The game of dice...

1.Maya's creation
2.Narada Returns to Indraprastha...
3.Jarasandha's destruction...
4.The Rajasuya Sacrifice...
5. The guest of honour...
6. Draupadi's Laughter...
7. Invitation To Gamble...
8. The game of dice...
9. Draupadi's disrobing...
10. Bhima takes a vow...
11. Double jeopardy...
The next day,the Pandavas went into the newly constructed Jayanta gambling hall.Assembled there were Duryodhana and his brothers,Bhishma, Drona,Kripa and also Karna.and other dignitaries.

No sooner had they taken their seat,Shakuni called out to Yudhishtira, "Maharaja,welcome to the assembly;you the wealthiest of all kings become the master of our sport.Name the rules and let the game begin".

Yudhishtira replied toShakuni telling him that if he plays he should play the game without tricks and in a manner Kshatriyas would approve of.Shakuni retorted that there would be no tricks.

Then Yudhishtira said to him that deceiet and cheating are the cornerstones of gambling and he would not want to play with anyone who resorts to such schemes.Shakuni pretended to be angry and told Yudhishtira that if he does not want to play,then don't.

Then Yudhishtira,to avoid looking like a coward ,told Shakuni that he was ready to play but there were none there to match his stakes. Duryodhana replied that he would provide the stakes but Shakuni will throw the dice for him.

Yudhishtira replied that,that was indeed a strange arrangement but agreed to Duryodhana's suggestion and asked that the game be started.His four brothers sat behind him whilst Duryodhana,Dussashana and Karna sat behind Shakuni.

Yudhishtira taking off a necklace of pearls from around his neck, wagered it asking,"what to you stake against these gems of the Southern ocean"?Duryodhana staked a lovely string of pearls of equal beauty.

Yudhishtira rolled the dice,five and four,Shakuni rolled four and six. Yudhishtira lost.Then he staked a thousand jars of gold in his treasury against it's weight in gold.Shakuni threw the dice first this time , threeand a two.Yudhishtira threw three and one.He lost again.Now everyone in the assembly crowded around these players to get a closer look at what was going on.

Then Yudhishtira angrily said that this is cheating and took a closer look at the dice but could find nothing wrong with it.Shakuni told him that he was free to use new ones but Yudhishtira shouted to play on. Shakuni used this moment to further agravate Yudhishtira so that he would not think properly.

He told Yudhishtira that such anger was not befitting a person who is the son of Pandu.He said it very softly which really got the Pandavas more angry.Yudhishtira called him a cheating rogue and threatened to deal with him later.

Then Yudhishtira wagered his golden chariot with seven white horses having speed as swift as the wind and he lost that too.He then wagered the one hundred thousand singing girls in his palace,with all their costly robes and jewels.Shakuni won again.

Then he wagered his convoy of elephants,his men servants,battle cars, well bred horses in the stables and his army.He lost it all.Finally he staked the last precious jewel he had around his neck and as was expected,he lost that too.He now hung his head in silent anger.

Vidura at this stage approached the King Dhritarashtra and pleaded with him to stop this madness before it was too late but the King just bent his head and nodded.Then Vidura called out to all the players and asked them to stop the game because it was bringing joy to only a few and hatred to all.He said that it was quite evident that Shakuni was cheating Yudhishtira.

He cautioned Duryodhana to stop this greed of his before the Pandavas take up their weapons and retaliate.Dhritarashtra was silent but Duryodhana was abusive to Vidura.He accused him of being biased in favour of the Pandavas and ungrageful to the Kauravas and told him to be gone.

Insulted by Duryodhana's words,Vidura once more turned to Dhritarashtra asking him why does he sit quietly while his son insults him and pays no heed to good advice.Vidura then cautioned the King telling him that good advice is like bitter medicine but only the wise and the honest drinks it.

The supporters of Yudhishtira supported this speech of Vidura by cheering and applauding but the Kauravas became angry and bitter.Vidura then left the gambling hall.Duryodhana now used this opportunity to tease Yudhishtira telling him that maybe he doesn't want to play anymore with cheats and tricksters and maybe he should go with his friend and benefactor,Vidura.

Yudhishtira was furious and shouted to him to continue the game if he dares.The game continued and Yudhishtira continued losing heavily.His eastates,his cattle,his sheep,everything that he owned,he lost to these cruel and vicious dogs.

Bhima,Arjuna,Nakula and Sahadeva sat quietly and dared not interefere. Shakuni then sarcastically called out to Yudhishtira,"Maharaja,you have lost everything now,maybe it's a good time to stop playing". To this Yudhishtira replied,"if my fate is such that I should lose it all,then so be it".

Then Yudhishtira wagered his kingdom itself,with all its wealth and all its worth.He rolled the dice four and four,Shakuni rolled five and four. Shakuni won.Yudhishtira now had nothing of worth and in looking around he saw the jewels on his brothers necks and wagered those in for the return of his kingdom.He lost again.

Vidura hearing that Yudhishtira had now lost his kingdom,returned to the gambling hall and again tried to reason with Dhritarashtra,but this time the King told him not to interefere.Dhritarashtra was actually enjoying Duryodhana's victory.

The worst was now to come.Yudhishtira like a cornered wolf now snarled at Shakuni,"my brothers are worth more than precious jewels,I stake Nakula in return for my kingdom".There was a hush of silence in the assembly and sadly he lost his beloved brother Nakula too.Nakula was now a slave to the Kauravas.

Then he cursed Shakuni and wagered Sahadeva in exchange for Nakula and his kingdom.He lost him too.Yudhishtira paused for a bit and Shakuni again resorted to sarcasm. "Nakula and Sahadeva are the sons of Madri not of Kunti.They are like step brothers,maybe you don't want to lose your own brothers,Bhima and Arjuna"snarled the cunning Shakuni.

Yudhishtira called him a black-hearted crook who wanted to separate him from his loved ones.Then he wagered Arjuna for his brothers and his kingdom and lost him also.Finally he wagered the mighty Bhima and lost him to those rascals.Then Shakuni said to him that he has lost everything and should stop playing now.

The noble Yudhishtira was in the biggest trap he never dreamed of and now tell Shakuni that he still got something to wager.He then staked himself for his brothers and his kingdom and threw the dice a two and a three.Shakuni threw a five and a six.Alas! he lost himself too and the Pandavas became slaves of these crooks.

Shakuni however,did not gave up.He taunted Yudhishtira telling him that it was not wise that he staked himself.Then he reminded Yudhishtira of the most precious wealth that he still had.Draupadi!!

The younger brothers all looked at Yudhishtira in awe,wondering what his next move will be.Without having enough time to rethink the situation Yudhishtira shouted to Shakuni,"yes,I stake my beloved wife Panchali too".

Bhishma hid his face in shame as the spectators in the assembly hall shouted "shame".Dhritarashtra still did not intervene but streached his head outward listening patiently to what the outcome was going to be.

Shakuni threw the dice and it fell three and eight then,with trembling hands,Yudhishtira threw.It fell six and one.The beautiful Queen Draupadi and common wife of the Pandava brothers,was now a slave.

Pandit Bhadase Maharaj.

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Aadi Parva
Sabha Parva
Vana Parva
Virata Parva
Udyoga Parva
Bhishma Parva
Drona Parva
Salya Parva
Mahaprasthanik Parva