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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.