Virata Parva - 2
Not ready to leave Malini, Keechaka asked his sister to send her to his chambers under the pretext of bringing a goblet of wine. With no option left, Malini went to Keechaka’s chamber. Before going, she prayed to Surya, the Sun God who sent an invisible demon to protect her.
Keechaka grabbed Malini. Pushing him away, she fled to the court of King Virata but was pursued by Keechaka. Seeing this, Bheema wanted to attack Keechaka but was restrained by Yudhishtira who sent him away. The rakshasa sent by Surya saved Draupadi by striking Keechaka, who fell down and lost consciousness.
Draupadi wailed before the king, asking for justice, but he failed to help her, saying he did not know about the matter and could not intervene. Yudhishtira commanded her to go to Sudeshna’s abode saying her husbands know when to protect her.
At night, Draupadi met Bheema and cried over her fate. She bemoaned that even though she had such powerful husbands, Keechaka had kicked and humiliated her. Draupadi blamed Yudhishtira for her plight and for the plight of the Pandavas. She threatened to kill herself by poison if Bheema did not kill Keechaka. Bheema consoled her and made a plan to kill Keechaka.
Accordingly, Draupadi approached Keechaka and told him to meet her at dusk at the dance hall. He happily agreed and spent the entire day applying fragrances and wearing ornaments so he could look good.
When he went at night to the dance hall, he met Bheema there who grabbed him by the hair. A fierce wrestling duel took place. Bheema’s repeated blows crushed Keechaka’s limbs, and he fell dead. Draupadi announced that her gandharva husbands had killed Keechaka for insulting her.
Seeing Keechaka’s dead body, his hundred and five brothers were furious. They blamed Draupadi and decided to burn her alive along with Keechaka’s body and dragged her to the cemetery. Draupadi screamed, asking her husbands to save her.
Hearing this, Bheema came charging out from the kitchen and took a different path to reach the cemetery. Uprooting a tree, he used it as a club and massacred Keechaka’s brothers and returned in the same direction as he came.
A scared Sudheshna asked Draupadi to leave the kingdom, but she requested thirteen days’ time. The queen agreed to this.
Meanwhile, the Kauravas heard about Keechaka’s death and planned to seize the cows of the Matsya kingdom. Duryodhana asked Susharma, king of the Trigartas, to launch an attack. Susharma seized the cows and attacked the guards.
Virata led the Matsya army in the battle and was helped by Bheema, Yudhishtira, Nakula, and Sahadeva. During the battle, Susharma managed to defeat Virata and capture him. Bheema then charged into the battlefield, slaughtering Susharma’s soldiers. Bheema seized Susharma and saved the king, who happily rewarded the Pandavas.
Even as the battle with Susharma took place, the huge Kaurava army attacked Matsya. They killed the cowherds and stole the cows of Matsya. When this news reached the palace, prince Uttara, also known as Bhuminjaya, arrogantly said he could single-handedly defeat the Kauravas but lacked a charioteer.
Draupadi then told him that Brihannala had served as a charioteer to Arjuna and could drive the prince’s chariot. Arjuna then got into Uttara’s chariot and drove him towards the Kaurava army. Seeing the gigantic army with the likes of Bheeshma, Karna, Drona, and Duryodhana at the forefront, Uttara panicked and tried to run away.
…. to be continued