the struggle are the Kauravas and the Pandavas. The Kauravas were collectively a hundred sons of the blind king Dhritarashtra and the Pandavas were the five sons of Pandu. The five brothers named Yudhistira(eldest son), Arjuna, Bhima, Nakula, and Sahadeva were always obedient and dutiful. Draupadi was the common wife of the five Pandavas. The Kauravas behaved viciously and brutally toward the Pandavas in many ways. Their malice displayed itself when they took advantage of the eldest Pandava, Yudhistira in a game of dice.
Living in the new territory of Indraprastha, Yudhistira turns his poor land into a wealthy kingdom and declares himself King of Kings. Duryodhana, the eldest of the Kauravas, is jealous and humiliated on his visit to the magnificent palace. He mistakes a glass floor for a pool, then later falls into a pool thinking it is glass. Draupadi and Bhima laugh at him. He returns home bent on devising their destruction.
game of dice in the Mahabharata
game of dice

Game of dice

Duryodhana follows the advice of his uncle, the cunning Sakuni, an infamous dice player, and invites Yudhistira to a game of dice. They know well that gambling is Yudhistira's one weakness. Vidura is sent to invite the Pandavas to visit Hastinapura and play a dice game there. Yudhistira accepts the invitation. Both Dhritharashtra and Yudhistira ignore Vidura's warning to avoid the game which may result in a destructive consequence. Sakuni was confident that he could defeat Yudhistira easily and thus Duryodhana could fulfill his ill -motive of outdoing the Pandavas.

Before the dicing, a lot of discussions were there, but Yudhistira is obliged to play. But Sakuni comes in to play for Duryodhana. During the dicing event, Yudhishtira stakes his wealth, Jewelry, Indraprastha, and the belongings of his brothers one by one and loses them one by one. Sakuni mocks and provokes Yudhistira at each stage and demands to stake. He thus loses his brothers Nakula and Sahadeva. The Sakuni mocks him that at best those are the stepbrothers he lost, but Arjuna and Bhima are not so and he won't bet them. This forces Yudhistira to stake Arjuna, and hid liberty at the stake as demanded by Sakuni.

At this moment of his complete defeat including himself, Yudhistira is again mocked to stake Draupadi. Yudhistira stakes Draupadi and loses her also. There were strong reactions from the assembly when Yudhistira staked her. Draupadi questions the legality of staking her when she was forced and dragged in front of the assembly. There were favoring reactions to her questions. Interestingly, Vikarna, a younger brother of Duryodhana, reacts in support of Draupadi. He says courageously that Yudhistara is enticed to play the game deeply plotted by Duryodhana and Sakuni. And that a lost Yudhistira has not the right to stake Draupadi. The assembly supported him. But Karna silenced him,b by saying that he is too young before the others in that hall.

Duryodhana in the open court chides Druapadi and invites her to sit on his thigh, patting and baring his thigh. He orders Dussasana to disrobe her in front of the court. Dussasana begins to execute the act. But Draupadi cannot be bared. She is endowed with the divine grace of being in a new dress to whatever extent the clothes are pulled by Dussasana. The strong Dussasana fails and becomes exhausted. The Assembly stands stunned at the miracle. Bhima sends shivering signals by an oath that he will tear open the Dussasana's heart and drink the blood of him, and he shall break the thigh of the Duryodhana on which Draupadi was tauntingly invited to sit. The invincible Draupadi by the divine blessing made Dhritarashtra still more afraid of the Pandavas. He asks the pardon of Draupadi and releases all that was worn on the dicing events.

Of course, dissatisfied at Dhritarashtra's act Sakuni and Duryodhana once again plead before Dhritarashtra for another dice game with Yudhistira. In the second spell of the dicing event, Yudhistira is again defeated and is forced to go into exile for 12 years. The condition is that they should live in forests and pass the 13th year in disguise without being identified by anybody. If they are identified by anybody during the period of disguise, they should repeat 12 years of exile in the forest and the 13th year in disguise.

Thus losers in the deceitful act of gambling, and insulted by Kauravas, the Pandavas started their exile in the forest. Vidura told Yudhistira to allow their mother Kunthi to stay back as she was old and weak. Yudhistira agreed. Draupadi, however, accompanied her husband to the forest. Duryodhana became the de facto ruler of both Hastinapura and Indraprastha.

The Pandavas are not alone in the forest but are followed by many loyal Brahmons and servants. The gods give them an inexhaustible supply of food for all of them. The Pandavas reached Kamyak forest and decided to rest there for a while. Krishna came to help them. After inquiring about their well-being, he advised Pandavas to be vigilant and not to lose heart. The ordeal they had to face was for their good. Good and bad experiences are essential to get the correct perspective and fulfillment in life. Suffering and sorrow bring a requisite feeling of renunciation essential to seek higher goals in life.

The future of the Pandavas was determined by the game of dice. They had to undergo plight and suffering due to their defeat in the game. Yudhistira's temptation brought about that unexpected consequence. His wife Draupadi and his younger brothers fell victim to the horrible experience. The tragic fact of the Kauravas was another consequence of the dice game.

Gambling is an immortal action. It most often favors the evils. The gamblers do not hesitate to adopt unfair means to win the game anyhow. A man with morality is likely to get defeated in gambling. The ultimate result of the game of dice is the bloody battle between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. The war of Kurukshetra fought between them brings about the ultimate downfall of the Kauravas. The victory of the Pandavas symbolizes the victory of the victor over evil.


IMPETUS said...

Why did yudhishthira bet his brother and draupdi if he was dharmaraj?

Unknown said...

Role of yudhisthir in the game of dice

Unknown said...

Role of yudhisthir in the game of dice

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